Friday, February 20, 2009

I won't go into this again Keryn, we'll just have to agree to disagree.Our long running argument about Elizabeth the First and Mary Queen of Scots dates from our very early teenage years, and I think my opinion was coloured by a book by Margaret Irwin called Young Bess, and the subsequent volumes. We both loved history and particularly English history, so historical novels were required reading. I think Keryn was drawn to Mary because of her documented love of needlework; something that she could really relate to. My good sister probably imagined herself shut in some tall tower, forced to work on her tiny stitches, but that wouldn't have been much of a penance for her in those days.

Forward to 1983, when this issue of Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts came out. (Gosh I miss that magazine.) This was our first glimpse of the Stickle quilt, and we both adored it and spent ages poring over that photo and trying to work out how she'd drafted certain blocks. And imagining ourselves as civil war maidens I suppose......
It's enough for me that the Stickle quilt exists, I've never wanted to replicate it. I'm content with that, and to admire all the beautiful versions that are being worked on in blogland. I loved Hanne's red and white version, and Bonnies too.

But nup. Not for me.Now I will be interested in Keryn's progress and probably love her quilt when it's done, but let ONE little peep of complaint at what she's taken on reach my ears.....I'm going to say "What did you Expect!!!! The blocks are FOUR inches!!!I told you you were crazy to start this!!!!!" I'm quite looking forward to it actually!

In the same issue was a quilt made of five or six inch applique blocks, I toyed with this idea for a while, but I don't think that's going to happen either. And in a little aside, notice my post-it notes all through the magazines? I write the name of the quilt or article on there and this simple thing let me locate the photo of the Stickle quilt in less than a minute. I just have to riffle through the little tags instead of flicking through dozens of magazines.

I have but the haziest memory of throwing a bucket of milk over Keryn. I guess I had a much shorter fuse in them days!! And if my boys have issues with trust, well then Mea Culpa. That damned Easter Bunny and Father Christmas....

And now to get off the inflammatory subjects, look at my silicone cupcake moulds! Lime green and cute as a button.These are actually muffins, but I'm thrilled with the ease of using the moulds(in my normal muffin tray) because I used to have to soak and scub, and now everything's still clean. Brilliant.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Like many of you in blogland, I'm a bit of sucker for animals of all kinds. I've never entered into the "Are you a dog person or a cat person?" debate because I love them both. I love horses, pigs, cows, and sheep, not to mention the beautiful birds and animals that I feel privileged to see at Bowman's park when I go out to visit Matt. (I'm ambivelent about ferrets, but that's only because the ones our uncle used to keep smelled so bad.)

My love of animals meant that this photo really got to me, and I've been mulling over what I could do to help the wildlife injured in the fires. I've decided to put some of my animal paintings and drawings in my Etsy shop, and if they sell I'm going to donate the money to Wildlife Victoria. I've had so much enjoyment over the years from animals, Macca and Jessie and Bonnie and all the other dogs and cats I've owned that it just seems right.

And I've enjoyed drawing and painting them for 45 years too!

Here is the link to my etsy page if you think you'd like a Mereth original, and you'd be helping some small ones who really need it. I may put some up on Ebay too later on.

How could you not love animals?


Saturday, February 14, 2009

I spent this morning as I do most Saturday mornings, a cup of coffee at hand, tidying up my sewing room and putting away all the bits I'd been working on this week. I love it as I gradually restore order, and 'my' space emerges, all ready for the next round of sewing.

I assess what I'm working on, and if there's any extra cutting or ironing I need to do I get that ready; count piles of blocks, try out setting fabrics, just do all those little chores that might be holding the current project(s) up.

I love my Saturday mornings, and this morning I needed to find a little piece of pink for a certain block, so out came the pink drawer. I was going through it all, remembering where I got each piece, where I had used it, idly wondering if it could go in the place I needed when it suddenly struck me how many many memories there are in my stash. How many times have I gone through this same fabric, enjoying it's colour, the patterns, the memories of adding it to the collection. Then I imagined it all gone, incinerated in one dreadful moment, and I just could not grasp the finality of losing everything.

Henrietta commented "Those who have nothing are the lucky ones, they are alive..." and that is so true. But the enormity of having nothing, nothing in the world to call your own is something that few of us in the western world have ever had to cope with, until this sort of disaster comes along.

Gazing at my lovely drawers of fabric I felt for the quilters who have lost everything, and from emails and blog posts I know that soon these poor stunned people are going to be going mad, simply for the lack of something to do. For people who have always kept their hands busy, for pleasure,as relaxation, therapy, as a way of showing love, to sit in donated housing with nothing to occupy their minds and hands is going to be hard. Once the shock wears off, they will need something to direct their creative energy towards.

Blogland has taken on a different dimension to me during these fires. Now we can know of specific needs, answer particular calls for help, send things off knowing that we are donating to people directly, and it makes me proud to be part of this community. I'm thinking of two particular posts, one on Jenny Bowker's blog, and another on Tracey's.

Here in my lovely sewing room, surrounded by what makes me feel "me", I'm going to fill up a box of fabric to send on and pray that it brings comfort to someone else in the same way.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I think the whole of Australia is in shock over the bushfires in Victoria. I was appalled when the death toll was 14, but it now stands at over 180. I keep thinking "This can't be happening" but it is, and the toll will get worse as the clean up takes place. And the very worst thing is it's not over, the fires are still going. Keryn and I will put our names down to donate blood, and Victorian Textiles are providing a roll of free batting for donation quilts, so we'll organise to quilt some of our tops and those of the local patchwork group. There's nothing to be done at the moment, except perhaps donate money to the Red Cross, but it's hard to feel so helpless.

Quilting does seem a bit irrelevant, but that's what we do, so here are some of the tops I was working on when it was so hot and I was confined to my sewing room.
This was four finished blocks, and the rest of the pinwheels that had languished for some obscure reason. It took very little time to complete the other 5 blocks and add sashes and border. Small top done.

This was a leader-ender project that finally demanded to be put together.
The four patches were so easy to whizz through the machine, and the blocks were done before I knew it. The colour in this photo is very dodgy, it looks so washed out but it's not in real life. I used an old ebay quilt for my inspiration, and the original had a final peachy-pink border. I have chosen the fabric, but am in two minds about whether to add it or not. It's such a different colour to the double pinks in the blocks, and yet I love the old quilt so I can't really see why I'm hesitating. It will be the work of half an hour to sew it on, so in my mind it's finished already.

Here's the original, a much brighter yellow sashing, but I'm not quite that brave.

I have a customer quilt to take off the frame this morning, and another to go on, so I'm back in business. It was nice to sew for all those days, but now I've got to earn some money!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

The heat continues, every day has been over 100 degrees for the last ten days but a cool change is supposed to be coming tomorrow. I'm at the stage of believing it will never be cool again, and I certainly can't imagine wearing my beloved wool socks any time soon. It's just so Boring being hot all the time, and everyone is sick of it. Not to mention the short tempers- I snap at Keryn and apologise, then she snaps at me and says sorry....Honestly I think we're all partly insane at this time of year and it's just because we're TOO HOT!!!!!

I have customer quilts waiting but it's over 100 in the workroom and I don't want to run the machine in those temperatures, let alone stand there myself. So I've been doing things at home, mainly pulling out old projects and sorting through the UFO's.

I've nearly finished three tops, but I took them around Keryn's to photograph and forgot them, so no photos yet. I still need to put borders on two of them, but they're well on the way to being completed.
I'm trying to pull these assorted brown blocks into some sort of top, but I don't think it's very interesting. I obviously have to try a bit harder, but I keep getting side tracked with other UFOs. I have so very many to choose from!And very shortly plastic shopping bags will be illegal in South Australia, so I've been making some sturdy grocery bags. I don't like the green ones you can get at the supermarket, mainly because the handles are too long. I'm so short that the bag sits on the ground unless I wrap the handles around my fist, and that hurts. My bags are much stronger and they're nice and stripey too.This morning I looked out of the sunroom window and saw these five parrots sitting on the clothes line. They'd been having a lovely splash and freshen up in Macca's pool and they were preening and fluffing themselves out to dry.Excuse the photo quality, but I stuck the camera between the venetian blinds, and the window was quite dusty, so I'm just amazed that anything came out!
I hadn't thought of the birds enjoying the water, and I won't empty it out now; they can come and have a bath whenever they want. I'll put a couple of bricks in there though, so that it's easier for them to get in and out.


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