Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tension Tension, Tension!

Let's face it: sometimes stitches go bad, and tension is usually the culprit. But not always. Sometimes there is a problem with the needle, the thread, or even (cough) lax machine maintenance.

Australian textile artist Dijanne Cevaal has some very helpful advice for solving these little stitch hiccups that can give us such a headache. As a quilting teacher and author of several books, she really knows her stuff.


Though Dijanne says you shouldn't worry about your stitching looking absolutely perfect, when stitch issues get in the way of your quilting enjoyment and artistry, you should consider the following in an article on Quilting Daily by Pokey Bolton.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Embroidery from Sketch to Stitch

The latest addition to our Library is a donation from Lyn - Embroidery from Sketch to Stitch (Number 133 in our collection).  It is an amazing feast for the eyes and a source of inspiration even if we can never achieve the level of skill that is characteristic of Pat's work. In researching for information about this particular book I found the following link which may be of interest to you. 

An eye for the artistic potential of needle and thread
Pat Langford, Artist and embroiderer, 1927-2003
Pat Langford, who has died aged 75, contributed to a flowering of the textile arts in Australia by drawing attention to the possibilities of embroidery as an expressive art form.

Her embroidery is characterised by an acute observation of the world around her, an inventive approach to technique and a marvellous use of colour. She explored the expressive possibilities of fabric and thread just as painters have explored those of brushstrokes and paint. By her own estimate she completed more than 300 major pieces, which were exhibited in many solo and group shows and innumerable small ones.

Most of these works were based on drawings from her sketchbooks, which accompanied Langford on her travels. Outback Australia, the gardens of people she visited and bustling scenes of life in England were among the subjects she translated into stitch, along with more humble motifs such as a breakfast of marmalade on toast or a bunch of flowers from her own garden. Her final large works are something of a departure, a wonderful series created from her imagination and based on the journeys of Marco Polo.

Born in Plymouth, England, in 1927, Langford started her career as a painter, spending seven years at art school in her home town. She also studied embroidery during her course, and while living in London in the early 1950s attended classes taught by the celebrated embroiderer Constance Howard. This was followed by further study and her work was subsequently included in a touring exhibition. By the time she migrated to Australia with her family in 1960, embroidery was an important focus of her own work and of her teaching.

Within a week of arriving in Australia, Langford had found the Embroiderers' Guild; a few months later she held her first exhibition of embroidery at Chattertons' Gallery, and shortly after that she was recruited to teach art and embroidery at Asquith Girls High School. In those early months she also undertook her first Australian commission, three embroidered panels of the Sydney Opera House for the Opera House Trust; taught her first classes for the Embroiderers' Guild; and appeared on ABC Television.

(Notes from

Monday, July 18, 2011

Looking after our crafty selves!

I recently had a reminder from the lovely Pip Lincolne from Meet Me At Mikes of how important it is to look after yourself while still enjoying your craft, and I thought it might make for an interesting read. While we all know what ergonomics are {the science of fitting a task to suit the individual while improving a person's comfort, health, and productivity} we probably don't often associate it with crafting.

 If you think about it though, as stitchers, quilters, knitters or crafters in general, we may be particularly susceptible to eye strain or damage, repetitive motion conditions like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome or migraine. I don't know how many times I've had a sore neck or shoulders {or even a numb bottom} from sitting too long at the sewing machine, or hunched over a stitchery in bad light!

Here are a few tips I've found around and about the web to help prevent or alleviate these symptoms related to these kinds of activities, most of which are pretty much plain common sense:
  • Make sure you're comfortable. Get a chair with a seat height that is right for you and that provides comfort and support to your body. Your feet and the floor should be at a 90-degree angle. If you can’t adjust your chair, use a footrest. Anything can be used as a footrest, even a stack of old magazines or old box {I had a friend that used to use old stock image books - which are sort of like big coffee table books}. A chair that does not provide good posture can lead to back pain. If the chair that is too high can cause loss of circulation in legs and feet. The small of your back should press against the chair back. If it doesn’t, use a pillow or rolled up towel.
  • Sit up straight. Do not slouch or hunch over. Try some neck or back stretches to relieve those crampy or tired muscles. Most of these can be done while still sitting in your chair.
  • Use task lighting that is close to your work versus general overhead lighting. Try to avoid lighting that creates a glare.
  • Make sure the area you're working in is at a comfortable temperature.
  • Try to avoid hand and wrist strain. If your hands or wrists hurt, do wrist and hand exercises {like these} to relax and relieve the stress and strain.
  • Avoid unnecessary reaching or stretching to reach supplies by assembling all your supplies in front of you on a desk or work surface.
  • Take a break after long stretches of crafting. Get up and go for a walk or go and make yourself a cup of tea/coffee/water.
  • Remember to stay hydrated!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

President's Natter - July...

Well ladies it certainly has been so cold... yes our mild winter has definitely vanished and we are being faced with quite low temperatures especially in Gisborne/Macedon/Tylden... but I guess the one thing we have on our side is that it's great weather to sit by the fire and sew. I am still hand piecing my Tumbling Blocks and they are certainly multiplying.

Several members including myself went to the Melton Quilt-In last Saturday (9th July) and it was a wonderful day, with friendly sewers. There were several patch workers from Rochester, who were badly effected by the floods, who enjoyed a relaxing day getting away from it all.

The guest speaker was a well known textile artist Helen Godden, who has been awarded several placings in the Housten Quilt shows over recent years and she is one very talented lady. Her specialty is free motion machine quilting. She takes 30 hours to bleach and paint fabric and another 50 hours to quilt and sew her designs. She was extremely free with her show and tell and we were able to be hands-on while we inspected her amazing, award winning quilts.

One of Helen's gorgeous quilts - source

One quilt she made was themed "quilt things that come in pairs" and in doing so  related her connection with her mother (who is also a patchworker) who she sometimes works in conjunction with. She had magnificently quilted in the background with items that come in pairs, ie. salt & pepper, shoe & sock, bat & ball.

To give you an idea of the scale of the competitions she takes part in, one of her quilts sold for $10,000. When you win a prize at the Housten Show, you also win a flight over to the show. One year Helen won two prizes and upon asking for the two flights, Housten decided from now on you are only able to win one flight no matter how many prizes you win.

What sets Helen apart from other high profile quilters is that she is quite naive in regard to her ability. She was a textile artist before stumbling onto quilting, and she is simply, a natural. I am pleased to say I was lucky enough to win a prize in one of the raffle draws. I chose a free motion quilting book which I am happy to donate to our library.

On to other news, I'd like to let you all know that the new ladies who did the back to basics table runner did an amazing job and it was great to be part of helping them to work on their creativity. Basic cutting, using both mat and rotary cutter and piecing blocks were some of the techniques we covered. Di got a lot out of helping them use a light box, to applique and embroider the designs on their table runners as well as teaching them to cut and sew on the binding.

Any new member please feel free to see Esmae if you would like to purchase one of our club badges. I would like to thank all our committee members who continue to do an amazing job for our club, it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make such a successful club run so smoothly.

I hope all our members who are enjoying their travels away from this cold winter are happy, safe and especially enjoying themselves.

Christmas in July will be here soon and 'unfortunately' I won't be able to attend as 'fortunately' we are heading north all the way up to the northern tip of Australia... to Cape York... may I say to the warmer weather... thongs will be the go. The scenery is just fabulous up there and there are four cars in our convoy which will be joined by a fifth when we hit outback Queensland. So, our Vice President, Andrea Sheddick will take over chairing the meetings while I am away. By the time I return at the beginning of September there will be a new President in the chair. I wish them all the best and would like to say I have enjoyed my Presidency and am pleased, especially with all the charity work we have done  over the past two years. I would also like to thank the committee for all their support and hard work... we have worked well as a team for the good of the group.

Take care everyone and keep stitching, as I must go and thread another needle or should I start packing ...well er my thongs!!!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quilting is good for you!

While doing some internet exploring I came across this wonderful information about how good quilting and other crafts are for us.  Another reason to add to our stash!  Follow the link and enjoy feeling good about your hobby!

Cheers Glo :-)

even when you're learning, quilting is good for your health!


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