Monday, October 31, 2016

Sashing Half Done

Now that I have finally resolved that I need 60 sashing pieces, I know that when I got to 30 today I was definitely half way there:
31 done in this picture.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Peony Vesuvian just about fully open:
This photo was taken early this morning without the flash (even though the camera wanted to flash it). Looking at how over-exposed the background is may give you some idea how dark the flower really is.

Lots of these pink flowers have come up this year. They were among the bulbs rescued last year, but none of them flowered last year.

In between them, there are a small number of these gladiolus (possibly Gladiolus carneus) flowers open:
I was happy to see these among the rescued bulbs, as I had them in my old garden but didn't bring any of them with me.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Golden Plains Open Gardens

It was a beautiful day for visiting the three open gardens around Teesdale.

The first garden combined native plants and succulents, and was teeming with birdlife.
 Large trees provided shade.
There was quite a "round" theme.
A combination vegie and flower garden:
And lots of dishes of succulents throughout the garden:

This turned out to be my favourite garden of the day. Although somehow I have no pictures of the 4 Jack Russells (one of which was about to give birth), or of the dozens of chooks including many hens with chicks.

The second garden was a very colourful cottage-style garden:
There were honeyeaters, wattlebirds and wrens feeding on and hopping around between the flowers. Not sure I like the grey gravel, though. I think I prefer the lighter, warmer colours of the gravel in the first garden.
One of several rose arbours:
A very pretty garden.

The final garden was on a much grander scale. It featured large beds of cacti:
 With not much shade. Although this spot looked inviting:
 Closer to the buildings the scale was more human:
 But this was my least favourite garden.

It was a lovely day out, with perfect weather. Sunshine, and no wind! And it was a privilege to visit these three very different gardens.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Finish and a Mystery

My version of Geta Grama's Flower Ball. I'm calling it Memories of Molesworth Street, as the flower colours are those of my old garden. It doesn't have a hanging sleeve yet, as I'm not sure where and how I will hang it up.

Late last night Bonnie Hunter released the colours for this year's mystery, En Provence:
Dark purple, light purple, green, yellow and magenta. Look a bit familiar? I must have a few scraps in those colours!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Maths Fail

On Monday I said I needed to make 36 sashing strips for my Wild and Goosey quilt. But last night it occurred to me that that had to be wrong. It turns out that I actually need 36 30 for the vertical columns, and another 36 30 for the horizontal rows. Oops!

It took a bit of fiddling around to remember how I had managed to print the foundations out the correct size the other day.  But eventually I sorted it out, and printed out another 36 of them (which was my second third maths fail):

So given the 12 I have made so far, I now have only 60 54 48 sashing units to do!

I hope I've got the maths right now...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Peony Bloom

Peony "Vesuvian", the tree peony I received for my birthday this year:
The flower is really a very dark red. It is so dark that the flash triggers even in daylight.

Meanwhile inside:
Twelve sashing pieces completed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sweetpeas and Flying Geese

First sweetpea flowers open this morning:

I started stitching the flying geese sashing for Wild and Goosey on my treadle machine:
Here's how they will look:
Two made, 34 to go. Bonnie used a constant yellow fabric as the background in her sashing. I decided to use black and dark grey fabrics. They'll be scrappy because I'm using up scraps from other projects.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Depository Delivers

My UFO to work on this month was meant to be Wild and Goosey, but as I mentioned in the post about it, I was waiting for Bonnie Hunter's latest book, which I ordered from Fishpond in early September. When I wrote that post, I was waiting to hear from Fishpond when the book would be sent. However what actually happened was that when I contacted them to chase it up half-way through this month, they cancelled my order, saying the book was not available. I immediately placed an order with Book Depository (UK), and 10 days later, here it is:
Thank you, Book Depository!

Here's the page I was particularly interested in; the sashing Bonnie used for her Wild and Goosey blocks:
The challenge became how to get that printed so that I could do the paper-piecing. I don't have any easy access to a photocopier. I tried scanning the page then printing the scanned image, but this is what happened:
I couldn't find a way to control the print-out size, and this is way too big.

I thought I might just have to draw up my own (36 times) but after a bit of searching online, I found a foundation at Quilter's Cache which is the right size flying goose. It is a run of 8 instead of 7, but it is a lot easier to shorten the run than make a longer one.

This one took a couple of tries to get it to print out properly:
Too small on the left, just right on the right! So I have printed out all the runs I need, and now I just need to decide on colours.

Here's the contents page of the book:
Great idea to show pictures of the quilts! You can see Wild and Goosey on the bottom left. There are a few others I quite like, but the one on the top left (Carolina Chain) immediately appealed. It's a  really happy-looking quilt. I just had to try a couple of block segments:
I think this will be my next scrap project, after Wild and Goosey is complete.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Drive

This morning's first job:
This tree was blown down on Thursday night, bringing down part of the fence around the orchard (and a large branch of another tree). Because it rained all day yesterday it had to wait until now to be dealt with.

Tree chopped through, fence back up, chooks allowed out again and we could set off for the day.

A few weeks ago I first noticed signs on the Midland Highway pointing to "Bunjil Lookout". Apparently the lookout opened last year, but I don't know when the signs went up. It's good they put the signs up, as it is not somewhere that you are likely to find because you are just passing through. It is at Maude, a place I didn't know existed:
You can read about Bunjil and the lookout here: Bunjil Lookout
Its shape represents a flying wedge-tailed eagle. The view over the Moorabool River valley is fantastic, but the cold wind today meant we didn't stop long to admire the view. The supports are carved:
I presume to represent Bunjil and his family. If there was an explanation of the various figures I missed it.

In Portarlington, I visited the mill:
It's a former grain mill, built in 1857. More info here: Portarlington Mill
But the purpose of my visit was the Bellarine Quilters' Exhibition there, open every weekend day this month.

Bellarine Quilters made the giant patchwork ball which I'm sure I have shown on my blog when I saw it somewhere else, but I can't find it at the moment. So here's a couple of new shots of it:
 You can tell it is either very large, or the mill's ceilings are very low:
A bit of both, actually! More about the ball here:The Big Ball.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Attaching Binding to the Apple Cores

I decided to put a bias binding around the apple core curves, rather than chop them off straight. Stitching round the curves wasn't too difficult, but the corners were a bit tricky.
And I didn't even try to join the binding:
I tucked one end inside the other, and will hand-stitch it closed.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Basted and Quilted

Choosing thread for the quilting:
All done:
Now I have to decide if I will attempt binding the wavy edge, or cut it off straight...

Added later: I chose the thread at the bottom of the first picture. Forgot to mention that!

Linked to Free Motion Mavericks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Ginkgo leaves emerging:

Tiny liquidambar leaves:
From the house both these trees now have a visible green tinge.

Monday, October 17, 2016

First Rose and Some Clivias

First rose flower to open:
Rugosa rose - Freycinet? (Not certain as its label has gone missing.)

And this tractor is so handy:
Our neighbours rescued a huge clump of clivias, which they split up to plant along their driveway. One tractor to the rescue! Fifteen or more clivia clumps planted in no time. In return for the use of the tractor, they gave us a great big clivia clump for our own garden.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Retreat Day Two

On the second day of the retreat, I learnt that sewing rows of little apple cores together is a bigger pain than sewing individual apple cores together.
It was fun sitting and sewing amongst friends:
A corner of one of the two rooms full of sewing machines - taken during the lunch break. You can see my little Elna on the back table.

I was exhausted, though, and didn't get as much sewing done as I had hoped:
Back home, pinned to my design wall. Eight rows joined (on the left) and five rows remaining on the right.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Apple Core Workshop

This weekend Ballaarat Quilters have a "stay at home" retreat. There are activities during the day, but the venue is in Ballarat so everyone can go home to sleep.

Today I attended an all-day workshop on apple cores. There are four different sizes in the template set we used, and I was the only person who chose to make the smallest size. It was a challenging choice; sewing the tiny curves together was far from easy!

I want this year to be more about finishing projects than starting new ones, so I'm making a small table runner. I stitched my apple cores into sets of 7, and by the end of the workshop I had 13 sets. Then came the fun of trying to arrange them so that a fabric wasn't beside itself, or clumped in one section:
Tomorrow the retreat continues, and I will probably play with this arrangement a bit before sewing the rows together. My plan is to have the whole thing assembled by the end of the weekend.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dodgy Dye Day

Today I decided to block the flower ball quilt. Once I had cut off the excess backing and batting, the top wasn't as wavy-edged as it had been, but I carried on anyway. However, while it was in the laundry sink, I could tell that at least one fabric's dye was running. The water started to go pink. All my fabrics are pre-washed, but it seems one or two of them weren't washed enough. I was as quick as I could be, but as I finished the washing process I could see a couple of places where a reddish tinge was travelling into the blue background.

After spinning the quilt in the washing machine for a couple of minutes, instead of spreading it out to dry slowly in the sewing room as I had planned, I took it outside into the sun:
I had to get it dry as soon as possible to minimise dye migration. It was a good day for it - full sun and a little wind. Fortunately the quick drying seems to have done the trick. The slightly discoloured area did not grow larger, and is not at all obvious. Phew!

You can see the quilting better in this photo I took of the back before the excitement:

Later I squared up the top. That was an interesting process. A circle filled with distorted hexagons doesn't give you a lot of help with cutting perpendicular sides.

By the end of the day, the binding was attached, so now I have some hand work to do at my next sewing day out.