Monday, May 28, 2007

Mereth is flying to South Australia today, and will be back home tomorrow. I have no doubt that Matt and Mac and Jessie will be overjoyed to see her again. And she will KILL me for posting this stuff behind her back! So while I can, here's another post, something she wrote about Jessie, the dog of very little brain, and limited bladder control....
My dog is so dumb and her head is so small she only has room for one
thought at a time in her head. Her stream of conciousness would go
something like this....

My ear is itchy.......was that a cat?........hi mum!...(grovel on
tummy for a bit).... oops, I wet ear IS itchy!....was
that the gate?...better go see....nup.....It IS a cat! my
tummy's itchy.....CAT....CAT....CAT...!...! that food in my bowl?

Sits down, scratches ear...

She's so dumb that if you stand by the gate and lift the latch (it
clicks), but don't open the gate, she'll just run straight into it.
"I heard the latch, therefore the gate is open, even though I can see
it's not." Now, I don't do this deliberately *hermm*, but sometimes
I'm a little slow when I'm juggling bags and such. So yes, I admit, I
do find it funny. Does that make me a bad person?


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mereth is due to return home on the 28th, but then she still has to get that @#$%^ computer online so it will be a while before you hear from her. It shouldn't be this hard, especially when it's a super-duper new computer system, supposed to solve any and every possible problem. I have to upgrade my laptop, and I'm not looking forward to dealing with Vista as the new operating system. It will drive me mad if I can't work hassle-free.

The Texas Star quilt is another scrappy one made entirely from vintage fabric. I don't have it here with me, so I can't give you any close-ups, but they are as fascinating as the DWR scraps. It is a nice pattern to piece, I have one on the go as my hand-sewing. I love the white background, but I have trouble using white in my own quilts. It seems too stark and I end up going with cream or off-white, yet I love the look of it in other people's quilts. Another foible I need to eradicate.

And because I'm still searching for more photos of Mereth's quilts to put up here I will leave you with another of her creations. She's an extremely gifted artist, and her drawings have put mine to shame since we were 7 years old. While she was sketching horses anatomically correct in every detail I was still drawing them with all four legs on one side of their body. I KNEW there was something wrong, but had no idea what. The fact that Mum lavishly praised my work just made me doubt her judgement!

It must be that artist's eye, because my DS even in preschool never drew anything out of perspective; he drew what he saw, and the car always had two visible wheels and two partially hidden by the body of the car. Mereth's eldest boy John was showing by age 5 that his talent was going to surpass his mother's. The boy is brilliant! (Proud Auntie here). I wish I could show you some of his drawings, but I don't have any. Maybe Mereth can post a few when she gets on line.

My skill lies in drafting and geometry, I'm more a technician than an artist. But that just makes my occasional artistic success even sweeter. I labour over my patterns, whereas Mereth's just flow off her pen and instantly appeal. I'm going through her amazing sketchbooks working up some new designs, which is why I'm dwelling on her talent. Still, I'm the one who puts them on the computer and makes them available to everyone, so I guess I can be content with my skill in that field.


Friday, May 18, 2007

This is a Double Wedding Ring top that Mereth hand-pieced many years ago. It's made entirely with vintage dressmaking scraps, garnered from every place possible. While I was photographing it I saw many scraps from clothes we made in the 70s, often from material that Mum had bought much earlier. These fabrics have so much character, I just love looking at them and remembering what they were used for, and where we bought them, and even wearing the clothes we made from them.

I (Keryn) am supposed to be quilting it, but I haven't got round to it just yet. I want to design some spectacular feather motifs to fit in the white spaces, but when I think about it, it should have simpler quilting, in keeping with it's simple origins. Whatever I decide to do I'm sure I will have a lot of fun with it. It's beautifully pieced and a delight to study.

I love that little birdy, he's so retro; Mereth and I grew up playing with scraps of fabric like this. We used to go to our Gran's house while our Mum went off to work, and one of our favourite occupations was going through the duster bag in Gran's spare room. I can remember her calling out 'Don't you pull that bag to pieces again!' and Mereth and I busily burrowing through it and answering 'We won't Gran....' All those gorgeous fabrics, and Gran used them to polish the sideboard, and then threw them away. Sigh!


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Keryn here, again. Mereth is still absent without computer, (AWOC?) and doubly absent because she has nicked off to West Australia with our older brother. She's visiting a dear friend over there, and having a small holiday and seeing the WA rellies for the first time in decades. She'll be back in a couple weeks with tall tales to tell. Until then, here's an account she wrote of a visit to her in-laws....

A few years ago the boys and I stayed at my inlaws farm, in the hills above Victor Harbor. The house is a huge old rambling place nearly 150 years old, with 16 main rooms and it's like a rabbit warren inside. My parents-in-law live up one end, and sister/brother-in-law and their family up the other.

I had to stay in a now disused part of their house and MIL asked if I minded, seeing it was supposed to be haunted. I laughed, and said no, because I'd slept in this room before with no problems. Everything was fine until the last two nights, when the brother-in-law and family went to stay at Goolwa for a holiday, leaving their end totally empty.

The first night was very windy, and the big heavy door into the hall slammed itself shut with a bang to wake the dead, or at least the boys and the oldies sleeping miles away at the other end of the house. I got up to go to the loo, and made sure that I shut the door when I came back. It has an old-fashioned latch that has to be raised at least half an inch so I was pretty sure it would
stay put.

Back in bed and snuggling down under the doona I heard the door being pushed open, dragging over the carpet until it was fully open, and then an almighty WHAM! as it slammed shut again. I didn't get up to investigate, but it took me a while to get to sleep as I tried to think of explanations of how the wind managed to lift that latch up....

The next night I wedged the door open so that it couldn't move at all, and went off to bed.I was reading when I heard a patter of feet coming down the hall, muffled on the carpet, and clicking on the lino at the end. It sounded like a small animal, perhaps the cat locked in and now wanting to get out. After a while I realised it was doing circuits of the house through the interconnected
corridors, because it went past again, pad pad pad PAD PAD PAD past the open door and onto the lino.

I got up and began to search for it, but I couldn't find it anywhere and I was rather annoyed because all I wanted was to go to sleep.Eventually I went back to bed and it started again, busy little paws trotting past and fading into silence. While I was listening to it padding past I realised that I could hear claws clicking on the lino, and cat's don't make that particular sound because
their claws are retracted.....

Round and round it went and I became convinced it wasn't a cat, Jessie was locked in the shed and the in-laws are violently opposed to dogs inside, so therefore it had to be a little ghost dog endlessly patrolling the dark corridors.

I didn't feel afraid, but nevertheless I got up and closed the hall door just in case he decided to detour into my room and then I drifted off to sleep, to the intermittent patter of his paws.

The next morning MIL said it couldn't have been the cat, because he parks himself on the end of their bed and complains until they let him out, and the boys said it was a giant rat or a possum. But I know it was a little dog, intent and busy, circling the maze of halls on his unknown errands; coming and going through the darkness of the night.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Keryn here, as guest blogger. Mereth's computer is sulking and refusing to co-operate, so I will post a few pictures just so's you have something different to look at. Mereth, meanwhile, will continue her 2 hour conversations with consumer relations people who have heavy accents and insist their names are Trev-Or, or Der-rek, or Pee-Ter. Sunil, or Asram would be nearer the mark....

Many years ago, more than 25, I came to live up here in Queensland. I had been making patchwork for over 10 years, but I had no stash as such. I had bags of dressmaking scraps and bits and pieces, but most of it wasn't all that suitable for patchwork. I was a poverty-stricken student, and couldn't afford to buy yardage. Instead I haunted the op-shops and flea markets, buying old cotton clothing with the sort of patterns that I associated with the vintage quilts in the American magazines.

Of course I shared all my finds with Mereth, posting her parcels full of what many people would think of as rubbish. But when we had washed our treasures and pulled them apart we had fabric to make into quilt blocks.
Mereth started making these blocks, by hand, soon after her third child was born. (He's now 19.) It took a year to accumula
te enough for the quilt, using only the fabrics that I had sent her. She splashed out and bought new material for the sashing and border, and spent months and months hand-quilting the Baptist Fans. The cotton batting was not easy to quilt through, and she wore holes in her fingers trying to finish the quilt before I arrived for a visit. Because it was a Surprise Gift for me! But with three small boys and a part-time job she ran out of time, and it was still on the frame. Which was great, because I helped quilt two rows of those fans, and we had lovely afternoons sitting at the frame quilting, with the sun streaming in the window and our 5 kids running around laughing, and the dog barking, enjoying being together.

Eventually the quilt was delivered to me on one of her visits up here, and it's been loved and appreciated ever since. That paisley border is divine....

The binding is the black fabric that I bought on my honeymoon, adding to the memories in this quilt. I love quilts that have layers of meaning to them, making them more than just a pretty thing.


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