Sunday, December 29, 2019

Home again

What a whirlwind end to the year! Our trip to visit family went off so well, I can't quite believe it.  Isla and Thomas were on their best behaviour, people complimented us on them at every gathering.

At Grandma's party all her friends approached me throughout the day and told me what a delight the children were.  One lady said darkly, 'We get some real little monsters in here." Oh dear....

We stayed at a lovely Air B&B just around the corner from the house Grandma and Grandad lived in while my kids were growing up, so it was a very nostalgic visit to our old haunts.  Thomas blotted his copybook by locking himself in one of the bedrooms, but luckily the lock could be turned from outside with a butter knife.  Shonny came flying into the kitchen to get one, and I gave a sigh of relief that it was one of those locks; there were hefty grills on all the windows, so we would have had to call a locksmith to get him out.  Kids!

At the end of the week Shonny and the kids flew home without incident, and I went back to Rhys's apartment to stay until after Christmas.  We visited the dog park every day with Daisy, who is just the sweetest puppy ever; 

we went to farmers markets, to the movies, and to some of the best brunches I've ever had.  We had some wonderful meals out.  

At home we played trivia and did two jigsaws and watched Netflix, and it was so relaxed.  I cooked corned beef with all the trimmings on Christmas Eve, and made sure Rhys paid attention to how to do it, so he can make it for himself in future. On Christmas day we had a spread of cold meat and salads, just like our old Christmases. We had a wonderful time.

I came back home much refreshed, and stayed with Shonny and family for two days.  Unfortunately Isla is sick,hopefully just a tummy bug, but it sort of ruined Christmas for her.  I was going to bring her back home with me, but she's too ill to travel, and we're in the middle of a heat wave, so I'm home on my own.  I don't know what to tackle first, the sewing room is too hot to work in, so I'll have to hope the AC in the workroom can cope with the 45(113) ° temperature tomorrow. I think another jigsaw would be a good idea.


Friday, December 13, 2019

I've been spending my nights kitting up Ohio Star blocks, and thought I'd show you how I do it.

I cut the triangles out with my Go die; it cuts 8 of each fabric at a time, which is enough for the star points of a block, or the background bits for 2 blocks, or the inner triangles for 2 blocks. The squares are cut 2.5", and I already have a big stash of those from previous projects.
I cut out heaps of triangles and then sit down and sort out what I want to put together.  Each little set of pieces gets put in a snack sized baggie, and 10 of them go into a sandwich size bag.  It makes counting kits easy, I can see at a glance I have 22 in this tray.
When I have time to sew, I will concentrate on sewing the Hour Glass units first.
I make Hour Glass units for up to 10 blocks at a time.  I have to be in the mood for precision sewing to do this, so that they are accurate and measure 2.5" exactly.
Here they're all laid out with their matching pieces, waiting to go back into their snack bags.
When I don't feel like precision sewing, or I only have a few minutes between other chores, I grab a block or two and put them together.

It's just as easy as sewing a nine-patch now, and if I've sewn the Hour Glasses properly then everything matches perfectly.

By doing it in stages like this I make the best use of my time and I match the sewing to how I feel.  The good thing is that some nights I suddenly have 10 blocks finished, without much effort, and that's like magic.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

I don't quite know what to do in the few remaining days before we go away.  None of my projects are anywhere near finishing, so it seems pointless to work hard on them.  I can't do anything in the garden because it will languish on it's own for two weeks, so no use repotting or shifting stuff around.  I do have to clean out the fridge and put the rubbish bin out, but that's hardly fulfilling.
I did get another quilt quilted, because I finally found a suitable backing for it.  A nice turquoise wideback fitted it perfectly, and I quilted it with a blue-green variegated thread.
I'm so pleased with how it turned out, I cant wait to start another one of these next year.  I'm cutting all my blue-green fabric into 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles already.
The panto is one of mine called Swell; I wanted something a bit seaweedy, and this fit the bill nicely.

I just love these colours and I'm hoping someone else will too, as it's now bound and down the shop.  But I'm not in a hurry for it to sell, because I just love looking at it.

This is my 8th quilt quilted this year, I'm pretty chuffed about that.  Three still need bindings, so that's what I could be doing till I go away. Even if I only get the bindings attached to the quilts it would be progress.  Then when I come back I'll have something to start work on straight away.  It's a plan.


Monday, December 09, 2019

Something needed to be done about organising the quilt tops on hand.  After all, there are more than a hundred stored in various boxes and cupboards, and I needed an easy way to document them and keep track of where they are. I made up this information sheet in Word, and printed out one for each top.

I know I could have made it all as Word files, but there's something satisfying about having a paper copy, and I can keep these in the workroom and scribble over them as needed.  I'm going to work my way through and measure each top, work out the size backing I need, and what meterage I need to make that backing.  Then I'll make a file of the backing lengths needed and I'll keep that on my phone.  When I'm shopping and find cheap backing fabric I'll be able  to look at my file and see exactly how much I'll need for any particular quilt.

I hope this helps me buy wisely; buying too much for a backing is almost as annoying as not buying enough, so having the info available will be so useful.

I've got a backing stash already, and a lot of these quilts already have backings allotted to them.  Still, that's quite a pile of quilt tops in that stack.  These information sheets will also help me prioritise what gets quilted next; as I've discovered already, if I don't prepare the tops, backing and batting ahead of time, I don't get a quilt on the machine.  I've quilted 7 this year just by being prepared, and I hope to double that number in 2020.  Or maybe I should aim to quilt 20 quilts in 2020.  Sounds achievable!


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

It's going to be a busy month

This is the state of my design wall. 
I'm trying very hard to come up with a plan for these 6" Ohio Stars blocks, and it's taking longer than I expected. I think I know where I'm going, but I may end up changing my mind later. Who knows. 

There's also these blocks from a few years ago.
I like them, but I don't know if I want a whole quilt of them. I think I'm going to make a wall hanging out of what I already have, and then all the fabrics earmarked for this can go back into the stash. 

December is going to be a busy month, I only have a couple of free days.  First is a 4 day visit to Seonaid's, to catch up with the grandchildren.  The main reason is to go with Isla to her first day of kindy.  I can't believe that next year she'll be in kindy and the year after that she'll be in school.  I thought time flew by with my own kids, but it's at warp speed with the grand kids.  I need to plan lots of trips to my house for her, because once she's in the school system there's no running away on a whim anymore.

I'll come home for the weekend, and I'll be manning the shop while we have a pre-Christmas sale.  Then a week later it's off to Adelaide again, and then up to Brisbane to see the family there.  It's Grandma's 90th birthday, and we're all looking forward to a big birthday bash with people coming from all over. Then Seonaid and the kids will fly home, and I'm staying to have Christmas with DS Rhys, for the first time in 11 years.  I'll fly home on Boxing Day, have a second Christmas with Seonaid and Co., then we'll all come up here for New Years.  So there's the whole of 2019 mapped out.  
It's going to be a lot of fun, but there won't be much sewing time, and I should just give up on the idea of finishing anything else this year.  But I won't; there will be some late nights I'm sure, while I try to cram in some time at the machine.

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