Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Scrap Chain Progress

There has been progress on the Scrap Chain, and now there are only 4 seams left. 

It's a bit unwieldy, but it has gone together really easily, all 285 blocks. There are so many seam intersections to match, which is tedious, but it also means that I can fudge in the few blocks that are a  little too big or small. I have no qualms about making a tiny pleat over a seam if it means the finished top will lie flat. A darn good pressing fixes many little bumps and bulges. Next up is choosing borders, and that may take a while. The top is surprisingly light coloured, and most of my border choices are dark. I need to dig deeper into the lighter browns and greens.

And..... because I can't do leader-enders properly, this is half of the 2&4 quilt sewn together. 

I was tired when I got home from Adelaide, I stayed a few extra days to help with appointments and school stuff. When at last I sat down at my sewing machine I just wanted something easy to send through the machine, so I sewed all this together. I  really like how it's turning out, and for once I'm being truly scrappy with my fabric. I usually have one of 2 reactions when I sort through my scraps for a particular project. I might say 'Oh this is too good to use in this' or I might say 'Ew, that doesn't go with this at all'. 

But this time I'm really trying to use up whatever is red and whatever is blue; precious, yuk, or merely OK, it's all getting cut up. I actually think I might have enough to start another one, but that's not a problem. I think this pattern is great for donation quilts, so it may end up being a permanent leader-ender. If I can just train myself not to sew it all up at once.


Monday, November 29, 2021

A big shuffle

After I'd shifted furniture, packed away fabric and projects, charged the drill and found the correct size screws, it was the work of moments to attach the leg of my table again and make sure all the other legs were secure. 
But then I had to put my room to rights again. And that took a heck of a lot longer.
I turned this...
into this.
All the bolts were put back neatly on the shelves, and the projects boxes labelled at last.

By stacking it all in front of my design wall I ensured that I would have to finish cleaning up before I went back to sewing.

Everything is so much cleaner and more organized than it's been in years. Once I had most of the shifting and cleaning done I turned my attention to the strips of fabric still hanging over the edge of boxes and on the rack and tried to make sense of it all.
There were lots of strips that were draped over various surfaces, just waiting to be filed in the correct drawers.

All this was actually on the table when it collapsed, so I sorted it out into strip sizes. 
And from there I dumped all the scraps out of various containers and cut them into useful sizes. 

When I'd finished I had these and many more empty containers, and the strip drawers were nicely restocked. And I gave away a pile of scraps to Mereth, who never says no to any scrap, large or small.

I know I should do this after every project, but I'm always so keen to get onto the next good idea that I just set the leftovers aside in a tray or basket and forget it. 

It was really therapeutic to vacuum thoroughly and deal with the mess, and now I'm ready to get some sewing achieved. Fingers crossed that I keep my workspace tidy (or tidier) from now on. 

PS; RobinaS, I would love to reply to your comment, but there is no email address on your profile. Would you be able to email me instead...?


Saturday, November 20, 2021


 I did quite a bit of cutting last night, kitting up another 8 Jacob's Ladder blocks and cutting pieces for the Boxy Bowties.  I was planning what I would cut next when.....the leg of the table fell off. I hadn't planned on that!

To be fair, this laminex table is older than I am, and has been wonky for quite some time, but I didn't expect it just give up like that. Luckily there's a cabinet underneath that stopped it falling over, but sheesh, talk about a surprise. If I were the least bit sensible I would go buy a modern table, but this table is part of our family. 

It sat on our enclosed back verandah, and was the designated spot for anything messy. We rolled out plasticene on it when we were little, spread paper and crayons all over it, did jigsaws every summer, cut out dresses and sewed them in our teens. In fact, this is the table that our vintage hand crank sewing machines sat on when we were about 10, as we learned how to use them without sewing through our fingers. So it has to stay.  

Today I'll have to deconstruct the sewing room and clear enough floor space so I can turn the table on it's back and screw the leg back on. I think that is going to take most of the day. I know I said the weekend was going to be messy, but I didn't mean this. Good thing I sewed for hours last night on the Scrap Chain; I saw the cutting table mishap as the universe telling me to buckle down and do some work on it.

It's a big job, but I've only got 24 little blocks left to sew into sets of 4, and about half of what's on the design wall is joined into bigger sections. I can't guarantee that I'll get it all done today, but it's well on the way to being in one piece. Then I'll have to choose borders, and I don't have the slightest idea about that. Yet.


Friday, November 19, 2021


 I am all over the shop with my projects. I just can't settle down and sew one thing for more than half an hour.  I think maybe I have anxiety about the sheer number of things I have going; I'm trying to make progress on all of them at once so that I feel better.  And it's not working!! I'm being made more anxious by all the piles on the cutting table. Sigh...

I needed to make a few of the Jacob's Ladder blocks to get the cutting and pressing locked in.


I needed a leader-ender while doing that. 

The 2&4 was handy.

Then I saw all the Boxy Bowtie pieces and thought I should just throw together a few more blocks so that project didn't completely stagnate.

Up to 9 blocks so far.

Wasn't I working on the Scrap Chain blocks too?

A few more added to the tally.

Now I need to cut more pieces for all these, except the Scrap Chain, and somehow keep track of all the cut pieces and the scrap leftovers, and the bits for the string pile. It's going to be a messy weekend.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

I didn't have a lot of time to sew these blocks, I had a customer quilt to bind and those borders on the Meadow top took forever.

I got six put together, making 27 all up.  I need 99, so I'm almost a third of the way there. But what are those blocks beneath?

I am being inundated with red and white scraps. What I don't use in the 2 & 4 top are going to be cut into 9" Jacob's Ladder blocks. I don't often make 2 colour quilts, but I need to get these red bits under control. I'm going to go from shirtings to dark butterscotch with the light pieces, to give it a bit of movement, and I hope that will help clean more scraps out of the neutral scrap drawer. Once I have that whittled down, I think I'm going to choose a heap of neutral FQs from the drawers and run them through the AccuquiIt using the 2" strip die. It will be lovely to have a whole drawer of fresh neutral strips waiting to be used. 


Sunday, November 14, 2021

A long overdue finish

Last week I showed this pile of strips, ready to be turned into borders for the Meadow top.

I kept putting it off, because I knew it would be difficult. The blocks were on point, and it had been hanging on the rack since January so the edges were stretched. I always use quarter-square triangles at the edge of on-point quilts, but that doesn't completely tame all that bias. I really wasn't looking forward to this.

I ironed the top and measured it  in 3 different places and transferred those measurements to the red strips. I pinned and pressed and coaxed those strips into the right place, so every square still had it's point.  I almost never take that much trouble over my borders. Then I went to all the trouble of mitering the corners of the wide border, and this was my reward.

2 WOF strips weren't enough to do the long sides of the top. I had to piece in a separate bit, and make the pattern look like the patch wasn't there.  I was really regretting things by this stage.
But it's finished, (no.19 for this year) and I'm happy with it. And I resolve to never again leave an on-point top hanging on a rack for 11 months....

I pulled out this project for some light-hearted sewing. It's time to move it on from just a pile of blocks and bits.

I'm going to sew this lot into sets of 4, and try to get it finished before I wander off to a brighter, shinier project. The end of the year is approaching, and I would like to achieve my goal of finishing 21 tops in 2021.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Leader-Ender pieces

I took advantage of the empty design wall to put up my Double 4-patch leader-ender blocks and see what they looked like.

I like those diagonals heading off to the right, caused by darker 3" squares. It's sort of a counterbalance to the red diagonals. I'll need to do some re-arranging to distribute them across the whole top, but I need to have all the blocks made for that.

I was down to the last few pieces, and I still have 28 blocks to make, so I had a cutting session to remedy that. I need about 14 more 3" squares, and that will be enough for the whole thing. These will keep me going for a while.

I also needed pieces for the 2&4 leader-ender that will take over from this when it's finished.
I worked out the dimensions in EQ8, and I think a 60 x 76" quilt will be just right. I know I hate sewing long, long rows together, so I decided to put this together as blocks.
I'll make all of one block first, then all of the second block. I'll need 48, and I'm pressing them so that I can put them together in sets of 4. There will only be a few long rows this way.

The coloured pieces so far have some from scraps and charm squares, and I wanted the light fabrics to come from scraps too. I pulled a heap of bits out of the scrap drawer and cut them into squares and rectangles. All the time I was doing it I had to fight the thought that these were 'good' scraps and I should save them for something else. Honestly, that's crazy talk, when I have 10 times this left in the scrap drawer, and 10 drawers of FQs and yardage. I need to learn how to let go.

Done! Now to cut some more red and blue from the Facebook scraps. My leader-enders are sorted, now it's time to choose a main project. Something new? Or a UFO. I'll have to think about that.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Tulip quilt is finished, and it only took two nights of sewing. That's a lousy photo, but Mereth had a quilt on the big design wall, so I just snapped a quick photo as proof of accomplishment.
I started this pattern after seeing one on Cathy's Sane, Crazy, Crumby blog. She's made so many amazing quilts over the years, it's worth taking the time to go through all the Quilts Finished  tabs at the top of her page. Lots of inspiration there.

Cathy made her Tulips with a square and two HSTs, but I used a chisel shape and a HST. 

It eliminated one seam, which made the blocks quicker to piece, and I got better accuracy. The blocks were far more likely to measure the required 9.5" when I pieced them like this.

The little squares of plain fabrics came from my charm square stash. A lot of collections have some solid or mottled plain fabrics, which I don't really use.  I sorted out all the solid squares and used a lot of them in these blocks. I like being able to utilize things that would otherwise sit in my stash for decades. I can't say years, because they've already been there for years....

I'm in Adelaide again, it's exam time for DD Seonaid, so I'm babysitting those boys. Thomas is a Great Big Boy, there's so much running, jumping, wrestling and climbing. But there is also pushing and hitting and teasing, so we have to teach him manners to go along with all the energy and activity. He's targeting Finn mainly, and there are some epic battles. Finn might only be 20 months old, but he's big, and he knows how to look after himself. I think Thomas is going to be severely challenged by his little brother.

Finn is talking, he has a huge vocabulary, but his main phrases are 'Give Back!"and "Go Way!" and 'Mine!!" All courtesy of Thomas trying to dominate him. We read books every day, and he points out animals and trees and cars, he knows all the names. He's a very clever little boy, much more advanced at this age than the other two were.  He's going to keep us on our toes.

All three girls are going through some amazing growth spurts, they insist on comparing their height to mine every time I visit.  The 10 year old is only 3"shorter than me now, and the 7 year old is up to my nose. Luckily Isla is still my little girl, but one day soon she'll be too big to sit on my lap.  I'll cry when she has to sit next to me instead.

Investigating a millipede
Thomas screams and runs away if they come at him, Isla picks them up and takes them outside, and Finn swats them into oblivion. Says something about all their personalities. 


Sunday, November 07, 2021

A little bit of fun, and some duty sewing

Not long ago Bonnie had a quilt featured behind her quote of the day at the end of her post. I was intrigued by it, and filed it away in the ideas folder. 

I'm obsessing with squares and checkerboards lately, and this really appealed to me, so I made a few blocks from the scraps I purchased on Facebook. (Which incidentally are still spread all over the ironing board.  I need to get them dealt with.) I've turned these on point,while the vintage quilt is set straight, but I like them both ways.

This block is so much fun, I want to abandon everything and just make dozens of them.  But it would be so nice to have a finish to report. I've given up hoping to get my project list whittled down, when I add to it at the slightest whim.

I had a look at my list, and chose the Meadow top as one that would be easy to finish.

I've procrastinated over this for ages, looking for the perfect border fabric, and there hasn't been anything remotely suitable. So I cut the borders from what I have here, and I'll get them sewn on in the next week or so. 

And there are those Tulip blocks with all that white fabric. The only way out is through.  I put white thread in the machine, and now I'll sew until I have a top, no excuses.  I don't have very much white thread, so there won't be any sidetracking; I don't like sewing my usual patchwork with white thread, so even the leader-enders will be minimal.

Yesterday we had a colossal cloudburst that overwhelmed all the storm drains in our little town. You can't even see the kerbs on either side of the road.
There were chunks of ice pelting down, and thunder and lightning, it was very intense. I had to wade through that water and shift both my cars because all the water from up the hill was heading down my way. We've had the worst hail storms this spring, the weather is getting to be very unpredictable.

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