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If you have been following this project, you will be aware that knitted contributions in white and cream have been flowing into Shan’s studio over the past 12 months in preparation for assemblage into an installation piece celebrating the Milkweed pod.

Its finally gone together for the first time and pictures of the assembled pieces and some detail shots are available here: Milkweed Art Installation

What an amazing international collaboration all down to power of the online art and craft community and their blogs!

My submission for this project has been sent to the US and Shan has posted pictures on her blog along with many more of the pieces she has received from contributors all over the world.

Take a look here.

Milkweed is a plant I am not familiar with – it seems to be a uniquely American species with a great deal of attraction to artists of all persuasions.  I found this photography site has some beautiful close up pictures of the pods.

Four days of crowds, great sales, late night shopping on Saturday night with heaps of people taking part in the purple scarf competition, stacks of demonstrations later and I am officially TIRED!!!!

On Friday evening after the show, Andrew and I went into town for some dinner.  Andrew is always on the lookout for design inspiration for his scrapmatts and these delightful shoes certainly attracted his attention!

Red Shoes

Saturday evening trading was sparkled up by the event organisers conducting a purple scarf competition.  Several of the exhibitors offered prizes to those who had taken part in the making of and wearing their own purple creation.

There was a most excited 4 year old who had made a lovely felted, appliqued and stitched purple number excitedly announcing to anyone who would listen that she had won.  Great to see the new generation getting involved!

Then there was us….. yes, we both sported hand knitted scarves with suitable scrapmatts attached…..unfortunately, there are no photos of my “outfit”.

However –

scarf

…………………………………someone was seen wearing this and was also lucky enough to score a prize donated by the lovely girls from Blue Willow Cottage!

Over the weekend I managed to complete stage one of the purple project for the Craft and Quilt Fair in Melbourne this month.

Stage 1

Stage 1

This was knitted using one 50gm ball of Jo Sharp DK yarn and a size 5.5mm circular needle…..there was something in the region of 400 stitches to cast off!

Stage two of this project is spreadout on the kitchen table drying …….

Stage 2

Stage 2

These are scrapmatts daisies that have been given the treatment using a purple Gelly Roll pen and then a coat of Dimensional Magic.

The next step involves beads, sequins and other pretty stuff!!!

Wodonga Craft Alive has just finished and I am now back home.  This year the show moved to a new venue at Catholic College Wodonga.  It appears that all our visitors loved it – warm, friendly and an inviting atmosphere saw many people return every day to enjoy what the show had to offer.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to introduce some of our crafters of the future to the delights of making postcards and stitchery.

Stitch Me a Rainbow

Stitch Me a Rainbow

These two lovely young ladies are both 12 – they had a great time mastering the sewing machine and completing their postcards.  One plans to send hers to family in the UK and the other to a relative in Queensland. I’m sure their families will be delighted to receive these original cards from the girls.

Not all of us are skilled at sewing and there are many who are in fear and trembling when confronted by the electronic marvels that masquerade as sewing machines these days.  When Helen tried to sell the idea of making a card to her friend Doreen; Doreen’s first reaction was “I don’t do sewing machines!”

Helen prevailed and they each selected their favourite colours and sat down to make the cards.

Helen satin stitching the edge of her card

Helen satin stitching the edge of her card

From the instructor’s perspective, Doreen made the ideal student – she was not fazed by anything!  As soon as I had shown her how to do something, she was off!  For a supposed non-sewer, she was fantastic.

Doreen's first postcard.

Doreen's first postcard.

Helen has decided she will make more and took away some extra packs of supplies with her at the end of the day (she had more than one favorite colour – this way she didn’t miss out!)

Helen's pink card

Helen's pink card

It’s always great to catch up with students I have taught in the past and this year was no exception.  Another of our young crafters, Hannah, was back again this year and it was hand embroidery that she decided to try out this time. Helen and Patty also decided it was time for some hand stitching and out came the needles and thread.  The “Little Miss Dot” design seemed to be the favourite design on offer.little_miss_dot_2

My challenge for the weekend was how to help devise a method for teaching someone who was blind how to knit.  The query came from a lady at the show who had a blind friend she was teaching to knit – how could we help her to stop  dropping stitches?  That tested the grey matter a bit – but between us we devised a solution based on how she held the needles and using feel in your thumb to control and count the stitches as they came off the left hand needle. It seemed to work!

Over the weekend, my friend Sonja and I found the new Melbourne home of Morris and Sons – at 234 Collins Street, Melbourne.  How delightful to find that there’s now a knitting and needlecraft store on the first floor of the building where there is a book shop in the basement!

I was as restrained as I could be at a 20 to 50% off sale of wonderful yarns …. Jo Sharp from England, Cleckheaton, Patons, Noro from Japan, delicious Italian specialty stuff….yum!  Great range of accessories for knitting, DMC embroidery threads, tapestry wools …. couldn’t really appreciate the full range as we were on a limited time frame.

I did come home with some balls to knit up, though – PURPLE!

purple

The lovely flecked balls with black eyelash have morphed into a gift for a friend’s birthday.  The others are for a purple “piece” for the “Saturday Night Fun” at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair in July.

This is from the Craft and Quilt Fair Website.….

Make a Purple Scarf and Win!
Saturday evening is ‘Wear Your Handmade Scarf’ night. Come to the fair wearing a scarf (or shawl, wrap or cape) you have made yourself, and you could win a prize pack of craft goodies! The predominant colour of your creation should be PURPLE… like the Craft & Quilt Fair logo!

To take part in the competition, register at the fair Gift Shop after 5pm on Saturday. Wear your entrant number while you enjoy the evening fair activities – our judges will be out and about looking for your unique style and creativity. So think fun, fabulous and funky and get stitching, stamping, printing, dyeing, knitting or beading today!

Prize packs will include:

  • beautiful fabrics from Catharina’s Country Collection, Stand C20
  • gorgeous yarns from Yarns Galore, Stand B35
  • amazing craft tools and gadgets from Punch with Judy, Stand A11
  • lace, motifs and dyes from Starr Laces and Ribbons, Stand D36


Exhibitors will also join the fun and wear their own special creations!

See that last line?  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I am challenged to create something wearable using the Scrapmatts products – not normally something you would consider suitable for an item of clothing or an accessory.  Stay tuned – this is going to be fun!

I have completed the first stage of my contribution to The Milkweed Project and managed to remember to record at least this part of the process for once!

blocking

The piece is several feet long and required blocking – so it had to be done in stages throughout the afternoon with breaks while it dried and cooled completely before I moved and pinned a new section.

This part shows a mix of the linen yarn and the standard 8ply wool, knitted and interwoven.

This is a worldwide collaborative project to create an installation art piece assembled from the contributions of craftspeople and artists all over the world.

img_0267-6

I was so taken with the idea that it inspired me to pick up the needles and knit!  I have been able to knit for as long as I can remember – my Gran taught me.  It wasn’t one of those crafts that inspired me to create – I had a short attention span and it seemed to take forever to finish anything!

I did enjoy knitting small garments so there were a few hand knitted baby items and jumpers for my girl when she was a toddler.  There are too many unfinished symphonies hanging about the place to admit to; so the knitting yarns were put to good use for couching and embellishing, quilting and needle felting, doll making and experimenting – everything except knitting!

This project called for work in white – no pattern specified, no stitch count or design to be adhered to – just white and if it was narrow to be long!  I could do this!  I scrounged around the boxes and bags and found linen, hand spun silk, mohair, synthetic fuzzy with a cute silver highlight and even wool – all white, of course.

I have had wonderful fun with giant needles creating a spidery strand finished with some finger knitting.  The next stage is to block, then weave in some other fibres, add some tassels and bows and perhaps even stitch on a button or two.


Where do you go for ideas for designs for your art?  I find that inspiration for designs come from a range of sources; sometimes I am not even aware of what has been behind some of the pieces I have produced.

I have been known to leap out of the car with camera in hand when I have spotted a tree with beautifully textured bark and I have several pictures taken in different seasons of the same tree trunk in Kings Park, Perth.

treeperth

I can say, however, that I have never been tempted to use xray images or pictures of internal organs as a stimulus!  This hasn’t been the case with two ladies recently written up in New Scientist magazine – they have produced quilts and a knitted sculptural piece based on images of the brain.

This is defintiely one of those things that falls into the “weird but true” category however it is worth looking at  – this is the article link and this takes you to a special website featuring their work.

images1

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