Wednesday, May 11, 2022

My Blue Ridge Beauty (from this book) project completely occupied my time this past week. I have 36 blocks put together, just to check that the light blue pieces were working well with the darker blue.

All good, so it was on to more cutting and piecing.

I cut lots and lots of 3.5" triangles. These were supposed to be leader-enders, while I worked on something else, but I never have much luck setting things aside. Once they were cut, I just had to sew them up.  The same thing happened with the four patch blocks.

Before too long, I had enough pieces for 84 blocks, stacked in sets of 10 in their project box. At this stage, I decided I would sew these into blocks as leader-enders. I'm undecided on the final size. This will make a decent single bed quilt. If I make it 12 x 14 it will be suitable for a larger bed, and I will need another 48 blocks. I'm just not sure what I want at the moment, so for now I"m moving on to something else.

This little idea of mine pleased me. Isla gifts me with all her artwork, so I have a pile of her drawings and colourings. I like to build blocks on a sheet of paper and stack them ready to sew next to the machine.  I was using old magazines, or discarded junk mail, but now I'm using Isla's drawings. It makes me smile as I uncover each one, and it's nice to have a use for them. 

Now that I have the Blue Ridge Beauty kitted, what am I working on? 

I decided to revisit this red and white Jacob's Ladder, and see if I could move it further along. Even if I just get more blocks kitted it would be progress. Those red and white scraps keep turning up in containers all over the sewing room.

And because I have a huge pile of 3.5" and 2" blue strips now,  I wondered what a Carolina Chain (from Bonnie's book) would look like. This is my Plan B for the scraps, if I don't need to make another 48 blocks.  I always have a Plan B.....


Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Goldilocks and the 3 Bear Paw blocks

A while ago I saw a Bear Paw quilt that someone was making and thought, I've never made that pattern, I should do that. Mind you, I've tried several times, and I just wasn't liking the results enough to continue. But then I searched Pinterest, and saw quite a few that I liked, so I decided to make a trial block and see what size I liked best.

First I made one with 1.5" HSTs. That turned out to be 10.5", way too big for my liking.  So I tried 1" HSTs.  Nope, at 7" that was too small. So I made the block with the cheddar background, with 1.25" HSTs, and that was juuust right. It's actually really surprising what a half inch change in the triangle measurements does; I wasn't expecting it to shrink 3.5". My chosen block will measure around 9", and I'll be able to cut lots of the pieces from scraps.

My main aim lately is to whittle down the drawer of charm square leftovers.  I've  pilfered bits out of each pack for years, and there's only random remnants left. I'm sick of hoarding them, so I'm going to be ruthless and slice them up for this project.

One of my main gripes with this pattern was making 16 HSTs for each block. It was too tedious for words. But what if each quarter was like it's own little block, like the Boxy Bowties? That would be much more doable.

This is just adorable done with all scraps, I'm so pleased with it. My favourite block patterns have a space for light, dark and medium fabrics, so everything in the scrap drawers can join in. This ticks that box.

I know it's going to be a leader-ender, but I need to get a feel for how the blocks are going to look, so I'm making sets of triangles as my MAD piecing for May.  (My ironing pad deserves a new cover, it's disgusting.) I'm cutting up mountains of scraps, and zombie sewing late into the night. I figure if I have the triangles done and kitted, then choosing the medium squares to go with them later on will be pure fun. 

I have never used the cheddar charms from the packs, so I've built up quite a collection.  I have no idea what to do with them, but they can all live in their own container from now on. Maybe a Pinterest search will help with ideas for them as well.


Sunday, May 01, 2022

I haven't forgotten this quilt.

The centre is in one piece now, and I just need to tackle the borders. That will involve quite a few decisions though, so I've let myself be distracted by anything and everything. I will get back to it, once the novelty has worn off my new projects. And I haven't had a lot of spare time lately, what with customer quilts and family visits.

I've spent the last 8 days with the grandkids; 4 days in Adelaide with them all, then I brought Isla home for 4 days.

Finn and Thomas are becoming a Unit; Brothers United. It's so sweet when they play together and enjoy each other's company. The fights are getting fewer and shorter; hopefully they won't be twice as much trouble now that they are good mates.

Apparently protective headgear was needed for lunch this day.

Isla really loves one on one time; the boys demand so much attention and she misses out. While they were busy with Mum, Isla and I made a skirt from a discarded piece of fabric we found in the cupboard.

She sewed it all, I just put the elastic in the waist band. She's having so much fun being allowed to use the machine. Unfortunately there have been some scissor related crimes lately, so she's banned from touching scissors for 3 months.  That's going to hurt.

At my place she played in the shed with various sewing things, did lots of colouring in, played the piano, played with my dolls. She could spend the whole holidays with me and not be bored, but the rest of the family would miss out on her then, so it's just a few days each time.

We went back to the little craft shop, so I could buy more blue samples (I'm supposed to be using up what I already have!), 

and she had so much fun playing in the scary railway underpass.

She thought she was so brave being in a tunnel, she ran back and forth about 10 times. So much energy.

So then she relaxed in the autumn sunshine on an old railway cart. And yes, she's lost 2 teeth already. She's growing up so fast.


Friday, April 29, 2022

April sewing progress

I worked really, really hard at getting the Boxy Bowties in one piece.

All the blocks were sewn, and then two sewing sessions were needed to get them sashed together. I was a bit tired after that, ready to have a rest before I started auditioning border choices. I meant to take a leisurely look at my UFOs to see what I would tackle next, but.....


I seem to have started another project, very spur of the moment. I read on Gretchen's blog that she was starting a Blue Ridge Beauty quilt, and that suddenly seemed like a really good idea to me. The pattern is in Bonnie's book, Adventures With Leaders and Enders.

I've been going through my charm squares lately, trying to find a use for every last one.  I had a lot of these cream large florals, and darker blues; they seemed made for this pattern.

The four-patches are going to be made of the light blues and ├Żellowy creams that I pass over whenever I'm choosing fabrics.

I even pulled out some of my treasured layer cake blues; got to use them sometime.

Mereth and I visited a little craft shop in a nearby town, and the only thing that tempted me was a pack of blue samples. These were cut up straight away for the new project, so I didn't even add them to the fabric tally for the year.

I'm pleased that I've found a use for these random charm squares at long last. And I think it's going to be a very fresh, pretty quilt when it's finished.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Time to finish this project

I still haven't pressed that seam on the british quilt. It's not going anywhere, so there's no rush. I need a colour fix.

The Boxy Bowties are getting my attention.  They seem to have been around forever, and while it's nice having them as a Leader-ender project, I'm ready to be done with them.  I started them late October 21, so it's 6 months; that's a long time for a leader-ender around here.

I have 30 blocks, and I need 42.  That little basket contains the quarters for 6 blocks; I cut out the final 6 blocks, and now I'll work on them exclusively until I have all the blocks done, and can arrange them on the design wall. I need to go through the strip drawers and find a whole lot of 1.5" strips, and I'll cut some more with the Accucut. It should really clean the scrap stash out.

I've already chosen the replacement leader-ender project, but it won't stay in the background for long, it's going to demand centre stage. I won't devote a lot of time to it till I get the current 2 projects finished, but it will be my incentive.

The Antique Cross quilt is quilted, and I'm very happy with how this panto turned out.

 I'm calling it Flower Arches; it looks a bit traditional, a bit like sashiko. I think it will become one of my favourites.

Love that texture. I'm dragging my feet on the customer quilt though, I'll have to make myself do that tomorrow. It will all be done before I go back to Adelaide on Wednesday.


Friday, April 15, 2022

This heap of fabric is the British quilt, after I sewed that last seam.

It's a big pile of piecing, and I am very relieved to have it done. I haven't found the courage to iron it yet, that will take quite a bit of time and patience, so it's just sitting on the ironing board for now. I'll get round to it sometime this weekend.

Mereth found a piece of fabric in her stash that should work well for the borders, so I will tackle that sometime soon

I've been working down the shop all this week, sorting, organizing, quilting. I'm determined to claim it as my workspace, with things set out the way I want and the workflow as efficient as I can make it. I've quilted 3 quilts of my own, which is really gratifying, and the next top on the machine will be a customer quilt.
This Many Trips Around The World is a Bonnie Hunter pattern, of course. Her version is named Scrappy Trips, and it's a favourite of mine, I've made 3 versions. I seem to have made quite a few of her patterns over the years.

The Antique Cross is stitching away right now, if I apply myself I might be able to get that and the customer quilt finished today. I'm not known for my speed though.
Well the customer quilt didn't get done. I had a long video call with Seonaid and her kids, and Rhys and his family. Why are we video calling, instead of sitting together in Seonaid's loungeroom?

 Covid. Seonaid, Isla and Thomas all have it for sure, and Finn might but he absolutely would not let anybody put anything up his nose. Seonaid took them all for testing on Monday, and Rhys and Naomi had to cancel their flights. I am so disappointed at not seeing Theo, we were going to celebrate Easter, and Rhys and Isla's birthdays. 

The scary thing is that I was supposed to be down there last weekend, but there was a last minute change of plans. I would have got it too, and with my dodgy health I would be in real trouble. I feel like becoming a hermit some days, but I'm also not willing to never see the grandkids. I don't know what the answer is. I'll keep quilting while I ponder life's strange ways.


Saturday, April 09, 2022

We continue to plug away at setting up the workspace, and it's slowly coming together. Our ironing table is in place and working well.

The blue-green Scrappy Bargello is from Bonnie Hunter's pattern; it was finished in September 2015, and it was high time to get it quilted.

It's still fun to watch Millhouse at work; even though he's computerised, he needs monitoring to make sure that he's stitching properly.

The next top is prepped and ready to load, and I'm ahead of my goal to have one top a month quilted; this makes 5.. Mereth is having a family-centric weekend, and I'm making the most of having the machine to myself. The customer quilts will take over next week, but I'll be in Adelaide with my own family get-together.

This may look like every other photo I've posted of this project, but there's one major difference. It's almost in one piece, just one last seam to join the two halves. It's a long seam, and I've had enough for now, so it can wait. That's probably why I'm quilting instead of sewing, just to avoid having to pin that 60" seam. Then it will be time to work out how to do the borders; I don't think my stash is going to be adequate, so I might have to visit a couple of quilt shops and see what's available.

The border on the original quilt is quirky, to say the least.

I'm not having much luck finding a lozenge material like this; 

this is the closest I've found, and I don't have enough. 

I'm right for those big red Broken Dishes blocks, but I have to decide if I'll make the pale ones like that, or if I'll choose a fabric that shows up better, And will I tip the blocks randomly? Knowing me, I'll have to make it symmetrical.

So it's probably going to sit like this for a while, while I cogitate over my choices. 


Friday, April 01, 2022

Getting Closer

Oh my giddy aunt, as Mum used to exclaim. How come this table always ends up looking like this?
It's bound to happen when there is lots of cutting and piecing happening, on more than one project. I took a deep breath, fetched my tall chair to sit on, and sorted it all out in comfort.
Everything is put away where it should be, and the only thing left out are the 3.5"strips to cut the last of the Hourglass blocks.
I had a mad wave of compulsion, and decided I needed to get the British quilt closer to completion. I sewed many, many Hourglass units into blocks of nine, and that's when I discovered I'd either miscounted, or misplaced, about 50 blocks. Hence the strips left out to cut some more. I don't care if I make too many, I have that other quilt in mind for them, so they won't go to waste.

At this stage, I'm very confident that this won't end up as a UFO. I have 8 more blocks to finish, and then the big 9" Broken Dishes blocks in the border.  I've had such fun with this, and it's cleared out a huge pile of dingy grey scraps.

As much as I love it, I'm ready for some colour in my next project. I cut some bright scraps up for the Boxy Bowties, which was refreshing, but not enough. 
I think I'll have a colour tantrum once I'm done with the greys, and make something outrageously bright. It will be fun to see a colour-happy design wall at last.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Last week was a week of upheaval. We have a major change happening, and it's good, but there's such a lot of work involved. We have a shop in the main street of town, where we sell quilts and other things that we collect. The aim was always to move the Statler down there, but this year has been so busy with family etc that it just wasn't happening. Somehow, all the planets aligned to make moving the Statler possible, which is a minor miracle. 

There's plenty of room, but we will need a major reshuffle to turn this into our workspace.

Moving a machine this size is no easy task, and we are 12 years older than the last time we moved it, with the help of family. Two strong men are needed, and my brother and nephew have both moved away.We needed outside help to make this happen.

We were in the process of contracting a furniture removalist to help, which is a nerve-wracking thing because they just do not understand how big the Statler is. And I would have fits wondering if they were going to treat it carefully. Right about then, the Gammill service rep, Moreno, announced he was on a trip through South Australia. Alas, the only day he could visit was the only day we could get the removalists. Don't worry, he said, I could move the machine for you. Offer accepted.

So we quilted madly to get the bulk of the customer quilts done before Friday, and the workroom cleared out so there was access to the machine. I'm very glad we had that big clear out weeks ago, so much of the work is already done. A young friend who is extraordinarily strong was recruited to help with the heavy lifting. He was great, so cheerful and quick, we couldn't have done it without him.  Most all of our friends are as old and decrepit as we are. The machine was in pieces by 9am, and transported down to the shop without a hitch.

Moreno had the machine completely assembled by 11, serviced it and replaced several bits and pieces, and had Millhouse purring like a big cat by 1 o'clock. It all went so smoothly, I can hardly believe it.

Now we have to tidy up the shed/workroom, and move all the necessary bits down to the shop, but we can take our time with that. We have been stressing about this move for a month, and it will be lovely to just work at our own pace completing the job. I honestly have no idea what the shed will become now; sewing room, living room, office? It will have to wait though, we have so many family commitments coming up, not least of which is a visit from  DS Rhys and family.  I can't wait to see Theo again, he's growing up so quickly.

What a little sweetie!

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