Saturday, December 8, 2018

No Good Fortune

Today hasn't been a complete waste:
I made one test unit of the third "Good Fortune" clue, using Bonnie's method of drawing lines.

When cut apart, it yielded pieces that were probably close enough to the correct size:

But that was all I managed. The treadle machine then decided to stop making proper stitches (it skipped stitches then broke the thread), and my Lotus had a go at chewing up a few more. At the end of the frustrating day this is all I have.

I also spent a bit of time looking at sewing machines on Gumtree and Ebay...

Friday, December 7, 2018

Signs of Summer

The shade sail going up out the front of the house:
The sun doesn't come into the house at this time of year, but the glare does. The shade sail cuts down glare off the concrete and from the sky.

Water lilies opening:
The pink one has three flowers open today.
This is the only white one so far.

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Around the middle of this afternoon we started getting phone alerts about a fire about 5 or 6km away, almost to the west of us. Initially there was one vehicle responding to a small fire, then a few more.  We couldn't see or smell any smoke, but we went up the hill to our neighbours' place, and from there the smoke was visible (between the trees):

About half an hour later a couple of helicopters flew over on their way to fight the fire:
We had a cuppa while we checked our phones and watched the number of vehicles responding to the fire climb to 27. Orange "Watch and Act" alerts, and then Red "Emergency" warnings, were declared for areas that kept growing.

This fire was unlikely to affect us directly, as the wind was pushing the fire south and no wind changes were forecast today. But it must have been very frightening for people who were burnt out in the Scotsburn fire 3 years ago, and were in the path of this one.

Screen shots from the Emergency website:


The Emergency warning was lifted later this evening, but the whole area is still under a "Watch and Act" alert. The fire was declared "Under Control" at 10:50pm, which is a relief. But tomorrow will be another hot and windy day, so we hope that the firefighters still working can ensure that the fire stays under control!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas Challenge

This year's challenge theme was, "What's in your garden?" Around the time the theme was announced I first saw the Hoffman "Dream Big" panels, and had the idea of using the panel for my challenge. In early March I bought the "Opal" colour:

I thought the panel needed a little something to properly represent my garden, so I purchased from Spoonflower a piece of fabric featuring large bees.

When I buy plants for the garden, one of my considerations is whether they will provide food for our bees. For example, all my dahlias are open-centred, not the pom-pom type that the panel appears to be. So I planned to quilt the centre to look more like an open-centred dahlia that bees love.

Last month I fused the bees to the panel, did a bit of free-motion embroidery on them, then started the quilting.

17th November:

On the 19th November, I had lunch with a couple of quilting friends, and while they admired my quilting so far, they pointed out that the bees' eyes were a problem. Jenni pinned a piece of black chiffon over one of them, and it was instantly improved:
Blurry photo without the flash, but you can see that the dark eye is much better. Jenni gave me a couple of pieces of chiffon so that I could fix the eyes.

I continued with the quilting. By the 29th November, I was reaching the edges of the panel:
I changed threads as I quilted from the centre to the edges:
The quilting was completed on the 2nd of December:
Photo outside in the evening, making the colours look a bit cooler.

But the white eyes were still there, waiting to be fixed. I used a technique learnt in the Christine Lethlean workshop in August. I covered the whole area with the chiffon, stitched it in place, then cut away the excess.

Eyes fixed, batting and backing trimmed:
Flash photo inside.

Measuring the quilt top, I discovered it was 100cm from top to bottom, but 106cm from side to side. It looked a bit odd; not square, but not rectangular enough to look like a rectangle. It was meant to be square when purchased, so I don't know if it shrank with pre-washing, or if the quilting pulled it in more in one direction than the other. I eventually decided to trim 6cms from the width to make the quilt square.

That was a bit painful!

Hand sewing the back of the binding on 4th December:

And today, after completing the binding, here is the finished quilt:
 And here it is flapping in the breeze in the sun, so you can see more of the texture:

Tonight was the challenge reveal.

I did not win the prize.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

New Glasses

Good-bye old scratched glasses, hello new shiny ones!
The new ones are hard to photograph. They are blue and shiny red, and the colour appears to change as the light hits them from different angles. They are definitely not the ugly men's glasses that were all the the first couple of optometrists had to offer me. I love them!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Steps One and Two

I thought I made a few extra units of step two, but when I trimmed off all their dog ears today, after discarding one unit that was too wonky, I was left with exactly the right amount. I don't know how that happened, but I'm not complaining!
Anyway, here's a few of the units so far spread out to see how they look.

When Bonnie activates the link-up for this week I'll add the link to this post.

Here's the Week Two Link-up!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Not What I Should Be Doing

I really should be working on my Christmas challenge quilt, which has to be finished by Wednesday and is still not completely quilted.

So why did I start cutting squares of fabric before breakfast to make "magic 8" half-square triangles? And why did I then mark diagonal lines on them, sew them , cut them apart and then press them?

I don't know, but at the end of the day I still hadn't finished quilting the challenge piece, and I had an awful lot of these:
Week two of the mystery just about finished. I'm not going to trim them to size until the challenge quilting is done!