It’s a Beeyootiful world…

Or it will be, if we stay friends with the bees.

Today is World Bee Day

Who knew (apart from the beekeepers among us)? It’s a global event, apparently. But I’m glad we have a day for the bees, without whom we would find it hard to feed ourselves. Do the little buzzy girls amongst us a favour: reduce pesticide use and plant flowers. Buy quality honey; some cheap honeys are simply flavoured syrups. Support small producers. And if you have the space and local regulations allow, why not keep a hive yourself? Bees are dying out and we needz beez.

And now, I’m off to celebrate with some toast and honey ūüôā



BougieNights: six to go

I got a bunch more blocks quilted.

There are 14 done and only six left to go, and I’ve managed to locate the sashing fabric and cut a few strips despite the fact I don’t yet have a cutting table (not long to go there, though!).

The only reason I haven’t finished it is the never-ending renovation list. However, even there I’ve managed some progress. We got some track and bookshelves up on the blue wall, and I shelved 12 boxes of books there and in the book case to the left. The shelves aren’t quite as long as I’d have liked, but they come in standard lengths and a slightly longer shelf would have meant cutting off and wasting about half a metre from a longer length, which I couldn’t allow myself to do! However, on the upside, this gives me the space to hang a picture on either side, so it’s not all bad. And in case you’re wondering, the shelves are level; it’s the roof that’s sloping down… I whittled down my craft and quilting books considerably, and now it’s just the left hand half of the bottom shelf; all the big books both standing and stacked. I have yet another large carton of general fiction I’ll never read again, so that’ll be going to the op (charity/thrift) shops too.

One thing is becoming clear about the sewing room and that’s a lack of wall space. I have two big windows, the design wall, and on the fourth side, open space. Before, I had a lot of stuff stored on shelves all round the walls, which won’t work here, so it’s going to be necessary to think about how and where I keep things. There are still 4 large boxes of bits and pieces shoved under one of the tables, so the problem isn’t going to go away.

And finally, I’ve dug out a bunch of paper-pieced star patterns for the ovarian cancer Scinteallate quilt. It’ll be such a great way to use up some of the larger scraps from previous quilts. Hopefully I’ll find time in the next few days to make a start so I can post something soon. We have a few participants now: Me, Lynn, Nanette, Margaret, Sue, Lynda, Gun and Sharon (for whom I need an email address, if you’re reading this!). That brings us up to 12 blocks plus however many I make, so if you missed my earlier post and you’d like to join in, leave a comment or send me an email. If I make the quilt the same size as previous ones, that leaves me with 18 blocks to make myself, so I’m considering making it smaller, at 5 x 5 blocks instead of 5 x 6. That’s a total of 25 blocks, which is a bit more manageable.

Right, back to rulers, markers ‚Äď and boxes!

ScrapHappy May

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.

Here’s more progress on Days Gone By, the memory quilt made from scraps generated in the making of Days for Girls kits. Again, lots done; the piece is almost square now. I worked on it in the evenings while my sewing room was still very disorganised, and it has paid off.


And after:

As you can see, I finished the row at the bottom of the top shot, then turned it round and aded two rows to the bottom of the second shot. The 4 hexie flowers at bottom left are made up but not yet attached. It’s getting a bit cumbersome, so I need to spend time picking out the basting and removing the papers from the back so that the piece is more supple and user friendly.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything ‚Äď 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‚Äôd 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôll 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). This month, our new member is Sue L, so make sure you take a look at her blog too.

Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

See you again, same time next month


Twinkle, twinkle, little star

It’s time for the next Ovarian Cancer quilt.

You’ll remember that henceforth, our quilts are being made to be auctioned at the Nude Lunch, our local annual Ovarian Cancer fundraising extravaganza. Not only will they raise more money than was being achieved by Ovarian Cancer Australia, but the money is being spent locally, for the benefit of local ovarian cancer patients and their families. The next Nude Lunch is on 6th September this year. Ooooer… a bit of a deadline, then. So, well, I stirred up the little grey cells, and we have liftoff.

The quilt is going to be called Scinteallate. Yes, I’m still finding ways to play with the word Teal.

Here’s what the dictionary has to say:

Given the meaning, I thought twinkling stars would be a really pretty visual interpretation. So this quilt will feature 30 teal star on cream background blocks, each 12 inches square (finished size). As always, I will sandwich, quilt and assemble the whole thing. What I’m asking is that each block should be as scrappy as possible, to give the twinkling effect I’m hoping for, like faceted jewels. You can make crazy stars, wonky stars, traditionally pieced, appliqu√©d or paper pieced stars. You can add beads, sequins or metallic threads (just bear in mind I’ll have to quilt the blocks). You can make your stars very simple or as complicated as you like. I will probably cluster the more complex blocks in the middle of the quilt and spread the simpler ones around the outside to give the effect some ‘air’. The format will be 5 across by 6 down, and I will assemble using the QAYG method, as always.

Timing: I need your contributions here by the end of June. For contributors not in Australia, this means sending your block(s) by mid-June. That will give me enough time to quilt and assemble the quilt and get it to the Naked Lunch organisers in time for them to include it in the event program.

Contributors so far:
Kate (as many blocks as necessary to bring the total up to 30)
Lynn (2 complex blocks)
Nanette (2 blocks)
Margaret (2 blocks)
Sharon (1 block)
Lynda (2 blocks)
Sue (1 or 2 blocks)
Gun (2 blocks)

So, who else is in?

Fabric archaeology

I thought about ‘excavation’, but ‘archaeology’ is more apt.

The Cupboard of All Colours has come home. It nearly killed me, but it’s here, and finally doing its job after a massive sort-out. Fabric tastes change over time, don’t they? Designs and colours I loved years ago are now, frankly, a bit meh. I’ve become bolder, less restrained. I quilt for personal delight even when making for others, rather than working with fabrics to please the recipient which don’t please me much.

The result is that my stash has had strata of fabric laid down it it which are representative of eras in my creative life, like excavating that motherlode of archaeology, the midden. And I’ve been bold in my midden-stirring. Much has gone, donated either to Days for Girls if colour- and fabric-appropriate, and to the op (thrift) shop if not. Certain midden-inhabitants are still lovely and beloved, even if I have never made anything from them in the many years I’ve had them, and I’ll continue to given them cupboard space. This isn’t a purge, it’s a mindful selection process, and if I want to keep it just because, I will.

But the net result is that the Cupboard of All Colours is now tidily stacked and stocked, rather than full to bursting with bits and pieces squished into every available corner. Fabric saved for specific purposes is folded away into project boxes. Dress fabrics are in a large plastic tub, together with the patterns. My colour-coded fabric baskets are arranged tidily. Wool and other yarn has its own shelf. I’m really pleased at how tidy it’s looking, even if the preponderance of work boot shoe boxes isn’t exactly tasteful (the Husband gets through a pair a year, so it’s one resource I have in plenty). I wonder if I’ll be able to preserve this exalted level of perfection. I doubt it, but for now, I’ll enjoy it. Of course, the rest of the sewing room is still pretty chaotic; I have to take order where I can find it!

The job¬† has been made much easier by the already extremely compact nature of my stash. I no longer buy fabric for quilting unless I have a project in mind for it. It’s all too easy to accumulate a vast stash that way, tying up both money and space, only to find a couple of years later that actually, you don’t love those fabrics so much any more. You can see how small those fabric baskets are; I don’t have secret yardage stored anywhere else, I promise.

I know it’s not quite natural in a quilter, but if feels quite liberating!

BougieNights 4: half done

Somewhere in there, I found the time.

Half the blocks are now quilted, using the simple 2 inch cross-hatch I planned. It’s one of my favourite textures for a quilt that has a lot going on visually, which is certainly true of Bougainville Nights. It also has the great virtue of being quick, both to mark and to quilt! This isn’t going to be a large quilt, 48×60 inches, but it’ll look gorgeous draped over my sofa in front of the book cases, and it’s quite large enough to snuggle under for a quick snooze…

You can tell my new room is larger, because I now have space to move far enough back to take a straight-on photo of the design wall. It avoids all sort of contortions and leaning sideways over thin air to try and get as straight as possible. On the left, you’ll see the big block which is going to become a cushion cover, as well as the last Hatbox block, waiting for me to join the others in their box somewhere in a pile of three big black tubs.

I now have a lot more stuff unpacked, and have assembled another two storage units to house it. I have baskets lined up on the top of one of the units with some of the WIPs/forthcoming projects in them, just to remind me not to start anything new… Well, OK, to be strictly picky, they are new projects, but ones I’ve already planned, rather than new new projects. Slowly, slowly, patches of clear floor are emerging.

I’m still gathering my strength/waiting for the Husband to be available/ hoping for a dry spell in the weather in order to dismantle and bring over the beautiful but quite astonishingly heavy oak Cupboard of All Colours. I have its spot ready, and its contents already packed and waiting to be reinstalled, it’s just the thing itself. It’s not that I don’t know how to do it; the cupboard has been disassembled and re-assembled four times already, it’s just that it’s at least a two, and probably three person job. But once it’s here, o joy. It’s beautiful, it’s capacious and it’s lined in cedar. I miss it…

I also miss my tool board, cutting table, desk, iMac, books and bookshelves, but that’s a whole other story.

A little bit of fun

I found the link for this in Anne Lawson’s newsletter.

I love a bit of a “What kind of xxxx are you?”, so of course I clicked on it and took the quiz. Turns out to be, well, right… Click on the picture to have a read. Anyone who knows me will recognise my way of working.

Are you a bit curious about what drives you to create, and who would work well with you?

Go on, give it a try.