Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two down

One to go
although I do rather like the effect of the two

... and I have to allow myself a brief moment of hubris ... please notice that they are exactly the same length and hanging straight and square to each other.

My daughter would no doubt comment " and so they should after 28 years practice " but trust me, it's harder to achieve than you might think.

Mind you having written that, I have undoubtedly totally and completely jinxed myself for the third one
which may well end up as a tablerunner after all :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's not ALWAYS about the quilting

current travel knitting:
gee whiz, what a surprise ... it's a SHAWL!

pattern - improvised
yarn - mystery 8ply machine wash wool of some sort, from the magic back room of special discounted delights at BWM.
A trip through Dorothy-the-Dinosaur in a nice hot bath of Landscapes Clematis, Sarsarilla, Wild Rasberry and Night Blue has ensured that it now bears absolutely no resemblance to its original cream shade.
needles - 5.5 mm KP Harmony

Sunday, September 26, 2010

and it all started so well

It was an absolutely perfect Spring morning

The obvious response was a leisurely breakfast in the garden with David, and the full complement of domestic retainers for company.
Breakfast over, I could have perhaps headed back inside and done dishes, made beds, dealt with laundry and the rest of the never-ending roster of housework but ... come on ... Sunday morning, sun shining, bees buzzing, birds singing, and the garden chiming in with its own siren song, so I bowed to the inevitable, slapped on a hat and the 30+ sunscreen, unfurled the garden umbrella and settled in with the current book.

Reading-in-the-sun segued into an hour or so of weed pulling

later there was even knitting

but then for some totally inexplicable reason, I decided to get to grips with the long put off and increasingly pressing need to find the septic tank, based on the incredibly vague location supplied by the previous owner [and I'm just hoping it's not now buried under a flower garden ]

So here are the things I learned today:

dawgs are just as attracted to quilts in progress as the cats

... but I already knew that

umm ... how about

People who have spent a goodly part of the day swinging a pick-axe probably shouldn't attempt after dinner free-motion quilting [ with or without said canine accompaniment ]


If my surgeon didn't want me to swing a pickaxe, he should have added that to the list of banned activities. Like splitting firewood
Strangely I don't think this even occurred to him.

So that was my day.

My agenda now involves hot shower, a wheat pack, mega doses of magnesium, bed, book, decaf mochachino, and quite possibly large doses of industrial strength painkillers... and porridge [ oatmeal ] ... I have a sudden and overwhelming need for porridge.
So if you'll please excuse me, I have a date with the microwave.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This is your official warning!

TWO months until the Christmas decorations start going up

You may now all proceed to panic!

Okay stop that!

Now if you've been here for a while [ or know me in the real world ] you will just possibly be aware of a certain prediliction for the Christmas stuff ... and quite possibly you also know that I mostly run to fairly traditional Chrissy colour schemes: deep reds, burgundy, hunter greens, that sort of thing.

I used to say that I [ the queen of all things blue ] didn't go blue for christmas because
the whole [ last ] house was blue anyway, so who'd notice ?

and then, early last year I treated myself to a stunning Jim Shore Nativity Set - January Sales y'know - and it's mainly blue

It did go out last Christmas, but given that I was still recovering from some very major surgeries, the decorating was slightly scaled down [ well by my standards if no one else's ]

but now I'm back firing on all cylinders, and I've decided that what I need is a blue Christmas themed wallhanging to put over the vintage sideboard behind the Jim Shore.

Anyway, I blame OzJane.

She was the one who sent me the link to one of Stitch-N-Frame's famous [ or should that be infamous ? ] Thursday specials. This arctic Saint Nick was sooooo cheap, I had to have him
and of course I'd been merrily churning out those red and black stack & stash Japanese blocks, so I decided to make a set of 6 stack & slash stars in blues to match him.

Stack and Slash lends itself to making blocks in sets of 6,
I thought I'd put 3 large stars down each side of the panel

Then I did the maths and worked out that I could make a set of 6 teeny ones to be a top and bottom border and it would come out the same length as side sets of 13" ones.

We have a plan!
[ just ignore the red Japanese blocks, okay ]

Well, then the next thought was ' why not quilt each of the three panels individually and join 'em up after ? [ quilt-as-you-go]'
Followed quickly by 'Well, why not just quilt 'em and bind 'em separately ? That way I have more freedom to change the arrangement if I change the furniture."
Plus the two side sets of stars make perfectly good table runners in their own right !
So I guess we have plan version 2.0

All of the fabrics for the stars are from the stash, and I decided to go with prints that complemented the Saint Nick but which weren't actually Christmas print
... so snowflakes, stars, and pine branches all on blue.
The stash also supplied a fawn-splodges-on-cream that toned in with the panel as if they'd been designed to go together - even though all of the stash fabrics I chose were all several years, if not decades, old.
Backing and batting also from the stash . I'd be feeling positively virtuous ... if I hadn't bought about 20 metres more fabric this month

I've quilted and bound the first set of stars, so I have, in essence, a finished table runner, and because none of the fabrics are actually Christmas print, I can use it right now

so when is a finished object NOT a finished object
The aim is to have that tryptych for Christmas.
Maybe not THIS Christmas. but certainly A Christmas

Oooh decisions decisions decisions ... should I do the other set of stars next, or Saint Nick ?

oh and Nadie? I hope you don't ever decide to reclaim that navy-blue-with-snowflakes long skirt that you made in High School. I used it as one of the star fabrics and as the sashing between the blocks as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

goooood day out

Coffee in Collins Street with the Bride-to-be
Scots Church dwarfed by modern Melbourne
the Regent Theatre
[ brilliant, energetic, exuberant revival of "West Side Story" ]
pleasant train ride down and back ... with knitting
choir tonight

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

because Marcie asked

Susan's pumpkin & spud soup:
As near as I can remember

gently saute about a half tablespoon of minced garlic [ or mash a couple of cloves of the real thing ] in a tablespoon or two of olive oil
add 6 cups - or thereabouts - of vegetable stock
half a Jap pumpkin, cubed
1 large carrot, sliced
2 medium boiled potatoes, cubed *
a couple of shakes of ground coriander
same of ground cumin
a goodly quantity of freshly ground black pepper
a 400 gram can [drained ] of chick peas
the merest pinch of chilli powder

simmer until the veggies are soft enough to mash / blend / or pulverise in whatever manner you see fit.

* the spuds were a late addition when the soup was a bit thin, so I preboiled them ... you probably shouldn't need to.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Miscellany

Okay so:
Saturday was David's birthday.
Nadie came up
Friend Robyn [ she who's own birthday avec flood was chronicled a fortnight ago ] brought her DD Jessie over.
Jessie and Dave are of the shared opinion that presents +cake-and-balloons = party regardless of the number of people involved.

Saturday night was spent recovering from the effects of a junk food overdose.

Yesterday saw another gathering of the clans for a Works-In-Progress day
... knitting, crochet, beading and quilting all featured

I was working on the red and black stack-and-slash, Nadie was working on her teal and turquoise one ... with a side foray into beaded wedding favours, Tara was knitting a sock, Val was stitching, and as you can see she brought Chantelle [ show & tell ]

Michelle was piecing a quilt in vintage-look repros, and Marcie was crocheting a cardi for one of her girls. Lizzie I think. Lizzie from Wednesday Peace Choir ... as opposed to her sister Katie from Thursday Chat Warblers.

a good time was had by all [ as far as I'm aware ] and we'll do it again soon
... and can you all send healing thoughts in the general direction of J9, who called in sick with a rotten migraine ?

Today I took His Beariness out to Emu Creek. I got to snuggle his four new little half-sisters who arrived on the weekend. Bear hasn't actually been introduced to his newly extended family yet.

He spent the day playing with, and cheering up, his sister Molly [ who has been banished from the immediate vicinity of the puppies by mum Misty ]

BTW Bear and Molly are Fox Terrier cross Maltese/Papillon.
These new additions

are Foxy cross 'whatever the heck the Farrier's dog is, as far as we know it's Jack Russell Terrier'
the visit also included:
a lovely lunch
post-prandial bottle feeding of 8 gorgeous new Anglo-Nubians [ always gooood but I forgot to take the camera up to the stables ... bad Catsmum bad ... so no kiddy pix till next visit ]
There was horse patting
general garden admiring-and-raiding

your basic day at Pete and Brenda's

and then Bear and I proceeded home in a car redolent with the smells of a bootload of plants, spilt goat milk, and the substances which tend to accrue around new babies of any species.

Since then I've planted most of the largesse from Brenda, squared up the final blocks for the quilt, made dinner, and I'm just about to make a cuppa, to be consumed with some of Val's slice from yesterday. I confidently predict that knitting-with-Dr-Who will occupy the rest of the evening.
Although there may be quilting.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How long is a piece of string ?

... and how long does it take to make a quilt ?

Well, sometimes it takes months and months of fabric collecting and thinking time, before one even takes the first stitch, and then more months and months of stitching, unstitching, repositioning, constant re-evaluation of colour choices, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum ... and that's just the top

and then sometimes you put the brain into neutral and the blessed thing almost seems to make itself:

here's the stack-and-slash-blocks-in-all-different-shades-of-red-Japanese-fabrics that I started last weekend when 'Harmony' came down

and okay, I did buy 2 red Japanese Fat Quarters at Purl's Palace on Tuesday [ I HAD to ... they leapt right off the counter and into my hands. I ask you ... what's a quilter to do ? ]

but the rest is from stash

so I'm feeling quite virtuous

so long as no one mentions the 9 metres I bought on the last trip to Bendigo

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

As promised

here's a slightly better pic of the newest shawl in my handspun alpaca

and with no attempt at a segue

so far this week has involved:

dance class [ Line dancing and yes, I know it's daggy ... it's exercise people, exercise ]
gardening - or more specifically weeding, weeding and more weeding
knitting [ cast on a new shawl, and rediscovered a three quarters finished pair of wristwarmers that I now won't be able to wear till next winter ]
quilting [Yes, new quilt. The wall looked so bare. Yes, I know there are UFOs I could be working on. Your point is ... ? ]
another dance class [ clogging over at Daylesford ]
and that was just Monday!

Purl's Princesses knitting group @ Daylesford [ 45 kilometre drive each way on a perfect spring morning ]
clearing the block [ raking, piling and bonfiring* ]
more quilting
some falling-in-a-heap
almost nothing remotely resembling housework

MORE clearing-the-block
first time @ a Zumba class
and back to the raking, etc
a bit of quilting
no knitting at all
and choir tonight

I think I might just crawl over to the couch and collapse for a while now if you don't mind

* fire ban season will be on us in about a month, hence the frenzy of clearing as much as possible of the detritus bought down over winter, and burning while we can. Ten acres of bush can carry quite a fuel load if you don't keep on top of it ... and ... my inner pyro thoroughly enjoys a good bonnie.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Now please don't faint

but we have actual knitting content - finished knitting content -today
So all appearances to the contrary, I haven't just been beavering away on the wedding quilt.

There have been whole chunks of time when the annoying-thing-that-is-currently going-on-with-my-right-eye [ to whit: the vitreous is shrinking and pulling on the retina, and while the electric flashes have stopped, I have a whole new bunch of floaters which have an annoying habit of meandering across my field of vision when I'm attempting death defying feats of precision patchwork ] has hampered any quilting progress
... and that just about takes the prize for most run-on sentence of 2010

So I've been using the down time - because heaven forfend that I could just sit and do nothing - to plug away on ...

wait for it ... wait for it ...

you'll never guess

another shawl
Practicality [ nice neutral go-with-everything silver grey that won't show the cat hair like the black Brangian does ]
improvised pattern
August 28 - September 12
needles - 6mm KP Harmony
yarn - 442 metres of my handspun alpaca from this year's Tour de Fleece [ WPI between 18 and 23, so what's that Tara ? light fingering or laceweight ? ]

... and I apologise for the pix. The shawl's currently blocking /drying on the spare spare bed - because you know what's occupying the actual spare bed - and a pale grey shawl just doesn't photograph well on a mauvey blue quilt

and I fiercely refute any and all implications that I might be stuck in a rut
this is only the 11th lace shawl this year, and anyway, the first one doesn't really count because that was started back in 2006!
so it's really only the 10th
which was my goal for the year
10 shawls in 2010

and anyway, now that I think about it, the Seamist Stole is being worn more as a scarf than a stole, so it's really only 9
and I need something to take to knitting group tomorrow at Purl's Palace
I better go cast on another one

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It still needs quilting

... and binding
... and cat-and-dawg-hair defluffing

but as of about 10 minutes ago
it IS in one piece

and I don't know whether you can actually see but the beggar is longer than my walls are high - 4" of bottom border is trailing on the carpet

which is why 'Harmony' is currently spread out on the spare bed behind a very closed door

- because I don't trust a certain elderly cat who seems to believe that anything sitting on the carpet is fair game

Saturday, September 11, 2010

If you're really really lucky ...

I mean REALLY lucky
a flying visit to Melbourne [ 2 hours down, 2 hours there, 2 hours back ] to watch the make-up trial for the wedding [ hair too but I couldn't stay for that ]
might just lead to

grandbaby snuggles

Noah is 4 months old this week

Friday, September 10, 2010

I stand corrected

While it is true that there is a long and well documented history regarding the symbiotic relationship between quilters and cats,
His Royal Beariness would like to point out that animals of the feline persuasion are not the only domestic quadrupeds capable of helping their resident quilter to make better quilts.
He feels that his self apponted role as quality control oficer has been undervalued
[ seen here checking whether my points pass muster ]

... that the long and arduous hours that he has put into ensuring the wedding quilt can pass the Bear Standard have been completely overlooked

Consider yourselves told, okay ?

and you'll have to forgive the very foreshortened photo but the thing is just getting too d**n big to photograph head on without moving the furniture - which I will do when the other two borders are on and mitred, but not now

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

and you thought you'd seen the last of it for a while

As you can see
having successfully reclaimed the wedding quilt from MissC
I'm now down to joining the last two rows across the top

... but that won't be the end of it. Ohhhh noes!

The border fabric that I've chosen is a mottled dark blue [ I may have mentioned before that I love the Moda Marbles range for borders ] - not quite a navy, but not truly a royal blue either - and where the teal flows to the side edges of the quilt top, a scattering of checkerboard-style squares of teal and the dark blue will carry that flow out into the border. How many squares and how they'll be placed will be the next challenge.
Yes, of course a plain border of the Moda blue would work ... but this will [ probably ... hopefully ... fingers crossed ] look more fully realised.

Monday, September 06, 2010

erm ... Nadie ? Chris ?

Now I can't quite put my finger on the reason, but I suspect that there may be the odd cat hair on your quilt

Sunday, September 05, 2010

what a difference a day makes

This was the situation yesterday
the waters have receded at an incredible pace. Literally. I can't believe it.Yesterday that park bench was surrounded by water - completely marooned -with the top just clear of the 'tide'

the gardens surprisingly are largely intact

paths that were a metre under water yesterday have emerged soggy but already walkable

the sudden deluge was just too much for many of the stately 100+foot gums, already struggling after 15 years of severe drought.
That is just one massive tree that Nadie

is standing near [ even that bit to the extreme right of the pic that looks like it might belong to another tree - and the root ball is just to the right of the large standing tree left of frame ] and I couldn't fit it all into the picture without losing The Girl completely.

For a direct comparison, refer back to the last image in yesterday's post, The huge bole on this tree below the Macmanus Road bridge is easily recognisable in both shots.

and it's all happened before

Saturday, September 04, 2010

and where was Noah ?

It seemed like such a simple concept.

To celebrate friend Robyn's 'significant' birthday [ albeit 4 weeks after the fact ] we - that is, the members of our acapella women's choir, the Chat Warblers, augmented by some of Rob's other friends and my darling daughter - would gather at the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens and several sites along the way to Robyn's house for the choral equivalent of a progressive dinner.

Even the forecast of heavy rain all weekend wasn't enough to make us call it off. We're made of sterner stuff than that !!

... and rain it did for much of yesterday, all last night and into today.

However I don't think I truly realised the extent of it,

even after Nadie rang to report that she'd be late because of near-enough-to-zero visability on the Freeway

even after she had to drive through 2 feet of water at the bottom of my street.

I mean ... sure ... the goat paddock was awash, and true, there were four very vocal caprines camped under the eaves of the house because half the floor of the goat shed washed away

and the level in my dam is the healthiest I've ever seen it

but still somehow the truth of the situation somehow escaped me until we arrived at the Gardens to discover the local news crew filming what is normally a creek about a metre across - on a good day!
Quite a few wellie-clad locals were more than a little bemused by our somewhat eclectically attired gathering harmonising enthusiastically in the rain [ or as Nadie just said, to the rain really ]We progressed in convoy to our next singing sojourn at the Macmanus Road bridge

and then we were back in the cars and off to our final destination for a lavish afternoon tea-with-more-singing.

Despite the intermittent showers, we had a brilliant time ... certainly one of the more memorable birthdays I've ever helped celebrate

... although if we get much more of the forecast rain, don't be suprised if you see me out gathering up two of every kind.

and, if you're local, you might just see us on the WIN [ channel 9 ] news on monday night !

Friday, September 03, 2010

Doing my bit to support the locals

At the Wool & Sheep Show 2 or 3 years ago, I happened upon a colourful stall where the lovely Peter was selling his 'made in Bendigo' name jigsaws.

As luck would have it, just as I strolled over, someone was getting Peter to hand down a 'Riley' [ which as y'all know is my eldest grandson ] and when I asked was there another, it transpired that no, this was the last one, but he could do me one on order.

The other prospective customer immediately offered to let me have it [ as she lived quite close to them ] and the little bloke scored it as a 'just cos' pressie.

Fast forward to this year 's Sheep Show

When I asked #1 son whether something similar would be acceptable for the new little one, his answer was ... "Why on earth wouldn't it be ? It's Riley's favourite thing "
Well, okay... nice to know
there wasn't a Noah, so one was ordered, and I consoled myself with a super cute little sheep puzzle
and no, it's not for the boys
it's mine !
and yesterday I collected the puzzle that Peter had made

as you can see they're bright and well made and sturdy

and if you'd like to check out the rest of the range it's here

my sheepie is at the top of the farm animals page but now I'm coveting that goat further down.
Maybe P could make me one to match the colours of Ms Sheepie !

and he posts worldwide peoples

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

First day of Spring* Frogpond moment **

This is what it looks like when

... you realise that you missed doing a pair of yarnovers about three inches back
and now once you've seen it, you can't make yourself unsee.
Just call me Kermit

*Here in OZ we calculate the change of seasons from the first of the month, rather than the relevent equinox or solstice, so Happy First Day of Spring [ or Autumn as the case may be ]

MY first day of Spring was spent:

gardening in the rain followed by
working on Nadie & Chris' quilt followed by
hot chocolate with David in town
and now we're about to head out the door for Choir.
The rest of the evening will - I predict - involve reknitting what I frogged and some reading-in-front-of-fire-with companion-animals

** ripit ripit ripit