Friday, May 26, 2017

What a week

Over a week since I posted! Unfortunately it's not because of all the fabulous weaving and quilting creations I've been churning out ... it's because number two son has been in hospital, and it's been a lot of waiting, worrying, hanging about and (foolishly) googling. After the GP on Saturday night, who said go straight to emergency, and X-rays and scans, then going back home, then back to the GP, and more scans, then back to the GP on Wednesday when he was just getting worse and worse, who called an ambulance, then emergency and admission to hospital, then surgery yesterday and he finally seems to be on the up! It turns out he had an infection around his ankle joint - in the lining around the bone and a bit in the bone itself - so they have cleaned it out in surgery and now it is lots of antibiotics and rest, and fingers crossed a full recovery. Very stressful though because he was in so much pain, and  clearly not well at all. I was busy at work early in the week so my husband stayed home and did the running around, and now he's showing his face in the office while I look after my baby (ie make him brush his teeth finally) and look at this lovely view.


Actually it is a great view - not only is nice to have light and trees to look at but it's over the road from his old primary school. So he could automatically connect to the wifi, and there's plenty of coming and going to amuse a child who can't actually walk properly at the moment. He should be going home in the next couple of days - but I just cannot fault his care. He's on the adolescent ward of the new Women and Children's hospital - which is beautifully set up with all sorts of things to make them comfortable and feel at home -  and he has just been surrounded by doctors and specialists and they have taken it very seriously, and operated within a couple of hours of deciding on surgery. Which is great, but scary. And it's free - thank heavens for first world government health care. We never take it for granted.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Coral is an orphan

I made another orphan block quilt - it went together even quicker than the last one because I already had lots of the bits sewn together. And I knew what was at the bottom of the tub ... it was a journey of exploration last time. Into the wrinkly and thread-covered unknown.



I called it "Nice frock, Coral". To be said sarcastically I think. There is a small pieced "coral" in there somewhere from when I was doing a quilt that needed the word "coral" in it. I cannot remember why, or when, but there it is. It turned out a rectangular quilt - I was aiming for square, not that it matters.


It is quilted in big circles that (usually) touch each other. Like a massive pebble pattern. Here is a shot with the dog, helping me take photos. I was feeling quite sick yesterday so took the day off work and she followed me about, wondering what I was doing. Not much as it happened but when I napped, she napped. I am much better today - it's the drugs - I am pretty good at tolerating them but sometimes it is just like they all get together and make me feel awful. I'm not sure why, but it doesn't usually last more than 36 hours.



My weaving class has finished so my loom is back at home and I've started a new project. I ordered some 10/2 mercerized cotton sight unseen (you can't get many weaving yarns in Canberra, so it's all over the internet) and it is not weaving up at all in the way I thought it would. I think this will be the adventure of weaving as I try and get a clue what all these threads are and how they will weave in practice. I still have some of the wool that I dyed so I might go back to that - but I wanted to try different things. Might have to do LOTS more online shopping.
 

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Canberra week

The autumn colours have been particularly lovely over the last couple of weeks. Do I say this every year? I might do. Both in brilliant sunshine or against a grey sky, the trees look beautiful. The Chinese pagoda by the lake was the same golden colour as the leaves. I am saying I stopped to take a photo because it was so pretty, but I actually stopped because I was on a run and was completely puffed. And then I took a photo.
 
 
 

I had to walk down to a meeting during the week - through the trees and over the road. It's so nice to see some trees during the day. I walked past a pair of public servants going the other way up to Parliament House ... each dragging a wheeled suitcase. Not a great path for suitcases. Were they taking up documents? Or travelling somewhere? I didn't ask.



The public servants below were having more fun the next lunchtime - playing touch footy. It really was a lovely warm autumnal day and I was having a great half hour break and strolling through the gardens. Not as strenuous exercise as the touch footy players, but still pretty nice. I shouldn't whinge about my job ever when it lets me do this.


 
I hope you all had a nice mother's day - we went out for brunch with friends then I spent the afternoon warping my loom, refusing to share my chocolates, and listening to the "Every Musical Ever" podcast, which I can completely recommend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sewing frenzy

I don't know why at the moment but I just feel like I have too much fabric and I need to use it up! It is quite unreasonable, because I don't have any more than I usually do, but for some reason it is bothering me. I've decided I have too many of the boring mid-browns and I'm trying to use them in a boring mid-brown quilt. And I have a great pile of scrap blocks, so they're being used, and I've sorted some of the very uglies for use as backing fabrics. I have learned to just roll with this mood ... it will stop soon enough. Here are the mid-browns, blending gently into the carpet.


I took one of my husband's old ties apart on the weekend too. He likes ties, but retires them after a few years of wear, and never throws any of them out. So there are a heap that could usefully be made into a quilt, where he can see them and admire them (hopefully) and free up some room in his cupboard. It was very easy to take it apart and there is a surprising amount of fabric in a tie. This is a lovely dotted silk.



I don't know what I'm going to do with them but I suspect something very simple. With reasonably large pieces to let the fabric show, because the ties are generally lovely and in vivid colours. Perhaps against a dark grey background? White or black would be too stark, and no colour will go with all of them. I need some patchwork fabric to include otherwise it will be too difficult (they are all cut on the bias) and too clashy.

I enforced device-free time on the children on the weekend - just a couple of hours - honestly you'd think the world had ended. No computer, TV, ipad or phone. Not even for homework. Number two son happily draws - which is his preferred pastime anyway - but number one son scratches around for things to do. I say excellent mum-things like "why don't you tidy your room" or "go for a walk and get some fresh air". He ended up making the North Island of New Zealand out of tantrix tiles. It took him ages because he not only wanted it the right shape but to have the different colour lines running between the tiles for as long as possible. Hmmmm.
 


 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Scarlett Johanssen

I've made another quilt on my "scraps and solids" theme ... in case you weren't paying attention they are Twirly Shirley, Kinky Renee and Mean Green Evangeline. May I introduce to you all Scarlett Johanssen (or possibly Scarlett Johansson, I didn't google the spelling before naming and now I can't remember what it says).
 
 
This is another one from Tula Pink's 100 blocks modern city book, and it is block number 77. I was absolutely certain it would have a border, right up until I went to put it on, and it just didn't want one. So it's quite small.

 
The quilting is straight-line diagonals across the whole quilt. I felt like it needed something graphic. It's not stupid matchstick quilting though, because (a) I am not insane and (b) I want to use it as a quilt, not a table top ... it needs to actually fold. The quilting lines are probably just under an inch apart. No marking or measuring was done of course, that would go against everything I stand for.


It didn't make a dent in the scrap blocks so I am working on another one at the moment using them. Although there has been a short break for something more co-ordinated, to get away from scraps for a bit, and of course the second orphan block quilt is in progress too. So many quilts! The sooner I get my loom back home and take up my other hobby the better.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Another short week

So there was the short week before Easter, and the short week after Easter, and the short week for Anzac Day .... but that wasn't enough for me and I took Monday off work and stayed down at the beach on my own for another long weekend. There was sense in my laziness though - none of the flooring places are open on the weekend so I had to trek around on Monday and try and find samples of vinyl flooring that might remotely resemble the existing stuff. We would like to have the floor flow seamlessly from the living room into the new room, but I don't think it's going to happen.
 
 
These were the best three and they are hopeless. Not only the wrong colour but the wrong size! Apparently the standard size is now about seven inches wide, and the stuff we have is six inches. It must be at least four years old and there weren't that many brands around in Australia then, so we are thinking that we won't find a perfect match. Our back-up option is carpet in the new room, which is hardly a problem because it's a bedroom, and it's cheaper.
 

 
I went for a long walk on Saturday afternoon. The weather was still beautiful. I'd driven the first forty minutes from Canberra in a thick fog - the kind where you can't really see much more than 20m in front of you. Dad had luckily flown out Friday morning .... he wouldn't have been going anywhere on Saturday. But the other side of Bungendore I drove out of the fog into a beautiful clear day and it stayed that way until I left.

The river and the little jetties were all very tranquil. I needed some tranquillity after completely stuffing up a simple DIY task - putting up the curtain rods. Easy? Hah! One went up fine - screwed it into the wall studs. The other one didn't have studs in the right place so I just thought I'd attach it to the plasterboard .... a quick google to check on the right toggles, back to the hardware to buy a couple of different sorts just in case, and on with the drilling. Did it work? No. Not at all. I went back to Bunnings twice. And it kept falling out of the wall, no matter how many times I drilled and bashed and swore at that poor innocent plasterboard. That brand new, beautifully painted wall that now has holes in it I can put my finger in .... I don't know how my husband is going to fix it. Because it is his problem now. Luckily he can see the humour in it - he always thinks it's quite amusing when I am incandescently irate over THINGS GOING WRONG. This may be a survival mechanism developed through many years with me, or it might be the reason we have lasted many years. Either way, it's great.



I did go for a swim too, although it might be the last one of the season. Even with a wetsuit on my fingers and toes were a little bloodless by the end. And it was very flat - as you can see from the photo - so I didn't get to warm up by catching huge waves.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What I'm weaving

I finally remembered to take a photo at weaving of what we're doing. It's Theo Moorman technique where you weave a background cloth and add supplementary wefts that sit on the surface of the cloth, held down by (theoretically) invisible tie down threads. You can use it to do all sorts of shapes, and make landscapes and pictorial things, but after doing a sample I decided to go with transparent squares. Or perhaps rectangles, sometimes I keep weaving and it is no longer a square. I am calling it a table runner, but really I'm just weaving.



We are fairly confident that the slubby background thread is a silk, and I'm weaving it together with a cotton so it's strong enough. It looks a bit coarse in the photo but in reality it's quite an interesting mix and is making a nice cloth. The squares are in pastels - some so pale they're hardly noticeable - and it's fun, but a bit fiddly. The tie-down threads tend to lose their tension and go a bit wonky. And you have to manually put the colours through so it's hard to get a rhythm up.  But in some ways that's good - it's not automatic and every little while you stop and think about where you're going to put the next colour.


My Dad went back to NZ on Friday after nearly three weeks here. As usual it went by incredibly quickly but he managed to not only help with the painting but do some gardening, and cook us dinner on his last night of fish that he had caught himself and brought over. Yep, another few kilos of beautiful frozen snapper fillets made it across the Tasman. Amazing, and we all love it. This is not a great photo because we mostly have our mouths full...