Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time slips away so quickly these days, it's hard to schedule regular blog posts.  But I sort of have an excuse; I'm completely obsessed with cutting up my fabric.  It's hard to stop and do all my other chores, because the only thing I want to do is zip the rotary cutter through all these pieces until there's nothing left to put back in the drawer.

Why the grim determination to clear all these small pieces out of the stash?  Well, I sort of went mad one day, and ordered about 20 yards of fabric online.  It was a moment of utter insanity, and I'm not proud of it, but I can't take it back, so I'll have to live with it once the parcels start arriving.  However, I don't like the thought of trying to cram new fabric into the drawers that are already bulging at the seams, so I'm trying to whittle the stash down a little. 

I weeded out snippets and strips and bits less than an eighth of a metre, 800grams worth, which translates to about 6 metres; then I got ruthless and pulled out lengths and FQs that I hadn't ever cut into.  If I didn't love it,  then I needed to get rid of it. I'm going to make some pieced backings out of those bits.

Most big projects look much worse before the good results  are visible, and my sewing room is a pit, a shambles, a teetering stack of remnants. But I can see progress, room in the drawers for my new fabric, and a steady pile of pieces ready to be sewn into the block of the moment on the design wall. 

I'm just going to keep cutting, and keep sewing, and keep thinning out the stash, and before long I know I'll be a lot happier with the contents of my sewing room. 

I've been sewing late at night, with lots of coffee to keep me going.  Last night I was clipping the little dog ears off my triangles, and throwing them into the pretty cup that stops them migrating all over the sewing room. 

It ws inevitable that I was going to get tired and throw them in the wrong cup; when it finally happened I figured it was a sign that I needed to go to bed.  What a waste of good coffee!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We've been busy these last few weeks, and there has been almost no sewing taking place.  Things have to change, I'm getting cranky at having no time for the things I want to do.  So my new policy is at least an hour a day in the sewing room, and 15 minutes in the garden.  That should help me see progress at the end of each week.

This last weekend saw me sorting out scrap containers and deciding on a new project for all my precious bits and pieces.

I like this simple block, and it will give me lots of practice making Flying Geese units.  I think I'll change that large centre square to lots of different little blocks, 4-patches, 9-patches, square-in-squares etc.  That will keep me interested in the project, and let me use us lots of tiny scraps too.

I came across a heap of black and blue scraps, so I made 56 nine-patches in two days, 
and they are nearly assembled into a top already.  If I'd had enough of the pink sashing fabric I could have finished this on Sunday, but it had to wait until the patchwork shop opened on Tuesday.  
I'm ready to cut out the rest of the sashing this afternoon and get this top completed; not bad, seeing it wasn't even on the drawing board last week.

And I was a bit bad at the LQS, and 4 metres came home with me.  (Pink and brown and shirtings, I can't resist, and even more hand sewing needles!)  1.5 will go into the sashing straight away, and the scraps I'm weeding out of the drawers will help lessen the pain of writing up more purchases in the spreadsheet..  I'm still over the 100 metres used mark, despite adding a fair bit recently.

Maybe I need to cut a heap of bindings and backings next weekend, to get even more fabric moving in the sewing room.  Sometimes it's a good thing, being forced to neglect quilting for a while; I feel so much more enthusiasm for all my projects after a little break. 
Time to finish lunch and get busy!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We went to Adelaide for a quick visit last weekend, because Mereth's second-born son Rob, and his lovely wife Elisa, were visiting from Newcastle.  John and Liz have a new member of the family, the lovely Jezabel.  She's a sweet, good-natured kitten, very charming.

On Saturday morning Mereth went off shopping with Elisa, and the rest of us planned a trip to Central Market to stock up on fresh food and coffee and little nibbly things.

On his last trip home John wheedled the family recipe for Cinnamon Scrolls out of Mereth, and he and Rob decided to make a batch before we left for the Markets.  It was like MasterChef, with lots of conflicting ideas about hydrating the dough and starting the sponge ahead of time, and which sort of sugar to use.  I was just an amused spectator, except when I nursed the bowl of yeast sponge to keep it warm (it was a cold morning).

With the dough set to rise in the sun by the back door we set off for the markets.  It's such a fun place to visit, all sorts of cooked food available, and stalls selling the ingredients for just about anything you could dream up. 

I don't really care for any of the meat listed at this butcher;  I'm not that adventurous thank you. 
The camel sausages looked OK, but the kangaroo tails were gross; I have no idea how one would go about cooking a kangaroo tail.  Don't want to find out either.  I was much more drawn to the vegetable stalls, these Chinese Cabbage were so fresh and inviting.

We went and had an O-bun, fascinating little Chinese cakes like doughnuts, with a range of fillings.  I had a custard one, which was very nice;

maybe I'll have a cheese one next time, or coconut, or red bean paste

We bought food for dinner that night, and I stocked up on things I can't get in Crystal Brook, like soy flour and cocoa nibs and black turtle beans.  I had a huge carton of really strange food to take home by the time we'd finished.

When we arrived home the dough was nearly out of the pan; we'd taken  longer than we thought. 

John was being silly and worshipping the great god D'oh!  So while we girls sorted out the purchases, John and Rob got straight into making the cinnamon scrolls, with much banter and boasting about who's scrolls were going to be the best.

Once they were cooked we had to taste test them of course, and it was a tie; John's were sweeter, but Rob's were lighter.  They were all eaten in a matter of minutes, they were so good.

It was a quick trip, just to catch up with family, so there were no fabric shops on the agenda; we had a late breakfast with everyone and left at luchtime Sunday.  And it's been work, work, work ever since.  I'm glad the weekend was such fun.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

I have finished one quilt top with the Fig Tree fabrics, and it's very pretty.

It used hardly any fabric though, which ordinarily I would be pleased about; I've still got heaps to play with.  Except I'm not really sure I want to play with the leftovers; I might donate them to someone in our quilt group and be done with them.

I've had several reproduction projects on the back-burner for months, so it will be full steam ahead on those next.  Time  to put aside the duty sewing and devote myself to quilts that I truly adore.

On another note entirely, I wonder how many of us grew up with books showing mice in aprons and little waistcoats, and lots of little baby mice with cute curly tails?  I actively discouraged that view of anthropomorphistic animals with my kids.  When, as an adult, I faced the reality of mice that had to be disposed of I had to fight off that image of Mama Mouse with a wooden spoon and a pinafore, cooking dinner for all the baby mice.  I didn't want to burden my kids with that little hangup.

The whole district  had a mini mouse plague this year; whenever people met they compared mouse stories, and tallies of how many had been caught in one night (12 was the highest I heard).  I trapped 10 in my bedroom alone, erch!!   And as I disposed of each body I thought that most wild mice don't resemble the cute images in kid's books.  These were nasty, nasty vermin.

And hungry too.  These are little silicon moulds that I make chocolates in.  These were left on the dish drainer overnight, and some hungry mouse thought they were worth sampling.  Heaven knows what he was thinking, probably that it didn't taste very nice.

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