You know what happens to those! They go wildly astray. Friday turned from a scheduled stitchy-Jacob’s Ladder day into a “dear friend needs a movie and lunch” day, followed by a “goodness there’s a spare ticket to the Queensland Theatre Company’s production of The Importance of Being Ernest” day.
There was a wee bit more sewing accomplished on Saturday – in between re-arranging the back porch – very pretty and comfy indeed – and helping Julian finish his restoration of one of his older push bikes for dear old Grandad, followed by a visit to the oldies, plus cooking dinner for them. Grandad hasn’t ridden a bike since 1952 when Nanny threw out his bicycle instead of moving it with the household to Barcaldine (a tinsy-winsy town way outback where there’s lots of red dust, bore water and not much else). I can confirm that the saying about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true – Grandad just hopped on that new bike and off he and Abigail rode – round and round the retirement village until it was so dark they could not see.
Sunday – well that was half work and half helping mum shift an enormous pile of junk out from under the house to the front footpath where it was scavenged all afternoon and night by passerbys (we stood in the shadows of the front porch and exclaimed the likes of – “Oh goodness, they’re taking THAT!” ) until the council came and collected it at 8am Monday morning as part of their annual hard rubbish collection. Very satisfying. But also a bit dreadful when you stop and think about how much stuff we buy and use for a while and then replace it with the latest and greatest, shoving the unwanted item under the house to moulder or rust – really wasteful!
But anyways, back to quilting … Jacob left his ladder at home and a waddle of ducks came by instead.
There was an inconceivable number of little 1 1/2 inch pieces for these blocks – in fact, I was sure I had made a mistake!
Nevertheless, they went together in pretty red and blueness. I make my 1/2 square triangles a whole inch bigger than the finished size and trim then down after sewing – a marvellous idea when you’re sewing, a “slap you forehead and question your sanity” when you’re trimming off all those itsy-bitsy edges. What’s your favourite half square triangle method?
The blocks are 5 inches finished …
And when 8 little ducks had waddled by, it was time for a bit of checked border sweetness. I love making these – I sew the two long strips of red and blue together, chop them into their “squares”, then chain piece them. First time through there are 8 pairs, then 4, then 2 and then presto! – you have a checked border. Only on the second border I did them length ways – don’t know why – it required a LOT of pinning.
So the Ducks Foot top is finished, and pinned and the top half quilted. Because the polka dots in the setting squares are so even, then quilted lines are “framing” some of the dots – serendipity I assure you!
So here’s a little look at the bottom corner – you’ll have to wait until there’s some daylight for a better photo of ducky loveliness :-)
Julian’s contribution to the quilt wall is that they all must have a little red in them – I think I can manage that!
Still smitten with creating my little quilt wall!
So on a bleak and blustery afternoon, take 4 fat quarters and a small cup of coffee …
Add an extra light blue if it’s looking heavier than expected …
Avoid the furry pedal – it doesn’t work so well …
Ooh – nice! I’ve always liked the Amish bar quilts – now I have a little one – in patterned fabric of course, I can’t help myself.
Now for added delight, start again …
And now there are two …
One for me and one for dear old Nanny who is so taken with the idea of my quilt wall and the little churn dash that she wants a quilt wall too. No problems Nanny!
p.s. she’s had her hair prettily permed – I didn’t realise perms these days came with built in happiness, vigour and enthusiasm for life – what a bargain!
In the soft scenes of youth
when cares are small and few
I’ll show to others of my age
what busy hands can do.
Henrietta Moseley Thompson Feb. 1830
No, I’m not being pompous – that’s what the binding for the little churn dash quilt says :-)
I’ve dropped the daughter at school, am wearing garden clogs around the house so as not to be constantly reminded that I still haven’t vacuumed, have finished the quilting …
have drawn all the ends to the back …
and am now putting on the binding.
(check out the back of the quilt – looks like Rapunzel’s hairdresser used it to mop up the floor – it will take at least 2 films to finish these threads off!)
Oh what a sense of achievement … even though Abigail thought it simply didn’t count because it wasn’t the “proper” size. Huh!
I know I wasn’t defeated by an empty bobbin last week whilst sewing in the dark. But when I felt the bobbin give way a few minutes ago – well, I just don’t have the energy to wind it again … and there’s dishes to be washed, showers to be had, and I need my pillow.
But! I almost did it! My quilt in a day is only 6 short rows of quilting away from being finished – oops, and some binding and thread finishing off.
Whilst the dinner was cooking, I pinned out the churn dashes …
… and I must say, pinning out such a small quilt was an absolute doddle!
And then after dinner, and bedtime, and a rather compulsive reality program set in one of Australia’s biggest and busiest emergency departments (I’m utterly fascinated with how the paramedics keep people alive in the most extraordinarily dreadful scenarios and then the doctors put them back together), I sat down to quilt – mega quilter at the ready, hema line creaser in hand. It was bliss! Lucy had mentioned the joys of the hema creaser in her previously mentioned post – and I just happened to have bought one on Sunday. Amazing little device. And my quilting machine just purrs along with such steadiness and lovely even stitches.
I’m still only quilting straight lines but I’m really getting better – straight will soon be my middle name!
So tomorrow morning – after school drop off and vacuuming – I can’t possibly let it go another morning – it’s like walking through a stable around here – I shall sit back down, finish the quilting and sew on the binding. This has been great fun and even Julian is keen on my wall of small quilts.
Oh – and on the way to Nanny and Grandad’s tomorrow, I’m going to sneak by the patchwork store, stock up on NARROW ribbon for the tomtems, and get me some fat quarters for Friday’s Jacob’s Ladder. I’m thinking light blue, dark blue, red, pink and a creamy background with a red pattern – I’ve already got some pieces in mind.
p.s. the salad was lovely and the storm turned fierce. The back porch is drenched!
Righto – the blocks are set – after a bit of indecision.
This was my initial impulse – alternate – pink/green, purple/orange, pink/green, purple/orange and so on so forth – but because of the limited size, this layout made the purple/orange blocks look like an afterthought.
So then it was this – and this works for me. We have a purple/orange end and a pink/green end.
One day I would love to have a wall covered in a higgledy-piggledy of small quilts – this way, I can change which way is the right way up depending upon my fancy – hmmm… this week’s a spidery, halloweeny kind of week …
or this week’s a I know spring is here because the parrots are sitting in the tree beside the back porch!
Now on with the borders – and voila! A little quilt top.
(excuse the funny light – it’s all been sucked up by a bruised and lumbering sky, menacing thunder and soft, sprawly lightning that’s threatening to dump rain on my back porch but all it’s managed so far is some lazy dribbles. If only I could take a photo of the sky – it’s MEAN!)
Now if you’d excuse me I must chop the pumpkin and put it on to roast for dinner – I ADORE salad with roasted pumpkin and that’s what we’re having to tonight – a salad of sugar snaps (there’s a funny story about these), baby spinach leaves, fresh raw corn from the cob, capsicum (can’t imagine dinner without capiscum) and grilled salmon tails which have been marinated in fennel and lemon juice. Oh, and pumpkin.
See you back in a few hours with the quilt pinned :-) Actually, this is such fun, I might try another one on Friday – I’ve always wanted to make a Jacob’s Ladder.
p.s. this is another one of my pink and green moments – still plodding away with the handquilting.
p.p.s. if you want to roast some pumpkin, try seasoning it first with fresh extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and maple syrup – it’s scrumptious!
p.p.p.s. if you’ve noticed a discrepancy between the time on the post and the time it’s actually posted, that’s my 6 year old laptop – it’s almost permanently constipated and can only manage the simplest of instructions after beachballing for long enough to wash the dishes.
And I’ve collected Abigail from school, visited the market for tonight’s dinner ingredients and am back at the sewing machine. Well, after retrieving all my green and pink half square triangles from whence they had been blown in the build up to this evening’s storm.
Sew … sew … sew … I’m besotted with this rhubarb pink – it pops up everywhere – it’s even the border of one of my favourite skirts! Good thing I’m the only one who seems to buy it from the patchwork store :-)
And now we have three pink and green churn dash blocks. I adore pink and green. Whenever I think pink, I think green. Same with purple and orange. Instantly I see Scarlet standing in the churchyard, bemused look on her face whilst Gareth compliments her on her gorgeous dress – “Ecclesiastical purple with pagan orange”. I love it so much, purple and orange were the colours of my wedding dress!
(shame about the slight blurriness – nothing can stand still in this stiff breeze!)
Luverly. Now onto the setting.
… the orange and purple blocks are finished and it’s time to collect Abigail from school.
(and the pink and green half square triangles are done – I think we may get there!)
Is it possible for Lily to start and finish a project in a day? Hmmmm … that would be contrary to her whole way of being – but hey! I thought it might be fun :-)
After looking at Lucy’s beautiful quilts yesterday, I am made to keen to make something that looks like this …
But it has to be extra small so that it doesn’t turn into another project, nesting in its Ikea box under the television.
So here’s the fabric …
Here’s the pattern …
It’s 1pm and I’m ready to sew. Now, how far will I get …
Yes it’s me again! I’m just so tickled by the photos I took this afternoon of the tomtens romping through the back garden, I just had to share some …
They were very keen to get downstairs and play – even though their stuffing was still poking out!
They quickly lined themselves up to soak up the soft, afternoon sun.
And were mad keen to have their photos taken!
What-ho Sheila! There are tomtens in that cottage!
Goodness George, you’re right! And there’s more here!
Ooooh Sheila …. there’s even one sleeping in the garden!
What kind of place is this George!
There’s been a LOT of tomten busyness here in the Boot household. I’ve written the instructions, Julian’s drawn the pattern pieces and designed the document’s layout. And now I’m working on the Tomten class of 2008 – from my newly written pattern – to test out what I’ve written and see where I need to improve or change the instructions.
I’ve stitched on the most exquisite woolen faces – thanks to my lovely blog friend Diane of Persnickety Quilts (if you’re not already a regular reader, do check out her beautiful quilts – her current blog header is one of my favourite!) who sent me a breathtaking box of wools and felts earlier this year. This cream wool is of a quality and beauty I’ve not seen here in Australia so I’m taking my time with delving into this box of woolly dreams – I want every piece I sew to be worthy of Diane’s generosity.
I attached the ribbon- at which point I might add, I completely ignored my own instructions – to my DETRIMENT! When I wrote, 1/4 inch wide ribbon, I clearly knew what I was talking about. Lord only knows what I was thinking when I bought this 3/4 inch wide ribbon – ’cause I don’t! Now strangely enough, the red ribbon went on and in effortlessly despite it really being too wide for the job – the green ribbon was a complete disaster. No matter how neurotically I pinned that bloody green ribbon, everytime I sewed up to the point of the tomten’s head and down the other side, the ribbon flung itself over to one edge, became completely caught up in the side seam and came out crooked and STUPID! I unpicked each green beribboned tomten at least 4 times. In the end, even Julian began to wonder if the ribbon was manufactured crooked! However, the answer to this dilemna is FOLLOW THE PATTERN – and buy the right width ribbon :-)
Turn out, stuff, and my favourite bit – chalk up a pair of rosy cheeks with a pretty pastel.
Now they just need to be stitched shut. And I’m off to buy some different ribbon.
I’ve packed little boxes with grape tomatoes and wedges of cara oranges. I’ve grated apple, stirred cornmeal and flipped pancakes. I’ve chopped celery, diced capsicum, and sliced spring onions. The chicken is simmering, the water is boiling, the pasta drying.
The tomtens, however, are still gaping, the christmas cottages are empty, and the needles are idle. But guess what, that’s okay ’cause do you know what I’ve realised this evening? When I am frantically sewing or stitching and ignoring my mothering and homely responsibilities until the last second, it’s just not fun. The sewing’s fraught, the cooking’s resentful and I feel hopelessly unorganised and inept.
I’m sure I’ll continue to be Lily the Chaotic and Preoccupied on a regular basis, but today’s slow stitching, easygoing cooking and cheerful attention to what needs to be done – not what I think I can squish in – has been very good. Everybody’s content and I’m happy. The tomtens will wait.