Sunday, January 28, 2007

The blue postage stamp is finished, only took an afternoon.

The quilting isn't anything special,but at least it's done and I can go on to the next project.

The backing was made with Bonnie's 10" squares, and I'll be doing that again, it made good use of some wishy-washy blues and it helped when basting to makes sure everything was square. I'm sure I can find heaps more fabric to cut into a 10" square stash.
Remember this top? I left it when I decided it needed pieced borders of some kind. Something has been happening here, but I'll show you that next post.
Mac went to visit friends and now it's apparent that he thinks any bowl of water is meant for him to sit in. He went through great contortions trying to fit into this dish, but in the end had to be content with immersing just his front paws. By that time most of the water was on the floor anyway.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This little top was made with left-over 4-patch blocks that Keryn sent me, years ago. I quite often end up with her cast-offs, usaully because she mentions that she's going to throw them out and my first reaction is "I'll have them!". I think sometimes she just doesn't tell me what she's going to clear out, and chucks it anyway so that she can save me from myself. Do I want to be saved......?

I must admit that it's all getting a bit beyond me. If I save every scrap that I produce and every skerrick that comes my way from other people I end up spending quite a lot of my sewing time mired in the little bits and not getting the big things done. That's why I chose this set of left-overs to finish, so that I can see something happening with the scraps. It's basted and had the borders outlined with the walking foot, and now I want to do some free motion in the middle. The binding's already made, so I could have this finished pretty soon.

The container of scraps that I emptied all came from Keryn and another friend who donates them to me, and I'm going to try and cut everything up as soon as I get it now.I've got into the habit of making all my scraps into strips and squares as I cut for other projects, so I haven't added to the scrap containers myself for a couple of years. Added plenty to the drawers of strips and squares and triangles, but I can handle that. It's the bags of free fabric I get from everyone else that overwhelm me, ...."Oh, you use scraps don't you, I've got a bag of fabric saved for you!" and I just can't seem to say no.

Don't think that you can get out of sending me stuff Keryn, this isn't a complaint and I still want all the stuff you're clearing out!!!! I'm doing you a favour!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

I finally gave up and went to the optometrist last week.

Verdict- I need glasses. I've known that my eyes needed a little help with fine work for a while and I used those magnifying glasses you get at the chemists. They worked for a while, but just lately they seemed not as effective, so I got a stronger pair.

But what finally tipped me over the edge was the blasted word verification squiggles on comments pages.So many times I've dutifully typed them in and they come back and say try again! What!! I know that was an I! Or perhaps it was an L? Hmmn.....No way is that a J!!! I'm dumber than spam now, so I guess I have to admit I need help.

I said to the optometrist "I don't need my magnifying glasses for reading yet", and he looked at me over the top of HIS specs and said "Well I don't know how you've got away with that!" so my eyes must be worse than I thought. Dammn! I used to be the only one at my patchwork group that didn't need spectacles, and now I've joined the crew of the good ship Failing Eyesight.

Not that there's anything wrong with that....I just wanted to hold out as long as I could.

Oh well, I got to the bottom of one scrap container. Now I know it's not particularly large, but this was piled high with higglety-pigglety bits and pieces. So that's done, and my worktable is conpletely empty and ready for me to choose which project to attack. But I'm going away to visit my boys in Adelaide for the next couple of days, so it won't be anytime soon. Perhaps Sunday I can drag something out. And I'm going to try and not buy ANY fabric in Adelaide, think that's likely?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On someone's blog (I can't remember now, if you read this tell me and I'll link to you) they asked how everyone stored blocks in progress.

I have a heap of pizza boxes, and also some egg boxes that held 30 eggs and were a nice deep size. The pizza boxes are new, and I think they were about 50 cents each, and didn't I get a suspicious look when I asked for them! Most of the blocks I make will fit in them flat, but I've been thinking about getting a couple of the huge family sized boxes for the larger applique blocks I'm doing.
For the kits I'm cutting now I find these plastic docment cases are really handy. I can fit in the stacks of cut pieces, a few finished blocks and my graph paper cutting chart. This is especially handy if I'm only cutting certain scraps as I acquire them. I can just pull out the case for the Jacobs Ladder I'm cutting from blues and cut until the scraps of the moment are gone.

I only have 4 of these, but I don't think I want to be cutting for any more than 4 kits at a time. That might seem a little excessive.

I'm about half way through the scrap container I'm trying to empty, and some of the pieces are so odd that I keep putting them to one side. They're not ugly, just not things I'd ever use, like chickens and houses and novelty prints. I figure if I group them all together I can perhaps pass them on to someone who does use chickens and dogs bones and butterflies. I'll empty this container one way or another.!

Today I went out to water the lawn and Mac 'helped' me carry the hose. He sat and watched me attach the sprinkler and as I walked back to the tap I was aware of him trotting at my heels. What I didn't know was that he'd picked up the sprinkler and was carrying it back for me. I got to the tap, he sat down behind me, I turned the tap on, and I think you can imagine my surprise! I bet son Matt wishes he had that little scene on video!We had to give Mac a bigger bowl to sit in, he was a bit squashed in his water dish. Do you think he's going to like water when he grows up? You think he will?


Monday, January 15, 2007

What's a fellow to do when it's so hot but sit in his waterbowl? It cools the undercarriage wonderfully and Mac recommends it to all who suffer from a hot tummy...

I'm all over the place in the sewing room, and I've got to get a handle on the situation. All these projects to be worked on, all of them clamouring "Me First! Me First!" and I just want to walk away and cut out something new.

I shall not!! Or at least not until I've made some progress on some of the others. Because cutting up fabric is so much fun and it usually inspires me to start on the old projects again too.

I've also made a resolution that this week I'm going to empty one of my scrap containers by cutting shapes for kits I've already started. I think Bonnie inspired me with her whole empty cupboard. Wow, that's a lot of material gone and must be so satisfying. My piddly scrap container won't be in the same league, but I can never seem to get to the bottom of even one. Surely if I pick up every single damn bit in the next week and ask myself "What do you want to do with this?" I can cut it for a kit, strip it, or ditch it.

I did bind a quilt yesterday, and I have the top, backing and batting for another one waiting to be assembled. It's not exactly quiltin' weather though, so that might not get done until it stops being sitting-in-my-waterbowl -HOT.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This is the Alden quilt that Keryn was talking about on her blog. I think I always wanted to make a copy of this because it was one of a pair, a twin if you like.

When my middle son Rob was 11 he became really ill and was diagnosed with type one diabetes, something that changed all our lives. He was taken to the Adelaide Childrens Hospital and spent over a week there being pricked and poked and eventually stabilised. Because it had all been so sudden I had only a few clothes that I'd managed to grab, but absolutely nothing to do. There were a lot of hours just sitting next to Rob, twiddling my thumbs.

Of course I mentioned this while I was talking on the phone to Keryn, and within a few days a hefty parcel arrived at the hospital, containing a kit for the first blocks of the Alden quilt; little baggies of the rosettes already cut out and a treasure of fabrics to fondle and gloat over.

Thinking of everything, she'd included a needle and thread and a template, but I decided it was too big and bought another daintier one. And seeing how big hers turned out, I'm glad I did.

I can't remember now if I got much sewn before we left hospital, but I know that I used to take my bundle of goodies down to the huge cafeteria, park myself next to the free coffee machine and revel in the delight of actually doing a long anticipated project. There's nothing like a new quilt to absorb the attention and the rather frightening future I'd been contemplating didn't seem quite so apalling. Just having something different to think about in the present pushed it far enough away to make it bearable.

Rob, bless him, saw the whole thing as a challenge and handled his condition wonderfully. The diabetes ward at the hospital was also the cystic fibrosis ward, and those childen were so much worse off that Rob decided to make the best of his troubles. He's now 22, did 4 years of Forensic Chemistry at Uni and has a job working in a laboratory for a mining company. I'm really proud of him and what he's achieved, and he's a lovely boy besides.

Like Keryn, this was my sewing for at least two Olympics and I never got sick of it. There were no deadlines and no pressure, because it was worth waiting to find the perfect fabric if I didn't have it in my stash. For years I carried around mental descriptions of what I was looking for..."An orange and red sprig of flowers on a chocolate background....a small mocha coloured geometric, not too dark...." Even now I sometimes think "Oh, that would be great for the Alden quilt!" and then realise that it's long over. I tend to keep buying for quilts that I've already finished, especially if I've been collecting specific fabrics for a long time.

I'm a bad girl, but I haven't quilted this yet.(sue me.) Like Keryn I want to handquilt this, even though she expresses such horror at how long it took her to do it and says a 'nice panto' would be the best thing. I think there's something special about this and the circumstances that brought it about, and I'm quite prepared to take another two Olympics to get it finished.

Besides, I like looking at all the little seams on the back of it too!

And now, some gratuitous puppy porn...
A dawg and his boy...


Thursday, January 04, 2007

The quilt from the last post was based on another one of Talula's. It's called Eastern Star, and Keryn decided to make one just like it. She sent me the template and asked for some scrappy blocks, so I duly made about 8 and sent them off.

I intended to make this quilt too, but in one of my "What if?" moments I decided to turn the block slightly so that the points aligned with North and South, making the stars stand up straight.
(Excuse the horrid image, but I'm too laaazy to go and drag the top out and take a clear picture, - I just blew up a bit of yesterdays photo)

I had to redraft the background pieces, but I love drafting, so that's never a problem, nor do I ever have to lament not having a pattern. As long as I've got an image or a scribble or something on graph paper I know I can make it work.
This is Talula's original quilt, and Keryn's looked very similar if I remember correctly. I still have the templates and one day I might make one of these too.

Mac loves this chair of mine, and when I growled at him this morning for chewing my phone charger he decided to go and sulk in his favourite spot. Hmphh!!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I've decided to rearrange the furniture in my sewing room in a fit of New Year energy, so there is no sewing going on at the moment.

I'm a great shifter of furniture, I love moving everything around and getting a new look to all my stuff. I usually persuade myself that it's in the interests of efficiency and the new set-up will work better, but I think I just like a change. And for a while the novelty of the different look makes me keep everything nice and tidy, until it all becomes stale again.

I found this little top while I was rummaging and put it in the pile of Things To Be Quilted. It really is quite cute, and part of me wishes I'd made it bigger. All the blocks are pieced by hand, and I got sick of those weird shaped background pieces, so I reminded myself how tedious they were to do.I like the setting fabric too, this will be pretty when it's finished and has some nice fancy design quilted in the plain pink border.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Sometimes you feel a bit introspective......
( This is a sculpture my eldest son did when he was at the School of Art in Adelaide)

I've been doing a bit of navel contemplating and thinking about what I want to acheive in 2007. It's always a good time to evaluate, but my blog is a year old as well, so I have an added facet to my musings. I suppose that because one of last year's resolutions was to create a blog I can tick that off but I really haven't posted as regularly as I envisaged. Life (and Death) really did get in the way quite a lot of the time, and the gaps in my postings were never due to laziness or boredom. Sometimes when huge things are happening in your personal life even a little paragraph about the latest sewing is too much to handle.

Hopefully this new year won't hold quite as much upheaval and I can be a steady blogger. I've really loved the community I've found and although I knew some people before I seem to have met other delightful friends too that I would never have known otherwise.

I've kept a journal since I was 13, sometimes with a few months lapse, but my life and thoughts have pretty well been chronicled since then. Now the blog is a part of that, and although I don't think I'll ever stop the actual writing with a pen in a book I'm really enjoying the little slice of life, with photos, that I can have here. How could I ever have imagined, when I was 14, and brooding about Lord Byron, Art and a boy called Cookie, that one day I would be able to instantly publish my musings to a worldwide audience, every single day if I wanted. I would have blown my little mind.

So thankyou Blogger, even if your photo loading is a pain at times, I think we forget how incredible the whole thing is, even if it took 45 mins to load every photo.And thankyou blogger readers for continuing to come back even when there's nothing new. Stick with me, I promise to do better this year!


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