Monday, March 24, 2008

The little Jacob's Ladder top is done and I really like how the blocks and setting turned out. I wish I'd made the dark border narrower- I meant to but a glass of wine at lunch had a marked befuddling effect on my intentions and I cut the strips wider. It looks a bit heavy, but let that be a lesson, don't drink and sew!
I really thought these blocks were the ugliest things I'd ever seen, so scrappy and disjointed, but once again setting them has worked some strange alchemy and I suddenly like them very much. (Except that dark border).The reason I used that particular fabric was because it's been in the stash for around 20 years and has turned up in all sorts of projects, but this is the end of it. Gone now.

And as a follow up to the peacock story, Matt's friend gathered up the fallen feathers and put them in a jar in his room. Jessie, the Dog of Little Brain just cannot be persuaded that it's not Mr Peacock himself sitting up there.

I'm watching you!!
Just don't make a move or I'll Have you!!

Thus endeth the Tale of a Tail......


Friday, March 21, 2008

If I did titles for my posts this one would be called "Trouble at the Waterhole!"Matt has seen this fine fellow in the tree above the dog's bath quite a few times- perhaps he likes a sip of dog-flavoured water too. We thought nothing of it until one day Matt heard a fine ruckus going on outside. When he investigated he discovered a dishevelled and grumpy Mr Peacocok sitting on the fence, and the goanna with three of it's tail feathers in his mouth. It seems he had an ulterior motive for hanging out above the pool, but the bird was just too big for him.

It was quite a tussle though, lots of soft feathers lying on the ground and big indentations where they'd wrestled around. Matt likes the goannas but he's very fond of Mr Peacock, so he chased this one away and up another tree to make sure it didn't have a second try.This specimen is about 4 feet long (that's a big gum tree he's hanging onto) and he's shedding his skin; his new upholstery is very shiny and smart.

In sewing news the customer top is pieced, using every last skerrick of fabric and I had fun with colour combinations that I hadn't used before. These sort of random settings are very popular for stitchery quilts, but I find them harder to do than a pattern. Trying not to get two of the same pieces touching, worrying about the lights and darks making strange patterns, making sure you don't sew rows together upside down- it all seems to take more time and angst. But worth it in the end.
The little Jacob's Ladder blocks are sewn together but now they need a border, which I'll tackle this afternoon. I've made the binding for the customer quilt and that will go on the Statler soon and the Lost Ships is ready to bind too. I've got the projects lined up and waiting so I'd better get busy.
And sadly, this is what Mr Peacock looks like now. I don't know whether he would have lost his tail at this time of year anyway, or the shock of being attacked made him drop it, but his trailing beauty is gone. Oh well, it will grow again.



Monday, March 17, 2008

I've been locked in the sewing room this weekend, trying to stay cool and get some work done. I finished a customer quilt and bound it, then cut out another one. Not only do we quilt tops, sometimes we make them from scratch for the non-sewers in life.
It's always interesting to work with someone else's fabric choices, and I had fun cutting up this lot. I'll start putting this together today, and the quilting will be very simple so it shouldn't take too long.

Then I made more of the hourglass blocks, great piles of them in fact, and I love them intensely. Sometimes I make blocks one at a time, parcelling all the bits into ziplock bags when I cut them out and making little kits of each one. At other times I like working like this, making all the units of a block first in great piles and then putting the blocks together later. I love this way of sewing, because it seems to go so quickly, you feed bits through the machine mindlessly, get into the rythym of pressing and trimming and end up with a huge dollop of Progress.

Just as well Curtis wasn't around this weekend because I did a huge amount of cutting and while some scraps hit the bin, an awful lot didn't. I wouldn't want him gobbling up that lot! I feel a great sense of achievement when my floor looks like this, because it means I've cut up heaps of material. I made three bindings, cut nearly three metres of fabric up for kits and strip drawers and dealt with a pile of scraps as well. I love a good cutting session.
It's still stinking hot, and supposed to be so for another two or three days. I passed a friend in the supermarket yesterday and she looked positively murderous. "What's the matter?" I asked, wondering what had happened. She stared at me then shrieked "I've had it!! I've completely had it!!I HATE this heat!!" Ok, tempers are getting frayed, and she has four little children to keep cool and amused inside. Be careful around Mummy when she's like this, kids!

Keryn and I went for a walk at sunset, just to get out of the house, and while it was still very hot at least there was a bit of a breeze and pretty clouds to look at. The grain silos turned a gorgeous pink in the sun's last light and we tramped home in the dusk, happy to have got a bit of exercise and fresh air. I love living in a town so small that a two minute walk in any direction will bring you to open paddocks and an uninterupted view of the sky stretching above you. I love the country.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Lost Ships top has a border, but I didn't manage to get it quilted this week because we *gasp* ran out of batting! I got some delivered yesterday, the backing is ironed and waiting and it should only take me a few hours to get this done in between customer quilts.The ghastly hot weather has made sewing a trial- lots of batting and layers mean warmth and is not what I want at the moment! But that's our business, so the quilting goes on. For relaxation I come home some more- is that weird?
I made this top based on an old farm quilt I saw on ebay and the pattern used up some bleh eighties fabric I wanted to get rid of. I think it might get the triple border treatment later.
These tiny 6" Jacobs Ladder blocks were my Leader-Enders for a while last year, and now I'm sewing the sashing on them in between setting other blocks. When this top's done I'll have made it almost without thought- I can hardly remember doing the blocks (all 42 of them).And that was just from sewing together the short bits from the 1 1/2" strip drawer and some 2 1/2" half square triangles. Utterly painless.
An old rainwater tank out at the park has been turned into a makeshift swimming pool for the dogs in this stinking weather, and Mac likes to cool off there. It's deep enough for him to actually swim around in it, and I suppose it's refreshing, even though the colour of the water leaves a lot to be desired!
A Dog and his Duck........


Saturday, March 08, 2008

I was feeling in need of some sewing of my own this weekend, even though you might think I did a fair bit last weekend. The working week was filled with other people's quilts (I forgot I quilted the Half and Half top for Keryn as well ) and I wanted to work out a few projects for me.
I was looking after Curtis puppy while his parents went away for a romantic weekend, so I had the perfect excuse to stay at home, cutting and sorting. I discovered that long-haired dogs aren't at all practical for the untidy sewer, and spent a while brushing all the off-cuts of material from his shaggy coat after he'd flopped down under my sewing table. Curtis obligingly helped clean up by eating quite a few bits too, and I had to start putting everything in the bin rather than have him hoover it all up. I'm sure that wouldn't be good for puppy digestions!
I needed eight more of these blocks, so I cut them out, thinking that I could work on them during the week. Somehow I started sewing one seam, then another and before I knew it I'd pieced nearly all of them. I can't stop myself at times.

After I'd torn myself away from that I made some hourglass units for a reproduction quilt, I'm letting myself use all my most precious fabrics for this. Love those browns....
Then I put the border on the Lost Ships top, should be able to quilt that this week some time.

I completely forgot to take photos of Curtis, but I did grab some graph paper and a pencil and sketch him as he slept at my feet. Wish I'd bothered to get my sketchbook and do it properly, but now I'll have to wait for next time.
And apparently the romantic weekend resulted in a proposal and an acceptance, and I shall be the Mother of The Groom next year some time! Woohoo!! Exciting stuff going on here!


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Can I go home now?

I'm about all sewed out, and I don't think I've got a great deal done. First, the Lost Ship blocks are together, but without a border. (The top is lying on one of Keryn's quilts) I'm so glad these are over and done with, and now I can work on something I'm enthusiastic about. Phew!
I did love making the original blocks, but lost the plot when it came to setting them.
I finished quilting the Variable Star, and will make the binding soon, I promise. Just not today.

I made six album blocks for my paisley quilt, I like how these are turning out.
And then I sewed together all the leader enders from the weekend into this little piece. I may make it bigger, or I might put a border around it and call it a baby quilt. Can't think now, too tired. We stayed up until three last night, and it's catching up with me now.
Thanks for the inspiration Judy, let's do this again sometime. Not next weekend though, I think I'm going to need some recovery time......


Saturday, March 01, 2008

I've set up a little working space at Keryn's and the old Bernina has been humming away all afternoon and most of the evening. I've set together the blocks I felt guilty about, resulting in a huge top that I still don't really like, but at least it's done. I still have to choose a border( just a small one) and make a backing and quilt it, but the worst is over. If only it was something I felt enthusiastic over. Sigh. I'll photograph it tomorrow, the light is too poor now.

Here's another Old top, this one from the early eighties.It was one of the first I ever pieced by machine, made with cardboard templates and the material (sheeting mixed with cotton scraps) was cut with scissors- my hands hurt for days afterwards. I can remember thinking "This is horrible, who'd ever want to sew like this all the time?" I resolved to stick to the hand-piecing which was calming and therapeutic and didn't make any part of me actually hurt.
Then the wonder of the rotary cutter came along, although the mat was 4" wide and the only rulers available were a set of plexiglass strips to use for log cabins. Now nearly all my piecing is done on the machine, and part of me regrets the lovely hours spent hand sewing each night.

At one stage this afternoon when Keryn and I were sewing I had to ask her to repeat something she said, and realised that both our machines were racing and the Statler was stitching along on the Carolina Coverlet and the noise level was making conversation difficult. Now that's the spirit for the Quiltathon, isn't it? Three machines going at once!


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