Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Day of Piecing

The first clue of the mystery quilt was released at midnight last night. I had a read through it then, but wasn't about to start sewing straight away. Although I did read about one keen quilter in NZ who was planning to get up at 2:00am and start sewing!

Before I could tackle the mystery, I wanted to get another piecing job done. These blocks will become more Christmas decorations like the ones I made a couple of weeks ago:
I did all the cutting and sewing of these today, but I haven't decided yet if they should be sewn together in matching or contrasting pairs. Maybe I will do a mixture. I need to find some ribbon, and get some more filling, before I can finish them.

Then it was time to get stuck in to the first mystery clue. I had to pull out fabrics for each colour, then there was a bit of cutting and sewing:
This is about 10% of the requirements for this week.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Colours of Summer

Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt starts before the end of the week, and I still haven't gathered my fabrics. I've pulled out the neutrals, but haven't started looking for the other colours yet. Assuming I stick with Bonnie's colour range, here's roughly how the colour scheme will look:
Although there should be more blue. The blues and oranges are meant to be roughly equal in area. It is still feeling very summery to me. Today in the city I was struck by this ad on a tram stop:
Hello Summer indeed! (Ignore the fact that it was cool and rainy at the time.) Apart from the red border, this ad just about follows Bonnie's colour scheme. Blue for the sky and ocean, the green of the pine-lime splice and on the label of the calippo, orange for the golden gaytime, the calippo is yellow, and the neutrals are the sand.

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Cover

Dressed up my phone in a new cover which arrived from across the seas today.
I hadn't realised covers were available. I looked around Melbourne for one when I bought the phone, without success. But I should have done a wider search. I discovered accidentally a couple of weeks ago that there are actually hundreds of different covers available.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Scatterday - G

It seems I lost count of how many letters we had left in the Scatterdays journey. I thought last time we doing our antepenultimate letter, but it fact this is the one that is our third-last:

And our categories are:
Something green from the sewing room.

Well this could have fitted three of those categories, but I'm using it for Body:
The green body of the first Elna sewing machine has contributed to it becoming known as the Grasshopper. It was made from 1940 to 1952. This is not a picture of mine, but it looks pretty much the same. The photo is from, a domain which is apparently going to be shut down in a couple of weeks.

I enjoy growing things. This is a piece of a plant I found yesterday that someone was throwing out. I couldn't grab the whole thing, but I hope this cutting will grow into a nice plant.

Grilled cheese still sizzling under the griller! I've eaten a lot of grilled-cheese-on-toast lunches in my life. This one was particularly yummy though, being more of a Welsh rarebit than just my usual slices of cheese on toast.

A selection of green things from my sewing room, including a sample of every stitch on the only new sewing machine I ever bought. That was in 1990, and it died in 1997. I had thought it was purely mechanical, but it actually had some computerised components, and when one of them broke it wasn't repairable. So I went back to using the Elna Lotus I had owned since 1982 (still going strong now), and have had no further desire to own a computerised sewing machine.

Check out the links on Cinzia's blog to see what the other Scatterdayers found for G. By my calculation we have only C and Y to go!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Geelong Show

Avenue of trees outside the venue for the Geelong Patchwork and Quilters' Guild show in Geelong today. I took a few photos of quilts that interested me, but there were signs up asking that none be published on the internet. You will just have to go and see them yourself over the weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Filling Out

Back in September I planted up this old planter:
And here's how it looks today:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Shoot!

In March this year I found a tiny piece which had broken off a chain of hearts plant (Ceropegia woodii). I brought it home, and popped it in a tiny pot to see if it would root.

The stem part shrivelled up, leaving just one leaf. That leaf has sat on the window-sill for 8 months. I've watered it from time to time, as the leaf was still green, even if it showed no sign of growing.

A couple of months ago I was given a hanging planter with a lovely, thriving chain-of-hearts in it. But I still didn't give up on my single leaf on the window-sill.

And look what I found today:
It's growing!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

First Bud

This is my replacement "Marie Antoinette" dahlia's first bud. I will be very interested to see what colour the flower is this time!

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Pineapples

For my experiment with the "sew simple" pineapples on Friday, I started with 7cm squares. But I wondered what effect smaller starting-squares would have. Today I found out:
In the middle is my first experiment, which started at 7cm, and has 6 layers.
To the left is my second try. This time I started with 6cm, and again there are 6 layers. If I added two more layers it would be exactly the same size as the first one.
The small one on the right started with 5cm squares. There are only 3 layers, but I've positioned the ruler to show that it is still only 5cms in size. It hasn't grown, which means that if I tried to sew another layer on, it would be exactly over the top of the second layer, hiding it completely.

So it seems 7cms was a pretty good starting size. 6cm works, but the tiny extra strip of colour doesn't really seem worth the extra work to me. So I will stick with 7cms.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Modern Love

Big day out in Bendigo!
First stop was the Modern Love exhibition at the art gallery. Amazingly, photos were allowed as long as you didn't use a flash. The exhibition focuses on "fashion visionaries" of the last 30 years, with pieces by Rei Kawakubo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Vivienne Westwood, and many more.
You may notice that there aren't many people in these shots. I don't know if that was because of how early I was, or if this exhibition is just not pulling in the crowds that previous ones have. I did overhear a visitor say "Look at that, it's only 19 years old. That's practically new!", which made me wonder what they thought they were coming to see.

It was nice to be able to get a good view of everything, unlike the Grace Kelly show where there was always at least one person, and often two, between me and the glass cases. Here's a close-up of one of Issey Miyake's pleated garments:

One by Thom Browne that just made me laugh:
This one is not old at all - it is from his Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection. I loved the quilting on the jacket, but what might not be obvious is that it has no sleeves. It is a square straitjacket, topped with a big square hat.

The show is on until 2nd February. It is not huge (just two rooms) but is worth a visit if you are interested in modern designers!

Next stop, the Bendigo Swap Meet.
This is the biggest thing in Bendigo this weekend. A huge sea of stalls selling "something for everyone", although to be honest, most of it was for people interested in cars. However, I did see half a dozen sewing machines and one overlocker, and then this:
Let's zoom in a little:
Squeezed between the vehicle parts, someone selling quilting fabric! But it was almost hidden behind the board advertising several old cars for sale.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sew Simple Pineapples

Yesterday morning I watched an episode of The Quilt Show which included a segment where Karin Hellaby showed how to make a pineapple block using her Sew Simple method (Episode 1212 if you have access to it). I was amazed and fascinated by it, so I had to try it out straight away. No measurements were given in the segment, so randomly chose 7cm as the starting square for my trial block. I just grabbed fabrics as they came to hand, and because they were purple the block is not easy to photograph:
Bottom left, my trial block. The squares required appear to grow in size in something like a fibonacci sequence. Rest of the picture, squares I then cut to make more blocks. It had suddenly hit me that I needed some little gifts for members of one of my quilting groups by Sunday, and I didn't have much time available for sewing before then.

Next photo is about two-thirds of the way through the process:
I've put a link below to a YouTube video that explains these a little if you are interested. But I'm not using 1/4" seam allowances, mine are all metric. The blocks don't take long to make, although drawing the lines and cutting them open are a bit time-consuming.

Here's most of the finished blocks I made:
They've got one less round than the purple sample block. And here's what they became:
Little stuffed Christmas tree decorations. They're not sewn closed yet, but I think I will be able to do that before Sunday afternoon!

The YouTube video if you want an explanation of the process:

It is always fascinating to me when someone comes up with a completely different way of doing something! I'm going to have to try a bigger block (or blocks) in the future. My mind has been throwing up ideas of other ways to use this technique, so there's lots to explore.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sitting Piecing

This afternoon was ideal for sitting inside doing some paper-piecing, and catching up with some recorded TV shows:
It is over two years since I made the first of the pieces for this. I'm getting closer to finishing it, but progress is very slow because I usually only work on it when I'm at quilting meetings. But today was a good day for it!

Added later: Linked to Sarah's HeLP for November. Check out the other paper-piecers!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Still Cool

These gazanias were looking very cheerful in my garden today:
They look a lot more summery than the weather has been!

Meanwhile I was amused by this item on the website of The Age today:
Not sure I need financial advice from someone who can't count the number of digits in 1,000,000.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ric-Rac and Yo-Yos

It is nearly a month since I made these purple yo-yos, but I'm finally using them:
Progress shot: stitching them to a purchased item. It's for a gift so I won't go into too much detail!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Scatterday - K

What a pretty K! Our categories today are:
in your neighbourhood, edible, container, and something king size from the sewing room.

In My Neighbourhood:
Someone's idea of a koala. There are three of these perched in trees in this mall in my suburb. I don't know who is responsible for them, and I'm not sure what they are made of, as they are up quite high.
Added later: Thanks to Dee in the comments, I now know that the koalas are part of the same MoreArt festival as the giant worms. I should have realised! The artist is Aaron James McGarry, and he made the koalas of plastic shopping bags. Details in the link Dee posted: How much plastic can a koala bear?

Also in my neighbourhood - quite a few kebab shops. The crowds at Melbourne Kebab Station lead me to believe it must be the best. It has been there for years, but others open up and close down regularly. It is not uncommon to see no-one buying the rival kebabs while at the same time the queues spill out onto the footpath at MKS.

This one was tricky. So many containers, so few starting with K! This is an Ikea storage box called "Kassett". I have a few of them on the shelves in my loungeroom holding bits and pieces. But their main purpose is to allow double-height CD storage. i.e. I have one row of CDs in front of the boxes, and another row on top, allowing twice as many CDs on each shelf.

King Size:
Giant bulldog clips used when basting quilts (tape measure for scale). Last seen in action here. They would have been quite expensive, but I got them very cheap when this colour was discontinued.

Well that's it for my Ks. You can find links to other people's Scatterday posts on Cinzia's blog.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Market Stall

An attractive stall at Vic Market. Someone with an eye for design has used an umbrella, some galvanised vessels, and blackboards for prices to create a unique look.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It's a Photo Finish!

No, not the Melbourne Cup. That's still an hour or so away. The glasses race!

Yesterday my local glasses arrived. Last night at about 11:30, I thought I would check the tracking on my internet ones and see if there was any update (there hadn't been since they left the US). This is what I saw:
Delivered! What? Where was I at 1:58?
I know exactly where I was - walking down to the optometrist to collect my glasses, having given up on the postie for the day. He normally arrives before 1:00pm on Mondays, so I assumed he had already been and had nothing for me.

After my trip to the optometrist I went to the cinema, and never checked the letterbox again for the day. But I should have, because that's where my glasses were all along!

So, compare and contrast:
There are some differences. My local glasses, which are on the left, are "enhanced readers" which are supposed to be correct for using the sewing machine or computer, but with a close-up section at the bottom for threading needles, etc.  Here you see everything that came with them (a cleaning cloth). On the left, the single-vision internet version, and everything that came with them (a case, a larger and prettier cleaning cloth, a bag of extra nose pads and screws etc for repairs, a tiny 3-part screwdriver tool for making repairs, and a plastic measuring device for working out your pupil distance for future orders).

Local glasses pros:
  • could use my own frames, which I've had for years and really like.
  • can try on other frames.
  • when the prescription was incorrect, they were returned and replaced at no cost to me.
  • are guaranteed, so if I decide I would rather have only single vision, I can send them back to be changed at no cost.
Local glasses cons:
  • was charged an installation fee of $30 to have the lenses put in my own frames. This strikes me as unfair, as they have to be put in some frames.
  • very limited range of frames available if I had wanted to buy new ones. They had 3 frames, all in the men's section, which were large enough for my face. 
  • anti-reflective coating was going to cost about $50, so I didn't get it (notice reflections in photo).
  • lenses cost $190 for these multi-focus ones, or $120 for single-vision.
Total cost: $220.00

Internet glasses pros:
  • far more frames to choose from in large sizes, even in "women's" designs.
  • frame and single-vision lenses cost only $19.00 (US)
  • anti-reflective coating cost only $4.95 (US)
  • I had actually put my distance prescription on my order, but they contacted me to check it, because it didn't match what I said I wanted the glasses for.
  • more goodies included!
Internet glasses cons:
  • if they hadn't been correct, sending them back would not have been practical
  • have to pay postage (even though it was only $9.95 US)
  • had to wait for the postie
  • frames are quite light-weight, so I don't know how durable they will be
  • frames probably aren't re-usable, either, so contribute to the "throw-away" culture I hate.
  • could be trickier to get multi-focal glasses correct, as there can't be any tweaking like the local ones have needed.

Total cost in Australian dollars: $36.24

So, the race was close enough to a dead heat. As to which pair will be my favourite - what do you think? Let's just say that so far, I'd be happy to order on-line again.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Race is Over

No, not the horse race. That's tomorrow. This is the glasses race that began nearly three weeks ago.
Today I picked up the local set. Of course, if they had been right the first time the race would have finished a week ago.

However I'm finding the focus on them a little strange, and it may take me a while to get used to them. And if I can't they will be going back again, so perhaps the race isn't really over yet!

Should I have to turn my head to read a full line across the computer screen? Keeping my head still only about the middle half of the screen is in focus, with the left and right sides blurry.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ballaarat Quilters Show

A day out in the country, firstly to take my mother to the Ballaarat Quilters Exhibition. It's the third time we've been there since I started blogging. Here's 2009 and 2011. I'm obviously repeating myself.

Mum recently turned 85. She is becoming much less mobile, but she still hasn't gone grey except for a touch at the temple. I don't take after her in that respect, having started to go grey in my twenties.

After taking her back home, there was time to visit a few other attractions in the area. Who could resist this:
A combination nursery and antique shop! Behind the buildings, trees and shrubs for sale are arranged like a garden you can stroll through. It was a very pleasant break from the drive.