Saturday, June 18, 2022

Where was I?

Oh my wordy lordy me! Where have the last 5 weeks gone?. Life has been so hectic, it's all gone by in a blur. No time for blogging, obviously.

Seonaid is in the last weeks of her college course, with three huge assessments due. I've been spending time down there, helping with the kids, while she does her computer work. She's also been arranging to buy another car, as the existing one was damaged in a huge hail storm and the insurance company wrote it off. So many phone calls to arrange delivery of her replacement car and the payout from the insurance company and the finance company. I guess it's better than the old days, when we had to go in to an office and apply in person, but it takes hours and hours on the phone. Which the kids don't understand, so it's good that I was able to wrangle them and leave her to deal with it.

Of course the kids caught colds at school and day care, and passed them on to me. Nothing serious, but even minor colds tend to linger on for weeks with me, so I've been struggling to get everything done. The other day, on my once-a-week visit to the coffee shop, Mereth and I were the only ones there who hadn't had covid. That's because I stay at home all the time, except for my visits to the grandkids. They've all had covid, so I feel fairly safe there, but I also can't help but think that my time will come.  I'm fully vaccinated and boosted, so I hope that helps.

I've been obsessed with a commission quilt that I'm not at liberty to reveal, but it's done now, so I can have a bit of my life back. I'll just say that these Di Ford-Hall fabrics were involved, and they are lovely.

What was I working on, all that time ago in May?

I was adding to the stack of Jacob's Ladder blocks.

I was working on blue Carolina Chain blocks made from scraps.

I don't know whether to set them straight, or on point? I'm just stockpiling the blocks, don't have to make a decision straight away.

I might have succumbed to another Bonnie pattern.

It's Maymont, another happy, scrappy pattern. I'm making my first one in pink and green scraps, aiming for a crib quilt, or single bed topper, but there will be all sorts of scrap blocks later. It's one of my favourite block patterns.

I know I don't need to buy a pattern to make a 25-patch block, but my thinking is this; I get a whole lot of enjoyment from Bonnie's blog, so every now and then I'll buy a pattern from her as a thank you for all the time and effort she puts into her blog.  Then I can blog about my 25-patch without someone pointing out to me that I've stolen her design (!) and then everyone is happy.  I'm eyeing off Bitcoin as my next purchase.... Got to get those scraps under control.

Now I need to clean up the mess in my sewing room, and then I can settle down to some sewing just for pleasure, not for a deadline. I'm looking forward to that.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

My Blue Ridge Beauty (from this book) project completely occupied my time this past week. I have 36 blocks put together, just to check that the light blue pieces were working well with the darker blue.

All good, so it was on to more cutting and piecing.

I cut lots and lots of 3.5" triangles. These were supposed to be leader-enders, while I worked on something else, but I never have much luck setting things aside. Once they were cut, I just had to sew them up.  The same thing happened with the four patch blocks.

Before too long, I had enough pieces for 84 blocks, stacked in sets of 10 in their project box. At this stage, I decided I would sew these into blocks as leader-enders. I'm undecided on the final size. This will make a decent single bed quilt. If I make it 12 x 14 it will be suitable for a larger bed, and I will need another 48 blocks. I'm just not sure what I want at the moment, so for now I"m moving on to something else.

This little idea of mine pleased me. Isla gifts me with all her artwork, so I have a pile of her drawings and colourings. I like to build blocks on a sheet of paper and stack them ready to sew next to the machine.  I was using old magazines, or discarded junk mail, but now I'm using Isla's drawings. It makes me smile as I uncover each one, and it's nice to have a use for them. 

Now that I have the Blue Ridge Beauty kitted, what am I working on? 

I decided to revisit this red and white Jacob's Ladder, and see if I could move it further along. Even if I just get more blocks kitted it would be progress. Those red and white scraps keep turning up in containers all over the sewing room.

And because I have a huge pile of 3.5" and 2" blue strips now,  I wondered what a Carolina Chain (from Bonnie's book) would look like. This is my Plan B for the scraps, if I don't need to make another 48 blocks.  I always have a Plan B.....


Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Goldilocks and the 3 Bear Paw blocks

A while ago I saw a Bear Paw quilt that someone was making and thought, I've never made that pattern, I should do that. Mind you, I've tried several times, and I just wasn't liking the results enough to continue. But then I searched Pinterest, and saw quite a few that I liked, so I decided to make a trial block and see what size I liked best.

First I made one with 1.5" HSTs. That turned out to be 10.5", way too big for my liking.  So I tried 1" HSTs.  Nope, at 7" that was too small. So I made the block with the cheddar background, with 1.25" HSTs, and that was juuust right. It's actually really surprising what a half inch change in the triangle measurements does; I wasn't expecting it to shrink 3.5". My chosen block will measure around 9", and I'll be able to cut lots of the pieces from scraps.

My main aim lately is to whittle down the drawer of charm square leftovers.  I've  pilfered bits out of each pack for years, and there's only random remnants left. I'm sick of hoarding them, so I'm going to be ruthless and slice them up for this project.

One of my main gripes with this pattern was making 16 HSTs for each block. It was too tedious for words. But what if each quarter was like it's own little block, like the Boxy Bowties? That would be much more doable.

This is just adorable done with all scraps, I'm so pleased with it. My favourite block patterns have a space for light, dark and medium fabrics, so everything in the scrap drawers can join in. This ticks that box.

I know it's going to be a leader-ender, but I need to get a feel for how the blocks are going to look, so I'm making sets of triangles as my MAD piecing for May.  (My ironing pad deserves a new cover, it's disgusting.) I'm cutting up mountains of scraps, and zombie sewing late into the night. I figure if I have the triangles done and kitted, then choosing the medium squares to go with them later on will be pure fun. 

I have never used the cheddar charms from the packs, so I've built up quite a collection.  I have no idea what to do with them, but they can all live in their own container from now on. Maybe a Pinterest search will help with ideas for them as well.


Sunday, May 01, 2022

I haven't forgotten this quilt.

The centre is in one piece now, and I just need to tackle the borders. That will involve quite a few decisions though, so I've let myself be distracted by anything and everything. I will get back to it, once the novelty has worn off my new projects. And I haven't had a lot of spare time lately, what with customer quilts and family visits.

I've spent the last 8 days with the grandkids; 4 days in Adelaide with them all, then I brought Isla home for 4 days.

Finn and Thomas are becoming a Unit; Brothers United. It's so sweet when they play together and enjoy each other's company. The fights are getting fewer and shorter; hopefully they won't be twice as much trouble now that they are good mates.

Apparently protective headgear was needed for lunch this day.

Isla really loves one on one time; the boys demand so much attention and she misses out. While they were busy with Mum, Isla and I made a skirt from a discarded piece of fabric we found in the cupboard.

She sewed it all, I just put the elastic in the waist band. She's having so much fun being allowed to use the machine. Unfortunately there have been some scissor related crimes lately, so she's banned from touching scissors for 3 months.  That's going to hurt.

At my place she played in the shed with various sewing things, did lots of colouring in, played the piano, played with my dolls. She could spend the whole holidays with me and not be bored, but the rest of the family would miss out on her then, so it's just a few days each time.

We went back to the little craft shop, so I could buy more blue samples (I'm supposed to be using up what I already have!), 

and she had so much fun playing in the scary railway underpass.

She thought she was so brave being in a tunnel, she ran back and forth about 10 times. So much energy.

So then she relaxed in the autumn sunshine on an old railway cart. And yes, she's lost 2 teeth already. She's growing up so fast.


Friday, April 29, 2022

April sewing progress

I worked really, really hard at getting the Boxy Bowties in one piece.

All the blocks were sewn, and then two sewing sessions were needed to get them sashed together. I was a bit tired after that, ready to have a rest before I started auditioning border choices. I meant to take a leisurely look at my UFOs to see what I would tackle next, but.....


I seem to have started another project, very spur of the moment. I read on Gretchen's blog that she was starting a Blue Ridge Beauty quilt, and that suddenly seemed like a really good idea to me. The pattern is in Bonnie's book, Adventures With Leaders and Enders.

I've been going through my charm squares lately, trying to find a use for every last one.  I had a lot of these cream large florals, and darker blues; they seemed made for this pattern.

The four-patches are going to be made of the light blues and ├Żellowy creams that I pass over whenever I'm choosing fabrics.

I even pulled out some of my treasured layer cake blues; got to use them sometime.

Mereth and I visited a little craft shop in a nearby town, and the only thing that tempted me was a pack of blue samples. These were cut up straight away for the new project, so I didn't even add them to the fabric tally for the year.

I'm pleased that I've found a use for these random charm squares at long last. And I think it's going to be a very fresh, pretty quilt when it's finished.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Time to finish this project

I still haven't pressed that seam on the british quilt. It's not going anywhere, so there's no rush. I need a colour fix.

The Boxy Bowties are getting my attention.  They seem to have been around forever, and while it's nice having them as a Leader-ender project, I'm ready to be done with them.  I started them late October 21, so it's 6 months; that's a long time for a leader-ender around here.

I have 30 blocks, and I need 42.  That little basket contains the quarters for 6 blocks; I cut out the final 6 blocks, and now I'll work on them exclusively until I have all the blocks done, and can arrange them on the design wall. I need to go through the strip drawers and find a whole lot of 1.5" strips, and I'll cut some more with the Accucut. It should really clean the scrap stash out.

I've already chosen the replacement leader-ender project, but it won't stay in the background for long, it's going to demand centre stage. I won't devote a lot of time to it till I get the current 2 projects finished, but it will be my incentive.

The Antique Cross quilt is quilted, and I'm very happy with how this panto turned out.

 I'm calling it Flower Arches; it looks a bit traditional, a bit like sashiko. I think it will become one of my favourites.

Love that texture. I'm dragging my feet on the customer quilt though, I'll have to make myself do that tomorrow. It will all be done before I go back to Adelaide on Wednesday.


Friday, April 15, 2022

This heap of fabric is the British quilt, after I sewed that last seam.

It's a big pile of piecing, and I am very relieved to have it done. I haven't found the courage to iron it yet, that will take quite a bit of time and patience, so it's just sitting on the ironing board for now. I'll get round to it sometime this weekend.

Mereth found a piece of fabric in her stash that should work well for the borders, so I will tackle that sometime soon

I've been working down the shop all this week, sorting, organizing, quilting. I'm determined to claim it as my workspace, with things set out the way I want and the workflow as efficient as I can make it. I've quilted 3 quilts of my own, which is really gratifying, and the next top on the machine will be a customer quilt.
This Many Trips Around The World is a Bonnie Hunter pattern, of course. Her version is named Scrappy Trips, and it's a favourite of mine, I've made 3 versions. I seem to have made quite a few of her patterns over the years.

The Antique Cross is stitching away right now, if I apply myself I might be able to get that and the customer quilt finished today. I'm not known for my speed though.
Well the customer quilt didn't get done. I had a long video call with Seonaid and her kids, and Rhys and his family. Why are we video calling, instead of sitting together in Seonaid's loungeroom?

 Covid. Seonaid, Isla and Thomas all have it for sure, and Finn might but he absolutely would not let anybody put anything up his nose. Seonaid took them all for testing on Monday, and Rhys and Naomi had to cancel their flights. I am so disappointed at not seeing Theo, we were going to celebrate Easter, and Rhys and Isla's birthdays. 

The scary thing is that I was supposed to be down there last weekend, but there was a last minute change of plans. I would have got it too, and with my dodgy health I would be in real trouble. I feel like becoming a hermit some days, but I'm also not willing to never see the grandkids. I don't know what the answer is. I'll keep quilting while I ponder life's strange ways.

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