Sunday, January 31, 2016

Real Rain

It seemed everyone was getting rain except us for a while, but today our turn finally arrived!

There had been 2.2mm of rain before I woke up this morning, which was nice for the garden, but not a lot of good otherwise. But it wasn't long before some decent rain began. Here's the weather station's verdict just before 9:00am:
Cats and dogs, apparently!

The garden got more than just a little drink.

When the rain stopped, we'd had 19.8mm. A very welcome 20cm top-up for the water tank.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

More Quilting Fun

A couple more lessons completed, and a couple more filled-in areas:

Craftsy class "Continuous Line Quilting" by Ann Petersen. Only three areas remain to be filled on the quilt.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Allietare Times Three

Three different quilters, three different colour schemes:
Mine is on the left. Joy's beautiful quilt at the top right is made with Bonnie's colour scheme, but in brighter tones. Jeanette's is in front. Jeanette's colours aren't showing up well in this lighting. Her triangles are more teal than blue in real life, and her chartreuse "neutrals" look a bit washed-out in my photo. In real life they sparkle!

Here are mine and Joy's held up beside each other. You can see that my blocks are larger than the pattern:
My 4 rows of star blocks are only slightly shorter than Joy's 5 rows.

It was lovely to see three versions of the quilt together!

Added later:
Bonnie has a final link-up for this mystery here:
Allietare final link-up
Check out many many more variations on this lovely pattern!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Grey Border

The Allietare mystery quilt pattern called for a narrow inner border in [the equivalent of my] blue, and a wide scalloped border in [the equivalent of my] grey. I didn't want a scalloped border, and I didn't want the quilt to be a lot bigger than it is already. I opted for one not-very-wide grey border:

The border strips had to be a total length of just over 7m, but I didn't have enough of any one grey fabric to cut them from. I cut strips from the remains of the grey fabrics I used in the top, and joined them together until I had long enough strips for the four sides.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Later this week I will be meeting up with some quilting friends, a couple of whom have made Bonnie Hunter's Allietare mystery quilt. So my plan today was to add a border to mine. However when I pulled it out to measure up for the border, I discovered I'd made a mistake when I added the corner triangles:
I forgot to add the seam allowance when I calculated the size, and then didn't notice when I sewed them on. If I attached the border to this, I would lose the corners of the blue squares around the outer edge.

So my task for the day instead became removing the corner triangles, then making and attaching new ones.
That's better!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Insect Oddities

While out walking last night, I found this collection of critters crossing the road:
Probably some species of sawfly larvae. I was worried they might get run over, but on our way back they were almost to the other side of the road. No cars went past for at least the next 10 minutes so I guess they made it safely.

Today when I was pegging out some washing, this was sitting on the washing line post:
Probably the biggest fly I have ever seen. The post it is sitting on is 3cm on each side, which will give you some idea of its size:
I believe it is some species of tachinid fly (Rutilia sp). They eat nectar, and parasitise scarab beetles. Very beautiful iridescent colours, and not dangerous to humans, fortunately!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pink Flowers

First flower open on this "Sioux" crepe myrtle I got for my birthday a couple of years ago:
It is still in a pot, but eventually will be planted in the garden here.

The last of the gladdies, which got a little fried in the heat, is opening after all:
And it's not white!

Little unidentified insect on a "Mystic Sparkler" dahlia:

The portulacas I got for Christmas are doing well, and have lots of different coloured flowers,
but this one is pink.

And lastly some flowers on one of my Lewisia cotyledon "Little Fairies"plants:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Horizontal Spool Pin

Yesterday I purchased a horizontal spoon pin for my Sweet Sixteen, and today I got to attach it and play with it:
I own a lot of spools of Signature quilting thread that I couldn't use on this machine, because there are notches on both ends of the spool that the thread would catch on. I'm putting this picture here, because the spool pin comes with no instructions, and I couldn't find a clear photo on the internet showing how to thread the machine using this pin. There is only a video on the HQ website. So for anyone else who can't watch videos online, here's what you do! Put the washer between the machine and the nut to attach the pin to the machine. Then the thread comes from this pin and straight to the 3-hole tensioner. You don't have to take it back through any of the thread guides at the back of the machine. I found I had to lower the tension on the top thread to get a balanced stitch using thread on this pin.

Some of my stitching:

Bit hard to see that one, sorry.

Earlier in the week I came across a news picture of interesting ploughing a farmer in South Australia did to protect his topsoil after all the vegetation on the farm was destroyed by a bushfire. You can see the picture here:
Patchwork Ploughing

I thought it could make an interesting quilting design, so here is a little bit I did to try it out:
With a bit of practice to smooth out the unevenness, I think it could make a nice filler design.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Frog in a Brom

Found this morning, while I was actually looking for snails:
A tiny frog hiding in a bromeliad!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Early this morning, before Dale started work for a second day of cutting up logs:

It looked better already. But I didn't get an "after" shot of what he accomplished today; it was too dark before I remembered. So the "after" shots will have to wait.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

More Movement

Dale is back with his machinery for a couple of days to do some more tidying up.

A couple of "before" photos:

Still a lot of tree trunks to be cut up. And see that pile of bricks left over from our beautiful wall?

Dale with his chainsaw on top of one of the piles of logs:
 That might give you an an idea of how big these piles of logs are.

Meanwhile, the bricks are being moved to another part of the block:
So if Dale is on top of the logs, who is driving his skid-steer loader?

 Don't worry, he has a skid-steer certificate.
And he had a lot of fun.

Monday, January 18, 2016

More Stitching, More Gladdies

Not exciting for anyone but me:
A couple of the early exercises from the "Continuous Line Quilting" Craftsy class.

Meanwhile in the garden, here's the first white gladioli stem:
 which I hadn't shown since it started opening nine days ago.

The second one is yellow:
 The third is another white one:
The fourth one is going to be white as well. And the fifth one got a bit fried in the hot weather last week and might not actually open. So not a lot of variation in gladdie colour this year. But they are beautiful flowers.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Nine Hours on a Train

A heritage train trip to Maryborough:
Early this morning we drove to Lara to board the train.
Most people on the train had travelled from Melbourne, although some were probably die-hards who got on at Newport at the crack of dawn.

Just outside Geelong the train had to stop because there was a fire beside the tracks somewhere in front of us. And although the emergency web site described the fire as small and safe, it was quite a while before the train line was re-opened and we could proceed. About an hour, in fact!

Eventually we were on our way. Next stop Ballarat! View inside our "heritage" saloon carriage:
Those two little kids did really well. They were on the train before us, so had at least a ten-hour trip. But they were quiet and happy all the way.

So why didn't we just get on the train in Ballarat? Because normally only goods trains run between Geelong and Ballarat, so it was a rare chance to be a passenger on this line.  Not that I managed to get a photo of Lal Lal station as we zoomed through:
That bluestone structure isn't even the main station building, just a shed of some sort beside it. Stay tuned to see the brilliant shot I got on the way back...

The people who got the best photos were probably in the convoy of cars that raced from crossing to overpass to bridge to vantage-point. At each such point, we saw them running back to their cars with their cameras. Between those points, we could at times see them racing along roads ranging from highways to dirt tracks, trying to get in front of the train before the next photo opportunity!

After losing many passengers at Ballarat (who were going to the Beer Festival), we continued on to Maryborough and its amazing station.

The undercover area of the platform is incredibly long.

What about the ceiling?
 Or the floor:

 It's an impressive building!
 Mark Twain visited it in 1895 (5 years after it was built), and apparently described Maryborough as "a railway station with a town attached". And Maryborough was three times as big then as it is now! I didn't get to judge for myself, as we had to make up the hour lost waiting for the fire, so there was no time to explore the town.  But the station was definitely worth seeing! 

Not your average station building.

Time to go home.
Stop in Ballarat to pick up the beer drinkers:

Zoom through Lal Lal station again:
The only down-sides to the day were that the air-con wasn't working properly in our carriage (and it was a pretty hot day) and that this window was filthy! I think for a scenic tour, they should have made sure that everyone could actually see the scenery.

Last stop for us, back at Lara at 7:30:
Then a one-hour drive home. The end of a very long day!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Quilted Heart

Yesterday I pulled out all the distorted stitching I did on Wednesday. It took quite a while, but it was a relief to be rid of it. Today I did all the ditch-stitching with the Sweet 16, which worked much better. Then I started the exercises the quilt is for:
This isn't the first exercise in the class (Continuous Line Quilting by Ann Petersen at Craftsy), but it was the one I was up to watching. I'll have to go back and re-watch the beginning of the class now as I've completely forgotten what was in the early lessons. And run in those threads!