Friday, December 11, 2020

Ninepatch pattern

 Renee asked for a pattern for the ninepatch top in the last post.  There isn't a commercial pattern, but it's really simple to calculate what's needed for your own quilt.

73" x 73"

This is my drawing in  EQ8. I've made all the sections a different colour so it's easy to see how the blocks are put together. 

There are 17 complete double nine-patch blocks, made with five 3.5" nine-patches and four 3.5" squares. (85 nine-patches, 68 3.5" squares)

There are 8 partial double nine-patches, made with three 3.5" nine-patches, three 3.5" squares, and a 3.5" x 9.5" strip. (24 nine-patches, twenty four 3.5" squares, eight 3.5" x 9.5" strips)

The blocks are set with twenty four 9.5" squares.

The borders are 8 strips of fabric 5.5" wide, joined in pairs.

EQ8 says these are the fabric requirements;

Mine is completely scrappy except for the border.

Hopefully this is correct, I'll check it later 'cause I'm rushing to get ready for another family thing. Life doesn't slow down when you get older.....


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Brown Ninepatch top

 I finished this a while ago; 12th November in fact. 

Of course I changed things from the original photo from Pinterest. 

I drew it up in EQ8 and then started messing around with it, and decided I really liked it set straight instead.  

I also like the partial blocks that let the chains join along the edges, and the corners blocks that extend the chains out. 

This was so simple to make, and I love the deep colours, it will be a cosy winter quilt. It would also look wonderful in other colour combinations; green with red ninepatches, or pink and green. I will have a play with it in EQ8 and see what I can come up with. The ninepatches are a good leader-ender, and once they're made the quilt goes together really quickly. The 9.5" setting squares used up a lot of small blue remnants in the scrap drawers, so it was a satisfying top to make.  Now I just need to get it quilted before next winter.


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Christmas is coming

2 months since my last post, that must be some sort of record for me. Real life got in the way of blogging, but maybe things will calm down now. And if I think that Christmas fast approaching is 'calm', you have some idea of what the last two months have been like.

I've done several customer quilts, including this intriguing optical illusion.

I quilted my string top from last year, and now it's waiting for it's binding.  I had plans to do 2 more of my own quilts, but customer quilts and family commitments took up all my time.
I did get to do  some spinning, which is very relaxing, and uses up some of my enormous fibre stash.

And I'm still making these blocks and cutting up scraps, and aiming for my goal of 20 tops in 2020.  Unless I knock out a couple of baby quilts I can't see me achieving that, but I'll keep trying until New Year's Eve.


Monday, October 05, 2020

New projects

I think I've started a Garden Party quilt, from Bonnie Hunter's Addicted To Scraps book..
I have a huge box of 1.5" strips to use up, and I thought that this pattern would do the trick nicely. I've cut out a heap of blocks, kitted most of them and sewn some of them, but it's just not grabbing my attention.  It's in a project box waiting for me to decide whether to go ahead with a full sized quilt.
These 9-patches that I wasn't too keen on have morphed into my next project.  I just want to sew dozens of them and assemble them into these blocks.

I saw this Pinterest image, and really liked how dark the whole thing was, with the light squares of the nine-patches forming chains across the quilt.
I've sewn two blocks, and cut a heap of strips, and I'm itching to get this under way. 
It will use up a heap of dark and mid blue scraps, and maybe use up some of those dark blue FQs that have been in the stash drawers for far too long.
And then there's these little 4"blocks.
I really liked Mereth's blue chain quilt, but thought that I have many more green and brown scraps and strips, so that is the colour scheme for my quilt. These are dear little blocks to sew, they use even the smallest of scraps, and they're my new leader-ender.  Until they take over as the main project, some time in the future.

I'm having fun with all these new things, and not worrying about the UFO list right now. There are some stressful things to deal with in the next few months, and I need to just have fun in the sewing room. No duty sewing allowed.


Sunday, October 04, 2020


I am SO happy with my Brickwork quilt, it turned out just the way I wanted it.

I love the warm, muted colours, the variety of scraps, the touch of pink before the borders.  It was a wonderfully easy pattern to put together, but it was never boring.

I did have to be careful applying the borders.  The whole centre is on the bias; the pink triangles were cut so that the edge was on the straight grain, but that wasn't enough to control the middle section.  It was really hard to get an accurate measurement, and I ended up removing the first border because it wasn't right.

In the end I put the top on the design wall, smoothed it out carefully and made sure it was square in every direction.  Then I placed the little inner strips across the top, pinned them into the design wall and marked the length they needed to be. That worked, and they were sewn on with no further hassle.  It's going to be fun quilting this and keeping that bias under control; I'll have to take my time and measure carefully as I roll it on. But it will be more than worth it.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Now the blues

I tackled the mess in my other stash cupboard.

It contains the blue yardage, and a lot of neutral floral yardage, most of which I purchased for $2 a metre at a spectacular sale 15 years ago.  I bought everything that was on the bolt, how can you go wrong at that price. 

It doesn't look like much on the shelf, but there was a lot of blue to sort through.

It still doesn't look like much.  I think I need to go shopping for dark and mid blues.

This is so much tidier and easier to access.

That stack in the photo above is all blue florals.  I don't think I need anymore of those.

There were some pieces that have been so nibbled at over the years that they don't deserve to be in the yardage cupboard anymore; these will get filed in with the FQs in drawers.

The yardage will go down to the workroom, to the backing shelves.  None of those prints are likely to be cut up for piecing, but they will be perfect as backings where the big prints will show to advantage.

I'm so gad to have restored order to the fabric stacks.  One major thing that made it easy was setting up a folding table right next to the cupboards. I didn't have to cart the fabric over to a table, sort it and cart it back. NO steps were taken, I could make sense of what I pulled off the shelves straight away and the whole thing took less than an hour each time.  Why didn't I think of that before?


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Speedy Finish

I dug through my stash drawers trying to weed out anything that I didn't love, and anything that was so small it got lost amongst the larger pieces.  It was slim pickings.  I've done this many times over the years, and there wasn't a lot of 'blah' fabric left.  I pulled out a few pieces to strip up for the strip drawers, but there was very little that I could use to cut 8.5" squares as I had planned.

I found a big piece of blue that I loved, but it had fade marks all through it, so that was set aside to cut up.  Then I found some backing scraps, and a few pieces that I still liked, but was willing to sacrifice, and started cutting. It took a night to cut it, arrange it and sew it in rows, and then another night to assemble it and find a border fabric.

All in all, it was fairly painless to get this top in one piece, and it cleared out more than 4 metres of fabric.  There are leftover 8.5" squares, of course, and while I was looking for a container to store them in I found a box marked "Scrappy Mountain Majesties", a Bonnie Hunter quilt

Inside were a heap of 8.5" squares and strips from the quilt I made a few years ago, so I added the new ones, and I have the beginnings of another quilt.  I know it's more work to make those blocks, but the squares were a bit boring to sew together.  It will be much more entertaining to make the SMM blocks.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Shaking up the stash

Have you seen Bonnie Hunter's blogposts just lately, showing her stash re-organisation? Here and here.  I was inspired to do something about my messy cupboards and stash drawers.

The pink and brown yardage was all over the place. Why is all that red in there? I've been pulling things out of here, and shoving them back in a hurry, till I couldn't see everything I had.

Much better.

The greens were in even more of a mess.

That is so much better, and I found new homes for most of the stuff on that fourth shelf, so now the browny-pink yardage can live there.

I have a thing for this reproduction green and yellow fabric.  I think I have enough for at least half a dozen quilts, so surely I can stop buying it now. Maybe.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the other cupboard that holds the blue yardage, and the lengths of pale floral fabric.

I also put away all the fabric that was cluttering up my working space, sorted 8 (eight!!) drawers of neutrals, and put away all the new fabric. It's a wonderful feeling, seeing the cutting mats cleared, just waiting for the next bout of activity.  In the last week I've started 4 new projects, and all I want to do is get cutting, but I have borders to attach tonight.  It will be good to have a finish, before the sewing room is covered in fabric and scraps again.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Brickwork quilt

I was doing really well with my leader-ender project. I sewed the bricks in pairs of light and dark, and every so often I'd sew them into rows.  It was a fun, easy project with no pressure.

And then I started wanting to lay out all the bricks first, so it took over the design wall.

And then I just wanted it finished so I could have the design wall back, so it was no longer a leader ender. I'm reeeally bad at leader-enders.

So now it's all in one piece, and just needs it's borders.  They are cut and ready, but I want to have a play with something else for a while, so they'll have to wait.

I'm going to make another brick quilt very soon, because I really would like the bricks to be a little larger, 2.5" x 5" finished.

I needed something else to use as a leader-ender, and because I had nothing prepared it was back to the 1.5" squares container; I now have eleven 3" brown nine-patches. 

 I guess I'm going to have to think of a project to use these up.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Quick quilts

 My stash drawers are in chaos, it's really hard for me to find anything that I want straight away.  I'm sick of searching high and low for a single piece of fabric, only to have it turn up in an entirely unexpected place.  It's such a waste of time when I could be sewing or cutting. I'm determined to do something about it over the next few weeks.
  • Sort out the stash drawers properly, label each one.
  • Weed out everything that is a fat eighth or less. Store them in a  wire drawer, for cutting into strips or squares whenever I have time.
  • Go through all the small containers, file that fabric back in the stash drawers.
  • If something needs to be in a small container for a project, label it
  • Re fold and stack all the fabric on the shelves
  • Find a better home for all the shirt materials.
  • Put bolts of fabric back on the shelf neatly.
  • Have a maintenance plan so it doesn't get messy again. Excuse me while I have a bit of a laugh over that.  I never put stuff away properly, that's why I'm in this mess in the first place.  But I can live in hope.

While I'm sorting through the drawers I want to pull out FQs that I don't absolutely love, and make a quick quilt with them.  If I cut each into a 16" square, and sewed them 5 x 5, I would have a top that was 80" square. That would be really painless. or I could cut them into 8" squares, and sew them 7 x 9, like the quilt below, which is 70"x 86". Then I can add borders, and get a big length out of the cupboard as well.

 It would be a really quick way to get some less than treasured fabric out of the drawers, and make room for new stuff. And the offcuts would restock the strip drawers. I'd need more like a metre of most materials, or use different greens and blues.  I'll come up with a plan when I've weeded out more fabric from the stash.

Or I could make some pieced backings the way Bonnie does. I did that about 10 years ago, and I really enjoyed those quilts with virtually another quilt on the back. I donated those quilts, and I sometimes wondered if the recipients chose to use them with the back facing up.  They were pretty.


Monday, September 21, 2020

A quick little finish

I was quilting a little quilt for someone else (no photos allowed), and there was a large piece of backing fabric still on the rollers.  I grabbed this little baby quilt that I made at the start of the year, added a scrap of batting, and had it finished in no time.

I even bound it, so it's ready to go into the donation pile.

I used a panto called Jilly, and it gives the right amount of movement and interest without overwhelming the simple piecing. This is my 3rd quilt quilted this year, not a great record, but there has been so much upheaval that I haven't been able to do more.

School holidays are coming up, and I should have a little bit more time at home.  If I get 1 or 2 tops and backings ready then I may squeeze another couple finishes in.


Friday, September 18, 2020


I concentrated on making the borders for my Tiny Album top, and sewed them on without a hitch. 
I'm so pleased with how it turned out, it looks quite antique, which I was aiming for. 
I had a lot of fun with these blocks, and they used up a pile of my small scraps and strips. And the sashing used up a treasured piece of archival stash that I'd been hoarding for 19 years. That was one of my goals this year, to use up yardage from deep stash, and I certainly achieved that. I don't know what my next project will be, but I think I'll rummage through the special fabrics and see what else I can turn into a quilt. It's a good feeling. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Stash enhancement trip

At the very start of August Mereth and I planned a little trip to visit our favourite fabric store in Adelaide, Tricia's.  There were some new Covid cases showing up, and we were afraid that there would be another lockdown and we wouldn't be allowed out, so we needed to go while we could.

We went to Tricia's before lunch, and spent hours browsing.  That shop is so crowded, there are stacks of bolts in front of the shelves of fabric, we had to work hard to get some of them out. We made a few purchases, took a heap of photos, then went and had lunch. Over coffee we consulted the photos, decided what we regretted not buying, then went back and topped up the purchases. It was a fun way to shop, no regrets later over something we didn't get.

I debated a long time over these border prints and large florals, but none of them came home with me.  Some of them went home with Mereth though.

Not a bad haul from Tricia's, and I could have bought so much more but I was being a little bit sensible for some reason.
Ah, Neutrals! Can never have too many of these.
This is a pretty random bunch of half metre pieces; no reason behind any of them, they just caught my fancy.
Some more pretties; love that pink.
I got 1.5m of this lovely pale paisley. I think it's from a Christopher Wilson-Tate range.
These should spice up future projects.

There were a few FQs to add to the modern stash.
And two wideback lengths, because I want to get some more quilts on the machine before the end of the year, and having the backing ready to go will help that. I have so many blue and white quilts, I'll have to choose which one I use this for.  The cream text print will go with a number of tops too.

It was a lovely trip, and we enjoyed every bit of it.  There was no uptick in the Covid cases, and no lockdown, so we could do it again if we wanted. Maybe some of those border prints will still be there. Just have to add to the bank balance first....

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