Delft, doggo, and decals

It’s been a while.

Sorry peeps, I’ve been very silent recently. Mostly that’s been due to medical issues once again; I had about a week of quite unpleasant vertigo and associated hearing problems. I’m now in the diagnostic mill once again, waiting for a head MRI and a date for something called a Vestibular Assessment. There’s something called Menière’s Disease in the family, and it looks like I might have it too, but there’s no real way to check/confirm without this testing, and no cure. It leads to long term severe deafness in the affected ear. So, happy days there… If anyone has experience of living with this, I’d be interested to hear and get some idea of what to expect.

Meanwhile, in other news, doggo got dragged off to the v.e.t. to be spruced up. Teeth cleaned, ears deep cleaned and nails really cut back. He’s super-resistant to any personal care that isn’t just grooming, so needs to be anaesthetised, particularly for the teeth. Not aggressive, mind you, just that he’s very strong and fast! The side-eye we received afterwards was withering, but he’s over himself now, and does seem to be happier about trotting about on those shorter nails, so I’m guessing he’s more comfortable.

I finally got back to the Delft quilt. I’m currently in the process of hand stitching the outer edge of the hexie panel to the striped border. One side down, three more to go.

VanEssa is slowly being filled with the necessities of travel. It’s kind of weird, because while she does have a lot of storage space, it’s in different formats and places, and I have to think quite hard about how and when everything gets used before I give it a final home. I made up the bunks with the original bedding and quilts, and while they look a bit dull (dark blue and a bit of white) against the black and white background, they’ll do till I can make something more colourful. It looks cosy, anyway.

I’ve also finalised the design we want for her name decals. For information, the name Vanessa is derived from the Greek word for butterfly. And the striking blue and black Ulysses butterfly is a native of north Queensland, and incidentally also colour-coordinates with her existing decals.

So, that’s about it. I’ll try and be a bit more regular about posting going forward.

More soon, I promise.


Delft #7: thinking through the border

So, I put down my secret project for a couple of hours.

It was time to get cracking on the border for Delft. I’ve been putting it off because I knew that the fabric I’d bought wasn’t quite long enough now that I’d added an extra row to the bottom of the hexie panel. I knew I’d work something out, but it was going to take a bit of consideration

Sorry about the gloomy lighting, it’s been a very dark and overcast day

So, here’s the result. The border pieces are short by 8 inches each. I had enough left over to improvise cornerstones, but not the length I needed to make each side long enough to mitre the corners elegantly. Cornerstones it was, then. The borders are 10 inches wide. This meant that there would be a Y seam running diagonally up to the cornerstone. The fabric is, as you can see, very directional, so I needed a solution that would address this. So I cut half square triangles and alternated the print direction. I think it works. I’d already made the 4 pink hexie flowers thinking I might use them to disguise any, um, messy bits unsuccessful improvisation. I’m not sure about them. Do you think they look like afterthoughts, or like I’m trying to hide something?

I need to be happy with the solution before I start work, as the next stage is to press all the edges super hard, pull out all the papers and then baste the edges to the borders. Once they’re secured, I’ll make the mitre that forms the bottom of the Y seam and then insert the cornerstones. If I do the mitres first, it will inevitably mean that something doesn’t fit, there will be gaping or puckering and it will be nasty. Far better to attach the edges first and then fold away the mitre.

So that’s the plan. Probably. For now, anyway.


Another word for busy with no tangible outcome!

I have lots of things on the go, I’m actually quite busy, but nothing really post-worthy on its own, which is why the photo is pretty random – we took doggo and a picnic to the newly-developed Riverside leisure area in Mackay for a bit of a change. Beautifully done: loungers, tables and chairs and benches under cover, very nice amenities, ample rubbish bins, and best of all, a couple of free filtered-water dispensers for people and doggos. We’ll be going back again soon.

The entire central panel of the Delft quilt is now entirely stitched together, a mammoth undertaking. I’m currently cutting borders/ working out what I want the corners to look like, preparatory to taking the project away with us when we go travelling at the end of January, as handwork. Stitching the hexie edges onto the straight border should be challenging, as well as tedious time-consuming. It’s easy for things to get puckered and bubbly if your stitch tension is too tight.

I’m making a skirt out of a thrifted pair of pants. It’s a work in progress… If it works, I’ll show it.

I made a work apron out of a pair of the Husband’s old work pants. More on that for ScrapHappy Day on the 15th.

I made a waterproof iPhone hiking pouch for a friend. Fold-over press-stud top for waterproofing, and zippered bottom for quick access.

I made a set of 3 ‘feminine hygiene’ kits for a young lady of my acquaintance who is going to need them soon. Ecologically friendly, washable, comfortable, colourful, practical, discreet, and nothing to landfill or the sewage system.

The red kurta is still on Rosita, my dress form. I have opened out the side seams and basted in muslin panels to act as patterns for the eventual final inserts. And there it has stopped. For now…

I have a green silk thrifted top that is waiting to be altered with a patterned silk insert. It’s a gorgeous colour, but as an occasional-wear item it’s not high on the To Do list.

I just finished making a set of napkins from some beautiful French red and white striped linen. I wanted super-large ones (nearly tea towel-sized), and you just can’t buy them that size.

I carved, vacuum-packed and froze the rest of our Christmas ham. I made pea and ham soup from the bone and smallest scraps. The shells from 2kg (4 pounds) of prawns are still sitting in a bag in the freezer waiting for me to make a stock from them for a bisque. The soup I made from the two chicken carcasses is almost history already. And that’s the end of the Christmas leftovers.

I am 3½ pages into the instruction book for my latest miniature kit. The booklet is 24 pages long… The kit is a surprise gift for someone, so I’m not going to be showing any pictures, but it’s one of the most content-intensive ones I’ve seen, so there are literally dozens of pieces to make for it. And I’m on a deadline. Why do I do these things to myself? Oh yes, because it’s heaps of fun!

And finally, we gave Miz Lizzie the caravan (travel trailer) a major bath and beauty treatment. After years of restrictions, we are finally getting ready for an out-of-state 1400km/870 mile trip down south to Nambucca Heads in northern NSW, where the Husband and I will both celebrate birthdays with friends and family. Miz Lizzie is looking very clean, shiny and spiffy. She will shortly be off to visit the caravan repair yard, to have two more inline bilge fans fitted to her new air conditioning system to help the cold air shoot out faster. The new system couldn’t be fitted in the old location due to size, and the new ducting is much longer, so the built-in fan loses efficiency and the cooling is reduced. We fitted one in-line fan at home to test whether it helps. It does, so she’s off this coming week to get the rest of the work done before we go away. I hope it gets done fairly quickly, as we had to strip the interior to get at the relevant ducting, and it all has to go back in again before I can clean and start packing!

So, as you can see, my comparative radio-silence has not been evidence of idleness, but rather of too many irons in the fire and not enough completion.

So clearly, my word for 2023 will continue to be FINISH.

Delft #6: the least fun bit

I have made lots of silent progress.

I’m at the stage of this quilt where I have to stitch everything together, which is absolutely not the fun part. It’s a very great deal of stitching, and was incredibly overwhelming at first. The upside of assembling it all once all the hexies are made is that you can arrange things rather than doing it  as you go, which doesn’t always give the most harmonious results. I’m about 60% done now.

In the photo, the area outlined in red is fully assembled and all the papers removed except those at the outer edges. Outside that, the area outlined in green is assembled into large chunks for ease of handling, ready to stitch onto the central square. Below that, only the flowers are assembled, and the rest is still to go.

The striped fabric for the outer border has arrived and it’s lovely, 1cm wide stripes of dark blue and white. I’m still debating some additional flourishes of some sort, I’ll see what I’m inspired to do once the border’s on.

And of course, it’s finally dawned on me that this is yet another quilt that’s going to need hand-quilting. So yes, I’d better hurry up and finish Anemone, which has stalled rather while I’m slogging away at this one…

Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself. And then I look at my quilts, and remember.

Delft #5, and doggos

I’m making progress.

The central section of Delft is assembled, with joining hexies stitched in. It’s slowish work, but I really like the effect. I have 70ish hexies in another fabric which I want to use for the next outward row, and I can revert to the fabric I’ve used in the centre outside that, as I have a lot more of it.Fingers are holding up well, and it’s undemanding work I can do while I listen to YouTube or podcasts. I also have two yards of a lovely stripe fabric for the border on its way, 1cm stripes of white and dark blue. I’ll show it when it arrives.

In other news, I’m taking care of two doggo friends of Mouse’s, Sunshine and Tiny. Their Staff dropped them off this morning on their way to a short break on Hamilton Island, where doggos are not allowed. It’s been an interesting couple of hours as they explored the house, the back yard, Mouse’s beds and toys, etc. They have finally stopped leaping up every time a car passes, they’ve had snacks and are now draped across the floor with maximum inconvenience to foot traffic! Mouse is delighted with the toys they brought with them, especially the squeaky fluffy zebra toy. It may have to be pried from his jaws when they leave on Wednesday afternoon…

The only downside? I now have three pairs of eyes trained on my plate while I eat….

Delft 4: nearly big enough

18 more hexie flowers needed…

And then it will be large enough, I think. Not bed size, but certainly a comfortable lap quilt size once I’ve added the border all round. I have some more of the mid-blue flowers in progress, not quite enough, but I’ll top them up with a bit of dark blue with medium white spots. For the border, I’m thinking a dark blue blue and white stripe, ideally quite wide. What do you think?

The eagle eyed will may notice that I’ve rearranged things a little. Yes, everything’s dark blue and white, but even so, the eye ‘catches’ on colour jumps and things that stand out, and this new arrangement is more satisfying to my eye. This is now…  Another row needed on either side to fill it out a bit.

And this is the previous version. As you can see, the centre is different. Not bad, exactly, but not as pleasing, in my opinion.  And yes, I have been busy recently, haven’t I?

Once all the blue hexie flowers are done and I have enough filler hexies, it’ll be time to start assembly.

Cue doom-laden Star Wars March music…

Delft #3: progress

I have been industrious.

Here’s where I am today, all current hexie flowers pinned to my design wall. The layout measures 48 x 42 inches (123 x 106cm), which is quite a substantial piece. I’ve done a lot of the paler joining hexies too, but time is short today and I didn’t have the additional half hour it would have taken to fill them in. It will change the look a little, make it a little more interesting than the pale putty colour of the background.

Sorry, the lighting is bad as it’s overcast today.

I still have a lot of the dark outer hexies fabric and even more of the brighter blue and white leaf print fabric, so I’ll be increasing the size with those. This probably isn’t the final layout, but seemed an appropriate way to show what I’ve got so far.

Amazing how much Netflix you can get through while your hands are busy and your back is sore…

20% plus a fistful more

The 20% is Anemone. 

The fistful more is the yet to be named blue hexie quilt. I have finally applied myself to naming it, as calling it the ‘yet to be named…’ is both embarrassing and clunky. I have decided to call it Delft. I am half Dutch, so the beautiful blue and white pottery by that name which I love so much is part of my cultural heritage. Also, the city is the birthplace of one of my favourite painters, Jan Vermeer (think Girl with a Pearl Earring) and is a beautiful place in itself.

There is progress on both. Anemone has now reached the stage of being 20% quilted. It’s going well. I find it soothing, and easy to find enough time in a day to do a row or two (or maybe three). I’ve finally located my thread conditioner (the little blue box), so now it’s even easier, since it tangles even less than it did before. The relative firmness and non-tanglyness of hand quilting thread is one of the great things of hand quilting for me, especially as I am a lazy quilter and use a long thread. Life is too short for constant knot-burying. Getting this quilt done is my priority just now, as I can’t use my cutting table for other things while I’m working on it.

Starting Row 15

And Delft? I have made a bunch more flowers, some with scraps and some with my new yardage. it’s clear to me I’m going to need a LOT more dark blue fabric; those hexie flowers munch it up fast, whilst the paler separator hexies are comparative fewer. I should have bought twice as much dark and half as much light!

A fistful more hexies

Oh dear. I have to go fabric shopping….