Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hexagon dysphoria

There is a fair amount of hexagon goodness being flashed about the interwebs at present.

You may have seen Christina's lovely grandmother's flower garden in progress, with its gorgeous subtle hues, or Jo's bright flowers which pop against their white background, or Katy's fabulous retro-looking version.

Now I'm hexing along too, but in a different way. I'm working on a 2" hexagon charm quilt, in which every hexagon is from a completely different fabric design. In doing so I've snipped a hexie from almost every fabric in my scrap bin and stash, and from some scraps others have given me.

And what a disparate bunch of fabrics they are! Some of them are fabulous, but alas, many scraps that I have in my possession (through thrifting, gifts or just plain bad purchasing choices) are butt-ugly, wouldn't-force-your-dog-to-wear-it kind of fabrics.

Then there's the weird combination of bright, modern prints and bland country hues that are making a horrible clash in my hexagon piles. The more hexies I make, the more nervous I get. Nervous about how this quilt is going to pan out. Nervous that all the scraps are actually going to look, well, DISGUSTING together. 

I've noticed over on the hexagon charm quilt piece-along Flickr group that many participants' scrap piles are really quite beautifully matched. They may all be different fabrics, but perhaps they are all of a similar vibe (or value, or tone, or whatever the actual quilting term is I'm probably supposed to be using). I guess this happens when you have a large stash, or a consistence sense of style, or patience for fabric-matching!

 I'm beginning to get cold feet, because I can't visualise this quilt at all. Part of my desire in this challenge was to work with the randomness of my scraps and somehow create a beautiful cohesion out of chaos. I didn't want to be prescriptive or selective about the fabrics I used. I didn't want to over-think it. I was hoping for the 'quirky but funky' kind of aesthetic. Instead, I think I'm producing something which will only ever turn up at a bad taste 80s party. 

I guess there is nothing for it but to press on, because I'm not going to know how it will look until I've basted all my hexagons and started piecing them together.

Now's your chance to make me feel better. Have you ever spent a lot of time making something really butt-ugly? Tell me, was it character-developing? Worth it for the learning curve? Or just a big, fat waste of creative energy?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My creative space... some actual quilting!

Things have been a bit insane around chez clutterpunk of late, with a toilet-training older child, a non-sleeping younger child, a few weeks in north Queensland, a malfunctioning sewing machine, pantry moths and a bit too much television - all amounting to a big, fat, craft-shaped hole in my universe.

So nothing speaks of a return to normality more than THIS picture:

The basting of my Scrap Management Quilt. I jumped to it on Monday evening, having heard that my sewing machine, replete with new walking foot, would be coming home on Tuesday.

Having heard on the blogvine that basting pins must be inserted at the terrifying interval of every two inches, I set about dutifully sandwiching my layers on the lounge room floor. Man, that was a tedious process! How do you regular quilty types not go insane? It got better as I moved outward, swapped my silly small pins for much larger ones, and... ahem... extended the 2" gaps to slightly larger ones. Like 2 feet. 

Anyway, the pain in my knees and thumbs and the boredom in my head was worth it, as on Tuesday, I was able to get to the quilting!

This was my first time using a walking foot, but in my enthusiasm to get this thing quilted I didn't do any practising on a test-piece. Thus, I adjusted and learnt as I went. My stitch lengths are very uneven - the machine seemed to want to slow down and do tight stitches in random places. Any thoughts? I had visions of lovely, evenly-spaced stitch lengths like Rita's... ha! In time, perhaps.

No matter... it is still looking just smashing and I can't wait to make some binding and finish it off so I can get snuggling under it, and of course show it off in next week's space!

I'm off for a cuppa-for-a-cause now, but will be back to see what's in your creative space this afternoon - thanks Kirsty for hosting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Join me for a cuppa on Thursday? Australia's Biggest Morning Tea

I meet regularly with a group of women on a Thursday morning from my church community in Carlton, and each year we like to host a Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser. Cancer is such a prevalent part of peoples lives these days. It seems now that most of us have had first-hand experience of walking with someone who has endured some form of cancer - or been taken away from us because of it. So we like to join in with the Australia-wide fundraiser, not just to raise money but to talk and share the burden of the devastation of cancer together.

Our morning tea is this Thursday May 28, from 10-11:30am at St Jude's Carlton - full details HERE on the Cancer Council Website. There will be a chance to donate money towards medical research, lots of delicious morning tea, and a short talk from someone who has been caring for a cancer sufferer, and the interplay between her experience of cancer and her faith. For those of us who have kids, there is a great creche provided with lots of space and activities for little ones (or they are welcome at the morning tea).

Personally, I am still grieving the death of my mate Ben, a year and a half ago. A strange lump on his leg was found to be cancerous... and all of a sudden, in a short space of time, he was gone from among us. It still guts me that someone so young, vibrant, talented and with so much to give the world could be felled by a lump on his leg. It's not the way it's supposed to be.

If you're around and interested in joining me at this event, please let me know. I'd be so happy to meet you and share a cuppa with you for this cause. If not, see if there is a fundraiser happening in your neck of the woods and try to get along to it.

Meanwhile, I've found the camera lead and I'll be back tomorrow with some CRAFT. Shock, horror!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Normal programming is scheduled to resume...

Any day now. But perhaps not quite yet.

Maybe when I've found the camera cable
or when I've picked up the sewing machine from the 'doctor'
or when we stop dining on meals from the freezer
or when we've all had more than 5 broken hours of sleep per night
or when I remember where it was that I left off
or when the words come back and the creative juices start flowing again.

Meanwhile here's a cheesy photo
taken on the mobile phone -
a little snippet of our time in the sun.