Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rant--and a Bright Spot

I hadn't planned to spend yesterday afternoon at a Smash Repair shop. In fact, I hadn't really planned the afternoon much at all. After a week of bad sleep, I was feeling slow, and relieved after a slightly better night. I'd promised to catch up with a friend late in the afternoon. Meanwhile I was feeling slow enough to stop at a local fast food "restaurant" for lunch rather than rustle something up at home. That turned out to be the bad choice of the day. The place was full of school-kids. Fair enough, it's school holidays and they need somewhere to socialise. Service was slow--also fair enough given the crowds of school kids. I never thought of a big bunch of school kids as a security issue, but when I returned to my car, I found some-one had snapped off the driver's side wing mirror. It wasn't bumped, scratched, dented or smashed. It was fully snapped off--a ring of broken metal where the mirror should have been and no mirror to be found. All of a sudden my mood deteriorated and my prejudices about my fellow restaurant patrons flared! Did I mention NOT HAPPY!

I spoke with the manager--no they don't have video surveillance in the car park. They will be installing it "soon". I spoke with the police--nothing they can do, but take a report which, "proabably isn't even worth printing". I spoke with my Insurance agency--they gave me a reference number. I spoke with the Smash Repair Shop--here's the bright spot--they said, come on up and they'd see what they could do.

Driving up the highway without a driver's side mirror was very unsettling. I was amazed at the number of times I glanced at the absent mirror and then over my shoulder to cope with the huge blind spot. I spent the next couple of hours in a tiny, dusty, brown office, while the Smash Repair guys rang wreckers and waited for parts to arrive. Meanwhile, I kept busy with my trusty drop spindle: See what I mean by dusty brown? As for tiny--that's the counter and I rested the drop spindle on my knee to take the shot. The office was "decorated" with dozens of certificates, interspersed with old football posters. Attractive--NOT.

The first mirror to arrive was white, mine was black. They tried again. The black one arrived. They installed it. I handed over $100 and grateful thanks. There wasn't much left of the afternoon. Would you believe I took a friend to a fast food "resaurant" for tea? I did have second thoughts, but I'd had enough of the day by then. The place was quiet. My car remained undamaged. We had an hour or so to catch up and then I went home. I don't have any plans for this afternoon, but one thing is for sure: no matter how slow and unmotivated I feel, I will not be dropping in for a quick lunch at that fast food place.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Roses

Here are some of the roses on the unfinished quilt I mentioned in a previous post:This is a "broderie perse" technique where the printed flowers are cut from a feature fabric and then stitched to the new background fabric. I've used a temporary spray adhesive and blanket stitches to hold the flowers down. I've avoided using vlieosfix because I'm planning to quilt this one by hand. I don't like the stiffness of the fabric produced by the iron-on adhesives. I think I mentioned this quilt has been in storage for a while--I'm noticing the creases in the shot I've taken. Oh well, it's not in storage now, so maybe it's a little closer to being finished, though I've done nothing but look at it since I hung it on the wall. I need to decide what size it will be and then choose a border or borders. When they're on it will be time to think about quilting it.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Still on the subject of roses--I'd rather not think about the weeds, though I did spend several hours yesterday phoning and visiting hardware stores to get myself some serious weapons against my kikuyu grass invasion. As I was saying, roses:Here's one of the pink candy-striped roses from my garden--sorry, it does have a name and I can't think of it. Below you can see another bloom draped in the silk ribbon I dyed in its honour. It--the ribbon--is on it's way to my friend D who will manipulate it with her skilled hands and needles and turn it into an image of a rose. At least that's what I'm hoping. Of course she may prefer to pat it and keep it as a pet for a while or turn it into something else altogether. In any case, its been fun to make the match. There's another 20m or so of silk ribbon in my sink dyed a gradation between "plum" and "galah". It's proving to be a challenge to rinse well, since I really had too much dye in the pot. I've had it soaking overnight and also boosted the water with some vinegar, so I'm hoping it will come clear soon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Breakfast View

My body clock is all out of wack, and it was well and truly dark when I had breakfast this morning. I did have this lovely rose to cheer my view: It's a Mr Lincoln rose from my front garden, and it has a delightful scent.

My breakfast was much more prosaic: rolled oats, oat bran and sultanas with skim milk--not quite fitting for the rose elegance, but much more in keeping with the rest of my table. The roses are my reward for a good hour spent weeding late yesterday afternoon. I also have roses on my design wall--I've pulled out an unfinished quilt from several years ago and it's on display to boost my inspiration and help me to decide how to finish it.

Meanwhile, I have some lovely fine kid mohair to prepare for spinning--I'm flicking it, and so far my fingers are OK. It's too fine and long to comb effectively. I tried carding it, but even on my new fine carders I was losing too much of it's character. I'll have plenty left to card later, since flicking removes a lot of lovely, useful, not quite as long fibre in preparation. I bought 100g and I need a 20g sample--plus a swatch, display skein, fibre sample etc etc--yep I'm back to working on my Spinning Certificate Folio. That will leave plenty to play with when the required work is done.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pink Quilt Arrived

The Pink Quilt has arrived at its destination. Apparently the postie announced a parcel "for Baby B" when she knocked on the door, since that's what I'd put on the address label:) Here's the pic I promised of the completed front before it was bundled up to go in the mail: Random white buttons and a bit of a free-hand (not free motion) quilted design in the border.

I'm told it's been initiated already--being quite thick and textured, I thought it would be good as a place for baby to sit and play while older brothers and sister do their thing. Since my friends live in (subtropical) Queensland there's not so much call for something to snuggle under. Especially not at this time of year.

Today I'd like to get on with my mystery project, since it needs to be in the mail in the next few days--only binding and finishing off to do, really, then I should try to clear up a bit since each of my recent projects has left a legacy of leftovers, tools and bits and pieces trailing through my house.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I can't show you the big picture of what I'm working on this morning, so here's a teaser to get you thinking:If you want an idea of size, think that this is a macro shot and the cotton fabric on the left is a patchwork print.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rose Riot

My front garden is riot of roses this week. Not that I did much to deserve it--all I did was fix the grey-water hose, so they get the run-off from my washing machine. Roses are so grateful and generous that I got a profuse reward.

Here's one which I picked for my living room:The variegated petals are such fun--I've got another rose which is candy striped in pink:) These are the colour gradations that I strive to reproduce in my dyeing.

Now I have to be honest and say that the weeds have responded equally well to the extra water and they too are rioting. The weeds in the back "garden" are rioting too, even without any extra encouragement, so a whole heap of weeding is once again on my "to do" list. That's not going to happen today, though, and there's nothing to stop me enjoying this bit of beauty. Maybe on the weekend I'll pull out the weed spray and try to get things a bit more under control.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Car Service Kit

My car is booked in for a service today. That means I'll be leaving in a few minutes to get it to the Service Centre at the uncomfortably early hour that mechanics start work. Meanwhile, I've armed myself with my own version of the Car Service Kit: It's my Bubble and Squeak knitting. I also have a drop spindle and another knitting project permanently in my handbag, so while the mechanics are doing their thing with the car, I'll find a likely spot for a coffee or two and do my thing with the fibre. Not a bad plan as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your Quilt is in the Mail

Today I'm focussing on quilt backings and binding--the topics for tomorrow night's Patchwork by Machine class. So here's the Quick and Easy Pink quilt, backed and bound (and quilted) and ready to send off to Baby B. I won't spoil the surprise any more by showing you the front of the quilt all finished until it's arrived at its destination.

I'm doing my class preparation today because my car is booked in for a service tomorrow, so I'll be out most of the day. I'm hoping there won't be any complications since I'll definitely need the car to get to my quilting class--the Neighbourhood House is an easy walk, but the amount of equipment I need to carry usually entails several trips to and from the car. OK, now I'm off to photograph and pack the quilt and then prepare some handouts about binding a finished quilt.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Design Wall + Plus

A few days ago, my friend V sent me this link to a video about Free-motion quilting. As part of the preparation it mentions using a spray adhesive to baste the quilt sandwich together--no surprises there. I've used spray basting before, and didn't love it. The surprise came when I realised the basting was being done on a wall. I was intrigued. When I saw how easy it looked in the video, I went beyond intrigued. To understand the attraction, you have to know that quilts are traditionally basted on a horizontal surface. And the surface needs to be at least as big as the quilt. The trouble with horizontal surfaces at my place is that they have a strong tendency to acquire a layer or three of stuff--useful, necessary and unrelenting stuff. What's more, a standard bed quilt--even a single--is wider than my large table. And basting on a horizontal surface involves lots of awkward bending and reaching. When I watched the follow-up video, my excitement turned to disappointment. I realised that this technique requires, not just a dedicated wall, but one covered in a substance that will easily hold pins--and strong enough to carry the entire weight of the quilt. The tutor on the video used a wall covered in foam ceiling tiles. I wasn't about to recover a large piece of wall in ceiling tiles just to see if the idea would work.

I put the idea aside and went on with my plans to visit the large table at the Neighbourhood House whenever I need to baste a quilt. But while I was getting on with something else, my brain started making connections, until . . . ah ha! A solution came to mind:
  • I've long liked the idea of having a design wall--a space to pin up fabric and quilt blocks while deciding about arrangement, colour balance etc. Sometimes I've pinned a large sheet over an area of my living room wall--temporary, but effective.
  • Quite a while ago I acquired a large quantity of white cotton drill fabric, I'd never got around to using it--so it became part of the clutter in my sewing room;
  • If I could make a stable enough surface out of my white drill fabric I could have a design wall and a basting wall all in one.
  • Two rod pockets, a curtain rod and hooks to hold the fabric at the top and a 2 metre length of timber to weigh down the bottom had me nearly there.
  • My rod-pocket curtain idea made a good design wall. To stabilise it enough to use for quilt basting, I used drawing pins to attach the edges of the fabric directly to the plaster wall.

Here it is on a trial run with one of the baby bunny rugs I mentioned in an earlier post:

So far, so good! My design/basting wall is just about 2 metres wide and 2.3 metres high--I've never made a quilt bigger than that and I could push out the width a bit more if needs be. The "spray basting on a wall" technique seems to be as easy and effective as it looks in the video. I was worried that the tutor's competence in this reflected years of skill development--I'm sure her free-motion quilting does, but the basting part is just easy. I don't think I'll miss that particular patch of wall in my living room--I only had to move one small quilt to make room for it. I think I'm onto a good thing. I now have two baby rugs ready for binding and a smile on my face. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I already had all the necessary hardware in the house!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Gizmo!

I know, it's a bit naughty to be posting about a new purchase when I've been bemoaning the lack of space for all the things I already have, but this is such a little purchase, and so very clever! I couldn't resist: I do a bit of beading and jewellry making--just for fun really: things for me to wear and the occasional gift. One of the really fiddly bits in making jewellry is opening and closing jump rings. I either need to use two pairs of plyers--which makes me feel like a robot animation--or kill my finger nails holding the teeny tiny ring still, while twisting it slightly. This clever gizmo slips on my finger--like a ring--and the jump rings slot into the little spaces. Then it's just a simple twist to get the ring open and there you go! I haven't actually tried it yet, but there's half a big table clear in my living room, so maybe today. As for the beads you can see in the background of the photo, I'm not going to talk about them. Impulse buys? What impulse buys? I don't know what you're talking about!

Edited to add:
My friend V just dropped in and saw the real thing of the gizmo, and gave me some friendly feedback. Here's another pic which gives the order of magnitude and a tiny little demo if you can work out that it's the tip of a pair of pliers holding the jump ring in the illustration. Hope that helps.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stay or Go?

I'm having a bit of a blitz in my sewing room. There's so much stuff in here that it's hard to find room to sew! And that's rather counterproductive really. It's never really got over being packed up to have the floors done last year. There are still boxes of "stuff" to be sorted and I'm short a set of shelves--I have some of the parts, but the rest need to be bought and then the whole thing assembled. Before I can assemble the new shelves I will have to move another small shelf which is currently attached to that wall. Are you gettng the idea . . . one thing depends on another and I'm not getting any of it done.

I have been doing some sewing despite this, but that means I now have fabrics out of their boxes and boxes out of place and I've been leaving putting them away until I can get the bigger picture sorted out.

Yesterday afternoon I got caught up in a burst of action. I decided that rather than sorting some of the big items, like shelving, I could start by reducing some of the smaller items, like fabric. I went through my box of flannels first. At one stage I thought I'd make a flannel quilt or three, but it hasn't happended, so out go the flannels. I don't want to waste them, though, so I've paired each metre of flannel with a metre of quilting cotton that I don't need--are you getting some idea of how much fabric is in this room? Now I have eight pairs of fabrics waiting to be turned into bunny rugs. That's a day's work in itself coming up, but I know a charity which will really appreciate them. And it's a days work unrelated to any other problem, so at some stage (soon) I can just get it done. Reality check, they will need to be ironed and I will need a flat surface to spread them on, but I think I can manage that.

While I was sorting through my quilting cottons looking for suitable baby fabrics, I came across some Mary Engelbreit prints that are just not my taste. I bought them for a project that didn't eventuate. I know I bought them on clearance and I know they don't go with anything else I have. Out they went, via Freecycle. A happy quilter will be coming to collect them tomorrow.

I also came across these: --half a metre of the stripe and half a metre of the polka dot print. . . I must have been running out of energy, because I couldn't bring myself to just send them away. This morning I've lost my resolve and I can't decide whether they should stay or go.

If you love them, let me know. If you have a suggestion that will turn them into something useful in less than two hours--without buying any extra fabric! --let me know too, but no promises.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Purple Fleece

I'm still working on the "Bubble and Squeak" knitting I started a few weeks back. It's growing slowly and I'm incorporating more yarns as they come along. I had a stray bit of English Leicester fleece all washed up with nowhere to go, so I threw it in the dyepot yesterday. I had a bit of "plum" colour left in the pot from whatever wool I dyed last. I added some "marine" blue. Out came this purple: As you can see, English Leicester is not a fine fleece, but it takes colour beautifully. I'll spin this up today and add it to the collection.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Harmony Brightness

Yesterday was Harmony Day--the international day for racial tolerance. Orange is the colour of Harmony Day--don't ask me why, but Orange it is. The Neighbourhood House has been celebrating all week with orange banners, clothing and food. I have one orange scarf in my wardrobe--bought last year for just this occasion. Yesterday was a hot day, and I didn't want to wear my scarf again. I picked out these cute little earings from a shop in Carlton:
They are light and bright and fun to wear. Now I have two items of orange for Harmony. Wearing orange earings is a tiny stretch for me. I hope it will remind me to notice and overcome some of the little--and not so little--prejudices I have.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green, Green, Green and more Green!

Happy St Patrick's Day! I didn't plan it that way, but when I heard comments on the radio about Green and Irish music this morning, I thought it was a great coincidence.

Yep, I mixed up three more versions of Green yesterday and here they are: I suspect the differences won't show too well on the screen, but for your info, I added:
  • marine blue and a bit of citrus yellow to one batch;
  • just citrus yellow to the second batch
  • just golden yellow (chamomile) to the third
  • and the fourth piece I left alone.

I didn't label my experiments. I wasn't really trying to be scientific, but wanted to give myself some more options. I'm surprised at how little difference the over-dyeing made. Then again it was a printed fabric, which I'd already over-dyed once. I think I'll go with the version in the upper right hand corner. It has the green I want, plus enough of the yellowy-gold colour to pick up what's already in the quilt.

As for yesterday's other fabric, I'm having visions of bush scenes, and I've also got a collection of wild animal fabrics . . . stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Decisions, Decisions!

Over the weekend I managed to do a bit of dyeing in amongst everything else. I was working on concocting the right colour for the border of my quilt. Here's what I came up with:
Now I need to choose, or try again.
I think I'm suffering from an excess of feedback! I took the fabric at the bottom and the quilt to the Neighbourhood House yesterday. I got some definite "YES" responses, and some equally definite "NOs". The other fabric was still on the line drying at that stage. I'm inclined to choose it, even though it's not quite the right colour. I do have plenty of that fabric, though and still have today to experiment. I've worked out that I can leave half the fabric as is--to use on the quilt if it turns out to be the best option--and overdye the other half with a slightly different green. To do that, though, I'll have to clear the sink again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Works of Art

My friends W and R have two new members in their household--burmese kittens, Fred and George. They are beautifully coloured and alternate between incredible acts of acrobatics and fond snuggling. After they had entertained me with double back flips, they had a thorough mutual kitty wash and curled up for a sleep. Of course I was there with my camera! R put out the challenge that I couldn't put them on my blog since they're not textile art. Well, here they are. They are definitely works of art and they're furry--I know that well because I happen to be allergic to cats. But I was more than happy to take antihistamines and Ventolin for the privilege of meeting these two gorgeous feline bundles.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rainbow Riding Hood

There was much excitement among the Spinning Certificate Students at the opening of our exhibition yesterday morning. Most of us hadn't seen each others projects. And there was a lot of catching up to do after the summer break. I got M to try on my Rainbow Hood:
It was great to see what everyone had produced and lots of fun to match creations with creators. When it was all over, we settled to our Flax spinning workshop, so it was a long day, but worth it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Not Boring Green--Update

I posted yesterday about the plain green homespun fabric that lost its "boring" label courtesy of a bleach bath. Well, the more I looked at it, the more I liked the effect, but not to coordinate with pretty flowers. It was speaking to me of trees or bushland. I'd already decided to overdye it in different green/s so I decided to try another bleach bath. This time I diluted the bleach in a basin and roughly fan-folded the fabric. I gave it ten minutes on each side before rinsing it thoroughly. Here's the result:
Today is a big day at the Guild: opening of the student exhibition followed by a flax workshop, so I don't expect I'll get to do anything more with this fabric. Tomorrow I have a day at home, so if I can clear up the kitchen, I'll pull out my procion dyes and have a go.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hey Presto, Not!

One of my tasks for yesterday morning was to choose the border for a quilt. I put most of the quilt together in a flurry of activity a couple of days ago. I wanted to get the blocks pieced and sashed to show my Patchwork by Machine class. Only I didn't start until after lunch on the day of the class--let's just say I had to stay focussed to get in done.

OK, I have the main part of a quilt top done--now to choose the border. The main fabric is a purple floral print with pretty little buds and leaves. I bought a selection of related fabrics in the one shopping trip. There are lots of obvious colour choices, but none of them looks right when I try it against what I've got. I spent some time going through my fabric collection and some time consulting. Then I went back to the store where I bought the original fabrics. There were several more fabrics in that range on special, they came home with me--oops. And I bought a plain bottle green homespun thinking it would do for the border. When I tried it again last night, I wasn't convinced. It was OK, but plain boring.
At this stage I think I know what colour I want, but none of the fabrics I have are quite it. And I'm reluctant to buy any more fabric just now. Plan B--or is it Plan C?--alter one of the fabrics I have already. I started by bleaching back the bottle green homespun. I wet it, scrunched it in a basin and sprayed it with bleach. Then I rinsed it thoroughly and hung it to dry. This is what I found this morning. It's certainly not boring any more, but it's not quite what I want. I'm going to try overdyeing it with a different green. The bleach has given me some room to move as there was no way any colour was going to make an impact on the original dark green. I've got another couple of fabrics that can go in the same batch. They're all different versions of greens, so they will all come out differently. Hopefully by Monday I'll be ready for another batch of border auditions.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dogs and Knitting

My friend, L, picked this book up for me at a Library Sale: Sorry about the odd pic--I tried to get Macc to pose nicely with the book, but he was more interested in licking my hand while I was holding the camera. My dogs being the active, get-into-mischief kind, I don't thing I'll be knitting any precious little coats for them, but there are also some great chew toys shaped like bones and cats as well as a herbal flea collar--and it's lots of fun to look at the pictures:)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


My friend V lent me her marudai:She did a series of workshops in Kumihimo--traditional Japanese braiding--some years ago, and this was made for her. In the one day workshop I participated in at the Guild's Summer School, the marudai was variously referred to as a "loom"or "stool". "Loom" because braiding is a form of weaving and this device holds the threads so they can be manipulated to form a braid. "Stool", I think just because of the appearance--it's not good to sit on your marudai! If I remember correctly the word "marudai" translates as "mirror"--the smooth polish of the top surface being its most important characteristic.

OK, now I have the loan of a marudai. Yay! I'd like to do a bit of practice on it and just get a feel for the skills involved. I loved what I did at the workshop--the process more than the product, but I can only hope the product will improve. If I'm still hooked, I'll be trying to make my own. Meanwhile, my next challenge is to make or find weighted bobbins to hold the threads.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dual Purpose?

Last week I finished making a bag to carry my quilting equipment to and from class. I used it for the first time on Wednesday and it was great. I didn't have bit of rulers poking out all over the place and threatening to slide out of my hands. All the cutters were safely tucked into their little pockets. I was rather pleased with my efforts.

One of the complications of self-healing cutting mats is that they need to be stored flat--really flat--otherwise they take on the shape of whatever they've been stored against. Lumpy bumpy cutting mats are not a good thing, and I don't have many flat surfaces available in my sewing room, so they ended up (carefully) on the floor. That's where my dear dog came into the picture:
I've mentioned before that he likes to be near me as much as possible, but he also likes to be comfortable, and the floor in my sewing room has no suitable soft spots for a dog to snuggle into. So when he found this piece of padded fabric on the floor he decided to put it to use. What better use than as a spot for him to lie while I get on with my sewing tasks! I turned around to find him well settled. He was a bit less sure of himself by the time I'd picked up my camera, but he wasn't letting go of his comfortable spot. So my equipment carry bag was doubling as a dog mat--not quite what I intended, but I guess it's all a matter of priorities.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Familiarity and Fun

M and I have a bit of a tradition of afternoon coffee at the Paragon Cafe in Rathdowne St. Here's a pic I took of one of the light fittings while I was waiting for my friend yesterday afternoon:
I had about half an hour to wait, so I pulled out my knitting. A staff member then recognised me as, "the lady who makes her own string"! That kept me smiling for a while.

After our coffee, we browsed through a few of the local shops--lots of pretty things. I got another giggle when a shop assistant--in a French themed Boutique--asked for help interpreting the label of a baby blanket. It read, "Fabrique en Chine" . . . yep that's "Made in China" in French:) Oh well!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bunny Stamps

I've been holding off posting this until I'd given my friend A her gift, but now here they are: It was A's birthday last week. I carved a couple of bunny stamps for her. A has a much loved pet bunny. Now she has a couple of handmade stamps to celebrate that bunny!

I bought a beginner stamp-making kit from Two Cheese Please at Northside Makers Market last month. That was the market I went to check out and came home with a load of goodies. I so enjoyed the process of carving these that I went out on Saturday to buy some more tools and supplies. I have a lot to learn. At first I thought I could carve my friend's name alongside the bunny--that was way too ambitious--so I scraped off the mangled letters and turned them into a bit of texture--grass--instead. I'm not sure what to try next. I'd like to get beyond simple outlines and create some shading. And I would like to be able to do letters, but the stamps will have to be more than a couple of inches across.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fairy Floss

Not pink, but it's light and airy and it flowed onto my bobbin oh so smoothly:It's mohair and wool, carded on my hand carders and now spun up. The spinning was as sweet as its namesake, except for the last two rolags, which somehow didn't behave the way I wanted them to, but overall it was a happy spinning experience. And that's one more of my Folio skeins spun.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Here's a progress shot of the Bubble and Squeak: I've done about a dozen rows and it's starting to take shape: though so far it's only a skinny little thing. I'm leaving the tails at the end of each row to form a fringe. That will emphasise the character of the different yarns, add to the excitement of the wrap and save me a heap of trouble weaving in ends. Yes!

Would you believe I've promised to make a roast dinner for tonight. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've made a roast dinner and have fingers left over. It's supposed to be easy, and I guess it is, but I'm consulting on oven temperature and time and . . . The theme for this week has been Pink, but I don't want a pink roast.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bubble and Squeak Begun

I've started to knit the Bubble and Squeak wrap. Here it is so far:I've cast on 200 stitches and I'm on the second row. It's going to be good old garter stitch--in the spirit of simplicity. You can see the little balls of various wools lined up along the arm of my chair. I'll soon have to find a better way of storing and transporting them, but for now it's fun to see the array and add to it as yarns come off the drying rack. I've finished rinsing yesterday's pinks. They'll be ready to use in a day or so. I think I'm going to need more purples.

A simple project like this is just the thing for the morning after teaching a Patchwork class. I'm tired and my feet ache. I don't know how teachers manage who have classes all day. I don't think I'd have the stamina for it. I'm going to make another coffee and head back to the armchair for a bit.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just Had to Share

I'm talking with my friend D on the phone and ironing the quilting fabrics I bought on impulse a couple of weeks ago. I love having company when doing the less exciting parts of my projects--ironing is not my favourite activity. But ironing is often the time when I get to know my fabrics better. I've just discovered that the main fabric I bought is a one-way design. I'm glad I noticed that before I started cutting.

While I've got the fabrics out, I'm thinking about how I'd like to use them. Here's one of my hand dyes which I think will work. It too got an iron, since it's been in storage.

The trouble with my hand-dyes is that I love them so much when I've dyed them that I find it hard to use them. The trouble with having company over the phone, rather than in person, is that I need a camera to share.

Here's my fabric:
I hope you like it as much as I do.

Ummm . . . Pink Again

I'm planning a "bubble and squeak" wrap for the end of my Spinning Folio. "Bubble and Squeak" are the fritters traditionally made with leftovers from a roast dinner--usually the day after. So my "Bubble and Squeak" wrap will be all the bits of handspun that didn't make it into the folio for whatever reason:
  • excess to requirements
  • trial runs
  • skeins where I forgot to keep a sample to display
  • insufficient fibre to make up the required quantity
  • unidentified spinning . . .

To unify the whole thing--and because I don't like to wear neutral colours--I've been dyeing the skeins in shades of purple and pink. Here's today's brew:

This one is the excess of my medium woollen sample. The dye is Landscape, Galah. As you can see, my dye pot is nothing very flash and it shares the stove with the coffee pot. Most of the brown on the stove top is over-enthusiastic coffee. Once the stove cools down, I'll give it a clean up, but for now, I'm going to turn that dye pot down to simmer and get back to my spinning.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Still Thinking Pink

I'm thinking on the theme of Pink, after yesterday's post: I've pulled out the quilt top I made with the pink corduroys earlier this year: It's a quick and easy quilt top for a quick and easy baby. Baby B's birth was so easy, she ended up arriving in the rumpus room at home! Meanwhile, she has been growing up and I haven't got as far as finishing off this quilt. So . . . today I have to go to the warehouse to pick up the quilt wadding for my Patchwork by Machine class. Hopefully I can get as far as basting this quilt today or tomorrow. The quilting will be, you guessed it, Quick and Easy and Pink!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pink Drink

Yesterday afternoon was spent catching up with R's niece. She's 7 years old and her favourite colour is . . . you guessed it, PINK. She made it easy to choose activities for the couple of hours we were together: a happy meal and a trip to the park.

She had to have this drink: Yep, the contents are water, sugar and some sort of colouring. It's the colouring that does it: what pink loving girl could resist. As it turns out, she hardly drank any of it and it slowly melted into something that looked awfully like red cordial. Oh well!
The park, on the other hand, never loses any of its charm. There's a 3D snakes and ladders game, a big fort in the shape of an aeroplane and, of course, the swings. It's good that some things in life are simply fun.