Thursday, August 30, 2007

Amazing Bag.

Lucky me. I scored some extra sewing time!
For the 3rd day in a row we have very, very strong winds; so bad today that it is dangerous and unpleasant outside. Branches and leaves are raining out of the sky, mainly from the huge Gum trees and yellow clouds of pollen from the Cryptomeria shelter belts are blowing everywhere ( oh my poor eyes! ) So I get to stay inside....the work won't go away it will have to get done on a calmer day.
Thanks to Joyce for the inspiration to make this amazing bag. Thanks also to Andrea ( Welsh Quilter ) for the instructions to make the bag. It is quite a mystery making this pattern for the first time but once one is done I can see why more might be in order!
I have a question about the handles. Joyce did you realise their were 2 way to have the handles and you have used different ways on different bags? Without a closure it doesn't matter or need to be one way or the other. After much fannying about and trial I decided they had to be so they can hang up easily....mine is only pinned in the photo cause I haven't made the final decision on the button.
Speaking from experience there are a couple of things to watch out for. Make sure no pins have been left in anywhere lol. I used needle punch batting and it may be too rigid...the bag stands up on its own which is good - it may be easier to make with a more supple batting.
I think the pattern may have more possibilities. For a fold away cheaply made bag for groceries and such it could be made without batting just 2 linings sewn together? it could also be made of different coloured strips rather than all the squares....I'm thinking on that one.
I have also completed some more table mats. The pansy one I really like; it has a 2nd little mate not yet finished. The other is for the sales table. Now I'm off to cut out more!
I hope lots of you got to see that wonderful MOON on Tuesday night. It was quite interesting to look at last night as well. It had a copper ring around it still.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Extending the Hexagon Theme.

I had been planning my next small project in my mind for a while .....having hexagons on my brain planted a seed .......there are other ideas here you could try, using this same method, I thought. ( this is the 1st )

After a week of fine weather and hard work , 2 very wet days and nights gave me the chance to stay inside and cut out and prepare these. Big hexagons and middle sized make sets of table mats. I had already purchased some lovely Christmas fabrics when I saw them and I hope to use up other non Christmas themed scraps for smaller sets. I will make some for gifts and maybe a few for our sales table next week. They are made using the same method of folding the backing fabric forward around the batting and feature fabric; turning under the edges, mitring the corners all facing the same way; hand stitching then machine quilting. On these I have quilted a star shape which can be easily worked out by ruling from corner to corner on the hex shape.
Measuring a hexagon is always done tip to tip across it's widest part. These are 11.5 '' ( with 6 inch sides ) for the big mat and 6 " ( with 3 inch sides ) for the smaller ones.
As long as I find time each day to cut a few out ready I have something to handsew each night. Progress seems quite rapid so I am pleased to be producing some finished articles quickly. ( much quicker than a 325 hex quilt any way lol) Thank you all for your generous comments on the finished quilt in the previous post. It made me feel happy so thanks ladies .
Someone asked who that quilt was for. The answer is My house! Both hex quilts are staying here ( for now anyway. ) When someone comes to visit they may choose which quilt they would like on their bed. Leaving quilts on beds with the strong NZ sun is not a good idea so good quilts get put out for use then put away again. The one permanently on our bed has faded really badly especially on one dark blue I know to be careful.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Quilt Completed.

Yesterday was the last Friday session our P & Q group had before our Exhibition on 7th, 8th and 9th of September. "Show and Tell Session," was great as many ladies had pulled out all the stops and completed quilts and hangings in the nick of time. ( AREN'T DEADLINES WONDERFUL LIKE THAT! ) Among those quilts I am pleased to say was a Blue Hexagon I spy Quilt with a girlie theme! Labelled and all.

It is single bed size, measures 76" by 61" and is made up of 325 individual hexagons; hand sewn and simply machine quilted following the hexagon shape. This makes the back appear like honeycomb.( or chicken netting ) This is done "quilt as you go," before the hexagons are sewn together in strips / rows.The rows are then sewn to each other.When the final strip is sewn on that's it - finished! ( no sandwiching or squaring up or binding ). ( click on photos to enlarge )
So mission accomplished with 12 days to spare! I have a relieved smirk on my face.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Something Different.

The rain has gone....good....but there now seems to be so much to do. Variety is the spice of life...even in work I guess. I can't work on the kiwifruitvines too many hours in the day or I will suffer ( sore neck and aching arms ) so I do it for 2 or 3 hours then change, to gardening or housework or even sometimes take a break like now; coffee beside me at the computer. DH is cutting firewood trees for next year. Even If we worked all 24 hours in the day there would still be things to get done around here so I pace myself( turn a blind eye to some jobs ) to what I can manage and stay fit and well at the same time. ( Surely we can't be getting slower as we age ???)
Todays' photos show more Spring pretties from the garden and also a Cherimoya from our new tree. We had a tree before but it had to be cut out, so we purchased a new one and this is one of it's first fruit. The previous tree had much smoother skinned fruit ( like an armadillo skin ) we are intrigued by this ones very pointy spikes. It got knocked off by the mower so is ripening on the fruit bowl so I will show you a pic of it when we cut it. The previous one was very tasty vanilla custard flavour - it is sometimes known as a custard apple. Want to know more go here.
I'm on the last long seam...32 I sew the final strip to THE QUILT!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Penultimate Row of Hexagons.

I want to catch up on lots of topics.
The photo shows the 2 piles of finished hexagons for the final 2 rows of the Blue Hexagon Quilt. If all goes well I will begin sewing them into strips the end is in sight! I thought I would leave the very last one I am hand sewing there with my glasses to show cause I really like the fabric. Yes, its a Laurel Burch on a blue background. The other day I raced into the shop to get some velcro to make the hanging sleeves ( I'll tell you about those when I sew them ) for my quilts and couldn't go past the fabrics without having a quick look. I found 2 I really liked and didn't have so got them to be the final 2 I could fussy cut for this quilt.
We were in the city that day to both have our Eye Examinations. Glad to report my eyes are healthy but the sight has deteriorated a bit, over the last 3 years, which meant updating my glasses. The pair in the pic are my present ones that I love. They have all sorts built into them for different tasks - ( sewing reading ) ( computer ) ( TV ) and ordinary over the top.( plus a stigmatism in my left eye. ) it's amazing that all that is built into those tiny lenses. The optician and I decided I should probably start wearing them to drive in too. Consequently, with both of us needing new specs we paid a rather heafty bill.
> $2000. The good thing is I splashed out and got a whole new pair cause then I will have a spare; besides I didn't want to be without my old ones right now....not even for 3 or 4 days. The new ones will arrive in about 2 weeks. [I think they are a bit like swim suits ....the less there is, the more you pay ] That all leads on to another subject.........
Sheila has been trying so kindly to help me with difficulties I have been having here on my blog to get pics or awards onto my side bar........maybe the failing eyesight doesn't help...being careless with the typing certainly doesn't, but then today I find I am not seeing the same things when I go to Blogger Dashboard that she is and maybe some of you too.( So I'm not going loopy after all! ) Any way I am not giving up but will find a quiet time soon and give it all another try. Perseverance is one of my middle names luckily, so is Patience ( usually )....hence I can do things like sew hexagons by hand - ha!
I think I am sick of Winter, certainly of rain and stormy winds! I have been a little out of sorts, morose this week, but maybe with Spring being in the air, between the showers of rain it will lift. A little excursion around my garden found pockets of colour and promise amid the last fallen leaves and debris from yet another stormy day yesterday. Spits of rain on my lens sent me back in....but don't these Velthemias ( like big lachenalia or small pokers ) look bright. The little clumps of Hellebores (or winter roses ) are always understated but I love their wee faces. I have Daffodils out now too and the first coloured Freesias, some Polyanthus, lots of Camellias and Magnolias. They don't last well when it's stormy and wet. At least there is nothing on the Kiwifruit that can get damaged right now. Probably the Avocados are getting rubbed or are falling off.....I hate to see them on the ground at this stage...such a waste.
Last Thursday my copy of Australian Quilters Companion arrived ( with Tracey's Heart's Compass quilt and other great reads . ) It is about 3 weeks since she mentioned it on her blog...takes a while to get to NZ. It arrived on the same day as NZ Healthy Foods mag. So I am in a position of having too many good things to read - that's a great problem to have. While on the subject of reading I am pleased to say for once I had read the book that won the fiction section of the Montana Book Awards - "Mr. Pip," by Lloyd Jones. It's a great read - I'm glad it won. I just finished reading "A Spot of Bother," by Mark Haddon - wasn't my sort of read really...too over done! Now for some light relief I am reading a Phillipa Gregory one "Wildacre."
Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thankyou Sheila.

aubirdwoman has kindly suggested that I might be entitled to display this little poster on my blog. Thank you, very much.
Since I recently read an article about how bloggers leave themselves wide open for identity theft and others unmentionables I am being quite careful what information I display here. My profile gives away lots of information and it wouldn't be too difficult to work out my full and real name, so, along with an email contact I have probably gone too far already.
Any info I give about orchard work is general to all orchardists in my area. Any patchwork and quilting info I give I do so happily that it may be used or copied. My photos, the part I probably enjoy most are there for all to enjoy and I don't mind if the occasional one is up lifted.
I have never discussed my family or historical background in any detail and try not to use full names of friends. I can't really imagine anyone wanting my information, but ............ I do know that someone else here reads what I write from time to time( because I get any spelling mistakes pointed out ! ) so, this blog is not a real diary in the true sense of the merely covers a few topics.
I am meant to elect 7 other bloggers worthy of this award. Many of my favourites have already had it so I am going to do this. If your blog is listed on my side bar ( I already consider you worthy of mention ) and you haven't been awarded a Nice Matters Award please consider your self duly awarded!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

All the Parts.

I'm taking a rest from fruit and nuts, cause it's Sunday and I want time out. Just one photo today to show where I am at with the Blue Hexagon Quilt.That's the first 17 rows of it folded at the back, so it already a quilt but not yet to the required size.
I had a cutting session and now have all parts assembled ready to sew! The various piles show the stages the last parts have to go through. On the left at the back is a pile of 14 sewn hex. In front of that are 9 pinned hex ready to sew. In front of that is a small pile of 3 sewn and quilted. On the right are 4 piles of 10 and 10 and 10 and 6 ( 36 ) with just a pin holding the 3 parts together ready to pin the edging over. So that makes a total of 62 more hex to get sewn into 4 more strips the attached to the other rows. (that last part takes the longest.) Having got them all assembled like that makes me know I can complete it in time.
Forest Jane asked how big it was going to be. 21 rows long by 16 and 15 wide.( the edge isn't a straight line cause of how the hex fit together ) A grand total of 325 individual hexagons. I will tell the size in inches when I measure it up for the form for the Exhibition. I have to measure all my entries.( 3 quilts and a bag ), and make a couple of labels too.
PS. Georganna I haven't forgotten about the Quilt Shops to visit in NZ....will tell you soon.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Just a Little Nutty!

4 sacks of walnuts to shell. We have done the first one. Keep at it! Out in the shed we turn the radio on (when its just me - I like to listen to National Radio ) or music and hammer away. Strict quality control....if in doubt throw it out. We only keep shelled nuts as there are too many surprises for us or others in unshelled ones. Once shelled I place them in either big 1 kg bags or more often small 300 gram bags with resealable tops. Our own to keep get stored in the deep freezer till needed. They just free flow from the bags so the quantity needed can be taken out & the rest put back. That way we never have rancid nuts( all the shop ones are slightly rancid ) and if there are any weevils they freeze to death. So,we have always got a supply of fresh perfect nuts that way. We do the same with the Macadamia nuts.
walnuts =Juglans regia ( we have 3 different varieties ).They are good for us as they have polyunsaturates in them and may lower cholesterol. Actually they are yummy that's the best bit! Raw or with a little cheese and / or ripe apple. A small handful a day is very good.
They are great for Waldorf Salad or Walnut Brownies but my favourite baked recipe is this:
Walnut and Apricot Loaf.
* Soak 1 cup of chopped dried apricots in 1 cup of boiling water for an hour.
* Beat 2 large eggs with 1 cup of sugar. Pour this into a bowl that already has 2 3/4 cups of flour and 2 tsps of baking powder and half a tsp of baking soda. Mix in.
* Now pour the apricots and any liquid left all into this mixture.
* Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts.
* Pour into a 1 large or 2 smaller lined loaf tins and cook at 180 degrees C ( or 350 degrees F )
for about 1 hour. (test with a skewer.) keeps well and freezes well.
Well now I'm off to the nut house ooops I mean shed.