Monday, July 18, 2011

There are Jacob's Ladder quilts all over Blogland at the moment; I originally saw Lucy's and had to make my own, then Quiltville's  Bonnie put up the instructions for her Florabunda quilt, and then lots of people made one. Yankee Quilter  has one, and so does Lynn, and Subee as well.  This block can look so different when it's coloured in different ways, and there are even more variations when the colouring is reversed in half the blocks.

One thing that can really annoy me when putting blocks together side by side is the way the seam allowances build up.  I took care to press the seams a certain way to eliminate that problem, and when the time came to put the blocks together there wasn't a single seam that didn't butt neatly together. 

I had to draw a little diagram and leave it by the ironing board, because I forgot what I was doing every single day.  I found the idea for this little note holder on Sew many Ways blog.  She has a ton of good ideas on how to use everyday items in the sewing room or office; just click on the Tool Time button on the side. 

This is a double-sided photo frame from Ikea, but it's also useful to display notes and reminders on a crowded desk.  I slipped my diagram into the frame behind the photo, so whenever I needed to check what I was doing I could just swivel the frame around.

I'll have to do a series of posts on how Ikea has revolutionised my sewing room; everywhere I look I see something from that store!  It's one of my favourite places to visit.

Basically what I did was press the dark chain blocks one way, and the light chain blocks the opposite way.  I made sure to position all the four patches so that both seam allowances that touched the outside edge went to the dark fabric.  It was no extra work to position them like this, and it certainly paid off when I put the blocks together.  I just hate having to mash seam allowances flat and hope they stay that way.

Bonnie's instructions show how to fan the seam allowances so that they match up at the edge of the block; I didn't bother with that, because on this block the fourpatches can be positioned so that the seam allowances mesh together anyway.

Because I didn't add a border I ran a line of stitching around the outside of the quilt, so that all those seams would be held tight.
My tops tend to wait a while before they get quilted, and if they don't have a border and are handled too much  the seams can start coming apart.  It was the work of minutes to stabilise the edges, and now I don't have to worry about those seams unravelling anymore.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally I have time to write a post, and I've finished something and I have the photos.  It's so hard to get all three things lined up, that's why two weeks have gone by since the last entry.  This year is going so quickly, everyone I talk to says the same thing.  It will be Christmas before we know it.

 The Jacob's Ladder is in one piece and I love the way it turned out.  I made 63 blocks, which was quite enough.  It will make a nice large single bed quilt, and I enjoyed them enough to think that I will one day make a larger quilt from these blocks.  I think a blue and white one would be really stunning, so that will go into the ideas file for later.

I love all these fabrics together, I tried to use ones that I treasured and hadn't cut into before, but I also used up the very last scraps of some of my favourites.  That material in the top right of the photo was bought in 1981, and I have eked it out over the last 30 years.  This is it's last time in the scrap drawer, all gone now!

My garden is putting on a brave show in this cold, rainy weather.  Everything is rather waterlogged, but the pansies are battling the conditions to put a little colour into my life. 
I just love these antique ruffled ones, I will definitely look out for them next year.  I love the plain ones, but these look to be straight off a Victorian postcard. 


Friday, July 01, 2011

Life has been insanely busy just lately, and this weekend will be no exception.  I'm just taking a moment to post a few pictures before I go back to work.  I have a monthly digital pattern club that is due out in two days time, so I have to get all those designs tidied up and ready to send.  Busy busy busy.

I have done so much travelling lately, and that cuts into my time in a big way, but it's unavoidable.  I've had to take both computers to the computer guy, in two separate trips, and he lives 45 minutes away.  Then there have been trips to drop things off for customers, and shopping excursions for essentials.  I love the scenery and and the actual driving, but it means I have to stay up late catching up on work.  I'm seriously sleep deprived.

We popped into an op-shop the other day, in between other chores, and I spied a couple of handmade cushions high up on top of a set of shelves.

I had to climb up and get them, but I'm glad I did.  I can't believe all the work in these, and the colours are just wonderful.
Someone took so much trouble to stitch the needlepoint, but then not so much trouble to finish them.
  Very dodgy way to make a cushion cover....

But for my $2.50 I got a huge section of needlepoint, a pillow form and a metre of cream homespun that is very good quality.
Bargain.  The other cushion was put together with a bit of sheeting and a commercial pillow from the '60s, that was stuffed with shredded stockings and underwear.  EWWW!! That lot went in the bin quicksmart.  I will block the needlepoint to square it up and get rid of those ripples, and then I think I'll have both pieces framed.  I know it will be a loong, long time before I get to stitch any needlepoint pictures of my own.

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