Sunday, August 29, 2010

There are no fairies round here

... but if ever there are, I can provide them with plenty of suitably diminutive seating

so what are they ?

fabulous fungi ?

t'riffic toadies ?

marvelous mushies ?

magic mushrooms ?

or maybe

freaky fungus ?
I'm assuming they're not edible
I mean, would YOU care to be the guinea pig? Nu-uh!
so we'll go with a provisional appelation of toadstool for the time being

and if, for some reason, you have a deep and abiding interest in fungi, the photo set is here

Saturday, August 28, 2010

if you like tiny treasures

this week the Quilting Gallery's mini quilt show is ... appropriately enough ... miniatures
I didn't enter one of mine
instead I submitted one that Nadie made about 10 years ago ... I think it was actually her first ever quilted effort. Unfortunately the photo I have of it doesn't really show the detail properly as a thumbnail so here it is a bit bigger

... and that whole thing is about 5 inches square.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daffodil Day 2010

for Marc
for my Mum
Brother-in-law Jim
Auntie Judy
Uncle Bill

and for the survivors:

Auntie Billee
and Jeanette

who sat with me at the IGA for the last 2 hours taking donations and selling Daffodil Day merchandise for the Australian Cancer Council

and with positive healing thoughts directed towards a newly-diagnosed quilting friend who will be undergoing surgery very soon

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blacker than Midnight

I will be the first to admit that the recent reportage has been more than a little quilt-centric
so just to prove that there has been a bit of sticks-and-string action as well
I give you [ drum roll ]
the Blacker Than Midnight Brangian

I've been getting such a lot of wear from my lovely grape-y wine-y black trimmed Brangian that I decided to make a second while the pattern was still fresh in my brain.

I thought that I really needed a nice plain black go-with-anything shawl ... although after spending copious amounts of time pulling [ mostly white ] cat and dog hairs - and a few that may have been goat - out of it, maybe not such a bright notion.

Seeing I used the same yarn and needles, the specs are exactly the same as the last one, except that I didn't need to dye the yarn, which is stock standard BWM Luxury in Black from the back room at the Mill.

started August 6 and finished today [ currently blocking on Nadie's bed, well away from any and all animals with white in their coats ]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I'm ecstatic for two reasons.
Firstly I got another wonderful care package from Caity - four more issues of Machine Quilting Unlimited, a really interesting mag that I'd never seen before Caity sent me one a while back.
So a huge thankyou to my friend for her generous spirit. I'm not at all sure what I've done to deserve it, but thankyou.but I did say I had two reasons to be excited, right ? Well, I opened the top mag on the pile and was flicking through when I found THIS

...this quilt Circles Of Life was made by my very very dear friend [ for more than 25 years ] Linda French of Centerville, Ohio
and if it looks familiar, well, yes, I DID show it to you once before when it picked up Best of Show in the American Quilters Society show in Tennessee last year
and she's done it again

This spread was in honour of her Best of Show at the Machine Quilters Expo earlier this year
and now I have to ask you all to keep your fingers crossed for the next little while because this special quilt is on its way to Houston ! [ which, for you non-quilters, is the biggest most prestigous quilt show in the world ... and to even be juried in is just a huge huge deal ]

Am I proud of my friend ? you betcha!
Am I surprised ? Not in the slightest

edited to add:
I found a wonderful article about Linda here [ and yes, I still have that quilt she made for 'Susan' in 1985 ]

and another article [ covering much the same ground ] here

Monday, August 23, 2010

no W.O.M.B.A.T.S. allowed **

Now children, are we all sitting comfortably ? good!
because your Aunt Catsmum is going to tell you a story, and as all such tales should, it begins with

Once Upon A Time

back when Microsoft was little more than a gleam in Bill Gates' eye, I read a magazine article about an Alaskan quilter Judy Hopkins and her idea for mystery quilt classes.

I was teaching maybe six or eight - or more - quilt classes a week, and this idea of creating a class project where only the teacher knew the end product ... well ... I just loved that whole concept.
YesI know
I'm a control freak
so what's new?
I began working on some suitable designs:
they needed to have enough steps to keep up interest, no one step should drag on too long [ so no designs that needed 364 right angled triangles all made in one hit ] should not telegraph the result too early, and needed to be finishable within a set class timeframe - usually 12 hours spread over 2 days or nights.
I naively imagined that I could probably come up with about 6
In the end, the tally was more like 30

and so for quite a few years I taught these Mystery Quilt classes about 8 - 10 times a year
It was great fun
Of course, eventually the 'regulars' who did every class were churning out quilt tops faster than they could finish them, AND with the growth of the internet, suddenly there were vast numbers of mystery quilt designs readily available online.

So with these two factors, it seemed like a good time for the MQ Days to evolve into UFO [ unfinished objects ] Days ... and so they did
for several more years
and then I moved up here and they sort of petered out

Until yesterday

so what's changed?
for one thing
my darling daughter has decided to finally bow to the inevitable, and embrace her destiny - or FATE - as a quilter.
So we decided [ well, she suggested and I agreed ] that we needed to reinstate some form of regular get-together, involving quilting of course ... but also knitting, spinning, crochet, embroidery, beading or what-ever-takes-the-fancy.

to be known henceforth and forever as WIP Days [ Works In Progress ]and, if nothing else, I figured it'd give Nadie and I yet another mother-daughter bonding activity

and so it came to pass that the word was spread and yesterday morning the cars began to arrive from all points of the compass
platters of food appeared in my kitchen
and wonderful projects were unveiled ... knitting, patchwork, applique, and beading all had their moment in the sun
many cups of tea were made and enjoyedgood food
good friends
good conversation
a modicum of actual productivity
Sheepie was reunited with a long lost sibling

and Nadie was initiated into the mysterious sisterhood of Textile Mavens

and of course we're going to do it all again next month

** WOMBAT = waste of money, brains and time

Saturday, August 21, 2010

flower quilts online

you don't have to vote for my quilt but if you'd care to look

Friday, August 20, 2010

what I've been reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JKR
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown ( disappointing )
Loving Richard Feynman - Penny Tangey ( Young adult - okay except the weak ending )
From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
Living Dead In Dallas - CH
Green Mill Murder - KG
Blood and Circuses - KG
Ruddy Gore - Kerry Greenwood
Urn Burial - KG
Raisins and Almonds - KG book 10
Death Before Wicket - KG
Away With the Fairies - KG
Murder In Montmartre - KG
Queen of the Flowers - KG
Murder In The Dark - KG
The Persian Pickle Club - Sandra Dallas
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul - DA
Cocaine Blues - KG
Forbidden Fruit - KG book 20
Dead Until Dark - CH
Club Dead - CH
Skin Trade - Laurell K Hamilton
Seventh Son - Orson Scott Card
Red Prophet - OSC
Prentice Alvin: OSC
Alvin Journeyman - OSC
Heartfire - OSC

Crystal City - Orson Scott Card
The Fire Rose - Mercedes Lackey book 30
Dead to The World - Charlaine Harris
Dead As A Doornail - CH
Definitely Dead - CH
Dead and Gone - CH
Phoenix and Ashes - ML
The Wizard of London - ML
Swallowing Darkness - LKH
Shakespeare’s Landlord - CH
All Together dead - CH
Shakespeare’s Champion - CH book 40 I probably need to rethink my goal for the year LOL
Shakespeare’s Christmas - CH
Shakespeare’s Trollop - CH
Shakespeare’s Counselor - CH

Inkspell - Cornelia Funke
InkHeart - Cornelia Funke
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club - Gil McNeil
The Lover’s Knot - Clare O’Donaghue ( had trouble finishing this one … too contrived )

Handfasted - Catherine Helen Spence
A Knight Of The Word - Terry Brooks
Running With the Demon - TB book 50 OFFICIAL GOAL REACHED
The Patient’s Eyes - David Pirie
The Night Calls - DP
The Dark Water - DP

Jane Bites Back
Jane Austen Ruined My Life ( didn’t finish )
Turn Coat - Jim Butcher
Dirt Music - Tim Winton ( IRL bookclub )

The Science of Discworld 1
Last Continent - TP ( reread)
The Jerilderie Letter - Ned Kelly ( IRL bookclub ) book 60
The Magicians - Lev Grossman
The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie - Alan Bradley

The Childrens Bach - Helen Garner ( IRL bookclub )
Jingo - Terry Pratchett ( reread )
Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris
An Ice Cold Grave - CH
Grave Secret - CH

Thursday, August 19, 2010

who dat girl ?

a 'slightly' smaller me in 1993/4, and though you can't see most of it, my hair is in a french braid down the back*by '98 the poundage is higher and the hair is shorter - and I'm letting the natural wave ...umm...wavethese days the poundage is higher again and the hair - straightish - couldn't be much shorter without resorting to a razor

Is there an inverse correlation between weight and hair mass I wonder ? Does that mean, if I grow my hair out again, I'll lose weight ?

* I still have that silk bargello vest tucked away. Not that anyone would wear it now [ except as fancy dress ] but I loved the colours and put such a lot of work into it that I can't bear the thought of tossing it out. Oh, just look at those shoulders! Can we say early 90s ?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

The elephant in the room

I thought I had it sorted ... until I saw yesterday's photo as it appeared on the blog, and then something just jumped right off the screen.

It kinda makes me wonder whether I was walking around with my eyes closed for the last however many weeks.

What am I carrying on about?

To save you going back and looking again
I'll make it easy:
here's the offending section
[ albeit fuzzy and slightly out of focus from being cropped so much ]

Yes, I'm talking about that dark purple splodge in between the bars of the shrine. Now somebody tell me how I missed THAT ?
Anyway, here's today's iteration which is [ fingers crossed and touching wood ]

the last
absolutely the last
full stop
never again
cross my heart and hope to die

Saturday, August 14, 2010

... a-n-d again

Outside it's blowing a gale.
As with quite a bit of this week, there have been various levels of precipitation ... aah ... precipitating.
There are two happy ducks
and four very grumpy goats

one small dawg who won't go out to do what a dawg's gotta do, unless I can absolutely, hand-on-my-heart guarantee him that he won't get wet

and three cats who are perfectly willing and able to use a litter box.

There has been a certain level of feline gloating about that last fact, and nasturtiums have been cast in Bear's general direction concerning his lack of manliness ... er... dogliness

and the tweaking of the wedding quilt continues:

Today was spent making minute changes and taking about 50 substantially identical photographs but I'll take pity on you all - here's the most recent:

I'll even tempt the Fates and suggest that I have now made all the necessary blocks [ including all the ones that didn't survive the cull ], stitched the sashiko, and am into the hand-appliqueing of assorted waves.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yup. I know who I'm voting for

According to today's Sydney Morning Herald:

"The ABC has rejected pleas from the Greens to be allowed to broadcast a striking yet fake election advertisement that was created for the broadcaster.

The party confirmed they want to use an advertisement created by agency Republic of Everyone that featured on the Gruen Nation last night.

But the ABC will not allow it be used during the campaign, stating it owns the rights and the "ABC can't provide one side's advertising"."

for my overseas friends:
we have a federal election in just over a week
this is NOT a paid political ad - it's actually from a satirical show on advertising and media [ The Gruen Nation ] that aired last night.

Originally I had the YouTube footage embedded but for some reason it was not showing the full screen. You can access it direct on YouTube through the link above. Sorry 'bout that, but it's well worth a watch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

spot the difference ?

Wedding quilt again

a few more blocks
some more tweaking
[ even though there are still a handfull of blocks to do ]
and because I wanted to go the quilt group today - and didn't exactly feel like taking the whole quilt down off the wall - I've started the hand applique ... which meant that I first had to join some of the blocks together to have something to applique on to

totally gratuitous cat-who-wishes-Mum-would-move-her-stuff-off-my-best-napping-spot

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

getting there

a lot of 'tweaking' going on - only the most careful inspection would reveal differences between this and the last several versions ... but I know !

I haven't actually given you any specs, but you could probably tell that this will be a reasonably big quilt.
The design brief - such as it was - from my DD was " One of your Japanese one-of-a-kind quilts, purple, teal, navy, with cranes, sashiko, Mount Fuji and a Tori gate"

Unfortunately Mount Fuji declined to be included,
but I think we can safely say that the rest is to code.

Each of the blocks is 6" finished, and there will be a border - understated navy - of 6-8" around what you see here, so ... assuming my maths skills haven't totally deserted me ... that's a finished size of 96" -100" square [ 2.4 -2.5m ] before quilting, to finish an inch or so smaller.

Not that this is remotely close to being finished.

I've only done [ most of ] the blocks.

Still got to join all those squares together.

and while we're on the subject, I can't keep calling this The Wedding Quilt. It needs a name, and I've already used the ones which spring to [my] mind, so I'm open to suggestions.

Love Song

I found this while trawling YouTube for possible wedding songs for Nadie and The Boy and I just had to share it with all of you [ and as a way of finding it again myself ]
I love that touch of Leonard Cohen in his voice.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

All's well that ends well

I'll keep this one brief because the eye drops haven't fully worn off yet [ after 3 hours ] and I'm finding the monitor a bit glarey

Basically the Opthalmologist says that the vitreous in my right eye is shrinking and pulling away from the retina - that pulling action being what causes the electric flashes I've been experiencing since last friday.
It's very common in old fogies, and can definitely be a cause for alarm if the retina tears or ruptures during this process of pulling away ... but mine is fine.

Touch wood.

My vision isn't/shouldn't be affected, and I'll just have to put up with the flashes and pressure on the eyeball for a week or two until the process is complete.

Huge sigh of relief!
Obviously I was told that if the situation changes [ worsens ] then I'm to call 'em immediately but there doesn't seem to be any real reason to expect that to happen
so it's all good

True to her word Tara ran me from her place to the Clinic, waited [ with knitting ] until I was done, then back to hers for a cuppa while I waited for the drops to subside enough to drive.

so now the agenda is dinner, a cuppa, and tellie with knitting - which I can do on autopilot because it's just stocking stitch.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

more 'splaining and a blogiversary

so following on from yesterday's post:

David has stopped throwing up everything in sight, has managed a couple of small, bland meals [ if two wheet-bix, and two slices of toast-and-a-scrape-of-vegemite can be called meals ]
He's managed to stay out of bed all day too [ armchair, a blanket, tellie and the fire ] so we are cautiously optimistic, although he'll be staying home tomorrow just to be sure.
This gastro has landed several locals in hospital, including at least one of David's mates, so call me an overprotective mum if you like but I'm taking no chances.

The Doctor visit this arvo has resulted in an immediate appointment with the Opthalmology Clinic up in Bendy tomorrow, so I had to call in some favours with HACCS at the Shire to get Carer coverage on such short notice, but they were pretty good about it and rearranged rosters to free up David's preferred Carer [ps this NEVER happens!!! ]

Given that I'll have those lovely drops in, and we don't have a clue about the time frame, the ever thoughtful Tara has suggested that I park at hers, she'll run me to the Clinic and wait-with-travel-knitting, and then I can visit Chez FiestyWench until the drops wear off enough to drive home 50 km in safety.

I haz gooood frenz :)

I have to say the flickering actinic flashes are quite unnerving ... but not enough to stop me from:

this is Brangian, which has been in my queue ever since Bells blogged about hers. Seeing it up close and personal a couple of weeks ago at the Wool & Sheep show just served to totally reinforce that desire.
Not that this is anything like Bell's delicate cashmere version. Ooooh no!
This is a solid, sturdy, 8ply [DK ] Brangian which will keep me warm if I ever again get stuck for an extended period in a b****y freezing bus terminal.

yarn: BWM Luxury 8ply cream, dyed in a mix of Landscapes Barossa and Currawong. The yarn for the border was dyed only with Currawong [black ] and I really love that subtle change.

needles: 5mm KP Options
Modifications: 3 repeats of unchart 2, 1 of unchart 3.
Loved doing this even with the added distraction of the flashing lights, and would certainly do it again
July 29 - August 2

the Merino/ Soy [80/20] that I bought from lovely Mandie of EGMTK at the Wool & Sheep Show. This stuff is lush, shiny, soft ... I'm loving it. probably going to end up as a 2ply about sport weight
[ which we Aussies call 5ply, so a 2ply 5ply ? meh ... bit too confusing
I'll just stick to calling it sport ]

then there was the working on Nadie & The Boy's queen sized wedding quilt
coming along quite nicely I think
so that's about it for my 4th Blogiversary post ... Happy Blogiversary to me !

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

let me'splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up ...

Yes, know I sort of promised an update on the weekend ... mea culpa ... but I'm sure you'll all forgive me [ she says, smiling winsomely ]

Basically the last several days have involved:


weird flickering visual disturbance which was initially put down to migraine-related aura but is now on Day 5, so I'm off to the Doc tomorrow, always provided I can sort out some care arrangement for young David who has been throwing up everything in sight except Gastrolyte since Saturday, and is obviously not going to be well enough to be sent to his Day Placement.

To his credit, Dave has mostly managed to make it to the bathroom, but so far I'm on the third set of sheets/quilt/pillowcases, and have lost count of how many times I've had to scrub the walls in the loo.

The joys of motherhood

So it's currently very quiet round here, what with The Boy spending most of his time in bed.

Good knitting-and-spinning time
equally good quilting time [ and I'll show you all of that in the next post because this is already running on a bit and I'm not finished yet. Not by a long shot. ]

A quiet week - for whatever reason - has a lot of appeal, because the totally yarny insanity of the Wool & Sheep Show [ as already documented ], was followed a week later by the even more insane Quilt & Craft Show at Jeff's Shed.

summing up:
drove down in Tara's new vehicle - berry noice! [Tara seen here in a moment of yarn-fondling]

As planned, we met up with my DD [ seen here with my quilting /knitty friend Luz ]

and knitting friends [ Jackie, Sam with Tara ]

It goes without saying - in the middle of winter - that lots of layers are de rigeur for this sort of outing ... and shawls. Shawls are a must.
Jackie's is Travelling Woman,[ free rav download ] Tara's is an Icarus in baby alpaca, and I was wearing the latest iteration of the Forest Canopy

Of course Nadie and I spent quite some time admiring the Vic Quilter's Annual Quilt Show
[ usually the only reason for attending, because I am not good with large unruly mobs and really hate -with-a-passion the whole business of fighting the crowds around the craft show side of it ]

While Nadie voyaged off in search of wedding related bead supplies, and notwithstanding my crowd-induced discomfort, I girded up my loins, and checked out all the sewing machine vendors, before plonking down a deposit on a Husquvarna Emerald for Nadie
[ and the three Pfaff staffers earn a huge razzie for totally ignoring me for 10 full minutes while they mostly socialised with the booth next door. I was NOT quiet about the reason for my displeasure as I - and my money - left ]

Fast forward to the end of our time at the Show: apart from The Girl's sewing machine, I'd only bought one skein of Collinette and two FQs of Japanese fabric ... umm ... well ... that is, until I saw a Christmas-goodies stand on the way out, and blew the rest of my budget.
Nadie's comment was " I thought you were pretty restrained actually. You could've bought half that stand! "

Train out to Nadie's for tea, and modelling of the newly presented scarf and beanie in Melbourne Storm colours, which she wore to the match that night. [ they won ]I was supposed to be going back into town and the Opera [ Handel. Julius Caesar] when the kids headed off to the footy, but was so tired I opted to just go home

big mistake
Vline, had cancelled a bunch of country trains due to track work, replacing them with a partial Coach service and then train from Sunbury. I won't bore you with the details of the trip, other than to say that what should have been less than a 2 hour train journey became over 4 hours, much of it spent waiting in freezing conditions in a cavernous bus terminal

the week since has been spent
knitting Nadie some gauntlets to match the beanie & scarf combo
matching Storm Beanie for The Boy [ Nadie's Boy that is ]
knitting myself a warmer shawl-for-waiting-in-bus-terminals
pedicuring four very unco-operative goats
wrestling with rocks and recycled fence posts and several barrow loads of dirt to create a new garden bed, sited to take advantage of the overflow pipe from the roof

Reasonably gratuitous Bear included for scale

and I've just realised tomorrow is my 4th Blogiversary