The customer quilt is finished, Yay!!!! I had to quilt it really simply because they didn't want me to stitch over all the embroidered messages. That meant a lot of empty space and close quilting in the border would have pulled it in too much. So I just did a sort of wonky vine and left it at that.
As a reward I let myself make lots more of my new blocks, don't they look fun?
Some of the browns are mouthwatering, yum!
I'm having a lot of fun with these blocks, and can hardly wait to get the setting material and turn them into a top. Some quilts are enjoyable from start to finish, and this looks like being one of them.
I know Keryn will study these photos closely and then mutter "I didn't get any of that brown, OR that one....".
I'll give you the scraps, I promise!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Happy Birthday me. Whenever I tell people that Keryn and I have different birthdays they all assume that we must have been born around midnight, and about ten minutes apart. But Keryn was born at ten on Tuesday morning and I was born 36 hours later at ten on Wednesday night.
Keryn told the full story yesterday on her blog.
I think it's a wonder my Mum and I survived at all, and marvel at the procedures these days that would make the delay unnecessary.
While we were all recovering from that traumatic experience another woman in the ward gave birth to a baby who unfortunately lived for only a few minutes. The woman was put in a room nearby and her sobbing eventually got to Mum, still shocked from her own experience.
"It’s not fair” she told the nurse, I have two babies and she has none. Give her one of my mine.” Today no-one could conceive of such an action in case the mother became deluded and fixated on the baby, but they were much simpler days. So dear kind Sister Lewis, who had worked so hard to save my life, gave me to the woman to hold, trying to ease her pain. She cuddled me for hours afterwards, and I like to think it was some sort of comfort.
Years later, when I was a mother myself, I suddenly thought What if that woman had been holding me and thinking “Why did YOU live and my baby died?” When I voiced this to Mum she scoffed at such a notion. “If she’d been thinking that then why did she call her first daughter Meredith?” So I had been a great comfort after all.
Mum also used to like telling us that when we came home from hospital (we were both around 5 pounds) Dad took one of us into the nursery to change a nappy. After a while there was a cry of "Help!! I’ve lost the baby!" The nappies were so big and cumbersome for us that they were all cut in half, and he fared much better after that.
I've always loved that story because those were the days when a father usually didn't bother to involve himself with things like changing nappies, in fact it would have been greeted with absolute horror by all of my uncles. But Dad was not going to miss out on the day to day chores of his two new daughters, and participated in the feedings and burpings and nappies with great enthusiasm.
A couple of years ago I was at the checkout behind an elderly lady who I recognised as Sister Lewis, now in her nineties. She was trying to use a card, but had confused her pin number, and got more and more flustered as the girl lost patience with her. “Sorry love” the girl finally snapped, “You only get three tries” and motioned her through. I was incensed that this woman, who had brought hundreds, if not thousands of babies into the world, full of commonsense and knowledge and kindness, was being dismissed as a doddery old fool.
I pointed to the few groceries she’d been trying to buy and said to the girl ”I’ll pay for those!” She grimaced at me as if I were mad and said “You don’t have to do that”.
"I know I don't" I retorted, "But I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for that woman!" I was hard pressed to get Sister Lewis to accept the gesture, but as I said, it was the least I could do for her.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
It's Keryn's birthday today. For one day she's technically a year older than I am, until I catch up on Sunday. She's told the story of our birth on her blog, and I'll continue it tomorrow.
It was good having separate birthdays because we always got the same presents, and when Keryn opened hers, I knew exactly what I was getting. So that I'd have a surprise Mum gave us another gift on my birthday- excellent stuff!
This is a customer quilt I'm doing, a signature quilt and it's full of nice messages. The recipient will love it, but I'll have to get a move on and have it done by Monday or Tuesday.
It doesn't look possible to feed that big quilt (it's 87" square) through that throat space, but I love my Janome 6500. I've done a quilt that was 108" square on it, and though it wasn't easy it turned out very nicely. Of course I'd love a long arm, but in the meantime I'm quite happy with this set up.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I'm still having fun with my little square in square units. I must admit I have several quilts in the planning stages that will use truckloads of these, so there's method in my madness.
I forgot to point out that when I trim the 'ears' off the triangles the length is not exactly that of the square. I just make sure there is the same amount of the square material showing on either end, and that means it's centred. I did try to trim them the exact size, but having them smaller actually seems to work better for me.
Sheila made a comment about a special tool to trim the triangles, but no matter what the size I just muck around with the little square ruler until I find the perfect mark to use.
The units with light backgrounds are finding their way into these blocks. I have enough for 16 already, but I think I want 20. So I might just make some extra now, rather than waiting for the scraps to mount up again. I'm all enthused about this design, which is taken from a picture of an antique quilt I saved about 4 years ago. Time to get me a finished top.
But.... there are still 128 units with dark backgrounds, so I have to thnk about the design I wanted to put those into. I can't believe there were so many in the drawer, but it's certainly a painless way to acquire them, just sewing on a few scraps every now and then.
My son Matthew is 18 and has been helping me a lot in the garden. He and Mum were great mates, and when he was tiny he could be found next to her, companionably chatting and pulling up weeds. (he's the only male around here I'd trust to actually recognise a weed from a petunia!) Yesterday he wandered around with the camera and took lots of shots of the flowers, he must feel proud to have had a hand in creating the garden. I think a love of growing things is a valuable interest, there's always something to look out for and watch and tend, and I hope he keeps it. Neither of my other sons has any affinity with plants, but Mum taught Matt well.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
When I cut my scraps into pieces one of the things
I do are the shapes for 3 1/2" square in square units.
The centre squares are 2 5/8"and the corner triangles are 2 3/8". I cut these in squares too and then cut in half diagonally. I always have the back of the fabric facing up, because you can usually see the markings on the ruler better.
Then I trim the corners using the 2" mark on my ruler.
These shapes are cut from the small scraps I can't get strips from and I keep them all in a small plastic drawer.
Recently I noticed that the drawer wasn't shutting very well and the pieces had begun to invade the drawer above- time to do some sewing.
So when I worked at the local quilt shop this week I took the little drawer and it's neighbour and in the quiet times I made these - 52 square in sqare units.You'd think this would make a difference in the fullness or otherwise of the drawer, but look! It still looks full. Not bursting at the seams as it was before, but heck, I thought I would have had some space for the next lot of cut pieces. Keryn says they all just breathe out and go "Phew! Now we've got some room!"
So I'll have to sew some more before I can see the bottom of the container, but first I need to cut more centre squares, which will ADD to the fullness of said drawer before I can start emptying it....again.
And in another drawer, far far away.......
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
When Keryn was working out her colour sampler class I made a set of blocks too. Initially we tried to make it all totally random, with numbers for each shape in the block and a sort of lucky dip process of finding out which fabric to use where. Rather complicated, and it also resulted in some wishy washy blocks, as you can see.
Now it's easier to play with the fabric pieces and put them wherever you like, which is much more fun. I must make another set, with a slightly more complicated block like Keryn's, because you get a more varied effect. But I still quite like these.
Monday, October 09, 2006
More rose pictures were requested, so here they are. (Keryn has been begging, not to say whingeing about the lack of them). I live in the mid north of South Australia, and the climate is classed as semi-arid. It seems to be perfect for roses, as long as you keep the water up to them, and fungal diseases are rarely a problem. Unlike Keryn 's garden in the tropics.
Yes these are the roses Keryn and I pruned back to stumps in June or July, and now I can barely squeeze between them and some are almost over my head. Some of the David Austen's are heartbreakingly beautiful, I keep coming back to gaze at the clusters of heavy blooms and sometimes I have to tell them out loud how gorgeous they are. (Yes, I talk to my plants!)
The dark rose is a Burgandy Iceburg, the yellow one is Charles Austin(I think), the yellow and peach one is Reknown's Samaritan and I don't know the name of the little pink-tinged cream one as it was in the garden when we came.
What a pity Mum didn't get to enjoy the first spring here with all these glorious flowers, but the roses and gerberas and ferns we brought from her garden are flourishing and remind me of her constantly. Which is a fitting tribute to be sure.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Spring has come here and the roses have been beautiful. I've been working in the garden a lot and so no sewing or blogging has been achieved either. I want to get everything well mulched before it gets any hotter, and that means I end up pretty tired and dirty and without much urge to sew or knit.
I know this won't last and once the garden chores are done I'll get back into my other persuits and have something to blog about.