I’ve got to move it, move it

So no work in the pipeline. Yay! Quick, something for the soul… obviously in my wonderful workroom. I splashed out on some bundles of Japanese fabrics last week, just because I really deserve it after so much hard work. (I have about 5 quilts on the go, but let’s not mention that in this context here, please.)

And out of nowhere came hexagons, once more. Oh no, this will be last time ever, I just couldn’t help it. This time though, I just turned the edges with a cardboard template and zig zaged them all together. Quick as a flash. 

And sure enough, today, just after I finished mounting the layers together, the phone rang…

The backing is some lovely cotton I printed some years ago. It was not big enough, so I added some linen here and there.

At least the workbench is clear again and I can roll it all up and quilt at my leisure.

I’ve  got To move it, move it…

Something else I should share, because it was so much fun – we went with our Asperger Youth group for a visit to  Ella Vista Farm near Baulkam Hills. It is beautifully preserved and maintained by volunteers. 

And finally – work on the house continues, baby steps… we have finished a tiny section of the deck renovation and on the weekend Patrick made the step, connecting old and new! 


I am not getting divorced, that is not what I mean by ‘decoupling’ at all. I just want to describe the wonderful feeling of really switching off, unplugging, decoupling from the busy life, tasks on the to do list, email etc…

i had one week off and attacked diligently and with great vigorour my long to do list. It was satisfying to tick items off and it made me feel I was a grown up and great citizen. Then came the call that the designs on my next job had not been approved yet. Another week off! First there was a sense of dread, then secret pleasure crept in. And now, I share that pleasure, for why should it remain secret?

i started by pushing the half made, by now very crumpled, curtains aside. Their completion had been my mission for this short break. I got an ancient patchwork UFO out and started playing with it for a day. Surely I had to finish it, before endulging in yet another project. but it just did’t rock my boat.

and then I started something new, with beautiful fabric, teaching me an entirely new technique of patchwork. Finally I was able to allow myself to be lost in a creative process again! Why was it so hard? What is it, that gets in the way? i just don’t know. Maybe the state of mind, in which the deep creative flow happens, scares me a bit – I shut out the outside world and everything around me becomes trivial, just for a little bit. All the ‘real stuff’ doesn’t matter, like income, family, world politics… for that short time it’s all about color, contrast, rhythm, as if my life depended on getting it right.img_7629

and when I re-appear, I feel strangely renewed, refreshed, more compassionate and truly longing to embrace the world around me. So there… I must decouple more often. It’s good for me. It must be good for you, too!


Not keeping up at all… but proudly presenting Random Rhythms of my Soul

I love school holidays… so much more time to do stuff, lovely to see how the kids relax and adopt a slower pace that allows them to explore new ideas and things. We have finally left the house on a few occasions, the weather has been glorious and I am determined to get down to doing some (paid) work this week… in the middle of this chilled groovy atmosphere at home that is going to be hard.

So we have been to Kirribilli Market, where Patrick had a performance. DSCN8996DSCN8994

We took the opportunity to walk part of the Harbour Bridge. DSCN9003We had a BBQ at Clifton Gardens with dogs and Lena had her first swim here in Oz. Some of us jumped off the jetty at Redleaf Pool in the Eastern Suburbs, made mermaid tails out of sand, chilled and chilled some more. We marathon watched ‘Dance Academy’ (an entire season in a few days) and squealed with delight as we recognized locations, especially if we had been there already with Lena. And we certainly have not tidied up the lounge room… DSCN9005

oh no – too many works in progress… projects being added daily… floor being used as ‘design wall’ so dogs can participate and roll on quilt layouts and shuffle and ‘improve’ Lena’s design.

And I finished the quilt. Here it is. I am very pleased with it. DSCN9008Random Rhythms of my Soul.


Unfinished Business

I posted the previous in a hurry and forgot to show off the reverse side of Esther’s cushion!DSCN8985

It’s a bit smaller than the front, there you go – we all learn about seam allowances, the sooner the better! I think we will put a color all ’round to make the pieces the same size.DSCN8986

As I unearthed all those fabrics I also found some unfinished business, and I was delighted to come across this mystery medallion quilt cover. I started it in 2011, I think. I got this far and completed maybe 4 clues, then school holidays began and my flow of thoughts (and compositional coherence) were interrupted. I think I will just leave it as it is, frame it and find a good home for it.DSCN8989

Amongst the hidden treasure was also a sample of a Dresden Plate (the big one) and an old applique block (no idea what it is called). I cut a number of small Dresden Plates (and sewed just the one) out of some old squares of red/ black and white fabrics and am wondering how to turn them into something nice… DSCN8987I love it, when things just grow organically…


Craftomania Galore

It’s school holidays. The big girls had gone bush for 4 days with a bunch of boys (20!) from a local boys high school, who were going for their Duke of Ed Gold award. Once they got back, they were happy to just hang out and chill for a bit. I took the opportunity to NOT clear away my sewing machine and just do more and more stuff… invite people over who were interested in just doing stuff involving fabrics and sewing. This “stuff sewing fest” culminated in a bunch of lovely ladies coming over to compare notes in regards to the costumes for the school play. Here is a fraction of what we got up to:

Cloud cushions and DSCN8979

Doris the Dog.DSCN8980

Jo helped Chia to make a girl robot.DSCN8978DSCN8983

I couldn’t resist a bunch of fabrics at a local sale (40% off!!!) and had to arrange, fold, toss and wash them – and then cut them up with Lena.DSCN8974DSCN8975



Covers off!

Spring is here, well and truly. The light is magnificent. The covers for the table and seats have come off. It’s warm – the verandah is the centre of the universe again. This week I have used it 3 times for meals and the entire feeling of living here has totally changed.DSCN8315

In the absence of a work bench, I even mounted the quilt layers together on the floor of the verandah… until the light was fading… while some pixies slaved away in the kitchen.DSCN8317 Ready to quilt…


Portal to my Soul: Random Rhythms #1

Sorry boss, I didn’t work today. Sorry my loved one, I did not grout the bathroom floor. Sorry kids, I did not make biscuits for the fete tomorrow.

I finished all the blocks for THE QUILT.

Yes. And that’s ok. I was compelled to do it. Why? Well… To be honest (and I love honest blog posts!) I am confused and achieving the completion of this quilt top made me feel sane and un-confused. Looking at it, life makes sense. There are so many demands on all of us (we are parents, workers, children of elderly parents, partners, friends, dependable community members) – and all those demands seem to get the better of me every now and then. NOW. So – here I have something to look at, that in a funny kind of way really represents how I feel.

Random. Rhythms. Light and Dark. Round and Square. Striving towards a routine that makes life predictable and sensible. Frogs/ Giraffes and plain colors… randomly combined… squares singing their own song… DSCN8312

I did go to the gym today (6am!) and found out it’s “R U OK? Day” here in Australia. So, ask the person next to you if they are OK! I would love to know if YOU are OK!!!

I am OK, having completed all those blocks today. Yes, I am definitely OK. My mojo is alive and singing. Sometimes we just have to leave all the responsibilities behind and GO to our mojo… make sure it’s ok.




This Dog learns a new Trick!

Yeah.. woof… I do! Given that I have 5 quilts on the go (Sssshhh!) and just started this Bowtie jobbie – I should actually not pfaff about with this quilt, I should not hand stitch anything, right? It has to get done in one smooth breath, if I could only sew all the 70 squares together next weekend! That is within the realm of possibilities, since I cut out all pieces last Sunday.

So what I have learnt (ahem… self taught) is that those centre squares in the Bowtie block can be sewn on the machine after all, and how much faster is that! In addition, you don’t see any stitches on the right side either – and that is hard to achieve even with the neatest hand stitching.

This is how it goes:

  1. make cardboard template and align it with the foot of the machine: it indicates where to start sewing the side seam and how much to leave un-sewn for the centre squareDSCN8307
  2. sew all 4 seams
  3. press open 4 seamsDSCN8308
  4. turn back seams to expose centre squareDSCN8309
  5. pin centre square in place – put pin just through square fabic layer and folded corner fabric layer DSCN8310
  6. at machine: fold block out of the way, sew around centre square sides,  moving from one side to the next, without cutting the thread or lifting the foot of the machine.DSCN8311
  7. press
  8. cut seam allowances

All we need to do now, is add 4 hours to each day to fulfill my creative urges…

While the Cat is away…

… the house is very, very quiet… the only activity seemed to happen at the dining room table…DSCN8305

Patrick, Lena and Jo took off into the bush yesterday morning, in the rain, with hope that it would not rain as much in the Blue Mountains. So with half of our family away, the house seemed empty. Even more so, since Vincent was sick in bed – so Esther and I just took it very easy. We watched her kind of movies, ordered pizza and ate on the sofa and I started something very, very simple on the unused table.DSCN8302

This block is the ‘Bow Tie’, a traditional block which I just love. It is very dynamic, yet so simple. Most patterns recommend that the effect of the middle square is achieved by sewing a little colored triangle on the light colored squares of the block. Like this: Screen shot 2014-09-07 at 9.07.01 AM










But I don’t really like it at all – the middle square is chopped and I think it really interferes with the simplicity of the overall look. And in addition, if the middle square is a real square set diagonally in relation to the big squares – then the diagonal (bias) edges of the big squares are prevented from stretching by the straight grain of the little centre square.

I just ironed the corners of the big squares out of the way, sewed all 4 seams of the block (sewing over the folded corners to hold them back), pressed the seams, pinned the small square in place – BAM… easy:


And then in the end, you upload a nice movie or two, order some pizza and hand sew the little squares in, before cutting the excess fabric… repeat until sufficient blocks have been sewn and then put it all together.DSCN8304

It’s not like I don’t have enough quilts on the go as it is… I think I am currently working on 3 hexagon quilts, one huge Wedding Ring… but this is quick and easy and gets an instant result… works perfectly as a little creative ‘pick me up’…




Perseverance (Celtica – Take TWO)

I have been knitting steadily in the last few weeks, sadly there has not been the outcome I would have been proud to show off, quiet the opposite… So here I am nicely knitting away on Celtica and I am getting this far: DSCN7799

after swatching fairly thoroughly for needle size and alternative cable pattern (see below) DSCN7800 DSCN7801 DSCN7802

After knitting as far as the waist (300gr!) I realized that (1) this skirt for the long jacket is just a little too tight (because: of course I am using stash yarn and it is very easy to get astray with your gauge on a large pattern like this) and (2) this will look horrible because of the placement of those beautiful cables on the jacket! 8 cables, right? Two at the front, four at the back, two at the front.

But this garment has got a shaped neck (shawl collar) and set in sleeves. So what happens to the two cables in each front piece once one decreases for sleeve and neck??? Correct ! There will be 1/2 cable and another 1/2 cable on each front, OUCH, ugly! And I checked on Ravelry – that’s what all the knitters have done! But WHY did I not SEE this coming when I started? Why do I have to knit hours to get to the waist to SEE?

DSCN7815 I have started again. Small cable at the centre front each side – those will be decreased for the neck. Then remain 7 cables for front, back, front. So after the decreases (for front neck and sleeve) one complete cable will remain at the front – (going through to the shoulder), the narrow cable at CF will be decreased for the shawl collar, one wide cable (at the ‘side seam’ marked here with stitch marker) will be decrease for front and back sleeve decreases, 3 full cables on the back and so forth. Well worth doing, I reckon…

And if you are wondering about that small safety pin at the garter stitch edge – I am slipping in an extra 2 rows of garter stitch after 10 rows (5 ribs) in order to achieve the same length as in the main pattern – garter stitch has got a different gauge than the rest of the ‘fabric’!

And while I am putting this post together, I might as well show off Esther’s first patchwork sewn on the sewing machine! This will be a cushion cover, the back we will work when her friend comes over for a visit next time. It was amazing to see two 11 year old girls stitching away for hours and squealing with delight after the addition of each row!DSCN7818 It made me pick up Esther’s hexagon quilt again …DSCN7817

… and as a reminder (to keep stitching at it) I hung it on the sitting room wall  next to her cushion cover front!DSCN7816 Go – 70s Hessian wallpaper! Use it as design wall – no dramas!