Friday, November 30, 2007

Another garage sale today, and I picked up this little beauty for $30. It's a treadle in a cabinet, not too bad condition. If the original seamstress hadn't placed her pincushion over the arm of the machine it would be in perfect shape. I wasn't going to buy it, until the vendor suggested I put another pincushion over that spot, and I thought that was a good idea. I want a treadle as a backup for emergencies, and as a piece of furniture, so the damage to the decals is immaterial. The belt is a little too tight for easy treadling, but I will buy a new one on my next trip into town. What a little darling!

I'm a bit peeved that the quilts are coming off the machine so quickly that the next one isn't even ready to load, so I am determined to make up a few backings and cut batting to size and have a stack of tops ready to go at a moments notice. I've run into a problem though; I can't bear to actually use my backing stash. How silly is that? Still, I'm having a huge struggle making up my mind what fabric to use with each top. This bit's too good, this bit's not long enough, this bit isn't nice enough quality, I want that for a future top......

These are shortlisted to go on the back of the patchwork they are laying on. None of them are big enough, so they will have to be pieced together somehow. I love the top, love all the fabrics too; now I just have to get over the feeling that I am 'wasting' them by using them up. I will have a finished quilt, with a back that I love just as much as the front. I need to get over this nonsense and just start using the lengths for what I bought them for. Backings!

I'm making a concerted effort to use up more fabric instead of constantly acquiring more, so I'm cutting hanging sleeves and bindings for every top and project. I'm determined to make space in the stash drawer, so that I can find what I want and put things away easily. I've downsized already, but I'm ready to go even further. It makes it easy when everything I wave in the direction of the bin prompts Mereth to offer 'I'll have that if you don't want it!" I get the feeling that my unwanted stash is just going to migrate around to her place.

Two weeks ago we made name blocks as a gift to Tonya for running the online classes. This is my name block, made with the hand-dyes I bought from Lisa Walton at the Adelaide show. I threw in a bit of black print to make the 3D effect. This was so much fun, I can see more projects with hand-dyes in my future. Thanks Tonya! I'm enjoying the free-piecing ideas.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We went to the last patchwork club meeting of the year on Monday, and I sewed all these little 5" blocks. I was diligent in my sewing, whereas Mereth was extrememly distractable and was off chatting for a good portion of the day. We both took our Elna Lotus machines, and they looked so cute together. When we were leaving, both carrying the same sort of machine, one of the husbands stared and said "Snap!" If we ever start to dress alike I think we may need a friend to take us aside and tell us that it's just weird.
I have to find the photo of the quilt that inspired these little Monkey Wrench blocks, so I can decide what I want to set them with. I only have 10 so far, but they pile up pretty quickly. They are made with 2" finished HSTs, of which I have a few already made, so it's just a matter of putting them together with the little 1" squares, which I strip piece. And I could have got a lot more done, except I was busy chatting too at times.

We played a silly swapping game with ugly FQs, except one was gorgeous and I wanted it badly. So did Mereth, but at the end of the game it was in MY hands! No-one could call this ugly, surely.
Last weekend we went to a clearing sale in a tiny town nearby, where a longtime collector and dealer was having a final sale. There was a lot of rubbish there, but as everything was half price we found a few bargains that we had to have. Mereth and I can spot what appeals to the other, which can be useful when there are lots of people grabbing for the same stuff. I found her a print of terriers thatshe loved, and she found me this crochet motif of an elephant. I think if I had an animal totem it would be an elephant; I love the images of them in Indian art, and I'm sure I have a project brewing there somewhere. Later...too busy right now.This came from the collection of a lady who had to go into a nursing home, and was most upset that her collection of 658 elephants would be broken up. The dealer bought them all, and kept them together for many years before having to sell them herself. This is no. 618. And I don't collect elephants as such; I don't want circus elephants and tourist carvings and plastic monstrosities. Just occassionally something appeals to me and I want it.

My friend Meggie collects owls, so I thought I'd show her this tape measure that belonged to my great-grandmother, who was a tailoress. I'm sure she didn't use this professionally, it's too fragile for that. In out childhood it lived on my Gran's dressing table, and we used to reel out the tape measure and wind it back again. Alas, some enthusiastic grandchild broke the mechanism, so it no longer works, but it's still a favourite.
And the penguins? I mentioned in a previous post that I have an irrational fear of being reincarnated as a penguin. These little chaps make me smile, and be grateful that I have hands to hold things.....

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I just can't seem to get it together enough to come up with a new blog post. There's too much else demanding my attention just lately. So I figure I'll just show the blocks I'm working on in my spare moments. I kitted these last year sometime, and have 10 made. I ran out of the white shirting, so I need to find a replacement for the next 10 blocks. I would love to be able to buy bolts of white shirting fabric; I have plenty of cream shirtings, but very little white. It's a good excuse to go shopping, but I can't find any online either. Dang!

I'm stalled on the Double Anvil too, the border is being a problem. We have a trip planned to a fabric shop with lovely reproduction lines, so maybe I will find something and can get that top finished. It's been so long since I completed a top that I feel quite cranky. I need to see progress! I've quilted quilts and made bindings, and done a truckload of work, but I seem to measure progress in completed tops only....

Matt rang up the other day and told us to come out and see the tree that fell down near their house. These huge gum trees are nick-named Widow-makers, because of their habit of dropping their branches without warning. He and his mate were luckily nowhere near this when it went down, exploding on impact and sending a cloud of dirt and dust into the air. He said it was quite spectacular. The fallen branch is balanced on this broken bough, which was driven 18" into the ground. The force behind it must have been immense.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another week has flown past, with so much achieved that I think I need to sit down and do nothing for a whole day to recover. My DS is installed in the red bedroom, and has made it his own, as teenage boys do. That means all his clothes are on the floor and the bed is unmade. And the sitting room is full of guitar equipment while my laptop contains Frank Gambale and Chick Corea music (Jazz I think....) and links to computer warehouses. It's all good though, as he has worked on the big computer and made it behave nicely, and he has learnt to hang up wet towels. We are getting on fine.

The Adelaide show was great, I talked to so many people I nearly lost my voice. Caught up with old friends, and met lots of new ones. I do love catching up with so many people, after my cloistered time in the office and sewing room.

As to what I bought, well you'd expect me to buy this, wouldn't you? It's so pretty!
But this is not my usual style at all. It's a bundle of hand dyes from my friend Lisa Walton, and I fell in love with the marbeled texture and wonderful colours. They are much richer in real life than my computer is showing. I can't wait to cut into them..... Sometimes I get a little bored of only working with reproduction fabric, I just need to be different for a while.

I picked up another machine on Monday, a wide format plotter, which I think I love as much as Miz Millhouse. It prints my pantos on 10' long paper, and we all stood around watching it print and marvelling at it's perfection. I call him Gilbert.

Miz Millhouse has been busy; this is a little checkerboard quilt that I custom quilted, just to see if I remembered how to do it. It stayed on the frame for three days, which is far too long for such a little quilt, but I could only find scraps of time to actually work on it. It's a sweet little thing, and is pinned up on the board where I can admire it as I work. I will try to get some quilts bound this weekend, and this will be first in line.
On the machine now is Mereth's Fancy Bowtie, being quilted with her FeatherMe design. I'll let her show you the closeups of the details. It's a lot of fun to choose patterns and threads, and to watch the machine create the stitching. We're still not sick of watching her at work.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

This is a quilt that I put together using Bonnie's instructions from her Quiltville website. It doesn't photograph properly, the colours are very rich in real life, but they always look grey on my computer. I quilted it with one of my pantos, Celtic Scroll. The rows of the panto run from top to bottom of the photo, but there is a diagonal line to the overall pattern so that it's hard to see the rows of the panto. That's a good thing. I love this panto on Log Cabins and checkerboard quilts, really breaks up the straight lines of the piecing and gives the quilt movement.

We took another flying trip to Adelaide yesterday, for Mereth's study course and to run business errands for me. It's so hard to leave Miz Millhouse, but lots of other stuff demands precedence right now. There is a big craft show being held in Adelaide, and I will be helping Kaye on the Gammil stand over the weekend.

I will also be collecting my DS from the airport, he's arriving tomorrow for an extended stay. He thinks he's here for a holiday, so I'll break it to him gently that he's going to be working! I hope he's prepared to start straight away, printing and handling orders and getting my computers tuned up. It's hard to get a good tech guy, sometimes you have to breed them yourself. He's come a long way since the days when he put flattened Smartie boxes in the floppy drive slot and then denied all knowledge..... (Smarties are candy like M&Ms but bigger, if US readers aren't familiar with them).

This is another photo from our drive in the country last week. I've always loved this tiny little building in Caltowie, built with as much care and attention to detail as the bigger buildings. I'm sure it's builders had plans for additions and expansions, but they never happened.
I like the green door, and all the different textures of stone and metal and wood.
This fuchsia is flowering mightly on my front porch, such a pretty, dainty flower. The garden shops are full of new season fuchsias, and I have bought three that I couldn't resist. I've been deprived of their beauty for 26 years, so now I intend to indulge my love of them.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's been a quiet day, a bit of sightseeing with Kaye and Bruce, a bit of teaching, a bit of playing on the machine. Mereth has bonded with it nicely, and is free-handing happily, filling up a bit of spare fabric at the bottom of the second quilt.I like more formal designs, whereas she likes to invent organic sort of patterns as she goes along. We have totally different ways of working in that respect.

OOOPS! Looks like it's all been a bit too much for Mereth.....
Actually she's just lying under the frame admiring her stitches from underneath.

Hang on Millhouse, you're in for a ride.

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Miz Marjorie Millhouse is stitching away as I type, finishing the second quilt. What a day!!!!!!

Kaye and Bruce arrived just after lunch and the truck was unloaded with the help of some big strong guys. It took most of the afternoon to set up the table and unpack the machine, and then it was time to put on a quilt and see if it worked.

Mereth got her first official lesson from Kaye, and Bruce gave me some machine maintenance tips. The first quilt was finished soon after tea, and now I'm sitting up late finishing off the second top.

When I pieced these tops I never dreamed I would be quilting them on my own Statler, it's like a dream. It will be such a thrill to walk in here tomorrow and know that I have a whole day of playing ahead of me.

And I might let my little sister have some fun too, as a reward for all that furniture shifting over the last month. I just hope we don't have to shift Miz Millhouse for a loooong time.

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