Saturday, 17 August 2013

Rain, rain go away...

It's yet another rainy weekend.... maybe it would be easier if it wasn't cold and miserable, too! Did I really grow up with frost and snow and the likes between October and May?! Must be getting old lol!

Anyway, with DH on late shift last night I joined FNSI over at Wendy's ( I wanted to get another Bag done and - taadaah! - I finished it this afternoon:

As with all Elizabeth Hartman's pattern I have tried, this came together without any sweat. It isn't easy to get the right kind of interfacing around here, but this time I got some cheap light iron-on interfacing from Spotlight (at $7.99 for the lot I can't complain!) which worked a treat. The outer is duck Indian cotton, the inner a batik I bought when Grandmother's Garden last came to Whangarei (another purchase from that occasion that has become a bag ;D). This will replace my current bag from Applebottoms which looks cute but is starting to fall apart (the outer fake leather is separating from the material underneath - sorry, not very technical here!).

What else have I been up to?

Blocks 21 and 22 of Tokyo Subway have been laid out and are ready to sew (tomorrow?).

I am still stitching down the binding for the quilt for oldest DS' fundraising at school but here are some slightly better pics until the weather improves (Monday I would guess - Murphy's law...):

I have tried to continue the quilting on "Summer all year long" but despite a recent service, my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 still seem to have the old issues of tension problems, skipped stitches and breaking thread. I am using my favourite, Aurifil 50 weight, in the top and Signature in the bottom - this had worked beautifully originally.  It will work for a bit, and then everything will go haywire, there is a scratching sound as if the thread is catching on some rough bits on the inside. I have been trying to get some screwdrivers to have a look inside (as the machine came from oversea's I have no warranty on it anyway) but have been unable to get the right kind. Somewhere in blogland I had read about someone else having a similar issue where a part needed polishing or exchanging - I have used the machine intensively since I got it, but you would think it takes more than 1 year to wear things out?! I will try to give the technician a call on Monday and see what he says. The bill for the service didn't break the bank, but my issue is not resolved either...

So what else is going on around here?

Work is great but really busy. My schools are making great progress, but my biggest worry remains juggling work with children pick up etc. with DH on shifts - but if he worked 8-5 they would have to go to OSCAR most days which is not really what we want either... Speaking of shifts, him being at work this weekend meant no Stitch and Chat for me - again! Well, might just have to continue talking to myself...

We have to make some serious decisions about school choices for our two oldest boys: Our 13y old brought home their option choices for 2014 (they have to take 4 out of 5 options on offer). With him being at a very small school with only 16 students in his year level we knew this would happen eventually... The 10y old is in his last year at primary school and somehow I don't fancy having three boys at three different schools - but will he be happy where his brother might be happy?!

New Zealand just had another big earthquake yesterday, very unsettling for everyone down there - something I can't even imagine really! Thinking of all you down there! Time to thank our lucky stars that they brought us to the Far North all those years ago - now if we could have public transport, more opportunity for cultural things and more school choices please... Speaking of cultural things, since our recent trip to Germany I miss playing music more so than before. The children are getting older and are no longer taking up all our time - but then all too soon they will be off during their own thing... Hmmm, something to keep on thinking about...

Anyway, time to get going! Happy sewing everyone!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

I'm back!

We had a great holiday in Germany, caught up with lots of family and friends but even better the kids enjoyed our showing them where we grew up and want to go back! There were stressful times, e.g. when Mstr 13y old decided that it was time to go home to New Zealand at around day 25 of 36 and continued to tell us so at any occasion for the next 10 days, or when same boy and Mstr 8y old got quite airsick on the way home or when the nights after 36degC during the day just were unbearably hot and all three Mstrs (short for monsters?!) would not go to sleep until just before midnight... There was plenty of hearty food and drink which my hips have taken a liking to (a moment on the lips...), we have visited castles and churches, rode on trains, buses and subways etc. etc. While still not complete, you can see some of what we have been up to on our travel blog -

I have only been to ONE quilting shop in Germany - I simply couldn't see any! There used to be plenty of material shops when I grew up (about 500y ago, I know...), but the one shop I found had no fabrics I couldn't get anywhere else and just as expensive as here! I asked at one material shop that carry some quilting fabrics, the owner didn't think there were any specific German lines of quilting fabrics (here in NZ we have Kiwiana fabrics, batiks with NZ motifs etc.). Overall I was very disappointed! The only highlight in this regard was my visit to Ikea, the spoils of which will hopefully arrive per parcel soon (the suitcases must have shrunk between arrival and departure, just like my clothes while I think of it, so I had to send a parcel).

I didn't get much done as you can imagine, but one afternoon I got into some EPP:
One day this will go onto the Great Barrier Reef Quilt I plan to one day (!) make for middle DS :-)

I had a weekend at home before I went back to work, and on the second day back oldest DS came home with a request for a fundraiser item to go into their Auction of Promises, so after some checking of my stash I launched into what I think I have seen called a race quilt? Very quick and painless, backed with light polarfleece with a layer of polyester batting and by now already quilted with freehand swirls, ready to bind:

I'll take some better pics at day, the quilting shows up better on the back. Not sure that I want to make another one, it would get boring I think?

What next: Firework and Summer All Year Long need finishing, I have picked my materials for my next bag for the Bag Along, and Suz has cut the strips for the next two blocks of the Tokyo Subway quilt. Do I really have to go to work tomorrow???

Happy Sewing!