Tuesday 28 July 2020

Making Masks

We are halfway through our second stage 3 lockdown because of the Covid 19 virus. As of last Thursday, you have to wear a mask if you go outside your house. I had already bought a box of disposable masks that we have been using, but all of my friends are busy making masks and so I thought that I might as well have a go as well. I do have plenty of fabric! But no elastic! I haven't used elastic in years and it seems to be sold out everywhere.

I had bought some elastic hair ties for my grandchildren recently so I tried to use them.

The hair elastic is quite thick and not quite long enough. I made the dark blue mask first and it's too tight. I made the lighter blue one next and made it an inch wider to compensate for the tight elastic. It was much better but still not very comfortable.

The masks with the pleats are a bit time consuming to make and I noticed that my friends on Facebook were sewing a different design. I tried that next and it is much quicker to make.

I found some hat elastic in the back of the cupboard too, it's much more comfortable than the hair elastic.

The good news is that a patchwork shop has got in a supply of elastic and I have ordered some, so as soon as it gets delivered, I can make some more masks.

Luckily, the virus is not around where I live, it's mainly over the other side of the city but it won't take much for it to spread here unfortunately. We are not allowed visitors, so it's back to zoom and video calls with family and friends, we are only allowed to go to the supermarket, pharmacy, doctor or exercise outside.

I hope we can get on top of this soon, although I am happy staying at home, sewing away. I feel sorry for all those businesses that have had to close and all those people out of work.

Last week, we had a new ducted gas heating system put through the house. It took three men, 3 days to do it. I took a photo of some of the huge ducts that were going to be put in the roof.

We love the new heating system; it is working very well. Now we have just have to wait for the gas account and see how much it is costing to run.
 Up until last week we had the electric under-floor heating but it was costing too much to run. The bill for last month was $3,000 for one month!! We had enough of those ridiculous charges. It was always an expensive system but it was such a lovely warmth that we put up with the higher bills during winter but the electricity prices have been going up and up. I looked up our past accounts and 3 years ago, the July bill was $1,000, 2 years ago it was $2,000 and now it's up to $3,000. It was beyond a joke and we just weren't prepared to pay that huge price anymore.

Sorry, if this was a bit of a boring read for any readers but I get a book printed of my blog every year and I wanted to document some of what was happening in 2020. Goodness knows, it's nothing like the year we ever expected.

I am actually busy quilting a couple of quilts but the rules of the competition are that the quilts cannot be shown anywhere, so they'll have to be a secret for now, sorry.

I can show you the backing fabrics.

I have just finished with the red one and I am using the purple one at the moment. I'll do the one in the middle after that, but there is no hurry for that one.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Australia Wide 7 Success

I have been a member of the Australian  and New Zealand Art Quilt Group, OzQuilt Network for a year or so now.

When we first went into lockdown at the end of March, I decided to try and make a quilt for their next touring exhibition, called Australia Wide 7. The quilts tour to various galleries for two years and are quite compact, only 40cm or 16" square.

The Blues by Linda Steele©2020

I was absolutely thrilled to get the notice that my quilt was accepted to be part of the exhibition. Apparently, they received 83 entries and 37 were accepted.

I didn't take many progress photos but I did find one where I was deciding on the placement of the circles.

Placing the circles

Here is a detail photo.

The Blues, detail

It was an honour to be selected, especially as I am one of the new kids on the block, art quilt wise.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Circle Series 6

I've continued to work in a series with my circles theme, although I must admit my interest is waning. I don't think they will translate to some larger work, but you never know I suppose.

I've actually gone back to my number 4 in the series, I was never happy with the result.

Circle series 4

I decided that the reason was that the background triangle shapes were too large and so there was no difference in scale between the background and the circles.

I made another with a background of smaller shapes. It took a lot longer to put together.

No 6 background
 I used the blue colours because I was sick of the pink and green.

Circle series no. 6
It's ok, but I don't love it. Maybe the stripes just set off the circles so much better than triangles.

Here is a photo of all six in the series. How funny - I'm starting to like the first one again!

Circle Series

I also made another little paper collage out of my gelli printed papers.

Paper Collage
 The little collage is small, only 7" wide and 4" high but they take a surprising amount of time to make. I wish I could say that I whipped it up in 10 minutes because that what it looks like, but in reality, it was more like a couple of hours!

The bad news here in Melbourne is that we are experiencing a second wave of the virus and last week we went into 6 weeks of lockdown again.
This time I want to get more sewing done and not so much of the playing around and experimenting.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Playing around with Sun dyeing

I have been playing and around with my Sun-dye paints when the weather is fine. Sun dyes are a thin paint made in Australia that can be used as a paint as well as using it for sun printing.

I painted a piece of fabric with magenta and sprinkled some salt over it and sat it in the sun to dry. It is winter here in Australia so the sun is weaker and you get a softer result than you would in the hot summer sun.

Magenta with salt

I pin the painted fabric to a stretched canvas that still has its plastic on it so it won't blow away if a wind springs up.

This is what it looked like after it had dried and I washed the salt off.

It looks nice but I would find it hard to use like it is, so I painted it again the next day with some Flame red and Wattle yellow. Now I could imagine being able to use it.

The salt resist gives it some texture instead of just being a plain fabric. I can imagine using sections of it for applique.

I was seeing what sort of texture and effects I could get. Next; I tried pleating the fabric and letting it dry. It is more rough folds than pleating actually.

Pleated fabric

This is the result.

I like the effect and could imagine it as a background or in a landscape quilt.

I tried some stencils next, I didn't give the stencils much thought, I just grabbed whatever was on the top of my pile.

Once again, I over painted them.

I could imagine being able to use them. It's amazing how much better they look when you crop just a part of the fabric, it gives it a new life.

Finally, I tried some stamping, I had to wait for the stamp to dry before I painted over it.

This seemed much too graphic for me unless I was doing something very modern. I tried again with a softer contrast.

Yes, probably more suited to my taste. That could easily be cut up for leaves.

I am liking the sun dye paint and will definitely keep using it.

But now a part of me wants to try dyeing fabric again! I said that I wouldn't dye anymore because I hate all that rinsing out afterwards. But I have seen another way of dyeing that is more controlled instead of just bunching it up in a bucket.

I have a couple of projects that I have to finish but once they are done, I'll give this other method of dyeing a try. I'll just use the dyes that I already have and give it a go.

I'll let you know how it works out, but it won't be for at least another month.

Bye for now,