Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Maribyrnong River

With my husband injuring himself training for the Sunset Series runs, and my brother getting a new job, I have lost my hiking buddies.  Luckily there are some great bike and walking trails near home, especially along the Maribyrnong River.  These photos are all taken within 5 kms of my home so I could walk here during lockdown.

This photo was taken in July so everyone is rugged up for winter, and shows the ferry tram cafe serving coffee to people out for a walk.  Not being a coffee drinker myself I don't get the appeal, but Melburnians are renowned for their love of coffee, and small speciality cafes and coffee stalls are common.  There is a little coffee cafe at the end of my street and on weekends you often see a socially distancing line up outside of people waiting for their caffeine hit.

Another picture of the Maribyrnong looking peaceful.

Here you can see the Maribyrnong as it snakes through suburbia.  I am lucky that there are these areas close to home where I can walk and feel like I am getting away from the city.   

This photo was taken just before sunset.  On the left you can see a track which is part of one of my regular walks.  In the gully is the river.

This is a lookout on one of my regular walks about 30 minutes walk from my home.  I don't often get out to see the sunrise, but this was after a hot night with a further 40 degree day forecast so I knew the chances of a spectacular sunrise was likely.  It was worth getting up before dawn to walk to the lookout on time to see it.  You can see the city of Melbourne in the background, and in the foreground is a former defence research site.  And on the left you get a glimpse of the Maribyrnong.

An old, and still used rail bridge over the Maribyrnong.

Not a picture of the Maribyrnong, but I thought this was cute.  Out walking along the streets I was amused to see three postie vehicles putt putting along.  The posties where I used to live on the other side of Melbourne would deliver the mail on a scooter.  Where I live now they have these mini all weather protective vehicles.  I asked my brother who used to be a postie why they might be travelling in this little convoy of three, and he said probably training.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Liberty and Embroidery

Judi made this gorgeous quilt for her daughter.  

It was quilted with an allover medium meander in the centre so it didn't distract from the embroidery, and an allover leaf pattern in the border so the quilting could be more of a feature. As I quilt freehand I switch between the two designs as I go. By having allover quilting the quilt is lovely and soft and will be beautiful on a bed to sleep under.

Judi's embroidery was exquisite and I enjoyed looking at each one as I was quilting it.

This one is my favourite.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Bears In My Garden

Sometimes, even after spending an inordinate amount of time working on a quilt, I am not happy with the result.  Sometimes it is because I am too close to it, and after a little time will change my mind.  Sometimes it doesn't turn out the way I had visioned, and I will never be happy with it.  This is an example of a quilt I worked on for months last year during lock down that I just don't like.

I like the piecing, but the quilting is too busy.  There needed to be some space between the quilting elements so they could shine.

You can see this more clearly on the back.  The quilting seems to blend together and everything looks flat.

If you compare it to the back of say Stars and Diamonds you can see the difference where the lines of unquilted space allowed you to see the details of the quilting.  This is what I needed to do with this quilt.  

After I finished the quilt I needed to soak it to get out the blue water erasable pen.  When I went to block it I noticed that one of the red fabrics had run.  I was so indifferent to the quilt I didn't care, and didn't even bother blocking it at this point.  A very different reaction to when a fabric ran in this quilt where I was devastated, but luckily it all turned out in the end. 

I am not sure what I plan to do with this quilt.  Maybe I will keep it as a teaching tool when I am next giving a lecture about machine quilting as an example of what not to do.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Some Allover Quilts for Customers

Since October last year I have started quilting for customers again.  I am only taking allover quilting at this stage.  

Even though I have moved to the Western side of Melbourne I have been flattered with how many of my regular customers have both waited for me to come back to work after my sabbatical, and were willing to mail their quilts to me, or to drive further to drop them off.  

When I happen to be in the Eastern suburbs, which is usually around once a month, I am doing car park drop offs and collections - swapping quilts between cars - and it has been wonderful to catch up for chats with customers that have become friends.

Below are some of the quilts I have completed recently - all with freehand allover patterns.  I only quilt freehand as I think it looks organic and beautiful as well as being fun and creative for me to do.

This quilt was made my Donna who tops my list for quilts given to me since October and who has been incredibly prolific in lockdown.  I love the colours in this quilt, and how simple but effective this pattern is.  Donna chose to have it quilted in an open loop pattern which is simple and modern. 

This quilt was made by Kay who is only just behind Donna for number of quilts given to me since October.  Kay always surprises me with how creative she is by using every last bit of fabric she has remaining from a project with the secondary quilts made using up this fabric. Kay chose to have it quilted with a pattern I call reflections as it looks to me like the ripples in water.

I snuck in a second quilt from Kay.  This is an example of a quilt she made with the left over fabrics from a large red quilt she made.  Kay chose to have a pointy leaf design on it and I like how the quilting shows in the cream blocks.

This final quilt is made by Sue.  It is a cute panel and is a present for young girl. Sue chose an allover heart and loop pattern for the quilting which I think looks sweet.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Brisbane Ranges National Park

The past three weekends we have gone hiking in different parts of the Brisbane Ranges National Park.

Our first walk was through Anakie Gorge.

A detour to Lower Stony Creek Dam.

Then we did a circuit with some lovely lookouts.

A couple of places along the hike had stations where you cleaned your boots to reduce the spread of fungus.

Our second walk was another circuit starting at the Steiglitz Courthouse.  The trail notes detailed that a couple of kilometres of this hike were off trail where you followed the creek.  

The trail notes said that in dry weather it would be easier to walk along the creek bed.  Given that it is the middle of summer I though it would be a relatively easy walk, but there was plenty of water in the creek and those two kilometres involved quite a bit of bush bashing and creek crossings.  

As the creek curved the outer side usually was cliff or steep rock so we would need to cross before this point.  

Mostly we rock hopped to cross, but one time we used a fallen log.  Paul didn't think that I would be able to make it, but I proved him wrong.  It was harder than it looked as there was movement in the log and it got narrower as you got to the other side with a broken branch sticking up to navigate around.

The third walk we did today.  It was in a more remote area of the National Park and we didn't see another hiker.  It was mostly along park management tracks, so fairly easy walking.

At times we were walking along the edge of the National Park next to farm land.  I took this photo of a couple of horses.  The sky is an amazing colour.  I have not altered the photos at all - this really is the colour it was.

The maps of the three walks in the order we did them in.  The first was in the middle of the park, and was the busiest with other hikers.  The second was in the southwest of the park, and the third was in the north and was much more isolated.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Quilt to Illinois

Today I mailed a quilt to a friend in Illinois.  She is not a quilter, and doesn't follow my blog, so this won't spoil the surprise.  She is a teacher, and as for many people, 2020 has been a tough year for her.

Last time I send a package to her instead of taking two weeks to arrive as it should have, it took nearly two months and we had given it up as lost.  So this time I don't intend to tell her that something is on its way.  Hopefully it won't take as long this time.

The quilt is another one of the Antelope Canyon design, you can see two others that I have made here.  I love pink and brown together.

I quilted it with an allover feather plume.

The back shows the quilting nicely.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Bells Beach to Torquay

Yesterday (Thursday) I knew my brother had the day off work.  Wednesday night I messaged him -  'I feel like a walk along the coast somewhere.'  He immediately messaged me back -  'City or regional.'  I responded - 'Maybe slight preference for regional.'  Within 15 minutes he had it all planned with where we were going and where to meet.  Lucky me - I have the best brother!

We had an amazing coastal walk from Bells Beach to Torquay and back which was about 15kms.  Both of us had not walked this stretch of the coast and we can't believe we haven't been here before as it was so beautiful.

This is Jan Juc Beach.  You can see the flags put up by the surf lifesaving which you are recommended to swim between.

As you can see the weather was perfect.  It wasn't too hot and there was a slight breeze.  Of course we both had lathered on the sunscreen before setting out.

We made the walk a little longer as we walked to each look out point to enjoy the views and when we got to Torquay we went to Woolies to buy a sandwich for lunch which we ate on the foreshore.  

Here is the map zoomed out so you can see where we were relative to Melbourne.  It was a bit of a drive to get there, but well worth it.