Thanks to the Husband’s hijack of my post for his own message, many of you know it was my birthday yesterday.

My word, did I score lavishly…

Both my computers, the desk one and my laptop, were old (8+ years) Apple Macs, and while I’ve updated software and done my best to keep them running happily, the hardware has been unable to keep up and they were both getting extremely cranky. Then, a week ago, the laptop took an unassisted dive off the table, fell on its corner, and was fritzed. Finished, dead, gone.  Inconvenient, to say the least, because I couldn’t retrieve a few things I had sitting on the desktop.

So the Husband decided I had to get a new laptop. And despite the fact that they’re stupidly expensive, I was going to get another Mac. And it’s here. A teeny weeny little 11″ MacBook Air, which is going to replace both my desk computer and my lappie. On the desk, it will be hooked up to a large monitor, mouse and keyboard. Carried around, it’ll be just a bit larger than a standard iPad, but with the convenience of a USB port so I can upload photos and hook things up, and a lid that closes to protect the screen. Two for the price of one, as it were…

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Think I’d better hurry up and make a nice cover for this ….

In addition to this lovely piece of sleek techyness, the Husband took me shopping to our LQS, where I scored these:

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A gorgeous blend of purple, rust and some blue. I feel a quilt coming on….

And to top the day off, I made this chocolate cake from The Pink Rose Bakery, and I have to say that Kirsten’s recipe is, well, awesome. Do yourself a favour and make it… I’m calling it Death by Chocolate, because you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven!

Right, that’s quite enough gloating. I have to go and do battle with the new laptop’s operating system, which is very, very different from what I’m used to. Nothing is the same….

Some of it’s a whole lot better!

Wandering Star

The poor Husband of Chiconia has no quilt to call his own.

He faithfully admires my creations, no matter how exuberant, girly, floral or pink they are. He dutifully sleeps under my heirloom Grandmother’s Flower Garden queen size quilt without complaint. He happily keeps me company in the sewing room while I whirr away, holds lights while I take photos and occasionally makes surprisingly helpful suggestions. But I have never made him his own quilt.

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Definitely not too girly, according to the Husband

Lurking at the back of my mind, and nagging me increasingly as my skills improve, is the solution. It’s my oldest UFO, embarked on before I was ready and put away when it started to go wonky. I’m a better sewer now, more patient, more painstaking, more accurate, and finally, a bit braver.  It’s time. And I have the perfect recipient…

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Just look at all those wobbly banana-shaped seams.

I’m calling this quilt Wandering Star. It’s a fairly standard Lone Star quilt, but it has gone from house to house with me, packed away in my actually pretty small UFO box. Finally, it’s home, and time for it to be finished and have an owner who will love and appreciate it. And as well, as we all know, Finished Is Better Than Perfect. It was a lovely jelly roll of Moda French General fabrics, but I can no longer remember the name of the range. If you recognise the fabrics and can identify the range, do let me know.

Anyone who’s made one of these knows they are a nightmare of bias edges, lining up diamonds and big bodgy bits in the middle where all the seams come together.  That bit hasn’t gone away. What’s new is that now the beauty of the fabrics and the design is more important and that I feel capable of finishing what I started so long ago. It’s still not going to be perfect, but I’m able to resurrect it and make of it a thing of beauty. When I get back from New South Wales at the end of the month Wandering Star will be waiting. And I’ll be ready.

It’s only taken 7 years…

The List

I’ve been feeling a bit glum due to lack of forward motion on various projects.

It’s not that I’m bored with them, it’s just that events and schedules have conspired to reduce my available sewing time.  So I thought it was time to review The List for the year.

Tree of Life: Finished. Waiting to be delivered in person in April.
Wervelwind, Vlucht and Komeet: Finished and delivered.
Happiness: Top half done. Needs more white fabric
Car Quilt (to be renamed when done!): centre section done, outer borders still needed for the top
Amistad: planned, fabric pulled.
Broken Bottles: planned, fabric pulled

That’s the quilts to which I have committed so far.  In addition, we have:

Mariella’s scrap quilt
Claire’s scrap quilt
Ohio Star UFO: see if it can be saved – the bits so far are badly distorted.
Hat Box quilt
Winter quilt (hand pieced)
Steampunk quilt (hand pieced)
Lap quilt for Natalie
Postage stamp scrap quilt for me.

Plus whatever I decide to do with the fabrics I bought at the Brisbane Craft & Quilt Show in October…

Now obviously the entire list isn’t going to get done this year, given that I’m not an especially speedy worker.  But I do want to finish Car Quilt, Amistad and Broken Bottles by the middle of the year. And then I’ll see.  I’ll need another hand-pieced project once Car Quilt is finished, so it’ll be either Steampunk or Winter. Steampunk will be smaller and therefore more manageable, but Winter’s been planned for so long I’d really love to start it.  Plus I have the Winter fabrics, but I’ll need to shop for Steampunk, and so far this year I’ve been really rather well behaved where fabric purchases are concerned.

Winter quilt fabrics: three Hoffmann Bali Pops in Grasshopper, Sangria and Zinfandel, plus Fossil Fern yardage in three colours.

Winter quilt fabrics: three Hoffmann Bali Pops in Grasshopper, Sangria
and Zinfandel, plus Fossil Fern yardage in three colours.

There’s a whole raft of other sewing projects, but if it’s a question of priorities, quilts come first, always. So the needlepoint, dressmaking, bagmaking and cross stitch projects will have to wait.

And of course, let us not forget Mystery Woolly Thing, growing fast but still not large enough….

Back to the Car Quilt.  I’d like to get at least one side done by the end of tonight.

Planning time again

With Happiness pinned to my design wall, just waiting for me to give it some time, I looked at my To Do List.

High on the “I know I shouldn’t but I just want to play with it” shortlist is the Chez Moi fabrics bundle.  This quilt is going to be called Amistad (Friendship), because a friend has made it possible.  I think I have just enough to make a 9 patch/1 patch alternating step and repeat layout.  It’s not going to be a big quilt, but big enough to wrap up in and feel friendship keeping me warm!  The plan is to use the large prints in the range for the 1 patch, and the smaller prints for the 9 patch.  I’ll then hand quilt around the design on the 1 patch squares, and do a spiral in the 9 patch squares.  Haven’t got as far as the back yet…

Amistad: fabrics and very sketchy sketch.

Amistad: fabrics and very sketchy sketch.

Then I’ve got the lap quilt I promised my sister in law a year and a half ago. She has been remarkably patient, and very undemanding in terms of what she wants.  I have a nice green jelly roll of lights and darks, and some green/blue Aboriginal Spot to bind it with.  So I’ve picked a gorgeous geometric format which Avis at Oh Sew Tempting was kind enough to design and post a tutorial about here.  I think it’ll look a bit different, because my greens are mainly darkish and lightish, rather than very pale and very dark, but it should work nicely.  Haven’t begun to consider the quilting yet! And depending on how it works out, I may call it Broken Bottles.  Because of the colour, you understand! It would be wonderful if I could get this one done before we go away in April.  That would mean that my brother gets his birthday quilt and his wife gets hers at the same time. I could carry them both with me and hand them over in person.  Hmm. Bit of time pressure there, then. We shall see.

Broken Bottles (maybe), jelly roll strips and Oh Sew Tempting's design.

Broken Bottles (maybe), jelly roll strips and Oh Sew Tempting’s design.

Tomorrow I’m off work, so after some morning chores, I’m free to indulge myself with several hours of quilting.  The Husband is on night shift, and will be disappearing out in the afternoon.  So I’ll be head down, machine roaring, iron hissing and steaming, happy as Larry. It feels great to be back at my machine, after over a week away from it!

Well, that’s my work list completely turned upside down, but I’m happy about it.  It’s actually looking quite healthy; things are being completed and crossed off.

The Car Quilt

Perhaps I’m being a bit previous here, but I did a good bit of hand sewing in the car on the way down, and that packet of pre-cut hexagon papers is coming in handy….

Since we spend quite a lot of time in the car, it seems likely I’ll be continuing to assemble my hexagons while I’m in the passenger seat.  I had a jelly roll, and some matching fat quarters of fabric.  The jelly roll has been cut into 2.5″ squares and stacked in a small box.  Thread, scissors, needle case and papers go into another box, and as the kilometres roll by, I crank out the basted hexagons until I’ve made six of each fabric colour/print, plus a centre.  Once the sewing kit box is full, I start to assemble the flowers.

Look what I did! Just three of the 10 flowers I made on the drive down from Mackay. At this rate I'll be out of hexie papers before I get home..

Look what I did! Just three of the 10 flowers
I made on the drive down from Mackay.
At this rate I’ll be out of hexie papers
before I get home..

And then it all starts again.  I can talk, listen to music, chat on the phone and look at the countryside as I sew, so it’s a good use of time. And maybe the Car Quilt will truly end up being the Car Quilt, having a permanent home on the back seat. Or maybe it’ll be too nice to leave there.  We’ll have to wait and see.  The colours are very pretty; rich dark blues, greens and reds, gold flecks and swirls, olives and azures.  Sort of Islamic art meets Chinese textiles.  Hmm. Put like that it doesn’t sound so flash, but it’s pretty.  I’ve only got enough jelly roll for the central section, so it’s going to be a medallion quilt, using the fat quarters for the outer borders.  I’ve got some dark blue on navy print fat quarters to make some sashing in there somewhere.  I don’t really have a formed idea of how it’s going to be, but it will reveal itself to me as it grows.

Short post today. I have a technical problem with photos and my laptop, so the post I wanted to put up is going to have to wait till I can sort that out.  Basically, on my desktop computer – or my sister’s, which I’m using now – I can upload images without trouble, but my lappie keeps telling me the file is empty.  I shall have to see what Support suggests…

So, that’s your lot for today.  More tomorrow, probably.