Sunday, June 20, 2010



I wasn’t planning to finish this quilt off this weekend, especially with the thread “issues”.  But I really wanted to get this one out of the way, so I can start something new.  Or finish some other stuff. 

I’ve been thinking that red binding would be a good contrast for this one, and the I found this piece of  red polka dot when I was fishing through the red box.  I really like how it looks next to the white quilting.

Labels, loose thread removal and a light steam press, and it will be ready to go to the show.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Still quilting this – I’m on a deadline.  I’m entering it into the RNA Quilts Across Queensland show.  The entry forms are due next week, but I still have a bit of time after that before I have to drop the actual quilts off.

I will be very glad when this is finished – the quilting has not been an enjoyable experience for me.  It’s usually the part of making a quilt that I like the most, but not this time.  The thread keeps breaking and it’s making me crazy.  I think it’s a combination of the thread type (white polycotton) and the quilt itself.  The joins between the hourglass blocks are quite bulky, with maybe 8 layers in a tiny corner of the blocks.  The thread doesn’t seem to be able to cope with any kind of stress and shreds.  I’ve changed needles, cleaned and re-threaded everything but nothing helps.  Next time (ha! not likely) I make these, I think I’ll press the seams open which will reduce the bulk.  And go back to my normal shiny rayon thread that I never have a problem with.

There are 200 hourglass blocks, which means 400 white triangles that I am stippling over.  With an average of 1 thread break per triangle, I am completely over it.  I just want to do sewing without rethreading every 5 seconds.

See that lump under the quilt at the bottom of the photo?  My quilting assistant, Coco, decided that it was the perfect place for a mid morning nap.  I kept forgetting she was under there, and every now and then I would hear a little chirrup to remind me.  Especially then I put the Foxtel remote of top of her.

I saw this great building facade in the Valley today – plants growing out of huge spheres and loopy metal bits.  Loved it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Knit fail

We were off to such a good start……


Until someone started drinking Tequila while knitting. 

More than 30 stitches?  No problem, just keep knitting.  Holes?  Bumpy bits?  Just keep knitting.

Shanon tells me she had 90 “loops” (not stitches) by the last row, before she decided to call it quits and “cast off”.  By pulling the needle out and not knitting anymore. 

Not a complete loss – I’m going to felt this bit of knitting and I’ll make something out of it.  Not sure exactly what as yet, but something. 

Remedial knitting plan:

  • Use wool that doesn’t split easily until the knitter gets the hang of how a stitch should look
  • Try stocking stitch so the stitches can be seen more easily
  • Ban use of Tequila while knitting

Considering the “lessons” we’ve had consist of two 15 minute afternoon tea breaks and not much more, I think she’s doing pretty well. 

Fifi likes it.  She’s very discerning.

Monday, June 14, 2010

cupcake bites

I’ve been a fan of Bakerella for a while. So cute and clever.

American recipes always make me a bit wary – sometimes the ingredients aren’t available here so substitutions are necessary, plus the measurements are not metric which can make things a bit more difficult. 

The cake pops are made with cake mix and pre made frosting.  Cake mix is no problem – now I want red velvet cake mix , but a can of cream cheese frosting?  No can get.  I can make it, but how much do you need?  How much is 16oz in (proper, metric) grams?  These are the questions that take a while to work around.


The solution – I used a chocolate cake mix and made cream cheese icing, and decided to guesstimate the amounts.  I put the cake through the food processor to make the crumbs and started adding the icing to it.

The first go was too wet and goopy.  More cake required, so I was lucky that I had another chocolate cake mix in the pantry.  Baked, cooled and crumbed, I was ready to try again.  This time I just added the too goopy mix to the dry crumbs until it could be rolled into a ball.  Kind of like making rum balls (not that I’ve ever made them, but I imagine it’s the same sort of thing).  Once the balls are done, I left them in the fridge overnight – I’d had enough of cake for one day.  It made Heaps.

Next step – chocolate moulds.  Half filled with melted chocolate, then pop the cake ball in so it looks like a cup cake.  Into the freezer to set a bit, then in the fridge while I do the next set.  I think if I do these again, I’ll buy more moulds so I can make more than 8 at a time. 



Then the fun part – decorating!  For some reason I have very little in the way of sprinkles – I kept looking at them in the supermarket, but didn’t buy any because I always have heaps on hand.  Usually.  Well, I’m not going to the shops so what I have will have to do. 


I was very excited to find Wiltons Candy Melts were available here – they’re expensive, but I thought it would be worth it to save me trying to mix colours.  But they’re not that great – they stayed fairly solid even when they were melted, so you can’t dip things easily.  I ended up using a palette knife to ice the pink ones – fiddly and not great looking.  I made the blue and yellow from white chocolate with powdered colours.  I could dip these ones, so it was a bit quicker and easier to finish them.  I tried to make lilac, but ended up with grey-ish purple-ish instead.  They’ll still taste OK (and probably no one else will notice anyway). 


Some are a bit wonky, but that’s why I like to make a practice batch before I am committed to an actual event.  (lesson learnt the hard way).  Plus I need more types of sprinkles. I ended up with about 6 dozen – I will take some to a dinner/quilting sweatshop on Thursday night, but some are going to be taken to work as well.  And my sons work.  They like cake.  And I have Heaps of it that I’m not going to eat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Knit two

I taught someone to knit!

I am a mostly self-taught knitter – I had a go at it when I was little, but it was all a bit too hard and I didn’t get very far.  I have vague memories of neon tangerine Disco wool and sitting in a car trying to get the hang of it.  I came back to it as a teenager, and managed to teach myself from books.  As a result of this self-teaching, apparently I knit “stupid” (according to proper knitters).  I’ve refined a few things I was doing wrong different – like finding out that where the front and back of a stitch really was (not where I thought)  and now my stitches aren’t twisted. 

So when Shanon suggested that we go to K-Mart at lunch time to buy some “knitting sticks” and wool so she could make a scarf, I was a little concerned. 

Knit One:  I cast on 30 stitches and showed her how to knit garter stitch.  We did a couple of rows together, she assured me she had the hang of it and would go home and practice.  Later that night I received a text informing me she now had 34 stitches and a buttonhole.  Not so good……

She was keen to have another go, so the knitting came back to work and I cast on 30 stitches:

and did a couple of rows to get her started.


I handed it over and she added a couple more rows:

Apparently, this is the perfect length for a moustache scarf.  

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Just on dusk I could hear some raucousness out in the back yard. I can see out the back door from the lounge room and I spied a cockatoo sitting on a branch.  Unusual, but I have seen cockatoos around here before.  But the one bird that I could spy didn’t explain the amount of noise that was being made.  I got up to have a look and there was a whole flock of them.  Is flock the correct collective noun for cockatoos?  I can’t find one that seems right, although a crackle of cockatoos seems appropriate.  (Also listed: a migraine of lorikeets which is also very appropriate).

Anyway, there were about 10 of them altogether. I couldn’t get them all in a pic, but here’s a trio:

(not seen:  two fat house cats sitting under the washing line plotting how to get the birdies to come to them)

I watched them for a while and one flew down to the tangle of trees near our paw paw trees.  There is a passion fruit vine running rampant through there.  He searched through a tangly bit and popped out with a green passion fruit in his beak.  I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.  He sat there and opened it, and then took it up to a higher branch to eat.  The neighbors will soon have their own vine courtesy of the cockatoo – he dropped the remains in their yard.