Monday, April 30, 2007

No Photos, No Sewing Machine and ...

... no posts for a week. I am a slack blogger. No posts 'cos I have been busy this week and didn't have time. No photos for the same reason! And no sewing machine because it is sick and has to go the the machine doctor in Auckland! I turned on my elna last night and it went crazy trying to push the needle as far left as it could go and then came up with a message on the screen "Error #1". Look in the manual. There is no reference to Error #1 in the manual. Frances offers to take said machine to our lovely machine mechanic who just happens to live across the road from her and is a good friend. Rang him up tonight to find it is probably an electronic circuitry problem and will have to be sent to away to be fixed. I have asked him top find out about how much it will cost to get fixed before he sends it away because, of course, it is out of it's warranty period. Aaarrggh!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sewing in the wrong direction

Yes, well, despite all of yesterday's drama it was easy compared to today. Intensive machine quilting is something I need to be doing every day, so I can get good at it!! Today I was mostly doing the reverse stuff! And there is more reverse stuff to do before I can put it back under the machine. Prime Suspect is starting soon on the telly so I had better find my quick-unpick.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I know I am not an unintelligent woman, so why is it when I decide to do a class involving a computer everything goes wrong? (or at least it feels that way).

I have a desktop computer and the requirements for this Print Magic class by Anna Williams included a laptop. My excellent friend Janice agreed that I could borrow hers. The laptop duly arrives at my house and, being the 'Brownies Be Prepared" person I am, I decided to check out how to turn it on. Simple? Not when I am around. It crashed and suffered symptoms that He of Honey Bunch Fame called "blue screen death". Pace around the room. Worry. Gulp - Gasp - Panic! What am I going to say to Janice? Frantic text messages, emails and phone call result in the response, "Don't worry, you haven't killed it, it has got a fault." Phew! However I won't be able to use it this weekend. Okay, stop the panic.

Next day ring The Cloth Shop. They are busy and the phone goes to voice mail. Leave a message. Ring the tutor to say I won't have a laptop as promised. It's alright, I can use her husband's. Calm prevails.

First day of the class today and I insert the CD of photo images I have taken of the Wintergardens (there being not even a pale imitation of any kind of flowers at my house - I gave up even pretending to garden years ago.) The said CD was 'burned' under the careful tutorage of He of (you know the rest). NOTHING THERE! That will teach me to check the CD after burning, won't it. The very well organised tutor has images she has taken on CD if we want to use hers. Thank you Anna, these little things are why you are a great tutor.

I'm chugging along nicely with the borrowed image and I decide to take some photos of the class in progress (so I have something to blog about.) I take 3 photos and the batteries run out. Guess where the spares are? So no photo of what I have done so far. Maybe tomorrow?

Here are some of the ladies in the class. On the right Katherine, owner of The Cloth Shop, and one of the students are peering intently at the printer to make sure it doesn't throw a hissy fit:

The yummy lunch made up for all the frustrations:

I wish I could say this is my work, but I can't. These are the work of our fabulously patient tutor, Anna.

Friday, April 20, 2007

All my Christmases at once?

I have been suffering a severe drought of quilt magazines lately. I get most of them through my local magazine shop and the distributor can be pretty erratic with deliveries. I think they store them up in the warehouse for weeks before releasing them to the bookshops. I knew it was going to be an expensive day when I walked into Magzone and Pip asked if I had brought the bank with me! Six quilting magazines - plus the Xbox mag for He of Honey Bunch fame - ouch!

I am going to a 2 day course at the Cloth Shop in the weekend so I will have to read them all tonight. The worst thing is that I know it will be ages before anymore arrive (sob, sob.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This looks better

I found some spotty blue fabric (in my stash!) to use as the border. Thanks for the suggestions folks. This looks much better:
Now I just need to sew another narrow red border and a wider yellow border and it will be ready to baste. So why aren't I doing this now instead of blogging??

I had a big quilty day today. I think I told you my friend Janice has bought a quilting frame ( A NZ produced one called a Swiftquilter) and a Juki machine to go with it. The frame arrived yesterday but the machine went by a different route and is not due until tomorrow. Today we went to visit Jill, a Kiwiquilter in Waikanae (about 2 hours drive from here), who has one of these frames and she very generously gave us a thorough demonstration of how it works and what to do. Boy is there a lot to learn!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm an easily distracted girl

Earlier this week instead of finishing my string blocks I decided to sew this:
It started out life as a demonstration to a non quilter of how to strip-piece, sew a quarter inch seam and what a 9 patch is and it was this size:
18" by 30", not much use for anything. I needed something simple to take to sew at the Kiwiquilters get together last Saturday so I made some more blocks there. It now measures 44" by 68" with the red first border. You can see I am contemplating the other borders. Maybe I shouldn't use the blue background as a border. Kind of washes it out. What do you think?? It needs the wider border to make it big enough to go on a single bed (that's a twin for anyone from America.) I can't say I love it but I don't hate it either and I will use it to practice my machine quilting. That's if I can get it finished. Nothing done today - I've been feeling like I'm incubating the 'flu and I spent the day reading and falling to sleep, several times. Just as well it's the - soon to come to a screeching halt - holidays.

Actually, I did do 2 loads of washing (laundry) washed and folded, went to the supermarket, picked up He of Honeybunch Fame from his holiday job, cooked a yummy dinner of chicken casserole, potatoes, corn, silverbeet and cabbage and rice pudding. (I can hear some of you going Yuck!) My Japanese student said it was very yummy but when offered some more asked if he could have icecream 'cos he likes that more! So in between the reading and sleeping I did some normal life stuff, I'm going to stop calling it 'doing nothing'.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Kiwiquilters Get Together

I had a great day today getting to know some lovely ladies from my yahoo group Kiwiquilters. We were a small, but select, group and we met in Palmerston North for the day. Here we are (minus me who is behind the camera) during Show & Tell. Going left around the circle (starting at the gap): Jill, Marion, Marina, Karen, Liz, Betty, Elizabeth (who is standing). Now that was pretty good remembering, wasn't it?

This is Marina showing her lovely queen size top. The pattern comes from an earlier issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting. She has made a fantastic job of this quilt. I loved it and I am not an autumn person:
Betty is showing her lovely lilac and lemon quilt. I didn't get a close-up of the blocks but it has great stitcheries sprinkled throughout. Betty had another quilt to show which featured as a pattern in issue 58 of New Zealand Quilter, I didn't get a picture of this one but it is also a very pretty quilt:
And a close-up of the quilting. This was done by (I think) Colleen Burr of Stratford. Fantastic design on the border:
I had a good talk with Jill about the Swiftquilter frame which is available in New Zealand. Jill has one and my friend Janice has decided to purchase one, along with a Juki machine. Boy, am I GREEN!

Friday, April 13, 2007

All Strung Out

The first week of the holidays has whizzed by and for once I can claim I have achieved something. I have made more string blocks ready to trim so I will have 80 done. Without borders the quilt top will measure 60" by 75". There are 36 trimmed blocks on the left and 44 waiting to be trimmed on the right. Okay, so the top is not finished. But, hey, I did 44 blocks in 3 days.
On Wednesday I took a reconnaissance shopping trip. I am organising a mystery bus tour for the quilt club and, of course, I had to check out where we are going and how long it will take and all that stuff. My friend Janice drove us in her fab Citroen car and I navigated. We had a ball! I am a bit poorer ( make that quite a bit poorer) but happy that the basic planning is done - not that I need an excuse to go fabric shopping :-)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Good Friday Food. . .

. . . a little late, I know but I did make these Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, I was just too tired on Friday night to do the post. I like to make my own and I avoid the buns available in the shops and supermarkets like the plague. Sometimes they are for sale in January!! Perhaps not eating them until Good Friday can be considered a Lenten sacrifice???

Shaped, ready to rise:
After rising:
Crosses on (pretty sloppy, I know):
Ready to eat, yumm:
Making them on good Friday brings back pleasant childhood memories of Hot Cross Buns only on good Friday and chocolate Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday. The only time we got chocolate was at Christmas, Easter and the occasional birthday. We truly live in a time of excess (you only need to look at my fabric stash to know I am one of the guilty ones).

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Steamy Summer Sunrise done in a week!

I am mighty pleased with myself. I finished my art piece today and have called it 'Steamy Summer Sunrise'. It measures approx 30" by 38". I did the edging using varigated rayon thread and a 3-step zig-zag stitch with the stitch length at 0.2 and the stitch width at 7 (Elna 6005) and then I trimmed close to the stitching with scissors. It is not hanging totally straight so I am going so wet it and block it in the hope that it will behave a bit better. The photo shows it smoothed against my design wall where it behaves nicely, but hanging in free air it is not so good. I need to make a label and hanging sleeve but it is as good as done!

I showed it at quilt club today and several people were very interested in how I had done the edge. One thought I had gone around 3 times and another thought I had used a triple needle!
Close-up of the quilting:

Left edge:

Bottom edge:

Right edge

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Quick Progress!

I have been having real fun quilting this piece I started last Saturday at Janice's house. I have done a different free-motion motif in each of the colour bands using some lovely metallic threads I bought last year. You can't see the quilting in this picture - I did take some closeups but they came out blurred 'cos I am too tired to hold the camera still. O for a tripod! I will try again tomorrow.
I have decided to leave the edges in the jagged shape they. I am tossing up between satin stitching the edges or couching some king of yarn. This quilt has gone together really fast and is the first truly artistic piece I have attempted. I am pretty pleased with myself!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The creative (coffee) juices are flowing again!

Yesterday I picked up my new replacement coffee machine, so I am all coffee-ed up at home now.
I love the name of this machine. I am nowhere near being chic in any way, shape or form. I might have been in my younger days - who knows - but those 'salad days' are long gone!! Now I quilt. Can quilting be described as chic?