Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The other day Keryn and I drove into the large neighbouring town about 20 minutes away, to do some shopping. We went past the golf course and commented on how dedicated the members must be-this is just bare dirt and a few half dead weeds, and yet there are always people out playing. I really don't get it. This is the opposite extreme, Matt took the dogs down to the creek bed, where the grass is so long and lush all you can see is their tails wagging above it. They use this old fallen tree as a vantage point to get their bearings, and play "King of the Castle". It's still very hot, as you can see by the lolling tongues, but they love it down there.

I'm setting some blocks together, more out of a sense of duty than liking the finished result. You know, there are some quilts that just won't do as they're told, and seem to drag their heels every step of the way. I originally wanted these set with white, like a quilt I saw on ebay, but it just wasn't 'right' somehow.They turned out way too big when I decided to set them on point and I don't like making huge quilts, even though I now have a way to quilt them easily.
Somehow I just lost the spark after I'd made these and they've sat for nearly two years in the cupboard till I guilted myself into tackling them.

Other quilts have been a joy to make, like this little Periwinkle top. I made it from a scrap bag of vintage pieces that I found at a secondhand shop, as well as some dressmaking materials of ours. There's nothing special about it, doesn't even look that great, and yet I don't think I begrudged one stitch in it, and I have many happy memories of hand-piecing it at night, after the boys had been tucked into bed.
I could never decide whether I wanted to cut the edge off straight or applique it onto a border fabric, but now I'm leaning towards keeping these cute little points on the edge. Just got to decide on a fabric.....
I did love getting my points nice and crisp back then; I applaud the accuracy of hand-piecing.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big Quilt is finished and off the frame; we only have to clip some ends on the back and it's ready for the owner to pick up. I'm very happy to have this done, I really wasn't sure if we'd put in enough quilting, and whether our decision to avoid the embroidery altogether would work. It's not as heavily quilted as I usually like, but the embroidery needs to be the main focus here.

I took these photos without a flash, so the stitching of both kinds would show up, but the colour is darker than in real life. I've called it the 'Pavlova" quilt, because it looks like a meringue, the fabric has a soft glossy sheen, it's gently swirly and poofy and the cream lace looks like the crisped edges browned in the oven. Ok, don't look at me like that, these little flights of fancy help me through the long hours of standing there slaving over the machine and wondering if the quilt is ever going to end.....
Funnily enough it's harder to put 'less' quilting in than you think, and the border had to be simply done so it wouldn't pull the whole thing in. I think Keryn did a wonderful job coming up with the designs, and when the next candlewick monster comes in at least we'll be prepared!
This morning I relaxed and did a little bit o' this......

and a little bit o' that........
and had a smidgeon of.....
Hmmm, let's not say anything to Keryn about that last one, I swore I bought it to give to Matt!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What is it with these BIG quilts? We seem to have had a spate of them, and now I'm longing for a nice little lap quilt, or a crib cover with ducklings on it. A quilt that doesn't measure in triple digits.....But you'd be mad to do those on a domestic machine, and that's why we're getting them all, I suppose!
This log cabin was full of pretty fabrics and proved very nice to work on, if you discount the size. The panto is one of Keryn's, called "Bramble" and looks lovely and feminine, and it breaks up the straight lines of the block very well.

This huge candlewick top is still on the frame, but it should be finished today. Keryn has designed lots of lovely motifs for this, which should be useful as there are apparently three more coming our way if we do a good job on this one!I'm really suffering from not being able to sew for myself in the last week or so. My sewing room is my haven, my refuge, my sanctuary, and I've been too busy to do more than just visit it forlornly, and then walk out again. I simply must have a day in there soon, or I'll go nuts. I don't say that lightly either, for nearly 25 years my sewing room has been the most important room in the house, and has kept me going through some very traumatic times. It is a necessary part of my existence, believe me!

Because I have nothing new to show you, I'll offer this picture of my own Wild Goose Chase. Keryn's is hanging on the stand, mine is on the floor. Keryn forgot that I actually sewed a few of the blocks in her quilt, all those years ago. I enjoyed the pattern so much that I cut out my own blocks , and laboured away for a few years myself. My blocks didin't have the checkered history that hers did, and apart from getting sick of them nothing much happened. I eventually finished them during one Olympics and set them with a slightly greenish solid fabric; then it disappereared into the Quilt Cupboard, along with the rest of my tops. I'd almost forgotten it until I dragged it out to compare with Keryn's: now I've made the backing and it's waiting in the pile to be loaded onto the machine.

I think when the candlewick quilt is done we'll give ourselves the present of a day spent in our own sewing rooms, and then I might have some new project to blog about, finally. I was getting mighty sick of the Hired Man's top entry, so you must have been too!


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hired Man's quilt is quilted, and added to the 'Binding' pile, there's only three to do so I should just get stuck in and finish them.

I put Baptist Fans on it, with a cotton batt, and I'll wash this after it's bound. I might even put it in the dryer to shrink it some more. I've never been game to do that before, but I'm willing to experiment on this quilt.
The back was pieced from three lengths of various plaids, and adds to the 'bunkhouse' feel I think. Another aspect of doing all this quilting is getting to experiment with different threads. I was never one to waste much thought on this, just grab something that looked ok and get it done. So the range of threads available came as something of a shock, and the variegated ones are delicious. This is Maxi-Lock Swirls (I think) in Foresty Mint and I really liked how it looked on this top.We'll just have to work out way through the variegated goodness and learn what works on which quilt. I'm looking forward to it.

Don't you love my old mixing bowl? It's cracked and cost me 20cents in the opshop but looks much better than the plastic container we used to keep thread in.Matt has surprised this fellow quite a few times in his front yard. This peacock used to roam around the streets of Crystal Brook, sending dogs into hysterics and startling the populace with his weird shrieking cry. I don't know where he came from, some aviary or just dumped I suppose. Eventually he was relocated to Bowmans park and he's lived in solitary splendour since, fed by the locals who regularly turn up with odd scraps of fruit and veggies. He does alright. Who knew that peacocks just love tomatoes?
This photo was taken last year when he was growing a new tail. That glorious flowing tail starts off as a ridiculous puff of feathers and takes months to reach full size.He's very stately and dignified, but I do wish he wouldn't drink Mac's bathwater, it lowers the tone somewhat.
Another little visitor attracted by the bathwater is much more flighty and hard to capture. The summer has been very dry, and I suppose they must find water where they can.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Keryn has told about our trip to Cowell on Thursday, resulting in some nice additions to our respective stashes. She loved the Stitch'n'Bits shop as much as I did, and while she mentions me having the good sense to take photos of the inside, it wasn't of the gorgeous shelves of fabric and the tempting array of gifts and goodies. No, what I couldn't get over was the fact that were not one, but TWO fullsize antique trucks in the back part, and I couldn't remember them from the previous trip at all. I must have been delirious in the presence of bolts and bolts of half-price material!
We went to Spotlight in Whyalla, and I wasn't sure that I could remember the way, having only been once before. We stopped so I could get my bearings and I looked around, pointed and said "It's over that way" and lo and behold, it was. Keryn claimed I could smell the fabric, but that's not true. I can only smell Cheap Fabric- a whole bolt for $2 metre...

"Tonto, where's the Spotlight?"

"Over there behind McDonald's, Kemosabi!"


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