Signing off…


I'll be hard at work....

I’ll be hard at work….

Hey there.

I’m heading for the sunshine (like I don’t get enough at home).  The sewing machine is being serviced, my embroidery is packed, all the last minute bits are purchased. We have approximately 32 hours of travelling ahead of us.

For a small taste of what I’m in for, take a look at this YouTube video:

Signing off till my feet hit the ground, I’ve unpacked the camera and caught up with some sleep…

Kate 🙂


The Gardens of Chiconia 12


Brugmansia in flower

Varied Eggfly butterfly, male, upper side

Varied Eggfly butterfly, male, upper side

Varied Eggfly butterfly, female, underside

Varied Eggfly butterfly, female, underside

Ground cover, doing its thing, but how pretty.

Ground cover, doing its thing, but how pretty.

Look at the way the raindrops collect at the leaf edges, like lace trim

Look at the way the raindrops collect at the leaf edges, like lace trim

The new leaf unrolling iteself

The new leaf unrolling itself

It’s been a long time since I did a garden post. Here we go.

I was opening the garden door this morning to air the living room and I saw at once that the Brugmansia was in flower. It’s made a special effort to get the flowers out so I can see them before I go away! I’m a bit disconcerted, because I bought a tree I thought was going to have apricot flowers, and it turns out they’re white. I had to swoop on a grass- hopper which was contemplating one of the flowers as breakfast. Two more died to preserve banana leaves. Bring on the winter, when hopefully it will get a little too cool for them.

It’s butterfly season too. The two above were sunning themselves on passionflower leaves, but we saw a million at least on our journey home from Rockhampton yesterday. It’s the time of year when they do their mating flight, and the air over the road was thick with them for kilometres, and there was a carpet of tiny sad corpses on the road where they’d smashed against car windscreens. The species is called Tirumala hamata, the Blue Tiger butterfly. I don’t want to infringe copyright, and I don’t have a photo, but here’s a link to a Google image. I don’t know why they were so numerous over that particular stretch of countryside, but we were driving under them for at least 30 or 40km.

I’m still battling with WordPress’ changes. I don’t know if it’s because I’m on a Mac, but I still can’t put images into the text, they automatically sit above all the words. At least now I’m able to add links, which is an improvement…

Tomorrow the sewing machine goes into hospital for the duration. It’s been a very long time since it had a decent service, and as I’m away, it seemed opportune to get everything fixed up. I miss my needle threader thingy, which is broken. I’d like some of the squeaks and groans silenced. The bobbin race needs a better clean than I can give it without dismantling the whole thing, and I think the needle arm needs realigning. I think this might be a rather expensive service… Meanwhile, I’m carrying on with the embroidery. More on that later.

More soon.



The Loot

Amy Butler fabrics

Beautiful blues…

Here it is, three pieces of Amy Butler gorgeousness which the postie brought for me today. Left: Tapestry Rose in Sapphire from the Hapi collection. Centre: Josephine’s Bouquet in Ink from the Cameo collection; and Right: Heirloom in Blue Sky from the Lark Collection. As you can see, I love blue.

Remember I posted about 10 days ago in glee about My Lucky Day? The lovely Michelle at Factotum of Arts did a give-away to her top 5 commenters. Since I could comment for Australia, I scored in the giveaway, and these beauties are my loot. I have no purpose in mind for them, since they were unplanned, but I think I’ll just stroke them and look at them for a bit before I decide what to do with them…

I have just over a yard of each.  Any suggestions about what to do with them?

The Shrinking List

The heart template for the inside of the Happiness squares  and the teal thread. The coloured squares will also be outlined in white.

The heart template for the coloured squares on Happiness. The heart will be done in teal thread, and the squares will be outlined in white.


The finished Survival Kit.  It holds quite a lot for such a small bag.  The side pockets have Velcro dots to hold them  closed, or they gape a bit when empty.

The finished Survival Kit. It holds quite a lot for such a small bag. The side pockets have Velcro dots to hold them closed, or they gape a bit when empty.

Here are today’s finishes: the Survival Kit bag, and the sandwiched and pinned Happiness. As you can see, I’ve decided on a heart motif to go in the centre of each square, in the teal thread. I’ll outline quilt each square as well, in white. As before, I’m going for big stitch quilting; I like the way it looks and it goes much faster than the other kind. Strangely enough, I think it’ll also be faster than machine quilting, since I can move the quilt around easily without having to roll and unroll and drape the thing over myself when I’m sewing.

I had a look at my To Do List today, and I’m quite pleased with my progress so far this year.

Tree of Life: Done
Car Quilt/Isfahan: Done
Happiness: Sandwiched, pinned, ready to quilt
Nighties: Done
Survival Kit: Done
Holiday Top: Done
Woolly Thing: More than half done

Still to go:

Happiness: To be quilted, ready to go
Amistad: To be started, ready to go (Tracey, are you reading this? No rush, my lovely, end of April is fine)
Broken Bottles: To be started, ready to go
Winter Quilt: To be started, ready to go
Steampunk: To be started, fabric to be purchased (watch out, Husband)
Teacosy: To be started
Egg Cosies: To be started
Scrap quilts for Claire and Mariella: Oh dear. That means I have to sort my scraps….
Irish Chain quilt: On the distant horizon
Fabric Baskets: Black & white, brown, neutrals and multicolour baskets still to be made. Fabric pulled.
Bulldogs Quilt for Carolyn’s husband: Whenever I can fit it in. Yeah, that’ll be right….

The more observant among you will have noticed that a few new items have slipped into the To Do list. What can I say? I can’t help myself, I love to make quilts, and the ideas keep coming. Meanwhile, I’m having to forcibly stop myself hauling a new project out and holding forth with the rotary cutter. There isn’t time to do anything much before we go away. Tomorrow I’ll have some progress to show on the Wedding Sampler. But for now, that’s the lot.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that WordPress have messed with the Add Media function? I can’t insert photos into the text halfway down anymore, the system insists on putting them at the top. If I’m missing a trick here, please enlighten me (not the world’s most techy quilter), because I liked the old system and this is annoying me seriously. Also, it’s much harder to edit a caption so that you decide the line breaks. I tried 4 times to edit a caption so the line breaks were nicer, and it just wouldn’t make the change. Grrrr….

Lawn again…

The blue one. I can't decide which one I prefer.

The blue one. I can’t decide which one I prefer.

Blue binding with a bit of white embroidery detail and tucks instead of gathers on the yoke.

Blue binding with a bit of white embroidery detail and tucks instead of gathers on the yoke.


Sorry. I have to try and do something about the puns.

Anyway, here’s the blue one. Blue bias binding this time, and a little embroidery stitch around the neckline and armholes.

I have heaps of nice sized scraps as well as a good metre of each fabric left, so I shall be making a stack of hankies. There will be more than I will ever need, even with a clean one every day, so I’ll be giving some away soon. Hand hemmed, a bit of embroidery… Something to play with when I get back. Any interest out there?

I think I shall have to stop inventing things to make/sew for the rest of the week. I have quite a lot to do, and at this rate I’ll never get Happiness sandwiched and pinned.

So, off to the kitchen to make gingerbread and spaghetti bolognese. The Husband will be home in a couple of hours…

Lovely lawn

Not the green bladey variety, but the fine, soft, silky Tana lawn fabric.

The nightie, posing artfully in front of my fabric cupboard

The nightie, posing artfully in front of my fabric cupboard

History has it that after the First World War, the fabric buyer for Liberty of London developed a new range of very fine, densely woven, silky soft cotton lawn, named Tana lawn after Lake Tana in the Sudan, where the cotton was sourced. Liberty is now famous for its Tana lawn range, available in a wide variety of floral prints and some solids. It makes beautiful clothes, very gentle on the skin, very comfortable, and is surprisingly durable for such a fine, light fabric.

And that’s what I’ve been up to today. I was sorting through things, making sure they were clean and ready to pack. I realised, shock, horror, that my nighties were looking distinctly low-rent and in some cases in serious need of repair. So I went and had a rummage in the Cupboard of All Colours, and fished out two three-metre lengths of rather nice Japanese Tana lawn, one in a cheerful red and yellow Liberty-style weeny floral print, and the other in pale blues with a hint of pink. Voilà! New nighties. I have a pretty and comfortable nightie pattern which has that all important feature missing from so many bought ones: pockets. It’s not at all slinky or alluring, but it is presentable enough to answer the door in, or wander around outside watering the garden. Thanks to the pocket I can also cart around my phone or a hankie. So here’s the first of the two.

White bias binding would have been too boring!

White bias binding would have been too boring!

I like a bit of sneaky detailing, the sort of thing only I know about. Which is why I’m loving the green bias binding for the neck and armholes, and the fact that I have not one, but two generous pockets in this beauty. And why stop at one line of topstitching? Two is much nicer. In fact, I like this nightie so much that I think it may be called into service as a sun dress, so long as it’s not too transparent. My figure is not up to too much revelation these days…

Tomorrow I shall make nightie number two in the blue colourway. It has a weeny spotted grid in the background and very graphic peonies grading from white to pale blue with a hint of pink in the centre.  And the nice thing about both lots of fabric is that I have a really good amount left over for something else, including scraps which are perfect to make hankies.  Lovely lawn hankies, nothing nicer (unless it’s fine linen, but who can afford that these days?).

A Slow Sunday…

After the long slog last week, I’m taking it a little bit easier.

Which is not to say that I’m idle. Evenings have been devoted to making strides on the wedding sampler for our anniversary. It’s beginning to look as if I’ll get it finished in time, although framing as well is too much of an ask. See for yourself (and this daylight shot is a bit more accurate for colour, finally):

The sampler's taking shape.

The sampler’s taking shape.

Visualise this with a wide brimmed pink hat and pink pants...

Visualise this with a wide brimmed pink hat and pink pants…

I’ve finished the holiday top I was making with a beautiful dark blue and white batik trimmed with the turquoise I didn’t use for the binding on Isfahan. The pattern is very simple so the fabric can play the lead role. It’s Kwik Sew 3601, but I tweaked it a bit to add the large bands at the bottom of the sleeve and hemline – mostly because I didn’t have quite enough fabric! I also had to make the sleeves in two pieces for the same reason. Luckily the pattern’s busy enough that you don’t see the seam down the centre of the sleeve. It’s loose, cool and comfortable, and is going to look very good with my pink sun hat! One of these days, I’m going to get an overlocker/serger. It’ll make some projects so much easier! I may have to venture onto eBay for the first time in my life: the thin end of the wedge…

Hand work for the trip, and a subject close to the Husband's heart.

Hand work for the trip, and a subject close to the Husband’s heart.

And finally, Anzac Day is approaching on 25 April. The Husband has spent most of his adult life in the Australian Army Reserves, and  I’m from a family where four generations have served either in wartime or in the Reserves in some form. So we both think that remembering the sacrifices made by our servicemen so that we can enjoy all the freedoms and privileges of Australian life is very important. I needed a holiday handwork project, and the Husband wanted something appropriate to Anzac Day. I think both our requirements are satisfied with this. It’s a kit, but quite a nice one.

Tomorrow is the start of the final week before we go away, and it’s beginning to get crowded with stuff I have to do. High on the list is sandwiching and pinning Happiness, so it’s ready to start hand quilting when I get home. Once that’s done, the decks will be officially clear to start on Amistad, Broken Bottles and the rest. I shall be taking my camera on holiday with me, and hope to come back with lots of photos of flowers, shells, landscape, local crafts, sunsets, sunrises and whatever else takes my fancy. The island is exceptionally beautiful, has a very long history and some fabulous  historic houses and gardens, and best of all, my oldest BFF. Excited, moi? Some mistake, surely…

More soon.