Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where was I?  I seem to have spent most of April driving, 1800km back and forth to Adelaide, and all over the city.  I'm relieved to have a bit of time at home now.

My DS is back in Queensland, we had a wonderful time together.  We spent the last five days of his visit in Adelaide with DD, and we took Dolly with us.  She didn't mind, and had four adults to lavish attention on her, she was so spoilt.  We took her with us to National Parks and many dog parks,

so she got to do the tourist thing too. 
 She even came to a dog-friendly cafe for lunch!

What a whirlwind it was, so many sights to see, so much Traffic!  I'm not cut out for the city.....

And now I'm home, and I hardly know what to do with myself.  I'm plugging away at the blocks on the design wall, nearly finished, but I'm not feeling much love for them anymore.
 I'm ready for something that doesn't involve triangles, or the colour red.  I like it as an accent, but I'm over it in these blocks. 
I gritted my teeth, put NCIS on the TV and sewed for hours; the result was two of the borders pieced, and that just about tipped me over the edge into hysteria.  All that work, and now I had to do it all again for the remaining two borders? 
I wasn't impressed.  I'm on the verge of putting it away, and using the HSTs I need as leader-enders while I work on something else. 
I need 120 more of them, and I can't decide whether to plod on and make them all in one go, or do them in little bits.  While I'm at work this morning I'll come to a decision, and when I get back I will jump right into it.  I've got some catching up to do.



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Monday, April 13, 2015

Time is a precious commodity these days, there is just so much that we're trying to fit in.  DS is halfway through his holiday, and after a week of visiting family here and in Adelaide he departed on a trip to Wilpena Pound, where he and seven others will ride their mountain bikes around the Flinders Ranges National Park.  It's difficult country to walk in, let alone ride a bike, but it's all about the challenge; he declares it boring to ride on a road, and loves riding up hills.  He didn't get that from me, at the slightest incline I would get off and push my bike up, and I pretty much loathe bikes anyway.

He went for several training rides beforehand, and while he vanished into the distance at a great rate of knots I walked along much more sedately with Dolly. 
When he was looking at my photos later he said, 'I didn't see any of that, I was just concentrating on the ride'.  Everything is a trade-off; he added to his fitness and I didn't, but I got to stop and snap pictures of anything that interested me.
When he first arrived down here I was shocked at how thin he seemed; then we went to a bike shop so he could get some parts.  Every man in the shop looked exactly like him, tall, thin, fit, very short hair, like a Brotherhood of the Bike.  I guess it's just a body type; if you want to ride well, you need to get rid of the weight.

He will be back at the end of the week, and my holiday will resume; I'm working this week while he is away.  So there will be lots more family visits, then down to Adelaide to ride a couple of the trails there, and then he goes home again.  It's been so wonderful to have both my son and daughter together with me again; they were playing some shooting game on the X-box, and I smiled when I heard Shonny saying "We have to get you a better gun Rhys, come up these steps, and I'll protect you while you get it."  Always the big sister, even in a zombie game......

He and Izzy got on just fine;she had her first taste of chocolate, and she thought it was pretty darn good.

We've been staying up late, talking and playing cards, so not a chance of any sewing taking place.  But I don't want to waste of moment of this time with my family, and the quilts are waiting patiently for me.  We all know Family trumps Quilts!  I have 3 more nights on my own, so I will work as hard as I can to get the blocks on the design wall finished, and that will please me greatly.  I'm getting a leeetle bit tired of them, but I have a secret weapon; series 11 of NCIS should keep me glued to the machine.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

While I was cleaning up a file drawer I discovered this sample card from long ago.

 My friend ran a patchwork shop, and she gave me this when these prints were discontinued. 
These Concord prints were available for many, many years, not like today when fabric ranges have been and gone in 6 months.  Because they were available for so long, most of my early quilts contain these prints, so it's a trip down memory lane to see all these swatches again.

 I must admit, I still have some of these in my stash, and they are still useable, and some are still lovely.
 I bought lots of them at Spotlight for $2 a metre on sale, and used them for backings and borders and setting blocks, and I still adore some of them.
 I used samples from other quilt shops to make half inch hexagons, and that project is nowhere near complete. 
I called it my 60 year quilt; it would either take 60 years to complete, or I would be 60 years old when I finished it. 
I was 42 at the time, and 60 seemed a looooong way off.  I figure I've got 3.5 years left to finish it before my 60th birthday, so I'd better get a move on, hadn't I?
 Those hexagons look awful small, don't they?  These ditsy little prints were perfect for such small scale work, because they are still recognisable in each little hexagon.  In fact the swatch card says;
"Any print small enough to be recognised in a 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" swatch."

I've kept this card for so long that I really can't throw it out now; it's Archival, and so it has to be preserved.  It can go back in the drawer for now, and come out again on my 60th birthday, when I'm celebrating the finish of that hexagon quilt.........

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

My friend Kaye is a fellow Welsh Quilting enthusiast, and she sent me this link, for a video of Jen Jones talking about her collection of quilts and blankets.  I am definitely going to have to go to this place, if I ever get to visit the UK; I imagine I would hyperventilate with that many antique quilts around me.  How wonderful that she collected and preserved all those textiles when it was so unfashionable to love them.

I've been so busy with work that there has been no sewing at all for weeks, which is a sad state of affairs.  My Beloved Singer 538 has had another setback, she just stopped one day, and there's no power going to her motor.  So I have to see if I can get an expert to fix her, I'm not going to muck about with electrics.  Oh well, it's not as if I don't have other machines......

Yes, the collection is substantial, and I moved another shelf unit in, so that they could all be stored in one spot.  There is an empty shelf, in case I find a machine or two that I just have to have, but I'm not looking right now.
The Bernina 730s are in those green cases on the second shelf; I pulled out the nicest one, and now I"m sewing on her.  It's not the same, but she's a sweet thing. Still without a name, I think she'll end up being Bernie, how predictable.

Less than a week till my DS arrives, and I am going to have time off from work for the first time in two years!  I'm looking forward to spending time with both my kids, and being able to sleep in, and stay up late if I want.  Holidays are a good thing.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

That wine last night really hit the spot!  So I'm finishing off the bottle tonight.
Today I finished two pantos, and loaded a third top  for Mereth to do tomorrow.   Maybe tomorrow I'll have a day to myself, and I can sew on one of my projects as a treat.  I haven't had any finishes for ages, mainly because I'm working on 4 major projects, and a minor one every now and then.  When I finish them all it will be over 30m to write into the spreadsheet, but I'm nowhere near finishing any of them. 

I've been kitting these four projects because my son is visiting next month, and he'll be sleeping in my sewing room.  I need to have things prepared so that I can set up a machine on my kitchen table and sew while I don't have access to my room.  It's good that Logical Me has this all under control, but Impulsive me just wants to sit down and sew it all up straight away.  Luckily there are so many other things I have to do, I don't have time for any sewing of my own.


Me and My Stitches   commented on the last post:

And I almost had a panic attack when I saw the fabric you used - shown in your 2nd picture, the red/pink in the bottom right hand corner. That is one of my all time favorite fabrics and I only have a fat quarter of it. What I wouldn't do for a bolt! 
Yes indeedy, that is a lovely fabric, and I only ever had a FQ.  This is all that's left, and I'm sad to have used it up.  One day I'm sure we'll have 'Print On Demand" fabric, and then we won't have to be stingy with our favourites.  I have a Very Precious FQ of a toile, and was aghast to see a blogger had used the same fabric for her ironing board cover.  Oh No!!! Don't waste it on that, send it to me......
 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The blocks on my design wall are Cracker Box blocks, and I started them in 2009. 

I knew I wanted the blocks to be shades of dull blue and red, more dusty than bright; I made a few blocks to test the measurements and work out the pressing sequence but that's as far as I got.  I've been collecting fabrics for it ever since, looking forward to working on it, but so many other UFOs took precedence.  I took care of most of the 'Meh' projects on the list last year, now it's time to work on some of the ones I really want to do.

I had absolutely no idea of the layout for the blocks, so EQ7 really helped me visualise what I could do.  As I made the blocks and put them on the design wall edge to edge I realised that there was an HourGlass block forming between them. 
So I came up with an edge of those blocks all around as a sort of border that the blocks flowed into, and then having a Cracker block in each corner extended the pattern out nicely.
 I may yet put a smaller border all the way around, but I'll decide that once it's all on the design wall.  I'm really enjoying these blue and red fabrics, I seem to have been sewing with them for months. 
It's great to be using a section of the stash that I previously passed over because they weren't a good clear red or blue.  The answer was to put them all together in one project, and celebrate their murkiness.

I have the rest of the blocks cut and bagged, waiting to be sewn in spare moments.
I'm just snowed under with work at the moment, I worked on the weekend and I've been racing from one job to another all day; I just might be too tired to sew tonight. 
If I feel better after a glass of wine I'll tackle a few of those baggies, if not I can go look at stuff on Pinterest.  That doesn't require any effort or brainpower!

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

We have a long weekend here in South Australia, and it's such a luxury to have an extra day at home.  Mind you, I'll be working; printing and quilting, but it's so nice to be able to get things done without rushing.
Yesterday I did some computer work in the morning, and then we went into Pirie to visit with Mereth's family.  Nephew John was singing in the local theatre group's production of Grease, so we had dinner, then went to see the show.  It was great to see so many young kids putting on a big show, lots of enthusiasm and fantastic performances.  We'd watched John and Liz construct many of the sets over the last months, Mereth even painted some of them, and it was fun to see it all come together for three sold out performances.
It was nearly 1am when I got home, I'm not used to staying out so late.  It's different if I sew till that late......
My projects were getting to be a muddle, so I took the time to put them into EQ7 so that I had a clearer idea of what I needed to do with each one.

 I like having a fullpage print of the quilt, and the yardage requirements printed out so that I can scribble notes to myself underneath.  Then when the top is finished I file the printouts, and it's an easy reference to what I've made and where the EQ file is, and so on.
 After I took the first photo I looked at my cutting table and thought, 'That really is a mess!' So instead of sewing busily on more blocks, I spent a few hours putting all the flotsam and jetsam away.
I use this pretty bookstand to hold the EQ7 printouts for easy reference, and whatever rulers I'm working with, it helps keep the cutting mat clear.
It's so nice to see all of the cutting mat, and being able to find cutters and rulers and pens and paper is wonderful.  I'm inspired to get back to work now.




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