Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I love my digital camera, and the way that I can capture so many moments that would otherwise be lost. But it's still frustrating that a lot of the time I'm not carrying it, and you can't stage the day to day happenings again, especially where animals are concerned. So yesterday I decided to try making some some drawings to illustrate a little snippet that I found funny. Bear in mind that these are very rough, small and done in about five minutes each. If I sat and looked at them properly the perfectionist in me would start redrawing and it would be next week until they were 'good enough'. So they is what they is.

I had noticed Pippi sitting in the open doorway, staring at something in the yard. I thought she should have been lying out in the lovely sunshine, but she wouldn't go outside on her own for some reason.
I went out to hang some clothes out, and saw the reason for her hesitation, a little black cat about six months old lying by an old pot and acting as if he had every right to be there.
Pippi was cowering behind my knees, with all the fur on her back standing up.She couldn't believe this thing was in Her yard, lying on Her grass, and now talking to Her mum! It wasn't right!

This was obviously a neighbour's pet, he was so tame and unafraid, and when he was looking at me he was so sweet and friendly, and looked like this...
However when Pippi put a tentative paw in his direction, his ears flattened , his eyes became pointy diamonds with narrowed slit pupils, and his neck stretched out like a snake about to strike.
That was all it took, Pippi gave a horrified howl and fled back to the house, tail tucked between her legs.

The cat lay down and nibbled a blade of grass with a very smug expression on it's face, no mere dog was going to interrupt his sunbathing, thankyou very much!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Now that I've made about twenty nine-patch blocks I'm turning them on point like this. I need two 5 1/8" squares for each block, and I'm using a few different fabrics to keep it interesting.
I cut the squares once on the diagonal..
And then I trim the points off at about 4 3/4".
This allows me to centre the triangle on the ninepatch easily, but you can also just crease the centre of the block and the triangle and match them up if you don't want to do this step.

Lay the triangle on the block and make sure there is the same size little triangular piece showing at each end, this means it's centred.Sew triangles on opposite sides, press,then add the remaining two triangles.
You can see that trimming the points earlier makes lining up the last two triangles very easy, and there's nothing to trim afterwards either.

The nine patch is 6" and the blocks finish at 8 1/2", so they mount up pretty quickly.

Once I've finished these I'm going to play with the setting because I don't know how big I'm going to make it yet. One thing at a time, I'm having fun with these really simple blocks.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Despite the fact that I've got several projects in the works at the moment, I was suddenly overcome by the urge to start a nine patch quilt that I saw in a book.I didn't even try to talk myself out of it, but jumped straight in and began cutting.

I wanted a different dark fabric for each block, but I've kept the same cream throughout, so I could cut a whole half metre into 2 1/2" strips. This is most unusual for me, because I like scrappy everything, including backgrounds.

I didn't want to strip piece long strips, as I only needed one block from each fabric, so this is the system I came up with. I cut from fat quarters, and one strip is plenty for each block.

I layered a light and dark, right sides together, and found I could cut two pairs stacked on top of each other without any trouble.
My strips are 2 1/2", and my first cut was three times that measurement, plus a little bit for squaring up as I cross-cut later. I cut at about 8" here.
Then with the stack untouched I made another cut of squares at 2 1/2". After this I pulled out the cream fabric and cut single squares of the dark fabric. This resulted in a pair of the 8" cuts and two dark squares and one light, for each block.Then I sewed all the 8" strips together, which went very quickly, and pressed them.
Next they were cut into 2 1/2" slices
and each slice had another square added to it, light or dark, to make the nine patch.
I have sewn long strips together to make nine patches, but I'd rather deal with shorter lengths, and when you need a lot of variety this method is very easy. And it goes without saying that when you're using scraps this is great too- if you have a 13-14" strip of dark fabric you can get a block from it.

I was humming along making these when I happened to read Kathie's post about her nine-patch quilt. Oh my goodness, I want to start one of those too! I think I could just make quilts from nine-patches for a year and still not be done with this block, I love it!

And here's another way to make nine patches without using long strips, in Bonnie's directions for her Sister's Choice quilt...


Saturday, March 03, 2012

I've been missing out on my sewing time because I decided to rearrange my whole set-up. The sewing room I have now is much smaller than my old one, and I've never felt that things had settled down after my move. I've been doing lots of thinking over the months and tried various ideas, but I still wasn't happy. But now I've taken my computer out of the room completely and set it up in the lounge room, switched the machine from one side of the room to the other, made a huge new pressing area and designated an area for designing and doing applique, with good light. Of course the whole room was turned upside down in the process, and I still haven't managed to put everything away, but I just have a happy feeling that this is going to work for me.

Sometimes I have to let go of one fixed idea :"The computer has to be in my sewing room" and then that frees up my thinking and I can come up with solutions. I realised that I didn't look at my quilt photos for reference when I was sewing and I could update my spreadsheets and other quilt related stuff anywhere, so there was no reason for it to be taking up valuable real estate in my smaller sewing area.

I haven't cut anything out for so long I was immediately energised by my new set-up and started slicing up fabric for old projects, and new ones.
I do love organising my cut out pieces next to my sewing machine, and generally having everything tidied up and put away, (only in my sewing room, I hasten to add, a good housekeeper I aint), which is why these piles of fabric everywhere are giving me the irrits.
I don't usually work like this, with things jumbled on my cutting mat, so the next job is to get all this tidied and put away. I'll actually enjoy it I think, now that all the big decisions about what to put where have been resolved.

Bonnie was talking about spaghetti squash and I thought I'd show my pumpkin patch. The summer has been too cool and damp for a really good harvest, but I've had fun growing these anyway.
I've got about three squash plants and the rest are pumpkins and zucchini, so I didn't have a lot of plants. There are twelve large fruit at the moment, and they may produce more. Keryn and I have picked two so far, and we liked it enough to vow that next year we'll plant a lot more. It's certainly easy to grow, and the fruits are large and quite heavy so they justify the time and water I've put into them.
They go bright yellow when they're mature, so the ones at the front are still growing. Keryn and I are trying different ways to cook them, baking, microwave and some books say to boil them whole- bit cumbersome I think, but we'll let you know the results later on.


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