Wednesday, 29 August 2007


The issue of Down Under Quilts with the article about me and my quilts arrived today!! Since this is probably the only time I will ever make it into print, I'm stoked! A strange feeling to see the quilts I've made on nice glossy magazine pages.

I finished quilting another 'stash-buster' quilt today so here's some photos. All the reds were fat eighths or quarters that I'd had for a while and not done anything with, and there are quite a few different creams there as well. This is the first time I've tried quilting in the ditch on the longarm and by the end I was ready to declare this a 'ditch-free zone'! I found it very difficult to do. Maybe it will get easier with more practice?

The first photo is almost true colour but I had to take the second one without the flash so the quilting would show up.

The middle of the next photo shows a 'shocker' of a feather. The red quilting thread was the same colour as the fabric and I couldn't see where I was going. Luckily this quilt will be staying with me LOL.

My visit to the neurologist went okay. The results from the nerve conduction tests in my legs were a bit worse than last time, but on the whole things are relatively stable. I'm having more trouble tolerating noise, and finding it harder to join in conversations because of the block between thinking the words I want to say and the words actually being spoken. Bl**dy frustrating and often distressing. I'm talking less than I used to, and didn't talk much then. But it could be worse...I've had MS since at least 1984 so I'm really doing very well. Just ignore me while I throw myself a little 'pity party' There was some good news though. I'm starting a new medication that should help alleviate the muscle spasms during the night - yippee!

That's it for today. Tomorrow I'd better tidy up the studio a bit in preparation for my quilt group meeting here tomorrow night. Even baked some Oatmeal Raisin Cookies in honour of the event. See ya.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

thanks guys, 'crazy' photos, semi-decent feather

Thanks to everyone who sent me ideas for using up some of my scraps of fabric. I will definitely be using some of your suggestions. Quilters are a great bunch of people, don't you think?

A couple of people suggested doing some crazy patchwork by machine. Sounds like a good idea to me. I've done some a few years ago after going to a class with Judith Baker Montano so I thought I'd show you some photos. The embroidery and embellishment is all done by hand. I really love the look of it, but it takes so long to do LOL. I don't do much handwork nowadays. The first piece is about 18" square.

The next two pieces are to make a pincushion and a needle book. They've been UFO's for a few years so I might even finish them soon (maybe - don't want to do anything too rash).

This last photo is of some quilting I did today. It's a poor feather, but they are at least getting rounder. I did a lot of stitch-in-the-ditch (near the ditch, anyway) on this red and cream quilt and I can hardly see it! I think I may have to have a ditch-less studio. Haven't decided what to do in the cream bits yet, I'll think about it tomorrow...

Saturday, 25 August 2007

note to AJ

You asked if I would consider selling some of the hand dyes. Yes, if I have what you're after. If you send me your email addy in a new comment, I can then delete your comment when I've got your email, instead of accepting and publishing the comment. Otherwise reply to my post on scquilters? Thanks, cat

scrap blocks

Making slow progress on my 78 scrap blocks as mentioned in last post. They are now between 6" and 8" in size. Next time remind me to cut the strips wider! Still not sure what to do with them next. I could add a wide strip around each side to frame them then cut the frame down so that the blocks are all the same size. The frame would be a different width for each block. Would that look a bit odd? Maybe someone out there has some other suggestions (she says hopefully...)
This little pile doesn't look like it has 78 blocks in it, does it? I figured out that if I make two quilts, one set 6 blocks by 8 blocks and one set 6 blocks by 5 blocks, that would use 78 blocks. Or I could make another 2 blocks and make one quilt 8 blocks by 10 blocks. Still thinking about that.
My Thursday night quilt group will be meeting at my place this week. We normally meet at the library but the room isn't available this Thursday night. I'll have to make sure there is a practice piece loaded onto the longarm for them to have a try. Someone asked if I was going to hire it out time for other quilters to use, but I'm reluctant to do that as there is no one in Tasmania that fixes them if something goes wrong. Our insurance probably wouldn't cover it either. Besides that, it would mean that I would have to set up as a business, and I don't plan on doing that. I think that's enough to talk myself out of the idea .
This afternoon I'm going to load another quilt and try some straight line quilting (stitch in the ditch). I haven't been game to try it yet but this quilt seems to be asking for it. It will be interesting to see how I go. I also want to try doing some feathers again. I tried when I first got the longarm and they were truly awful! Hopefully they have improved a little, but I'll use a matching thread so it won't stand out as much.
On Tuesday I have an appointment with my neurologist in Launceston. Just a six monthly checkup to keep him informed of the changes in my MS and to see if the medication needs changing. I've got to ask him what can be done for the muscles spasms that I have every night when I go to bed. They're driving me crazy because I'm just not getting enough sleep. I know there's a couple of different things that can be used to treat them. Will let you know how I get on.
That's it for now - have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

scraps, scraps and more scraps...

Do any of you quilters ever get the feeling that your scraps breed if you leave them alone in the dark? I'm sure mine do. I bought 6 plastic tubs quite a few years ago and use them to store my scraps, loosely sorted into colour groups. Blues, greens, yellows/oranges/red/browns, creams, blacks/whites, novelties. They are all full to overflowing so I also have a small rubbish bin that is stuffed with the scraps that won't fit in the plastic tubs. (Does this sound familiar?)

Last week I emptied out the yellow/orange/red/brown tub, put the larger pieces back in (plastic tub is half full again) and ironed the rest. I cut all the ironed pieces into strips, squares or rectangles depending on size and shape and decided to sew them into blocks. I'm just stitching 2 small bits together, then a bigger bit and then another bit, etc. I didn't count the blocks as I started them. When I'd sewn about 4 pieces together on each block I counted them and found there were 78 blocks! AND enough pieces to make them at least 12" each. I'll be able to carpet the house with them...and this is only one tub of scraps out of the six...

I haven't taken any photos yet, but I will tomorrow. I have taken some photos of some of the hand dyed fabric I have left from when I used to dye and sell it. I also have heaps of dye and a full roll of white pfd fabric so might have to dye some more this summer. I haven't decided what to make out of this fabric yet. There are fat quarters, eighths, little rolls of four 8" squares and 3.5" charm packs. (Also, another BIG plastic tub full of scraps!) Any ideas, anyone?

Saturday, 18 August 2007

I can see!

Monday morning 8.25am the doorbell rings. I'm in my pyjamas cutting up a banana onto our breakfast cereal. It's the electricians arriving without notice to wire in some new lights out in my studio. Aaaargh! Mad rush to shut myself in the office (with my breakfast) till they've walked through the house out to the studio. Just as well Murray had already showered and dressed, coz I wasn't answering the door ha ha.

Now it's like daylight out there - 4 new light fittings, each with two 4ft daylight tubes. It's wonderful. I can actually go out there after 5pm and still be able to see.

Got some more photos to show you. I made up a simple nine patch quilt from scraps left over from the charity quilts. I drew the feather wreaths on but freehanded the rest, which is why the continuous curves are all different sizes. Er...hopefully they'll get better with practice... I am satisfied with my stippling, and now want to try a variety of other background fillers.

I also tried another pantograph, but with tremors in my hands it came out a bit wonky. Oh well, another good excuse to I mean practice... more!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

further adventures on the longarm

I've been having more fun on my new toy this past week. I've now done 5 lap quilts for Appin Hall - very basic stuff but that okay. I tried a pantograph but it didn't turn out as well as I hoped because of the tremor in my hands and arms. Luckily that little problem has eased off a bit so I might try another one tomorrow. Isn't learning new stuff fun?

I got my quilts back from Down Under Quilts magazine on Wednesday. The next issue will have an article about me and my quilts. It's nice to have them home again. Now I just have to figure out where to hang some of them. I've been quilting for a quarter of a century and don't have a single quilt hanging up. Can you believe that?
I took a couple of photos of the last quilt I did on my Husqvarna. What do you think? I'll be glad when I can quilt on the longarm and have it turn out like this!

Here's some more photos - this time of a couple of the charity quilts. Not very good but I guess they're only the first ones I've done.

Last night while Murray was watching the football on telly, I quilted a large double bed quilt. It only took about 3 hours. The quilting is just a free hand leafy meander. Anything else would have taken much longer. It's a Turning Twenty quilt using older fabrics from my stash, some of the fabrics have been around at least 10 years! Practice quilts were a good excuse to use some of them up.

I just have to machine stitch the binding on then give them to my binding fairy (aka my mum) to do the hand stitching. I already have the backing loaded onto the longarm for the next quilt so I'll be ready to go tomorrow.
By the way, I don't spend ALL my time quilting. I actually made some Ginger Coconut Biscuits (cookies for non-australians) this morning. Not bad either LOL

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

busy playing in studio

I've been having fun playing on the longarm. Done lots of practice on that practice piece, just rolling it back and forward using different colour thread each time. I've also managed to do three charity quilts which will go to Appin Hall. Two of them have been taken by friends to put the binding on and the other one is still here so I will take a photo of it later. Been a bit MS-y the last couple of weeks with muscle spasms and twitches during the night, so not getting much sleep. Consequently not getting as much done during the day as I would like. Oh well.

Thought I'd tell you what my wonderful husband did on Sunday. I went back to bed after lunch on Sunday, and Murray said he'd wake me up in time for afternoon tea. I jokingly said "a bikkie with a cup of tea would be nice. You can make some if you like, there's a recipe under one of the magnets on the front of the fridge." When I got up, there was the lovely smell of home made biscuits wafting up the hallway. Yum! (In case you noticed in the photo, he is a West Coast Eagles supporter. He was living in Perth when the team was formed and has followed them ever since.)

Here's the recipe. When we were in Canada lots of the coffee shops sold Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and I developed quite a liking for them. When we got home I had a look on the internet for a recipe and found one that we adapted a bit, and we really like.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

6oz butter

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 3/4 cups rolled oats

1 cup raisins

Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients and gradually beat into butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by spoonfuls on biscuit trays. Bake 8-10 minutes at 190deg. The cookies will still be slightly soft, but nicely browned. Cool slightly on trays, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.