Sunday, 29 June 2014

No sewing, but walking

Just have to share some pics from my recent beautiful weekend way with some of the members of the Launceston Walking Club. It was my first visit to Bruny Island, located on the south eastern side off mainland Tasmania. The Saturday was a very cold winter's day. Thankfully we had a good campfire to sit around on Saturday night. We also celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

A weekend at Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania

Last weekend we headed for Cradle Mountain National Park, probably the most famous World Heritage Area in Tasmania (and perhaps, Australia). We stayed in a private lodge with a very special group of friends. This is just a very small capture of the scenery on Saturday, but I haven't yet mastered being able to include all the photos in an album to share on this blog site. It was cool and calm. Sunday it rained all day and washed most of the snow away. If you ever visit Tasmania, be sure to spend a couple of days at least visiting this area. The fresh air and scenery will do you a world of good.

Our view of Cradle Mountain, from the private lodge we were staying in.

Here's the lodge, tucked in amongst the trees.

Moi, admiring the scenery at Crater Falls.

The little old boat shed, on the edge of Crater Lake.

Crater Lake, drizzled with snow from a fall a few days old.

Panoramic capture of Cratere Lake.

Panoramic capture of the landscape, including Cradle Mountain.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Ben Lomond revisited July 2013

Ben Lomond has more snow.
The weekend just past saw the arrival of enough snow for some winter skiing. However, the tows on our ski field were not open. Those really keen for a ski walked up the slopes to make their meander downhill. Unfortunately, I didn't take my cross-country skis, to have a little dabble around.  A lot of Australians don't realise Tasmania has a ski field. We have a very small one. The other Australian ski fields are in New South Wales and Victoria.  A couple of weeks ago I posted pictures of Ben Lomond as it looked then.  Due to the fact I am still recovering from whooping cough, which came upon me in early April, I don't have the energy for much physical activity. I took some crocheting up with me, as well as my eReader, while I sat in warmth and comfort, thanks to friends at Ben Lomond Snow Sports and their winter refuge. I am currently not to talk, so I have to find ways to amuse myself.It was really nice to get out of the house for several hours today. Several of the following photos I took while travelling in the car (it's okay, I was the passenger. My husband David was driving).
Toboganning was very popular with families.
Outside Ben Lomond Snow Sports. Not a popular resting spot today, but the views are great.
Skiing on Ben Lomond requires skill. This is not Silver Star, Canada.

The blue sky is just amazing.
Coming home, down Jacob's Ladder. The weather has clagged in.

Looking toward the Village Pub

panoramic shot from the village

Taboganning area and Northern Tasmanian Alpine Club in the background.

The clouds begin rolling in after lunch.

Another panoramic shot from the village.

Travelling from Launceston to Ben Lomond. Beautiful day. It's about an hour's drive from home.

The drive up Jacob's Ladder is so spectacular.

Waterfall bend on Jacob's Ladder. The waterfall is frozen.

Ben Lomond has huge rock boulders.

Part of the scentic tour on our drive up Jacob's Ladder.

On top of the plateau, Ben Lomond.

Part of Jacob's Ladder, going home. Not a drive for the faint-hearted. Mist has rolled in.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

A skirt cut out and a new quilt project

The skirt first

Hello and welcome to my latest venture into making a skirt using used Japanese kimono fabric. 

Last week I shared a couple of photos of a simple, gored skirt that sits on a yoke, which rests just below the waist line. This week I have been able to choose a fabric and cut out the pattern pieces. It's okay to be slow. Winter sticks around for the next few months. The fabric is a fine wool, in Japanese fabric. The fabric is having a second life, because it was a kimono, until I unpicked it. I've laundered the fabric in a wool wash. I use Lux flakes. I don't know if it is called the same name overseas, but here in Australia, we have packets of Lux flakes, which is a pure soap. You need to dissolve the flakes in very hot water first of all, it becomes frothy, then cool the water to luke warm for wool. It irons out quite beautifully. Iron that fabric when still slightly damp, if possible, to make it quite wrinkle free. I'd really like to know if you've ever made a skirt from used Japanese kimono fabric. Please write me a comment and share.

The 5 pattern pieces, cut out.(Skirt front, cut of fold, skirt back, cut 2, skirt side front and side back, yoke, and tabs.)
I find laying pattern pieces on Japanese fabrics a pleasant task, because there isn't much effort to align the grain with the selvege.

The only pattern adjustment I had to the cutting out for this pattern was in the yoke piece. The fabric is too narrow to cut it on the fold (at just 36cm (14" wide ). Therefore I have added some extra length (about 12mm or 1/2"), so I can sew the pattern pieces of the yoke halves together.

The skirt front is not quite wide enough to cut to the exact pattern (it's cut on the fold). However, this skirt is quite generous in the hem, and I figure the few mm I miss out on will not be missed,so, I've tapered the cut.

NEXT STEP in next instalment: overlocking the side seams, interfacing (and more, if I get there).


This quilt is a long time coming. It is years since I've made a silk quilt. Weekdays at work are so busy, and weekends come and go so quickly, including days out at markets. However, today I've started a new silk quilt. I am the queen of magazines - I must have hundreds. I do not deny it - I love them. I am a publisher's delight. I have numerous patchwork and quilting magazines and books. (If I remember, I'll share later in the week the books that arrived in the post in the last couple of weeks.) 

I have been inspired by a quilt in the May/June 2013 McCall's Quilting magazine. It's called "Boho Gir", featured on pages 34-36, made by Melissa Kelley. It states the skill level as Beginner (the mag types it in bold, so I did too.) The reason why I chose this pattern from the thousands of patterns I probably have at my fingertips, is that I immediately noticed the large blocks of fabric it features. Japanese fabric patterns are often large and I had a couple of kimonos I'd unpicked for reuse in my shop collection. The large pieces are cut in rectangles 10" x 13" (25.5cm x 33cm). 

For me, cutting out Japanese silk for a quilt takes a lot of patience. In this case, it was one piece at a time. I was 'fussy cutting' in a sense, making sure I had maximum pattern featuring for my cut. I'm not a follower of 'make it in a weekend'. I don't care how long it takes, so long as it gets done. I have deadlines to meet in my teaching job all day, this is my play-time, so I work at my pace.

I've just started cutting the 65 rectangles that measure 4" x 5" (just over 10cm x just under 12.5cm), however, I need to go and search my scrap stash for appropriate other fabrics. More on that next instalment. 

I'm looking forward to learning if you have made quilts using Japanese silks and I hope you will be willing to share your experiences/links. Many thanks.

These blocks are 10" x 13"

Bamboo leaves and stalks in Rinzu silk. Some pieces also feature gold thread couching.

Big feature print in this Japanese silk from a kimono, probably from the 1960s. I think the mustard colour has not been popular, when you look at a single piece of fabric. But cut up, I think the mustard will add the 'oomph' or 'kapow' factor a quilt needs.

Showing the two patterns together. These two fabric prints will take care of the 21 rectangles that are 10" x 13".

Monday, 24 June 2013

Ben Lomond, Tasmania and the winter solstice.

map from

Most of the people who have visited my Etsy shop live overseas or interstate. I think it is time I introduced you to the little island I've called home since1990. It's Tasmania. It is the southern most part of Australia. Tassie, as it is affectionately known, boasts a ski field. We've just had the winter solstice pass by and winter has definitely arrived. I went up to Ben Lomond National Park on Saturday, with my husband David. Legges Tor is the second highest mountain in Tasmania, standing at 1,572 metres and it is in the Ben Lomond NP. It takes about an hour to drive there from our home in Launceston. It's a ski field that doesn't get the snow it used to. The last 20 years have seen a definite hit or miss whether there will be a ski season or not. However, these pics show there is a snow base and July and August may deliver enough snow to enjoy skiing over a few weekends.

Getting the pommer lifts ready

Here comes another pommer

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A summer skirt

One of the pleasant things in life must be to make a simple summer skirt. Often when I am tending my market stall I have a conversation along these lines.
Customer:  "But how do you use such narrow fabric? You can't make clothes out of it."
Wise kimono fabric seller (that's me)...seams can be sewn.

I have a lot of responses to this question above and for an unknown amount of time into the future I shall address it by illustrating what I am up to in my sewing room. During a recent conversation with an Etsy customer, I realised I have been very remiss in not sharing my own sewing experiences in Japanese kimono fabric with people. I am including a couple of photos of summer skirts I've made using a New Look pattern, 6345. I've had a look in their online catalogue, but it looks like it is no longer available. The only pattern adjustment I did to this skirt, which comprises a yoke which rests on the hip, was to add a centre front seam. That's it. I made view C without the flaps or pockets.

Photo 1 (above): This skirt is made from a 1950's silk fabric. The colour is a bit washed out in this photo, though. I've worn it heaps and originally made it to wear to a friend's summer garden wedding. I hand-wash it. I've lined it with a used haori fine silk lining fabric.
Photo 2 (above) This is the same skirt pattern, this time made up in an indigo cotton fabric from the 1960s. It is one of my favourite skirts because I can wear a variety of tops to go with the colours in the skirt. I have lined it with a blue silk from the lining of a kimono.

Photo 3 (above). The Pattern I used was New Look 6345, view C. To add a Centre Front seam, I added a 1.5cm seam allowance at the centre front on two pieces. There was no shaping to do. 

In my next installment, I'll get you to follow along while I make version E or F (the bottom pics and the pink skirt illustrated). I'm going to make it up in a wool, for winter.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Hi. This weekend we returned to the markets. Winter is behind us and the long daylight hours keep us outdoors.  From early in the morning until around 2pm, you will find us in our regular spots. We met up with regular market goers yesterday at Deloraine market and Evandale market today. We've also met some wonderful new customers too.

 C'est moi, Genevieve. I'm modelling a tunic-style top made from silk lengths using colour blocking. I'll share more about that top soon. I have another one I've started to cut out.
 This is how we display fabric lengths at our stall. They look gorgeous fluttering in a breeze. The amazing backdrop is an old Boy's Day flag. It is hand-painted and was made in the 1950s.
We have several unused Japanese fabrics for sale too.

Some of our table runners made from silk obis.

This is a boy's kimono on display. We sell kimono we have not yet unpicked. Most people buy them for displaying as a wall feature. We also sell girl's kimono and kimono for adults.

After we have finished setting up our stall in the morning (it takes us about 1 1/2 hours for a complete set up, at a relaxed Sunday morning pace), I go and find breakfast then have a walk around to see what's around.
Check out Noel's beautiful irises for sale. Noel was shy and hid from the camera. Noel runs Bonnie Banks Iris & Perennial Nursery & Gardens, just out of Launceston.