Fun …. and frustration

Firstly, the fun.  Yesterday I attended my first quilting workshop, courtesy of Christchurch Quilters, whose meeting I attended earlier this month (see my post here).  The workshop was on half-square triangles, or HSTs, and I had a great day!  There were 12 or 13 of us, with two instructors, so there was plenty of opportunity for one-on-ones with an instructor when things weren’t going well, or you needed some extra guidance.  It was held at Sydenham Community Centre, a Christchurch City Council-owned facility which is available for hire and has a lovely outdoor garden area which we all took advantage of during the lunch break, to make the most of a beautiful day of sunshine and warm weather (25°C, and we’re only just over a month away from the first day of winter:  choice!).

My experience of working with triangles in my quilting has been limited and not very successful up to now, I have to say, so it was an ideal opportunity to find out more and practise cutting out and sewing together triangles so that the points met together (well, mostly) in an orderly manner, without one or two lagging behind … 🙂

Once we had all made our selection of triangles, we were provided with a sheet showing umpteen different layouts and patterns we could use to create a quilt block, and invited to choose one and sew our block together in that pattern.  It was interesting to see everyone’s end results.  The instructors also showed us some of their own work, which gave us further inspiration and ideas for future quilts – there was a beautiful example shown using light and dark batik strips sewn together in threes and then cut into triangles, which was instantly added to my “Ooh, I’d love to make that!” list 🙂  (Look, I even have a set of batik strips on hand which would suit the purpose admirably – how’s that for forward planning?)

Here are a couple of photos I took during the day:

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Setting up time ..

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… and Show Time!

 

I came away at the end of the workshop feeling much more confident about working with triangles and sewing them together, and also enjoyed the opportunity to get to meet and talk to some of the club members – I can see I’ll be attending more of these sessions in the months ahead 🙂

And the frustration?  Manufacturers of computer equipment who think that ALL their customers are hot-shot young computer gurus who know AUTOMATICALLY how to set up a new computer screen and therefore don’t deem it NECESSARY to include an INSTRUCTION BOOKLET with their equipment!!!  *Sigh*  

A couple of weeks ago my computer screen upped and died on me:  no warning, no signs, it just suddenly turned up its toes and quit (!@#%****!!!).  Given that it was more than a few years old, I thought I would replace rather than repair, so I diligently searched online, sourced one that looked pretty good and was a price I could afford, ordered it online and picked it up the following day.  Unpacked it and found a warranty brochure, but no instruction booklet, and when I rang the retailer to check, I was informed that it is no longer ‘deemed necessary’ to include an instruction book, because it’s so simple to set up and operate!  (Inference:  even a child could do it.)  Well, I’m sorry, but my 63-year old brain didn’t find it simple at all, particularly when the necessary buttons are hidden away underneath the monitor, with no labels or indication of how to switch from one to the other, or how to select the option required:  I can tell you, I let fly with more than a few choice words while trying to sort it out!  I have now managed to find a manual online, which has given me some assistance, but I have to say that I do not consider this good customer service.   Grrrr!!

Anyway, tomorrow is a public holiday (Anzac Day observance) here in New Zealand:  Anzac Day (25 April) was actually yesterday, but in 2013 the government enacted legislation allowing the “Monday-isation” of Anzac Day and Waitangi Day (6 February) should they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, with the following Monday then being observed as a public holiday.  This is good news for me, as it should allow me to make the progress necessary on my April project for A Lovely Year of Finishes to have it completed by the deadline of 30 April 🙂  And, what’s more, today I selected my May project as well, so I’m on a bit of a roll here!  More about the May ALYoF and, of course, a photo of the complete April project, in due course.

 

 

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This and that … and the other

Last night I plucked up the courage to attend my first quilting meeting, of the Christchurch Quilters group, and it was fun!  The evening included a short meeting, discussion on upcoming workshops and classes, show and tell, supper break, and a guest speaker, who thoroughly entertained everyone by telling us how we could all afford to buy oodles more fabric simply by reducing our electricity usage, thereby saving money to spend on fat quarters!  It’s amazing just how much electricity all those little stand-by lights consume over a year – you should have seen the pile of fabric it would be possible to buy if we unplugged our TVs, DVDs, video machines and computers, installed eco bulbs, wrapped our hot water cylinders and turned off lights when we left a room!  I actually do a lot of that anyway, but still picked up a few tips and tricks to reduce my power usage even further – not that I actually need to buy any more fabric, but, you know, saving the planet and all that … 🙂  Anyway, I really enjoyed myself and will definitely be going back for more (they have a wonderful library of books and magazines as well, which I shall examine more closely next time).

Thanks to the 4-day break over Easter I’ve made very good progress on my OBW (one block wonder) quilt, and have now sewn all the rows of blocks together and added 2 borders, the second of which is the original fabric.  Here’s a photo of what it looks like so far:

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Yesterday I purchased the backing fabric, so I’m ready now to make the sandwich and decide on how to quilt it …  I’ve seen one example online that has hand-stitching repeating the triangle shape inside each of the triangles in the hexagons, which looked really neat but would be quite a lot of work; however, I do have another 22 days of the month left before the ALYoF deadline for April, so maybe it’s possible …?

 

In the meantime I have discovered, through a WordPress post by fellow-blogger and OBW fanatic Oneblockwonderwoman (thanks, OBW²!), that there is a Facebook group called One Block Wonder Quilt Forum – imagine that, a special group just for obsessed people like me! 🙂 🙂  I’ve already learned a thing or two from the group which I shall try in my next OBW – because there definitely will be a next one 🙂

Over the Easter weekend I also managed – finally – to move and stack (and cover) the remainder of my firewood that was delivered at the end of February, so now I’m all set for the winter weather.  It’s been amazingly mild still, we even got up to 26°C over the weekend, which is pretty darn good for the beginning of April.  There are some lovely colours in the trees now, and beautiful light at the beginning and end of each day (when the weather is fine, of course); we went off daylight saving time over the weekend, so definitely heading into autumn.

Anyway, enough blogging for now:  there’s an OBW calling out to me to be finished! 🙂

PS You’d be right if you were thinking my OBW is a little bigger than “small quilt/wall hanging” size – somehow it just grew like Topsy, and is now about 4-foot square, so closer to a lap quilt than a wall hanging … *sigh* I did get a bit carried away …

Lunar eclipse

Managed to get a few (amateur) photos of the lunar eclipse tonight, which was pretty exciting – unfortunately, we had quite a bit of cloud cover come over as time went on, but it was interesting noting the colour of the clouds surrounding the moon in the early stages.

Starting at 10.02pm, when the moon was still very bright and reflecting nicely on the clouds:

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10.05pm:

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10.10pm:

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11.06pm – eclipse well advanced now, more cloud around:

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11.11pm:

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After this the cloud came over and didn’t look like it was going away, so I gave up and came inside.

Pretty cool to see – you can understand why events such as this seemed pretty scary centuries ago, before it was understood what caused it.

 

 

 

My April ALYoF project

ALYOF logoGiven how I posted lately (see here) about my fascination with kaleidoscope quilts or one block wonders (OBWs), I thought I’d attempt one of these quilts as my April project for A Lovely Year of Finishes (ALYoF).

As I mentioned in my previous post, I already have two OBWs cut out, so logically I should have chosen between one of them … but I didn’t.  I have now cut out a third OBW, and will work on this one and the second one during April, with the aim of getting one of them completed to at least the flimsy stage by the end of the month deadline.

Here’s a photo of the two fabrics I’ll be using to make the OBW hexagons:

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The top fabric is a recent purchase – beautiful, old-fashioned floral print, I just love it.

The second fabric was a purchase several years ago from Trade Me (for those of you outside New Zealand, this is our local equivalent of E-Bay) – it was a package of several strips of material (26 metres in total) left over from sheet making, and over the years I’ve used it in several scrap and strip quilts, so it’s nice for a change to be able to use it as the sole fabric in a project.

Both of these will be small quilts, perhaps wall hanging size – unless I get really carried away … 🙂

I’ve made a start on sewing the hexagons together, and have discovered it’s a lot more pernickety than I expected, so thank goodness for the 4-day break over Easter, which should give me a good start! 🙂