Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Charm Square 9 patches finished

This is an unflattering photo but I didn't have a chance to get another one.

I finally found time to attach the borders of the Charm Square 9-patches.  That brown border gave me fits, I needed to make the corners match nicely, but the pattern was printed on a slant.  That meant that when I cut the fabric straight, the print on one side was at a different level to the print on the other side.  I spent a long time measuring and fudging, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

This is top No.11 for this year, so with any luck I'll make it to my goal of 12 tops for this year.  I may even get a few more quilted if I'm dedicated.  It feels good to be working hard at the actual quilting, it's been years since I finished so many in one year. Now I just need to attack the binding; I think I have about 9 piled up ready.  The bindings are there, I just have to clear the work table and make myself do it. 

I'm at Shonny's now, I'll be going home on Thursday but there won't be much sewing this trip. Isla is coming home with me for a visit, so I'll be spending all my time with her.  We're both pretty excited about it, and Mum and Dad are looking forward to having just one baby for a couple of days.  If Isla can behave herself we'll do this more often, but who knows how she'll react to being away from home. I'm hoping Dolly and Isla's girl cousins will be so exciting that she won't miss her mum for a couple of nights. I hope I'm up to the task of parenting a 3 year old! She's pretty high energy.


Monday, October 28, 2019

So much progress

I've done nothing during this trip home except sew hexagons together. I haven't touched my machine, or cooked, or quilted. I'm a bit obsessed but in a good way.

The sides have had their hexies attached, I will straighten those edges once I'm ready to add the border strips. Now I need to fill in the hexagons along the top.

That's pretty easy stitching, and then I have one major seam to join the two pieces together. I timed it once and it takes about 1.5 hours, so one evening should see it all in one piece.

I was worried about the borders until I remembered a UFO from about 13 years ago. I'd cut a 4 metre piece from a bolt of white material I owned, and stowed it away with the other bits. Hmmm, I wondered, could that have been the same material as this? Luckily I knew where that box was, and the white material, even if it's not the same stuff, is a perfect match. How's that for pure good luck! 
Our mum made a dress out of that purple floral fabric. I remember watching her cut it out and sew it, and I always coveted the fabric scraps. She had a big cedar chest of drawers in her bedroom, and it was stuffed full of material and dressmaking scraps.  On rainy days she'd let us pull it all out and ferret through the scraps, and tell us stories of the material wrapped in brown paper that her grandmother bought and saved, and then handed down.  I don't think Mereth and I had a hope of not being fabric collectors; it's in our genes.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Dealing with a long term UFO

I've been working on a hand pieced hexagon quilt for the last 17 years.

It's made with vintage fabric in the rosettes, and a blue I dyed. Heaven knows what the white fabric is, and that's sad because I need more of it to finish this top. I think that's the main drawback of ancient projects: there are rarely replacement fabrics on hand, when the original runs out or is lost.

I've been stuck on this for more than 15 years because I can't decide what to do at the sides. I don't like the look of those half hexagons, but I can't come up with any other arrangement that I like. That chain of blue diamonds is really cute, but it makes designing an edge and border really difficult. 

After I finished the little wall hanging of ancient embroidered blocks I was inspired to tackle this again. And I'm determined not to set it aside again, just because I can't decide what to do.  
I've made a heap of half rosettes to place along the sides, and I think I've come to terms with how it's going to look.  Now I just have to add the white hexagons to each one, ready to sew to the blue diamonds around the edge.  It's not coming off my design wall until I have the all the pieces kitted up ready to sew.
I know that I've cut out nearly all the blue pieces I need.  There are a lot of white hexagons that will fill in around the edge, and I have to comb through my stash to find a suitable replacement white fabric.  That's a job for the daylight hours, so for tonight I'm going to go on making decisions, until I know exactly where this project is going. 

At this stage, I don't even like it anymore; I hope it appeals to me again after I've done all the hard work of finishing it.  And I think it will have to be handquilted, so it won't be on a bed anytime soon.  Some quilts are a really, really long term commitment.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

mini album applique

One of my oldest UFOs was a collection of blocks in buttonhole appliqué. The patterns are from a pattern pack I released way back last century. I made 2 like this: one was sold and one was stolen on the way to a quilt show.

I've had the blocks on the design wall several times, trying to wrestle it into submission, but all my fabric choices looked disastrous. So it's stayed packed away in its tin for the last 15 years or so.

This time I went for bolder colour choices: red was my sashing choice and this madder stripe just worked as the borders. 
It's not what I originally thought it would be, but I really like it. 


Friday, October 18, 2019

disappearing 9patch

My goal is to make 3 quilts, one for each of the granddaughters, in time for Christmas.

This first one didn't take too long to make, then it waited months to be quilted. I used an open panto so that the finished quilt would stay soft and cuddly.

I'm trying to decide on a binding, and trying not to agonise over it. So far this stripe is winning.

But I'm back in Adelaide again, spending time with this young man while his mum is at school. He likes being the only kid on the block, the others are at daycare, kindy and school. He can play without a big sister interfering.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

farmhouse 2

I managed to get another quilt on the frame while I was home during the school holidays.

This was a fun quilt to make, I used a lot of scraps from other projects plus leftovers from my Farmhouse quilt. It needs a name, besides Farmhouse 2, but I'm drawing a blank.
It was quilted quite heavily: the pieces were so little that I wanted to be sure every 3/4" square had some stitching on or near it.

It's very flat, but I like that look. 

It's a bad photo, but I didn't have time to wait for the sun to go behind a cloud.

I've had the backing for ages, and never felt right using it for any other quilt. That's because it was meant for this one. Yet another instance of why you should always listen to the voices....


Monday, October 14, 2019

charm square ninepatches

Ages ago I saw this quilt in a book of New Jersey quilts, and decided I'd like to make it using my charm squares. 

So I made a heap of 3 inch 9patches, and added corner triangles made from a 3 inch square cut diagonally. 
It turned out to be a very random, muddy looking top, because I chose muddy colored charm packs in the first place. I had so much trouble distributing the light and dark blocks that I threatened to chuck the lot in the bin. 

I finally got it arranged to my satisfaction, and then started pondering the borders. 

I really love the border on the antique quilt, but I didn't really think my version needed it.

This is what I've decided on. 

It will be a simple job to add them next time I'm home, and that will be another UFO to cross off the list. I'm aiming to finish 12 tops this year, and I'm on target for that. Even with so little time to spare, I'm achieving things this year. 


Saturday, October 05, 2019

This cold has been really hard to shake off, and it's not done with yet.  The antibiotics are helping with the secondary infection, but the viral part just won't go away.  Every day I tell myself I feel better than the day before, so I'm grateful for that at least. It hasn't stopped me, just slowed me down to a walk, so the list of finished things is disappointingly small.  I'm hoping I can pick up the pace over the weekend.

There has been more sorting and cleaning and organising of stuff.  There has been some socialising and drinking of coffee,  And finally there has been some quilting!

Yesterday I felt good enough to load a quilt and get it stitching.  It's not a big quilt, so I knew it would only take a couple of hours.  I used that time to put the binding on the Scrappy Mountain Majesty, and choose a backing for the next top to go on the machine.
I still haven't finished this binding, I'll do that while the next quilt stitches out.  I sew it down by machine, so it won't take long and then that will be another quilt completely finished, my third for this year.  It's been a long while since I had a string of finishes.

I love that the Statler stitches away while I'm getting the next top ready.  If I had my act together I could always have a top ready to load, and yet I don't have my act together.  I live in hope....


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Mereth has been quilting a lot of quilts lately, and I rarely have an opportunity to use the machine for my own quilts.  When I'm home I have to wait for Mereth to finish the quilt she's doing, and I have to have a quilt top pressed, the backing made, and the batting cut.  I'm rarely that organised.

 However, I did manage to get all the pieces ready a couple of weeks ago, and quilted a Scrappy Mountain Majesty that I finished  in February 2016.

 It's been sitting around with its backing for more than three years, so it was time to get it done.  I got it all set up while I was quilting another quilt, then it was quilting away while I did the binding on the first quilt.

It's a pretty little panto of mine called Denim Feather, and I think it suited this quilt really well.  Those curves and plumes helped soften the jagged points of the blocks.
I'm hoping to get a few more tops quilted while I'm home, but that means being organised and sorting out the backing and batting.  It's warming up now, so there's no better place to be than the workroom on a hot day. Alas, I'm also battling a truly horrendous chest infection, so I have very little energy.  Tomorrow I hope the antibiotics start to kick in, and I can get another quilt loaded on the machine.  It might take all day, but I'll just keep at it, one tiny step at a time.

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