Starting something new: Twilight

No, I’m not talking about the vampire trilogy.

I’m talking about a new quilt. This one’s for my brother’s youngest daughter, the only one of the four who doesn’t yet have her own quilt.

I’ve got the design and the colour scheme sorted out. It’s going to be soft, dark moody shades of greeny blues, indigos, lilacs and purples.

Pre-Covid, I’d bought two packs of beautiful shot cotton 8 inch squares, one in shades of blues and teals and the other in shades of mulberry and purple, plus two packs of batik jelly roll strips in purple and indigo. The centre of the quilt is going to be a selection of the shot cotton squares bordered by jelly roll strips in matching or toning colours, and the centre will be bordered by jelly roll strip HST blocks.

I have more than enough fabric, so there may well also be blocks on the back too.  It’ll be my standard lap quilt size of 5 x 6 blocks of 12 inches each, QAYG, and probably sashed with very dark blue. I haven’t decided on the backing yet, I’ll wait for the quilt to tell me…

So there you have it. Not a lot of variety in the assembly part of the job, but lots of scope for squinting and rearranging until I have the layout just right. And with the spare fabrics I even have the option to add another row if I decide it needs it. For now, I think the spares are too bright, light or dark, but I may change my mind when it’s on the design wall.

Now, I must crack on with assembling the window blocks.

More soon.


Floribunda: never again

A sad but unsurprising lesson has been learned.

I will not ever again be submitting a quilt to Mackay Show. We went yesterday morning in the hope of enjoyment and interest. Instead, I came away with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Let me set the scene. There’s a large permanent display pavilion where all the craft displays are set out. This includes needlecrafts, children’s artwork, quilts and baking. Normally, all sit together happily. However, this year, the baking and artwork and needlecrafts all seemed to have their usual allocation of space but the quilts were cramped. It didn’t strike me that there were fewer quilts than usual (although I’m willing to concede the point), but they were certainly differently displayed.

Quite a few of them were squashed into too-small gaps, folded in half or overlaid by others, whilst other quilts were shown at full size and in prime positions – and not just the prize winners. Quilts with errors of construction (points being cut off or seams not aligned, bulging and puckering, for example), were fully displayed, where others without those errors were not. (Floribunda, I’m looking at you…).

Floribunda, folded. This was all you could see of the quilt, which was stuck behind an Emergency Exit door and a table.

Justifications were offered by the display stewards, Covid-spacing being the main one; aisles between display walls now had to be wider, and apparently, “some of the ladies who didn’t win prizes took their quilts home to make space” – I heard this exact phrase from two different stewards.

It surprises me that people whose quilts were going to be improperly displayed were not contacted and offered the opportunity to withdraw and be refunded.

It surprises me that quilts with evident errors and poor construction were given full display space while those which were well made were folded and bunched up.

I’m not sad about not winning a ribbon. I don’t think the judging was wrong – the winners were beautiful quilts. What I’m sad about is that in the way the entries were displayed, excellence was not given priority.

Yes, I’m cynical. But that doesn’t mean I’m not also right.

ScrapHappy June: two more for Hopscotch

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

With Floribunda safely entered in the Show and my sewing room cleaned up a bit (I’m ignoring the mending for now!), i was able to turn my attention to the pile of prepared and laid out blocks awaiting assembly. Only two done, but still, better than none, wouldn’t you say? It’s nice to get back to straightforward stitching with a regular foot, rather than quilting, assembling and attaching binding 🙂

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti and Edith

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Floribunda: the last one

Here we are, then.

This is the last one, I promise. Front, complete with binding. I’m rather proud that I’ve managed to keep 90% of the points intact around the outside, an object achieved by sewing the binding first to the back, and then hand-stitching it down on the front so I could micro-adjust the line of the edge to stay clear of the points.

This quilt has been a hard one to photograph nicely. In shade, the colours go dull and dingy. In the sun, they tend to bleach out. You need the human eye to successfully appreciate the colours, the contrasts and the subtleties of the fabrics used.

I’ve added corner pockets and a central hanging pocket on the top edge of the back. I may ultimately remove those before I send the quilt to my niece, since I don’t believe she’s planning to hang it, but then again, they’re not in the way. And the corner pockets came in handy for my human quilt display stand during photography.

The label is a bit more prosaic than usual, since the Show required contact information, which I don’t normally need to add. I won’t show it here, as it gives my phone number, and spammers abound.

I doubt there will be any Show ribbons, but you never know. I’ll be sure to let you know in the event there’s anything to brag about!

And now, a short break for mending, and then on with the next thing.

Bee, Myself & I #53, Parterre block 20

I thought I’d better keep up with this one. There’s a long way to go…

Back to the usual format of flower contrasting with leaves. This is block 20. I have almost none of the left hand leaf fabric, which I’m sad about, as I love it. I have the remainder of a 25cm length of width of fabric of the one on the right, a Martha Negley print I love but which I’ve been unable to find a use for until now. I’ve had it for about 6 or 7 years.

It’s a very light-coloured block overall, and I think I’ll have to make a few more like this or it’ll stick out like a sore thumb when placed amongst all the others in their saturated-colour glory.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

See you next month, hopefully!

Floribunda: all together now

All the blocks are now joined.

Rather than bore you with yet another photo of the front (I’m sure you must be a bit sick of it by now!), I thought you might like to see the back, which is all new. Do click on the image to get a closer view.

I didn’t have quite enough of the yellow bird fabric to make the whole backing, but I’ve picked out colours from the bird print for the corner blocks, and I quite like how it looks. I also really love the orange sashing, which has a delicate gold dot spiral print and occasionally catches the light in an interesting way.

I’ll be binding the quilt in the background green, which will tie in with the front sashing and will look pretty with the yellow on the back. I’ll also have to add hanging pockets at the top edge so that it can be hung at the Mackay Show, and it’ll also need a label. So those have to be added before I bind it. The good thing is that I have plenty of time, as the quilt doesn’t have to be submitted until Friday.

I’ve loved making this quilt, but I’m rather looking forward to getting a few other things done once the pressure is off. There’ll be one more post, I think, to show the finished item, and then I’ll be free to start – or perhaps finish – another project!

Another day or two, I think, and it’ll be done.

The Adventures of Mouse: Life’s a beach

Although what’s wrong with being a bitch I fail to see….

Speaking as a doggo, of course. But Mum says this is more polite, and due to the nature of this post, appropriate. Oh well, in that case. The things I let the Staff get away with. (Gosh, his Lordship can be snarky at times – Mum)

Anyway, onwards. This place has a jolly fine beach. Doggos are permitted year round, off-leash before 8am and after 4pm, leashed the rest of the time. Mum says if I want another walk later this afternoon, we might arrange it to be after 4pm so I can Run. This is pretty generous of her, considering how, um, distressed, she was when I found a large dead fish head to roll in this morning. She pounced before I’d had time to do more than rub one cheek on it, but it was clear that I wasn’t going to be allowed to apply that particular eau de pong

Anyway, for the interested, here’s the view at Kinka Beach. Off to the left somewhere is Great Keppel Island. Bear in mind this is early winter, and although it’s a well-known holiday destination and the snow-birds are here, we had the place to ourselves…


I don’t suppose there will be much to report today. Now that the Staff are no longer rabid pie-hunters and Mum has to watch her intake a bit, things are much less interesting on the begging-for-a-taste front. Groceries are being bought later, I expect I’ll get a bit of cheese, but for now, I’ll concentrate on topping up the snooze-tank.

Till the next time,

The Adventures of Mouse: A short break

Hello people, Mouse here again.

Something had been going on for a few days, but the Staff had not informed me what… It turns out we were heading down the coast a little for a short three day break. Because it was short, Mum had not been fiddling about for days in advance, making me all unsettled. The Staff got everything done on the morning we left, with the unfortunate result that a couple of things have been left behind. Nothing critical, and nothing of mine, luckily.

Anyway, we are now at Kinka Beach, near Yeppoon. We’ve been here before, so it’s nice to revisit all the smells and the, ahem, message posts. The Staff have considerately brought my Floof and my privacy fence, so I will be able to lie comfortably in the sun without neighbouring small yappers trespassing on My Territory.

“What is a Floof?” you ask.

Floof is a doughnut-shaped, highly silky-fluffy stuffed ring with a soft padded middle instead of a hole. It is Me sized, so I can curl up inside or lie across it. It’s also light and, did I mention, fluffy? So it makes a perfect Fluffy Prey Toy, and I spend many happy hours savaging it, dragging it about and vanquishing it when it gets uppity.

I don’t think the Staff have big plans for today. Mum originally thought she’d be hand-stitching down the binding on the Floribunda quilt, but she didn’t quite manage to get it fully assembled before we left. But she says we have enough time to get it finished for the Show after we get back. Now, she says she’ll sit in the sun and read her new book (The CSIRO Low-Carb Diabetes Diet & Lifestyle Solution – Mum).

Oh, and I wondered why Mum kept popping in and out after dinner. It seems there is a Celestial Event in progress. A Blood Moon Eclipse!

I’ll pass, thanks. It’s much warmer and comfier inside. Even this sighthound isn’t tempted to gaze at the moon…

A different kind of sweetness

I have been a Very Good Girl.

I’ve got all the blocks for Floribunda quilted, in my usual freehand wavy line pattern.

I’ve also sorted out fabrics for the sashing front and back. It will be the same green as the green block backgrounds on the front. On the back it will be a goldeny-orange batik fabric with spiral swirl patterns and a tiny touch of metallic gold.

It’s really satisfying to have this bit done. Tomorrow I shall start cutting the sashing strips for front and back, and if time permits, I shall start assembling. I’ve got an appointment with the Diabetes Educator at 11.30am, which promises to be quite an intensive session.

I’m also continuing to be a Very Good Girl in other ways.

My lunches these days are nearly as colourful as the quilt, don’t you think? In the past 18 days, I have lost 5kg (11 pounds).

So, progress on the quilt, and progress with improving my health.


Farewell to all that

The Great Australian Pie Tasting Tour is no more.

I must bid farewell to my ongoing vacation-time quest in search of Australia’s best steak & kidney pie. Also chocolate cake, cheesecake, biscuits, cookies and cupcakes. Out of the blue, symptom-free, I have been diagnosed as type 2 diabetic. My doctor spotted high blood sugar on my annual blood work-up and sent me to do a glucose tolerance test.

I did not ace it.

The radio silence from Chiconia these past few days has signalled furious behind-the-scenes activity. I have made appointments with all the necessary healthcare professional. I have been thoroughly scared into submission by the highly menacing information in all the booklets and fact-sheets and websites I’ve been directed to. I’ve ordered information books and cookbooks. I’m waiting to find out what kind of glucose monitor and test strips I shall need. I am rattling with medication and vibrating with good intentions.

There’s one upside. I don’t need to inject insulin. Yet. Whether that materialises is in my hands and how well I control my intake. We all know I’m anally retentive, so hopefully I’ll stay well on top of it, but equally, we all know I dearly love a good meat pie, and my ongoing love affair with cake in all its forms is legendary. This will require a severe exercise of willpower and common-sense.

If there are any T2 diabetics out there who’d like to share their top 3 tips, I’d be delighted to hear from you. If any non-diabetics would like to offer some cheerful encouragement, that would also be most welcome, as I’m feeling very meh, not to say depressed.

Meanwhile, I’ve quilted two thirds of the Floribunda blocks. Two rows left to go. I might just have time to finish it amongst all the medical appointments!

Ah well. Illegitimi non carborundum, as Pa used to say.