Saturday, April 30, 2011

Honestly...

I got too many regrets
I've smoked too many cigarettes
I've had more blondes than brunettes
I'm not expecting your sympathy
But it's all been too much for me...
-Monsoon, Robbie Williams.

Okay, so technically, the lyrics aren't quite accurate. But if I had to pick a song to fit my mood, it's be this one.

The "Do you ever feel, already buried deep, six feet under screams but no-one seems to hear a thing" line from Katy Perry's Firework is kinda accurate too.

Because lately, regularly*, I've been feeling like it's all too much. That it's won, I've lost, and now I'm stuck. It's all become too much for me.

At what point should one consider faking ones own death to escape the clutches of a dozen half-done projects, a trail of sketches for dozens more, and a fabric stash that I'm constantly worried will smother me in my sleep?

I am in too deep. My plans stretch too far forward and I will never be able to catch up, never be able to make all the projects I have thought about, done the maths for, bought fabric for. I have too much fabric, and I'm buying it twice as fast as I'm using it - three times, four times as fast. I suppose this is what if feels like to be caught up in a big lie and realising you can no longer talk your way out of it.

Hell, I was never even gunna be a quilter. I was gunna move to Adelaide, do a fashion design course, and then maybe become a buyer for one of the chain stores, or open a little bridal boutique, depending on how I was feeling about traveling. Never did "Amass over 100 fat quarters" show up on my list of life goals. I don't want "Finish your fourteen half done projects" on my to do list. And while I genuinely am the happy, optimistic person, full of wonder and amazement at everything and anything that I claim to be, underlying this is the knowledge that I'm also a big fat faker, and sometimes that bubbles to the top of my personality, and I wonder how the hell I got myself caught up so deep in all this.

I suppose I feel like I'm somehow indebted to all my half done projects, that I only got partway through creating them and what kind of mother would I be if I left them to waste away their days unfinished and unused? That I promised those fabrics something when I pressed the "proceed to checkout" button, and now they're languishing unloved in a box. That if I don't make all the quilts I can see in my head, they will never get made. But every new quilt I think up, every bit more fabric I buy makes it worse, and once the "hooray, new fabric" feeling has worn off, I remember that this has made me even further behind.

My plan to finish at least half of my part done quilts was probably the best compromise between getting at least some of them done and not driving myself bonkers by banning myself from creating new things. For that reason, I wouldn't ever ban myself from buying fabric, not least because a lot of plans I've made already still have little holes in them that need to be filled, and denying myself the option of filling them, or forcing myself to fill them with something I'm not satisfied with would probably make it worse.

But I feel guilty when I'm not getting on with something. I took a break from the big projects last night and pieced myself a couple of little pillows from the charm squares Shay gave me, and even though I needed it to escape from the pressure of the five big projects I'm actively working on, I still felt guilty about it, and tonight to make up for it I told myself I would quilt two of the basted quilts I had lying about. They're pretty much done, almost, and I probably will get them finished before I go to bed, but somedays I kinda feel like chucking it all in, running away from what I've spent so long amassing, because I worry that I'm not realising it's potential, that someone could do a better job of it than me, that I'm just faking it all and pretty soon you're all gunna realise.

BUT...

I'm not a mind reader, but I'm fairly sure we all feel this way about something or another. That we're all just pretending to know what we're doing. And what I've decided is, that's okay. If we're all pretending, and we all know we're pretending, it's a little white lie that's necessary to allow society to function, no different to the lie that a little bit of plastic or paper is worth as much as a trolley full of food. It only is because we all agree it is, and that's okay.

I've decided it's the ones who actually believe all these lies they tell themselves that you have to watch out for. And that I'm gunna get over my worries now, and go and get on with life.

I've got some quilting to do.

*when I say regularly, I mean for at least one minute every day. Regularly doesn't have to mean often. Hayley's comet comes around regularly too. I wish my self doubt only came by once every 72 years.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Compliments.

I have a question for everyone: When was the last time you complimented someone. Not in a bloggy sense, or a "yes dear, that looks nice" kinda way, but a random compliment to a random stranger.

I don't do it enough. A few years ago I put it as one of my new year's resolutions but it never really got anywhere. It's quite a difficult judgement call - will this person take it as the genuine compliment that it is, or will they think I'm being insincere?

I try to be quite random in my compliments. I shy away from personal stuff - no mention of how people are looking from me. But last week I complimented a lady on her signature - it was a very busy day at work and I told her that she had done one of the best matches to the back of a credit card I had seen in a long time. To which she replied that that was the best compliment she had recieved in ages, and that it would stay with her all day.

Was it a really good compliment? I don't think so... I certainly didn't debate on saying it for a second. I saw the two signatures, saw they were pretty much identical (they are often so different as to be completely unrecognisable) and congratulated her on that fact. But this spontaneity made it genuine, and I'm glad it made her happy.

I'm going to try to do more random, genuine compliments. I spend most of my time thinking nice stuff* and I think maybe if I share it, other people will be thinking nice stuff too.


And now, another round of random good things.

I like mini projects. Something I can complete in a night to distract me from the fact that I have four basted sandwiches that need quilting.

I like going back to the expensive chocolate I usually eat after a week eating random easter stuff.

I like going into a fabric shop with a definite list and not buying too much on top of it.

I like little blue cards in the post office box to say I have a parcel to collect.

I like getting out half my fabric stash and seeing where the new stuff fits in.

I like patches of blue in a cloudy sky.

I like roast chicken sandwiches.

I like fresh cans of coke.

I like crusty bread.

I like being bi-measuremental, when I have to be.

I like reruns of old TV shows on the digital channels.

I like how fast my iron heats up.

I like the sizzley sound it makes when I iron fabric I've just sprayed with my water bottle.

*Though recently I've spent a lot of time trying to define the difference between different brands of cola. That's been really hard, and I'm not too far off of giving up. Currently I'm at something like "Coke is good, Pepsi is okay but only if you're having KFC, and everything else is a waste of my valuable tastebuds".

A very chill take on the whole dumbing down thing.

I have yet to see a quilt design done in straight lines that I wouldn't be able to figure out how to do on my lonesome. Come up with it; maybe not, but reproduce?

It's all just math. It's measurements, and angles, and thinking about how all the little bits will fit inside the big bit. To me, it is as easy as breathing (by which I mean 80% of the year I'm fine, and the rest of the time I need some drugs to help me do it) but I get that this isn't the case for everyone. Some people feel the same way about something like cooking or gardening instead and those are two things I really, really can not do.

The thing is, I'm very good at seeing the angles. There was a line in Ocean's 12 where George Clooney is talking about how he went to the bank to discuss normal person things, but couldn't help seeing the angles, where the cameras were pointing, where the entrances and exits were. I'm like that. I like knowing where I can scratch my butt at work without security recording it. I like knowing what one little bit of wire I'd have to bend to open up the security cage at work. And, for the most part, I like being able to see, and work out for myself, the angles in other people's quilts. Usually just as a theoretical exercise, to prove to myself I can do it. And afterwards, sometimes I wonder to myself why people pay money for quilt patterns. In the same way I guess that George Clooney wonders why people have real jobs when they can spend their time hanging with Brad Pitt and Matt Damon and breaking into casinos.

But here's the thing. I think modern quilting is much less about the design. And much more about what you do with it.

Yes, there are now a million bajillion quilts out there that are technically just squares of fabric sewn together. And conceptually, the instructions "get some fabric, cut it into squares, mix'em all up and sew it back together" could result in some hideous, or at the very least, quite dull, quilts. But, usually, it doesn't. There's plenty of really really beautiful quilts out there made just on these instructions. My first quilt was, and like it or not, a lot of you probably first came to this blog after seeing it in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, which, when you have a look back through it, features lots and lots of really really beautiful quilts made with the instructions "get lots of little squares of fabric, and sew them together"

The difference then, is one of personalisation. Modern quilts don't have to be about the precision of the points or the intricacy of the design. They can be more about the quilter, what fabrics they like, what they want to put with what, what they want to point focus to and what they want to use to hold it all together.

All of the strict precision and skill comparison has been relegated to second place behind the expression within the choices of the design. These days, the beauty in a quilt is easier to find. We look at it. We can look at it in itty bitty thumbnail form, a hundred times too small to see that it has points, let alone whether or not they match up, and we can say to ourselves, "That is beautiful. That is a work of art. That makes my eyes happy, and it makes my heart happy" Then we can click on that little thumbnail. We can look at it close up, and appreciate the accuracy of the points, the way the quilting enhances the piecing. But we don't need to - if the point's don't match, or the quilting's a wee bit shoddy, that's no biggie.

We are looking at quilts half a world away, far too far to see the points, even if there's a high definition photo there to click on. It doesn't matter. I'm not going to dislike a quilt once I see some skew-whif points, or a little puckering in the quilting, not if I thought it was gorgeous before I noticed it's faults. My eyes have liked what they have seen, the blogger has told the story to warm my heart (if the story of someone creating something beautiful doesn't warm your metaphorical heart, I don't think you really "get" creating) and I have made up my mind. A quilt, no matter how simple the structure, says something about it's maker. It shows a vision. It is a window into it's creator's mind.

The most truly beautiful thing about modern quilting is that we are saying to ourselves "That is beautiful." We are not saying to ourselves something emotionless like "that is technically very impressive" - we care more about the beauty of creativity, about expressing ourselves in a way that is different, that is unique to us, in spite of any underlying similarities.

The lack of rules behind it means the world will never run out of interesting, evocative versions of the simple squares quilt. What the world needs though, is to stop seeing this as a bad thing. The same blank, commonplace A4 page that could potentially have been used to print boring documents could also have been used by a small child, awakening their creativity with a stick-person drawing of them and their dog. Would you tell them that it is not beautiful? That it indicative or their inexperience, that until they get the hang of something like perspective, they shouldn't be expecting any praise for their work.

A quilt of squares could be a starting point. An easy entrance to the world of quilting. Or, it could be a way to express yourself through your love of colours and fabrics, where the design is less important than how it all comes together. It can be a lot more fun than a carefully thought out piece, it can be a spontaneous celebration of your fabric stash,* that's carefree and influenced by nothing more than what you have and where your mood is taking you. It doesn't need much thought, and it can happen a lot more naturally, change more readily to impulses, than a design where every piece has it's place.

Yes, there is a place for intricately pieced, traditional quilting, and in much the same way that the trends of haute couture show up eventually in the local Kmart or Target (albeit in a much more practical fashion), so too in their way do clever little design bits and bobs from traditional, more complicated quilts find their way into the modern quilter's lexicon.

But I like my jeans and my checked shirts, okay? I like being different while being exactly the same**. It may be safe. It may at times be a wee bit boring. But it's very very me.


*That phrase best sums up how I feel about my first quilt.

** I find it amazing the number of middle class women now who are covered in tattoos and have odd piercings. Sometimes if feels like all I have to do is wait, and eventually they will all be covered in so much indistinguishable ink, that I will be the unique, interesting one because I'm completely bare. It's unrelated, but it's something I think about a fair bit. Similarly, sometimes I think I'm the only normal one and the rest of the world's gone crazy, but I may be wrong about this too. It's probably quite a common misconception.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Friend. Like. Buy it Now.

An outsider looking in might get the impression that I wasted tonight.

That outsider would be so very, very wrong.

Because that outsider doesn't understand how brilliant free upload week is on the vistaprint website. Or how tempting it is to take them up on their offer of free postage when I spend $60 or more, since I normally pay about $40 in postage anyway. I'm ordering a keyring, and three big magnets to chop up and stick on my car, and 5 mugs, and a window sticker, and 1000 business cards, and a stamp, and a graph paper notepad so I can design quilts on it, and a t-shirt. And since all this has come to $61, my postage is free.

That outsider really has a lot to learn on how important it is that I find new and interesting ways to waste my money.

That outsider also needs to realise how important it is that he or she click on this link, and like this page. If the outsider didn't have a facebook account, I would tell them to get one so that they could like this page. And maybe to make some fake profiles to like this page.

What the hell, now that the outsider's on facebook, they can friend me as well. Sara Hosking.

Welcome in, outsider.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Silver Linings.

Tonight started well (after I had spent an hour or three on eBay and watching The Queen.) I got around to steam ironing my half-star blocks, and I was thinking about doing a bit of sewing, until I stopped for a minute to put movies onto the tablet. And then I hit that point, you know the one, where you don't know if you can be bothered with sewing. But then you think "...but I really should..."

So you do. And it all turns to shit.

Yesterday I finished for the night after doing a bit of straight line quilting, with a stitch length of 4. So today I started piecing... with a stitch length of 4. After about 6 blocks I noticed and put it down to the 2.75 I usually use, but it's okay, because my sewing at the start was so rubbish I needed to unpick and do-over anyway.

So, silver lining there.

Not enough to keep me going though. I'm blaming Kelsey; her Egg Hunt was lovely, but the whole getting up in "the morning" part of it kinda sucked. There's a reason I work nights.

The reason I work, period? To buy stuff like this, which will probably go higher than I want to pay. I really need to stop deciding I really like fabrics that got released a couple of years ago. Instead, I may end up buying this, or possibly this.

Why the sudden interest in Layer cakes? Well, I can make a crazy, lots of different fabric-d version of my star quilt with a layer cake. And these are my favourites.

I've never used precuts (not including fat quarters, obviously) before. Could be interesting.

For the full ranges: Arcadia, Hello Betty* and Oh My**.


*Shay wants this one. I can tell.
**I'll probably get this one. It's quite nice - a good mix of brightness and funkyness.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I was feeling good about all this...

Is it weird that I'm simultaneously reading the new issue of Fat Quarterly and the Balls in the Bush forums? On the one hand, pretty pictures and precuts, on the other, drunken debauchery and rootin' in the back of the ute...

I suspect it would be weird for anyone else, but that's okay. I like being the only one with a hand made quilt in my swag.

Tonight, after getting the gunnas out of my system with a couple of hours of vintage boot browsing on eBay, I pieced two points of each star block into pairs, and then, when I couldn't be bothered going out to press the seams, I quilted one sixth of the the straight line quilting on the blue, green and purple there never was a nine-patch quilt.

I like to call them that, well, I think of them as that, but in all of my notes to myself I refer to them as no9 patch quilts because that's easier to type. But at no point while doing any of them (there has been four: Kelsey's, The quilt with no name, Helen's and The blue, green and purple one) did I ever actually make a nine-patch block before chopping it up. I made three-patch chains and chopped them, and then made what were technically six-patch blocks which I chopped up, but never a nine patch.

My ruler was too short at the time to cut it. Sad but true.

What else is sad but true is that 1/6th is only 16.5ish%

My achievements don't seem as satisfying anymore. I was gunna do more, but then I got and email duhdonk, and after that I remembered that I'd got the new issue sent to me, and then something or the other reminded me to check the Balls in the Bush website, and now it's been an hour and I suppose I won't be getting any more sewing done tonight.


Still, it's better than nothing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I am a turtle.

Today, I am feeling like I very much don't care. Not in a bad, apathetic way, but in a "does it even matter?" way. Why can't we be more chill all the time, like turtles?

Nonetheless, I'm very glad I did my ranting, because I consider it to be a much better alternative to seething. And now I can get over it. The internet's a big enough place for all of us. It is technically finite, in that there is a limit to the number of possible IP addresses (actually, we've already run out of those), the number of servers in the world and the amount of harddrive space available, but since the latter two are always increasing and someone's doing stuff about the IP problem, even if there isn't enough space, there'll be more in a minute.

Likewise, it's not like we're fighting over who gets to use the last of the fabric. The economics of supply and demand only apply to the coveted fabrics which the top echelon of modern quilters are paying (wasting?) $20 a fat quarter for, and the rest is balanced out by economics of scale, which say we benefit from lower prices when they can print a million billion miles of each fabric at a lower price per yard than they could if they were printing half as much for one group or the other.

So, moving on. After a night spent being the easter bunny, and a day working the quietest Sunday of the year, and an evening going and being the easter bunny again (Hi Kelsey) I've come home to a tin of baked beans, and the regular do I/don't I quilt debate.

I should finish the star quilt... or quilt one of my four basted quilts. Or even just cut the ten squares of fabric to put in my little stack...

If anyone wants to do a scathing criticism of "gunna" quilters like me, I won't do a nasty reply. I'll probably set up GQA... Gunna Quilters Anonymous...


"Hello, My name is Sara and tonight, instead of quilting, I spent 2 hours watching random videos on youtube"  *Everyone politely claps*


"Hello, My name is Zoe and instead of working on one of my eighteen half done quilts, I decided to do the maths for a new quilt" *Everyone mumbles something supportive*


"Hello, My name is Jenna and I had planned on getting some quilting done, but then I got a sale newsletter in my inbox and I went online and bought another 18 yards of unneeded fabric instead" *Everybody demands to know where from, and how much, and if there was much more left*

Okay, so maybe it's not the best idea ever. Though it would be a good way to find out where the internet sales are happening.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Disrespect, man.

Warning: I'm dissing some fellow bloggers quite hard here. I know we're supposed to be respectful and nice, and coexist Kumbaya style, but you've caught me at a bad time of the month. Nonetheless, you have been warned.

I know this is quite a late entrance to the debate. I know the discussion has been going on for almost a month now, but what the hey. I only read about it today, and I suspect I got more offended than a lot of people. I'm gunna target most of what she said, and be obnoxious and offensive along the way, and I'm doing it for one simple reason. According to this post, I will never be anything more than a beginner because I cant sew a consistent quarter inch seam. Of course I bloody can't - I quilt in metric. In some parts of the world, measurements have moved on. Your way is not the only way. My way is the future*.

I'm talking about the (so called) Dumbing Down of Quilting. Google it. Have a read. There's lots of comments by now, so skim through them too.

Now that you've done that, I'm gunna get mean.

According to some bloggers (one in particular), the existence of modern quilts is creating a generation of quilters with their heads in the sand regarding traditional techniques, leaving them to live a miserable existence bereft of half square triangles, which, because they spend too much time on blogs which are all style and no substance, they think are far too complicated for anyone who can't do anything better than a wonky square in a square (or something like that). Simple modern quilts are the death of skilled craftsmanship, yada yada, we and our precise points and old fashioned quarter inch* seams are up here on our moral high ground while the proletariat are chilling down the hill with their slavish addiction to designer fabrics.

Okay, so maybe that's a bit meaner than I originally planned. I get that that's not what the lady meant, but it's very very easy to hear it that way. And while my love of the centimetre* may cement my place as an eternal beginner, I consider myself to be an expert at unnecessarily rude rebuttals.

The first part of rebutting is to concede a small point, and I'm going to say that I do feel that the obsessions with a particular fabric or designer (Denise Schmidt, Kaffe Fassett, cough cough) that sweep through the modern-quilting blogosphere from time to time can do a lot to curtail originality. That making a quilt using only the fabrics from one range is an easy alternative to having to pick and choose a selection from all the fabrics in all the world. But the thing about a fabric range is, it does go together. It's meant to - all those fabrics compliment one another nicely because they were designed and printed for that very purpose.

But to take it to the extent that she has, decrying modern quilting as a lesser alternative to the traditional variety, and saying that modern quilters are somehow inferior artists because of these foibles, is ridiculous. It's like a meat eater decrying a vegetarian's inability to cook a sausage, like a footballer saying that netball is an inferior game because it's players can't kick the ball... Actually no, what it is, is a soccer player decrying Aussie Rules as easy because the players can use their hands. Because the thing is, it doesn't matter. You are almost comparing oranges and apples. Despite the fact that they are both called football, it's a completely different thing.

Perhaps that's what it is. It's traditional quilters worried that, god forbid, after all that time spent learning how to make two bits of fabric join together in some special way, they're being lumped in with the modern "easy" stuff because the two different styles share a name. Well I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous too, since quilting is actually the process of layering fabric, batting and fabric, and then sewing through all three. Quilting has nothing to do with half square triangles, or blocks, wonky or straight. And it may just be that I'm going to the wrong kinds of blogs (you know, the ones with the pretty photos) but most of the modern quilts I've seen have been quilted by the piecer, while the more traditional quilts seem much more likely to get the professional treatment.

But the thing that made me laugh the most was the suggestion that modern quilting is about making "the same 7 quilts over and over" Well, yes, I've made quite a few of my quilts a second or third time, mainly so I could play with new colours or fabrics, but y'know, I've not yet copied a quilt off of any other blog, or book, or from history. I've never used a pattern I didn't do the maths* for myself. And if anything, aren't traditional quilts just copies of quilts from the last 200 years, made over and over again?

Here's another thing - simplicity is not the same as stupidity. For me, the best part of quilting is finding the most efficient way to get all my pieces from the fabric available. Yes, I posted a pattern for a square in a square quilt. Yes, there's already hundreds of them out there. But the goal of mine when I was coming up with it was to work out the simplest way to fit all the bits I needed into the uncut fabric. A way that uses just 2 yards of fabric to make the top, that can use directional fabrics without issue and has pretty much no waste whatsoever. By considering quilting to be purely a technical exercise, a "how accurate can I get this point" competition, you are missing out on half the fun - the fun of coming up with new and innovative ways to use fabrics that have been bought by thousands of other quilters in a way this is unique to you, the fun of turning a simple design into something that is aesthetically both pleasing and striking.

Modern quilting is more about design than technique, and while more advanced techniques can lead to more complex and potentially interesting designs, complexity does not impart superiority. Nor does simplicity though, it is context which imparts superiority. In the context of your point of view, modern, simpler quilts are getting an undeserved share of adulation. In the context of my point of view, you're acting like a jealous poo head, because the masses have spoken, with their fondness for pretty colours and more efficient methods. Yay for context!

Okay, so calling the opposition a poo head is generally regarded as the end to civilised argument. I think for a minute there I thought I was in a GNW Great Debate - Paul McDermott will probably pop out at any moment and sing a song, and there will be a confetti explosion. Nonetheless, I get that I've taken a post that wasn't meant to cause offence and got really really offended by it.

But when you knock my love of the centimetre, I take it personally.


*The USA is the only major country still using imperial measurements. And while I agree that it can make the math easier, this is only because a .5cm seam (as opposed to the .64cm that is easily stated in imperial as a quarter inch) is cutting it a little too fine to guarantee a secure seam, a problem that could be fixed with better quality fabrics which fray less. As it is, I can calculate fine by adding .75cm to my straight seams and 1cm to anything at a 45° angle, and my points are consistently correct to under 2mm, despite the fact that I press all my seams open. Pretty clever for a dumbed down beginner, no?

My clothes remain very much on... But not for much longer ;)

Last night while I was sewing I came up with a really good post for FTF, but it's okay, I'll change my days quoted from "yesterday" to "last week" and we can pop it forward to next Friday. Unfortunately, that leaves me feeling a wee bit guilty that I don't have any progress to show or any interesting or insightful things to talk about. My major consideration for the day was to do with something called WMWifiRouter, but that's boring even for me, as well as a bit of a disappointment, because I was stretched for time and I took the easy way out and paid for it instead of finding a working keygen. No, don't ask, it's all very very mindnumbing.

And while it's only just gone midnight and I could very well complete my blocks at the very least for the latest mingle quilt, if not the whole quilt top, it's very cold, and I don't feel like it. 

Today I was looking for some plastic egg cases that I bought over two years ago but still haven't gotten around to using. I'm being Maddy's Easter Bunny this year, and since the weather's a bit crappy everything gets it's own little case. I bought some more but these ones that are hiding were larger and I wanted some size variation, unfortunately they will have to wait another easter as I can't find them. What I did find though was a lovely stack of 10cm squares - 20 fabrics of which there is 20 squares of most of them, except that for two of the yellows there's only 10. Possibly that's why it was stashed.


I've since bought another half yard of one of the half-there fabrics, so I can do that one, and the other may just still be at Stitch and Knit. Hopefully, since it means I only need to pay $2 for 10cm, instead of $20 for a yard on etsy, since the only seller I can find doesn't want to post to Australia, and roundabout ways of posting are usually add up to it being just as expensive as buying locally.


So once I fill in my missing 10 squares, doing them in a simple 20x20 diagonal grid is now another one on my list of to-do quilts. I think it's been on the list and off the list and on the list again, which is quite confusing.

Anyway, just cause it's Friday, and apparently a "good" one at that, here's a quick stuff I like.

I like those zippers that have the double pull so you don't have to have it done all the way down to the bottom when you don't want it to be.

I like packet muffin mix.

I like having my very own sniffing nose humans*.

I like hidden caches of chocolate.

I like getting Peppermint Club chocolate, and nibbling the side off of the block and then sucking the peppermint creme out, and not actually eating the rest of the chocolate (which is dark, and a little too rich to eat all of).

I like coming from a family where Easter is an excuse to sit around a fire, have a few drinks and tell rude jokes, and that I don't have to get up early on Sundays (or any day, actually)

I (secretly) like that I thought Mexican night was tonight when it's actually tomorrow, because I'm working tomorrow night and that means I don't have to drink tequila, and thank god for that, since tequila makes your clothes fall off.


*I have no sense of smell and the aforementioned packet mix muffins were just starting to burn when my Mum arrived and told me.

oh, and the ;) in the title is because I'm going to bed now.

Friday, April 22, 2011

So old it feels new...

After so long piecing backings without much pre-planning, and before that mainly piecing quilts by cutting long strips and sewing them together, it was nice to get back into the swing of chain piecing for my third mingle quilt.

This is, sorta, what it's gunna look like. I'll keep shifting the fabrics till I'm happy: I worked my way through dozens of variations already tonight.


I think my problem is that I'm not quite sure which fabric print is the one that most needs the even spread. Instinct tells me that it's the one with the dark brown stripe, surely, but when I'm shuffling them about I'm most concerned with not having the brown circles and the purple and green stripe together, which makes it a bit silly that I put one of them inside the other. Whoops. And then, looking at this picture, it's the dark green that stands out the most, so I'm a bit confused.

And what do I do when I'm confused? CGI rendering of course.


The shading is way off in that, because I just chopped squares out of the above photo and it's always darker at the top of the shot. But I like the more random* seeming one. I'll try it in real life tomorrow. I didn't want to sew my start blocks yet because I wasn't sure which one might end up in half, but I'm 99% sure it will be the ones shown in half there, no matter where all the others are. So that's about 14% sorted then.

In other news, I bought pair #2 of yesterdays boots, and I'm still seriously considering #3 and 4. I think this kinda progress deserves many new shoes, since I paid about that much for these fabrics.

*the pattern is actually almost as regular as the top one, just 180 swiveled instead of duplicated as is, with the center ones swapped so it wasn't touching itself*


*because eww.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another post about boots...

I have a dream boot, a boot that is perfect in every respect, that fulfills my every criteria for a boot. It is a cowboy boot in a beautiful caramel-ey tan colour. It has slight curves at the top where the pull tabs are. It has a round toe, and the sole doesn't extend past the leather very far, if at all. It has a low heel, about an inch, which is fairly square, without too much of a cuban slant, but doesn't have a spur ridge sticking out. It has a little bit of embroidery, but nothing too ostentatious, in the same colour as the leather. It has a 14" or 15" shaft height, and it doesn't have a seam up the back.

Today, for the first time ever, I saw my perfect boot appear on my computer screen.

Tragically, this doesn't mean that my perfect boot exists. All it means is that I have taken a stock photo of my actual boots, and stretched them to be tall.

What I want to know is, why can't Ariat do that? I didn't even use fancy software, I just did it in Paint. All I want is my boots, which are youth size 5 Heritage Ropers, with a 14" shaft height, instead of an 8" one.

About the closest they do is the Crossfire, with a square toe, wide stiched sole, slightly cuban heel with a spur ridge and white flame stiching and flame pull tabs, with a very deep v curve at the top. Womens Heritage Ropers are 11" tall, and that's not enough when your legs look like twigs.


Mythical CGI non-existent boot to the left, availiable but not quite what I want Crossfire boot to the right
So, naturally, I've completely changed tacks, And, having spent the last 4 hours looking at pretty much every boot on eBay, I have this advice:

If you ever feel like looking for boots on eBay, go and bang your head against a wall until you get a concussion, and then go to the hospital. Don't take your laptop with you. Do not look for your mythical "perfect" boots on eBay. It will make you wish you
had banged your head repeatedly against a wall, because it will make you feel as if you had, without the chance to get medical assistance.

Seriously, it's a bad idea. I ended up with 31 peairs of boots in my watch list, though I've since had a measure of my current boots and feet and have ruthlessly culled all the ones that I wouldn't fit into, leaving me with 15.

Of these, I am seriously considering four pairs.

First is the Melissa Button by Frye, and I'm worried it's a little too equestrian and not quite enough cowboy. They're at about $100 and postage would be about $45. 

These are random vintage boots. I'm waiting for a reply about postage costs - They're buy it now for $45.

These are from Germany, and to get two pairs, this blue/grey pair and a pair in purple, would be about $110 including postage. I'm waiting on an email as to whether or not there is a seam up the back. If there isn't, I'm getting both.

As a result of all this, I'm gunna stop buying fabric for a bit. Not because I want to, but because I'll have spent all my money on boots, and wont be able to afford any fabric. But I've still got some care packages on the way, so I should be fine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Plead the Fifth...


Yes, I know it's silly to put up a photo of my epic fail and then say I don't want to talk about it. But I will say that it's all okay now - a combination of my feeling quite good going into doing the binding (see previous post) and that positivity stopping me from shoving the whole damn thing into the fire, and the fact that I appear to have chosen the one fabric on which it is completely impossible to see the seams, even when there's 3 of them in a 20cm section.


I just feel that it's important to show our failures, lest we turn into big blogging fakers.

And yes, I know that I'm not American, and that therefore any amendments to their constitution don't actually have any bearing on my rights. It sounds cool, okay?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stuff I'm liking...

I like sitting quietly and listening to my harddrive whirring as it writes the files I'm downloading.

I like having fourteen million, seven hundred and six thousand, one hundred and twenty five colours on my computer to choose from.

I like the way my keyboard protector mutes the sound of my keystrokes so it sounds relaxing, not jarring, as I type.

I like using the squares of lino on the floor to make sure that I have trimmed my quilt square.

I like laying out my fabrics on the floor and organising them into pretty combinations.

I like having all of my favourite fabrics from the Central Park range, and not having to worry what on earth I'm going to do with the other ones.

I like being one of the few bloggers who isn't excited about that fabric at Joann's, mainly because I don't know who Joann is.

I like the fact that it's Tuesday night, and my pay has gone though.

I like the fact that it's not a car week (car weeks are every second week, when I pay $180 off on my car. I assume every week is a car week, and as a result, one in two Tuesday evenings are spent feeling stoked that it's not a car week)

I like mintchoc icemagic.

I like the fact that when I went through and reread all of these, I thought that mintchoc icemagic was gibberish I'd accidentally typed by resting my hands too hard on the keyboard.

I like defining myself through objects, even though I know it's kinda a bad habit. If it makes you feel any better, the objects I consider to most define me are my two necklaces, once of which is my name and one of which is a version of the RM Williams longhorns, both designed by me.

I like choosing the perfect item from a sea of not quite perfect items, and then telling myself I don't actually need it. I like it even better when this works, and I don't buy it. (But if anyone wants to buy me a $300 pair of boots, I've found then for under half price, and I wouldn't say no)

I like graphs, especially ones about my internet usage, but ones about currency or Mark Webber's performance in the Chinese Grand Prix will suffice.

I like mumbling math workings under my breath. I do it at work too, when I'm processing customer's refunds. I like to think it's helpful in that it lets them understand why I've scanned their items on and off so many times in an attempt to appease the computer, but my coworkers think it's annoying.

I like escaping the lure of the kitchen fireplace, which pretty much says over and over "Come on, sit on the couch. It's nice and warm and relaxing." And then saps away all motivation you may have previously had to get anything done.

I like the bright green colour of the bin liner in our loo.

I like giving up on a novel halfway through because I can see where it's going, and I don't like it.

I like rereading books I've read a million times before. I like rebuying books I used to (and maybe still do, somewhere) own.

I like going into shops occasionally just to see if something is finally on special, and leaving without buying anything if it isn't.

I would like it if some sort of email notification could be set up to alert me when this particular item is on sale. It would save me getting rained on as I got out of my car.

I like living in a town with deregulated trading hours, because it means I can work all through Easter, limiting my days spent camping in the rain with family to one and increasing my hourly rate of pay two and a half times.

I like the fact that I'm going to be on the smokes counter tomorrow night, which doesn't get busier like the rest of the store does.

I like rereading old blog posts, up to and including last night's. It seemed like a rambling mess to me at the time, so thankyou for liking it. Normally I have to resort to interpretive dance to get some of the more complex bits across.

I like being read by people who get what I'm getting at.

I like putting one of my quilts over my head and pretending I'm a blanket blob.

I'm not making you read it.

I'm in a very weird mood, natural side effect I guess of watching a couple of episodes of Wilfred (ummm...) and then reading back over my old blog. I found what I was looking for though, which at least means I wont have to go through it again.

I think the key to happiness is not finding yourself, but realising you've been there all along. It's so much easier to look back on your actions in the past and go "That wasn't me, that was some silly ignorant immature little girl" and while that's true, she was also you, and while you keep denying what you've done you're also denying who you are.

Nonetheless, who I was was kinda unpleasant. If I could go back in time I would probably slap her. But I'm a better person now for not only having been a whiny little emo bitch, but for having the guts to admit that not only was I in the past, but somedays I still am.

I try quite hard to not be, and it's usually quite easy to get over it. There is simply so much amazing and interesting and beautiful stuff in the world that I feel guilty about wasting my time with sooking, but it's okay, because it's only happening because of the amazing connections firing in an amazing brain that has amazingly evolved over millions of years to make me who I am today. A female 20-something homo-sapien on a ball of rock and water, surrounded by gas, traveling through space at millions of miles an hour, accessing information at the speed of light through fibers made of glass, in a house wired to electricity made on a massive scale at huge factories, but which travels sedately into a laptop with a thousand times more processing power than the first space shuttle. A laptop made in a factory thousands of miles away, but which nonetheless plugs into my wall just fine. Which I use it to talk to people, thousands of miles away, who I may never meet. 500 years ago, they weren't even sure there were people on the other side of the world, now, instead, I'm sitting here wondering why the people on the other side of the world don't have Milo. Powdered chocolatey maltey goodness in a can. How can I be glum in a world where I can drive (!) a car made in Japan (!) at 100km/h (!) to a supermarket and buy myself a tin of Milo?

The car has been around for about 120 years now. Once, you would pay more than you would for a house, and it would be a dangerous, inefficient, uncomfortable way of getting about. But we've made progress, and now I can pop a sliver of metal into a slot in the interior of my safe, efficient, comfy interior and listen to the voices of those who are no longer with us, on my bitchin' stereo. There's thousands of parts that make up the sound system alone, and they all had to be thought up, and made and fitted together. And once they'd done all that, there had to be international supply networks to get it to me. And a global economy so I could shell out 14grand of my money and they could go home and have tea that night. Except, it wasn't 14k of my money, it was the bank's money and I'm gunna pay them back, at an agreed rate with fixed terms. Isn't that amazing? That we're all civilised enough to come up with interest rates? Once there was lawlessness and thieving. Now there is mortgage insurance.

It used to be that they thought that once you were going faster than a creature (a horse, since we still haven't learned how to ride cheetahs) could run, your brain wouldn't be able to keep up. They worried that steam trains would derail because the drivers wouldn't be able to cope at the high speeds. And now we let 16year olds drive tons of metal down highways covered in similarly sized metal pods, at very high speeds (by the standards of a horse) and while there are lots of injuries and fatalities, actually, there isn't many at all. Because we are all agreed, we drive on this side, at this speed, this light means this, this sign means that...

On the one hand, all this is boring, and mundane. On the other, it's amazing, fascinating and wonderous. Think what people 200, 100, even 50 years ago would think of the world today. We've hit the future and we didn't even realise it, But instead of marveling at it all, we whinge that the webpage is taking too long to load, that the car behind us is too close, that our fast food is too greasy/salty/sugary/flavourless. We do this because we are people, we've hit the lifestyle equivalent of 100km an hour and not only kept up, but exceeded it, just like we did when we first got on board the steam train. But we forget, when we flick a lightswitch, all the amazing things that have happened to illuminate our little spaces. But we shouldn't.

Arthur C. Clarke once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

It's a beautiful soundbite, but it gets better:


"We can fly. We can turn fire to ice, and vice versa. We can talk to those on the other side of the world. We can make salt water drinkable. And we can change every being of how we look. We can save life. We can give life. We can take life. We can turn darkness to light. We can make that which is old, new. We can breathe under water, and we can touch the stars.
Tell me, is that not magical?"


So next time the whiny little sixteen year old you is forcing the rest of you to have a whiny little sixteen year old moment, take a moment to remember how damn magical it all is.

Because this message has come to you at the speed of light. And that seems pretty magical to me.


*Unintended nonsensical rant over. No offense is meant toward 16 year olds, no matter how whiny they may get, because it's not their fault. Hooray for science!*

And now, some XKCD comics.










Sorry. Sometimes nerdy comics explain it better than I can. And you gotta admit, Mickey is a pretty awesome song.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The evening after the night before...

I must confess, I came home last night. I hadn't had anything to drink because I had done about 5 trips into town to get more stuff, and I figured there was bound to be more. And then, later in the night, Steph "Boobs" Vine was feeling a bit sick and considering taking her fiancee's ute and driving it the 40km to her house, leaving him with nowhere to sleep, and the wet grass had soaked through my boots, so at about 11 we decided to head home. She pulled the, I'm not tired, lets watch a movie/falling asleep on the couch before the end of the opening credits routine, and I downloaded and watched a couple of new episodes of Mythbusters. It wasn't a bad party, the band was a bit shit, and it was too cold for us skinny girls later in the night, but everyone seemed to be having fun.

Which leads to: Today.

Since most of my friends are farmers, or grew up on farms, they all wake at ungodly hours of the morning. After passing out at 4am, they will be up and about and ready to continue drinking at 6am. I of course, would struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed at 6am even if I'd had an early night the previous one, so I settled for 8.30am.

It was horrible. There was a screeching alarm and it was cold out and I immediately had an asthma attack. Nature's way of saying I should sleep in, I think. And of course, when we got there, everyone was standing around having a beer and psyching themselves up for the drive home (some people had come 300km, as opposed to 3) so I went and got maccas, and bought out the bitchin' chair and ate Jatz biscuits as some people left and some people got drunk all over again. I'm not gunna begrudge them that. It was a lovely day, and they were mainly drinking their own alcohol, with only a slight fortification of Casey's Bundy cans with my Jamesons. I considered getting my drink on, but I had quilting to do. So I came home, ate a big bowl of Milo with a little bit of icecream, and got stuck in.

Quilting, the process of sewing through the three layers of fabric and batting, is really boring. I am not a quilter, in that I don't "quilt" (by the above description) for fun. Quilting is just a means to an end, a way to convert the pretty pieced tops and backs, which are what I enjoy doing, into a nice snuggly quilt. Maybe if I had a longarm machine, I could turn it into an artform, but sewing from one side to the other, turning it around, and doing it again, just following seam lines and hoping it doesn't bunch up too much, feels a bit like a chore. The fun part for me is keeping a running percentage of how far I've done, but then, I am odd like that, and I also like to count the number of sewing lines I have remaining when I'm assembling too. I guess it makes me feel like I am getting somewhere, even though it looks like I've sewn a million lines, but I still have a billion more to go.

Unfortunately, I realised after 4 pm that I didn't actually have anything to bind it with anyway, so it wasn't gunna get done. But the bloody quilting is out of the way, for that one at least, and now there's only 4 more to quilt* before I've done half my WIPs, and can get to something new.

Still, since the quilting was done I could take it to Helen's and let Bob have a stomp on it, which is the important thing really, and they don't need a binding for that. Then I had an over-tired wonder if the lights were straight (I'm assured they are) and was told to go home, download a show called Wilfred (there's a dog right, who's a man in a dog suit, but he's actually a dog, and everyone thinks he's a dog, and he acts like a dog, but there's this one bloke who knows he's a guy in a dog suit, and talks to him. Seems a bit odd, but Helen assures me it's brilliant) and have an early night. It's downloading, ETA lunchtime tomorrow, and, y'know, I may just go to bed.

How weird.

*and bind. 4 more to quilt and bind, and another two after Helen's that just need their binding done, and then I can get on with making some more WsIP.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ummm..?

Before I leave for any major drinking/partying/standing in a field type even, I always have a few nasty moments of misgivings. Isn't there better stuff to spend my time on? Don't I have dozens of unfinished projects? Do I realise it's cold outside? Do I realise it's not my house, so I can't sleep in my bed? Shouldn't I just stay at home, in the warm, with a high speed internet connection, and a sewing machine? Because after the second drink, that's no longer an option.*

I know I'm not a particularly social creature. I know I don't like being outside in the cold, and I know I like it even less when I've chosen to do it. I know I pick fights when I'm a bit drunk. I know that if I don't get terrible indigestion then I'll get bored after an hour or two and want to go to bed.

But...

That moment comes after a week or so of looking forward to it. And it tends to get overwhelmed with misgivings I can do something about, such as "Do I have enough drinks, Where is my bitchin chair, Should I take a spare coat, etc?"

I suppose I should go work on those non-metaphorical questions, huh?

See you all tomorrow night! Wish me luck!


*It's about 2km away, this party, but there's a blitz on this weekend and I've seen 6 cars pulled over by the cops in 2 days. I could walk it, I know, but that seems too much like exercise, and that's not something I'm fond of either.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I like.

Okay, so the hair colour is wrong, I don't have dreadlocks, my eyebrows are much lower and my nose is bigger. But whatever. I'd like to see how crap it looks if I'd tried to draw it with a mouse or the touchpad. Hooray for styluses!

What the hey, shit's good, lets like other things too.

I like taking my car in for a service because it's scheduled, not because the engine's blown up.

I like the moment of insanity when there's a spider on your bed, but you can't squish it immediately because you don't want it's guts all over your quilt, so you shoo it onto the spare pillow because you can change that.

I like knowing I should be working on projects, but instead getting out some of my newer stash and coming up with yet more plans for it.

I like days off work.

I like the idea that tomorrow night, I'm gunna stand in a field and get a bit drunk. It's been too long.

I like big coats and vests.

I like sitting in front of the fire because it's warm and it's made me all lethargic.

I like making quilted stubby holders. I like using quilted stubby holders. I like finding a fabric and thinking "hey, this would be perfect for a stubby holder"

I like it when there's a blue or red card in the post office.

I like buying a different bottled water to everyone else (Mt Franklin and Pump are the main bottled waters in Australia, I buy Aqua Essence, because it comes in a bag and is from 500m behind my house)

I like it when people are comletely olivious to an obvious solution. It's a bit mean, but I like to not tell them, and see how long it takes them to figure it out.

I like checked shirts.

I like new socks.

I like the fact that not only am I free to choose what I want to do today, but that I have options.

I like going through really old harddrives and seeing stuff from years ago.

I like reading my really old blogs, and thinking to myself, 'Gosh, you were such a whiny emo"

I like knowing where I've come from, even if I don't know where I'm going.

I like being myself. Noone else would be as good at it as I am.

Sorry.

Couldn't do it. Thought about unrolling it, and laying it out, and shuffling it round, and decided to play with some fabrics instead*.

Another package arrived from fabricshack.com today and just so you all know, meringue is pale yellow, not off-white. Snow seems pretty much perfect as a one-shade-off-of white, but the lighting in the house (actually, in the whole of the south east today) is a bit crappy, so more comparing will need to be done. Also, I didn't buy natural or white, so I'm gunna get them and compare.

I now have all but one of the Central Park fabrics I wanted - I've ordered the purple colourway of the big flowers but I had to get them from a different seller, so they haven't arrived yet.


Fabricshack is out of all the colours of the big flower now - just as well really, or I'd have bought another couple of yards of each - they're definitely my favourite.

Instead (like I don't have enough already) I've gone for a variety of kona blues, some greens, the aforementioned white and natural, and 3 yards of black. Even though I haven't quilted the rainbow zigzag one yet, I'm getting a strong urge to do something else with that stack of rainbow goodness, and I want all the fabrics ready. I've sent a polite note asking them to pop a postit on the different colours so I know what they are, but I really do need a colour chart. It seems I fluked the first rainbow, since I'm really not sure about the colour optins for a wonky solid quilt I want to do in three colours.



The photo with the crappiest lighting (because this is the edge of the central park photo above) is the one where the colours are sorta-halfway accurate. The pink is cerise, the green is chartreuse, then there's emerald, lagoon, royal and magenta. I want the chartreuse to be more yellow, the emerald to be more green, and a blue that's directly between the two there. Here's hoping.

The crazy thing is though, if you fill your envelope, it's cheaper than buying the base quality double blocked homespun from Spotlight. Not just cause the dollar's good - it was that way even before we reached parity. And the designer fabrics at $9 and $10 a yard are not only less than half the price you'd pay in a specialist quilt shop here, but still cheaper than the inhouse, dubiously woven $12.95p/m prints at Spotlight. Really the main reason to go there these days is thread and batting.

When I worked there I would see the wholesale prices of fabric (usually between $2 and $4) and get quite depressed that I had to pay five or ten times that. I like this way better.

*it's okay, I have the next 3 days off work to get it done.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Help!

It's not working.

This was my original plan for the back of Helen's quilt.


Except, y'know, with the gaps filled in with the bits that stick out and all sewn together neatly and everything.

Thing is, I'm hating it. But am I hating it simply because it's not my style and not my colours, or am I hating it cause it's crap?


This is no better. I wanted it to be about the birds though, and my other two fabrics are way brighter than they are.


And if I put them in, they'll need fairly big cuts, since they're fairly large scale prints, and the birds will be fading into the background.

Can someone wave their make it all better wand for me? Mine appears to be broken and my stylus isn't compatible.

It is however, very handy for those nights when you're scoffing froot loops from the packet, and your fingers are sticky and not liking the touchpad. Hooray for the fact that something tonight is working.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I have made progress...

And it feels good. It also felt very slow, because I was fussy cutting a repeat that wasn't printed straight. Not fun, so the progress I've made is barely enough to blog about, but I have cut wonky strips of birds into nice neat rectangles 20cm high by 45.5cm long. Took me just under an hour, and I must say, couldn't have done it without my awesome new 60cm ruler.

The birds are for the back of Helen's quilt, and while I had originally planned on doing something more random like my recent backs, I'm going to just make it a zigzag. 18.5cm of birds and 22.5cm of blue leaves on beige. Sound a bit dull, but it should look modern, classy and refined. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. If it does, fantastic, if it doesn't, I like the idea that Helen will like the front better on at least one of the quilts I've made that live at her house.

And then, because I'm a sucker who subscribes to newsletters put out by people who sell stuff I'm inclined to buy having merely been reminded of the shop's existence, I've bought another 7.5 yards of fabric from The Fabric Quarter. $18 for this lot of postage - no more flanelette, so it's flat-rate-envelopeable. $5 per yard, probably less depending how the dollar is feeling tomorrow afternoon.

I have a rule that says you're not allowed to buy something from a seller when the previous package you ordered hasn't arrived yet. If they continue to time their newsletters for the day after I get their package in the mail, I could end up buying a lot from these guys.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stuff!

Okay, time for a proper post now. Today, instead of actually getting anything done, I just got stuff.

As well as the aforementioned stylus, the post office had a lovely big box of fabric for me.

In it was two 1.5yard pieces of funkadelic flanelette, which I will use for backings when I come up with a suitably funkadellic front.


14 half yard pieces of various fabrics. Randomly selected by the "ooh, that looks nice" method. They were all $5 a yard I think.


I kinda forgot I had ordered this - possibly I should have waited to finish off the Autumn Nutmeg back and added this in. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make another one :)


Seven half yards, and I think it cost me about $19. They're still $8.59/y at fabricshack.com.

After getting all of that, I still had to go to spotlight to get some gold coloured thread to quilt with. Normally I just use white, but I really didn't like the look of it for this one. While I was there I got a half yard of some tulip fabric for the back of Helen's quilt, and they had finally got some big metric rulers in.


Despite the fact that I already have two 15x30cm ones, it's not the same as having a 15x60 cm one. I had a 20% off voucher too so it was about $12. Jolly good. Oh, and the little bundle is a fat eighth that I get sent with the big box of fabric. They sent a quilting magazine too. I think the 13.5 yards of fabric cost me about $115 including postage, and their communication was fantastic. I got lots so my postage was a fair bit - over $40 but it was a box because I got some flanelette and the postage cost written on the box was within a few dollars of what I paid. I don't know that they would be that cheap if you were getting full priced fabrics, but they had a big range of clearance fabrics so that made it pretty good value. I'd say way better than fabric.com but not quite as good as fabricshack.com's $7 postage.

Horray!

You may notice that the file name for this one is I'm a massive loser
As well as that, my big box of fabrics is here from The Fabric Quarter, and while that would usually dominate proceedings, in case the pictures above didn't load, I have a stylus again.

It's bloody briliant.

Okay, I'm gunna go do important stuff for a bit. maybe fabric photoing, maybe quilting, maybe having something to eat. I haven't decided yet.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Guinea Pig Poo.

Eating half a jar of Muskettes really really quickly can generate an awesome burp. Results aren't guaranteed but the one I just did now was spectacular.

When I was little my great grandpa used to buy them for us. I don't know where he got them from, since I don't remember ever seeing them in shops, and this was before they stocked Darrell Lea stuff at the newsagency. He called them Guinea Pig Poos, and I still think of them as that.

Apart from consuming more sugar than necessary and belching a bit, my day's been a bit of a bust. I did a short shift at work because someone called in sick, so I didn't get to go show Helen my pretty new quilt back. I also didn't make a start on the back of her quilt. I should, and I know I should, but I feel an attempt at an early night is due. My waking time is becoming later and later, which pushes my bedtime later and later. It's a vicious cycle, one I hope to rectify with some freshy downloaded episodes of Time Team, which are fantastic at putting me to sleep.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yeah...

I have a fabric as my desktop background on my laptop. Have done for longer than I've been a quilter. Does this make me a massive loser? I don't even know what fabric it is. But I bought the rest of the bolt when it went on clearance, and made 2 handbags and a laptop bag out of it, and I like to coordinate.

I really think my earlier idea would be a massive success. Though possibly in this case it might just be easier to look through my selvedges.

Sometimes I worry that actually, I have enough fabric. Unfortunately, this makes me kinda sad and then I go on ebay and etsy and buy more. It's a vicious cycle. Today I bought the missing Central Park I needed to complete my set of ones I wanted, and 5 yards of the Mingle fabrics I didn't yet have, and some Birdie that was cheap, and filled out my postage quota. I'm a sucker. I'm also waiting on a bundle from Fabric Shack, and a bundle from somewhere else too. I can't remember the website, but it's a big box order.

I wish I could sew faster. I wish I could get my ideas onto fabric before they got replaced by the next idea. I wish I didn't put as much effort into my backs as I did my fronts, because I could finish my quilt in half the time, giving me more time to make tops. I wish I could free motion quilt, because indecision with how I'm gunna quilt the basted quilts I've got backed up is the thing that's holding me up the most right now.

I wish I hadn't eaten as many mint dark chocolate sticks tonight as I have, cause now my tummy kinda hurts. I wish I knew where my camera was, but more than that I wish it was sitting beside me, so I could upload the photos of the Autumn Nutmeg top and back.

Guess I'll have to pause the movie and go find it.

Found it. Found some toast too. The mint choc sticks make me want it.


Here, finally, is the top for the Autumn Nutmeg Quilt.


And the back. Basted and rolled up while I decide what colour thread to use, and how to quilt it.

And now, after having a grumble bum, here's some stuff to cheer myself up.

I love the sound of rain.
I love the glow of the toaster in a dark kitchen.
I love watching movies on my tablet in it's funky new stand while I'm on the laptop.
I love electric blankets.
I love nights when my sisters are off at their boyfs and I've got this end of the house to myself, and I don't have to worry about the volume.
I love this new charger that Steven gave me, cause it works.
I love being able to think to myself toward the end of one movie "I want to watch Coyote Ugly next" and being able to download it before the credits of the movie finish.
I love staying up late.
I love the fact that all my half done projects have been half done for ages, and I didn't get halfway through anything tonight.
I love the fact that my biggest worry is that I have to much fabric. Cause that's not a worry at all really.

Shit's still good.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I have an idea...

You know the Kona Colour chart? I've had an idea that would make that completely obsolete. That would make our lives as quilters way way easier. That would remove the indecision that plagues online fabric shopping.

Someone needs to build a quilt fabric wiki. Maybe an accompanying app would help too. Actually, nix the wiki. Someone should build an app and sell it, and they could make millions.

What this app should do is two things. It should tell you what a fabric is when shown a picture of it. This would save a whole lot of emails saying "What's that fabric there? I need it to make my life complete" And it should tell you what Kona/Moda Bella Solids match closest to a particular point on the fabric.

How brilliant would this be? It would take a whole lot of effort, and even though it would be easier for a fabric company to provide all their info, it'd be tough to get them all to collaborate in the one project. A wiki would be good because everyone could put in, but I've no idea how you could set it up so that non-tech people could put in the information needed for pattern recognition. If a company was willing to do it, I would happily pay for it, hell, if it existed I'd almost buy an iphone just to get it.

Can you run apps on an ipod touch? I don't really want an iphone. But it'd be worth it to be able to go, "I want the pink that matches this bit and the green that matches this bit" without then having to squint at the screen and hope.

They could make it for android too. That'd be better for me. Anyone know an app developer? And have access to a vast amount of fabric to analyse and compare?

Sweet...

I am loving loving loving how these backs are turning out.

Finished back to the Blue, Green and Purple Disappearing Nine Patch

Don't get me wrong - it's still feeling like a slog. I think it's the lack of "sew, press, proceed" routine that's getting to me. There isn't really much more of a plan to it than "42cm long, 10, 15 or 20cm wide. Sew into squares to liking"

Back in progress for Autumn Nutmeg Quilt. Edge triangles have been sewn together, but whole square blocks are just lying there. I realised just now that I don't have a photo of the top either, so I'll have to do that tomorrow.


Still, this will be my third back done in a week. That's good progress. Granted, it's not progress on what I should be making progress on (Quilt for Helen for her birthday, 8 days) buuuut... Remember when I said I was gunna get half my unfinished projects done before #50? I'm gunna get there. I've got quilts at every stage; cut but with no piecing done, blocks pieced but not assembled, tops with no backs, basted quilts, quilts with binding half attached, and freshly finished quilts.

I have one to fully bind and one to finish binding on, three, nearly four (with my half done one above) to quilt, and one more (Helen's) to make a back for. And with the two mini zigzag quilts, and the Newsprint Mingle Quilt, that's over half my unfinished quilts all finished!

Well, it will be, when I'm done.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Guud.*

Do you ever think, "things are so good right here at this very moment, and I don't want to say anything just in case I jinx it"?

I probably just jinxed it. Oh well, I'm feeling good right now, we'll be seeing if it all turns to shit soon or not.

In the meantime, I've been working on the back for the blue, green and purple disappearing nine patch I made just after christmas. Same kind of back as the newsprint mingle got, but planned better. It's still taking bloody ages though. This time I've gone with cutting standardised widths so I can get all the blocks sewn in one fell swoop, which seems like a better idea than the higgledy piggledy method I used last time. Should be all done by tomorrow night.


*This is the slightly munted way we pronounce "good" in our house.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Still Nothing...

Does math count as something to have gotten done? I did a lot of maths tonight, and then I got distracted by a book.

Still, only one more day to work before a highly anticipated 3-day weekend. Should make actual, in the hand progress then.

I'm also looking forward to the arrival of a replacement stylus for my touch screen (immediately followed by the finding of my old stylus, according to the rules of Murphy's law) so I can make myself my first ever button. I'm thinking something along the lines of "I do my own maths" or "I math my own quilts" or possibly, "I've got a calculator and I'm not afraid to use it"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sigh.

For the first time in a while, I have gotten home and really, really not felt like crafting. It could be because I worked a really long day, it could be because I'm on the verge of projects instead of coming to the end of them, it could be that I ate too much chocolate in the car on the way home and when I would normally be finishing up on the laptop and getting into making something, I came down from my sugar high and now I can't get up. Normally when I'm not sewing I'm wishing I was but tonight I've just felt like going to bed. I feel a bit bad, since I have so many projects I should be working on (three more backs to make and quilt, and one that just needs quilting) and I've gone and bought more fabric ($60 for 9 yards from fabricshack.com is, in my opinion, irresponsibly cheap. How am I supposed to afford chocolate with that tempting (and ensnaring) me?)

And, because I can't help myself, quilts #51, 52, 53 and 54 have already been planned, and bought for. My brain needs to slow down, or my body needs to catch up.

The really annoying thig is - you know how hard it is to not buy fabrics? It's even harder than that to not write down and draw up and do all the math for any vauge quilting notion that comes into my head.

Put simply, I'm screwed*.

*Unless they get human cloning sorted ASAP, because that's about the only thing that's gunna help me out. A long lost identical twin could work too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I should probably have split this into two posts...

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for any aneurisms had on Sunday morning. When I pressed the publish post button, blogger told me that it had been scheduled for 5 minutes away, and I was too lazy to go back and make it post straight away. Then I fell asleep, without checking it had uploaded, and got a bit sad the next day that noone had said anything, but I figured it was just because I was being a grumpy bum, and it probably didn't deserve commenting on anyway. Then, when I went in to correct a typo on last night's post, I realised it was still there, labeled as a draft. I backdated the post and made sure it actually uploaded, and went to bed. I'm very sorry Helen, it was Blogger's fault, I promise.

Anyway, tonight, having bought myself a new cutting mat, I got started on my next mingle quilt. I hadn't realised it, but it's been ages since I chopped fat quarters up into neat little squares as a precursor to making blocks one at a time.


I gotta say, it feels inefficient. And after all that time pondering as I tried to iron out a not quite flat bit of strip piecing if it was actually any faster, what with having to do more cutting afterwards and all, I'm thinking it doesn't matter. Cutting (fabric) for two hours is almost enough to make you start cutting (emo style)

Still, my initial squares are all done now, so at least from here on out everything is perfect and regular.


This quilt design is odd, by my standards, since it actually contains no maths. None. At all. You cut four squares, the biggest you can from a fat quarter - I've gone 22cm, but honestly, there's no reason even to conform to whole numbers. Then you pick a point a little way from one corner along an edge, say, 5cm or so. Then you cut from that point to the middle-ish of the opposite side. You remove the small bit of fabric and go from the ghost point that would have been the 5cm or so (same as last time) from the corner in the other direction, and you go to the middle-ish opposite again. The only hard part is your ghost corner, but if you get a piece of paper, draw both lines, then cut one, and then the other, wallah! Templates. Then all you've got to do is shuffle around your insides and your outsides until you've got a design you like and sew it all back together, kite shape to short wedge, then attaching the long wedge to the side, lining up the wide bit with the top of the kite so that your overhang is the narrow bit, which you can then chop off without much waste. Doesn't even matter what your seam allowance is, so long as it's constant. Pretty much a perfect first quilt.

But it's not my first, it's going to be my 50th. Because, dirty little secret, this one was #38.5 - the quilt with no number*.

That's Graham. He's like a ninja, and it's very rare for he and I to cross paths.
This is the quilt I made for the Two Tyred Tutorial, and I'm glad I finished it on the weekend we actually won (please forward your insults regarding our Round 1 performance via the comments box) The colours above are the colours of the Hawthorn Hawks, an Australian Rules Footy team. Any non-Autralian readers should declare their support before Shay tries to woo you to the Adelaide Crows.

Anyway, as well as posting the instruction for this one, here's a quick little thing on how I usually bind quilts, when I'm not boring myself silly with hand sewing them on. I usually call this double wide binding, and it looks best on quilts that are straight line quilted on the machine. Go read this, and then I'll explain my changes.


Firstly, cut your binding 1/2 an inch wider than she says, or 1/2 inch wider than you usually would. I like 9cm, but I also put my needle to the far left so I get a wider binding.

Instead of pinning from the back, put your pins in the front, right up against where the batting folds back on itself. Try to keep a fairly constant amount of excess binding beyond where your pin passes through to the back, you want it to be a quarter inch or so.

Use a zipper foot - one of the ones that has the metal in the middle and open sides. This lets you get really really close to the edge - you want to be stitching into the ditch. Once you've gone the whole way around, tie off your threads.

Flip the quilt over. There should be a quarter inch or so of overhang to your binding. In some places it might be less, in some places a little bit more. Now sew that down from the back - when it gets narrower, you go in so you don't miss any of it, which you might have if you were sewing it blind from the front. I tend to not go out too far even on the bits where it's a bit wider - it makes for a straighter finish on the front if you only veer off in one direction.

Once you've done your full loop, tie off your threads.

The quilt from the front will look like this, with a narrow binding and a second line of quilting about a quarter inch from the edge, just like all the actual quilted lines where the seams have been echoed.

The back will look like this - binding a quarter inch or so wider than it is on the front, double sewn.
That's not brilliant explaining, I know, but despite the fact that this is getting published at 2.45, my body clock still thinks it's nearly 4am.

Damn You Daylight Savings!


*So we're disregarding it with regards to both my "finish half the WIPs before #50" and "do that one you've been gunna-ing since the beginning as #50" pledges.