Friday, June 29, 2007

The quilt that came to be rudely known as The Big Brown Bugger is finished and this is it, hanging at Kayes, minutes after the binding was stitched down by a team of three of us. I think we did pretty well making a 103” square quilt in 5 days!

The machines were quilting right up to the moment that they were dismantled and loaded onto a flatbed truck. The van was packed with all manner of bags and bundles and we set off in convoy with the truck following us. Bruce programmed the NavMan to get him to the convention centre on the quickest possible route. He then proceeded to make detours to the printers and then the supermarket for lollies, using random shortcuts known only to himself, which sent the rather cultured Pierce Brosnan voice into freefall. “Turn Left at the next intersection” it intoned and Bruce said conversationally “No, I’m just going round here first...” “Turn LEFT!” the voice commanded and then as it was ignored “At the next opportunity do a u-turn and proceed back 100 metres....” It then proposed another route which Bruce again ignored.....I know it was just my imagination but I thought I detected a note of hysteria as we got further off course. Bruce loves to tease everyone, but you have to wonder what he gets out of stirring up a disembodied electronic voice.

Kaye rang Kathy in Perth as we were driving in to the show and was astonished to learn that she knew all about the brown quilt and had already seen it on Keryn’s blog, hours after it was done. It is amazing, and a bit disconcerting too.

This is the booth, with the BBB hanging as the backdrop, and we’ve been quite chuffed that people have recognised it and known all about it’s creation because of the blog entries. We’ve outed a few lurkers on this trip! And met Chookyblue, who bravely approached us and introduced herself, which was lovely.

How on earth can we go through all of these stands? I’m sure we’ll miss something.


Monday, June 25, 2007

I've been given a crash course in working the Statler while I've been here. I'm a bit of a technophobe, and when we were here two years ago I couldn't make head nor tail of it. But this time I seem to have come to grips with the basics and I've completed my first quilt on it. With a lot of guidance from Keryn and Kaye of course, but I still did a fair bit of the work.

I've said before how vertically challenged Keryn and I are, she's 5 foot and a fag end and I'm five foot high. We couldn't see what we were quilting, so Bruce took pity on us and carried in huge timbers to make us a platform the length of the rails. Now we get lots of comments about 'walking the plank' but at least we've got a better view. I can't believe how different the world looks when you're 6" further off the ground!
I think we got a bit carried away on this simple little top, but it was a good learning experience and I don't feel so intimidated now.

Keryn's patterns are lovely and I had fun choosing different ones to sample in the blocks.

Lots of quilting everywhere, and it looks nice on the back too.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

I've been put to work at Kayes, finishing a quilt that she cut out and didn't have time to sew. All the fabrics are from her enormous stash of reproductions and I'm overawed at the selection. I honestly couldn't choose a favourite among them, they are all so beautiful.The pile of pieces has gone, replaced by blocks (56, plus three extras because some got lost in the tornado of sewing) and the blocks have been swallowed up into this.....

This is me sewing the last seam in the centre piece. It's nine thirty pm, and the borders can wait until tomorrow,I've had enough for today I think. I've informed Keryn that I have volunteered her to sew them on, and she professed herself nauseous at the thought- this centre bit is 82" square. But the end is in sight, and it will be a thrill seeing it loaded on the Statler and watching it being quilted.

Jo asked if one of the sets of blocks I'm working on was based on a Karen Cunningham quilt. This is Kayes version of that quilt, and it's gorgeous, love all her fabric choices, and it's quilted with my Featheration panto.

Mine will be set differently, but in actual fact I've already made a quilt based on this pattern, except in negative. Makes it look quite different, but it's still the same block.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Worst. Packer. EVER.
I'm getting ready to drive to Adelaide today, so that I can fly to Sydney tomorrow and meet up with Keryn, then on to friend Kaye's place for Fun with Machines!
My mum had the gift of arranging a suitcase beautifully, everything in order, all folded and flat and never overcrowded.
I don't have that ability and things are jammed and crammed in and come out the other end looking like something large and inexplicably heavy has rolled around in there. Waaah!
I have to pack my knitting bag because I'm flying, and my charger for camera batteries ( charging as we speak on top of the pile) and I'd better not put the intinerary in the suitcase cos I'll need that.... and why have I got TWO new toothbrushes, must take one out of the pack....and I should rip that old label off the case... and why haven't I darned the ends in on those knitted socks- I'll do that while I'm waiting to meet Keryn in Sydney..... I think I can see why I'm not a good packer.
Girl lacks any sort of organisation.


Monday, June 18, 2007

This is a Mac rich post (ie. no quilting content) and is dedicated to Meggie, who I figure needs a bit of cheering up after the rotten spell of events she's been having.

In my absence Mac's education continued apace.

He had already mastered the "Sit", as you know,

and the "Shake Hands".

Now we give you the "Sit Up and Beg",

and the "Play Dead".

Mac's motivation, not to say Philosophy of Life, can be summed up succinctly as........

"Keep Yer Eye on the Cheese!"

I think there's something in that for all of us.......


Sunday, June 17, 2007

While we're on the subject of rocking horses, friend Kathy that I met in Perth sent me some pictures of her childrens horses, FOUR of them all made by hubby Paul. What a wonderful Dad to make one for each child (then there were no fights presumably). The cutest thing is that he made the girls horses into unicorns, I'm sure they will all become treasured heirlooms for the next generation.

And even though she tells me the two little boys in the photo are now 6'5" and have well and truly outgrown their steeds, I'd still love to have this little stable in my family room.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

My brother is a keen woodworker and while I was in Western Australia I got to help with his latest project, somewhat unimaginatively named Harry the Horse. Doug had already built a smaller rocking horse which turned out beautifully, (even though it was made with the timber from packing cases) and making a full sized one was the next step.

We spent some companionable hours in his workshop sanding and applying the first of many coats of size and gesso. And as all the joints needed to be covered with strips of a fine fabric scrim, I even got to use my rotary cutter on this project.

When Keryn and I were little we loved to be with Dad in his shed if he was building something. We would decorate our hair with the long golden curls the plane shaved off, or make dangling earrings that bumped elegantly against the neck. We must have been a bit of a trial, always peering over the edge of the bench and asking "What are you making now?" If he didn't want to bother with explanations he said "A wigwam", which made me cross- even I could see it wasn't a wigwam. I still have many of his tools and I treasure the memory of his patience with us; he could have got things done a lot quicker without two little helpers. (A bit like Keryn's cats!)

Now that the computer is behaving better I'm wasting a lot more time catching up on everyone's news, and not sewing as much. It doesn't feel right, I've spent practically every night at the machine and miss those hours of productivity. I was looking at the blocks and wondering how many I'd made since the computer troubles drove me to the machine at night.

Then I wondered how much actual fabric I'd cut up to make this pile, so I weighed a one metre length, which was 200g, and my stack of blocks weighs ......

One whole kilo! That's 5 metres you know! I'm pretty impressed, 5 metres gone from the stash. We won't mention the teensy bag of material from Western Australia that despite it's skimpiness still added at least twice that metreage to the general fabric pool.

Oh well, 5 metres is not to be sneezed at and when I find setting and backing fabric for this lot then we'll be talking big numbers used up.

Jo asked in the comments if I'd based a block on Karen Cunningham's designs. I know the one she means, but my inspiration came from this old quilt on ebay, like so many of my projects. The setting will be quite different, this pink does nothing for the blocks and I'm itching to sew mine together. Wouldn't you know it, I only have a fat quarter of the fabric I want to use, so I think I'll wait until Keryn and I are in Sydney next week and try to find more of it.
It's a great block to sew, it really seems to fly out of the machine, and I've used the last of some precious fabrics to make it special. I'm thoroughly enjoying this block and don't want to stop making them.

Where's my puppy gone?


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'll have to get back into "blogger mode", but I feel out of practice now. I don't know that I can go back and answer everyone's comments, so I'll just start fresh and go on from here.

I got a rapturous welcome from Mac, and marvelled over how much he'd filled out in the two weeks I was away. He hasn't grown much in height, but he's so muscly and developed now he's lost that puppy look forever. Oh well, they all have to grow up, don't they?
Matt bought him a mouse with a string pull that makes it vibrate. For the first few times we pulled it for him, than he got sick of waiting and learnt how to do it himself. Now he holds it in his paws, pulls the string and the mouse climbs up by itself. At the last minute he throws it in the air and catches it in his mouth, then repeats the procedure again. The original mouse didn't last long and had to be replaced; he's a bit rough on his toys.

Who's a clever boy then?

When I went to Perth I knew that I didn't want to sit around doing nothing and 'relaxing', so I
took a couple of kits and my sewing equipment with me.(Fortuneately the sewing machine was already there).I'm reminded of that Crowded House song that says something like "Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you". Well, everywhere I go, I'm happier if I can set up a little space like this. Then I feel right at home, and I've got something to occupy myself with. There was lots of days where we stayed home, and I hate to think how I would have occupied my time if I hadn't had my portable sewing projects with me. Other people don't seem to understand my compulsion, and my comment "I like to be productive" was countered with "This is a holiday, you should Relax!" I shuddered at the thought of sitting on the lounge with my feet up, just not my scene at all. As it was I read nine books while I was there, so I wasn't chained to the machine. Non quilters just don't get it.I worked on these two sets of blocks, that were cut to use up scraps at home. The lighter blue and cream ones will probably go in a seperate quilt and the others will have more scrappy companions- don't know yet as I was just getting rid of the bits and pieces. I'll be like Scarlett and 'think about it tomorrow.'

I'm not a good tourist, I was far happier coming home with my stack of blocks than souvenirs of Perth. And a leetle teensy bag of material came home with me too; not much, just a smidge, as Keryn says barely enough for one person.......


Thursday, June 07, 2007

I really can't believe how long it's been since I could just sit at my computer and blog without a care in the world. My stinking system refuses to play nicely and Vista may soon end up in the trash. Sorriest day in quite a few years when I agreed to give THAT a try. Not that I'm bitter or anything.....

Where do I start?Keryn has done such a wonderful job of keeping things happening here and I'll owe her big time for this. I felt so guilty about not posting, as if I were letting the side down somehow, and it bugs me that I still won't be able to post regularly until I get the computer looked at Again, grrr.

The trip over to Western Australia was illuminating in many ways. For example it taught me that I Hate sitting in the back seat! No wonder kids fight and squabble, and I was tempted to moan "Are we there yet" at ever increasing intervals. But Australia is very wide, and after driving for 11 hours on the first day we were only at the border of South Australia. Arghh! I went to bed in a little roadside cabin place and knew that we had to drive for another 11 hours the next day, and then another 5 on the third day. Not an inspiring prospect, but it certainly made me realise how big this country is.

We stopped and viewed the Great Australian Bight, which was very impressive, huge cliffs and roaring waves and spray, but the warnings about the undercut edges and how they were likely to crumble away beneath your feet made me a tad nervous.

The scenery is rather montonous, and the Nullabor is aptly named, with nothing but low bushes for hundreds of miles. There is a straight stretch of road that is 90 kilometers long and perfectly flat, you don't feel like you're getting anywhere at all. But it's a unique experience, and I'm glad we did it. I was just terribly glad I was going to fly home and not have to face it going back the other way!

To amuse myself I tried to sketch but had limited success because I was sitting in the back seat, we were going 110 kph and there was nothing much to see anyway. I like to draw from what I can see, but I had to try and fix an image in my mind amd draw from memory, which was a challenge and helped to pass the time.

Quite by chance the Quilting and Craft show was on in Perth and I went to have a look around. I was walking past a booth and heard someone say "That looks like Keryn!" and another voice answer "No, it must be Meredith because she's in Perth now!" Guaranteed to make my step falter and wonder what on earth was going on. It was Kathy (blogless unfortuneately) who had met Keryn once before and Nicola who had only read our blogs. What an eerie experience to finally meet someone in real life who has read these posts and actually seemed to enjoy them. I spent the rest of the time with them, and worried that I was hi-jacking their day, but we all seemed to get on so well. And I think I got the winning photo out of those taken, we all look relatively normal and as if we're having a good time.

More later when I can get back on.........


Friday, June 01, 2007

Mereth is back home, still without internet access, and nursing a sore mouth after having a tooth out. That's not nice at the best of times, but when you're jetlagged and sleep- deprived it must be awful. Poor thing.

She will cheer up when I finish making the bookings for our trip to Sydney for the quilt show at the end of the month. We usually meet there every second year, and have a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones. We have a long list of internet buddies, and every time we go to Sydney we meet another few in person, which is always great. And sometimes they DO look like you'd imagined.

The picture is a Churn Dash top that Mereth made more years ago than I care to remember. I think it was last century. It's been waiting for me to quilt it, but I have been shamefully neglectful. I'm looking forward to putting something nice in those setting triangles; this pineapple is from her Elaborate pack, and I digitised those designs last December. I could quilt this top while I am in Sydney at my friend Kaye's place, and Mereth would love to watch the Statler doing it's thing on her top. That's a Plan!

What I want to know is, why don't I have any of this material? Another bit she didn't share with me. She maintains that she had the merest scrap, a mere nothing, not enough for even one person really. Yeh right!


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