Home at last

So, self, what’ll it be?

Do I (a) dive headlong into all the jobs round the house which are yelping at me to get done now I’m finally home after 11 days away? Do I (b) carry on cranking out hexie flowers at a manic rate now I have access to all the other bits of fabric, 25 down, only another howevermany to go? Do I (c) start work on the Husband’s richly deserved quilt, at last?

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Why is it that both my current projects are blue and red…?

Tough one. I suspect it’ll be a mixture of (a) and (b). Working on (c) requires time and concentration, and I won’t be able to give it either very much today…

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Despite short water rations, the tomatoes are still doing great work!

The garden got a big drink last night. Despite the Dowager’s attentions, it’s looking a little dry and sorry. I have GOT to get an automatic irrigation system in on a timer so we can leave it alone a while without any danger of losing the lot. Oh good, another job to add to the list… I have to start moving plants around, getting my new vegie garden bed established, too.

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This was what hit Brisbane but it died soon after, and we got nothing. Image courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology.

They had no rain up here at all, despite the enormous and damaging storms Brisbane went through.  The storm cell just lost all its mojo as it headed north and nothing at all happened. There was a little rain as we left Childers, three hours north of Brisbane, and then nothing other than a few minutes of rain.

Aaargh. The Husband has just reminded me that Steampunk has also been unearthed and is waiting for me. Oh, and I can expect an email any time from the café asking for another order of gluten free goodies.

It’s good to have things to do, but this is ridiculous. Never mind. It’s great to be home…

AHQ: formation quilting

The quilting is finished.  

Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.56.53 PM Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.57.05 PM Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.57.46 PM Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.57.32 PMI decided not to just keep on making concentric squares – the quilting isn’t quite flying geese, but there is a sort of flight-y, arrow-y direction to it, which is appropriate: its intended recipient is a Leading Aircraftwoman.

Over the next few days, I’ll deal with all the loose threads, trim it out and attach the binding and label. And then it’s good to go, together with a number of goodies to fill out the mailing box and give her something else to smile about!

I’ve located the box containing Steampunk, so I’ll be cracking on with lots of hand sewn pieces for that over the next few weeks. It’s been ages since I’ve been able to do any work on it, so I’m looking forward to getting out all those fabulous reds, golds, rusts and bronzes for the next wheel…

Trouble is, I’ve also located lots of other project boxes too!

Steampunk Wheel XI: finished

It’s been a long pull. Hundreds of fiddly little pieces to fit together neatly. But it’s done now.

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 4.34.20 PMScreen shot 2014-08-03 at 4.35.04 PMScreen shot 2014-08-03 at 4.35.21 PMThere’s a big bite out of one side where Wheel XII fits between it and the previous completed Wheel VIII. It’s 69cm (about 27 inches) across and contains 253 pieces. Far too many of them are little triangles 4cm high by 2.5 wide…

Wheel XII will be next, so I can start fitting the shapes together. The colours for this next one will be warm: coppers, reds, a bit of black with a lot of gold printing, perhaps a bit of ochre or amber. I want to make a clear contrast between the wheels.

I’m going to be doing a spot of embroidery in the evenings for the next week or so, rather than stitching Steampunk together. I have a SAL date to meet next Sunday, and a bit of progress is required!

And there’s going to be a slight lull in my usual frenetic sewing activity. We are buying a house, a beautiful old Queenslander, and it’s in a bit of a state. Lots of renovation needed, and I am the on-the-spot foreman, scraper, sander, painter, tool hander, flatpack kitchen assembler, tea-maker and phoner of missing tradesmen. It’s nothing I haven’t done before, so I’m not unduly nervous, just eager to get started. There’s beautiful silky oak skirtings, fretwork and door frames to be exposed, sanded and varnished, old windows with stained glass panels to be stripped and repainted, original brass door furniture to be scrubbed and polished, and a whole dreadful, beetle-infested 1940s kitchen to be ripped out and replaced with something a little less hazardous to health – but I’m saving the handles, which are great, still in good shape and rather interesting in design.

I’ll probably be posting on progress on Waking the Sleeping Beauty in due course, but it’s too early still, we don’t own her yet.

I haven’t forgotten my quilts, but they may be going into suspended animation for a while. I have a lot of quotes to organise….






I’m at that excruciating stage we all reach at some point, with too many balls in the air.

I have got the beginnings of something for the Jumble baby quilt. I keep putting up pieces and taking them down, moving a few completed blocks around, putting off having to cut more fabric in case I change my mind and don’t like what’s there. I have sewn a few blocks together, but it’s annoying me, irritating me, causing me to be uncomfortable in my mind. So I’ve stopped, for now.

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I’m in the extremely long winded process of sewing in the last ring of Steampunk Wheel XI. Did I mention before there are over 250 pieces in this one Wheel?  It feels as if every one of those pieces is in the last ring and they’re all tiny triangles. Not true, but about 80% of the shapes are triangles and they’re not fun. I shall be singing hallelujahs when it’s done, but that’s a few days off, I think. But I can’t sew on it for long without my eyes crossing a little, so again, I need a break.

Amistad is not annoying me. It’s sitting folded on my work table, waiting patiently for my head to clear and time for me to go to the fabric shop and buy backing and binding material. But it is being slightly reproachful: I was first. You’ve been neglecting me. I’m nearly ready, why can’t you finish me?

I escaped all the fabric noise and went into the garden, where I have discovered two tiny delights. Here they are.

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The Kipflers will be first. The Nicolas are also showing, but the Bintjes are late season spuds and there’s nothing yet.

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There WILL be strawberries. Only one plant is flowering, but as you can see, it’s very enthusiastic.

And now I have a good excuse to escape the house entirely: Dinner at the Dowager’s.  I shall pick up Steampunk when I get back…

Steampunk Wheel XI: ring 4 is complete

I couldn’t get through yet another day without a bit of sewing…

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Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 1.17.21 PMThe outer stormy grey is Ring 4. Outside this will go another silver ring, then another set of stars.  I’m still debating fabric choices for the stars – I think I may want to change the colour balance a bit, to give a different look. As it’s the largest ring, and the most complex type in terms of piecing, I’m going to need to be really sure, otherwise the unpicking is going to be horrendous.

And I’ve got Amistad laid out on my design wall. The whole thing. You’ll remember it’s a very simple pattern: large squares alternating with 9-patch blocks. So it’s done, and I’m happy with the balance of colours. It’s too large to get into one photo, so showing it’s going to have to wait until I’ve got some of it sewn together, which should be quick. I have lots of lovely leftovers, so I reckon there’s a couple of cushions and quite a few pincushions or other doodads waiting to emerge. Mrs R’s contribution is in there, pinging out some beautiful lilac highlights (hello, my lovely, great to see you the other day). I’m thinking this baby is going to need lilac binding too, so perhaps a visit to the LQS will produce something suitable.

Off to cut some fabric for Steampunk – Ring 5 – and then I can thread up the sewing machine and make a start on Amistad.

Steampunk Wheel XI: time for a breather

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 10.26.50 PMI have perhaps been spending a little too much time with this quilt… But I’m loving every minute of it!

So now that it’s complete out to Ring 3, I’m going to put it aside for a while. A couple of days, at least. Probably….

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Detail of the silver bling

I need to do some work on my Wedding Sampler, which has been sitting neglected while I raced through Happiness, Broken Bottles and the start of Amistad. It’s not a big piece, but there’s a lot of counting and rather small stitches, so I need to devote proper attention to it. Plus I’m now in a Stitch Along with three other stitching ladies, so there’s some small but good pressure to actually make progress! I’ll be reserving my tah-dah! photos for the link up day on 29 June.

And after 6 June, I should be in possession of Mrs R’s blocks for Amistad, so I’ll be doing some work on that too. Time to broaden my focus again; too much time doing micro stitches on small pieces of fabric under strong light gives you a sore back and a short fuse!

More soon.

Steampunk Wheel XI: good to go

I took the day off yesterday and devoted myself to having fun, mostly involving the new scooter, sunshine, open roads and a really fabulous teahouse in the country. So today I was back and ready to get cracking with Wheel XI.

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Detail, Wheel XI. Copyright 2014 Jule Bandholz. Do not pin, copy or otherwise reproduce this image or the original without the permission of the owner.

This photo is a close up of Jule’s version of Wheel XI. That’s 222 pieces. Not one but two rows of the stars I wrestled with. I found it hard to work on all the dark colours in Wheel VIII in artificial light, so I thought for this one I’d give my eyes a rest and work in lighter colours…

This time, it’s going to be silver, pewter, black and verdigris. But mostly silver. I’ll also remind myself not to panic when the stars look awful before the final point goes on.

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Unfortunately, my cranky insides disagreed about how the day should be spent, so I don’t have a great deal of progress to report. I have sorted and cut a load more papers for the central star and Rings 1-5 and I have cut fabrics for the star and rings 1-4. Everything is bagged and ready for me to get out my needle and thread this evening.

At least I can do some hand work this evening…

Steampunk Wheel VIII: completed!

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I meant to have this ready yesterday in time for a Friday Finish, but events conspired against me.

Screen shot 2014-06-21 at 8.23.14 PMAfter a short period of doubt in the middle, I now love this, and it has given me so many ideas for how I want to finish the whole quilt when it’s done. The piecing is just the beginning; there’s a world of embellishment detail boiling away in my brain, and I fear some of it involves metallic quilting thread… There isn’t much doubt that this item is going to be way, way OTT.

The finished size is going to be about 65 x 48″; it will be too small for a bed, and in any case, all the beds in my house are already fully burdened with quilts and to spare. I will not be able to bear giving it away. So it will have to be a hanging. And I have a real problem with where it might hang in this small house with already too many pictures and bookcases.

Still, that’s a problem for another day.


Steampunk: the stars come out

Yesterday, I was a bit unhappy with Ring 2.

The shapes looked too emphatic and clumsy, the colours too bright. I wondered if I had made a mistake. But I decided to have faith, and started to add Ring 3.

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Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 9.20.59 PMAnd then the stars came out against the darkness of the background colours, and everything was OK again. That strip of colour just had to be contained. The purple diamonds are going to need some sort of punctuation. I want the effect of rivets or bolt heads… I think small dull-gold buttons might do the trick. But it can wait until the pieces are all put together. The purple and rust both still look rather garish under artificial light – they’re much softer and duller in daylight. I’ll get to photograph it in daylight one of these days!

I’m going to stop cursing the little triangles. After all, they made the stars happen.

Steampunk Wheel VIII, another ring

I’ve not had much time for hand sewing in the last couple of days.

My progress on Steampunk isn’t very impressive, due to whole lists of other things I had to do. I did get the second vegie cage netting sewn, so now there are two raised beds of pampered vegetables with their Sleeping Beauty four poster curtains…

Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 6.47.56 PMAnyway, I’ve got Ring 2 done. The fabric that looks scarily bright orange under artificial light is actually quite a pleasant rust colour, and will be put firmly in its place once Ring 3 goes in, perhaps as early as tomorrow. But I have to tell you, those weeny triangles are murder. It’s a bit daunting that there are so many of them in the overall design. Still, I suppose I’ll get better at them with practice.

More soon.