Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Keeping busy

This is our shop, in Crystal Brook.  
It's called Quilts and Collectibles, and we've stocked it with a range of our quilts, some fabric, and many of the gorgeous little things we've collected over the years.  The things in the shop are what we're prepared to part with, we still have lots of treasures at home. Mereth keeps producing wonderful things that I've never seen before, she must have so much stashed away.  I never really had to monitor how much I had, because I have so much storage room; but I'm finally wanting a bit more space, so certain select things are going into the shop.
There are three of us stocking and running it, and we're having fun meeting fellow enthusiasts from all over Australia.  There are so many people travelling in caravans, and they visit our little towns to get an idea of country life. It's interesting to talk to people who've been on the road for a year; I'm pretty sure I couldn't manage without my sewing room for that long.
We've sold a lot of quilts, now there is room on the shelves at home for more, so we can get quilting soon, knowing there is somewhere to put them.  Tops take up much less room, but I have a hankering to finish some of my favourites.
I've had that Royal Winton tea set since 1981; I was moving up to Queensland and I traded all my household furniture for this tea set.  Mereth looked after it for me until I came back in 2007, and I've enjoyed it ever since.  It was a setting for 8, so I kept 2 trios, and a cake plate and sugar bowl, and the rest can go home with someone who loves it.
I made a trial block of my Hunter's Star and scorched it; I am such a klutz at times.  I'll leave it for now, and make the other blocks I have cut out.  I may not need this one, but if I do I can pull it apart and replace the scorched fabric then.  I make so much extra work for myself sometimes.
While I"m manning the shop I've been working on my Moorland blanket, from Attic 24.  It's easy, and I'm always trying to get one more row done.  I'm over half way, and enjoying it so much that I think I'll do one of her other blankets, next winter.  It's getting too hot here to be making rugs.
I'm selling a few of my machines too, they are a talking point with the older folk who come in.  Sometimes it's like we're a little museum, inspiring all these memories in people.


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Back at last

This has been my worst year ever for blogging, there are just so many demands on my time that there has been very little sewing, and nothing finished at all.  I've been busy with family and health concerns, not to mention a new business, but the main problem is I just haven't felt like sewing.  It's been a decade since I fell into such a slump, but I've obeyed my instincts and let all my projects just sit and marinate.  The enthusiasm will return.

My months and months of coughs & colds and tests led to a diagnosis of chronic lung disease, worsened by an allergy to my budgies.  I still have trouble believing that my rescue of that little blue bird, and subsequent friends I bought for it, could lead to impaired lung function, but the tests said otherwise.  So the birds have found another home, I miss their cheerful chatter but it wasn't an option to keep them.

I'm quite healthy except for the fact I can't carry anything, and I get quite breathless if I hurry; it won't get any better, and it might get a lot worse, but for now I'm just going to take each day as it comes.

Another thing I had to give up is gardening, can't take the risk of catching something from potting mix or compost; Mereth has offered to do any repotting that needs to be done, so all I have to do is water things, but the majority of my plants have already been disposed of.  I spend so much time travelling now that I won't be able to keep things watered during summer and it all would die anyway.  Our Mum spent months at a time visiting her 4 children in turn, knowing full well that her garden would suffer in her absence; now I understand how she felt.

But I love my visits to Adelaide to spend time with Seonaid and Isla. 
Isla is 18 months old now, that time went so quickly.  I don't see nearly enough of her, but there are so many other things to fit in.

I help Mereth with her twin grand-babies; I try to go in once or twice a week and help with the night feeds. 
They are getting closer to sleeping all through the night, and it will be such a relief when they do.  The sleep deprivation was easier to handle when I was 28, but I'm 30 years older now!

And there's the new business; Mereth and I and a friend opened a shop in February, selling our gorgeous little things that we have collected for the last 30 years.  It's amazing to look around the shop and realise everything there came out of our households.  We have so much Stuff.  But it fits in nicely with my resolve to get rid of 30% of my stuff, and we are making a lot of people happy with our treasures.  I will take some photos tomorrow, ran out of time today.

This morning I sat in my sewing room and made a cutting list of all the projects that need to be moved on.  If I have a few spare moments I can cut these pieces and they'll be ready to sew whenever I get a few more spare moments.
I'm making some blue and white squares surrounded by strips, which are very simple.  They are what I can sew if I have 5 minutes to spare.
I started a Checkered Lattice from the Missouri Quilt Company, which I will work on in bigger blocks of time.
I'm STILL making Flying Geese for the border of my Economy block quilt.  Lots of those still to do, but thankfully I have all of them cut now.

I'm also cutting out a Hunter's Star with the Go Cutter, so I'm really giving the blue fabrics a workout. I might not have ANY left after this.

I'm learning how to use my smart phone to make life easier, uploading pictures to Blogger etc.  If I master this new technology I just may be able to blog more in future; there's hope yet that I can use these new-fangled machines properly!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

My number one task for the weekend was to deal with the overflowing scrap containers on my cutting table.  I religiously keep all the leftovers and snippets and strips, and then don't store them sensibly.  I can't utilize them if they are a jumbled mess, so it was time to do some organizing.

There are so many layers, dating back several quilts, it's like an archaeological dig.  By the time I've excavated down to the bottom of each container I've revisited four or five projects.
1.5" strips and squares
It didn't feel very rewarding at the time, but I kept going. Only sheer determination kept me pressing and stacking, then cutting and stacking, until there weren't any more scraps to deal with.
3"strips and Square In Square parts
I should have felt even mild triumph, but my over-riding thought was 'I'm never going to do THAT again!'
Strips to send through the Go Cutter for triangles
It was a whole morning dedicated to a couple of boxes of bits that I had no immediate plans for.  In future I either deal with these little bits during a project, or I just donate them to someone who adores them (Mereth!!)
Totally random strip sizes
But look, there is my cutting table with not a thing to clutter it up.  I can start cutting for new projects any time I feel like it.
Of course that will be sooner rather than later, because another quilt from the Quilt Divas bok caught my attention.
All those 1.5" strips need to be cut up into something, so I worked out the dimensions of this block using that size strip. The blocks in the quilt shown are 4"and the pattern in the book makes a 5" one. Mine are 5.75" roughly, because I can't be cutting strange sizes for a hundred or more blocks.
Talk about cute overload!  I can't wait the make a heap more of these.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I sewed my Economy blocks into strips a couple of days ago, and then stalled.  I really don't like putting sashing together without corner posts, and I let that put me off.  I read somewhere that some quilters actually use corner posts of the same fabric, so that the seams are easy to align, but it's all the same fabric; yes that works, but I couldn't bring myself to do that either.

It only took an hour this morning to cut all the sashing strips I needed, and mark the seam intersections on them so I can line up all the rows of blocks nicely
 I let the smallest things derail my sewing sometimes! Now I can spend the afternoon getting the blocks all joined together ready for that Flying Geese border.

I bought this book for Mereth for Christmas, and promptly borrowed it back.
There are some lovely quilts in there, and cheddar features in quite a few of them. This basket is really appealing to me right now, and I have the perfect match for the setting fabric, there on the left.  It's a solid, and I"m not used to working with solids, but I should give it a go anyway.
 I could use a whole heap of other cheddars in the basket blocks, it would be so much fun.
I have two other fabrics that would work for the sashing if I'm not brave enough to use the solid.
And this Ohio Star would be perfect for my Quaker red fabrics too.  I'm just swamped in possibilities here,
So pretty!
 I'm not going to cut anything new out till I deal with the scraps on my table,  There are so many that I can't move without knocking over the stacks.  This afternoon I intend to deal with this pile of bits and pieces.  Time to restore order in the sewing room.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

10 days into the new year, and finally I have time to stop and look around and decide what I'd like to do next.  I spent 10 days at my DD's place after Christmas, and I've been back again for another weekend, which hasn't left much time to myself.  Add in family visits and work commitments and it's no wonder that my house is still in upheaval and my sewing room is unorganized.

I'm going to pack away all my spinning gear, it's too hot to be working with fleece at the moment, so it's just taking up room in the sewing space.  I started spinning samples of two Corriedale X fleeces for a Fair Isle project, one grey and one nearly black.  It's a challenge, spinning the two colours to be exactly the same thickness, but I'm learning how to gain more control.

I'll keep knitting the sample and decide exactly what patterns I want to use, and when the cool weather returns I'll be able to start spinning and knitting in earnest.  This hot weather is the perfect time to wash fleece tho, so I'll tackle that over the next few weeks.  And I just might start experimenting with dyeing, I've always wanted to try that.

I started cutting out a red and white quilt, from some Judie Rothermel reds that have been maturing in the stash for about 6 years.

They are from a range called Quaker Quilts, and I've been trying to find the perfect project for them for years.
I've got enough to make two or three quilts, so I'll cut out this one and I'll keep looking for another pattern to use up the rest of them.  I want to use them all together, I don't like them mixed up with my other reproductions, and I should never buy them again after this.

I've finished all the Economy blocks, and this afternoon I'll cut out some Flying Geese units for a border.
I'm going to sash it with a cheddar fabric that is about 15 years old, an oldie but a goodie.  I'm not sick of the Square In Square blocks yet, so I may pick out another pattern using them.  I've always wanted to make a Rolling Stone quilt, I may consult Pinterest on that.

Nephew John is moving house on Thursday, so it will be all hands on deck to get that accomplished smoothly.  He and Liz are expecting twins in May, and a bigger house is a necessity.  Mereth and I are more than willing to help with the babies, once they arrive.  It will be fun to have a photo taken of the twin babies and twin Nanas.


Friday, December 02, 2016

I felt the need to rearrange my sewing room two weeks ago, so everything was in a state of upheaval.  Then I made the mistake of shifting my living room around at the same time, and now the level of chaos is daunting. I'm slowly putting it all to rights, but it's certainly cut down on my sewing time.

I hope the new sewing room arrangement will be fun to work in, I moved in a table and chairs so I can do handwork, or design work there.  I've moved practically everything, so it was disappointing not to find a small ruler that has been missing for months.  I looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  I hate losing a favourite item, I don't want to have to buy another one, but it had 1/16th markings and I found that really useful.  The old one will show up once I've ordered it again.

My new project is from a very old magazine, Fall 1992.  Orange and brown were all the rage then, as were sampler quilts.

I'm making this Economy block quilt, in greys, lilacs and pinks.
I love that sashing, it's more pumpkin than cheddar in the magazine, but my camera has distorted the colour.  I'll be shopping in Adelaide next week, and if I can't find a pumpkin fabric I like, then it's going to be cheddar anyway.
 I'm really enjoying these subtle combinations.  I have 14 blocks made; they are only 9" so I may do more than the 30 in the magazine, I'll decide that later.

Today I did a lot of cutting and got another 17 kitted.
I didn't enjoy cutting all the little triangles for the SNS units, but I just gritted my teeth and soldiered on till they were all done.  Now I have them all  in little baggies next to the machine, ready for sewing sessions over the weekend.  I'm also going to make some neutral 4-patches for Bonnie's mystery; the clues arrive here at 10pm on Friday, so I will be able to check that out while I'm sewing the first clue.  I'll do 40 or so, just so I can participate, but I haven't time to do the whole 221!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The last few months are just a blur, so busy with trips back and forth to see the family; when I'm home I'm playing catch up, trying to do all the things I should have done, instead of running away for cuddles with Isla.

But I don't regret that, I'm so lucky to have unlimited access to my granddaughter; two of my friends don't have the luxury of being allowed contact with their grandchildren.
 I treasure every moment I spend with my baby girl.

 I've also managed to catch every cold, flu and germ out there, so it's been five months of coughing and illness; Isla had three months of illness too, so we were both sick together.  She's over it now, and I'm on my 5th course of antibiotics.  Something has to work soon....

The weather has been kind, lots of rain to keep the garden alive, but the weeds went mad, and it's taken me several weeks to restore order.  We've had such a mild spring, only 3 or 4 hot days, it's like a miracle!  I hope summer is just as kind, and we don't have to struggle through the temps of 43 and higher.  I'm so over the really hot weather, can't deal with it at all.

I've been doing a little bit of sewing, but I spent most of the winter spinning fleeces and knitting.  Knitting is so portable, great for travel, but I hardly finished anything.  I'm not that fussed, I've enjoyed the slower pace without the pressure of finishing stuff.  It will get done.

I've almost finished the Ocean Waves quilt that was on my design wall, just borders to go.
I was so overwhelmed by all those intersections to match, it was nerve-wracking lining things up every freaking inch-and-a-half. I'm amazed that it went together as well as it did, because I was not caring much by the end of it.
I don't think I'll put my hand up for anything like that soon.  I need some easy patterns, and some carefree sewing.

DD has actually said she wants a quilt for the baby, so that will be a fun thing to do.  I have a design brief of pale pastels and lots of white, so I will be raiding the stash and doing a bit of shopping for that; it will be fun to make a more modern quilt.
My leader-ender quilt was bumped into primary place, and that's now a finished top.
It didn't use up all the scraps, so I'll have to come up with a new pattern.  But not right away, I want a leader-ender that uses bigger pieces, so I may go back to my 2" squares and make some brown nine-patches.  And to think I used to hate them so much!

Bonnie's first mystery clue comes out on Friday; I don't think I'm going to do it as I have very limited time this year, but I will make a few of each unit.  It's nice to just play along without any pressure.

Mereth and I are still helping out with the mail deliveries, despite quitting more than once; it's such a horribly busy time of year, and they haven't found anyone to replace us right away, so we are still working.  We each do 6 days a fortnight, and our boss fills in for whichever of us is having the week off.  It's such bliss to get up late, stay at home all day, or decide to take a trip somewhere.  After Christmas they will be training a new person, if that person manages to get their motorbike licence; that's the thing that precludes so many people from doing our job. That and the police check.....

I have a new project on the design wall, no pesky intersections, and I'll be back with pictures later.
I really hope I can get back into the habit of blogging, the last 5 months are unrecorded, and that's sad....

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