Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm back.

Despite my week long lock down because of the flu (not the horse one the hoarse one) and my weekend away with my hubby and my intermittent computer access at home I'm back in blogland. We have been having great fun at school getting ready for our school concert next week but because of my germ infestation I haven't been able to go to school and have been left to read Ric Rac and Flower Garden's blogs. I must admit the week long break from the Old Man Emu song (my class' item) is a bit of a relief. Like Flower Garden I've been dreaming about emus and black skivvies. Who would have known that black skivvies would be so hard to find. The parents have been very enterprising shopping out of town, perusing every opp. shop and dying white skivvies.
Crafting - Before going down with the flu I had started a teddy bear blanket and my Sashiko embroidery. When I get bored with one I move to the other. My first set of teddy faces looked great. I'm not so sure about the second lot. Now I'm on the hunt for some appealing ribbon to make bow ties for the bears on the rug. Ric Rac took me for my first visit to Ballarat Patchwork a couple of weekends back. What a lovely lovely shop. It must be so good for your soul to work in an environment like that where you are surrounded by beautiful things. The fabrics were delightful but even better towards the back of the store they had a great display of books and fabrics and stuff all about my new love Sashiko. I'll be dropping plenty of hints to my hubby and son about gift suggestions. Although Sashiko is basically running stitch it seems to be a very relaxing and soothing activity. While I'm stitching I try to keep the history of this craft in mind and keep my stitches even and equal.
Felt buyers beware!
Shopping with Ric Rac is always enlightening. I learn lots about fabric and techniques, the value of gadgets and interesting tricks of the trade. Last Saturday while shopping for the school concert in Spotlight Ric Rac decided to look for felt for her toys. The young shop assistant was adamant that while the squares of felt might be acrylic the rolls of felt were definitely wool because they couldn't sell the acrylic felt in that size. Off went Ric Rac to check. We found some rolls that were obviously acrylic and others that were labelled wool from Italy. These rolls certainly held fabric that was thicker and softer to the touch. On closer inspection ( pulling back the fabric and reading the whole label) Ric Rac discovered that the woollen felt was actually a polyester/wool blend. 35% poly and 65% wool. Persistence pays!
Craft Markets
While Ric Rac and Flower Garden were off having a wonderful time with Brenda at Magnolia Square meeting Auntie Cookie I deserted my friends and went off with my husband to the football at the MCG. We were given tickets to the President's Lunch and the match between Essendon and Carlton. Sadly the first half of the game wasn't that great. The final quarter was very exciting even though poor old Carlton lost. We had a lovely dinner out and stayed in Melbourne for the night. The following morning we decided to visit the National Gallery and has luck would have it the Gallery weekend market was on. I saw some wonderful felting and remembering how hard we worked on our felting day I made sure I told the felters how clever I thought they were. Some of the felting was very fine and extremely well made. I found an artist who make porcelain jewellery. Several of her blue and white designs featured Sashiko patterns. I would have loved to have bought a brooch but she had none in the design I wanted. I did buy a handbag with an appealing shape and a lovely silver bangle. My husband had a great time jotting down ideas for things he could make and taking photos. He has now bought lots of old silver cutlery for a future project.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Craft Expo

We came, we saw, we bought, we conquered and we had heaps of fun doing it. The best thing about attending a big craft fair is going with friends. The early morning trip to Melbourne was heaps of fun and put us in the mood for a very good day. When we first walked I have to admit to a bit of sensory overload. So many fabrics, so many colours and shapes and gadgets and wool and quilts and all sorts. While looking out our first stall which contained lots of lovely silk and wool tops. I had an almost overwhelming urge to buy all the pretty colours I could see at once. Time to take myself in hand and have a little talk to myself. "Pace myself" I thought. "Don't buy the first thing you see". I tried to keep this little mantra going in my head but by the time I had got half down the first aisle I was spending freely. I have discovered the very old Japanese embroidery technique, Sashiko. As Jodie says "it's perfect for Sue, it's predominantly blue, its hand stitching and you don't have to be able to sew straight." It has an interesting history. The shortage of fabric in Northern Japan meant that the people sewed used pieces fabric together to increase the life of the cloth. They began with a simple running stitch and over time the patterns have become quite stylised and complex but are still based on running stitch. Since the craft expo I found that Ballarat Patchwork have several books on the techniques and also have supplies of thread and fabric. At first we moved slowly down each aisle stopping to look at every stall and so by 1st lunch we hadn't covered a lot of ground. We decided that before proper lunch we would do a certain number of aisles and then wait for each other before moving onto the next aisle. Jenny's crochet stall from Queensland enjoyed our company for an extended period of time has we drooled over the yarns and had all the designs modelled for us. we finally made it to the last aisle with just 20 minutes to go and we didn't leave until the final announcement to don your flouro vest and safety boots or leave the area immediately was broadcast. Jodie's Nanna trolley decked out with polka dots and pom poms (a big hit with everyone with overloaded bags) was full of goodies and our feet were just a little tired. It was great to spend time surrounded by beautiful things and have a chance to talk about them with friends. Thanks girls