Saturday, August 31, 2013

Challenge Block

Earlier this month I posted a photo of a piece of African fabric I had to make into a block. Here's a little reminder of the fabric I was given:

I made the block a week or so ago. Here's how it came out:

Today was the quilt-in, and I was very interested to see everyone's blocks. There were several different African challenge fabrics, and lots of different techniques incorporated in the blocks.

It was also interesting to see that some people had made blocks which were similar to ideas I had considered along the way. The winning block was the one with the red heart shape, on top just to the right of the sign in the top photo. Second place (by only one vote) was the one with the circle of ochre-coloured flying geese in the bottom left of the first photo.

It was fun participating in the challenge, but I'm glad I don't have to try and combine these blocks into quilts!

Scatterday - E

This week we have the letter E, and these categories:
Exciting equipment

Empty jars. Have you noticed how fewer and fewer products are sold in glass jars these days? Plastic seems to be taking over, so we need to hang on to the glass ones we have. There's a section of the pantry for storing empties until they are used for jam-making or for honey distribution.

Screen shot from a video of an elephant charging into a vehicle in the Kruger National Park. You can see the whole video at the Guardian site here. I think I would be more than a little frightened by that!

There are lots of plants beginning with E in flower at the moment, but which one to choose? I went for this one because it is quite unusual. It is an Eryngium, or sea holly, which I found in a park in Bendigo when I was there two weeks ago.
I couldn't resist throwing in the beautiful Euphorbia as well. These were in the same garden bed as the eryngiums, and the contrast between the lemony yellow and purply blue was lovely.

Exciting Equipment:

What could be more exciting than my lovely Elna Lotus? Definitely my favourite piece of equipment. As seen all over my blog, as well as at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York.

So that's E eliminated. And by my calculations, there are only eight letters left: C, F, G, J, K, O, P and Y. I wonder which one Cinzia will pull out of the hat for us next?

As usual, you can visit the other Scatterday participants to see what they found for this challenge by following the links on Cinzia's blog.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Let's Try Again

Last year I planted a "Marie Antoinette" dahlia. You may have seen the post I did in December when it flowered for the first time; it was orange.

I contacted Mr Fothergill's about it, and they offered to send me a replacement this year. And today when I got home, I found that it had been delivered:
I'll look forward to seeing this one bloom!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Progress Shot

Half-way through quilting the body of the quilt:
Having the table behind the machine is really making a difference. I can quilt for much longer without pain in my shoulders and neck.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spreading Out

Recently I realised my sewing machine cabinet and my kitchen table are within a few millimetres of being the same height as each other. So to help with quilting this piece I have moved my sewing machine so that it has the kitchen table sitting immediately behind it. This helps support the quilt while I am working on it, reducing drag.
There's still lots of quilt stuffed through the throat of the machine, making manoeuvring my right hand a bit tricky. But the extra space makes parts of the job much easier.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pretty Weeds

Hundreds of pink oxalis flowers amongst the grass at the Shrine of Remembrance on a lovely sunny afternoon.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Signs of Spring

Jasmine is perfuming the air outside my front door:

The plum tree is blossoming beautifully outside the back door:

The temperature was so mild that I didn't need a jumper all day today.

I'm calling it: spring is here!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Rose

I pruned most of my roses a few weeks ago, but the last few were starting to get away from me. Evidence:
A bud about to open on a bush I hadn't pruned. I had to leave that there, but the rest of the bush was given the prune it needed today.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blooming Vireyas

Two of my vireyas have flowers at the moment.

This one is Princess Alexandra:
She is covered in buds, so I will be enjoying the flowers for a while.

This one is Clare Crouch:
She has only a couple of buds so I'm glad I noticed this one had opened today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CBD Friends

Met with my CBD quilting friends. Work has meant that I haven't attended a meeting for a couple of years so it was great to see them all again.
Several of them were knitting, and we met in a knitting shop, but we are all quilters. I made and assembled a few more pieces for my sunflowers quilt (right foreground of the photo). After the meeting I went to Dymocks and spent a gift voucher I had:
I chose the beautiful book which accompanied the V&A Quilts 1700 - 2010 exhibition. The exhibition is currently on show in Brisbane, but that's a bit far away. The book has lots of beautiful photos and interesting info which I will enjoy for years to come.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bendigo Trip

Went to Bendigo to celebrate a birthday:

Across the road from the restaurant is a park with a host of golden daffodils:
Also several other beautiful and unusual flowers which I am keeping up my sleeve for the next Scatterday (flowers beginning with E). All will be revealed on 31st August...

A number of trees in part of the park look like this:
Covered in hundreds (or maybe thousands) of grey-headed flying foxes, Pteropus poliocephalus.  It was hard to get a good photo of them as they were so high up and silhouetted against the sky. But at least in the shot below you can see their cute fuzzy bodies:

Scatterday - H

What a pretty H Cinzia found this week! I wish my photos were as pretty as that H.
Our tricky categories are:
Hiding Place

Honey being extracted from the comb by centrifugal force forms sticky strands.

It's a hobby-horse wearing a hat from Himachal Pradesh in India. Unfortunately the hat is not wearable by me as it is way too small for my head.

Honey on crumpets so hot they steamed up the camera.

Hiding place:
This Horn cabinet is meant to be a hiding place for my sewing machine, but in reality it is rarely closed up like this.

As usual you can see what the other Scatterday participants found for this challenge by following the links at Cinzia's blog.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hot Pink

My fringe flowers, Loropetalum chinense, are covered in flowers and looking fantastic at the moment.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not the Waterlilies

Today I visited "Monet's Garden" at the National Gallery of Victoria. The exhibition was wonderful, but this artwork in the main part of the gallery captivated me:
clinamen 2013 by French artist CĂ©leste Boursier-Mougenot

Porcelain bowls float in a pool of blue, circulating in gentle currents. As they collide, they ring.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pretty Pink

For a week or two each year, this grey house makes a nice backdrop for the pink blossom of the street tree:
For the rest of the year it is an unfriendly bunker-like building, with no windows facing the street.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Took one of my quilt tops to my quilting group, and got it pin-basted with the help of a friend.

Evidence of how long this one has been waiting to be quilted: the triangle section was on my blog earlier here. The quilt is a design by Bonnie Hunter called Leap Frog. The pattern doesn't seem to be on Bonnie's website, but is available as a pdf file here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Challenging Fabric

Today I found this piece of fabric in my mailbox:
What would you do with this?

I'm participating in a block challenge for a quilt-in I'm attending later this month. Using at least half of the supplied fabric, I have to make a quilt block that will finish at about 30cm (OK, it is really 12"). The block is meant to in some way relate to the theme "pay it forward". Later all the blocks will be assembled into quilts to be raffled to raise money for a sewing-related charity in Africa.

I've got a couple of ideas, but today I just pulled out a few fabrics that might possibly work with these colours. It will be very interesting to see what everyone does with this very challenging fabric!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Quilted Cushion

Finished this cushion, which I've been working on over the last week. It is approx 45cm square.

The patchwork is a traditional "carpenter's wheel" block. I cut and pieced it using a method demonstrated by Jenny Bowker in the workshop I did with her last month. This is what the sets of eight triangles were for.

I quilted the front of the cushion cover using Elizabeth Hartman's Dogwood all-over design.

The back fastens with buttons. I couldn't find a cushion insert to buy, so made my own from some scrap fabric and fibrefill. That meant I didn't have to spend any money to make this, it was all from stash.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Strange Market Venue

Today I visited the Pentridge Farmers and Artisans market, which is held in the former prison:
Although the venue might have some historical interest, I found the visit an unpleasant experience. There's a creepy atmosphere, or maybe that's my over-active imagination. I was surprised there were even stalls directly under the gallows, which is not my idea of a nice place to buy wine or chocolates. The uncomfortably-loud "music" provided by two beatboxers didn't make a positive contribution to the ambiance, I'm afraid. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Scatterday - U

@ Magazine
@ Dangerous
@ Yellow

Unser Baby - German for "our baby" - everything to sew, knit and crochet. I bought this special edition of Burda magazine when my son was a baby, but I didn't actually make anything from it for him. Somehow I didn't have time to get much crafty stuff done when he was small!

Dangerous and Yellow combined:
Uranium Yellowcake. Picture from Wikipedia.

This feathered-star wall-hanging is just about my oldest Un-Finished Object. It was started in February 2009. There's proof of that on a friend's blog here. It has also been seen on my blog before, in 2010, and in 2012. Perhaps showing it again here will shame me into finishing it!

You can see what all the other Scatterdayers found for "U" via Cinzia's blog.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bargain Buy

This morning a quilter friend was in Bunnings, and found this on sale:
Ergonomic-style rotary cutter, with 10 replacement blades. How much would you pay?

I've been contemplating buying myself a cutter with this handle for a while, but the recommended retail price in Australia of $42 for the well-known brand is a bit steep. One always needs blades, though, and they are normally around $10.00 each. These blades appear to be interchangeable with my regular 45mm cutter, and the handle works exactly the same way as the $42 one.

We successfully trialled cutting some fabric with the one my friend bought, and then I went and bought one for myself:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Winter Flowers

Spent some time in the garden today with my secateurs, pruning. For the second time this week, someone walking past stopped to tell me they liked my garden. That's really nice, although perhaps undeserved, as the garden is not looking its best at present.
This is salvia "Mystic Spires Blue." In real life, it is a very dark purple, rather than the blue the camera makes it appear. It is meant to flower from spring to autumn. Mine's been flowering for a couple of months (i.e., since the beginning of winter). Is it early or late?

The yellow jonquils have just about finished, and now it is the turn of the white ones:

I've still got quite a bit of pruning to do, so more opportunity for neighbours to stop for a chat!