Thursday, August 06, 2020

Life keeps changing, and because I'm committed to helping out DD Seonaid and her family, my life changes with theirs.  2 weeks ago Hayden started another Fly In Fly Out job, this time at Olympic Dam, a mine in the north of South Australia.  At least he's in the same time zone this time, so he can easily stay in touch with the kids.  He's working away 2 weeks, and home for 1, which is a lot kinder than his last job where he was gone 4 weeks at a time. I'm still working out how long I will stay with Shonny each fortnight to help out. 

The first 2 weeks were a blur as we worked on getting the kid's routines established without Dad there to help.  Finn is the hard one to work around; when he's hungry or tired there's no reasoning with him, and there have been some epic screaming bouts from him.  Now that he's nearly 6 months old we've introduced some solid food to his diet, and he's certainly calmed down.  His hunger pangs are savage, so a bowl of rice porridge is helping overcome that. He gets so excited when he sees his bowl and spoon, it's hard to get around his clutching hands, he wants it so bad. Mealtimes are so easy when they like food and are willing to try anything.

It will be hard work for Shonny to do it all on her own, especially bath and bed time, but if I use my time down there to make freezer meals and make sure the washing is up to date then I'm sure she can cope without me when I come home for weekends. It will all evolve into a workable routine over time I'm sure, and I'm still enjoying spending such a lot of time with the grandkids.  Not everyone has that privilege.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Thank you for all the well-wishers on my last post.  If I haven't replied to you privately its because the comment came up as no-reply when I tried to email you.  But I'm grateful for your concern.

My many projects are in a terrible mess, littering every surface and tipping my sewing room into utter chaos.  I'm cutting so many different size pieces, for so many projects, and I'm just making a bigger and bigger mess all the time. For some reason I focused on my Beloved blocks mentioned in a previous post, and resolved to find out exactly what I needed to kit up and how many blocks I already had.

There must have been 6 baskets of pieces and fabric that I'd set aside for this, so I tried to collect it all in one spot and then count it all up. Oh and then I thought I might as well cut up all that fabric so I could put it away, and sew up a few more blocks to check my pressing instructions and...

By the time I ran out of steam there were 84 blocks on the design wall, and another 70 kitted, and a pile of leftover strips, but at least I could also pack away the fabric that had been bugging me in the first place. I didn't come across the blocks that I thought I'd made, so maybe I just imagined them after all; who can tell what goes on in my mind.

I have all the kitted blocks in this one container, and another one for the blocks, so it seems to be under control at last. Which is more than can be said for the sewing room.

So I made myself clean off the original cutting table, full of scraps from January quilts.  It took sooooo long, and I had to force myself to keep going, but for the first time in six months I can see all of the table top.

I think I'm more pleased with that than with the kitted blocks.

In the comments Riley asked about leader-enders, so I'm linking to Bonnie Hunter's Leaders & Enders page. She explains it so much better than I could.  I simply cannot sew without a leader-ender to leave under the needle, I will hunt high and low for something to sew so that I don't have to pull the piece out to cut the threads.  The backs of my blocks are as neat as the fronts, all the threads clipped close.  I don't waste thread, and I don't have anything to tidy up before quilting. It doesn't take long for it to become a habit, and it saves a fortune in thread, so give it a go if you're not already a convert.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

This post has nothing to do with quilting, but it's an important part of what's been happening in my life over the last 2 months, and it may inspire other people to take care of themselves.

Here in Australia we have a Breast Screening program that provides free mammograms every 2 years.  There are screening buses that travel all through rural South Australia, so there's no excuse not to attend. Mereth and I have always kept those appointments, because we lost our Mum to breast cancer in 2006. However, at the time of my last appointment I was in Adelaide, and then I didn't make a new appointment, and then Finn, and Covid and.....

At a doctor's appointment for something entirely different I mentioned that I hadn't had my last mammogram, and also that on occasion I'd noticed spots of blood in my bra.  Well that's not good, she said, and arranged an appointment for a mammogram at an Adelaide hospital.  I had the mammogram, and an ultrasound, and both showed nothing, but the doctor said We really need to investigate this blood discharge, because it's not normal.  I was scheduled for a biopsy a week later, under general anaesthetic, and that wasn't fun,but it wasn't too awful either. I did think that there was an awful lot of bruising for a biopsy and it was a large incision

When I went back two weeks later I was a bit astonished to be told that the pathology came back as cancerous; up until then I'd sort of felt I was wasting their time and there was nothing wrong. The doctor said I wasn't to worry because they had removed all the tissue they deemed to be abnormal, and it was good that they'd caught it so early. I was glad that they didn't go on with the biopsy, wait for the results, and then schedule another surgery; it was much better to just have the one operation. I will have an MRI in three months time to make sure that there is no recurrence, and regular checkups to make sure I'm OK.

I am most grateful for our Medicare system here; the four consultations, the mammogram and ultrasound, the surgery and a night in a care facility cost me nothing.  I paid $16 to leave my car in the hospital carpark overnight. While I'm still a bit shocked at the speed of it all, and the "You had cancer and now you don't" statement, at least I don't have medical bills to take care of.

If I had been wearing my black bra I would never have noticed the little spots of blood, which was the only symptom;  nothing showed up in the mammogram or the ultrasound.  When it was large enough to show up on a mammogram it would have meant more invasive surgery to remove it. From now on I'll wear a light coloured bra, I'll have a mammogram every year, and I won't ignore even the slightest thing out of the ordinary. Fingers crossed that the MRI in 3 months time is clear.


Thursday, July 09, 2020

I am currently obsessed with this block, made from 2" strips.  It's easy to put together, and it seems the perfect block for all those odd strips of repro fabrics littering the scrap drawers.  In fact, I like it so much I have used most of my precious scraps to kit up another 30 blocks, and I can't wait till I have time to sew them all.

I'm tossing around ideas on how to set the blocks together; I thought maybe pink sashing, but that didn't appeal, nor does shirting. I'll ponder that as I sew.
If a strip is too  small to get a whole block out of I cut whatever pieces I can, and then mix them up in these blocks. I have heaps of red strips to get rid of, and they make a nice focal point for the block.

I like this one set edge to edge and on point; I'm not going further with these until I work out a pressing method. I really hate having to mash seam allowances together when I'm assembling blocks.

I've been making 3" nine-patches as leader-enders, but I find them too boring. I'll go through my books and try and find an antique ninepatch to base a quilt on, and then I'll be happier about making dozens of them.
Now that I have so many 2" x 4" bricks cut out I've begun using them as leader-enders.  
They will get sewn together in pairs first, then I'll sew the pairs together to make longer rows, and then I'll join all the rows.  It will keep me busy for a while and that's good; it really puts me off when I run out of leader-ender pieces

And because I'm really fickle, I pulled out an old project, Beloved, from this book.

I've kitted about 50 blocks, and I have 55 finished blocks.  There are the pieces for another 10 blocks by my machine, so I'll have 65 blocks soon.  The problem is, I distinctly remember telling Mereth that I had 80 finished, some time back in February.  So I'm missing 25 blocks.  I have no clue at all where they are, and I really don't want to rip the sewing room apart looking for them.  My best plan is to keep making blocks (it needs 144!) and keep cleaning up the sewing room, and at some point I"ll open a container and find the missing blocks.  I hope....


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Life has settled down to a routine of 3 days in Adelaide, and 4 days at home, unless there's a need for me to help out longer with the grandkids.  I'm loving the time spent with them, and because I'm there to babysit it means that Shonny doesn't have to take the kids with her when she does the shopping and runs errands.  Thomas is not a fan of grocery shopping, and Finn hates his baby capsule with a passion; he's big enough to graduate to a car seat now, so that will help his attitude.  It's much nicer not to have to deal with screaming kids on every outing though.

I've been sewing and planning and starting new things when I'm home, which is fun but has left my sewing room in a shocking mess.  Every time I leave for  Adelaide I just turn off the lights and vow to deal with the shambles next time I'm home. And then I just jump right back into sewing or cutting out more things.
But last Tuesday, when I arrived home, I realised that I'd neglected things so badly that I was unable to begin anything at all.  The only thing I could do was to clean up, put away the piles of fabric all over the tables, ironing boards and floor, scrape up the fabric trimmings that had missed the bin, empty the bins, organise the cut pieces for all the new projects I'd started, and deal with the mountain of scraps that completely covered every surface.  A couple of weeks ago I actually set up another cutting table because I couldn't get to the first one, so there were two tables covered in scraps and offcuts. What a disaster zone.

So my time home this week has been spent on boring old cleaning up, but it will be worth it.  There were so many layers of fabric, dating back to tops I finished in February, that I'd never put away, or dealt with the scraps.  I was a bit appalled really, that I'd been so lazy, but it's been hectic ever since Finn was born, and then the months I spent in lockdown in Adelaide. I will try to be better in future.

I'm planning a quilt with 2" x 4" bricks, so I cut those first. I ended up with a heap of squares as well, which I'm not thrilled about, but I'll find something to do with them. I also cut heaps of 2" strips, they're my favourite size strip to work with.

Of course there were the small scraps that I could only get a narrow strip out of, and I could have thrown them away, but I'll just store them till I get time to play.  I've made two quilts out of 1.25" strips already, and Mereth is making a Log Cabin from 1" strips that is adorable. I'm in a saving mood right now.

It took two days and nights to sort out the scraps, decide what shapes and sizes I should cut, cut and organise  all those shapes, and then put all the pieces away. I'm glad I perservered though, I now have the 
bulk of 2 new tops cut out, and I'm ready to get back to the sewing machine and start making progress again.

Because I'm a good sister (and I'm sick of scraps) there is a basket of bits to go to Mereth.  She loves getting my offcuts, and I love getting rid of them.


Sunday, June 07, 2020

I stayed up late one night and got the borders onto this quilt, and I didn't even have to bully myself into it.  It was nice to cross it off the list, once and for all.

It turned out much bigger than I expected, 82 x 92". I usually aim for 70 x 80" quilts, but then I add two borders and before you now it the quilt has grown 12".  I never learn. This is the 8th top finished this year, and I think my goal of 20 tops in 2020 is still achievable

I enjoyed making this top so much that I think I will cut out another one, but with the lights and darks reversed. It's a great scrap buster, and while I've tamed the strip drawers, there are still baskets of scraps waiting to be cut up.  I have plenty of material for another one.

I spent the last two weeks at home, winding up the shop; it was the last day of trading yesterday.  When the new shop is ready we'll be back in business, but for now I'm free to stay at home and work on quilting and putting the house to rights.  But it's back to the city on Friday for Thomas's 2nd birthday. He's growing up so quickly! At least we have Finn for our baby cuddles.


Thursday, June 04, 2020

I haven't been in a blogging mood lately.  I've been sewing, but I don't have anything finished yet.  I just want to move on and start something new, instead of finishing borders. Ordinarily I would bully myself into it, but even my inner bully is off her game.  So I'm being nice to myself, and just pootling around doing what I feel like.

We're in the middle of a big shake up at our shop.  We've been offered a smaller, better appointed place, so we'll be moving later in the year, and another business is moving into our space. With that in mind, and the fact that there aren't a lot of travellers and buyers around in this pandemic, we're shutting up shop until we can move into the new one.  We're having a big sale, everything has been discounted, and we're being quite ruthless because we don't want to have to shift all the stock home, and then bring it back to the new shop.  I'm quite looking forward to not having the responsibility of manning the shop when I'm home from  Adelaide; we were shut for 9 weeks, and  that felt like a holiday. Monday will be our last day, and then I can stay home with a clear conscience, and maybe get some quilting done.

I don't now why my scraps derail me the way they do.  The 2.5" ones were really annoying me, so I sat down and sorted them into colours, and tried several patterns to hopefully use all of them up entirely.

There were some strange repro squares and strips that I always reject when I'm choosing strips. They were sewn together into a doll quilt, which was a good way to get them out of the drawers.

The mid blue and mid brown ones became 25-Patch blocks.  I think I have 30 of those.

Rather than choose a sashing fabric I moved immediately on to the dark brown and neutral strips.  I came up with a pattern that had a place for dark brown squares, neutral bricks and squares, and pastel squares.  It's sort of like a Garlic Knot, but with an extra row.

I got completely carried away with cutting them out, and did 50 blocks instead of the 42 I needed.  It was a lovely block to work on, and I can see me making more of them in the future. There are many ways to set them together, so I can see myself having fun with that.
Plus there's these simple blocks that are all over the internet right now. Mine are going to be a low volume baby quilt, sewn as a leader-ender.
I have about 4 other quilts started, but I haven't organised photos of them just yet, too busy with other things. I'll do a stocktake of projects soon, write them into my spreadsheet and make EQ8 files for them. Then maybe I'll have a handle on what needs to be done.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wow, 7 weeks have gone by in a flash, and I spent most of that time with the family in Adelaide.  I managed 2 five-day visits home though, so I have quilt progress to report.

The Japanese Cross quilt is finished and in the quilting queue.  I like how it turned out, and those seam allowances weren't too bad to deal with. Of course there were leftover pieces, and they became another donation quilt.
It needs a border, which will probably be the same grey green as the Japanese Cross, and then that can be added to the tally of finished tops for this year.

I've been jumping all over the place in the sewing room,emptying scrap drawers and cutting up  smaller lengths of fabric, trying to get everything put away where it should be.  It's going to take a lot more effort to get things sorted; I'm dealing with months of neglect, and I've added to the stash, so I'm not sure if the fabric will even have a home.  

Mereth found me another stack of the drawers we use for our fabric, so some of the overflow will be housed there. Of course this size drawer is no longer available, which made this op-shop find so much sweeter. They are just the right size for 2 rows of FQs, the newer drawers are smaller, or much deeper, which is just wasted space as far as FQs go.Here in Australia we don't have so many resources for storage products.
It was much easier when I just had a reproduction stash.  Now I have moderns, pretties, Kaffe, batiks and solids as well. Plus all my vintage fabric and flannel.  It's a challenge to get it organised so that I can find stuff when I need it.  But I think that challenge is keeping my mind occupied, and helping me deal with all the stresses of life in a pandemic.  Here in South Australia we have no active cases, our borders are closed, and restrictions are set to be lifted at the end of the week. So I feel pretty safe now, but we can't go on being cut off from the rest of Australia and the world.

These little darlings are definitely keeping me focused on the important things right now.
Everyone is happy and healthy,  Finn had tongue tie surgery last month, and is a much happier little boy.  He's sleeping through the night, at 3 months, which we think is pretty amazing, and has continued his spectacular weight gains. Isla went back to kindy, with no drama.  Thomas continues to be his rambunctious self, and is busy earning his nickname of "Biggest 1-year-old in the World".  He's grown out of most of his size 2 clothes, and will have to have a winter wardrobe of size 3s. Here's hoping Finn gets to wear some of the clothes that his big brother grew out of so quickly.

I will probably settle back into the same routine as last year, spending 2 or 3 days a week in Adelaide to help out, and the rest of the time at home. I need to spend time just sitting in my sewing room and remembering where I was when life went all topsy-turvy. And making a plan for what's going to happen next.  Lots more quilting, I hope.


Friday, March 27, 2020

It's so hard to post.  When I'm with the family there is very little time in which I can gather my thoughts, write something uninterrupted and then find a photo to go with it. I've been home twice since Finn was born, and when I'm at home I play catch up with work and chores, and when I sit down to write something I find myself constantly saying 'I can't write that, or people won't be interested in that, or that just sounds like whinging'. But I'm going to write it all, and then hopefully I won't have to revisit it, and I can just talk about other things.

I've been staying at Shonny's to help with Finn.  He's not a happy baby.  He doesn't settle after a feed, he's constantly congested, which makes drinking hard for him, he's always getting his breathing and swallowing out of sync and chokes and has to be patted on the back until he can breathe again.  Then he's even more distressed, and he's even more out of sync so it happens again. Sometimes he vomits his whole feed up, and then he's starving and tries to drink too fast and.... It's a terrible cycle for him.  He's seen two doctors and a community nurse, and all they care about is his weight gain, so they think he's fine.  But he's in pain from colic and gas all the time, he doesn't sleep like a newborn should, and it's wearing the whole family down.  He needs so much attention; he does better if he's kept upright, so we hold him for much of the time, which is OK when there's an adult for him and one for the other kids; when I'm home and Hayden is at work it means Shonny has to cope with the whole household while trying to feed and comfort Finn.

Some of Finn's discomfort could be an allergy to cow's milk protein in Shonny's milk, so she's given up dairy to see if it makes a difference.  Thomas had a terrible reaction to cow's milk protein as well, he ended up on a goat milk formula at 12 months old, so it very well could be Finn's problem too.  In a way I hope it is, because we can fix that.  Unfortunately Shonny won't be able to have lattes or cheese or sour cream, but it would be worth it for a happy baby. If it improves his breathing so he's not always struggling to get air through his nose that would be a huge benefit. Shonny will try and feed him as long as she can, because he's stacking on the weight anyway, and antibodies from her are important at this time, but he may end up on an allergy formula if there's no improvement.  We just want a solution for him.

I don't think there is going to be a 'new normal' for quite some time.  If Finn wasn't so little, and so unsettled, I would hunker down here at home and wait it out.  Shonny and I would do video calls so the kids could talk to me, and we'd get by.  But Finn needs so much attention, and so does Thomas, and Isla is missing out, so I feel like I need to be there to help.  If/when Finn  is not in so much distress, and sleeps for longer periods, I will come home, but for now my presence makes a huge difference.  I wouldn't find any solace in unlimited sewing time knowing that my family was doing it tough without me.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Strange New World

We live in interesting times.  It's hard to know what to expect from one day to the next.  Here in South Australia there are 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases, all of them related to travel, or contact with an overseas traveller.  And no cases in regional SA, which is good for those of us who live outside the city.

I feel like I've been in isolation anyway, looking after the baby, and Thomas, and helping Shonny's family any way I can.  I left the house 3 times in 3 weeks, so my contact with others has been minimal.  I've been home for a few days now, and have only gone out to have coffee with a friend and to collect the mail. In one way it's a very limiting lifestyle, but in other ways it's a bonus.  I can get very distracted from things I should be doing, and now those distractions can't happen.  So I can just stay at home and work on things that need to be done.

Alas, that means my taxes, but I've almost finished, and they'll be done before the last minute for a change.  Once the paperwork is finished, I want to move into the workroom and really start quilting.  There is a backlog of customer quilts, so I'll tackle that as soon as I can, and then get back to prepping the stack of donation tops so they can be done quickly. We could do with another roll of batting, so that might get ordered next week.  It would be terrible to have all this time at home and run out of quilting supplies!

I've had a chest and head cold for 2 weeks, brought home and shared by Hayden.  He's convinced it's The Corona Virus, but he's just being alarmist.  I'm in 2 high risk groups, I'm over 60 and I have chronic lung disease, so if I had COVID-19 I think I'd be pretty well incapacitated, and I'm not. It's a sobering thought though, that there is no safe time for me until they develop a vaccine, or a drug to mitigate the symptoms.  As much as I love solitude, I would find it difficult to self-isolate for 18 months!

I'm still sewing on the Japanese Cross blocks, I'm up to 24. I've added a lot more lighter greys to the mix ,and it's looking better. I have no idea how I'm going to put them together, the seams won't nest nicely, and I'm not looking forward to mashing all those seam allowances flat.  I really should have thought the pressing sequence through before I made so many.  There's always a tiny sashing as an option, so that will be in the back of my mind as I complete the rest of the blocks.

It's my favourite time of the year, waiting for the cool weather to become the norm, and autumn flowers to appear, and getting out my winter clothing that I absolutely love.  I'm never sorry to say goodbye to summer; I just hope that the cool weather doesn't mean more colds and flu for me. I need to stay healthy so I can keep visiting those grandkids.


Sunday, March 08, 2020

2 days isn't a lot of time, but I tried to spend it catching up on chores at home, as well as catching up with friends.  And I managed to fit in a little bit of sewing time late at night.

I'm up to 20 of these blocks now, and I'm going to have to add a lot of lighter fabrics so it doesn't get too dark and heavy looking.  The blocks are 10", and I was thinking of 30 blocks and then a simple border to make it about 60" x 70".  That means I have to lighten up the fabrics in all of those 10 next blocks; I'll have to go through the stash again and pull out all the light greys and greens I rejected in the first place. I really have to work hard on modern quilts, learning how to manage unfamiliar colours and prints.  I'm quite at home with my repro fabrics, but there's a learning curve with anything else.

It's a lot of fun tho, and I'm whittling down several areas of my stash that I've been hoarding for a while. The danger is that when I next go shopping I'll buy fabric to fill in the gaps and I'll replace everything I've used up. I think I need to put a freeze on the fabric buying till I can sort out whether I need a modern stash at all.
My 1800s repro fabrics are calling..... 


Saturday, March 07, 2020

A few hours after that last blog post I was in the car on my way to Adelaide; the baby was on the way, and I was needed for baby-sitting duty.   All went well, and our beautiful boy arrived at 10.30 at night.

His name is Finn, and we think he's adorable, of course. He came home from the hospital the next afternoon, and Thomas was enchanted with him.  He climbed onto the couch, stuck out his arms and said 'BABY!' He held Finn's hand and talked to him so gently, we were all really proud of him.

Alas, when the baby was 2 days old Thomas developed Hand, Foot & Mouth for the second time, and he was a very sick little boy.  Seonaid couldn't touch him in case she passed it on to Finn, so she had to stay in her bedroom listening to Thomas crying in pain, while Hayden and I tried to make things  better for him.  I think we held him for 4 days straight, taking turns to comfort him. It was traumatising for everyone. I've never seen anything like the blisters all over him, down his throat, all over the soles of his feet, and most of his body, even in his ears. We even had him tested for chicken pox, but that was negative thank goodness.  Just very severe H, F & M.
Yesterday he started to recover his spirits, the blisters had healed and he was allowed to go near the baby again.

Wow that was a hectic time, one I hope we never have to repeat. I've taken the opportunity to come home for two days, and then I'll go back for babysitting next week, until Finn is more settled into a routine. And I have to catch up on some Isla time, I feel like she missed out when I was so preoccupied with Thomas.

Finn is a long skinny drink of water, which he's doing his best to rectify.  
The visiting Community Nurse had to double check her figures because he's stacked on an incredible amount of weight at 9 days old. He's almost lost that newborn look, getting a little double chin, and a plumper face. I'm hoping that everyone stays healthy and they can move smoothly into being a 7-person family.....


Monday, February 24, 2020

Pastel baby quilt

This is the last finish from the sewing room for a while, I'm off to Adelaide on Wednesday, and I'm staying until the new baby arrives and the family is settled into a routine.  Thomas is going to have a big adjustment to make, seeing HIS mum with another baby.  I think he'll love the new baby, and I'm hoping that his dad and I can lesson the shock by being there for him whenever he needs cuddles, but he's only 20 months old.  He's still a baby himself in lots of ways, and he's always been a mummy's boy.  I've looked after him ever since he was born, sometimes for months on end, and yet he was nearly a year old before he would come to me for a cuddle when he was upset.  It was Mum or nothing.  I was so relieved when he finally accepted me as a substitute mum.

The Spinning Rectangles block is so quick and easy, it's our go-to block for donation quilts.  I started making these 4.5" x 2.5" ones, and thought the pieces were too large for the fabrics I wanted to use.  Now I'm making the other quilts with the smaller 3.5" x 2" rectangles, but I had to make enough of the bigger ones to complete a top.  I decided it would be too much white in the setting triangles, so I used a white fabric with a pink design.

The lilac border fabric is 30 years old, I'd already owned it for several years before I used it for Shonny's kindy clothes, and she's 33 now.  It's a nice pale border for this delicately coloured quilt.

I'm cutting more of these blocks, I think some site called them a Japanese Cross, so that's what I"ll call them.
I'm using up charm squares for the diagonal cross, but I may have to find some yardage to use soon.  I've really been using up the charm squares lately, which is a good thing.

And I cut all the scraps from the other quilts into 2.5" strips and I'm making a low volume baby quilt from 2.5" squares and 2.5" x 4.5" bricks.
I've started 7 new quilts this year, but already finished four. What a strange start to the year.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Floral Stars

My fourth finish for the year! My Floral Stars were inspired by Mereth's quilt.

The fabrics in this are mostly very old, some dating back 15-18 years. Lots of pale green and yellows, pale pinks and lilacs.  Some of them are really pretty, and I love them, but they've spent at least a decade in my stash, and it's time to move them on.  The photo looks a bit hectic, but it's pretty in real life, and I imagine some little girl will enjoy it.
I still have a few of those black florals left, so I'm continuing to make the flying geese units.  I have a whole drawer of pretty blue fabric, and I'd like to make another one like this but with blue or green sashes.  It hardly took any time to make the 20 blocks, so they can be my leader-enders while I work on a boy quilt.

I'm really enjoying working on these donation quilts, but I need to go back to some of my own quilts that have deadlines. It's nice to be so enthusiastic, and to be having such fun with my stash.


Friday, February 21, 2020

Ohio Star progress

Before I covered my sewing room in pastel fabric I knew that I had to try and clean up the mess from the quilts I  was currently working on.  So I sewed like a maniac and got the Ohio Stars in one piece, just to get it out of the way.  While I was searching through my stash for material for the donation quilts I came across a piece of shirting that I thought would be perfect for the sashing.  It was, so I cut the whole lot up and sewed the blocks together in a few nights.

It wasn't without incident.  I often cut the sashing fabric into strips the width of the blocks, and then crosscut them into the sashing width.  This usually makes better use of the fabric, and I like it better than cutting 40 or so 1.5" strips.  I didn't have any to spare, so I couldn't use the GO Cutter.  Anyway, I was congratulating myself that I had cut the 6.5" strips I needed, and had just enough fabric leftover to make a spare 1.5" strip.

Alas, I'd cut one strip at 6" instead.  So that was 28 sashing pieces that were too short!!  That was a fun moment.  Don't cut things late at night, I told myself. I'd already googled the fabric and knew that it was from a Jo Morton range about 5 years ago, so no chance of getting any more.  I did  the only thing I could, which was sew those pieces into a big long strip, and recut at 6.5".  It didn't look too bad, and I spread the pieced sashes throughout the quilt to help disguise them.
It was hanging on the workroom wall and Mereth took over the border scraps from my Charm Square 9patch and said, "You have to use this as the border". And I agree.  I'm not trying to mitre that print though, it gave me fits last time, so I'll put a block in the corner. And there will be a mid blue spacer border all round.

I will definitely make more Ohio Stars, maybe in different colours, because I just love putting the blocks together.  There are so many antique examples for inspiration, I'm sure I'll have another one under way before too long.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pastel Spinning Rectangle

I really love the simplicity of these blocks, they go together in no time flat.

I went through my stash of brighter pastels and cut one or two 3.5" strips from all of them.  The white is a bolt I discovered in the workroom and I'd totally forgotten I even bought it, so I don't know where it came from.  It's been great in this, because I can just reel off metres of it, knowing there is plenty more to finish these quilts any way I want.
The first donation quilt is in one piece, and I'm still cutting these blocks.  
I have 60 kitted to take down to Adelaide as my sewing.  I have piles of strips all over the cutting table, and I just work my way through them all, cutting the 2" slices.  I stack the strips 4 at a time, and every slice is another block, it's so quick.  I don't think it would be any quicker with the Go Cutter, so no need to buy a die. I'll save that money for more fabric.

The block is easy to construct without using an iron, just finger pressing the seams, so it's ideal for me to sew a few of them in any spare moment. It would be nice to come home with all the blocks for the next quilt made. That will depend on how hectic it is with the new baby.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A very scrappy quilt

I've spent quite a lot of time in the workroom, quilting, tidying, sorting, making decisions about storage and workflows and such.  It's been a lovely time, just putting things in their places and setting the room to rights.  That sort of thing really helps settle things in your mind, and often really good ideas occur after hours of just pootling around.  It feels a bit aimless at the time, but it's relaxing, and then you're in a state where the ideas can pop up and be noticed.

The strips I made from the leftover scraps of my Tumbler quilt have been hanging around, and I put off getting them into one piece.  After a couple of hours in the workroom I told myself to just get on and finish them, with some leftovers from the backing of the Spinning Rectangles quilt.  I had the idea of varying the width of the turquoise strips, to give the quilt a bit more interest, and I think it worked.
The centre 2 strips are cut 4" wide and the other strips are cut 3.5".  It's subtle, but it adds to the interest. The whole thing is 45" x 59", just a nice size for the top of a single bed.

 I'm glad this is in one piece, and ready to be quilted, with that ancient cat fabric as the backing. It will have to be extended with some blue backing scraps from other quilts, and I think I will join several strips of batting together for the filling. It's a good feeling to clear out so many scraps and pieces all at once.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Where do I start...?  Nearly three weeks since my last post, and I've been busy.  Circumstances conspired against me making a blog post; the cord to my laptop died and refused to charge.  Luckily Shonny's laptop had a similar cord, so I was able to limp along with that while I was at her place, and I ordered a replacement cord.  That took over a week to arrive, and by then I'd used up most of my data for the month, and had to severely ration my net time to make it last the month.  According to the figures I've doubled the amount of data I use, which is odd because my browsing habits haven't changed.  I blame all these ads and videos that pop up where you least expect them, and run in the background endlessly.

While I couldn't get online I stayed in my sewing room and cut up a mountain of material.  I've been on a cutting spree, and stripped up a whole heap of FQs and scraps to make some happy, modern quilts. It's been so much fun, but I don't have finishes yet because I keep starting new things whenever I get an idea. It's been a tremendous amount of fun, so I"m not going to change what I"m doing.  Very soon I'll be down in Adelaide with the new grandbaby, and I'll have to leave all my projects behind, so I"m having fun while I can.

I quilted a quilt last week, and that was a good feeling.  It's off to a magazine, so no photos just yet.  It was so helpful to have the backing all ready, all I had to do was cut the batting and load the backing.  I'm inspired to get a whole line-up of quilts ready for the machine, so I can quilt one whenever I have a day or two to spare.

Here's a quick view of my design wall.  There are so many things that I want to work on, I just want to race from one thing to another and make progress on them all.
I started a quilt from 6" Spinning Rectangles, and that just needs the borders cut and attached.
I started Tulips cut from bright pastels.
I started a Sawtooth Star like Mereth's, because I have a heap of those black floral scraps too.
I made a Cross and Plus block, and I really love it, but I haven't had time to make any more.  I have a heap of pieces cut, but I haven't got round to them yet.

So many things to do!! I've really enjoyed myself.


Friday, January 31, 2020

We are having the most disgusting weather, it's blisteringly hot, blowing a gale, a thunderstorm threatening. It's just horrible. I'm confined to the workroom in the Ac, waiting for the promised cool change. I've read enough books this year, and surfed enough websites, and now I just want to sew.

I don't want to sew my main projects on the workroom machine, too scared of different seam allowances wrecking my blocks. I pulled out a big tub of scraps from my blue and green tops, and I've been sorting them with an eye to making donation quilts. 
It will be interesting to see how many quilts I can conjure out of this lot.
I'm sewing all these off cuts from my tumbler quilt first, and I'll put them together in strips like a Chinese Coin. 
It probably won't be very big, but I think it would be a cheerful baby or boy quilt. I have a piece of cat material that can be the backing, and it will be good to get rid of that: I've had it for 20 years!

I'm feeling quite obsessed with bright scraps, thinking about donation quilts that could bring a smile to some child's face. After all the bleak black and grey of the bushfire scenes a colorful quilt is just what's needed. 

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