Yes, it’s a different quilt today

I’ve been kind of bouncing from project to project this week, I think because I’ve had all these things I’ve been waiting to get to work on, so I want to do all of them at once.

I started today thinking that I’d go and buy the fabric for my new project, but then I thought if I was going to the fabric shop, I really should buy the batting and backing fabric for the other two quilts while I was there.  Which meant I had to figure out how big they were going to be.  Which was easy for the bird quilt, because the top is done, but the flower garden quilt still needed its border added.  So I spent the day working on that instead.

When I laid everything out, I discovered I’d miscalculated the length of the border a bit (I’ve been pretty much making things up as I go along with this quilt), so there was a wee bit of unpicking involved to shorten it down to the proper length.  But I think it’s looking pretty good so far:

I still need to add another strip down the sides, but that’ll be the quilt top done.  So if I go and get the batting and backing fabric tomorrow, I’ll be able to start quilting it.  I want to quilt this one before I do the bird quilt, because I haven’t quilted a full-sized quilt before, only baby and lap quilts, so this is my practice run for the bird quilt (which I really really don’t want to ruin, after all the work it took!)

So that’s the plan for tomorrow. Possibly, if I don’t get distracted by something else again… 🙂

Before and after

The best thing about having a week off and nothing in particular planned for it, is that you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time when you get unexpectedly sidetracked into a project – like totally reorganising how you store your fabric (to pick an example completely at random 🙂 )

Yeah.  I started this morning thinking I’d maybe go and buy some fabric for a project I’ve got in mind (not that I’ve finished the other three quilts I’ve got in progress at the moment, but I’ve spent the last year accumulating ideas, with no time to start on any of them, so you can’t blame me for a little impatience).  But, being sensible and of an occasionally frugal nature, I thought I really should check my stash first and see if I had anything suitable before I bought more fabric.

So I went to my fabric drawer and began rummaging, and discovered that my stash has now grown to a size that the drawer was completely full, and random rummaging just wasn’t going to work:

So I spent the next six hours rearranging the room so that I could store my fabric in a more organised way. No longer all just crammed in a drawer, but out where I can see it, and (roughly) sorted into colours:

Doesn’t that look so much more inspiring now? (Well, at least until Parsnips decides it’s a comfy place to sleep, and knocks half of it onto the floor and covers the other half in cat fur.  I give it a week…)

The stack on the left of the top shelf is the really big pieces (1/2 metre or more) that could form the basis of a big project. Then the rest of that shelf, and the one below, is the bulk of my stash – fat quarters and smaller, but still big enough to cut a few decent sized pieces from. On the lower shelf is my box of quilting supplies – cottons, bobbins, pins, and the fancy grippy gloves and slidey mat I bought myself for Christmas but haven’t tried out yet – and my scrap basket, full of bits that are too small to really be useful, but too big to just throw out. They might end up in a super-scrappy quilt one day, plus they can come in handy for paper-piecing.

There’s still a few bits in the drawer that were too small to fold neatly for the shelf, but too big for the scrap basket, but they’re much more manageable (and rummageable!) now.

Of course, after all that I still didn’t manage to find anything in my stash suitable for my new project, so I still need to go and buy more fabric…

2016 in words and pictures

2016 was an interesting year. For me it was of course dominated by my thesis – I basically spent the whole year in hibernation, working 50+ hour, 6-day weeks juggling a full-time job and part-time study. Of course, I did take a month off for Greece and Italy, which was pretty cool (and I promise I will finish uploading my travel journal one day, honestly!). Then there was the health scare, and more earthquakes, and so many cool people dying (Helen Kelly, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Prince, John Glenn…), and we won’t even mention the whole American election thing.  Yes, definitely an “interesting” year!

2016 in first lines (for a given value of “first”)

january: random pie picture

The internet is fixed, but I didn’t end up having time to go through my pictures to pick out representatives for the year, because Mum got an unexpected visitor, the son of old friends of hers.  I haven’t seen him since we were about 12, so we spent a long afternoon catching up on each others’ news and sharing old memories.

February: So much news

I have a thesis topic! For a while there this was not the case, when it looked like my proto-topic was going to be completely unviable, but one of my lovely supervisors (in related news, I have supervisors!) came to the rescue and pointed out how my ailing proto-topic could in fact be resurrected into an actual topic.

March: Emerging blinking into the sunshine

Major thesis milestone passed: I finished writing my research proposal this afternoon!  A week late, though considering the interruptions of earthquakes (and earthquake anniversaries, which is a busy time for us at work), I think I’m doing pretty well to only be a week behind.

April: Two happy things

I had to go into town for a meeting on Thursday (it still amazes me that I have the sort of job now where I get to have meetings – and not the sort where I’m only there to take minutes!), and on the way back to work I passed a sign for Scorpios’ newly reopened shop.

May: Home

Got home this afternoon after 30-odd hours spent on planes and in airports.  I’m incredibly tired, but attempting to stay awake at least until dark, to ward off the worst of the jet lag.

June: NZEENZ and other excuses

Yeah, my good intentions to get my travel journal posted didn’t come to much, did they? Usual excuse – I’ve been too busy to sit down and write … My busyness has been of an exciting (to me, anyway) kind – on Thursday I gave a paper at a Linguistics conference!!!

July: Creativity and problem-solving

As usual, I’ve failed at keeping up with my blog (and my promise to upload the rest of my Athens journal), and as usual the excuse is being too busy with thesis stuff.  I’m kind of buried under an avalanche of data at the moment, and it’s taking much longer than I anticipated to dig my way through it, with the result that every time I have a spare moment I feel like I should be doing a bit more work on it.

August: Still alive

They kept me in the hospital last night (mainly because I was last in the queue for day surgery, so didn’t get out until about 6 pm, by which time it was easier to transfer me to a ward than wait round until I was awake enough to go home), so I’ve only just got home.

September: The gory details

Wow, time has sped by again, and it’s already two weeks since my operation (and already September, and spring!).  I did mean to come back and write something more substantial than my brief post-op note of stillalivitude, but for the first week or so sitting at the computer was painful and not conducive to writing blog posts, and then I’ve been back at work and trying to catch up with everything I didn’t get done while being distracted by bodily malfunctions, so just super-busy.

October: Bright lights, pretty colours

Only three months to go until my thesis submission deadline, so it’s very much nose to the grindstone around here.  I’m making exciting progress though – one of my data sets is complete and I’ve almost managed to construct a statistical model to describe it, and the other data set is almost ready (“almost” being a relative term – there’s probably another week or two’s work to do on it) to be added to the model, so very soon I should have something resembling results.

November: Shaky Isles

Well, it’s been an … interesting… couple of weeks since I last posted.  First there was the American elections.  We were watching the results come in in our office (it was early afternoon here), and, like the rest of the world, couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing as the map turned redder and redder.

December: Still modelling…

Actually, I thought I’d finally finished my modelling a few days ago, but I met with my supervisors today, and they’ve recommended I run a few more, so it’s back to sitting waiting for models to run.

Hmm, there’s a bit of a theme there, isn’t there? 🙂  I’m just impressed that there was at least one post in every month – I was sure I would have had longer gaps than that!

2016 in photos

(A few more gaps here…)


February:  –



May:  – (actually, I have loads of photos from Italy, it’s just I haven’t sorted them out yet!)


(There is actually a photo of me giving my conference presentation somewhere on Facebook, but I couldn’t find it, so this will have to do instead)


August:  –





What I read in 2016

Yes, I’m a month late doing the year-end wrap-up things, but I was way too busy in early January so didn’t have time to do them then.  And I like doing the annual summaries, so even though they’re late, I’m going to post them anyway.

I didn’t do a lot of reading last year (well, actually I did, but it was mostly in the form of academic journal articles, not books), and most of my “reading” was actually listening to audiobooks while walking to and from work.  So it’s the shortest list since I first starting recording my reading.

 Total = 92 books

January (9)

February (9)

March (14)

April (8)

May (8)

June (7)

July (8)

August (6)

  • The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower (library audio book)
  • Daisy’s War by Shayne Parkinson (e-book)
  • Rosemary by Kate Clifford Larson (library audio book)
  • The Sad Truth About Happiness by Anne Giardini
  • The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (e-book)
  • Toms River by Dan Fagin (library audio book)

September (7)

October (7)

November (6)

December (5)

What I read in 2015 (112 books)
What I read in 2014 (93 books)
What I read in 2013 (129 books)
What I read in 2012 (128 books)
What I read in 2011 (133 books)
What I read in 2010 (137 books)
What I read in 2009 (150 books)
What I read in 2008 (154 books)
What I read in 2007 (123 books)
What I read in 2006 (140 books)
What I read in 2005 (168 books)

What counts as a book?

I remembered…

So many projects on my once-my-thesis-is-finished list, I really didn’t know where to start.  But I felt like playing with colour, so I pulled out my not-quite-finished Birds in Flight quilt (Wow, it’s nearly two years since I finished the top, and I still haven’t quilted it!  Probably because I got over-ambitious about what I wanted to do with the three extra birds, and then promptly ran out of time to actually execute those plans.  I suppose the good news is that in the meantime I’ve learnt a lot more about FMQ, so I’m feeling a lot more confident that when I get to the actual quilting part, I’ll be able to do a reasonable job of it).

It was so nice to just spend a day playing with fabric, and not feeling like I had to rush to get as much as possible done in the few hours of free time I’d allowed myself, or feel guilty because I should be using the time to work.  I could take my time and experiment, and just enjoy the process – a great feeling!

At one point during the day, I heard purring coming from the cupboard where I store my fabric and stuff.  When I investigated, I found this:

I’m sure I’d closed that box up last time I used anything out of it, but obviously Parsnips has learnt how to push the flaps of a cardboard box apart so she can get inside.  From the amount of fur over everything in there, it looks like she’s been using it as a comfy bed for quite some time… Hope you didn’t want your ribbon stash back, Lytteltonwitch! (or, if you do, you don’t mind a bit of added fluffiness).  I’m glad I keep my actual quilting fabric in a set of drawers – she hasn’t figured out how to open those yet!

Emerging, blinking, into the light

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, I’m actually writing a blog post.  And that can only mean one thing: I finished my thesis!!!!!

I managed to finish the bulk of the writing on Tuesday, then spent the rest of the week proof-reading and checking all the little details, and submitted it yesterday afternoon – four days ahead of schedule (which means I’ve now got a whole week left of my leave to recover in – and I reckon I need it!).  Final count was 103 pages, 24,275 words, and 29 graphs.

It’ll be a month or two before I hear back from the examiners and know for sure whether I’ve earnt my Masters, but my supervisors seemed pretty confident that it should pass.  At the moment, I’m just so glad to have it finished!

Now, what was it I used to spend all my free time on?  It’s been so long since I had any, I think I’ve forgotten…