The Wild Beast of Chiconia, and other tales

The poor Husband is going to come back to a nasty surprise today…

His normally sunny-tempered consort is grim-faced, bloody-fingered (from the pins) and her hair is standing on end.  The overall effect is rather like an irritated bear. It’s not a good look. And the reason for all this joy? The ongoing battle with The Quilt that Fought Back.

Some of the quilting completed in the bottom half of the quilt.

Some of the quilting completed in the
bottom half of the quilt.

Having said that, I’m making reasonable progress. The bottom half of the centre section is done. Perspective lines are in, the little cakes and mugs are outlined. You will definitely not be seeing any close-up brag shots of my immaculate stitches. Because they’re not. Immaculate, that is.  But the overall effect is pretty OK. The chief irritation relates to my new sewing table extension, a clear perspex platform on legs, which slides onto the sewing surface of the sewing machine, in order to give you a larger flat area to work with. This is a marvellous idea in theory, but unfortunately, the manufacturer has slightly changed the shape of the machines since I bought mine, with the result that the table doesn’t quite fit. It’s loose and there’s a gap. And every time I turn or adjust the quilt under the needle, the edges or pins or loose threads catch the edge of the extension and shift it. Again and again and again. I’m delicately refraining from sharing my true thoughts, and I’m pretty sure the language would get this post taken down right smart (considering it’s supposed to be family-friendly). Anyway, I have constructed an elaborate network of sticky tape which is holding it still for now. But I am very definitely in Wild Beast Growly mode for the moment.

In other news (I feel it’s time to move on…), the baby lime tree seems to be recovering from the trauma of the move into larger quarters. The two citrus trees were given a dose of Epsom salts and a large drink of diluted worm tea at the beginning of the week, and it seems to be paying off. The lime, particularly, had clear evidence in the leaves of magnesium deficiency, hence the Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) treatment. It has new flowers, and none of the baby fruit has dropped off.

New flowers and baby fruit

New flowers and baby fruit

I’ll have to thin those out shortly as there are far too many for the tree to sustain, but citrus trees always produce too many and the majority fall off. I’m also watching a couple of the branches, where leaves have fallen off wholesale at some point, but which appear to have some tiny buds on them. If I can avoid pruning them off, it would be good.

Leaves on the dead stick!

Leaves on the dead stick!

The frangipani (dead stick) is in leaf. It has taken a while and I was wondering if it truly was a dead stick, but the tiny little dark red points continued to sprout out of the branch ends, and are now opening into beautiful pointed oval leaves. The parent tree has gorgeous flowers: pink, with a golden heart. I think it’ll be a while before this one flowers, but I know what to look forward to.

My hippeastrums have also flowered profusely; the earliest is now dead or dying, but there are some beautiful flowers still. My difficulty is getting a good shot without a tripod, and even if I had one, getting it to stand still on the uneven bark chip surface. Anyway, look at this gorgeous girl:

Aten't I gorgeous?

Aten’t I gorgeous?

That’s the news from Chiconia. The Beast is soothed by a little light gardening, laundry and photography. The quilt is progressing, the Husband is on his way home, and things are definitely improving in my world. Bloody hot outside, though.

We’re off on a road trip tomorrow. Mackay to Childers, Childers to Coffs Harbour, Coffs Harbour to Dorrigo, and home again after a couple of days. We’re visiting friends, window shopping for a house as an investment property, and on the way home, going to the Craft & Quilt Fair in Brisbane. For those of you feeling sorry for the Husband, you should know that we have a reciprocal arrangement. We go to events he wants to attend, we go to events I want to attend. So far this year we’ve gone to a big truck show in Brisbane, and the World Rally Championship in NSW. Now it’s my turn, with the Quilt Show, and in November we’re going to a classical music concert in Brisbane (Last Night of the Proms – I used to love the Promenade Concerts in London, miss that here…). The lappie is coming along, so I’ll still be posting and checking, but I don’t think that quilting or the garden will feature much over the next week or so.  More soon…

Gallimaufry: two thirds joined up

It’s almost done. I have 60% of it joined up.

I really, really like that narrow dark blue sashing between the squares. It puts a nice crisp edge on them, lines everything up, and is dark enough to throw everything else into contrast. Give me to the end of the week and I’ll have the joining up done and be ready to get the binding on.

There was a point halfway through making the blocks when I had a moment of doubt. Would it clash with the bird/seashell fabric for Miz Lizzie’s curtains?  I don’t think so, on reflection. What do you think? Even if it’s a little bit off, I love this quilt. Can’t wait to use it for the first time on our next trip. Sadly that’ll probably not be till October :-/

Hope the good weather holds so I can take the final photos outside. Then you’ll see what it really looks like…

Just sayin’

Many Australians are outraged today.

The news of the shooting of an Australian woman in the US, outside the Minneapolis home she shared with her fiancé and future stepson is causing puzzlement, wrath, incomprehension, sadness, and yes, outrage is not too strong a word.

She’d called the police to report a potential sexual assault taking place near the house. When the police arrived, she approached the car, dressed in her night clothes and clutching her phone. She spoke through the driver’s window. And then the driver’s partner shot her. Twice. Past his partner’s face and through the open window, killing her.

Oh please. From all accounts she was not an aggressive, mouthy woman who would refuse to obey the police’s usual charming barked orders. She was 40, blonde, slight, and dressed in pyjamas. Not an obvious suspect in a potential sexual assault. She was holding a mobile phone. Not a gun. Not even vaguely like a gun, and certainly not like a gun if you’re sitting only a few feet away. And she approached the police, the so-called guardians of the community, for help, instead of running away, as a criminal would.

Attention, Minneapolis Police. This is NOT a gun…

Conveniently enough, the officers involved had not obeyed policy and switched on their body cameras. The dash cam wasn’t working/failed to record the incident. Funny, that.

Nobody is saying anything. The police force have not expressed regret at this incident, the officer in question has offered his condolences but not apologies, and asks us to respect his privacy. WTF? How hard is it to make an announcement that a terrible mistake has been made, that investigations will be carried out with all due haste and the results announced promptly?

Officer Noor, who has presumably received thorough training in telling the difference between helpful members of the public and criminals, appears to have committed criminally negligent homicide. He took out his gun and shot – twice – a woman who was not threatening him, who was trying to be a good citizen, and who had not attacked him. He made the decision to kill her rather than disable her by some other means. He had a professional duty to be sure of his facts and differentiate between the public and the perpetrator. Protect and serve, yes? This is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Criminally negligent manslaughter occurs where there is an omission to act when there is a duty to do so, or a failure to perform a duty owed, which leads to a death. The existence of the duty is essential because the law does not impose criminal liability for a failure to act unless a specific duty is owed to the victim. It is most common in the case of professionals who are grossly negligent in the course of their employment. 

That sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Just sayin’…..

 

More reading on the subject of police culture in the US:

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21636044-americas-police-kill-too-many-people-some-forces-are-showing-how-smarter-less

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/17/15985442/minneapolis-police-shooting-justine-damond-video

Prehistoric creatures

No, not dinosaurs, but a distant relative.

I’m talking about Helmeted Friarbirds (Philemon buceroides). They’re strange, gaunt-looking creatures that give the impression they’d be quite happy flying about on webbed membranes instead of feathered wings. They have large, bony skulls which are strongly reminiscent of pterodactyl heads and are very bold, at times flying up to the screen door at the back of the house and hanging from the mesh while they eye the inhabitants of the room.

There’s a pair which is currently making a point of adorning the car with white splotches while they strut across the windscreen or admire themselves in the wing mirrors. While they’re at this artistic endeavour, we’re treated to their raucous, uninhibited song. I don’t quite know why this is suddenly happening after 3 years in this house, but we appear to be greatly favoured! They’re weird, but I like them 🙂

I just wish they’d keep their, um, offerings to themselves…

SAL 49: another big bit

The blue sampler is coming along well 🙂

Here’s where we were before:

And now:

A couple more smaller motifs either side of these two, a bottom border, finish the two side borders, and we’re done! I’m beginning to be impatient to finish this one, as I have the next project lined up. Not cross stitch this time, but needlepoint. Just simple tent stitch, but a lovely design by Kaffe Fassett:

As always, the others in the group are working on fabulous projects which you can see by clicking on the links below. We’re in different time zones and post at different times on the same day, but if there’s nothing new there the first time you check, it’ll be well worth your while going back for a second look.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSue,
ConstanzeDebbieroseChristina, Kathy, Margaret,
CindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary Margaret,
Timothy

See you next time, on 5th August.

ScrapHappy July

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

This time, I’ve gone to my two largest scrap boxes: blue and teal/ aqua. I have about twice the amount of both as I do of other colours, so it was easy to dive in and find plenty of variety.

I really love both of these, especially the tiny little scraps of beloved fabrics I’ve had for many, many years. There are pieces that sing to me, that instantly take me back to past times and places, to brilliant memories and huge learning strides.

The quilt that comes into being from all these scrappy blocks is one I will want to keep for myself… forever.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. 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 shown on the Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about 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.

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):

Usually has a scrappy post:

Gun at https://rutigt.wordpress.com (in Swedish and English)
Titti at http://tittisquiltlek.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)
Heléne at http://quiltochsom.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at bambisyr-evaj.blogspot.com (in Swedish only)
Sue at sewingmagpie.blogspot.com (in English only)
Nanette at http://stitchandsow-homeandgarden.blogspot.com.au (in English only)
Lynn at https://thetialys.wordpress.com (in English only)
Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com (in English only)
Lynda at: https://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com (in English only)
Birthe: http://birthesrom.blogspot.no (in Norwegian only)
Turid: http://densyendehimmel.blogspot.se (in English and Norwegian)
Susan: https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com (in English only)
Cathy: http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com (in English only)
Debbierose: https://sewrosey.wordpress.com (in English only)
Tracy: https://itsatsweetsday.wordpress.com/ (in English only)
Jill: http://nicepieceofwork.wordpress.com/ (in English only)
Claire: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/ (in English only)
Jan: http://thesnailofhappiness.com/ (in English only)
Karen: https://mewithptsd.wordpress.com/ (in English only)
Moira: http://quiltedsnail.blogspot.com/ (in English only)
Sandra: https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/ (in English only)
Linda: http://kokaquilts.blogspot.co.nz (in English only)

See you again, same time next month!

Gallimaufry: all quilted

That’s that lot done.

Now for the trimming out and then joining up, always the least enjoyable part, but necessary 🙂 I need some more dark blue for the front sashing, there’s not enough left over from the Blue Hour quilt to get the job finished. I must also remember to use light blue thread or it’ll show up too much against the light blue backing – so long as I stitch carefully in the ditch on the fronts, it won’t show against the dark blue on the quilt front, as I discovered on Blue Hour, when I used cream thread. I like the effect of the pale coral thread against the dark blue, it’s pretty. Not sure how noticeable it is compared with cream, but I know it’s there, which is all that really matters.

I didn’t do my neatest ever job of hand-quilting the Miz Lizzie block in a big stitch and a variety of thread colours, but it’s cute and puffy and I like it!

Just a short post today, I have work to do for ScrapHappy and the SAL, which are both due this weekend!

A feast of eye-candy

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a major fan of textile designer Kaffe Fassett.

He’s the most versatile and creative person I know of, creating paintings, mosaics, knitwear, embroidery, fabric and quilt designs, all coupled with an unerring and simply amazing sense of colour. So when I discovered he’d produced a book called Kaffe Fassett’s Bold Blooms (Abrams, New York, ISBN 978-1-4197-2236-3), I knew I had to have it. I’ve collected many of his quilting books over the years, but this one is not linked to Westminster Fibers/Rowan fabric ranges as the quilting books are, and roams freely amongst textiles of all nations, colour theory and his own development as a designer and artist, as well as many new quilt and needlepoint designs.

I don’t generally use large quantities of his fabrics in my own quilts. They’re expensive, hard to get in my part of the world, and mostly, they’re too saturated en masse for the effect I’m after. I’ve had quite a few pieces in my stash for many years, treasured, gloated over, petted and admired…. and then put away again. I don’t often make his quilt designs, preferring to execute my own designs.

The Hatbox Quilt is one notable exception, but here again, I’m not using many of his fabrics, and my colour scheme differs from his, both the original version in his book Passionate Patchwork, and the brighter, more saturated version in this new book.

What I use Kaffe’s work for is stimulus, inspiration, enrichment and for the enjoyment of beauty. Which is why I am now the proud and delighted owner of this beautiful book. It contains not only quilt designs and valuable information on colour work, but also needlepoint charts for some of his floral designs. One of these will be my next Stitch Along project, once I’ve finished the blue sampler. It’s a wonderful book, lavishly photographed, exquisitely printed and produced, and full of the most beautiful visual treats.

If you can’t buy it for yourself, get yourself to the nearest library and reserve or borrow it. It’s gorgeous…

Gallimaufry: let the quilting begin

Right, final (probably) layout.

I say probably because I don’t rule out wanting to swap a couple of blocks once they’re all quilted. In fact I can see two right now that I want to change. Funny how you can’t see it for looking in real life, but it jumps out at you in a photo….

I’ve cut batting and backing for the first row, and now I need to have a hard (but short) think about how this is going to be quilted. If I go with the cross hatching I did on the Blue Hour quilt, I’ll be running over some of the features that make the blocks interesting. On the other hand, it’s a much longer job if I come up with custom designs for each style of block. Perhaps a combination is the right idea: cross hatching on the simpler scrappy, snowball and 9-patch blocks, and something a bit different on the sunray, twister and bubbles blocks. The trick will be to keep to the same amount of quilting so that the blocks stay the same size in the end. Too much close quilting = smaller block.

Whatever I end up doing, I’ll have that gorgeous pale coral pink thread to work with 🙂

Gallimaufry, Lines 5 and 6

So, the blocks are done.

I have just managed to squeak all of them out of the dark blues I had, with a bit of creative cutting and splicing. Funny, I thought it was the lights I’d run out of first, but maybe I was a bit generous with all those lovely batik indigos.

This is definitely not the order in which they’ll appear in the quilt, but I’ve kept to the drawing sequence in completing all the blocks so I have the right number of each. Next post will show what I hope is the final arrangement of the whole thing, although as always I’ll tweak as I go along as improvements strike me.

How do you like my caravan appliqué? I couldn’t resist a bit of fun, and I particularly love those bubbly clouds… Miz Lizzie lacks the necessary windowsills so I can’t actually have teapots and flowerpots on display, but they do dress this little window nicely 🙂

Here’s the full set, looking a bit bottom heavy, but that will all change next time.