Saturday, July 20, 2019

I'm still cutting up the shirts, and kitting up blocks to use as leader-enders.  I like having a stack of simple block kits in a box by the machine, ready to add to the end of my chain piecing.  But all too often I get obsessed with the leader-ender project, and my main project gets pushed to one side.  That's why I'm in such a mess at the moment, working on four things instead of one.  But instead of putting aside all but the main project, I just sew faster on all four.  It's a bit exhausting.

I'm kitting these simple blocks, I'm up to 25 sets of pieces ready to sew. I have 20 finished, and I need 80, so I'm halfway there already.

I'll still need to cut more strips, but that's satisfying because 3.5" strips really take a chunk out of the shirt pieces.  I can see the pile growing smaller now.

After I finished the border of little squares on the Churn Dash quilt I realised that I had an awful lot of leftover light and dark squares, already pieced in pairs.  I also had a big pile of 2.5" strips, so I came up with this simple block to use them up.
It's incredibly quick to sew, and it does a nice job of using up the leftovers, and it's an easy leader-ender.  It's a win all round.  Except that it finishes at 5", and to have a decent size quilt I'll need at least 144, and the leftovers won't stretch that far.  So now I'm cutting up more 1.5" strips, and more 2.5" strips; maybe this time I can calculate how many I'll need and cut only that amount.  If I don't do that, I'm going to have a new quilt rise up out of the leftovers of this quilt.  It's never-ending.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

I love my Electric Quilt software, but I have one complaint.  With a few clicks of the mouse I can add a cute border to my quilt, like this little border of red and white squares.

Then it takes me two whole nights to make the thing and add it to my quilt. But I went with dark blue instead of red.
I really love how it turned out, and it's worth the extra work, so I"m not really complaining. This was so much fun to work on, I really enjoyed making all these little blocks. The shirts were mostly fun to work with; some were a bit limp and it was a struggle to make them behave, but I just starched them into submission.  Some weren't what they seemed; they were labeled as cotton, but they shrank and puckered when ironed, so they had some synthetic content.  Those pieces got pitched, except for one lovely green.  I took extra care not to iron it at high heat, and once it's quilted it will never be ironed again.  But it's nerve-wracking working with blend fabrics, so I leave them behind at the op-shop.

This little top turned out to be cheerful and colourful; my first blocks were quite boring, but once I found the pink, purple and orange shirts, they came to life.  I started this after seeing the blocks on Jo's Country Junction, and she got the idea from Floating On A Quilted Cloud.  I wonder how many of these quilts are out there now, all inspired by Jo and Regan. These little blocks have spread all around the world.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Back home again, and looking forward to some time in the sewing room. The little people wore me out this visit, Thomas in particular is very high energy, I spent most of my time keeping him out of trouble.We have epic battles over what he should and shouldn't touch, and whether he should stand on chairs or beat on the windows in the playroom.  I win, but he puts up such a fight!

Last week, before I left, I quickly added the borders to the sampler quilt. 

I'm pleased with how it turned out, I love that I got to use so many of my blue and red fabrics together.  There are still a lot of them in the stash, but at least I've begun to use them instead of passing over them all the time. 

I have another set of blue blocks in a project box;
the sashing is chosen, and pieces cut.  All I have to do is get it all sewn together and I will have another finish. 
But I'm more interested in making progress on my shirt quilts, so these blocks will have to quietly wait their turn.


Saturday, July 13, 2019

I've departed from my usual focused way of quilt-making, and adopted a more scattergun approach. I'll be sewing madly on one thing, and another project will pop into my mind.  I want to see that other project on the design wall, so I sew even faster, trying to get whatever I'm working on in one piece, so I can rip it off the wall.  Yet I'm not finishing anything.  I'm very busy in the sewing room, but there's no finished items.

I'm trying to decide, while I keep sewing, whether I need to amend this way of working and concentrate on completing something.  It's good that I'm getting things further along, but I cant seem to clear the decks of all the associated fabric and scraps.  No time! Got to keep sewing!

But I need to stop and take stock.  A little organisation would probably make me even more enthusiastic and determined.  So...

The sampler quilt just needs borders, so that should be the first priority.

The Churn Dash shirt quilt is close to being finished, just needs the rest of the blocks sewn together and a little border added.
The little Puss In The Corner blocks need to be sewn in to blocks of 4, and arranged on the design wall so I can make decisions about setting triangles and borders.

The Country Cousin blocks need to be finished, and the borders attached.

I need to cut 3.5" and 1.5" strips from all the shirts, so that I can kit up a heap of blocks to use as leader-enders. Then all the shirts can be packed away till the urge to use them strikes again.
I could go on, but that's more than enough for now.  I've been home a week, and today I'm off to Adelaide again, for a bout of baby-sitting while the parents do various things.  Shonny sent me a video of Thomas saying 'Nan-Nan-Nan', so I'm keen to hear it in person.  I don't miss my sewing room much at all, when I have such delightful little people to keep me company.


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Whenever I go to opshops I keep an eye out for good quality shirts to add to the collection.  They need to be washed, then when I have a large pile I'll sit down one night and pull them apart.  I usually do this when I'm tired and don't feel like sewing, and I just watch TV and cut the shirts into usable pieces.  I finished Tumelo Trail last year, and had a pile of 5" Churn Dashes cut out, but then I seemed to stall.  Other projects appealed more and the shirt fabrics and scraps were packed away.

A couple of weeks ago I cut up the latest batch of shirts, and dug out the Churn Dash blocks to see if I wanted to go on and finish them.

They looked better than I remembered, so I started cutting strips from all the new shirts, and kitting up blocks. After  while I felt a bit lost, I had no idea what size quilt I was trying to make, and how many blocks I'd need.

EQ8 to the rescue again.
72 blocks would make a decent size quilt, so I went back to the cutting board and cut even more strips.  Then I cut those strips into 2.5" HSTs, and 1.5" squares, and kitted up the 40 or so blocks I'd need.  I had fun, but what a mess!  And it didn't even make a dent in the shirts.  That's when I decided to cut out enough 3.5" strips for another quilt.
And then I sewed a few blocks to make sure I liked the way it looked.

And now I have another whole quilt to kit and piece.  The pile of shirts hasn't gone down at all, I think I'll have to piece the backings for these quilts out of them too, but I'm really enjoying working with this reclaimed fabric.


Saturday, July 06, 2019

I got so sick of the little Puss In The Corner blocks that I sewed up the 70 kitted blocks, just to get them done.  I get so bored with the same thing again and again.  I need to move these old projects on and get busy with new things.

This is all 220 blocks.  That doesn't look very impressive, does it.
That's better, that's quite a stack of blocks. I will sew them into sets of four, then start arranging them on the design wall.  There's still a long way to go, but the end is in sight.
My Chicago Peace rose put on a beautiful display of flowers through autumn.  The poor plant is spindly and ragged, the only potted rose to survive my frequent absences, but it still managed to cover itself in huge blooms like this.  I'm going to try and nurse it back to health, and grow it into a strong bush.  Maybe one day I'll have a lovely garden again.....


I spent a week in Adelaide, babysitting, cooking, playing with the grandkids. I came back on Wednesday, and I've been trying to make some sewing progress ever since.  Two things have helped; limiting my computer time, and not bothering with an evening meal.  It's wonderfully freeing not to have to cook something, eat it, then clean up afterwards.  At Shonny's place I'm still doing dishes at 8.30, but at home I just grab something at 4 pm, then sew through till 10 or 11. I'm getting so much done, so it's definitely worth it, and I don't get hungry at all.

I put some blue and red sampler blocks on the design wall, made a lightning fast decision about a setting, and got to work.
 I needed a mountain of 1.5" strips, luckily I could cut them with the strip die on the Go Cutter.
It took a few sessions to sew them all into the strip sets needed, and then quite a few hours to set the blocks together.  I have the border fabric cut and ready to piece, so one evening of sewing should see that finished.

I really want to tackle my stack of half-finished projects and see some progress.  Giving up a few meals and some computer time is a small price to pay.


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

I'd like to finish the Country Cousin blocks and get them sewn into a top fairly soon. I'm not desperate for another finished top to add to the pile, but I would like to clear away all the brown fabrics I'm using and start cutting something more cheerful. I've collected quite a few Kaffe Fasset fabrics over the years, so it would be fun to try using those.  And my batik stash is quite decent now, so I could definitely start a batik quilt.  Kaffe, batik, modern fabrics; seems I'm moving away from just the reproductions at last.

I used up several pieces of black from the stash, making HSTs for the first small border of the Country Cousin.

It feels good to be actually using blacks, I have a drawer full and yet I rarely add them to quilts.  They will help tie the quilt together, I used black in the centre of the blocks as I had lots left over from my Grey Havens quilt. Those leftovers are 11 years old now, it was time to use them.

It shouldn't take long to finish this top; I have kitted up 27 of the 30 blocks needed, so I just need to find time to put them together.
Once I have the units in the kits partially pieced it all goes together so quickly, it will probably only take a day of sewing.

I bought this piece of fabric many years ago, and have hoarded it jealously.
I think it's perfect for the border of this quilt; it 's momentous that I even pulled it out of hiding to audition it.  Maybe I can be brave and finally use it at last.

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