Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finger Light

Today at Sit and Sew, one of the other quilters showed us a purchase she had made at the Craft and Quilt Show:
A finger light! I didn't see those when I was looking around at the show. I hadn't seen one in real life before, only on the internet. Various sites sell them in sets of multi-coloured lights, but for sewing only the white would be useful. An inidentified stand had just the white ones, for $3 each or 5 for $10. They take hearing-aid batteries, but I don't know if the batteries are replaceable, or how long they last. It is something that looks like it could be handy, but I suspect that they are the sort of item that will just add to the world's plastic waste problems.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Showcase 2018

Trip to Melbourne for the Craft and Quilt Fair, although mainly to see the Vic Quilters Showcase. I volunteered for white glove duty again, and wore more comfortable shoes than last time. This time I kept my phone with me while on duty, so was able to photograph some quilts.

There were two versions of Rajah Revisited by Lessa Siegele on show. This is one of the quilts I am working on at the moment, so I was interested to see each maker's techniques and colour selections.

Roslyn Robinson made her version completely by hand:
Her colour choices were in line with the pattern suggestions, which were based on the colours of the original quilt:

Margaret Williams' version was all done by machine:
Margaret used Leesa Chandler's Under the Australian Sun floral fabrics for the central block, one narrow inner border, and her wide outer border. The last three of Margaret's borders are her own additions, not in the published pattern.  I liked her use of value contrast to bring definition to some of the inner borders which can get a bit muddy or lost in some versions of this quilt:

Two beautiful quilts, and each a reminder to me of just how much work I still need to do on mine.

Joy Budd's Pietra Dura also reminded me of planned work:
I instantly recognised her design as being based on the decoration of the Taj Mahal. When I was there I took lots of photos of the decorative stonework, thinking that "one day" I would use the designs in a quilt.
Joy obviously had the same idea, and then actually did it rather than just thinking about it.

The rest of my photos are of quilting that grabbed me.

Desley Maisano's quilting is always wonderful. She won the longarm quilting prize for her own quilt Version 3 - Black. Her colourful quilting on a black background was stunning:

And success for a first-time entrant, Marlene Bell:
Winner for excellence in domestic machine quilting - amateur.

Beautiful quilting on a beautiful quilt. Juste Noir et Blanc by Robyn Coots:
Robyn's original design, hand appliqu├ęd and machine quilted. Winner for excellence in domestic machine quilting - professional.

It was fun meeting up with a few quilting friends at the show.  My train trip both ways was also in the company of a fellow quilter. Without any arrangement being made, we found ourselves together on the station for each leg of the journey. During our conversation she showed me how to get audiobooks from our local library to listen to on my phone. I've never read (if that's the right word) an audiobook, but was curious about how the experience compares with "normal" reading. So I downloaded the app as we were talking on the train, and when I got home I downloaded a book to try.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Chips and Fish

Wild winds overnight brought down a few branches:
Fortunately none of them landed on anything important.
The branches were shredded rather than chipped, really.

Later today, some new fish were added to the fishpond. In their bag prior to release:
 Swim little fishies!
I hope the big fish don't eat them.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Garden Sight

An unusual decoration in someone's back yard, spotted while out walking:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

White Flowers

I haven't spent much time outside recently, but a couple of days ago I suddenly noticed that there are lots of white jonquil flowers open in the front garden.
Today I even got a chance to photograph one!

Yesterday morning as I was driving out I noticed the white wind-flower buds were finally opening:
The pink one flowered back in April. The buds on this white (with a hint of pink) one were just beginning then. This plant was a gift from the garden of a friend in the city, so I will be interested to hear from her when it flowers in her garden.

I'm glad we had a bit of wintery sunshine today for me to take the photos. Here's a couple of other creatures who enjoyed a touch of sun today:
Kangaroos seen in a nearby paddock.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Quilting an Improv Quilt

How would you quilt improvisational patchwork?

That's been my challenge for the last few days.  The photo is of a small part of the quilt. About a third of it is pieced like this, another third has irregular stripes, and the remainder is plain white.

I'm not sure this really works, but here's what I did in the "slashed stripes" section shown in the top photo:

Sort-of continuous curve. I wasn't sure how this would look with the irregular-sized squares and rectangles. And like I said, I'm not really loving it, but it looks OK when you see the whole quilt. (I'm not showing the whole quilt here because it is not my quilt.)

The striped section has a mixture of egg-and-dart, ribbon candy, and big feathers in the widest stripes:

And the large section of white background has this "feather meander" filler:
This filler also surrounds the appliqued name I stitched down earlier in the week.

Now the quilting is finished, and it is time to bind it. The binding fabric seemed to have some marks on it, so I've washed it and it is hanging out to dry (or freeze, more likely tonight). But maybe the fabric was a hand-dye, because the marks didn't come out, but huge amounts of dye did.

Friday, July 13, 2018


It has been cold this week. If I had made a second temperature quilt, this week I would have used a colour that I never needed last year:

13/07/2018    10.2    aqua/teal
12/07/2018      7.9    blue
11/07/2018      4.7    pale blue - COLD!!!
10/07/2018      7.7    blue
9/07/2018        7.9    blue
8/07/2018        9.3    blue
7/07/2018        7.1    blue

Anyway, today we managed to make it into double digits. The sun shone for a while!

Red hot pokers are sending up flower spikes all round the garden. The spinebills and honeyeaters will be glad of the nectar feed in this cold weather:

Another feed for nectar-eating birds, hakea hybrid "Burrendong Beauty":

And a sign that winter will be gone soon enough, a hyacinth just about fully open:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Never Sew For Someone Else

Many, many, years ago someone asked me to sew a couple of garments for them. I did, but the experience was so stressful that I've never done it again.

Last week someone asked me to finish a quilt for them, and in a moment of madness I said I would. The job turned out to be a little more involved than I was expecting, and includes stitching down some letters that were already fused in place.

When has my machine ever put grease on something I'm sewing?
Today, that's when! Blob of grease to the left of the red flower, and a streak at the bottom left. How did that happen? I have no idea.

After treatment with eucalyptus oil:
Hopefully once it is quilted those remaining marks won't be too obvious. I thought that spot at the top of the white section was more grease, but eucalyptus oil had no effect on it. Then I checked a photo I took before I sewed this section, and the mark was already there. I think it is in the fabric.

So now the letters are stitched down, and I've removed the stabiliser. The next stressful part will be basting it on a table that isn't big enough, with backing and batting that are just barely big enough. There is no room for error. Then comes the quilting, of course, which is potentially the most stressful.

Maybe next time someone asks me to sew or quilt for them I will remember this stress, and say firmly, "No!"

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Walk in the Rain

An interesting excursion with the local Field Naturalists club to a couple of nearby sites.

Firstly Mount Buninyong:


Not ideal if you aren't wearing waterproof gear. But good weather for finding fungi:

The main crater:
Some discussion as to the cause of the treelessness of the crater.

The secondary crater, also treeless:

The next site was Union Jack Reserve, Buninyong. I've seen signs pointing to the reserve, but never visited it before.

Picnic table between two covered mine shafts:

Lots more fungi:

And some pink heath:

By now my non-weatherproof coat was becoming cold and damp on the inside. Other intrepid members were going on to a third site, but I came home to the fire, hot food and dry clothes.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Orchid Joy

My cymbidium orchid, which has been in the greenhouse since the cold weather started in May, has come into the house so I can enjoy the flowers:

But while I was in the greenhouse watering some other plants, I was overjoyed to see this:
Another orchid flower spike!

I have no idea what this orchid is. We call it "Ron's orchid". Ron was an elderly man who lived up the street in Coburg. He and his wife had lived in their house since it was built in the 1930s. His wife died in about 2000, and a few years later Ron, who was over 90 and not in great health, moved to a nursing home and his house was sold. Someone cleaning out the house and garden dumped a huge over-grown orchid plant, minus its pot, on the nature strip. We dragged it home (I seem to remember a wheelbarrow was involved), and split it up into about 8 pots. It had a couple of flower spikes when we rescued it, and I think the flowers were a similar colour to the top photo, but I've forgotten because it has never flowered since. So I am very excited to see that it has finally decided to flower for us!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Shed Floor

Early this morning a cement mixer arrived:

Then there was a lot of this for the rest of the day:

Monday, July 2, 2018

Four Corners

And finished:
It was too dark outside to photograph the quilt by the time I put the last stitch in the binding. It doesn't look much different to the photograph I posted when I finished the quilting back in April:

Just the same as that only with a narrow dark red line around the outside!

Carolina Chain, designed by Bonnie Hunter. Started in late 2016, top assembled in August 2017, basted March 2018, quilted in April, now crossed off the list.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bird World

Fun trip to Ballarat Bird World.

Paul, the 90-yr-old owner of Bird World, with a red-tailed black cockatoo:

Wooden walkways, and this artificial waterfall feature, all built by Paul over the last 40 years:

Very talkative Major Mitchell cockatoo:
This bird lived with a family and learnt a lot of expressions beyond just "Hello cocky". When he outlived the humans he came to live at the park.

Beautiful red-winged parrot in the large walk-through aviary:

Someone with a red-tailed black cockatoo on her shoulder:

Same bird, different shoulder: