Friday, November 30, 2012

My DD came to stay for two days, it was so lovely having her around. We made gingerbread cookies again, but it was so humid they kept going soft, so we couldn't decorate them.  We were forced to eat them instead, so there will have to be another baking day before Christmas.

It was so horribly hot that we made a quick trip to Port Broughton so the dogs could have a swim and cool down.

 Shonny took them out into the water, which made them cooler, but then they spent the rest of the time galloping about and making themselves hot again.

And Oh the Indignity! of having your belly washed at the tap in the playground. 

Dolly was mortified.

The downside of living in a tiny town is that there aren't enough jobs for young folks, so it's not likely any of my kids can come and live closer.  That's why it's been special having my nephew John, and his wife Liz, living in the next town.  We've had weekly get-togethers all year, and I've loved it.  The good news is that John has accepted a permanent place at the school as an art teacher, so they will definitely be here next year as well.  I see more family dinners in our future.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Summer is starting early this year, we've had some nasty hot, dry days already.  After I've watered my garden and tried to protect all the delicate plants from the scorching sun, I retire to my sewing room and work on the Dear Jane.  I was going to have 6 rows completed before I packed it away again.  However, I actually had 5 complete rows already, and it seemed a bit wimpy to just make one more row.  So I decided I would have 9 rows completed before Packaway.

As I pieced the blocks for rows G-I the easy blocks in the remaining rows kept sidetracking me, delaying Packaway date.  Finally I caved and admitted that I wanted to get the whole darn thing finished and off the wall, so it was full steam ahead on any block that appealed to me.

 So the current status of my design wall is 7 rows pieced with sashing strips (the 4 rows at the left are joined together in one piece, pretty exciting) and 25 blocks yet to piece.  My room is a shambles yet again, but this is the final 25 blocks, kitted up and ready to go. 

I'm going to give Mereth all the miniscule scraps, put the sewn strips on a hanger till I get all the blocks completed, and start working on another project that needs to be completed.  I do love the Dear Jane blocks, but they do my head in; I can't stand the confetti and the paper piecing doesn't allow for chain piecing, and I miss that.

I'm pretty sure the next thing will be the grey quilt, now that my fabric for the sashing is here.  I hope it looks as good as I imagined it would, or I'm back to square one.  The fabric I bought to fill up space in the mailing envelope is pretty nice, I'm admiring that daily and wondering what I'd like to do with my massive collection of blue prints.

Mereth and I discussed the weighty problem of Bonnie's new mystery, Easy Street.  We couldn't use her colours without buying a whole heap, which we're not going to do, so we came up with our own version in traditional repro prints.  We're going to share the sewing, and the finished quilt.  Bonnie's mystery is such a lovely tradition at this time of year, it adds to the excitement of Christmas and the holiday season.  Thanks Bonnie!


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I'm slowly getting back into sewing mode, working for two hours on one small block, but happy to be taking so much care with the details.  Sometimes I want to sew up a storm and get a pile of blocks done quickly, but slow and painstaking is what suits me now.

 I have 6 new blocks on the design wall, and  5 more prepped for hand work.  It feels great to be making progress again.

While I work slowly on this project I can ponder what to start next.  When we were at the Central Markets in Adelaide we visited the secondhand book stall.  Mereth insisted I buy this book, even though the weight of it gave me second thoughts. 
 I made DS Rhys carry it while we finished the rest of our shopping.  It's got some lovely quilts pictured, with detailed full page photos.
 I'm still drawn to chain quilts, and to double pinks and indigos.

And this block is unusual; I already have 5 of the centre Double Anvil in my Orphans box, and I could make Flying Geese units to surround them.  This definitely has possibilities as my next project.

I love being able to add wonderful books to my library.  Once the hot weather gets here and we're trapped indoors in the airconditioning I can get out a stack of books, my notebooks and graph paper and spend the hours with my favourite antique quilts.  With a pot of tea.  And some fruitcake.  Sounds good.


Friday, November 02, 2012

I had no idea what I wanted to work on first, so I went back to an old project, one I'm keen to see closer to finished.

My Dear Jane has languished for more than three years, but it's time to revisit it.  I can't believe I actually made some of these blocks, they are so complicated!  I still love it, and I'm enjoying working on such a small scale, but all I've managed to finish after a day in the sewing room is one block.  I have 9 others in various stages, just needing a little bit of hand work, but nothing ready to take it's place on the design wall.  All that blank space on the chart is daunting, but I know from past experience that the only way to do this is one block at a time, one row at a time.  I will get there eventually.

The ugly ones are still annoying me though, especially the reeeaally complicated ugly ones.

 What were you aiming for with this one, Jane?

I'l just have to grit my teeth and make them, if I want an authentic Stickle quilt, but seeing I plan to change the border it won't be authentic anyway.  I'll have to think about that one...
 This one would be much nicer if those outer units touching the square were Flying Geese, so I think I will make that minor amendment.  I just won't tell anyone.
This one is ugly, but it won't be hard to piece, so I'll probably just make it without changing anything.  Seems I just resent effort+time=ugly.

May I just say that I would never contemplate making this quilt without the Dear Jane software(Lots of stuff on this site too.) It would take a lot more time to draft up these blocks from a book, and my enthusiasm would wane before I was ready to start sewing.  The software is great (some of the blocks still require creative input, but at least the line drawing is there) and I know I will use it to resize some of the nice blocks to make other quilts.

Maybe I'll make the ugly ones and put them on the back, and substitute a block of my choice on the front?
At least I have the sashing strips attached to the top 4 rows, that helps keep everything organised.  My aim is to have 9 rows sewn together in one piece before I pack this away again, so there won't be much to do  next time I choose to work on it.  That's 28 blocks I need to make, but some of them are easy.  I think I could have that done in two weeks time, and by then my grey Metropolitan Fair material should be here.

And then Bonnie's mystery will start; am I going to do it this year?  I'm tempted.  I'm insane to think of adding to the workload.  I'll probably do it anyway.

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