Friday, 31 December 2010

Trip Round the World - version 4

One of my favorite quilt patterns is the "Trip Round the World" pattern. I am making one for my Mom as a raffle quilt for her church. Just for fun, I put together the top and bottom. All I need to do now is pin and quilt the 3 layers together. To pin the layers of the quilt together I need to iron the clean washing - or I can just move it. The washing is on the table that I use to pin quilts together........

The first photo is of the quilt top and the 2nd photo is of the backing.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

More Fabric Landscapes - A trade

A very good friend of mine lives in Germany, and I would love Ann Johnston's book " Color by Accident: Low-Water Immersion Dyeing" so..... As Amazon won't post books to South Africa, I have to make another plan.....I'll leave you to guess the trade......meanwhile a photo of my latest Shweshwe landscape

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Forays into Fabric Dyeing

In past posts I have spoken of the City and Guilds quilting course I am doing (far too slowly at this stage.....). Well, the next step is to learn to dye my own fabrics. What an adventure and huge learning curve.  I am supposed to be doing Low Water Immersion Dying. That's not what came out :LOL  The colours are too solid. I am pretty impressed with the colours of the dyed fabric though.... (The yellows have come out a bit brown in the photo - I'll take more photos when it stops raining and the sun is out - it could take days :LOL)

So.... round number 2 is "on the boil". This is great fun. The internet is also a wonderful place - what did we do without it? It's so easy to research what went wrong and how to fix it.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Dancing the Happy Dance

I received wonderful news last week - an art gallery in Durban has offered to exhibit some of my fabric landscapes and fabric postcards as part of the 8th Annual Affordable Art Show at the Artspace Gallery in Durban.. I am so excited that I can' find the words to describe it. In a funny kind of way, this is a nice counter to feeling my work is not quite good enough!

Here are some photos of the work that is being exhibited:

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Market Day

Saturday morning is market day where we stay...... I took my camera along this morning.....

Look at the wonderful hats from Tibet - it is definitely on the list of purchases.It is made from flour sacks or rice sacks - not sure which one.

The remaining photos are works of art from my favorite Zimbabwean artists - everything from a painting to welded metal African animals.... The African Warthog is definitely on the list of purchases.......

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Shweshwe Landscape Series

It would seem I have stumbled on a series.... It would seem that I am developing a passion for making Shweshwe landscapes....You can use exactly the same fabrics in 100's of different ways... No two landscapes are the same. This is the Third in the series....

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Shweshwe landscapes

The end of the school year has sneaked  up on us and it's time to make gifts for the teachers who have given so much of their time and energy educating our children. What gifts shall we give? Fortunately, it is fairly simple to whip up a couple of fabric landscapes. I might have mentioned before that the manufacturers of Shweshwe fabric introduced a new range of bright almost luminous colours this year. It's a stunning range. I LOVE working with it and have made the following 2 fabric landscapes as gifts for 2 of the teachers - they are similar but slightly different:

Friday, 5 November 2010

Children's Creativity

My daughter has a wonderful art teacher at school this year. She is really nurturing the kids' talent. This week the school put on a major art exhibition this week where at least 1 piece of art for every child was exhibited. The first photo is of the entrance to the exhibition. Isn't it beautiful?

The next photo is of my daughter's painting of her new electric guitar. She does Art Club every week and is blossoming.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Fabric Postcard

The other day a wonderful postcard arrived totally unexpectedly in the post....... On the back it says "Dear Leigh. Lets hope you are now "on the up" like this hot air balloon". It was a wonderful surprise. Thanks Miriam.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Happy Things Project

I read the following article by Lynn Krawczyk:

What a wonderful idea - I have been inspired. It's so good to focus on the positive, happy things in our lives. It is so easy to become bogged down and trapped by the daily grind of life.

I am going to go out and document the positive happy things in my life. The only difference is that I am going to post once a week (time constraints). So.... 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Southern African Artisits

Due to a operation which decompressed my Thoracic Outlet, I am a bit hamstrung at the moment so I thought I'd show photos of some of the work of the artists from Zimbabwe. They live in South Africa, earning a living by selling their paintings.They sell them at the markets and next to the road sometimes. I think their work is amazing. We have now bought 2 paintings from them. If we had more hanging space in our home, I'd buy more. The blue painting was my daughter's choice to hang in her room. She loves anything that is blue.

The above painting is by an artist called Nyika and the one below is by an artist called Lazlie. (I am not sure how in focus this photo is.....)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Basic experiments with colour

One of the things I am doing is play with colour and mixing primary colours to create secondary colours. It is daunting and challenging but so rewarding....

Here are some photos of my attempts at mixing secondary colours together to allow the neutral colours to form..BTW - the aim of all of these exercises is to learn to dye my own fabric. I am so looking forward to it. I don't want to try without doing all the exercises though.

This is a photo of the red and green complimentary colours:

Blue and Orange is next:

and lastly..... Purple and Yellow

As you can see, my attempts are still rather amateurish. Its a case of the old adage, "Practise makes perfect"

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Wow - September already and an essay

I had to prepare a short essay entitled "The influence of the African Landscape on the colours of African hand dyed fabrics." I find this topic fascinating and thought that I would share a snippet of my research.....
There are two major environmental influences on the use of colours that African hand dyers use to dye their fabrics with – the strong African sun and the colours that can be found in nature.
Sally Scott, a top South African quilt artist has the following to say: “My love of the landscape developed as a child, brought up in rural Zimbabwe. Since moving to the Eastern Cape, I have set out to capture the atmosphere of this province…. [I am] fascinated by the variety of vegetation and the fresh quality of light.

The strong, often harsh, African sun has a major impact on the colours that fabrics are dyed. Glenda from Amafu Fabrics ( explains the influence of the African sun on colour: “I tend to work (her own hand dyed fabrics) in very strong colours but not necessarily bright colours and I think this is where the influence of Africa comes in. Part of this is to do with the very strong sunlight we have here and anything that is pastel tends to die.” The image below shows some of Glenda’s hand dyed fabrics:

This photo also shows the other environmental influence on hand dyed fabric – that of the natural dyes available from the earth – browns, ochre, red and black. Interestingly enough, although nature is full of green, it does not supply any natural green dyes.  For example: the colour of the Kalahari Desert sand is red-brown which stains the fabric when you get it on your clothing. The earliest fabric dyers would have used this sand to dye their fabric this particular colour.

Indigo dyed fabric is very popular in Africa. The world’s only source of natural blue
dye comes from the Indigo plant which is mainly found in West Africa, China and Japan. Indigo plants supply hues ranging from the palest sky blue to the deepest midnight blue. Combined with other dyes, indigo dye also makes greens, most purples and non-corrosive blacks.

 A popular South African fabric, called SheShwe is dyed using Indigo Dye. The photo below shows an example of Indigo dyed SheShwe fabric.

Odette Tolksdorf, another top South African quilt artist talks about the fact that her “art quilts have often been influenced by the multi-layered African environment.” Her work uses “rich and expressive colour”.

5.    Google Images
6.    Ndebele by Margaret Courtney-Clarke

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Landscapes, Dog shows and Trees

A short while ago I traveled to Bloemfontein (a city more or less in the middle of South Africa) to attend 5 dog shows. For those of you that know me, I do competition obedience with one of my Giant Schnauzers. We traveled over Oliviershoek Pass, through Golden Gate, hugging the border with South Africa and Lesotho and onto Bloemfontein (translated as "Flower Fountain"). On the way we passed the Woodstock Dam. Here it is photographed from the top of Oliviershoek Pass.

It is winter in South Africa so most of the trees have lost their leaves. I really liked the shape of this tree. It was photographed at the school where the dog shows were held.

As an aside, it was so cold on Monday 9 August 2010, that I had to borrow a jacket for Alex. This is a photo of her in her borrowed bright pink jacket.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Life long dream

I'd love to publish a book with my quilts in. It's a dream that "won't go away". I have an acclaimed author friend who will write an accompanying story to each quilt. Sounds like an amazing concept to me..... why is life so hectic? will I ever get down to it?

Landscape Photos

As many of you will know, I am passionate about Landscape photography and quilting landscapes. A couple of Sunday mornings ago, I took the Schnauzers, and camera, for a walk. The sun was at the right angle and the reflection of the dead tree is the water is "perfect". I wonder what this will look like as a landscape quilt.....

Monday, 19 July 2010

Images of Sport Quilt Show

Saturday 10 July was d-day. Our quilts were to be exhibited in a local hall. It's quite exciting for a newbie quilter to have a quilt exhibited. It's also wonderful to see how other people interpreted the same theme. I took photos of most of the quilts. So....without further ado...some photos....

The first one is by Judy Zingel titled "Sport Africa". I LOVE the bright African colours.

My quilt called "We Three" is a bit more subdued. There is a story behind the name. For those that don't know, I have 13 year old triplets, 2 boys and a girl. They always spoke about themselves as "We Three" when they were younger. This quilt is made up of photos of the kids doing their various sports.... I am really proud of them. Btw, it's my daughter that plays cricket....:LOL
There were lots of other quilts but I am not sure of the "ethics" involving posting photos of other people's quilts. I'd rather not tread on any toes.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Quilt Completed

Woohoo - my quilt for the "Images of Sport" competition is finally completed. What an achievement - one does not realise how long it takes to finish off a quilt. There was a little difficulty in the manufacturing process - makes it sound so formal :LOL - the timing on my sewing machine went out so it had to be serviced before I could continue. But it's done - I am dancing the happy dance this morning. Unfortunately I can't post a photo before the exhibition which is on 10 July 2010.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Frustrations and photos

When rushing to meet a deadline for a quilt show, my sewing machine's timing went out today (actually it happened last week when sewing the cat quilt samples but I only realised it was a serious problem this afternoon after I had free motion quilted almost half my quilt)......sigh.... I rushed it to the local Bernina dealer and they were absolutely stunning - they got my machine going again in no time but I spent the rest of the afternoon unpicking the free motion quilting I had done.  I am sooooo frustrated. Do I just give up on it or do I persevere and get it done? It can still be hung at the show if I get it done before 25 June. But it is now eating into my time to meet work deadlines  for the first weekend in July.

On a more positve note, my friend and I are launching a small quilted goods business for cats. We are both AVID Burmese cat lovers and breeders. I made some samples and took them to her last weekend..... For a sneak preview see below... 

I tried making a rag quilt bag as a microwave wheat bag....It worked rather well, the cats love the rag quilt finish as shall be making a few rag quilts in various shapes and sizes.....

The next photo is of a Crinkly quilt. Cats love cellophane paper so I have stuck crumpled cellophane paper under the top layer in the 4 corner plain blocks and free motion quilted around them.....Still am waiting for feed back from the test cats on this one......

This is my first attempt at a cat sleeping bag. They are the rage at the moment. The inside is made of fleece so it is warm and cuddly. Mine came out too stiff and not floppy enough so it might be converted into a quilted tunnel for the cats to run through - they love these as well...

And finally, a plain flat quilt......needs some toys to be added. These are meant to be fun quilts.... The first photo is of the top and the second photo is of the back of the quilt. I have used the original  South African  Sheshwe fabric - Three Cats. I love the patterns and designs on the fabric. It comes in 3 colours - indigo, brown and red.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Time has flown away

Wow, I can't believe it is almost the middle of June already. I think my brain is still in January.... :LOL. Needless to say there has not been much time for quilting...sigh. The triplets (mine) are now officially 13 years old - wow, 3 teenagers in the home, a bit mind blowing to say the least, albeit a positive experience on the whole.

There are several new projects in the pipeline - one which is quilting based, one computer programming and the others are all guitar teaching based.Oh yes, I am also starting a camera course this weekend - the camera and photography as a whole have sadly been rather neglected. Time, you ask? Where does one find the time to do everything? Simple answer - I don't know.....but I'll find it somewhere, somehow....

As everyone knows, the soccer world cup starts in South Africa this week. As a result our regional quilting guild is putting on a show - "Images of Sport" which we are all entering. This quilt has to be completed by 15 June - next week (help).

So..... all I can say is "watch this space" and that I promise to try and be more diligent in updating my blog

Monday, 29 March 2010

Time is still flying away

This is becoming a mantra (or a weak excuse at that). The reality is that there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done - anyone know how to extend the number of hours in a 24 hour day?

On a more serious note, I went on a road trip to a city (Johannesburg) about 600kms from my home town. I had to take my 2 beautiful Giant Schnauzers to the weekend dog shows and pick up my Burmese kitten from a good friend and bring her home. The Giants excelled at the shows. My little Giant (a contradiction in terms) collected her last point she needed to earn the title "Breed Champion". She was also Reserve Best of Breed on both days. Her litter brother won Best of Breed both days - we kept it in the family - :LOL. My big Giant Schnauzer excelled in her Obedience tests winning her Beginner's Obedience class with 98%. She then went into the Novice class ( a test twice as long and twice as difficult) and failed to qualify by 2.5% without any advanced training. I am really proud of both my Schnauzers......

 In places the scenery was awesome - from the Drakensberg mountains through the flat open lands of the Free State to the mine dumps of Egoli (Johannesburg, the city of Gold). The cosmos fields were absolutely stunning - the camera was packed away (am still kicking myself) so I didn't stop and take any photos. I've had to Google for some images of cosmos flower fields.

There are also kilometers and kilometers of electricity pylons running across the landscape. Most people would only see how their ugly gray steel structures pollute the landscape but.... have you noticed how many types there are and how intricate the designs are? Inspiration for a quilt? Aah yes, we are back to that elusive concept, "time to quilt". day soon, there will be photographs of a electricity pylon inspired quilt. "Hope springs eternal"

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Time flew away

Wow, I can't believe I last blogged in January. Time has really flown. I am going through a creative slump - I feel all dead inside so haven't quilted for ages. The hot humid weather has been a contributing factor. Summer is officially over so hopefully I'll be inspired to go back into my studio. Mmmm, this post really sounds like "excuses, excuses and more excuses".....I really miss quilting and the creative boost it brings. Teaching guitar to 25 pupils weekly is very rewarding but draining. By Wednesday evening, I am ready to fall into bed. Maybe the creative itch is being scratched by teaching guitar. Whatever the reasons are, I really hope to be inspired to get back into quilting soon.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Mid week Post

Life is good but is rushing by at a rate of knots as they say. At the moment, it's all work and no play. My studio feels deserted and I am going through withdrawal symptoms from not being able to quilt. I am really hoping that I will be able to get a moment in my studio this weekend otherwise completing a needlepoint canvas of 2 kittens will have to "scratch the creative itch" :LOL

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Christmas postards in January

Wow, I can't believe it's been more than a month since I last posted. Time flies......It flies so fast that I have only finished making all my Christmas family postcards today. These are simple postcards but came out rather well, even if I have to say so myself......