Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A lack of fitness

I have now been at work for three days, and I feel like I have been run over by a series of buses. Probably three, ay?

I am ahead of a couple of things - photocopying and planning for lessons. I am behind on a major thing - a scheme for teachers to follow at year 9. It weighs on me!, and I will feel better once that issue has been addressed.

The holidays feel like three weeks ago!! So praise God we have a three day weekend starting on Friday afternoon due to Waitangi day. And then we will have to work without ceasing till the next break. I'm sure I'll get my work fitness back - after all, I do actually LIKE my job.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Back to work

First, we had a meeting in the chapel. With singing. Both songs were EXTREMELY repetitive, one took one powerpoint slide repeated ad nauseum, and the other song consisted of repeating two powerpoint slides. Note to self: its more interesting to sing if the words change a bit.

The chapel is now closed for the rest of the year due to it being an earthquake risk.

Then we had a meeting in the staffroom. For two hours, on the founding orders of the school.

Then lunch, then a department meeting for an hour, then another department meeting for another hour.

Praise God, that was the first day. I'm betting life gets a lot more interesting from now on.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Getting ahead of the schedule

When Leah said to try quilting in a straight line while free motion quilting I freaked out. I could see myself wobbling all over the place, and it was going to be All Too Hard. This year one of the things I want to do is learn to listen to my internal voice, and then either change it, act on it, or confront it in some way. When I heard all this Too Hard crap, I thought I better actually have a go before I talked myself into being too freaked out. Besides, its  quilting, and a practice sandwich to boot. What matters if it is really terrible?

Quilting on the fabric line:

You can just see a couple of the lines on here

This is the underside where I tried going in different directions

This was quilting in the ditch
This is the underside of quilting in the ditch

This was going round a pattern - I've outlined trees.

You know, for all the fuss before I started I loved doing this. I knew where to go, which is part of the trick with stippling. And I can see I will definitely use this. I don't have any stencils, so I couldn't try the stencil part, but I've always had a wish to make an amish style quilt with the elaborate feathers etc and I will need to do the stencil thing then.

What I learned: shut up and quilt!

Thursday, 26 January 2012


I did these squares in a rush last night - I want to keep up with the quilt-along, but the VCC rally has been a big time commitment. I'm guessing school won't be a great help too, so I am going to have to get a lot more quick about getting to the machine and getting it done. No fluffing around on the internet for me!

Here is the little one:

And the medium

And the large

All three together:

You could dig holes in these if you felt so inclined - the whole lot were done in about 15 minutes, and they are pretty rough. But actually I felt really empowered to be choosing my scale. I have quilted large and also Very Tiny before, but I didn't feel in control of choosing. I went with what was comfortable for the pattern, and then was stuck with that for the duration of the project. I'd also not thought of using an object to keep the scale constant - I've always just eye-balled it. And as I learnt last week it's quite a lot harder to see quilting from the top of a patterned quilt, so eye-balling can be hard cos you can't see your lines very clearly.

This week I learnt I control the scale, and that I can do it. Also using an object to set the distance between lines is really very handy.

And I also discovered that even 15 mins of quilting can be quite relaxing during a very busy fun and still stressful week!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Free motion quilting #2

Better late than never! Have been making placemats for my practice bits. The sons have chosen their own material...
The top of son #1's mat

The bottom of son #1's mat
 This came out OK. I used pin basting and the stitching is good tension wise. The scale changes quite a bit, and one side is definitely a larger scale than the other. Totally invisible faults from the top.

My mat top

My mat bottom

My mat bottom close up
My mat was a pig's bottom to quilt. I tried spray basting and must have used the wrong stuff. It was just caused spray adhesive, but in my defence it had a picture of a quilt on it! The needle got covered in glue, and then the top thread couldn't flow through and it would break. A LOT. The second photo of mine shows how often it broke, and its like that all over. But I liked the fabric and it is going to get a thrashing with food and going through the machine so I perserved. All the problems are invisible from the front.

What I learned: some huge quilting problems are all but invisible under patterned fabric, so chillaxe. And don't use dodgy spray adhesive on quilts. Work on keeping a constant scale! (How timely)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Unexpected eek

Went to the concert for the car rally tonight. We have to wear necklace passes to get into the venues, and they are terrifically strict about no pass, no entry. Just as we were leaving when son #2 demanded sandwiches. Son #2 is immediately not flavour of the day!

Off we go. We get to the venue, and are just getting out of the car when son #2 (again) announces "I don't have my badge!" - turns out this translates into No Pass. So I have to go home with son #2 to get the pass (and the mandarin and water he forgot - deep breathing).

At the venue we are walking in when I realise he has the necklace but not the badge - he dropped it in the carpark. Must admit, there was a little more than deep breathing this time!

Back we go, and successfully enter for the Proms Concert, Wanganui style. Lots of people have come to this one, and we enter and stand at the back, scanning tables for the family. Behind us, up in the bleachers, there is a shriek. Then I see son #1 coming down from the bleachers to me: "Please tell me that shriek was not your Grandmother?!".

But no, of course it IS Grandma. They had gone upstairs to be able to see better, and as the first row meant the safety rails were in the way, they had gone to the second row. Grandma can't walk so good, and she had travelled round the long way so she would avoid the big step/seat to the second row. When she saw us arrive, she didn't send son #1 to get us, she tried to step forward herself, and she had forgotten she was a step up. Crash. As she has a knee replacement and another knee that isn't a great deal better, she has no ability to catch herself. She stepped into empty space, and fell on the rail and then to the floor. Thank goodness she didn't fall down out of the bleacher area.

She's at the hospital at present with Grandad, having travelled in the ambulance. Grandad has my car, and they will be home eventually.

I should point out at this stage, when there were St Johns Ambulance people round and a proper problem, both the sons worked really hard on keeping out of the way and being quiet and good. They done good. Eventually.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Riding around in style

For the next week or two I am going to be riding around in this:

Notice the photobomb by the westie!

Its a 1937 Dodge Touring Sedan. Or so I'm told!!

Quite classy eh? The out-laws have come down to take part in the Vintage Car Club Rally here in Wanganui. So we have a lot of rallying and not a lot of quilting ahead.

Friday, 13 January 2012


On Thursday, the first ballet class of the year. Very Slow Plies. Long tendu exercises.

On Friday, the first run in a week or so, went 5km/3m round the river loop.

On Saturday, my intrinsic foot muscles (the sole of my foot) Hurt.

But we guessed that might happen, didn't we?

On the quilting front, and practicing stippling in rows on a place mat. Trying out spray basting. Trying out supreme slider. Having new never before problem - the needle thread is breaking, and its kind of stretch breaking where it frays, then doesn't run then breaks. And another new never before problem - completely missed stitches. Am going to try a new needle, and hoping the spray glue is drier this morning if that is the problem. Any suggestions, anyone?

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Today was the first ballet class of the year - W O O T !  Or that was how I felt till we started the tendus - then the lack of practicing co-ordination started to show, and my brain got fuzzy. But this is the start of Much Better Things, and it is always good to START.

The neighbour has decided he does not want his compost pile any more - his kids played on his rotary clothesline, broke it, and he is putting in a straight extendable line, with the post over the old compost heap. So we took the wheelbarrow over, and brought the compost back. Then I Pulled out the weeds:

This 'summer' has involved A Lot of rain, so the weed and other plant growth can be described as Luxurious.

It looked like this:

As you would expect.

Then I put the compost on and :

Notice the darker colour! Its about 25cm thick. So now I need to get the vegetables in there before the weeds come back even More luxurious.

After all that - I'm knackered.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The joy of tidying up

Over the last two or three weeks, the boys and I have generated a large pile of garden waste. Today I borrowed the neighbour's trailer, and took the lot to the dump. The whole process probably took an hour. Now, every time I walk past that newly empty spot, I feel a smug satisfaction in the clean and the clear.

I should clean up more often.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Working girl

I done been working hard this afternoon on the new year 10 scheme. Even if I say so myself, and as I am the only person who has seen it so the only person with an opinion, it looks damn good. The thought of teaching this is actually quite exciting, which is more than I can say for the year 9 scheme. And I wrote that too.

Perhaps I should change it?

Certainly, as I am the only one in the department willing to do this work, its up to me whether I give myself another job.   .      .       .     No. So there's another decision! Go me!

Went to buy food today and was declined - not enough money. Its the second time in the last month or so, which shows I am a Very Slow Learner. I should see what is in the account before I go mad with the putting stuff in the trolley.

Went to the sewing shop BEFORE the groceries - we have fabric, but no wine. Priorities, priorities :)

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Apparently I need a blog to participate in the free motion quilting project quilt along - so here it is. I'm Toni, and I am a school teacher in New Zealand. I teach science, and have two sons. I do ballet, run, take singing lessons, garden and try to keep up with the kids. I have 2 west highland white terriers, and a siamese cat. There are also goldfish (MANY) and a turtle living with me.

Sometimes, I'm a little busy.

BUT onto the reason why I started this blog - free motion quilting with Leah. Our assignment was wiggling. Here is the wiggling:

I started on the right - the stippling is the last bit.

As you can see the stippling was going good till I got to a funky bit top left. Its the first time I had tried quilting such a tiny little sandwich. And I still lost concentration!!!

This is from underneath - the tension is wrong!

The bobbin is too tight - this was done with the feed dogs still up, and stitch length set to zero. It is a LOT better than with the feed dogs down, so I will continue to experiment with this. Obviously I still need to play with the tension dial, but not so much. First useful clue! 

Just for information, I am using a Janome MemoryCraft 4000.

Leah talked about writing on a quilt - one of my first quilts had writing on it. It was for Son #1, and I quilted his name down the sides of the quilt - here is a wee section of it:

I wanted to make the quilt unmistakably his - this succeeded!