Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Pinwheels and Memories

Because I finished my WOOFA project for March (see previous post), I had a few days up my sleeve to play with the Birdhouse Quilt.

Amongst the boxes of stuff that came from my mother's sewing room, I found one containing lots of "Quick Patchwork Papers" from the old Quilter's Barn in Loch. (Quick search of my blog shows that the last Loch Quilt Hanging was 11 years ago!) I remember Mum getting me to buy some papers for her many years ago, and not knowing what I was asking for in the shop. But what I got were sheets of a thin paper printed with strange triangle shapes:

5cm half-square-triangle papers Copyright 1994
At the time I hadn't started quilting, and had no idea what half square triangles were, or what the papers were for. 

I found an obituary online for Julie Wallace who was the founder of the Quilter's Barn and designer of the papers (she died in 2014, aged 60). She apparently originally designed them for teaching patchwork to children. Now there are several different companies selling this sort of product, and I think they all are designed so that you sew continuous lines across the paper. But the Quilter's Barn papers had to be cut apart into individual squares before you used them.

I don't know what Mum was planning to do with these papers, but she had cut most of them apart. I realised they were the right size for the pinwheel borders for the Birdhouse Quilt, so I used up all of them:

Pinwheels in progress

The border takes 40 pinwheels, and there were enough papers to make 39 of them. I don't think it was the fastest way to make HSTs, but it didn't take much thought, and was easy to do while listening to an audiobook.

Here's how the Birdhouse Quilt is looking now:

I know it looks like a mess! Most of this is still just pinned roughly in place. The "posts" will eventually be behind the flowers. I will make some more flowers before I commit to the final layout. I have hand-appliqued some of the doors onto the birdhouses so far. I might just do all of the applique by hand as it will give me a take-along project for sit and sew days.

Now I need to get my April WOOFA project done quickly so that I can get back to the Birdhouse.

Friday, March 26, 2021


I've finished my WOOFA (Working on, or finishing a....) project for this month. Hooray, that's 3 months in a row!

Here it is hanging on the line to dry:

My "left over" Frolic. It has been a top for just over a year, and now it is done. I needed to give it a wash as it got a little bit of machine oil on it during the quilting. The cotton batting shrank a bit in the wash and gave the quilt the wrinkled-up look that some people prefer. 

It is very overcast today, so the quilt looks much greyer than in real life. I'm planning on handing it to our Quilts of Love coordinator tomorrow, so probably won't get the chance to photograph it in better light.

Linked to Cheryll's end of the month WOOFA Party: Check it out.

Next month's project: Trail Mix, which has been a top since October. (Although I did get it basted earlier this month, so that gives me a head start.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Binding Happening

 This is a job for doing in good light:

Sewing dark blue binding with dark blue thread.  At least it means this quilt is nearly done!

Monday, March 22, 2021


At the beginning of last year, I decided it would be a year when I didn't miss any major exhibitions or the like because I just didn't get round to going until it was too late. Ha ha!

So, now it is this year. And today I went to Melbourne to the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial 2020, which obviously didn't happen in 2020. As an added bonus, on the way to the station I heard on the radio that this week people with Seniors Cards could travel on public transport for free! I thought that might mean that the train would be packed, but fortunately that wasn't the case, and I had no-one beside me for my journeys into and out of town.

These animated birds are scattered along the road in front of the gallery. Of course a still photo doesn't show that they are moving, and I got two doing exactly the same thing so they aren't very exciting. But you can see that it is autumn and the trees in front of the gallery are starting to lose their leaves.

I started at the top of the gallery and worked my way down. I thought I had seen everything but in fact I missed a few of the exhibits. There is just too much to take in on one day!

This constantly moving display is quite amazing. As you can tell from the people, it is huge. The three-dimensional effect is an illusion. It is actually a flat screen, and even the white "frame" is not really there:

Quantum Memories by Refik Anadol

Some exuberant fashion:

Richard Quinn

Tomo Koizumi

There's over 200m of fabric in that outfit!

This tunnel structure is amazing:

Botanical Pavilion 2020 by Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees

It is constructed using traditional Japanese methods of interlocking pieces held in place by tension and gravity. The timbers on the inside are from trees from the Melbourne botanic gardens, that didn't survive the drought between 1996 and 2010. They are arranged by colour rather than species, although my photo doesn't show that. It was wonderful to walk through.

I stood waiting for this piece to do something for a while then after I walked away it turned itself on and did its thing:

An Ode to the Airbag by Jonathan Ben-Tovim

The bags gradually inflate and deflate. Did it make me think of the Takata airbag recall? No. Even though my car was involved in that recall. It looks impressive, though.

I found a couple of quilts, although neither of them are actually part of the Triennial.

Joseph's Coat, c 1910, Lancaster County Pennsylvania

In this case it is actually the light in front of the quilt that is part of the Triennial. It is Chandelier 85 Lamps, designed by Rodi Graumans. 

U - Lick the Watermelon (Rush Job) by Seulgi Lee

My photo isn't great, but I loved the bold shape and colours and the fine matchstick quilting. To "lick the skin of the watermelon" is apparently a Korean idiom meaning something like the English "only scratching the surface", but can also refer to something done without proper care, in a rush. Which is not how this quilt was made.

This was amazing:

Phantom Landscape by Yang Yongliang
At first glance it is a traditional Chinese mountain painting, and it was displayed with that type of work. But the landscape is composed of urban scenes such as skyscrapers, traffic and construction, and as it is a video things move and there is a soundtrack. It was quite mesmerising.


There are so many amazing parts to the exhibition which can't be captured in a photograph because they are videos, or are too big, or too dark, or beyond my or my phone's photographic ability! I took lots of blurry useless photos. If you really want to know what the exhibition is like, go there if you can (until 18th April), or spend a while exploring the Triennial website (link again: Triennial 2020)

Saturday, March 20, 2021


A few days ago we used up our monthly internet data allowance. When that happens we get "speed limited" for the rest of the month - meaning accessing anything on the internet is almost impossible. Fortunately my phone has a data allowance that I rarely use. So this morning I had my phone as a data hotspot to allow me to use my computer to join my first ever Zoom meeting:

I have sat in on a couple of Zoom sessions before, but this was the first time I had to actually join the meeting from my computer. It was an interesting experience. I would not have travelled to Melbourne for the meeting, but joining in from home was relatively painless. But I didn't feel like I had actually participated in anything. Most of the participants seemed to know each other, but I have met only 3 of them in real life. No-one said "hello", or interacted with me, apart from one person asking how my name is pronounced. So in some ways I felt more isolated than I would have if I hadn't joined the meeting at all.

In the afternoon I went to visit my mother, but she was fast asleep so I didn't disturb her. I had taken my sewing kit with me to fix a bit of the binding on her quilt that was coming loose, so I did that and left without her ever knowing I was there.

As I was in town anyway, I went to visit my sister, but that was my third alienating interaction of the day. There are a lot of topics we don't discuss because we just have opposite points of view. And today I found a few more.

It was actually a relief to spend the rest of the day at home, really on my own. I did a bit of quilting while listening to an audiobook in splendid isolation.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Golden Textures

It was a lovely day for a road trip to Maryborough to visit the 6th biennial Golden Textures contemporary art quilt exhibition at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Here are a few shots of some of the interesting pieces.

 I have to include this one, because it is the winning piece, and was also made by a member of Ballaarat Quilters:

Crown of Thorns by Suzanne Lyle (detail)


This next piece was free-motion quilted on a long-arm, but the stitching is incredibly fine and there is no sign of needle holes. I wonder if she uses a very thin needle, or washes the work after finishing the quilting, or ... ? Just how does she manage this:

As the Sun Sets by Robyn Cuthbertson (detail)


This is a tiny part of a work showing canola fields glowing at various times of the day:

Snapshots - Triptych by Beth and Trevor Reid (detail)

My photo doesn't really capture the glowingness!

The colours in this piece are also not at all accurate, but the piecing is amazing:

Microcorrossion by Katherine Jones (detail)

I know from the artist's statement that she used foundation paper piecing to create the shapes, but how she designed it is a mystery. I expect a computer graphics program of some sort was involved. I've shown some of her work before, including the amazing "Bling", which also featured incredible piecing.

Lastly, a fun piece "celebrating" Melbourne's lockdown life in 2020:

Staring at the Wallpaper by Noelle Lyon

I didn't get a shot of the whole thing. She also has very fluffy slippers on her feet, for attending Zoom business meetings.

You can see more of the works on Instagram: #goldentextures2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Garden in March

 Flowering this month:




Two of the five crepe mytles have flowers. Just a few each.

xDisphyllum 'Sunburn'

Haemanthus - paintbrush lily.

Propeller plant (Crassula falcata)

Digger's Speedwell - has been flowering for months but is just about finished I think.

Sedum "Red Setter"



Rosemary-leafed grevillea flowering like mad.

Actual rosemary.



Geraniums and pelargoniums of various types.

Treasure flowers


Belladonna lilies.





Viburnum tinus


Japanese windflowers.

I am posting this much later and back-dating the post. The photos were taken on the 15th though.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Catching Up on March So Far

There has been a bit going on, but I seem to have got out of the blogging habit. Here's a few happenings of the month so far.

The white belladonna lilies opened:

They will probably have faded by the time I do my garden round-up on Monday. This photo was taken on the 5th.

We had a field naturalist's outing to Geelong on the 7th. We saw all sorts of fascinating coastal vegetation such as this Grey Samphire (Tecticornia halocnemoides):

Obviously not grey at this time of year. 

And the Grey Mangroves (Avicennia marina):

Also not actually grey.

And lots of water birds:

The 10th March was my parents' 65th wedding anniversary. This is not an event we expected to be celebrating, as earlier in the month my mother was thought to be dying. She doesn't look in great health in this photo:

But it is the first time she had been out of bed and in her wheelchair in over a week. A vaccination team visited her nursing home on the 4th to deliver the first round of the covid vaccine for the residents, but she wasn't offered it as she was too ill. Maybe she will have her first one when the rest of the residents get their second one, if she is still with us.


Also on the 10th, we had 8 kookaburras come to visit in the morning:

The chooks are having a tour of the front "lawn", moving to a different part of it each day. The kookaburras are sitting on their temporary fencing.

The chooks weren't impressed that some food was thrown to the kookaburras!

One of my orchids has thrown up a flower spike:

It has flowered in winter/spring in previous years, so this was a surprise. Perhaps being in the shade house has confused it about the time of year.

Another "time of year" confusion:

A bunch of peonies open right now. I had half a dozen buds left in the fridge which I had forgotten about, so here they are, as if it was spring rather than autumn.

And finally, today I basted my WOOFA (working on or finishing a ...) project for this month, my small Frolic that was assembled in March last year.

While I was at it, I pieced a backing for Trail Mix and basted it as well:

It's only been a top since October. It will probably be my WOOFA project for next month.

So that's March so far!