Making Time

egg timerJust a short post today, almost a ‘proof of life’ post.

Last weekend I finally managed to get some sewing done, something I hadn’t been able to do for several weeks. I’m working on another friendship braid quilt, using a Moda jelly roll. I spent two weekends cutting the pieces, aiming for accuracy rather than speed. Now that I’ve started sewing, the tempo is picking up, with two braids done and two more well on the way. In fact it’s coming along so well that I’ve already had a look through my stash for border and backing fabric.

I wish I had more time for craft, but right now I don’t. So I’ll just keep doing what I can, when I can, keeping in mind that this particular quilt is intended as a gift for a birthday in January. Seven months. Should be doable. I hope.

Pandora’s Box in the Making

Pam and Nicky Lintott’s Jelly Roll Quilts book is easily the best value for money book I own in terms of finished quilts per book.

Pandora’s Box is still a work in progress but it’s far enough along that the finish is in sight. It’s the second quilt I’m making from the Jelly Roll Quilts book and I’m planning two more. One of the future quilts will be a repeat friendship braid, also intended as a gift, but his time for a female friend.

Hoffman bali pops blocks

Thin blue frame, then a batik border

I’ve made all the Pandora’s Box blocks and am about to attach a fine blue frame (cut at 1 1/2 inches) and then add a border in a black batik fabric, which will also be the backing. The binding will be plain black, when the time comes.

I’m using a Hoffman Bali Pops jelly roll which I chose for their masculine appeal, as this quilt is intended as a long overdue birthday gift for a male friend.

The batik strips are lovely but can not can not by any stretch of the imagination be interpreted as 2 1/2 inches wide. Even though I used a scant quarter inch seam and measured my seams against the outside point of the sawtooth edges, I had to trim the centre units back to make them square. Boo to you, Hoffman.

First Quilt Finish of 2014

Taking inspiration from Textile Ranger who recently posted her first finish for 2014, here’s mine. I just managed to get this log cabin quilt done (and posted here) within the first quarter of the calendar year. Doesn’t that sound like an office worker talking?

barn raising log cabin quilt in blue and ivory

Measurements: 50 by 50 inches

This time the centre ‘hearths’ are a mellow orange colour and I chose a binding of a darker orange to continue that theme. The label still needs to be attached but other than that, I’m done.

It’s the first quilt I’ve made where I haven’t pre-washed the batting and I’ll be interested to see how it responds to washing. But first, I plan to use it a bit.

No Progress Update

Really wanted to play along

There has been no progress on any weaving or quilting project for several weeks now, apart from a little hand sewing from time to time to attach the binding to my latest log cabin quilt. That’s relaxing work but I find my shoulder gets tired if I keep hand stitching for too long. One length of thread, then it’s time for a different activity.

I feel frustrated about the lack of opportunities to do craft projects while I’m busy working and keeping the house in order. On weekends there are other fun things to do, things that involve treasured friends.

You can only be one place at one time and last weekend we had a much better offer to catch up with friends we rarely see since they moved to the country.

The highlight of the Dean’s Marsh Festival was the terrier race, open to all small dogs. There were so many competitors that they had to run the race in heats. After the small dogs had had their go, the big dogs competed. A beautiful border collie ran like lightning in the big dog race and won hands down. Just for fun he then ran back to the starting line for another go. The dog races were barely controlled chaos and great fun.

stick, straw and wool creatures

Also on offer, and staying true to the fibre theme of this blog, was wool craft using stick armatures, straw and wool to make creatures. Too bad it was labelled kids craft as I would have loved to have a go.

Roo burger price list

Sold out!!

There was food, too. Kangaroo is more usually considered dog food than human food in Australia, but we do get roo mince and roo sausages from time to time. As you can see from the price list on the left, the roo burgers sold out at border collie pace.

It was a great day out in the fresh air and the crafting will still be there next weekend.

Fibre and Fabric in Devonport, New Zealand

We found two fibre and fabric related destinations in the picturesque suburb of Devonport today.

Old post office Devonport

The old Post Office

Devonport is a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Or you can drive across the Auckland Harbour bridge which was opened in May 1959. The bridge quickly proved to have insufficient capacity so lanes were added to the outside of the main structure. The additional lanes were sourced in Japan and at the time were referred to as ‘the Nippon clip on.’ It sounds vaguely racist these days but I feel obliged to share the story.

A glimpse inside the shop

Wild and Wooly Yarns

Wild and Wooly Yarns describe themselves as a wicked and deliciously decadent wool store. It’s located in the charming old Post Office building which has wonderful wooden floors. The stock seemed to be aimed at knitters and it did, indeed, look appealing, though for knitters, not weavers.

Cushla’s Village Fabrics also has a shop in Devonport. We had previously visited their Waihi store, which was located in a traditional New Zealand villa.

Cushla's Village Fabrics, Devonport

Cushla’s Village Fabrics, Devonport

Cushla’s in Devonport was a more traditional shop in a shopping centre but had the same excellent range of quilting fabrics, lots of kits and Kiwiana. Cushla’s must be doing well. They have just opened a third store in Mapua, near Nelson, in the South Island. Good on them.

A Visit to Petlins Weaving Supply Shop in Sydney

This post will be of greatest interest to Australian weavers. If you’re a quilter you might want to come back in a few weeks when I hope to have my latest log cabin quilt bound and ready to show off. It’s back from the long arm quilter but I under-estimated how much binding I would need so have had a temporary interruption. It doesn’t help progress that I’ve been crazy busy at work.

table loom on display at PetlinsI have been busy preparing for customer visits in Sydney that happened last week. The trip gave me the opportunity to visit Petlins, one of a handful of suppliers of weaving yarns and looms in Australia. They are located in the Sydney suburb of Rhodes, near the former Olympic village, easily reached by train.

If you visit the Petlins web site you may make the observation that it’s not super easy to use and that it’s a little dated in terms of page design and usability. They have a wide product range and I can testify that the ordering process works well and your goods arrive quickly. Delivery costs are reasonable, fixed at $10 per order, with delivery within Australia only. I wouldn’t pay by credit card on the Petlins site as I wouldn’t have confidence about the security of my details. Working in IT makes you paranoid about these things.

After visiting the bricks and mortar shop (open Thursdays and Saturdays) I stand by that call. The owners (Peter and Linda, I believe) were polite though busy. Linda was happy to help me select a suitable warp for my rug-making while Peter busied himself with preparing some orders for despatch. I’m not such a princess that I need two people to assist me shopping so that was fine. It’s been a long time since I last signed one of those credit card slips with multiple layers and carbon paper, though, the kind where they put your card in the machine and draw the bar across your card to get the number to imprint on all three layers.

The store was little more than a storage area and the displays were …. hmm….let’s say functional. The cottolin was displayed on ‘shelves’ comprised of polystyrene boxes – quite a contrast to the mouth-watering display of the same product at a specialist yarn supply in a regional town in Sweden. Demand for weaving products would be much higher in Sweden and the shop I’m thinking of was in the main shopping area in town, so the comparison is unfair.
Both Peter and Linda are weavers and there was a lovely krokbragt rug on the floor. Linda told me she had once done a course with Peter Collingwood, the famous maker who literally wrote the book on rug weaving.

A visit to Petlins is worth it if you want some advice or want to see their products in real life, otherwise, their mail order service is an excellent alternative.

I came away with a couple of reels of Canadian linen rug warp (the Swedish was too expensive) and another 500g of 8/2 cotton. Linda was quick to point me in the direction of a more reasonably priced warp yarn after I gasped at the price of the Swedish yarn and she was generous with encouragement and suggestions on how to use it. I also accomplished what I set out to – I visited the bricks and mortar store and can report back. The photos were taken with permission.

Not Hoarding, Accessioning

Weaving supplies are hard to find, so you have to take your chances.

It’s been hot, hot, hot here in Melbourne, too hot to weave or do a whole lot of anything. The rainwater tank is empty and the garden is dead.

Of course it’s never too hot to browse online auctions and classifieds. Last week I spotted a yard sale at a place called The Weavers’s Cottage. That semed to good to miss so we went along early in the day before the real heat kicked in.

The hour’s drive was well worth it. Not only did I pick up this haul of yarn and supplies, but my beloved found two good quality saws for his tool shed. We like to think of it as accessioning. They’re just not making this stuff any more, not to this quality standard and not in our part of the world.

The yarn is a bit smelly and probably lived in a damp garage for a while before making it to my hands. A few days in out of its plastic bag in this weather should sort that out. The shuttles were dirty but are now usable after a good scrub in soapy water.

Yarn and weaving shuttles from a yard sale

Smelly Yarn, Great Shuttles

In the spirit of de-accessioning my next project will be a small rag rug to cement some of my newly learned skills and use of some of Tinkerer’s old business shirts that we have washed and broken down. After that, now that I have some rug weight yarn, I feel a krokbragt rug coming on.