Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kitchen Makeover

My kitchen used to look like this - green cupboards, drawers and window frames, green ceiling beam, with very dark green trim where anything met the ceiling. The back of the the bench area in the foreground was also painted dark green. Not the happiest colour scheme. However, I have the ability to be able to not really notice it. Mostly.

What I did notice, however, was how chipped and worn the cupboards were becoming. As I am seriously considering selling the house, I decided to paint the cupboard doors to freshen them up. I found some leftover paint that a friend had given me. It was seriously neutral, not something that I'm known for.
Four and a half hours later, after noticing that parts of the kitchen (cupboard door tops, drawer tops and the shelves above the stove) lacked any paint at all, and seeing how much better it all looked without the greens, I stopped. Note half of one glass cupboard missing - thanks to the housesitter. Just one more thing I have to shell out for after that disaster.
The area above the stove was all green previously, as were all the shelves to the right and the little window frame. And of course, the large ceiling beam which used to be two-tone green.

Unlike a fashion makeover, these photos were just quick unposed snaps taken the following morning when my friend Jill asked what colour scheme I'd chosen - I thought it was easier to show her with photos.

Did I mention I have those green beams and dark green trim all through the living room as well? .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Attention Deficit Disorder

I sometimes suspect that I suffer from an adult version of ADD, as I can usually be found reading several books at any one time, depending on my mood or the time of day (for example, I never read crime thrillers at bedtime - that is usually reserved for non-fiction tomes of a more soporific nature) and quite frankly, I hesitate to mention how many UFOs I have in my quilting storage, or even how many items I am currently knitting. Oh well, you've twisted my rubber arm, so I'll 'fess up about the knitting.

The Clapotis wrap (in merino and silk) and the Coquille shawl/scarf (in bamboo) are still unfinished, but since I've returned home and am no longer restricted to only these projects, I've picked up a couple of other unfinished pieces.

This pattern is called "Sadie" and comes from Berroco whose chief designer is the wonderful Norah Gaughan. I have her "Knitting Nature" book, and honestly, this woman is just amazing. I adore her patterns which often feature geometric designs, and are beautiful. I am making Sadie in 60% merino and 40% possum wool (ok, possums don't actually HAVE wool, but their fur is in this stuff) which is made by New Zealand's own Touch Yarns. Hand dyed of course. Above is the 2nd front, and I have already knitted the back.If you are a knitter and have not yet discovered Knitty, the online magazine, you're missing a treat. Knitty (also on Ravelry) features patterns from new designers, and has some great stuff which is all free. This pattern "Sonnet" is really interesting to knit because it's done sideways, and can be adapted to any sort of yarn and needle size. I've made it before according to the pattern but this time, it's for me and I'm using cables. The wool is Cleckheaton's Country Naturals . I've already completed the body, and this is the 1st sleeve.

So many patterns, so little time!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fondling fabric

Ahhh....fabric! Quilters tend to be fabricaholics, as do textile and fabric artists. We are all united in our love of fabric, be it traditional, hand dyed, art cloth or whatever - there's beautiful fabric for any taste. I am currently re-creating one of my original patterns to submit to a magazine, and above are the colours I have decided to use. My forte is using hand dyes in conjunction with commercial prints, and this is what I try to achieve with the patterns I design. This one has a multicoloured commercial print square in the centre, with toning hand dyes and an interesting appliqued design.

The weather is not helping my progress, however, as it's dull and grey which means my camera insists on using the flash, and this is spoiling the photos. I am not that camera-savvy that I know how to adjust it, so am resigned to waiting till the sun shines. If anyone is more familiar with a Sony Cybershot that I am, and can tell me how, I'd love to hear. I know I have an instruction booklet SOMEWHERE...
In the meantime, I received this jelly roll from Hancocks of Paducah today. It's crazy that I can pay NZ$12 to $20 more if I buy jelly rolls locally. This is destined to be another pattern for a class or magazine, but I haven't decided what yet.

Watch this space!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fish and Bubbles

I have completed the Fish and Bubbles quilt for wee Holly. I have quilted it simply due to time constraints. The nine patch blocks have designs of seaweed and bubbles..
..and the fish blocks have fancy bubbles. The thread is multi-coloured to go with the bright colours.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Quilt for Holly

Today, I started to make a quilt for a baby called Holly. She is the first child of a friend of my daughter, Sophie, and has been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She will probably not live past 12 months. Having lost a child myself, I offered to make Holly a quilt. Her parents don't want a traditional pink frilly one, so I looked for inspiration for something different. In my studio, I came across these 4 appliqued fish blocks that I made with Electric Quilt and which I hand-stitched with blanket stitch, so I decided to make them the focus of the quilt. You can click on the photo for a closer look.
The blocks are 9", so I set about cutting 3 1/2" strips of plain hand dyed fabric to make nine patch blocks to go with them. These are the units I made up and then cut into strips.

Then I realised that my 9" fish blocks would only be 8 1/2" when sewn, while the nine patch blocks would be 9". Horrors! Fortunately I had some Nancy Crow "Boxes" fabric, so devised this cunning strip to run between the blocks to make them the correct size.
However, doing this meant I had to rethink the whole layout of the blocks, and I needed to make some (ahem) adjustments by including the Boxes fabric into the design.
Here are the blocks roughly laid out. I'm quite happy with this,so will go ahead over the weekend with sewing it together and adding a border. I'll aim to make it about 40" square. Watch this space!

PS I have pieces of the Nancy Crow fabric tied to my bag handles so I can easily identify my suitcase on baggage carousels - I figure hardly anyone else is likely to be doing the same, and it's distinctive. Thanks, Nancy!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Back to the future

I had some time to kill in Singapore on the way home, so I went on a city tour. We popped into Little India...
..drove past Raffles Hotel....
..and the financial district...
..past the Merlion, the symbol of Singapore...
..through Chinatown...
to the National Orchid gardens. That pool looked pretty tempting.
And of course, the orchids were lovely.
At Changi Airport, surely the world's most beautiful airport, there is a butterfly garden with 47 species of tropical butterflies like this one.

Why is this post called "back to the future"? Because now I'm back in New Zealand, our time is ahead of almost everywhere else in the world. This feels quite normal when you live here, but overseas it's weird to think that it was already tomorrow at home.