Sunday, August 30, 2015

Collage August 2015

8 months of the year gone, and I have 8 tops finished.  That seems a paltry figure, compared to my 22 finishes last year, but one a month is OK.  This year has been very family oriented, with lots of work thrown in, and I just haven't had the sewing time that I used to have.
I started out this year wanting to have collages of everything I finished each month, but you can't have a collage of one photo!  So here are the quilts I've finished so far this year, with another four months to go.

 Jarred Takes A Wife, Coverlet, Madder Stars and Framed Kansas Dugout
Cracker, Split Nine-patch, Crosses and Trip Around The World

There are four UFOs, and four new projects in that lot; pretty evenly balanced I'd say.
I've used up a lot of blues this year, and that's without the latest cutting marathon.  I've earned a shopping spree in the blue aisle, :)


I seem to have become obsessed with cutting strips, but that's a good thing.
Most of the fabrics I'm cutting are really old, and they have been sitting in the fabric drawers long enough.  Every time I go to pick blues for a project I pass over these, because they aren't repro patterns or colours.  'They're for my modern blue and green quilt' I tell myself, and jam the drawer shut.  
Their time has come.  I'm not giving them another 5 years to marinate.  My fabric isn't exposed to much light at all, but many of the older FQs had fade lines when they were unfolded.  After another few years they would be un-useable.  Dyes have changed over the years, modern ones are much more stable, but blues really do seem to be worse than other colours.  
I've stripped up dozens of FQs and pieces cut from yardage, and I don't feel the need to stop yet.  I'm planning three quilts based on 2" squares, one Queen Size and two smaller.  If I need to gift a quilt to a family member it's going to be a modern one, because no-one likes my repro ones.  After I'm done working on these quilts I should have a nice stockpile ready.

I'm doing Bonnie's  Scrappy Trips first, and the sewing is so meditative; I just sit and feed strips through the machine like a production line.  There's not a lot of thinking needed.  I have 17 blocks done, aiming for 30, or 42, depending on how I feel.  

I would like to do a Scrappy Bargello next, and then another more planned zig-zag pattern.  There's every chance I'll get sick of working with these colours and the same shape, but I'm not too worried.  I'll just pack it all up as kits, and the next time I want an easy project they'll be waiting.  I'll be able to get the blues drawer shut easily after this, though my next shopping trip will probably include some new blues.  It's still my favourite colour.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I seem to be able to make any border difficult, it's a gift.  I wanted that madder fabric to form a complete diamond around the centre, but that meant either piecing another complete row around the whole thing, (not going to happen) or extending the madder square into the border.

I added the gold strips to the outside of each quarter, then pieced the single strips of squares that would join the quarters, with the madder square joining the gold strips.

 Four quarters finished, just that centre strip of squares to add.

Once that was done it was a simple matter to add the two outer borders, and my top was done!

GypsyQuilter sent this link to a TATW pattern made using the tube method; it would be a great way to put the design together in the least amount of time.  I quite enjoyed my bumbling approach, one fabric at a time, but it wasn't the fastest way to work.  And I have a serious mountain of leftovers.  Maybe I'll throw together a Scrappy Bargello from Bonnie's site, or a Scrappy Trips; both are a fun way to use up a pile of strips quickly.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

It's a glorious Spring day outside, even though we officially have one and a half weeks of winter left.  It does this every year and, while I'm sad to see the end of my favourite season, the soft yellow sunshine and the birds and flowers make me happy too.  Spring is lovely, even if we only get 2 or 3 weeks of it.

I've been having a lot of trouble with my hands lately, I've had to ration the amount of time I spend doing anything.  They hurt all the time, but I simply can't sit around and do nothing, so I spin for a little while, sew for half an hour, so the dishes, work on the computer in small increments.  I'm trying to knit slowly, type slowly, not lift anything too heavy; in short, I'm trying to be mindful of how I use my hands, what seems to damage them the most, how I can modify movements to prevent more pain.  I'd like to say I'm enjoying being mindful, but I'm not; I want to race off and achieve things, like I always have done.  Which probably is why I have the problem in the first place.

In the last couple of weeks I worked on a Trip Around The World quilt, from 2"strips.

The die cut strips were wonderful to work with, and I think I'll invest in a couple more sizes.  It was so simple to cut all the strips I needed, and then some.  I'll be working with this lot for quite a while.  I can see that an electric cutter would be even better for my hands, so that will go on the Great Christmas Wish List 2016.  Not going to happen this year....

 However, I wasn't happy with the centre of the quilt, from that single line of pinky-orange. I built the quarter on the right first, to get the colours I wanted, and it was fine except for the bottom left bit.
 I lived with it for a few days, but in the end I unpulled the bits that were worrying me and replaced them with a sequence I liked.  It's not a big difference in the photo, but the original light fabrics on either side of the pink squares were just toooo light.  So my Inner Goldilocks kept sampling different things until it was juuust right.
So now, many strips later, I have three quarters in place, and I'm getting together the pieces for the last quarter.  The border is probably going to give me fits when I come to it, but I'll worry about that when I get there.
So many strips left over!!  This is a good thing I think......

Hmm, I do like all those saturated colours on the background of blue;
maybe I should hunt out my blue background UFO and get it finished, before I start another project?


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

 My sewing room is covered in fabric, and I just don't know how to get it organised. 

 I have so many small pieces left over from cutting quilts, many of them less than half a FQ. 
What do I do with them, how do I decide whether to store them or cut them into strips or triangles or squares?  I'm completely undecided about how to tackle these leftovers.

I did used to cut them up into several sized strips and put them into the scrap drawers, but then I found I was sick of seeing them in each scrap drawer.  And now I don't particularly like making random scrap quilts, so I don't want to go back to that.  I'm thinking that I need to choose a couple of quilt patterns that use one size strip, and then cut everything up into that size.

I have two strip dies for the Accuquilt, and I love them. 
All these 2" strips were cut in about 2 minutes; there are five strips of each fabric.  All I had to do was layer the scraps and then send the die through the machine.  It cuts 4 strips, and I can do 5 layers at a time comfortably, so that's 20 with each pass.  It certainly is a quick way to deal with all the leftovers.
I am planning several quilts based on 2" strips, and this is one of my favourite blocks ever. 
 I've already made several quilts in this pattern, but I love piecing it, and the cutting is a breeze. I like the fact that it takes two main fabrics, putting the colour combinations together is pure fun.
I have 3 blocks finished, 8 blocks kitted completely and loads more pieces cut, so this project is well underway.  I still have to decide how to use the scrap pieces that I don't want to cut into strips, and there are plenty of them.  Maybe I will choose a triangle die and cut them into a bazillion triangles for an Ocean Waves or a Pine Tree quilt.  Decisions, decisions.

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