Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Well that went together quickly at the end.  While I was sewing the blocks together I was thinking about fabric that would do for the borders,and I remembered a top I made in 2012.  I'd chosen the borders, cut the strips and sewn them into long lengths, and suddenly another fabric demanded to be the borders.  So I put the prepared borders in a drawer for later, and went with the new choices.  This top was the same colours, so maybe those old borders would work.

I went digging, and amazingly found them exactly where I thought they would be.  That doesn't happen very often around here. And my hunch was right, they were just what I had in mind for this top.

So the borders were attached in triple quick time, and now I have another top to mark off my list.
I love it when things all come together, with not a lot of effort on my part.  That means I can get started on the next project even sooner.  I think it's time to tackle the borders on those Economy blocks;  they are going to take a lot more work than this one did.


Monday, October 08, 2018

The North Wind blocks are on the design wall, while I try to work out a plan for the final arrangement.  I'm sewing them into sets of four, and then I'll rearrange them so that the various colours and fabric are evenly distributed.  I'd like to audition a few border ideas too,and get an idea of what the finished quilt will be.

Of course I've made things difficult for myself.  In the early days of this project I sewed some units into this block,
and some into this one. 
Now I'll have to piece them all together on the design wall, adding other units to join them into larger pieces that actually fit together.  That's one of the pitfalls with working on things sporadically over a long period of time; you forget what you were doing to start with, and carry on with something else.  Oh well, once I have them all in one piece it won't matter, it's just that I have to concentrate, instead of mindlessly sewing sets of four blocks.

I started this as a true leader-ender, just cutting up scraps and leaving them by the machine to sew in between my 'real' sewing.  They've been brilliant for that; they've stayed in the background instead of taking over, as so many of my leader-enders do.  But I have 105 blocks made, and it's time to make some decisions while  I sew the last 15 blocks.  I still have a lot of pieces cut, so I could just go full-steam ahead and get this done, or continue to sew it between other projects.  So many decisions.

It will have plain borders, there is enough triangle stuff going on in the middle, it needs a calm border to frame it all and contain it.  I'm leaning towards a greeny-brown, or a browny-green.  I just hope I have something suitable in the stash drawers, because I don't want to be visiting patchwork shops trying to find the perfect borders.  I had enough of that with the Checkered Lattice.


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

I'm going to have to take stock of all the projects that are on the go, and decide which ones get put at the top of the list.  I'm not used to having so many started; I have plenty of UFOs, so I'm used to that, but these are all WIPs that I"m currently working on.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I need to sort things out.  There are piles of pieces and stacks of fabric everywhere and I need to make some sense of it.

1.  I need to collect all the leftovers from the Farmhouse quilt and organise them so I can make more blocks for an on-point version.

There's two more boxes of bits, I probably won't have to cut any more pieces for the second quilt.

2.  Economy quilt -  finish Flying Geese for borders , design borders and add
There's a few design decisions to be made, and that's putting me off.  I jut need to get this up on the wall and work at it until I've decided what to do.  Actually sewing it will be the easy part.
3.  Shirtings Churn Dash - need to cut more strips and then pack the shirtings away

4.  Blue brown Ohio Star  - I'm loving these 6" blocks, I cut the little triangles with an Accuquilt die, which make it so easy.  They go together perfectly, despite the tiny size.
5.  Pretty Tumblers- borders - this need 2 more rows, then borders.  The fabric is all picked out, the pieces are cut, just have to put it up on the design wall. Maybe I need two design walls?

6.  Beloved - I'm saving these blocks.  I have about 30 kitted up, and fabric selected for 30 more.  I won't let myself sew them just yet, because they are such fun.  I need to do some work and finish things off before I  get back to these.
7.  Country Cousin  -  these blocks use the same pieces as the North Wind blocks, so they are my backup plan to use all the leftovers from that.  They will eventually be leader-enders, once the North Wind  blocks are done, these will take their place.

8.  North Wind - on the design wall and galloping towards a finish.  I'm sewing these and the Ohio Star blocks at the same time, and it's hard to say which is the main project, and which is the leader-ender.  Once I start joining the North Wind blocks together they will become the priority sewing.
At least I've finished the blue quilt, so that means I can pack up every last bit of blue fabric and put it away.
There are a huge number of leftover strips and scraps, and I'm debating whether I should cut them into squares or just give them to Mereth.  She's not as enamored of blue as I am, so I don't think she'll welcome all this blue.  Oh well, by the time I've finished cleaning up I will have made a decision.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

The blue Framed Squares quilt is finished, after a marathon effort on my part.

Last week I took what I'd done down to the shop and tried it on the QS bed.  I was horrified to see that it wasn't big enough in any direction, I can't imagine what I was thinking when I stopped piecing the blocks.  It was barely big enough for a single bed.  I must be losing my grip on reality.

I came home and started cutting, then found the block pieces I'd thought were leftovers.  I made another 34 blocks in one sewing session, then joined them together in another, and finally stayed up very late one night attaching the borders.  It's way too big to fit on my design wall, so it was back to the shop the next day to put it on the bed.
I really drive Mereth nuts.  I get to a certain stage in most of my projects and I HATE what I've done.  I moan and complain and  tell her I"m going to throw it all in the bin because it's so horrible.  I grit my teeth and plough on, just because I have to finish it.  Then when the final stitch is done, I hang it on the design wall and fall in love all over again.  The adult part of my
mind ignores all the whinging and doubting, and makes me finish what I've started.  I just wish that other annoying voice that undermines my confidence would quit trying to influence me.....


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I'm keen to be working on another top, but there are other things that keep demanding my time.  We had a meal with friends on Monday night, 10 of us got together for dinner under the stars at Deb's place.  I cooked two veggie dishes that afternoon, so there was no sewing time then.

It was a beautiful evening, drinks at sunset, dinner served at dusk and stretching into the night.  It was good to relax and just be with friends, and appreciate the garden filled with wisteria and roses.  Delightful.

I finally made time at the sewing machine and put the borders on the Checkered Lattice quilt.

I love the way it turned out, so different from my usual palette.  It was fun to make, I would definitely make another one if I needed a quick quilt.  The thing that took the most time with this was trying to find the border fabric; I haven't even thought about the backing and binding, I don't know I have anything suitable in these colours, so I will have to keep looking when I'm next in a patchwork shop.

This is the fourth top I've finished this year, which is so much better than last year when I finished exactly none.  I have two other close-to-finished tops in my project boxes, and I think I will work on one of those next.  It's a good feeling to cross these old projects off the list.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

The days don't seem to go quickly, but the weeks are flying by.  There's so much around here that I want to do, and I work at several projects a day which is satisfying, but all of a sudden a week has gone by and nothing is finished.   I know that I'm primarily a Process quilter, I quilt just for the pleasure of it, but it's nice to have a finished Product every now and then.  And this year has been pretty woeful on the  finishes.

Yesterday we had a family lunch at our brother Doug's place.  Our other brother Greg and his wife drove down from Port Augusta, and we had a leisurely lunch that stretched out till 5.30.  We had such a good time sitting around the table with glasses of red wine, and then tea and coffee, swapping stories from our childhood.. Doug is 13 years older than Mereth and I, and Greg is 3 years older.  Doug's memories are so different from ours, he was a young adult while we were little children, plus he was a wild boy, and a wilder young man, so he has a lot of tales to tell.  He drove our parents to distraction at times, some of his exploits are family legend.  We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon of reminiscing.

I came home and started sewing, determined to finish the quilt on the design wall.  I've been working on it consistently this week, and I had the centre in one piece, so I just had to work out the corner blocks and attach the borders.  I was so relieved when I took the last stitch and hung the finished top on the design wall.

 This is the corner block I came up with, I just love those little strips.
I started this in June, it's been a fun project to work on while I lived in Adelaide and it helped use up a pile of scraps.  It generated a lot too, so I still have a box of 1.25" strips, but at least they're different fabric from the old ones.

I changed my mind about the size of it.  I have a double bed, and I decided I would actually like to use this myself so it was no use making it as large as the pattern.  That meant less blocks, and because I used a border I needed even less blocks. I only used 320, instead of the 520 I was planning on. 
I have about 30 leftover, and they are going to be the start of another quilt like this, but set on point.  I will do these as leader-enders I think, while I move on to a new project.  Or......

Maybe I'll tackle one of these boxes and sort out another WIP.  I would like to whittle down that stack of boxes, and add another finished top to the list.  It's fun choosing what to work on next.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I've been easing back into life at home, pottering about and fiddling with projects here and there.   Mereth and I have had fun going out to dinner with friends, catching up with family, having coffee in a new coffee shop.  Both of us spend so much time helping with our grandkids, it's nice to just have time on our own, without the babies.  We miss them,  but we're never away from them for long anyway.

I've been spinning in my spare time, which I find really relaxing and absorbing.  Once I've decided what sort of yarn I want to make I just have to concentrate on keeping the thread the right thickness, until I've filled up the bobbin. Patchwork involves decisions all the time, which is what makes it interesting and exciting, but it takes a lot of mental work as well.

These two are going to be plied together to make a jacket for Isla for next winter.  Plying handspun with a commercial yarn  makes the handspun thread go much further.  It feels a bit like cheating, but I'll be knitting much sooner than if I had to spin another bobbin.

 I made a few more of the little blocks over several days, just fiddling with pieces, until yesterday I decided I needed to make some significant progress.  It involved a bit of tidying up first, because the sewing room is still a mess, and there's a lot of new fabric to organize.
 I'm entirely OK with that, I've been buying for projects, not just for stash, so I will use a lot of these straight away.

Once I had a clear cutting table I went full steam ahead on cutting pieces for the border. I cut and sewed, until I had enough pieces on the design wall to see that my border idea was going to work. 
It's like a piano key, but the widths of the strips correspond to the blocks, which will make it easy to attach.  I'll invent some sort of corner block when I get to the stage of assembling it all.  I have about one third of the quilt in one piece, and all but 25 of the blocks finished, so the end is in sight.  I'm getting excited about seeing this come together.

I was really making progress, until I spilled my coffee all over the cutting mat and a pile of freshly cut strips. As a child I was always known  for being the clumsy one in the family, and it hasn't changed apparently.  I don't know if the strips will be usable after being washed and ironed, they may shrink.  Oh well, they can go in the scrap bag for some crumb piecing.  I think I'm going to ban myself from drinking coffee at the cutting table in future, I can't be trusted.


Sunday, September 02, 2018

I've been lazy since I came home, just pottering around and not doing anything much.  It's been so luxurious, to wake up and decide what I'll do, even if that means not doing anything.  I spent one day out with friends, we had a road trip to a Jamestown and lunch in the pub.  Another day I spent at Helen's farm, chatting for 6 hours over coffee and cake.  And I've spent many days in the shop, so that the other people who run it can have a break.

I'm just sewing in small bursts, whenever I feel like it, and the count for the tiny blocks is 340.  I have 212 sewn into larger blocks, and the rest are single blocks.

 They are so easy to make, it takes no effort to send another 10 or so through the machine.  I've been finishing off all the partly completed ones I brought home from Adelaide, and soon I'll have to start from scratch, building the units up again.  Nice mindless work.  I think I want a border on it, so I won't be making the 520 that the pattern calls for; more like 460, so I'm nearly finished.

There were several fabric expeditions during my time away, trying to find a suitable border fabric for this quilt.  I hate buying fabric for a specific purpose, and then it turns out to be not quite right.  I bought two lengths that looked OK in the shop but not at home;
I finally found the One in Jamestown after our pub lunch.  Now I just need to cut the strips and get them sewn on.
My sewing room is a mess, too many projects and pieces everywhere.  I collected some big boxes from the supermarket, and corralled all the bits for each quilt in one place.  These boxes stack nicely, so they don't take up much room. I will work my way through each project and actually see some finishes soon.

Spring has arrived, the weather is warming up and all the plants stating their new growth.  I feel like I missed out on winter this year, we stayed inside with the baby and the heating was on, which I absolutely hate.  I'd rather rug up in a jacket and adjust to the cold.  But  I won't complain, because it's just so nice to be home again.

(Except that I wrote that a long time ago and I"m now back at Shonny's for a short visit over Father's Day.  But I'll be home again soon; life is a lot of travelling at the moment.)


Friday, August 17, 2018

I'm home, after 6 weeks at Seonaid's house, helping with Thomas.  I had hoped he would be an easy baby like my son, who loved to sleep and be cuddled and was no trouble at all.  Alas, Thomas had some problems with feeding, and some gut issues, but I think we've solved those now.  He's 9 weeks old, weighs 6 kilos (13 lbs) and is growing at a great rate.  He's just started to chat and play with toys, and is a very handsome lad indeed. 

Emergency bath in the kitchen sink after a spectacular nappy failure.....

In other news, his dad has finished his contract at the gas field where he's been working for the last 15 months, and is home for good.  That means that I'm not needed for a while, so I'll be home for a while.  It will be nice to pick up the threads of life from where I dropped them so many months ago.  Unless Hayden accepts another remote job, and then I'll be back helping out.

I've been home two days now, and I haven't sewn a stitch, too tired to throw myself into the sewing room just yet.  I've been knitting and watching DVDs; actually watching them instead of listening as I work.  It's like a whole new experience, LOL.  I have a stack of new fabric to fold and put away, and things to unpack, so it will probably be a while before I do start sewing.  It's so nice to be home, but I'm going to miss these two.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

The family visit was fun, we booked an entire dining room at the pub and there were 18 of us there, most of them meeting Thomas for the first time.  It's lovely to see a baby welcomed into the family, being admired and cuddled by Great-Aunts and Uncles all the way down to little cousins.  My Mum would have been tickled pink to see all those babies. 

Shonny came up to have photos taken by Kim, a very talented local photographer, and I went along to wrangle Isla.  She was so suspicious of the lights and various props, and the huge lens of the camera.  When Kim put her on a shaggy rug with Thomas, Isla's panicked expression was like someone about to be operated on without anaesthetic.  But Kim is a baby whisperer, and soon had the shots she wanted, and I then took Isla away while the rest of the photoshoot went on.

We went to a play cafe with niece Liz and her twins, and spent a relaxed two hours with coffee and cake, watching the kids on the play equipment.  It was like the coffee shop in Friends, but with an enormous playground, and for most of the time we were the only people there.  Just our kids, and all that stuff to play on.  I would have adored that as a child.

The photos are stunning, Kim captured the family beautifully.  I love this one of Thomas, he's a little elfling. 

He was so good, for hours, but at the end he was grumpy and just wanted to be left alone to sleep.  What a darling.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sewing at last

Since I arrived home on Sunday I've barely set foot outside the door.  Normally I run around and visit friends and family to catch up, and then I've no time left for quilting and playing with my stash.  So this time I've become a hermit,sewing late into each night and waking up later in the morning.  It might be anti-social, but I feel like I've had a real holiday.

I thought perhaps I might try and get a few UFOs finished, maybe these Northwind blocks,

but that didn't really appeal.  What I really wanted to do was cut up some stash fabrics to go in my Farmhouse quilt.  I was tired of the fabrics from the box of strips, and desperate for some variety.  Another thing that annoyed me was the frayed edges of some of those strips;
a lot of them felt tattered and worn, and I was sick of threads hanging off and getting stuck in the seams. It seems like the more disordered my life is, the more I need my quilting organised and in control.
Time to add some purple to the mix.

And those charm squares?  It turned out it WAS possible to cut the pieces for a whole block, with no wastage at all.  But then I had to exercise so much care as I used those pieces, allowing for pinked edges and the odd piece that was just too small.  Some 5" squares just aren't 5" after all, which is frustrating.  I tried to trim off the pinked edges where I could, but that created fabric dust that got into my eyes, all over my clothes and the black carpet. (Really?  Black?)  It wasn't the sort of piecing time that I'm used to.  The first little block that I made at home, from my freshly cut, accurately cut strips, was like a little burst of happiness. 

THIS is how I like to work.
I'm up to 100 blocks assembled,

 and many more pieces cut out and bagged up.
It took me so long to work out how I wanted to press it, so that it all nested together the way I wanted, with the seam intersections spinning.  I know it was because I was tired and a bit stressed, but I just couldn't work it out at Shonnys, and it it took me several tries at home too.  But it finally clicked, and now I know how I have to press and arrange them.  Full speed ahead with the next 420 blocks.....

This afternoon Shonny and family are coming up for a quick visit, and then we'll all go back to Adelaide tomorrow, so I need to get some blocks prepped ready to take back with me.  I feel like I'm getting somewhere at last.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Our beautiful baby boy arrived, 1 day after his due date, and we are beyond delighted to have him here.

 Thomas Charles, weighing a respectable 3.9k, (8lb 11oz). 

I'm so glad Hayden was there to support Shonny through the labour, I'm sure I would have been useless.  Mum told the story of when she was in labour with her first baby Gran was supposed to bring her things to the hospital.  Gran got halfway up the stairs, heard Mum yelling, and turned and ran away.  She was such a softie, couldn't bear to think of Mum in pain, so she scarpered.  After having 10 children herself you'd think she would have been just the person to have around at a birth, but no.  She never even warned Mum that it was going to hurt, so Mum thought something was horribly wrong and that she was going to die. 
Isla is delighted with her baby brother, and is very loving with him.  All the girls are thrilled, he spends a lot of time being cuddled by each in turn. He's been very good, waking only to have a feed and then obligingly going back to sleep. 

Isla was 5 weeks old before she reached his birthweight; a bigger baby is so much easier to care for than a tiny wee one. 4 hours between night feeds instead of two, settling to sleep straight away, no problems feeding.  In fact, Shonny is managing so well, and Hayden is so attentive, that I'm having a little holiday at home.

It's lovely to be in my sewing room, with my projects on the design wall and my fabric at hand.  I was getting mighty sick of having no choice about what I was putting in my teeny little blocks.  Now I can raid the stash drawers and get some variety in there.  Bliss.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

New project

A while ago I bought The Big Book of Civil War Quilts.

There are some beautiful quilts in it, and I have plans to definitely make 4 of them.
This one caught my eye, firstly for the blue and brown colours, second for the tiny pieces,; then when I read the directions I realised that I already had a box of 1.25"  and 2.5" strips ready and waiting.  It was so easy to grab those boxes and bring them down to Adelaide with me.
I arranged all the 1.25"strips in stacks of four, and then cut out my rectangles and squares.  It helped me to visualise what I had left to cut, rather than be overwhelmed by a whole box of strips. 

I spent two days sorting, cutting and arranging in whatever spare time I had, and finally managed to sew 9 blocks.

It took forever, arranging each block, then sewing each in turn.  I felt like I was getting nowhere; 520 blocks at this pace?  Really? 

So my next sewing session I concentrated on just pairing the rectangles with the large squares, then chain sewing them to two sides. 

In no time at all I had 20 sets of pieces sewn together.  It was so much quicker to just choose two fabrics to use together, rather than planning the whole block.

My next window of time I used to match a stack of small squares to each set; I pressed what I'd sewn, and added the small squares to the remaining rectangles.  Then just two more seams and I had a pile of blocks.

I know that it's probably the same time per block, but it was much more satisfying to see progress on a large number of blocks all at once.

Amazingly, I've cut up nearly all my 1.25" strips, so it's back to the charm square stash to cut more pieces.  I'm trying to tell myself to ignore the pinked edges and use the whole 5" square. 
I can cut one 2.5" square, four 1.25" rectangles and four 1.25" squares from each one.

1 charm square equals one block, which is pretty neat.  But I HATE the pinked edges, I hate having to guesstimate where to line fabric up, and what edge to use for the seam allowance.  And the pieces are just too tiny to lose that much in the seam allowances.  Sigh.  I just may have to cut the shapes accurately and deal with the waste, because then the sewing is a breeze and I get perfectly accurate blocks.  I think accuracy is going to win the day.


Sunday, June 03, 2018

No progress on any front

I'm down at Shonny's, waiting for our baby to arrive, but he's in no hurry. It's so hard to be patient, especially when Hayden has a limited amount of time home. But I'm making the most of just having Isla, it will all be different once the new baby arrives.

I did get some more sewing done, and put all the blue-green blocks together. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and pleased that I didn't go and buy more of that colour to have more variety. It worked out just fine with what I had. I will have to get a metre of darker print for the borders, but that's OK. I won't have to add that to the stash.
The picture above is very washed out, the colour in this photo is more true to life.

The pattern was Checkered Lattice, from Missouri Quilt Company.  However, that method created bias edges on the outside of the blocks, and I can't be doing with that.  I cut 7" squares, cut them on both diagonals, and used those triangles to build the blocks.  All the finished blocks were trimmed to 7.5" and because the edges were on the straight grain it went together really easily.  I could use even small pieces of fabric instead of the 10" squares in the video.  It wasn't as quick, but I enjoyed the process of choosing fabrics for each block.

I have several things to work on next, I'll spend today sorting out some blocks to sew. I want to have things ready so that I can quickly sew a few things together in any spare moment. 

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

About This Blog

Lorem Ipsum

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP