Weaving class 2

The second half of dressing the loom was completed on Sunday and finally I got to start weaving.

We learned how to sley the reed, tie the ends onto the front beam, and close the gap with waste yarn. On the way there was a quick lesson on what to do if there are missing ends in the warp including a useful weighting device.

Finally I found out how to fold the loom so that it fits into the car boot.


Should they stay or should they go

Some little caterpillars are eating the new leaves on my lemon tree. It took me a while to identify them as they are an early instar, quite different from the later form.

They are the larva of  Papilla anactus, the dainty swallowtail. A very attractive butterfly. There was one slowly flying through the garden last week, although I didn’t know its name at the time.

The orange and black stripe and the spikes will disappear as they grow, but these are not the only defences.

When disturbed a reddish-orange coloured osmeterium comes out from behind the head and releases a secretion composed of butyric acid and smelling of rotting oranges. It will have this feature through all larval stages.

The caterpillars will grow to about 35mm in length and as they eat the new leaves of the lemon tree I am a bit worried about their appetite. There are only about 10 of them, but my tree is small. For now, they are too interesting and the butterflies too pretty for them to be banished.

Basting – done!

Basting in the kitchen conjures up visions of turkey roasting in the oven. But this is where I do my quilt basting. The two trolleys that make up the island can be turned around to make one long bench.

I then use the board basting method where the backing and top are rolled around two long boards and the wadding floats in the middle. The weight of the rolls keeps everything flat and smooth.

My preference is for thread basting; no pins to undo while quilting and it doesn’t take much longer using a herringbone stitch. I find multiple needles threaded with quite a long thread spaced about a handwidth apart across the top is an efficient way of getting this job done quickly. Just stitch with each needle up to the roll. When all are done, slide the lot forward, flip the wadding over and unroll the backing, replace the wadding and unroll the top. Repeat.

All basted, now on to the quilting of the On Ringo Lake mystery quilt. But if I do take my time thinking about the quilting design there is no worry about safety pins leaving big holes.

The backing fabric was a good find on the discount shelf at Spotlight. Colour is perfect and pattern very cute.


A whole new vocabulary

The Introduction to Weaving course at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria started today. So many new words to learn. The first class was about preparing the warp and dressing the loom.

By the end of the day I had used a warping board to measure out the warp. Taken it off and  chained it after carefully tying the crosses and labelling key parts. Used the raddle to spread it evenly over the width of the finished sampler and wound the warp onto the back roller of the loom under tension.

I also learned how to read a draft and started threading the ends through the heddles on the four frames. I think I will go back in before the next class to finish the threading before I forget how it is done.


Tribute to Rosalie

The prolific quilt and stitchery designer Rosalie Dekker died at the end of 2017, she had been ill and then in remission then ill again for about 10 years. During that time she kept doing what she loved, creating beautiful things. Today I went to a display of her work at Patchwork with Gail B in Bayswater. Rosalie was a frequent tutor at this shop and kept many of her samples there.IMG_7716

It was quite amazing to see everything in the one place, including most of her fabric ranges and patterns. Her style and colour palette is immediately recognisable to anyone who frequents quilt shops and shows in Australia. She loved Scandinavian embroidery and pretty pastels with the occasional bright thrown in. Popular patterns were published under her previous name, Rosalie Quinlan.

It is a lovely tribute and can be seen until the shop closes at 1.00 on Saturday.

Donations made are going to Rosalie’s specified charity, Love Your Sister. As a thank you there is a pretty tin and stitchery.


This will fit into the redwork quilt I am slowly stitching.

What’s in the tin?

At dusk, after another unbearably sultry day, in a not so remote carpark, a car pulls in next to one that has been waiting a short while. Drivers get out, an exchange of greetings and then a rusty yellow tin is handed over.IMG_7660The tin is labelled ‘State Express Cigarettes’ and inside the lid a Royal Warrant.IMG_7661A quick bit of research reveals that this was granted by King George VI in 1946 – so the tin is late 40’s early 50’s. But what about the contents.

The mending fabric is probably the same age as the tin but the rest is much older and explains the rendezvous. I have been given a Frister and Rossmann hand crank sewing machine by a fellow quilter who is down sizing. She bought the machine at an end of summer sale by a dealer in Anglesea quite a few years ago. When it was passed on to me she forgot to include the tin of attachments. She thought to catch up just before a committee meeting.

There are a number of clues on the machine itself as to its age.

The name and address of the London Agent and ‘Trade Mark Berlin’ point to pre WWI. Notice that the all important shuttle is still in place. But the best information comes from the serial number which is alongside the stitch length regulator. They give the year of manufacture, 1907.

So for more that 100 years, a complete set of attachments has stayed with the machine, despite the original box being broken. Even the instruction book, minus cover and with interesting stitching holding the pages together is there. The somewhat rusty braiding foot that was not in the tin, was sitting inside the machine housing. My guess is the tool with the loop is for threading ribbon and elastic.

I think all the machine needs to get working again is a good clean and oiling of all the gears and levers.


Today was the day I got to see another Bonnie Hunter 2018 mystery quilt. I have been following Vireya’s progress from late November, and now it is very close to being finished. Just the binding to stitch down. The quilting is beautiful, I love the added texture it gives to the blue setting triangles.

It is a properly scrappy version of the quilt and it was fun to compare it with my smaller version which has far fewer fabrics.

My other homework was to view the Helen Maudsley Our Knowing and Not Knowing exhibition at NGV Australia; she is the first artist Waverley Art Quilters are looking at this year. The only thing I know about her  is that she is that the titles of her paintings are very long. She is a modernist artist who does not fit neatly into any category. The curator had displayed these recent works in a gallery papered entirely with a blowup of one of her paintings. This I found rather distracting.

In the next gallery is Louise Paramor’s Palace of the Republic. This consists of  paper sculptures and plastic assemblages. The honeycomb paper sculptures in the first part of this exhibition were commissioned by the NGV and use a technique she developed through trial and error during a residency in Berlin in 1999.

The works are grand in size, either standing or hanging. Moving around the shapes created interesting views and relationships between the individual pieces.

Light and shadow gave the solid colour of the paper a beautiful richness.

And everyone entering the space while I was there gasped, and then started talking nostalgically about tissue paper lanterns and balls that opened up magically from flat.

I also wanted to see Del Kathryn Barton The Highway is Disco which is also on Level 3 at Federation Square. IMG_7650I was just beginning to view the seventy-five montages -inside another land in which women’s bodies are both human and plant, when the fire alarm sounded.

It was not a drill, the fire brigade arrived and everyone had to evacuate. IMG_7652

I must get back before 12 March to see the rest.