Sunday, 29 April 2007

Its Done

I was so excited about getting my sewing room sorted I couldn't get back to sleep when I woke at 4.30 this morning. So I got up and started on my day's work. By 8.30 I had finished a morning's office work and was in the sewing room tidying up. It took until 3.00 but its been done really properly, everything has a place and everything is all tidy in it!

Saturday, 28 April 2007

What a Day!

I haven't got time for many words, but I wanted you to see the pictures. Three good friends arrived this morning and boy, did they work hard! The "Before" pictures shows the sewing room as it was when they arrived. Admittedly, it is messier than usual because of all the new storage I had just dumped in there, ready for the working bee (bookcase, boxes, small sets of drawers, etc.).
Then there is " During", "Lunch" and "After". After is not Finished, because there is a lot of tidying away still left to do, but all the hard work, cleaning and shifting furniture is done and a lot of stuff has been sorted into the garage for Terry to deal with. Terry made the table for the SwiftQuilter and put up a new shelf over the sewing table. I'll sort the rest over the next few days and then show you a picture of it all done.
An Excellent Day - thanks Helen, Frances & Donna!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Finished is Good!

Here is the first quilt done with the SwiftQuilter: front, back and back closeup. I know some of you eagled-eyed quilters will see birds nests on the back. And do you know what? I don't care! Weeeeeeell..... ok, that's not strictly true, I didn't used to care. Up until recently I've been more focused on the design on the front than the finish on the back. And since I've learnt to care I have still to learn to pull my back thread through to the front and hold it out of the way when I make a new start. And there were more than a few new starts. But that's ok, that was a practice quilt :-) - and finished is good!

Have you tried quinoa? Its yummy. If you need to eat a gluten free diet you should try this. Before you go to bed, put 1/4 cup quinoa grain, 1/4 cup wholewheat rice flakes, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 cup milk (soy if that's what you use), 1 cup water, 2 tblsp rice bran (or not if you don't need the extra bran), 1 tblsp LSA meal (or ground almonds) and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir. Cover the bowl with a plate or tin foil. Place the bowl on an upturned saucer in your slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker to half way up the bowl with cold water. Turn the slow cooker on low. In the morning your porridge is hot and delicious! Serves 2.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Its just fabulous!

I’ve spent most of the day quilting the practice quilt with the SwiftQuilter and the Juki – what a great day I’ve had. Both pieces of machinery work very well and I’ve finished the quilting completely. A quilt that size would previously have taken two or three sessions to complete simply because it was such hard work I’d have lost interest after a couple of hours and found something more interesting to do. The picture shows the quilt just before the final pass. I chose to quilt in approximately 4.5” rows as the quilt was made of 5” squares and they gave an easy indication of how far I could take my meander without hitting the limit. I also chose to quilt the whole quilt with a meander just to get the feel of how to use the SwiftQuilter. My next quilt will have more complex quilting…. Oh, I’m so looking forward to doing that next quilt! Who would have thought I’d ever look forward to the quilting of a large quilt!! Why didn’t I buy one of these before?? By the way, if you are thinking of getting a SwiftQuilter and Juki, you might like to know about the little extras that arrive with the whole deal that are not even listed on the website: 6 extra bobbins for the Juki, 2 small tape measures for your handbag, a current quilting magazine, 6 quilt labels, and a bottle of sewing machine oil. Isn’t that wonderful?

You may also see in the photo that the board I was expecting on Sunday hasn’t arrived yet. The SwiftQuilter is set up on my cutting table instead, which is okay but makes it difficult to use from the other side. The board should arrive tomorrow though and Terry has offered to get large castors tomorrow also, so on Sunday when we have the working bee he should be able to get the quilter table all set up.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Practice Quilt

Well, the SwiftQuilter arrived on Wednesday but although it was dispatched at the same time, the Juki didn't arrive until Friday - panic for a while there however it t'was never lost, just travelled by a different route and by different couriers. I decided that all the quilts I have stacked up waiting for quilting are too good to practice on so I've spent the last day making a quick top to be the first quilt quilted on the SwiftQuilter. What do you think of it? All from stash. I used the Juki to make it and its fabulous - I love the thread cutter and the presser foot knee lift and the intelligent needle up/down button. And it goes very fast and never falters, the thread doesn't unthread and the bobbin holds heaps of thread and winds very evenly - I love it!!

I have a bench top arriving today which will be clamped temporarily to a desk so that I can set the SwiftQuilter up and have a play - haven't been able to do that yet.... but I'm really looking forward to it. Some of the furniture that was in the sewing room and that will not be used in the new layout has already gone to a good home so I have room for the quilter table now. I think I'll tack a temporary edge strip to the quilt along one of the long sides so that I can quilt right to the edge, get it set up and have a go!! Wahoo! Thanks to Jill's tuition on Thursday, when Helen and I visited her in Waikanae, I am reasonably confident of a satisfactory outcome.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Late Autumn

Life is slowing down a bit as the delphinium seed season winds down. Terry had time to work in the garden yesterday and has rearranged the outdoor furniture making a lovely coffee spot in the courtyard. He even weeded my neglected herb pots!

I've had time to get up to mischief too. I make a lot of large quilts for family children and they have minimal quilting because its so hard to wrestle them through my domestic sewing machine soooooooo, I've ordered a Swiftquilter and Juki TL98P machine. I got the whole deal which is presented at the bottom of that page and it should arrive next week!! How exciting is that? Of course, it means totally reorganising my sewing room. I downloaded a room planner and sorted out where everything will go. Here's what I've come up with:

The quilter table can be pulled out in front of the design wall when it in use so I can get round all sides of it. (That gray part of the wall opposite the bed is the pinboard I use for a design wall.) The two cupboards opposite the cutting table are my fabric cupboards - one of them is still in its flat pack. This is all going to require a major effort to achieve as there is a lot of other stuff in the room at the moment that will have to be removed. Working bee anyone?

Thursday, 12 April 2007

A Mystery

Helen is organising a mystery bus trip for our quilt club and needed to take the trip to suss out the shops, decide which ones were worth stopping at, ask them if they could cater coffee or pit stops for 30 women, check the timing and all those necessary things. I volunteered to be the driver. I had no idea where we were going but my instructions were to meet her at 7.30 am for a full day out. Boy was it full!! We had a ball! We stopped at many more quilt shops than will be on the final tour, we fitted in a few extra curricular stops as well (I had taken delphinium seed to post and found that I could actually deliver some of my goods in person), we drove some challenging roads, and spent lots of money! And we arrived home at 9.00 pm, after stopping at a restaurant for dinner and to see if they would accept a booking for 30 in October. They did. Finding lunch for my funny diet took a few tries but we finally found an excellent smoked salmon salad in a small country village. We also needed to stop for coffee half way home as the driver (a natural lark, rather then an owl) was worried about falling asleep. The coffee worked very well, I didn’t sleep until midnight.

As you can see, I was concentrating on buying “spots” that day. I’m planning a quilt with a spotted border and needed a range to choose from.

I also bought buttons to replace the buttons on a lovely soft gray woollen cardigan. It had brown buttons all down the front and back and although it was probably very classic and stylish I wanted more fun. I bought three packs of mixed size coloured pearl buttons. I saw them in three different shops and the prices ranged from $9.90 per packet down to $5.95 depending on the shop – I bought them the second time I saw them for $6.50 per packet. I’ve sewn smaller buttons on the back of the four buttons that take the most strain, the first three on the front and the top one at the back.