Thursday, September 20, 2007

If you haven't read Keryn's post, then I have to explain that I'm up in Rockhampton to help her move. We'll be living in the same town soon! For the first time in 20 odd years.The furniture and boxes went yesterday and this morning we both felt a little sore in the dorsal region, so we made these letters to remind ourselves not to slack off. They were sewn with the machine balanced on a tiny little chest of drawers which just shows how determined we are to keep this up. We probably won't be able to sew on the road, but who knows? It's all coming with us and inspiration may strike.

We're poring over maps and calculating distances , who knew Australia was so Big? We want to be able to travel an average of around 500k a day, so that we have time to enjoy ourselves along the way. We know there's at least one excellent patchwork shop on the route, and we'll be on the lookout for others. Is it irresponsible to plan our itinerary so that we can visit Patchwork Shops?
It should take us four or five days in all, which is quite reasonable. We hope to leave Sunday, so with any luck we will be home by next weekend. Then the hard work begins.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Today is the last day at Kayes and we're off to Rocky tonight. I've had a great time apart from an injury on the second day. I was binding a quilt and hit a dense patch of stitching and put more pressure on the needle than was wise. It shot through not only the material but my thumb as well. That hurt a bit!

This is an antique quilt of Kaye's, a strippy on one side and a gold wholecloth on the other. The quilt is quite thick and the stitches are large- four stitches to the inch but it's still beautifully done, and I'd love it to come home with me.This is the back of another antique wholecloth; I love examining these close up and getting a feel for the history of a piece.
This letter "M" came from a headstone in a local cemetary-do you think I could piece something like this for Tonya's class?


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm filling in half an hour before I have to leave and catch the bus to Adelaide. I'll stay the night with First-born Son and then tomorrow I head off to Sydney to meet Keryn for another gathering at Kaye Brown's place. I'll see you there blogless Kathy and I promise we'll have a moment's silence to think of you Nicola. Just the one though, I'm sure the noise level will be a dull roar for four days! What fun.

So I'm at a bit of a loose end just now, and thought, after looking at Lucy's lovely applique block that I'd share a quilt I finished three or four years ago. I designed the blocks myself after poring over countless 'Quilt History' books and photos on ebay. I just adore red and green applique, and I have a lot more ideas drawn out waiting to be sewn.

This was hand appliqued and quilted on my Janome 4000, long before I had my 6500. I don't really know how I managed to do it, looking back. Lots of swearing probably, that always helps.

I'm glad to say this won best of show at our local show two years ago, no misunderstandings like my first applique quilt.....

And I have a story to tell about shows and lace knitting, but that will have to wait till I get back from our trip. I've been doing this for 34 years and a good lace pattern can still make my fingers itch.I started this lace shawl because we shouldn't be getting such warm weather here at this time of year, and I thought I'd have at least another month of knitting at night. We'll have to see if it cools down again.

Mmmmmmm, lace.......


Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm doing it! I'm making letters. I've done some easy ones and had to transform others when they didn't want to look like I imagined (damn you, you're just going to be an 'o' now!). I haven't got into the groove of it yet, I like to do things methodically and in order and this is much more intuitive. I tried using leader-enders but got carried away and started wasting thread everywhere, and that feels strange.

I'm not overjoyed with my table looking like this either, perhaps I've got more problems than I thought I had.

I randomly decided what to do (see brackets above) and was quite pleased with this lot, but the 'g' was the final straw. Had a mini collapse after that.

And because Matt and I loved playing "Boggle" and other word games, then I did this....and this...

or .....

and .....

Back to the mindless sewing, than goodness!



Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'm signed up to do Tonya's online class, and we've been introducing ourselves and bandying words about, all good fun. But now we've been given our first sewing assignment and I'm trying to get stuck into that and not get behind. This is really outside the box for me, but I'm going to try and be all 'Anything goes' and 'Whatever' and 'She'll be right mate' and not get hung up on the 'perfect' material. Within my comfort zone I don't get uptight about anything, but this isn't my territory at all, and things feel strange.

I didn't know what fabric to use, I just don't like brights for myself, even though I love Tonya's quilts.Then I thought of a pile of material that Keryn and I have dyed on two or three occasions when I was at her house. Even though you mightn't think these are 'happy' colours, they are chock full of memories of the fun we had. What a glorious mess we made, and then we washed and dried and ironed, and halved all the fabric. Lots of cups of coffee and happy hours spent together, so this is a perfect choice to make a 'happy love' quilt. (That's only a tiny sample of what we accomplished!)

So, I've been cutting strips, and gasp! I didn't even iron the fabric first! Ok, how laid back is that? I do have a 'thing' about cutting pressed fabric, but I'm ignoring it in the spirit of 'whatever' and 'no worries, mate'. We'll see how far I get with THAT attitude....

And can someone tell me why, with a hot north wind roaring outside and the temperature becoming noticeably warm inside, I'm winding laceweight for a shawl? Idiot.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

I was going back over some entries and realised I never got round to giving the instructions for the Feathered Cross. (Sorry Andrea) So I decided to make another block to illustrate it, but this time using 1 1/2" half square triangles instead of 1", just to test out the measurements.

For each block you need twenty four 2" HST, made by whatever method seems fit to you.

Four strips (the red) 2" by 5"

One 5" square (the blue)

For the background you need

One 7 5/8" square, cut twice on the diagonal

Two 4 1/8" squares cut once on the diagonal

Nub the corners of the large triangles at 5", and the small ones at 3 3/4". This will help when you come to set the block together.

Join the triangle units into 8 strips of three. A word of warning here peoples, and take note cos I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true! You need to sew these in two different orientations, half facing one way, half the other.
Look at the completed strips below and chain piece 4 pairs of triangles together in the proper direction and then 4 more in the opposite direction (I keep checking and flipping to make sure, this is really easy to stuff up.

Then add the remaining triangles to these pairs to make the eight strips.
See how they are mirror images? Rotating the same strip just won't do for this pattern.

Now sew the red 5" strips to the triangle strips, making sure they face the right way. The light sides of the strip will be next to the red- I sewed one with the dark next to it and had to unpick....
Lay the block out and sew into diagonal rows, then join and add the corners.


This is simple to press except for those diagonal seams across the block. I hate pressing the triangles back on themselves, so this is what I do at those intersections. I open them up (don't bother unpicking the seams, the direction is wrong for it to swirl) and press this little kite shape in. The front of the block lays much flatter and nicer, and there is very little bulk here.
The block ends up being 13 1/4", or 12 3/4" finished. Not a bad size, and the pieces were much easier to handle. Just look at the size difference compared to the original block, it looks ginormous.

And just for fun (cos this is what designers do)- here are three other orientations of this block, just by changing the position of the triangle strips... So if you stuff up, perhaps you can make one of these! Quite like this first one.

And at the group get-together a friend was showing the Feathered Cross to some visitors and exclaiming over the small size of the triangles. One lady looked at it with absolute disgust written all over her face and said "Why wouldn't you just throw them all away ?!!"

Hmm, I didn't think of that, I'll know not to bother next time!!


Monday, September 03, 2007

Well, I couldn't let everyone else be having all the fun with these darn doll quilts! Everyone in blogland would have one but me! So I pulled open the Drawer of Abandonment and grabbed the first likely lookin' things I could see. (actually there are two drawers, but we won't go into that..)Four little churndash blocks that got left out of a set of blocks I made 10 years ago. I was about to start looking through the stash for setting fabric when I became aware of the tottering stacks around me. I've been doing so much for other people lately that I haven't bothered to tidy up all the bits I'd already pulled out. So, I told myself I could only use what was out in plain sight, no hunting through drawers for the 'perfect' bit. Lo and behold, it was great fun and resulted in some unexpected combinatins that I'll remember for future ideas. It took very little time to sling this together and find a back for it, there is a bit of left-over batting from the twin quilts and I should get it basted tomorrow. Now I'm in the loop!!

Staffies adore playing tug of war, but Mac is so strong now he literally pulls me off my feet.

So Matt has to play that particular game, but even he has trouble holding on sometimes.

Matt and Mac (didn't realise how confusing that would be when we named him) demonstrate "Fun with Mops"....
Tug o' war....
The 'killer shake'

The "Marilyn Monroe"

now that's just being silly.....


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Matt came in with some photos of the lunar eclipse the other night, I didn't even know about it.
And the iris are coming out, the curves of their petals are wonderful. I'm so glad I bought Matt this camera (can't even remember what it is, Fuji Finepix something I think ), he's never without it and it gives him a great interest. He could be boozing at the footy and instead he's documenting flowers for me, what a good son!
Click on the photo and look at the colours in those petals, I've got some veined hand dyes that would be perfect for that.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

My batteries in the camera decided to die on Monday, and the spares drained themselves in two minutes, I think there's something wrong there.It meant I couldn't take a picture of the banner hanging at our meeting, so SORRY Meggie and Keryn! Now to get you off my back here are some photos- I did none of the buttonhole applique as I think I would rather prod myself repeatedly with a fork than work with velisofix(or whatever it's called).
Very cheerful and it's quite large and hard to miss when it's hanging up. I probably shouldn't have quilted it so heavily, but it was fun experimenting with different fillers and feathers.
On the very right of the 'T' below you can even see a bit of Mary's echoed hearts pattern, just had to try that out somewhere. Hope she doesn't mind me pinching it! The blue and green quilt (also pinched from Mary, she's good value that girl) is bound and destined for the shop, but I think it looks lovely on my dining table, don't you? I'm not one for quilts on tables, but I might have to change that perception I think.

I've pieced backings for the Time-turner top and the rail fence, made the binding for the latter and have bindings cut out for two more quilts. I've set a queensize top together but I won't post pictures until I have the borders on that... and I made 20 disappearing 9-patch blocks for another scrap quilt.Phew!!! I seem to have been stitching and getting a lot of things ready to finish this week, but none of it was really enjoyable. Grumble. I have to admit I'm itching to start some more reproduction blocks from the gorgeous fabric we got in Sydney, but I'm making myself do all this other stuff first. How very adult of me...

Hmmm, and Meggies dreaming about me is she? I won't ask what the plot was; as long as I was fully clothed I won't be creeped out!


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