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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

This and that...

Last Sunday it was the June meet up of Sunday Stitchers at Ormeau.
I took a knitting project, some crocheting and a 'hexie' project to work on during the day...but only stitched away on the hexagons. (A Christmas in July Swap project) 

Just one birthday girl in June...Cheryl from Bliss in the Burbs blog. Cheryl had listed red and white fabrics as her choice for her birthday fat quarters. 

Cheryl was very pleased with 'her loot'. :-)
 

Today, Tuesday, was the K4BN Knit and Natter at Zillmere. I had lots of donations that had been given to me by friends, to hand in. And everyone else who came along had lots of lovely items to hand in too...a total of 248 items were collected this morning. 

Not just knitted and crocheted items either...Val, had made another of her eye catching quilts. 
Plans for the rest of the week include lots more stitching on the 2 items for the Christmas in July Swap and a mini quilt for a Sunday Stitchers Swap. Sounds like a good week!

Monday, June 29, 2015

A little break...

Firstly a big thank you to those who left supportive comments on my recent posts; 2 posts dealing with my 'Liberty Stamp Block Swap' dramas and the other recent one where I outlined the difficulties caused by my offspring being estranged from each other. Your comments and emails are much appreciated.
But last Thursday DH 'swept' me away to the Gold Coast for a little break which coincided with our wedding anniversary, and it was so nice to have those 2 days and a night away. 
We shopped at Harbour Town on the way...
Black Pepper had sent me an email saying that their clearance store would be having a sale while we were down that way, so I checked it out. I bought a few items at very good prices. Usually at clearance stores, they rarely have anything in my size but I was lucky this time!
I had heard people talk about a store at Tallebudgera called Fifi's Fabricology, so we decided to find it and have a look...well I would do the looking, I should say! I didn't take any photos but it was definitely worth the visit...there is just so much fabric!! But I only bought a new rotary cutter and some EPP papers. Here is the link to the website of this wonderful, but overwhelming store!
On the way back to the highway after visiting Fifi's we stopped for lunch at the Wild Bean Cafe which is in a small shopping centre at Tallebudgera. The food was delicious! DH had the Wild Bean Special and I had the Moroccan Beef Burger.
Our next stop was going to be a visit to some friends at Banora Point but about 1pm we got a call saying that they were both unwell due to a virus that had hit both of them...so instead we went to South Tweed to visit the store, Fantazia. (I have previously written about this store in this post, but the Giveaway is over !) . While I browsed through the 3 sections of this huge store, DH went for a walk. I bought some fabric and some 'precuts', some novelty buttons as well as a new cutting mat. By then it was time to head to our accommodation.

DH had booked us into Outriggers at Coolangatta...this is my favourite part of the Gold Coast. There's still a  bit of sea view through the other buildings...

Another view from our balcony...



Sneaky DH took a photo of me while I was taking those photos...

Then it was time to go for a nice long walk; we followed the path along the beachfront and then walked around some of the streets, looking in shop windows etc.




We got back to the room as darkness fell.
We dined at Twin Towns Services Club and then settled down to watch the free entertainment...a group called Steve Cummins and the Bar Studs. They played music from the 60s up till present day...lots of fun!



On Friday we caught up with 2 lots of friends; one lot for coffee and the other couple we met for lunch.
We dined at this place...nice food and prompt service in quaint surroundings.



DH has known these friends since they all worked in the Commonwealth Public Service. They were all a long younger then! lol.



And after our leisurely long lunch we headed home to Eduardo the cat who complained lustily about our going away and leaving him to be fed and spoiled by our neighbour!



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Missing...

Yep! I've certainly been missing from Blogland this last week! I've been so busy...trying to rectify a 'disaster'. 
In my last post I wrote about having to unpick and re-sew some blocks for a swap. Well out of the 27 blocks, I could only salvage 18. Some of these 18 were actually 'cannibalised' from the original 27 blocks...taking segments of some and putting them together with segments from other blocks. I discovered that the main problem that caused wrong sized blocks was that some of the squares were not 2 1/2 " and this seemed to have been caused by fabric slipping when cutting double layers of strips. 
So after the 18 were re-sewn, I carefully cut enough squares to make another 10 blocks...160 squares!  So for days I was unpicking, re-sewing, cutting new squares and sewing new blocks. Sometimes I really didn't feel like doing all this...but I would have been letting a lot of other people down if I didn't! 


But I was sneaky this time...I cut each square a tiny bit bigger and at the second stage of piecing,I would trim the four patch segment to 4 1/2 inch square. Also in the instructions, it suggested that it was only necessary to finger press the seam of those first 2 squares sewn together...well eventually I used the iron on those seams too with good results. 
I also did something that I haven't done for years...I tacked (basted) some of the seams with great results...no unpicking! My Nanna Rita ( a tailoress) would have been proud! Lol) 
Late Wednesday night, I had finished 27 blocks which was all I needed to mail as #28 is kept by the maker.  I ironed all of them one more time, prior to wrapping up for sending...all was good except 3 of the blocks. On closer inspection these 3  were very poor quality...so really could not be sent in the swap. 
So there was nothing for it but to cut another 48 squares! And today I worked at finishing this three and by this afternoon, I was happy with the quality of all 27 blocks. 


In this project I have made every careless mistake possible I think...squares cut carelessly, squares' corners not lining up, wonky, crooked seams, instead of both right sides together for seams, I occasionally had wrong side and right side facing in and sewn, I had twisted intersections' seams, wrong side facing out etc etc... Dreadful! One mistake I kept repeating was in the second step of construction. The segment on the left should have the seam pressed 'up' and the one on the right should be 'down'. 

To keep perpetuating the same mistake is a bit of a worry...:-/
(The lower segment is correctly aligned and ready for pressing)
Maybe it's the onset of 'Crafters' Dementia'?? Hope not!!! Lol
So, some maths...originally I cut 454 squares (448 needed for 28, 16 square blocks plus 6 extras to replace ones that 'didn't work'). Then I have cut another 224 in the last week...phew! 
When I get the parcel with 27 blocks swap blocks from the other participants,  I think it was all worth it! I mean, all that Liberty Fabric...loveliness!  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

FNSI...

I'm a bit late with this post as it's now Sunday Night!
Well I had hoped to write about doing the last little bit of stitching on my Blocks in the Liberty Stamp block swap which was run via Instagram. I had been working on this project on and off for many weeks...just 'ambling along' doing a little bit at a time. We had to make a total of 28 blocks but only 27 were to be posted off. Each block consists of 16, two and a half inch squares and for each block we had to use 16 different Liberty fabrics. We were given a diagram for assembly...
First we had to sew 8 pairs of squares...
Then 2 pairs were joined to make 4 larger squares...
Then 2 pairs of these were joined to make 2 rectangles...
And then these 2 rectangles were joined to make the 16 square block. 
I had been getting all these rectangles ready to join to make the quilt blocks and this finishing was my plan for Friday night...16 quarter inch seams...easy? And yes it was...till I decided to measure each block before I wrapped them ready to mail...and then that's when the drama started! 
Yep! The completed blocks were not 8 1/2 inch square; a lot were 8 1/4! 
But it gets worse! I checked the print-out of the instructions again and realised that the segments in the few blocks that measured the 8 1/2 inches, were not the layout in the instruction diagram...my 'ups' and 'downs' seams were not the right way...so out those blocks went! Yikes! 
So FNSI became Friday Night of Reverse Stitching...or Frenzied Night of Seam Ripping. As I examined each segment, I found so many careless errors...and I had broken so many patchworking rules...and didn't measure after each section was completed etc etc. 
Some of the blocks were unfixable, so my Liberty Scraps box started to fill up. I knew I'd have to cut some more squares and start new blocks. But I planned to fix those I could first, so the night ended with 'deconstructed' quilt blocks all over the table. 
I didn't get much time yesterday to try to remake all those blocks, so today was spent trying to get as many done as possible. In hindsight it may have been quicker to start new ones. 
So there is some progress...half the blocks have been redone.
So tomorrow will be busy stitching too. The blocks have to be posted and arrive in W.A. by June 30. 
Despite the dramas I'm still enjoying this project. I really like the method of joining, and despite 'mucking things up', it's been a good learning experience and a reminder of how important accuracy in cutting and seam allowance etc is. 
All the discarded blocks and part blocks, I will use in other projects, so the fabric won't be wasted. 
According to a few posts on Instagram by other participants, there have been trials and tribulations for them too...but only a few. Most seem to have their squares completed. Some of them are in this screen shot of the Swap's IG page...

Each of us will receive 27 blocks and already some people are explaining what they will make. I think I will make a baby quilt...but it's just a dream at the moment...first I must get 27 blocks completed and the correct size too of course! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

More about that hexie swap...

I wrote last week about a swap I signed up for where each person had to make 42 1 inch hexagons in the colour/s allocated using only Liberty Tana Lawn. Mine were mailed last week and Sophie, the coordinator of this swap has been steadily posting photos on Instagram, as parcels of hexies arrive. 
These were posted on Instagram last week....

These were posted today...


And these...my 'bundle' is on the left hand side on the bottom of the screen shot....
The number and variety of prints is amazing...so many prints I've never seen, let alone own. 
Now Sophie will re bundle these so that every swap participant will get 42 hexies in a range of rainbow colours. I'm quite excited  about what lovely Liberty hexies I might receive. Participants have until June 22 to get their parcels to Sophie...not long to go! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

An old photo...

I've been looking through the boxes of photos again, looking for photos of my in laws from my first marriage. Haven't found that bundle of pics yet, but found some others, like this one. 

The photo was taken in the late 1980s at Manly, a bayside suburb of Brisbane on the south side of town. The two little girls are DD1 and DD2. I smiled when I saw this photo, as they are wearing outfits sewn by me...most children get to that stage in their growing up, where they don't want to wear items sewn by mum...that was something that was to come in the years after this photo was taken.
This photo evokes bitter-sweet feelings; the big sister is holding the hand of her little sister. But that was a long time ago now...
You see, one of the most difficult things for me to come to terms with as a mother, is the fact that my children no longer talk to each other...Mothers' Day is a nightmare, as are all the other traditional celebrations throughout the year. Sometimes, one of them will not 'talk' to me either...and I hate that. I start to question whether it's 'my fault'; could I have done things differently? But I know the answer...all I can do is keep those lines of communication open. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sandgate on a Saturday...

Last Saturday, DH and I took a drive to Sandgate, a beach suburb of Brisbane.
In the distance to the south, you can see the gantry cranes of the Port of Brisbane...
The sky was somewhat overcast but we still set off on our walk along the path beside the beach...


I love the way how, in recent years, the lovely old homes near the beach have been lovingly restored...

 The next house is called 'Cremorne' and is a real hotchpotch of styles and eras of architecture...
 Maybe one day it will be restored fully?
DH and I had coffee at a cafe called 'Fish on Flinders' on this street...just across the road from the BCC Swimming pool complex. (And how I did not take a photo, is quite out of character! lol)
As we wandered back to our car, it started to rain...


 Always the gentleman, DH left me to shelter under a very large tree where I stayed dry, while he went on alone to fetch the car...getting quite wet in the process.
I had noticed in the distance, looking south, that there seemed to be some work being done on the old Shorncliffe Jetty, which had been closed for ages. It had been found to be unsafe and locals rallied to get it replaced after its certain demolition. Eventually the Council agreed that a jetty was an asset to the community and that it would be replaced...eventually. So DH and I headed south to Shorncliffe...another lovely Brisbane beach suburb. Well there's not much left of the old jetty...
But we know there will be a new one!
Now while I had been waiting for DH to come back with the car at Sandgate, I was sure I heard a steam train whistle. And sure enough, as we drove past the Shorncliffe station, we saw a steam engine on an excursion...Shorncliffe is a terminus for this line.
The old train was 'parked' and obviously waiting for when the line was clear of suburban trains to continue the excursion.
It had been a lovely Saturday excursion for DH and I too, albeit in Mitzi Micra!  
Many, many years ago on my dad's day off, (Wednesday), my parents would take me on the train ( and suburban trains were steam...it was a long time ago, remember?) to Sandgate. My mother had a box brownie camera and was renowned for taking the occasional blurry photos. Here are some old photos of my family on a day trip to Sandgate...
One day I must try to work out what part of Flinders Pde this is...if the shop is still standing it's probably one of the many cafés. 


My dad obviously took blurry photos too! Lol
My dad loved this area and had the dream of retiring here...sadly he died in his 50s so never achieved the dream. It's a favourite place of mine to visit.