Saturday, 28 March 2015

finishes!

I’m linking this post with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday which, this week, is being hosted by Janet at Simply Pieced blog.

Last week, before I went away, I managed to get the binding on my teacher’s donated quilt and to hand sew it down. The trickiest part of the project then loomed – getting all the pencil marks out of the border. I’m not sure how long they had been there but my teacher intimated that it had been a while. I rubbed Amway’s LOC into every inch of that border by hand; it took ages. Then I put it in my front-loading washing machine, prayed and let the machine do its thing! An hour later, I hung it on the line – there was not a pencil mark in sight! Praise the Lord!

Sometimes I look at the binding fabric and wonder if I made the right choice. It’s a green and beige stripe; I think it’s a Debbie Mumm fabric. The green is very similar to the greens in the quilt but, because the beige stripe and the green stripe are the same width, from a distance it reads as a muddy light khaki colour!  Up close it looks fine but from further away: well, I’m not so sure. However, it’s done and I’m not going to change it – mostly because I didn’t have any other more suitable fabric here to use! The photo shows my first quilting of a curved line using my walking foot and following a pattern.
 Kerrie's quilt 2 quilting and binding

So, may I present K.’s finished quilt (remember, I didn’t make it; I only quilted the border, bound it and washed it). Unfortunately, the colours are a bit washed out -- the photo above shows the real intensity of the colours.
Kerrie's quilt 2 faded colours

But wait, there’s more…

Yesterday afternoon, I joined the pre-cut binding strips and attached the binding to my Jacob’s Ladder Goes Barn Raising quilt. Last night, as mum and WM watched the football (rugby league), I sewed the binding down. This afternoon I sewed down the two sides of the label that weren’t held down by the binding.

So, for your further viewing pleasure, may I present another finish:
 Jacobs Ladder finished Jacobs LAdder back shows quilting

And in knitting news (drum roll please!)…

Last December I started knitting a bear for my great-niece at the request of my niece who bought the pattern and sent it to me. It was a very fiddly knit; lots of teeny-tiny pieces. When I pulled it out last week, I could not figure out where I was up to so decided to start at the beginning of the pattern and put all those little pieces together as directed (I had knitted them on a long train journey and didn’t have the things I needed to sew it together at the time). The head (seen left of photo ) seemed way too big for the body but I proceeded anyway!
charley bear

Surprisingly, it came together much better than I thought it would. I sat in the hairdresser's shop last Friday morning (20 March) waiting for mum to have her hair set and worked on the legless bear  and left home (for the wedding) last Friday with a bear that just needed some final adjustments. On Saturday, by the time we needed to have lunch and get ready for the wedding, I had got it to the point where I had to add only one more eye and some paw prints on one foot. I procrastinated on that second eye for a couple of days – I really dislike embroidering faces on knitted toys – if the eyes are wrong the whole thing is wrong! the pattern called for buttons but I don’t sew buttons on toys for two-year-old children I prayed and took courage – and it turned out much better than I’d even dared hope! I am very, very pleased with how this turned out!

2015 Charley Bear

The greatest compliment came when my niece said “it’s Charley Bear” and my sister came to have a look. She almost reeled in shock when she realised I had knitted it! Charley Bear is a TV character for under-fours. Here’s a clip for those not familiar with the show (I have grandsons so I’ve seen it many times).


I’m hoping to see another quilted finish and another knitted finish before next weekend! Hey, when you’re on a roll … LOL

Thursday, 26 March 2015

good to be back home!

edited to add photos

Between last Friday and Tuesday, we (WM, mum and I) notched up over 2,000 kilometres (1250 miles) by driving out to Bathurst to collect my nephew from university then to drive to Tamworth, where my sister lives. Saturday was the wedding of my sister’s older daughter – the wedding itself was held in Quirindi (the town where my niece lives) and the reception in the village of Duri. After the wedding we returned to Tamworth where were staying in a motel; DD and SIL had the room next door – it was lovely to spend some time with them.
the bride and her maternal grandmother
 On Sunday, we drove the 153km (approx 95 miles) to the town of Bingara, where my parents retired twenty-nine years ago. We spent a couple of days going through mum’s extensive wardrobe and her personal possessions and WM did an amazing job of cramming as much in his small sedan as was possible. It took him more than four hours and I never thought the unloading would finish when we arrived home at 8pm on Tuesday (after stopping for lunch at my sister’s in Tamworth).
goodbye to mum's newly-roofed house
Most of Wednesday was spend unpacking and finding homes for all this paraphernalia! It won’t all fit in mum’s bedroom so it’s going to have to be culled again when we finally find a room for her in an aged care facility. Right now, we are waiting for my sister to get an appointment with Centrelink (the Australian government’s Department of Human Services); we can proceed no further without their approval and assistance. Today my sister is seeing a solicitor and the only real estate agent in Bingara to get some guidance in how we proceed from here.

The property market in major towns and cities in Australia is booming; houses are selling in less than a month of being on the market. But in small country towns like Bingara, where there are no jobs and no prospects, the population is mostly elderly and more and more properties keep coming on to the market as they move into aged care facilities or die. The last home mum and dad owned in Bingara took several years to sell; and it was less than ten years old. Mum’s current home is nearly 100 years old, in need of TLC (it will probably be a knock-down-and-rebuild) so we are under no illusions that this home will sell in an over-saturated market. We are considering renting it rather than having it stand empty; but that means clearing out the accumulation of fifty-plus years of marriage – and both my parents were hoarders in different ways! Much of dad’s stuff is gone but there is still a lot of stuff to be sorted!

Today WM has gone back to work and mum and I are having a quiet day at home – just three loads of washing (laundry) separate me from my sewing machine! Mum is not happy in new or strange environments so it’s good to have a day where she can completely relax!

How’s your week shaping up?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

plenty of sewing time

Just popping in with a short post …

Mum is doing well; she has improved physically in the week she has been here which is a good sign. She is no longer stooped and shuffling; being undernourished will do that to you! Instead, she is eating very well and has regained her usual stride. Yesterday she even worked out in the garden with WM for a couple of hours.

Her biggest interest is reading and she spends hours absorbed in books. This frees me up to be in the sewing room so I am getting quite a bit done.

A couple of weeks ago, my quilting teacher donated a partially completed quilt to Caring Hearts Community Quilters – all I had to do was finish the quilting, make binding, attach it and sew it down. I have done all but the last task, so no photos until I show you the finished project!

My Jacob’s Ladder Goes Barn Raising is quilted. Life is so much easier when I think about the quilting before I pin baste; then I can position the pins out of the way of stitching lines. The quilting was done in no time but it seemed to take almost as long to sew in all the ends! You can’t see it here (because the photo is pre-quilting); I sewed diagonal lines about 5” apart through the centres of the squares that make up the diagonals.
JLGBR top finished

The binding is cut and waiting for the strips to be joined.
binding cut

I have also been knitting! Shock of shocks!!

In the past three days, I have worked on Crinkles Hoodie by doing a three needle bind off on the shoulders and starting the first sleeve (the photo, which is of the back, is really not worth showing but I know you like pictures! LOL)
2014 Crinkles Hoodie back

Last December, I started knitting Charley Bear for my great-niece who will be two next month; I began on the train on 16 December and haven’t touched it since. On Monday, I stuffed the body and head. I am so not enjoying this! There are so many fiddly little pieces to come, of the type: CO 4 stitches, K 2 rows, increase either end of next row, knit 1 row. Bind off! I have no desire to be a toy maker! The head is on the left; it seems proportionally too large for the body!
charley bear

And I’ve finished a pair of small women’s socks which were started on 21 February. The second sock was cast on 6 March.
socks for someone #8

My current reading is varied, but includes 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake. She started a blog a few years ago and it led to a book! Our copy only arrived yesterday so I’m not really in a position to write a review just yet. It certainly is an interesting read.

There are some advantages to having had to cut back on my away-from-home activities, at least for a few weeks! ;-)

Linking up with WiP Wednesday and Yarn Along when they go live.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced         


PS Is anyone else having trouble with Firefox working very slowly or is just us?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

life has taken a new path

As of Monday, I became the full-time carer for my aging mother who has dementia, at least until a bed in an aged care facility can be found -- this could take months.

Please excuse me if I'm not around blogland much.

For those who are Christians, your prayers would be appreciated. Thank you.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

saying goodbye to pink

It hasn’t been a very productive month, sewing-wise, for me. In the middle of the month, my uncle, who has been researching my paternal family for many years, sent me some information from a distant relative that neither of us has met. At first I only glanced at it, then I decided to read it, then I compared it to the information I had in my family tree. I was hooked! I spent all my days working on my family history – refining and adding. I’m an “all or nothing” kind of gal; when I get involved in something I don’t do it by halves; and so (almost) the rest of month passed without a stitch of sewing!

I did, however, do some knitting! Don’t fall down in shock! Last Saturday, I had to attend a meeting of the local branch of the Knitters’ Guild (I was tutoring on ‘planned pooling’) so knitting was needed! I cast on a sock during the meeting and finished on Friday afternoon. I don’t normally knit during daylight hours but I had dropped a couple of stitches and couldn’t see by the poor light in our living room to pick them up so I had to do it while the sun was shining! And, as luck would have it, the sock is knitted in Moda Vera Noir (a sock yarn) in the colour way “pink mix”!

2015 Sock for Someonr #8

 

I say “luck” because pink was the colour for this month’s the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. At four o’clock yesterday afternoon, I settled into my sewing room. I had told myself that I would spend an hour cutting and sorting but that just depressed me – after two weeks away from my sewing room (I didn't even attend class last Monday because I had a raging headache) I just wanted to sew. Knowing that it was the last day of ‘pink’, I decided to use my pink crumbs and have some fun. I started out with the intention of making 4.5”  squares and just started sewing crumbs of roughly the same length (on one edge) together. Then I sewed those pairs to other pairs and, in the end, decided I would just sew them together “free-form style” (a knitting term; I guess it’s just a form of crazy patchwork!). I deliberately cut things on strange angles – nothing mattered to me except stitching straight lines (so everything would lay flat at the end) and making sure I had a minimum of a quarter inch seam allowance (some seams are a bit wider wider)!

I finished with a rectangular piece of fabric (15” x 9.5”) that is made up of about 70 pieces of fabric! It will go on the back of a quilt – at least that’s the plan till I suss out the situation in my quilting group: will a truly modern quilt be acceptable? The next piece of ‘crazy’ patchwork will have even more odd angles – the ones I’ve cut here barely show in the finished piece! The bottom right side is looking really good! That’s what I was aiming for!

2015 70 piece jigsaw

So it’s goodbye to pink sewing for now (I will knit the other sock – I don’t like Second Sock Syndrome! Besides, sometimes my tension/gauge changes if I leave too much time between the first and second sock).

Autumn began here today so I’d go for for red, brown, orange or yellow as the colour for March! But Angela, who hosts the challenge, lives in Florida and there’s no chance she’s thinking of Fall now! I’ve just checked…

…it’s yellow!

 

RSC 15

Are you participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge? Even if you’re not, why not pop over to Angela’s blog and see what other’s are up to with their pink scraps.