Sunday, June 17, 2018

Our beautiful baby boy arrived, 1 day after his due date, and we are beyond delighted to have him here.

 Thomas Charles, weighing a respectable 3.9k, (8lb 11oz). 

I'm so glad Hayden was there to support Shonny through the labour, I'm sure I would have been useless.  Mum told the story of when she was in labour with her first baby Gran was supposed to bring her things to the hospital.  Gran got halfway up the stairs, heard Mum yelling, and turned and ran away.  She was such a softie, couldn't bear to think of Mum in pain, so she scarpered.  After having 10 children herself you'd think she would have been just the person to have around at a birth, but no.  She never even warned Mum that it was going to hurt, so Mum thought something was horribly wrong and that she was going to die. 
Isla is delighted with her baby brother, and is very loving with him.  All the girls are thrilled, he spends a lot of time being cuddled by each in turn. He's been very good, waking only to have a feed and then obligingly going back to sleep. 

Isla was 5 weeks old before she reached his birthweight; a bigger baby is so much easier to care for than a tiny wee one. 4 hours between night feeds instead of two, settling to sleep straight away, no problems feeding.  In fact, Shonny is managing so well, and Hayden is so attentive, that I'm having a little holiday at home.

It's lovely to be in my sewing room, with my projects on the design wall and my fabric at hand.  I was getting mighty sick of having no choice about what I was putting in my teeny little blocks.  Now I can raid the stash drawers and get some variety in there.  Bliss.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

New project

A while ago I bought The Big Book of Civil War Quilts.

There are some beautiful quilts in it, and I have plans to definitely make 4 of them.
This one caught my eye, firstly for the blue and brown colours, second for the tiny pieces,; then when I read the directions I realised that I already had a box of 1.25"  and 2.5" strips ready and waiting.  It was so easy to grab those boxes and bring them down to Adelaide with me.
I arranged all the 1.25"strips in stacks of four, and then cut out my rectangles and squares.  It helped me to visualise what I had left to cut, rather than be overwhelmed by a whole box of strips. 

I spent two days sorting, cutting and arranging in whatever spare time I had, and finally managed to sew 9 blocks.

It took forever, arranging each block, then sewing each in turn.  I felt like I was getting nowhere; 520 blocks at this pace?  Really? 

So my next sewing session I concentrated on just pairing the rectangles with the large squares, then chain sewing them to two sides. 

In no time at all I had 20 sets of pieces sewn together.  It was so much quicker to just choose two fabrics to use together, rather than planning the whole block.

My next window of time I used to match a stack of small squares to each set; I pressed what I'd sewn, and added the small squares to the remaining rectangles.  Then just two more seams and I had a pile of blocks.

I know that it's probably the same time per block, but it was much more satisfying to see progress on a large number of blocks all at once.

Amazingly, I've cut up nearly all my 1.25" strips, so it's back to the charm square stash to cut more pieces.  I'm trying to tell myself to ignore the pinked edges and use the whole 5" square. 
I can cut one 2.5" square, four 1.25" rectangles and four 1.25" squares from each one.

1 charm square equals one block, which is pretty neat.  But I HATE the pinked edges, I hate having to guesstimate where to line fabric up, and what edge to use for the seam allowance.  And the pieces are just too tiny to lose that much in the seam allowances.  Sigh.  I just may have to cut the shapes accurately and deal with the waste, because then the sewing is a breeze and I get perfectly accurate blocks.  I think accuracy is going to win the day.


Sunday, June 03, 2018

No progress on any front

I'm down at Shonny's, waiting for our baby to arrive, but he's in no hurry. It's so hard to be patient, especially when Hayden has a limited amount of time home. But I'm making the most of just having Isla, it will all be different once the new baby arrives.

I did get some more sewing done, and put all the blue-green blocks together. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and pleased that I didn't go and buy more of that colour to have more variety. It worked out just fine with what I had. I will have to get a metre of darker print for the borders, but that's OK. I won't have to add that to the stash.
The picture above is very washed out, the colour in this photo is more true to life.

The pattern was Checkered Lattice, from Missouri Quilt Company.  However, that method created bias edges on the outside of the blocks, and I can't be doing with that.  I cut 7" squares, cut them on both diagonals, and used those triangles to build the blocks.  All the finished blocks were trimmed to 7.5" and because the edges were on the straight grain it went together really easily.  I could use even small pieces of fabric instead of the 10" squares in the video.  It wasn't as quick, but I enjoyed the process of choosing fabrics for each block.

I have several things to work on next, I'll spend today sorting out some blocks to sew. I want to have things ready so that I can quickly sew a few things together in any spare moment. 


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I have had nearly two weeks at home, which has been pretty wonderful.  I haven't achieved much of the big clean up I wanted to tackle.  I've spent a lot of time in the shop, so that the other people who run it could take a break.  I've sorted out stuff that mice had got into in my absence (poxy little creatures). I've spent time catching up with family here.  So overall, not a lot on my list was ticked off, but it has been relaxing.

I did take a couple of days to sew like a mad thing, and as a result my Tumelo Trails is done.

I'm really happy with how it turned out, it was a lot of fun collecting those shirts and then choosing combinations for the blocks.

I couldn't face that piano key border, so I used leftover 3.5" triangles to make the border.  I like how airy it makes the finished quilt. 

I left it on the design wall for a day, then folded it up and out these blocks back up.
It's been forever since I worked on them, and I had fun last night moving it further along. I love he blue-greens in this, and the back and white is so crisp. They are a fun block to make.

 But alas, I'm back to Adelaide again today.  Shonny is nearly 38 weeks pregnant, and Isla is sick, so I'm going down to help wherever I can.  Shonny needs a few nights uninterrupted sleep.  Hayden is home in a week, and I'm hoping that baby stays put until he gets here, otherwise it will be me in the birthing suite with Shonny.  I'm useless, I had two C-sections, so all I could do is hold her hand and be encouraging.  I guess that will be enough.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The last three months have been hectic, looking after Isla, then the trip to Queensland. We were home for three weeks, then went back for the funeral; it was delayed so that a family member could attend after the last of radiation treatments. Way too much cancer in this family.

Shonny decided to stay an extra week to catch up with friends, and I flew to New South  Wales to visit my friends Kaye and Bruce.  They gave up their Gammil dealership last October, but there are still 3 machines to play on.  I did a customer quilt for Kaye, using the latest software, which was a bit nerve-wracking but it went without a hitch.  Might have to see about updating my system soon, even though I'm never home to use it.

I had a lovely time catching up with Kaye, and sleeping in late every morning in my beautiful 4 poster bed.

The quilt on the bed is made with nine patch blocks made in 2009 by myself and two friends.
We made hundreds of nine-patches over the course of three days, 1 person cutting and 2 sewing. We all had a set of them, and mine are a top, but still not quilted.  I should make that a priority, but there are so many other tops that need quilting.  Some day.....

Kaye was helping plan a Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser for cancer, and we spent the week stitching out mug rugs for the 70 people attending, and making 70 microwave bowls.  They work really well, so I need to make some for myself, now that I know how easy they are.  I also quilted a 60" white sateen wholecloth for a raffle quilt, but luckily someone else offered to bind it so I didn't have to tackle that myself.

Kaye always moves at a million miles an hour, which is how she gets so much done.  She can pin on a quilt in minutes, while I'm still debating whether to get out of my chair.  I was complaining that my feet hurt after the 11,000 steps that day, and Kaye looked at her Fitbit and said '20,000 so far, and I still have stuff to do...'  I'm just not in her league, and she's older than me!

I flew straight home to Adelaide when the week was up, and was met by Mereth.  Surprise, she'd brought Lily along, so after parking the car we bundled Lily up against the cold and the rain, and went back to wait for Shonny and Isla to arrive.  Isla was delighted to see us all, and she and Lily held hands in their car seats on the way home, so sweet.

We didn't have to go back to Crystal Brook in a hurry, so we stayed 2 days and just relaxed.  There was a trip to Costco, which Lily absolutely loved.  So much to see, so many people to say hello to, and a pizza crust for lunch.   It was very exciting.

Finally we drove home, and I walked into my sewing room and thought, What on earth was I doing before I left?  There was stuff everywhere, things have just been dumped and piled all over the place.  I've been sorting out a bit each day, and I'm finally able to see the floor! I have to tackle the cutting table next.

Shonny and Isla came up on the weekend to stay with John and Liz, to celebrate Mother's Day and the twins first birthday.  What a year it's been!  It was Sunday evening before I finally sat down and sewed, but family comes first.  The only redeeming thing about the last few weeks has been so much time spent with family and friends.
So this is my design wall.  Time to get busy making more nine patches.


Monday, April 09, 2018

I'm always cautious about how much of my private life I share on the blog, so I'll just say that the last two weeks have been a very sad time for our family.  Shonny's dad was diagnosed last year with lung cancer, just after a trip down to visit Isla.  A week after Shonny finished work we were flying up to Rockhampton to say goodbye to him.  He and I stayed good friends, and I was glad to go back, to help with Isla and feed all the family and friends that gathered. It's been devestatingly sad, and Isla was the only bright spot for all of us.  We came home on Saturday, and a day later he was gone.  I'm so glad that we have photos and videos of Isla with her grandad; I just wish she could have grown up with him in her life. He was an extraordinary man.

I'll be in my sewing room for a couple of days, finding comfort amongst all my projects. The sweet, calm monotony of sewing fabric together is a great healer.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Last day of the Adelaide Festival today, thank heavens.  Depending on Shonny's workload I could be home as early as Friday, but we'll have to wait and see.  I'm really looking forward to getting home and catching up with friends and family, and seeing what's happened in my absence.  Autumn is my favourite time at home, and I'm missing it while I'm away.  I'm trying to arrange to take Isla home with me, so Shonny can sleep for as long as she wants and make changes to the house uninterrupted.  That new baby is only 2 months away, and we need to sort out a new bedroom for Isla, and put the nursery back to tiny baby mode.

I've been trying hard to use up every available scrap of time, I don't want to go home and think. well I got nothing done down there. 

I've sorted through my charm packs and weeded out the multiples in each one, and pulled out ones that I don't love. 

They've been cut up into 1.5"strips and I've made nine-patches from them.  It's such a good way to get variety, there are colours in those blocks that don't occur elsewhere in my stash, so the finished Tumelo Trail blocks are going to look different from my normal quilts.  I'm really loving the charm packs, I'm pretty sure I'll buy another stack next Christmas.

I forgot to bring my all 1.5"strips, I only had a handful of little bits.  I've been using up every last little scrap, and I have a renewed appreciation for the little offcuts and scraps.  They are useful, if I take the time to deal with them.  But in future I'm still going to give most of them to Mereth.....

I'm way behind on cutting up my shirts, but it makes such a mess.  I've been very good about vaccuuming up all the threads and snippets, but I'm sure Shonny is a bit appalled at the mess.  She's nothing like me in that respect, I can live in the chaos quite happily, knowing that one big clean up will see it all put to rights again.

Isla and I went to Bunnings yesterday, and I found these cute little boxes. 

My 9" blocks fit in them perfectly.  I'm so addicted to plastic, and finding just the right containers for everything.  But it does help me keep everything organised, so I'm unapologetic.

Dear me, that baby is awake, I'm off to fed her some lunch. Maybe we'll go back to Bunnings for more plastic boxes and a Bunnings sausage....

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