Wednesday, 31 March 2010

London, London

I have just returned from ten brilliant days in London (with two special side trips) with my husband. As I had only been overseas once in the last 18 years this was a very special trip and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  My husband had a conference to go to for work (which was a unique occurrence in itself) and we had been planning to holiday somewhere to celebrate our 25th, so London looked like a a great choice, especially with a "once in a lifetime" quilt exhibition being held at the Victoria and Albert Museum. How lucky can a quilter be!? I will tell you about the trip over the next several posts. When I was last in London for more than a stop over I wasn't a quilter and it was 1984 so my interests were vastly different. I came home with a nice collection of "booty"-  fabric, textile items and books mostly and plenty of little gifts for family members which will be turning up on special occasions.

I will tell you about the exhibition first, even though it was in the second week of the trip. Quilts 1700-2010 was an amazing collection of quilts with stories attached to their making or histories. No photos were allowed but the book was an excellent record of the exhibition. Some quilts were simple home quilts, some custom made, some made to celebrate an event or occasion. A couple had the most amazingly detailed workmanship and are as significant to history as any "artwork". The audio guide was a good purchase as the low lighting and barriers prevented close inspection of the quilts at times and they could be viewed on the iTouch (iPod) zooming in on any details as desired. I wasn't taken with some of the modern quilts displayed but they were a reasonable cross section I suppose. One about civilian vs. military deaths in Iraq wars really caught my attention, however.

Australia's Rajah Quilt was even there and I hadn't managed to see it here in Australia as it's rarely on display.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

March long weekend

There were a couple of orienteering events scheduled, including the first State Series foot event which my son and I like to do, so we had booked a van site at Castlemaine for the long weekend here in Victoria.  The weather forecast progressively deteriorated though we were excited at the prospect of getting some decent rain with the whole State being in need of it. As it turned out two terrible storms came through Melbourne and the Shepparton area with wind, rain and hail and caused enormous damage to houses and businesses in their paths. We had 75 mm rain in total but no damage at our home, luckily.

We didn't get wet at our events and were nice and dry in our van, but it wasn't a weekend for browsing shops as it usually is. My husband and son had an interesting drive around "Muckleford Diggings" on the road to Maldon, looking for a future camping spot. I was content to do some reading and cross stitching and listen to the steady rain, which is a sound I have missed over the last 12 or so years.

Saturday at "Chewton Diggings" was warm and extra humid so it made orienteering hard work. We saved our energies for the following day and concentrated on brushing up on our navigation, and marvelled at the skill and fitness of the senior state team members competing in their National Series events.

Sunday was cooler at "Bryce's Flat" near Daylesford/Hepburn Springs but the terrain was diabolical! The area along the creek had been intensively mined for gold back in the 1800's and the miners had apparently found rock and more rock ... their lives must have been so hard, it's difficult to imagine, and I am curious to see if there are records anywhere of how much gold was actually taken out of the area.

This the map for my course (W45+) which had 16 controls to visit in order, three clusters joined by longer legs. The black and brown dots represent piles of rocks and earth! It was slow going but I navigated well and was pleased with my result, although very tired immediately after.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Super Tuesday Bicycle Count

This morning from 7 - 9 am I joined in Bicycle Victoria's annual bicycle count in my "Orange Army" t-shirt. Unfortunately (for me) my site was a very quiet one for bikes with only NINE, but not for trucks and cars ... so maybe that is why bikes avoid that route? I got plenty of odd looks from motorists and passengers but hopefully some had heard of the count as it has been well publicised, especially on radio. Look out for it on the TV News tonight. My bit of volunteering earnt $50 for my favourite bicycle group - Victorian Orienteering Association (Mountain Bike). The statistics collected enable local government to plan better facilities for cyclists.

It was also interesting watching the drivers change 'uniform' as the day progressed, from predominantly fluoro yellow and orange tops, plus navy and khaki work shirts, at first, to business shirts and office attire after 7:40 and then a mix of casual and office wear with the addition of occasional child passengers after 8:40.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Stash addition

I went to the GJ's Fabrics sale last Friday with three friends and we had a very good time! We each had something in mind and although the store was packed with quilters we managed to make our purchases with satisfaction. I was looking for some chenille to go with my Kaffe Fassett charm squares that I had divided into "pastels" and "reds". I had already purchased some of my favourite KF "Targets" print in the colour-way "pastel" and found these gelati coloured chenilles that were absolutely the right thing.

I am planning to make a quilt to go over a white doona cover.