September 28, 2011

The Eyes Have It (or Have Had It?)

In recent weeks I've been experiencing some difficulty with focusing my eyes. At first I thought it was dizziness, but when I close my eyes I don't feel off balance at all. No - it's something with my vision.

So I went to the optometrist today. She checked me over and said that what I'm experiencing is age-related, but also probably due to sitting in front of a computer screen as much as I do. She said my eyeball muscles are out of condition and prescribed exercises.


So now I've got flabby eyeball muscles. -sigh-

My exercise consists of holding a pen about a foot from my face, looking at the tip, and then looking past it to a point several feet away. The idea is to get those short-distance/long-distance eyeball muscles used to adjusting. I'm to do 20 repetitions of this exercise 3 x's a day.

As I confessed last week, I haven't been quilting much in recent weeks. Instead I've been sitting here a slave to my computer and my upcoming book. I guess it serves me right. I should'a been quiltin'!

September 21, 2011

Quilt 12: In a "Holding Pattern"

I haven't mentioned the placemats I started in August, have I? Uh, uh, uh, (embarrassed stalling tactics). Well, that's because there hasn't been anything to say. They are still here. Folded neatly on my desk. The tops all done and ready to be sandwiched.

The fact is, I've been quite distracted most of the winter with another project. I'm writing a book about living in Australia, and have spent most of my time the last three months on that. It's nearly ready to be released, so I'm devoting every waking hour to either the book -or- to learning about self-publishing.

And so my quilting, quite frankly, has suffered as a direct result.

But I'll get back to it, soon. I'll get those darned placemats done and in the mail to my friend (they're a wedding gift...) and then I'll get back to the Japanese print quilt, the "trees" quilt, and all the other projects in my UFO closet.

I promise.

September 14, 2011

Playing with a new design: Lattice

A couple of weeks ago, I went with my friend Poh Choo to the Carribean Market. We had a ball shopping, and while we were there I came across a vendor who sells used magazines. She had quilting magazines as part of her stock, and I snatched up 2 that I'd never seen before: "Amazing Rotary-Cut Quilts" and "Patchwork Favorites".

It was a semi-dangerous thing to do, because I found a couple of quilts in those magazines that got me inspired.

I found one in particular that captured my imagination - a lattice-work design made up of nine-patches and snowball blocks. Here's my version:

I'm not completely happy with the edging and border, but at least you can see the way the nine-patch and snowball blocks are joined to make the lattice pattern. Will I make this (or a version of it)? Oh... yeah... probably...

September 7, 2011

More Marking Options: Chalk Pencils

When I was in the U.S. earlier this year, I picked up these chalk pencils in a fabric store:

I'd not seen a set quite like them here in Australia. Of course, now that I've got them, I'll probably see them all over the place. No matter.

The set has several different coloured chalks, plus white ones. In all honesty, I really like the pink vanishing-ink pen I talked about last week better than chalk. Chalk is, well, messy. But the pink pen just doesn't show up on dark prints, so these chalk markers will do well. I'm using a white one now on the Japanese print quilt I started earlier this year. It works well with the template; the tips are small and don't rub on the template edges.

The chalk hangs on a bit afterward, but it does brush off pretty well, and can be removed with a damp cloth if brushing doesn't do the trick.