Friday, August 28, 2020

More binding

This Tumbler quilt has a bit of a story behind it.  I made it while I still lived in Rockhampton, and quilted it on my friend Kaye's Statler on one of my visits to Sydney.  It never got bound because I lent it to a newly opened patchwork shop for display.

Then I moved down here and forgot about it, and years later the patchwork shop closed, and I thought that was the last of my quilt.  But a couple of years ago the mother of the patchwork shop owner was touring Australia by caravan, and dropped the quilt off to me here in Crystal Brook. How strange that it finally came back to me, after all that time. But it still hasn't got its binding, which was made at the time and never used. The edges need a good trimming, and then I'll take great pleasure in applying the binding at last.
This quilt was made and quilted years ago too, and was meant to be a donation quilt.  That didn't happen, because I didn't bind it straight away (I'm seeing a pattern here), so I need to get this finished and sent somewhere where it can do some good.  It's quite drab, but in my expererience guys often like more sombre colours, so I think someone out there will claim this.

I don't know if I"ll have time to quilt anything on this trip home, but I have a few deadlines to work at so I hope that will keep me inspired. Onward!!


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Binding blitz

I'm almost ashamed to admit how many quilts were laying around, just waiting for their binding. I rarely follow my quilts through from piecing to binding. Once it's a top I forget about it; if I quilt it then I act as if it's all finished.  Sometimes I trim it ready to bind, make the binding and then it just gets packed away. I'm always ready to abandon it to something more interesting, so my stack of completely finished quilts rarely gets any bigger.

However! This time I totally fixated on clearing the workroom of the stack of partially finished quilts that were reproaching me and taking up all the shelf space. The bindings for all these were made as they were being quilted, so I just had to grab the box of bindings and start sewing.

 I began by sewing the binding onto 3 quilts that I intend to finish by hand.  Sometimes I want an easy project when I don't feel inspired, and I just want to watch TV and stitch.
This 9-patch has been quilted for many years; I'm one side away from it being finished. This was actually made and quilted in 2010.
I'll hand sew the binding on Isla's quilt, and put a few special thoughts into it for her.  I know I meant to give all the kids quilts for last Christmas, but I ended spending time in Queensland instead, so it didn't happen.  Maybe this next Christmas. The Puss In The Corner quilt was quilted in October last year.
This quilt called Plaid Explosion was long overdue for binding.  It looks great now, ready for a turn on my bed.

One of my Shirt quilts had it's binding applied in less than 2 hours.  Why do I put this off? It was quilted last year some time.
A Puss In The Corner made from charm squares and quilted in 2015 was next on the list.  It looks pretty good now that all the raw edges have been covered up.
Road To Oklahoma also waited a while for it's binding. It was quilted in November last year.
This quilt was quilted a long, long time ago, but amazingly I could lay my hands on the binding I made for it at the time.  I do have good intentions, but I get distracted very easily.

So 8 quilts had their binding attached, and 4 were entirely finished. Next time I"m home I"ll concentrate on completing the remaining 4, and binding the two that I didn't get to. Both are QS, so it will be a big job.

I know I was lazy to let them mount up like that, but I deserve a few brownie points for getting so many bound this trip. I didn't get distracted at all.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Fussy cutting

I haven't once sat at my machine in my sewing room this trip, which has to be some sort of a record.

Instead, I've been hand sewing on these 3/4" hexagons from January 2018.  I started them so I would always have a hand project to take with me, but I never went back to them.  Too busy churning out tops or chasing grand-babies.

I'm enjoying the change of pace, and looking at some of my favourite materials with a different perspective.  I no longer visualise them pieced into blocks, but as motifs to be cut apart and rejoined in patterns.  
I'm not sure I can deal with these odd shaped remnants that have donated parts for the cause. I've spent decades trying to use up every last piece of my fabric, and not waste any, and now I'm turning them into Swiss cheese.  My mind struggles with that.
I have some bagged up ready to go, and I'm cutting more each night.
It's easy sewing, and such a lot of fun, but progress is slow.  This is definitely going to be a wallhanging.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Top tally

I seem to remember making a rash statement at the start of the year, about aiming for 20 quilt tops in 2020. That was before the year was turned upside-down by a pandemic, and Finn arriving and the family requiring my presence.
However, I'm not going to abandon that goal just yet. I put the borders on this little top that I made in May, and it's the 11th top finished this year. 

Can I finish 2 tops a month until the end of the year? I still think it's possible, I have so many projects close to completion. It will just take a bit of planning and preparation. 


Tiny Album Blocks

While I'm in a finishing mood I thought I'd tackle the Tiny Album blocks. I started them in 2017, and I've been casually working on them ever since.

I have 40 finished blocks, and 15 kitted up ready to sew, but I floundered when I couldn't decide how big to make the quilt.  EQ8 to the rescue.

This straight set layout uses 72 blocks, and would be simple to do.

64" x 75"
This on-point setting uses 72 blocks too, but it would be more work, and require a fabric for the edge triangles.
77" x 88"
I still haven't decided which version I will make, but at least I know I have to aim for 72 blocks.  That's not too many more, I can work on getting those kitted and sewn while I ponder exactly which pink material I should use. Hopefully something in the cupboard will work, I don't want to be buying more pink when there's two shelves of it there already.  This is the year of Use It Up, after all.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ohio Star top finished

One whole night was devoted to getting the borders on my Ohio Stars top.

This turned out exactly the way I wanted it, I'm so pleased with the soft blues and browns. I really enjoyed these blocks, they have kept me amused since 2017.

Making all those 2" Hourglass units taught me a lot about accurate piecing, and how to achieve the best results on my machine. I wouldn't hesitate to tackle any design containing them now. And see, I even mitred those borders after all. This is the third quilt that I've made with borders of that fabric;  it didn't give me any trouble this time, so I must have finally learnt how to deal with it.  There was only half a metre left, and I gave that to Mereth for her stash.  I'll have to look out for another reproduction fabric to replace it. This is the 10th top finished this year.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020


I was on a mission to fill up my box of 2.5" x 4.5"bricks so that I'd have lots to choose from for my leader-enders.  I didn't want to pull out the scrap drawers and cut strips, so I weeded all these charm squares out of the charms drawer. 

I'm cutting a 2.5"strip and a 2"strip from each one. That gives me one brick per charm square, and a 2" x 5"strip.

These will certainly liven up the Stacked Bricks project.

Some people have asked if I'm following a pattern. I'm not, just building the rows on my design wall. The triangles at the end of the rows are made from a 4.25"square cut twice on the diagonal.

When I sew the rows together I take the new row and fold the light coloured rectangles  in half to mark the centre of each;

then I line the fold up with the seam on the upper row.

The rows only need to be pinned every 8"apart, it all goes together really neatly if those seams are lined up with the creases.

The 2"strips are being sewn into 4-patches, and I haven't a clue what to do with them yet, but something will occur to me.  The important thing is that I"m using ever skerrick of the charm squares, which is a good feeling.  I've hoarded them for too long.



I was making good progress on my Beloved blocks, but I kept thinking,
"Why am I making an 80"square quilt.  I don't like square quilts. I could leave off 2 rows, have a 68 x 80" quilt and that would suit me better."

So that's what I did.

What a horrible picture, but I really can't be bothered getting a better one.  I was considering calling this quilt Once Beloved But Not Any More, because of those darn lumpy seams where the blocks came together. I really didn't enjoy putting this together which was a shame. I loved making the blocks, it was just the final construction that was horrible.  Mereth is doing the same quilt, and after seeing the struggle I had with mine, is considering a tiny sashing to separate the blocks so she won't have the same experience.

But it's finished now, and it's on the design wall in the workroom so I can admire it for a few more days. It's not as dark in real life, and the colours are nicer than the photo. I gathered up the leftover 13 blocks, and the 20 kitted blocks, and the extra pieces, and gave them to Mereth for her quilt.

I did have a Plan B for the extra blocks, but I really don't need another project. 
I used the offcuts from the 4.5" borders to cut more bricks for my leader-ender project. It's turning into such a good scrap-buster.


Sunday, August 09, 2020

I've been busy with EQ8, working out plans for the projects I have on the go.  I always feel more in control when I know exactly what I need to complete a project, so it's worth the time away from the sewing room.

This is how my leader-ender of Stacked Bricks will look. I haven't got the pink triangles around the edge drawn properly, but this is good enough to be going on with.

I don't know what this block is called;

I don't have time to track it down, so I'm calling it Patio because it reminds me of  Besser Breeze blocks.
This is the layout, with a pieced sashing of dark cream 'paper bag' neutrals as Bonnie calls them, and small squares to link the blocks.  It's good to find a place for those darker neutrals, I usually reject them when choosing fabric for blocks, but they are perfect for this.

I'll get these two printed out, along with the approximate yardage, and then draw up another of my WIPs. I do a count of the blocks I have, make a note of what I need, and then file the printouts with the project.  It makes it seem more achievable when I've got a handle on what needs to be done.


Saturday, August 08, 2020

My time in the sewing room over the last few months has been spent jumping from one thing to another and getting sidetracked by new projects, then trying to dig myself out of the resulting chaos.  That hasn't been very productive, but I've had fun with it, so that's what counts.  But last time I was home, 2 weeks ago, I got a bee in my bonnet about my Beloved project. I had kitted all the blocks I would need and packed away all the fabric, but then I decided that I just needed to get it done.

It's not easy to sew the blocks together; the seam allowances make a big bump no matter how they're pressed, and I wasn't looking forward to that.  It seemed that the only way to deal with that was to just get on and do it, so I sewed like a maniac and got half the quilt in one piece.

I also sewed up a heap more blocks, so that I only have 39 more to finish. Of those 39 I have 25 partially assembled and just waiting to be completed.

I feel pretty confident that I can get this in one piece if I concentrate on it.  I'll be home for 5 days this time, and the weather forecast is for lots of rain.  Perfect sewing weather.
This is my leader-ender project.  I love it, and have to stop myself sewing lots more of it straight away.  I need to do a lot more cutting for it, and I can see most of my 2.5"scraps disappearing into it.

The overnight temps are going to be close to 0° so I might be tucked up in bed knitting instead of sewing.  When I'm in Adelaide the heating is on most of the time, and I miss the chilly winter weather.  Only a few weeks of winter left this year, so I have to make the most of it.


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.

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