Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This cold is horrible, I would love to be able to take to my bed until I'm over it, but that's not possible.  I'm getting as much sleep and rest as I can, but some things just have to be done no matter how I feel.  There is no-one who can take over our postie run, so we have to keep doing that, and there are quilting things that just have to be finished.  I'm using a mask and hand-sanitiser when I'm sorting mail and quilting; I know it's unlikely to pass the germs on through objects, but it makes me feel a bit more responsible.

I have to go down to Adelaide this weekend to help my DD shift house, and I really don't want to give her this thing; I need to get better before then.

When my brain won't work and feels like it's just cotton wool and feathers, I sew a few seams of the latest thing on the design wall.  I'm putting together the KIng's Crown variation blocks, and I chose a rust coloured Thimbleberries fabric to sash it with.  I want it to be a nice cosy, autumny quilt, and this fabric ties together all the colours I used in the blocks.  I'm just slapping it together, and I probably should take more care, but I just want it finished right now.

There are three different blocks in this;
King's Crown


I do love these blocks, but I lost my way with the colours and what I wanted for them, so I will just get it together and call it done for now.  I can always make another set of blocks later on, and knowing me, that's exactly what I'll do.

I have all the blocks assembled into rows, and I was going to start sewing them together last night, but the cotton wool feeling in my head meant that I wasn't making the right decisions about the whole process.  I don't think I could have kept it all in the right order, so I gave up and went to bed.  After I've done some more work today I'll get back to this and try to get it in one piece.  I need the encouragement of a Finished Object!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Last month I spent a lot of time quilting, and finished three wholecloths.  One of them was a UFO from about 2002, so it was a good feeling to finally deal with that.  I did this as a class sample, and quilted it on my Gammil shortarm; unfortunately I ran out of time to finish it, and after the class I didn't have any motivation to complete it.

It needed borders on two sides, and the centre motif completed.  I reworked the designs I used then, and was able to finish the stitching on the Statler.  I love technology!

My determination to finish old projects even extends to old quilting projects it seems.  I'm glad I've turned this from something that reproached me, into something that I can actually use.
I used the same pattern to make a lilac quilt, that my DD will have,
 and a small wallhanging in a nice gold colour.  It's so cute at such a small scale, I really loved quilting this one.  When I was stitching out my design all those years ago, struggling with the limited throat space of a shortarm machine, I never imagined that I'd end up with a Statler that would effortlessly reproduce whatever I dreamed up.  I love my quilting workroom, and what it helps me achieve; I've worked awful hard for it, but it feels like a blessing, and I hope I'm always grateful for it.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

I spent most of yesterday trying to sleep off this cold, but there was time to add the borders to the Wild Goose Chase top.  I auditioned quite a few border fabrics, but in the end decided to use the first one I tried.  At least I'm sure now that there's nothing in my stash or Mereth's that I would have liked more than this.

I never expected it to be such a soft and pretty quilt, I thought I was making a daring pink and brown statement, but it morphed into something sweet instead.  

I'm not really keen on bold colours, so it shouldn't be a surprise to me that my subconscious directed me to continually choose a softer palette.  Somehow I always think I'm in control and it turns out I'm not.
I love the brown sashings, I used up the entire half yard of that Metropolitan Fair leaf print on the right, and had to resort to the stash for the other sashings.  It's a good feeling to be able to pull out whatever I need from the stash drawers, but they are thinning out after all this time of minimal buy. (I can't be No Buy, but I certainly don't add to the stash like I used to....)

Luckily I bought a bolt of this beautiful Pink Chocolate fabric many years ago, so there's enough for a backing and a few more quilts.  I just love the colours and the huge floral print,
I'm really looking forward to starting another UFO, I have it all mapped out and ready to go, just as soon as I feel a bit better.  The colours are very different from this, and that's probably why I'm looking forward to it so much, I do love to rummage through different fabrics from one quilt to the next. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

No time for blogging lately, too busy with babies and grandchildren and visiting relatives.  Mereth's No.2 son and family came to visit from New South Wales, and we spent every moment we could with them.  Logan absolutely loved Izzy, and sat cuddling her on the couch whenever he could.  That's the start of a wonderful relationship there I think.

Alas, they brought nasty colds with them, so now Mereth and I are sneezing and coughing and feeling dreary; it was worth it though.  Logan has started calling us The Nannas, as in 'Where are the Nannas?'  We are Plural!.   It would be lovely if they all lived closer, there's nothing quite like having family around, especially when the babies start arriving.

So where was I in the sewing room?  I've almost finished the Wild Goose Chase quilt, will have photos of it completed tomorrow.  Just needs a border; I changed the setting a bit, I just can't leave things alone it seems.
There are so many bits and pieces floating around on every surface, I need to spend this weekend excavating the piles and drifts of fabric, leftovers and scraps, until I'm down to bare surfaces and neatly catalogued boxes.  I need Order!
I threw all the blocks I came across up onto the empty design wall, so I could see what I had to deal with.
I have four leftover pink blocks, I think they will end up in the Orphan box because I don't want two quilts like this.  Lovely blocks, but they were a bit too dark for the quilt I had in mind.
Then there were four blue WGC blocks that I made as a distraction; I love these, and will put them into a quilt one day, but not right now.  So they will get a project box of their own, and I'll start putting aside fabric that I want to use in them.
I am still cutting for my blue and brown quilt, that small block in the photo, so I'll cut pieces for the WGC at the same time.
But good golly gosh!  Look at what is leftover, after making enough blocks for one quilt and 8 spare blocks.  It's my old overcutting-syndrome, I haven't been able to get that under control.  So I wondered what would happen if I took one set of Flying Geese units out of the block, and this is what I came up with.
It's a lot quicker to piece, and awfully cute, so I will cut up the leftovers and kit up the blue WGC and a heap of these blocks at the same time.  I can't find a name for it in Blockbase, but I'm sure I've seen it in an old magazine, so I'll try and hunt that down.

So instead of crossing one UFO off the list, I get to add two more.  Oh well, that's the way it goes, and technically they are Works In Progress, not UFOs.  I feel better about that now.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Yet another work project seemed to take over my life for the last three weeks, and there was not a lot to blog about, and not enough time to spare anyway.  It seems to happen like that a lot, so the thing to do now is make sure I get plenty of sewing and garden time in before the next big work-related chore.

As far as my own sewing goes, I'm working on two projects right now; my Wild Goose Chase in pinks and browns, and the King's Crown blocks that are a longtime UFO from 2010 .  I'm using the uncomplicated King's Crown blocks as leader-enders while I work on the blocks I kitted up for the WGC.  Neither of them is a speedy project, but I'm making headway at last, after a lot of dithering about colours and settings.

I really don't like making a set of blocks without knowing how I'm going to put them together.  The times I've done that, I ended up wishing I'd not used some fabrics on the outer edges of the blocks, because it complicated choosing sashing or alternate block fabric.  I really like to have at least a mud-map of what's going to happen next.  So I wasn't going full steam ahead on the WGC blocks because I hadn't decided on what to do with them next.

I also realied that there was something I didn't like about the blocks, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  Finally it occurrred to me that I didn't like the pink triangles being so much lighter than the browns I was using. 

I want the value of all the prints to be similar, and the light pink and dark brown is off-putting.  Nice, but not the effect I really wanted.

Now I have to make a decision; make a whole other set of blocks using lighter browns with these pinks, or add in some lighter browns with the locks arlready finished,
 or change that dark corner square to something that matches the value of the pink triangles.
I have 15 blocks already finished, and lots more of the dark flying geese units made. 

In any case, I've decided that this is a good setting for the blocks I've already made; I'll make a few lighter brown blocks and throw them into the mix and see if I want to keep all the dark ones. 
This sort of block looks so much better though....

If I truly don't like the ones I"ve made, I'll set them aside and start on ones with the colour values I want. I'm determined not to let this project stall, so I will keep making units and trying different things.  I was going to say , it's not the way I usually work, but it is, really.  It's just not the way I LIKE to work.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This is how I attached the border print and made the design flow uninterrupted around the ecge.  This works for patterns that are symmetrical, but would have to be modified for a border that didn't have mirror-image symmetry, like a floral vine or something.

I cut the printed border from both sides of the yardage, giving me two long strips.  I left a couple of repeats of the pattern and then formed the first corner, just pinning it at this stage.  ( Ideally there should be the same amount of fabric on either side, but I didn't have enough to do it that way.)

 I pinned the corner in place on the quilt, and measured the strip along the side of the quilt until I got to the next corner.  I made sure I had more fabric than I needed along the side , which meant going to the next repeat, and made the next  mitred corner.
I did this with both strips, so I had all the mitres pinned roughly. 

I didn't take proper pictures of the corners when I did the border, so I made a simple mitre from scraps to show how it's done.

To get a perfect mitre I marked a 45° line on the fabric, using an easily recognisable part of the pattern as my guide, so I could do all four corners the same.  In this case I used the centrre of the sunflower motif as an easy point of reference.
 I then marked a quarter inch line on the inner edge of the border, so I would know to stop my seam short of the seam allowance, which is the key to a successful mitre..
 I made sure the pattern on the underneath strip was lined up exactly with the one on top, and pinned in several places on the mitre line. I stitched all four mitres (backstitching at the inner edge to keep the stitching from coming undone later).  The extra fabric was trimmed off to give a quarter inch seam allowance.
That mitre looks pretty good to me..
To join it to the quilt, I made a dot a quarter inch in from both sides of the corner of the quilt.
I pinned the start of the mitre seam to this dot, and sewed the seam for a few inches.
 Then I sewed the other side, for a few inches only, again matching the start of the mitre seam to the dot.
 The reason I do this is because I want those corners joined correctly before I do anything else.  If I need to unpick and reposition, it's only a few inches that I have to rip out.

This is what it looks like on the back;
and from the front.
Once I had both corners joined, I pinned the first strip to the quilt working from each corner in towards the centre; as I got closer to the centre the excess fabric became apparent. 
Then I kept pinning carefully, until a pleat could be formed to take up the extra fabric.  I did this carefully to make sure the pattern was symmetrical either side of the pleat.
I unpinned it from the quilt, for about 10" either side of the pleat, and pressed the pleat to one side, so there was a  crease to follow as I stitched the seam.  The extra fabric is trimmed away and the seam pressed open.
 And there you have a border print that is perfect in the corners, and meets halfway forming a little joining pattern.
Add the other strip to the other long side, and then join the side borders in exactly the same way.  You'll be working with two strips on the side borders, instead of making a pleat you'll be forming a seam between the two strips, but the process is the same.

It's a simple thing to do, but awkward because you're working with all the quilt bundled in your lap or on the table, but the key is to take it slowly and carefully and the result is well worth it.


Sunday, June 08, 2014

After a full night's work I finished the blue crosses quilt.  It would have been a whole lot easier if I hadn't chosen to use the border fabric, but I do love the effect of it.

Just lately I seem to be giving myself a lot of design challenges with my UFOs, and it must be because I enjoy it.  Otherwise why would I keep doing it?

The corners are wonderful, I love the way the pattern continues; I enjoyed making these mitre seams, they weren't hard at all.  The same can't be said for the rest of the border.  I had serious doubts if I could finish it without adding another fabric, there just wasn't enough to do it easily.  But I pieced in every last scrap, including the bits discarded from the mitred corners, and there was enough.
7 extra seams on that bottom piece to make it long enough.  The border was printed on both edges of the coverlet fabric, but they didn't match exactly, which made joining the pieces harder than it should have been.  There was fudging and a lot of fiddling, but I'm happy with the way it ended up.  Once it's quilted the extra seams in the border will be less noticeable.

My design wall is empty again!!  What a lovely feeling.  Now I'm going back to working on the Wild Goose Chase blocks, while I decide what to do next.  The UFO list is getting smaller, only 25 left to go, but all of them are not easy finishes.  Whatever I choose to work on will take a bit of effort but that's OK too.

These King's Crown blocks are one possiblilty, there are 30 of them and plenty more cut out; I'm absolutely determined to set them together simply, and just put a border or two on them.  Nothing complicated.
I can't believe that I'm still obsessed with finishing old projects instead of starting new ones.  I don't think this has ever happened to me before :)

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