Sunday 18 August 2018. #4

This weekend I’m having a wonderful time with a few friends and our accommodation is in a lovely rural setting; very different to our seaside retreat from just over a week ago. We are at the Berry Quilting Retreat, Berry, NSW, which is held at this time each year.


Metal Texture Vessel Workshop – On Thursday and Friday, I participated in a Metal Texture Vessel workshop led by the very talented Alysn Midgelow-Marsden. I signed up for this class because my girlfriend wanted to do it. I can honestly say that, when I walked into the class, I had no idea what we were going to do. It ended up being a fabulous class and we burnt and stitched on metals. We used copper shim and metal fabric – yes, there is such a creature. This metal fabric actually comes in at least two weights and behaves like fabric. You do need to be careful of the metal threads at the edges. We burnt some samples to see how they change colours.


The class was very well structured. On Thursday, we did samples of different ways to use and decorate the metals.


On Friday, we were well set up to move onto our main project and that was to make a vessel-like structure using the skills we’d learnt the day before. This involved making larger pieces which we will cut up and put back together as a “subtle and elegant sculptural vessel”. We didn’t have enough time to get the whole thing finished but we are all now on the last section and it just requires assembly and some bits of decoration. This is where I am with mine. I’ll try to get some time next weekend to do some more work on it. Once it is together, it will be more obvious.


Indigo Quilt in a Weekend Workshop – Yesterday (Saturday) we had a fantastic day with Shuji and Alison from Wabi-Sabi Designs making our hands blue whilst creating some beautiful fabric. We covered all things indigo and shibori and spent the day folding, clamping, stitching, winding, dunking, rinsing, drying and here are some action shots.


The results were fabulous. Aside from plain fabric, I also dyed an apron, a scarf, some hankies and the back and front of some linen cut for a cushion. The class is to make a quilt in a weekend but we had so much fun folding and clamping and dyeing that we will continue with that today. We still need to dye more fabric for the quilt which we’ll be able to assemble at home. I’m looking forward to getting my hands blue again today! I should have some more pictures next week.

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I was looking for a project the other day so that I could use the two boxes I have of small coloured balls of wool – these boxes are just so lovely. I thought a cardigan with maybe some grey in between each colour in a stripe. I was put off by the fact that the sleeves would be different or require more yarn (these balls are only 11 grams each!) and there’s no way that there would be enough yarn to have each colour on the body and each sleeve. I came across the Sharman Cocoon by Bristol Ivy and it is more like a shrug – one piece until you get to the cuff and band, which I would do in plain grey. I intend to do it without the pattern texture on the back as the colours would be the feature, though I may keep the pattern in the front band. I’m hoping it’s not going to be too difficult to work out which stitches I can get rid of and which to keep to maintain the shape. I found some lovely yarn at Sew and Tell at Berry.


Finished Object – I finally finished my Beachgrass Socks by Joji Locatelli. Once I got close to the toe, I just wanted to get them done. I’ve even sewn in the ends! That’s something that usually takes weeks (sometimes months). Now I need to get another pair of socks onto the needles. I have a self-striping gumdrop that I’ve been wanting to cast on.


I have split for the sleeves on the Kettle Valley Poncho and have started knitting them. I was hoping to mix it up a little as working the 576 stitches of stockinette was quite tedious. At least there are only 484 now – yep, still a lot! The pattern doesn’t require decreases on the sleeves but I think I’ll add some as I go because they look a bit baggy in the picture – I’d rather have them fitted. I’ll be able to try it on to gauge when to decrease. The photo looks weird because I’m doing the sleeves with magic loop on one cable while the other cable is still there. The magic loop will also help to tighten the tension for the cuff.



Last Sunday I was able to dip my toes into some more mini skein dyeing. The last lot of 3 I dyed with a mint/green base; this week, I dyed 3 with a pink base and 3 with an orange base. I think one of the orange based ones is more blue than orange but still looks good. My next opportunity will be for more colours, maybe blue and purple bases. It’s hard to get an action picture without steam but it makes it looks kind of mystical.

Well, it’s been a very full on few days and I’ve ended up with more to talk about than I thought I would. I do have some stash enhancements from during the week and this weekend but, as we still have a day of purchasing opportunities ahead, I thought I’d wait until next week to show them. Until then, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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