Possums are magic

Look who came to visit this morning. I arrived at work early to discover this small friend outside my window. Normally brushtail possums are nocturnal so it is unusual to have one wandering around outside your office looking for all the world as if it would like to have a word with you about the standard of accommodation on offer.

As animals I find them cute and furry even though I know they are a pain if they take up residence in your roof. Not everyone likes these marsupials and they have become a problem in New Zealand

Now that you have admired the wildlife outside my office window perhaps I should get down to writing something about textiles. Most women I know who sew have one or two needlebooks.

Sometimes more as they are often given as gifts as they are small, quick to make and act as nice mementos.

Connie McGinnis has been collecting needlebooks for a few years, and she shares them with us in her Needle Book Museum Well that is what I have been looking at this evening!

Textiles and hot air

Did you know that if two balloons touch during a flight it’s called a “kiss”. This piece of balloon trivia was discovered after an early morning trip to the forground of old parliament house to watch the launching of dozens of balloons. Every year as part of the annual Canberra Festival a Balloon Fiesta is held.

The Questacon balloon is impressive as it is as high as an eight story building, can carry 10 passengers. It didn’t think these gentle giants full of hot air would make me feel insignificant but this balloon did.

The envelope of balloons are made from heat resistant ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating to make it air tight. The panels are sewn together using a twin needle and french seams. The envelope is strengthened by vertical tapes that run from top to bottom relieving the pressure on the fabric.


The zig zag or chevron pattern so often seen is apparently the cheapest to make because there is less material wasted but hot air balloons come in all shapes and sizes, many looking down right surreal floating above the lake in Canberra.

Balloon design and construction is one of those areas in textiles until this morning I had given little thought to. This year each morning we have had a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, a green frog, a house complete with cat on the roof and a football drifting above us as we drive around the edges of the lake on our way to work.

Yesterday as we rounded the corner to the Canberra School of Art (where I work) Vincent Van Gogh hung in the air above. It is a good way to start the day, as there is something about a balloon that makes you smile.

More contemporary textile artists making Journal quilts:

Another quilter who has kept a journal in the form of textiles is Sandra T. Donabed. She employs photgraphed and scanned images, which are digitally manipulated and then transferred to fabric. To this fabric Sandra Donabed stitches, manipulates and quilts. Sandra uses this technique in her larger quilts too, employing it in the current project she is working on “Multiple Choice” If you are interested in autobiographical statements made using fiber, Donabed’s quilt gallery contains a number of interesting pieces. Nearly all her work could fall into this category or autobiography.

Mono printing is another technique Sandra T. Donabed uses. Often these pieces hint at her own history, or the story of other women but I found in many of them my own story too. Check out her site, there is some interesting work there.