Tuesday, April 27, 2010

After ten years together, it's finally over

A long and fruitful relationship has come to an end - I'm not renewing my subscription to Australian Patchwork and Quilting and my last issue has arrived. I used to really love this magazine - it was straightforward, practical with a good mix of easy / difficult and modern / traditional.

But to me it seems to have gone downmarket, although it's hard to put my finger on exactly how. You know how you get an idea in your head when you read a magazine of who they think their reader is? AP&Q used to give me the picture of a woman of a certain age; who was interested in family and community but who also travelled a bit, enjoyed a laugh and probably some red wine as well. Now when I read I get a picture of a woman of a certain age who should get out more, doesn't have enough money to do what she wants and is annoyed by the way her daughters-in-law are raising the grandchildren.

Perhaps this is an unfair generalisation, but I've been getting that vibe for a year or two now. And, just to continue whinging a few paragraphs more, it drives me INSANE that they put the interests of the advertisers over that of the readers. My head knows that that is the commercial reality and magazines get their money from the ads not the cover price; but the rest of me really wants to believe the magazine is for my delectation and enjoyment, and not just to get me to buy more stuff.

The reality of quilting in Australia is that the fabric from the local shops is three or four times the price you can get it from ANY shop in the USA, even allowing for the exchange rate and postage. And don't start me on the sales!!! So exhortations to "support my local quilt shop or else it might go out of business" just drive me nuts. Either it offers something enough people want to buy or it goes under. I don't mind paying more for value-adding, but I refuse to do it as a "moral" good, and that seems to be the line AP&Q are pushing.

Ooof, enough already. Can you tell that 22 yards arrived from Hancocks today? For the princely sum of 103 Australian dollars. Un-freaking-believable.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A little light shopping

I have managed to track down and buy some fabric of course - not even a holiday will stop me shopping for material. Although I should be honest and say that it is not difficult to track it down; most shops sell some kind of fabric and there are little sewing shops on nearly every corner.

I'm not terribly sure of the quality of it - some are definitely polycotton, and some are definitely cotton, but a lot of them I'm not too sure what they're made of. And many of them have quite a stiff dressing on them, so it's hard to tell exactly what they will be like until they're washed.

But I don't really care! I've used every sort of godawful anything in my quilts before now, and these ones have such pretty patterns, and bright colours. And they'll remind me of my south seas holiday... I seem to have accidentally bought about thirty yards. I see a tropical phase in my future.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gratuitous holiday shot

Quilting is a long way from my mind right now - I'm in full holiday mode with little thought in my head other than the next pina colada and whether I remembered to rinse the sand out of my swimmers. And after a few pina coladas, even sand where the sun don't shine no longer seems very important ...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dinosaurs and trains

This is a quilt I made for my nephew a couple of years back - he's six now and I think it might have been for Christmas when he was four ... or possibly not. It's amazing how the years blur into one.

It's a very simple design of varying sizes of squares, mainly to show off the feature prints. I think he liked it (but really, who would know?)

We went for a walk up a hill today to an old WWII gun emplacement. In the tropical foliage it makes you feel closer to the dinosaurs somehow. And it actually does make you closer to the skinks, toads, geckos and bats! But we were unmauled by the wildlife, and the view was spectacular.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I'm staying with my sister at the moment on holiday. Wonderful fun, and I can show one of my favourite quilts that I gave to her for her birthday a couple of years ago.

This is based (again) on one of Gwen Marston's quilts in Abstract Quilts in Solid Colours - with blue as the base colour and various pastels attached. I think I have made something inspired by everything in that book! The main part is triangles turning all sorts of ways and I added a liberated piano keys border to make it big enough for a queen bed. Here's one without the flash to show the quilting; basic outline / echo big stitch in embroidery floss.

Monday, April 5, 2010

And another one!

Another little blanket. Very gentle sewing - they're backed with flannel so cosy to sew.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Baby blanket

This is what I've been doing the last day or so - a blanket for the hospital to wrap stillborn babies in. It's sad to sew - but apparently the hospitals appreciate them as something a bit more personal than hospital blankets, and we make a little six-inch square replica one for the parents' memory box. I've done a few, and I imagine I'll make a few more in the future.

So there you go, quite simple, and quite satisfying to do ... in a sobering kind of way.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Every baby needs something tie-dyed

I've long wanted to dye those pastel all-in-one baby suits - so given my sister is five or so months pregnant it seemed like the perfect chance. Surely a sister wouldn't criticise one's handiwork? Hah!

One was mint, and one was pale yellow, and now they're this .... the yellow/orange one was much more successful from a dyeing point of view. The ties prevented the dye from reaching all areas. The mint one isn't so good - it's basically dark lime green now, with a few blotches on the back. They're both 0000 size, so the baby will only have to suffer in them for a few weeks!

I'm not sure what the official name is for these little suits. Onesie? Romper suit? Stretch'n'gro? In our house we call them maggot suits, because wriggling babies in little white ones look like fat jiggling maggots. Somehow the name never caught on.