Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mereth's flannel quilt;
my flannel quilt, which is now quilted and on my lounge;
Rob's quilt on the machine being quilted. It was duly presented to him last week, and is now on his bed in his place in Newcastle. Mission 'Quilt' accomplished!

Last week was such a blur! I had that burst of quilting activity at the start, then on Wednesday drove Mereth down to Adelaide to meet up with Rob, spent Thursday running business errands in Adelaide before driving home, printed and packed patterns all Friday as well as taking in 4 quilts from various customers, drove back to Adelaide on Saturday to pick up Mereth from the airport, drove home on Sunday, taught a class on Monday and spent all day yesterday catching up on work that had been shoved aside during the last few days.

Now where exactly were we? I have loads of tidying up to do in the workroom, putting all the flannel scraps in order. There are two quilts to bind, so I should tackle that straight away. And there are 12 quilts waiting to go on Millhouse, some with close deadlines, so we had better get onto that right away. We have a busy month ahead of us.

I may also have had a moment of madness when Hancocks of Paducah offered to send me anything I liked with no shipping charge. Who could resist free International shipping? When the parcel arrives I'd better have the car handy is all I can say; I won't be carrying it home. I have nothing to say in my defense except that it was Cheap. And I Wanted It! It's a good thing I lost count of how much fabric I've bought this year; can't feel any guilt that way.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Infinity Quilter asked in the comments if there was a pattern for the Double V; not really, it's composed of these Double V blocks, and an alternate block. I thought I did a blog tutorial on the vine border, made of 60 diamonds, but I can't find it. Maybe one night I will put it all into a pdf file to share. Must make a mental note of that....

Yesterday I spent the day round at Mereth's, as Matt keeps the wood heater going most of the day and it's lovely and warm. After I finish the latest pair of socks I am going to knit gloves, my hands are freezing! I made 240 red and white 1" HSTs for my new blocks. It seemed to take me all day, though I know I did lots of other things as well. In the last two weeks I have made 570 HSTs for Mereth's project, and I'm aiming to make it an even 1000 before next weekend. Then that should be enough for a while.There are 200 in that basket, and the whole 570 seem a pitifully small lot. It will be interesting to see what the quilt turns out like.

I'm probably getting a cold, and because it's Sunday today and I didn't need to get up, I thought I'd stay in bed all day and see if that helped keep the flu at bay. I lasted until midday; lying around in the daytime is not something I like to do. Mind you, I felt wonderful once I did get up!

I whisked through the sewing room and gathered all my flannels together. Once I started cutting up the lovely ones I bought at Jamestown I realized that they were more Mereth's style than mine, so I decided to make two quilts, one for her, poor flannel-less creature, and one for me from my stash.

My quilt was nearly finished when it occurred to me that Mereth's second son Rob is leaving for a new job in Newcastle next week, and he Doesn't Have A Quilt!! How could that have escaped our notice till now? I rang Mereth to inform her of this turn of events, and demanded she come round right away and do something about it. I have plenty of material, I assured her.

She showed up, at 6.30, shaking her head over my un-natural energy. I made her cut up the rest of my flannel stash into 9 1/2" squares, and we laid them out on the workroom floor. As she left to spend the evening with third son she made a flippant comment about seeing it finished on the blog tomorrow morning.
She should know better than to throw out a challenge like that! Rob's quilt is on the left, mine is next to it on the machine, and Mereth's is on the floor. I will take proper photos tomorrow, this is just to show that it's possible to make three flannel tops in a day.

And Mereth is going to have to quilt Rob's before Wednesday......


Thursday, July 17, 2008

I've quilted three of my own quilts lately, so I will have to update my spreadsheet to show what a super achiever I am. Mereth has been stitching small customer quilts on her Janome, and Ms Millhouse looked forlorn standing by unused. Well that's my story anyway.

This is my Christmas Double Vee quilt, and I pantoed it with a leafy pattern and yellowy-green variegated thread. I like how it turned out, and I plan to have this on the wall at Christmas, with maybe a side table in front of it and some of my antique cane sewing baskets. And candles. And red and green baubles. And an angel or two. Christmas seems like such fun when it's months away....

After I took my quilt off the frame Ms Millhouse was still all silent reproach, but Mereth needs to spend some time using the new software so I didn't load another of mine. Ever helpful, I have pinned a small top of hers on, ready for her to start on tomorrow in between other chores. We didn't see eye to eye about how this should be quilted. I wanted her to use the new software for the blocks and the borders. She wanted to freehand feather it. After a lengthy pause we agreed that the blocks would be done with Creative Studio and the borders freehand. We could have argued about it, but I knew she wouldn't give up on doing the borders her way, and she knew that it would be useful to practise new things on her own quilt instead of a customer quilt. So we compromised. Thus peace reigns in the workshop.
Sort of. I'm in love with this little block that I made yesterday, and want to make a hundred more in all different fabrics. I adore it, it's so cute. Those are 1" HSTs in the pinwheels by the way. Unfortunately I may have covered the table in the workshop with fabric and triangles and scraps . I think I'd better get it cleared away before Mereth needs to put a customer quilt out there..... just have to cut some more pieces first. It feels so good to be sewing a new project at last.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

The weekend was productive in more ways than one. On Saturday I kept on designing and quilting on the Churn Dash. On Sunday Matt came round and helped jack up the table of Ms Millhouse so we could install castors on her. Mereth got it into her head that we needed to shift the machine, and nothing would satisfy her until the castors were brought home from Kaye's and the date for the shift decided on.
The machine is much higher now, which isn't good, but it's very nice to use in it's new position, and it leaves us with a large space to set up our classroom. But there's a lot of shifting of sewing tables and paraphernalia still to do, and some ideas we need to work on. I'm sure it will all be settled soon. Today was Patchwork Group; Mereth went because she had to open up the clubroom, but I stayed home to wait for some phone calls. No piecing has taken place here for weeks!

I finished the ChurnDash tonight. This afternoon Mereth made a comment that she expected me to blog about the completed quilt tonight, and then laughed at the idea, as if it couldn't possibly happen. So I skipped tea and stitched away till I could rip it triumphantly off the machine and photograph it. Hah! I thought, I'll show her.....Isn't this how reverse psychology works? I feel like I fell in her trap, but I'm glad I did; I have a finished quilt and I'm ready to start the next one. But there may be some therapeutic piecing before then.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

This is the quilt that is on Ms Millhouse now; I pieced it last year from my blue stash, and it contains some of the last pieces of my favourite blues. I'm quilting it with designs that I'm doing for a new pattern pack, and it's a joy to work on. I'm trekking back and forth from the machine to the computer, tweaking designs and drawing new ones as they occur to me. It's very absorbing, and time-consuming, but I love getting lost in the creative process. At times it's a struggle to keep coming up with new things, but sometimes the ideas just come out of nowhere and it's effortless. I wish it were that way all the time.

It's all about computer screens at the moment; this is the screen of the Statler, in the new Creative Studio software. I can trace outlines of the blocks on the quilt, and place the stitching over them exactly as I want it. It's awesome, and I'm really inspired to get my backlog of tops quilted now.

Then there's the desktop computer that I design on, in AutoCad Lite. It's software that I had for my survey drafting business, many years ago. Thanks heavens I don't have to draw plans anymore, though it was fascinating, and it taught me all about drafting. I also use Autosketch to edit the patterns for the Statler. Great little program, and quite affordable.

And then there's the laptop that's connected to the Interweb, that keeps distracting me with mail and blogs and messages about sales from Z & S Fabrics. Like I need that!

When I get really involved with designing I switch off from the world around me; that was awkward when I had a family to care for. Kids would come and ask me what was for dinner and it was like they were strangers speaking another language; who were these people, what were they saying, dinner?? Eh?? We had some strange cobbled together meals at times. Luckily no-one depends on me to get fed now; I'm quite happy with a bit of cheese and some olives and a glass of wine.
Even I can't believe that I'm brave enough to eat cheese covered in pink mould. I have grave misgivings, but it tastes wonderful and it hasn't harmed me yet. It smells like a damp laundry hamper full of dirty socks; is that bad?


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Wimbledon final was a real thriller, ending at 5.45am here. I managed to see most of it, but it was a looong night. Well worth staying up for. I'm a fan of Nadal, so I was pleased to see him win; he had to fight every inch of the way though. It made for an excellent final; it's always disappointing when the last match is over too quickly.

My quilt is finished and off the frame, and I love it. I quilted two designs in the borders with no trouble at all, thanks to the new software. It was a bit nerve-wracking, as a friend was visiting, and watched with interest, so I was glad that it all worked out fine. I don't need an audience for my disasters.Today Mereth and I quilted a quilt that was 105" x 94". It was Huge! It had a few issues with it's 10 borders, so it took the two of us to subdue it. It looked beautiful when it was finished, I presume Mereth will post photos of it. It felt really good to be a quilter today, and see that large top turn into a large quilt. I feel like we really did the owner a favour, as she couldn't have quilted it easily on her own. I love our Ms Millhouse stitching away by herself.

I also basted a small quilt for handquilting, and it's ready for me to stitch in the evenings, before I start knitting. Even an hour a day will see it finished this winter. I'm just going to crosshatch the centre, and do fans in the borders. It will be lovely to sit beneath a quilt and stitch, now that the nights are so cold. Winter has arrived at last.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Home again, home again; I seem to have been glued to the computer since I got back on Wednesday, catching up on all the work that built up in my absence. I think I'm up to date, I sure hope so.

It's been so long since I quilted one of my own tops, I'd forgotten what fun it is. We made sure to finish up the customer quilt that was on the machine on Friday, so that I could have it all to myself over the weekend. I did some badly needed maintenance, and it's running very nicely.This is a top I finished last year; don't know what the proper name is, but I call it a Framed Hourglass. I'm using a variegated thread to quilt it, and I like how it makes the stitching look. It's not exactly traditional, but it adds a nice touch and blends well with all the print fabric in the top.

I designed a few patterns for this top and used the new Statler software to quilt them. Creative Studio is quite a step up from the previous software, but I'm liking it so far. It has so many extra features, and I love how accurately I can place patterns. I had a lovely time playing around.The promised trip to Jamestown with friends took place on Friday, and I picked up a little bundle of flannels because I just couldn't resist. Mereth refuses to buy them because she doesn't want to have a whole separate flannel stash. I gave in last year; my flannel stash is modest, but it's gorgeous. I will have to take a deep breath and cut into these lovelies soon, so I can enjoy snuggling under a flannel quilt this winter.There has been knitting and rug-hooking taking place late at night; another pair of socks will be finished soon, hopefully tonight as I watch the tennis final. I seem to have missed all the action this year; at least I have the Olympics to look forward to.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

These are the photos I was trying to load in the last post;

Kim Diamond discussing Statler stuff with a WA quilter;

lunch outside at Kaye's, on a glorious winter day;

Joanne with Kaye's two dogs, who are so spoilt. They are lucky, lucky dogs to live here! They got so much attention and extra food this weekend that we've quite ruined them for normal life.


It's Wimbledon time, and I stayed up late watching Lleyton Hewitt get beaten by Roger Federer; never mind, I still enjoy the tennis, even when the Australians don't win.

We did our Teacher Training class yesterday, learnt lots of things about the new Statler software and how to train others to use it. It will be great fun to get home and try everything out. Meredith will want to take the belts off and record her freehand feathers as stitching files, and I want to try trimming cross-hatching around applique. We might be fighting over the machine in the next few weeks.

Our teacher was Kim Diamond, and she was excellent; very knowledgable and made the day great fun. It was amazing how the mood of the class changed when she informed us that we had to get up and present a section to the rest of the class. That took the wind out of our sails real quick; no-one wanted to have to get up and play 'teacher', even though the 8 of us are old, old friends. But it went OK after we relaxed and had a few jokes with each other.

Unfortunately blogger won't let me load any photos, so I will just sign off and come back later when I can put in some photos.

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