About textileshedcollective

I used to be a theatrical costumier in London (many moons ago) before I started a new life in Sydney and had a family. Now I am living a busy life with 3 teenage children, a genius of a husband, 2 dogs and many bees… During semester I work in the local university in the Philosophy Department as research assistant and event manager… Every free moment I use to design, knit, sample, alter, discover, quilt, sew, adapt old to new… anything to do with textiles I find exiting and relaxing at the same time.

Hello from the Other Side

Hello from the first days of 2022!

New Year’s resolutions? None. That is – no concrete ones. Not like “attending yoga once a week” or “drink more water” or “eat your Greens”.

What has been on my mind is the simple fact that I am not getting any younger (a polite way of saying that I am getting older) and whilst I am still fairly young – mid 50s – I am only a few years younger as my parents were when they died. It’s not haunting me, but I am beginning this year with a very strong feeling that time is my most precious commodity. Of course I have always know this – but I feel it very strongly now. I am a person with infinite energy, yes, but I am asking myself many times a day ‘do I really want to spend my time doing this‘ – yes/ no – and I make a clear decision and act upon it. It gives me a real sense of freedom.

We had a few days with all kids and dogs in Vincentia. We lived near the beach and none of us were actually very social. It was a type of social deep relaxation consisting of eating, walking and sleeping. I felt very relaxed after that. In fact so relaxed that I started cleaning our kitchen cupboards on the day we returned!

Of course we had a Christmas tree, and one person had even bought presents!

This will be another year when we are heading into the big unknown. The pandemic is anything but under control, even though our leaders want us to think that we are in a “strong position”. I really don’t care what the rules and regulations are at this point. I have been thinking about upcoming work and decided not to attend any fittings. Period. This means either not working at all or zoom fittings (not so good) – but this is me taking control and deciding on which risks to take.

On the creative side – there are tons of notes and drawings and certainly no shortage of ideas. Many unfinished quilts, many vintage knitting machines that want to be put together again after a thorough service, a few unfinished sewing projects – I am refraining from making a full list because that would just kill my mojo.

There is the one thing I have been wanting to do for a long time and that I finally did with a fabulous helper – I did some screen printing at home! It’s nothing revolutionary really, but it was just nice for Tom to go through the notes as well and point out this and that useful hint in setting up the work surface and positioning the frames. I really want to do more of that, yep.

The Year without Christmas

As the kids got older and older, Christmas has been less and less of a deal. This year there seems to be no Christmas in our home whatsoever.

German bikis – no way, it’s too hot to bake!

Christmas tree – no way – we are away over Christmas anyway

Gifts – no way, we’ve got everything we need

Just give us more health, sanity, time together. Thanks. That’s what it is all about. And the kids agree. We count our blessings, pack up kids and dogs, swimmers and board games and off we go to Jarvis Bay.

But before I go – here are some special moments from the last few days…

Pretty Birthday Flowers from our garden
Visitors during COVID lockdown
My favorite place in the world
Quickquickquick – finish this off before going away
A lovely stroll and catch up with Chris and Helen
But there is nothing quiet like the sunset over our home… nothing…

Stay safe and well XXX

No apologies

No apologies, no promises, not even intentions…

I used to love this little blog. It slowed me down. Made me put feelings into words. Frame images to reveal the beauty in the everyday. And above all – it kept my overseas family in touch with what we are doing here, in Australia.

What happened?

Well, Instagram seemed a ‘faster’ option to ‘communicate’ ideas and moments. And Facebook. And LinedIn? That one is funny – I only remembered a few weeks ago that I had a profile there, too and had not been on it/ updated it since 2008. I checked it out and there I was, research assistant without even a photo. And 50 people had looked me up in the last 2 months.

And, wait for it, I am trying to do the ‘right thing’ in building two websites. Yes. Just because that is what you are supposed to do, when you run a business, or if you have got skills. I have tried for months and yesterday it came to me, the realization why I have not managed to progress. Actually it is because I just don’t want another online thing to manage, maintain and update. And I don’t want to convert/ translate my skills and personality into something stylized that can be universally understood/ categorized and judged instantaneously.

Hello, little blog. It is nice to be back… X

Ooops, well, that was a long break…

I am a really bad sleeper, I do tend to wake up in the early hours every now and again and am unable to go back to sleep. When this happened just now I panicked “Yikes – whatever happened to my blog???”. Ha ha ha.
Nothing has happened to it, because I really have forgotten about it for 18months!

Well, home life, work life and life in general have been pretty full on and I simply retreated into myself. But let me share one of the most exiting things that has happened recently, and it is a nice way to continue from where I left it off 18 months ago. Lambs of God won a heap of awards at the AACTA and (tatatataaaaaa) costume design was one of the winning categories!

It was the icing on the cake, great that this movie, which was so much fun to work on, got the recognition it deserves!

The other thing that was really awesome about Lambs of God was the fact that I spent a few days on the film set, in the costume that I made for the body double, and I was a hand model for one of the actresses! With hand make up and everything.

Originally I got hired to do some of the knitting on camera. I took this very seriously. Because a week before I was due to do this on the set I realized that they don’t knit continental style, like I do!

I consulted various friends and YouTube of cause to learn to knit in the non- continental style… I spent nearly the entire week to get the hang of it… and ha ha ha – THAT particular scene was shot in 3 minutes. It was fun to do all sorts of other things on camera with my hands and the best thing was that when we watched the premiere on the big screen, my son kept poking me every time he spotted my hands.

I have no idea when I worked on Necrotronic, in any case – last time I wrote it wasn’t out yet so I would not have had these photos. It was a pretty fun story to watch on the big screen and I was particularly pleased that my youngest loved it, because our taste in movies is very different.

Well, there has also been some very serious work for the Opera…
… and some extremely serious work for Melbourne Theatre Company

A few good things have happened on the knitting front. When I went to Germany and England for a month with my youngest, we spent a lot of time on trains and I really got into knitting shawls. Here is number one and two – the third (really awesome one) I gave away very spontaneously without photographing it properly. Well, none of them I have photographed ‘properly’ yet…

I got the main color from Sue for my birthday. As I traveled on all those trains I simply kept casting off and crocheting a bit when I got bored.

I have also made a few sleeveless things… T-shirts or maybe tank tops or even vests they are called… no photos yet… it is best if I leave the knitting for a while, my hands feel twice the size than what they really are because I have simply been overusing them.

We also have had a couple commercials shot at our house. Here are some photos documenting the transformation of study, my workroom and the lounge!

Coming Home

whilst I have not been away in the physical sense, on holiday or business, my mind has been in a faraway place, a make-believe world with unusual people and strange goings on.

I have finished all the knitting for the art department. In a way I was re- knitting a heap of clothes already finished, so the characters are filmed working those garments.

One more tunic hem needs to be embroidered, and there is a seriously funny twist to that one.
So, this third tunic is for the main actresses body double (the second being for her stunt person).
I will be that body double – because of my great hands and my knitting skills, but also because I am simply the same size entirely. As I dropped off the final bits for the art department yesterday, I was whisked away into a costume fitting, trying on the very costume I made, and into the make up trailer to have a wig fitting and all.

I love being back at home, resuming the daily dog walks through the bush, being there for anybody who needs me.
Touching base with friends and family is also a treat, I am glad they are still there for me, unchanged and beautiful.

Last night I enjoyed a wonderful concert by the Dutch pianist/ composer Joe Beving at the Opera House and was bedazzled by all the stunning lights of the Vivid festival!

A non- post

A definition of a non- post: a post in which all I can talk about is that what isn’t happening…

I really wish I was proudly presenting a tailored jacket that I have been working on (for myself) for a fairly long time. *SIGH* I came across a number of complications and challenges… but before I got really fed up with it, Karen witnessed my enthusiasm and kindly alerted me to the fact that Spotlight had a massive sale on Vogue patterns.

(I put the amazing jacket on hold and will definitely return to it…)

Then all of a sudden “this” happened, and I cannot speak about it, but it will keep me very busy.

Then this arrived yesterday, and I am not allowed to touch it, until “this” is over. 

And what good news can I blog about? I think I never posted a photo of the suits I made last year for Friday on my Mind, the EASYBEAT’s story… so there, have a great weekend!

Easter Thoughts

For a very long time I have not practiced any kind of special religious traditions at Easter time and with the kids being older now, we have started dropping the Easter egg hunt. Now Easter is pretty much just a long weekend… but this year it was a bit different.

On Good Friday I just sat on the sofa, I had to finish reading my book.

One sentence just stuck with me, at the very end “… but I suspect that God is what you do, not what or who you believe in.”

”… when you make good – well, then you are an instrument of God. Then you are joined to the divine, to the life force, to life itself.”

Saturday we went to Cockatoo Island to see the Sydney Biennale exhibition. I had attended Ai Weiwei’s keynote at the Operahouse a few weeks ago and got very fired up about his work, which attempts to advocate for the plight of refugees. I had seen already his Chrystal Ball at the Arthouse. This huge Chrystal Ball sits on life vests he found on the beach in Lesbos, Greece, after many thousands of refugees landed there.

Anyway, apart from Ai Weiwei’s giant lifeboat and the old industrial machinery that are permanent fixtures on the island, we found nothing much of interest.

I was very taken by the lifeboat and by many of the quotes surrounding it’s base. All religions and heaps of wonderful authors say the same about hospitality, the treatment of strangers, right? And it’s all a bit of a no-brainer, but I was very moved how many quotes expressed this very poetically.

Here some shots of the island before I reveal the highlight of the Easter weekend…

Sunday and Monday I spent with my husband in the wilderness, at the Colo River. It was a very physically and mentally challenging trip, not exactly a walk in the park. When we hit the river, we just ripped out clothes off and plunged into the river, drinking and drinking and cooling our sore bodies.

We camped on the little beach in the light of the full moon.

The hike out of the wilderness went mainly through the river, so we swam most of it.

I am left feeling very refreshed and spiritually charged after this weekend. Whether there is a God or not, it is important to be the best person you can be, look after as many people as you can carry – and take time out for yourself and your nearest and dearest. And if there is a God, think we found where he lives…





Proudly Presenting: Katherine the Great

I have just finished a wonderful scarf! I decided to call it Katherine the Great, since I completed the final stitches of this project at a lovely friend’s house and her name happens to be Katherine and yes, she is GREAT.

But something else occurred to me, whilst christening this wonderful new item in my wardrobe – this scarf is not just great, but also large… larger than it’s original, which I made a few months ago for my niece Rebecca. Moreover, I realised that I never posted a picture of the wonderful scarf that Rebecca took home to New York, duh!

First things first… the inspiration came from a pattern called Rusty Pearls. The yarn (2 ply baby alpaca) came from my knitting buddy, soul mate, chief adviser for all things important and trivial, Sue. And funnily enough, the silk used in the crotchet edges came from yarn I bought with Sue at the craft fair in Darling Harbour many years ago, at the very beginning of our friendship. Here we are, still loving each others’ company (and in this case, celebrating Sue’s birthday).

I loved the little scarf so much, I had to have my own, but a larger version. The playful edging is giving this scarf such a gorgeous finish, especially in a contrast color and texture. 

I have to admit, I never managed to uncurl the top edge of the scarf 😫, I tried and tried… I finished it with an I-cord and various hand and crotches stitches that according to various online resources promised to stabilise stockfinstre stitch fabric, but alas… nothing worked… and fortunately it did not worry Rebecca.

For Katherine the Great, I just kept adding stitches, and when I nearly ran out of the 100gr skein, I started introducing another one, stripe by stripe, to blend the slightly different shades of off white.

When I thought I had surely done enough knitting I loved working on the crotchet edge with my final bits of silk… but I thought the scarf was actually not big enough to snuggle up in. No problem – I just picked up more stitches and carried on knitting until I truly ran out of yarn and worked another silk edge, until I ran out of that, too.

I just LOVE this…

La Boheme

La Boheme holds a very special place in my heart, of ALL the fabulous operas out there!

In 1991 I spent my first ever date with my (now) husband sitting next to him during the last act of La Boheme at the English National Opera. Wow, that was really special…

During my time at the English National Opera i did work on a production of L B sometime between 1992 and 1994. It was a beautiful show designed by a very nice German designer, who I work with later in Hamburg on Macbeth. 

More importantly – I saw L B during the Sydney Festival in 2015 with my brother in law, Matthew and it was such a moving performance, during which both of us cried through the entire show, that I decided to quit academia and return to costume work!

Thursday night Patrick and I attended the dress rehearsal for L B on Sydney Harbour. It was raining cats and dogs… but the show just went on. My costumes were in Act I… so we admired the acrobat that was flown in on a hot air balloon and the accordion player… and went home to enjoy a cup of tea in a hot bubble bath… brrrr.