Choosing fabric

Having finished my Hawaiian appliqué blocks I went to Hobbysew a couple of days ago for some backing fabric — I found a fabulous purple print that Suzy will love.
backing fabric for Hawaiian Applique quilt
(I wasn’t able to spread it flat on the cutting table to photograph it because Vanima decided it was her spot):
Vanima on the flanelette quilt
While I was at the shop I looked at green batiks for the stem of my magic vine borders and possibly also for a 2″ inner border. I have several batiks at home but they were all too light or too yellow or too blue or there wasn’t enough, so I was forced to buy some more (such a tragedy!). I found two medium-dark greens and brought them home to test against the blocks. I pulled out a block from every fabric (I left out the duplicates) and arranged them in a row. Then I laid out one fabric I already had and the two new ones.

Batik 1
Batik 1
This is the one I already had. I love it as a fabric but I’m reluctant to use it for a ¼” bias stem because as with many batiks there is too much variation in value, and I suspect that the darker areas will disappear into the black. I’ll find other uses for it, though.

Batik 2
Batik 2
I am definitely a teal girl (I wear a lot of it) and with many of the purples being on the blue side I thought that teal would go well with them. I was disappointed to see that it looks dull.

Batik 3
Batik 3
This is the “purest” green of the three and although as a solitary fabric I prefer the teal, this green works better when placed against the pinks and purples of the blocks. There is some value variation but not the same extent as Batik 1 and I think it will work well as a ¼” stem.
Colourwheel for Hawaiian appliqué quilt
I was browsing some crafting videos later that day and came across one that was demonstrating a new colour wheel product and had a moment of blinding revelation — I could have saved myself the trouble if I’d realised from the start that I needed a pure green to complement all that purple. In fact I think that a yellowish green might have worked even better, but I am not fond of yellow-greens and when dark they turn to olive … which is probably why I liked the first batik against the blocks.

I do have a couple of olive batiks that I’m using in my Flame Rose quilt but I only have a few inches left, not enough for the bias stems. And no, I am not going to go back to the shop to look for olive batiks. The green will do. In fact, when compared directly to the colour wheel, the third batik does have areas of yellow-green as well as true green, so I’m confident it will look good.
Batik 3 matched to the colourwheel

Welcome Suneeta!

Suneeta in her meet outfit
Suneeta in her meet outfit

My cousin posted my Truly Me #80 doll down to me and I picked her up today. She is absolutely gorgeous — I was a little anxious in case she wasn’t as good in person as she looked on the website (because lighting can do very odd things in photography) but I needn’t have worried. Unfortunately my photography skills don’t do her justice, so you’ll have to take my word for it that she’s beautiful.

I don’t give names to my numbered dolls as a general rule, but ever since I saw her I knew that she would be a sister to Sonali and therefore she needed a Hindu name. I chose Suneeta because I like the sound of it. It means either “good principles” or “young sun” depending on which baby name website you visit. (Sonali means “golden”, by the way.)

I was quite surprised to see that her body label is from 2017 — I don’t know how big a standard production run is for a numbered model but if she hasn’t sold out the first run in four years I guess she won’t be getting a repeat. If that’s the case then I’m very glad I bought her now. On the other hand, she did get the “Sparkle and Shine” outfit update so maybe I’m wrong — I hope I’m wrong.

Here she is with sister Sonali so that you can see the differences between them (apart from the mould — Suneeta is the Josefina mould and Sonali is the Sonali mould, of course!).
Suneeta and Sonali
Suneeta and Sonali close-up
You can see that Suneeta’s skin is darker and also much redder than Sonali’s very golden tone. Suneeta’s hair is two shades of dark brown, while Sonali’s is black and dark brown and about two inches longer and wavy. Their eyes appear to be the same, though. Body cloths are slightly different as well. It does annoy me that the dark-skinned dolls have cloths that are so light in comparison — it can’t be that difficult to dye cloth dark brown, can it?
Suneeta and Addy
Suneeta and Addy close-up
I also took a photograph of Suneeta and Addy for comparison. Addy’s skin is slightly lighter in value and a little cooler in hue. She’s also taller, but that is a function of pre-Mattel v current Mattel parameters. I’m fairly sure that the eyes are the same, or almost the same — Addy’s are a little less glossy due to normal wear and tear.
Suneeta, Sonali and Addy
Here are the three of them so you can see the range of skintones.

As an aside, I had the greatest difficulty taking clean shots of the dolls as Vanima was determined to get involved — she was actually in the foreground of almost all these photos, but I managed to crop her out. I’ll spare you the picture of her backside.
Vanima supervising the photoshoot

I recently bought some new and second-hand saris so I’ll definitely be making brightly coloured outfits for both Sonali and Suneeta:
three silk saris
ten second-hand saris


It’s definitely getting colder. I haven’t been able to bring myself to put the heaters on yet (much as I would like to) because the thermometer says it’s still 20° C in the living room — and yes, that’s probably making most of you laugh but I’m a thin-blooded Aussie and anything under 23° has me thinking wistfully about woolly pullies and fluffy slippers.

The cats are also feeling the cold, and while I can tell myself to tough it out (or put on a cardigan) I don’t want them to suffer, so I brought out the heating pads and set them up a couple of nights ago. They both love the heat and have spent most of the time since then sleeping in their new warm spots. They didn’t appreciate me waking them last night to take photos and expressed themselves in their own unique ways:

Vanima on heating pad
Vanima: “Oh, take a picture if you absolutely must, but you’ll have to be content with my right profile.”
Verya on heating pad
Verya: “What are you doing, you stupid human? I’m trying to sleep here!”

I’ve completed my latest Aussie Heroes quilt and used the new Accufeed HP2 foot on the Janome 9400 for the binding. I made the happy discovery that aligning the left tongue of the foot on the edge of the binding gives me a perfect 1 mm space between the edge and the stitching line. Previously I used the walking foot that came with the machine (AD) but it’s very wide and I was never able to keep it precisely in line.

Binding in progress using HP2 foot
Binding in progress using HP2 foot
Completed binding
Completed binding

I also reverted to pinning the binding rather than using Wonder Clips, which I have found to be too easily knocked out of alignment, dragging the binding with them — I did try using washable glue between or under the clips a few times but that didn’t help much and was even more time-consuming (as well as messy). Pinning may be old-fashioned but it’s much more secure.

Free-motion quilted gum leaves
Free-motion quilted gum leaves

I also continued to work on my FMQ eucalyptus leaves — I’ve done them on a few quilts now and they’re getting better but could still use some improvement. I’ve given up on the gumnuts for the time being as I couldn’t get them to look as neat as the leaves but I’ll get back to them when I have a bit more confidence.

2 kg plastic-covered hex weights
2 kg plastic-covered hex weights

Today I finally got around to visiting the sporting goods store and bought two 2 kg weights to use with my rulers. I had been using books (of which I have many) but they are awkward to keep picking up / putting down and the dust jackets were starting to suffer, so they can go back to the bookcase now and be safe.