Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The last two weeks have been a blur for Meredith and me. Our Mum had a fall, and is in hospital with complications. I have been here in South Australia for two weeks, trying to shield Meredith from the brunt of dealing with Mum during the worst of the post-surgical stuff. I will go home in a week and Mereth will be left as the only family available, so I don't want her to get burned out at the start of the whole thing. Basically we just need to make sure that Mum is comfortable and as mobile as possible and then deal with life one day at a time.

The picture is a corner of the hospital where Mum is. It's a beautiful old building, 2 years younger than she is, and I love the honey coloured stone and the wide verandahs.

It's the middle of winter here, but in the tropics where I live we were still wearing T-shirts. I'm f.f.f.freezing here! But I'm enjoying it too, because I like everything that goes with the cold weather; knitting in front of the fire, toasting things above the coals, walking the streets at sunset and seeing the trees light up in the setting sun. I love homemade soup and bread at night, and the kitchen warm from the stove.

Mereth's house is very cold, being stone, and the rooms are so huge that they don't warm up easily. We've been living in the sunroom, round the woodstove, and it's been very pleasant, except for the squabbles over who's turn it is to run out and make coffee! I have finished another pair of socks, and now I'm knitting a shawl which is demanding all my attention so I don't make a mistake with the 400-odd stitches. But I'm glad that I have something to keep me busy.

There has been no time for sewing, or sitting in the sewing room, which is a bit sad. Still, I'm just glad that we are able to be together. The locals can't quite believe there are two of us. I need to get a T-shirt printed saying 'I'm The Other One'. So many people see me and launch into detailed conversation, while I try to butt in and explain that I actually don't know them from a bar of soap. It can be a bit difficult. And we don't look all that much alike, we just have the same shape and the same features and people assume I must be Mereth.

The rellies have been coming to visit Mum, and we must look an odd sight all together. Everyone is around 5' tall, and roundish, and grey-haired. All of us would fit right into Hobbiton without attracting a second look. Two of my aunts who married into the family were around the 5'10" mark when younger, which injected a bit of much needed height into the cousins, but now they have shrunk down too. The earth must have a strong pull on us.

Just for the record, Mereth and I had 12 uncles and 10 aunts. (We just had an argument over that, because I'd missed out one of the aunties and had to amend the count.) We can't name our cousins without a family tree to count them all up. It is intruiging to be part of such a large family, but complicated too, especially when some of the uncles aren't talking to the others. Arguments about rabbit traps, firewood and fishing nets can occupy them for years....


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Oww!! What a weekend!

The skip is full, and I think I need to get it emptied and brought back so we can fill it again. There is about 10 times more stuff to go, and I have created an almighty mess. It looks quite hopeless now, but I know from past experience that if I just keep working through all the piles then order will be restored.

It's sad to realise that we're never going to get round to making all the furniture we plannned, re-upholstering all those chairs and settees, repairing the vintage furniture we collected. Some pieces I'll keep, but most of it is being donated to people who will do something with it. And we'll go on to other things.

No sewing has been attempted, as my hands are full of splinters and aching from hauling around several tons of wood. But Mereth's comment on her blog about our handpiecing prompts me to post this example of our backstitched seams. I just can't make running stitch look as nice, or feel as secure, so I'm not about to change now. People always look at my seams and say flatly "You machine pieced this". Then I show them the reverse of the seam, which looks like stem stich and they have to admit that I did hand piece it after all.

It's funny to listen to comments when I'm vending at shows, and hear people tell their friends "Oh that's all done on the machine", when I know it isn't. Or "Of course it's all done on one of those longarm machines", when most of my quilts are sewn on my Janome. Once, when selling my Mini Album, an original pattern with the original quilt as a sample, a woman complimented me in a condescending way because I had matched the materials so exactly to the photo in the pattern. It took several attempts to actually convince her that it was the actual quilt. And that I designed it. Nowadays I wouldn't even bother arguing the point......

My poor little quilt met a sticky end, in a bag stolen from an airport shuttle on the way to a show. I hope it ended up in good hands, and not discarded in a dumpster once the thieves realised the hugely heavy bag contained only the setup for a quilting booth.....

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