Annies Crazy World

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    This is Annie Whitsed's Crazy World a world where I stitch the joys and chaos of life into beautifull crazy quilts. email
August 2005
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The Chicken Scratch August 25th, 2005

At Choles Place chicken scratch is embroidery designs for working on Gingham…

When I think of a Chicken Scratch I have images of piles of fabric with crazy ladies scratching through it with gay abandon as they hunt out the shiny treasured pieces of fabric.

And at the recent Canberra quilters Exhibition there was a little quilt called ‘The Chicken Scratch’…I love this little quilt and when I saw Wendy last week at the Crazy Quilters meeting I asked her if I could put an image of her quilt on my blog…Thank you Wendy for giving me permission to share your delightfully whimsical tiny treasure with the readers of my blog.

Chicken Scratch by Wendy Saclier

Did you check out the little guy at the bottom with the thread worm?

Decisions made – stitching started August 21st, 2005

Where does inspiration come from?…I had been hesitating as to what I wanted to do on my bag but when I saw Mann’s it inspired me and images started coming into my head….Mine will be nothing like Mann’s but what her bag did for me was to free up my thoughts and remember that this is for fun….Mann writes her Blog Hegeldab in Estonian but is writing her bags of fun entrys in English for which I thank her, I was first attracted to her bag because I liked that she used overalls instead of jeans and I liked the colours of her freeform crochet and then when I looked just a few days later she had learnt just a few basic stitches from Sharon’s stitch dictionary and using her crochet thread, had stitched fish allover her bag…I looked at them and thought “Wow, she has had fun”, they looked fresh and bright and they released my mind to daydream of what would be FUN to do on my bag….My mind went back to the time I spent in the Fairy Garden when I was making Another World, stitching that garden had been great fun and I have decided that a fantasy/fairy garden is what I wanted on my bag…

Theme decided I sat down with my Visual Journal and started sketching out the things that I want to put into my fairy garden below is what I ended up with…

Visual Journal Page

Time to stitch…the first thing that I need to do is to put in the background features and I have started with the rock wall…My first idea was to try painting the rocks…didn’t work, next I tried embroidering the cracks between the rocks…

I did one row and decided that I didn’t like it…

…Next Idea…To applique each rock….

I think that this is going to work…If the scale is to big I will just have to cover it in Vines and flowers…

Comments: 3

sharlee on 22 August 2005
Hi there Annie,
Your sketch of your proposed bag took me right back to a story I wrote for a creative writing course I did a number of years ago – I think I wrote about it somewhere just a couple of weeks ago… It was about a little girl whose family members made a quilt – I decided in my wisdom that the quilt would have a fairy theme – and being a mostly non quilter – I had to refer to books on the actual construction – but I remember drawing? a rough sketch just so I had some sort of ‘lead’ to what I was doing… It had all sorts of fairy related stuff… Somewhere in the archives of my house it still exsists… If I find it I will post it on my blogger – the most important words here – if I find it… LOL I have just had another brain wave – but it is too daunting even to think it further… Ohhhh – my head hurts…

anniescrazyworld on 23 August 2005
Hi Sharlee,
When brain waves hit it is time to pull out the Visual Journal…The good thing about Visual Journals is that sketching out an idea is not a commitment to making it but can help you decide if it is worth pursuing or not…some ideas will go no further, some will develop and bear fruit immediately, others will lay dormant, maybe for years awaiting there time yet others will mutate and emerge in a different form.

Nicky Perryman on 24 August 2005
Love your sketchbook page – its really cute!! Lots of nice ideas there.

I have chosen the jeans for my bag of Fun August 17th, 2005

the jeans

I had to go through the pile of jeans a couple of times to find a suitable pair because I want my bag to be smaller than the waist of the jeans which means taking a piece out….when I found this pair I was happy because they have an extra seam near the sides on the front which I can use as the sides of my bag, I can then cut the excess fabric out of the back which gives me a smaller bag but retains the Look of the jeans.

will be front of bag
will be the back

A Clean House August 16th, 2005

Last night the monthly meeting of my friendship group met at my place….Yesturday I spent the Entire day cleaning house and making it ready…we had a fun night with a lovely supper prepard by my son (if he hadn’t done it I would never have been ready on time )…

This morning I woke up to a clean house and some rare clear time…whilst decideing what to do I started poking about my studio and looking at some of the UFOs that I found when cleaning yesturday…and as I looked at them I heard Sharon in my head asking “Annie, where is your list of UFOs”, This has been an almost weekly question since the beginning of the year when I announced that for me this would be the Year of the UFOs… well sometimes life just done gets in the way of what we want to do…but today I was free, I started by emptying some shelves to stack them on and then I pulled the UFOs from boxes, of shelves and out of corners of the room…Thank you Sharon for continuing to ask me for the list…I think that I have got the majority of them together now and will type the list into the computer tomorrow.

UFO\'s - Unfinished Objects

Flyover and Fireworks August 14th, 2005

This evening I went to see a flyover of military aircraft and fireworks display to commemorate 60 years since the end of world war II….The display included lowering soldiers into the lake from ropes dangling from helicopters and dropping others directly into the water from an even lower flying shanook….The fireworks were WOW as fireworks always are and they finished with 2 F111s lighting there afterburners as they flew over …Thats 2 Jets that each dump a payload of fuel and set it alight as they fly over and it makes for a magnificent display…Such flyovers are not done very often as they are very controversial because of the environmental and $ costs and there is a very load noise factor ….I will understand if they stop doing them but in the meantime I will see every one I get a chance to, I have seen them a few times and every time it has given me a huge thrill…they really do have the WOW factor.

Below is a photo I took this evening of the sun setting behind Black Mountain Telecommunication Tower which is a landmark that can be seen from most everywhere in Canberra.

Sunset behind Black Mt Tower

Hunting For Jeans August 14th, 2005

When the bags of fun started it brought up memories of the embroidered Jeans from the 1970s…for me they are more than memories because I still have them…From memory I was about 14 when I bought the Jeans, and I can remember hating them, they cost me $3, and looked Cheap, at the time good Jeans cost about $10 , I did understood that my parents couldn’t afford to buy me expensive fashion jeans but understanding didn’t stop a 14 year old hating having to wear Cheap Jeans…when I got some iron on Motifs in a teenage magazine and ironed them onto the Jeans…those iron on motifs, now faded and crumbly were the starting point, I followed them up with other little embroideries until the patches I had added for decoration were joined by patches added for necessity as they had faded and become comfortably warn and become favourite Jeans… I have put larger images and embroidery details into my Flickr album.


When I first joined bags of fun I was thinking that I would do it in a 1970s style but have since thought that isn’t what I want for a new every day use bag….and lots of dangaly beads and clusters of buttons keep coming into my head….but they are not going to be a practical for every day use either…so I am starting to think that I am going to have to make 2 bags, one a new every day bag with minimal embellishment and another very embellished one just for fun…We will have to wait to see wether I opt for the seventies or beads and buttons…

In the meantime I have been hunting under my sons bed for the bag of Jeans that I have kept and collected for making quilts….I think that I have enough for several quilts and lots of bags!!!!


Comments: 1

sharlee on 15 August 2005 at 02:18
I remember buying my first ‘real’ jeans when I was seventeen… They were a pair of Levi’s for $10.00… And I loved them… My father hated them with a passion…Thought they were ‘rough’ and how I liked that image… I also remember going to the Lady Mayoress’s jumble sale at the Lower Town Hall in Melbourne where I bought two second hand jumpers – that also caused quite an arguemnet in my middle class home – this time with my mother… But gee the jumpers looked great with the jeans!!!!! I still have three dresses from those days – I bought them from a shop which was called the ‘In Shoppe’ which is now where DJ’s is across from Myer in Melbourne – these were the days of the late sixties, early seventies – when flower power was at its height… The dresses are long and made of crepe and one was a dark green with a machine embroidered velvet top and cuffs – this one was special to me as it was my going away outfit… My you, the dress outlived than the marraige – but in those days dreams were sweet… I’ll stop now!!!!!!

A White Morning August 11th, 2005

I help with coordinating the roster of the Canberra quilters exhibiton which means being there for about an hour at the start of each roster shift, which gives me lots of time to enjoy the show the difficult part is getting there before opening time…when I have an early start and it is important that I be on time I aim to be gone from the house 10 mins earlier than I need for travel to allow time for finding keys etc at the last minute. This morning I was organized and On any normal day I would have departed with time to spare, as it was I got to the exhibiton on time but was late picking Sharon up on the way because when I went out to the car I saw that some of the snow that they had been talking about on the radio, had fallen on my garden and I couldn’t resist coming back in and getting the camera…Snow may not be exciting to many of you but it rarely snows in Canberra and this is the first time I have been in town when it has snowed enough to lay on the ground and it gave me a lovely childish excitement to see snow in my garden…

Snow in my garden

Quilt Hanging Day August 10th, 2005

Canberra Quilters Annual Exhibition starts tomorrow and I have pinners fingers tonight from pinning the quilts out on black screens…whilst the fingers might get a little sore it is a great time to get to know other members of the group and we have a lovely day…..

Pinning Quilts for Exhibition

Bags-of-Fun August 9th, 2005

I am joining Sharon’s Bags-of-Fun Challenge to make a bag or container of some sort, from recycled jeans embellishing it using any technique available to textile practitioners.

I Plan to make a blue jeans bag the same design but slightly wider than my current handbag which I made last year…I embellished it by testing the embroidery stitches on my then new sewing machine and by hanging lots of things on it…I designed it as a traveling bag for when I went overseas and on the inside, there is pockets to hold all the different things that I needed when traveling as well as lots of jeans pockets on the outside for extra little bits…It has been a great bag, its only problem being that when fully packed it is just a little to small…

Front of Bag
Back of Bag
Bottom of Bag

Comments: 2
beche-la-mer on 10 August 2005 at 04:31
I know what your problem is: if you had a nice big bottom like mine your bag would be plenty big enough!

Dawn on 17 August 2005 at 03:47
Great bag Annie. Fun and funky, but not too much so to carry every day.
I’ve joined the challenge too. Unfortunately, I just took all my too small jeans to the thrift store. Now I have to go there and buy a pair.
I love the bottom in your bag. Great idea to put your name there too.Back of Bag

Good Hair Day August 8th, 2005

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) wanted to make a quilt to celebrate Australian citizenship, they asked people to make an 8″ block depicting what being an Australian means to them…My friend Lynne H knew exactly what she wanted, she wanted her convict ancestors convict details written in brown on a cream background, she tea dyed the fabric to get an old parchment colour….and in the foreground she wanted a mast and sails with a bit of a ships deck and rail with her great, great grandmother looking towards her new home….So she knew clearly what she wanted but didn’t know how to acheive it which is where I come in, as her personnel technical adviser (LOL)….She came over one morning and we spent a lovely day discussing techniques that she could use….a flat applique would have worked quite nicely but not near so well as the stumpwork that we did use….I showed her how to make little rolled sails and she took it home to prepare the background and applique the mast and sails….In the meantime I thought about how to construct a her great, great grandmother…Lynne had chosen a burgandy silk for the skirt (an offcut from my bridesmaids dress) which we crinkled by twisting wet fabric and leaving it twisted untill it was dry, for the shawl we had tried several different fabrics none of them seemed right, then we realized that it was probably because the where all to fancy for a convict girl and a piece of plain green silk fringed at the edges made a perfect shawl….The Hair was the tricky bit, Lynne liked the way I had used my hair to stitch my self portrait on my Stumpwork Sampler and she had some long locks of hair from her son…But allas she could not find them…Could we use her hair??? its a bit short, 2″ lengths are to short to thread into a needle and stitch….but what if…Lynne, beautiful, crazy lady that she is, didn’t mind having a gap in her hair for the sake of art, so I was able to cut of a few locks and experiment, I made a tiny stumpwork head and shoulders, tied the locks of hair into bundles, stitched the locks to one side and reinforced them with glue so that they couldn’t pull out….at this stage of construction it looked like our little lady was haveing a bad hair day.

Putting the hair on

But it turned out to be more manageable than what I had thought, a little more glue on the back of her head to hold the hair securly and a few stiches with a strand of my my long hair was enough to hold them all in place….

Anne Clark first sight of Australia

Lynne added the stars in the form of the southern cross to symbalize australia…

….Lynne’s block was selected for the citizenship quilt and last wed I went over to DIMIA with a group of Canberra Quilters to help tie the blocks together…great chance to get a good close up look at all the blocks WOW…they will all be put onto a website which I will link to when its ready….

tying the citizen quilt blocks together