The Gardens of Chiconia 38: An orange sort of day…

A theme is emerging here, people.

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 1.02.26 pmFirstly, the Truck Quilt is finished. The quilting is spectacularly ordinary, but it does the job of holding everything together, and boy, is it cosy. I finished stitching down the binding last night, and the Husband will be taking it to work on night shift tonight. I regret not being able to get it done last night, as the temperature went down to 2°C/35°F and was certainly chilly enough to make it very welcome. But at least he’ll be cosy tonight.

And now for the rest of the orange.

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 1.00.21 pmScreen Shot 2015-07-18 at 1.01.29 pmI have harvested the last of the mandarins, beating the bloody thieving lorikeets to it. They have gobbled up a lot of them, getting to the fruit before they were fully ripe, and leaving evidence of their marauding on the ground. The fruit smells wonderful, and some of them will be going into a mandarin syrup cake, some will be juiced for the freezer. The remainder will be scoffed pretty quickly.


Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 1.03.02 pmElsewhere, the garden is doing its best, considering it’s winter. The tomatoes are flowering very enthusiastically, but we’re having to move fast to save them from the birds and bugs, and are picking the fruit half ripe to finish off inside. My zucchini have given up in the bout of cold weather we’re having – cold for the tropics, that is. The yellow dendrobium orchid on the palm tree, however, is sending out flower shoots, as are my white and purple phalaenopsis orchids in the sun porch. I have some potting on to do: some of my custard apple seeds have germinated, and the angel trumpet cuttings have long, long roots. Time to give them a pot to play in!

The sun is shining, there’s a fresh, cool breeze, and in Europe, I’d call this a lovely spring day!

Five shirts and a rotary cutter…

… look like this after a day of sewing.

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 4.17.34 pmThe top of Truck Quilt is pieced. I don’t think I’ve ever put one together so quickly – it’s strangely liberating to be making for an audience whose only priority is warmth and comfort, not design and sewing excellence!  Not that I’ve flung it together exactly, but I gave myself permission not to match seams and for things to be a little wonky. And despite the freedom, it’s actually not bad!

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 4.19.02 pmI’ll start the quilt sandwich tomorrow, and if it goes well, I’ll be able to start quilting soon after. The plan is to have it ready to hand stitch the binding when I go to the sewing group on Wednesday morning. And then, when the Husband starts night shift at the end of the week, it’ll be done, and he’ll have a warm and comfortable bunk for his break.

That reminds me. I need to dig out that navy solid for the binding…

Not just revvin’ my engine

I haven’t been operating at full horsepower in the past week with the many things on my To Do list.

But at least I’m motoring with the Truck Quilt. It was a slow start, but now I’m winding my way up through the gears.  Sorry, sorry, it’s all this associating with truck drivers, it does something to my metaphors.

Truck Quilt blocksThe quilt is fully cut out, and is being pieced together. Cutting was pretty unexciting: I had to dismember shirts, press and square up the pieces, cut carefully to capture logos and names, and cut even more carefully to ensure I got enough pieces of the right size. That said, I was quite relaxed about cutting because they were just rag bag shirts, and I wasn’t going to destroy some fabric treasure by a careless slip of the rotary cutter. A clear case of ‘measure once, cut… whatever’!

Because the three guys (with the possible exception of the Husband) have never even heard of the Quilt Police, I’m operating on the ‘finished is better than perfect’ principle and they will have a quilt soon instead of perfectly matched seams. Possibly, in fact, by the time the Husband goes back on shift in 4 days’ time. It’s hard to get a good photo, because all the reflective tape reads as either white or grey, but never all white or all grey, so it looks messy.

The backing is a blue and white flannelette sheet I already have, so no piecing needed there. The binding is the only thing exercising my mind – I don’t want to buy fabric to finish it (this is a recycled quilt, after all!), so I either have to fish something suitable out of the stash, or make up a very, very scrappy binding from leftover bits, none of them much more than 6″ long. Soooooo many seams… I think I have some navy solid somewhere!

The Tialys box is making gentle progress. You have to wait for glue to dry at this stage, and it’s strong fabric adhesive that needs a while, so I won’t be finishing that in a tearing hurry. I think I need to invest in some quilter’s binding clips, those clothespegs do the job but they catch on things; the clips are neater.

Now I just have to resist the temptation to start yet another project before these two are done. Beginnings are always easier than endings, for me at any rate.

Treading water

The last 4 days, I’ve found it hard to keep my head above water.

On Friday, I had some surgery. Oh, nothing serious, and actually, something I’d been waiting to have for some considerable time (think years, not months). I waltzed in cheerfully, but crept back out like a geriatric snail – with apologies to all the snails out there who are currently rather more speedy than I.

Each time I’ve had surgery, and there have been a fair number in the past 3 years, I’ve found it harder and harder to haul myself out of the black hole it dumps me into. Which is why, dear bloggy friends, I have nothing very much to show you by way of creativity, achievement, jobs done and deadlines achieved. I’m getting through the day and the chores with the aid of copious naps and pain relief, and that’s IT. There are two projects in the pipeline to which I have given what energy I was able to summon up. I’m still trying to decide which one I want to finish first!

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 6.02.41 pmOne is a hexagonal sewing box with fold out sides, beautifully designed by Lynn of Tialys. I’m one of her lucky pattern testers, and in honour of the occasion, I’ve dug out my last remaining piece of Amy Butler fabric, the design called Josephine’s Bouquet from the Cameo range for Westminster Fibers, in the dark grey and pink colourway. The floral medallion repeat in this fabric is the perfect size for the lid of the box. It was meant. I haven’t made much progress beyond cutting out all the card pieces and the outer and lining fabrics, but I shall take it to the sewing group tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll make some progress there.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 6.03.06 pmThe other project is a quilt for the Husband’s truck. He’s one of three drivers for the large and powerful beast they call ‘the office’, officially known as No. ECC44: Always Safe II, and known to me as Big Girl. She hauls 51,000 litres of diesel 250km to the mines three times a day, twice in daytime and once at night. I’m dismembering work shirts from all three of the guys, complete with their embroidered names, the embroidered company logo, reflective tape and buttoned pockets. There’s not quite enough fabric in 5 shirts (which is all I was given) to get really creative about it, but it will be unique, distinctive, personalised, and best of all, comfortable on the plastic covered bunk behind the front seats when the guys want to take a short break. Because the quilt will be made of old workwear, it doesn’t matter if it gets dirty – I know it’ll come clean again. A bit of creative piecing is needed to achieve the size they want: 72″ wide by 60″ high; I’m cutting 12″, 6″ and 4″ squares with extra seam allowance, and this makes good use of the available fabric pieces. The size allows them to lay the quilt on the bunk and then throw the top layer over themselves if it’s cool, or have a double thickness layer underneath them if it’s hot. I’ve also made an iron-on transfer of the truck’s name and the dates of operation; this driving team has migrated across from ‘Safely Home’ to ‘Always Safe II’, so both trucks are commemorated.

Tomorrow is delivering my baking to the coffee shop, followed by a morning at the sewing group. But Thursday’s all mine, and look out for slightly more impressive progress after that!