Wednesday, July 27


Well, it’s finally done. You'll notice I went to absolutely no effort to tidy my bedside tables before taking this shot. I hope you appeciate that. I really must paint in there - the beige-iness is very boring.

I had to make pillow shams as well, because apparently some people still make their beds up in the morning. I have never had this habit, and I don’t intend acquiring it either. I make up the bed right before I get in at night, and I have science on my side. Apparently dust mites thrive in made up beds, but not so much in unmade beds. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! (I also think it is unhygienic to dry dishes with teatowels, so I never do this either. Air drying is much more hygienic. )

I managed to wash the quilt in the washing machine this morning, after a few false starts. We have a front loader, in which I have managed to wash a queen-sized doona previously. It keeps beeping at me and refusing to start. I think we finally decided that the load was unbalanced and we jigged the quilt around, and managed to get it started. Then I prayed to the Fabric Gods that none of the dyes would run, as I am not a prewasher of fabric. And it needed a wash; the water that came out of the machine was DIRTY!! But not green, as I had feared, so I guess the fabrics were OK and didn’t run.

Delivery day is Friday!

Apparently cats like tape measures.

Thursday, July 21


Elle commented on my lovely, fluffy kitty.

All I can say is Yeah, right.

There are drawbacks to owning a longhaired cat. The obvious one is, of course, the abundance of cat hair floating around just waiting for me to walk past in a black shirt, so I look like a total scruff covered in cat hair 95% of the time. The other drawback is a little less obvious. Delicacy forbids me from going into too much detail, but I’ll just say this: Cats Do Not Like To Have Baths.

On occasion it becomes apparent that Coco needs a bath. Or rather, a bath is required for “sanitary” reasons. Yep, that’s right. One of the joys of owning a longhaired cat is the occasional necessity of cleaning said cats bum.

Yesterday was Cat Bath Day here. I’ve only had to do this twice in the past year. And that is 2 times more than I want. So I don’t claim to have the perfect method of dealing with this problem, I just don’t want a poopy bummed cat running through the house.

So I collected the necessities – rubber gloves, old towels, bucket of warm water, cranky cat – and set to work. First, lure the cat into the bathroom. Try to wrap cat in one towel so she can’t get away. Dunk cranky cat’s bottom in the bucket, and start cleaning. Try to keep hold of cat after she gets out of the straight jacket towel. Also try to keep slippers dry. Apparently this is not possible.

After turning the cat loose, I had to contend with a wet cat running through the house. I did try to dry her off, but the novelty had worn off by that stage. Maybe I’ll need to resort to this:

Apart from the obvious attraction of this haircut (the comedic entertainment), I think this might be good idea for summer.

Tuesday, July 19

Time flies.......

when you’re doing nothing in particular.

Well, I have been doing a few things – mostly finishing the Australiana quilt. The top is finished, I managed to baste it together on my kitchen floor – no mean feat considering it takes up the entire space. It measures 2.5 metres wide and 2.3 metres long. It’s humongous. It’s ginormous. It’s very, very big.

Australiana (AKA Cat Magnet)

And then I had to quilt the buggery thing. Did I mention that it’s a large quilt? And I have a normal size domestic sewing machine? It was a struggle to say the least. I managed to get sore arms and a sore back from lifting and shoving it around – it weighs a ton. I managed to quilt most of it in a week – just the outside border to go and I will then be able to bind it.

I am not going to make a commission quilt this way again. Ever. I will be happy to sell quilts that I have made, but I don’t want to make a quilt to someone else’s tastes and requirements. It’s been very educational for me, and while I have enjoyed some parts of the process, the grind of actually finishing it has not been so enjoyable. I liked making the middle wreath – finding fabrics that depict bush colours, and I liked the satin stitch appliqué, because I haven’t done much of it in the past. And I like the rainbow lorikeet hanging off the top, because they are noisy larrikins. But my original plan was to do more appliqué blocks of native flowers and animals and I struggled with how I would do this. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of Australian native plants are either very spiky or very fluffy, which makes them a tad more complicated to appliqué. Not impossible, because I have seen it done, but I wasn’t confident of being able to do a good job of it. Add to this an impatient customer, who thinks quilts should be instant, then the pressure has just been a bit much for me. So a compromise. I managed to find some fabric with Australian wildflowers printed on it, with colours that tied in with what I had originally planned. I decided to piece some blocks – using green/gold wattle colours. And it is finished. I don’t know if it is a “good” quilt, but it will be finished very shortly.

The gum leaf wreath - fluffy flowers are hard to applique, so I free motion stitched the detail on the gum blossoms.

I am a bit ambivalent about the quilting as well – I like the leaves quilted into the cream background, and the swirls on the borders, but the rest of the quilt will have stippled background. Way too much of it IMHO. But the problem is that on heavily patterned fabric, like to bush garland and wattle fabric, you just can’t see quilting pattern because the print is so busy to start with. So I didn’t waste my time doing anything fancy there. It is stippled to death.

So I have to weigh up whether all the hassle this has been will be justified by the amount of money I will be paid for it. While I will be happy to get paid, the reality is that the amount of time and effort I have put in makes this a very cheap quilt indeed. And it has eaten into the free time I have between semesters so much that I haven’t made a quilt for this year’s show yet. (I’m working on it!)

So now I am back at uni with a full time course load. Although the timetabling Gods have been kind to me this semester, I have 2 lectures on Tuesday, one on Wednesday night and one on Thursday night. So my days are fairly free apart from, you know, all those pesky assignments and things that have to be done as well.

Dougnuts (AKA Feline Narcolepsy Inducing Device)

But look what I managed to make in 4 days while I was waiting for the native flower fabric to mail itself to me. A whole quilt top from my EQ5 pattern! I have fallen in love with paper piecing. This all went together so easily that I surprised myself. The arcs are paper pieced joined together and then add the background greens. I have not been a fan of curved piecing since an unfortunate experience with a Double Wedding Ring quilt in 1987. I am too embarrassed to show it to you, so don’t ask me, OK? Let’s just say it is a strong candidate for the Worst Quilt in the World Award and leave it at that. But I digress. I made a practice block, worked out the tricky bits and away I went. I didn’t have to do any reverse sewing, and all blocks were the correct size. Amazing. I’ll add something to the outside edge, but that’s all it needs.

Now the Spooky bit. I have long been a fan of the New York Beauty block, but have been contemplating a quilt of this variety over the last year or so. My success with the doughnut quilt has encouraged me to try a NYB style quilt. I have also been learning how to draft them on EQ5 (off topic – this is a great program, but it is not easy to learn. I’ve had it for 3 years now and still finding stuff I don’t know how to do, and I am fairly confident with computer software). I’ve been doing this for a week or so. And then I see on Diane’s blog that she is making NYB blocks (they are all gorgeous!), and is doing a class with Karen Stone. I am sooooo envious. And jealous, of course.