Saturday, July 31, 2010

And now it's attacking it's mother. Again...

The blue/green quilt top is all finished, and next up it's designing and piecing the back before I get to my big freak out about the quilting. I have decided, for no obvious reason, that I would like to free motion this one. I'm sure that I could talk myself out of it without too much effort, but I would need an alternative. I want:

-evenly spaced quilting
-no big gaps (aiming for not more than 2" apart)
-no/very few line crossovers

Stippling remains the obvious choice, but thus far, I have sucked. I am a regular person, (in that I like regularity, not that I am normal,) and I struggle with the forced aimlessness of a meandering line. Ive downloaded a whole heap of examples, and I'm considering printing them out and pinning them on, but it seems like an awfully large amount of work.

What I really should do is come up with some sort of practice piece that I could work on, but I struggle to develop skills on practice pieces. I tend to not bother trying to hard, because it doesn't matter anyway. The only way for me to learn how to do something is to actually do it, for real, with the expensive fabrics on the almost completed projects.

And, for obvious reasons, I don't want to do that. Practices so far have yielded many sharp corners and stitches of varying lengths, as my free motion foot seems quite light, almost as if it's a bit too high up after the nice firm pressure of the regular foot. I just feel much more confident when the fabric is being fed through for me, and that means my normal foot, and that means t
he gorgeous wave stitch. I could probably come up with some kind of big, nestled wave thing done in it, that might look nice. Maybe if I did say 6 of them in a grid across the whole thing, something like this...


That's 3 lengths of stitching, and the little wave stitch on my machine will make it look less structured than it is. The only problem will be the sheer amount of turning I will have to do.

Oh well. Baby steps.

In other news, I just spent $60 on mainly Odyssea fabrics on eBay, to do a quilt for my dad's new boat. Quilt Bribery - it's my way of getting to keep Babycat. Though I'm not sure why I want to, as it's taken fully fifteen minutes to type this last paragraph due to the vicious furball sitting on the keys and attacking my fingers.

Ungrateful little shit.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yes, or nu, nu, nuh, No? (it's a Meatloaf reference)

The dollar is still improving, and that makes me happy.

There was no fabric in the mail today and that made me sad.

But Lincraft had 50% off fabric today.

But it was 1 metre minimum cut, so I only got 2 fabrics (a rainbow to stash and a green and blue stripe for backing)


So I guess that's a draw then.


In other news, I've done the quarter blocks for the bluegreen quilt (which is number 6, due to Mama Jan's barely started quilt already having gotten a number) and I'm trying to sort out the design. I originally had a regular repeating one that looked very nice in my blue and green paint document, but in the real world, in 15 different fabrics, it wasn't so good.

So I'm trying to sort out a randomized pattern, but randomness has never been a strong point. I fluked it with my first quilt, but a) there were hundreds of squares left over and b) there's parts of it where I wish I'd done stuff different, to the point where I'm not even fond of looking at it too closely.

Here's how it is so far, out on the lino.


Not a great photo, since in real life it's way brighter, and for some reason, the green is way more prominent, so prominent that Casey has referred to it as "snotty".

I've shifted bits here and there for the two hours, but I'm still not entirely happy. There's one fabric that's used twice as much as the rest, and it's hard to not get it next to itself. I've got it down to one touching corner, but the blocks aren't the same, and that's the main thing. Every time I decide to move one bit I end up moving a whole heap, so at some point I'll have to suck it up and just go with where its at now.

In other news, I'd kill for some apple juice. But I wouldn't drive into town and go to the servo for some. Why is that?

Actually, maybe I will. I'm not working tomorrow. I can do what I want. I'm not 27 anymore (that's a psych reference, it being Thursday and me having a new episode and all) so maybe I will.

Hmmmm...

On my laptop, the touchscreen overrides the touchpad. This is handy when there's a cat sitting on my keyboard, as that seems to stop the touchpad from working. However, there is a problem.

Babycat's paws also work on the touchscreen.

I don't think Honeycat's did/do. That said, since she's so much bigger, she really needs to keep all four paws down to avoid toppling, whereas Babycat is still small enough to paw comfortably at the screen.

I've been casually looking for some kind of program that will stop my keyboard working, or lock it... like, put it to tablet settings while it's still open, so I can just use the touchscreen keyboard and not worry about what the cats are doing on the real one. But if Babycat is activating the screen controls as well that make this a lot less useful.

What I really need is cats that are less interested in sitting on my keyboard.

And while we're at it, it would be nice if they were less interested in my neatly cut fabric pieces, my sewing machine and its foot pedal.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Story So Far...

It's been a busy few days, thus the lack of posting, but here's a brief catchup.

The future husband didn't come to Jess' party, but I spent the night on a Jelly Tots induced sugar high, so I had a blast.

Babycat is now sleeping IN my bed. Usually with her head on my pillow. Honeycat has reverted to sleeping exactly where I would like to put my knees.

The Blue/Green quilt has been designed, cut and arranged neatly so the first bit of string piecing is ready to be fed through the machine.

The camera from eBay still wont work, and the seller is being useless, telling me to go in to Bing Lee (not in South Australia, love) or David Jones (not in a small town in the middle of nowhere, love) because they sold them. 2 years ago. Instead, I have to wait for mum to get back on Friday so that she can go into camerahouse and get them to look at it, because I'm on record as wanting to firebomb their employees. And that could be awkward.

Finally, the Soiree bundle that I liked on eBay got put down to 10% off, and the dollar is back around 87c on Paypal, so I bought it. $102 all up, so $2.82 per f/q.

Still no sign of either fabric.com's massive delivery to me or the smaller one via shipito, but I'm in no hurry, as I'm back off to work now.

Once I detangle Babycat from the back of my shirt.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why nothing was sewn tonight...

While our parents are away enjoying the lovely Queensland weather, there has been three early20s girls living in this house, including a compulsive cook. Thus...

DISHES!!!
This is pretty much every glass (most are already in the sink here) plate, bowl, frypan, saucepan and mug in the house. In the middle is a bowl full of cutlery. And this on the week I'm going fast-food free.

The compulsive cook is also a compulsive nail biter, so she's not really fond of doing dishes (is anyone?) The deal was, I'd do them if she chopped some wood (I weigh 44kg, it's not my fault I cant do it) and lit the fire before I got home, and by the time I'd done all the necessary internetting, it was 1am. The perfect time to do the dishes. The perfect time to do anything, really.


Unfortunately, I got a bit low after the second load (first load, glasses, 2nd load, flat plates) so I stopped for some freshly grated parmesan.


And then, obviously, I had to wash the plate. Again.


And there was no delicious soft drink left in the fridge :( So I had some lettuce.


I like lettuce :)


In other news, I have changed my preferred super power, from copy and paste to the full photoshop suite. Copy and paste gives me access to endless supplies of money, coke and fabric ( cause once you have one you can replicate it as much as you need) but I need that bandaid tool in the real world. Copy and paste will not get rid of the pimple that has appeared the day before I'm due to meet my future husband.

And just for the record I'd use my copy and paste powers for good too, stopping in at the blood bank and organ donor warehouses once a week to boost their stocks. I'm a giver. But not of my own blood. They wont let me, cause I'm not fat enough.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Attempeted Indignation Workaround...

So last night I did a heap of googling of the various American mail forwarding services and I've decided to try out shipito.com. They just have an $8.50 flat rate, and seem to realise that flatrate priority boxes are the way to go, just like most ebay sellers have. So I've bought 13yards, mostly $2.49 per yard stuff and mostly in half yard cuts, because I figure they can't possibly be making money on that when you combine it with the free US postage thing.

When I was working at Spotlight there was a program that told you the cost price of any item, so that you didn't reduce it to so far that they were losing money. At first it was very interesting, but almost immediately, it became very depressing. The gist of it is, they could reduce prices on most of the quilting fabrics by 75% and still make a profit. Not enough, but some, and I figure that's the precipice that fabric.com are on.

If this shipito thing can get it to me for $35, then that's $6 per yard, and that's the current full clearance price at spotlight. If it costs $55 then that's $8 per yard, and that's the first clearance price they go to, and equals out at $2 a fat quarter, which is a 33% saving on my normal limit.

So not only am I getting fabric on the cheap, one can only hope that fabric.com are losing money on every transaction I get forwarded, and that it will only take a few more shops till i recoup what they overcharged me on for the first one.

In other news, the dollar has gotten better too, which always makes me happy, as does the fact that the taxman is going to send me a bit over a grand in the next fortnight. Thankyou taxman.

Cold, again...

Good day today, no work, 3 parcels at the post office, and a big to do crossed off my list.

Honeycat and Babycat had their first trip to the vet today. $114 later, and Babycat is a girl after all, Honeycat got an injection and a pill down her throat and it turns out that a 3-course of flea killer stuff is fifty freaking bucks...

But its okay cause I love them.

In other news the Make Life Bundle got here, and I picked out 12 of the 23 to make into a quilt that, owing to its genderneutralness (new word) may or may not be suitable for Helen's baby. Depending on how much I like it. Helen, being a fellow maker of stuff, will understand, and I've found that newborns don't really care where their warmth comes from, so long as they get it.


I've also started work on the blue green quilt, cause Casey said to not be in a hurry about Mama Jan's quilt. Possibly a bit of a foolhardy move, but it's on her shoulders, after having only in my wallet thus far.

I added 4 of the Make Life fabrics, because they seem like an okay fit, and that gives me 16 to work with, which is more than enough.

Still at the 21*cm squares stage, and I'm not sure where it's going to go from here; I'm kindof a bit over the stars now, especially when it comes to the annoying around and around quilting, but I'm considering doing the same sort of design with right angles/squares. Dunno yet.


The best bit about doing the 21cm squares is that you get a nice big pile of scrappies and selvages. Helen showed me her tickertape quilt today and it's muchly cute, if a bit small, and I'd quite like to try one, if I can do it without handsewing, or having to use one of my dwindling supply of battings. I'm thinking two layers of flannelet, possibly cut from a discounted sheet set, and I can use little squares of iron-on to hold them in place, and maybe just back and forth scribble sew over them. I'm not sure, but at least I know I wont have to buy any fabric for the little bits.


I literally have bags of these. Even after Helen went through them for hers, I probably enough to do a full size quilt top already.

Tragically, however, as it's freaking cold, I'm calling it a night. I didn't get home till it was dark and noone had lit the fire, so its 17°C in here, which, while compared to say, the north pole, is not that cold, is still cold enough to make my toes go numb, and pretty much prevent me from functioning. So, now that the washing and ironing and first bit of cutting is done, its ziplock bag time.


The bad part of the day (other than the big-arse vet bill), is than the camera I was bidding on the other night arrived today, and also appears to not be functioning. I've reset all the settings to factory state and checked the lens for dust and everything, but it's still fuzzy. Not just when it takes the photos either, but always; just looking through the viewfinder is fuzzy. I'm gunna have another go tomorrow, though I'm not holding up high hopes, and if I cant get any improvement, I'll email the lady and ask for a refund. The listing said it was working fine, so if she wont agree to a refund then I should be able to reclaim it through paypal.

Bit of a bummer, that, but $115 is a bit much to pay for a small, pointless lump of plastic. That's half of what I paid for my 27 yards from the slightly rude lady at fabric.com. All I asked was if there was a problem with their postage calculator, as it was overcharging me by $35 when I tried to order more than 4 1/2 yards of fabric (I've had ebay sellers fit me 8yards in a flat rate envelope) and I got this in reply...

"Please note that we are a growing company and process about a thousand orders each day. We are unable to pause the workflow of cutting fabrics and preparing orders for shipment to check to see what may or may not go into a priority envelope."

You don't need to check. They can fit 8. I'd settle for 7, that's what most sellers list as their official limit. Even I could write the code for a shipping calculator. I'm not sure what programming language they would be using, but it would go something like this, give or take a bit of formatting:

If [quilting weight fabric] is >7 yards
then
postage = $15.95


There. done. How fucking easy was that? I understand that some other types of fabric weigh more, thus the [quilting weight fabric] bit. They probably have some code that I don't know, that's why it's in brackets. But seriously, if they did that, I would buy a pouch a week. Maybe two.

Maybe I need to get one of those US mailing address forwarding things. Anyone know of a good one?

*this just seems to be the biggest an American fat quarter will cut into 4 of.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not again...

Honeycat appears to be back on heat.

The bum in the air thing, the rubbing her face on everything (even more than usual) and the rolling onto her back and not getting up when I stop patting her, and mainly, the ignoring her child thing.

I know its just a nature thing, and that its not her fault, but I want to shake her and tell her to look after the child she has, not run around trying to make another.

But there's no point. She doesn't speak people (except for "kisses" and "we go to the laundry and get you some foods," obviously) and I don't speak cat.

A a result, we're off to the vet tomorrow. Will be the first time out of the house for Babycat and the first time in a catbox for Honeycat, who, on her 3 previous trips, sat on my lap, or the passenger seat. Frankly, I'm shitting myself a bit, because it's their first trip to the vet as well, and we don't really know anything about Honeycat's history.

My other task tomorrow is finding something to wear to Jessie's 18th this weekend. My alleged future husband* is going to be there, so that ramps the pressure up a bit. It's at Flannies, so at least I know I wont be freezing my toosh off if I wear a dress, but most of what I own is still geared toward the tastes of the ex (Freudian slip there - I initially typed testes) so it's all a bit to girly-goth for my current liking.

Honey cat is banging at the catdoor. I may have locked it... There's a nasty mean boycat out there somewhere...

But back to the dress, I, personally, am a big fan of mod style dresses, the sort of thigh cut, funky patterned type thing you can wear over tights with your cowboy boots. That's what I'm looking for/going to make tomorrow, so I'll be spending tonight looking up designs on the internets.

*His name is Sam, he lives in Naracoorte, and Casey, Ez and Josh are quite sure, apparently.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sick of it. Literally.

I've had enough of being sick.
I've had enough of that little muscle stitch just below where my boobies meet.
I've had enough of coughing up little chunks of nasty stuff, unexpectedly, and on things (books, keyboards, floors, couches etc.)
I've had enough tissues shoved up my nose.

But the WORST thing about being sick...

...is not going to the post office.

And it's not even that I'm waiting on fabric. Well, I am, but its not due till next week at the earliest. What I am waiting on, is lollies. From England.

Now I'm not a huge lolly fan. I'm too impatient to eat so called "sweets" which in Australia is basically something you have to suck on till it dissolves, and "lollies" are usually chewy, and I abhor having stuff stuck in my teeth. I do however, have a few exceptions.

I like orange mentos. And it's not hard to fob the pink and yellow ones off on people.

I like green fruit sticks. And it's not hard to fob the pink, orange and yellow ones off on people.

I like raspberry twists. But the only place I know that sells them is the cinema, and going there occasionally for a bag is a bit weird. My sister tells me they have them at netball too, but that place took away half of the outside of my knees in just 10 games, so I don't really want to go back there.

The lolly that I used to like more than any, was something called Jelly Tots. Essentially, they were just miniature sugar coated jubes, about 5-6mm across. They were made by Nestlé, and came in a blue pack. And then, one day, they didn't anymore.

My mum and I got into an argument about what they were called a few months ago. I couldnt remember, and she said they were called... something. I cant remember now, but I knew she was wrong. And then, a few weeks ago, I was talking with one of the other 20+yo girls at work about "ye goode olde days" when we were kids (ie. the early-mid nineties, right about when many of our checkout co-workers were being born) and she said that when she had been in Sydney earlier this year, she had found one of those stores that imports British foods, and they had Jelly Tots, and that she had bought about 20 bags.

I made a little note in my adorabubble post-it-note folder, and promptly forgot about it every time I was near an internet. I mainly use it at work though, or at the pub when shortlisting karaoke songs, so that's not a surprise. One night though, at about 3am, I remembered, found some on eBay, and ordered them. 8 bags of them. Actually, I did it before I bought the two Robert Kaufman bundles, and usually England is quicker than the US at getting stuff to me. Weird, but true. And now, of course, because I didn't go today, I'm fairly certain there's 8 little bags of jubes waiting sadly at the post office to be collected.

And eaten :)

An Open Apology...

I said I would stop, and I didn't.

I'm very sorry.

Its not my fault. I have the flu, and I was in bed feeling miserable, and then someone mentioned in a blog the existence of fabric.com, and they had $5US/yard fabrics, and, and...

And 27 yards for AU$210 is about $8 per yard. 45% of that is postage costs...

And stop judging me. You all probably do it too.

As a footnote, included in that is a 9 yard random end-of-bolt bundle, 3 half yards of fabric to go with the Autumn Nutmeg bundle bought on the ebays, a panel for Helen's baby and lots of really pretty, bright, retro style ones that actually match one another. The randoms therefore are the only ones that aren't included in my "buy a whole quilt or buy for a planned set, but don't just stash" rule. I probably said it better then, but my... but I'm forgetting how to use words. I'm sure you get the picture.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I really do prefer Buy-It-Now...

I'm watching Bones while I wait for a camera to end on eBay.

I don't really need one, as I've been firmly of the belief that 5mp is way more than necessary, especially considering that most of my photos are for the internet, and I shrink them before I upload them anyway. My Kodak does pretty much everything I need it to - It starts quickly, focuses/takes the photos quickly and the battery lasts ages, and they only cost about $6 each anyway, so they're cheaper than AAs. There's only one problem. The video saves itself in some weird-arse format, and none of my programs will edit it. And it's not like I'm just running crappy programs, I have the full adobe suite, as well as 3 different file converters (and a few crappy editors as well, just to fill out my hard-drive)

So, ages ago I did some research, and according to the internet, modern cameras take longer to take the photo than ones released say, 3 or 4 years ago (ie, when I bought my Kodak) The internet seemed to think that the Sony DSC-T20 is pretty alright, so I've been keeping an eye on eBay for a decent one. My budget is $120, cause that's the price of a semi-decent one at Target at the moment, and the one that ends soon is at $91 at the moment.

Wish me Luck.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Brrrrr...

I am so ready for summer to come back. I'm sick of feeling cold all the time.

Normally we will have the fire going pretty much constantly through the winter in our house. But at the moment, Mum, Dad and our youngest sister have decided they're sick of the cold too, and they've gone off to Darwin. That leaves 3 of us home, but one has just broken up with her boyfriend and is out living it up, leaving Casey and I here, and unfortunately, the two of us aren't really around enough to keep it going. She works mornings (I sleep mornings) and, since noone's been home at night, she's been having dinner at friends houses, while I'm at work.

Even though the fire is very good at putting out heat (average winter temp without fire - 17C, with fire - 28C) its not very good at staying going for a long time. Even big chunks of wood, with the air supply turned down, tend to be burned through in about 3 hours, so the dream of lighting it before work to come home to a nice warm house never comes to fruition, especially as it's even worse when it's only just been lit. It needs attention every hour for the first 5 or so hours, and so I'll be coming home to a cold house after I finish work. Again.

Tomorrow though, I finish at 8.30, so I've got a good 4 hours of couch sitting time at my disposal, making lighting it totally worthwhile. Well, telling Casey to light it. I've built it all up ready, she just needs to put a lighter in and find some matches, and maybe I'll be nice and warm again.

P.S. Retro quilt got finished yesterday, and is very nice, but camera is on the charger, and can't make it out to the clothesline. Also, I wish it was warmer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm just taking a break... for sleeping...

Babycat is wandering (read:staggering adorably) around under my sewing pedal, since Honeycat has decided that home is now under the sewing cabinet, which has put a halt to my quilting.

All the easy stuff is done - the binding and the straight lines, as well as two of the paths around the stars. The ends for what I've done so far are all finished too, but I haven't sewn the corners yet, as they will have to be done by hand.

I gotta say that the actual quilting is much less enjoyable than the piecing of a top. Not that piecing a top is hugely enjoyable, but every bit you do seems to give you a big sense of achievement. Take this star design for instance. The quarter block has 3 pieces in it. So you sew once, iron, sew and iron again, and wehey... quarter block, sense of achievement. Then you just have to join your quarter blocks up, with the same amount of sew once, iron, sew and iron again that you had for the quarter blocks, and now the big blocks are done, sense of achievement. Then you just have to join them into 4 long strips (followed by some ironing and a sense of achievement) and it's only 3 bits of sewing till you have a quilt top. And a big-arse sense of achievement.

Once that's all done and it's basted, there's only one possible pitstop at which you can feel good about what you've done so far, and that's only if you're doing the binding after you've done the quilting. I'm not, so even though I'm less than an hour from finishing (2 more curly bits at 10-15 mins each, and hand sewing the corners down), I'm feeling disillusioned about how far I've come, and I'm going to go to bed.

Also, I only bought 100m cotton spools, because 2 bobbins was enough to do the baby quilt, which I find myself forgetting (except when I'm trying to manhandle the new one in the machine) was a row and a half smaller, and as a result, I'm fairly sure it's going to run out before the end.

Bummer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

*Drools...*

My Robert Kaufman fabric bundles got here today, and the Autumn Nutmeg one is so achingly gorgeous I considered buying it again, but instead I have ordered a 23fq bundle of fabrics from Moda's Make Life range, for AU$65, which seems pretty damn good. It's about $2.80 per quarter, well in budget, and they look like a good set of gender neutral fabrics, seeing as how I've decided to keep the drool worthy greens and browns to myself.

My mum was soooo right. They're just not suitable for a baby. What a shame. I'll have to keep them.

As for the blue/brown/orange bundle? I like it, except for the spotty ones, which seem a bit boring. And I've no idea what to use it for. I mainly got it so it would drag down the average price of the other ones. Still, its not like I don't have a hundred other fat quarters with no real project in mind.

I don't think I'm very good at this whole "working from a stash" thing. Sure, it worked great for my first quilt, but there's probably 100 different fabrics in it. For the most part, when you're only using maybe 20, and you want them to go together, getting stuff from the stash doesn't really work. They're never quite right, or you choose a dozen that work but you still need that again in something that matches, and they never quite do, so you buy more than you need, and take out maybe half of the original ones, till its 75 or 80% new fabric anyway...

Not that I have any room in my schedule for any new quilts anyway. There's the retro quilt (#5) to bind and quilt, Mama Jan's quilt (#4) to do, The blue/green quilt that's all bought for and washed and ironed and sitting quietly in a zip lock bag waiting to be cut, the quilt for Helen's still-gender-neutral baby (which I'll probably do in the Make Life fabrics)my queen sized rainbow patch sequel, as well as the rainbow brights that are assembled but still being pondered over, and of course the brown/green/pink scary corners and loops quilt.

So, no more buying of a bit here or there, unless it's a certain addition to something that's in progress. Fabrics for backing or binding aren't included, obviously, and an exception is in place for if/when the lincraft 8pk bundles are on special, or for buying a coordinated bundle off of ebay.

I'm still considering getting the Eden bundle, though I'll be waiting till I can justify it, or until the dollar gets even better. It's at 86c at the moment, and if it gets back up to 90, I'll get it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Semi-completed...

Stayed up till 3.30 getting the top of the retro quilt finished and basted - I changed my mind about the backing and went for the back of a quilt cover I bought to chop up the front of, so the back (and borders, since I'm feeling lazy) are a bright white, at least compared to the front which is ivory, and really bought out as such by the bamboo batting.

This quilt is a departure for me in a few ways. It's the first time I've used a neutral - over half of the top is one colour - and not even a colour, just an old-looking white. And also, so many of the prints are from the one range. The more solid coloured green and the yellow with the little spots are the only ones not from the range.


Usually, I'm very opposed to just making a quilt with fabrics from one range. It's too easy. It's only one step away from a pattern, and that's one step away from a kit. Kits are for people who really should just buy a readymade blanket, because kits get you out of the most important (and to my mind, hardest) part of making a quilt.

Quilt Maths.

I'm fairly sure there are other quilts similar to mine out there. The 4 pointed star design is both simple and obvious. But, because I worked it out myself, with a calculator, a piece of paper and a paint document (actually, 4 paint documents - this one took a while to sort the colours), I'm fairly sure that the similarities wont get closer than that they share coloured and white star blocks. I picked my size, my layout, my angles. If I had used a pattern, there would be others with the same shapes, and even though the layout would be in different colours, if I ever saw one, it would be the same in my mind as showing up at a party in the same outfit as someone else. Worse. It would be like I had told everyone I was making my own dress, but someone showed up in the same thing. Making a quilt from a kit, and saying it's all you're own work, it's like being caught in a lie.

Quilting a top, to my mind, takes very little skill. Patience, yes. accurate cutting is important, and so is the ability to consistently sew a straight line a certain width from the edge of your fabric. Finally, there is ironing. So very much ironing in fact, that I'm getting a little callus under my pinkie finger.

But once the fabric and the design are sorted, you're just churning though it - it's no different to fixing a hem and ironing your clothes. Sure, more hard stuff comes when it gets to the quilting point, but it seems the thing to do is send it off to someone with a machine that takes up half a room, and pay them to do it for you.

The most difficult part of a quilt is working out the pattern, and choosing the fabrics. And I'm not gunna hand that task over to someone else, when it's also the part that has the most to do with my pride in the final result.

Sense of Achievement...

I've been cramming through and have almost finished the retro quilt - not bad considering I bought half the fabric this afternoon, and washed it, dried it, cut it and sewed it, around having tea, facebooking and playing with the cats.

Currently, it's at 4 long pieces that need to be ironed, pinned and sewed, and then a little bit more ironing and I will have a quilt top.

But I cant quite decide on my backing fabrics just yet. They'll have to be sewn, because I'll be using one of two end of bolt purchases - either a fabric quite similar to some on the front, in a dark green print with pink and yellow flowers, or a 60s mod style fabric in white with rainbow flowerburst patterns that I've been holding onto for about a year after buying the whole bolt for $2 a metre. I seem to recall I made a sleveless tunic from some of it, that was quite cute but I never got around to doing the armholes, because I got distracted by a sleeved version in a green paisley. I wonder where it is. I could finish it for Jess' thingie.

Oh well. My Top Gear episodes have copied to my USB stick now, so I can go out and put them on while I iron. I'm so sick of the fucking Zoomba advert that goes for an hour.

Oooh, and there may be a new Psych episode floating around on the internet by now. Might have a lookies before I go out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In spite of the fact that it's Tuesday and I have no money, I went and got another 8 bundle of retro fats from lincraft, and another metre and a half of the ivory for the background of the retro quilt. It's been washed and is part drying now, but I cant bet to the bench to do my ironing, because Casey was testing the running time of the chocolate fountain, and chocolate has gone everywhere. And the coil that makes it work has broken.

Sigh.

But Honeycat and Babycat seem to have gotten themselves sorted... Babycat wasn't happy with under the sewing cabinet so he's decided to move himself to back under the bed, and Honeycat seems okay with this. If I could just convince them to move back to under the dresser, where I can see them without getting down on the floor, that would be excellent.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Debating whether or not to invite the lovely Simone to read this, making her my first official reader. Although really, if there's anyone else out there, let me know, and I will recognize your title. This little piece of the blogosphere may still not be much, but it's mine, and I'm not only proud of it, but of anyone with the stamina to put up with it.

Also having a bit of an internal debate about dresses. Two actually. I have a masquerade ball 18th birthday party to go to Saturday week that I need to sort out something for, as well as 3 B&S Balls in the next 3 months. With regards to the latter, I've found a very nice looking wedding dress from china for $60 which spreads out to $20 a ball, and that price seems great. But there are two problems, the first being that it is a white wedding dress, the second being that for the most part I'm opposed to cheap made in china stuff, because they lower people's expectations of the cost of goods to way below what any local manufacturer could match, though usually when I make this statement it's more in relation to toys than dresses. But still. Usually, when I want something on the cheap that I could have theoretically made myself, I go to the salvos, or buy secondhand on ebay. But am I silly for letting a moral debate get in the way of a dress that, on screen at least looks gorgeous, and which could be dyed without too much effort? Probably.

As for the masquerade ball dress, I'm not sure what I'll do. The ebay dress, if and when bought, still wont get here for a couple of weeks, so I'll either be going with something I already have or making something, which I'm not sure I can be bothered to do. The dress code just says to wear a mask, not anything about a ballgown, so I'll have to find out what the actual dress code is. It's at Flannigans, which is loosely speaking "our" pub, so I don't think its all-out, Cinderella style formal. Casey says its "formalish", but I'd best check.

Finally, there is Honeycat and Babycat. Honeycat keeps moving Babycat, because my little sister and the dog keep going in and looking at Babycat, picking him up (Maddy) sniffing and licking him (Graham(dog)) and for obvious reasons, Honeycat's not very partial to that. This morning when I woke up she had moved him from under the dresser to back under the bed, pretty much right where he was born, so I shifted the stuff back to the far side so we could look in there easier, but then I got home from work to find it had been shifted again, this time to under my sister's bed. This is a bad idea for two specific reasons. The first is that Casey is allergic to cats. She's gotten used to Honeycat (the internet says it happens eventually) but not to Babycat. Also, she shuts her door at night. I used to, but now I have cats, I understand that I cant.

The big problem is, she refused to move back to either previous spot. Even after I remodeled the under the dresser nest to have big wadding walls and curtains, every return would see Babycat picked up by the scruff of the neck, carried to Casey's closed door, and plopped there so Honeycat could mew indignantly. Eventually I gave up acting concerned and went and did my ironing. The retro quilt is in it's point blocks now, but I'm not sure where to go from here. The blocks I have are 8 red, 8 blue, 4 purple and 4 yellow, which makes out to around 115x150 cm, and I have 2 almost matching green fat quarters that I could use too, but I'm stalled until I work the layout.

Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that the cats are under the sewing cabinet.

Damn.

Nawww...

Babycat is soooo cute.

And even though I worry that Honeycat is spending too much time away from him, she's a good mum, doing good mum things, like teaching him how you wash your face by licking your paw and rubbing your head (she did it, he copied, I nawwwwed), or cleaning him up.

She's licking his bum there, behind the dresser leg...

And sometimes, when she's out of the room, I just sit down by the side of the bed, and watch this tiny little thing, that came about entirely naturally, without us even realising...


I don't believe in a god, or religion, or anything of the ilk. But I have read The Unadulterated Cat by Terry Pratchett, and I'm very partial to the idea of a Schrodinger's Cat that can travel through time, and even before Babycat, I liked to think that a me from the future had sent Honeycat here, to help me get over the breakup. Seeing Babycat just seems to make me feel it even more. I really don't think I would feel as good as I do about things without them*.

I guess we all want to find reason in things, and if we're in denial about that fact, then we say its our own fault.

I'm just doing it positively. So thankyou, me of the future. I couldn't have done it without me.


*And Simone, and my sisters, and my friends, and co-workers, and family, and my gorgeous quilts that I can do all on my own. But Babycat is the cutest thing on this list.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bugger...

I've cut the retro quilt (number 5), but I'm being held hostage in the lounge by the comfy couch, the Law and Order DVDs and the nice warm fireplace, and as a result I simply can't get to my sewing machine in the bedroom.

I keep telling myself "just one more episode," and then I tell myself to put more wood on the fire, but it's raining outside and I can't be bothered. The wood in the barrel is probably damp anyway.

And I'll be going to my room to sew my blocks after this episode, so there's not really any point, is there?

I'm getting good at this. Soon I'll be able to talk myself into never doing anything at all.

I have to go now, the next episode just started.

:)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A short analogy...

Home, finally, after a long day at work and a fantastic night with the incredible, fantastic, gorgeous Simone, who I wish would just come and live with me so I could hug her all the time, and get unnecessarily excited about pretty much nothing with her, and sing obscure, or out of date, or just plain embarrassing songs with her. I want to make her a blanket fort full of love and hugs and silliness, and we can hide in it together from all the shit that's going on.

But she can't, so we will wait till next year when we move to Adelaide so she can go to uni and I can do the tafe course that I didn't go do this year, and we will meet lots of new, interesting people, and decide we don't like them and then we will firebomb them. Actually, we'll just talk about it, maybe google it a bit, maybe set up elaborate alibis for each other, but we wont actually firebomb anyone, cause if you firebomb one then you have to firebomb them all, but there's too many. Even with two of us, you (we) can't firebomb them all.

Here's my analogy, eventually.

Lately, when looking at fabrics on ebay from America, I have found myself saying "I dont like any of them enough to get them all" and giving up. This is because, when buying fabrics from America, it is most economical to get about 7 yards from each seller. This is how much they can fit in a pouch, a pouch is $15ish, which spreads out over the seven yards. If you only get 2 yards, you're paying $7 a yard in postage, so the fabric itself would have to be way cheaper than it ever actually is. So, if I cant find at least 5 yards I like from a seller, I don't bother. It's not worth it, if I cant buy a full bag of it I'll just go into town and buy some.

There's no real alternative to firebombing, except for bitching about firebombing. The punishment for getting rid of one person you hate is gunna be the same for if you did away with all of them.

That's right, life in prison has just been equated with a standard international flat rate postage pouch. Of course, they are different, which is why I sometimes have a big shop, whereas Simone and I haven't sent out the invites to a big, highly explosive party at a large house about 7km west of Mt Shank.

Because some people (creepy chicken man, for instance) wouldn't attend. We cant firebomb them all, so we don't get to firebomb any of them.

We can, however, do a fantastic version of Punk Rocker, and drown out the drunk chicks ruining Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, even though they have mics and we do not.

We can do that because we are awesome.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm procrastinating, again...

I was asleep before 2, but still slept in till 11.

*sigh*

But I got my shopping done, spending way too much money here, there and everywhere today. The blue/green quilt is now ready to start, the retro quilt is theoretically good to go, but I'm still not sure on the colours, because I've got 2 pinks, 1 yellow, 1 green, 2 blues and 1 purple, and I'm not sure that it balances out correctly. And I think the bright rainbow quilt is good, but I'm still not sure whether or not I want blue in it - I have one blue in it at the moment, and I have a half metre of a blue with rainbow shapes on it that looks quite nice with it, but I'm feeling indecisive, as usual.

So, no actual work has been done, except for cutting a few more red fats. I bought a rather flat cotton quilt for $10 from kmart, and even though it's only a single, its still about 20cm wider than the bamboo I've been using, so I'm gunna use it for Mama Jan's quilt, because Casey says the bamboo is a bit flat. I say she's been pretty useless about the whole thing, having made no decisions and provided no money towards it, but, if I'm honest, that's pretty much par for the course.

So, I'm thinking I'll probably work on the blue/green quilt next, while I wait for the fabrics for helen's baby to get here...

I need to go to bed...

Lately, I have had a little problem. My body clock has been out of whack since my first expedition into the world of quilting, and I routinely stay up till 3 or 4 in the morning, and sleep in until 11 or 12 noon.

Now, in spite of the fact that this setup would seem fairly ideal for me, I’ve been trying to get my system back closer to everyone else’s time, because society is guilt-tripping me about it. Problem is, I think I’m going about it the wrong way. What I’ve been doing is telling myself each night after work that I’m going to have an early one, that I’ll get up in the morning and do some sewing then, when I’m alert, and fresh, and the sun is shining and all that crap. But then, with the best of intentions, I ebay, I facebook, I blog, I open unnecessary paint documents or I watch old Top Gear/ Psych episodes. And then, before I know it, it’s 3am, and I haven’t achieved anything, and I wont get up till lunchtime and nothing will get done the next day either.

It’s 1am now. I’m not going to do any sewing tonight, or any organizing, or any concept designing, or, well, hopefully, anything at all. I’ve put some of my fabrics in a little ziplock bag to take shopping tomorrow, and that’s it. I have the day off, It’s late night shopping so it doesn’t matter if I accidentally sleep in… But I'm a realist. I probably wont fall asleep for another couple of hours yet, and the cycle will continue.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Afternoon already?

Feeling very good about the fact that I got Mama Jan's quilt cut and neatly bagged last night, and have decided that that's enough justification for the fact that I didn't get up till after lunchtime.

I've also bought some bundles off of ebay as possible options for my aunt's 2nd baby - she's been very unhelpful in the knowing what it is and not telling us respect. I swear, should I ever get pregnant, I will tell everyone what it is, especially those who are trying to make it a quilt.

They aren't from the same range, obviously, and one has 9 and one has 8, so there's not quite enough to do each on their own, but it was less than $3 per fat quarter, so it's all okay. I think I can get away with putting a couple from the left bundle into the right and saving the rest, But I will have to wait till they get here to be sure. If not, I'll put them in little baggies and take them shopping with me till it all works out.

In the meantime, I have to go to work now. How not fun. But I should earn about $125 before tax, so I guess it's necessary.

***Childish Squealing***

Eeep!!!

It's like I'm a real quilt blogger... With real photos of real accomplishments, not just crappy mspaint mock-ups of what I want to do...

Even though I got it finished a few days ago, I wanted to remake it's cover to be a bit neater, and didnt get around to it until today. Also, we finally got some sunshine at a time of the day when I wasn't stuck at work selling people cancer tubes, so I could get outside and take the pretty photos.

I even love the back, because I pretty much just went over the main seams with the fantastic little wavy stitch that's on the 45 year old Elna but wasn't on the brand new Toyota I owned for 15 hours before returning late last year. So you can almost see the pattern from the back too.

I found the photo taking thing a bit hard though. The part of the clothesline that would have been face onto the sun was in the shadow of either the house or the rest of the clothesline, and at the angle I had to take it at, the crinkles put parts of it in shade and the sunlit parts look all washed out and weird. But at one point, it caught a gust of wind and was all in the shade, and this came out okay.

In spite of the fact that its a hideously simple design and only measures a bit over 120cm each way, there's a fair bit of smug pride going on. With no books, no formal training, no help from anyone at all, I made a quilt, with triangles, hell, with stars, with pretty, wavy quilting, that's still suitable for a boy, that I am now, quite selflessly, going to give to someone I've never even met.

Eventually. I'm not sure when, since his mum is still off on maternity leave, and I've no idea when I'll be seeing her again to give it to her, but still.

Nice feeling.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quilt # 3 washed up beautifully, babycat is just under 300g, has opened his eyes and has learnt how to drag his fat little belly around his nesting spot, and I'm wondering what to do next.

Mama Jan's quilt would be the logical choice, as I've got all the fabrics and it's pretty much organised, but it's really just squares, and they're a bit boring, so I'll probably stall on that one till it's really needed.

Spotlight is currently between sales (they usually go for 10 days from Thursday till the Sunday week) so there will be no going in to buy more stuff and from all of the fabric I have now, I cant seem to put together enough to do something nice. The retro quilt needs it's unifying background fabric, the PinkBrownGreen quilt is still scaring me too much to start, and having decided to do the randomised pastel squares quilt as a queen sized blanket, I'm stalling on that one too, for when I'm not trying to do it around full time work.

So, there's two things I could do. No 1 is get the bundles of fabric that are coordinating really well but aren't numerous enough to make into a quilt, and fill in the missing pieces. There's a really nice blue and green lot that I've been putting together slowly, but is still only at 6 when I need at least 12, and a really bright lot, that I have over a dozen pieces for already, but that I cant seem to sort out into a cohesive design - naturally, I'm assuming that buying more will fix this problem. And of course there's the retro one, which needs perhaps a half dozen more mixed fat quarters, or maybe just a metre or so of a solid... What I really need to do is take them in with me when I shop, instead of just buying something and hoping for the best.

The other thing I want to do is but some fat quarter bundles off of ebay. I want the Eden bundle, even though I already have a half dozen of the fabrics, and I've found all 30fqs for less than $100 including postage, which is not too far over my standard $3 per fat quarter. I've found the Soire'e bundle for $100 before postage (usually about $15) and that's got 36fqs so that, technically, is even cheaper. Or I can get the 40fq Hunky Dory bundle for about $120, which is in budget. But some of the fabrics I'm not as keen on, and it's a bigger outlay, and I really should stop spending money, so...

I'll just keep getting out my fabrics every night, and spreading them out and making new piles, hoping new ones will magically appear and give me a perfect set to start my next project.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ugh... So... Tired... Must... Finish...

Quilt # 3 is finished but for tying off my little bits of thread. I'm feeling a bit naff now that I said I was giving it to Kylie's baby, because I really do like it, and, naturally, want to keep it. It looks like a proper quilt, not that the others don't, but it has angles, and wavy stitching, and is very cool.

Have had a shuffle around in the bedroom, got the proper sewing cabinet in here, though the height adjuster still terrifies me - It's been at least 3 months since last time and the little bruise is still under my thumbnail. Damn thing is vicious.

Also realised that I quite much prefer the free arm to a completely flat sewing surface (there's a plastic thing you put in when the arm is level with the bench - so you can free motion I suppose) because it gives you some air space to grip your fabric properly. But that is just my opinion.

And now I have to tie off my little threads (9 lots of them, due to the slightly awkward path I had to sew around to get all the big seams) and wash it before I work out how I'm gunna get it to it's new home. They're giving her the rest of her presents tomorrow morning, but I really want to wash it before it gets passed on, as I've no idea how the bamboo will hold up in a wash. There was no info on the label on how far apart it could be quilted before there would be shifting - each point of the stars is about 8" from point to centre by 5" wide, and the internet said that there were other bamboo battings claiming you could go 8" between, so I'm hoping this one is okay. Nonetheless, I will be testing it, on cold and drying it naturally, just to make sure, since I don't want to give it to them, have them ooh and ahh over it, then have it shit itself on its first wash.

Annoyingly, Honeycat at this moment is sitting on it, probably to get back at me for making her get off the keyboard while I typed this. Babycat has opened his eyes, but I'm getting worried about the size of his belly and the fact that I still haven't seen any babypoop.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Days off are more tiring than workdays...

I ended up getting 6 cot sized ones (that was all they had) and one queen sized one, total cost $130.

Quilt # 3 is bound but not quilted, because spotlight had sold out of the stripey fabric I was going to use for the binding, so I had the most pathetic strop in history, and did the cheat fold-over-the-backing binding thing. It still looks nice, if a little more boring, and it means that I'll have to do a neater job of my start/finish points of the quilting, but I'm feeling good about the progress I've made - even if it isn't finished, it almost looks it, but for the pins.

I also concluded that my current setup of sewing machine on shoebox on dresser is killing my back and is generally bloody inconvenient, so I've started the process of getting a bit better setup, by bringing the proper sewing cabinet, with the height adjustment and stuff, to my bedroom, not that I really have room for it. I've had to tub a whole lot of stuff, and those tubs are going to have to be shedded till I can get rid of the dresser, which I can't do till honeycat is willing to let babycat move out, and put the tubs where it is currently. I've considered and quite quickly disregarded the idea of going back to a single bed now that I no longer have a boyfriend to share it with, but as soon as honeycat leaves the nest and goes back to sleeping exactly where I want my knees to be, the extra bedspace is necessary.

The only problem with having the sewing cabinet on the other side of the room is that of course there is no powerpoint on that side, so even though I've done the heavy lifting and would like to celebrate by getting this quilt finished so I can stop stressing over it,* I cant finish it because, of course, we have no free extension cables at the moment.

So I'm thinking I might instead go and finish the last of the prewashing... I put it in the machine before I went in to do my shopping and haven't got around to putting it in the dryer yet, but it would probably only need 20 minutes before it would be fine to iron... or, I could sit here, and go on facebook and ebay, and waste yet another night off.

Haven't decided yet.

*Not that its bad, in fact, I'm actually worried that its too good to give to someone I've never met, who's already been bought $100 worth of presents by the rest of the staff... Should we be sharing the babylove instead of spoiling this one particular baby?