27 October 2010

Sense and scents

It makes sense to take a break from life's routines and enjoy a day with a friend. Angela and I had a tasty lunch together today and caught up with all our news. The restaurant was at Eden Gardens, a most inspirational nursery. Luckily, I arrived home before the storms broke.

I wish this was a smell-o-blog so you could sniff the scent of these oregano plants I bought home with me. The one on the left is a variegated oregano and the one on the left is Greek oregano. Here, I'm rubbing the leaves now - smell that? Divine.


Chris - the quilt's not finished yet. I'll show a pic when I have completed it.

24 October 2010

Slow stitching

There is progress with my current quilt. Slow stitching aids thoughtful deliberations.

20 October 2010

Queensland Quilt show

I can't be in Brisbane to see the Queensland Quilt show this week, so I've consoled myself by browsing through photos of the prize-winning quilts here. There are some gorgeous designs on display!

Aqua shades

I'm loving these shades of aqua and I'm looking around my house to see if there's something I can paint with them...


17 October 2010

Kambrachallenge

This year's challenge was to use a bundle of eight fat eighths of hand-dyed pink fabrics. I added a single print and made my quilt, Passionflower, so I could practise hand appliqueing circles. I wasn't at the great reveal yesterday, but you can see the other Kambrachallenge quilts here.

13 October 2010

I should

- finish writing an article
- clean the house
- send some emails
- sew some more blocks
- write up a quilt pattern
- plant some bulbs.

But I just can't be bothered with any of that. Instead, I'm going to watch this:

09 October 2010

Reflections on: slowing down

For many of us, life moves at a frantic pace. There are family activities to coordinate, households to run and work deadlines to meet. Time is critical and we hurry from one activity to the next. I have never understand, though, why we rush our quilt making.

Over the past couple of years, I have deliberately tried to slow down my life. This has involved reducing the hours I work in paid employment and cutting the travel time to and from work so that I can take more time to do other things I enjoy. I am downshifting – trying to establish a slower rhythm so that I can appreciate everything as each moment unfolds.

It has been wonderful making more time for quilt making. I’ve never subscribed to the view that a fast quilt is a good quilt and, as a consequence, have many projects that are not finished. Now there is time to actually complete my projects, but still be able to enjoy the process.

I have often wondered why some people focus so much on speed. We see patterns for quilts promoted in terms of how few hours it will take to make them. We hear of quilters who churn out dozens of quilts a year, as if the high numbers are desirable achievements. I do appreciate that some quilters need to make quilts quickly because of the limited time available to them, but that's not for me.

I’d like to suggest that there are growing numbers of us who prefer a less frantic pace. The ‘slow craft’ movement fits beautifully with the current resurgence of people discovering the pleasure of crafting handmade objects.

I feel a cultural shift towards slowing down. This allows us to get in touch with ourselves, our families and our communities and to restore the natural rhythms of our lives. Many people are enjoying reconnecting with their food by growing their own vegetables, even in urban areas. Sharing with the bounty with friends also allows a connection with other people – something that quilters have long enjoyed.

Slowing down my life allows me to spend more time with friends than I did before. I can learn from them, share with them and just enjoy their company. I can try new techniques, perfect old ones and cast off the burden of unfinished quilts. I can’t tell you how much pleasure I have found in my stash.

Being mindful of every part of the quilt making process is so rewarding. Each step, including designing a pattern, choosing the fabric and stitching the pieces, creates its own joyful moments. By actively involving myself in the complete cycle of making a quilt, I can savour the pleasure every step of the way - no matter how long it takes.

06 October 2010

The Stitch Files

Hand stitching is one of my loves, but I have a very limited knowledge of different embroidery stitches. For years I have read Sharon's postings about stitches and marveled that there are so many. Today, Sharon announced her new project - The Stitch Files. These are nifty worksheets that show each stitch and allow space for you to attach a worked sample, enabling you to build up you own file of stitches, perfect for reference.

It is a brilliant idea. Click over here to read all about it and to download the first (free) sheets. Thanks Sharon!

02 October 2010

Simple

Such an unsatisfying week; having struggled with a stuffed-up head, constant sneezing and coughing and general lack of interest in anything. So it's the simple things that are occupying my days - reading (I'm half-way through The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter - it's riveting) and stitching. I've just entertained myself by pressing these half-square triangles and will enjoy the mindless pleasure of snipping off the ears of fabric. That's about all I'm good for!