Saturday, June 20, 2015

The only sewing that has taken place in the last few weeks are these Split 9Patch blocks, and I haven't been really enthusiastic about them.  
I think I need to start something else, to get my quilting mojo back.  It seems like there are a dozen things I'd rather do with my spare time, so I haven't spent much time at the machine at all.  Part of the problem was pressing the blocks; there is going to be a fair bit of mashing the seam allowances together as the blocks are joined, and that really irritates me.  I've been pressing half the blocks with all the seams toward the centre, and half the other way.  Hopefully this will give me a fair chance of having opposing seams, but it will all depend on the layout.  

I played around in EQ7 and came up with a heap of layouts for 144 blocks, which will be 72" square.  
 This is the one I'm going with; I like the star  and the chevrons, and those blue blocks in the corners.  The edge is dark, which will allow me to add a light skinny border all the way around, and then a pieced border of all the leftover bits.  




I have 83 blocks finished,
 and enough HSTs for another 50.
 I think it's safe to say there will be a lot of leftover squares and HSTs, so the border is the perfect place for them.  I'll think about that while I put the remaining blocks together, and hopefully I'll have a bright idea sometime soon.

I'm so ready to pack away all the blues and start something new; a Batik quilt is high on my Want To Do list, and I'm sure the wonderful fabrics will be an incentive.  I just have to get this lot finished first.

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

I haven't really been inclined to do any sewing lately, I've been much more interested in spinning and knitting.This is the fourth year that I've been spinning, and it's beginning to become second nature.  I've produced a lot of wool that's scratchy and over spun and lumpy, and finally I've got all that newby stuff out of the way and the yarn I'm making is useable.  There's still so many areas I can improve, and I have to perfect the techniques, but I'm happy with what I've done so far this year. 

I bought this beautiful multi-coloured fleece, and I'll have fun turning it into knitting yarn. 

This gorgeous Merino fleece is the finest I've ever worked with, it's like a cobweb.  It's a challenge, and I need to get better at spinning Merino before I tackle a large project with it, I don't want to waste it.
I'm using the lighter grey areas to make a little lace-weight scarf, and it's so soft it's like a dream.  By the time I finish this little project I should have improved my spinning technique and then I'll be confident enough to make enough yarn for a shawl.  I'll be able to grade the colours from light to dark, all from this one fleece; the sheep is called Fruitcake, and I hope I can get another of his fleeces next year.

I think I'm a bit jaded with the quilting projects that need finishing, and there's only one thing to do in that situation; finish them all, and start something inspiring.  So this morning I set to and attached the borders to the Cracker quilt, and I'm calling it Done.
 It may get a little blue border later on, or not; at this stage I'm happy with how it looks and it's in the To-Be-Quilted pile.  Next up are the cheddar and blue four-patches, and I actually feel a bit excited to be working on them, so that's a good sign. 

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where to start?  The last three weeks are just a blur, so many family events, so much work, and hardly any sewing.  I'm a little bit unhinged from all the activity, we had a great time of course, but I need a little bit of solitude this week.  I hope I haven't jinxed anything by saying that.

I intend to get some sewing time in this afternoon, after I see to the necessary work, and I will be sewing on the units for the Cracker border.  I came home one night, after a long day of social stuff, and sewed 100 HSTs all at once, then ironed them.  That was nice, mindless, busywork. 

Now I'm ready to make them into Broken Dishes blocks and join them to the quilt, and then I will be able to write that into the stash report.  WooHoo!

I also started another project as a leader-ender.  I've been admiring Bonnie's Split 9-patch, and suddenly decided to make it in blues and yellow-creams, to use up the huge amount of scraps I've been generating with my blue quilts. 
It's such an easy block, and even easier if the triangles are cut with the AccuQuilt.

I'm going to have fun laying the blocks out in different patterns, I'm a long way from having to make a decision so it's pure fun to finish each block and put it on the design wall.

I also made a couple of blocks to see if they were suitable for a scrap reduction project, and I quite like them.

I like the dark grey backgrounds, and they are super easy, so I might kit up a few more.  I don't have the time right now, but the blocks can just sit there until I do.

In other news, I am back sewing on my Beloved, my Singer 538.  I managed to source another power cord for her, not an exact match, but it works. I answered an ad on Gumtree, a local online sales site, and went round to see two sewing machines.  I was really surprised to see that the seller was a young man, and he showed me his collection of vintage machines that he restores himself.  It was so interesting to meet a fellow enthusiast; when I told him how many machines I owned he called out to his Mum in the next room 'There's someone here with more machines than me!', and she came out to have a chat, and also showed me a chevron quilt he'd made and quilted on his Singer 201.  He'd done a great job, how wonderful to be quilting so early in life.


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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where was I?  I seem to have spent most of April driving, 1800km back and forth to Adelaide, and all over the city.  I'm relieved to have a bit of time at home now.

My DS is back in Queensland, we had a wonderful time together.  We spent the last five days of his visit in Adelaide with DD, and we took Dolly with us.  She didn't mind, and had four adults to lavish attention on her, she was so spoilt.  We took her with us to National Parks and many dog parks,

so she got to do the tourist thing too. 
 She even came to a dog-friendly cafe for lunch!

What a whirlwind it was, so many sights to see, so much Traffic!  I'm not cut out for the city.....

And now I'm home, and I hardly know what to do with myself.  I'm plugging away at the blocks on the design wall, nearly finished, but I'm not feeling much love for them anymore.
 I'm ready for something that doesn't involve triangles, or the colour red.  I like it as an accent, but I'm over it in these blocks. 
I gritted my teeth, put NCIS on the TV and sewed for hours; the result was two of the borders pieced, and that just about tipped me over the edge into hysteria.  All that work, and now I had to do it all again for the remaining two borders? 
I wasn't impressed.  I'm on the verge of putting it away, and using the HSTs I need as leader-enders while I work on something else. 
I need 120 more of them, and I can't decide whether to plod on and make them all in one go, or do them in little bits.  While I'm at work this morning I'll come to a decision, and when I get back I will jump right into it.  I've got some catching up to do.



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Monday, April 13, 2015

Time is a precious commodity these days, there is just so much that we're trying to fit in.  DS is halfway through his holiday, and after a week of visiting family here and in Adelaide he departed on a trip to Wilpena Pound, where he and seven others will ride their mountain bikes around the Flinders Ranges National Park.  It's difficult country to walk in, let alone ride a bike, but it's all about the challenge; he declares it boring to ride on a road, and loves riding up hills.  He didn't get that from me, at the slightest incline I would get off and push my bike up, and I pretty much loathe bikes anyway.

He went for several training rides beforehand, and while he vanished into the distance at a great rate of knots I walked along much more sedately with Dolly. 
When he was looking at my photos later he said, 'I didn't see any of that, I was just concentrating on the ride'.  Everything is a trade-off; he added to his fitness and I didn't, but I got to stop and snap pictures of anything that interested me.
When he first arrived down here I was shocked at how thin he seemed; then we went to a bike shop so he could get some parts.  Every man in the shop looked exactly like him, tall, thin, fit, very short hair, like a Brotherhood of the Bike.  I guess it's just a body type; if you want to ride well, you need to get rid of the weight.

He will be back at the end of the week, and my holiday will resume; I'm working this week while he is away.  So there will be lots more family visits, then down to Adelaide to ride a couple of the trails there, and then he goes home again.  It's been so wonderful to have both my son and daughter together with me again; they were playing some shooting game on the X-box, and I smiled when I heard Shonny saying "We have to get you a better gun Rhys, come up these steps, and I'll protect you while you get it."  Always the big sister, even in a zombie game......

He and Izzy got on just fine;she had her first taste of chocolate, and she thought it was pretty darn good.

We've been staying up late, talking and playing cards, so not a chance of any sewing taking place.  But I don't want to waste of moment of this time with my family, and the quilts are waiting patiently for me.  We all know Family trumps Quilts!  I have 3 more nights on my own, so I will work as hard as I can to get the blocks on the design wall finished, and that will please me greatly.  I'm getting a leeetle bit tired of them, but I have a secret weapon; series 11 of NCIS should keep me glued to the machine.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

While I was cleaning up a file drawer I discovered this sample card from long ago.

 My friend ran a patchwork shop, and she gave me this when these prints were discontinued. 
These Concord prints were available for many, many years, not like today when fabric ranges have been and gone in 6 months.  Because they were available for so long, most of my early quilts contain these prints, so it's a trip down memory lane to see all these swatches again.

 I must admit, I still have some of these in my stash, and they are still useable, and some are still lovely.
 I bought lots of them at Spotlight for $2 a metre on sale, and used them for backings and borders and setting blocks, and I still adore some of them.
 I used samples from other quilt shops to make half inch hexagons, and that project is nowhere near complete. 
I called it my 60 year quilt; it would either take 60 years to complete, or I would be 60 years old when I finished it. 
I was 42 at the time, and 60 seemed a looooong way off.  I figure I've got 3.5 years left to finish it before my 60th birthday, so I'd better get a move on, hadn't I?
 Those hexagons look awful small, don't they?  These ditsy little prints were perfect for such small scale work, because they are still recognisable in each little hexagon.  In fact the swatch card says;
"Any print small enough to be recognised in a 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" swatch."

I've kept this card for so long that I really can't throw it out now; it's Archival, and so it has to be preserved.  It can go back in the drawer for now, and come out again on my 60th birthday, when I'm celebrating the finish of that hexagon quilt.........

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

My friend Kaye is a fellow Welsh Quilting enthusiast, and she sent me this link, for a video of Jen Jones talking about her collection of quilts and blankets.  I am definitely going to have to go to this place, if I ever get to visit the UK; I imagine I would hyperventilate with that many antique quilts around me.  How wonderful that she collected and preserved all those textiles when it was so unfashionable to love them.

I've been so busy with work that there has been no sewing at all for weeks, which is a sad state of affairs.  My Beloved Singer 538 has had another setback, she just stopped one day, and there's no power going to her motor.  So I have to see if I can get an expert to fix her, I'm not going to muck about with electrics.  Oh well, it's not as if I don't have other machines......

Yes, the collection is substantial, and I moved another shelf unit in, so that they could all be stored in one spot.  There is an empty shelf, in case I find a machine or two that I just have to have, but I'm not looking right now.
The Bernina 730s are in those green cases on the second shelf; I pulled out the nicest one, and now I"m sewing on her.  It's not the same, but she's a sweet thing. Still without a name, I think she'll end up being Bernie, how predictable.

Less than a week till my DS arrives, and I am going to have time off from work for the first time in two years!  I'm looking forward to spending time with both my kids, and being able to sleep in, and stay up late if I want.  Holidays are a good thing.

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