Monday, August 27, 2012

And a border

I decided my little green quilt needed just some liberated triangles for a border. Easy enough to pop on, and now it's batted and backed and I've started on the hand quilting.

 Wobbly hand quilting, my speciality.

Spring is nearly here - footy season has finished for number one son and there are blossoms on the trees and daffodils in the garden. Covered by an inch of frost this morning, but still I can feel the warmer seasons coming on. And the other annual marker has been and gone - the Science Fair. We (and I say we, because it would be quite untrue to say that it was all done by the child who was actually meant to do it) went with growing some mould this year. This is the before photo. I won't give you the after shot, it's too disgusting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Had to take a break

Boring! The squares were boring me. I will keep going with them, but in the meantime, I felt the urge for something without straight sides or any order. And definitely something that does not require labelling of blocks. I went all liberated with my solids in greens with a bit of purple and have got as far as this.

I think it needs just one more border, and then it will be about 30" square and a good size to hand quilt.

When I will get round to it I just don't know. Below has been my main view for the last few weeks, and a few weeks more I think - I'm doing my boss's job, which gives me responsibility for quite a few teams, instead of just my normal one. I am enjoying it, and learning lots, but there is so much going all the time! I don't know if I need a promotion on any permanent basis...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Even squares can do my head in

So, I'm doing a sort of postage stamp. Squares - nice big ones, two and half inches - sewn together in a fairly obvious way. I've drawn it up and coloured it in and now I'm stitching and it is completely doing my head in. There are no obvious blocks, and they all have to go in exactly the right way or it doesn't work, and I keep forgetting what I'm doing. I've resorted to numbering and labelling the different groups - main blocks with numbers and edge blocks with letters. Different labelling systems! What is the world coming to.

The blocks look perfectly fine, like your average 25 patch. Not nearly exciting enough to warrant all this mental and physical exertion.

On a more interesting note - it snowed on Friday!!! Maybe once a year we get a little flurry of snow. I've only ever seen it turn the ground white once in my eighteen years in Canberra, and it certainly didn't this time, just hit the ground and melted. But it certainly gives everyone something to look at - we were having a meeting at work but just stopped, and stared out the window, at this freaky white stuff falling from the sky.

And lastly, a picture of my birthday cake. It was a lemon yoghurt cake and delicious. It was meant to have a fluffy lemon butter cream icing but somehow when the lemon juice was added it went lumpy and odd. Still tasted awesome, but wasn't smooth and creamy like it should be. I iced some cupcakes with coffee buttercream icing today and they turned out fine, so I'm thinking it was the lemon juice. Mmm....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The show

It was an overload of quilts for me on the weekend - I spent a couple of hours doing white-glove duty on Saturday and then went back Sunday to pick up. White-glove duty is phenomenally boring in many ways - you wander around slowly saying variants of:

  • yes, isn't it amazing, there is a lot of work in that
  • please don't touch the quilts
  • I'm afraid there is no food and drink in here
  • she quilted it first and then went over with gold paint and a roller.
But, you do get to have a good look at all the quilts, and even better, you get to have a look at people looking at the quilts: where they stop, what draws them in, which ones their eyes just glance over, and which ones stand out. It is quite different to the way that I look at them. If I've seen something 100 times before - like a Baltimore, or a traditional block in traditional colours - then I generally won't inspect it further no matter how well it is executed. And I really only get drawn in by quilts when I can't figure out how it's done, or I want to decide what exactly I really like about it. If it's gorgeous for obvious reasons, then I glance over it, even though I might really like it. But viewers without a (slightly obsessive) quilting background will spend most time with the ones that have the most work in them, or that appeal to them immediately, without fail. It's interesting. The travelling exhibition of Bernina Best in Show always had crowds (up close! don't touch the quilts!!!) - but those quilts were all pretty amazing.

Here I am with Work-life Balance. Actually the name was worryingly appropriate in one way, because the words made everyone tilt over slightly. But no-one completely unbalanced. 

I went into the vendors stalls briefly, but it was very crowded and I was fed up with being on my feet, so I didn't buy anything. I had a quick look at the rulers but I can get them on-line any time. And I also managed to squeeze in a fancy restaurant dinner for my birthday - no kids! yay! - this is the dessert which was like a doughnut with a jelly in it.... but the gourmet version not the dodgy corner store version. Absolutely delicious.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Construction site

I spent this morning setting up for the exhibition this weekend. It's a big guild with a big exhibition and the setting up this morning went (largely) like clockwork; despite it being the exhibition co-ordinator/designer's first year, she had it all organised and the quilts were just flying onto the walls. We have to wear fluorescent vests because it is considered a construction site - it made it all seem very serious indeed. The builders were still putting the walls up to show the quilts on, so there were forklifts and drills and blokes rolling their eyes when they were asked to maybe, actually, just put it back how it was, that was better, in the end.

As usual, I was struck by how my own quilting is sloppy, amateurish and unadventurous. I pinned my own quilts to the wall, and admitted they were mine, but they are not the kind of thing that stands out in such company. I put up "Work-life Balance" - which it is as arty as I get, I think it's a bit of gentle mockery of the public service generic selection criteria - and one of the lovely women said "that has such bright colours! Did you make it for a child's room?". I said "thank you", but I was thinking "I poured my artistic soul into this scathing commentary on modern society!!! CHILD'S ROOM????"

Monday, August 6, 2012

Not hand quilting after all

I fully intended to hand quilt this one - something soothing and round, maybe baptist fans? While I watched the Olympics and the arctic winds howled outside (it has been cold, and windy, and I'm sick of it). But after starting and picking it out twice, I gave up, and free-motioned it into submission. I started in the middle with some sort of flower and then just kept going around and around until it was done.

It's really hard to see any sort of quilting with all the piecing going on, which is maybe why I was having trouble finding a decent hand-quilting pattern.

I had thought I was over the strips-and-scraps phase, but apparently not. This is what's coming up - according to my graph paper notebook, and it's not often wrong. I've always wanted to do some kind of postage stamp, but it's not easily pieced in blocks. I'm going just to do it my way, and hope for the best.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Boy quilt finished

I quilted this one up without any mucking about - straight diagonal lines. There is not really much point in anything fancier!

The best bit about doing this was using my new frixion pen - which disappears when you iron it. We actually got them for my older son who has terrible handwriting; his teacher suggested an erasable pen when they all moved up from pencils. But it turns out that the pen will also erase from heat - so I drew the diagonal lines on with a ruler, then quilted, then ironed and ta-dah! Vanished. It felt a bit naughty drawing on the quilt with a biro.

Some people don't like the pens because the marks can re-appear if you put the quilt in the freezer ... hmmmm I think there is a solution to that problem but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This and that

There's bits of this and bits of that going on here at the moment - not much of anything, but it's nice to be home and healthy. It was quilt delivery day last weekend for our exhibition starting on the 9th. Like everything to do with Canberra Quilters, the delivery process was fearsomely well organised and slightly over-engineered. I put my quilts in old shopping bags. Most people don't. I entered Work-life Balance and Tahitian Women - two quilts I like, even though they're not really show-stoppers.

I broke my old mixmaster bowl a couple of weeks ago - it had served me well for fourteen years, but it was never really fabulous, especially at creaming butter and sugar. I bake a lot of cakes so I was very tempted into the gorgeous pretty Kitchenaid, but $700??? Tough call. In the end I went with the Breville Scraper Mixer Pro, which was half that cost and apparently does a much better job. And it's very very very cool - it arrived yesterday and I gave it a whirl today. I'm not sure how much the photo shows but that is one bowl full of awesomely well-creamed butter and sugar.


 They eventually turned into lemon syrup mini cakes.

Now, apparently when you mention some product you love, you have to say that it is not a sponsored post - I bought my mixer myself (Bing Lee online, mega bargain actually) and Breville are not paying me to say how awesome their mixer is ... LIKE THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN. What is this wonderful world where people get free appliances??? Not mine, my friends, not mine.