Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We have normality.

I have just finished writing an incredibly amusing and witty post. You would have found it hysterical. Rivetting even.
Alas, Blogger ate it and so now I will try to reconstruct... and it's never as good the second time round.

We have resumed normality chez-catsmum after being at Defcon5.

Allow me to explain [ I was going to say elucidate but I've used that too much lately ]
Flashback to last week: Sophie and Oakley are their usual unimpressed selves because Nadie has brought Suki and Sumi up with her and will have a total hissy fit when they realise that, this time, it's for a week. Challenges have been issued, seconds chosen ...

Well, initial peace negotiations failed abysmally and Sophie bolted under my bed where she stayed until starvation got the better of her. Oakley merely shrugged a resigned, very masculine/feline shrug and retreated to his own personal private felted cat bed. I suspect this was just so that the interlopers couldn't get in there.

Things had improved on previous visits to the point where Sumi and Suki didn't have to be incarcerated in the slammer [ aka fabric stash room ] for the duration but it did get a bit tense there on occasion. There were mexican standoffs a plenty. Hisses were exchanged although we managed to stop short of actual bloodshed.

It was very nearly claws at four paces when the new girls decided that their own food bowl lacked the appeal of the one in the kitchen and tried to join Sophie and Oakley in their devotions to the gods of food. It was explained very sweetly with many tender hissings and growlings, that they were mere acolytes and, as such, must give way to the High Priest and Priestess. Sumi and Suki have a fairly ecumenical approach to worship so they were prepared to fit in if it got the desired result... and by the end of the week:

the other photo speaks for itself and is strictly for family and friends. This is Nadie with Chris. Cute:]

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mea Maxima Culpa

Now hear this. I have a new personal Rule of Blogging:
no posts while under the influence of a migraine.

Obviously there is a back-story to this earth shattering decision and it runs like this:
yesterday when I posted under the influence of migraine and not-quite-kicked-in meds, I made a spelling mistake.
Yup, that's all. I spelled a word incorrectly and an old acquaintance picked me up on it... quite correctly ... and here is where I confess a major character flaw:
I don't like being corrected. I get right royally pissed... with myself mainly, because, you see, I notice such things in other people's Blogs. I don't tell them, but I do notice. If I notice so do other people.

I am working on being less persnicketty with myself but I got really really ticked off about mispelling a word that I actually DO know how to spell and use correctly so from now on no migrainy posts.
Rant over, you may now resume your regularly scheduled Blog reading :]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

green but not in the garden

All of the deep purple iris have finished flowering a couple of weeks ago at least and then this week, these came into flower. More burgundy / puce than purple and equally as gorgeous as the last lot.
Mind you that photo is very carefully framed. The garden and the rest of the block are definitely struggling with the water situation. Things are getting grim .

Anyhoo, even if the garden isn't green, I am ... with envy. My buddy Linda in Ohio and her friend Phylis [ the girls I went to Paducah with 10 years ago ] are leaving on Monday to go to the Houston Quilt Fair. They go to Paducah every year because it's ONLY a seven hour drive from Dayton, OH, but Houston is a much bigger deal both in the distance travelled and the size of the event. I'm not good with crowds. I found Paducah pretty mind boggling and I'm not sure I'd cope at all with something on the scale of Houston. However, I love living vicariously through my friends so I will await details with bated breath.
Still working on Nadie's Short and Sweet, and thinking about the next quilt.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

finished some, started more

Knitting and crochet content have been AWOL for the last month. I think they both picked up on my level of pre-quilt show stress and just decided to be anywhere that wasn't here.
Happily they've decided to come back and here is the photographic proof:
the finished Yarn Harlot scarf : 60 something inches x 3 1/2 inches in Wendy DK. I loved knitting this pattern. It took most of one ball and the remainder was used to make the roll up cuff on exhibit B, which is a hat I just made up. The cuff is done with the same easy pattern as the scarf and a basic broken rib for the rest. The colour is off on my monitor: the scarf / hat cuff are much deeper with purple highlights and the hat is deeeeeeeep royal purple. The link to YH's pattern is back a few days if you want to go look for it.
Exhibit 3 is the Short and Sweet from Happy Hooker. I took the photo yesterday and it's about twice this long now. I figured out fairly quickly that there were major mistakes in the pattern, fixed them and THEN went looking for the errata page. There are a mind bogglingly huge number of errors in that first edition. Far too many. Basically, someone on the tech side didn't do a tremendous job and guess what? There are even errors in the errata!
Yup. You heard me [ read me?]
several rows in Short and Sweet are wrong ON THE BLOODY CORRECTIONS.
The graph, thank goddess, is correct.
Debbie Stoller is onto a really good lurk with this franchise: she didn't design the projects, someone else did the [ amazing] drawings, there were tech editors galore, people to design the look of the book ... and I noticed yesterday on crafster.org that she's put out a call for designs for her next one... and don't bother flaming me if you think Ms Stoller is God. The way she's helped revitalise knitting is fabulous but Happy Hooker was rushed into print too soon and it shows.
Oh and just for the record, I think the designs in this one are the best of all her books so far. Young and fresh enough to appeal to the 20 somethings but also with enough elan to satisfy the 'mature' crocheter [AND a good range of sizes even if the 'small' would fit your average pygmy ]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the water pump is god

Unless you've been living under a rock or on the other side of the planet, you are probably aware that the precipitation situation is not good... buckets in showers and tubs in sinks are becoming commonplace and I'm told that conversations about how best to utilise greywater are heard over the hiss of the coffee machines in Chapel Street.
When you live actually IN the bush, it's not about showing what an environmentally aware trendoid you are.
We're not connected to town water here. There's a dam and a 25,000 gallon rain water tank that collects from the house and shed roofs. 25,000 is a lot of water. More than enough for 2 people.
EXCEPT when something doesn't go as planned.

Example 1 : One day or rather one evening last summer we had a 6 hr blackout. From memory about a 36C day. Moderately inconvenient one would have thought. No A/C... uncomfortable but hardly a major issue. Until one realises that the pump connected to the tank is electric. No power also equals no water. Not a drop. Not for drinking [ okay 4km to the nearest convenience store and bottled water except this happened at night and the nearest 24 hr convenience store is 50 km away! ] not for flushing the you-know-what [ trudge up the hill to the little water tank next to the shed and fill buckets ... multiple trips ... groan ] and no showers.
Welcome to life in the country :]

Example 2 : a few months ago I woke up one saturday morning and looked out of my bedroom window to see a lake. Not a large lake, as lakes go, but definitely a lake. Thought to self: that's odd, I didn't hear rain last night, oh well. Proceeded through to kitchen, looked out that window to ascertain how much water was in the birdbath ... always a good rough guide to rainfall... and... zip... zero...zilch... ooooooh shit. Out the back and there was the hot water service sheeting hundreds of litres of boiling water all over the ground...
Now y'see, when this happens in town it's annoying and expensive but that's all. When all that water on the ground is coming straight out of your tank ... well you probably DO get the idea... sort of ... Frantic calls to rellies up the road for name of reputable plumber [ and don't get me started on how tradies up here are scarce as hen's teeth ]... why do these things happen on weekends? ... successfully contact plumber, find out how to turn off the water till he gets there ... and so on and so on ... and I'll spare you the rest of the tale except to say my hip pocket nerve is still twitching [ thousands, people, thousands!]

Example 3: last Sunday [ what IS it with weekends? ] I discovered large amounts of standing water where there shouldn't have been... Bloody hell... and the source this time? Ahh, there it was, flowing freely out of The Pump connected to the house tank.
Ah gentle reader, I see that you have already realised that this combines all the negatives associated with both examples one and two above. My precious water was disappearing into parched earth nowhere near the garden where it might at least do some good. The almighty Pump was not well and no Pump equals no water supply to house. Damn, damn and double damn.
Turn water off at the tank...phone call to Pete, my 60-something next-door-neighbour who is rarely home but on this occasion, was. Pete is one of those nuggety, wiry little country blokes. You know the sort that looks like he was carved out of a mallee root. The sort that knows all the stuff this middle-aged city girl doesn't.
I am emphatically NOt a helpless female. I mostly manage to stand on my own tootsies but it's comforting to know that Knowledgeable Bloke lives a couple of hundred metres up the road.
Anyway, minutes later Pete was here with tools and a temporary replacement pump and directions as to who I should take The Pump to for urgent medical attention... cue twitching of the hip pocket nerve as it anticipated another major assault.
Yesterday Pump received the tender ministrations of the charming men at Midland Irragation in Bendigo who confirmed that Last Rites wouldn't be necessary just yet.I was overjoyed that my relationship with Pump was still intact and conveyed him home in triumph ...to discover that Pete's pump had been quietly having conniptions at being dragged out of well earned retirement and was sitting in a puddle of precious fluids... I don't BELIEVE this.
I have another pump to take to Bendigo and I can only hope that the tender surgeons at MI can work another miracle.
At least in a glass-half-full kinda way, there was a replacement pump available when I needed it and mine was fixed in time to replace the replacement :]

Saturday, October 21, 2006

wordplay: C is for...

  • cats... love them. Currently have Oakley and Sophie, although as I write, Nadie's Suki and Sumi are here as well.] Hostilities have commenced, peace negotiations failed abysmally and World War III may break out at any time. Because of the huge native bird population, my cats are totally housebound 24/7. They have a catflap from the laundry into a catrun [ cunningly disguised as a shade house ] but that's all, so when the 'interlopers' are here, they have nowhere to escape to.

I also collect cat stuff... cat themed picture story books, fabric, cards, china,you name it. Notice though, I didn't say " and kittens". Not into cute and fluffy, more into sleek and elegant.

  • clogging... Appalachian clog dancing or western tap ... like tap but a bit more down-home and we have double the number of taps on each shoe... a conventional fixed tap on the toe and heel and a floater on top of each of those. We make a LOT of noise en masse. Nadie clogs too.
  • children...Stephen, David and Renata aka Nadie ... mine are all adults now, ranging from 24 to 31. Quite like the people they've become [ well most of the time :]
  • colour... I'm a colour junkie.
  • cushions ... have to have lots of them... big squooshy comfy cushions
  • caramel... love it but not too much or I'll get sick
  • coffee... mmmmmmmmm Iced coffee.
  • chocolate ... love it but it doesn't love me back. Can we say MIGRAINE?
  • crochet... took it up again about a year ago after not doing it for probably 20 years and if you'll pardon an execrable pun ... I'm hooked
  • Castlemaine and Central Victoria. I moved here not quite 2 years ago after living in suburban Melbourne for 51 years. which could, I guess, lead to an entry on
  • culture shock. A steep learning curve but I'm getting there
  • chai. Tea with black pepper, ginger and cardamom. Delicious. Generally served with great ceremony : a tray with a proper pot of tea, another of frothed milk and a shot glass of honey for sweetening. Nestle have released an instant beverage that they call Chai Latte but as it's coffee with the indian spices, and chai actually means tea, someone at Nestle is just showing their ignorance.
  • cooking. Never been a particularly enthusiastic one but now I have the time and space, I'm really getting into it. Nadie and I try out at least one new recipe when she's up here... and David helped me make the vanilla biscuits [ cookies] today...which leads us to:
  • chilli, cumin, coriander and cayenne... the staples of my kitchen [ along with a couple of G words we'll get to later]
  • collections... I'm a hoarder. I collect fabric, books, magazines, yarn, china, vintage kitchen paraphenalia, knitting patterns, postcards, japanese dolls, japanese clothing ... well anything japanese really, bears ... and probably some other stuff I haven't thought of
  • clutter... the result of the preceding entry. There is a very fine line between 'stuff' and 'clutter' ... I may have crossed over it.
  • CDs ... hundreds of the buggers. Classical, celtic, aussie folk, opera, ambient, but also Evanescence and James Blunt.
  • crow ... what my singing voice sounds like these days. Used to have a quite useful soprano but damaged my throat in my first year of teaching.

Christmas. I'm one of those people who go a wee bit overboard at Christmas. It takes me at least a week to get it all up and nearly that long to pack it all away again. I'm not into tacky decorations. You will find no animatronic xmas trees or singing elvis santas in this house. At the last house I used to have 16 xmas trees... now I'm down to about 10.

Creativity... central to who I am. Creativity is like breathing.

  • counting ... either you're a counter or you're not. I count pages left to read in books, blocks left to do in quilts, rows done in knitting or crochet, and then I ...
  • calculate ... what percentage I have achieved or have left to do. All of which will probably confirm the next C word which is...
  • compulsive. Not in an obsessive/compulsive disorder sense ... not quite... but probably close :]

  • My least favourite C words are probably chaos and confrontation.
  • and finally two really GOOD C words : contentment and coexistence

Friday, October 20, 2006


You may be wondering why I'm opening this post with a photo of a messy bed.

The full import of this is going to be hard to get across unless you actually know me in the 'real' world or have a severely disabled person in your immediate family.

Okay, now at this point you almost have to imagine the heavens parting and the sounds of the choirs invisible because :

Just on a whim I asked David to make his bed and for the very first time in his life, he did it!!!!!!!!

The doona was pulled up pretty neatly but the quilt sort of defeated him a bit... but he did it. He knew what I was asking him to do and he attempted to execute it.

Which is why I'm sitting here typing at 9 o'clock [ when what I should be doing is driving him into his Day Placement. ] because I'm feeling very emotional at the moment and this is the best way I have to share it.

Talk to you all later :]

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

shock horror...some knitting content [ and quilt show photos]

The other night I really NEEDED to knit something... and not just anything. It'd been too long since my last hit and I needed a fix of something new. Now it just so happens that The Yarn Harlot chose Saturday to post a pattern for a new scarf. A scarf with only one pattern row to memorise and that row has only four stitches AND it's truly reversible.
Probably half the knitters in the world were reaching for their yarn with visions of harlotty goodness in their heads. Who was I to buck a trend?
So after some preparatory yarn fondling, and as I didn't have any handspun I cast on with Moda Vera Susan [ mohair blend boucle] but I couldn't see the pattern so I frogged it and tried again with Wendy Double Knit in a glorious cobalt/navy/purple combo. Can't really see the purple in the photo and the colour is much more intense than this. Yeah, ok it's acylic but it's a NICE soft, squooshy, not cheap acylic ...The original YH pattern is in worsted [ 12 ply] so this is a very narrow scarf and I'm obviously having to knit more rows but dayum this is a fast knit. But I do have a gizzle to report, a grump... a whinge even: I deliberately started with a ball containing 300 metres. More than enough to do it without joining. I'm not fond of darning in ends. Anyway that was the master plan.
If you look at the photo with the blue knitting you might notice something significant up near the needle.
10 1/2" in, there was a knot.
I HATE it when this happens. If I buy a reputable and not-cheap brand, it shouldn't have nasty, sneaky, bloody little knots in the middle of the ball.
The one consolation I guess was that I wasn't knitting something on circulars.
Currently I'm up to about 53" and I think I'll probably go to about 60". Given that today's forecast was for 30 degrees, probably NOT peak knitting weather ... pfft... I scoff at such things. Nadie may not wear this for another 7 or 8 months but it will look pretty .

Now the rest of the post's about quilts so you can surf on if you're only after the knitting.

The raffle quilt with Sylvia on the left and yours truly. As you can tell neither of us were expecting to have our picture taken.
Next we have an amish quilt by Kay Smith and a quirky little belly dancer by Janine Clark which was her entry in the Golden Dreams Challenge.

This drunkards Path variation with the curves appliqued in place rather than pieced.
the blue quilt is by Jan Lynch and made from a scrumptious collection of japanese prints. Jan is spoilt rotten... she has family in Japan that send her care packages. Shame I didn't take a close up of some of the kasuri fabrics.
and the hexagon quilt is Brenda Bidgood's first quilt- made entirely by hand. I don't know that she actually owns a machine come to think of it.
Don't know why, but a large number of the girls up here are committed hand piecers.
I certainly used to be but I haven't seen such a concentration for a LOOOOOONG time. I might be Corliss' at Threadbare's influence maybe?
I certainly still hand quilt some but rarely piece that way these days.

Finally, and after talking about it constantly for the last 2 weeks... drumroll please.... this is the finished Challenge quilt. Click on the photo to get a bigger view.

Anyway, I've had a frantically busy day so I'm off to put the feet up and have a chai.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Quilt Show Photos

The first photo [ the elaborate birds-and-flowers one] is the Best of Show by Sylvia Reeves, who also won the Challenge with her celtic appliqued box that I failed to get a photo of ... bugger. Sylvia is something of a rarity in the quilting circles that I move in. Her original designs are computer generated but she chooses to piece, applique and quilt entirely by hand. Something of a contradiction is our Sylvia.
Next is Beverley Downie's Really Succulent which won for Best Machine Quilting on a domestic machine.
The red and black japanese one is my Ginko [ aka the wedding quilt ] which won for Best Use of Design and Colour and also was runner up for Viewers' Choice.
Then we have Beverley's Shilly Shally which I'm including because it's Anjii's Angles with a really clever border. It doesn't show in the photo but she has put tulle over the area between the shells in the border and machined the heck out of it.
The gorgeous butterflies are another Sylvia Reeves original, hand pieced, appliqued and quilted masterpiece. This was the one I voted for for viewers' choice.
Then the last three are mine: the Deconstructed Log Cabin is "Licorice Allsorts"that I made for David and it's both brighter and bigger than it looks here ... queen sized and put-your-sunnies-on bright!
The navy with cranes is Tsuru [ which means crane ... gosh I'm so clever with my titles I make myself sick!] and the other hasn't got it's japanese name yet so I just called it Peace for the time being which is what the kanji translates as. This is the sibling of the quilt I made for Beryl J's big-0 berfday which was in April but she got the quilt in July. This one gets to stay with me although it may occasionally get visitation rights to its sister in Aberdeen, Tasmania.

of course today will be virtuously devoted to house cleaning. WHAT? ... I will SO ... be quiet!

Well maybe a little knitting on the couch might be indulged in ... just a few rows on the Yarn Harlot's Scarf that I started on saturday night and haven't told you about yet... and maybe there will be a cappucino or two in town with Jeanette ... maybe I might pop my nose in the door at Line dancing ... but other that that I'll be cleaning. Yup... and if you believe that I have this nifty bridge you might want to buy.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

B is for ...

  • Blue - my absolute favourite colour. Navy, cobalt, electric, wedgewood, azure, turquoise. My last house was blue from top to bottom, most of my quilts have at least some blue in them and I wear it a lot.
  • Blue and white china . Collect it. Love it. Use it all the time. If it has cats on as well so much the better.
  • Black - the other colour [ ok technically it's not a colour, it's a shade ] that I wear a lot of. Probably a third of my wardrobe is black. It's a Melbourne thing.
  • Bush . As in THE BUSH ... where I live. Surrounded by acres of gum trees and sky. Woken by the sound of birds not traffic. It's bone dry and this year is going to be a bugger for bushfires, sometimes it's a bit lonely but I'm still happy I made the move.
  • Bushfires - there were over 200 separate fires burning earlier this week and it's still 7 weeks to the start of summer. The idea of being in the path of a fire terrifies me but I'm [ nearly] as prepared as I can be.
  • birds. I get superb blue wrens, crimson rosellas, choughs, bronzewing pigeons, pardalotes,yellow robins, rose robins, yellow faced honeyeaters, black faced cuckoo shrikes,grass parrots, grey currawongs and a whole lot of others I can't identify.
  • Beryl J - my best friend. Lives in Tassie. Miss her.
  • Bill - my only sibling. Died of a cerebral haeomorrhage at 34. It's hard to accept that he would be turning 48 next month. The eternal Peter Pan. A troubled, strange person who loved me and my kids unreservedly.
  • Billee - my oldest living rellie, is going through some health challenges at the moment but doesn't give up. Williams women are bred tough.
  • Ballet - my life from age 3 to 15
  • Bellydancing - love it. Great fun, very empowering in a female, guy-free way.
  • Boots - for half the year I live in cowdy boots ... literally ... I wear no other footwear from March to September. I currently have blue suede, brown suede and a very battered pair of jade green ones. I need new black ones.
  • Bootscootin' ... probably why I only wear cowboy boots ... no one ever said you have to have good taste to be a Line Dancer :] ... so I'm a dag. Who cares? I'm comfortable with my dagginess. Nadie and I started Line Dancing in about '94 or '95. We've even got the gold medals to proove it. Mind you, I don't think Nadie admitted at school to the Line Dancing for a looong time.
  • bathroom - mine has peach tiles . I loathe them.
  • Blue scented sun orchids - tiny little native orchids that appear in the bush up on top of the hill behind the house in early spring. They're only the size of your thumbnail so it's a challenge to find them.
  • Books - lots of books... In alphabetical order... except the quilt books which are by subject. When I was still living in Melbourne, I could ring Nadie from a book shop and ask her to check in bookcase # such-and-such to see what I had by so-and-so and ring me back.
  • Bookcases - lots of them too. This is the only house I've ever lived in that doesn't have a bookcase in the bedroom. I need more bookcases!
  • Burmese cats - beautiful. Smokey, my blue burmese-cross was almost 15 when he passed away in 2005.
  • Bears - the stuffed variety - I have 80 something of them - these days most of them live in storage until the start of december when they all come out of hiding and get to wear scarves and hats till january 6th. At the old house I used to put them all in the loungeroom [ livingroom ] window. We lived on a street between the local primary school and the catholic school so a lot of littlies went past every day. I found out from a lady at one of my classes that Christmas was officially deemed to have started when my bears appeared. Well, that meant I had to keep doing it.
  • Bali batiks ... wonderful fabrics ... can't have too many of 'em in the stash. Great for stroking and drooling over.
  • Boxes. Love storage stuff even when there's not actually anything in it.
  • Buffy. I need Buffy on DVD ... the videos are all worn out!

Friday, October 13, 2006

some more of the tiger quilt and a win for me!

This first strange looking offering is the amount of gold paint that migrated off the quilt top when I heat set it. I used Shiva Paintstick in antique gold, air dried and cured for 5 days and then ironed. I'm so glad this didn't get onto either the rest of the quilt or my iron.

Anyway, next I traced leaves from the tiger fabric , enlarged some of them, reversed some and then traced them onto Freezer Paper which was ironed onto the quilt top.I tried drawing around some with white pencil and some I just left in situ and machined around them. I preferred the sewing around the freezer paper, I think. I wasn't tooooooooooo precise because I actually wanted them to look individual [ like I'd designed more variations than I actually had ]

Then the entire background was filled in with stippling in various sizes, except for the lettering which I left unquilted ... in black on the darker areas, moving into mid honey colour and then tan/gold.

After all that work, it didn't win the challenge but that's ok because :

a] my friend Sylvia's exquisite celtic appliqued box deservedly did win


b] drumroll please....

I'm now going to be totally cool, calm and collected while I tell you all that Ginko [ aka the wedding quilt ] won the award for Best Use of Colour and Design...

Yippee... yahoo...blast.... drat...totally blew the attempt at coolness.

Okay, I'll admit it... I'm rapt... I love how this quilt turned out and I'm totally stoked that this is now it's second award. AND [ yes, I'm so excited I'm starting a sentence with a preposition ] the delightful Erica wants it and another for a future article for DownUnderQuilts.

If you haven't seen her before Gingko can be found in the archives at the very first entry.

As well as the certificate, I got a $50 voucher to spend at my favourite quilt shop in Bendigo ... Honeysuckle Patchwork ... which also just happens to be the shop where I teach.

After all this quilty excitement, I'm plum tuckered out so I'm going to sit down for a while ... I won't pick up my needles... honestly... there will be no fondling of yarn that has been so sorely neglected for the last three weeks ... I mean it ... really ... truly ...I'm only going to flick through that new magazine... and...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

lights and tigers and leopards, oh my!

Well, where to start today?
Stephen's Godfather, Chris, drove up from Berwick this morning [ 2 hr drive ] arriving at 8 am... and the reason for the early arrival?... well, the fact that the expected temp was going to be 35 degrees C [ 94 F ] and he wanted to get up into the ceiling to install downlights in the sewing room before the in-roof temperature climbed well over 40 [100]
One might have thought that he would just postpone it until another day, but the other reason for today's visit was that he had done me a huge favour and picked up the Wedding Quilt from #1 son and daughter-in-law that I needed for the quilt show that we were hanging today. I'm incredibly lucky that Chris and his lovely wife, Maz, come up here on a very regular basis... and in fact, are hoping to find just the right property so that they can make it permanent in a couple of years. Chris came up solo this time: because of health issues, extreme heat knocks the stuffing out of Maz, so she elected to stay home in front of the A/C. Sensible woman.
Anyhoo, while he got to work, I pottered around, made cuppas and held tape measures, and so on, then we had an early lunch of felafel and salad wraps and I left him to it while I went to the church to help hang the show.
When I left to pick up David at 3, the show was completely hung and looking pretty goooood...and guess what?
You can't?
When I got back home with Dave, Chris had not only installed 6 downlights [ in what, in a normal household would be the living room but in mine is the studio ] he had somehow got the card reader talking to the puter... so we can have photos again. Yahoo....Yippee...Hooray

So here are some of the long promised in-progress shots of the Challenge quilt... including closeup of the main fabric culled from half of a pair of thrift shop shorts. At this stage the rest was a pile of pieced blocks.
The wonky green right side border in the second photo was replaced later with the same fabric as the left border but a different width ... this was just the audition stage. You can see the final choice in the last photo.
Another thing you might want to look closer at is the area in between the two pieces of 'theme' fabric. In photo #2 that olive green bit is intrusive. In photo #3 you can see the leopard print piece I replaced it with... a much smoother transition from those orangy yellow leaves on the left to the greenish ones on the right.
I'll post more tomorrow... this is enough for one sitting :]

and just in case you're interested in such things, it actually reached 36.9 [ so close to the 100 mark in farenheit it hardly matters ] which, given that summer is still 7 weeks away is a bit of a worry. This was the hottest October day since 1914.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

phew... done

Taught the weekly studio [quilt] class in Bendigo yesterday , got home after picking Dave up on the run through at 3 grabbed a soy protein drink and called it lunch and then at 5pm turned around again and drove the 50km back to Bendigo for the fortnightly clogging class with Karen. On the way home we hit Hungry Jack's.
Speaking of which, did you realise that if you change the soft drink with the burger meal to an orange juice that suddenly and miraculously you aren't indulging in junk food? Seriously folks... orange juice transforms all that salt and fat by some alchemical process into virtuous health food...what? ... it DOES SO. Would I lie to you?
Came home at 9.30 to get stuck into the last side of the tiger quilt . By midnight it was all finished and labelled and I SO wish I could get this bloody machine to accept that it's connected to the camera so I could post all the in progress photos. No mock modesty here folks ... I'm chuffed with how it turned out.

This is despite having to remove and redo some of the quilting when the tension went bung, and redoing part of the binding ...like a side and a half... because it wasn't sitting right.

the schedule for today is:

  • take David into town and meet Jeanette for coffee before our bellydance class [ later: we got to class 15 mins late because we had to rescue an elderly urine-soaked lady with...probably...dementia, who was wondering back and forth through traffic on the main street. She was quite feeble and disoriented so we emphatically could NOT just ignore her and keep on going.
  • Dr's appointment to check whether the blood pressure meds he put me on last week are working [ later: BP back to normallish... Dr is very happy with how quickly it's responded to minimal medication ]
  • go the patchwork [ which actually starts at 9.30 but I'll get there about 12.30 - 1ish ], hand over the quilts and raffle money
  • pick Dave up at 3
  • fall in a heap

Yup, that should about do it.

and just to prove how truly shallow I am... I'm all excited ... my blog has scored a sidebar link on someone else's blog ... how kewl is that? Thank you Nicole [ and Phil ] for making my day!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

sometimes it takes me a while

I've been doing some more of the free-motion quilting on the tiger quilt and much as I hate to admit it, really struggling physically. Barely slept last night with the muscular pain even after taking mega doses of magnesium... whinge ...whinge... whine...grizzle
Then the penny dropped ... I mentioned yesterday that this is the only quilt this size that I've machine quilted myself in quite a while. All the japanese ones I've hand quilted and most of the others of recent years have been about queen sized and commercially quilted. So do you know what else that means?
This is the only quilt bigger than about half a metre that I've machine quilted since I was diagnosed with FMS about 5 years ago... d'oh ... no wonder I'm struggling.
It's not that I forget I have it ... how can you forget pain and chronic fatigue ... but I don't need to remind everyone around me all the time. I've read a couple of blogs that focus on FMS and honestly the moaning and constant self-pity must be SO draining to live with. If I get like that, somebody just hit me upside the head please. Just occasionally something reminds me that I do need to make allowances.
SO now I'm back on track. Small sessions at the machine ... no more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time.
Like I said... sometimes it takes me a while to wake up to the bloody obvious.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Two steps forward, one step back

Yesterday was an interesting day. I drove to Maryborough [ not exactly just round the corner ] for a meeting at the Art Gallery to discuss a possible art project for next year. This all hinges on a funding application to VicHealth and of course, goverment money would be very nice but it will probably be up against a lot of other equally worthy projects so I can't count my chickens. I'll tell all, if and when we get the funding.
A "small" detour to Talbot to check out the Primitive Methodist Church where one great-great grandpa was preacher. Not very satifactory as the church is now a museum but only open on Sundays. Very impressive from the outside... quite grandiose for such a spartan sect. Funnily enough one of the other great-great grandpas was a Primitive Methodist lay-preacher ... one of the so-called ranters and ended up here in Castlemaine.

The rest of the day was spent basting the tiger quilt and designing the quilting.
Part of it really wants to be stippled... I am SO over stippling because we all did so much of it in the 90s... but there are still SOME quilts where it's appropriate and this is one of them. I'm doing big leaves ... sort of monstera or philodendrom-ish...based on the design in the tiger fabric but they really need close background quilting to make them show up.
I thought I'd better take my own teaching advice and do a practice piece which only served to remind me that it is actually quite a long time since I've free-motion quilted anything bigger than 20" square. New machine notwithstanding, I'm not really happy with how my skills appear to have atrophied. New glasses would help too.
The one step backwards happened when I'd just spent about half an hour micro stippling black on black and discovered that the thread had jumped out of the takeup hook, buggering up the tension on the back.
I emphatically do NOT enjoy unpicking miles of mini, mini, tight, tight machine quilting. Luckily for me the back fabric / thread are sort of harvest gold colour so the black thread that had pulled through and clumped and lumped all over the back was easy to see and unpick. Just damned tedious.
So, it's probably a bit more than a third done and has been put aside till tomorrow. The lighting down that end of the house still leaves a lot to be desired for sewing at night.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A is for....

I've decided to join in on wordplay which is where one free associates with one letter of the alphabet at a time.

Amethyst... one of my favourite gemstones. unfortunately [ for me ] it's not MY birthstone, it's Nadie's, so she's the one with the vast majority of the family pieces inherited from my mum. I'm finding myself increasingly drawn to silver and amethyst-crystal jewellery but I don't buy it for myself and Nadie already has enough

Avocado... yum...nuff said

Alpaca... don't tell my goats but they're really alpaca substitutes. My block is really not suitable for alpacas otherwise I'd have some. Alpaca is my favourite yarn too... so soft.

Alec... my father's name, also David's middle name
Antoinette... Nadie's middle name
Anthony... Marc's middle name... yes ... I know ... don't say it. What can I tell you except that my late hubby's parents are from peasant italian stock with no appreciation of their country's history or of the immortal Bard

Abruzzi... the part of Italy that said peasants came from

Anjii Solomon ... my dear friend

Anjii's Angles ... the eponymous quilting technique devised by the above Anjii Solomon and also the name of her book to which I contributed three quilts. I constantly see new possibilities for this block. Thanks Anj for coming up with it. [ there's a link to Anj in the sidebar ]

Acacia ... wattles... why did I buy land in an area with about a gazillion wattle species and specimens? Which leads us to:

Antihistamines... on which Nadie lives when she's up here. Refer to previous entry!

Art... maybe the passage of enough time will make it clear whether what I create is art or not

Amadeus ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ... my favourite composer. Favourite piece?
Operatic: Cosi Fan Tutti and specifically Soave S'ia Il Vento from Act 1.
Chamber? Clarinet Quintet
I find it quite hard to watch the movie Amadeus all the way through. A lot of it really makes me squirm.

Australia ... best country in the world even WITH little Johnie, our Prime Miserable

Autism ... living with a person with autism is a challenge. Some days that's a blessing, some days not... but about the only difference between a stepping stone and a stumbling block is what you do with them... n'est-ce pas?

Anger and arrogance ... not good, not good at all

Age - turning 50 was fabulous. I am finally becoming comfortable with who I am, and less dependant on others for validation... trying not to be emotionally needy, succeeding better some days than others. Mind you if I was truly suceeding, I wouldn't get excited when there's a new comment on the Blog, would I?

Ailurophile... big word meaning I love cats. Any cats. All cats... so long as they're neutered and inside.

Animals ... life is pretty impoverished without animal companions. Mine currently number 2 cats and two goats plus innumerable native birds and the occasional echidna, or shingle back lizard. No unwelcome animals have been sighted apart from the odd hare... so far no snakes , doesn't mean they're not out there... and we DO get teeeeeny tiny scorpions.

which leads us onto the next 'a' word:

arachnid ... and I know scorpions aren't arachnids, but they just naturally lead to those other creepy crawlies that were the nemeses of my late hubby. He was arachnaphobic so after 25 years of stomping or spraying the bejesus out of them, I now try to co-exist .... but I'd rather they stayed outside if at all possible. if they startle me they are still gonna get squoooshed with whatever's handy.

Addictions... mine are to caffein, fabric, books and wool... not necessarily in that order