Friday, June 30, 2017

A Cold One

The first daffodil open in the garden:
A nice reminder that spring will follow this coldness:

30/06/2017     8.3   blue - coldest day so far!
29/06/2017     9.3   blue
28/06/2017   10.4   aqua/teal
27/06/2017     9.2   blue
26/06/2017   10.1   aqua/teal
25/06/2017     9.4   blue
24/06/2017     9.2   blue

Thursday, June 29, 2017


In July, I will be taking a break from finishing UFOs, because I have signed up for the "What's in the Box Mystery", run by the Gourmet Quilter. I don't know how much of my progress on the quilt I'll be able to show, as the organiser has asked us to keep it a mystery until the end. Today I finalised my fabric selections, ready for the first clue:
You can see the two suggested fabric selections at the bottom of the page I linked to. However, I wanted a more focussed colour scheme for my quilt, so I've gone with a more or less split-complementary scheme using ochre and pink shades and teal. I'm not sure when the first clue happens, but I might be a bit busy throughout July getting this quilt assembled. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Filling In

Quilting on my table-runner:
I need a bit more fill in the grey areas, but can't decide what at the moment.

Monday, June 26, 2017


Not many yet,
but a few jonquils
are opening.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

New Foot

Until today, sewing with rulers on my Sweet Sixteen looked like this:
It might not be obvious, but the low side of the foot (on the right here) is almost level with the bottom of the ruler. That means it doesn't take much for the ruler to accidentally slip over the top of the foot. If that happens, you either mess up the stitching line, or maybe break the needle as it hits the ruler. I've only messed up the stitching line, but I have read of a couple of people who had to take the machine in for a service after hitting a ruler and apparently messing up the timing. I've tried to always hold the ruler against the back of the foot (the high side), but that's not always possible. For example, you can't sew round a circle only using the back of the foot - you have to use every part of the foot to complete the 360 degrees. You just have to be very careful.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that Handi Quilter had released a new foot designed to work better with rulers. I ordered it from the dealer in Geelong, and collected it on Friday. Today I got to use it:
This is the Sure Foot. It doesn't have a low side; it is high all the way round, so the ruler can't slip over it. There are a couple of little notches, at the front (hidden in this picture) and on the right-hand side, presumably to help you line up stitching lines. But I don't think I really needed them - I can see into the centre of the foot well enough. 

I started quilting the table-runner that I pieced in May. The new foot is much less stressful to sew with! I could relax and not worry constantly about the foot slipping under the ruler. So although I think it is way too expensive for what it is, if you want to do ruler work it is worth considering. I love it, and might just leave this foot on all the time, now.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finished and Almost Finished

Today I finished stitching down the binding on this UFO from 2014:
Bonnie Hunter's mystery, "Grand Illusion". Another finished quilt to cross of the list.

Meanwhile, my Garmin Vivofit has just about reached the end of its useful life:
Can you tell how many steps I've done? Many parts of the display have stopped working over the last few months. At first it didn't matter, as I could sync the device with the computer and read the total there. But the syncing process stopped working in April.

I know that I've reached at least 10,000 steps, because of that half a "1" on the left-hand side. But no part of the "thousands" column shows up at all any more, so until I get to 10,000 I'm in the dark. And if (when!) that remaining part of the "1" fails, the Vivofit will be of no use at all. I bought it in October 2014, which was the same month I started getting together the fabrics for Grand Illusion. But it has reached the end of its useful life just as the quilt's life is beginning.

Friday, June 23, 2017


The fourth week of my year quilt has a touch of blue:

23/06/2017    10.7    aqua/teal
22/06/2017    10.0    blue
21/06/2017      9.7    blue
20/06/2017    11.9    aqua/teal
19/06/2017    12.1    aqua/teal
18/06/2017    12.7    aqua/teal
17/06/2017    14.3    aqua/teal

I found this hexagonal wall planter at a nursery today, marked down to only a quarter of its original price:
So it had to come home with me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Winter Solstice

Today was short and cold, but at least that meant I could make a different coloured hexagon for my year quilt. Our top temperature was 9.7, so today's hexagon is blue.

While taking the dogs for a walk this afternoon, I was very happy to see two kangaroos:
That might actually be three, as the one on the right looks like she could have a large joey in her pouch.

I was particularly happy to see them because last week a kangaroo was killed by a car at the end of this road. Every time that happens I wonder if it might be the last one in the area, and if I might never again see a live one hopping round the neighbourhood.

After photographing the two roos, I took another couple of steps and realised that there were two more that I hadn't seen initially:

So I was doubly happy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Binding and Planting

My June UFO now has the binding sewn on to the front:

Ready to be hand-sewn to the back. I have three sit and sew gatherings in the next five days, so I am pretty sure this UFO will be crossed off the list before the end of the month.

Meanwhile in the garden today I dug up most of my dahlias, except one which still has all its leaves.

Then I planted my peonies into the bed that had held the dahlias:
So the peonies are finally out of their pots and in the ground. This bed faces east, so they will get morning sunshine but be protected from the worst of summer. I hope they will be happy here. Now I've got until spring to find another spot for the dahlias.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Quilting and a Koala

Today I finished quilting my June UFO, Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion,
using a curved ruler to quilt canoe shapes all around the border. Now I need to see what I have that I can bind the quilt with.

Late today I saw this:
a koala up a tree a little way down our road. That branch it is on doesn't seem thick enough to hold it, but I suppose that's the only way a koala can get to the freshest shoots at the tips of the branches.

It is a while since we saw a koala around. Last year one was hit by a car and killed about a kilometre or so from here, and I thought perhaps it was "our" koala. But it is very nice to know that there is still some wildlife around the neighbourhood.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Year Quilt Week Three

Week three of my temperature-based year quilt was not very exciting, colour-wise:

16/06/2017   14.2   aqua/teal
15/06/2017   14.6   aqua/teal
14/06/2017   13.2   aqua/teal
13/06/2017   11.7   aqua/teal
12/06/2017   11.8   aqua/teal
11/06/2017   13.6   aqua/teal
10/06/2017   13.1   aqua/teal

I thought Thursday might tip over into the green range, because it felt warm outside during the afternoon.  But it only got to 14.6.

Here is my progress so far:
The first two are now fully stitched in place, although the background squares still need to be sewn together.

Linked to Sarah's HeLP here. 
Sarah initiated the Hexie Temperature quilt idea, and has completed 4 weeks so far. Things are a bit warmer in her part of the world.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

UFO Progress

Finally reached the end of the middle of my Grand Illusion:
Just the borders to go. And after this picture was taken I quilted the pink inner border, so really it is just the outer border to go.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Roraima Nursery Display Garden

Took another trip to Geelong today, and this time we also visited Roraima Nursery in Lara. Since our last visit a couple of months ago, the display garden next to the nursery has opened to the public.

It is amazing!
Gravel paths weave around mounds of earth adorned with large pieces of rock and rusty machinery and planted with cacti, aloes, brachychitons, and other unusual and exotic plants.

All sorts of large vessels become planters.

Such as this huge earth-moving bucket:

Lots of cacti:

I can think of a better way to use these harrow blades, though!

But these braziers look good as plant stands:

The nursery has always been a fascinating place to visit, but this new garden area is much bigger than the nursery.

Entry is a gold coin donation, but we definitely felt we got our money's worth.

It is quite an incredible garden. Worth stopping for a look if you are heading to Geelong.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Visiting Tony

In the Ballarat Botanic Gardens an avenue of busts commemorate almost all of Australia's Prime Ministers. I say "almost" because we've been churning through Prime Ministers so frequently lately that it has been hard to keep up. Another bust was installed last Monday, and today we went to check it out:
Jack sniffed Tony's ear, but then lost interest.

Dot seems to agree with me that Tony is a bit creepy.

But this photo from the Ballarat Courier of someone else's reaction to the bust made us all laugh:

Elsewhere in the gardens there are much nicer things to look at:
The Crafts Council of Ballarat have an exhibition in the Conservatory until the 18th June.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Basting Day

I organised a basting day today for members of my quilting guild. One other quilter brought along a top to baste, and a couple of other members came along to help.
We had a productive morning. I got my Grand Illusion basted (this month's UFO). In the background is a lovely quilt of little scrappy houses, also basted and ready to quilt. It was fun, and the work went quickly because there were extra hands to help. I am planning another day in a couple of months, and hope more members will take advantage of the opportunity.

Back home the sun was shining, and my liquidambar was looking fantastic:
But the air was cold, and today's hexagon is another cyan one.

Later this afternoon I started the quilting:
It is such a busy piecing design, I'm quilting the centre with a simple Baptist fan arc pattern. I completed one pass across before it was time to stop for the day.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Year Quilt Week Two

This week (on the right) has been more cyan and less blue than last week(on the left).

9/06/2017  10.7  aqua/teal
8/06/2017  11.4  aqua/teal
7/06/2017  10.6  aqua/teal
6/06/2017  9.4    blue
5/06/2017  13.6  aqua/teal
4/06/2017  13.2  aqua/teal
3/06/2017  10.7  aqua/teal

Today I had an unexpected trip to Geelong, and took advantage of the opportunity to visit the scarf festival display at the Wool Museum. Unlike most textile exhibitions, at this one you can actually touch the scarves, and try them on. That's because they are all for sale. Although if you buy one, you can't have it until after the exhibition ends in September.

The one in the centre with orange at the top won the "Scarf of the Year" award:
Trappist 1 by Karina Irvine. Surprisingly it hasn't been sold yet. It looks better on a model than hanging on the wall:
Picture from the Scarf Festival link above.

The felted scarves weren't my favourite ones. But there are also knitted, woven, crocheted, silk-painted, eco-dyed, you-name-it scarves.
My favourite knitted one is in this shot, but it is very hard to see. It is fifth from the left, and consists of hexagon shapes mainly in a variegated purple yarn. Black Hole, by Christine Jones.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Winter Flowers

The Lagerfeld rose seems not to know that winter has arrived:
One flower about to open despite the cold and wet, and at least 15 more buds over the whole top of the bush.

Meanwhile in the greenhouse, there are two flowers stems on my orchid, Peter Pan X Snow Eagle "Malcolm":
And a couple of the flowers have obviously been open for a while without me even noticing.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cold Start

Bit of an icy morning today!
But once the sun came up we had a beautiful sunny day.
Unfortunately the car refused to start at all:
So it spent the day on the battery charger.
My birthday Japanese maple has been planted:
But I might need a few more cyclamens to put around it - that one looks a bit lonely.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Tree Planted

The first of my birthday trees planted in the walled garden:
This is a weeping redbud, Cercis canadensis "Lavender Twist". I love its wiggly trunk!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Year Quilt Week One

The first rosette of my temperature-based year quilt:
Not stitched to the background yet.

I am using the top temperature recorded by our weather station each day to decide the colour of each hexie. This week, three days of teal, four days of cold blue. Winter is definitely here. This is my data for the week:

2/06/2017 10.1 aqua/teal
1/06/2017 10.0 blue
31/05/2017 9.3 blue
30/05/2017 8.9 blue
29/05/2017 11.7 aqua/teal
28/05/2017 9.7 blue
27/05/2017 14.20 aqua/teal

And this is the chart I've made up mapping temperatures to colours:
It will be quite some time before I get to use the warm colours.