Thursday, November 29, 2007

I've been sewing a little and decided this leader-ender project needed to be pushed up to the finished stage. I didn't want this to be too large, so it's only about 32", and there will be a couple of borders which I haven't decided on yet. I really enjoyed these little blocks and they were pretty mindless to do, and used up the smallest triangles I'd ever want to use. The squares end up at 1"; smaller than that is just masochism.
The customer quilt is being done on my Janome, because I don't want to sew over the stitcheries and it's not a very big quilt anyway. Plus I can sew it at my house and the Statler is at Keryn's. I can do this in the early morning or late at night, as the mood takes me.

Bonnie showed a photo of her bin recently and I decided to show you mine. Understand that when fabric reaches this place there's no further use for it.
I've known patchworkers who throw away every scrap, and I'm not ashamed to say I delve through their bins when I visit and salvage quite a lot of decent fabric. In fact one friend has given up and now saves her 'rubbish' in plastic bags so that I can vet it before it gets thrown away. Keryn and I, in our early poor days of piecing, back in the 70's and '80's, used to visit a patchwork store that let people go through their bins after classes, and we couldn't believe what some people would toss out. Whole strips of fabric in some cases, and it felt good to be so frugal and use it.
But when I throw fabric out, it's done for. If I throw it out it's too small to use, has poly in it, is dreadful quality or has something spilt on it. I don't throw away any bit that I can cut a little 1" triangle from, and that's small. So it takes a while for me to fill my bin up, months and months. I keep squashing it down and squashing some more, until I can do this.......

Scrap Castle!!!!

The scraps at the very top of it are from the chenille quilt, so it's like an geological slice, I can date it by what I was working on in each layer. Oh well, that's proved how very immature I am, now I can get back to the serious business of filling up the bin again.....


Saturday, November 24, 2007

This is the first customer quilt and wouldn't you know it, it was a big one! It just has a pantograph over it, Keryn's Celtic Scrolls but it still took a long time to do. I did just about all of it myself and I was glad to unroll it from the frame, hours later. Phew!
I guess I was tired because I'd already done this smaller top of mine in the morning. I made this about 15 years ago, from a picture in a magazine. (I think it was a 30's quilt, but I can't really remember now.) I pieced it during the school holidays when the boys were little, and I loved doing it, enjoyed every bit. I used to look forward to the holidays, no worrying about lunches and school clothes, and we all did whatever we liked- no routines to follow! Some mothers used to complain about having their children home for weeks, but I never did. The boys still talk about the time we built an entire medieaval village from Lego on the dining room table and it stayed there for the whole holidays. We had to eat meals on our laps, but who cared?
The back was made from ten inch squares, a la Bonnie, and it worked out well. It's easy to measure, just count the squares and times by ten.
And here is another addition to my doggie grandkids. Middle son Rob and his partner have bought a puppy, a cross between a Brittany Spaniel and a Golden Retriever. The words Seriously Cute do not adequately describe this darling. His name is Curtis and he had us in fits of laughter at his antics; let's just say he's not very co-ordinated yet. I couldn't get a full length picture because the camera batteries died after I took these, but his legs are very long and fluffy and seem to all go in independant directions.Mac was overpoweringly curious about him, and poor Curtis was a bit overwhelmed at times. I think we'll wait until he's a bit older till they can play together, Mac is far too boisterous a companion for a ten week old puppy.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I've declared a day off, to do Whatever I Want. I'm working on four quilts, but none of them are mine, and I think I deserve to focus on my stuff for a day. It's been so long since I did any pieceing I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms. But lo, when I went to use my little Singer, something was amiss! It made a terrible thumping sound even though it still sewed perfectly. I traced it to the belt, which is made of leather and has split almost through. Every time the split piece went round it made the motor housing knock against the body of the machine, hence the noise. I was glad it was something so fixable, that I'm able to do myself, but it means a 28k trip into town for a replacement.

I'll have to use something else for my piecing fix, but there are at least three other machines I can use so it's not as bad as it could be. I love this little singer though and I won't feel entirely happy until it's all back together again.

There are more bindings to make and sew on, I seem to be cutting up metres and metres of fabric just to make into binding. This is a good thing I suppose, because I do want to use the fabric up, and some of the bits I'm using are unlovely to say the least. Pretty soon I should have enough off-cuts for a scrap binding too, so that will be a bonus.
I finished another little quilt yesterday, but the photos are on Keryn's camera so you can only see the back here. Now I've got to find a binding material for this, so it's back to scrabbling in the green drawer again.It's been dreadfully hot here, and the workroom has no airconditioning, so nothing gets done in the heat of the day. Macca as usual has his own methods of cooling off, but when he came to visit Keryn this was the most water she could come up with.
Oh well, a fella makes the best of things, doesn't he? Last night a cool change came through, and look! Raindrops on roses.....

It's lovely and cool, but it won't last for long. It's perfect piecing weather though, so I'd better make the most of it.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Fancy Bowtie has been quilted, so that's another top that bites the dust.

I used my panto Featherme and it suited the piecing well.
One of the delights of doing all this quilting is getting to play with different threads, including some nice variegated ones. This was done in Signature Stars and Stripes, and even though the top doesn't have much red blue or white it actually suited the scrappy nature of it.

I daresay we'll get to know what will look good and what won't as we go along, and we'll get our quilts finished in the process.

Another one to bind, I'm stashbusting just making all these bindings, another bonus!!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our quilting group decided to have an early Christmas outing, and just for something different it was decided we'd go to Cowell, across Spencer Gulf. A friend and I drove there, a three and a half hour trip, but the rest of the group went by ferry, which took two hours. When we joined up again at the other side, we found everyone had been given a survival pack that was devised by some clever girls in the group.In case of shipwreck, there was a brooch that flashed like a beacon, to guide the rescuers ...Some first aid supplies....A flotation aid.....A flare to set off...And it case they ended up marrooned on an island, a communication device...
A fishing line...
And emergency rations.

I love it!!

We had a wonderful lunch at the hotel, played some fabric games that made the other diners stare askance at the uproarious laughter coming from our table and instead of bags of candy at our places we had bags of beautiful little buttons which we proceeded to swap furiously; "I'll trade you a blue teapot for a pink star....."

Then we visited the lovely patchwork store "Stitch 'n' Bits" where there was a huge selection of half price fabric, just to make our day.
My friend and I left the others to wait for the ferry and set off on the long drive home- we left at 8.30 in the morning and got back at 8 that night, but it was such fun it was worth it. I'm just disappointed that Keryn couldn't make it, but she was held up in Adelaide and missed out. Next year she'll have to join in the fun.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

I've started quilting some of my small quilts on the Statler, just to familiarise myself with the computer side of things. Edge to edge pantos are the easiest, and I'm going to try and use all the patterns from one of my pattern packs. (That will take care of quite a few tops!!) This is Deco Vine, on the little rail fence, I think it turned out nice, and it was so quick to stitch out; even in hand-guided mode this would be blindingly quick.
I even bound it straight away- I can foresee a huge stack of quilts all waiting for bindings and I want to try and keep on top of them as they come off the machine. No doubt I won't succeed, but I'm going to try. As we went to Adelaide on thursday and have had an otherwise busy week, I'm already four quilts behind, but there's no harm in having high ideals, is there?

Keryn keeps shaking her head and saying "I can't get over that! These are such ugly fabrics and yet it's turned out so nice and cheerful. It's so much prettier than it deserves to be!" Yep, the alchemy of Patchwork, turning the dregs of the scrap basket into something useful and pleasing to look at . Gotta love it, and the red binding pleases me out of all proportion, I really adore this little quilt now!
Here's the next one waiting to be bound, this is a rail fence too, but looks more like a basket weave to me.
The customer top is in one piece and only needs borders added now, I seem to have been working on this for ages because I've been interupted by so much else. (Setting up a Statler?) The pattern by Anni Downe was really nice to follow, I'll have to see if I can find a link to put in here.
And just for Sandra, here's the stole I'm knitting.It's called Leda's Dream by Pink Lemon and it's been lovely to knit. I'm using laceweight, wool and silk mix(can't find the label right now) and every night I try to knit at least ten rows before I go to bed. I look forward to it sooo much, it's been my reward for working so hard on everything else we've been doing. There's something both relaxing and hypnotic about watching lace grow, I haven't even come to the end of the first skein, so I'll have to knit at least as much as this again, but I'm not sick of it yet. As long as it stays cool at night I'm going to keep on doing this, I find it the perfect way to wind down at the end of our hectic days.

I'll have to go back and put in links whaen I've got more time, now I'm off the the Adelaide Quilt and Craft show so I'd better put my skates on....


Monday, November 05, 2007

Guess who had his first birthday last week? I wasn't there for the celebration, but Matt gave me these photos today. What a cutie Macca is, and obviously he was fascinated by the musical candle and the cake. It was white chocolate with strawberries and cream in the centre, made by Matthew.

Of course Mac had to sample the icing first ( all kids do that ) but I'll leave out the shots of Bonnie and him eating their pieces; it got a bit messy at the end.

(Don't all dogs sit on chairs eating their birthday cake?)

We went back to my place after Kaye and Bruce left today, and sorted through some tops so that we could keep Marjorie Millhouse (the new Statler) running.

I found 12 in the first two drawers of my quilt cupboard.That was enough to be going on with, and the backings were already made for three or four, so we brought them all back here. Now we're going to load one to stitch tonight.

I can't believe that they're all going to finished, and without the hassle of forcing them through my little Janome.We had quite a few people dropping in today, all fascinated by the machine purring away. There's something about a Statler just stitching away by itself that impells people to stand and stare; it's like magic. But I'm in love with the possibilities of free-motion work and I keep taking the belts off and playing with it, just going where I like. The Statler can stitch the pantographs for me in computer mode, and then for fun I'll scribble away, filling up the leftover bits of backing and batting. It's like doodling on a grand scale!


Friday, November 02, 2007

Sally, a reader of my blog sent me this photo of a little top she'd made, based on the blocks I was making from leader-enders. How cute is this? I'm really chuffed that she sent me the photo, it's nice to think I'm giving people ideas. (In a Nice way, of course!) Cor, I feel a bit like Bonnie now!! She plans to put a bit of applique in the border, I hope she sends another photo when it's completed.

Here's a question; if you had a little sister who had worked hard helping you for, oh, a few weeks, and she did mostly what she was told and hardly Ever complained of feeling knackered, hard done by, exhausted, shattered, and she never anwered back and only occasionally told you where the proper place was for your furniture and things and then moved them behind your back and well, if she'd been a BIG help, how would you reward her?

You'd let her take home all the bits you'd weeded out of your stash, and some cut strips, and some scraps that no-one would miss - wouldn't you?

Keryn did, and now I'm having a lovely time sorting them into piles and cutting strips and just playing. (I should point out that tub was full when I bore it home , and it only occurred to me to take a photo when I'd scrabled through half the contents). Perhaps I should make a sign that says "Will Work For Scraps". Keryn is so Over these fabrics, but I'll do something quick and scrappy and they won't seem old and dull to me.


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