Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Organising the leader-ender project

I'm working away at my Northwind blocks, cutting up piles of scraps and deciding on what colours to use and the best approach to using them as leader-enders.  I can get horribly confused when I'm working on two projects at once, so I needed to have some sort of a system to these blocks.
The 6" blocks are made with 2"and 4" finished triangles. Each block needs three 2" HSTs, and two dark and two light triangles.  I made sets of 5 pairs of light and dark triangles to begin with, then chain sewed the HSTs.  Once the HST seams are pressed (open in this case) I package them up with the remaining triangles for that block and they go into little ziplock bags.
These will become my leader-enders in between sewing together the Hunter's Star blocks.
When I have a fair few of the chains of triangles done I add the big triangles, and voila, a block done almost instantly.
I'm doing mainly red, brown and green scraps, with a touch of purple thrown in every now and again, just because I have the scraps there waiting to be used.
Now that I've decided on a logical way to sew these blocks I can sort all these triangles into kits and tidy up my sewing table.  I love knowing I have heaps of pieces cut and waiting to be sewn together.

I already have 26 blocks made, and I like the colour mix, so I will attack the scraps again and do some more cutting. The 2.5" triangle die I'm using needs a 7.5" strip, so I have cut up some pieces from the stash drawers as well; I'm certainly getting rid of a pile of pieces, which is what I meant to do. I'll need about 120 blocks, enough to keep me busy for a while.
Once the Hunter's Star is in one piece I can get busy working on the Checkered Lattice, I need the design wall for that so I haven't made much progress.  It's fun to be working on all these projects at once, I might even have some tops finished before the end of the year.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Scrap progress

I sewed the rest of the Hunter's Star blocks, and decided the new sewing room arrangement was going to work really well.  I should sew the blocks together, but I'm still fine-tuning the placement of them.  And it seemed like hard work, so then I decided to come up with a scrap project, to use up the mountains of scraps and to be a good leader-ender.  That was a monumental task, but I finally settled on some Northwind blocks.  They are lovely to make, I did 16 and cut out a whole heap more. 

Scraps make my brain hurt. I spent most of the weekend looking through boxes and plastic containers and ziplock bags, trying to make some sense of what was in there.  It was so overwhelming that I actually achieved very little, but there was one positive result. I was so confused that I resorted to writing down what was wrong with my scrap setup, and then writing possible solutions, and then making lists of things to do to make those solutions work.

I'm not that sort of person normally, I like to potter around and make a mess and only clean half of it up, and leave the rest for another day.  Then, at some stage, I go through the whole sewing room and put it to rights.  The problem now is that I don't have the time to spend wading around in half finished stuff and discards from two projects ago. I'm wasting the sewing time I have, trying to find things or tripping over unnecessary things. Sigh ***

I'm using my accuquilt dies wherever possible, but they require quite large pieces, and there were many, many scraps that were too small. After a whole weekend of prevaricating I finally sat down and cut a whole box of bits into strips or squares and filed them away in the scrap drawers.  Which was wonderful, but I could have done so much more if I'd worked at it all weekend. 

I set up a cutting station on a small folding table, using an IKEA Lazy Susan and a small cutting mat. My Martelli cutter made all the difference, it was easy to cut sitting down which is a huge thing for me.  I find it really hard to stand up and cut for hours at a time, so this was brilliant. In fact I'll do it again next week, after I return from a trip to see the family.  Just when I'm getting enthusiastic I'm leaving for a week. Never mind, Isla and Seonaid are more fun than scraps.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy sewing time

I needed a quiet day to catch up after my week away, so not much happened when I first arrived home. The next day I felt much better, and spent many hours in the sewing room, sewing and cutting more pieces. The Hunter's Star is growing quickly, which makes me want to see even more progress.

 I've sewn a heap of pieces together for the next 6 blocks, which will make this top 5 x 6.  I'll have a break from them then, and think about how big I want to make it.  I'm not sick of the blocks at all, which is a bonus; I'd hate to be making all these 8-point stars and not enjoying it.
 When I get tired of matching points on the 8 point stars, I move onto the Checkered Lattice blocks, which are mindless sewing.  I'm really enjoying these soft green fabrics, they aren't my usual palette and it's a pleasant change.
Some madness possessed me this week, and I changed my whole sewing room around yet again.  I moved all my spinning and knitting stuff into the lounge room, and now I have a lot more space in the sewing room.  I want to do a lot of cutting and sewing this weekend to make sure that the new setup feels right.  I will be tackling my scrap fabric I think, while I was moving things around I uncovered many, many containers of scraps, and a lot of fabric pieces smaller than a fat eighth.  They need to be dealt with, not shuffled into a new spot in my rearranged room.  Didn't I already do this in January?  Where did these scraps come from if I haven't been quilting this year?  It's a bit of a mystery.

I bought the whole series of Lewis,
which is a follow-on to the Morse series.  I love these British police dramas, set in Oxford.  The scenery, the music, the clever plots; I never get tired of them.  And because I have something interesting to watch on TV, I'm inclined to keep sewing longer than I normally would.


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A busy week

Last week was very intense.  My daughter Seonaid works in Events Management, which means long, long hours before the event.  She was working the Stevie Nicks concert, and I was due to go down and look after Isla for the last few days.  However, a week before the concert Isla developed a horrible viral condition called Hand, Foot and Mouth, involving painful blisters.  She couldn't go to daycare because it's so contagious, so it was Nan to the rescue, and I nursed her through it for 6 days.
Her mouth was full of bleeding blisters, and she couldn't eat anything, which is the end of the world for a little girl who loves her food.  She lived on bottles of formula, and yoghurt when she could manage it. She just wanted to sit with me and draw or play with her stickers, so that's all we did.  Her routine is built around meal and snack times, so when she couldn't eat the day seemed to stretch out in a formless string of hours.  
Seonaid left for work before Isla was awake, and got home at 9.30 when she was asleep; Isla never even batted an eyelid at her Mum being gone for a week, and me being there instead.  It's such a blessing to have been a huge part of her life, so that I'm just as much a comfort as her mum.

I knew she was on the mend when she started playing with her doll again,

and trying to wrap the dog up in blankets, 
and arguing with me about whether she should be allowed to stick pencils in her ear (I won that battle).

Seonaid worked until 4.30am the night of the concert, making the figures from the bars balance, and finalising all the admin stuff, because she and Isla were leaving the next day to fly to Queensland to spend time with the family there.  There was the rest of the day for packing, then we were up at 3.45 the next morning to leave for the airport.  We were a bunch of tired little Vegemites, but at last they were on the plane, and I could drive back to collect Dolly and make my way home, 2 hours north.

In Brisbane Seonaid collected her brother Rhys, and they visited Great Grandma. 

 Isla was a frazzled little camper in the Queensland heat, but was happy to sit with Uncle Rhys and look at his phone,  before flying on to Rockhampton to see Grandad.  This is her third trip, she's a well travelled baby, but she doesn't always behave herself.  

As Uncle Rhys says, "It's a good thing she's cute."

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