Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Short Break

I have just had a short holiday in our nation's capital, Canberra. It was the first time I had been in Canberra on Australia Day, January 26th.
The photo above is of the Captain Cook fountain in Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. The National Library is in the background.

The highlight of my visit was a day at the National Gallery of Australia. The current major exhibition includes a collection of about 150 costumes and accessories from 34 productions from 1909 to 1939 of the Ballet Russes. There are also photographs of original performances, original programs and sets.

Many of the costumes were purchased by the Gallery in the 1970s and have been beautifully restored. It was interesting to see the kinds of fabrics used and the sewing techniques. One unrestored costume showed a chiffon shirt with a hand sewn hem. Also visible was a hand stitched repair to a tear in the skirt.
Many of the embellishments were painted on. One was a leotard and tights combination painted with Barium paint! Where applique was used on costumes it was machine stitched down with a raw edge showing. One set of cotton dresses were embellished with shiny, metallic looking squares make from bakelite. Few of the costumes were simple, most were highly decorated.
Many of the costumes were made of wool and looked very heavy. Quite difficult to dance in, I imagine. Silk, cotton, velvet and rayon were used in the majority of costumes.
There was a great variation in the sizes of the costumes. Some of the dresses were quite tiny, as you would imagine for ballerinas of today. However, some were much larger.

The costume below on the right was designed by Leon Blakst and worn by Vaslav Nijinski in Le Dieu Bleu (The Blue God). This ballet premiered in 1912.

The dress on the left was made of pale pink silk and was worn in Les Presages in 1933.

While at the gallery I looked at some of the other collections. I saw Blue Poles, by Jackson Pollock. It is arguably the most famous painting in Australia. The purchase of this painting was very controversial. In 1973 the government paid the highest price ever ( A$1.3 million) for an American painting. The purchase of this painting marked the beginning of the era of Australia's movement away from the British Empire.

While I was away I did a little stitching. No photos yet.
My next post will be back to quilting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is one more new project one too many????

.....not when it is Lori's new Doll Quilt Quiltalong! :) This time her quilt is called Midnight Stars and I have joined in. I have sewn the little hst squares in the first step and I am looking forward to the next set of photos yet.

The photo above is my latest finished blocks for Josephs Coat. These blocks were already prepared, so I just had to applique down the petals. I have lots of half square blocks to make now.

Below is North Star, the second block from Barbara Brackman's Civil War Commemoration quilt.

Edit.......I have just been told by a lovely lady my points are on upside down!! Ooopps!!!
I am un stitching as I type (well almost! lol) photo coming!!!

North Star the second!!!!

Now it looks like a star! Thank you Julia :)

Look what just arrived! :)

Time for a cup of tea and a quiet read.

The fabric the book is lying on is also a creation of Michele Hill's. This is her first range of fabrics and it is called The Adelaide Collection.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Something old, something new, "Catch Me If You Can" and a win.

This year I am going to try to concentrate on finishing a few WIPs. There will be a new start or 2, but I have quite a few projects that are partly done that deserve to be finished. I finally got all my klosjes sewn together! There will be a couple of borders added to this little quilt. You will see it again soon!

The small quilt below I started last year, but left it at the point of quilting. Up until now any quilt I have finished has only had in-the-ditch, straight line quilting or meandering on it. This quilt was my first try at more "challenging for me" free motion quilting.

I outlined some doves and did pebbling around them.

I still like the look of meandering.

A view of the back.

I will keep practising my machine quilting. I have another quilt that has lots of curved lines and straight line patterns in the quilting design. If our weather stays cool enough I will be working on it next.

This WIP is from the pattern I won from Barb late last year. I love hand applique and Folk Art Fantasy is different from anything I have made before.

Still a few more pieces to applique. I have used all Dargate fabrics on this panel.

The new year has brought lots of new projects in blogland. This one is one I have decided to join in. Barbara Brackman has started a new blog to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Each week there will be a true story from people of the time and a pattern for a quilt block. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn some American history, and to make 52 blocks which will make a commemorative quilt.

The first block is named Catch Me If You Can, and here is mine.

The fabric I used is designed by Barbara Brackman, but it is from The Morris Workshop collection. Certainly not Civil War repro fabric, but I had this fabric on hand and I love it!

Since finding Kathleen Tracy's group specialising in small quilts I have discovered several blogs written by people who make mostly small quilts. One blog I read regularly belongs to Jeanneke. Jeanneke makes doll quilts and has made patterns for several of them. Late last year Jeanneke had a giveaway and I was lucky enough to win!!! Below is what arrived in the mail yesterday! :) Thank you for your generosity, Jeanneke!

The card has a photograph of another of Jeanneke's quilts. There is a pack of Aunt Grace fabric already cut into squares. The pattern also includes all the papers required to use English Paper Piecing to make the quilt.

I plan to have some more Josephs Coat blocks finished before my next post.

I hope 2011 brings everyone happiness, good health and lots of sewing time!