Saturday, November 26, 2011


Who knew you could grow raspberries in Queensland?  I’ve never seen a plant ever, but this one was at the nursery so hopefully that means it will grow here.  I’m obsessed with taking pictures of the developing fruit at the moment. 

Chickens!  These have been a while in the planning and yesterday was Chicken Day.  They have been given the highly original names of Blackie, Brownie and Whitie.  Fifi took one run at the fence and quickly realised that she wasn’t getting a chicken dinner.  She just sits and watches them now.  The chickens flipped out when they saw a cat the first time – lots of squawking and carrying on, but they quickly settled down.  There are plans for a couple of Silkies and a duck as well.  It’s probably a good thing that there is a limit of 6 birds.

And the best of all:

A knitting machine!  It took me 5 trips to get everything out of the car and carry it upstairs.  There’s a stand for it which I am pleased about because I don’t have a table that I can use for this. The colour catalogue has a price of $870  and the year 1982 written on it.  I paid $50 – couldn’t get the money out of my purse fast enough!  I had a Singer knitting machine many years ago but didn’t really know how to use it and got sick of dragging it around everytime I moved house, so I gave it away.  I’ve been wanting to get another one for a while now, can’t wait to get it set up so I can play with it.  It looks like all the bits are there.  What to make first?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remedial quilting

I hate unpicking.  You can call it all the cute names in the world like reverse stitching, but I still hate it.  I only ever unpick stuff if it is critical.  If it’s just a little bit wonky and I can live with it and it doesn’t cause other problems, then it stays.   I’d rather try and do it right the first time, which might take a bit longer but it saves time if you don’t have to unpick stuff.

And if there’s anything I hate more than unpicking, it’s unpicking quilting.  I never unpick quilting.  I always do a test piece so tension and stuff is sorted out before I start on the real quilt. 

All of this works great on my quilts.  Not so much when I’m working on other peoples quilts.  Like this one:


This one was made by a friend and I am quilting it for her.  She had it pinned and ready to go. 

I knew I was in trouble when I looked at it -  the middle of the quilt is all on the bias, and there are 2 borders added – the narrow navy and the wider red floral.  The borders were wavy wavy wavy.  I undid and redid the pins and hoped I could quilt out a few little puckers.  No such luck – it all bunched up and there was no way I could quilt it flat.  Bugger.

So it ended like this:

More unpinning.  And the quickest way to unpick long straight seams?  Rotary cutter.  Not for the faint hearted, but easy enough if you are careful – you just press the blade against the stitches while you pull the fabric away. 

But wait, there’s more:

Yes, I had to pull the borders off too.  I starched the quilt middle, to help stabilise the bias and stop it stretching too much.  Starched all the border pieces and pressed the crap out of them so they wouldn’t stretch either.  I like that blade for unpicking – it just slices through the stiches.  All the fuzz on the navy is from the bamboo batting – it’s like velcro, sticks to everything.  It doesn’t beard through the fabric like some polyester battings.

I finally managed to get all the borders back on – on most of the pieces I have cut off an extra inch of fabric, so they were way to long to start with. 

So that’s where I’m up to.  Top is ready to be pinned.  Again.  I have to fix the back too – it’s not quite big enough so I have to add to it.  And add more batting.  I might just get people to give me their tops and pin them up myself – it might be quicker in the long run.

And the moral is:  It could all be avoided if it had been done properly the first time.  Sigh.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The process


From this:

to this:

then this:

more cutting and ironing and sewing:

and, finally, this:

It’s sort of a dresden plate.  I’m not in love with this yet, which makes it hard to keep sewing.  On the other hand, I have cut out enough pieces to make a whole quilt.   I might have to try some different layouts – it’s all a bit much as a circle I think.