Posts filed under ‘FME’

2021 Round off

For the last 6 months of 2021, I was working 3 part time jobs as once gain the research project for the PhD stalled due to Covid restrictions and lockdowns. The jobs were interesting and all consuming so not much was created on the textile front. Here are a few items that were completed:

This year we resurrected the ATASDA VIC group under the enthusiastic guidance of Caz Rogers as Convener. Due to Covid restrictions, we met once a month on zoom and completed a few challenges and swaps. Below you can see the results from our latest challenge/swap which was for an ATC on the theme ‘girl power’.

I forgot to take a photo of mine before they were posted, however this is the base fabric before they were handstitched with v’s in a variegated thread. The base is needlefelted and Free Machine Embroidered (FME) with ‘suffragette’ machine stitched all over.

The previous and first challenge was about ‘My Place’

Mine was the gum blossom as we are literally surrounded by gum trees, not a good thing if a bushfire ever comes through! Below are also my set of gum blossoms ready to be finished off and posted to the swap partners.

To announce the arrival of the VIC group into ATASDA we held an Australia wide challenge. Each member of ATASDA was posted a sheet of mulberry paper to make into a Paper bag shaped Luminary. There were some quite interesting and beautiful luminaries created. ATASDA members can view these on the website members’ gallery. Mine was based on the endangered orange bellied parrot which visits wetlands close by:

My upcycle is based on an apron I found in an op shop. I coffee dyed the apron, cut it up and tacked on some ecodyed and printed fabrics. I did attempt some shibori stitching but the coffee wasn’t strong enough to dye it clearly. I will make it into a ‘button bag’ and use up some of my collection of buttons. Quite often if I am ecodyeing I will pop some of the dye liquid in a jar and add some bits and pieces like threads and buttons:

Lots of hand stitching to go.

I was struggling for inspiration with the items I was given for the name badge when I saw some Art Deco brooches that gave me an idea, just waiting for my dremel to arrive!

January 5, 2022 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

FME with KHF

We were extremely lucky to have Kathryn Harmer Fox visit for a three day workshop called ‘Using your sewing machine as a creative tool’.

Kathryn was a great tutor for an experienced group as she didn’t waste time with too much instruction but just let us get on with it. Her teaching philosophy was very open ended in that she would make suggestions occasionally but generally would question us to make us justify our choices.

The photos show how my piece progressed from a photo of a very cute penguin taken at the Melbourne aquarium many years ago, not very clear as it was taken through glass. Firstly the piece was sketched onto the canvas and the bottom of the penguin coloured in Inktense pencils. Small pieces of fabric were added, the background painted and then more fabric added.

Some people used glue to keep the fabric in place while stitching but I hate how it makes the needle sticky so I simply slid the piece under the needle on the machine and held the pieces in place with a chopstick while stitching.

I will be hopefully finishing this off in the next school holidays. Currently sewing 70 small ‘Mirka Mora’ softie sculptures for stuffing and finishing by my Visual Art classes.

August 30, 2019 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

Textile Fibre Forum Magazine-I’m in it!

There are many reasons for making art of any kind, but there are some wonderful benefits to being a textile artist. It is the amazing tactile nature of textiles that makes it my favourite way to make art. There is something special about the connection you have to the cloth and the stitch.

The textile art scene is booming worldwide and it is because the items made are not just beautiful or contain thought provoking themes or stories. It is also because it lends itself to such a huge array of applications: it encompasses so many different techniques, is a type of creative therapy and can be a very social activity, among many other relevant reasons.

I received my subscriber copy of the very professionally edited Textile Fibre Forum magazine this morning and was very excited to see my article on my recently completed textile art book, created for the ATASDA exhibition in Sydney earlier this year included, and in such great company.


As an educationalist who has specialised in literacy I am very comfortable with using the book form in my textile art (I love children’s books and have an impressive collection spanning 40 years!).

The research on this specific book took more than six months, and I was happy with most aspects of the finished product, especially the side that specifically relates to the original owners of the land at Sydney Cove. I blogged a little about the processes used in making the book while I was working on it here and my fun trip to the exhibition in Sydney here.


December 1, 2016 at 11:26 am Leave a comment

Catch up fabric swaps and ATC’s

This will be a double month catch up.

Generally I need to wait a few weeks to ensure the overseas fabric swaps (through Ning group Stitchin Fingers) have reached their destination before publishing details – I’d hate to be a spoiler of the great surprises we get when we open our envelopes. However, quite often I forget to take photos before popping them in the envelopes!

May prompt was ‘sewing altered’, a very broad range of techniques were possible. I decided to have a go at insertion lace using machine stitching and dissolvable. Strips of sari silk were pieced together before rinsing out the dissolvable and then machine stitching dyed cocoon strips resulting in a very landscape like piece of fabric. This result also inspired me to decide on making an entry for Bery Patchwork’s “Kimberley Dreaming’ exhibition.

FME silk stripsJune’s ATC theme was brown paper and foil so that also became my June fabric swap as well as it was a free choice.

“The brown paper bag is the only thing civilized man has produced that does not seem out of place in nature.” Tom Robbins

The ATC was created using the info in the tutorial from Sue Bleiwiess on making a brown paper journal.

The brown paper was painted, crumpled a few times, rubbed with stamp pads, foiled and vliesofixed to tea dyed calico. The surface was FME’d using metallic threads.

The handles from the brown paper bags were also thrown into the tea dye bucket and then manipulated into celtic knots before being hand-stitched in place. Finally spangles were hand stitched in place.

I made enough of the brown paper ‘leather’ to also send off to my fabric ‘swapees’.

Brown celtic

July ATC theme was the Australian Bush.

Although we are not living in the Aussie bush, our property is in a rural area which includes much native vegetation, as well as close proximity to a nature reserve (over the paddocks).

Within our boundaries I try to retain some ‘wild’ areas as habitat and protection for the many native creatures that share our home- skinks, blue tongue lizards and echidnas as well as myriad visiting birds and insects.

For this ATC I chose to depict our resident echidna, whom we unfortunately don’t spot all that often. The techniques include drawing/washing colour with inktense crayons, FME and hand embroidery.

Painting the echidnas

Painting the echidnas

Echidna 1Now working on finishing my July/August fabric swaps: printing and another free choice plus August ATC swap: ‘chair’. All of these are at advanced stages and should be ready to send off by the end of next week.


August 21, 2015 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Leaf-May ATCs

I’m assuming these ATCs have been received so I will show a little of the process I used to make them. I decided to go with a macro version of a leaf for this ATC so I started by doing an image search on the web for inspiration. I also had a couple of photos taken in our garden for inspiration as well, then sketched up a design.

To make the base I layered coloured strips of fabric and vliesofixed to a base calico fabric.

ATC sheet 1

This was covered with chiffon and I added some extra colour with watercolour sticks and auditioned some threads for free machining.

adding colour

Auditioning threads

and then FME’d using some cording to make the veining stand out.


and a close up with some beads hand stitched for dewdrops.


Atc 4

A couple of the beautiful ATCs received for this month’s theme:

leafAnd my walk this week on the beach- still winter chilly but some welcome sun and blue skies.

Winter beach

I almost have my May/June fabric swaps, June ATCs and a wall quilt for SWTAFE finished. All were held up by three days in bed with a winter virus but I’m hoping to get them all posted before we head off north for a welcome holiday in warmer climes this week.

June 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm 1 comment

New work, no photos

Hmmm, I seem to always forget to take photos before I send off finished work. I have decided I must get into the habit, as out of sight, out of mind and I forget totally about them!

On Friday I posted off my flag to India Flint’s ‘solace’ project, I used the sleeve of an Op shop linen shirt to cut out the flag shape and embroidered my words in silk/wool thread from Beautiful silks. The button and buttonhole were very handy for attaching the ties. There is still time to participate, here.

I have also sent off my finished dragon for Dijanne Cevaal’s Medieval Project. This is currently on display in  Nantes, France and will also be on display in Australia.

I do, however have some photos from other exploits and stitching.

Over the Easter holiday break, Claudia and I headed off for a few days to the Dandenongs and Melbourne. I have not been to the Dandenongs for at least 25 years. We stayed at a great BnB in Olinda:

View from our BnB bedroom window

View from our BnB bedroom window

We stopped in Sassafrass on the way for lunch and a browse and also enjoyed the quirky shops in Olinda. There were a couple of great pubs in Mt Dandenong for evening meals, Claudia was in heaven in the vintage shop there as well. Within very close proximity to our accommodation we visited many gardens including Cloudehill– $10 entry and not very friendly or helpful but lovely gardens, RJ Hamer Arboretum, which was a wonderfully quiet walk among the trees, William Ricketts Sanctuary with all his magnificent sculptured carvings, the National Rhododendron Garden which was glorius in autumn colours and by far our favourite, Alfred Nicholas Gardens in Sherbrooke which were a wonderful walk along terraced paths but unfortunately the famous ponds were drained for maintenance works and the Karwarra Australian plant garden which was quite small but had a good range of native plants for sale.

The Dandenong gardens

We could easily return for another few days to visit all the gardens we missed out on seeing. I highly recommend a trip in autumn, a beautiful, mild weather time for travelling and viewing all the beautiful gardens.

Autumn colour Olinda

Autumn colour Olinda

We stopped in Melbourne on the way back to see a few exhibits including the excellent ‘Exquisite Threads English Embroidery 1600’s – 1900’s’ at the NGV.

I loved the embroidery with Australian native flowers on this gown.



Last weekend our branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild held a little exhibition at Wintergarden for the Heritage Festival. We were asked to contribute a postcard on the ANZAC theme of ‘care and compassion’, this is mine here:

Anzac P:card

Uncle Victor's atlas

I used offcuts from the aforementioned Dragon embroidery fused to pelmet vilene to form the cross, symbolising the amazing work done by the nurses during the war (there is also a great exhibition at the National Wool museum detailing many of the contributions of women during WW1 which I visited last weekend). This was covered with organza printed with a map of Flanders in France taken from my Great Uncle’s Atlas published in 1920. I added the FME of a mixing bowl and spoon, some silk, organza and beaded poppies and some hand dyed wool knitted on the little chopstick knitting needles with painted air dry clay on the ends.

Now I am heading out to the ‘studio’ to finish off:

1. ATC’s for swap with Guild

2. Indigo dyeing for fabric swap

3. Pink trophy for Cancer fundraiser netball game

4. Notebook cover (below) for the stall at our bi-annual exhibition in October

Embellishment to be added, patterned Japanese fabric will be the lining

Embellishment to be added, patterned Japanese fabric will be the lining


April 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm 1 comment

A day at the AQC 2015

I had a very enjoyable day wandering around the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne yesterday.

I tend to attend once every few years, but there were a couple of incentives this time. A friend had entered her quilt in the AQC Challenge, which had the interesting theme of ‘True blue’ and I needed to stock up on some threads. I didn’t get  pictures of many quilts, it was quite crowded, but you can see them all here. The other quilt exhibits were also very interesting. There are a couple of highlights below.



Best of the best Queensland

Best of the best

It is also good to go every few years to see what is new in gadgets and to try a few techniques to see if I am interested in adding them to my repertoire. My first step is to check out the brochure (which I’m registered to receive in the post each year) and work out which workshops or talks I am interested in trying.

First up I decided to have a try at traditional English paper piecing (which I have not done before) on a pincushion. The tutor was very good and I have now learnt how to make a ‘fisherman’s knickers knot’ and also found out I probably wouldn’t progress to making a quilt! Another tip, which the purists won’t like, was to use the polyester bobbin thread for the stitching. It will last much longer than cotton and if you are putting this much effort into the piece you want it to last!

This was followed immediately by a free workshop run by Toyota sewing machines on FME. Although I would say I am fairly proficient at FME it was great to have a go on their dedicated FME machine. If you are looking for a low cost entry to a machine specifically designed for FME (the workshop participant cost for these was A$599) it would be a good machine to buy as it made the process very easy. As I have just purchased the Janome 6600P I have a few extra ideas on how I can use my new machine in the same way to make FME much quicker and easier. Once again the tutor was very helpful and had lots of her interesting works on display.

Wendy Hicks

Wendy Hicks

We practiced straight stitch first, then the zigzag which automatically adjusted size according to the foot pressure. Finally we started working on some simple bookmarks like the ones above.

Straight & zigzag practice

Straight & zigzag practice

By doing a bit of price checking between stalls I managed to stock up on some good quality machine sewing threads and the show specials enabled me to get some sample packs of a few threads I’ve been wanting to try.



I also picked up a handy roll of bag stiffening material and my buy of the day was this great rotating cutting mat. We used these to cut the templates for our pieced pincushions and it was a very handy piece of equipment. Show price was A$49.95 so a pretty good buy.

All in all a fun day out.


April 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm 1 comment

Studio update

I managed to finish my ATC  and Fabric swaps on time and all have now been posted . I won’t blog about the fabric yet as it will take at least a week to arrive at destinations in USA and England. The ATCs should have arrived as they were local.

The theme for the EGV December ATC swap was green. I started with vliesofixed strips and scraps of sari silk, dyed silk rods and other fabric onto a cotton sheeting that had paint overspray from an Angie Hughes project. This was overlaid with green organza and then fine black netting. I have used FME and Flower stitcher over the layers and then burnt back sections using the heat gun. The whole piece was vliesofixed onto pelmet vilene before being cut to size and then zigzag edged. They are named ‘Eucalyptus Forest’.





Now I need to do some cleaning up in the shed so that I can start on the wedding dresses.

I have also finished off the tiling above the sink in the studio. I sourced tiles from Restorers Barn, Mill Markets, Bunnings and some beautiful handmade tiles from Gillian’s gorgeous shop, Leaf & Stone, at Wintergarden. I am really happy with how they turned out given it is my first wall tiling attempt and I chose a variety of sizes, shapes and thicknesses of the tiles. Kind of reminds of Mexican adobe style.

I also used some vanilla coloured grout out of the garage so a good, cheap, recycling effort all round.


Tiling 2

Close up showing the different thicknesses-lots of fun grouting!

Tiling c-up

January 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm 2 comments

ATC and tiling

My November ATCs for the EGV swap have been received so here is the process I followed. The theme was music so I did an image search for soundwaves and came up with several stimulus photos. I had fabric from a resist dyeing challenge which had great patterning.

The fabric was ironed onto pelmet vilene and then FME with three different metallic threads to form the soundwaves

ATC 3Next step was hand stitch, using a lovely hand dyed perle and space dyed silk perle. The stitch is Sharon Boggon’s TAST Beaded barbed stitch.

ATC threads



To complete I added ‘speakers’ using buttons and a buttonhole stitch covered washer.


The backing was formatted in text box on a word doc and printed onto canvas.


December 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm 2 comments

Johnston Collection Christmas

The Johnston Collection Christmas exhibition ‘Twas the Night before Xmas’ is up and running so it is now okay I think to put up photos of the items I made to contribute to the front hallway. Our brief was to think about Mr Johnston’s travels and the focus was India so the colours chosen were the rich vibrant colours typical of textiles in that region.

As my contribution to the 12 days of Christmas I decided to FME in gold thread. As the size was limited I opted for one piper and the musical notes are in multiples of 11.

Drying the FME on a meat tray after washing out the solvy

Drying the FME on a meat tray after washing out the solvy

Backed and framed

Backed and framed

The main piece I contributed was the Christmas tree. I had hoped to light the tree using a battery operated tea light but it was deemed to be too tricky. The first step was to dye the silk fibres and shiboried silk. While I was dyeing I also dyed some silk thread and silk rods.


Shibori dyeing silk

Next step was making sheets of silk paper from the dyed fibres which were sewn onto a wire frame I constructed using the dyed silk threads.

Top of the tree showing wire to hold the dome

Top of the tree showing wire to hold the dome

The shibori silk was steamed to heat set the paints. I had intended to use my Flower stitcher foot to embellish the edge of the silk, but even with paper underneath it was not successful. So I used paper and FME’d in gold thread along the edge of the silk.

Attaching the shibori silk

Attaching the shibori silk

It was then attached by hand stitching to the frame and silk paper with variegated red silk thread.

The next stage was constructing the dome using silk strips, gold mesh and beading.

Constructing the dome

Constructing the dome

Back to the sewing machine then to make a FME gold thread skirt, this time I did use the flower stitcher to embellish.

Flower stitcher on solvy

Flower stitcher on solvy

I also made gold tassels which were added to the bottom after washing out the solvy.

The completed tree

The completed tree

Close up

Close up

Next item was a casket to join others made by various Geelong Artisan groups at the base of the tree. The casket was to feature the colour green. The gold motifs were made first using gel stamped onto vilene, embossing powder added and then heat gunned. Other materials used were silk fabrics, the dyed silk rods, braid, beads, FME gold thread, handstitching threads and cricula silk cocoons.

FME on the casket

FME on the casket

Front of casket

Front of casket

Attaching the lining

Attaching the lining

For some reason I didn’t take a photo of the casket when it was finished.

Claudia also contributed, making some embellished decorations for a small elephant which is to be in a gift box.

She drew up her design, painted the calico elephant and then used lots of embroidery and beads to embellish (unfortunately I also did not get a finished photo).

elephant rug design

elephant rug design

Elephant headpiece design

Elephant headpiece design

We are hoping to visit the display after Christmas, it is reported to be an amazing exhibition of the talented the artisans of Geelong, the Bellarine and Surfcoast.





December 19, 2014 at 10:00 am 1 comment

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Notebook Project