One step foward two steps back

Friday, March 30, 2007

My unpicker and I are becoming very chummy of late. First I decided that I would ditch the machine quilting in favour of fans and then I decided that I would ditch the fans in favour of sqaures of quilting within each block. The fans are lovely but because this quilt is just a basic block quilt I feel that repeating the block motif within each block will look stronger. That's the idea anyway ;-)

I am all unpicked and about one quarter of the way through the (re)quilting. Hopefully I will have some photos to share over the weekend. I briefly considered the idea of continuing with the fans but tossed it aside pretty quickly. Starting again with the squares isn't going to cost me much time and it should mean that I am much happier with the end result.It's hard to see the bigger picture when I am engrossed in something, not just in craft projects but also in life, and I am trying to make a habit of pulling back regularly, reflecting on where I am at and making sure that I am on the right track.

Writing a sympathy card

Monday, March 26, 2007

One of Mr Duyvken's aunts has passed away and we are faced with the sad task of writing a note to send our condolences to her family. They live in South Africa so we don't see them often but we're family so I want to make sure that we send something personal.

When my darling dad died in 2004 a few days before J's birth we were heartbroken. The cards and notes we received meant more than I had anticipated. The cards where people had taken the time to include memories of him were especially comforting to read. Somehow, knowing that his loss was being felt by others made a difference. It didn't lessen our grief but it did make us smile and give us a chance to learn about the impact this very modest and wonderful man had during his life.

I reflected on the time we had spent with her, the delight she took in playing with G, the funny stories she shared with us about when Mr Duyvken's mum was a child and how warm and welcoming she was despite being so sick even then.

Much to my surprise, there are plenty of online sources for sympathy card etiquette. I shouldn't be surprised of course, there seem to be websites devoted to all manner of esoteric things but who knew there would be a website called ? They all seem to offer good advice, except perhaps for the comment on the site saying:
Losing a pet - Remember that pets are just as important as people. A sympathy card would provide a little comfort at a time of loss.
WHAT?! Methinks somebody needs a reality check.... but I digress.
My tips for writing a sympathy card are simple - share some memories of the person who has died and write from the heart. You may never know how much your words will mean...

More freehand fans

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I started machine quilting the warm blocks quilt but decided pretty quickly that even though it is amazingly fast I prefer the look of hand quilting so I have unpicked it and started on fans. It's a nice evening project and because it's just a smallish quilt it shouldn't take too long to do. I'm not going to piece the cool blocks quilt until this one is ready for binding so that's good motivation to get on with the job.

I've been doing quite a few crafty things since I last posted but very few have been quilt-related. G's school is in the middle of 'crazy season' with every Friday being designated a fundraising event. We've had crazy hat day, crazy face day and green day and we've got crazy sock day and rainbow day yet to come. We cut shamrocks out of green construction paper and stitched them on to her uniform for green day and I made a faux leprechaun hat by stitching more construction paper onto her broad-brimmed school hat. Yes, it does look more like a pilgrim's hat, perhaps making it shorter would have been better, but since pilgrims aren't much much of a feature here in Australia I just left it and she declared it to be the best crazy day yet. Kids are irresistible.

What a difference a machine makes!

Friday, March 02, 2007

This is my first machine pieced quilt and I can't believe how quickly it came together. It's not large, just big enough to be comfy as a snuggle quilt in the stroller or the capsule or tucked around baby in the bassinet or cot. The back is even pieced and I got it all done today while J and C were napping.
It is also my first proper rotary cutting project and I am going to need some more practice there. The squares look fine but when I started stitching them together I realised that they are slightly rectangular. Not all the corners meet but I'm not precious about that for this quilt. The fabric is busy so they don't stand out and it's a purely utilitatian baby gift. Do people use templates when they rotary cut or use the measurements laid out on the cutting mat? I went by the cutting mat but obviously didn't line everything up quite right, the squares are out by only a couple of millimetres but once you stitch a row of those together it can make quite a difference.
I've run out of the pins so I'll be stopping by the fabric store on the way home from school pick-up this afternoon and then I'll have a nice hand-quilting project for the weekend.
We're going to a 40th birthday party this evening , a breakfast tomorrow morning and G is going to a birthday party at the Wildflower Gardens tomorrow afternoon so it's going to be a very celebratory and cheery weekend!

I fixed my machine!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oh my, I can't believe it. It seems that the bobbin housing had jumped from it's mooring and was shuddering about, I just followed the maintenance recommendations in the manual and now it's sewing beautifully again. So, I should have photos of the quilt tops for you soon. I'm going to piece the warm one first because I am very happy with how that has come together. I think I will fiddle with the cool one a little more, perhaps I will add some 4-patch blocks to that one or put a few friendship stars into it. There's certainly no shortage of possibilties!

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