Sunday, September 6, 2020

Green Baby Quilts

These were also part of the original Modern Building Blocks quilt. Two measure about 1 metre x 1 metre and the smaller third quilt about 70 cm x 70 cm. The selve on the Denyse Schmidt says 2013 - from the days when Spotlight had less dirty and dull looking quilt fabrics!

I have put these ones away in the cupboard for gifting.

Yes my garden shed needs a clean and re-paint. Maybe the Sept school hols we'll be able to use hoses again. Auckland has been in water shortages and restrictions for months now. It also needs new steps. So much dirt was removed during the house fix last year, it's a massive step up into the shed now. I have to stand on an upturned bucket to reach the top lock (-:

Monday, August 31, 2020

10 NICU Quilts

Back in August 2015 I finished the quilt top for the Moda Modern Building Blocks. It was ginormous measuring at least 2.5 on one edge. This August, August 2020 during the Auckland only 19 day Level 3 lockdown I got 10 small NICU quilts quilted and bound. Ta-da! (Nine make a better collage.)

I am no machine quilter - generally I find it very stressful. I found it quite calming on these small quilts that easily fit into and under my little Bernette. Every quilt is cross hatched apart from one. And that one taught me that cross hatching is way more forgiving than straightline quilting! The whole process taught me that hand quilting hides many more sins than machine quilting - where a slight waver to get from one block of the quilt to the next stands out! I did love that machine quilting sped the job up enormously. It probably took about three hours to 505 baste, quilt and then bind each little quilt. I hand sewed the back of the binding down. 

It feels good to have the quilt top off the 'in progress' page and onto the 'quilts' page. I look forward to passing these over at our next in-person gathering of Monday Modern ... whenever that may be.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Lockdown 2.0

The first I knew about our current lockdown was a late night phone call from a colleague. Emails between our leadership team then followed for the next hour as we made plans for the next day. And here we are a week and a half later with four days to go all being well.

I re-started running and that lasted the first three or four days. I really don't like it and I couldn't talk myself into keeping it up. I have replaced it with a short strength workout (using equipment I didn't return to the school gym after the last lockdown!) on days I start work at 8 or 8.30am and a round the block 7.4 km walk on the days I don't need to be online that early. I got the walk down to 64 minutes this morning - it's usually around 67 minutes. A big chunk of it is up hill so my heart rate gets up and I can feel my lower back and butt muscles by the end of the day! As always, I am grateful for good health and being able to exercise.

For the first three days we had one learner at school so I was on supervision duty with one other. Then he didn't show after the weekend, so I have been able to work completely from home over the last week. I have decided that a five hour work day at home easily equals a nine hour day at school. No interruptions!

I have made time in the afternoons and evenings (and of course the weekends) for sewing. I have caught up on my Treehouse Textiles cushions.

My big sewing goal for this lockdown is get at least five NICU quilts quilted and bound. I unpicked my Moda Modern Sampler last lockdown for this purpose. It was a huge quilt top that I didn't need. So far so good. 

Also on the go is quilting my Proverbial Quilt. I am procrastinating a bit there and doing these other smaller projects. It's not even hard work, and it's pretty quick. So no excuses. I just need to knuckle down as I need to get the quilting on my cousin's 50th birthday quilt started in the next school holidays to meet the January deadline.

The PM is making an announcement on Monday about the current lockdown. I imagine we will back at school Thursday but most kids will choose not to re-start until the following Monday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Proverbial Quilt Quilting Progress

If truth be told, I would like to crosshatch this quilt! It is my favourite for the look and feel, but there are too many 'bits' like the letters that would break up the cross hatching. So my plan is to outline the letters with a dark-ish blue (EZ12) and the do some straight-ish katha-ish lines using a variegated blue threat (EZM97). So far, ok.

I look forward to getting stuck into this in the school hols which start at the end of the week. I have been tired for a week despite sleeping really well. Had my first Saturday afternoon sleep in month last Saturday and then I realised, it was nearly the end of term. It feels like the time we have been back since lockdown has flown by. But the last three weeks, have been mad with one thing after another and they've all been things that not been resolved quickly. I am hoping for a simpler Term 3.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Kilim Quilt Finished

This quilt was finished a week or so ago, but it has been raining since then. Apparently. not enough rain to get the Auckland dams to their usual levels so we are still on water restrictions. I am convinced the council needs to a put a dam in my back yard as it rains all the time here! However, I took advantage of a break in the weather this morning a) to put the washing outside to dry and b) to take the finished photos of the Kilim Quilt on the neighbour's wall as per.

The main part of the backing was purchased on Trade Me. It is a textured cotton - maybe a barkcloth. The colours are just right. Most of the rest of the fabrics were left over from my Free Wheeling Single Girl quilt - which is next in the queue for quilting. Others came off the shelf. I was deliberate in using the yellow and orange binding as I didn't want orange binding on the orange backing.

And for a finishing touch, I added some orange stitching to my label. The quilt is quilted with a Sue Spargo variegated Eleganza thread. Her threads are my favourite for their texture.

Now for some inside shots -

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Kilim Quilt Progress

Now the woolly mammoth is out of the way, I can return to the kilim quilt. It's about 2/3 of the way done.

I like this kind of quilting when I have several needles on the go at once. It looks like a bit of a rat's nest at times, but it works out in the end.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Eight Years in the Making

I made this back in the summer of 2012. I pulled it out of the wardrobe during Covid lockdown and finished the quilting earlier this week.

It's made from old wool blankets taken from my Mum's linen cupboard. The blankets may have come from my Gran before that.

It's quilted with Perle thread #8. When I first put it together for quilting, I used wool batting but it was too thick to quilt. So I pulled it apart and used a flannelette backing only. The binding is a nice green floral Tilda. I think if it had been around eight years ago, it would have been a perfect choice to use in the body of this quilt. The curved edges came to me during the quilting process. During the quilting process the quilts tend to lie over the couch or on the floor and that's when the curved edges came to me. It's my first curved edge quilt.

This quilt weighs a tonne. Hence the name, the woolly mammoth.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Day 53 | Lockdown Wrap Up

I am back to work properly tomorrow. I have been back since Level 3, nearly three weeks ago. We started with six learners on the first day (from a possible pool of about 250 U14), then three and then one. It's been one learner and two teachers for the last two weeks. I had time to run before school since we weren't starting until 9am. And we closed up at 1.30pm, so I was home by 2pm. Got all of my jobs done in those four hours every day. I will miss being part-time, being able to do just one job at a time with no interruptions, and the quiet. All staff were back on Friday. I hated the noise! I may have to pretend I am still in google meets and put headphones on or just close my office door more often. I am keen not to return to 10 hour days. During lockdown I have never felt less tired in my life. My Garmin wearable has a body battery measure. During term time, by the time I get home each evening it's in the teens, but over lockdown my average low was around 50%.

In addition to being very grateful for having a flexible job over lockdown, I have been grateful for the people I know maintaining good health and employment. Hot water, the oven, the sewing machine and technology often featured in my grateful list too. I did have a habit of second breakfast for a while at about 10.30am. I made toast and ate it with lashings of butter and bit of peanut butter, a ratio of about 2/3 to 1/3. I ate 1.5kg of butter over lockdown because I was eating more toast than usual. I tried to be mindful of my baking and would only eat a biscuit if I made a cup of tea so I had to slow down and wait and do one thing at a time. I got into the habit of scrambled eggs on oven roasted hashbrowns with sweet chilli sauce for lunch most days.

I think I enjoyed the running too. In total I ran approximately 136.29 km. I enjoyed knowing I had done it. It felt like an achievement each day. I much preferred running in Alert Level 4 than 3 or 2. Those mornings humans out numbered cars and I could run on the road most of the time. Crossing the motorway overbridge, there would be just three vehicles on each side of the road. Got in my first traffic jam Friday afternoon coming home at 3pm. Argh. I also enjoyed my weekend morning walks. I have a 4.3km loop that takes me through the Gardens and past the petrol station for a hot chocolate which I drink on the final stretch home. It the past I never would have walked to get a hot chocolate, I would drive 2 minutes up the road. The direct route is just 3 km, so I want to continue that better habit. I am not sure about continuing the running. I like the idea - but it's hard and I generally don't do hard things. I might do a couple of short ones a week on the days I don't go to the gym. I am heading back to the gym tomorrow afternoon. I am hoping for a burpee, tuck jump, long jump free week. I don't think there's any need for adults to be jumping. It's just too hard and uncomfortable. 

I am always grateful to live in a small country at the bottom of the world with good governance. The 1pm daily updates on National Radio from the PM and Dr Bloomfield also became lunchtime routine. So fingers crossed that we've knocked covid on the head as much as we can in NZ and that lives return to new and better normals.

(The pics below are of the new quilts I made from an old one. I unpicked the Moda Sampler quilt top I made in 2015 and made 10 NICU quilts. So from something unwanted came lots of new that will benefit others. Now for the couriers to deliver the basting spray ...)