Friday, 28 September 2012

Pastellation

It's finished :-) and despite the very murky weather I took some outside photographs ready to send off for the exhibition entry. It was quite interesting to have to come up with an artist's statement and to name the quilt - we'll see if that helps or hinders my entries! Here are some of the pics I am sending off:

It's hard to find a decent space to take photos!
A bit closer...

Close up of the centre
Half the quilt - right side is the top


Close up of the back

More of the back

Details

and that one again

More details

Even more

and that's it on the bed :-)
And while I am at it, here are some pics of the other entry, my QD9, which I have now named "To the Power of Four" as a play on the word Quadruple :-)







Now to think about what I am doing next - hmmmm I'm sure there some UFOs lurking somewhere...

Very pleased with having this finally finished, so linking this up with Leah's UFO Sunday http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/ufo-sunday-6-snowball-but-still-have-fun.html and I blogged about it on Sew it's Finished http://sewitsfinished.blogspot.co.nz/ where you can find several hundred completed UFOs :-)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Almost there!!!

Cross hatching is completed - it looks like a quilt lol. Tomorrow I'll add the binding and start on those pesky threads :-) Tonight some slightly better pics thanks to DH's camera:



Another step (or two) closer

Backing pieced and attached - check
Batting added - check
Inner (peach) border quilted - check
Yet to do:
Mark and stitch crosshatching across outer three borders
Bind
Bury threads (yuck, my least favourite)

But first I'll go looking for a glass of wine, I think I deserve tonight ;-)

Another couple of (questionable quality) pics:

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I changed my mind - and changed it again

I had a lovely day yesterday traveling with Suz and 3 of our combined 5 kids (beautifully behaved!) down to The Country Yard west of Whangarei to get some more fabric for the border. Everybody was so lovely and helpful and instead of more peach I came away with a nice purpley Moda Marble as well as some other little goodies and heaps of great advice. In the city I also bought a Brother spring fmq foot which with a little Kiwi/German ingenuity now fits my machine - made all the difference to my fmq, I can see where I am going and thread break has been minimal now!
Today I went about adding my purple border, but it just didn't look right, though yesterday I was convinced it was perfect. So back I went through my leftovers, and with a lot of mathematical juggling I ended with peach all around, and then white-yellow-white for the 3 drops - pheww, just enough! I am very happy with the final choice of colours now.
I have gathered the remaining leftovers for the backing of the borders to be pieced tomorrow. The beautiful purple will become part of this as well as the binding.
As for quilting, I will put feathers on the peach again to go with the inner of the quilt, and I bought some variegated pastel yellow Aurifil which I will use to crosshatch across the white-yellow-white.
If I'm superspeedy with the binding, I could get it done before 1 October?!
Well, here's to wishful thinking ;-)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Almost on the home stretch...

I found a new favourite place to pin up my quilts for photos - the lounge curtains. I can even leave it there tonight, his highness (12y old DS) will surely get up before dawn as usual on a weekend (during the week it's like 15min before we have to leave and that's usually after sustained yelling at my part lol), and unless I open the curtain and chase him off the computer, no daylight will touch his skin (well, not quite but you get the idea). The quilt seems safe ;-)

DH at work on a one-off night shift, so I have been sitting here stitching on my connecting strip on the back. 4 more lines of feathers and I will get to work on the borders!

After consulting DH earlier today, I am planning to add another stripe of peach around all four sides, to be followed by another row of mini pinwheels on the drop. That will unfortunately have been the last of my peach but not big enough for my superking size bed, so I have (after closing time) tried to find more of that peach moda marble locally - no success through the internet just yet. Northland girls, any suggestions? I could go to Whangarei tomorrow, or try Gordonton?

What else has been going on? A few things have been on my mind a lot: [I am off on a rant here, and if you rather want to look at the pics, you'll have scroll all the way down:-)]

As you would know I am a teacher, though as of last month just part-time plus 3 days/week with the Special Education Service. The various proposed and actual changes to our NZ education system really upset me, we have a very good system with very good teachers. Over the last 6 years I have worked with children at risk, a lot of them from very poor backgrounds. I have seen a lot of hungry children, children who come from dysfunctional families, transient families, parents in jail etc. etc. There are children who are not achieving. In some - very few - instances that is due to a lack in the teaching, in many more cases poverty and lack of parenting skills.

We are in the second term of a "National" government, which has crept further and further to the right from the centre right on election night (I did not vote for them). In addition we have had some devastating earthquakes in Christchurch, on the South Island, which added to an already financially stretched government.

However, NZ teachers have had the proverbial thrown at them:
They are told they are failing at least 20% of all student hence National Standards in the 3 r's have been mandated.
They have been told that their student's results might get linked to their pay.
They have been told they will need higher qualifications in the future (I actually don't have a problem with that , but watch for the Charter
School paragraph below).
Schools' results will now be presented in league table type format on a new website from next month (though the data so far collected has been called "ropey" by the PM!).

At the same time the government is opening Charter Schools (publically funded private schools) without requirements for trained and registered teachers, choosing their own curriculum, no National Standards.

In the name of improving the education for Kiwi kids the education minister had announced the increase in class sizes which thank goodness was retracted after a nationwide outcry.
Then last week the unexpected announcement that a large number of Christchurch schools will be closed or merged.
Add on top of all this that the payroll for teachers has just been taken over by a new company, Novopay, which was an absolute disaster: Thousands of
teachers incl. I received no money or were underpaid. In the second payrun this week they managed to get more people right, still well over a thousand not or underpaid incl. I. At this stage I am still owed more than $3000! I received a cheque advance today which won't be cleared in my account until Wednesday (...)

To say I am "not amused" is a slight understatement. Why would anyone want to become a teacher nowadays??? [I need it to pay for my quilting I suppose!]

One other thing that has been very much on my mind is hungry school children. I don't mean the bottomless pits (like my 3 boys), I mean the ones that have no lunch at school. We call ourselves a first world country, but still we have children who go hungry. Day after day, week after week. How can they learn when they run on empty?? Lack of education can lead to criminal behaviour, and a prisoner costs about $100,000 per year my hubby says (he works at the prison). NZ has more than 8000 people incarcerated. Kidscan Charity tell us they can provide one meal to every child in a low decile (poor socio-economic area) school for less than $4mio per year - this is 0.5% of the cost of these inmates, but could help these children get an education and prevent at least some turning criminal which will in turn save money for the government with less inmates. It's a no brainer, but the government is not interested.

It just makes me absolutely mad that what I see everyday - poverty and lack of parenting skills - gets brushed aside and instead the teachers get the blame and the addition to the curriculum - and then they don't even get paid on time or correctly!!!!! Rant over - for the moment!

Well, I better head off to bed before DH comes home from work!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Spinning around...

Two of the big pieces are connected - it took me some time to figure out what sizes and techniques to use. During this I discovered that I must have mixed up my batting - it looks like I used some cotton/bamboo not just cotton on some of the pieces - duh! Also, has anyone realised that my little pinwheels are spinning the other way?? Duh again!
I started quilting the sashing, a bit rougher than I had hoped, still learning how to use that machine ;-)
Tomorrow I'll do some more spinning :-)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Still tesselating...

Tesselating pinwheels must be one of those patterns that make every non-quilter shake their head: Why would you cut fabric into (80) squares, piece these together, add a border and then cut this back into different squares (99) which you then piece back together?? I have to admit, it sounds pretty mental and it has taken quite some time to get four of these lots completed. The pieced backings took time, too, and now I have decided to take the tesselating a step further, using 2 1/2" squares to make a strip of pinwheels in the sashing - by the time this quilt is finished I should have pinwheels well and truly out of my system! (see pics below)
Apart from that:
Work is continuing to go well, and last week I found out that a colleague is a fellow quilter :-)
The weather is slowly improving, I am feeding the chooks puha and other weeds I am riping out of the veggie garden (waist high!) which they are thanking me with today 4 eggs from 9 hens - we are making progress! I have also started attacking the black mould on the patio etc. with the water blaster - thank goodness that's a once a year job!
On Thursday I joined the troups for craft sessions with the Kerikeri primary kids - so cute!!!
On Friday I celebrated my big birthday with family over coffee / cake and a lovely dinner at the Thai restaurant (yum!). I got spoilt rotten with a humongous Quilting Arts collection, a book, a CD and a voucher for a 1h facial - ahhhhh!!!!! That afternoon I also swore my allegiance to the Queen, so my next passport will have a silver fern on black ;-)

I better mark and cut some more of my mini pinwheels (1 5/8" cut pieces)... But there's light at the end of the tunnel: I would really like to have this completed before the 1 Oct deadline for the big quilt exhibition in Auckland so my DD9 doesn't get lonely when I submit it for entry (by photo) lol... Here's to wishful thinking!