Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thought for the day

My computer has been stuck in some weird start-up cycle on and off all day. It won't actually ever really start.

It is both quite terrifying and deliciously liberating.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Winnie & Pip (and the pattern testing gig)

By hook or by crook this pattern will be ready for testing on Monday. Winnie and Pip were a kind of challenge after I made The Cabbages. A friend asked me if I could create a  simpler doll that still had some accessories ( oh be careful what you wish for: This is not Winnie and Pip’s only adventure).                 So what’s the whole deal with pattern testing? Sometimes, if I have been showing the blog progress of a toy as I go, someone might send me an email asking if they can test it. Usually its because they especially like that one or have a “thing” for a certain animal. Other times I might ask on Bookface or here on the blog to see if people want to test a pattern.
Basically pattern testing means just what you think it means. You get the pattern and a kit of fabric to make the toy. I always send the fabrics to the same measurements that I list in the requirements…
  • So that’s the first challenge. Did it all fit on the fabric provided or was I bit too stingy, conversely do you half a metre left over because I wrote a number wrong? (or just made that bit up)
  • Then you follow the directions and make the toy. You might notice I said “cut 8 arms”, when we really only need four. There might be spelling mistakes or I may have forgotten to say –“turn the leg out the right way”  before I tell you to stuff it.
  • Hopefully it all goes together ok but even then I need to hear which bits were a confusing or took a few tries or which bits just made no sense and made you swear. You don’t have to “fix” anything or rewrite anything – you just need to point out the wobblies for me. There are always a few people testing so there is no pressure to pick up every little thing.
I think pattern testing is really important. I know how frustrating it is to struggle to understand a pattern or to find the instructions are so brief that I have to guess the construction. (and I am not suggesting for a moment that I rock this pattern writing stuff – you people know I sweat this part all the time) Yes, it adds more time to the pattern making but after a while my brain simply cannot read it’s own writing and I really need fresh (crafty) eyes to have a look at things. Patterns are expensive and I think its important that they are easy to follow.
As I almost always say – there is not much in it for the tester, something that I still struggle with ( but you know with 30 million in the lotto tonight that’s sure to change). Pattern testers get the pattern, all the necessary fabric, my undying gratitude, always a small gift and elevation to the status of Senior Management. 
Anyway, Obviously I’m hoping someone would like to test Winnie or Pip but I also thought there might be people who don’t really know what the pattern testing stuff is about so thought I’d just bang-on a bit. I’d parcel everything off to you on Monday and hope you could have one doll made by about the 15th July (its a tight timeframe due to the Show in July). You don’t need to send me the doll or anything, just email the sticky bits.
(Why does spell check want to call Winnie, Winkie? )

Thanks to everyone who offered, I wish I could say yes to everyone but that might end in a case of "too many cooks". Winnie and Pip have at least two more adventures planned and I working as hard as I can to get them out into the world so stay tuned and if you are of an equine bent, you are going to love the next one!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting stuff wrong

I am a firm believer that getting stuff wrong is part of the long and winding and often diverting path to getting stuff right. That’s not to say I enjoy getting stuff wrong but I am getting better at accepting (through gritted teeth) that my ideas of wrong often make little or no sense and they may add days or weeks or months to certain projects but they will not be ignored. It’s just better to go with it.
Before I went to Portland I was working on a project but simply ran out of time to get it off to the testers and finalised.
and that's a good thing because when I got home it just didn’t look right. This girls eyes were too big (This is her second head transplant by the way).
She needed new hair, but her body was alright so off to the transplant clinic for her…
but her friend looked funny…so it was of with her head as well.
I remade them both and dressed them and accessorised them and………………blah.
They are fine but I can’t show them here because you will all tell me they are fine or you might even tell me they are great. But ‘fine” is just not quite right enough is it? This morning I am starting again from scratch. I have thrown all the pattern pieces away, I have a cake in the oven and I’m thinking it will end up OK.20130624_121220
I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why don’t you blog more Jodie? (or be careful what you wish for)

I spent most of the day farting about in the sewing room. I took a photo of my basket collection but didn’t think to get rid of the ugly doormat or half-dead geranium.



I used a dud knight as my pincushion because I couldn’t find my real (and enormous) pincushion. He isn’t even sewn closed.


I finished a monkey and thought about walking to the park to style him in a tree.

swear jar

I swore a lot at inanimate objects like the empty bobbin and the lost pincushion and the fabric that was a bee’s whisker too small.


and then I walked the dog.dogwalk

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

head down

Arse up ! that's the way it is around here. For all this busy-ness there is very little to show. I just finished a huge fun project and will share it all a bit later on and am mid way through pattern writing and drawing and sewing on a heap of stuff. (I know it is incredibly unfashionable to say this, but……… I like being busy, none of this slow-movement crap for me) I have enough projects bubbling in my brain to keep me going well into my dotage.


I got a delivery of felt yesterday was wondering if it is the cold weather that draws me more to felt at the moment, kind of like the way knitters get drawn back to their yarn.


These are the guys we will be working on in my kids classes in the next holidays. Its a bit of a departure, with wool and minkee and polar fleece but so much fun! I The pattern is huge, I have written it as three complete separate patterns so there is no flicking back and forth for instructions. Its not really one that’s destined to be stocked by patchwork shops so it might become a PDF one of these days….. and looking at that photo – you know I am going to have to re-do that duck….the beak? the tummy? Colours all wrong !!!!

See . Who has time for the slow-movement? I have a duck crisis !

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hit the ground running

It is freezing here folks ! Yeah boring I know but pressing business nonetheless. We aren’t super keen on heaters and heating at our place , usually preferring just to wear layers of clothes but I can tell you today I am practically astride the heater !
I know I have been a bit blog quiet but I have been trying to get into a kind of schedule that does not include disappearing into the land of the internets for whole mornings at a time.
All of a sudden I find myself looking at a whole heap of teaching and swanning about dates. How did that happen?
July 9th (Tuesday) I am teaching a kids class at Millrose Quilting in Ballan.
Editing Woopsie -That class is full so we have added another on July 2nd- Tuesday)
The kids asked to make an owl this time so this is an in-process shot of one of the options we can work on.

July 23rd (Tuesday) I’ll be back at Millrose for an “anything goes” class
This is a great class. This class is for you to work on any of my patterns that you like. So if you started something and got stuck or just want a bit of guidance, you can come along and hang out and work on whichever pattern you prefer (The people nagging me for a Little Red class??? This is your chance!) If you sign up for this one, drop me an email to tell me what you will be working on. Sometimes I have special gizmo’s and gadgets that help with a particular project and I’ll be sure to bring them along.
C020 Little Red photo
from July 25th-28th I’ll be hanging out as a special guest at the Craft and Quilt fair and you’ll be able to come chat to me (I’ll work on having something interesting to say between now and then).  Its weird this special guest stuff, those of you that really know me, know just how special I am not. But you know, I am never one to look a gift craft fair in the mouth.craft_and_quilt_logo_au
In August (Saturday 3rd) I am heading to Gum Valley Patchwork to teach a Louie the Super monkey class and I am really looking forward to it. Even though I have known Linda for ages I have never been to her shop. I am really excited !
and in news just to hand – I am heading bush ! Well I am off to Wagga with Rosalie and Melly for another Urban Stitches weekend.
We had so many requests earlier this year to try and organise something a bit less “Urban” and Rosie took it to heart and found a great spot in Wagga.
Hmm, you know this means I have to turn my mind to stitchery again !!!

I think that’s it for now.
Those are the days when I will be certain to be wearing a bra and have my hair brushed. Around here , while the long service leave continues and I am wading through a slew of new toys, hair-brushing and bra-wearing are strictly non-compulsory.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Slide Night 2– the best bits

I have been writing this blog post now for more than an hour, and I am struggling. I cannot explain how it felt to meet dear dear friends who I firmly believed I would never ever meet in real life.


I hope they know just how much it meant to me. These photos look so “stand-and-smile” but it wasn’t like that at all. There was a LOT of hugging and some gift swapping, and loud raucous laughter and a bit more hugging. There were toilet stories and sharing and encouragement and support and invites to parties. Thimbleanna you are here in spirit. We never did manage a photo-or certainly not on any of my devices. I smile like an idiot every time I look at these photos, Stephanie, Jacquie and Erica

You lot are a whole lot of bomb-diggetty.


and this is a new friend and a story I shall be telling for about the next five forevers. A while ago, Angie sent me one of those “you-don’t-know-me-but” kind of emails. In her email she offered to loan me some things for my booth. In fact, she went around and photographed all the things in her house that might be useful and sent me pics and measurements and ideas. (yep, kinda crazy… but in the best way). I bought things online and sent them to her house…..lots of things in lots of boxes. Nothing was too much trouble. Then Angie and her gorgeous (and funny) husband delivered all my junk to the Convention centre for me, along with their furniture. Angie helped me set up and then hung out with Jem and I and then at the end of it, they were there helping again. Unbelievable !

After quilt market Jem and I went to visit Angie and her family to say thanks and were given dinner and completely and utterly embraced. Angie’s help was invaluable, not just at quilt-market but in the weeks before-hand when I was a complete stress head. It felt so good to have someone on hand in that whole other alien country who I could ask questions of. I knew Angie was a great person but it was just so much more than that,  we got to hang out with her awesome family and laugh and read bedtime stories. On the night we were leaving we all headed outside and then Angie realised we didn’t have a photo so we rushed back in and took a few quick pics. (look at the littlest man sleeping in the background). The very best bit about this crazy internet adventure is the new friends, and I know you all know that.

I tell you, my dance-card overflows.