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. 


Monday, January 27, 2020

Oh dear, I seem to have started a new project.  That list is not going to get shorter anytime soon.  I don't call it a UFO list, it's called Ongoing Projects.  That sounds a lot more positive.

I saw an antique quilt in a book and thought it would make a good leader-ender for this year.  So I cut a heap of 3" Quarter Square Triangles with the Go Cutter, and started making blocks.

They are really nice to sew, easy to press, and because they are going to be set with alternate plain squares I don't have to worry about how the seams fall.  One of my goals this year is to use up more of the yardage I have.  There are some really beautiful pieces in my stash cupboard, and I've hoarded them for years because they are so Precious.  I want a lot of my quilts this year to have wide sashing, alternate plain squares, or wide borders.  Time to put the Precious fabric into quilts.

I hated the white setting squares when I put the blocks up on the wall, so I substituted a pale pink.  It looks just like I want it to, antique and like a scrappy farm quilt.  So now I can cut a lot more pieces, and kit a lot more blocks, and at least I know how I want it set together and with what fabric.  I really need to know where I"m going with a project to feel happy with it.

What to call it?  Blockbase calls it Big Dipper or Electric Fan.  I don't like either of those names, so I'll have to come up with something of my own.  It's made up of Hour Glass blocks, so maybe I can come up with a name that plays off that.  I'll think about that while I 'm making another dozen blocks.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

One day when it was very hot I was in the workroom, wishing I felt energetic enough to actually do something.Then my eye fell upon my Dear Jane quilt, languishing on a laundry rack.

Hmmm, I thought, that's a nice block
I grabbed a couple of scraps and whipped up a single block, to see if it was fun to piece and press.  I reversed the placement of the light and dark pieces, but I still like the DJ block, so there may be another one of these later on.  I was so happy to be sewing, and enthusiastic, that I cut out a lot more blocks, and sewed a few of them up.
Blue and green is much more my style; looks like the original block will go in the orphan box for now.

Lying on the table was this piece of fabric that I bought on spec last year, thinking that it would make a good backing for one of my quilts. I think it will be perfect for this one.

So one off the list, a new one to replace it.  Never mind, it still feels like progress to me.


Saturday, January 18, 2020

One down

25 to go.

This set of blocks had been put away with their sashing, and I just needed to set them together. I built the whole top plus borders in two sewing sessions.

It was a good idea to take a rest from the Ohio Stars, because this top went together really quickly and gave me an easy finish. Now I feel enthusiastic about tackling another UFO on the list. 


Friday, January 17, 2020

Ohio Star progress

This has been my main project for months.

I love it, but I'm stuck. I just can't decide on the right sashing fabric, and I don't want to work on it until I have that figured out.  I need to cut out more pieces soon, and I feel like I need to know the fabric I'll use for the sashing before I do that.  There's a few pieces of a likely candidate on the design wall already, but it seems too yellow, and the print on it makes me think of men's pajamas, and it's just not right.

I'm annoyed with myself because I can't overlook that and move on, keep making blocks, choose  a fabric from the stash or buy something.  Surely I'd be able to solve the problem later on, even if it means rejecting a few blocks.  But I'm not going to ignore the voices on this, so it's off the design wall.  We're on a break.
There's 40 completed blocks, and 18 kitted ready to assemble.  I'll use them as leader-enders while I work on something else.

I'm not jumping into a new project just yet.  There are UFOs that need to be dealt with, not out of duty but because I'm eager to see them in one piece.  So I'm spending a bit of time reviewing the projects in my stack of boxes, and I'll choose one soon to work on. It's actually really enjoyable, to go through things I haven't seen in months (or years) and decide what will become of them.  Some of them will be finished in a much smaller version, because I don't need them as a full size quilt; others will be reworked into something quite different, and some will even be abandoned.  I was quite surprised to discover that several were just a single block and a collection of FQs.  I'm not sure that even qualifies as a UFO.

I only have 26 things on my list, and I'm determined to keep that number dwindling.  Several only need to be assembled, the blocks are done and just waiting.  My plan is to put together an easy UFO, and then work on something more challenging, and then go back to an easy finish UFO.  That should keep me interested and the list will keep shrinking.

How long till I start something new? That's the big question, but my aim is for there to be a whole lot of different things on the UFO list at the end of the year, not the same old ones that have been there for 5 years. Not as many stalled quilts, and a lot more Works In Progress.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

The year is picking up speed already, we're half way through January and it's happened in the blink of an eye. I've really enjoyed my time at home, working in the sewing room and the workroom, but I don't have much to show for it.  It's been a lot of leisurely sorting and rediscovery and thinking about how I could rearrange things a bit better.  Once the year gathers momentum I rarely have time to potter about like that, so I'm enjoying it.

I've just returned from 5 days in Adelaide.  Shonny and Hayden went off with the adults from his family on a no-kids weekend, and I baby-sat Isla and Thomas.  It was fun, no dramas, and we did a few things that Mum and Dad would have frowned on, like getting out ALL the colours of Playdough instead of just 2 at a time.  Thomas had to kick things up a notch by eating the pink playdough with a fork, despite me telling him not to. It was obvious from his face that it tasted dreadful, but he kept doing it, until he was banished to observer status.  The next day he ate a handful of sand from the sandpit, and that was mayhem when it reappeared in his nappy.  Kids!

Perhaps you recognise this scenario if you have a bossy child in your life. We were drawing, and Isla wanted me to draw a circle on her page.
" Please draw me a circle all round there." All sweetness and light.
" No, not like that, a Circle.  Not there, I didn't want that. I need a circle. It doesn't match up, you need to make it join up!. No, it's not a circle anymore, it's not right!!!" And much sobbing ensued. I know I'm not much of an artist, but I did think that I could manage a circle.  Apparently not.  We patched things up, and I drew a flower and a butterfly that mollified her, and Thomas chewed the end off a crayon, and life went on.

She starts kindy in two weeks time, and then the world starts having a say in her life.  I love having her all to myself, and being such a big part of her life.  Soon she will be full of tales of her teachers and friends and new exploits; it's all a part of growing up, but I'll miss the little girl she was.

However, there's always Thomas, who is a juggernaut of risk and danger and daredevil adventure.  Which is bad, because he's also extremely clumsy and accident prone and doesn't seem to learn from each disaster. And soon a new baby to add to the family. I don't think there will be much quiet time in the coming year, but that's OK. Being a good Nan to my babies is the important thing right now.


Thursday, January 09, 2020

Simple 4 patches

This pile of 4patches is leftover from a quilt I made at least 13 years ago.

It's one of my favourite quilts, I just love the soft colours.
I don't know what I planned to do with these bits, but I got sick of seeing them in the spare parts drawer, so I just sewed them all into one piece. 

I still don't know what I'll do with it, but it needs some borders and then it can be quilted and maybe donated. It's too soon to be thinking about quilts for survivors of bushfires, but later in the year when people are resettled, I will be sending some off.

I'm not making much progress on my major projects, but I am getting some things dealt with.  Not a bad start to the year so far.


Friday, January 03, 2020

An empty container

I found a container with a few random pieces in it (the one on the right), and decided that I needed to whip them up into blocks, or just get rid of them.

I combined them with some 9-patches made from the basket of 1.5" squares, and created these blocks.

I didn't love them enough to want to go on making them, especially as the original pieces weren't the right size.  My seam allowance was way off, which meant matching them to the accurate 9-patches was a chore. these will go into the Orphan Box.
I sewed the wonky pieces together and mashed the resulting piece flat with the iron.  Then I decided it needed a little border, so I hunted out the container of Half Square Triangles and added some Flying Geese.

It looks pretty cute, and took all of an hour to finish.  I'll see if I can quilt it as quickly in the next few days.  I'm so glad I didn't go off on a tangent and start a big quilt to use up these pieces; it's lovely to just deal with them and move on.

This is a good start to the year; Mereth is always telling me I should be making small quilts, and this proves I can. May there be many more.


A new year

After the busy end to 2019 I've been taking it easy, and not pressuring myself to jump back into sewing, or cleaning, or fixing up the garden.  Things need doing, but I'm going to take my time and make a plan about how I'll spend my time.  My friend Helen is like an Energiser Bunny; if she has 15 minutes to spare she will jump right into a project; I'm more likely to have a cup of coffee. But in some cases it's better to sit and have a coffee and a think, rather than race off and not know where you're actually going!

Several times I sat in the sewing room and tried to create some momentum; each time I didn't feel any affinity with what I was doing.  The whole time I was away, I missed my quilting; now that I"m home, I just can't get started.

Every year at this time I become convinced that I need to clean up, use up or throw out all my scraps.  Last year that derailed the first quarter of the year, as I made endless 9-patches and rail fence blocks for this quilt;

and string blocks for this quilt.
I'm not going to do that this year.  I'm going to ignore the scraps, and I won't start any projects just to use them up. I'm going to sew on my existing projects, or start things that I'm really enthusiastic about.  I'm going to make a huge effort to deal with scraps as I create them, and try to visit the scrap drawers first when I need strips, but I'm not going to focus on them.  I love cutting yardage, so that's what I plan to do.

In 2019 I finished 13 quilt tops, and quilted 8 quilts.  That was a splendid result, seeing I spent half my time in Adelaide, instead of home.  This year should be a bit more relaxed, so I'm confident that I could actually achieve a goal of 20 tops in 2020.  I have 26 UFOs in the spreadsheet, and I'd like to cut that down to around 15 or 16. 

I finished these two very old UFOs last year,

and that felt wonderful, so I"ll try and get that list whittled down before I start too many new things.

It's stinking hot today, so I'm off to the air-conditioned workroom.  I'm going to put the finishing touches to my 4th jigsaw for these holidays, and I'm going to trawl through Pinterest looking for my next quilt project. That's a pretty good way to spend the day.

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