TWX13: Top third done

What we have here is the final layout.

All the blocks have been trimmed out and are in their final positions. I’ve joined the blocks in the top third of the quilt. Two more thirds to do, then two long, long seams and it’s done. This QAYG process absolutely gets easier the more you do it, especially if you have all your strips ready, cut to size and pressed. Touching wood carefully, I’ve managed to avoid drawing blood even once, and have come up with a couple of minor tricks which helped me keep things neatly lined up.

I’ve decided to bind it with something a bit lighter and bluer than previous choices. I like this greeny-bluey flat colour with the general colour scheme of the quilt, rather than the dark teal shot cotton I’ve used for the last two.

This quilt has to be ready by the end of the third week in April. Ovarian Cancer Australia have a big fundraising month in May, so it needs to be with them by end of April/beginning of May.

Looks like I’m going to make it ūüôā

“We wanted to get our customers to their destinations…”

I cannot be alone in feeling incredulity at the above statement. Not ALL passengers, apparently.

It was issued by a spokesman for United Airlines to justify the violent extraction and ejection of a passenger from one of their flights. This passenger had paid for his flight, had been boarded and seated, and was being bumped so that an airline employee could fly in his place. Setting aside any issue of whether he was selected for ejection on the basis of his race (not¬†impossible), and further setting aside the subsequent lurid revelations about his past (irrelevant to the case in point), let us compare the spokesman’s statement with what actually happened.¬†Saying they wanted to get ‘the passengers’ home was ludicrous. Clearly this passenger wasn’t going to make it home for quite a while. He was removed with totally¬†unnecessary violence by police, injured and made a public spectacle, denied the flight he had paid for, and as far as I can tell from the newsfeed I’ve seen, so far has been denied the grovelling public apology from the airline he so richly deserves, quite aside from¬†the fact that no compensation for his flight appears to be on the table any longer. The airline feels this action was justified in order to get its employees (oh, and the passengers) to their destination. No destination for Dr Dao…

He had committed no offence, he had not violated any rules of behaviour, he refused to get out of a seat he’d paid for because he needed to get home and see his patients the next morning. If correct airline procedure mandates the violent extraction and beating of an elderly man in this situation, I would not care to fly with this airline now or at any future time. And the police involved in his extraction from the aircraft are equally culpable for their quite excessive use of violence and their willingness to be used to serve the airline’s defective policy. Uploaded video footage shows quite clearly that the man was neither drunk, nor abusive, nor screaming (not until he was forcibly dragged from his seat), he offered no violence or threats of his own.

Other passengers were horrified and protested. Some went to the extent of staging a walk-out. In a vain attempt to manage the situation, United then evacuated the rest of the passengers so they could ‘tidy up’ the plane. Oh dear me, we can’t have it too obvious that the pax are unhappy with us, can we? Eventually, the plane¬†left 3 hours late, and without Dr Dao, now in hospital and not in very good shape.

If United was able to offer large incentives to encourage passengers to get off to make room for the 4 last-minute United employee-travellers, why couldn’t it simply book its own people onto another flight or carrier? So¬†they were a flight crew needed for another aircraft. Someone failed in the scheduling department, I think. And how is it that employees get priority over paying passengers? This has the stink of a company run for the benefit of employees rather than the paying customer. It seems the public is not entitled to what it has paid for, after all, and can look forward to being bullied if it dares protest… Another nail in the coffin of United’s already abysmal reputation.

United Airlines: Beating our competitors on price, and our passengers on non-compliance

This opinion is based on newsfeed currently available. Subsequent events may provide further information which renders the opinions I have expressed inappropriate. I reserve the right to my opinion based on the information to hand, but will retract any opinion subsequently shown by the facts to be at fault. 

Big Girl 3: the Husband’s new ‘office’

It’s always a red letter day when the boys get a new truck.

Meet Big Girl 3, the third of her lineage, all 26 metres/85 feet of her. Brand spanking new, still reeking of fresh plastic and leather, and all her chrome sparkly as anything.

The Husband of Chiconia and his two other team drivers work a 4 day, 4 night, 4 off shift. During the day shifts, they drive 1,000km/620 miles a day and 500km/310 miles at night, clocking up a total of 6,000km/ 3,728 miles a week. The truck is in motion for nearly the full 24 hours, only being off the road for fuelling and checks and handover for about 1 hour each day. That means the truck clocks up 547,500kms/340,200 miles a year. Their team has one of the longest working days and highest odometer readings in the company, which is why they get a new truck pretty regularly.

Back¬†in the early days of Big Girl 2, I made the boys a quilt for the truck, assembled from their recycled work shirts. Yesterday, we transferred that, his two matching pillows and a box of tools and cleaning equipment into Big Girl 3. ¬†She’s all clean and lovely and pristine, but with the days they put in and the hazards they face on the road, that probably won’t last too long.

The company names each truck as well as having personalised registration plates. ¬†Big Girl 1 was ‘Safely Home’. Big Girl 2 was ‘Always Safe II’, and Big Girl 3 is ‘Walala Wasala’, which apparently means ‘you snooze, you lose’ in Zulu. Don’t ask me why, the only clue I have is that the GM of the company is South African. If they had to have Zulu, I’d have thought something like ‘Phambili Ngesibonelo’ would work better, seeing that they pride themselves on their good drivers. Whatever the name, I hope safety is still high on the priority list.

It’s a potentially dangerous and occasionally demanding job, and I rather like getting the Husband home at the end of the day…

Let sleeping cats lie…

Yes, I know that should be ‘dogs’, but really, who’d disturb this?

The Dowager’s cat, imaginatively named Cat, has been staying with us for a month now. Only 2 more weeks to go, but I digress… She’s not hard to care for, but she is quite demanding, and exceptionally vocal. ¬†So it’s a rare pleasure to find her asleep, and not demanding food (“no, not that food, other food!”), endless strokies, a good brushing, to be let in or out, or the leftovers from our plates.

Fast asleep, bent backwards and all 4 paws in the air…

I just had to share this photo. If you or I went to sleep in that position, we’d be calling for an ambulance when we woke up. ¬†And you have to bear in mind that this cat is quite elderly as they go, and occasionally has trouble getting up the back door steps.

Now, I just have to tiptoe away to the sewing room to press¬†on with sewing blocks together. Keep it down out there, will you, or you’ll wake her up and it’ll be constant yowling again.

TWX12: nearly there…

One more attempt at the layout, and this time, I’m pretty happy.

I think we’re just about there…

There’s a bit more symmetry, which always makes me happy, it feels more balanced, and I’m not trying to force the blocks to be a colour or intensity they’re not. Everyone’s work is beautiful, and stands on its own merit. Well done, you lot ūüôā

I’m just over halfway through the quilting. Three rows done, another row part done, two still to start. That old faithful of mine, wiggly line quilting, is featuring once again. You’ve got to love how very quick it is. Nothing to mark, no panicky FMQ-type changes of direction, just strap on the walking foot and swing yourself some gentle curves down the centre. And echo. And echo again, till you hit the edge. Reverse the piece and repeat to the other edge. Job done. No threads to bury, all the loose ends get trimmed off. Having said that, I have a hankering to do a bit of FMQ stuff at some stage, but not for a donation quilt. Only the Teal Ribbon block will be different; I’ll echo quilt the ribbon shape to make it pop a bit.

Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts on how best to improve the layout. I took it all on board and tried everything… and then did it my way ūüėČ

 

A twitter of sunbirds

A sudden fountain of birdsong from outside drew us onto the patio.

These two little fellows (both male) were duelling by song for the territorial right to the patio flowers and their nectar. They are the same Olive-Backed or Yellow Bellied Sunbirds who built a nest beside my front door. OK, maybe not the identical birds, but the same species… They’re sitting on a fallen Queen palm seed-branch, detached from the tree by the cyclone and sent crashing through one of my young frangipani trees. It’s about 120cm or 48 inches long, so quite a substantial bit of real estate for such small birds. Their song is very high-pitched melodic twittering, a lovely sound. The bird on the right won, but sadly, even our very minimal movements and hushed talk was too scary, and he zipped away after a tiny snack on the bright pink Petris blossoms.

Click on the photo to enlarge and zoom in for a really good look. Aren’t they handsomely dressed?

TWX11: a better layout, some quilting… and frogs

There, that’s an improvement, isn’t it?

I’m not sure this is the final layout yet, but I’m getting closer. What do you think about swapping the short X in the top row with the beige-background X on the right in Row 4? And the top right-hand dark X with the bottom right hand dark X in the 4th row? I fiddle around, and swap, and stand back and squint, and I still can’t seem to get it laid out to my satisfaction. Plus, even when it looks right on the wall, there’s a glaring issue when I look at the photo. I think those two changes might work, don’t you?

I’ve got the two middle rows of blocks fully quilted and a couple more blocks on top of that. That bit’s going pretty well, and I can get a row quilted before my back starts whingeing at me to stop. I have to listen to my back a bit carefully just now, because of my ‘morning work’, which is shovelling crusher dust for the drive, picking up dead branches and fallen palm fronds, and raking and¬†shovelling mud and rotting vegetation out of the storm drainage ditch down the side of the property. It’s a long, long ditch. It doesn’t take much¬†before there’s a persistent nag from back there…

Finally, it has been a froggy sort of day. This little chap has been occupying my laundry windowsill for most of a day now. There was another one hanging out in the back of the car when we opened the tailgate to stow the tarp after taking a load of green waste to the dump. He made a break for it, but Laundry Frog is quite contented where he is… He’s about 4cm/1¬Ĺ inches long.

And I just wanted to let you know that that piece of white thread on his leg is on him, not my camera lens!