Saturday, December 03, 2016

First born son John and lovely wife Liz have been thinking about having another child for a while.


Isobel is fascinated by babies, and we all know she will make a great big sister.


I was overjoyed when they told me Liz was pregnant again, but a few weeks later there was more news to share.

Whaat?? Yep, twins. I was flabbergasted, I did not expect that twist of events!

They're due on Isobel's third birthday, but will probably come early. Wow, life is going to be a bit of a whirlwind for a while, but at least Keryn and I won't have to argue over who is going to hold the baby. We can have one each!!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I couldn't resist any longer, I decided to focus on the piecing of Bonnie's Garden Party. I was having far too much fun with this pattern, so when I finished a couple of other projects I let myself go and started setting it together.


I pieced a centre square first, and now I'm adding the corners, which cuts down on those horrible long seams that go from one side of the top to the other. It won't be long now until this is in one piece and then I can worry my head about the borders. I think it needs something extra, but I'm not sure exactly what.

I love this part, when you can see it's all working and the end is coming up quickly. So much of my sewing seems to be endlessly slogging away and making slow progress. Soon both my design walls will be empty, and that means deciding on two more projects to attack. It feels good!

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Sunday, November 13, 2016


 The Wedding Ring turned out great, but there was a lot of quilting in this one. I don't like quilts that are micro stippled or pebbled; this density is enough in my book. I didn't have enough time to get good photos before it was picked up and the light wasn't co-operating.

I had fun doing the repeating design in the middle of the rings,


but the border was another type of fun. Lots of feathers to fill in some very weird shapes.


I had to completely bind it as well, and it overwhelmed the tables, and seemed to go on forever.

I had nine binding strips, which I thought would be enough, but this happened.

Fortunately I had the fabric to cut another strip- I only needed about 6" extra, but had to unpick some of the already sewn down binding so that I could position the joins further away from each other. I didn't care at that stage- the end was in sight! I turned the binding and sewed it down  by machine, which seemed another marathon effort, but finally it was completely done, in time to be picked up for the wedding a week later. I hoped they liked it.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's my birthday today, and it was Keryn's yesterday- remember we wrote about it here, and here, and also here.  If you haven't read those posts, it's worth it as the story seems to be pretty unusual.

When I moved to Crystal Brook I was friendly with a lady in her eighties who I discovered had been a midwife  around that time-(late  1950's). I told her the story of our birth and she seemed very doubtful. "I've only heard of one case like that," she said and mentioned Mum.  I cried "That was US!" I'm very glad the story had a happy ending, or I wouldn't be writing this. To put it in perspective,  Keryn was  born at ten in the morning after an eight hour labour and I wasn't born till the following day at ten that night. Apart from having to spend time in a humidity crib, I seemed none the worse for my experience. And if we hadn't each had our own placenta it might have been a different ending too.

But here I am today, sewing yet another project and wondering where it's headed. I've been making these blocks for ages (think years) and my original plans have been discarded. It just wasn't working the way I wanted, so I've decided to finish this any-old-how and start again if I want to.

I think the block itself was from a Pat Speth  nickel pattern and it's a delight to sew. Very easy and the pressing makes it fit together beautifully. I wanted something very soft, with almost no contrast, but I think perhaps these might be too subtle....read boring.

I was playing with the idea of them set on point, but now I just want them done without fiddling with setting triangles. My new revised plan will explore that possibility and for now I'm concentrating on finishing all the cut out pieces and getting the blocks in one piece. It will be quite large, which tends to happen when you sew without specific measurements in mind.

I uphold the sentiment of "no work on your birthday", but I have to continue quilting  a huge Wedding Ring top that has to be finished very soon. I've nearly done the ditch stitching and today I'll focus on the borders, which are full of spectacular applique. I'll probably spend about six hours standing up, after that my feet feel like they're imploding, so that's my limit.
Also hindering me was a thorn that I got in my finger a couple of weeks ago. I dug out some bigger ones, and thought this was too small to bother with. I ended up with a red painful lump about 1/4" away, and the original entry point had healed up completely. It got so sore I was trying not to bend that finger at all, not conducive to good quilting. So last night I got out the soap and sugar  and made a poultice, and though I haven't taken it off yet the pain is almost gone.

I googled it out of interest and while I couldn't find an acceptable scientific explanation (but lots of references to doctors dismissing the idea) I just know it works. My Gran did it, my mum did it, now I've taught my kids to do it. It's a wonder someone hasn't tried to market it!

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Oh my goodness, life is back to Busy with a capital B. After announcing our retirement our former boss, who is also our friend, damaged her back so badly she ended up in hospital for a week and was only discharged with orders to pick up nothing heavier than a piece of paper. So of course we came back to help out, on a semi permanent basis until they can find someone to totally replace us. So now we're only semi retired, sigh.

On top of that South Australia had one of those "weather events" that are only supposed to happen every fifty years or so, which resulted in huge storms, flooding and a total state blackout. We were without power for 23 hours, so the little metho stove came out again and the candles, and the musings on how dependant we are on electricity for everything now. Certainly for our amusement! I love to read, but if you don't have that to look forward to it must be pretty boring.


The footpaths in our little town aren't paved and so this is the sort of slop we were riding through to deliver mail- I did some impressive skids but fortunately didn't come to grief. It was not very pleasant though, and just emphasised that I do not want to do this anymore.

I've been quilting custom quilts  too, they seem to be coming in a never ending stream, lots of embroidery and candlewick spreads to do. I have a huge fancy wedding ring top to quilt next, that will take me at least a week, so Millhouse will be getting a workout.

This is the little ninepatch I was working on, finished at last. I think I made the blocks last year and then lost them in my sewing room. Every now and then I'd wonder where they got to and knew they'd turn up somewhere. They were actually in a container that I didn't look in because I was absolutely sure I knew the contents...yep, they were underneath the other project, for some reason. It seems I can't trust my memory these days.

The colour in the photos isn't quite right, the border is a much warmer brown but you get the idea. I wanted it to look like an antique crib quilt- it's only about 43" wide so it's only little.

These are three inch blocks, by the way.

I keep telling Keryn to make small quilts, I seem to have churned out a few over the years, even though I love making bedsized quilts.They are such fun to do, and you see results so quickly. She remains hesitant, and battles on with her big projects, but I think a little quilt would be like a palate cleanser in between big tops. I've got a couple I haven't photographed yet, that's for another post.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

 I've been plugging away at the chevron border, I'm nearly out of cut pieces and I think I'll start doing some maths to work out how many I need. Sewing the units is the easy part, now I have to work out spacer borders and how to turn the corners and stuff like that.

I've also sewn twenty-six Jack in the Pulpit blocks, and I'm still enjoying them immensely. I haven't thought about how I'll set them (hmm, is there a pattern emerging here?) but it will probably be a straight setting with sashing. I'm not keen on this block on point, although there are plenty of previous quilters that liked the idea.

I think it looks a bit "boxy" set like this,


 whereas a straight set emphasises the diamond.


I like the blue grey setting fabric,

or a pinky brown, or even a soft yellow. So many decisions, it's easier to just keep sewing and think about it later.
I'd unfolded some yellow fabrics to audition with these small nine patches, which I recently found in a container. I made them to use up a rather dull blue grey that I'd been given in a scrap bag, thinking it would make a small top. I ended up getting about seventy blocks from the fabric altogether, so it's larger than I expected. This just has to have a border sewn on, photos when that occurs.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

I'm still cutting and cutting, but any sewing screeched to a halt last Saturday when I blew the circuit in my meter box. I had electricity for lights, but nothing else. I was glad for that small mercy, but pretty cranky that it was a weekend, and I was not going to pay a whopping call-out fee, as well as whatever it took to fix the problem. However it took a further two days to get everything up and running again, so I couldn't sew, watch telly, or do any of the things that I really wanted to. My chest freezer was stuffed absolutely full, not of meat fortunately, but tomatoes and vegetables and fruit from last summer, and I wrapped the outside of it  in towels and blankets and nothing deteriorated. I think the fact that it was so full helped, there was no air space at all to warm up. But I must make that sauce and chutney...

The switch was "stuffed" in the electricians words, and was replaced, and I had all mod cons again, yippee! I keep a small methylated spirits stove, so I could boil water and cook, or heat up rudimentary meals, but not having access to my plug-in fluros and lights meant I couldn't even cut accurately. I went round the workshop and read books and pottered in the garden, but I am super glad to have everything working again.


I'm making progress on my chevron border, and I tried it out against the top I had in mind. I started setting it together here, eighteen months ago, and I think it's going to work very well.



I get so enthused when I finally figure out where I'm going with a UFO; at last, some direction!! I'm a long way from finishing the sewing on these, but I'm eager to get them done.

On the way home from Pirie the other day I stopped and took a photo of this part-rainbow that was touching down in front of the hills in a spectacular way. We've had heaps of rain lately, and I love seeing these rainbows in unexpected places.

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