Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I was asked about the templates I used for the Sunburst, and you will find them here at the Marti Michel store. There is more info on the whole range of templates here. I don't have much use for the squares and triangles, because I love strip and quick piecing methods so much, but many beginners find them to be wonderful. I think I will be buying the Winding Ways set though, I've wanted them for years. I can handle curved piecing by machine, it's doing it by hand that I don't like.

What to use as a photo today? Today is the first day at university for my DS, and I just drove him out there. Luckily it's local, so he doesn't have to leave home or anything drastic, I couldn't cope with that! My mind went back to his first day at school, 12 years ago;I had shed a few tears, and thought all those thoughts about my baby growing up, but I was also relieved to be moving on to the next step. And that's the way I feel today too. Except I feel about 30 years older, not 12!

At that time I was handquilting a Friendship Star, and I came home from walking DS to school, and quilted for four hours straight. The first thing I did was to quilt the date into the sashing, as a permanent record, so I'll always know that he started school on January 31, 1994. I don't have a quilt on the frame today, but I've blogged about it, so that's a record of the day.

And just to get out of the past for a moment, this is what is on my design wall right now. I put the pattern for the Double-V blocks on my website, but I've hardly had a chance to do anything with the blocks since. I have about 13 settings sketched out in my workbook, and this is just one. The alternating cross blocks are fun, and I'm using up a lot of dark greens that I no longer love, so it's a good stashbusting exercise. I'm keeping it green and red and cream so that it will have a Christmas feel, and can go on our bed each year at that time.

Two more days of computer work, and then I'm going to sew for a whole day. I will have earned it.


Friday, February 24, 2006

These late night stints watching the Winter Olympics are starting to take their toll. I have to have a sleep each afternoon to recover, but I don't have a problem with that. My DH comes home for lunch each day, and we usually have a power nap of 45 minutes or so. Our hi-flyer friends in Melbourne, who commute 75 minutes to work each day, were astounded at that, but there has to be some advantage to living in a small town. 4 minutes drive to work is one of them, lunch at home is another, and a wee sleepie when you need it is another. Some of the worst times I've known have been when I was desperately tired and couldn't take time off to sleep - just horrible.

I still don't have a lot of free time, but I threw common sense aside yesterday and sewed for 15 minutes. That felt good, I could just feel the stress vanishing. And it's made me more determined to finish my obligations and move on.

This is another old quilt, I finished it about 5 years ago. I used the Marti Michel sunburst templates, and had a ball making the blocks. they were fantastic fun to make, and I have another 30 pieced and waiting to be put together. .....waiting......waiting...... After 5 years I should get busy and do something with them.

Meredith and I used to ring each other once a week, and talk for three hours, because the phone company charged us the same whether we talked for 45 minutes or 3 hours. I bought us headphones, so that we could talk and sew, and each of these blocks represents a phone call. It was a very companionable way to sew, and I have something to show for my time.

Patchworkers in our little town aren't generally the Maverick kind, and the fact that I used different backgrounds for each block just threw them totally. 'But WHY?' was the general comment. Sigh. 'Cause I get so freaking bored doing the same thing again and again, that's why. The background of the middle block in the second row is actaully a four-patch that I centered the sunburst over, just for fun.

Now we chat through Yahoo messenger, and I need to put some handpiecing near the computer so I can use that time well. The temptation is to cut out a new project instead of finishing one of the many already in existence. I will try to be good.

It looks like I will be able to go the US in May, for one of the big machine quilting shows. Can't get excited, not till I have the tickets in my hot little hand, but it's looking distinctly possible. May even be able to hook up with the divine Miss Bonnie....


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I can't believe how quickly the time is going by, and I'm only managing to post once a week. I'm disappointed with myself. But I am busy with lots of other stuff, and I seem to run out of energy before I get round to posting anything. Maybe I should do it in the morning.

I'm resorting to pictures of old quilts, as I haven't been able to sew a single stitch in the last week. It's so frustrating. Never mind.

This is my favourite quilt, out of all the ones I've made. I call it Irish Star, for two reasons. One is that it doesn't look like a star at all, even though it is made up of simple string pieced diamonds. The other reason is because I played Irish folk music CDs constantly as I pieced and quilted this.

It turned out exactly as I wanted it to, and it's just a lovely quilt. It used up a huge amount of my scraps, all of them in fact, and I had to resort to cutting up good fabric for it, but it was well worth it.

It's in America at the moment, having been in a few shows, and I'm looking forward to getting it back soon. If I hang it behind the TV I'll certainly have something to look at...

There's only a few more days of summer left, for which I am grateful. It will stay hot here until April at least, but once I know it's officially autumn I feel better able to cope with the heat.

The poor cats have suffered from the heat, and queue up outside the door to the air-conditioned room, waiting to be let in. Then there's a cat on every chair and no room for us!

Max can get himself into the strangest positions. I initially thought he'd been sat on and mangled, but he just looked at me and yawned. Nothing to see here, just a cat doing his thing....


Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm still busy with new designs, but I'm on the last lap I think. I can almost start planning what I'm going to do after all the work is finished. A sewing marathon is right up there on my list of priorities.

I've been hand-sewing while I watch the Olympics at night, and I'm a few seams away from finishing a quilt top I started two years ago. I cut it out as hand-sewing for a trip to South Australia to visit Mum and Meredith in November 2004, so I can date it accurately. It's been a fun carry-along project on my other travels, not too many pieces and no thought involved. I will post a full picture in a few days time when the thing is in one piece.

This is my hexagon project, like Bonnie's; it's 15 years old. I made it to use up piles of tiny shop samples. Now I have even more of those samples, so it's time I got back into it. My problem is I have no overall plan for it, I just like sewing things together. I will have to sit down and at least plan the next few rows. It's so easy though, there aren't a lot of stitiches along each 1/2"side....

I love getting those shop samples, especially the 2"ones of a whole fabric line. I've never in my life bought a whole range of fabric, but with the samples I can have a little piece of everything.

I adore those old English hexagon quilts, that must have taken years to put together. That's why this project is called my 60 year quilt; I'm aiming to have it done by the time I'm 60, but if not, I don't care. If I stitch on it for 60 years I'll be happy with that too. I began it when I was 32, so I guess that will only make me 92 when I finish it....


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I have been spending long days on the computer, drafting and typing, and now it's caught up with me. If I don't cease and desist right now I will end up with serious nerve and muscle problems that take weeks to heal. I have learnt my lesson from past experiences though, so I'm off to take a holiday in my sewing room and not do anything computer-wise except check my mail and fill orders. I just may have some finished projects to show by the weekend.

I've had a nasty week anyway, fixing the termite damage in my room and cooking meals in the hot-box kitchen. Salads, we should be eating salads at this time of the year, not lasagne and curries and casseroles. I at least thought to cook double amounts, so there are some freezer meals for the next week.

I snapped and bought this.

And this.

Good thing I'm not part of the no-buy group on Stashbuster; I don't regret buying more fabric, but I wish my stash were better organised so that the new stuff had a home to go to. It will sit on my cutting table for weeks until I bundle it into a basket and then forget where I put it. Must..get..organised..

Just for fun, try using the mouse with your left hand. Takes some getting used to, but it extends my time on the computer if I can nurse my aching right hand. They say you should learn something new every few months to keep your mind active.

My sister Meredith just posted a piccie of her hexagon star quilt on her blog, so here's mine. It's all handpieced, and it was my travelling project for many years. The little stars were pieced on my teaching trips, from Melbourne to Sydney, Tasmania to outback Queensland, even in Chicago and Paducah. The ones I pieced there I marked with a Pigma pen so I can find them again. It was a lovely portable project, only one diamond template that fitted on a 2"strip. I made more than 115 stars on my travels.

Does it mean anything that when we were kids I was always dressed in blue, and Meredith was always dressed in pink?

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