Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Quarter

Above, leaning somewhat drunkenly, (no, not me - the blocks!) is one quarter of the Hidden Wells quilt that I'm making with a batik jelly roll. You end up with 8 different fabric units. Each one is cut and sewn together to make 2 large blocks. These are then sewn together to make mirror images; then the next units are made, and then rotated and sewn to the first ones to give this result. The photo shows 2 completed units.

Each fabric unit that you make comprises strips of 4 separate colour groups and 2 accent fabrics.
The accent fabrics are in every unit, while the other fabrics vary from unit to unit. This means that while each unit has red, yellow, purple and blackish fabrics, these change from unit to unit so that the look of the quilt top changes as well. You can see this more clearly in the photos of the pattern in the previous post.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why is it...

..that sometimes, I have ideas spouting from every orifice (ok, that's an exaggeration), and other times (like now), I don't have 2 to rub together? Is this part of getting older? I hope not. Maybe I just have Decision Overload Syndrome. This is what you get when you have to make dozens of major important decisions all by yourself. If it's not already an recognised disorder, I'm inventing it now.

Leaving my multitudinous (yes, that IS a word) problems aside, I have decided to soothe myself and my craft-starved brain by making a quilt using the lovely batik jelly roll I bought shortly after I came home. Here it is again -
Because I'm completely unable to think up an original design,I reached for my book "Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts" by Pam and Nicky Lintott. This is the design I thought I'd go with:
It's called "Hidden Wells" and is a slightly adapted version of the Mary Ellen Hopkins pattern.
This is a more feminine pastel version. The pattern uses a couple of accent fabrics, so I'll use hand dyes for these. Being a morning person, I'll wait for a free morning to make a start.
And here are the poodles, still in their winter coats (I love their coats all long and soft and curly), pretending to be joined at the hip.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The new look for the living room

A few posts ago, I showed you what my living room used to look like. This large room runs the whole width of the front of the house, and is built for the sun. It's the heart of the house, and where I spend most of my time. I have now completed repainting the walls, beams and ceilings. This is what you see as you enter the room from the deck.
This is the view over to the stairs. Poodles insisted on being in the photos.
Above is the left-hand side of the room (as you enter from the deck). I didn't paint the side rafters as it's too much work, and I don't mind leaving them stained. The little red settee is a great place to sit on during the day.
Above is the right-hand side, where I sit at night.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two weeks later...

..and I have made some progress on my Earthquake Quilt but I'm not happy with how it's looking so I've put it aside while I concentrate on getting the house ready for sale. I'm in the middle of painting the living room and want it FINISHED so I can restore some order.

Yesterday I went to a local spinners and weavers trading day where I bought this lovely skein of 50% silk, 50% merino from Jessicah at Spinning A Yarn. She has lovely 100% silk yarns too.

And here is Clapotis, finally completed. It's over 2 metres long and I used less than 70 grams of this lovely silk and merino wool. Unfortunately, in my haste to complete it, I made an error (not visible in the photo) which I simply cannot be bothered ripping back and sorting - the pattern does not have straight ends, but pointed ones, and I would have to frog a huge amount of knitting. So it will just have to stay as is. It's not like it's the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Brief Southern Sojourn

I decided on Wednesday night that this would be a good time to look around down south where I am probably going to be living. This is Plan B if I can't find work, and with the earthquake causing a lot of disruption to businesses, this is looking more and more likely. So I packed up the pooches on Thursday morning and headed for Dunedin, to stay a couple of nights with my friend Desi. I spent Friday touring around Otago Peninsula with her, the poodles and her little Bichon. One place we went to was Long Beach, where we were able to let the dogs out for a good run. Here they are on the sand dunes. This was their reward for all the hours spent in the car, where they behaved impeccably.

Today we had to come home again, as it was only a reconnaissance trip, though also designed to put some distance between me and the aftershocks. On the way home, I stopped at Ashfords and bought this skein of 2 ply laceweight kid mohair blended with merino. It's 100 grams in weight, and 900 metres in length. Yes, I could dye my own, but sourcing the plain yarn is a huge mission, which is disappointing for a country with 10 times more sheep than people. Unfortunately, our small population means much of the good stuff goes offshore. Rats. Perhaps I should keep angora goats and merino sheep and alpacas, and learn to spin........

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Epicentre

Here is the centre of the Eartquake Quilt - the Epicentre. I wanted a simple design where the fabric could speak for itself. I wasn't in the mood to design something from scratch, so I settled on the Kaffe Fassett design below, which is appropriately called "Tilt".
Keep watching as the rest of the quilt unfolds.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

When life throws you quakes, make a quilt.

Fortunately, I am one of the households that was not structurally damaged in Saturday's quake. I am not so sure about my state of mind, however. Even those of us without damage are tense and on edge, due to the proliferation of aftershocks ( 2 during the night of magnitude 5.4, and we have been warned that a magnitude 6 could still occur) and it's very hard to get on with normal life as a result.

Because I can't settle down to do much, I decided this morning to dye some fabric and make an earthquake quilt. I selected the following colours: ice blue, purple (equal parts of fuchsia & turquoise), scarlet, golden yellow, deep black and a bit of turquoise by itself. Due to the short batching time (I have no patience, I want the fabric NOW!) and the low ambient temperature today, the turquoise was rather fugitive. The fabric was done in bags with minimal squdging (technical term). Here are the first 6 fat quarters:
And the second lot of 6 (excuse the very lightly ironed appearance, I'm not much in the mood for that either).
Then I ripped off a metre piece and put all the leftover dyes on it. As often happens, this piece came out pretty well, I thought:
Now I just have to settle on a design that I feel is appropriate. More coming!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The earth moved for me..

..and unfortunately, much of the South Island of New Zealand as well, when an earthquake (magnitude 7.1 on the Richter scale) hit Canterbury at 4.35am. Fortunately, there have been no deaths, though there is considerable property damage, mainly in Christchurch city - I live about 25km north of the city where we have got off lightly.

New Zealand is a geologically frisky place and has frequent small earthquakes, which Kiwis are used to. I lived for many years in a geothermal region where there was even a place called Earthquake Flat south of the city. However, this was the largest and most severe earthquake I have experienced, and was pretty scary even though the only damage in my house was a few things falling off shelves. The dogs have been calm, but the cat has disappeared.

We are usually comforted by the feel of solid ground, and it's disconcerting and upsetting when that ground betrays you. Blogger won't let me upload any photos for some reason, so words only for today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Changing my world

That sounds rather grandiose, but I'm always making changes. Following on from the Great Kitchen Makeover that I started (actually, I originally only intended to paint the cupboards!)and showed you in the last post, I have now also painted the walls, beams and ceilings; plus the bathroom cabinet; and the hall walls and ceiling.

Coming up next is the living room, which is quite a big task. Here are the "before" photos. It's the light green and dark green that are going. The feature wall behind the fireplace will be the same colour as the kitchen cupboards (Half Sisal).
The ceiling and the 3 large beams will all become Quarter Sisal, the lighter version which is a lovely rich cream. I am not going to paint the sloping walls and rafters as it's too much work, and there are other more pressing tasks.
I no longer have these yellow curtaines and nets - they were replaced early on with cream calico thermal drapes, which will suit the new paintwork.