Thursday, August 07, 2014

I've sewn the basket blocks together, but discovered a major mistake when I started adding the setting triangles.  They were too small, or rather some of them were too small.  They should have been cut from a 11.5" square, cut twice diagonally; who knows what measurement I cut, but it wasn't enough.  I wasn't going to tear my hair out or weep bitter salty tears, so I just shrugged and sewed it all together.  My quilt,my rules.

 This was never going to be a competition quilt, and I'll like it just as much with the points of the blocks chopped off at the edge.  Mereth is having more of a problem with it than me, but there's not enough fabric to recut the triangles, and there's that I-don't-care-a-bit thing too.  My motto is Aim For Perfect, Accept What You Get.

Of course I made another mistake too, because I mislaid the photo of the antique quilt and put my blocks together the way I thought they should go.  When I found the photo (about an hour after I completed the top) I realised that there are half-baskets all around the edges, not plain fabric triangles.  Sigh.  I'm not pulling anything apart, so it will stay the way it is.  I just adore this block and it was so much fun to put together, I can see me making another quilt in this pattern some day soon.

I am going to put a tiny border of triangles around the edge, but I think I planned to do that anyway.

Why didn't I write out a plan of attack and store it with the kitted pieces?  I must try to do better next time.

I'm getting close to having 20 UFOs crossed off the list, so I want to get busy on another couple of them.  I have trouble using one for leader-enders, as I get rather confused, so I succumbed to another project.  A while back Bonnie posted pictures of a red and yellow nine-patch,  from her Leaders & Enders book.  I've always loved that quilt;  I had the book and the fabrics, nine-patches are the perfect leader-ender, it's a huge quilt so I wouldn't have to think about other leader-enders for ages.  I can talk myself into anything.

I'm glad to be working with such strong colours, glad to be using up all that yellow that I accumulated, and glad that I've weeded all the shirtings and reds out of my scrap drawers.  And it will be fun to piece a scrap backing for this once it's finished.

We are having bitterly cold nights and early mornings, I have to chip the ice off my car every morning;

it makes such pretty patterns, I would love fabric like this.
Then it heats up so that the afternoons are almost too warm.  It feels like spring already, so I have to get busy in the garden.  I dug up a nice crop of yacon last month, and have 2 buckets full of the crowns ready to plant again, so I need a whole bed just for them.  It's taken two years for them to produce a decent crop, so I want to make sure that I always have enough plants to have a steady supply. They are so sweet, like a super crunchy carrot, and they're supposed to have a lot of health benefits.  If I don't grow them myself I'll never have them, as they are not in shops anywhere here.

 I also need to plant out hibiscus and crysanthemum, gerberas and geraniums, daisies and gazanias.  There are climbing roses and jasmines that need trellises, and the existing wicking beds readied for spring plantings.  Part of me is cross that we're missing out on a proper winter, and part of me is glad that is perfect gardening weather already.  I can't change it, so I might as well celebrate it.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Yet another catch-up post is necessary, as life has been busy and I'm too dis-organised to blog daily.

We spent last week quilting and binding this large Farmer's Wife quilt.  I did a double clamshell in the centre, as the darker colours of the blocks meant the quilting wouldn't show particularly well; then Mereth did a lovely freehand feather in the plain border, and it made the quilt really come to life.  We collaborate well on projects like this, where she doesn't want to do the panto bit, and I don't want to do the fancy border.  I also applied the binding on this, 11 strips to get round the edge; I'm glad I gave it back to the customer to handsew down.

Once we were finished with that we were free to run away to Adelaide for the weekend, so we left at lunchtime Friday.  We took Dolly with us, so it wasn't a quick trip; there were two stops so she could run around on the grass and have a  break.  She was a very good traveller though, I was impressed at how sensible she was.

We went all the way across Adelaide to get to our favourite patchwork shop, Tricia's.  There was only an hour of shopping left by that time, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.  I picked up some more batiks, of course,

and more neutrals;

I had no particular quilt in mind, so I went with the staple choices that I know I will use. 

I also added two charm packs, just for fun; I've got a basket pattern on the drawing board, and the charm pack will work well with that. My fabric chart has climbed rapidly the last few weeks; 16m in the last fortnight alone.  I've purchase over 86 metres this year, not one of my better efforts, but I've used 124 metres.  That means the stash isn't expanding, but it's not being drastically reduced either!

Then it was back to my DD's place, to wait for her to get home from work.  There is a dog park on her block, so we went there with Dolly to run off some energy.  She behaved perfectly, ignored the other dogs and ran herself ragged chasing her ball. 

When it was time to leave she carted it up the steps and out the gate, so cute!  She was being quite the dapper urban dog, until she found a puddle that was very tasty, and cooled her hot belly in it.  That's not very sophisticated.....

We had a lovely night with Seonaid, watching DVDs and the infomercial channels, which never cease to amaze me.  I don't have a TV, so I don't get to see all that rubbish normally, and we just watch it and laugh and laugh.  Such weird people, improbable products, impossible claims.  Very entertaining.

The next day we had breakfast at a really nice coffee place, Coffee Barun;
wonderful breakfast menu.  There was enough time to go home and do some washing and housework before we went back for lunch with Mereth's family at the same coffee shop.  There was a moment when it looked like we would actually squabble over who would hold the baby first, but Mereth played the Grandmother card, and trumped the rest of us.  Seonaid held her while we all finished our lunch; little Isobel was perfectly behaved, sitting and staring fascinated at the world around her, as any 2-month old girl would. 
She's going to be very familiar with coffee shop society, as her parents and auntie and uncle are coffee afficionados.

Home again, to get the evening meal sorted, as everyone came to Seonaid's place.  We had a lovely meal, lots of good conversation and much baby-snuggling.  She's such a good little girl!  Dolly loved the attention too. It would be wonderful to have all the family living close by, we just don't get to see enough of each other.

We came home Sunday, very tired, and now it's time to pick up where we left off.  I'm keen to make some headway on more UFOs, so I'll be working hard on the vintage rosettes. 
 I could have taken them on our trip, but chose my knitting instead; I'll need to put in some solid hours of handsewing to get this back on track.  I have to put blue diamonds on another two rows, then I'll be able to start sewing it all into one piece.

These basket blocks are close to completion; I need 30, and I have 20 finished and the rest sewn into units ready to put together.  It's a project I set aside after the first rush of enthusiasm passed; it was all kitted up and I didn't touch it again till last week. Now it's nearly finished, and I have no memories of making it;  I don't like it when that happens.  I don't seem to have concentrated on it enough while I was sewing, and it's as if someone else did it.  I must be more focused on what I'm doing in future.

It's a lovely sunny day here, but cold with it.  My fingers are frozen, so I'm off to thaw them on a cup of coffee.  And then I intend to sew for the rest of the afternoon; those basket blocks are as good as done!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

I've been flitting from one project to another lately, and not making much progress on anything.  I did some work in the garden, finished some customer quilts, spent a weekend with my DD which was fun;  there was a lot of handsewing on the vintage hexagons, and I finished knitting a shawl and a scarf.  I haven't felt like sitting at the sewing machine though; the cold I had made me miserable and I just couldn't get warm enough, so I spent lots of time tucked up in bed with the dog and my knitting.  Dolly certainly approved, she loved the company, but I'm better now, so she will have the bed to herself.

On Tuesday I finally put the King's Crown top together, and then spent the next 5 days trying to find the perfect border fabrics for it.  I was going to slap a green plaid on it and call it done, but Mereth vetoed that very firmly.  I must have pulled out every fabric I owned, but nothing seemed to work, and I really didn't want to buy anything.  All the greens looked dull, the browns were horrible, reds made the sashing look brown and tans made it look pink.  AAGGHHH!

  Finally I tried a madder print, and that was what I was looking for, at last!
I spent the weekend quilting a Farmer's Wife quilt, and it was a big one, 87 x 104". While the Statler was stitching I managed to get the borders pieced and attached, so all in all it was a productive weekend.

Now I have to put away all the fabric I pulled out, and tidy up the mess of scraps and leftovers.  Then I need to pick another UFO to work on, how exciting.  I've finished 17 so far this year, and I'm still enthusiastic about the rest on the list. 

I'm plodding away at these hexagons, but it's slow going.
I worked out it takes an hour and a half to attach the diamonds across each row, and that could have made me feel worse, knowing how much is left to do,  Instead it gave me hope, because I know I can do one row a night if I just focus on it; I can have diamonds on all the rows by the end of the week, and it all joined into one piece by the end of next week.  All it takes is a bit of dedication and a lot of stitching.  I can do that!  (Pressing those seams is going to be horrible though....)
Our last trip to Jamestown was to pick up a layby at the patchwork shop; a batik jellyroll is tempting me to start a new project, and I think I've earnt that after all those UFOs I've worked on.  I need to get my first batik quilt on the go, the longer I leave it the more apprehensive I get.  I need to just cut into those precious fabrics and start enjoying them. 


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.

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