Monday, August 13, 2018

India

My last post was a pre-scheduled one because I've been out and about - travelling with work to exotic destinations again! Can you believe the wonderful things I get to do - I can't. And I certainly had to pinch myself with this one, which was ten days away in India and then Indonesia.



I was accompanying a parliamentary delegation and it was full-on; meetings every day and official dinners every night (actually it was usually breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I am SO FAT) but on the Saturday the embassy arranged a driver and guide for us to go to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal. I was there twenty years ago with my husband on our honeymoon ... this was not quite so romantic but still beautiful. You know sometimes you go to world famous things and it's a bit of let down? The Taj Mahal is not like that, it is amazing. And hot, very hot.


We went to the Red Fort in Agra as well, which was also astonishing. Indian's history is incredible, and I remember how much we loved our honeymoon, and how we were going to come back and visit the south of India. We never did, but maybe in retirement...

Monday, August 6, 2018

Like a fiesta

This is the quilt top I've been working on lately - inspired by Freddy Moran again - or at least just by a part of a quilt that I saw on an old blog post when looking for something else entirely. It's about halfway down the post ... isn't it such an explosion of colour? Inspirational.



My version is a bit tidier. I wasn't game to have things on too much of an angle, and the joining strips are a uniform size. So it lacks a bit of character, but the colour more than makes it for it. It was a very fun quilt to make! Can you tell I'm jealous of my sister and her husband who are currently on holiday in Mexico? That is a very exotic place for us antipodeans to holiday, and they are putting up heaps of photos full of colour and fun. Like a fiesta.

Friday, August 3, 2018

A cotton scarf

And here is the other scarf from the striped warp - this is the first one I did and the reason I did the broken point threading, to get the design.



I had originally intended to do the whole scarf in the diamond pattern, but after doing it for a bit it didn't look very special, so I alternated it with the same length in plain weave, to make it stand out a bit.



The weft is an ordinary crochet cotton same as the warp and it is very loose. I could perhaps have done more ends per inch, or perhaps beaten it a bit tighter, but it is what it is. And it means that it is very light and drapes nicely, which is good in a scarf. The cotton was really easy to work with, but it
isn't the most elegant yarn in the world.


As ever it amazes me how the same warp can produce two such incredibly different pieces of cloth. I have ordered more of the mercerised pearl cotton from BBYarn - which is much finer and shinier - and I will put on another warp and experiment again! I have the weaving bug back. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A woolly scarf and an amazing dessert

So, just over a year after I started, I took off the cotton striped warp and the two scarves that I wove on it. I have washed and fringed the woolly one, and it is just lovely - I am really pleased with it.



The warp is very ordinary crochet cotton from Spotlight - quite thick - and it is black and white stripes at a 12 epi sett in a broken point threading. For weaving I just did a 2/2 twill, expecting a straight diagonal, but because of the broken point threading it has this lovely zig zag.



The weft is three different mohair blends - the yellow is plain but the grey and green are variegated. Of course on the ball they have a subtle blend through the shades but when you weave you wind it onto a shuttle, and then cut it, then start from that end. And when you finish, you wind up from the ball again, but where you start is NOT ANYTHING LIKE where you finished last time ... so it looks like there are these strong changes in colour.



Other people might have gathered that intuitively just from thinking about it for a moment, but it took me a few hours weaving before I figured that it was never going to give me the gradations I was after. Luckily I like the changes in colour, and the whole scarf is so fluffy and soft that I would forgive anything in the design. It is super snuggly.



And here is the amazing dessert; peanut butter parfait topped with dark chocolate mousse, then a salted caramel sauce and the whole thing was then sprinkled with peanuts. It was one of the best desserts I have ever had, and made by my very clever friend, at our Christmas in July on Saturday night. It was incredible....

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bird whisperer

Here is my husband hand-feeding a gang-gang parrot while the rainbow lorikeets are on the feeder. After I took this another dozen lorikeets flew down and pecked around on the ground - they are so pretty with their little orange heads and green feathers. The gang-gangs are very lovely and chatty, but he took a closer look at the massive beak and decided to go and put a leather gardening glove on. We've seen them snip through small branches and could probably do major damage to a finger or two.


We are at the time of year where the parent magpies are pushing the adolescents out of the nest, so both parents and young ones are extra keen on food. And extra grumpy with each other to try and get it.  So in the morning my husband the bird whisperer chops up bits of cheese then opens the kitchen window and feeds them as they hop along in turn. Parents first of course. He has had to leave early all week because of early work starts so I have been on magpie feeding duty. I wouldn't normally do it but they bang on the window until I do and I can't enjoy my coffee....

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Procrastiblogging

I should be writing a job application but I loathe it with every part of my being so I am procrastinating by blogging. Procrastiblogging. In the past I have also procrasticrafted, procrastibaked, procrastijogged and procrasticleaned. Number two son likes to procrasticuddle when you ask him to a do a chore. It's hard to be too cross.

The job is a promotion at my work and I haven't got a hope in hell of getting it, but sometimes you have to show that you're keen, just for the look of it. I doubt I'll even get an interview, which makes it hard to spend a lot of time polishing the application.



Anyway we are all back to school and work this week after some lovely beach time. I went down with number two son and two of his friends. Which was great, although I am not really attuned to fourteen year olds ... they spent a lot of time asleep, and a bit of time putting lemon juice in their hair to see if it would bleach (it didn't) and a lot of time staring at their phones. They did also go for walks and have a bonfire and even put their togs on and went to the creek for a swim! They are in the photo above, although only from a distance. It was super cold - below zero most nights and only about twenty during the day - but I think they were lured in by the sun.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Taller than Jesus

I have finally finished the green and blue courthouse steps that I started ages ago. This is the one where I decided to pre cut all the strips - unusually for me, I tend to chop away as I go - but got the maths horribly wrong and cut exactly half as many as I needed. Which made me cross, because I'd folded all the greens and blues up and put them away, but instead of cursing the whole project and throwing the blocks in the cupboard I got the fabric out again like a grown-up and cut some more strips.



The sewing was straightforward and I completely ignored value, which makes the courthouse steps pattern not nearly as obvious as it would be in a  traditional quilt. Just the colour to show it, green and blue.



The quilting is an overall clamshell. Like the Santa Fail and Autumn Rhymes with Boring, I just went for repeated simple shapes which I think looks good on solid quilts. I haven't finished with the solids yet - there is the sticks, and the triangle things, and I am currently sewing up a mixed solids and prints all in half square triangles. It is quite in your face, but I love it so far.



The name is for two reasons; firstly because I was having a bit of a Lloyd Cole fiesta and it's a lyric from "Holier than Thou" and secondly because at sixty inches square this quilt is almost certainly taller than Jesus. I googled "how tall was Jesus" which was a mistake because there are some lunatics on the internet, but generally anything over five foot is considered optimistic.