Friday, 2 March 2012

Flood Gates and Garden Gates

Well it's now officially Autumn in Australia but you would not know it. There's a huge low pressure trough causing lots of rain right from the top end, the central deserts and down to south eastern Australia...and it is moving  s-l-o-w-l-y. We have had more floods this week in the southern part of my state, New South Wales. 
Satellite image taken 2nd March 2012 courtesy of the BOM
Towns like Goulburn, Cooma and Bathurst are evacuating residents in low lying areas. Even my beloved town of Tumut has copped many hundreds of millimeters of rain and the new 'Little River' bridge (replacing the old one that was washed away in a previous 2009 flood) is now underwater. You would think that they would build it higher!
And speaking of building, the new Cotter Dam in western ACT is still under construction and is now overflowing!
The old Cotter dam is completely submerged for the first time in its 100 year history! 
And in Western Sydney the Warragamba Dam is expected to breach the spillway tonight.  In 2007/8 my husband was an engineer on the Windsor flood evacuation bridge and thankfully that will help residents downstream once the spillway opens automatically. 
At least the eels will be happy about that. During the drought they were all trapped there for years. Now they can make their migration back to the warm waters of New Caledonia to spawn again. The great migration of east coast eels is an amazing story...see it here
I only heard about this about 10 years ago when a boy in my class did a talk on it. His dad is the chief engineer at Warragamba and he brought in a map and photos of how these elvers come from the Coral Sea, swim up the Hawkesbury River, climb the cliffs next to the dam wall, enter a culvert, wait in the drain until they can wriggle out, slither across a round-about and into the dam. I was incredulous and I really didn't believe him. But it's all true! And he later brought in an article from 'Australian Geographic' to prove it. I had so much respect for him and the eels after that! (it was a brilliant talk Nathan!)

March Bee Block - Grey and Gold Garden Gate

Anyway March is the month for my friend good Marieka's QCA Bee. She chose a block called 'Garden Path' from a tutorial written by Hyacinth Quilt Designs. In black, gold and grey it makes a stunning impression.
I was seriously lacking these colours from my stash though and put out a call to the girls in the Bee. Kay from Shocking Hocking and Jane from Coffs Fresh Quilters, came through with some great prints.
All cut and laid out for block number one.
Ironing block number four.
Sew the tops onto the middle square.
Then the sides on.

We are using generic white homespun for the duration of the Bee. But to be honest all white fabric looks the same to me and I didn't label mine and separate it. So I took out my white fabric and cut and sewed...all looking great as you can see below.
And then I ironed them and the white fabric kind of distorted by shrinking inwards in the middle and outwards on the ends. I don't know if you can see the subtle differences in the two photos but it's there. My nice parallel seams now looked all wonky.
Talk about frustrating! However the blocks still came together...they just don't look so great on the back.  I have no idea what white fabric blend I picked up but I will definitely label this one 'do not use again!'. Sorry Maz.
Anyway I got 6 blocks out of the scraps and stash. I put the leftovers into a bag ready to post along with the blocks on Monday.
Anyway the report just in, is that the Warragamba Dam reached 100% capacity at 7pm tonight and the spillway is now OPEN! Go the Eels! It must be like a giant waterslide for them.


  1. Loving the idea of the eels going down the giant waterslide! That really is interesting though - who would have thought!

    Oh shame about the white fabric being painful but you can't tell in your photos. I think your blocks look great. That's a really nice idea to package up scraps to send along too. I ought to start doing that!

  2. What a brilliant story, and how tenacious are those eels??

    You asked if I was living in Latvia and yes I am for the time being. Look enviously upon all the posts of people popping out to quilt shops for supplies, no such thing here!

  3. Your bee blocks are lovely! And such a cool story!

  4. Such an interesting story! The earth is so unpredictable sometimes. We've been in a drought, I hope this summer is better. Love your bee blocks! Yellow, black and white look so great next to each other!

  5. Your Garden Gate quilt is so pretty.

  6. I really like your golden gates. The fabrics you have used adds zing to the blocks.


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