Flitting (and riding)

I love that word.

It so beautifully describes the butterfly motion of darting from one thing to another. Which is what I’ve been doing the last week or so, only less beautifully and gracefully 🙂

We’ve been spending some fun time with ST motorbike-owners-club friends from south east Queensland, who are passing through Mackay with their caravan and their Honda ST1300 on the back of the ute. Now that’s a sweet setup! Deep envy, to have both their big motorbike and their caravan along! We’ve done a couple of half day rides with them around the local sights, which has reassured me that I can cope and my back won’t fall apart under the strain when our own time comes to do the big ride south for the bike rally later this year in October. No lavish Miz Lizzie caravan comfort on this trip, it’ll be Rolling Thunder towed behind the Scarlett Thunderbolt, and a tent for a few nights.

We had part of the back yard landscaped and a hard surface put down. We can now get Miz Lizzie under cover without the need for 25-point reversing to get her between the posts of the patio roof. Straight in, bish-bosh, no messing about. Bliss! We can use our new turning circle to get the car in and out in similar style. I have a hard, dry surface to stand on when I hang out the laundry instead of being ankle deep in wet grass and green ants. It will not turn back into a swamp the next time we get a serious amount of rain. Oh my word yes, I love that new surface! And the Husband, let’s face it, is not heartbroken about having less grass to cut…

A few days before the work commenced, Sir Horace and Lady Laetitia Bush Stone-Curlew went off somewhere for several days. We rejoiced in a slightly guilty fashion, but it was very pleasant to have quiet nights, unbroken by their harsh screams. We thought they’d moved on, finding the modest bustle of our back yard insufficiently tranquil for raising this year’s family. Regrettably, they have now returned from their vacation and are back in their original spot, glaring at me every time I set foot outside the back door, and in full song at night. Oh well. At least we didn’t drive them off with the landscaping work…

I’ve been doing some secret sewing for a friend who is visiting from the States. As it’s a secret, I won’t be posting photos till she has it, around the end of the month, but it’s fun, pretty and useful, so I hope she likes it. I’m sure if she doesn’t, she won’t feel compelled to tell me so!

And finally, I’ve got the Blue Hour quilt two thirds assembled, just one big seam and the binding to go, so I’ll be able to do my ‘tah-dah’ post for that soon. And yes, start thinking about my own! I haven’t forgotten that I also have the Sea Glass quilt to sandwich and start quilting, but it’s a big job and as usual, I’m procrastinating furiously…

So while there’s been scant news from Chiconia recently, as you can see, I have not been idle!

Blue, and Birds

I’ve completed the quilting on the Blue Hour quilt 🙂

They’re all the same, nice simple 3 inch square cross hatching. And I’ve decided, after extensive auditioning, that the sashing will be cream, same as the backing. Yes, it’ll show the dirt more, which isn’t such a great thing on caravan trips, but the quilt can easily be washed and I much prefer the way it looks. I also LOVE how it works with the fabric I’ve bought for Miz Lizzie’s curtains, and the blue and white ticking for the seats.

… In other news, Sir Horace and Lady Laetitia Bush Stone-Curlew are still gamely guarding their estates, and only this afternoon saw off a vulgar gaggle of sacred ibis, who were sunbathing and honking in the spot selected by Lady Laetitia for the nursery. Despite this unseemly conduct, both maintained a stiff upper lip beak, and stared down the interlopers, who retired further down the garden, ruffled and agitated. No sign of an egg a prospective heir yet, but we live in hope.

Blue three

In case you fondly imagined I was taking a rest from the Blue quilt…

All blocks are now completed, I’ve finalised the layout, and eight blocks in the top two rows are quilted. The cross hatching is on a 3 inch square grid, which after some testing I found was the perfect balance between the need to secure the layers and keeping the feel of the block flexible and soft after quilting. It’s also a nice easy thing to mark up and I have a good production line going 🙂

I still haven’t absolutely finalised the colour of the front sashing for this quilt, but I have time to think about that. I’m quite liking the idea of a pale beige/cream, but am also debating using one of the brighter pale blues, as I don’t want the blocks to blend into the sashing too much.

This is going to be a nice easy quilt to assemble: three rows with a 6-square and 4-square panel in each, so only two medium-long seams and no very long ones.

Right, time to go and cut more backing squares.

Blue two

More blocks, the light ones this time…

I’m happy with how this is turning out, and best of all, the Husband approves also. Not too girly, not too boring (and if we’re strictly honest, quite pleased that I didn’t need to buy a whole load of fabric for it!). Because it’s scrap-dense, these simple blocks can be quite time-consuming to put together, but I’m really enjoying the discipline imposed by this colour scheme. The blues are all at the cool end of the range, and the white, grey, sand and taupe are beautifully fresh. I have to resist the temptation to include fabrics I love which are simply the wrong colour, and actually, I really love the outcome!

4 more blocks to go and the piecing will be done. Quilting’s going to be simple and not too dense. It’s a bunk quilt and needs to be fairly supple, so dense quilting would stiffen it too much. I’m still considering what would be best. It needs to complement the simplicity of the design, hold the layers together and be quick to achieve (I’m impatient to start my own bunk quilt!).

Once the blocks are done, I’ll sandwich a few blocks and have a think…

 

 

L’heure bleue

The Blue Hour is one of my favourite times of day.

It’s that time between twilight and full night when the sun is below the horizon and the world is coloured a soft shade of deep blue and other colours start to leach away. It’s a time when I often find myself in my sewing room, pottering about; it’s not long enough to start anything big before I have to go to the kitchen to make dinner, but it’s too good to waste doing nothing.

I’ve at last begun, appropriately enough, a mostly blue and white quilt for the Husband’s bunk in Miz Lizzie. So far, all the blocks are from my sorted scraps and smaller stash pieces, but I suspect I’ll need some more fabric soon, some bits of dark blue.

Also included in the line up are pieces from Granny Maud’s Girl; she sent me leftovers from the quilt she made for her father from his old shirts, and I’ve made entertaining use of the patches featuring pockets! I’m getting along nicely, a couple of blocks here, a couple more there, and making good use of my Blue Hour time. This early layout is most of the dark centres with light out-sides. Coming soon are the light centres with dark outsides…

And because of course all colour has a sound track, I leave you with Acker Bilk and the marvellously and appropriately named Bent Fabric, playing The Blue Hour.

What do you do with your Blue Hour?

Little Lizzie

We got all of the last two weeks’ worth of mail today.

The best bit was the box with a UK postmark and stamps, from the kind and lovely Margaret of The Crafty Creek. Inside was Little Lizzie, a caravan-shaped pincushion she’d made especially for me – here’s her own post about making it.

Just look at the tiny embroidered Miz Lizzie name plate on the back! And those gorgeous huge blue buttons for her wheels, how inspired is that! I’ve already given her a load of pins, a brand new tape measure and my embroidery needle threader. Margaret thoughtfully sent me a tiny pair of blue floral scissors to match which are perfect! I took my embroidery scissors last time, and kept losing them down the side of seats, on the ground under my chair, in the depth of my work bag, and so on. This way, the scissors have a handy and permanent home right where I need them.

Margaret, you’re such a kind and creative lady, and I’m so very grateful! The best thing is that the pincushion fits exactly in the throat of Lilibet the Grumpy, my little caravan sewing machine, so it can be safely stowed away in my handwork locker while we’re travelling. Such a great idea to have everything in one place… Do go over to Margaret’s blog and take a look. Her quilting work is beautiful, her dressmaking is skilful, and her embroidery is exquisite.

Meanwhile, Little Lizzie’s sitting on the work table beside my chair so I can admire and pet her for a while longer 🙂

 

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Cania, and homecoming

We’re home, after more than 4,000kms of travelling. It has been a brilliant trip, but as always, there’s a deep comfort in being back in our own place.

There wasn’t much excitement in  yesterday’s trip, from Warwick in south east Queensland, to Monto in central Queensland, hence no post about it. We took the back roads and saw wonderful countryside, but paid for it in terms of bumpy, winding and steep roads. The car and Miz Lizzie both coped beautifully.

However, having missed the chance to see the nearby wonderful Cania Gorge, Dam and Lake when we passed through Monto on the way south, we scrambled to make it happen on the way home. Having parked Miz Lizzie and got her hooked up, we jumped straight back in the car as the sun started to slant towards the horizon and went like bats out of hell, arriving just in time.

If you’re interested in the geology and wildlife, the walking tracks and the many thousands of years of Aboriginal history, one of the best places for information can be found here:

https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/cania-gorge/about.html

I don’t want this post to simply regurgitate all that, so I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves. At the far end of the gorge is Cania Lake, now enlarged and extended into a dam. The lookout over the lake is reached by a winding road from which you get tantalising glimpses until the vista opens up at the top. We stayed until the sun started to disappear and it began to get cold… We’re definitely going back, and will stay at the campsite within the gorge so that we can explore and take on some of the walking tracks, see the caves and the Aboriginal cave paintings.

What I didn’t manage to capture entirely is the wonderful warm glow of the sandstone with the setting sun catching it. It truly seemed to be on fire at one point – sadly the best moment was too dark to make a successful photo, but I’m sure you can imagine what I mean.

Next time we go there, I’m planning to have much more daylight, and I’ll be hoping to take walking tracks which will show me the caves and paintings, as well as the outstanding natural scenery.