Saturday, June 25, 2016

I have a horrible cold, so I'm not going to go anywhere near my baby granddaughter until I'm over it.  That gave me a weekend at home, and on Friday night I pulled out some books to look at, in the hope that I would find a new project to inspire me. I've  whittled the UFO list down to 17 items, (I ditched one that was just a single block) and that seems such a pitiful number to get anxious about.  I can afford to add a few new things to that list without it feeling overwhelming.  In fact, I think anything under 20 is just fine.

I finally settled on the cover quilt from this book;

and worked out rough sizes and pulled out some scraps from the scrap drawers. 

The main fabrics in this are mid-brown tones, and I have a huge number of them in the stash.  It won't be a problem to find a few dozen of them, plus some bluey greys.  There are 100 pieced units in this quilt, and I could probably make it like a charm quilt, with no fabric used more than once. But I won't, because I'm chopping up scraps until there are no more left, and that means the fabric will get repeated until it's all gone.
Last night I made some sample blocks, just playing with the pattern and trying to decide the best way to press all those seams.

 I thought this red might do, but it's just too vibrant for the more subdued look I'm going for.
These two reds are more like it, but I have reservations about the old Jinny Beyer one on the left. 
It has to be 20 years old at least, and I bought it and some companion prints from my friends patchwork shop in the '90s.  One of the companion prints I used in a quilt and it bled everywhere and stained every fabric it could reach; that made me a bit wary of this one.  Time to test it and see if it's as bad as the other one.
 That's pretty conclusive; this print is going to bleed.  The question is, will it stain adjacent fabric?
Before I washed the fabric I stapled a scrap of washed white fabric to one corner; the test fabric should be washed, so there's no sizing or finish to protect it from the loose dye in the water.

And the answer is yes, it will stain other fabric, and not a nice red either.  It leaves a dirty orangey mark.

Now I have to ask myself it this is such a disaster.  I will wash the red fabric and remove the loose dye.  It might continue to lose dye in subsequent washes, but this may just add to the look I want for this quilt; old, used, well-loved.  I think I will use it, but it's much better to be aware that it might bleed than to just cross my fingers and hope it won't.
Back in the early patchwork days Jinny Beyer was among the first people to bring out fabric ranges dedicated solely to patchwork.  The earliest ones were dyed to decorating and fashion specifications, because the manufacturers had no idea as to how they would be used, as part of heirloom quilts.  So those first fabrics faded and bled.  The industry soon realised their mistake and made their fabrics more colourfast and lightfast, but some of those first fabrics are still in stashes, still waiting to give up their dye.  This one is about to be used, finally.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

 Isla Rose is now 7 weeks old, and thoroughly enchanting.

I've spent every weekend with the family, trying to help out.  I do dishes and clean bathrooms, cook meals and run errands, and my reward is to hold the baby and give my daughter a bit of a break.  Isla has been a bit fractious at night, so while I'm down there she sleeps in my room so her mum can get a better sleep.  It's a precious thing, to hold that baby in the wee hours of the night, rocking her to sleep and marvelling at how gorgeous she is. When she wakes I take her in to be fed, then she comes back with me to settle down for the rest of the night.
She laughs and smiles, and is starting to make talking sounds; that's guaranteed to melt the hardest heart.  But she's not a quiet baby anymore; she has a fierce temper, and decided opinions about what she wants.  My goodness me, she can make her feelings known!
She can also wriggle across the bed to get to her mum, and has rolled over once.  Her arms and legs are moving in practice crawling motions, and she can get up on her elbows to see what is going on in the world. I don't think she's going to waste a lot of time just looking at things; she's going to go get them.
She has two half-sisters who adore her, and I'm sure she'll be trying to keep up with them as soon as she's able.  It will be interesting watching her grow up; I always said to my rambunctious, headstrong daughter "I hope you get a girl just like you!" thinking that then she would know what I went through.  Hmmm. I think I'm too old to deal with another child like her. I hope Isla isn't quite the handful that Seonaid was.

This has been a long weekend in Australia, and I came home on Sunday so I could have a day at home.  I managed to put the borders on the blocks that have sat on my design wall for 2 months, so that's another thing crossed off the UFO list.  I will take great satisfaction in updating the list and choosing another project to work on.
Of course I did what I always do when I can't get to the sewing machine; bought fabric.  Lots of fabric.  Shonny's place is very close to Spotlight, so I've paid quite a few visits; then one weekend Mereth came down to visit her grandies and we went to Tricia's.  The tally isn't going to be pretty, even though the fabric is.  I'm going to give up the pretense of stash-busting this year. I'm just going to do what makes me happy, and if I have a whole new stash at the end of it, so be it.

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