Saturday, October 31, 2009

I've had one of those busy, busy weeks that saw me jumping from one job to another and back again, and I really hate that now. I can't seem to multi-task easily any more, so it's disconcerting to have to stoke the photocopier with paper, set the Statler stitching, run back to the computer and add things to the website, race back to the machine to rethread and restart while the site loads, whip things out of the copier and sort into packs, answer the door or the phone, back to the computer to work out why the !@@#$%^^ thing has errors in the upload. I deserve my weekend off. And I'm even happier that I did fix the problems and get all the jobs done on time, or I'd still be tinkering with it all. Time for a rest.

The quilt is a beauty, pieced by a lady in her 80s as a birthday present for her son. She just wanted a panto, and Bell's Beach was perfect for that, but as soon as I saw those compass blocks I knew I wanted to use the Creative Studio software to trim out the panto, and quilt the blocks separately. Mereth declined a lesson in CS, and left me to it.

It went without a hitch, I designed a simple block of lines radiating from the centre, positioned it over each compass and trimmed out the area behind the pieced centre. I had so much fun, enthusing to Mereth about how clever the software was, and how I could do the same thing different ways, and look! I could now edit the pattern in CS and...

I believe her comment was 'Whatever." She's the freehand queen, and I'm the geek who like to mess about with the software, and that's a good thing. We complement each other.

This quilt is a charity quilt a customer made for a little 3yo cancer survivor, and I designed a panto with stars and hearts for it. Stars are a symbol of hope, and the hearts are for love; it's nice to quilt with symbols, to make the quilting more meaningful.Mereth actually quilted this one, after my job of designing the panto was done. Then I had to scarper off and get to work on all the other stuff.

I'm glad I'm busy, but I keep saying to Mereth 'I want it to to be Christmas now!' For some reason I'm ready to put up decorations and bake goodies and do jigsaws and sing Carols, at least a month too early. It's going to be a hectic Christmas this year, so I guess I just want to have a quiet time first. I see Tazzie is feeling the same way; maybe a little tree in the workroom, and a jigsaw to puzzle over, would be a good way to start the Christmas season this year. Even if it is only November.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

After two dedicated sessions in the sewing room the Star Struck top is finished, and I'm very grateful. (For some reason I was referring to this as Spinning Stars, and Bonnie actaully calls it Star Struck; I would have realised that straight away if I hadn't been too lazy to go and link it the first time, duh!)This seemed to take forever to get done, I have no idea why. It wasn't hard at all, I think I just may have become bored with the controlled colour scheme. I need to break out and throw a whole bunch of scraps together, just for fun.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out though, and I hope John will like it when it's presented to him as a house warming present. He's shifting house next month, so it's great that this quilt was already underway before we even found out. It's just one of those things that are meant to be.

I was ready to just slap the borders on and call it done, when it occured to me that it would be interesting to add the little red triangles in the border to complete the hour glass shapes. It wasn't hard at all, and I can see myself doing this again. All I did was measure the distance between the two straight seams of the red triangles along the edge; I cut a border strip this length, plus 1/2" and put the appropriate colour flippy triangle on each end. The other strips to complete each border just had a single flippy triangle in the correct colour, and the strips were seamed together to complete the length for the border. It was so easy, and just adds a little extra touch of colour to the inner borders.

I need to run and get to the supermarket before it closes, but I hope to get back into regular posting from now on. I'm getting really intruiged with photography again, so hopefully that will inspire me to put up more photos and posts. Gotta run.....

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This is the full shot of the bright quilt that was on Millhouse last week. It was made with scraps donated by Elaine from the patchwork shop in Jamestown; I made the blocks, and my friend Bev put them together and made the border. We're all pleased with how it turned out, and it will now be donated to the bushfire appeal. Our last lot of quilts will be sent off next week some time.

On my design wall is a Spinning Stars quilt, that just seemed to start itself. I made a few units for the scrap workshop, then the fabric just demanded to be cut, and the patches sewn, and now I'm well on the way to a finished top. While part of my mind was saying 'What have you started this for??" another part was trying to tell me it was the perfect quilt for Mereth's number 1 son, who really needs a nice quilt for his lounge. We spend many nights at his place in Adelaide, enjoying his hospitality, so this will be gifted to him when it's finished. Sometimes my subconcious knows what it's talking about; I should listen more, and not argue.

I was very shocked at how many grey and black fabrics I've collected over the years, all the while acknowledging that it's not even a colour I like. I just seemed to think that they were necessary for a balanced stash; which is poppycock, as most of them had never even been cut into. Some are 12 years old. And even now, I can't cut certain ones up because.... they are too good. I will never understand why I think the way I do about some fabric.
I love the Spinning Stars pattern, it's so effective, and just eats up the scraps. I worked out that each block takes a full 2.5"strip of fabric for the base, and a half strip for the triangle units. I'm making 56 blocks, so that is 2.3 yards just for the blocks. StashBusting! Hmmm. That doesn't sound like much after all; still, I've completely used some fabrics, and made a serious dent in others, and there are still borders and backing to make.

Having begun to ransack the grey fabrics, I think the process will get easier in future. I have a photo in an old magazine of a grey and pink quilt, which probably inspired all this collecting in the first place. I will track that down and put aside the prints that I want to use in it, and then work at using up the greys that are left. I have two drawers and a plastic crate full of them, and I want that amount halved at least.

And another top finished; this was a UFO from about 2000 I think, 3" hexagons cut from my vintage stash, and a lot from Mereth's. It's a charm quilt, no fabric used twice, and contains some truly hideous prints, but all authentic. They came from all sorts of places, leftovers from Mum's sewing, rescued from rubbish bins in secondhand shops, gifted from older friends, picked up in opshops. Some are from my clothing in the 70s, and one is from my daughter's baby outfit. Seeing as she's 22 now, that makes it vintage in my eyes. I might have grumbled a bit as I was making this, about how ugly it was going to be, but now that it's finished I feel a great fondness for it; all those fabrics, all those years since they were made, all the people who have owned them, all add to a history that is unique. It may not be pretty, but it's special.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

This week has involved a lot of travel and teaching, and I'm just a bit relieved that it's over. There's another workshop to teach tomorrow, but that's here at our Hall, so it will be fun and easy. And then next week I can start working on all the chores that were neglected this week.

We left early Wednesday morning to travel to a little spot an hour away, close to Burra. The early morning scenery was so beautiful, I had to stop the car several times so we could take photos.
You can be forgiven for never having heard of this place before, it's tiny and out of the way, but a lovely little town for all that.

The scrap workshop was held in the community hall, and it's a wonderful building, with lots of rooms and a huge hall with a stage. It may not look like much from outside, but it was so well equipped inside. The kitchen was superb, with two sets of sinks, a stove and even an old copper. It would be perfect for a dye workshop as well.

We made lots of scrap blocks during the day, and one lady made some fantastic crumb blocks from this pile. I'm hoping we converted the girls to becoming dedicated Scrappers from now on.
One of these days I'll pop into the Booborowie Pub for a drink or two; it's been there since 1917. I just love our old South Australian buildings.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

This quilt on the machine is a donation quilt, and it's the third quilt that Millhouse worked on yesterday. We have a few deadlines to meet with customer quilts, and every second of Millhouse's time is accounted for. It helps to have two people running the machine, because even though Millhouse is computerised, there's still a lot of standing involved, and it's really hard on the feet. While I'm tending to the machine Mereth can work on designs, or binding other quilts; then she takes over and I have a break from standing. Having said that though, my feet are still aching at the start of a new day; hope my new Crocs help with that.



I found time in between everything else to make the smaller version of my Framed Cross, so now it's just a matter of cutting the kits for the new set of blocks. Can't wait to get started on that one.

Like Judy, I'm always trying to clean up and get organised, and I never get anywhere. Mereth and I have both shuffled furniture around in our sewing rooms recently, to accommodate new Billy bookcases from Ikea. I love the way it is now, but my Stuff is still a shambles. Like a lot of other bloggers, I'm making a committment; from now until New Year, I'm working on UFOs, to try and clear out all the boxes and baskets. I did the same thing when I moved house, and it was very refreshing. I can't imagine what my sewing room would look like now, if I hadn't been so ruthless then.

I said last year that I'd be happy with 10 hand-work UFOs, and 10 machine-work UFOs. I'm thinking now that I can do with less than that, especially the hand-work. 5 is more realistic, given that I have so little time for it. I will have to get all ruthless again, but that's for the Greater Good. I need to finish those projects, or ditch them. Simple.

We are having such a wet start to Spring, it's most unusual. The garden will appreciate it, but for now my back yard is sodden, so there's not a lot I can do out there. Luckily I have loads of potplants, so I can enjoy beauties like this gerbera on my kitchen table. Flowers are so cheerful, they are a lift to the spirit, no matter what the weather.

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