Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We're in the middle of a summer storm, so I shouldn't be on the computer I suppose, but it's unplugged and working wirelessly, so I should be OK till the battery runs out.
If Blogger ate my last post, then something else ate my week! The days have just vanished in a whirl of driving here and there and running errands. That's one of the disadantages of living in a small town; when you need a vet or an optometrist you have to go to the nearest bigger town. We're only half an hour away, but the whole day goes by as you try to get in a few extra chores; 'While we're here, we may as well.....'

I have a quilt on Millhouse, and if the storm gets any closer I'll have to go unplug him and wait it out. I'm not going to wish the rain and lightning away, I love storms and we hardly ever have them. I'll just rearrange my day as needed.

I'm two rows away from finishing the piecing for the Tumbler quilt. It may need borders, I haven't decided yet. I had the hardest time with this simple quilt. I made it to use up a pile of blue and green fabrics that have crept into my stash over the years, and I wanted to use all or most of them. I don't want a stash of these colours. But I've been fighting with myself every step of the way; I want to go and buy MORE of them, so that the colours in the quilt are varied and interesting, with some modern ones in there.

Which is not what this quilt was about. It was to use them up entirely, not add to them. It's been such a struggle, and if I'd gone anywhere near a patchwork shop for the last three weeks I would have caved and given in. But I managed to only buy 2 FQs, and I raided Mereth's stash, and I dredged up some material from my dressmaking scraps. I am so close to finishing it without a buying spree, I just have to do those last two rows, and then the borders. Wish me luck; I'm nearly there.

There is one solitary block on my design wall; I have to go look up the name for this. I already made a red and blue quilt with this block, and now I'm making another two quilts for a presentation Mereth and I are giving later this year. These little quilts will go together easily, and I'm hoping they don't give me any grief about colours or fabrics. I have enough of these pinks and greens and creams to make many quilts.

And I finally, through sheer luck and perseverence, took a decent photo of Dolly, on one of our walks. She loves to get out and have a run; walking on a leash is OK, but putting up rabbits on the golf course is much better. She was a tired little doggie that night.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Stash Report Week 4

fabric used; 8.5m
fabric bought; 5.5m
weekly total; 3m
Year to date; 71.1m

I bought some neutrals and cheddar; I can no longer say 'You can never have too many neutrals...' Yes you can, and I have!

The fabric used was for two backings; I've cut up some yardage for projects as well, but I'll calculate that when I finish piecing them, as it's too hard to keep track as I go.

I wrote a big interesting post to go with this, and Blogger ate it without a trace. And refused to give me the link to log back on, so I couldn't even rewrite it. Bad Blogger! And now it's too late for me to bother with it today. Hmmph!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stash report week 3

Fabric In; 2.0m
Fabric Used; 13.5m
Total this week; 11.5
Total Year-to-date; 68.1

Judy is leaving me in the dust, but it's not a bad total so far. If I can just stop from buying fabric online I may see a dent in the stash this year.


I finished the binding on my table topper, so that's ready to use. I like the fabric I put on the back, it's very soft and pretty.
I also finished the binding on my vintage hexagons, it will go on my bed for the rest of the summer. I used vintage yardage on the back, and even made the binding from vintage fabric. It's my new favourite quilt.
I have 5 Lady of the Lake blocks finished, and they are really enjoyable to make. Not sure how they'll look put together, I may have to have some more colourful blocks in there as the scraps were mostly browns and dull neutrals. I'm happy with them so far, and looking forward to many more.
The blue and green tumblers are more than half finished, another day of sewing should see them in one piece. All in all I'm happy with the Quiltathon progress, it kept me stitching for longer than I normally would. When's the next one?


Friday, January 15, 2010

Quiltathon Progress Report no.1 .
One scrap drawer is empty, and all the scraps have been cut into Lady of the Lake pieces, or into strips to go into the strip drawers. And the rest has hit the bin.It feels mighty good to have whittled down the scraps to this level, and early on in the piece too. There's lots of time left this weekend to achieve other things.

First and foremost I want to get my blue and green tumblers in one piece, which isn't far off. I've been sewing them into pairs and arranging them on the design wall; now to sew them into rows. I only need 14 rows, so it shouldn't take much time. While I'm sewing I'll think about the next project to work on. I'm thinking I need to put the binding on one or two quilts, and then I can truly call them finished.


It's Friday night DownUnder, and Mereth and I have started our Quiltathon with Judy already. Millhouse is stitching on one of Mereth's tops, while she pieces a scrap quilt on Queenie. I'm cutting up a mountain of scraps from one of my Cut-it-up drawers. I aim to end up with only one drawer, instead of 3, and have a few quilt kits to show for it.

I'm cutting for a Lady of the Lake block, like this one.
I'm just rough cutting to start with. The big triangle is cut from a 5"strip, so I'm going through the scraps and cutting a 5" strip from anything that's big enough. Any leftovers I cut into 2"strips, as the small triangles are cut from those.

I have to add triangles around the other two sides to finish the block, I just sewed this together quickly to see that my measurements were right. Hmmm, it's going to need an awful lot of Half Square triangles....I layer a light and a dark strip use the Easy Angle ruler to cut two 5" HST, then cut the rest of the 5" strip into 2" strips and cut the small triangles from those. None of these strips are the full width of fabric, so most of the time I won't be able to make the whole block from the same fabrics. I'll make as many as I can using just two fabrics, then I'll use up all the spare parts making scrap blocks. It will keep me busy for a while.

Dolly likes keeping busy too. I heard a ripping sound from under the table, and this is what I saw when I investigated. This old roll of masking tape was pretty useless, not sticky enough anymore, so it went in the bin. Dolly fetched it out and decided it was just the thing to play with. I love how carefully she's holding the roll with her paws.Don't you just hate it when you can't find the end of the tape?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I have had this square tin since Christmas 1996, it's one of my favourite things. The artwork is by Lesley Anne Ivory, and her work really strikes a chord with me. I love her cats of course, but I also love the rich detailed backgrounds, with their textile themes. This one even has quilt blocks in some of the paintings; cats and quilts are a perfect partnership.
I can't find a website for her, but there's loads of images on google; I think I need to own one of her books, maybe next Christmas I'll get this book of carols, which I saw in the library. It's just gorgeous.

Why I love this tin so much is because it's the perfect size for charm packs; I don't have a huge collection of them, but the ones I do have are stored neatly away, waiting for the day when I have the courage to cut them up. I find them daunting, I'm so afraid of 'wasting' them that I can't touch them. I get them out, and look through them and dream, and then I pack them away again. If they weren't so darn expensive, $20 Australian and upwards, I'd be little more adventurous.

First fabric purchased for 2010! .75m of neutrals, from the local shop. I buy nice creams and dots whenever I see them, you can't have too many. It's a modest purchase to kick off the new buying year.


This is my design wall. I'm in between major projects, and just fooling around with various things. The hexagons are from many years ago, and they are going to be abandoned as a bed quilt, and instead used as the centre of a medallion quilt. I don't like the shape I used for the elongated hexagons, so I will decide on another hexagon shape and do that, one day. Now, I just want this out of the UFO pile.

I have a collection of blue and aqua fabrics that are earmarked for a Tumber quilt. I cut some out before Christmas, and yesterday I sewed some together to make a single strip. I will calculate how many pieces I need, and then cut out the rest of the quilt. I know I'm going to love this, the fabrics are wonderful.

Next are some equilateral triangles cut from string-pieced scraps. I have a basket full of strange shaped pieces, which I hope to string piece together for an interesting scrap quilt. However, my Inner Nazi won't let me play, rejecting everything I try to put together. 'Nasty! Waste of Time!! Throw it Away!!' she demands. I'm trying to decide if indeed I want to go on with this, (but I'll have to nobble the Nazi first) or if I should just up-end the lot into the bin and be done with it. I've not had much success with that approach in the past...

And the solitary block is another thing from my UFO list; it too has been abandoned. I'm repurposing all the fabric that was packed in the kit with it, and this will join the orphans pile. So by the end of the week I should be able to cross two UFOs off the list.

(and add the tumblers, and the string-pieced triangles....)


Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm going to try and keep a proper record of my Stash-busting this year, and I've managed that for the first 11 days.

Used this Week: 46.6 metres
Used year to Date: 56.6 metres
Added this Week: 0 metres
Added Year to Date: 0 metres
Net Used for 2010: 56.6 metres

I used most of the fabric this week making backings for 8 quilts, and that was a really easy way to get the numbers up.

This week I'll be making bindings to match, but I also hope to get a lot of scraps cut up, and some kits assembled. We're having dreadful weather, 100 degrees already at 9 this morning, and set to go a lot higher. I think I'll lock myself in the ac and cut fabric all day.


Friday, January 08, 2010

One of the things I really needed to do over the holidays was to get my hand-sewing gear in order. I have more than 10 projects on the go, and it seemed that I could never find anything I wanted, or when I did track down a project some vital piece would be missing. So I went through every cupboard in every room and collected it all in one spot.
A long time ago I decided it was not an extravagance to have multiples of items I used constantly, like thimbles, scissors and needles. Later I added magnifying glasses to that list, because I can't do a thing if I can't find my glasses. And it's very difficult to find a needle that is perfectly suited to your way of stitching, so I tend to buy packets of different brands and types every time I'm in a patchwork or sewing shop.I have quite a few now, but I need to make a list of what I have, because I"ve obviously been buying the same thing over and over, and I still don't know which one is my favourite. Time to record my thoughts on each of these, so that I know which ones to replace, and which ones I need never buy again. It will be a while before I need to buy Luixin needles, because I have 7 packets!!

The needlebooks are a great success, so I would like to make a few more of them, maybe a few sets of matching pincushions and needlebooks. I should be making lots of gorgeous little things, instead of just whipping up something to fill the need.The thread needs a jolly good sort out, and then the ones I need for particular projects can go back into the kit, and the rest can return to the thread stash. If I'd been looking for my silk thread I would never have thought to look for it where it was, hidden in a box of templates; I must be more organised this year!
And the templates need to be sorted and filed in clear plastic pockets and labelled. No more digging and flinging things about trying to locate something I know I have. It never takes long to restore order, and I'm always grateful to be able to put my hands on things straight away.

One thing surprised me; I only found two thimbles. I have sewn with a thimble since I was 6 years old, and always have them handy. I must have bought at least a dozen of the nice brass ones, and yet there are only two here. That can't be allowed; it's off to the LQS to stock up again.
I like using lots of different containers to hold my sewing things. Mereth and I have often bought boxes of toffees or chocolates, just so we can use the container afterwards; the kids used to be encouraged to eat all the goodies so we'd have the container sooner.

Next time I go shopping I will buy thimbles and some more scissors, and I'll make up 6 complete sewing kits; needle book, thimble, scissors, pincushion, magnifying glasses and thread. Then there won't be a reason why I can't work on a project when I want to.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Another top has been quilted, for a total of seven over the holiday break. This is my verandah quilt, from a few months ago. The table topper was quilted before this, and is just waiting for it's binding; looks like I have to have a binding marathon like Judy. I bound the Starstruck already, but that leaves six still in line. None of them are big quilts, but it will take a while none-the-less.

I used up 28m in one day, making backings for the next 6 quilts; 6 bindings will need another 3 metres, so my stash-busting report will be quite healthy.Plus I used up some scraps finishing this top, which was a UFO from last year. I'm not finished with this pattern, I have a variation to make next. I think I'll call it Button Box, because the design forms circles and centres like buttons. The variation will be in a planned colour scheme, not scrap like this; I want to see how heavily I can emphasize the circular aspect of the design.

Dolly is good company in the workroom, and not much escapes her notice. We noticed her watching a spot in front of her nose the other day, very alert and intent. There was a tiny ant trekking across the carpet, and Dolly followed his progress for a good 10 minutes, fascinated and twitching with excitement.

Alas, I think she ate him in the end, or snorted him up her nose or something. Either way he vanished.
We get just as much pleasure out of watching her.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Yesterday didn't turn out quite the way I planned. Dolly had to go to the vet because she's had a runny nose, and that usually means a grass seed up there; she had to have an anaesthetic so the vet could investigate. He didn't find whatever was causing the problem, unfortunately, so she's got antibiotics and we'll just have to wait and see if she can sneeze it out, poor baby.

She took a while to come out of the anaesthetic, so I didn't make it to the afternoon tea; instead I was baby-sitting a hysterical, unco-ordinated dog. She kept staggering around and trying to lick my face, and bumping into tables and chairs and doors; I just tried to stop her hurting herself. She spent some time in her crate once the worst of it had worn off; she was a bit miserable, and I bet her nose hurt from having forceps up it too.

Later on I did manage to get the borders on the double nine-patch, even though it took a lot longer than I thought it would. That little border of 1" squares was very fiddly, and it's a good thing it turned out so well. I'd hate to think of doing that much work and then not liking the result. I love this top, and it's going to be the summer quilt for my spare bed, so I'd better get it quilted soon. It looks so fresh and cool, but antique too. I'm glad I used the conversation prints, it really brings the blocks to life.

And today I even managed another finish; this tabletopper from November 208. It only needed a row of 2" strips around the outside, I can't believe I put this off for so long. But it was a super easy way to cross another UFO off the list, and I'm going to quilt this quite soon, because I will love having this on the table and admiring all those scraps.

Every year Mereth and I choose a word to focus on; this year my word is Record. I want to start recording my stash-busting efforts, the fabric that comes in, the UFOs that are on the shelves, the projects I start, the quilts I finish. But 'record' can also mean the highest or best achievement, so I'd like 2010 to be a record year for the number of quilts finished and goals achieved. With that in mind I'm off to the sewing room to start writing down what's in all those storage containers, and I'm going to label them all too. Hopefully I'll be able to find things when I need them in future....

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