The beginnings of a tradition?

So last year the usual suspects and myself went on a little retreat you may have read about it here.

Well all good things should happen more than once and we all decided that a repeat of the even was in order. For a while it looked like the place we went to last year would be booked out but fortune favoured us and well we got a booking for this coming weekend. It has been a long slow buildup but finally it is the eve before the retreat and I am uber excited.

I have packed way too much stuff (not everything) but still way too much. There are at least three no four quilting projects o_O some knitting and even some stitching as well as a whole bucket load of food (and we said we would take it easy with the food this time lol). The tequila, lime, cointreau and salt are packed, cider, wine and even some non-alcoholic beverages are along for the ride too.

What will I work on…who knows? Originally I had hoped to sew some garments this weekend but I have been very ill for just over a week so didn’t get myself kitted out enough for that really (aka no zippers, interfacing and all the essential bits to make a garment all garmenty).
So… what does that leave me with.. A LOT!
I have packed the space quilt kit that tipped me over the edge on the whole quilting thing even though I haven’t even started it yet, my hexie templates and fabric for the quilt I talked about last post… my sampler quilt to hopefully finish those corners and the spare fabric from said quilt to make some extra blocks for practicing the whole final quilting stage. Hmm there is also a Jinny Beyer table runner kit and that’s just the quilt bits.

Last year I thought I packed a lot.. this year well I’ve simply out done myself .. it’s good to have options though .. right?

So wish me luck who knows there may even be a few updates on projects long forgotten when I get back.

This was where I started from last year.. I hope we all fit around the table this year 😀

Retreat beginnings 2012

Not so headless Shaz

Hello… yes well umm that was June.. I did have a wonderful weekend away in Sydney and then it was just sheer crazy form that moment on.
Hopefully I will get some pictures uploaded soon and a brief run down of the highlights.. there were many. So this month has basically been exam marking reports more reports subject selections for next year which was all a little stressful and more complicated than it has any right to be, more work and generally mad running around. I did get a really nice thank you card from the head of my faculty though and some great feed back from both parents and kids.. it’s that which makes the days worth it really.

So.. that means holidays and of course I got sick a few days in. It seems to be clearing quickly though which is nice since there is so much to get done this break not in the least another crafty retreat *squee*

There is big news though as you may have guessed from the post’s title.. Shaz has a head, in fact in a mad push to get her done I finished her off today!.. completely, well except for a very well needed bath and some framing. It is still somewhat surreal to think she is done, it has been over a decade (although I will need to do some digging to come up with the exact date I started her it has been many a year.

Shaz close up

I still love the Sudden storm Jobelan fabric I chose to do her on and am glad that I did the conversion even if I am sick of the sight of her. Now just to get her framed and sent up to Jenny for her Birthday, at least that’s not until Novemeber.

Rose of Sharon Mirabilia Designs


Oh and that little task of trying to figure out what to work on next. There is a new patch work project in the works that I need to post about and of course I still need to finish my sampler quilt.. I have batting and I know what I am using for the backing and have a few ideas on quilting designs but it still has a long way to go. Oh well I might just bask in the joy of finishing a long long term work in progress for a bit. Hopefully I will catch up with you all again sooner rather than later… there are goals to set for July after all… wow July already!

A quick getaway

Hello just me flying through.

It has been another one of those weeks but in amongst it all I have had a few ups and downs so lets catalogue them here in point form so I can get to the airport for a weekend away in Sydney woohoo! Not that I’m a big fan of the place but the line up for this weekend should be awesome regardless of the city 😛

So ups

+ I did below the line and managed to raise $400, go me! it was hard and bland but I managed it even in the face of people trying to give me cake and other goodies. I resisted and came out triumphant.

+ I got my sashing sewn on to my quilt and have started the final part of the top… the mitred corner borders . Hooray!

+ I got the exam finalised the absolutely have to do marking done and all told had a very productive week at work.

+++ having a weekend away from work

now for some downs

– I lost my cool at work and had a go at a co-worker

– there is still way too much to do (but then there always is)
– Sharon’s an my excuses for getting together every two weeks and sewing is now all finished*pout*

– There are too many of my friends having a tough time of it lately and too little I can do about it.

Ok well that’s it but all in all a pretty good week I think and well I’ll fill you in on my adventures this weekend when I get back.

It’s Friday!!!!!! … (oh and I am not working this weekend!!!!!!!!)

Why yes, that is a pillar you see

Well although I didn’t pick her up at all for the past three weeks I did manage a bit of progress on dear old Shaz earlier in the month.

So here’s a quick update picture.. a bit dark and moody since I am leaving for work before the sun gets up and getting home after it has set of late. The evil flowers over the arch are pretty much done and I have even made it to the bottom of the pillar on the left hand side. That seems like cause for celebration to me. 😀

Shaz at the end of April 2013

Wave goodbye to April and the year wooshes by

I’m not sure if anyone else is finding this but 2013 is just zooming by. Which of course means I am at the super hell time for my work and if I thought I was busy and working long hours before  … well things are just going to get worse.

But really I am getting used to the crazy cycle it’s only the burn out I fear now.

Enough whining though I’m here to report on my progress…

Some of you may have noticed that flickr and I are having a somewhat troublesome relationship at the moment, images are not uploading but then turning up a week later, or as seems to have happened to the post blow they  DO upload but then a few days or sometimes only hours later they disappear. This means that after battling once again with flickr and iphoto I don’t have any update pictures ..yet.

My may Goals were:

  1. 600+ Stitches in to Shaz Yep.. I sure did although it was all at the start of the month (pic to come soon)
  2. The last seven blocks for my Quilt top ready for sashing and background to go on in the last few lessons. Amazingly I managed this one too.
  3. pick up a knitting wip and make some headway (not sure which one yet) – nope didn’t even look at anything
  4. Make a new dice bag for Mr B I got the fabric out… does that count? (this is a no go too really need to work on that)

So a bit of a mixed bag for April. Now May… this is the month it will be lucky I see my home let alone my craft but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

Goals for May are

  1. Finish Sashing on the quilt top ready for borders to be added
  2. Borders for quilt top
  3. Dice bag (really it is 10 minutes work)
  4. 400 stitches in to Shaz

Ok that will do me… especially seeing as I am already ten minutes late for leaving for work… wooops.

I promise to be back soon with an update picture of little miss Shaz.

April Goals

Well it is that time again… goals. I sometimes wonder why I continue to set goals each month. It’s not like I actually put much weight on sticking to them, my crafting is not something I try to bring pressure to. With so little time to just relax it seems silly to and yet more pressure and yet I do like to write my goals down each month.Maybe it is more like a priority list to remind myself what I wanted to try and get done.

The reasons are secret even to myself.

So what are my goals for April…

Easter break from school is one that is always busier than I expect and this year will be no different. There are plans for gaming and two sets of visitors, add in work that needs to be done before the start of the new term and hopefully some adventures to my favourite crafty places to spend money and there really isn’t a great deal of time left over. All the same hopefully just a reduction in working days from 12+ hours to a more manageable 6-8 will see me more refreshed and focused.

  1. 600+ Stitches in to Shaz
  2. The last seven blocks for my Quilt top ready for sashing and background to go on in the last few lessons.
  3. pick up a knitting wip and make some headway (not sure which one yet)
  4. Make a new dice bag for Mr B

That should be enough to keep me busy for a while.

Progress report – March

Here we are again endings and beginnings…
March saw the deadline for the blanket come around a lot faster than expected with the mother to be heading off on maternity leave before the en of term. I dropped everything else in a last ditch bid to get the blanket finished, washed and blocked not to mention dried in time to hand it over. Surprisingly I actually managed it,but the photos I have are not the best, taken in a rush in fading light. I only did 45 repeats of the shale pattern compared to the 57 recommended but blocked it was larger than the specified size anyway. Final size was ~41×51″ plenty big enough for a baby blanket. The lace work opened up nicely and the wool relaxed to be super soft and squishy. The mum to be loved it and has promised pictures with the baby eventually.
Baby Shale
The quilting course still marches on, however, we have been told that the store is closing down in June. It is sad to see another local craft store closing it’s doors but in many ways I find it hard to justify the increased price in many of these stores not to mention that my tastes are rarely catered for. The place up the road where the lovely Miss Sharon and myself have been doing our course is one of these stores. Most fabrics are around $25 a metre and the selection is of very traditional fabrics in browns and florals. There are a lot of American Civil War reproduction fabrics and 1930s reproductions. While pretty in their own right they certainly aren’t the fabrics I would be buying.. and believe me I have looked. I do have a great fabric store I like to go to over in Brunswick but still while it has a fantastic range they rarely stock the fabrics that I am drawn to that I can find online.

Anyway discussions of the benefits and drawbacks of online shopping in the craft world the class has continued over march with two new techniques and a number of new blocks. Not quite the 12 I was hoping for but I am now up to nine blocks completed with two more cut and ready to piece… maybe even today.

The blocks done this month were:

Block 6 - Flying Geese Symmetry in motion (Block 7)                                    Flying Geese                                                                                  Symmetry in Motion

Block 5 - Dresden PlateCard Trick
Dresden Plate                                                                                             Card Trick
Drunkards Path - Falling Timber

Falling Timber

The curved piecing on Falling Timber was a challenge it is a block that would be easier to complete hand sewing I think. So much easier to control the fabric than using the machine. As much as I like the speed of the machine I’m likely to try hand piecing at some stage… there is always Moonglow to try though that still seems way out of my league skills and time wise.

All up there are 9 blocks now:

The first 9

The light this morning was very bad for picture taking but you get an idea of how they are looking all together. The next lesson is foundation piecing… hmmm wonder how that one will go, another challenging class I suspect.

Strangely enough I even managed to get about 500-600 stitches in Rose of Sharon. It still feels like I will never get her done but I am determined to keep pressing on. So that I can finally get her framed and out of my house.
Rose of Sharon End of March 2013
So all in all my Feb goals came close:

  1. I would love to get to 18 completed blocks but really I would be happy if I could make it to 12 that in itself will be a feat. Only 9 completed but still not too bad.
  2. 43 repeats of the blanket (Eeeep) 38 completed as well as the edge, cast off and blocking .. Woohoo!
  3. 100 stitches a week on ShazMaybe not each week (it was more of a last minute binge) but ~500+ completed.

And that’s it for January

I know I was overseas for most of it but January just seems to have flown by. It has been super busy but loads of fun really (all except for the back to work aspect of course).
There was a night out seeing the wonderful Mr Neil Gaiman chat about his books and upcoming projects. I was rather a good fan girl and even purchased three signed books to add to my collection: Anansi Boys, Coraline and other short stories and a copy of American Gods. There was also a short excerpt of his upcoming book “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. It was a lovely night out though it was odd to see people fixate on film adaptations of his work and his more recent episode of Dr Who (The Doctor’s wife and an upcoming cyberman episode) rather than his more prolific writing career.


Earlier this week on the 30th it was time to go see Cirque du Soleil’s latest offering in Australia “Ovo” as always it was an amazing night out and a much appreciated return of their show to the big top rather than the arena style that they used for Saltimbanco in 2012. I would say that this show is definitely up there as one of my favourites if not the top. The costumes and performances were stunning as always and the storyline blended really well with the clown acts this time. There was so much going on on stage it was hard to keep track of it all making it always interesting and surprising.

At work things have been nuts with the new building almost complete but of course we have had to move in already so there are builders, mad stressed crazy teachers and a few hundred students all busily moving about. As there always is with new builds there are a lot of things that aren’t quite right, some rooms where the power points aren’t working, network issues and the rest. We’re stumbling through though and the new space is so much nicer than the old building you can’t be too grumpy about it. I just wish I got to teach in there more, but with most of my classes in the lab areas I may get to teach in the new areas for 2 lessons a week if I’m lucky.

As you can guess with such a busy routine since getting back from the trip I haven’t had too much time for craft but there are a few things bubbling away in the background. I have done a few more repeats on my simple shawl but truth be told it hasn’t progressed far.

Shale Baby Blanket in Ghost

I cast on a new project… it was meant to be Umaro but I had a look at timings and figured the Shale baby blanket may be a bit faster… fingers crossed I was right… So I have cast that on. It will be a really hard ask to get it done by April especially with school camp approaching fast but I am going to give it a go. It is in Bendigo 10ply luxury in Ghost which is a lovely soft grey. The recipient doesn’t know if she is having a boy or a girl so I figured a soft neutral was probably the best way to go but didn’t want white or cream. So far there is 4 repeats completed of the pattern with a suggested 58 complete the blanket…. eeeep. I think I need to do a repeat a day on average which is 4 rows. It is doable but may be a tight squeeze.

There are a few other crafty plans that will keep me busy in February as well.

I have a resin jewellery workshop to attend as well as starting Quilting classes with the lovely Sharon on Thursday nights. There is a small quilting store just up the road here and I discovered late last year they offered a beginners quilting course and well jumped in feet first. Quilting is something I have been toying with for years but kept chickening out of… not anymore. The quilt design for the class is a sampler and truth be told it is probably not my style but it will be a great introduction to the different techniques and open the floodgates to starting some more complex (i.e Jinny Beyer) quilts that are more my style.
Sampler Quilt

Before I headed overseas I had a bit of a shopping spree at GJ’s in Carlton and got what I thought would be my fabrics for the quilt… problem is now I can’t remember exactly what my plan was and I am not so sure about my selections. Woops. The fabrics below are the ones I picked up and of course the colours are not really representative as purples are so hard to get accurate in pictures.
I’m not sure now if I should be madly trying to get more fabric by the 14th or if I should just go with it and see how it turns out… time and effort involved will probably result in the latter option I fear.

Fabric options

The last great plan for this short month is to get back to Rose of Sharon. She is my focus goal for this year and I really need to make sure she keeps ticking over. So to make sure that happens I have agreed to do a SAL of sorts where I will do 100 stitches a week. It isn’t a strict SAL and really the 100 Stitches a week is my minimum goal but I need to be realistic and there are going to be weeks where even that few will be tough. The picture below is Shaz as of the beginning of Feb I’ll probably only update her once a month rather than each week so hopefully the next time you see her there will be a significantly larger portion of that left hand column completed. 🙂

 Rose of Sharon Feb 2013

So lets break it down into some formal goals:

February Goals

  1. 100 stitches per week on Rose of Sharon
  2. 25 repeats of Shale blanket
  3. Keep up to date with all my quilting homework (this will be hard I suspect)

Where to from here…?

So with 2012 now well and truly behind us an the apocalypse not coming to save us form the prospect of resolutions and goals for 2013 what are my plans?

The intention was to keep it simple… but then I updated my sidebars and realised well .. not so simple. Ok simple might be the wrong word, each individual item I wish to complete is not a big ask in and of itself but combined there is a lot of them and well we all know how my spare time goes in my glorious workaholic world.

What are yearly goals for if not to be lofty and dream filled right?

So here we go breaking down according to type of stick / fabric / thread to be used :p

Knitting Goals

  • Umaro Blanket – Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury in Ghost
  • Lace Shawl – Woodland to be completed
  • Possum Cardi – Start (and hopefully finish)
  • finish the secret project (Shh it’s secret)

Stitching Goals

  • Finish Rose of Sharon
  • Restart the PINN stitch Bangkok Lady
  • 2 Name Trees
  • Complete page 3 of Violet

General Crafty Goals

  • Sew a Dress – (50s / 60s style similar to the one I made for my PhD graduation which is now too big)
  • Complete a Quilt top – Quilting course to start in Feb making a sampler quilt
  • Make a T-Shirt Quilt from my favourite old shirts – Really really really want to attempt this this year and for about the past three year o_O
  • Sew a paneled Aline Skirt – paneled version of the skirt made at the end of 2012
  • Spin 100g of ixcehl fibre

It seems like a lot and well it is but these are the things I would really like to try and get done this year. The added goal is to drastically reduce the money I am spending on stash and general craft bits. This includes fibre, patterns and just general spendage. So an underlying goal to all of this is stash reduction. New starts will need to be done from existing stash unless it can’t possibly done. It’s not like I don’t have a mega stash for all my hobbies including dressmaking, although I think materials for the dress may end up being one of the exceptions to no new materials but I will need to delve into the great piles of fabric to see what I have that may be suitable.

So there we have it the grand plans of 2013. I really do need to remind myself that I need to fit work in amongst this and a mid year holiday to Peru… Bring it on!

Reviews and reflections

It may not seem like the end of January is quite right for wrapping up the previous year but well I’ve been busy running around in the snow 😀

December was a crazy month and while I got a lot achieved not all my goals were met. Stockholm was packed into my travle bag incomplete but with  determination that it would be finished.. eventually.
All in all 2012 was a bit like a longer December, some things that I wanted to get done were managed but many were left unfinished or even not even attempted. So lets see how far I was from my goals.

  • Stitching Goals 2012

    • Finish Bramble and the Rose I did pack this on the holiday but it remained as it had for the whole of 2012.. untouched
    • Finish Rose of Sharon Progress was made on Shaz this year but yet again new year has come and gone and my headless lady remains a steady companion.
    • Complete QS Lost
    • Finish the PINN stitch Bangkok Lady
    • Page 4 of St Nick
    • Stitch on three old HAED wips

    Pretty much everything else was abandoned in 2012. I think I may have put a few stitches into Violet but largely my stitching was neglected, something I hope to remedy in 2013 a little.

  • Knitting Goals 2012

    • Dr Who Scarf Done done done and I am still over the moon that I don’t have to work with that evil yarn anymore
    • Lace Shawl I have made good progress on both woodland and Holden but neither is finished at this stage

    Holden Shawlette

    • Mitts to match Etta Hat Nope not even cast on
    • Scarf for Mr B Stockholm will be his when complete but not in 2012

    In addition to this though I did knit a baby hat two adult hats and a cowl as gifts as well as completing my cardigan so not too shabby.

  • General Craft Goals 2012

    • Learn to crochet A work in progress
    • start piecing a quilt/ similar project I’ve played around buying fabrics and kits but wasn’t quite ready to jump.
    • Sew a dress / skirt I got an A-line skirt made and hope to make some more of my own clothes in the coming year.

    I’ve also picked away at my spinning and made a few small presents for people so all in all 2012 wasn’t as dismal as I was thinking especially with the long hours work demanded throughout most of the year.

    2012 mosaic

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