February, feeling the heat

The month isn’t as young as it was, but I have been busy.

I brought in the new month in Eden on the south coast of New South Wales (known as the Sapphire Coast), looking at the Killer Whale Museum, and traveling down a very long and dusty road to check out one of the local lighthouses (and we all know I love lighthouses). Leaving Canberra in the middle of a summer heatwave (it was 42 degrees Celsius = 106 Fahrenheit), dropping to about half that for the time we were on the coast. It was “cold” and it felt so good.

Taking the time off from work was something that needed to happen. In theory this was supposed to be the gap between finishing one job and starting the next, but that isn’t quite the way things happened (for the last week I have been doing almost three jobs, this week I am going to be scaling back to two). I am in transition, and it is going to take time.

My theme for the year (nurture) has been in my mind, as I grapple with how to manage this. So January ended up being about gathering the data, ready to make the changes which will need to happen. I am a bit of a pincushion to be honest. I have also been reading books (well a book) which has nothing to do with my research… hard to do when I feel guilty for not reading for the thesis. And don’t get me started  on writing.

FAL2016 – Q4 Finishes (or not)

Here we go… the round up… the list was…

  1. Modern Medallion
  2. Winter is Coming
  3. All of the Fandoms Steampunk Quilt
  4. Happiness Is
  5. Yoga Shawl
  6. Pink quilt thing (now the Pink and Grey HST quilt)
  7. Gail Pan Christmas mini quilt

And the finishes were…. *insert drum roll*

The Yoga Shawl… just in time for summer.

The post telling its story is here.

See you all next quarter for the next installment…

January, how lovely to see you

2016 is now behind us all. It is time for new eyes and a bit of a (dare I say it) fresh approach.

2017 – at this early stage – holds promise. New job, new outlook and the beginning of something approaching normality. My PhD is progressing (slowly), I am back to designing some blocks for English Paper Piecing and applique, and I have something of a renewed interest in getting healthy.

I have finally realised that if I want to be able to do “all the things” then I am going to need to be a bit more selective in my approach to food and exercise. A few years ago I was diagnosed with the early stages of Hashimotos Disease, so my thyroid has gone on strike indefinitely. I have had some success with a gluten free approach, but I find it so hard to maintain – even though I do feel so much better when I don’t have it. But now I am faced with a choice. I can’t continue to do all the things I want to do, and continue down the path I am on. Things have to change, it is as simple as that.

I need to remember that trying to do your PhD with a foggy brain isn’t fun. Forgetting things isn’t charming all the time, it is annoying and frustrating. Not being able to walk properly because your hips are sore (something that happens if I eat gluten), only gets in the way of being able to get up and move about. If I want to be able to enjoy my life in the longer term, then there needs to be some changes, and they need to happen now.

Which brings me to my theme for the year.

In the past I have looked at different foci for the year – the year of less drama and the year of getting shit done were highlights. Last year was all about taking back some sense of control for myself – which I think I largely accomplished. This year is all about looking after myself.

I thought about different words or themes which would assist with this…

Deliberate in terms of being more thoughtful in my approach to things and thinking before acting – particularly with the little things – which then led me to mindful, which I then promptly abandoned because of reasons.

In the end I have decided on nurture – because really, that is what I need to do for myself. I need to nurture my health, my creativity, my research, my family and my community.

I think the signs for this have been there for a while. My garden has been cleared up and things have been planted (some of them have even survived the snails). I am being more thoughtful in my quilting, I am not longer signing up for things on a whim and then being cranky at myself for not keeping up, participating or adding to the whole.

My quilting goals are now being set for a two year period…

  1. To do something specifically to enter in a show, and
  2. To make a quilt which is challenging, yet “fun”, and completely for me.

I have other quilting goals, but for the moment this will do.

Welcome 2017, it is time to nurture.

2016 – How did we do?

Back at the beginning of the year (for the record I am talking about 2016), I reflected on my 2015 year and set myself the challenge of working toward something new. Each year for the past few I haven’t so much had a word in mind, and a theme – 2016 was this part of Invictus.

This year has been a challenge, while there have been a lot of things going on globally which have been really hard to understand (Brexit and the US election), personally there have been some good and some downright ugly parts to the year.

The good:

I have finished this year with a renewed sense of who it is that I am, I am working towards goals which I am really happy with and I feel that I have a real sense of control over. My day job is getting bigger, but it is also aligning more with who I am, rather than just being the mechanism to pay the bills and pay for the fabric. This wouldn’t have happened without some struggle, and I don’t think that I would believe or trust the changes unless they did. I am a firm believer that, for me, I need to work for things, they don’t just happen and fall into my lap.

The bad:

This has been a year of saying goodbye. I lost two of my best friends, one through choice, the other through death. I have written about Niki and the complete devastating loss that came from that, Christmas was something she loved, possibly more that anyone I know and I smiled when I put the decoration she made for me a few years ago on the tree this year. I haven’t quite worked out what I am going to do without her yet, but I suppose I will have to.

As for the other, sometimes people aren’t who you think they are. That is their choice, and it is mine to walk away.


This year I managed to finish mini-quilts and some other smaller things, nothing large in size however, I am so close on my Modern Medallion quilt I have chosen out the binding I want to use and calculated how much of it I will need. Should be finished by the end of January (assuming I can get enough time to finish hand quilting the thing in this stupid heat of summer). I tried some new things this year, but I am thinking a different focus for next year will see some changes in approach to quilting.

As I write this (December 31, 2016), I haven’t decided on a new theme for next year, but long time followers to my decision to choose a theme know that I give myself until the Chinese New Year to officially decide it – which is at the end of January this year, so I still have time.

I hope that 2016 was okay for you, or at the very least you can find some personal joy among the overall suckiness of the year.

If 2016 was a movie…

My goodness me. December already.

Mini Lucy Boston

I vowed I wouldn’t do another swap. But there is it – I have signed up for two. The mini Lucy Boston above will possibly be the only attempt I make at sewing one of them. I had in my head that I wanted to make one of them – I have seen a couple of them in real life and they are quite spectacular – but I don’t think I actually want to try for the full sized one after all. Swaps can be good at sorting out what you want to do on a larger scale sometimes.

As for what have I been doing with myself that I am doing my welcome to the month almost half way through… stuff. Christmas is coming and so is the end of the year in the office. I can’t wait until I finish work for the year, seriously this has been a horrible year in some ways, fabulous in others…. but I am kind of looking forward to the fresh start that the new year brings.


Time for tea – welcome to November

Half Square triangles

Magical things start happening this time of year. The sun is (finally) shining; the birds are singing; and the pollen is in the air (*sneezes*). It is that time of year between the complaining because the weather is cold and complaining because the weather is hot – it is the Goldilocks time…

Something else which has happened is that my garage has been cleared out. Which ordinarily wouldn’t be a huge deal, except that there are some exciting things happening that I had to wait for things to be moved about to happen (cryptic I know, but more will be revealed at a later time). Needless to say, I am pretty happy with life just at the moment. It has been a really challenging year in oh so many ways, but I am choosing to take something good from it. Life is short; so sometimes you should jump even if you are scared about it and you don’t quite have the plan you think you need.

I have been sewing something new – pic above – it is largely pink and grey with spots and flowers, but it also feels really good to be sewing again. I have been using Bessie to sew it on. I have also been trying to figure out what it is that I want to start next… do I take the Dear Jane path (seems like it is going to be the next big thing), or do I close my eyes and pick something to sew… but then perhaps I need to be working towards the thing in the garage…

I have a blankie – I love to finish

Shawl Complete 1

Back in February I thought it would be a good idea to try and start my PhD. Well that didn’t happen until August, but back at the beginning of the year I started to go to a couple of lectures and start to get my head in the game. But it was cold.

Anyone who has ever been to Australia in February knows that it isn’t cold outside – it is hot and everything is brown from the lack of water and the months of heat (in the part of the world I am in). So to be cold was something different, but that is what happens when the air-conditioning is set on arctic. So I needed a blanket.

At about the same time I had been lusting after a Yoga Shawl from Andrea Mowry. It seemed to me to be the perfect thing for the winter or the in-between times or the middle of summer with the A/C stuck on freezing. So off to the Bendigo Woolen Mills website I went and I started it.

It took months to make.

Not because it was hard, but because I was a bit slow with it.

But done it is.

And I love it.

Katie wearing shawl

It is my wearable blankie.

Just in time for the Australian summer.


2016FAL – Q4 Goals

Okay – I can do this.

March - Knitting

I didn’t do the check in for the end of the last quarter for one really specific reason… I didn’t finish anything to link up. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t progress on things, just that there weren’t any finishes.

So we are going to try a similar list this quarter, and see how we go. My progress notes are in the different coloured text below.

  1. Modern Medallion – the hand quilting continues, I really want to get this done. Q4 Update – I have progressed on the quilting and only have three and a half borders to go.
  2. Winter is Coming – well it is here (snow and everything). But this is a quilt. Or a series of cushions. Q4 Update: I bought this out of its box and played with it a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know if I like it or not, that is an issue really.
  3. All of the Fandoms Steampunk Quilt – this is for someone special and I do need to finish it. Perhaps this year. Q4 Update – I have done more of these and am am really enjoying how it is looking. I am not sure if this is going to be a finish this quarter, or one of the ones for next year.
  4. Swoon – pretty sure everyone “needs” to make this quiltQ4 Update – Decided I don’t. I have one block so perhaps it will be re-purposed. 
  5. Happiness Is – hexagons. Need I say more.
  6. Yoga Shawl – sometimes I knit… this is something I want to finish before I start next semester of coursework and I am stuck in a very cold lecture theatre… so I have twoish weeks. Q4 Update – It needs buttons to be finished just in time for the Australian Summer (well known for the need to wear 100% woolen shawls – not)
  7. I shall call him George – an epic monster of a quilt (which I somehow think will be finished in Q4 2040 or something but I am putting him on the list to make sure he doesn’t feel left out). Q4 Update – George is in the naughty corner. We will see how I feel about him in a year or so. But for now the pattern is annoying me to the point of frustration so it goes away.


  • Pink quilt thing – it is a fabric pull and a pattern (in my head). It is supposed to be quick and easy so we will see what happens with that.
  • Christmas mini quilt – By Gail Pan and I started it years ago. It comes out at this time of year every year and I do some more. I assume that one of these years I will accidentally finish it. It is on the list for one quarter only, come Q1 next year (assuming it hasn’t been finished) it will go again until Q4 next year.

Welcome to October

Lava Tubes

I had a conversation with my grandmother last week, and she told me her theory of time. That there is someone out there stealing it and taking it away weeks at a time. That is how I feel at the moment, I would just really like it if the world would slow down a little.

Tonight I have been to a lecture to do with the day job. In my other life I work at a university, managing transnational partnerships between the faculty and other universities/educational institutions domestically and across the world. Like most day jobs it has its moments, but today was one of the good ones.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan gave a talk tonight about that countries path to democracy, something that quite honestly I have never really given much in the way of thought to. But he spoke for about an hour (and then answered questions) and it was a really different perspective on a small nation state, located in one of the most challenging geopolitical areas of the world. He spoke at length about the reluctance of his nation to come to democracy, how it had been essentially imposed on the nation by the King of Bhutan. How the nation had its constitution drawn up to include the things which are important to them as a whole (which included the protection of the environment, a commitment to national happiness, and put limitations on the power of the King himself), and then how the King essentially forced the nation to vote.

It was refreshing to see a new approach to the political process, particularly given the saturation of the negative which we are being subjected to at the moment (yes, even here in Australia we are getting a blow by blow account of the US presidential race *sigh*).

I hope to quilt something soon.

Take care.

For those who are wondering, the photograph is of a lava tube in the Volcano National Park in Hawaii – Facebook tells me it is a year since I visited. I think I need another holiday.

Happenings at Camp Sometimes I Quilt

Why Hello Kitty

If you have been following along on Instagram you may have realised that things are a bit fragile this time of year for me. There has been the good (my birthday) and the not so good (significant anniversaries). So I am going to try and focus on the good.

So the anniversary of my birth historically has been a low key affair. Having my mother die the day after it the year I turned 14 (meaning the last time I saw my mother alive was on my birthday), kind of led to the family not really knowing what to do with the date or how to handle the situation. Dad tried (he really did), but having my grandmother cry at me for the week didn’t really give me anything really to celebrate. Then I got married. A number of years later I got divorced (the less said the better).

Since then I have been surrounded by people who celebrate birthdays – they are “a thing” – and I have been trying to change my overall attitude toward my own birthday.

And now I am 43.

For my birthday my extended family network (the friends who are like family) decided to get me a Bellini Intelli Kitchen Thingy – or the middle of the range Thremo Cooker thing. Now up until this point my only real exposure to the cooking demon were the friends who had one and constantly go on about it on Facebook and the girls from the Katering Show (video below, comes with a language warning… but I find it quite funny. If you like that one then look for the one where they quit sugar…).

I may now be able live out my dream of being a sarcastic food blogger as well. For the record the first thing I did with it was boil water, and the second was cook rice.

Go team.