Whew! The whirl of Christmas is over, and the new year is here (in Australia it is… I can’t remember if you’ve crossed the dateline yet in North America… hazy memory tells me that you must be just about on midnight as I type this, late in the afternoon of New Year’s Day).
They say you should start the year as you mean to go on. If that’s the case, this will be a good year! I started with a burst of energy, and a brisk one-hour walk all the way to the top of the Big Hill (say that bit in a deep voice), with a big bag of library books to be returned.
The main street is quiet after the New Year revels. Some bottles here and there, yuck. Unusually quiet: all the shops are shut.
We live in an area that was populated mainly by Italian and Greek immigrants in the mid-20th century, and although it has changed a lot, become a mix of the older Europeans and the younger students and couples, it’s still a street of one-family-owned small businesses. Italian wedding boutiques. Mediterranean gardens. Tiny houses. Cafes, cafes and cafes. A Greek market: big cans of olive oil stacked high in the front window. Dress shops, alterations and sewing classes, mmm, sewing classes…. More cafes. Only the Internet Cafe and the IGA were open this morning: one with a solo backpacker inside, and the other attracting the usual half-dozen wrinkled old Greek men to the benches outside. Kalimera. Good morning!
The other good things about today, as I mean to go on in 2009 are:
- Reading a good book – I finished my fifth book in five days – bring on the holidays, I say.
- Cooking up a storm: I’ve made Tuscan flatbread (schiacciata Toscana) with sea salt and rosemary, and olive oil drizzled into the knobbles; a fragrant stew, and some slow-cooked bolognaise sauce
- Sewing my latest Posted Stitches quilt!
I was cheerfully zipping away on the next quilt, when I realised that the Green Man quilt had not been fully explained and shown in photos. He’s been sitting quietly on the side while the wild rumpus of Christmas flowed through the house. And here he is.
I have been wanting to do a Green Man quilt for quite a long time. This one was first drawn on paper, then I went over the pencil lines of my drawing in thick black pen. I could see these pen lines through the white cotton, so I traced the lines onto my cotton, and painted swirls of green, brown and yellow textile paint into the fabric until it was saturated wet with colour.
A night on the line, and it was dry: I ironed my fabric to set the colours, and started some stencils for the next step. These were simple leaf shapes cut out of freezer paper, which I ironed to the fabric (use a low setting). Once they were stuck to the fabric, out came those brushes, a sponge and the textile paints, and I painted or blotched in the leaves.
I also painted some extra fabric, which I cut, free-hand, into leaf shapes and swirls. Then, weeks and weeks of slow embroidery and random stitches. That was the part I found hard to leave behind!
He’s all done, and ready to join the rest of my PS quilts in their special plastic case. What are we going to do with them all when we have achieved our year’s worth of quilts?