Rolled For Transit

January 27th, 2015

Sunburnt Textures 6 is on the verge of leaving  for exhibition in Golden Textures, at the Goldfields Art Gallery, Maryborough, Victoria, Australia, opening on 21st February, and where it will be showing for 6 weeks.  If you are passing through or live in that area, try to visit what sounds like a wonderful contemporary art quilt exhibition.

I really didn’t want the quilt to be folded for the long trip from Montevideo to Maryborough: I wanted it rolled so that after a week+ maybe 9 days in transit it would be ready to hang, falling perfectly flat without any creases. ¬†For some time I’d thought ‘So I’ll wrap it around a pool noodle and pin in place’ . ¬† Silly me though, I made it a bit too wide to squeeze into a Fedex mailing tube (1m) , and I didn’t want to cut some inches off the sides – which could have been done, of course,¬†except that it was professionally photographed ¬†back in November. ¬† However, when I confirmed that it doesn’t have to be in Fedex packaging, I took myself to the neighbourhood hardware store the other day, and bought a suitable length of white polyvinyl pipe 15cm inside diameter, of the finest/lightest weight they had – plus a pair of ends/lids and some duct tape ¬†they happened to have in white – ¬†perfect.



packing guide photos blog


Everything has been labelled with my name – the tube inside and out, the two lids, the quilt, the pool noodle and the grey cloth bag it goes in before being put in the tube. I took pics of the different stages of packing the quilt – collaged several and used this 4-in-1 pic to illustrate the sheet of clear, brief unpacking/repacking instructions I’m enclosing in the tube:

To unpack from mailing tube:

  1. Remove and keep both white duct tape and the lid from one end of the polyvinyl pipe container ‚Äď NB this tape can be re-used many times.
  2. Remove grey cloth bag ‚Äď named ‚Äď please keep for re-use.
  3. From the bag carefully remove the quilt ‚Äď it has 3-d elements well sewn on, but, anyway, please just be careful!
  4. Remove pins from along the edge ‚Äď keep these for later by sticking them into the end of the noodle.
  5. Unroll the quilt ‚Äď notice it was very firmly rolled around the noodle inside the sleeve, with front side facing to the outside of the roll, and this needs to be done at the end of the exhibition, too.
  6. Remove yellow pool noodle from inside the sleeve, and put the rest of the pins into it, place in the grey bag, and return all that packaging to polyvinyl pipe container; replace the lid onto the open end, and save it all for re-use at the end of the exhibition.


At the end of the exhibition:    

  1. Take the lid off the container and remove the grey bag and the pool noodle with pins stored on it.
  2. Insert the pool noodle into the sleeve ‚Äď and secure by pressing pins through into the noodle every 15cm approx. along where the binding meets the orange.(upper left)
  3. Roll the quilt as firmly/tightly as possible, with the front side facing to the outside of the roll.(upper right)
  4. Secure the outer edge with the remaining pins pressed into the noodle. (lower left)
  5. Slide the rolled quilt into the grey bag. (lower right)
  6. Carefully push the rolled, bagged quilt into the polyvinyl pipe, being careful not to damage the 3-d elements ‚Äď which you might need to press down a little to help them past the lip of the pipe without being pulled off/damaged.

Replace the lid and secure with the remaining duct tape


I’m emailing a copy of the sheet to the gallery with tracking number for the consignment, and reasonably hopeful all packaging will be kept and used properly to send the quilt to a new owner or return it to me after the exhibition.





Fine Strips In Pieced Quilt Designs

January 19th, 2015

Kathy Loomis’ blog today referred a reader to her¬†2010 tutorial on piecing very narrow lines¬†into a background fabric, which for some time have been a feature of her work. ¬†She’s not the only one who pieces narrow at times – Lisa Call¬†,¬†Margery Goodall¬†and¬†Alicia Merrett¬† are among other well known quilt artists who produce great effects with very narrow lines pieced in. ¬† I know Margery well but have never watched her doing her machine piecing; ¬†Kathy described her process in that post; and I have no accurate knowledge of the steps Lisa and Alicia use or in which order, but I would say that they all do the cutting and piecing in different order, and perhaps even with different equipment, as none of their works look like the other – and nor do they look like mine, either!

When I first started to insert strips years ago, I worked out how to get them VERY even,¬†parallel,¬†usually about 1/2″ showing on front, but worked down to narrower strips after a time, as in “Strip Lighting” ¬†1990 – the strips range from ¬†1″, 3/4″ , 1/2″to 1/4″

Strip Lighting


Ora Banda 1992 (below L) and Window Onto Bougainville Street 1992 (below R)  are early examples, and you can find full views of these two in my  Colour Memories gallery on this website.  With straight cuts into the background fabric, strips cut exactly parallel, and carefully followed seam allowances, the result is predictable, and was pleasing at the time.

Bougainville St and Ora Banda collage blog

I eventually worked out how to avoid the dreaded bias cuts AND achieve a fair bit of curve using straight cuts from selvedge to selvedge,¬†and it doesn’t even matter if the lines are a little uneven !! ¬† ¬†Why? Because, as long as there’s enough seam allowance, ¬†the main secret is that for the second seam I turn the work over and sew that line from the other side, that is, with the strip lying on the sewing table, beneath the background fabric. ¬†¬†

In 1991 I discovered that even straight strips will curve¬†very¬†nicely with proper handling, a learning process that began while making ¬†‘Lilydale’. ¬†I was in hurry to meet a self imposed deadline, and had trouble with some cuts that came out unexpectedly a bit off, but some of those fabrics were fat 1/4’s of which there wasn’t any more to piece in – so with necessity being the mother of invention, I learned how to manage slightly curved inserts!¬†


Eventually I ¬†incorporated more pronounced curves with strips, with a good example being¬†Bushfire 4 (2004)¬† but there are ¬†many more in the Colour Memories gallery. The strips in each are all cut selvedge to selvedge, really, there are no bias strips; and my piecing is as good and flat as anyone’s, anywhere. ¬†These strips were cut about 3/4″ and appear on the front as something less than 1/2″.

Bushfire 4 adjusted blog copy

To make straight strips combine with curves, though, needs a workshop with hands on demo, and plenty of practice – ¬†is is a little more complicated, but it’s not hard. ¬† ¬† It took me a while to work out how far I could push the degree of curviness, but ask me to teach in your area and I’ll come and show you what I learned!


2003 marked a new phase of inserts – with an organic look, often very skinny, too; but its still the same that once you get to sew – the sew-the-second-seam-from- the-back-thing¬†still applies.¬†This is ‘Lightstream’

Lightstream copy blog

and it led to the group of quilts I now label the Ebb & Flow quilts Рgallery on  this website with plenty of examples.


Transparency Presents Difficulties

January 16th, 2015

I have dabbled from time to time with transparent quilts – using fairly strong colour to show a pattern through nylon or silk organza. Take these two untitled pieces, for example: ¬†each is about 1.25m h x 90 com w. ¬†¬†Because ¬†they haven’t ‘led’ anywhere I have only ever named these works ‘Transparent 1′ and ‘Transparent 2′ ¬†:-) ¬† ¬†Each was built up of blocks/modules machine sewn together, and that process certainly contributed to the less than even drape of each piece, so that was one problem. ¬† If I were making these works now I would keep the front and back fabrics whole, ¬†fuse shapes onto the back and then lay the front piece over, sandwich, baste and quilt. ¬†These pieces both date from 2003, and back then I had no idea of the bonding materials that are widely available now.

transparent #1 copy



transparent quilt 2 copy blog

But the further problem, which has prevented me ever feeling happy enough to exhibit these pieces is that really, apart from running a nylon line from each corner to some higher point, there isn’t a way to hang them with any kind of rigid support enclosed in a sleeve on the back side that doesn’t show from the back to the front. Does this matter these days? ¬†… probably not if it is part of the integrity of the piece to drape like a dustsheet or a large curtain, which certainly wasn’t the intention in any of these pieces. ¬†A clear acrylic rod do I hear you suggest? ¬†A friend displayed a lovely work on one, and after a month under gallery lights it had visibly sagged. I don’t think it’s necessarily a long term answer.


After a trip to Egypt in 2007, I ¬†wanted to use ¬†sheer fabrics again to explore the ancient origins of history that influence the country as it is today. ¬†The effects of layered sheers with free machining were pleasing to me, but I still wasn’t happy with the hanging system of a fine dowel rod in a narrow sleeve approximating to the width of the binding on the sides and lower edge. ¬†It shows through the ¬†fabric – distracting, ¬†imho.

Tramsparent Egypt copy

Egypt transparent detail

So, these difficulties have in effect put me off – am I being too fainthearted? ¬†I know I could get some of these effects by careful stencilling, perhaps – ¬†but I just want to use the fabric. ¬†I have recently been looking back over some of my very early work, and seeing these images has brought this frustration to the top again! ¬†Any reader with bright ideas or valuable experience to share – I’d love to hear from you!



linking this post back to

Revisiting Older Works

January 8th, 2015

By the end of ¬†1995 I was getting sick of strong bright, even hectic, colours and wanting to work in some more soothing neutrals. ¬†Was this an antidote to the fast pace of change I/we’d gone through? ¬† Possibly – relocating back to one’s own country after several years away involved a lot of change – and it’s something that will probably loom again later this year, and I wonder if it will be reflected in what I do creatively…

Winter Beach_edited- without black bg

“Winter Beach 1995″¬† approx 150cm w ¬†x ¬†90cm h is from this period. ¬† ¬† ¬†No sashings or borders; machine quilted in the ditch and hand quilted down the middle of each strip insert, faced. ¬†¬†One of my favourite ways to make a quilt at that time was to run linear inserts across a width of fabric, wandering and crossing over at random, and then cutting into segments=blocks to be joined with others. ¬†For a big project, selvedge to selvedge x ¬†8″ wide is efficient and produces 6 x 6 1/2″ blocks – but of course the same procedure applies whatever size/width of fabric you have. ¬†On a large scale several years later and back in stronger colour, this method produced Ivan and Tara’s Wedding Quilt¬†2000, 2.5m x 2.75m , 96″ x 108″, which also had a double pillow sham … quilted in the ditch and down the middle of each strip insert. ¬† Every now and then while making it, I did wonder what I was thinking, but reminded myself it was for newly weds in the family. ¬†

Grey Landscape colur corrected_edited-3


“Grey Landscape” 1996, ¬† 130cm w x 150cm h.

Take #2 – What Was I Thinking ?

January 6th, 2015

In looking through some old pics today I found this photo of an¬†art quilt I made for a commission, in Denver CO, towards the end of 1993. ¬†My husband and I were preparing to leave the USA to return to Australia, getting the house ready to put on the market, and managing children with different needs in different parts of the world. Altogether there was a lot going on in my life as is usual for me. ¬† I always have time for a commission, though, and love the challenge, but I’m not often asked.

An interior designer asked me to meet her in a house and discuss ideas for a quilted textile art work commission. The owner wanted a sunset theme work for the living room, where the wall on which it was to be hung included a large 3″ deep alcove with curved top. ¬†We had a discussion about whether to make (a) a rectangular shaped piece the length of the alcove from the point where the curved shape starts, to the foot of the shape; or (b) ¬†to make a piece shaped to fit into the curved shape of the alcove. ¬†I submitted both ways, but with everything going on in both of our lives, at least one of us got crossed wires about the final decision; and the look of astonishment on her face when I unfurled the work saying “Are ready for this?” is something I’ll never forget. ¬†When I looked back at the paper work, on the whole the agreement/contract was vague in places and if I were to read it today it would be glaringly obvious, I’m sure. ¬†I offered to make another, rectangular,quilt, but Cindy’s client wouldn’t hear of it and paid up. ¬†I don’t know who stuffed up, but it didn’t matter once the client said he was happy anyway. ¬†I hope he still is – I never knew his name.


Apart from the title – an inspiring and optimistic ‘Sunset 1′ ,¬†there is no info in my computer, but I’m sure I have paper work on it back in Australia. ¬†From memory it is/was about 36″ x 42″. ¬†I don’t have a detail shot of it – and have no recollection of what hanging apparatus I supplied – it was a long time ago! ¬†I see nothing around it to suggest the alcove, so the photo must have been taken against a plain wall – probably in our own home. ¬†To me now it is rather gauche, and I can see a lot wrong with the sky background to the wandering strips that by then had become part of my signature, but at the time I thought it was a pretty good fit with the rest of my work.



Marshland Sunset copy blog

Years later, I did another sunset piece on commission, “Marshland Sunset” 2007,¬†documented in a series of posts on this blog entitled “Anatomy of a Commission” between March 11th and 27th, 2007. ¬†At that time, I was blogging on Blogger and having troubles. ¬†When I began blogging¬†on my present website in 2008, the older posts were imported, but some irritating things happened in the crossover , so I’m sorry if you find things a little odd on your browser, as I did just now when checking out those posts. ¬†¬†The finished piece is 2′ x 3′. ¬†Several fabrics were supplied by the owner and incorporated. ¬†My technical abilities with strips had changed – I like to think improved. ¬†The piece was machine quilted with gold thread. ¬†I hope it is still happily housed in Florida, USA.

Marshland Sunset 2007, blog