Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I had a satisfying weekend at the sewing machine, finishing three tops on Sunday.  It was a bit of a marathon, but I badly wanted to see progress before the end of the month. 

The Scrappy Trips turned out way bigger than I expected, 84" square.  I don't know why that surprised me; I knew the blocks were 72"square, and I was adding 6"of borders all round so of course it was going to be that big. 

It was still a shock to realise that it wasn't going to fit on the design wall, and I had to take it down to the workroom to photograph.  I just can't seem to get the colours right when I take a picture of this, the blues and greens are so bright in reality; I wish I had the time to figure out the right camera settings. And I did use my Precious fabric for the outer border, and it didn't hurt a bit!
The Scrappy Bargello is a nice size, around 70 x 80", and I really like how it turned out.  I love the colour combinations, so even though it was a bit of a pain to plan I can see me making another of these someday.
I couldn't get  a nice photo of the cheddar and blue quilt, as the camera battery died.  Must have been all that searching through the menus to find where to adjust the white-balance.  I know I've seen it somewhere.....
So there are a few detail shots, but no picture of the whole quilt.

But trust me, it's a completed top.

I had this mad idea that I wanted to finish 4 quilts in September, and there are only a few hours left.  I've got a tiny quilt top to put together, I'll have a go and see if I get it in one piecebefore midnight.  I'm up for a challenge.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm still keeping track of the amount of fabric I buy, and how much I use.  I'm not No-Buy, so the fabric tally is just because it's interesting to see how my buying habits have changed over the years.  As for the amount used, it's an indicator of how much sewing I get done. 

I've been working on three things lately, inching all of them closer to completion, so there is going to be a big addition to the Fabric Used column soon.

I'm glad that I don't have fierce 'Rules' about what I can and cannot buy.  There was a cheddar fabric that I impulsively bought recently, the rest of the bolt in fact; I love the blocks which use it, such a pretty play of colours together. 
And the sashing fabric is so perfect that I want to go back and get the rest of the bolt as well.  I could have scrounged up fabrics from the stash that would be OK, but I'm so much happier buying what I need to make the quilt exactly what I intended it to be.

I'll look for the perfect border in my stash, but if I don't fancy anything then I'll be off to the patchwork shop on a mission.  My fabric costs so much less than acrylic nails, designer shoes and handbags, expensive hair-dos or fashion outfits.  I'm a low maintenance kind of person, and that's how I want to be, but I don't compromise in the sewing room.  I have really high standards there!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

I'm going to make another list for this weekend; it worked quite well last week, until I lost the list.  I did get to cross a lot of things off, but haven't a clue what else was on there. I'm a bit hopeless at organisational things.

Nevertheless, I intend to try again. 

The two blue quilts will get their borders, the fabric is all pressed and ready to cut. 
The sashing for the cheddar and blue blocks was bought on Thursday at Elaine's in Jamestown.  I was organised enough to take the blocks with me, and try them on the fabric to see if the colours worked.   I've attempted to do that before, and left the bag of blocks at home, so I was quite pleased with myself this time.
I tried to use this ancient blue fabric from my stash, but I thought the rigid geometric pattern might cause me some anguish when it was cut into sashes, as the pattern is a bit off-grain; it may end up as the border.

I will be setting those blocks together as soon as I decide how wide to make the sashing.  And how to place the blocks.  
I can't decide if I like them with all the blue four-patches set vertically, or every other block rotated. I think the rotated blocks have a sort of plaid effect.   I'm pondering the photos in between other tasks, and hopefully my On-Board Computer will sort all that out in the background.
Maybe it could also remember where I put last week's list......


Thursday, September 24, 2015

For some reason, the Bargello quilt seemed to be a lot more work than the Scrappy Trips.

It took a lot of organising to make those long panels with 47 strips in each; I tried really hard to get the seam allowances to nest together (and failed). I tried to use 47 different fabrics in each panel, and not have them near the same fabric in adjoining panels (and failed).  I tried really hard not to make a mistake and sew anything wrong (and failed).  The last panel was sewn on upside down, so the squares went up for two panels, instead of up and down.  I tried to like that effect, (and failed), then got a cup of coffee and the seam ripper and took it apart.  So now that seam is sewn correctly, and the centre is in one piece, on the design wall. I think I've got the border fabrics chosen, I'm just waiting to see if I cut them wrong, or sew them badly.  I seem to have messed up a lot on this quilt.
I was brave and used a few batiks in the mix, and it's something I will do again.  The wild patterns and colours really bring the other fabrics to life.

I made an executive decision and packed away all the remaining strips so that I could finish a few of the projects that have stalled. 

These cheddar and blue blocks are next in line to go on the design wall; I was going to make 42, but 30 will be enough.

Then I'll tackle the red nine-patches and make my version of Bonnie's Sisters 9-patch.

Before I do any of that I'm going to cut some leader-ender pieces that I like; I'm not going to make more nine-patches if I can help it!


Friday, September 18, 2015

I'm finding the Go Cutter so useful that I invested in a couple more dies.  I ordered the 1" finished strip die, because I love that size for nine-patches and  would use it a lot.

Then I chose the 2" quarter square triangle, because those are just tooo too fiddly to cut; I used a heap of them last year, and didn't enjoy cutting them at all, so now I can have as many as I want.  I made a 6" Ohio Star to test it, and was pleased with the results.
Then this 9" Lemoyne Star spoke to me, it's a favourite pattern and I love the idea of being able to sew them without any tricky cutting.  The sample I sewed was so easy to put together, it was a breeze; the centre could have been unpicked and one side moved a fraction, but I don't have time for perfection right now.  This is good enough.

These shapes are going to be so useful to me, and save my poor hands a lot of work.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The blue and green strips have taken over the sewing room; if I want to get it back I'm going to have to sew them all together quick smart. 

I can't believe I have this many fabrics that I'm willing to use up entirely. Why was I saving them?  I should have done this years ago.

It seems to be taking a long time to get the panels made, but that is because I'm using 2" strips instead of 2.5". The panels are 47 strips long, and it's all a bit cumbersome.  I reeeally don't want to make a mistake with this, and have to unpick anything, so I'm going slowly and carefully.

One panel is finished, and there are three more laid out.  If I could sit down and work at it then I'm sure I could make some serious progress; however, this week is one of those constantly busy ones, with many appointments in different towns, and family commitments.  I'm grabbing every spare moment I can, and I'll get there in the end.
There's no end to these strips.....

 But I still love the colours together.

Along the way I've ended up with 18 unintentional nine-patches, made as leader-enders in between all the strips. 
I don't need more nine-patches, I don't even want them, but I haven't got anything else handy.  I need to find some simple block that I will welcome a stack of. I'm fighting the little Tumblers that Bonnie is making, but I found a jellyroll today that I'd forgotten I had, and maybe I could chop it all into Tumblers.  I'll think about that, while I send all those blue and green strips through the machine.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

There are so many things I want to do on this breezy Sunday morning, I'm going to have to do something alien to me: make a List.  It's been a busy work week, so there are lots of things to catch up on; yesterday I worked till midday, then just did whatever I wanted to and that felt good.  I spun some wool, and messed around in the kitchen and tried to catch up with the blogs I read.  We took the dogs for a long walk on a country track, and admired the beautiful scenery.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

I didn't really feel like sewing, that happens sometimes, so I dug out several bags of fleece I bought a while ago. 

 This one is nice, even if it's got a lot of dirt in it.
This one is rubbish; so tangled, and there is a break in the fibre; it just disintegrates when I pull on it.  Maybe I need to learn how to felt?

My pet peeve is people shoving fleece into tiny plastic bags until it's a tangled useless mess; so while I got cross at the Ebay seller who described one third rate fleece as 'a spinner's dream' I also derived some satisfaction from sorting out the few useable bits.  I can see an afghan in my future, made from all these small amounts of mismatched stuff.

I washed a little bit of each, so that I could spin it today and decide what sort of yarn they wanted to be.

It was too early to go to bed, and I still didn't want to sew!  I stood at the ironing board and ironed all the fabric I want to include in the next blue quilt, then cut pieces to load onto the 2" die.  I didn't have the energy to send them through the Go Cutter, but that will be a fun thing to do this morning.  I really like doing all the dull stuff last thing at night and setting up the fun stuff for the next day.
That's quite a pile of fabric, and it will be a LOT of strips later today.
Then the fun will start, arranging them into stripsets for the Scrappy Bargello.  But first I need to get a cup of coffee and make that list.


Sunday, September 06, 2015

One late night saw the blocks all joined together, so now it's just the borders to deal with. 

The quilt is wanting these two, but that light blue is in the Precious pile; I've had plans for that ever since I bought it. 
 That's all well and good, but look at the date on the selvedge! 
Admittedly I would have bought this a few years after it was released in America, but that's still close to 15 years in the stash.  Should I just use it and buy another pretty blue for my Someday quilt?  I'm going to have to think about that for a while, and maybe do some browsing online to see what's available.
 And this one is an oldie too; I have some ancient things in my stash, but I still like them, so why would I get rid of them?  I just need to actually use them.


Saturday, September 05, 2015

My goal this morning is to finish the last three blocks, and maybe start sewing the rows together. 

 There are lots of leftover pieced strips. I didn't cut the strips to any specific length when I was sewing them into the pieced strata.  Sometimes I could get 9 or 10 slices out of the sets of strips and it seemed easier to sew them longer than needed,rather than deal with a lot of little bits cut off each strip.
Might be a border option?

The sewing room is still a mess, and I need to put all the scraps away and organise the strips that I'll be working with when I start the Scrappy Bargello quilt. 
It will be a lot more sewing with the same fabric, but I'm hoping that the ease of strip piecing will keep me dedicated.  And if I do get horribly bored, I want to be able to pack all of it away neatly in a trice, and not be mystified when I come back to it in 6 months time.  That sort of thing happens all the time around here.
I've been blogging on the Ipad recently, because it's much easier now than it used to be, and it's so quick to just snap a picture and scribble some words.  The photos are very ordinary though, so I hope I don't abandon the good camera just for the sake of speed; it's nice to have photo records of my projects that aren't all blurred and hurried.  I need a couple extra hours in the day, don't we all?


Friday, September 04, 2015

The blue stash is depleted, which was my intention.

What is left fits into two drawers, instead of three.  See those bits of cardboard around the edge of the drawers? They're there to block the light from the fabric, to stop fading.  Didn't work with some of the FQs.
 I may have to cut even more strips to make the three quilts on my list, and then there are borders and bindings to consider.  It's quite exciting to be making such a drastic change to the stash.

I can't do the same with every colour though, the Blues were a special case.  I bought a lot of them on spec, and they didn't fit into my usual quilting style.  My browns and reds and pinks are nearly all repro styles, so they are a lot more precious and reserved for 'good' quilts.  How on earth can non-quilters understand the logic behind that!!
The Scrappy Trips is going to be 36 blocks, 3 more to piece; I may extend the length with a clever edge treatment but I'm undecided at this point. Once it's in one piece I'll have a think about it while I start on the next lot of strip piecing.  It still feels like fun, so I'll keep going; as  soon as it becomes a chore I'll swap projects, because I certainly have a few of them to choose from.

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