Saturday, May 31, 2008

First Week Back at Work

The first week of daycare and work is done. Granted, it was only 3 days, and many of my friends have been back at work for a while, but it was big for me.

I'm pleased to find that my mind still works in the “worky” way. My dearest had noticed that my quilting was getting a little obsessive technical. I think spending an hour working out meterage (yardage) on patterns I am considering is perfectly normal and completely practical. However, working out the mileage on the car (7.9l / 100km) is something only an engineer would normally do.

The days were long. It took two days to understand that the best thing to do on the train there, is to sleep. It took another day to remember to pack a comb to minimise the post train hair style. On the other hand, I am devouring books on the way home.

Little e is beginning to settle into daycare. On the first day she pushed her way out of her Dad's arms into her carer's waiting embrace. There were tears later. It seems she doen't miss us until we return. I've been told it gets better.

It's been a busy week. There has been no sewing. I am working on a list of things to do on a train. My next quilt along block will have to wait a few more days. When I get home I just want to hold my family close and so very tight.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Domestic Irony

Sometimes words fails me and othertimes it seems the right words haven't been found yet. I think we need more words. Has anyone found a word for those moments when you wake at 2 in the morning, thinking the oven might still be on? And those bits of sausage that escape while frying, making little sausage meatballs? Today I'm introducing domestic irony to the world

Domestic irony is a common affliction. I blame it whenever the bench piles with dishes. Of course I can't do the dishes because I can't find the plug. There is speculation that the plug might be under the dishes. However, this cannot be confirmed as the dishes can't be done and so it goes...*

The second form of domestic irony I've found is the kiddy locks for cupboards. I had had enough of removing breakable things from cupboards just so little e could rummage through them. The bench was piled high with ceramic mixing bowls and I needed the space. This is where the kiddy lock comes in. It's great. It really does keep kids out of the cupboards.

(heartsy, cute and downright tenacious)

Unfortunately, this thing is so very hard to open that I would rather stack washed dishes on the bench than put them away. Consequently I'm right back where I started.

I'm sure other forms of domestic irony have been found. I would be keen to hear yours as types one and two have been plaguing and amusing me for some time now.

* I would love to post a glamorous picture of perfectly matched dishes awaiting washing but this only happens in staged photo shoots and frankly, I'm not keen on having to wash more dishes just to take a pretty picture.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lists, Lists and More Lists

My life is often a series of lists. There are the mental lists of things to get done before the end of the day. There are the written lists of things to do while in town and often a grocery list or two. Then there are the larger lists of things to get done before important milestones. This weeks list is things to get done before I go back to work.

The to do before work list started off very long. I like to include everything and then cut the list back. This means it is a matter of choosing not to do something rather than forgetting to put it on the list. I then cut back the list to things that needed to be done this week and things for little e. Gifts and unfinished projects can wait.

The biggest item on the list was taking little e to the daycare centre. By not taking her, my return to work seemed less real and imminent. I finally went on Monday and we have been spending half an hour there each day this week. She appears to like it, especially now that she has found the toy box.

I had cut out a merino top for little e and wanted to get it sewn up before she started. This one was in green and cut very carefully to get a baby gown out of the fabric too. While the machine was threaded up with green I had to make another baby gown, despite my vow to steer clear of gifts this week. Sometimes I have trouble sticking to the lists.

And, I have finished my block for this week. The alternating colours on the flying geese meant that I couldn't take any shortcuts there.

I think I'm almost ready. The emotions about work are still mixed, but just think of what I can do in the hour long train trips to work. I've been putting together a list for that one too.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Little Moments

This week was my first Mother's Day as a Mother. It was my husband's first Mother's Day without a mother. It has been a week of little moments in our house.

My husband celebrated his birthday this week. There was cake, phone calls and many moments taken to remember his mother, who loved birthdays.

This week Little e taught us about innocence as she played with her Dad's chocolates. She sorted them, put them in and out of the box. She was having so much fun and it was wonderful to watch. It took 3 days until she realized that she could unwrap them.

It has been a watershed week in so many ways, with events marked not just by those who share them with, but also those who we have shared them with in the past.

The Battle of the Quarter Inch

I like to think of myself as an accurate quilter. I also like to think of myself as a brilliant singer, but anyone who has heard me singing in the car knows that one is a bit of a stretch.

If the points don't match up I have been known to resew them. Sometimes I will just let is slide, knowing that it always looks better from a distance. I figure that a little easing of the seams while sewing can fix almost anything.

This week I had to admit defeat.

I read the comments on the this weeks instructions thinking of course my block would be the right size.

This weeks block took two attempts. The first one looked fine as the points of the star went together. However the outer edges tell a different story.

There was a little jimmying with the needle position. Why modern machines only let you shift the needle to the left is beyond me. After much measuring, I managed to get it right and here it is.

I apologize to anyone who has ever received a block from me. While I'm not entirely accurate, I'm trying to be better. Honestly, I am.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quilting Local

Meet Stella. She is a youthful 30 ish and loves to travel. She sews beautifully and packs up tiny. Last week I packed up Stella and went to a Midnight Madness Class.

I have been meaning to get along to a local class for some time. An evening class with takeaway dinners and a quilt top finished in an evening sounded just right for me. I was also keen to get along and meet some local quilters. Little did I know just how local.

It was a foul, rainy evening so I decided to take the car, even though the class was only 100 m down the road. I did notice someone walking with a wheel barrow as I backed out the driveway. The wheel barrow also pulled into the quilt store, just after me. It wasn't until we were setting up machines that I realised it was Rosie, my next door neighbor.

We wave to each other when I'm in the kitchen and she's in the garden. There was much discussion as the fence was repaired between our places, But really we hadn't sat to talk until last week.

I kindly let her know, that if I had known, I could have given her a lift. She wisely replied that if she had known, we could have shared wheel barrows.

The evening was a lot of fun and yes, I did meet some more local quilters and even had a quilt top finished at the end of the evening (midnight).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

And the Blocks..

Just briefly, blocks one and two are done. Some are blocking ahead, some are racing ahead. Me, I'm hanging out for the next one on Monday. I'm loving the anticipation - just what one will it be this week. And how is she going to do it?

Block 1

Block 2

I have been using the quick piecing method for flying geese that you can find here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm Quilting Along Too

Two weeks ago I singed up for Amandajean's Star Quilt Along. For the first week I thought I really should get the colours chosen soon. For the second week I thought I really should get the blocks started soon. There's a lot of “really should”s around here, but now I'm caught up and loving the look of the blocks so far.

The size was the first thing that got me. I love the idea of quilting along, and so joined up when I heard about it. Then I got out the tape measure. 85 inches!!! that's the size of our current double bed quilt. We had been talking about getting (well, me sewing, husband vetting the colours) another quilt for us for a while. This just meant we had to decide faster.

I ferreted through a number of books and enthusiastically left markers on the pages of colour ways that I liked and thought might work. He just looked up from his book occasionally nodded or disapproved. We finally agreed on the colours in this one. At which point my dearest commented that it would take a really long time to cut out all those strips.

It appears he was considering the whole quilt not just the colours, so we will never know if there were any earlier colours schemes that might have been acceptable.

I even sat and watched Saturday's movie with calculator and paper in hand working out yardages. Can you guess what my day job was? Yes, I might need about 7 yards of background, so it is going to be plain. The setting block fabric on the other hand, really needs only 0.7m. Quilting in imperial, buying in metric, gets confusing some times.

I'm delighted with the colours in the end. Little e and I spent about an hour choosing (crawling) around Quilter's Lane trying to find just the right fabrics. I probably discarded two bolts for every one that I settled on. The colours are based around the fabric I used in these dresses. Little e approves, as does my dearest, so it is on with the blocks.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Horse With No Name

This lovely lad was found munching on the magnolia tree. He is all set to go to his new home with a friend of little e.

The first birthdays have been rolling by for at least a month now. After much discussion our antenatal group decided that we would draw names and between us, buy one present for each child. The discussion got a little heated when the budgets were set, but we managed to come to some sort of agreement and drew the names.

I drew the name for a certain young boy who loves to climb everything and whose mother has a soft spot for horses. I'm sure she will come up with a suitable name for our friend here. The horse is more of something for a little boy to grow into, but it is already kitted up to go with his best cowboy bandanna.

I'm not big on making soft toys and was surprised that this took a whole 500g bag of fill. The bag certainly looked a lot larger than the head when I started. When materials are counted, it was probably cheaper and faster for me to buy a present, but I was stubborn and wanted my present to be handmade. I searched online for a pattern but couldn't find anything realistic. I ended up at my local library with a 1982 copy of “Easy-to-Make Toys”. There were lots of soft toys, some crotchet ones and a word working section so that “It's not only Mum whose skills are employed. Dad can join in the fun too, especially with the wooden toys.”

The designs are suitably 1970s, and probably kitsch before it's time but without the deliberate irony of the Softies. The book is proof that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Horse showing concern - “Poor guy, she skinned him for a pair of PJs”

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tutorial Month Hello

Hello to those who are new to reading Seven Stitches.

It was an epic tutorial month at Sew Mama Sew. I was delighted to have my tutorial featured in one of the days of tutorials.

I've been blogging since January this year. The title comes from both my favorite number and a certain constellation that the title sounds like (more about that in June). While you are here, take a look around, let me know what you think. Keep in mind I am in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasonal things may look a little out of kilter.

After the tutorial month I have an even longer list of things I would like to make starting out with

the twirly skirt – little e would look great in that, though maybe when she is bigger
a brooch keeper – I have soft spot for sparkly things

or a post it note quilt - I love random piecing.

Baby Quilts for the Cobbler's Daughter (or Quilter's Daughter in this case )

There is a saying that the cobbler's children go without new shoes. I think there may be more than an ounce of truth in it. I have still to make little e a quilt.

I might be living proof of this saying in more ways than one.

My father is an electrician and has always been determined that he can and will fix anything that breaks. As children, this was a source of great amusement. After visiting Uncle Michael, with his modified toaster that really bounced the toast like in the cartoons, my brother and I wanted one too. Not to be out done by his electrician brother (it runs in the family) Dad set out to make one too and of course take it one step further. The toaster bounced even higher.

I think Dad was aiming for our waiting plates.

However, Mum wasn't as impressed and the toaster was reinstated to a bit less than it's former bounciness. That toaster was fixed a number of times, as was every other appliance in the house.

It finally went walk about one summer holiday when friends house sat. When Mum was asked if there any suitable payment, she knew exactly what she wanted. Out of Dad's earshot, she said “Make the toaster disappear”.

We got our new toaster and it popped just like every other toaster. Not much else was said on the matter for a few years.

However, when Dad found that old toaster hidden in the back of the shed – it was carried high like a trophy. That toaster even managed to live another day as it was placed carefully in the box of items to go flatting.

Our washing machine was very much the same story. I think we will save that one for when I finally get a quilt made for little e.

In the meantime, she isn't going without by a long shot My Stitching Sisters friends made this wonderful red and white quilt. It's the first time that I have been given a quilt and it feels amazing. As, you can see this quilt has been with little e since the beginning.

While I was able to choose the pattern and colours, I was carefully sent from the room as everything went together. There were hushed tones as people discussed the quilting, the boarder, the fabrics. It was presented to me two weeks before little e's arrival, when I was at the “whole world is uncomfortable” stage of pregnancy.

Like the toaster being repaired every time with love, this quilt was stitched with love and it shows.