Sunday, November 10, 2019

Done at last

My vintage rosettes is a completed top at long, long last.  This has been such a chore to work on, but determination helps overcome the tediousness of those many little seams.

Don't know if I like it yet, but I am so relieved to cross it off the UFO list, after all this time. It looks like the left border has a few puckers, but that doesn't bother me.  The centre of the top shrinks back after ironing, all those little seams pull it in.  Another iron, and some quilting, will makes that border lie completely flat.
I can't believe I let it sit around for years because I didn't like the look of those half rosettes at the edge.  They look fine to me now; I prevaricated for so long, over something so trivial.  

Of course the worse part was ironing all those tiny 1" seams.  Ordinarily hexagons just lay down in from of the iron, so pressing a hexagon top is actually enjoyable.  But those diamonds and triangles changed the pressing pattern, so it was a constant struggle to get them under control.  However, it's done now, and I'm ready to move onto another project from the list.  Or maybe start another new one.

I've written a few times about how I love this moment of choosing the next project, there are so many possibilities, and the excitement of a new project has it's own momentum.  While I weigh which thing to start next I am cutting for my 6" Ohio Star blocks. I'm not going to sew on these exclusively, they will be my leader-enders when I pick my major project.
Lots and lots of little triangles, made easy with the 2" QST die.
These will be such fun to kit into blocks, after I get back from Adelaide on Friday. 
The end is in sight for the school year for Shonny, so my babysitting skills won't be needed every single week.  I'm going to enjoy not travelling so much, but I'll miss my babies too.


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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Another top quilted

Weeks ago I managed to get another of my tops quilted, and forgot to post about it

The block is called Road to Oklahoma I think; I did a tutorial on the block in December 2010 and finished it in November 2013. 

I'd originally been using apricots as the backgrounds, but I didn't like that after all, and set those blocks aside in the Orphan Box while I made a heap of blocks with cream floral backgrounds.
The backing piece that I chose needed another 16" in width, so I dug those rejected blocks out and pieced them into the backing. They were perfect for the job, and it was satisfying to find a home for them after all this time.
This fabric is very, very old. It wasn't really quilt shop quality, probably a Chinese knockoff of the original print, but it was fine as a backing.

I chose an old favourite panto of mine, called Groundcover.  It seems everything about this quilt is from a long time ago, which makes me even more glad that it's all in one piece and quilted now.
You can't really see the quilting, it doesn't show up in this light, but it looks very nice. Now I just have to find a binding fabric and that will be another quilt to add to the pile.

But it won't happen for a while, not while I'm running around after this lad. He's growing so quickly, it's a joy to watch him learning new things every day.  Go Thomas!!


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Monday, November 04, 2019

So close...

After the family went home on Sunday I sat and sewed long into the night. I was too tired to do anything requiring brain power, so I just sewed white hexagons onto the top and bottom of the quilt. It was completely mindless, and just what I needed to unwind after a very full 5 days.


There is only 1 seam left to finish, joining the two pieces together, but that will have to wait till Friday, because I'm back at Shonny's again. Today should be the last day of one subject, and the rest should finish in 3 weeks time, so the end is in sight. Once school is over I'll still come visit, but probably 4 days a fortnight instead of every week. I don't want the grandkids to forget me! 

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Saturday, November 02, 2019

Family visit

Isla came back with me last Thursday, and on Saturday Shonny and Thomas drove up.  We went to see Mereth's son John, starring as Shrek in  Shrek The Musical.  He has a wonderful singing voice, and until a few years ago no one even knew he could sing.  He just came out with this huge voice one day and we all looked at each other and went 'What.....!!??'

He did a great job, and afterwards came out to meet us in the lobby.  Isla and her cousin Eddy were too scared to go near him at first, this is as close as they would get.

Eventually John won her over, but Eddy wasn't having a bar of it.
John's wife Liz did the makeup and some of the costumes, 

and Mereth babysat the grandkids through all the months of rehearsals, and then looked after Thomas and all the other kids so we could take Isla to the matinee; it was a real family effort. 

It was a great weekend, so wonderful to get together with all the kids and grandkids. I'm sure Isla will remember it for quite some time. So much Excitement! 


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Isla and I had a lovely visit together, without a single disagreement.  She played in the garden, picked flowers, visited the workroom and saw the Statler, and also the quilt I'm going to give her for Christmas. (should have hidden that one...)  "I like THIS one" she declared, so she should be happy on Christmas morning when she unwraps it.


She coloured in pages of my printed patterns, something her Mum did 25 years ago.  I'm tempted to design some animal patterns, just so she can colour those in too.
She was allowed to have a tapestry needle, and threaded a container of antique glass beads onto a string, which was great fun.
She was allowed to play the piano that's in storage out the back, and carefully showed one of my dolls how to play too.


She was allowed to play with scissors, and textas, which is a no-no at home, after she cut up one of her dresses and drew all over herself.

We had so much fun together, and there are a million other things to do that we didn't have time for.  I hope we can make this a regular thing.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Charm Square 9 patches finished

This is an unflattering photo but I didn't have a chance to get another one.

I finally found time to attach the borders of the Charm Square 9-patches.  That brown border gave me fits, I needed to make the corners match nicely, but the pattern was printed on a slant.  That meant that when I cut the fabric straight, the print on one side was at a different level to the print on the other side.  I spent a long time measuring and fudging, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

This is top No.11 for this year, so with any luck I'll make it to my goal of 12 tops for this year.  I may even get a few more quilted if I'm dedicated.  It feels good to be working hard at the actual quilting, it's been years since I finished so many in one year. Now I just need to attack the binding; I think I have about 9 piled up ready.  The bindings are there, I just have to clear the work table and make myself do it. 

I'm at Shonny's now, I'll be going home on Thursday but there won't be much sewing this trip. Isla is coming home with me for a visit, so I'll be spending all my time with her.  We're both pretty excited about it, and Mum and Dad are looking forward to having just one baby for a couple of days.  If Isla can behave herself we'll do this more often, but who knows how she'll react to being away from home. I'm hoping Dolly and Isla's girl cousins will be so exciting that she won't miss her mum for a couple of nights. I hope I'm up to the task of parenting a 3 year old! She's pretty high energy.



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Sunday, October 27, 2019

So much progress

I've done nothing during this trip home except sew hexagons together. I haven't touched my machine, or cooked, or quilted. I'm a bit obsessed but in a good way.

The sides have had their hexies attached, I will straighten those edges once I'm ready to add the border strips. Now I need to fill in the hexagons along the top.


That's pretty easy stitching, and then I have one major seam to join the two pieces together. I timed it once and it takes about 1.5 hours, so one evening should see it all in one piece.

I was worried about the borders until I remembered a UFO from about 13 years ago. I'd cut a 4 metre piece from a bolt of white material I owned, and stowed it away with the other bits. Hmmm, I wondered, could that have been the same material as this? Luckily I knew where that box was, and the white material, even if it's not the same stuff, is a perfect match. How's that for pure good luck! 
Our mum made a dress out of that purple floral fabric. I remember watching her cut it out and sew it, and I always coveted the fabric scraps. She had a big cedar chest of drawers in her bedroom, and it was stuffed full of material and dressmaking scraps.  On rainy days she'd let us pull it all out and ferret through the scraps, and tell us stories of the material wrapped in brown paper that her grandmother bought and saved, and then handed down.  I don't think Mereth and I had a hope of not being fabric collectors; it's in our genes.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Dealing with a long term UFO

I've been working on a hand pieced hexagon quilt for the last 17 years.


It's made with vintage fabric in the rosettes, and a blue I dyed. Heaven knows what the white fabric is, and that's sad because I need more of it to finish this top. I think that's the main drawback of ancient projects: there are rarely replacement fabrics on hand, when the original runs out or is lost.

I've been stuck on this for more than 15 years because I can't decide what to do at the sides. I don't like the look of those half hexagons, but I can't come up with any other arrangement that I like. That chain of blue diamonds is really cute, but it makes designing an edge and border really difficult. 

After I finished the little wall hanging of ancient embroidered blocks I was inspired to tackle this again. And I'm determined not to set it aside again, just because I can't decide what to do.  
I've made a heap of half rosettes to place along the sides, and I think I've come to terms with how it's going to look.  Now I just have to add the white hexagons to each one, ready to sew to the blue diamonds around the edge.  It's not coming off my design wall until I have the all the pieces kitted up ready to sew.
I know that I've cut out nearly all the blue pieces I need.  There are a lot of white hexagons that will fill in around the edge, and I have to comb through my stash to find a suitable replacement white fabric.  That's a job for the daylight hours, so for tonight I'm going to go on making decisions, until I know exactly where this project is going. 

At this stage, I don't even like it anymore; I hope it appeals to me again after I've done all the hard work of finishing it.  And I think it will have to be handquilted, so it won't be on a bed anytime soon.  Some quilts are a really, really long term commitment.

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