Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's raining today, proper autumn rain, and therefore I can't shift any more boxes of stuff.  I had a clear conscience about spending the afternoon in the sewing room, where I managed to finish the Stack&Whack quilt. It's a lousy photo, but there was no natural light and the fluoro light was pretty pitiful.

  I love it, it's so pretty and intruiging with all the different patterns swirling through it.  It was a fun quilt to make, I'm very glad I bought that material in both sizes.
I found the book that the new madder quilt came from, and the original pattern was called Road to California.
I've cut a whole heap of strips for the blocks, but I haven't tried to match any of them up for individual blocks yet.  There are so many parts to this block, I'll be able to sew the 4 and 9 patches for ages before I have to make any more decisions.  I'm looking forward to these, but there are other things to do first.

I unfolded one piece of treasured fabric to find a fade line on it. 

It's about 12 years old, so it's been in the stash for a long while, but it's still disappointing to find that materials deteriorate like that.  I've used it in countless quilts over the years, so I suppose they will all end up fading too. It didn't stop me using it in this quilt though, I just cut around the fade mark.  One of the things I love about old quilts is the unpredictable way the colours have changed, so I'll trust that my quilts will end up being charmingly faded, not dreary and washed out.

The dogs don't have much logic to the way they think.  In their minds, the cure for boredom is going for a walk.  They've been lying around all day, eyeing the wet weather outside and sighing dramatically.  Then one of them will bounce up to me 'I'm bored with all this rain.  Can we go for a walk???' When we get to the door they stop and turn to me 'It's RAINING!!  I'm not going out in that...'  Five minutes later, 'Can we go for a walk??'  It's going to be a long night.


Monday, February 25, 2013

I never used to be so fixated on the weather report, but now that I have a job that invoves 2-5 hours outside every day, the weather is very important.  Mereth and I don't mind the cold, or even the rain, but it's not fun on hot days to be wearing a helmet and protective vest, and trying to keep the sun out of the eyes. So this forecast makes me feel very relieved.

That's the end of summer in sight there, and the temperatures range from a high of 93° to a low of 79° ; no 108° degree days amongst the lot.  Everyone here is getting very tired of heat and having to water the gardens, and it seems that the last weeks of it are harder to bear.   But 93° is not unpleasant, so if that's the worst we get in the next 10 days I'll be happy.  Delerious even!  My gardening chores will be much lighter if I don't have to water every day.

The sewing room is looking emptier now; I keep discovering other things that I've tucked away, ready for the day when my sewing room is completely packed.  Two more kits came to light, one hand applique (as if that's going to happen!) and the other one involving 1.5" HSTs.  I don't think I'll be doing either of those when I'm tired out from work and moving, so they can go up the hall this afternoon.  I need to get drastic, and realistic, right about now, or I"m going to be sorry later on.  Declutter, downsize, purge, streamline, simplify; call it what you will, it needs to happen soon.

I'm having fun cutting strips for the madder quilt, and I'm justifying it by pointing out to myself that four boxes of fabric will be ready to leave by tonight.  Whatever I haven't done by then will have to wait.

Would it be wrong to make another test block?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Every day that goes past brings moving day closer, and I'm trying to move all the small stuff ahead of time, so that the movers only deal with the large furniture.  Gradually the sewing room is getting emptier, as I ferry unneeded things back to the hall.  It's hard to let go of it though, I like to have everything here in case I need to cut more pieces, or try a new colour combination.  The only fabrics left in the sewing room now are my cream and white FQs, all my madders and greys, some weird large print reproductions and 4 drawers of scraps.  And my project boxes, all 9 of them.

I figure that if I run out of things to sew I can use the scrap drawers and the creams to make blocks at random.  There are the project boxes that I can work though.  I have two prepared kits that I can work on, but that doesn't seem enough somehow.  So today I started kitting up some blocks to go with the leftovers from my Double Anvil quilt, from all the way back in December 2007.

 I had enough pieces for 12 blocks, and the best thing seemed to be to cut some more to make a decent size quilt.  My resolve not to start something new hardly lasted 24 hours, sigh.  But I love the block, and a lot of the pieces were cut anyway, so I'm actually sort of finishing a UFO (even if it wasn't really started at all).

The large print repros were the perfect choice, I'm really happy to have found a place for the ones from the Battle Hymn line.  I love them, but the effect is lost when they're cut into small pieces.
I had to pull out the madder fabric to cut squares, and fell in love all over again with the beautiful fabrics I've collected over the last few years.  The greys from the Metropolitan Fair range will work well with them too.
I've never made a madder quilt, and it's high time I did, I have boxes of them.  On an impluse I decided to cut out another quilt I've had earmarked for these fabrics, and just had to make a test block.  It's from a quilt history book, but I can't remember which one, and they are all up at the hall now.

The block turned out just the way I wanted it to, so now I can go on a cutting spree to kit up at least 20 of them.  I love slicing up piles of fabric, I really enjoy unfolding the fabric and ironing it and cutting the strips and then folding it up again.  It's all very meditative.  And somewhat messy, as piles of fabric appear on every surface.
The madders made me remember a project I started in about 2005, so I dug that out and had a look. 
 55 six inch Sawtooth Stars, the pieces for another 12, and dozens of strips cut for more. 
 I rather think I wanted this to be a medallion quilt, but apart from that I can't recall a single thing about what I was planning to do.  Guess that allows me to do anything I want now.
 I love these madder prints, so rich and luscious.  I'm going to have fun inventing a plan for them.

I'm giving myself till Sunday night to get as much kitted up as possible, and then it's all going back to the hall.  Can't sit here and fiddle with fabric when I should be shifting and lugging and toting.  It would help if I wasn't so distractible.......


Friday, February 22, 2013

There's not going to be much time for blogging in the next few weeks.  I'm looking after Pippi for Mereth while she's away; I'm also doing her job at the Post Office.  And as if that isn't enough I'm also watering her garden and my brothers garden, which is a big job in summer.  The last four days have been spent working or running from one property to another, turning hoses on and off and watering pots.  It didn't help that Monday was one of the hottest days we've had this summer, it was an absolute scorcher.  Not a day to remember and cherish, that's for sure.

Pips has been neurotic, looking for her mum, but is slowly getting better.  She sat outside Mereth's back door and whined for an hour the first time we went there, poor baby.  There's a lot of hiding under beds as well, but she's coming good, and in a few days time she won't even remember that she's been abandoned.  Until Mereth comes back, and then there will be hysterics.

Sorting and delivering mail is very hard on the hands, and my right hand in particular is feeling the strain, so I banned myself from doing anything yesterday; no sewing, no ironing, no packing or lifting boxes, not even any computer time.  Gak, it was so boring I couldn't stand it.  Watering the garden was OK to do, as I could hold the hose in my left hand.  Except that I sort of forgot and repotted three plants and then remembered that I wasn't going to do any lifting; apparently heavy bags of potting mix don't matter. 

I did some reading while I was banned from sewing; I recently downloaded Lord Of The Rings onto my Kindle, and I'm using that as my reading on the treadmill.  Love it so much, my copies of the books from 1975 have tiny print and brittle pages, and I don't want to handle them any more than I have to.  The Kindle is so great on the treadmill, I doubt I'll buy paper books any more, I'm a complete convert, except for quilt books.

This is a bad photo of the Churn Dash quilt I finished last week sometime.

 I bought 5 different fabrics to try on this for the borders, and nothing pleased it except this old Judie Rothermel print.  I planned to put a different border on the fourth side, and I like how it looks, plus I will always know which way to put the quilt on the bed.  So that's another top finished.

I'm still clearing out my sewing room, and I'm not allowed to start anything new yet.  I found another top that just needs borders, so that will go on the to-do list after I've got the borders on the Stack&Whack, which should be any day soon.The fabrics are chosen and waiting to be cut, I just need a couple of extra hours in the day so I can get it done. 

The orangey-pink was from the same Winterhur range, and I bought enough of the large print  to border several quilts.  It's scale is so excessive, I just love it.

My hands have recovered enough to wield the iron, so there will be sewing and pressing this afternoon.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In the distant mists of time I began a Stack & Whack quilt. 

Well, it was March 2010, but that's three years ago, and an awful lot has happened between then and now.  I made about 30 blocks in a white heat ofexcitement, and then it all got shelved when other things became more important.  In the interests of Finishing Things I pulled out the box of pieces and laid them out on the design wall to consider the possibilities.
INSTANT obsession.  Can't think of anything else until I get this in one piece. 
I wonder how I can have put it away for three years.  It's so much fun!  I've chosen to set the hexagons right next to each other, like a One Block Wonder quilt, and I love how they look, like a kaleidoscope.  I'm enjoying every minute of this.
 I don't own the One Block Wonder book, so I don't know the correct way to do this; I'm just making it up as I go along.  I'd already sewn together a heap of hexagons, so I had to build on them.  I laid out a net of hesagons, leaving spaces to add the unsewn pieces of alternate hexagons.  Then I sewed triangles to the hexagons to make large triangles, and now I'm sewing them into rows.
I will need to be careful to get all the points to intersect properly, but I don't mind.  I want this quilt to hang on the wall, and I"ll look at it constantly, so I want to be very painstaking and do the best job I can.

I had 1 set of pieces left over, which was amazing, seeing as I cut it out with no plan, and only decided what size I wanted it to be once I had the pieces on the design wall.  It's meant to be.

I did put the borders on the scrap Churn Dash, but I have nowhere to take a picture of it, as the design wall is taken up with little pieces that I can't shift.  So there will be a picture of that soon.

Things are happening here again: I've been renting a house since Christmas 2011, as I needed a/c over the summer, and accommodation for family through the year.  Now that this summer is nearly over I can go back to the hall, and concentrate on starting to renovate that.  In order to make room for me to live there, the shed is finally being insulated and lined, and it is going to be the workroom for the Statler.  
It took so long to work out what I wanted to use the shed for, but I'm happy with the decision now.  I was going to live out there, but decided having a dedicated workroom was a better use of the space.  Customers won't need to enter the hall now, so I won't have to deal with people dropping quilts off in my living room anymore. 
There's still so much to be done, but I'm hopeful that it will be done in a month, and the machine shifted before I have to move all my stuff back from the house.  Oh well, it will all get done, it just might not be pretty to watch.

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