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.


Friday, July 10, 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....

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