Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Well that went together quickly at the end.  While I was sewing the blocks together I was thinking about fabric that would do for the borders,and I remembered a top I made in 2012.  I'd chosen the borders, cut the strips and sewn them into long lengths, and suddenly another fabric demanded to be the borders.  So I put the prepared borders in a drawer for later, and went with the new choices.  This top was the same colours, so maybe those old borders would work.

I went digging, and amazingly found them exactly where I thought they would be.  That doesn't happen very often around here. And my hunch was right, they were just what I had in mind for this top.

So the borders were attached in triple quick time, and now I have another top to mark off my list.
I love it when things all come together, with not a lot of effort on my part.  That means I can get started on the next project even sooner.  I think it's time to tackle the borders on those Economy blocks;  they are going to take a lot more work than this one did.


Monday, October 08, 2018

The North Wind blocks are on the design wall, while I try to work out a plan for the final arrangement.  I'm sewing them into sets of four, and then I'll rearrange them so that the various colours and fabric are evenly distributed.  I'd like to audition a few border ideas too,and get an idea of what the finished quilt will be.

Of course I've made things difficult for myself.  In the early days of this project I sewed some units into this block,
and some into this one. 
Now I'll have to piece them all together on the design wall, adding other units to join them into larger pieces that actually fit together.  That's one of the pitfalls with working on things sporadically over a long period of time; you forget what you were doing to start with, and carry on with something else.  Oh well, once I have them all in one piece it won't matter, it's just that I have to concentrate, instead of mindlessly sewing sets of four blocks.

I started this as a true leader-ender, just cutting up scraps and leaving them by the machine to sew in between my 'real' sewing.  They've been brilliant for that; they've stayed in the background instead of taking over, as so many of my leader-enders do.  But I have 105 blocks made, and it's time to make some decisions while  I sew the last 15 blocks.  I still have a lot of pieces cut, so I could just go full-steam ahead and get this done, or continue to sew it between other projects.  So many decisions.

It will have plain borders, there is enough triangle stuff going on in the middle, it needs a calm border to frame it all and contain it.  I'm leaning towards a greeny-brown, or a browny-green.  I just hope I have something suitable in the stash drawers, because I don't want to be visiting patchwork shops trying to find the perfect borders.  I had enough of that with the Checkered Lattice.


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

I'm going to have to take stock of all the projects that are on the go, and decide which ones get put at the top of the list.  I'm not used to having so many started; I have plenty of UFOs, so I'm used to that, but these are all WIPs that I"m currently working on.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I need to sort things out.  There are piles of pieces and stacks of fabric everywhere and I need to make some sense of it.

1.  I need to collect all the leftovers from the Farmhouse quilt and organise them so I can make more blocks for an on-point version.

There's two more boxes of bits, I probably won't have to cut any more pieces for the second quilt.

2.  Economy quilt -  finish Flying Geese for borders , design borders and add
There's a few design decisions to be made, and that's putting me off.  I jut need to get this up on the wall and work at it until I've decided what to do.  Actually sewing it will be the easy part.
3.  Shirtings Churn Dash - need to cut more strips and then pack the shirtings away

4.  Blue brown Ohio Star  - I'm loving these 6" blocks, I cut the little triangles with an Accuquilt die, which make it so easy.  They go together perfectly, despite the tiny size.
5.  Pretty Tumblers- borders - this need 2 more rows, then borders.  The fabric is all picked out, the pieces are cut, just have to put it up on the design wall. Maybe I need two design walls?

6.  Beloved - I'm saving these blocks.  I have about 30 kitted up, and fabric selected for 30 more.  I won't let myself sew them just yet, because they are such fun.  I need to do some work and finish things off before I  get back to these.
7.  Country Cousin  -  these blocks use the same pieces as the North Wind blocks, so they are my backup plan to use all the leftovers from that.  They will eventually be leader-enders, once the North Wind  blocks are done, these will take their place.

8.  North Wind - on the design wall and galloping towards a finish.  I'm sewing these and the Ohio Star blocks at the same time, and it's hard to say which is the main project, and which is the leader-ender.  Once I start joining the North Wind blocks together they will become the priority sewing.
At least I've finished the blue quilt, so that means I can pack up every last bit of blue fabric and put it away.
There are a huge number of leftover strips and scraps, and I'm debating whether I should cut them into squares or just give them to Mereth.  She's not as enamored of blue as I am, so I don't think she'll welcome all this blue.  Oh well, by the time I've finished cleaning up I will have made a decision.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

The blue Framed Squares quilt is finished, after a marathon effort on my part.

Last week I took what I'd done down to the shop and tried it on the QS bed.  I was horrified to see that it wasn't big enough in any direction, I can't imagine what I was thinking when I stopped piecing the blocks.  It was barely big enough for a single bed.  I must be losing my grip on reality.

I came home and started cutting, then found the block pieces I'd thought were leftovers.  I made another 34 blocks in one sewing session, then joined them together in another, and finally stayed up very late one night attaching the borders.  It's way too big to fit on my design wall, so it was back to the shop the next day to put it on the bed.
I really drive Mereth nuts.  I get to a certain stage in most of my projects and I HATE what I've done.  I moan and complain and  tell her I"m going to throw it all in the bin because it's so horrible.  I grit my teeth and plough on, just because I have to finish it.  Then when the final stitch is done, I hang it on the design wall and fall in love all over again.  The adult part of my
mind ignores all the whinging and doubting, and makes me finish what I've started.  I just wish that other annoying voice that undermines my confidence would quit trying to influence me.....


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I'm keen to be working on another top, but there are other things that keep demanding my time.  We had a meal with friends on Monday night, 10 of us got together for dinner under the stars at Deb's place.  I cooked two veggie dishes that afternoon, so there was no sewing time then.

It was a beautiful evening, drinks at sunset, dinner served at dusk and stretching into the night.  It was good to relax and just be with friends, and appreciate the garden filled with wisteria and roses.  Delightful.

I finally made time at the sewing machine and put the borders on the Checkered Lattice quilt.

I love the way it turned out, so different from my usual palette.  It was fun to make, I would definitely make another one if I needed a quick quilt.  The thing that took the most time with this was trying to find the border fabric; I haven't even thought about the backing and binding, I don't know I have anything suitable in these colours, so I will have to keep looking when I'm next in a patchwork shop.

This is the fourth top I've finished this year, which is so much better than last year when I finished exactly none.  I have two other close-to-finished tops in my project boxes, and I think I will work on one of those next.  It's a good feeling to cross these old projects off the list.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

The days don't seem to go quickly, but the weeks are flying by.  There's so much around here that I want to do, and I work at several projects a day which is satisfying, but all of a sudden a week has gone by and nothing is finished.   I know that I'm primarily a Process quilter, I quilt just for the pleasure of it, but it's nice to have a finished Product every now and then.  And this year has been pretty woeful on the  finishes.

Yesterday we had a family lunch at our brother Doug's place.  Our other brother Greg and his wife drove down from Port Augusta, and we had a leisurely lunch that stretched out till 5.30.  We had such a good time sitting around the table with glasses of red wine, and then tea and coffee, swapping stories from our childhood.. Doug is 13 years older than Mereth and I, and Greg is 3 years older.  Doug's memories are so different from ours, he was a young adult while we were little children, plus he was a wild boy, and a wilder young man, so he has a lot of tales to tell.  He drove our parents to distraction at times, some of his exploits are family legend.  We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon of reminiscing.

I came home and started sewing, determined to finish the quilt on the design wall.  I've been working on it consistently this week, and I had the centre in one piece, so I just had to work out the corner blocks and attach the borders.  I was so relieved when I took the last stitch and hung the finished top on the design wall.

 This is the corner block I came up with, I just love those little strips.
I started this in June, it's been a fun project to work on while I lived in Adelaide and it helped use up a pile of scraps.  It generated a lot too, so I still have a box of 1.25" strips, but at least they're different fabric from the old ones.

I changed my mind about the size of it.  I have a double bed, and I decided I would actually like to use this myself so it was no use making it as large as the pattern.  That meant less blocks, and because I used a border I needed even less blocks. I only used 320, instead of the 520 I was planning on. 
I have about 30 leftover, and they are going to be the start of another quilt like this, but set on point.  I will do these as leader-enders I think, while I move on to a new project.  Or......

Maybe I'll tackle one of these boxes and sort out another WIP.  I would like to whittle down that stack of boxes, and add another finished top to the list.  It's fun choosing what to work on next.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I've been easing back into life at home, pottering about and fiddling with projects here and there.   Mereth and I have had fun going out to dinner with friends, catching up with family, having coffee in a new coffee shop.  Both of us spend so much time helping with our grandkids, it's nice to just have time on our own, without the babies.  We miss them,  but we're never away from them for long anyway.

I've been spinning in my spare time, which I find really relaxing and absorbing.  Once I've decided what sort of yarn I want to make I just have to concentrate on keeping the thread the right thickness, until I've filled up the bobbin. Patchwork involves decisions all the time, which is what makes it interesting and exciting, but it takes a lot of mental work as well.

These two are going to be plied together to make a jacket for Isla for next winter.  Plying handspun with a commercial yarn  makes the handspun thread go much further.  It feels a bit like cheating, but I'll be knitting much sooner than if I had to spin another bobbin.

 I made a few more of the little blocks over several days, just fiddling with pieces, until yesterday I decided I needed to make some significant progress.  It involved a bit of tidying up first, because the sewing room is still a mess, and there's a lot of new fabric to organize.
 I'm entirely OK with that, I've been buying for projects, not just for stash, so I will use a lot of these straight away.

Once I had a clear cutting table I went full steam ahead on cutting pieces for the border. I cut and sewed, until I had enough pieces on the design wall to see that my border idea was going to work. 
It's like a piano key, but the widths of the strips correspond to the blocks, which will make it easy to attach.  I'll invent some sort of corner block when I get to the stage of assembling it all.  I have about one third of the quilt in one piece, and all but 25 of the blocks finished, so the end is in sight.  I'm getting excited about seeing this come together.

I was really making progress, until I spilled my coffee all over the cutting mat and a pile of freshly cut strips. As a child I was always known  for being the clumsy one in the family, and it hasn't changed apparently.  I don't know if the strips will be usable after being washed and ironed, they may shrink.  Oh well, they can go in the scrap bag for some crumb piecing.  I think I'm going to ban myself from drinking coffee at the cutting table in future, I can't be trusted.

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