Sunday, April 27, 2014

A quilt!

A mini-quilt, granted! But it's a quilt nonetheless. And it's one that Romily (now 8 years old!) and I made together. She wanted a quilt for 'Big Ted', so we set about designing (a simple grid) and selecting the fabrics from my rather substantial scrap box. The fabric choices are all Rom's and I helped her learn to sew together squares. She struggled a bit with keeping the seams the same width and after doing a pretty good job handed it over to me (I didn't know quilting would be so hard, Mum!).

We piecing the top on Friday and I sandwiched and quilted it yesterday (I asked Rom to do the quilting but I think it was all a bit too much for her and she asked me to finish it).

Next time I think I'll let her sew together four large pieces of felt and call it a blankie - Romily doesn't seem quite ready for the rigours of straight line sewing :) Not yet, anyway.

It's been a long time between drinks. While I have been handquilting Romily's single bed quilt (see post from last June), I haven't been doing any crafting as I had rather a serious snafu with my MPhil dissertation. Not long after my last post, I had an 'annual review' by the Higher Degree people at the university. They gave me the bad news that my methodology didn't quite stack up with the evidence I had gathered during my research phase. While it wasn't quite back to the drawing board, I did have to rewrite about 10000 words as well as gather new data. This stumble set me back six months, but I am happy to report I submitted my thesis for examination in the last week of March. It's now out with the two external examiners and I should know how I've done within the next month or so.

Having this weight off my shoulders has been such a liberating experience. I am now free to tackle all those jobs around the home I've been putting off, as well as to do some writing for me (I'm working on my first screenplay!) and pick up the guitar. I've bought a fabulous Luna guitar and I'm learning my first chords. I'll start taking some lessons in the coming week and hopefully I'll be able to start playing some songs - I sing in a band and we've written a bunch of songs. I'd like to be able to play along on some of them, although the concept of singing and playing at the same time is likely to take a little while to master!

So, life is good, there are endless opportunities and I hope some of my future opportunities include more quilting and more crafting (and even Romily may decide to have another go!).

Finished size: 18.5x23"

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oh dear!

So much for 2013 being a little less busy than previous years. I have finally come to the realisation that I'll probably never slow down!

I did change jobs at the end of last year and am currently a fulltime student, studying strategic studies (again) for one year before I take up a new (and, as yet, unknown) position next year. While in theory I should be less busy this year, because I was unable last year to finish off a Master of Philosophy in business that I have been doing part-time for the past three years, I am madly working on that too. So, I am actually doing two masters degrees at once. I am due to submit my MPhil thesis (40,000 words) in 8 weeks, so I am busy as all get out.

I am also suffering dreadfully from headaches this year. There doesn't seem to be any specific cause - some are migraine-like and resulting from hormonal surges, while others are caused by incredibly stiff/sore neck and shoulder muscles, which may or may not have resulted from a volleyball injury I sustained in March.

Fortunately the kids and Carl are all well. Romily is having a great time at school (she's halfway through Grade 2) and Tristan is enjoying preschool (otherwise known as kindergarten in most places). He'll start prep next year (although in the Australian Capital Territory it's known as kindergarten - don't try to understand, just know it's 'year zero'!)

Needless to say I have done almost zero crafting this year. Boohoo. However, I am just about to start hand quilting Romily's single bed quilt, which I started making way back in 2007. How utterly ridiculous!! Fortunately she still likes the colours and the fabric!! Here's a picture of the completed top:

I'm just going to do straight lines in variegated perle cotton, but it will probably take me the rest of the year (at least). So she'll be able to use it over summer/next winter - nearly 7 years after I started making it. Where does that time go?!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas Stars finally finished!

 
For those of you who happen to visit in search of some crafty news, I have finally finished my version of the Audrey & Maude Christmas Baubles quilt! This has been a work in progress for nearly two years and has been my handwork project for the past 18 months. The largest quilt I've made yet, it's entirely handquilted in perle cotton in a wavy pattern that I happily made up as I went along.

The quilt hung on the wall last Christmas (where the myriad safety pins looked like extra decoration) and will again grace the walls but this time finished! (And you know it's not long till Christmas when the department stores start setting up the Santa photo stands!) Thanks again to Helen, who gifted me the pattern a couple of years ago - I got there in the end!

I have really enjoyed seeing Christmas Stars evolve over time and am so pleased I stuck with it although at times all that handquilting seemed tedious and never-ending. Of course now I need a new project to keep my knees warm at night...and it's ready and waiting all sandwiched and basted. I'll show you a sneak peek in my next post.

Hopefully it won't be two months between now and the next post - I am counting down the weeks until I change jobs, which will happen in mid-December (all going to plan) - and I hope to be doing a little more crafty goodness than I've managed over the past two years.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Polka dot pencil skirt

I've been eyeing off some lovely skirts around town lately - there's something so very stylish about pencil skirts, but they can also be a lot of fun. I have baulked at the prices, however, not to mention felt a little guilty at all the wonderful fabric sitting in my stash just waiting to be made into something wearable. So I decided to get me a pattern and have a bit of a crack at one myself.

I wanted my skirt to be fitted and lined with a back zip and kick pleat, so I hunted down a great (read: easy) pattern from Vogue (it's on sale!) and went to work using some left over Michael Miller spots (grey on black) I used as backing for my Allan's Lagoon quilt.
I am pretty pleased with my effort - only one mistake (that I've noticed so far) and that was sewing one of my darts the wrong side on the lining (and no one will ever see it!). I did sew the zip a bit too 'high', but it turned out fine and meant I could omit the hook and eye (fiddly little buggers). I also omitted the faux welt pockets and tabs - maybe I'll tackle them another day, but I didn't want to over-complicate what is my first skirt in a couple of years. I lined the skirt with some pale blue acetate - it looks lovely through the kick pleat at the back. And best of all? The skirt fits fantastically. Woot!
I have another couple planned, but it's unlikely I'll get to them before October. I have so much work on and will likely be travelling for most of September. However, my stash has waited for me this long and it's not going anywhere, so I am not worried. Oh, and I also started another proejct! (V1303 which is also now on sale!! I paid full price for the pattern. Wah!) It's good to have one on the go, no?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Lemonade Quilt

A friend of mine was diagnosed recently with bowel cancer - she is only in her 20s so this came as quite a shock - especially for her! Fortunately she is smart as a whip and was straight onto it - so was her doctor. She had surgery just about straight away and is now recovering, with the wonderful news that the cancer hadn't spread. Talk about a close call.

The cancer has come on top of a very hard seven years for her and I just could not believe so much bad stuff could happen to one person, who just happens to be one of the loveliest, smartest women I know. She is taking it all in her stride (although I am sure she has her moments - don't we all?), albeit metaphorically at the present, as she is still a little sore from the surgery. I couldn't do anything material to support her (she's in Brisbane, I am in Canberra), except, to make a quilt! (A little fabric pun in there for all you stashaholics!)
I recently bought this ace book by Alissa Haight Carlton, and was inspired by the cover quilt to make a lovely lemony quilt for my friend.


I used up some yellows from my stash and paired them with some Kona Snow to create a monochromatic modern minimalist quilt (how's that for alliteration?). Instead of repeating the darkest yellow for the binding, I thought it would be better framed in a battleship grey and found the perfect shade at my LQS, Addicted to Fabric. I quilted it with double wavy lines and it's backed in a bright sunny spotty fabric I bought at Spotlight.

While I really wanted to call it the Gin and Tonic quilt, I thought she might want to share it with her gorgeous kids, so, instead called it The Lemonade Quilt (because when life gives you lemons...reach for the gin and tonic...er, make some lemonade).

The quilt is now living on my friend's bed and I hope it makes her happy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Ottobre pants

I made Tristan some more pants based on the Ottobre 'Aqua shorts' pattern I blogged about in Robopants. Elastic-waisted? Check. Lot of pockets? Check. Easy peasy? Check, check, check!

These ones are made from some red babywale corduroy I bought a couple of years ago - yes, I am making a concerted effort to use up some of my copious stash!
 Tristan loves them and I do too. I love seeing little fellas in brights.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sew It Together 2012 - Canberra

I had a great day and night yesterday with the delightful crafty ladies who came to Canberra for Sew It Together. Organised by Sheridan (Chaletgirl), with a bevy of helpers - Cass (Snailblazer), Gillian (Silly Gilly), Donna (Creative Controller) and Cath (Bungalow Babble), who transported all the goody bags and associated delights from Sydney to Canberra - the event brings together crafty bloggers from around Australia for one weekend a year.


It was great to leave the family responsibilities behind for just one day and indulge in some swapping of crafty gifts, a spot of sewing, fabric petting and even a dash of buying. There were workshops for those who wanted to learn some new skills as well as prizes throughout the day - I was lucky enough to be one of the prize winners and I scored a Polly Pratt dress. So gorgeous!!

I also got to meet and catch up with some bloggers I've been chatting with on the Internet for about the past five years, including Karen, Leah and Becky, as well as meet some other lovely ladies, including heaps of Canberra crafters - loads of new blogs to explore!

Here are just a few of them:
Karen - And So I Sew
Bec - Beckyetal
Leah - Pugglelogic
Kelli - Not Quite Crafty
Michelle - Happenstance
Wendy - hARTylittlepeaces
Renae - Suzyhausfrau
Bronwyn - Whippet Good
Caroline and Maryanne - Sew Together
Alex - Mooncat

Here are some photos from the day - sorry for the crappy blurry images. Damned smart phones!
 
 

 

And so many others - and let me tell you, nothing gets a room full of fabulous crafters going crazier than a sample swap. Organised by the indomitable Cass, the swap involves groups of six, who each make five samples of their work and then, in a crazy dance, swaps are snapped up, the spoils are revealed and much oohing and ahhhing over the craft goodness ensues.
I made some mini art quilts, inspired by a similar design from Silly Boodilly, and I hope the girls liked them as much as I enjoyed making them. I received two covered notebooks, some ace zipped bags, a bunch of magnets, pendants and hair clips and some quilted pot holders/coaster. It was nice to come home with so much handmade love.

Here are some photos I nicked from Cass:
 
We had a lot of fun at the dinner at Tongue and Groove too, pigging out on shared yummy things, a glass or two of wine and nearly exploding from eating the dessert (which should be called 'death by giant chocolate cookie' or 'death by giant peanut cookie with icecream and caramel drizzle').

A little bit of stitching followed dinner, although I was so full from my dinner I really needed a nap! After another hour or so of really bad crafting (on my part), I decided to call it quits and say goodnight to my new crafty friends.

What a great day and night! I hope to join the gang for Sew It Together in 2013, although I think Sheridan deserves a well earned break before starting to think about next year's craftapalooza :)