Saturday, April 28, 2007

Finally, I seem to have the computer problems sorted out after two visits from the 'technician' and I can get back to my regular schedule. I've really missed the net, and now I have to catch up with everyone's news and get back to regular blogging.
It was Anzac Day last thursday, and my brother, sister-in-law and I went to the Dawn Service about 25k away. We were all up at five getting ready, and I thought of all the other homes where this quiet bustle was taking place too, ready to pay our respects. It's such an Australian ritual, and it never fails to fill me with emotion.
This year my brother had brought our Dad's medals with him (they live in Perth, and usually one of his son's wears them), thinking I might like to have them this year. Children of returned soldiers can wear them as long as they are on the right breast, not the left, which is where the veterans wear them.

Dad fought in the islands north of Australia and flew kittyhawks on many missions. We still have his log book , and it makes a fascinating document to read. I can remember when we were little, getting ready to go the march which is held later on in the day, watching Dad clean these medals and pin them on his jacket; and afterwards the great time he had with old mates that he might not have seen since last years march.
Dad was stationed at Port Pirie for a while, which is where he met Mum. There was a huge airbase there where they trained but now there is very little left to show what a busy place it was. After the service we went out there to wander around and had a photo taken in front of this Dakota engine which is a sort of memorial. (You can't half tell that we're related!) I thought of Mum, and how she would have loved seeing us together, and me wearing the medals, so it was a significant moment on lots of levels for me.

The good thing about not wasting time on the net is that you can get lots of sewing done. I'm working all over the place, and I keep trying to be stern and telling myself to finish one thing, but I'm having a good time jumping from one to the other. The little broken dishes are being set into these blocks, they end up 5" finished and are as cute as buttons. I can't stop making them.

Keryn speculated that I was going to set the Crosses and Losses in a streak of lightning pattern, which could be nice but wasn't in The Dream.I think Mary guessed that I was going to make a strippy; she's right. But I have a little twist up my sleeve and you'll see it when they're all sewn together.
In the meantime,I have to throw myself on Keryn's mercy and cry "Have you got any of THIS fabric?!!!" It's an indigo print, and I know I split it with her because I only had a piece half the width of .75 metre. Well, sweetest sister, is it still in your stash? Because I NEEEED it! Pleeease try and find it, and with any luck it will be there. I've got other indigos, but this reads as grey, and I want the lower contrast. It's all in The Dream.....


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who can remember these Crosses and Losses blocks from over a year ago? They were leader-enders that I spoke of in this post. I've been brewing and stewing about them ever since, and tried out various setting materials and designs. I'd always imagined them set on point with white alternate squares, like a two-colour antique quilt I'd seen somewhere.
That looked really blah and boring, and nothing else took my fancy, so into the drawer they went, to mature. (or fester, depending on my outlook)
One day I'd taken them out to try and get them to approve a setting (my blocks are very insistent, and if they don't like an idea they tell me about it, loudly) but nothing was working AGAIN. In disgust I threw them onto a pile of fabric that I was using for a customer quilt. That night I dreamed about the fabric they were lying on, and I saw a setting for the blocks in perfect detail. Amazingly, when I woke up I still remembered it, and when I went into my sewing room and laid it out the blocks said "FINALLY!!" and I knew I could go ahead. It's taken me a while to get to it, but I've never had a moments doubt since that morning about what to do. Never before or since have I dreamed a setting, but it certainly solved the problem!

This photo is horribly washed out and this isn't the setting- just to be a tease. The blocks are sewn into strips with these setting triangles, but I'm not telling where they're going next. Let's just hope my computer behaves and I can post when it's nearing completion.


Ok, book me down for the worst mood in Christendom at the moment. A while ago I bought a new computer, and was told I had to have Windows Vista installed instead of XP. What the heck I thought, I'll go with it, everyone else will be using it.....I haven't been able to get on the net without difficulty ever since, and I've spent at least 5 hours on the phone as everyone passes the buck to everyone else. It's the server, it's the modem, it's Microsoft, perhaps my stars are out of alignment or my feng shui is all up the creek. GRRRR! Things were fine until Vista came along!
Even now the damn thing's apologising for not being able to connect me to the net, and I'm on blogger typing this. Idiot thing.
It doesn't help that my technical conversations are interspersed with such phrases as the 'router thingy' and the 'whatsi-cable' showing my true igorance of all things computerish, coupled with my brain never coming up with the right name when I need it.(advanced middle-age syndrome.) I'm not cut out for technical difficulties, I only know enough to do what I need to do and my temper increases each time I'm foiled by the little messages that pop up. Instead of being rational and thinking through the problem, I'm far more likely to scream at the monitor, pull at my fringe in fury and then go off to sulk and drink coffee. Sigh.
Speaking of beverages, Mac has developed a liking for Matt's tea, so he gets to drink the dregs. I love him to bits, but I draw the line at sharing drinking utensils. I've even seen Matt eating an icecream, two licks for him, two for Mac....Nooo!!!! The dog's been wormed I know, but I can't come at that. My love has limits.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

These tiny 1" half square triangles have been my leader- enders for a while.

I decided to press them and see what I could do with them now that an embaressing number had built up.
I'm not quite sure where they're going, but I've started making little Broken Dishes blocks, which you can just see on the tray behind this pile. And when I say little, I mean little, each block will be 2" finished.
I can hear Keryn's voice ( the voice of Reason, may I add) hissing "Throw them AWAY!!!!!", but I hardly ever pay attention until she's proved right. Then, when I'm nauseated by the fiddliness and idiocy of whatever I'm doing I'll agree and go on to something a little saner (and larger...)

Although she once did a block that required many many little 1" half square triangles, some of which I made for her; but we paper-pieced them and it was much easier and quicker than these jumbly little scraps I'm trying to sew.

I went to Adelaide this week, as it was my son's graduation from his School of Art. He wasn't impressed with the whole gown and mortarboard look, but I was very proud of him. And at the end they announced the Industry Awards and he'd won the Excellence in Drawing category, so that made me even prouder.I'm glad he got some recognition for his talent, it's one thing your mother telling you how wonderful you are, but an award looks better on the list of achievements!

While I was in Adelaide I happened to drop into Spotlight, and while they had nothing great, they did have a clearance sale on and I staggered out with these bags. The girl who served me was concerned about the weight and whether I'd be able to manage!!

It took me a while to go through the piles, but I found a number of $2 a metre fabrics, some $3 ones and a couple at $5. Can't pass up the opportunity of cheap backings, so I took the end of the bolts of most of them.
The grand total was (koff, koff...) mumble...36.5 metres...mumble..but lets face it, a backing for $10? The yellow fabric on the bottom had 12.7 metres on the bolt, and I got it ALL!!! For $25! Can't feel the slightest bit guilty, sorry. The pile should have cost $350, and instead was just on $100, so instead of an extravagence, I'm congratulating myself on being a canny shopper. I certainly picked the eyes out of that lot of fabric at the store.
The elation lasted until I got home, fondled and folded it nicely, then looked around in horror and thought "Where the heck am I going to put it!" I can see a major shuffle of the backing fabric storage coming on- where did I think the extra nearly 40 metres of fabric was going to go? Just pop it in a drawer? Right.....


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This is Hannah Porritt, my maternal great grandmother.
She was born in 1879 and was a seamstress and a skilled needlewoman. She lost the sight in one eye when a machine needle broke and flew up into her face, but she still did beautiful work despite that limitation.
She was also a fabric hoarder and Mum saved this piece of her stash, which must date from the 1930's, paper bag and all. I claimed it in the 80's, intending to make a shirt with it, but I'm glad I didn't. It would have been worn out and discarded years ago, and I wouldn't have such a tactile link to tie me with this woman I'm sure I would have liked.
I think it's an early rayon type fabric, but if it was cotton it would surely go in a quilt dedicated to her memory.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

At last I'm back to the checkerboard blocks after my little detour.
While I cut out some of these blocks from my nice fat quarter repros,using two fabrics per block, my favourite ones were pieced from the bits in my precut 2" squares container. I had great fun sorting them out and making the oddball combinations, and it cleared out most of the repro fabrics from that drawer. I don't have a lot of 2" strips or squares because that's a size I tend to use over and over and they never get a chance to build up.

I think this will have a few borders around it next, but I haven't quite decided which way to go.I've had family for Easter and two long term visitors are expected within the next few days, but I hope I can still get lots of sewing time. I must be getting old and set in my ways, I love seeing them all, but it's a relief to get back to my routine.


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