31 May 2013

Beautiful Bali & Batiks

I am currently in Bali researching cultural and textile-related destinations as well as workshops in various batik techniques. I am excited to say I have found  some great workshops, an amazing haby store and bead shop and pinpointed some of the countries most beautiful and enchanting cultural experiences.

All of my discoveries will be woven into a specially constructed itinerary for Bali Textile Lovers in a 7-8 day tour mid 2014.

Tanah Lot Temple
The tour will be booked through World of Quilts Travel and myself and a local English-speaking textile expert will be guiding the tour.

One of the highlights will be witnessing and participating in batik creation, both the traditional method that uses a tool called a chanting to apply wax in fine lines and the more modern method of applying wax by stamping with a wood block.

In my travels I also acquired some batik fabric produced in a local Balinese factory using the stamping method. The fabric is 100% cotton specially produced for use by quilters.

I have 3 metres each of a limited number of fabrics for sale. Each length is $50 (aus), free postage in Aust. Email me if you would like to purchase. Remember, only one 3m length of each is available.
Check out my SHOP page for more Bali Batik fabrics Fat 1/4s and Jelly Rolls

Fat 1/4 - $38 aust
free post
going for a swim now...


27 May 2013

Black - a little or a lot?

The use of black in the western world is most commonly associated with mourning, the end, secrets, magic, power, violence, evil and elegance.

The use of black in the quilt world takes on various roles
, depending on the desired outcome. Regardless of whether black is a colour or not; large amounts of black, especially when combined with white, results in a graphic, contemporary design. The use of black as a predominant colour in a traditional pattern, except Amish quilts, is remote. However, the use of black as a background is quite stunning. Its use as an accent in a traditional quilt design is always influential to the outcome.

Maybe you'll be inspired to add a little dash, or a lot, to your quiltmaking once you see how agreeable and supportive this colour can be.

Modern Dresden Plate
So let's start with a traditional design that uses black to create a modern quilt with intrigue and, in this case, a wow factor. It's no secret that I love Dresdens, and this little cutie captured my eye. Cathy from Cabbage Quilts posted the story of how she made this for a friend who loves pink at Lily's Quilts blog. Cathy says she chose, "... lots of yummy bright pinks" for the Dresden plate and attached it to a fabulous Jacobean style black-and-white background, "... and I added a punch-you-in-the-eye black-and-white centre!" she explains. Let's face it, pink and black go together VERY well.

Over at Cactus Needle blog I found this very unusual black Hawaiian quilt made by author and quilter Annette Mahon. What makes it unusual is that traditional Hawaiian quilts do not feature black due to superstitious reasons, and nor is it common to see a modern-made one in black. But wow, how good does this one look?

Black and white
Hawaiian Applique
Nedra from Cactus Needle took this photo, along with others, when Annette shared a show and tell about her Hawaiian quilts. In one of Annette's novels, Above the Rainbow, the quilt-shop owner makes a quilt called In the Black at the Pink Plumeria. Annette says, "After several quilt friends asked if I'd made the quilt described, I decided I should ... and this quilt was used as the basis for the cover design of St. Rose Goes Hawaiian." Pop over to Annette's website to see this pink and black quilt and others, find out about her book series, as well as a great list of links to find out more about Hawaiian quilts and quilting.

Black and White and Finished!

Kay Sorensen shares this contemporary quilt, and some detail photos,    over at her blog, Color + Quilts. I invited her to share her thoughts on her use of black in contemporary quiltmaking... "I often choose black when creating as it is the perfect color to set off almost any color. Used with white it creates the strongest graphic image." Kay designed this quilt by making some components and then playing with them on her design wall, adding and subtracting as necessary, "I let the quilt tell me what to do, how far to go and when to stop," she concludes.

Many Amish quilts use black backgrounds with muted colour geometric shapes. The interplay between the colours and the black, or dark, background of traditional Amish quilts remains an integral component of modern interpretations.

I found this Amish Steeplechase Quilt for sale over at Rocky Mountain Quilts. Made in circa 1940, it is the quintessential Amish quilt. Black is a dominant colour in the oldest Amish quilt styles, particularly in quilts made in Eastern Pennsylvania. Subtle and sophisticated, the deep black provides the perfect counterbalance for the subtle pop of the steeplechase design.

Pineapple Log Cabin
Log cabin quilts are one the most recognisable traditional patterns. Over at Generations Quilt Patterns you'll find design ideas and layouts, printable colouring pages and a free downloadable paper piecing pattern in two sizes. You will find this quilt with the Pineapple Log Cabin blocks set on point. The use black as the pieced backgrounds shows off the pattern and illustrates just how black can make other colours pop and zing.

24in x 24in
This is another example of the use of a Pineapple Log Cabin block. This time an amazing 23in x 23in miniature quilt that uses 6,300 pieces of fabrics, made by Geraldine Nall. Diana of Dutch Baby blog observes that this piece, "Using only the pineapple blocks pattern, was created with 140 tiny 1 1/2in - 2 1/2in squares. The result is a stunning, balanced interplay of black and white."

Geraldine, who has earned the title Queen of Miniatures, was the featured artist at the Loomis Quilt and Fiber Guild's quilt show, held early 2013. Click here for an article on Geraldine over at The Loomis News.

1847 Baltimore Bride's Quilt
Black backgrounds provide an amazing 'palette' for modern or primitive appliqué patterns. The blocks in this quilt are based upon an 1847 Baltimore Bride's Quilt made by Mary Ann West that has been adapted to suit wool appliqué by Jackie Bennett of Lakeview Primitives. The original cotton quilt had 25 blocks and was made in the turkey reds and greens of that period and now resides in the collection of Rita Wolochuk. Jackie selected 12 of the blocks and converted them to suit wool appliqué - of course, it would also work well in cottons, particularly as a raw-edge appliqué.

The, 1847 Baltimore Bride Quilt pattern is available from this blog click here to purchase. if you would like to purchase the pattern and wool fabrics as a BOM visit Lakeview Primitives for more information.

I think there is a whole other story in using black in a more subtle manner within quilt design, particularly in modern quilt design. I will explore that subject further and share it with you all at a latter date.

Meanwhile, I would love to see how you are incorporating black into your traditional and contemporary quilt designs. Visit Facebook.com/StitchOneQuiltToo and load images of your quilts, we would all love to see them!

x dls

19 May 2013

What I know about knitting

I learned to knit at the knee of my maternal grandmother when I was a child. When I was in my late teens-early 20s I knitted lots of items. Including a complex cable vest for a boyfriend and an amazing sweater for my husband (not the same person). Sadly, then-husband didn't like the sweater, so it was gifted to the father-in-law, and that marked a rather significant lack of interest in knitting for quite some time.

20-year-old me knitting the boyfriend's vest
A few weeks ago I decided to knit a scarf. As I struggled with the creation (as evidenced below) I found myself being reminded that when I haven't been doing a certain sewing/crafting technique for some time it takes me a while to get back into the swing of it. And, by the time I'd finished, with various errors along the way, I recalled all I know about the technique of knitting.

The finished, albeit short, scarf

So, this is what I know about knitting...

Do not use thick/thin textured yarn when knitting an intricate pattern.
You can see (photo above) that the pattern is not very recognisable - I couldn't visually check my progress to ensure the stitches were correct. 

Check the tension before you start knitting to ensure the item will be the correct size/length.
My scarf was 15cm too short - which was enough to mean that the cowl could not be linked over my head to be doubled.

Do not knit in low light, with the television on and/or needy children around.
I frequently lost my counting, and found myself 'knitting backwards' (undoing stitches) to an error that occurred near the beginning of the row of 110 stitches

So, with all that in mind I pulled it all undone. 

Now you see it, now you don't
The luscious, textured red yarn will be used to create a scarf with a simple pattern, and the beautiful yarn can become the hero.

Today I purchased un-textured yarn and larger size needles, I will do a tension check and I will stitch this pattern during the day when the kids are at school, and the sun is shining. The good news is that this pattern does knit up very quickly, and by the end if this week I should have a new cowl.