Thursday, November 29, 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.....


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.


Thursday, November 15, 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.


Monday, November 05, 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.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

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.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's very tiring being a responsible adult. Lots of work and cleaning and sensible decisions. To get me through all that boring stuff I choose something I really want to do, and use it as a treat to keep me motivated. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. For weeks I've been using a trip to a neighbouring town as my reward; yesterday, having done three of the four things on my list, I sanpped and called Mereth. 'We're going to Jamestown' I declared.

Jamestown is a pretty place about 45 minutes from here, a beautiful drive in this late spring weather. I had the coffee and snacks packed in minutes, picked up Mereth and we were off. Our destination is also home to a very nice patchwork shop, but that is entirely co-incidental. We used to come here with Mum, and drive around choosing which house we wanted to live in, and which garden we loved the most. Lots of happy memories there.Ahhh, Roses!
I love hollyhocks, but have never grown them. Mereth said they selfseed in my front garden here, so maybe I can finally have some of my own.

At the patchwork shop I reminded Mereth to remind me that I wasn't in the market for more fabric, and I didn't want to buy anything.

Didn't work a bit. The nicest garden of the day was actually in another tiny town; the roses forming a hedge were breath-taking, and I love all that riot of flowers; perfect cottage garden.
And this is a curious little house, only half a house really. Maybe they intended to build the other half later, and never did. I love the blue it's been painted, very pretty.

Back to work now....

Every morning when I walk into the workroom I brush into a dangling spider web. Just a thread or two, but enough to make me stop and reel it out of my hair and wonder, Is this like Charlotte's Webb, or Night Of The Arachnid?

Yesterday I was in the workroom, auditioning fabric for the border of the Anvil, and noticed a spider that had just abseiled down from the ceiling and landed on the lucite table round the sewing machine. So that was the culprit! She looked harmless until she turned over, and then

(link to picture of horrid Red Back Spider) Don't look if you don't like spiders!

Yep, definite Night Of The Arachnid stuff.

I investigated a couple of sites for info, and one was written by someone with English as a second language. I had to smile when I read 'The most effective way to control Red Back Spider is to find them out and distort...'

I certainly distorted this one!

My DD was bitten by one as a child, and I can say with certainty, these things HURT. We spent 8 hours in the Emergency room, and it was awful. Her arm was painful for weeks. I don't want to share nicely with these critters.

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