Miss Scarlett stretches her legs

We’re safely home, in one piece and tidied away already.

I was looking back and trying to work out when we’d last done a big trip like this, and was horrified to discover that the last long ride we did was back in October 2016, when we went up to Far North Queensland. Since that time there’s been knee surgery and the purchase of our caravan, both of which have tended to reduce the long distance motorbike travel. We did go to last year’s national rally, a much longer journey, but towed Miss Scarlett on a trailer behind the car rather than riding down.

Neither of us is getting any younger, a fact underlined by our ambitious travel program. The 500+km trip down took longer than we’d hoped, and we started late (the Husband was on night shift and got home at 5.30am, so we didn’t start out till 10.30am). The last hour of the journey was done in the chilly dark, with both of us vigilantly scanning the roadside left and right for the guided missiles also known as kangaroos. It’s a bike rider’s worst nightmare, a large kangaroo appearing out of the darkness and deciding that this precise moment is the one when he wants to cross the road. We were spared, but cold, tired and a bit tense by the time we arrived!

Our accommodation was the nice old 1920s colonial-style Albert Hotel in Monto, with the pub downstairs and the rooms upstairs, off a deep, shady verandah. State of the art it was not, but it did have heaps of comfort, period features, a large bedroom next to the bathroom, and really good plain home cooking. Up briskly the next morning, and another 250km ride to catch up with our club friends.

I think the smiling faces say it all, really…

Out the front of the Goomeri Bakery (which richly deserves its outstanding reputation!), the bikes were all lined up, and once the cakes and pies were eaten, and the coffees were drunk, we gathered in the sunshine to admire, tell tales, commiserate and do a spot of gentle bike-bragging. It’s such fun to gather with a nice bunch of people with similar interests and absolutely no axe to grind. As you can see, the weather smiled on us – in fact, it smiled the whole trip.

We didn’t make the mistake of starting late on the journey home. We’d come back to the Albert for a second night, and this time, we set out 3 hours earlier. Despite taking a slightly longer (and possibly less roo-prone) route, we were home before dusk. The trick, I find, is to stop frequently for a short time. It wasn’t the back or the knees that were giving me trouble, but lack of blood flow to my backside!

Kms covered: 1700+. Satisfaction rating: 8/10 (we’ll get the timing right next time!)

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Road Trip!

It’s time to test my repaired knee…

Tomorrow morning we’re setting off for a road trip with Miss Scarlett the motorbike and Rolling Thunder the trailer. It’s the first big trip I’ve done for ages, and more specifically since I had my knee arthroscopy. There’s only one way to find up if it’ll stand up to three days on the motorbike, and that’s to do it.

The trailer is mostly packed. We don’t actually need it since we’re not camping, but since the advent of the caravan we’ve become accustomed to travelling in a certain style, and with more of the comforts of home than before. So the trailer will carry the coffee machine and milk frother, and a much bigger than usual bag of gear, and food and tools, and a quilt… well, you get the idea. Plus, it’s a smart and good-looking setup, and Miss Scarlett doesn’t object to pulling a trailer at all.

Day 1, Friday, we’ll do about 560kms, and stay overnight at Monto. There’s not a whole lot there, so we’ll be staying at the Albert Hotel, a big old colonial style pub with accommodation upstairs along a wide veranda with wrought iron railings. It’s basic, but hopefully it’ll be comfortable.  Monto will be noticeably colder than it is at home, hence the quilt, just in case. Day 2 we’ll head 250kms south again, to catch up with fellow bike-club members at Goomeri, another little south-east Queensland town, but one with a fabulous bakery and café. They’re all coming up from Brisbane and other parts of south-east Queensland. It’s not what you’d call halfway, but it’s only us coming down from the north, so it makes sense not to make everyone else travel further, and they can get there in a few hours on Saturday morning. It’s what the club calls a Ride to Eat, where eating provides the excuse to climb on the bike for a ride! And after a cup of coffee and a pie or a cake, we’ll turn around and go back to Monto.

And then on Day 3, we’ll point ourselves north and head for home. You do stuff like that when you have a big, beautiful bike to ride, the weather is sunny but cool, there’s beautiful countryside to ride around and friends to catch up with. We’ll be tired at the end, but the Husband has one more day off before he has to go back to work, so we’ll take advantage of that to have a lie-in and then clear up.

Who knows how long we’ll both be physically up to these long distance trips? It makes sense to have maximum fun while we still can. 🙂  

ScrapHappy May: $11R quilting half done

Welcome back, scrap lovers.

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

Despite lots of ‘real life’ interruptions to my sewing time and my relative blogging silence, I’ve managed to get the $11 Rainbow scrappy quilt half quilted. I’m assembling this by sandwiching and quilting it block by block and will then be joining all the quilted blocks with narrow strips. I’ve decided to go with a simple 3 inch square crosshatch for the quilting. I like how the diagonals contrast with the (mostly!) horizontal and vertical lines of the scrap blocks, and it has the added advantage of keeping the quilted block fairly square, rather than contracting it more in one direction than another.

I have a bunch of leftover strips from the Bonnard quilt which will make good sashing for the back. They’re a bit vivid for my taste, but in narrow bands will work really well, so another good way to use up those strips. It’s good that I have this use for them, since some of them are distinctly bendy, having not been cut straight. I have to trim them to a narrower width for this purpose, so I can minimise the bendyness at the same time.

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 scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful 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, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn,  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean

See you again, same time next month!

Signed, Tealed – and has been Delivered!

Good news.

I had an email today from Emily at Ovarian Cancer Australia about Saturday’s fundraising event.  Among other things, she said:

I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know that the quilt has been sold! It was one of the most popular items from our silent auction with ten unique bidders!

The quilt went for several hundred dollars, and I want to congratulate everyone who participated and thank them for the hard work that made this possible. The quilt is now being lavishly admired in its new home in Melbourne, VIC. So, to acknowledge everyone properly: a huge thank you to Robin, Jenny, Margaret, Nanette, Lynn, Sandra, Lynda, Carla, Tracy, Esther, Gun, Sue and Kathy (and a grateful acknowledgement to Katy Cameron, for the use of her envelope pattern).

Tomorrow, 8th May, is World Ovarian Cancer Day. This is an appeal to everyone, male or female, to read about it, inform yourself on the signs and symptoms to look out for and share it with a woman you love. Knowledge is power, and there are still so many women who don’t know how this silent killer first appears. And if you can spare a few dollars, please contribute to your local Ovarian Cancer charity, to help support those with the disease and fund the search for a way to detect it early and save many more lives.

The next OCA quilt call to action will start in September. We already have 9 team members who have offered their time and fabric for the next quilt. I’ll reveal the name, the theme and any patterns you might want to use at that time.

Well done, everyone. I’m proud of you.

SAL 62: froggit, froggit

In, and then out again…

I’ve done more stitching than it appears this time. I got a block of pale green done top leftish, but there was a problem. I’m not using exactly the same colours as the design as I can’t get them here. My colour substitutions just looked wrong in this particular area, so I pulled a load of stitches out and replaced them with an alternative green which I feel looks better. It’s a slight deviation from the design, but I’m happier with it.

Here’s where I’d got to last time:

And here’s where I am now.

Do go and have a look at what the others in the group are working on. We’re all over the world and in different time zones, so if you don’t see a SAL post yet, pop back later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
ConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaret,
CindyHelenStephLinda, Mary Margaret, Heidi,
Jackie, Sunny, HayleyTony, Megan and Timothy

The next SAL is due on 27 May, so I’ll see you then.

A little less plastic

I’ve been trying to reduce how much plastic I use and then have to throw away.

I do recycle both hard and soft plastics, I don’t use plastic carrier bags in supermarkets, and now, I won’t need to use those flimsy single-use produce bags any more, hurray! I’ve put together a set of netting produce bags in different sizes, with a drawstring top. Washable, light and easy to see through. They can live in my heavy insulated fabric shopping bags. They’ll be getting a test run shortly, and if all is well, I’ll make a batch more.

I had an old roll of mosquito netting which was perfect for this, being stretchy and non-fraying, and there’s still plenty left for more bags, or replacements when these get a bit tired or start falling apart. The drawstrings are shoe laces, and I used a sewing machine stitch which combines a straight line and a zigzag to finish the edges a little – they don’t need it, but I like things tidy 🙂

I got the idea from Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. She’s a bit of a green superstar and recycling warrior among her many other talents, and her blog is well worth following if you don’t already do so.

Hmm. I think I need some different shapes. Rhubarb, cucumbers, kale, stuff like that…

Bee, Myself and I #26

Here you are, block 17 is quilted.

It was a bit of a mad rush at the end. I had my nephew staying with us this week and we were out and about a fair bit. Oh, the hardship of that: lovely food, beautiful scenery, good company… Still, I did get my month’s hatbox quilted and got my Rainbow Quilt backing done, so it wasn’t all torture!

I think this is another of my favourite hatbox fabrics. It’s a Phillip Jacobs design for Westminster Fibers, and I will be very sorry when the last scrap is gone, as I don’t think it’s made any more. Still, I’ll always have this lovely block to look at. You know the hatbox quilt isn’t going anywhere, right? Mine, mine, mine!

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.

Till next time.