Saturday, April 10, 2021

Granny Squares

My Granny Squares are finished and awaiting their borders.  I'm going to have to visit a patchwork shop that sells Tilda fabrics, to keep the ditsy print vibe going.  I used up nearly all of those fabrics in the stash these last few months; it will be nice to go shopping with a definite purpose.

This block is my favourite; 
I'd made all the blocks and was sewing them together when Mereth came back from the the op-shop with an enormous haul of scrap bags which  included some vintage pieces.  

There was one little scrap of this blue floral, 
It was perfect for this quilt, so I made this block, unpicked one of the not-so-favourite ones, and added this one.  If only I had meterage of this; its so bright and fresh.

I've been quilting customer quilts, and working around the house;  I have been sewing at night, but my scattergun approach is getting worse.  I seem to have several ideas I'm working on, and several projects, and scraps from all of them, spread on every surface.  I'm really trying to get some semblance of order happening, but I'm back to Adelaide next week.  Only a short visit, back on Friday with everyone for a family visit, but there won't be time for any sewing until the week after that. I need to get busy while I can.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I've been working on taming the strips offcuts, and this is where I"m up to.  

 It measures 66" x 38" so far, and I've used up all the darker bits. I have lighter strips, but they don't look right when I put them with this pink fabric, so they will have to have a project of their own.
I really liked the look of the very light bits edge to edge, so I sewed them together. The seam allowances weren't too horrible to press, so I'm thinking I'll go on just adding more strips.  It might make a cushion cover, or I might expand it into an actual quilt, can't tell just yet.  But I"m really glad that both these projects give me an excuse to keep saving every last skerrick of fabric. They'll go away in a box until I've accumulated more pieces.

My modern print projects are all sitting there waiting for me, but my repros are calling me. I decided that I liked a positive/negative layout for the little blocks I'm using as leader-enders.  I was going to make a chain quilt like Mereth's
but changed my mind. I'd already sewn some together in sets of four, but I could make more and set them with some of my precious yardage that I'm still trying to use up.
Not this though, it's too pale.  I'll keep looking.

I still have a few kitted up, but I need to cut more, now that I seem to be making two quilts.  Today I'll go through my strip drawers first and see what I can cut from there.  After that I just might dig into the yardage and have some fun with my favourites fabrics.

What do we do with this boy?  He loves getting around with this toy basket on his head. It was funny when he was crawling, but now he's trying to run, and he's not very good at that yet, even without a basket obscuring his vision. I think we need to hide the basket and get him a helmet.....


Friday, March 26, 2021

A finish

I added little strips of squares at the sides of the Log Cabins, and a 2"border at the top and bottom, to make it 51"x 63" . That's a much more useable size for a single bed.  I'm pleased with how it turned out.


I have more Granny Square blocks finished, and they are so much fun. I'm not sure how big I want to make this; the blocks are 9"finished, and I think I want to make it single bed size. I'll keep kitting these up until I've used up most of my strips, and then I can decide whether I want to make more.
My Mum and Gran always maintained that boys are easier to raise than girls (Gran had 8 boys and only two girls; she said that Mum was more trouble than all of them put together). My son was a very easy child to bring up, but Thomas and Finn are proving to be the trouble-makers.  Thomas has had 3 trips to an emergency dentist because of falling off things onto his face.  Finn is so adventurous he's turning my hair white.

He gets himself into many more precarious situations, but there are no photos of the more hair-raising ones because we're too busy trying to rescue him. He climbs out of the bath too, it's as if his legs have a mind of their own and just carry him along. He's been walking since his birthday, and those naughty legs just get him into trouble every time. Lordy me, I'll be glad when he just wants to sit down and build Duplo things with the other kids.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Situation Report

 I seem to have abandoned all sense of order in my sewing room, and I'm just doing whatever I want to. I know there's nothing wrong with that, and I'm having fun, but I really would like to see something finished. Then I'll go back to my 6 different projects.

I've been working my way through the bright strips from the last post, and I almost have the Log Cabin blocks in one piece, just that centre seam to go.  

Its too narrow, so I have to come up with a way to make it wider, but not longer.  I'm still pondering that, while I go on with these blocks.

They are my leader-enders, and I'm just using whatever 2" scraps I have.  So far I've been able to cut the blocks only out of 2 fabrics, but I have an awful lot of scraps that are too small for that.  Either I cut from my longer strips now, or I make them totally scrappy.  Not sure I would like that, it would be a bit chaotic, but I might give it a try. Or I could make a piano key border. Still thinking about that one.

The blocks I'm really smitten with are these Granny square blocks.

I know everyone in blogland made one of these years ago, but I just set the idea aside in the One Day file. My strips are perfect for this, and I'm also using up a pile of random white strips left over from projects.  Those scraps of white are infuriating, they're just clutter because if I want to use white in a good quilt, I want it all the same fabric.  It's not until you try and put whites together that you realize how different they can be, so these scraps just keep getting passed over. I think I'm going to sash these blocks with a very pale print, so the whites are separated and the differences are less noticeable.

I'm also working on a variety of projects using my reproduction fabrics, which couldn't be more different from the modern prints.  The browns and pinks make me so happy, even though some people find them gloomy. 

I'm working on sewing these strips of leftovers together, and then adding the pink strips; it's all very slapdash.  When I get them all in one piece I'll just chop off anything that isn't square.  It's not going to be terribly big because I"m making it for my bed, which has a rail at the foot, so the quilt doesn't have to overhang the mattress.  It's going to be 66" long, and a lot wider.  I just wonder it it will use up all the scrap strips entirely, or if I'll have to think of something else to do with what remains. There are so many scraps...

And I'm still cutting up scraps into these Chain blocks, which are like potato chips in that you can't just do one. They are so easy to put together, there is a stack of finished blocks in no time.

Today I'm going to update my Ongoing Projects spreadsheet, because none of these have been entered.  The numbers will go up dramatically; I've been at 26 projects for a long time but these will take me way over 30.  I'll just have to get busy and finish them, so I can put them into the Finished Tops spreadsheet.  It's a pity I'm not tracking yardage this year, there's a lot of fabric involved.


Monday, March 08, 2021

These pastel Spinning Rectangles have been my leader-enders for more than a year. I made a heap last February and they were set on point and became a small top. They're such a lovely block to make, nothing complicated about them, and the pile of finished blocks grew steadily until I had the 80 I needed for a single bed quilt.

They are up on the design wall now, waiting for me to rearrange the colours a bit more evenly.  If I try, I can get this in one piece before I have to go back to Adelaide.  The blocks are so easy, and such fun, that I'll probably always have one kitted up.

In a bid to conquer the piles of ironed fabric, I've decided to cut it all up and make as many tops as I can, rather than finding a place for it all in the stash drawers. The Spinning Rectangles are cut from 2" strips, and I have a die for the Accuquilt in that size; it needs an 8 1/2" piece of fabric for that, so my first step was to cut a strip from as many pieces as I could.

I ended up with 3 or 4 piles like this, waiting to be sent through the cutter; luckily it's electric so it didn't take very long.

This pile of strips looks absolutely luscious; I can't wait to get started making quilts from these.  First up is a Log cabin, and maybe a 16-patch, and a scrap Spinning Rectangles to use up every last bit. It's fun to plan new projects. 


Sunday, March 07, 2021

In late 2019 I was sewing with my bright modern fabrics, trying to make 3 quilts for the granddaughters.  Somehow that hasn't happened yet. I have 1 top quilted and another top finished, but the oldest turns 10 soon, and I want to make her a more adult quilt that she can use through her teenage years, so that's is on the backburner while I collect fabrics in her favourite colour, aqua.  I have very little of that in my stash.

For the past year I've been dodging the piles of ironed fabric that were draped on every surface, waiting for me to finish these quilts.  Once it's ironed I don't want to fold it back up and store it in the drawers. Then I'd have to iron it again before I used it. It's a strange sort of logic. But it made for a very messy workroom.

Then I added to the mess with the tulip blocks I was working on,  and all the fabric I acquired for that joined the existing piles of ironed fabric.  Something needed to be done.

There was this;
and this,
and the new stuff I bought for my Tulips quilt. Oh dear.

Long ago I'd started cutting for a Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt, and then decided the fabrics were all too light to work with the dark purple four-patches I'd made.  I put the pieces I'd already cut in a basket and forgot about it.

Last week I found the basket of pieces and thought some of the newer fabric would work in that pattern, so I was off and running on a project I never intended to work on.  
I cut new pieces and happily pieced them into this top, but all the time something was nagging at me.  I thought I'd cut more 6 1/2" strips originally.  A lot more.
So it wasn't really a surprise to find this literally minutes after the completed top went up on the design wall. I guess there's another top using these fabrics in my future.


Friday, March 05, 2021

 It's autumn, my favourite time of the year.  The weather continues to be mild and pleasant, with cool nights.  I'm loving it, we really did miss out on our usual summer this year thanks to the La Nina effect. It's been wonderful.

I came home a week ago, and I've been sewing up a storm. I have two finished tops, and a pile of blocks and strips that I  used as leader-enders. It's all very satisfactory, and I still have another 4 days before I go back to Adelaide. I might get another top completed.

I found a pile of dull scraps in a drawer, and decided that I would use them up entirely. I chose a simple block, a Double 4-patch, and away I went.  It's not a big quilt, I decided life was too short to worry about using up dreary scraps when there were so many beautiful fabrics waiting their turn. This is such an easy block to make, I might choose some nice fabrics and make it in a larger size.

Of course I didn't manage to use up all of each scrap, but I certainly put a dent in them. 

I don't really feel like working on any of my existing projects just yet, so I've been casting around for something to sew next.  

These little pieces are the ends of strips when I can't get a full square out of what's left.  I've been saving them for years, and every now and then I pull out a batch and sew them together into a long strip.  

Then they go back into the drawer.  Except this last lot wouldn't go back into the drawer because it was so full.  

I had so many more strips than I thought, enough for the beginnings of a decent size quilt.  I don't have the heart to sew them edge to edge, so many seams butting up to one another would infuriate me, so I"m looking at small strips of pink to separate them.  

I haven't decided yet if this will be the final choice, or if I could use scraps of different pinks to separate the pieced strips. It can live on the small design wall while I get on with something else.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

In July 2015 I finished my blue Split 9-patch.

I had a lot of HSTs left over, a whole box of them, and they've been cluttering up my table ever since. I thought it might be cute if I made a little quilt using the same layout as the Split 9-patch, so that's what I did.  

 It only took a couple of nights to finish, and now that box of leftovers has been dealt with. The Wild Goose Chase blocks above it are on my design wall to see if I'm inspired to make more of them.  I'm not reallly.  I think they're destined for an Orphan quilt.

But I'm away from my sewing room for a few weeks, helping with an especially busy start to the school year.  There have been a lot of doctor's appoinments, school committments, trips to the hairdresser, and a hens party for a family wedding. I babysit whichever boy doesn't need to go out, so Shonny isn't dragging reluctant, screaming children all over the city, and I minded all three of them the weekend of the hens party.  As Thomas said, "Nanny, you got angry eyes!" after he'd run around shrieking with excitement for 15 minutes. A movie marathon fixed him, Frozen 2 calms them all down.

 Finn turns 1 next week, there is a birthday party this weekend at a kindergym.  He is going to love it, he's a born climber.  He gets onto everything, and will go and fetch a box or chair if he can't reach something.  
He's heart-attack material.
It's a good thing he can get himself down from these positions, he's much more careful than Thomas ever was, but I still stop him climbing whenever I can. I don't want any accidents.

This is what happens when Nan changes the baby without turning the light on.  Sigh.

I came out of the kitchen to investigate all the noise and found them doing this.
Amazingly they all survived without injury, but Nan put her angry eyes on again.

So no sewing, but lots of fun and games.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Quick finish

I made these blocks last year while I was clearing out my 2.5"strip drawers, and then put them aside. I sewed the blocks together at the start of this year, and then they just sat needing borders. A few weeks ago I needed a quick finish to boost my spirits, so I pulled them out and in one night I had a quilt top.  That certainly made me feel better.

I have 63 of these Spinning Rectangle blocks now, they are a brilliant leader-ender.  

I need at least 80, so it will take only a little while to accumulate the next 17 blocks and then I'll have another 'quick' finish.  Except it's taken many months to get these blocks done, but it took so little conscious effort that it will seem like they just appeared..

I need another project that uses quick blocks that I can sew and set aside for later, so I think I'll do another 16 patch.

I tried to make this quilt 12 years ago, and it morphed into something entirely different; maybe this time I can stick to the plan.  Although I'm thinking it could look nice made in shirt fabrics. Heaven knows I have enough of those.  

Just recently Mereth and I had a  session watching Youtube videos while we cut up my stash of op-shop shirts.  It was great fun, and after a few episodes of Hoarders we'd 'deboned' 31 shirts and reassured ourselves that our sewing rooms aren't hoards. No food on the floor, no piles of newspapers, no dead animals or live vermin.  Except a mouse I call Mr Ratty, and Mereth assures me he's history now, got too casual about the trap. And he was promptly disposed of in the bin, not left for me to find weeks later when I finally get to go home.  I understand a hoarder's grief at having to give up things they treasure, that bring them comfort, but I don't understand letting those things rot and get ruined.  A quote I read once has stayed with me; the price of beautiful things is loving care.  I hope I can always give my things the care they deserve.

I have been home so rarely this year, but luckily it hasn't been a hot summer and my little garden is surviving so far.  I planted this tub of petunias last year, and it was the work of minutes to do it.  Every time I go home they are still beautiful, still cheerful, and I wish I had planted even more of them. Maybe next spring I can do that, but to be honest they're only doing so well because of the rain and low temperatures.  Who knows what next summer will be like. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Stash enhancement

Aren't these pretty fabrics?  Not my usual style at all.

Some Tilda, even some Tula Pink.

Before Christmas Mereth and I went for a jaunt to Charlene's in Jamestown, and I bought a few things to add to the stash. The pretty fabrics are for my Tulips quilt, which has been languishing in a project box for many months.  I'm hoping the new fabric will get me motivated to buckle down and finish it.

I have 9 blocks done, 

and bits and pieces cut for the next 20. It's a pleasant change working with such happy, bright fabrics.  Having a single white fabric for the background is also pleasant; I don't have to choose a background for each block, just cut up yards and yards of 1.5" strips.  


Sunday, January 03, 2021


I was working on these blocks before Christmas too, and sewed madly to get it to this stage.

And then I got stuck debating about borders, and coudn't choose between these two options.

This one is a nice yellowy green.

This one is a more muted green.

It's a dilemma. I know I can have these borders on in a few hours, if I can just make a decision. I took a lot of care with the colours of these blocks, and I want to make sure I choose exactly the right fabric as a frame. I'm even considering shopping for something new, if I can wrangle a trip to a quilt shop.

I'm calling this Meadow, it's such a pretty combination of greens and pink and yellows.  It's hard to believe its the same block as the Patio quilt, but it is.  The blocks were so quick and easy, I didn't mind spending a bit of extra time on the red squares around the outside.


Saturday, January 02, 2021

I tried

I had this notion that I was going to finish 20 tops in 2020. It started off really well, until I got to #15, the Brickworks top. After that, I seemed to be all over the shop, with no clear focus. I went off on a side tangent with the ninepatch leader-enders, which at least resulted in another finished top, the brown and navy ninepatch. But I was also working on four projects at once, and trying to dig up something that could be finished quickly so I could tick no.20 off my list and ..... then what?  There were't going to be any bells and whistles or fireworks, so why was I trying so hard? I wasn't enjoying myself any more, it was all a race. So I stepped aside and let 2020 just race off to it's own conclusion.

Now that all the holiday fuss has died down, I'm sitting in my sewing room surveying the chaos and deciding what to do first. It looks like someone shook my room like a snowglobe, and stuff settled back on every surface. I'm going to potter for a little while, just picking up one thing at a time and putting it away, until enough order is restored for me to get stitching again.  

First thing will be to get the borders on this top, and off my design wall.

Everything was cut and waiting for me to do it last thing before I went down to Shonny's for Christmas; 
it was at this point the I decided to walk away and come back to it when I would actually enjoy the process. I made these blocks in June I think, and put them away to work on when I needed a quick finish. It was a good idea, but I'm glad I came to my senses. Now it can be the first finish of 2021.

I'm working on my Tulip blocks,

 and the Spinning Rectangles,

and the scrap blocks.

I'll work on getting them organised and cut more of what I need and kit blocks  up for easy sewing.It's much nicer to sew for pleasure instead of some crazy need to reach a goal.

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