Sunday, October 15, 2017

Things always take longer than you think

Last week I finished binding one of the quilts I have been working on and it's ready to go off to my youngest grandson. He ran around excitedly pointing and saying 'that's my quilt' when he saw the pieced top on the table. That was a few months ago. Why the delay in finishing it? I'll tell you more about that in another post. 

Blue fabric for binding?

Auditioning it against the quilt ... and, yes it's a go.

I used fleece on the back of the quilt for a soft snugly feel. It's easy to machine quilt too. I think I stretched the fleece when I laid it out with the quilt top over it and tacked the two layers together. After quilting, the quilt top is not as smooth as I would have liked.

I trimmed the excess off the edges off the quilted layers, cut 6 cm binding strips on the straight, joined them and ironed them in half lengthwise. The 6 cm strip finishes to a 1 cm wide binding.

I sewed the binding to the front of the quilt matching the raw edges. 

The walking foot for my machine fed the layers through evenly with no pinning necessary.

Checking on-line to refresh my memory about binding a quilt, I came across Jenny Doan's excellent video. I had forgotten how easy mitred corners can be when you sew straight off the end as you get to the corner, lift the foot, make a quick fold and sew straight down the second side. Believe it or not that odd looking corner below turns over into a neatly mitred corner. Watch Jenny show you how in her video here

Correct way to machine stitch corner for a mitre.
I hand stitched the binding down on the back and put a few stitches in the corner to hold the mitre in place.

Finally, it's done. 

Now to finish my granddaughter's quilt.


Disclosure: I did have a bit of unpicking to do. Thinking 'mitre' when I sewed the binding to the quilt, I folded a 45 degree angle by mistake - twice! This does not work no matter how hard you try.

Wrong way to machine sew a mitre for binding on quilt!
Till next time, Happy stitching!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Spring Tea

The Cape Embroiderers' Guild Spring Tea was a great success.

The aim was to raise funds for the Ighali 2018 teaching convention in September next year. (Ighali means 'threads' in one of the local indigenous languages.) Bookings for the classes have yet to open, but if you are interested in the programme then do keep a watch on the CEG Facebook page here or the Embroidery Network SA website here.

The warm friendly welcome at the door, the elegantly decorated tables and the novelty of a silent auction all contributed to the happy chatter of the afternoon.

Then there was the attractive "tea party" display on the stage that set the scene and drew many admiring glances.

The Rainbow Leaf Hanging that members are stitching in techniques of their choice was also on display

as were a few very beautiful embroideries on show in the small exhibition corner.

Finally, what is a tea party without the cake? And of that there was plenty.

It was a splendid afternoon of catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and enjoying an excellent 'high tea'. Incidentally, I did overhear a few wishful comments about having another Spring Tea next spring... 

For more about the Spring Tea visit the CEG Facebook page and click through the photos.

Till next time, happy stitching!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


If you were wondering what happened to that UFO, the lavender bookmark, it's finished. I gave it to a friend who is an avid reader of books - the real paper kind of books, but it's ended up in her glass display cabinet, not in a book. It's nice to know it's appreciated, but I'd be just as happy if it found it's way between the covers of a good read.

You may recall from my blog post some weeks ago, that I left the darker straight stitches on the lavender to stitch right at the end. I would not have thought of adding them if it weren't for the pattern, but they do provide extra depth and interesting detail. You can see how flat the flower spikes looked before I added those stitches in my previous post here.

When I got to putting the ribbon on the back, I had a moment of disappointment thinking that the ribbon was way too narrow.

It did work in the end though. I folded in the two ends of the green fabric to make sure that the raw edges would be hidden when the ribbon was stitched into place.

And the ribbon was just wide enough to cover the back of the stitching - well almost anyway. There was a tiny bit of the white stitched frame showing down one side. I couldn't seem to hide it without puckering up the front. I put it all away for a few days  to think about and when I looked at it again, it seemed neat enough. 

Finally, the silky tassel that came in the kit finished off the bookmark with a bit of pizzazz.

Now I'm working on my granddaughter's quilt. It's long overdue.

Till next time, happy stitching!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fog in Brisbane and Keep Your Camera Ready

The trip to and from Australia is a long one from most places, but it's especially so when you live in Cape Town. There's a domestic flight to Johannesburg, a long haul flight to Sydney and finally a local flight to Brisbane.

Incidentally, I find it interesting that it takes 11h45m to fly eastwards from Johannesburg to Sydney but a whopping 14h10m flying the other way. I did feel for the crew who, working a daylight flight, seemed to be on their feet for most of those 14 hours. I spoke to one of the stewards who looked exhausted and he said he had just had his allotted half hour rest!

After our lovely visit to our family, which you can read about it my blog post here, our long journey home began with a false start that made it seem longer still. We arrived at Brisbane airport at 5.30am on Saturday 8 July only to find the airport 'closed', filled to overflowing with long queues, lost looking travelers and our flight cancelled!

Over 100 flights had been turned away from Brisbane airport the previous night due to very heavy fog.

Brisbane fog.
From the Brisbane Times. Photo: Nine News Queensland - Twitter
As a result there were no planes there to fly us to Sydney in time to catch our connection. Luckily Simon our son-in-law insisted on coming into the airport to help with our luggage and make sure that everything was okay. Things in the terminal seemed a bit disorganized. After queuing in 3 different long queues and waiting anxiously to find out when we could fly, we found we had to stay another day in Brisbane. We were lucky. Some people had to stay another 2 days.

Over on her stitching blog, Carolyn Foley commented with some photos on that unusual foggy day. You can read about it here.

Standing in the milling crowds at the airport we couldn't help thinking about all the people who had paid taxi fares to the airport or booked out of their accommodation and who were stranded. Many were sitting around on the floor with their luggage piled up next to them, most on their phones or iPads. We stood next to a troubled group of elderly musicians who were trying to keep track of their large musical instruments as well as their luggage. It's the first time something like that had happened to us and it was all surprisingly disconcerting.

Next morning we and Simon had to get up at 3.30am! We had to catch the only flight available to get us to Sydney in time for the connecting flight home - and it was very early.  I am not an early morning person and two early mornings in a row before that long trip, as well as a long day that has 32 hours instead of the usual 24, meant we were really feeling the jet lag after we arrived home. I often wish my day had more hours in it. I found it's not always a good thing after all.

But, I found one positive in all of this. In 1971 I had a short stay in Sydney on the way to visit my cousin Pixie in Condingup, Western Australia. On the day my mom and I took a bus and visited Sydney Harbour Bridge, there was a brilliant blue sky and the sparkling blue water was filled with the white sails and billowing spinnakers of hundreds of yachts. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It's been my only visit to Sydney and the spectacular sight from the bridge on that dazzling day made an impression that has stayed with me ever since.

On the approach to Sydney airport a few weeks ago, I caught unexpected glimpses of the extensive harbour, the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House through the plane window.

1. Arriving Sydney (Commons.Wikimedia)
The man in the window seat was taking videos and photos and his broad shoulders blocked out most of the view, but what I saw briefly as we circled around in the early morning light was the kind of thing you usually see only in travel brochures.

I have since found two Wiki Commons photos of the scenes I saw from the air. Neither quite matches the unforgettable glimpses I had in the fresh, clear morning sunlight. It struck me then that I would not have seen the exact same glorious view if we had caught our original flight the day before, and it was spectacular!

2. Sydney Harbour Bridge from the air ( Commons.Wikimedia)
I do wish though, that I'd asked the man at the window to take some photos for me too. I'm sure he would have understood despite him not speaking any English. Next time I'll keep my camera ready even if I'm not sitting in the window seat. I find aerial views fascinating and you never know just what you might see.

In case you were wondering, despite the delay, our the trip home was very good indeed. I'd choose to fly Qantas again anytime.
- - - - - - - -

Licence notices for photos: