Tuesday, August 30

No sewing today - had to go to uni ALL DAY. And actually learn stuff.

But my sister gave me a special assignment - shell tucked hems. It is my fault for mentioning them in the first place. See that pink fabric way over in the left corner? That's what I am to finish before I am allowed to go to bed.

First - set up the machine. I have done shell tucks before, but it's been awhile so I thought a practice was in order before I did the proper gown. Coco decides that sewing is her thing, and she will assist me when she is not busy laying around on a Quilt That I Am Trying To Keep Cat Hair Off.

Hmmm, that thread is pretty interesting, but what else have you got?

Oooooh - stuff that moves! I love stuff that moves!

You bore me.

And look, you can see some shell tucked hem. Way over on the right hand side.

I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, August 28

quilting detail

Some detail shots of the quilting for Julie. I did raw edge applique for the cats and flowers - so the quilting and applique are done in the same step. The background is all done in a swirly flower - I did them as all separate motifs instead of a continuous line pattern. Mainly because I couldn't work out how to join them together.


Finished top

Finished the top. I am trying to finish this quickly because I know I will inundated with pointless assignments, group work and exams at uni in the next few weeks. The width of this is just under 42 inches - so I managed to get the backing in one length.

Quilting detail - I have taken some McTavishing principles and added swirly things to the stars. I'm pleased with how they turned out. The background is stippled in a matching purple rayon thread - shiny shiny thread.

For the rest of the quilt, I have stippled the purple background of the stars, and I will quilt the swirly middle on each one as well. I also started an all over loopy meander on the rest of the pieces - I used a varigated rayon, which is good on all of the colours in the patches. Of course, after I started this I had a much better idea for the quilting (at 4am, when all good quilting ideas occur) but it is too late now. I toyed briefly - very briefly - with the idea of unpicking, but then I came to my senses.


Friday, August 26

I am an avid reader of blogs. Lots of them. Mrs Mel’s blog was the first blog I ever encountered – I followed the link from her website. And I was amazed and intrigued and fascinated that she would share her life and experiences with anyone who cared to read. I think I read all the archives in one sitting. Then I went on to explore and discover lots of other blogs on many different topics – not just quilting, but knitting and lots of other topics.

Somehow I found blogs written by women who were experiencing infertility, adjusting to new babies, going through difficult pregnancies, or going through various adoption procedures.

I have not experienced infertility myself, but I have had friends who have had problems. So I follow the experiences of these amazing women, mostly lurking and rarely commenting, but always hoping that they are able to have the families that they want whether it is through IVF (which I know now way too much about BTW) or international adoption or foster care/adoption.

Recently, I was reading Julie’s blog and she was asked to give some advice to a young mother-to-be. (I won’t repeat too much of it here – you can read about it on Julie’s and Rebekah’s blogs if you are interested). Anyway, Julie’s readers were very keen to help out this young mother and baby and wanted to donate baby goods, money etc. Julie decided that she would make a quilt and sell tickets for $5 each to raise some much needed cash for soon-to-be-born Emily Lynne and her mum. When I read of this I wanted to help too. I was a young, single mother myself. And it was scary enough when I had a full time job and a relatively easy pregnancy (except for the unpredictable blood pressure that had me hospitalised for 3 weeks before the boy was born) and a healthy, full term baby. I cannot imagine having to cope with an early birth and the possibility of a baby that will spend time in NICU as well. So I have offered, and Julie has accepted, to make another quilt for the prize drawing.

I have decided to make a quilt from a pattern that I have had for a few years now – Tumbling Teds by The Chook Shed. They make great easy patterns that can be changed and adapted to whatever you want.

Here’s one that I made earlier! I changed the country colours to brights, seeing as that is my preferred colour scheme these days. (I sold this quilt a couple of years ago, and I didn’t think I had a photo, so I was happy to find this one.) The background is burgundy, not black.

And here is another quilt that I made as a gift for a friends grandchild. I used the country colours for this one.

So I was mad keen to get started on this project. I have chosen a purple background and brights to make this quilt – gender neutral, so there is very little pink.

For some reason I have no orange fabrics left. I’ll have to remedy that immediately.

Here are some of the blocks completed. I have to finish the appliqué on the stars, and then I will do the bears. The pattern for the bears is great because you can “pose” them how you want.

Tuesday, August 23

This is not a new quilt - however it will be featured in Australian Patchwork and Quilting shortly (issue 13/10 for those of you playing along at home). I think that is due out around December.

I have read the interview piece that accompanies it, and let me just say now - there is a lot of me "beaming" "grinning" "laughing" and the like. Ignore all that. I am not like that. But the rest of it is accurate.

And I think they are going to put in a picture of my cat!!

I am fast approaching Wierd Cat Spinster Lady status. If I'm not already there.

Sunday, August 21


I had to take my machine back for repair - the problem was not mechanical, it was one of the micro processors. Cost me $80! I hate how sewing machine mechanics (at least every one that I have encountered) treats me like I am a complete idiot and know nothing about my machine. I left my machine with explicit details of what was wrong with it and instructions for that to be repaired. Later that night the actual mechanic man rang me and suggested that the machine needed a service as well. I informed him it had been serviced recently and it didn't need a service, only the repair that I asked for. Swizzer. When I got the machine home, I found that he has adjusted the little metal arm that senses when the bobbin is fully wound has been moved in so that it stops winding bobbins when they are about half full. I'm cranky. Very Cranky.

McTavishing - I bought this book a couple of weeks ago and haven't had a chance to try it out before now. I watched the DVD last night and then had a practice:

1st go - haven't really got the hang of it yet, but I think it will come. The thing with all over patterns is that you have to learn them - know how to navigate in and out of tight spots and how to travel from one space to another. I think my sections need to be longer and wavier and it will look better. I think the book is aimed more at long arm quilters, although there is a bit on domestic machine methods. And there is a doorbell ringing all the way through the DVD - very annoying!

So then I tried some free form feathers - there are so many ways to do these. I have been drawing these over and over again on the back of my lecture notes when I get bored in lectures (frequently!). I like Caryl Bryer-Fallerts feathers, and I found them easier to do without to much practice. I still have to work out how to get around corners and when to make each feather longer or shorter. And did you notice the micro stippling?

These ones are based on the Ricky Tims method that I saw on his DVD - you have to backtrack over the spine of the feather, which I am not so good at yet.

Those are my favourite scissors - I have had them for about 13 years now and the point on the blade is rounded off from wear, which means the points don't catch on fabric when you are cutting. They are not so gold as they used to be either. I lost them for a while last year and couldn't find them anywhere. When I moved house they magically reappeared from the depths of my recliner chair, where the removalist found them when they had to open the chair to get it out a door. I'm much more careful with them now.

Saturday, August 13

The Ricky Tims seminar was excellent - informative and entertaining. I bought his new DVD on machine quilting and finishing and it is very good. Saw a few of his quilts up close and personal, which always shows you more detail that you can get from a photos and books. He spoke about his rhapsody quilts and how he makes them - the backgrounds are pieced! All those funny shapes are not appliqued together like I assumed, but pieced together. One day I might do one.

There is something wrong with my sewing machine. It is stuck on the bobbin winding function - I can switch the little spindle back and the needle will go up and down (and sew) but I can't use any of the button functions that I have become reliant on, like the needle up/down and reverse. I don't really have time to have it away being repaired so I am a bit annoyed with it. I can still quilt with it, and I have gotten very good at stopping with the needle in the position I need.

We went to the Ekka yesterday. It was the coldest day ever recorded in Brisbane. Alright, not really, but it was very, very cold! We don’t get much of winter and usually it is around 25 and quite bearable. But not yesterday, when we were subjected to arctic temperatures and overcast skies and drizzle. I'm surprised it didn't snow!

The cold snap was good thing/bad thing happening. Good because it kept the crowds down, and we were able to see what we wanted without elbowing people, but bad because we were freezing at the same time. For your viewing pleasure, here are the highlights:

The Mouse Circus. I am not a fan of the mouse under normal circumstances. However, I make an annual exception for The Mouse Circus, which I find fascinating to watch. Most of the mousies were crowded around their food block, and not doing tricks, but it was pretty entertaining anyway.

2nd Prize. My sister entered one to the sewing categories and won a 2nd prize for this boys outfit. We won’t mention that there were only 2 entrants in this category, OK? (And the 1st place “winner” was a very ugly outfit.)

This is a cake! I have some of these blue ceramic ball things in my garden, so I liked this one. (Jerome did not believe that all of these things were cakes and icing, the smell of fruit cake in the air was divine!)

Kewpie Dolls! I love these! I had to buy one, of course.

The Wheel of Death. Despite my well known fear of heights, I thought it would be a Good Idea to go on the ferris wheel. But first........

we are distracted by laughing clowns. Jerome loves all these games of "skill", but every child wins a prize, so he thinks he is getting a great deal. He had the choice of either a rainbow plastic slinky or a small stuffed toy as a prize. With his mother and I enthusiastically yelling "Slinky! Slinky! Slinky!", he had no real choice to make. He chose the slinky. Wise boy.

Hanging on like grim death. I hate ferris wheels, I really do. They are not to bad while they are actually going, but it is the sitting and swinging in mid air that I object to. I did manage some shots without camera shake, but I think this one conveys the mood perfectly.

This looks fairly innocent, but apparently kewpie dolls are the sworn enemy of cats and must be destroyed. Coco is not just sniffing the pretty dolly, she is looking for a body part to tear off.

There was also a small quilt show at the Ekka, but it was very ordinary. I am kicking myself that I missed the entry deadline, because I think I would have had a good chance at a prize. A lot of the quilts were not hung well either, they all looked very wobbly and not flat.

Sunday, August 7

Things I Love and other crankiness

Begin Crankiness:

Well, the finished quilt has been delivered. First there was a mixup with how much money I was owed, with her having misunderstood a phone conversation earlier in the year. She thought the amount I stated was the total price, including the amount she had already paid me. But the question she actually asked me was how much extra would the quilt would cost. And I don't think she realises how expensive quilts are, particularly large, custom made ones. Grrrrr. Because I think that what she got for her money was a bargain, and I did her a favour in only charging her that much. And apparently, the quilt is not as she "imagined it".

And then....

She sent me a "thankyou" note. A very backhanded one. I don't know why she bothered, I really don't.

Let me repeat - I Will Never Make a Custom Quilt Again. Ever.

End Crankiness.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I am going to the Ricky Tims seminars in Brisbane. I’m a bit unexcited about it now. But I have paid good money, so I will be going. I’m driving into the city and parking, because the thought of catching public transport fills me with terror. And then I have to find the hotel, but I think I know where it is so that will be OK. I haven’t been into the CBD for yonks. Anyone been to a RT seminar? I’m sure it will be interesting.

Things I Love. As of today.


I have planted a vine at every house I lived in over the past 10 years, and usually end up moving just as they are providing a decent crop. We planted a vine when we moved here a year ago, there is one passionfruit on it so far. I cannot bring myself to pay 68 cents each for them at the supermarket.

My new Canon Pixma printer.

The on button is on the corner of it, it's so cool!!! What else could you want? Oh, yeah, it prints good too.

Red Geraniums

The one I have is the result of a cutting. It is as tough as old boots, can tolerate the dry weather and flowers all year round.

Rose scented geraniums.

Not much to look at, but the scent is divine! BTW, this is the plant they use for rose scents in a lot of perfumes.

My fingernails.

I can grow long fingernails very easily, and don’t understand why other people can’t. I think it is a matter of willpower! Most of the time I just cut them short, because I am too lazy to keep up the nail polish/manicure routine.

My recliner lounge chairs.

Blue and White china.

All of my china is blue and white – different patterns and styles, but all blue and white.

My microwave/convection oven.

I only use the microwave bit to defrost stuff, and the convection bit is great for baking.

Siamese cats.

We are going to the Ekka next week, and there is a cat breed display there. I have told my sister that I will try very hard to not buy a Siamese cat. I was only half joking. Really.

Stationery shops

Hardware shops

Listening to Praise You by Fatboy Slim while driving.

Sheepskin slippers

(no, that does not make me a Bogan!)

D’oyleys with crinoline ladies on them.