Sunday, September 30, 2018

The blue Framed Squares quilt is finished, after a marathon effort on my part.

Last week I took what I'd done down to the shop and tried it on the QS bed.  I was horrified to see that it wasn't big enough in any direction, I can't imagine what I was thinking when I stopped piecing the blocks.  It was barely big enough for a single bed.  I must be losing my grip on reality.

I came home and started cutting, then found the block pieces I'd thought were leftovers.  I made another 34 blocks in one sewing session, then joined them together in another, and finally stayed up very late one night attaching the borders.  It's way too big to fit on my design wall, so it was back to the shop the next day to put it on the bed.
I really drive Mereth nuts.  I get to a certain stage in most of my projects and I HATE what I've done.  I moan and complain and  tell her I"m going to throw it all in the bin because it's so horrible.  I grit my teeth and plough on, just because I have to finish it.  Then when the final stitch is done, I hang it on the design wall and fall in love all over again.  The adult part of my
mind ignores all the whinging and doubting, and makes me finish what I've started.  I just wish that other annoying voice that undermines my confidence would quit trying to influence me.....


Thursday, September 27, 2018

I'm keen to be working on another top, but there are other things that keep demanding my time.  We had a meal with friends on Monday night, 10 of us got together for dinner under the stars at Deb's place.  I cooked two veggie dishes that afternoon, so there was no sewing time then.

It was a beautiful evening, drinks at sunset, dinner served at dusk and stretching into the night.  It was good to relax and just be with friends, and appreciate the garden filled with wisteria and roses.  Delightful.

I finally made time at the sewing machine and put the borders on the Checkered Lattice quilt.

I love the way it turned out, so different from my usual palette.  It was fun to make, I would definitely make another one if I needed a quick quilt.  The thing that took the most time with this was trying to find the border fabric; I haven't even thought about the backing and binding, I don't know I have anything suitable in these colours, so I will have to keep looking when I'm next in a patchwork shop.

This is the fourth top I've finished this year, which is so much better than last year when I finished exactly none.  I have two other close-to-finished tops in my project boxes, and I think I will work on one of those next.  It's a good feeling to cross these old projects off the list.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

The days don't seem to go quickly, but the weeks are flying by.  There's so much around here that I want to do, and I work at several projects a day which is satisfying, but all of a sudden a week has gone by and nothing is finished.   I know that I'm primarily a Process quilter, I quilt just for the pleasure of it, but it's nice to have a finished Product every now and then.  And this year has been pretty woeful on the  finishes.

Yesterday we had a family lunch at our brother Doug's place.  Our other brother Greg and his wife drove down from Port Augusta, and we had a leisurely lunch that stretched out till 5.30.  We had such a good time sitting around the table with glasses of red wine, and then tea and coffee, swapping stories from our childhood.. Doug is 13 years older than Mereth and I, and Greg is 3 years older.  Doug's memories are so different from ours, he was a young adult while we were little children, plus he was a wild boy, and a wilder young man, so he has a lot of tales to tell.  He drove our parents to distraction at times, some of his exploits are family legend.  We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon of reminiscing.

I came home and started sewing, determined to finish the quilt on the design wall.  I've been working on it consistently this week, and I had the centre in one piece, so I just had to work out the corner blocks and attach the borders.  I was so relieved when I took the last stitch and hung the finished top on the design wall.

 This is the corner block I came up with, I just love those little strips.
I started this in June, it's been a fun project to work on while I lived in Adelaide and it helped use up a pile of scraps.  It generated a lot too, so I still have a box of 1.25" strips, but at least they're different fabric from the old ones.

I changed my mind about the size of it.  I have a double bed, and I decided I would actually like to use this myself so it was no use making it as large as the pattern.  That meant less blocks, and because I used a border I needed even less blocks. I only used 320, instead of the 520 I was planning on. 
I have about 30 leftover, and they are going to be the start of another quilt like this, but set on point.  I will do these as leader-enders I think, while I move on to a new project.  Or......

Maybe I'll tackle one of these boxes and sort out another WIP.  I would like to whittle down that stack of boxes, and add another finished top to the list.  It's fun choosing what to work on next.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I've been easing back into life at home, pottering about and fiddling with projects here and there.   Mereth and I have had fun going out to dinner with friends, catching up with family, having coffee in a new coffee shop.  Both of us spend so much time helping with our grandkids, it's nice to just have time on our own, without the babies.  We miss them,  but we're never away from them for long anyway.

I've been spinning in my spare time, which I find really relaxing and absorbing.  Once I've decided what sort of yarn I want to make I just have to concentrate on keeping the thread the right thickness, until I've filled up the bobbin. Patchwork involves decisions all the time, which is what makes it interesting and exciting, but it takes a lot of mental work as well.

These two are going to be plied together to make a jacket for Isla for next winter.  Plying handspun with a commercial yarn  makes the handspun thread go much further.  It feels a bit like cheating, but I'll be knitting much sooner than if I had to spin another bobbin.

 I made a few more of the little blocks over several days, just fiddling with pieces, until yesterday I decided I needed to make some significant progress.  It involved a bit of tidying up first, because the sewing room is still a mess, and there's a lot of new fabric to organize.
 I'm entirely OK with that, I've been buying for projects, not just for stash, so I will use a lot of these straight away.

Once I had a clear cutting table I went full steam ahead on cutting pieces for the border. I cut and sewed, until I had enough pieces on the design wall to see that my border idea was going to work. 
It's like a piano key, but the widths of the strips correspond to the blocks, which will make it easy to attach.  I'll invent some sort of corner block when I get to the stage of assembling it all.  I have about one third of the quilt in one piece, and all but 25 of the blocks finished, so the end is in sight.  I'm getting excited about seeing this come together.

I was really making progress, until I spilled my coffee all over the cutting mat and a pile of freshly cut strips. As a child I was always known  for being the clumsy one in the family, and it hasn't changed apparently.  I don't know if the strips will be usable after being washed and ironed, they may shrink.  Oh well, they can go in the scrap bag for some crumb piecing.  I think I'm going to ban myself from drinking coffee at the cutting table in future, I can't be trusted.


Monday, September 03, 2018

I've been lazy since I came home, just pottering around and not doing anything much.  It's been so luxurious, to wake up and decide what I'll do, even if that means not doing anything.  I spent one day out with friends, we had a road trip to a Jamestown and lunch in the pub.  Another day I spent at Helen's farm, chatting for 6 hours over coffee and cake.  And I've spent many days in the shop, so that the other people who run it can have a break.

I'm just sewing in small bursts, whenever I feel like it, and the count for the tiny blocks is 340.  I have 212 sewn into larger blocks, and the rest are single blocks.

 They are so easy to make, it takes no effort to send another 10 or so through the machine.  I've been finishing off all the partly completed ones I brought home from Adelaide, and soon I'll have to start from scratch, building the units up again.  Nice mindless work.  I think I want a border on it, so I won't be making the 520 that the pattern calls for; more like 460, so I'm nearly finished.

There were several fabric expeditions during my time away, trying to find a suitable border fabric for this quilt.  I hate buying fabric for a specific purpose, and then it turns out to be not quite right.  I bought two lengths that looked OK in the shop but not at home;
I finally found the One in Jamestown after our pub lunch.  Now I just need to cut the strips and get them sewn on.
My sewing room is a mess, too many projects and pieces everywhere.  I collected some big boxes from the supermarket, and corralled all the bits for each quilt in one place.  These boxes stack nicely, so they don't take up much room. I will work my way through each project and actually see some finishes soon.

Spring has arrived, the weather is warming up and all the plants stating their new growth.  I feel like I missed out on winter this year, we stayed inside with the baby and the heating was on, which I absolutely hate.  I'd rather rug up in a jacket and adjust to the cold.  But  I won't complain, because it's just so nice to be home again.

(Except that I wrote that a long time ago and I"m now back at Shonny's for a short visit over Father's Day.  But I'll be home again soon; life is a lot of travelling at the moment.)

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