Sunday, March 29, 2009

A blog reader, Amanda, sent us a beautiful top to quilt and I finished it this week. I do love all the pretty rose fabrics in this, and the pink sets it all off perfectly.
Amanda wanted a sneek peek, so I promised photos.
When I downloaded them I was horrified at the one showing the whole quilt, it looks like I've slashed it all into pieces! I assure you it's not Amanda, just my camera playing silly beggars. I promise I'll get another proper photo when I go back to work tomorrow.

I did a block pattern of Keryn's in the centre, then freehanded flowers and feathers all over the rest, and finally a rose pattern in the border, to go with all the gorgeous rose fabric.

While I was trying to chose a pattern for the border Keryn said "Don't bother, I'll just design one", and a bit later on I had it on the computer and was stitching away. That's one of the delights of having her for a work partner; she just comes up with designs at the drop of a hat.
The puppies still continue to grow, or rather their heads and stomachs are getting bigger. But their legs look like little afterthoughts just tacked on to the distended bellies. When they have need of them I suppose the limbs will develop, but everything is geared to Food Consumption at the moment.
This looks more like a pot-bellied piglet than a puppy!

I can't believe the positions they fall asleep in. How can this be comfortable?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Keryn and I have been sewing for two days on the bushfire tops, and we're both at the point of hysteria now. I've quilted a customer quilt as well, and she's done printing and business chores in between all the frantic feeding of fabric through our machines. Two tops are done and another one only needs borders. Hopefully I can get them quilted in between customer quilts. We'll have five to send off before the end of the week, with any luck.

My half and half top is done, grown quite a bit from the original twelve blocks. I can see where that portion ends, but I don't know that anyone else will notice.

What an amazing lot of scraps in this top, and I didn't cut a single strip for it. Everything came out of the strip drawers. I cut the half square triangles from strips using the Easy Angle, and it made it so easy. I think I'll keep making these as leader enders, but I'll give them a rest for now.

The puppies have grown so much I don't think they'll fit in here next week!
Bucket of babies?
None of them are backward about getting their meals, and their manners are lacking somewhat. Lots of pushing and shoving and scratching at each other to get the best spots, and squeals and squawks if one thinks he's not getting his fair share.

Sometimes if you've been sleeping fatly in a corner and only just woken up to the fact that everyone else is having their tea and You're Missing Out! , you have to do whatever it takes to get what's rightfully yours. Including stepping on your siblings heads and lying on the table, so to speak.

Miss Manners would be looking on disapprovingly......


Saturday, March 21, 2009

If you don't like puppies, just leave now. I've got nothing else for you today.

They have gone from barely inflated, trembly creatures to plump little plush piglets in two days. They are packing on the weight, and it's impossible to look at them without crooning and wanting to cuddle them. (Maybe that's just me, but they're Gorgeous)
Bonnie has her family in the bathroom at night, and during the day they're in a box in the lounge room. But who could watch the telly when these fascinating scraps are squeaking, fighting over places and climbing around and over each other? What entertainment!

The easiest way to transport them is in a container.....

Bucket O' Puppies anyone?


I'm ready to start putting the half and half together and I've got four customer quilts that need the threads tied and other piffling matters to attend to. But all I want to do is look at the puppies. (Keryn's going to get real sick of me whiniing on about them....)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When Keryn was writing the instructions for her Half and Half quilt (recently featured on the cover of Homespun, dontcha know?) she got me to make a few scrap blocks to test the pattern. It was so easy I kept on and made enough for a small top.
I was going to put borders on it, but never got round to it. When the magazine came out I remembered the little top and how easy the blocks were , and decided to make it larger and donate it for the bushfire cause.I'm aiming for thirty of these blocks, which is quite a bit of piecing. Keryn's block is a quarter of this, with sashing in between, my version is four blocks sewn together to make a larger block and then set together edge to edge. I love designs that you can play around with like this. I have 25 done so far, and another session should see me nearly finished. Then I can set them all together and get it quilted. I can't believe the amount of scraps this has gobbled up, and yet I can barely see a dent in the drawers. Sheesh.

And in news just to hand, last night Bonnie went from this......
to this,

and finally had an insane total of seven pups. You can see Macca's stamp on them, that's for sure.

Staffies don't normally have litters this big, and it's her first time, poor girl. She's such a good little mum, but it's a bit overwhelming. Macca was introduced to them and was intensely curious, enthusiastically washing one of them until Bonnie drove him off. She's very protective of them, but loved having Matt and I coaching her throughout the labour. What a lot of attention, and she lapped it up. But her work's cut out for her feeding this lot, and not a runt amongst them.

Look at that profile! Anyone want a puppy?


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our patchwork group met on Monday and we sewed some blocks for bushfire quilts. Keryn talked about it in this post, but thought there were no photos.

I remembered to take a few at the start, but got slack at the end. We nearly covered the middle of the floor after a few hours, which is good, considering that awful carpet....We're going to try and make three queensize quilts, there are still strips left to cut and we can always use sashing or alternate blocks to stretch things if there aren't enough. Everyone agreed it was good fun and we should keep on doing it. Perhaps we could find a contact in the flooded areas of Queensland to donate to as well- I'm sure there's a need there.

This is a little UFO from ten years ago, based on a vintage quilt I saw on our trip to America. I didn't have a photo, but I thought I could remember it well enough. I made this many blocks, and thought it wasn't turning out quite like the one I'd seen, so I lost interest.

Keryn came for a visit and pointed out that the original quilt had four fabrics in each log cabin block instead of two, and I promptly stuffed it in a drawer and hadn't touched it since. My fault for misremembering, but I didn't want anything to do with the poor little things after that.

After we'd quilted Keryn's daughter's top on the machine, there was a piece of leftover batting and backing, so I pulled these blocks out, set the top together in about half an hour and threw it on Millhouse. I bound it with scrap binding, and there's another little quilt to send off.

Now to finish the brown orphans, I've sewn quite a few together and I'm working on the rest. My Drawer of Abandonment is getting empty- I wonder if I will ever build up that many bits and pieces again?


Monday, March 09, 2009

My ufo's have been occupying my time lately. I don't have any great guilt over them, but I would like to have them "resolved" in some way. To this end I decided to use as many of them as I could in one quilt, instead of finishing them individually.
I had eight of these blocks in faded colours, from around 1989.

And nine blocks of the same pattern, from even earlier, with the dreaded cream sheeting as the background fabric. This is why I stopped making them all those long years ago, it was awful stuff. I told myself I should either use the blocks or throw them away....

There were ten of these star blocks, made from sample squares from a patchwork shop in Rockhampton, gifted to Keryn and thence to me. Made so long ago the triangles have the bias grain along the outer edge of the block- I didn't know any better then.

A single eastern star block, made when Keryn was doing her version of Talula Bottom's quilt.

Then I had bits and pieces, tiny three inch blocks that I set with a cross to make larger blocks,pink and cream halfsquare triangles from an abandoned border that I sewed into blocks similar to the first lot,
and some leftover nine patch blocks blocks from Bonnies Double Delight that I didn't use in the border.

All together, they made this, which grew with no real plan, and fits a double bed nicely. I'm pleased with it; so many projects combined into one, and the memories of all these unfinished quilts, (which I genuinely liked when I started them) make it quite special now. I thought about donating it, but I don't think I can.


Friday, March 06, 2009

I took some photos today of a quilt I'd finished and a completed top, but left the camera around at Keryn's so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

In reply to comments, Meggie says my drawings in the previous post don't look skewiff, and there's a good reason for that- I never show any of my not-so-good stuff! When I used to do a lot of baking people would tell me what a wonderful cook I was. But they never saw the burnt biscuits, the dry cake, the lopsided sponge. The boys and the chooks ate those!

So my less than perfect drawing efforts stay between the sketchbook covers and don't see the light of day. But nothing's ever a waste, and I learn something everytime I pick up a pencil or brush.I use photos as a reference, but I never trace them- can't see the sense in that because I wouldn't be learning anything. And nothing is a substitute for drawing from life, that's when you really learn the ropes.

Judy asked how long it takes me. I'm tempted to answer that it's taken me 45 years so far.As I said I draw nearly every day, and usually at night. Those sketches both took me under half an hour, but that's only because I've had so much practice. Drawing is a gift, but it's also a skill that builds with repetition.

Keryn and I are without pets for the first time in decades, and we're both pining for an animal of our own. I used to see Matt and the dogs a lot more, but they haven't been visiting so much, and I miss them. Bonnie is owned by a friend of Matt's, and I think Macca has "left his mark" so to speak! She's probably got less than a fortnight to go, and we're all looking forward to the event.
"Do these puppies make my stomach look big?"


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

After a weekend away in Adelaide, which Keryn wrote about, we're back into the thick of things here. I've got customer quilts to finish and bushfire quilts to bind and send off, borders to put on, and heaps of tidying and sorting to do. Note that I'm referring only to my sewing room and the workroom, I've pretty much given up on the usual housework. I've never minded dust and living in this area I hardly even see it any more.
This morning we woke to the wonderful sound of rain on the roof, and my instant reaction was a quick prayer that it would race across to Victoria and put out those damn fires once and for all. One morning of steady rain would do it, so I hope that some of it got over there.

Keryn and I sent off a queensize quilt each as soon as we heard of the need, and it was wonderful to learn that mine was given to a young married couple that had lost everything. It's so nice to know that our quilts went straight to people who needed them and aren't sitting on a shelf somewhere. Thanks Jan and Christine for organising this great service.My quilt was this Lost Ships; I hope that it gives some comfort to it's new owners.

This is a customer quilt I've just finished, it's her first top and I think she did a great job.

I ditch stitched the applique and freemotioned over everything else, not taking any notice of the seams. It worked well for this particular quilt, and I enjoyed doing it.I made a new Year's resolution that I would draw every single day, and I've kept up except for three days. I draw at night usually, just before I go to sleep, which is dangerous because I'm tired and sometimes my judgement is off. Just lately I've been drawing cats and I find them really difficult. They can look skewiff and squinty if I'm not careful, so obviously more practice is the answer!


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