Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What I'm up to.

We've had another day trip into Sydney last Sunday, the atmosphere is always great on the weekends. There are usually street buskers and performers trying to make some dollars around the harbour. I thought you might enjoy this aboriginal musician playing the didgeridoo. There's a Kangaroo skin on the stool next to him you can sit on for a photo.
The real purpose for our visit was to get a bit of culture at the Art Museum. We went to see the terracotta warriors that are on display until March. There were about six figures, two horses and many artifacts along with two amazing bronze chariots complete with horses and figures. Probably the only time I'd get to see them unless I went to China and that's not gonna happen.
Onto quilty news, I finally got enough courage to get started with the machine quilting on the Stars and Sprigs quilt. The hardest part was deciding what to quilt. I narrowed it down by an elimination process and have ended up doing a swirly worm like pattern.

In case curious minds want to know, I'm using Hobbs heirloom wool batting and Superior's Kimono silk thread in white which  is so nice to use and the quilting isn't making it stiff like cardboard either. I'm saving my hand quilting muscles for other projects and I don't think this one has suffered from being machined. I'm clipping and removing the perle thread that I basted with as I go and so far there are no puckers.
Remember that possum from a few posts ago? Imagine my surprise when I went outside and found it just outside the back door on top of the broom cupboard again and during daylight.
Well, take a closer look, it's got it's baby on it's back that hopped out of the pouch and climbed up n Mum's back. Cute but not wanted there. DH has gone outside and put a new roof on the possum box, apparently it had been leaking and was wet. That would be the reason it found a new spot.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Panel #4

My heart is beating a little faster now that this has grown by one more panel.
I'm giving a couple of closer up photos here in case you want to see the fabrics a little better, the photos can be clicked on for a bigger picture. A lot of the leaves are stripped pieced which was Susan McCords signature.
It's really hard to take a decent photo on my design wall, it always looks crooked and the lighting is not great but it gives an idea of how it's looking.
I really think the stems are a bit fat, a minor thing I think but I'll be using that 3/8" bias maker for the next panel when I can get the nerve to do another one. In reality, I imagine Susan McCord's quilt had really skinny stems. I wish I had realised that at the start of the project. I know,  I'm being fussy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All sorts of quilty pursuits

I have a big task ahead, the basting of the Stars and Sprigs quilt. I now do it the Sharon Schamber way (over here) by rolling the backing and the top onto boards and then stitching with tailors tacks that get removed as one quilts. It worked so well the first time I used this method that I'm sticking to it.
My boards were just long enough and It did require two people to do the rolling part. I  tape the fabric to the boards with masking tape to begin otherwise I do it the same way as in the video. I've set it up in the lounge room so I can listen to the telly at the same time.
This last week saw me stitching a few blocks up. This one is block three of the Cherry Tree quilt I talked about in previous posts. I'm glad it's over is all I can say. The finger shapes are supposed to be wonky in case you're wondering.
I've caught up with the Circle Game blocks, the next two came out perfect so practice is helping with the hand piecing.
Lucky I checked the accuracy of the next block because it just wasn't right so I drafted it up from scratch.
It'll be an interesting quilt, the blocks have a very blended look so you'd have to examine them to see that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crap, calories and critters

I'm a sucker for a block of the month and the circle game from Amitie is one that had such an eclectic mix of fabrics that I had to join in even though the blocks are hand pieced. I'm a bit crap at hand piecing but that doesn't stop me from trying to improve. Hand piecing with Crispy is my lifesaver.

Lets just say that after piecing this far, it was going to look like a bra in the middle and drastic action needed to be taken to save the block. I did check the templates afterwards and they were off maybe because of photocopying distortion.
I drew a circle on freezer paper, ironed that to my hard pressing board, pinned the block and wet it down with a spray bottle. I pressed it damp and it saved the block although I'll need to resew some tucks.
In future, I'll check the hand drawn templates first.
There was no way I was going to be able to hand piece the circle in the middle so I resorted to applique. I have a few blocks to catch up yet.
I went shopping recently and I just love those big kitchen stores that are full of gadgets. Despite some protest from my significant other, I bought an aebleskiver pan. When are you going to use that he says. I'll make you some this weekend says I. I blame Lori and Anna for showing off their aebleskivers every Christmas. They taste like pancakes in case you haven't tried them.
I had fun trying to make nice round balls but I got it by the last batch. With Maple syrup and icing sugar, they were delicious and the hole in the middle was the best part. Kids would love these. As for DH, he loved them a lot.
This critter has come back after an absence of months. I think it's a female Opossum, there seems to be a full pouch so there could be a baby. It comes  up the back steps and sits in the porch or on top of the broom cupboard out there. Last night I went outside and it gave me a fright up on the cupboard making meowing noises. The darn things are protected so we can't relocate it as they can end up as roadkill trying to get back. The only reason we made a possum box for it was to keep it out of the roof cavity, now it acts like a pet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Queen of the blocks

This year I've decided I could be crowned Queen of the blocks as I get into tackling some of those oldie but goodie projects that I have lying around. I like that, oldies but goodies sounds so much better than UFO's.
I did think about what I wanted to work on and I'd like to keep my options open but I got to thinking about the list, my quilting bucket list actually. I'd like to finish the Nearly Insane one day so I'll try to make blocks more regularly.

I'll continue to make panels for the vine quilt. I'm half way through the latest panel. This is one of my bucket list quilts. The one at the top actually.
I'm having so much fun with the Cherry Tree blocks that I'll try to keep these going regularly. I'm really into the fabrics I'm using. This is block 3. Have you got a quilt that you absolutely have to make one day? I'd love to know what it is. Oh and I promised myself to work on the Baltimore.That's a have to finish quilt.
We've had a few trips out and about, not sure it was a good idea to go into Sydney while the sales were on but I enjoyed wandering around without a purpose. The next two photos are from The Queen Victoria building, I love watching the clock which has all these figures coming out and rotating around when it hits the hour.
I just love stained glass windows. If you ever get to the building, be sure to go to the top level to view the carved jade carriage.
I wasn't very good at supporting the retailers, I only came home with a book and this small jewellery pouch. I liked the shape and thought that one day, I may have a go at making a sewing sized one.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wishing you all a Happy New Year

From Sydney with love.
The fireworks this year were incredible, well worth watching the whole video.