Thursday, August 17, 2017

Around the Garden

Look! The first blossom of the year:
Almond blossom. The plums are covered in swelling buds and should have flowers soon, too.

Other signs of spring in the garden today:
Spring star:



Grape hyacinths (Muscari):


Snowflakes (Leucojum):

One lonely snowdrop (Galanthus):
Dirt splashed up by the rain.

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles):

And a few more flowers:
Red hot poker (Knifophia):

Euphorbia "Silver Swan";

Another Euphorbia:

Spring is definitely in the air.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Machine Woes

Ever have times when it seems machinery hates you? I've been that way this week.

I started quilting my recent mystery quilt, and all was going OK until on Monday afternoon the bobbin ran out. I wound a new bobbin, but the winder didn't stop automatically the way it should, and there was too much thread on the bobbin before I stopped it.  I removed what I thought was enough thread, but actually wasn't. When I pushed the bobbin into its case (little hint there - if it doesn't just drop in, that's a sign of a problem!) it wouldn't rotate properly. And then I couldn't get it out of the case.

Eventually I managed to lever it out with the help of a screw-driver. But that put little nicks in the bobbin. So in my attempt to not waste too much thread, I destroyed a bobbin. Cost so far: $5 (plus a bit of thread).

On Tuesday I had other stuff to do, so couldn't get back to the problem until today. First I wound the thread off the wrecked bobbin onto a new one. Most of it, anyway. This time the bobbin winder stopped correctly. Then I did some quilting on a practice piece, but couldn't get the tension adjusted correctly. It would sew OK for a short distance, then jam up with the bobbin thread too tight to feed. And when I removed the bobbin case from the machine, there was an extra loop of thread out of the edge of the case that shouldn't have been there. This happened a couple of times. Perhaps the bobbin case was also damaged? (Cost of new bobbin case, $119.)  I rang the dealer in Geelong and spoke to their service department, who suggested I take the whole machine in for them to look at. So after lunch, I packed the machine up, popped it in the car, and drove the 75km to Geelong.

Of course the machine worked fine for him. No jams, no tension problems. I don't need a new bobbin case. But he did make one adjustment:

He moved the pre-tensioning bit so that instead of pointing straight down, it is at this angle. He said not to use the little hook between the pre-tensioner and the tension disks. According to him, this way the thread will flow through the machine better.

He also said my bobbin tension was too low, which may have happened when I was messing around trying to get the jammed bobbin out, or may have always been too low. He cast doubt on the needle I was using, even though it was a new one I put in before starting this quilt on Sunday. He showed me a different place to oil the machine from what the manual says. It started to feel like everything I'd been doing with the machine was completely wrong.

Anyway, the machine is back home. I have booked it in for a service in about a month (the first time they had available). I hope it behaves itself until then.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Took advantage of a guild basting day to get this mystery quilt pinned together, ready to quilt:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Week Eleven

Not stitched together yet, but here is this week's temperature rosette:

We almost had another green day yesterday, reaching 14.8. Here's the data for the week:
11/08/2017    13.0    aqua/teal
10/08/2017    14.8    aqua/teal
9/08/2017      13.1    aqua/teal
8/08/2017      11.5    aqua/teal
7/08/2017       9.0    blue
6/08/2017       8.7    blue
5/08/2017       9.2    blue

The forecast for the next week shows two possible green days. Spring is definitely coming!

Linked to Sarah's weekly weather report.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


In August last year I visited Dunolly. It was rainy and the patchwork shop was shut.

Today I visited Dunolly again. This time the weather was mainly sunny. But this is the patchwork shop now:
Probably should say "the former patchwork shop". It has shut down.

One of the highlights last year was the lime cheesecake tart from the Dunolly Bakery. We were looking forward to having that again. Guess what? No lime cheesecake today. We consoled ourselves with the caramel cheesecake tart:
It was pretty yummy. And the girl at the bakery told me about a new(ish?) patchwork shop in Maryborough, so I popped in there on the way home.

Our main destination was Dunolly Demolition and Salvage Yard:
They have all sorts of good stuff. I might have been interested in some of the planters or the chimney pots for the garden, but nothing had a price on it. That really bugs me. They have a huge yard of reclaimed timber, and that did seem to be priced. 

I don't think they have a high turn-over of light fittings:

Their dog will know me again next time it sees me:
Every time I looked at it, it was staring at me.

Friday, August 4, 2017

From Spring to Winter

Week ten, and my first green day!
The first time the temperature has reached over 15 degrees in the ten weeks since my temperature-based year quilt started. The first five days of this week were sunny and you could feel a hint of spring in the air. But winter returned yesterday and today.

Here are the actual temperatures:

4/08/2017     7.9    blue
3/08/2017     7.2    blue
2/08/2017    11.8    aqua/teal
1/08/2017    14.1    aqua/teal
31/07/2017  13.6    aqua/teal
30/07/2017  14.2    aqua/teal
29/07/2017  16.0    green

Linked to Sarah's Weekly Weather Report.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

UFO for August

Judy has drawn number 8 as the UFO for August. My number 8 is this:
Allietare, the 2015 mystery by Bonnie Hunter. Mine has been a completed top since January 2016. It does have a border, but I don't seem to have a photo of it with the border. However, I don't have batting or a backing for it at the moment, so instead of working on Allietare, this month I will baste and quilt the top I have just assembled:
The "What's in the Box Mystery" by Susan-Claire Mayfield. This one has only been a completed top since Monday. I have a backing and batting ready for it, so it is not going to appear on my UFO list.

Linked to Judy's UFO progress link-up here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Yesterday afternoon and this morning I spent doing this:
Matchstick quilting, filling in the background of the challenge piece I can't show yet. It looks a bit uneven in extreme close-up like this, but I'm happy with how it works in the quilt.

Monday, July 31, 2017

What's In The Box Mystery 2017

Throughout July I have been working on this mystery quit, designed and run by Susan-Claire Mayfield of Gourmet Quilter. She asked us to not publish anything on social media until after the mystery was revealed. So here is the history of a month of sewing!

The first clue arrived on the 3rd, which is part of why I was up to see that lovely sunrise. That clue involved a lot of cutting:

The next clue involved making some 9-patches, and a bit more cutting:

Clue three involved some wonky sewing:
I discovered it is not easy to be deliberately wonky!

A few days later I made these:
The diamond in the middle of each block is sewn into the seams, but not around the edges. I've never made this unit before, and found it challenging to avoid tucks
 and catching the top surface of the diamond in the seam
So my quick-unpick got a bit of a workout!

Next up:
The wonky units became stars.

Another unit I've never made before was the next clue:
Pinwheels made with little prairie points.

The next clue involved some more cutting:
Curvy sewing ahead, obviously! This template had been in the "Box" right from the start, but was in a sealed package we couldn't open until receiving this clue. I like the way the etched markings seem to glow. The template is easy to read on both light and dark fabrics.

Then there was some curvy piecing:
Curvy piecing does not run through the machine smoothly.

Finally I was ready to assemble the top. Here are the rows clipped together ready to be sewn:

And here are all the rows assembled:

Up until now everything had gone fairly smoothly, but the last step was a nightmare. When I started putting the first couple of rows together, I found that my curvy pieces did not meet up to make a smooth wave. They were out by a really obvious amount, which was too much to fix with a little pulling and fudging. And because my curves were such a contrast to the rest of the quilt, the mismatched  seams really looked bad. No photos, it was too upsetting! The solution I came up with was to use a wider seam allowance. So I just sewed the seam where the curves crossed, rather than trying to make them cross where they should have.

That meant a seam allowance of more like a centimetre - and in places it was closer to half an inch.
That meant my blocks were no longer "square". Instead of finishing at 9", now they are closer to 8.5". But at least the curves match up!

So here it is, after much upset yesterday and today. The completed top, hanging on the line:
Of course the sun was out before I took the photo, and came out again after I had given up and gone back inside. The colours probably look nicer in the sun, but we'll have to wait until it's quilted to see that.

I will be basting this on 12th August, at my quilt group's next scheduled Basting Day. Then I will quilt it so that it doesn't become a UFO!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Week Nine

Not sewn together yet, but here is the ninth week of my temperature-based year quilt:
Every day this week fell in the range 10 to 15 degrees. Saturday and Thursday were only just in that range at the cold end, and Tuesday felt almost like spring as we got close to the warm end of the range.

The details:
28/07/2017   11.3   aqua/teal
27/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal
26/07/2017   12.0   aqua/teal
25/07/2017   14.7   aqua/teal - highest temperature yet
24/07/2017   12.3   aqua/teal
23/07/2017   12.0   aqua/teal
22/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal

Tomorrow is forecast to reach 15 or 16. If we make it, it will be nice to introduce a green fabric!

Linked to Sarah's weekly weather report.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Quilt Showcase

Went to the city today to check out the Vic Quilters Showcase at the Craft and Quilt Fair, which is on until Sunday. I volunteered for white glove duty, which meant I got free entry to the show, and got to get up close and personal with the quilts. But I didn't take any photos! There are some amazing quilts on display though, and the winner of best in show is just stunning. Worth seeing if you can get there.

My feet were very sore by the end of the day. Definitely chose the wrong footwear for the job, but I did manage to get to 10,000 steps before I got back to the train, so I could just relax when I got home.

My only purchases for the day:
A couple of pairs of gloves from Daiso, and some pins. The photo doesn't show it properly, but the gloves have three fingertips missing. Only the last two finger have tips. The idea is to use them for quilting, but not have to take them off all the time to tie off threads or the like.

The pins are for the curved piecing I am doing on my mystery quilt. My old dressmaking pins just didn't want to slide into the patchwork fabrics, so I treated myself to these very fine ones. They are only .4mm thick.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Penguin March

This week I've been working on my mystery quilt, which I still can't blog details of. It is getting close to the end, though.

I'm still managing to do 10,000 steps each day, and apparently today I reached penguin distance!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Off Lead

Today the dogs got a bit of off-lead exercise:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sit and Sew Day

Because I'm still holder of the key, I have to get to my quilt group's Sit and Sew sessions first, to open the hall and get everything set up.

So today I had an hour to myself before the next person arrived. Just the Queen and me!

I got three small things done today; stitching this week's temperature rosette to its background, adding a hanging sleeve to my flower ball quilt so that I can finally hang it in the hallway, and this:
The sixth clue for the mystery quilt I'm working on. Although one of these 3D pinwheels may need to be re-sewn.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mid-Winter Blues

Week 8 for my temperature-based year quilt has been cold:

21/07/2017   11.8   aqua/teal
20/07/2017    7.1    blue
19/07/2017    8.1    blue
18/07/2017    9.8    blue
17/07/2017   11.4   aqua/teal
16/07/2017     6.5   blue - coldest day yet!
15/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal

Here's the second row of the quilt so far:
Weeks six, seven and eight.

Linked to Sarah's weekly weather report link-up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Top Tiers

Not so much of a UFO now:
I added the remaining two pieces to the tree I made yesterday, and even included a ribbon to hang it by. It may even get some embellishments at some stage.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Potential UFO

Today in a workshop I made this:
It has a couple more pieces to be added to the top, and then it is mean to be embellished with beads or whatever. Actually it is meant to be twice as tall, but I only cut half the required number of pieces.

The pattern is "Towering Trees" by Wendy Hager. It is meant to look something like this:

There was only one copy of the pattern available between about 8 people which made getting all the pieces cut quite time consuming. Especially if you are last in the queue! And then there didn't seem to be a full set of instructions anywhere, so I don't really know how the last piece is going to be attached.

Now I'm faced with the decision to either try and finish the thing, or throw it out and write it off as a WOMBAT - Waste of Money, Brains and Time. Or perhaps more relevantly, Waste of Material, Batting and Time. (But in reality, the batting was offcuts from my last quilt, and the fabric has been in my stash for ages, so no cost really.)