Paw proof?

My sewing projects have been a little more problematic ever since the wonder cat Cosmo entered my life a couple of months ago.  He is gorgeous, as you can see, but he has decided that my cutting table is his domain which creates a few problems.  Living in an apartment I have limited space to work in, so when I am working on a project I usually pull out the fabrics from my stash and place them at the end of the table so that I can see them as I design and cut.

King of his domainWell of course Cosmo thinks piles of fabric are just lovely to snooze on and play with.  He also loves to supervise from the top of the table.  I covered them with a cloth, but then the fabric slid to the floor every time he or Pepe jumped up on the table.

After many pieces of fabric fluttering to the floor with soft grey fur attached, I decided something needed to be done and paid a visit to IKEA yesterday to try and find a solution.  My thought was to try and find some type of shelf that I could lean against the wall to save space and to stack fabric out of reach.  However, after an hour searching, I couldn’t come up with a completely satisfactory temporary solution – I don’t want to drill into the wall because eventually the cutting table will move and be replaced by the dining table.

Paw proof?

Paw proof?

This is what I came up with – the IKEA shoe boxes with the see through velco-closed ends that I have now stacked at the end of the table.  I can at least see the different piles  of fabric and a fluffy paw can’t get at them.  Not ideal, but it will do for now.

 

Things that make me smile

I was out shopping this afternoon for a birthday present for my friend Lucy who turns 12 today.  I don’t know about you, but whenever I go gift shopping I always find things for me too!

PomPom Slippers

PomPom Slippers

I spotted these and of course I had to have them.  It has actually turned a little cold the past week, not that I needed an excuse, because they made me smile.

SNUG!

SNUG!

So tonight I am happily snug in my new slippers – the boys do not know what to make of them. They have both had a sniff and a bite of the pompoms, but they are not sure what they are.  I fear they will be chewed to bits unless I hide them.

As you can see Cosmo is in no need of additional warmth – his fur is like a blanket at the moment.

A happy cat!

A happy cat!

I hope you had reasons to smile today.

Yea – I’m off to Quiltcon!

Well almost – after an unhappy attempt to go to the first Quiltcon last year, this time I set the alarm and woke up at 12.45 ready for the registration to open at 1am Sydney time.  Last year I calculated the opening time by using the wrong time zone in the USA, and when I logged on I couldn’t get into the workshops that I wanted.  For those of you not familiar with Quiltcon, it is the annual get-together of the Modern Quilt Guild of America and is held in Austin, Texas.

So this time round there was planning – a strategy even – involving spreadsheets of preferred choices, days and times, and eventual SUCCESS!

I will be doing a workshop with quilters from Gee’s Bend who have long been a source of inspiration to me, not only for their beautiful quilts, but for their life-affirming story.

Postcards of Gee's bend Quilts

Postcards of Gee’s bend Quilts

I bought this set of postcards of their quilts some time ago, and I think lucky people in the USA can also buy a set of postage stamps featuring their work.

The other workshop I’m doing is with Sherri Lynn Wood who makes fabulous modern improv quilts – usually using all solids.

Sherri Lynn Wood  Patchwork Doodling

Sherri Lynn Wood
Patchwork Doodling

The workshop I will be doing is called  Improvisational Patchwork Doodling.  You can see a full description on Sherri Lynn’s blog.

For the rest of my four days I will be attending lectures on a range of topics and feasting my eyes on all the wonderful quilts that will be on display.

Given the distance and cost of travelling from Australia, I’m also thinking of adding a side trip to Santa Fe in New Mexico and to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit the International Quilt Study Center and Museum  which is located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus. The center houses the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection. The more than 4,000 quilts and related ephemera date from the early 1700s to the present and represent more than 25 countries – WOW- I anticipate a quilt sensory overload if I get there.  If you have paid it a visit I’d love to hear about it.

Rainbow Stripes circa 1890-1910

Rainbow Stripes circa 1890-1910

 

Each month they feature a quilt on their Quilt of the Month on their web site and this month’s is Rainbow Stripes. Just goes to show that everything old is new again, as this quilt would not be out of place at Quiltcon!

Now all I have to do is to count the number of “sleeps” til I get there!

It’s a wrap!

I’m fortunate in that I work with colleagues from a wide range of cultural and language backgrounds. Many of them are aware of my interests in textiles and I sometimes receive nice surprises from them.

Niponica magazine

Niponica magazine

Yesterday one of my Japanese colleagues gave me a small magazine featuring Japanese textile traditions. I haven’t yet had the chance to visit Japan, but it is on my list of “must see” countries.

The back cover features furoshiki cloths which are square pieces of cloth that have been used for centuries in Japan to make a kind of bag for carrying or storing simple objects. There are many ways to tie the cloth which can then be used to carry things of just about any shape.

Wrapping a watermelon

Wrapping a watermelon

One of the pictures illustrates how to tie and then carry a watermelon, which I am not sure I will ever do, but I thought it was kind of cute!

The cloths are generally made of cotton, silk or polyester and can come in different sizes. They can be folded up and carried around which makes them the ultimate eco-friendly shopping bag.

Furoshiki wrapping cloths

Furoshiki wrapping cloths

Looking at the illustration made me think about using some of my left-over fabric this way for gifts, both to wrap different gifts or perhaps gifting some different sized cloth with instructions for other people to use them.  Quite coincidentally today I came across the  mairuru blog which had a post from 2008 on how to sew a patchwork furoshiki which would be just the thing to use up some scraps.

A quick web search comes up with numerous sites to show the different wrapping techniques –this site has good instructions and illustrations and This YouTube video shows the basics for wrapping boxes.   Then there is always Pinterest – this board has great images and ideas.

Just think of the trees we could save if we all used cloth instead of expensive wrapping paper. Happy wrapping.

Many hands make light work

We had a glorious winter solstice here in Sydney last Saturday.  It was 22′ with clear blue skies, so it hardly counts as a winter’s day, particularly for those of you who get snowed in during winter.

It was the monthly meet-up of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild and we finished this year’s raffle quilt with a combined effort on hand-stitching the binding.

The last stitches!

The last stitches!

Jenn, Tash and Jill happily adding the last finishing touches.

It was hard to get a good photo of the finished quilt because we were in a confined space.

SMQG Pickledish Quilt

SMQG Pickledish Quilt

All done – aren’t those colours great!

SMQG Group Quilt 2014

SMQG Group Quilt 2014

Each year we do a group quilt that we then raffle to raise money for a good cause – more details in this post.

Tash's quilt

Tash’s quilt

Tash has also been busy working on this beauty!  I climbed on a chair to try and get a good shot of the whole quilt – almost succeeded! It motivated me to go home and do some more work on my small sketches  series.

Jenn also made us a batch of biscuits to help the stitching along.  I hope some happy stitching comes your way this week.