Archive for May 2010

speedy daddy

daddyandboysCory’s just had the best Etape Caledonia placing yet – finishing 48th and with a time of just under three hours and 40 minutes. We were impressed with his time last year but this year was far better. Of course I almost missed the finish because I wasn’t expecting him for another 15 minutes…

Both Duncan and Fraser this year entered the kids races in Aberfeldy the day before. Duncan did brilliantly, but would have been better with a far longer race (Fraser was sort of oblivious but happy to ride his balance bike). He’s getting very quick on his pedal bike and went a full 8km with me the other day – bribed by a cupcake though in the middle of course!

Of course if you ask Duncan what the highlight of the whole weekend was it’s not the racing, staying in a caravan, having lots of his friends there to play with, getting to eat too many crisps and stay up far past bedtime. No, it’s that on the way down we stopped off at a friend’s farm and Duncan got to drive a tractor (or at least steer, sitting on Jim’s lap). We can’t believe the camera was packed at the bottom of the bags and there’s no pictures…

waiting for news

jenandsimonsbabyThe wait for a new baby can feel like a long time – we’re not a culture used to waiting indefinitely for anything, let alone our heart’s desire. When I was waiting for Fraser, the long two weeks between when the midwife said he’d be “in my arms in 48 hours” and his actual arrival two days overdue, I turned into a grumpy hermit. So I’ve lots of sympathy for others in this boat – including Jen who was told to expect an early arrival and is now two days overdue. Fingers crossed there’s an email on it’s way very soon…

But when her daughter arrives she’ll have her very own quilt to cuddle and sleep on. It’s the first real girly quilt I’ve ever made and although there’s a few things I’d change about it (let me know when she moves into a big bed Jen!), this is a special quilt for me. The fabric has been sitting in my stash for over five years, paired together after being favourite fabrics from two other well-loved quilts (for Bompa and our well-worn sofa throw) and I like the thought of Jen and Simon’s baby connected this way through something handmade with love.

23. not even two and going on five…

23months Fraser’s 23 months but he thinks he’s at least five. He’s on the balance bike now and loves to ride it in circles around the garden or all over the village. With a complete lack of fear (or common sense), he’s even riding it in the bike park (video below).

Fraser’s entirely fearless when it comes to climbing, jumping, or doing things that will inevitably end up in a bruised forehead. At the moment he’s missing half a fingernail (fortunately the top half), has cuts on the palms of both hands, a small bruise on his forehead, and numerous bruises all over his legs. But trying to stop him would be impossible. Cory’s going bald and I’m going grey – at least we know who to blame it on.

Fraser’s also less easy-going than Duncan, which is probably a good characteristic of a second child. I don’t have to worry about him fading into the background or being outshone, his response is always to find a way to keep up. He’s less keen to accept rules (like bedtime), plans (like going inside), and inevitabilities (like needing to pick up Duncan after nursery school). But other than the occasional melt down, he’s a sunny kid who is generally thrilled to be in the moment.

bright spots and textured stripes

mariscasquilt In the past I’ve held the view that machine quilting was the dark side, but look at the loveliness of Marisca’s quilt – the puffy bubbles are much more prominent now that the quilt is finished and the stippling has completed the stripey fabric somehow.  I’m actually a fan due to the huge advantages (time, strength, the lovely texture) over handquilting.  Of course the ideal is the traditional heavily hand quilted surface, but then I’d be finishing quilts at the rate of 1 a year – not helpful when this is the fifth baby quilt (+ one for me) in the past six months.  Handquilting a quilt this size for stability (minimum amounts) would probably take over 4 hours while machine quilting took just under two. This much quilting by hand would take well over 40.  I need to rethink my views on machine quilting; since I already rely on the machine for the piecing, how precious should I be about the quilting part?

a parliament of owls

owls There’s been some frantic sewing and quilting going on in this house – two baby quilts went into the post today and pictures will appear once I hear they are with their new owners. But we stole a bit of time to make some lovely owls with friends who were visiting for the day. Duncan’s is the green one and his name is Beagle. Fraser’s not given his a name but did pick the red fabric himself. It was lovely to see the older ones doing all the work themselves, aside from the machined bit. They did a fabulous job and I hope they like them.

watchingtv I’m really enjoying machine quilting at the moment as for the first time ever, I have a sewing room since the boys are sharing a bedroom. It makes such a difference to not have to set up and take down the machine between meals and makes little creative projects much easier. I even tried stippling on the latest quilt and the effect is pretty impressive. I love the calm, meditative side of hand quilting (or the quilting bee side) but for the abuse a baby quilt should get (if it’s actually used, which I hope they are) the speed and strength of machine quilting isn’t a bad option. In fact if I could find an affordable source of fabric, I’d love to turn this into a side business – as much as bags and clothes and home accessories are fun to sew, for me nothing is better than being wrapped up in a homemade quilt that was made with care and joy.

And the whole sharing a room thing is going better than we could imagine. Our two, when not fighting, are best friends. This photo shows how I found them in front of the TV one morning. (Duncan’s baby quilt in the background).