Techno phobia (updated) now overcome!

Apologies that I have been missing in action for two months now. I did intend to blog, despite the digital camera dying, but in the end the idea of a photo less post seemed like a waste of time. Yet here I am! So we do have a very nice new digital camera and in fact a new computer, thanks to DH boss (DH works from home) but what we dont have is a techno savy mother patchwork! So I am patiently waiting for DH to show me how the download connection works, not to mention what to do with the software once I get the photos onto the pc. Very frustrating, particulary as he is happily pruning (green bin day on Monday), cleaning out gutters that overflowed when it rained last week and digging trenches for the new/extended watering system. So while I want him to do the outside jobs, there are some inside ones thats need attention also! Three hours later and a bit of mucking around I think I have overcome my technical issues. Golden rule of thumb I will now being living by; READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!

OK so NOW with pictures I am going to try and tell you what I have been doing for the past two months. We celebrated two birthdays, DS1 turned 4 and DS2 turned 2. Turning two = no naps, so I thought that I was going to get less sewing time, however turning 4 = kinder three mornings a week so it works out about even. Kids birthdays = visits from grandparents and organising birthday parties which reduced sewing time a bit, but increased fabric purchases as my mother is a patchworker too. We have also had a lovely trip to Victoria to help my grandmother celebrate her 95th birthday, plus catch up with both sides of the family.

On the sewing front, I have made some bunting (or flags if you prefer) to hang up for birthday decorations. (opps no pictures of these to show!) While I have been keen to make some for awhile it wasnt until I visited Hetties Patch and one of the staff told me that she likes to make bunting as a baby gift, with the child's name on it, that I got motivated. I roughly followed her directions, as I had forgotten half the verbal instructions by the time I got home!

I also finished Tom's Animal I spy quilt (left with green borders) in time for his 2nd birthday. After completing the binding on Tom's quilt, I then received back from the long arm quilter, Vicki Jenkins, the Animal I spy quilt I made as a raffle quilt for DS1's kinder. Vicki did a great job and I was very pleased with it, but after sewing on the binding of Tom's quilt I had decided that I needed to review my binding technique before I tackled the raffle quilt. After some discussions with fellow quilter Heather Ford, I decided to use her prefered method of 1/2" binding, which you cut 3 1/4" wide. This worked really well, as my machine has a 1/2" wide walking foot, so it was easier to sew the binding on accurately and then it felt fuller when I hand sewed it down. I have had both quilts valued by the SA guild this week and so wish that I had the time to fix the binding on Tom's quilt prior, but resolve that I will do it anyway, otherwise it will always bug me. (below: Animal I spy quilt for Kinder raffle)

So with those two quilts completed I pulled a really old UFO out of the cupboard - Greg's pinwheel. Greg is my younger brother and never asked for a quilt, but I found some fabric that looked "like him" (well it had wheat on it and he is a farmer) I am ashamed to admit in but either in 2003 or 2004! I brought the fabric in Geelong at a shop that has now closed down, so that is part of the reason it became a UFO. The Horsham patchwork quilters use to (probably still do) run a monthly sit and sew Sunday session and one of the members, Kay Hoffman showed us how to make the block which is a pinwheel in a pinwheel. Now without a picture I am sure that doesnt mean much, but I think the other name for the block was Waterwheel. Either way I pieced all the blocks on the machine I owned at the time, but forgot to amend the needle position so the seam allowance was more then 1/4". Then when I made the blocks I lay half the wrong way when I was cutting them, so half the pin wheels ran the other way. So I didnt want to make more blocks because a) lack of fabric b)seam allowance was out so they would be different sizes c)I couldnt figure out what to do with the ones I had! Of course the minute I pulled them out of the UFO pile I remembered all this angst, but fellow quilter, friend and angel, Heather Ford helped me to do the math so I could use every last inch of a contrasting colour to sash the blocks, thus it didnt matter which way the wheels turned. And of course I trimmed them all back first, so they were the same size and the end result was great! Even better was the fact that I was able to use the pre cut left overs to make a border, which I can only describe as piano keys (? extended rail fence?) to make the quilt a large lap size. My brother loved the quilt but admitted that he was pleased he didnt know he waited six years to get it! Oh and my other good friend and fellow quilter, Elaine Kennedy quilted it for me, (in a day!) just so that I could hand deliver it on our recent trip to Victoria.

I have also been doing alot of hand work in the afternoons, while soothing my back with a heat bag (well that has been the excuse anyway). I went to patchwork camp in June with a friend and a bunch of other ladies I had never met, in Mannum. I hadnt been to Mannum before but I had a great time and completed heaps of projects, including the final border of Greg's quilt. There was a trading table and I picked up some digger/truck fabric and a calico preprinted Christine Book stitchery. Not only did I start and finish the stitchery in a week, but I also dragged out my box of pre cut strips, and used them to make a one patch border and turn it into a cushion! Ironic that I would start and finish someone elses UFO so quickly!

So that fired me up to pull out another old UFO, a embroidery wall hanging that I think I brought in 2004. I remember buying the pattern at the Horsham patchwork show from Stitch in Time, when she still had the shop in Narracorte - which Rosemary told me was more then five years ago, as she celebrated five years in Adelaide in February this year before closing/going on line. So I have now finished the work on all nine stitcheries, but yet to find some fabric to sash them (in a log cabin style). The shop sample was done in 1930's fabric, which is too pastel for me and at the time I brought some fat 1/8's from Threadbare (quilt shop in Castlemaine) that were reproductions and more my colours (dark, country). However surprise, surprise they dont suit the compled stitcheries so I have gone mad and STARTED A NEW project with those fabrics. I brought some hexagon papers last year at the Adelaide quilt show, so decided they would look good in reproductions, so 100 hexagon's later I am out of papers but have lots of fat 1/8's of fabric left over! Partially this is because my darling mother has brought me more reproduction fat 1/8's at the Melbourne quilt show, which added to the others that I had brought from my friend Ann at Periwinkle Patchwork, Warrnambool!

Then this afternoon I pulled out another UFO, the Bedford Mystry Quilt from 2008. I have the BEST excuse ever for not completing this quilt, as I was very pregnant with DS2 when Lessa ran the class at Colonial Light Gardens - so pregnant that I had Tom two weeks later! What I had forgotten was that I had nearly finished! So all I had to do this afternoon was add one strip to each block and then sew the blocks together, which make it a small lap size. Of course it needs a border (not included in the pack), but at least its now in one large piece! Now I am a fuss pot when it comes to matching fabric, so I did struggle with the concept of using fabrics just on the basis of their colour value. For those of you not from Adelaide, the Bedford Mystry quilt is run every two years (2008 was the first year) and you pay a fee to attend, which includes ALL your fabric, food and ALL the help you need, eg they provide ironing and unpicking ladies! It is a fabulous day out, and all the money goes to a good cause (Bedford provide disability services). However all the fabric is donated, so the lovely volunteers pre cut packs of fabric (you can buy a pack to do on your own if you dont live in Adelaide) so you just sew on the day, but it is a complete mix of colours, themes and tones. And I really struggle with the true concept of "scrap", but I am very happy with the result so far, as the light and darks were sorted very well and you can really see the pattern - I think its called Puss in the Corner.

Anyway I think thats way too much information for a post without any pictures. Hopefully I can fix that soon, in the meantime, Happy quilting! Hope the later addition of photos makes this a more interesting post, Sue.


  1. Love everything you have done!!! Great post. You write such interesting posts. The Bedford Mystery Quilt sounds great. I love how your quilt top turned out for this. Yes its definitely hard working with fabrics you didn't pick. Good luck with the techo stuff. I think I am slowly coming to grips with Picassa which I have been using for my photos.

  2. love the stitcheries sue!
    I didn't realise you had scored that great pre-printed stitchery at Camp!
    Does Elaine have a business quilting?? I have a couple of almost finished tops now....


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