Sunday, April 30, 2006

P.S. For The Girls I Taught Ceylon Stitch (My Favourite)...

... This is what I was talking about!

It's OK Now. I Have The Crazy Quilt Back...

This detail is within the outer border, and is my humble monogram as you see.

The stitches are Roman Stitch or Roumanian Couching and Detached Buttonhole, mostly. I used an upside down 'W' for the 'M', edited slightly.

If you have a look at CP5 over on the 'Bobby's Cards' link, you'll find where I first did the stitch. The design there is from a reproduction of an old book, 'Encyclopedia of Needlework' by Therese De Dillmont, and I followed it exactly, using my own colours. The book, by the way, is one of those you'd take if you were only able to take one or two books, you know, the old desert island scenario.

Please jump over to the Crazy Quilt site for more Crazy Quilt additions.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Patricia Waller's Knitted Dolls.

Patricia is from Germany I do believe, and her site is worth going into for a look!

I love the fish in the jars! Is the mad scientist transferring the brain of the 'monkey' into the fish? Funny, heh! heh! heh!

Hello Everyone, I'm Back! Did You Miss Me?

It's just that I've been either working, or training for my new job every day and it's not over yet! I slept for over two hours just now and feel a bit refreshed and a bit vague too.

Tomorrow is only a half day of gardening work and should have the effect of shaking out a few cobwebs, rather than be too hard...

Feel free to feel sorry for me with my busy schedule. It doesn't matter if you're the same, we can both be poor things.

I picked up my 'Crazy Quilt With Grandmother's Fans' today from Lazy Daisy, so will be able to begin my BIG plan of sharing bits and pieces with you. Tomorrow, when there is some light, I'll start photographing.

Today I wanted to show you this 'Tank Cosy'. We found it on Boing Boing. It's so gorgeous.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Breif history of the Wagga

The story of 'Wagga's' is simply that in the early days a mill called the Murrumbidgee Flour Mill, situated in the town of Wagga Wagga in the state of New South Wales printed 'Wagga Lilly' as a brand on its flour and wheat sacks. As thrift blankets were often made utilising these bags, either covered or sewn together for use as blankets themselves, the term'Wagga' was adapted to describe not only these rugs, but all rugs made of scraps, old jumpers, coats or tailors scraps and samples. A utility rug. Every country has the same history of utility, but here the name 'Wagga' caught on and it is known here and there right across Australia.

When my Grandma died I collected her coats to make my own. I can't remember where I'd heard the term, but that's what I'd known them as too. In my classes, people say either that they've never heard the term, or that their Grandma had Wagga's too, or someone did... seems to be both known and not known everywhere.

I made Rob's after I'd finished the crazy quilt (which is not long after Grandma died) and incorporated the same stitches in flowers all over the blanket, using 8ply wools (double knit) instead of fine silks and cottons etc., so that was my personal addition to the traditional blankets. The old Wagga's were generally unadorned, being utility blankets and not for show, and were notoriously heavy, but extra warm.

As with the American 'Depression' quilts, people were often embarrased by such a show of poverty and put them away or threw something nicer over the top.

Ironically, my intention was never to deliberately perpetuate these traditions, but the classes have, and throughout Melbourne at least the name is well revived, which is great.

I didn't sit and think to make 'A Traditional Wagga', nostalgically as it were, I just wanted to make some Wagga's from my darling Grandma's clothes... she was so special to me. Then, probably because I'd just made a Crazy Quilt, I put Feather Stitch on all of the seams.

As it happened, there was a competition for Wagga's which some friends had organised through our now defunct(?) 'Meat Market', to increase the profile of this uniquely Australian name, as they told me about it... actually they entered me into it and Rob's Wagga won. Much to my surprise. Talk about Zeitgeist!

I'll still contact thoise two ladies to enquire of their research into the genre, and round off this chit chat...

Just Back From A Little Holiday

And what a lovely couple of days we had. We have a caravan down near Wilson's Prom, and spent one day walking at Tidal River, another walking to Red Bluff and a third doing nothing at all. Well, when I say nothing, I sewed and my honey bunch drew.

This is a shocking photo (the only one I have) of a Wagga I made to demonstrate this 'building' method of construction at Geelong College a couple of years ago. I worked as Artist in Residence for their Art Week, where we had to entice the kids to join in lunch time activities. We had the greatest following, and a few amazing pieces were made. Hopefully a spark was lit in some creative minds? I had fun that's for sure.

The school motto was 'Reach For the Stars', and the Dave Graney song ''The Stars Baby, the Stars' kept going around in my head, so I stitched that on the front. Seeing that, many of the girls started embroidering things on theirs too, it was great!

I thought I'd compile a history of Wagga's to post here soon. It will require a little bit of research but I'll cobble something together. I realised that I have a little bit of authority on the matter, since I've been teaching the class for so long and have heard many stories, but I'll need to talk to a couple of key people first before I feel confirmed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Because It's a Beautiful Day...

I've decided to put my cards on special... or is that...
So, go have a squizz over there ->>> if you want to. It's up to you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My Op-Shop Wagga

So called by my honey-bunch. It's made using Grandma's crocheted cardigan, a jacket she knitted for my son which I said I'd finish and never did, er.. ah.. bits and pieces of jacket collars and other stuff. Some houndstooth woollen fabrics from Wagga Wagga! Huh! The Wagga is 2 metres square. I backed the piece with a whole lot of 'Wagga Lilly' flour sacks from an old produce store in Wagga Wagga.
It's sold now, and I miss it a little bit.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ruby's Kitten

I thought this picture was so manic and graphically terrific, it was worth sharing. I think I'll somehow work it up in embroidery. I love that look they get in their eyes when they're winding up their little elastic bands ready to pounce or run really really fast around the room.

You could even do this as an applique, with no consideration to anything excepting the outline and eyes, plus a couple of splintches for the nose and mouth. And perhaps some straight stitches poking out to insinuate the startled looking fur.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

At Last I've Started Putting Stuff on my Crazy Quilt Site

It's only the beginning, but go see -> -> ->
Follow the Link on the side bar -> to Robyne Melia's Crazy Quilt for even further updates.
I'll get my big quilt soon, and post details.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm so Proud of my One True Love!

You must have a look. Go see the other Varporium sites too. They're in the side bar.

He's my fella, and I've got a shiny patch on my shoulder from reflected glory.
Teri put me onto Gee's Bend Quilts, and what a compliment! Thanks Teri. You are my new best friend!
I've always loved the raw, the utility, the scrap. I've seen African American quilts before and been hugely impressed by their vitality. Early Australian Wagga's can be a bit similar, though usually sombre in colour on account of the fabric (often) being tailor's samples or suiting scraps. Once again, it's the 'building' of a piece that gives a certain directness to the outcome. Evolved rather than planned or orchestrated.
Go have a look at the Wrapping Cloths from the Chohan Dynasty in Korea for a similar though world's apart sense of movement and dynamo hum. I've scanned Google for an appropriate link, but can't find much. I have a book called 'Rapt in Colour' which is worth buying sight unseen, it's packed with wonders to change your perception. It changed mine anyway... or the exhibition did. It really did totally change my method of working, and whilst you mightn't recognise my work as being of the genre, it stems from the exhibition and the overwhelming sense of discovery in engendered. I could say that these Wrapping Cloths are as incredible and important as the Amish quilts. As modern. I think the Choson dynasty was around about our Victorian era...?
I was going to put a link to the Australian Quilt Register's Wagga info page too, but I disagree with their synopsis of the history so I'm not! I've been teaching and listening to stories about Wagga's for a very long time, and believe the origin and perpetuation of the name to be broader than their story.
I've just got a good photo of my earlier Wagga's from Robyn Jacobs which I'll scan and post . Soon. They were heavily embroidered, and I still teach the method, though I have changed my own approach.
It's all good fun isn't it? This sewing caper? We love it don't we.