Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Comings and goings

Just because I’ve not been around here much doesn’t mean my life has become completely bereft of fun. Quite the opposite, in fact! I will probably take a couple of posts to tell a few stories, but I might start with last week.

Last week I went to Sydney for my annual sojourn to the Sydney Quilt Show, and this is the fifth time I’ve entered. I love this quilt show. Heck, I love this quilt guild! I always have the best time catching up with my besties. I feel like I belong there - it’s kind of hard to describe, but everyone there is so open and warm. It almost makes me want to move closer to Sydney. Joking - I love Canberra too much. But coming up here for the week each year is always a great holiday and a break from the everyday, plus I will never complain about a week off work!

My quilt this year is called “365 Stars Around the Sun” and is made from 365 hexagon stars that I made from birthday to birthday. There are a lot of meaningful blocks - made to represent friends that passed away, moments with my family and friends, walks in nature - you name it. This all makes it an incredibly personal quilt and it has shot up the charts to be my number one. I can’t wait to hang it when it finally comes home.

The entire top was pieced by hand using the English Paper piecing technique. I machine quilted it with vertical lines 6/16th inches apart and hand quilted the centre blocks with Perle 8 thread.

A couple of weeks before I started quilting  the quilt, I was decluttering my dress fabric stash and rediscovered a cotton-linen fabric designed by Melody Miller, originally intended for a skirt. I absolutely love the fabric but it would have been a horrible skirt on me as its definitely not my colour. But it became a fabulous quilt backing!


Sadly I managed to acquire both a virus and a pretty painful condition in my hands and thumbs called DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis just as I was about to start the quilting - so the straight lines were a struggle to do without hurting myself further. 

But I did it, and I've promised myself I wouldn’t do any hand stitching for a while, but not before I performed a happy dance when it was all finished. 

So Sydney last week was great. I spent some time volunteering at the show and also at The Applique Guild of Australia table in the guilds area. I didn't need to buy anything except pins,  new ergo scissors and a cutting ruler, but in the end I bought just one piece of fabric and a heck of a lot of coffee! The quilt show was incredible - you just can't believe the amount of talent on display until you actually go to one of the Sydney shows. 

My hoop sample has been on display at the quilt show entrance this week again so that’s always a thrill. I really should offer to make another one sometime soon.

On Wednesday night I attended Blak Box at Barangaroo with a friend. It was amazing.

And on Friday night I headed to the Sydney Opera House to head the Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir. Most amazing night of my life.

I’ll leave you with a photo from a rainy Tuesday when Rachael met me at my favourite slice of heaven, The Fabric Store in Surry Hills. What a couple of goofballs! Honestly though, she’s one of my favourite people in the world so it’s always a blast getting together. One day we will get the pink dumplings we ordered, and not the green ones, hey Rachael? ;)

Actually I’ll leave you with one more photo - of a spectacular sunset as seen from my back door a couple of weeks ago. 

Back sometime soon with stories on my trip to the Blue Mountains ... for quilting of course! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Life: an update

Hello hello hello! I’ll admit I was a little recalcitrant on the blogging side of things last year but I’m not apologising.

So how's life for me?

Shop girl
Remember how I used to make project bags for knitters and crocheters for about 8 years and then I retired from bag making in November 2015?

Well I really missed the thrill of buying lovely new fabrics and crafting them into something both beautiful and useful. And I missed the interactions with customers and the thrill of an irregular shop update.


So I'm out of retirement. I’m back on Etsy for the interim because it wasn’t sustainable having a website and also paying to use Bigcartel. I’ve made a heap of bags already and completely sold out of some of them (there are still some in the shop right now) and I’ve also got some beautiful fabrics waiting for me to cut out and sew. I’m a bit excited!

Making clothes
We had three weeks away from work over summer and it was magnificent. My vegetable garden got some attention, we decluttered like no one's business, saw some great movies at the cinema, and I spent time in the sewing room.


I made a total of three skirts and four Springfield tops, all much needed in my closet since my big closet curation late last year. Admittedly two of the tops were already cut up and/or half sewn and discovered during the decluttering. But they are now finished. And I used the Upton sleeve to do a sleeve hack on the Springfield and it totally changed the look of the top. I have a new favourite top for work now!


I finished of my 365 stars project on the eve of my birthday (September 2017) but after that I rarely touched a needle. I needed the break. I worked a little on the Ice Cream Soda BOM, and finished off the last 30 blocks for the Stepping Stones Quilt. Over the last month though I have been working on getting at least one quilt ready for the Sydney Quilt Show in June. It's slow work, this piecing-by-hand business, but gosh it's fun and a bit of a lark especially when I get together with friends to stitch.


I joined The Applique Guild of Australia a couple of years ago however they are mostly based in Victoria so it's usually an online thing for me until I catch up with a few of the members at the Sydney Quilt Show each year. I realised we needed a Canberra chapter (also known as "coffee and cake and stitching"), and we had our first meeting towards the end of last year. Our next meeting is this weekend and I'm hoping to make it a monthly affair. If you're interested in joining us, drop me an email and I'll send you the details. There is an expectation that you'll be a member of the guild at some stage, but honestly it's a great guild and there is also the opportunity to attend something like this every couple of years.

It's not summer without finding Michelle camped at the local outdoor pool early in the morning. This year I joined the Lap Legends challenge, mainly to keep myself accountable. But I had to swim 77.7 km to be eligible for prizes at the end of season BBQ and I never thought I would be able to do that in 4 months. Just keeping myself honest was a prize in itself.


Well bugger me if I haven't done 88 km since the end of October! It turned out that I really needed to swim before heading to work each day to maintain my sanity (seriously, it works. By the time I get to work I've swum 30 laps of a 50 metre pool, talked to really lovely people about the weather! The light! The clear water!, had a shower and slowly driven to work. I have no more cares! And I'm more productive). My arms and shoulders are really sore and I'm having to do a ridiculous amount of stretching before swimming to prevent injury, but I've never been stronger or fitter. The challenge now is how to keep that up once the pool closes in a couple of weeks.

So that's it from me for now. Just the usual quilting, sewing, swimming routine around here, chucked in with work and life. It's pretty sweet!