Saturday, October 22, 2011

It was my birthday yesterday, and I had a lovely day, lots of email and texts from friends and family, friends popping in and then dinner at the brother and sister-in-law's place; birthday pizza!  It's Mereth's birthday today, and you can read about why we were born 36 hours apart here, and here.  Happy birthday Sis!!!

I seem to have completed most of the urgent things on my work list, so it will be a weekend spent in the garden and the sewing room I hope. 

This is the herb garden I planted last week, in foam boxes to help insulate the root area from our extreme temperatures.  I arranged them to leave a space in the middle and filled it with earth, which made an even bigger garden bed.  The ground here is century old builder's rubble, not the best growing medium.

We've had some lovely rain, which is a reprieve from the hot days during the week.  I figure it's a little window of opportunity to get some of the larger plants settled into the garden before the really hot days of summer, so that's what I'll focus on first.  Then I will get all the pots into positions where I can cover them with shade cloth on the worst days, and mulch all the areas that normally grow weeds with vicious seedpods that cause the dogs a lot of misery.  In my spare time, I'll clean up my sewing room.

I've already cut a heap of pieces for the elongated hexagon quilt, which had stalled for lack of little triangles; there are plenty now. 
I aim to sew all the blocks into sets of four, then rearrange those on the design wall. 
It should make it a bit easier to manage than the individual blocks.  I'm getting impatient to see it in one piece, and get all the fabrics for it put back in the drawers; I don't want to start anything new until I'm done with this quilt.

We have only 2 and a half months left in this year, and I don't think I've completed nearly enough quilts.  I want to have a mad dash to the end of the year, and get some tops quilted as well as UFOs finished. 
 How long ago did I make these blocks?  I'd completely forgotten them?
All these were on my design wall at some time, I must get back to them, especially the 16 patches.  I could clean out a lot of scraps just by making that simple block.

My first list will be projects that need to be sorted and completed; after that I'll list the tops in the order that I would like them quilted.  The other goal I have is to exceed my 2010 total of 57 posts for the year.  That was pathetic, I know I can do better in the remainder of 2011. Onward!!
Bold Seduction blooming against
 the old stone of my Hall


Sunday, October 16, 2011

I can't take the Shoofly quilt down from my design wall yet, I just love looking at it throughout the day.  I fall asleep looking at it, full of satisfaction at the colour combination and the beautiful geometrics of the block.  The border pleases me greatly too, I love the triangles marching around the centre.  It's wonderful to finish a project and be thoroughly satisfied with the result.  I have to thank that long ago quilter for inspiration, the vendor for selling it and Bonnie for posting that photo that sent me hurrying to make my own version.

Of course I have leftovers, but I will add them to the spare parts pile; something tells me I haven't got this colour combination out of my system yet. (Check out the cute aluminium cannisters from the second hand shop; I just love vintage aluminium.)

Friday was a mental health day.  It was a stormy start, I was racing around on my bike with lightning and thunder overhead, and rain bucketing down at intervals.  When I stopped to deliver things people sympathised with me for the awful conditions, but I loved it.  If I was at home working I would be inside and not aware of the fantastic clouds, the alternating hot and cold air, the strange gusts of wind from the east.  It was amazing, and I got paid to be out there witnessing it.  Good stuff.

When I got home Mereth had been working at her machine for seeral hours, finishing a customer quilt, and was ready to run away with me to Jamestown.  We dropped the dogs off at Matt's, then were off on our little adventure.  We always go to the op-shop there, where I fell in love with this vase;
it's signed by Henning Rathjen (1903 - 1968), a Melbourne potter, and his work is collectible.  I really like those daisies around the rim.  I  love being able to Google things and find out more info. 

We stopped in at the patchwork shop of course, to find a few essential pieces.
Over a long period I've bought three half-metres of the bottom cream fabric,and used all of it; I decided that I need to buy the rest of the bolt, or I'd regret it ever afterwards.  I feel safe now, knowing I have that in the stash.
I couldn't resist getting a half metre of this fabric, just because.  It will go in with all my other Pretties, and one day I'll know what to do with it.

We went to a couple of hardware stores for plants and bits & bobs, and the supermarket, then splashed out on excellent coffee for the trip home.

On the way we got thoroughly sidetracked by the clouds and the extraordinary light on the fields.  We kept exclaiming, and pointing things out to each other, and stopping the car to take photos.  We pulled off the road at one spot, and saw a tiny track over the hills that we had never noticed before. 
It only took a moment to decide that we didn't have to go straight home, and that we could go and get 'lost' for an hour or two.

It was a great day to be driving on country tracks, not knowing where we were exactly and not really caring. 
There were lots of other roads to explore, but we had to leave them for another day. 

We stopped at a farm to ask for directions back to main road, and admired this mare and foal. 

The owner told us he was a pretty blue when he was born, and keeps changing colour as he gets older.  He's destined for racing, and he's got the legs for it.

The clouds got darker, and the light stranger, so we hightailed it home ahead of this cloud.

It looked like something from Lord of the Rings, threatening and portenteous, and coming in fast.  We outran it though, and by the time we'd picked up the dogs and arrived home there was just a few minutes of rain left in it.  We had a splendid day out, very refreshing, and now I'm ready to do some hard work in the garden.  Thank heavens for weekends.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I had every intention of finishing the Flyfoot top yesterday, but my day was hi-jacked by Dolly.  She got a grass seed in her ear around 11am, and the earliest vet appoinment I could get was 4.15.  She was in a lot of discomfort,  so with Mereth's help I put some olive oil in her ear, which coats the awns of the grass seed and stops it working it's way further in.  But she was still a miserable puppy, and wanted to sit on my lap all the time.  I was working, so she had to be on the floor, and contented herself with sitting between my feet, head on one side and looking woeful.  Every time I moved she scuttled after me for reassurance, right under my feet;I felt like I was wading through a sea of dogs.

At the vets he anaethsetised her and dug the offending grass seed out, and micro-chipped her as well.  If she had to have a great big needle stuck in her neck at least she didn't know anything about it. I'm glad she doesn't weigh a few kilos more, she's on the edge of what I can safely carry; I sit her up over my shoulder like a baby, but Pippi is too big for that.

Home we went with the patient, who was recovering rapidly, and spent the next few hours frantically trying to lick my face, while staggering into the furniture and losing her balance.  She acts like a happy drunk, leering at me as if to say 'I LOVE you!  I reeeaally do!' and bumping into everything on her wobbly legs.

So the top didn't get finished yesterday.  But today I was determined to get it all in one piece.  About 7 hours later, it's done.

I don't know why on earth I thought I had enough of the yellow fabric to do the whole border; it didn't come close.  I had to hunt down every last scrap to make the side borders long enough, and then I needed something to fill up the corners.  I had heaps of HSTs left, and the Shoofly block was the easiest way to make  a block that was 6" finished to match the border.  It's cute, it's done, but it took way longer than I thought it would.  Will I ever learn to plan my quilts out properly?


Sunday, October 09, 2011

I've had a reasonably productive weekend, but it seems to have gone by far too quickly.  I still haven't finished any of my projects, and that is starting to irritate me.  Must Try Harder....

I cut up a pile of fabric yesterday to make this stack of pieces for the border of my Flyfoot quilt.

Today I switched on the sewing machine and iron, then put on the DVDs of the appendices of Lord of the Rings, and watched close to 9 hours of documentary footage about how they made the movies.  It's all excellent stuff, but as I've seen it all before I didn't have to watch every minute.  I could follow along with a glance, and stop to watch the interesting bits, and it really helped me stay at the machine longer than I normally could.
I buckled down and finished the blocks, then cut out the setting squares, and the borders, using evey last skerrick of fabric from my stash and Mereth's.  It took 3 and a half metres, and all I had left afterwards was two 8.5" squares.  Talk about cutting it close!

I turned the pile of pieces into 156 HST units

and pressed them neatly.

I was busy sewing them into the border strips when I thought that I should really sew the blocks together first, and complete the borders last.  Fine, I switched tack and in short order I had the blocks sewn into 4 sections.

Then I decided to give one yellow square with a stubborn crease a spray from the water bottle before ironing it.  For some reason the brown from my ancient ironing board cover, which has been perfectly fine for three years, instantly bled onto the block and left a big dark stain.  At this stage I was getting tired of the whole process, and I decided I'd keep going, and wash the top later to get the mark out.  Then, as I was ironing the last strip, the iron touched a piece of plastic shelf matting and before I knew it I'd swiped pink melted goop all over another yellow square.

So it's all been put aside for now, and tomorrow I will unpick those two blocks, and replace then with the two spare ones, the only fabric left over, and I will be ever so careful when it comes time to iron them.

It's looking good though;I just hope there are no more incidents before it becomes a finished quilt.

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