Sunday, May 29, 2016

Peaceful Night Complete - Again


Today

October 2014


Have you ever put countless hours of thought and effort into a special project only to later discover that it had a 'fatal' flaw?  Every time we air or wash the twin's Musical Stairs quilt I berate myself for having used a soft polyester batting (middle layer) as its fibres gradually work their way through the quilt front and back and make an increasingly ugly furry, pilled mess. Quilters refer to this undesirable attribute as 'bearding'. It was some months later that it dawned on me that I had used the same batting in my treasured Peaceful Night quilt - the one I designed, carefully cut the papers for, painstakingly hand stitched together and proceeded to hand quilt with precious silk threads! I triumphantly finished Peaceful Night over 18 months ago, with the two photos directly above shared in October 2014, as the jacarandas bloomed.

After trying to ignore the bearding issue, hoping it wasn't really true, I contemplated not using Peaceful Night, instead keeping it pristine, as a one-day wall/display quilt. But that wouldn't really do. I want my quilts to be used and loved for decades, not hidden away or thrown away due to becoming an ugly bearded mess. With great reluctance I finally acknowledged this quilt deserved to be remade with organic cotton batting, ready to confidently face being used and loved.



The hardest part was actually beginning to undo all those beautiful stitches..... I knew the backing fabric wouldn't quite fit again, I had questions about the binding and wondered if I even had enough silk threads for a second round of hand quilting. I plunged in, determined to cross each hurdle in time.

I found a beautiful fresh piece of organic fabric in matching colours for the backing, a length of Nancy Mims' Pick a Bunch which I had bought from the US back in 2011- a very happy realisation! I also discovered I had bought extra silk threads in my favourite colours back in 2014, plus I still had a little more of the binding fabric on hand. As I tucked the 'old' backing neatly away on my fabric shelf for another project, I quickly fell in love with the 'new' quilt, hand quilting with silks all over again.






It has actually been quite a pleasure to spend time with this treasure again. The binding needed extending by about an inch when it was reattached - I guess the quilt top must have relaxed and stretched just a little through the remake process. The quilting is exactly as before except that I added a round of single stitches to the centre of each star, like little spokes, to help secure these diagonally cut pieces for long term durability.





This afternoon Master T served patiently as quilt holder in front of my favourite local Moreton Bay fig tree which is close to the centre of town, while appearing to be a million miles away in the domain of gnomes and hobbits.....Wishing everyone a Peaceful Night! I know I sleep a little easier knowing Peaceful Night now has the happy ending it deserves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sunshine and Colour











A smokey haze combines with fog in the early mornings, giving way to warm and colourful late autumn days, perfect for time outdoors. We've not had our usual summer rains so preventative controlled burning is underway ahead of our traditionally dry winter days. 

Miss E decided to venture from her bike and scooter to her older brother's RipStik (caster board) last Wednesday. However she landed hard on the cement, hand first, resulting in the pain and swelling of a possible fracture around the elbow which couldn't be decided either way by X-rays. The precautionary back/half cast will be removed tomorrow for further assessment. I must say she has been rather bored as her outdoor activities are somewhat restricted at the moment. This may prove to be a lesson in exercising greater caution - she really doesn't want to have to wear a full cast or for any more than a few days - the novelty factor was very short lived.


The re-quilting of Peaceful Night is now complete and the binding almost finished. A task well worth attending to, more details soon. For now I will soak up some more sunshine amongst the flowers while collecting the air-drying washing.....



Update: Miss E's cast was removed on Wednesday 25th and it seems there most probably is no break. Swelling and bruising remains around the elbow but if all goes well she will need no further treatment :). She is very keen to try riding her brother's RipStik/casterbaord, but I ma insisting she wait a week, at least.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Colourful Autumn














The days come and go so quickly, filled with multiple demands and delights. I grab my camera here and there to snatch a still moment and capture life's fleeting details.

A handmade Mother's Day card (by Miss O), lustrous silks, vivid fabrics - beautiful colours to rest my eyes on, even on days too full to sit and sew. The only deciduous tree in the park is showing the beginnings of autumn foliage while a lonesome magnolia clings to the last of summer's flowers while growing new buds for next spring. 

Bromeliads in the garden amaze me with their riot of colours - the stigmas remind me of egg whisks. A special guest surprised us with a beautiful basket filled with fruit, a very welcome gift. Sunset walks are a rare treat during these busy weeks yet the sky holds wonderful colours these evenings which I pause to savour from wherever I find myself.


Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Revisiting













It has been a week of glorious warm autumn days. The everlasting daisies continue their daily opening and closing while the ferns which grow like weeds in shady spots around our garden are enjoying respite from summer's heat. Our new Paradise Vanessa camellias are beginning to show their true form with a beautiful flurry of ruffles and many buds holding promises for the weeks ahead.

Yesterday some of our younger local homeschool students enjoyed a morning of leaf identification and rubbings at a favourite park while the older children participated in a chemistry workshop. Miss E found the ducks even more interesting than the leaves - especially the brightly coloured ones. This is the same park we visited last week and I was pleased to find the Orange Marmalade grevillea buds now in full bloom - such an unusual native, with a delicious name too!

On the sewing front, I have been revisiting Peaceful Night, a long term, hand pieced quilt which I hand quilted in silk threads, finally finishing in October 2014. I have since discovered that the polyester batting I used beards badly (fibres work their way through the fabric and pill on the quilt surfaces). As this quilt had only been washed once and barely used, it was still looking excellent and I had pondered leaving it  as it, keeping it as a wall quilt - but I have no suitable wall space to enjoy it on. The same batting was used in my Musical Stairs quilt which is in daily use and has bearded badly. With so many dark and rich tones in Peaceful Night the pilling would become vey noticeable and spoil the quilt, so with a long term view in mind, early last week I took the plunge began deconstructing the quilt. This time I have chosen my favourite Hobbs organic cotton batting and a beautiful fresh length of organic fabric for the backing - from Nancy Mims' Pick a Bunch collection bought in 2011. I am almost half through hand quilting, again using the same lustrous thick silk threads. Times like this I am very pleased to have bought extra supplies of favourite fabrics and threads while they were available. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thank You Miss E













Tuesday evening, just on dusk, a surprise visitor walked in our back door! Our eldest daughter, Miss E, had travelled all day by train from Sydney, then walked from the train station to surprise all of us!!! She only has a one week mid-semester break in her studies and her work load had been looking ominous. We had all accepted the fact that it really wasn't practical for a trip home, although there had been a few tears shed by our youngest, eight year old Miss E. These things happen. Then on Sunday night there was a change in circumstances, but none of us except eldest Miss E knew.....

Wednesday and Thursday were precious as we soaked up Miss E's wonderful presence in a flurry of hugs, conversations, movie watching (at home), kitchen treats cooked by Miss E etc. We squeezed in a visit to our favourite local park too. 

Then this morning the inevitable happened - we had to say our goodbyes. Almost 16 years separate our two Miss Es, the first and last of our eight children - they have a very special bond. There were tears at the train station, just after the last two photos, yet we have so much to be grateful for. We won't see her again until September as her five week, midyear break will be spent in Europe - part study, part touring, all very exciting. Thank you Miss E for being you - and being with us.


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