28 March 2011

Hand sewing as therapy

I am hand piecing a queen-sized quilt made with half-square triangles. Many of you may think me crazy, while others will understand the soothing qualities of sewing by hand. So far, I've made about a quarter of the quilt - this is it, all bundled up. I'm having a perfectly lovely time with it.

I need to have something calming to do after the tense afternoon yesterday, watching the Swans play their first game this season. They played in away in Melbourne, so it was a tv job for me - not the best way to watch AFL at any time, let alone when the result is tight. It was a draw - a DRAW! Good grief.

It's also handy having soothing sewing to do while I can hear men clambering around on the roof of my house. There is painting going on and that's a Good Thing (we've been waiting what seems like forever for it to start). They sound only marginally worse than the possums on the roof at night!

I've long thought hand sewing is great therapy and now I'm convinced. Just as well or I'd be a mad woman by now.

25 March 2011

At last

The new Aussie Rules season has started. I maybe slightly preoccupied for the next six months...

22 March 2011

Scrap happy

I love sewing with scraps. Knowing this, my friend Lisa tempted me with the woollen scraps left over from her quilted cushion. There were odd-sized pieces; offcuts from the shapes she cut for her project. From the pieces I scavenged, I made these two pincushions.

I've never stitched woollen fabrics before. These were divine. Simple to machine stitch and easy on the fingers for hand piecing. I enjoyed working with them so much.

If you'd like to start sewing wool with something small, you may like to try Lisa's Whimsical Woolys competition. All the details are here.

20 March 2011

Rain at last

Although there have been showers of rain over past weeks in other suburbs of Sydney, it hasn't rained at my place for at least six weeks. Combine that with some extremely hot days and the result is that my garden is parched. Until now.

We've experienced steady rain here all last night and the plants are thankful.

The leaves on my Japanese maple are turning into the shades of autumn, and dripping with the weight of the rain. See the brown areas in the background? That's my grassed area - totally burnt by the heat and lack of water.

The plants in these pots are also grateful for the rain and will start to thrive again now. It's not the same, watering them by hand. Rain washes the leaves and the surrounds, and also soaks deeply so the roots can penetrate further. It will take a lot more than 24 hours of rain to rejuvenate the ground, but every precious drop helps.

17 March 2011

An excursion

Erica and Brenda went on an excursion yesterday. They had a fun day and visited many shops full of gorgeous and useful things. Too much to detail here, except for this delicious store in Balmain.

They were delighted by the building (Erica especially loved the colour - look! it is blue) and the clever layout within. They were especially thrilled by the displays of colour.

This photo of gorgeous yarn was taken by Brenda. Yum.

There would have been other photos to show you, except that Erica apparently zoomed too close with her camera inside the store so all her other photos are out of focus. Silly Erica.

If she hadn't, there would have been photos of the gorgeous fabrics (Erica was especially taken with the aqua shades). Sarah and Amy kindly took precious crochet scarves out of the glass display cabinet so that Brenda and Erica could examine the tiny crochet stitches made with linen thread. To die for.

Erica suggests you all scoot along to this shop immediately (and take your money with you). Tell the lovely Sarah that Erica sent you and she might show you the linen crochet too!

Calico & Ivy is at 10 Birchgrove Road Balmain. Phone: 02 9555 9909.

14 March 2011

So much to learn

I've always been a believer of life-long learning. There are so many interesting things in the world to absorb me and here's my current interest - screen printing. I now have a second-hand Print Gocco B6 set with which to play. New screens and lamps arrived this morning, so I am poised to start making masters.

Probably, though, I'll hold off for a couple of weeks while I take part in Lyric Kinard's Freeform Screen Printing course through Quilt University. So much to learn...what fun!

09 March 2011

Printing with bubble wrap

I had a fun time yesterday printing with bubble wrap and paint. 
These are two of the pieces I made, with more to come.

Can't wait to cut them up!

08 March 2011

To us!

It's International Women's Day today. Hooray for us!

(Detail from my Goddess Roseus quilt.)

05 March 2011

Kona blues

My gorgeous Kona blue fabrics arrived this week - yay! From left: Carribean, Lagoon, Glacier, Turquoise and Cyan. Of course, these are for the quilt I abandoned earlier but I am sure I will find a use for these rich colours.

Into the washing machine they go before I handle them. Do you wash your fabrics before sewing with them? I have ALWAYS washed before use, not because I'm fearful of dye running but simply because I don't know where the fabric has been. I don't know what chemicals have been used in making the cloth; I don't know where it's been stored and I don't know what it has encountered in its travels. So there's NO WAY I will allow myself to cut and sew with it until it has a thorough wash (none of that wussy dipping and rinsing business) and dries outside in the sunshine. THEN I will start fondling it!

02 March 2011

No pics

There are no photos today because I don't believe in posting gratuitous pics that are irrelevant to the post. I also don't believe in you using your internet access just to see my irrelevant photos. If only I could block all photos of cats on blogs I would be a happy woman.

I'm annoyed, but also very relieved, that I have decided to abandon my current quilt project. There are too many things this quilt has to be (size, techniques and due date) and it is fighting me on all fronts. It wants to have simple lines and lots of plain areas. It wants to be smaller. It wants to be hand stitched. So, rather than continuing to battle, I will start again.

Just as you cannot change a person, I'm convinced you cannot change a quilt. It has to want to change itself and this one simply doesn't.