Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I had hoped that this year would be a lot better than last year's jumble of trips away and sad times, but it's not off to a good start. We have just come back from a week in Brisbane, attending the funeral of my darling Father-In-Law. It was all very upsetting, as my MIL has been left on her own after 52 years of marriage. It's awful living so far away from family, it's a 7 hour trip down there, and I think I loathe just about every inch of it, having driven it so many times in the last 26 years. I hate knowing that we can't be there for her.

Dad was a fantastic gardener, so I brought back some of his lilies to remember him by. It will be therapeutic to pot them into good soil and see them thrive. Brisbane has such severe water restrictions that most of his garden was dying, so I've given these few things a reprieve from certain death. We need RAIN in the catchment areas of the dams, and it seems to be falling everywhere but there.

And life bowls along despite whatever else is happening, so I have arrived home to a sea of work and a garden on it's last gasp and cats that are determined to tell me about every minute of their abandonment. Get over it Guys! So if this sounds like a whinge then it probably is. I want something nice to happen.

This morning we have been out to the Uni to collect textbooks for DS, and his course begins again next week. I like driving him to Uni because it makes me schedule my gym visits more regularly; if I'm out of the house anyway I may as well go to the gym.

My poor sewing room has been overtaken by a sea of paper as I print out several huge orders, and I can't get near the machine for even a stitch. I haven't been able to work on the orphan blocks at all, so they will have to sit on the design wall a little longer. But I do like that Tumbler bit, I may have to cut out a whole quilt like that.

I am going to make an effort today to get the room put back the way it should be, and sew something, anything! Even mending would be better than nothing.

I like this Bear Paw variation; wouldn't mind making a whole quilt like this.

This is another quilt that came home from a quilt shop. It's one that I use to teach beginners. I like the brown and blue colour scheme, they are my two favoutire colours I think.

Like everyone else, I get a huge amount of spam and junk mail. Most of the titles are nonsensical, but some are intruiging. I liked the one that advised me "Have a Spatial". A Spatial sounds quite interesting, sort of a cross between a facial, Feng Shui and an out of body experience. Anyone know where I can get me one? Might be just what I need.


We have been having some wild and stormy weather lately, with tropical thunderstorms and torrential rain. This tree on the road outside our house lost branches in the worst of it, blocking the road. It must have been a bit hairy driving around in those conditions, which is why I was entrenched in my sewing room.

When I came upstairs the back porch was full of brimming buckets of water; DS Rhys had discovered water pouring through the verandah ceiling as the gutters overflowed. I'm glad he was upstairs to deal with it, because I didn't have a clue it waws happening. The funniest thing was that the three cats had taken refuge on the kitchen table, absolutely horrified at the deluge of water. They had to be coaxed down, quaking, as if from Noah's Ark. "Water, Mum!' Bobcat told me, trembling. 'Water coming down INSIDE!' He had to have a snack to calm his nerves.

I was sewing this basket block, just to get the measurements and the cutting requirements in place. I'm not going to make a quilt or anything.... I truly am trying to do something with the orphan collection, and today a few ideas came together. Nothing to see as yet, but I know what I want to do now.

It's hard to ignore the Valentine's Day advertising, but I'm doing my best. It's not a tradition here in Australia, and I don't see that we need to feel guilty for not buying stuff and giving cards and making Hallmark even richer.

And the whole school thing where all the kids in the class give every other kid in the class a valentine, well isn't that sort of like a football match where everyone has their own ball? What's the point? (I know, I'm a heartless cynic, you don't need to tell me...)


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another set of blocks turned into a finished top, and it didn't take long despite my false start.

This quilt actually came about because of the quilt on Lois' bed in Malcolm In The Middle. I only caught a fleeting glimpse of it, but liked the pinwheels and the brown stripe setting blocks. I couldn't find just the right brown stripe, but this browny-pink dotted geometric looks pretty good too.

This one isn't very big either, 60" x 76", a nice single bed size. I was sorely tempted to make it big enough for at least a double bed, but sanity prevailed. No more big quilts for a while yet. And now I have leftovers to go into my orphan block quilt.

I pulled out all my lonely blocks and UFOs that I will never complete, and sorted them into piles. I have a pile of blue/black/grey/white blocks, a heap of multicoloured cheerful ones, and another lot that are more antiquey colours with a lot of brown and green. It's very confusing and overwhelming to look at such a strange and motley collection, and I was tempted to stuff them all back into the drawer again. But I didn't, and I will let the antiquey ones sit on my design wall for a few days until they start talking to me. They will have to, in the end. Resistance is futile.....


Friday, February 09, 2007

I try not to be superstitious. It's such a silly foible to have, believing in omens and knocking on wood and worrying. My great-grandmother was extremely superstitious, and my great-uncle once caused her to faint dead away by wearing black and opening an umbrella inside her house. Still, I have never been able to put new shoes on the table without experiencing a feeling that I'm pushing the envelope in some way. (Extreme bad luck will result...) I refrain from running in, screaming, from another room when my daughter is about to put the new shoebox on the kitchen table.

But in yesterday's post, when I said my new project was simple and should be whipped up in a few days I did wonder if I'd jinxed myself. And I knew I had when I discovered that I had only half of the blocks that I'd made, and the rest were completely AWOL. So I spent most of yesterday wandering around contemplating where on earth they could be, and tearing apart every cupboard and set of drawers trying to find the container. I knew where it was before I moved back into my downstairs sewing room; I just didn't know where it was now.

Logically, it always has to be in the last place you look, because once you find it you stop looking. And late in the afternoon I contemplated, yet again, the shelves in the cupboard containing all my backing fabrics. I knew that it was the most logical place for me to have stored the box of blocks, but they weren't there. In a flash of insight I realised that the material didn't reach all the way to the back of the cupboard, leaving a space....

I'm glad to have found the wretched blocks, cross to have wasted a day looking for them, and musing over the fact that it was both the first place I looked for them, as well as the last.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

These blocks were bugging me, and not in a good way. I made them to use up the leftovers from my Grey Havens quilt, and then they refused to co-operate when I tried to put them together. Those madder squares in the corners kept forming a secondary pattern when I tried to sash them with 2" sashing and cornerstones, and I didn't like the effect. I tried dozens of settings and different fabrics and nothing clicked. I din't mind the green and navy setting I showed a couple of posts ago, but Meredith obligingly pointed out that my Square-in-a square blocks have that setting too. And I didn't want to duplicate it. So thanks Meredith, the delay was all your doing.

I finally tried this dirty browny-grey print that I adore, and it worked. I wanted the quilt to have that ancient, multi-patterned look of 18th Century quilts, kind of like a faded carpet. I had just enough to make the sashings, so that is another metre and a half of fabric gone from the stash for good. And seeing it was a piece that I've been hoarding it counts for Judy's challenge.

As a bonus, one of the fabrics that didn't work for this quilt proved to be perfect for another set of blocks, so that will be my next project. It's a simple one, so I should be able to whip it up in a few days. Famous last words. It took great resolve and determination to get this latest top finished, and I had to ignore a few chores this afternoon so that I could get it in one piece. I kept repeating to myself 'I'm going to blog about this tonight, I AM
going to blog about this...'

I stuck to another resolve and kept this small, only 20 blocks. It will be a nice wall quilt, or one for the couch. The colours are very subtle and muted, and look much nicer in natural light than in the photo. I do like muddy combinations though. I'm not much into brights; love what other people do, but I don't buy bright material myself.

I'm going to pull out all my orphan blocks tomorrow and see if I can make a top from them. Just about every top I made last year had leftover blocks, so I will play around and see if I can be as creative as Bonnie....

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