Monday, March 29, 2010

The spiderweb blocks are in one piece, and I'll let it stew for a while before I think about borders etc. 

 I don't know whether to just put a couple of plain borders on, or do a piano key border of all the strips I have left over.  I'm sure the answer will be obvious after I've stared at it for a few days.

The blocks are all made with the same strip measurements; 4 1.5"strips sandwiched between a 2.5 strip each side.  It made for easy sewing, as all the seams matched nicely.  I squared the octagons up by adding triangles on the corners ( 5.5"squares cut on the diagonal) and then added a 2.5"flippy corner to make those spools where the blocks join.

And it's not as if I don't have anything else to be going on with.  There's the Lady of the Lake blocks, abandoned as leader enders because I have to concentrate too hard on them. 

And the Album blocks,which are easy, but I have no more cut out, so it's back to choosing fabric for the next batch.

There's just no accounting for the fact that I suddenly HAD to cut out a Stack & Whack quilt on Friday night.

Mereth says it's a shameless ploy to quickly use up 3.6 metres, and she might be right there.  However, in my defence I've had the material waiting for just this purpose, and it felt like the right time to actually do it.

I was determined to just kit up the pieces for future sewing, but it's almost impossible not to sew a few blocks, just to see what they look like.  And it's usually so much fun that you sew a few more, and before you know it there's 20 of them made, and only 30 left for later.  A good quilt is a quick quilt, apparently.

Just as well I have a whole drawer of fabric earmarked for S&W quilts.  I'll polish this one off and go on to the next.......


Monday, March 22, 2010

My design wall is an utter mess right now, but I'm sewing madly in every spare minute and I haven't taken the time to sort it all out. 

I'm still enjoying these spiderweb blocks, and I have 14 now, only two more needed. 

In the comments on the last post Kerri asked about how I was going to fill in the squares between the octogons; I haven't really decided yet, there are several options.  The easiest is to make triangles to fit on the corners, half the blocks with light corners, half with dark. 

Or I could add a further small triangle after that, and create this sort of spool shape. 

I'm still trying to work out colours, and decide if it's all too fussy.  I'm just making it up as I go along.

The colours look pretty disgusting, I just snapped some photos at night; it looks better by the light of day.
And here's an approximation of what it will look like thanks to EQ6, though mine will be only 16 blocks instead of 25.  And the EQ block is simpler than mine.  I love being able to rough out variations in EQ6, it saves me so much time.

And now to sew some more, in the last few minutes in the day.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

 This is my stash post, a couple of days late.  Blogger wouldn't let me publish before this. 

Stash totals for last week are not very exciting, but at least I don't have to add anything; That parcel from America isn't here yet, so I can safely pretend that I'm actually making progress.

Fabric Used this week; 4.7m
Fabric Used Year-to-date;  107.3
Fabric Bought this week; 0.0
Fabric bought Total; 21.0
Net  Used for 2010; 86.3

I have a few more backings to make this week, that always make the figures look impressive, and there will be bindings after that. 

I've made several more strip sets for the spiderweb, I'm still having fun with that.  I need more hours in the day for sewing.

How does Judy get it all done?


Monday, March 15, 2010

The weather is lovely at this time of year, not cold yet, but the heat of the summer is over.  Last Friday it was a lovely evening, so when we went out to visit Matt I decided to walk Dolly home.  It's an easy 5 kilometres, along a backroad that is part of the Heysen trail

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and so did Dolly, even though for safety's sake she had to be on her leash.

She was most intruiged by the cows, and they were equally fascinated by her.  She wouldn't be so brave if she was on the same side of the fence.

I've never been one for sports or mindless activity,  except for walking.  It's great therapy to get out in the open air and take notice of what is happening in the world outside. 

There are tiny shoots of grass appearing everywhere, and in a few weeks time these hills will be covered in grass, and wonderfully green.  The cows will appreciate that.

By the time we got home the sun was close to setting, and I felt pleasantly virtuous at all the exercise and fresh air.  Dolly just fell asleep straight away on the bathroom floor, cooling her belly on the tiles.  No photos, I have to leave her some dignity.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Chain quilt is all ready for the customer to collect, I get to admire it on my spare bed till then. 

I really like the back of it, where the patterns form a wholecloth quilt effect.  It's such a pleasure when the quilting works out so well; I usually take a lot of time choosing what to quilt, and it's always good when it turns out exactly as I planned.

I have two more tops that I have to quilt this weekend, and I'm procrastinating.  I would rather be in my sewing room playing with the pile of strips I cut for the Spiderweb blocks.

 I'm really loving the colours, no pale fabrics, only rich, warm and luscious stuff need apply.  I let myself sew up one strip set this morning, but that's all till one of the duty quilts is quilted. 

I love this block, the options are endless, and they are always surprising.  I'm considering doing one with all the dark points in the centre, so that the colours form concentric octagons, instead of alternating the wedges to form a kaleidoscope pattern.  I could just play with this for days, if I had the time.  And I seriously need to do one in blues and greys and blacks, but that will have to wait for a while.

This piece of William Morris fabric came home with me from Jamestown a while ago. 

I love it so much, I can't bear to put it in the stash drawers.  So it sits on my cutting table, where I keep seeing it and dreaming of starting a quilt in lovely soft blues and reds and browny-greens.... It certainly can't hurt to plan ahead.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It was my turn to quilt on Millhouse, and I spent two days working on this quilt.  The customer had tried to quilt it herself, and then pulled out all her stitching and gave us the pinned quilt.  She gave us no instructions other than to make it pretty.  The piecing is simple and there are only two fabrics in the whole quilt, so I thought the quilting had better be elaborate to pique the interest.  I'll show a picture of the entire quilt later, it's too dark now for the quilting to show up in the picture of the whole thing.  I love how it turned out, I will definitely be using these quilting patterns on a quilt of my own.

Over the weekend I sewed whenever I could, and finally cut out the pieces for a Spiderweb quilt that I've been wanting to make for ages.  I haven't sewn the pieces together yet, still deciding if I like the strip widths I chose, but I'm glad this is underway at last.  It's a favourite block, so easy to put together, and it uses a heap of fabric; 11" for each block, and that adds up real quick.
This is the other project I'm working on.

The blocks have various names; Chimney Sweep, Album, Courthouse Steps.  I haven't decided what to call it yet.  I have a photo of an antique quilt saved from Ebay about 7 years ago, and it has a very peculiar setting, with the corners of each block joining each other and the alternate setting squares joined with set in seams.  It wouldn't be easy to put together, and I'm still deciding whether it would be worth the effort.  I'll let you know about that; I don't have to make my mind up just yet.

I've seen several antique quilts with blocks set like this, easy enough with hand piecing, not so easy by machine.

I may have trashed my stash drawers looking for the perfect double pink to set this with, and I may have snapped and ordered three yards from some place in the US, but I don't have to count that until it arrives on my doorstep.  I'll use it straight away for this project, but I think I may have ordered more material to fill up the parcel and make it all worthwhile.  As you do.......

I'd better cut out a lot of those Spiderweb blocks and use up a heap of stash quick smart.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

I have nothing to report on the stash numbers for this week; 2.5m in, and 2.5m out, so nothing much has changed.  I've used 102.6 metres this year and bought 21 metres for a net usage of 81.6 metres.

I finished the Milky Way top, and it turned out exactly as I wanted it to, which was a relief. 

Imagine having kept the fabric all these years, and dreamed of making it, only to have it turn out ho-hum.  But it didn't, and I can hardly wait to quilt this and start using it.  It's been a very satisfying project from start to finish. The fabrics all came from stash, none at all were purchased for this, although I did 'borrow' half a metre from Mereth to finish off the four-patches.
It's Autumn, and I'm loving the cooler weather.  So is Dolly, she's been racing around like a mad thing, full of energy and determined to make up for the months of inactivity over the hot summer.  I think her convalesence is officially over!  

It rained last night, and it's raining again now, which is wonderful.  We took a little drive tonight, to see the heavy clouds and just enjoy the scenery. 
 This is my favourite time of year, and I'm happy as a clam right now.  Look at the colour of those clouds!
Of course the rain means there are puddles, and Dolly found one on our evening walk. 

I hear it's very soothing on the feet....


Thursday, March 04, 2010

I've been quilting this embroidery quilt for the last two days, so there has been no time for sewing or blogging or anything else.  It turned out very pretty, I will have to take photos tomorrow when the light is better. 

Lots of things arrived in the post this week, books that I indulged in, and tops from customers, and a belated order from Hancocks, which I'd totally forgotten.  I put a Moda scrap bag in the cart, and they were out of stock.  I never gave it another thought until this showed up.  It's very pretty, Fig Tree & Co Fresh Cottons.  It's not someting I'd ever choose for myself, but I'll enjoy using these pretty fabrics in a scrap project sooner or later.  I guess I'd better include this in my stash usage as fabric purchased, even though technically I bought it last year.

Another purchase was this music book from Sheet Music Plus, which has some great songs in it.  I would have killed for this book when I was a teenager and Celtic music was really unfashionable.  There are a thousand songs here, enough to keep me busy for a while.  I'm still playing my recorder, a little better than when I started, but not much.  When I pick it up Dolly is like a cartoon dog, scrabbling for traction in her haste to get out the door and far away.  Nobody appreciates me!

I've been boring Mereth rigid with my talk about getting a digital SLR camera. The thing is, my current point and shoot will take good pictures, if I just take the time to learn to use it properly.  I've been taking photos in manual mode, trying to understand how it all works.  Honestly, if I can't do it with this camera then a more expensive, complicated one isn't going to solve the problem.  I hate being sensible, it's not fun.  But I've promised myself a better camera, if and when I learn how to use the settings properly.  That's an incentive.

In my quest to take a portrait shot of Dolly I've been sittting with her in the back garden trying to get all the conditions right.  The only outcome is that Dolly now puts her ears flat on her head when she sees the camera, and when I make her sit and stay so I can focus on her, she shuffles around until her back is to me.  Silly dog!

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