Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Better weather

The storm has passed, but there's still quite a sea swell. There was surface flooding in tow, especially around the Oamaru Creek; the rural areas were worst hit and the State Highway north was closed.

All is well here however. The painter is here at present, sprucing up the bathroom and toilet which weren't painted last time around, plus some of the door surrounds which were varnished but have had just one coat of paint slapped over them which is now chipping off. I'll also get him to do the front door and the bedroom windows which are wooden - most of the other exterior windowframes are aluminium.

Here's a wee peek at the back of the house which is cuter than the front.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bad weather

The sea is very rough today with the storm that's sitting over us at present.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rainy day blues

I've been up in Christchurch looking for a house and talking to people who may offer me work. It's no small task, pulling together the selling of one home and buying another, especially when they're 250 kms (155 miles) apart. And expecially when you last did all this only 2 years ago.

Anyway.....today we have rain, which is always welcome as Otago doesn't get too much of it.

Today's photo is a cobweb I saw hanging off my bedroom window covered with tiny droplets.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A change is as good as a rest - so they say

Why, you may be asking yourselves, why is this woman Not Doing Anything?
No dyeing, no quilting, no creative stuff at all?

Ok, I have a confession to make.

I have decided to leave Oamaru and move back to Christchurch, where I lived before. Consequently, I am busy getting my house ready to sell, looking for another house, arranging a mortgage (ugh) and everything that goes with moving yourself and a business.

I'm not a quitter, but sometimes you have to accept that things haven't worked out the way you expected and/or hoped. This is one of those times.

Please bear with me and lack of creativity, as I am in Ruthless Sorting mode.

Meanwhile, here's a half Log Cabin lap quilt I made some years ago and gave to my mother. She has subsequently told me she doesn't like green so uses the other side which features a small and boring maroon print. Sigh.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Confession...and a bit (but only a bit) of a rant

I am indeed a Harry Potter fan. I have all the books (this makes my third First Edition too) and I think the stories are rollicking good yarns. I also have the movies (so far) on DVD.

Contrary to some of the things I've read, adult Harry Potter fans are not a bunch of TV-watchers who can't read anything more demanding than a comic strip. I read extensively, an eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction. As a child, I read almost all the "classics" as I was a precocious reader and had a reading age well above my chronological one.

I think J.K. Rowling's books can be enjoyed by both children and adults because they can be read on different levels - just as you don't have to be an "expert" on art to enjoy the Mona Lisa or Michaelangelo's David.

I think anything that encourages people (especially children) to read more is a good thing. Surely books that entertain and give pleasure to millions should be praised rather than slated. We can get too precious about what constitutes a good book - which is why the Yarn Harlot gets frustrated when her husband tells people she is a best -selling author. They're all admiration until they find out she writes about knitting. Apparently, this isn't "real" writing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pigasso (warning - excessively cute animal photos)

OK, I like pigs. And of course, I love colour. Here we have both these things.

You can read the whole story here!

Wouldn't it be fun to just roll around in your dyes like these piggies do, and then throw yourself onto fabric? Provided it was summer, of course!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel!

This is a fascinating pattern to knit! Incidentally, the colours in this photo are more realistic than the earlier ones.

It's all based on the number of stitches, and amazingly, mine has been correct all the way through.

When I've finished knitting the lower middle portion, I'll pick up some stitches that are currently on the holders which will form the front bands.

The top seam along the shoulders is the only sewing that is required - it is knit all in one piece.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good news and a garter stitich sting ray?

Today I had to go to Dunedin Hospital (about 1 1/2 hours' drive south) to be rescreened following my recent mammogram. Fortunately, today's close-up mammogram was clear, as was the ultrasound they did afterwards to make sure. Whew. It was a real relief, as you can't help but worry. Especially as they tell you nothing till the last minute.

I travelled on the shuttle van, partly becasue of the icy roads and partly in case it was bad news - I didn't want to have to drive home if I was upset. So there was quite a bit of waiting around at the hospital to fit in with the shuttle times.

I took the Baby Surprise with me which was a good idea. Knitting is soothing and it helps keep your mind off things. I have seen this pattern described as " what a sting ray would look like if you made one in garter stitch" - you can see that's quite a good description.

If you can't imagine what it'll look like finished, keep watching this space!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A bit of something....

....for everyone. A reclining poodle for the pet lovers.

The as-yet-unquilted log cabin bed quilt from the spare room for the traditional quilt lovers.

For the knitters - the start of a Baby Surprise jacket - a famous Elizabeth Zimmerman design - click on the link to Yarn Harlot in my Links section to see her version. No, there are no imminent babies in the family, I just wanted to knit this in some of my hand painted wool.

The other knitting I've started recently (because I start a lot more than I actually finish, I have heaps of Work In Progress) is a mohair cardigan from Knitty (I am too lazy to put in the links today). I have made this for both my daughter andmy son's girlfriend. I love this pattern, which is knitted sideways. Because I'm using mohair which won't show the contrast stitch pattern, I'm using a darker colour for those panels instead. Why do I love this pattern? Because it has a gauge you use which enables you to use ANY yarn and ANY size needles. Brilliant!

And for the dyers and art quilters, here's some two colour pieces that I made by dipping a metre of fabric in two separate dyebaths at once, and allowing it to wick into the centre.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Home sweet home

Here's a shot of my stock room (technically the second spare bedroom) looking amazingly neat and tidy and ready for Sophie, while still managing to contain huge quantities of dyes (in the white cupboards at the end of the room, on both sides), paints, boxes of fabric, display baskets,
a roll of wool batting, trays, buckets, etc etc. And a spinning wheel, roving, wool, and heaven knows what else.

The white thing you can see poking out from under the bed (which has boxes of Pearl-Ex and silk paints stored under it too) is a fabric press that I don't use. For some reason, I prefer to hand iron my fabric, but then, I' m not mass producing it. Also, you need a stand or table for the presses (I have 2) and I don't have room for that.

Yesterday when I drove to Christchurch, it was the most beautiful day. The other photo was taken as I was driving (quite safely, I assure you, there were no other cars on the road at the time) and shows farmland with the Southern Alps in the distance. As usual, you can click on the photo to see the full sized view.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dolphin Dreaming

As I'm going up to Christchurch today (3 hours' drive) to spend time with my daughter and her boyfriend, then pick up my son from the airport, drop the boyfriend off and drive home with my kids, there will be no creative stuff today. Nor for the days that they're here.

So here's Dolphin Dreaming, a convergence quilt I made some years ago a la Ricky Timms. This hangs in my hallway.

It's quilted very simply, with wavy lines. I like the effect of the light in the upper part.

I'll let you into a secret......the dolphins are cunningly appliqued over bits where the seams didn't QUITE match perfectly. But you won't tell anyone, will you?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Winter's Morning....

...around three-quarters of an hour before sunrise - not that we expect to see much sun today.

Today will be spent doing creative housework**!

** I know I'll get asked what that is! I use the term to mean "getting maximum results with minimum effort". Having lots of attractive storage containers, or places to hide not-so-attractive ones helps too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Completely black and white

This week, I'm concentrating on getting as much work as I can done in my day job - the one that pays a lot of the bills - prior to taking a month or 2 off to concentrate on my business and the creative part of my life. That's the point of making a major lifestyle change, isn't it? Giving you the freedom to pursue what you want to do.

Consequently, there's nothing creative happening at present. So here's photos of the reversible quilt I made at the end of 2005 for Erlo, my daughter's boyfriend who has been part of our lives for quite a few years now. Erlo loves cows, so one side has appliqued cows (all drawn by me) on every 3rd block which are all slightly different - standing, running, jumping, with and without horns, you get the idea. The reverses side is what someone described as "rivers" - freehand cut wedges.

It's a very striking quilt, but boy! Was I sick of looking at black and white after making this.

Give me colour any day!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

House cycles

I don't consider cleaning and tidying to be my life's work.

Of course, I like things to BE clean and tidy, but I have to do it. So my house tends to go in cycles - from "Unnaturally Clean and Tidy Because The Kids Are Coming To Stay" through all the varying stages to "I Hope No-one Drops In Because I Would Be Embarrassed" - which is unfortunately the current cycle.

In a week, Cass and Sophie WILL be coming to stay, so a major effort is required. The part of my house where I spend my waking hours is Dining/Living/Sewing/Storage/Studio AND Office space. It's also where the dogs live.

Not surprisingly, it gets rather cluttered. Yes, I've heard of the FlyLady. But that only applies to normal people who aren't working on 6 (or7 or 8)or more creative projects at once. And who need to have things sitting around to inspire them. Or in sight so that they actually get done. Oh well.

So while I get myself sorted, here's a photo I took yesterday of Oamaru - sun and haze after a much-needed night of rain.