A sneak peek

This week, I have been assembling a gift.

It’s to be handed over on Monday 29 February, so I can’t show the whole thing till then, but here are snippets to give you some idea.

Closeup1 Tag Closeup2After our big trip south, it has been surprisingly hard to get back into my ‘sewzone’; many distractions, a lot of dirty, dusty house to clean, but finally I’m making some progress. The patio paving has sprouted a thicket of weeds, the vegie beds have disappeared under a thatch of nutgrass, the lawns are mid-calf length, thanks to all the lavish rain that appeared just as we went away. I look at all of it, and resolutely turn my back and sew, before I realise that it’s time to make lunch, or supper, or bring in laundry, or make a cake because the Dowager is coming round for coffee.

Once we’re into March, and my next short trip to Melbourne at the end of this month is over, normal service will resume. I think… I hope… I have F2F blocks to make, some Selfish Sewing and a couple of items of clothing to finish.

Speaking of F²F; the first year is coming to an end in May. For the 2016/17 session, the participant list will be finalised in April and the next round will start in June this year, so if you would like to join in, let me have your name, blog/email address and contact details and I’ll add you to the list and send you some information. We can easily do it with more participants, but any less and either everyone has to make more than three blocks 😦 or there will not be enough blocks at the end to make a good sized quilt 😦

CaneFinally, I just wanted to share a lovely piece of non-fabric loot. I have widespread arthritis, especially bad in my left hip (replacement one of these years, I hope) and my hands. On bad days, I lurch along with a cane to take some pressure off it. Up to now I’ve used one of those collapsible telescopic canes that you can fold up and put in your bag. Trouble is, they’re not very rigid, a big defect when you’re putting most of your weight through it. My lovely BIL down in New South Wales, a talented cabinetmaker, has tailor-made me my own cane. The shaft is American oak, there is a small collar of Australian oak at the top, and then a hand carved rosewood handle. How lovely is this?  Solid as a rock, elegant, and made to fit. He’s planning to make more to show and sell in the local Easter Art & Craft show. I reckon he’s onto a winner. And he takes commissions…

Right, back to the chores.

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SAL 22: more letters

I hope you all had a very enjoyable Christmas break, and that however you choose to celebrate the festive season, it was filled with laughter and happiness.

It’s Stitch Along time again. Here’s where I was last time:

blue sampler

And here’s where I am now.  Not too shabby, I think, considering the Christmas distractions and opportunities to put it off in favour of something else!

SAL 27.12.115

As always, it’s worth your while visiting the other SAL stitchers. Don’t forget about the difference in time zones; if you’re seeing me first, you may need to drop in to theirs a bit later to give them a chance to get their posts up.

Avis at http://sewingbesidethesea.wordpress.com
Claire at http://claire93.wordpress.com
Gun at http://rutigt.wordpress.com
Carole at http://aslightobsessionwithbooks.wordpress.com
Jule at http://fromtheboudoir.wordpress.com
Wendy at http://thecraftersapprentice.blogspot.co.uk
Lucy at https://lucyannluna.wordpress.com
Cathy at http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com
Jacqui at http://thestitchingline.com
Jess at https://everthecrafter.wordpress.com

SAL 13: Kowhaiwhai’s nearly there…

I haven’t given this the attention I should, due to getting all excited about making my first blocks for the F²F block swap.

Once I realised it was *Gasp! This Weekend!*, I had to get cracking. I should have got it finished, but time got away from me.

Here’s where I was last time.

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 8.39.25 pm

And here’s where I am now.

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 1.50.27 pm

I think I may just prefer it the other way up… Let’s see how I feel when it’s finished. Just a little bit to go, and I’ve decided to put an inscription underneath, so it’ll be done next time.

This time, we’re joined by not one but two new members – welcome Jacqui and Jess! I may be the first to post because my Sunday starts earliest. Give the others in later time zones a chance to wake up and publish their posts, and then do hop over and take a look at what they’re up to.

Avis at http://sewingbesidethesea.wordpress.com

Claire at http://claire93.wordpress.com

Gun at http://rutigt.wordpress.com

Carole at http://aslightobsessionwithbooks.wordpress.com

Alison at http://minervahandmade.wordpress.com

Jule at http://fromtheboudoir.wordpress.com

Elizabeth at http://stitch4therapy.wordpress.com

Wendy at http://thecraftersapprentice.blogspot.co.uk

Lucy at https://lucyannluna.wordpress.com

Cathy at http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com

Jacqui at http://thestitchingline.com

Jess at https://everthecrafter.wordpress.com

Totally tufted

It’s done. Imagine me screaming quietly…

Another shot where the blue's all wrong, but you get the idea...

Another shot where the blue’s all wrong,
but you get the idea…

Look, it’s not as hideous as it would have been trying to hand or machine quilt through the fleece. And it’s been a valuable lesson in why NOT to use fleece for backing. But it wasn’t fun, as such. Each row of hexagons took half an hour. There’s a fair bit of my DNA in this quilt, in the form of weeny bloodstains where I stabbed myself with the needle. I accept that I’m clumsy, and that the needle is unusually sharp for one of this size, but even so, it started to get boring.

There's a nice loft to the quilt thanks to the batting and fleece.

There’s a nice loft to the quilt thanks
to the batting and fleece.

I rather like the dinky little cross stitches in the centre of the hexies.

I rather like the dinky little cross stitches
in the centre of the hexies.

So, now all I need to do is cut the fabric strips for the binding, sew the strips together, and get cracking. There’s still the adventure of sewing the binding to the quilt because of the fleece, so I think I’m going to reverse my normal process, and sew the binding to the back and hem it down on the front. That way, the fleece is trapped between the binding fabric and the front fabric and won’t catch or creep. I hope. More on that tomorrow.

And that’ll be Isfahan done by the end of the week, and ready to tuck into my suitcase. Not one, but two quilts to hand over to my brother in the UK on our return journey. The Tree of Life for him, and Isfahan for Pa. Trying to get the Broken Bottles quilt for my lovely sister-in-law done too was never on the cards, but it’s close to the top of the queue when I get back, and will be mailed out to her by sea mail.

So now I’m going to soak my aching hands in hot water and ask the ever-obliging Husband for a cup of tea and a home made bickie.