Friday, September 30, 2022

Well that's done.  I started this on the 18th of September, and I finished it it on the 29th.

In that time I also put the borders on 5 tops, quilted another quilt, and made 90 Flying Geese units  to stow away for a future quilt or border. I haven't been idle.

It would qualify for MAD (Make A Difference) sewing, but also MAD cutting. I've spent days and days standing at the cutting table, slicing through kilos of scraps.Some were genuine scraps, and some were FQs that I wanted to get rid of.  I cut 8.5" squares from those and added them to the Scrappy Mountain Majesties box, which is now too full to close. That's enough squares for another 100 blocks, and 50 blocks already made. Time for a bigger box.

Guess I'd better have a MAD sewing session for those next.

Of course I have too many pieces leftover, so I'll have to make another Ladder quilt, but it will be a lot brighter. All the scraps that I rejected for this quilt will find a home in the next one.

How on earth did I wind up with so many oranges? I seem to remember that these pieces came from the much missed Patchwork Products scrap bags. They were such good value, and we bought many of them when our kids were growing up, money was tight and we needed a fabric fix.It was a fantastic Sydney shop, so much discount fabric. I don't know of any Aussie shop like that now; quilt shops are charging $32 a metre, which they have to in order to cover costs, but at that price I'll be buying only a few pieces. I'd rather spend my money on my grandkids. And because I have a huuuuuge stash to sew up anyway.

I need to do a review of my project boxes and choose what to work on next. It can't be all scraps, all the time. I have projects started using my good fabric, and it will be fun to be using some of my favourites. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dealing With The Scraps

Lynn Dykstra, of Kleine Meisje Quilts, recently posted a finished quilt called Ladder. It's bold and graphic and the colours are wonderful. Mereth pointed out that it would be a great pattern to use up small scraps, and she made some blocks to demonstrate. I resisted for all of a day, and then completely caved, digging scraps out of the far reaches of my stash cupboards.

The blocks are super simple, and take no time at all to sew up; in a flash I had dozens of blocks on the design wall, I'd exhausted most of the real scraps and was even cutting strips from larger pieces of fabric to include.

I made some half blocks, because I didn't have enough to make a whole block and I wanted to use every last bit. I don't know if I'll use them in this quilt, so they may just be the start of another project. 

They may end up in the backing of this quilt though, so I'm not making any decisions about them just yet.

Mine is going to be more subdued than Lynn's, or Mereth's, because I just don't have those bright intensely coloured fabrics. I seem to be leaning towards the mid greens and golds. I'm not using a lot of solids either, again because I don't have them in my scrap stash. I even included a few metallic prints that were lurking in a scrap bag; it was time to either use them or throw them out. 

I'm aiming for 90 blocks, and I have 70 already. Mereth has kitted hers, packing away the cut pieces in a beautiful tin. I wasn't patient enough for that, I wanted to see straight away if the colours and fabrics were going to work. Now that I've made so many I may as well just push through and finish it. Bur I think I'll keep cutting the pieces for an ongoing scrap management effort. It has certainly cleared out the scraps that were hanging on racks all over the sewing room.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

5 tops, 3 days

Blue ridge Beauty. 

I have Gretchen to thank for sending me down this particular rabbit hole. Once she started cutting pieces for hers I just had to jump in too. This used up a tremendous amount of blue scraps. I kept all the blue 2" squares very light, as I had heaps of these in the stash and scrap drawers. What I found, time after time, was that these blues have faded badly over the years, with the fold lines showing up as yellowing lines. I just cut around the faded bits, and discarded all that. So it's just as well they have been all used up. Some will probably fade in the quilt, but if it takes another 20 years for that to happen then I'm OK with that. Hopefully this will have spent 20 years on a bed by then.

The Boxy Bow Ties got a cheery green border that serves as a nice frame for the blocks. This was a very successful leader-ender project, in that it took me a long time to finish the blocks. Usually I just end up sewing the leader-enders as a new project, but this stayed happily in the background. Again, it used up a huuuge amount of little tiny scraps, and completely cleared out the neutrals from my 1.5' scrap drawer.  

Nearly Vintage Stars was a spur of the moment decision to use up some very old block parts. I dug around in the scraps to find pieces from the same era, and some treasured pieces found a home here. I would say that I have very few of these left in my stash, and it was nice that most of them found a home here. I'm calling it Nearly Vintage because there are a lot of fabrics here that are between 20 and 23 years old; not quite vintage, but getting close.

The British quilt is finished, in all it's drab glory.

It doesn't photograph well, looking merely murky, but in real life it's just what I was aiming for. Muted and subdued and under-stated. The border fabrics are some of my Preciousss ones, hoarded for just such a quilt. I'm well pleased with this.

I'm including the little cot quilt in this post, even though I've already shown a picture of it. It's just for the record, of my 5 tops finished in 3 days. I hope I never let the borders mount up like that again.

Whew, what an effort. Our shop, where I was working, is across the road from our friend's coffee shop, and her excellent coffee kept me going. I needed to take a break often, wrestling the bigger tops through the machine was quite a workout. I'm so glad we have such a good sewing set up.


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Border Town

I've been easily distracted this year, doing quite a bit of sewing, but not finishing anything. Usually, once I get the blocks done, I fuss with the fabrics for the borders until I force a decision. But I haven't felt like I wanted to struggle with fabric choices and it was easier to just sew a new project, so that's what I've been doing. Until I had 5 centres just waiting on borders, and that was just too much for me to handle. Time to get my act together.

I just couldn't seem to find the right pink for the border of this Maymont cot quilt. I don't have a lot of pink yardage, and what I do have is 1800s  Reproduction. Then I happened upon some scraps from a customer backing, and it was perfect.

So that's one top finished.

I then tackled the Blue Ridge beauty from Bonnie Hunter's book Adventures with Leasders and Enders. I  chose the wide border ages ago but I was stuck on what to use for the inner border. Backing scraps to the rescue again. 

This scroll fabric is a wideback, and it was just right. I don't have a photo of the whole quilt, because it is Ginormous and I need to get it onto the design wall somehow. So that is the second top finished.

The centre part of my British quilt was reproaching me, and all the fabrics I'd pulled for the border were lying in heaps through the sewing room, so I was forced to tackle it next.

I abandoned my earlier thoughts about copying the quilt from the book, and just made it the way I wanted. Again, no photo till I get it up on the design wall, but it is Done. And the third top is finished.

Next up was the nearly vintage Sawtoooth Stars. The borders were cut and chosen straight after I finished the blocks, but I just wasn't in the mood to tackle them,

It's done now, and that is top number four finished.

And finally, I quit agonising over the choices for the Boxy Bow Ties quilt, and just chose something. It may not be what I had in mind at the start, but it looks fine.

And there we have it. Five (5) tops finished in 3 days.  Full photos to come. I deserve a Bordering On Insanity medal. And a lie down with a wet flannel over my eyes. And permission to start another project. Oh wait! I've already done that.


Friday, September 16, 2022

 All pretence of organisation has gone out the window, and I'm flitting from one thing to another in my sewing room. I'm not too upset over that, because I'm making little bits of progress on quite a few things, and I don't particularly want a big finish. I just want to play, so that is what I'm doing. Normally I have a burst of Spring Energy, but it doesn't really feel like Spring just yet; hence the slow pottering around. It's still cool and wet, and I am really happy about that. I am not looking forward to summer at all.

I was sick of the ironed fabric draped over every surface. I feel like I can't fold yardage back into the drawers, because then I'd have to iron it again next time, so I try to cut as much as I can while it's out. Then there's all the scraps that really have no home, so they have to be on racks cluttering up my room. I needed to tackle it all.

I made a decision on the sashing for the Sawtooth Stars blocks, and got those blocks put together.

How can this happen, when I spend so long arranging blocks so the fabrics and colours are balanced?

I guess something got flipped, or I just wasn't paying attention, but I'm not unpicking anything. That paisley I used for the cornerstones was the only fabric I liked for that position. A while ago I bought a half metre at Jamestown, and was kicking myself when I got home and discovered I already had a FQ. It felt like I'd missed out on the chance to spend that money on a new fabric for the stash. However, I'm so glad I had that half metre, because the FQ wouldn't have been enough. That was serendipity. I also chose the borders, and cut them ready to attach, but I wasn't in the mood for that, so it's been set aside.

Of course I cut too many extra pieces for those blocks, so in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to make a Flying Geese quilt.  That gave me a reason to cut up so, so many scraps, and deal with them once and for all. Firstly, from the dark scraps I cut a 5.25" strip,then cut a large square to cut twice diagonally for the geese. I cut a 4.5" square to add to the box for later; they will be centres of blocks, or I'll make a quilt just out of squares, or something. All I cared was that it took a big bite out of the strip. 

After that I cut 2.5" strips and cut them into bricks, for my next Stacked Bricks quilt, and squares for the scrap 6" blocks on my small design wall.

After that, I cut whatever width strip I could and stowed them in the stash drawers. 

The light scraps were cut into 3" squares,cut diagonally for the sky part of the  Flying Geese. They should be 2 7/8", but I cut them at 3" so  I have a little bit of wiggle room when I trim them to size. There weren't many light scraps, so I think I'm going to have to pull yardage to cut the amount I'll need.

Once all that was done,  the trimmings went in the rubbish. I'm pleased with the amount of fabric I've been able to get through in this manner, and I'm probably going to drag more stuff out of the actual scrap drawers so I can add to the piles of cut pieces.

I'm also cut my less-than-loved scraps into 8.5" squares for Scrappy Mountain Majesty blocks, and whittled a huge pile of them down to almost nothing. It's been a good cutting week.

Of course I had to make a few Flying Geese just to start the project off.  I had to buy a new project box, naturally, but it's all nicely organised and ready for some MAD piecing sometimes soon. I want to make enough for a whole Flying Geese quilt, but also have spares so that I can do borders at a moments notice. And they will be brilliant leader-enders when I work on other quilts.

I now have three quilts just waiting on borders, so I will tackle them soon. Once I clean up the scraps and get myself motivated. Soon.


Saturday, September 03, 2022

 September already!. The year has just flashed by, and I don't have a great deal to show for it. Nearly every project is stalled at the border stage, and I don't have any ideas to move them forward. It all seems too hard, I'm not in the mood to make decisions, so I'll probably just go on making stacks of blocks instead. 

I was aiming to finish a quilt each month this year, and I'm not doing too badly at that. So far I have quilted 9 tops, but I haven't bound all of them. I will have to have a huge binding push soon; I know that once I decide to do it the binding goes quickly, I just have to commit to it.

The weather is lovely here at the moment, beautiful spring days, and I'm hoping it inspires me to get busy finishing things off. It was so cold for a while that I could hardly sit at the sewing machine, which hampered creativity. I spent a lot of time under a quilt, finishing off some crocheted blankets to stay warm.

Of course, with all the projects I was already working on, I felt the need to dig out some old Sawtooth Star blocks and play with them instead. 

Nice fabrics. 

These 8" blocks are seriously old, maybe 10 years old, and I was tired of them hanging around. I found a stack of pieces I'd cut for more of them, so I got busy and sewed them all up. I needed a few more, so I went through the scraps and pulled out bits from that era to make about 6 more. Now I have 30 of them, but I'm puzzling over the sashes. I know what I want, 

this Judie Rothermel print, but I only have a FQ.

I'm busy destroying my sewing room trying to find something else I like, but it's proving difficult. This one might work, but I haven't made a decision yet. I haven't excavated all my stash drawers, so I won't start cutting strips till I do.

Way back last year I made two tops using Bonnie's Boxy Star pattern. I was pretty sure I'd discarded all the bonus triangles from the corners. Imagine my surprise when I opened a container and discovered they were all in there, already sewn into HSTs and just waiting to be pressed and trimmed. Part of me just wanted to dump them, or donate them to Mereth, but I didn't. I sat down and pressed and trimmed and sewed them into little blocks that measure 3.75" finished.

I'm thinking they will be set on point, and have pink alternate blocks, but I haven't got any further with the planning than that. 

I seem to remember mis-cutting some pink setting triangles last year, so maybe they will be perfect for this. I have many more to work through, but I've had enough of them for now. They are fiddly little blocks and I'm moving onto something with bigger pieces.



Friday, August 12, 2022

I got sick of looking at two full containers of 2.5" squares and decided I'd better try using some of them. It's not my favourite size, it seems too big and clunky after I've been working with things like 2" QSTs. But why was I keeping them, if I didn't want to work with them?

I kitted up about 40 of this block, to be my leader-ender. I'm really trying to use everything, so some of the blocks are dingy and random, but it's going to be a scrap quilt, so that's only to be expected. I didn't really have any ideas for what I would do with these blocks, but quite a few ideas have occurred to me along the way.

I thought this might be an option; make large 14" blocks. But That was way too large a scale, so I dropped that idea pretty quick.

This has merits, but it's a 12" block, and I wasn't keen.

I like the idea of a Barn Raising setting, with diagonal lines of scraps around a centre block.

But I also like this idea of an on point setting, with vertical bands of colour.One block isn't oriented the right way; I'd have to be careful to keep it all in the right order.

So now I have lots of options, and things to think about why I go on steadily making the blocks. It will take more than 100, so I have plenty of time before I have to make a final decision. And I could just make more than one, because those boxes of squares are nowhere near empty yet.


Monday, August 01, 2022

Catch Up

6 weeks since my last post. There should be lots of news to catch up on, but unfortunately I've spent those 6 weeks under the weather. The cold that Finn shared with me morphed into the one that Isla brought home from school, and then Thomas added to it with another viral thing from childcare. So I've been pretty unproductive, just trying to wait it out and get better. The physical symptoms are bad enough,but the mental exhaustion leaves me not wanting to do anything at all. Oh well, as Forest Gump says, That's all I'm going to say about that.

I spent a solid 3 weeks with the grandkids, including nearly a week here with Isla, so I felt like I'd earnt some time at home. I'm now into the second week of my staycation, and enjoying it except... Mereth and her son's family caught Covid, so I haven't seen her for more than 2 weeks. She has a cold now, so she's still not game to come visit in case she infects me with a new lot of germs. We talk most days, and text each other, but it would be lovely to have a cup of coffee with friends and catch up.

I did manage to get all the blocks for the Blue Ridge Beauty put together; it's now down at the shop waiting for that last long seam to be ironed. The picture is three quarters of it, taking up most of my design wall.

 I have a border fabric picked, but the sheer size of the quilt is putting me off. I don't want to have to wrestle with that much fabric just yet.

More Maymont blocks have been made. I'm trying really hard to leave this as a cot quilt. I still have heaps of pink scraps, but that just means I could make 2 cot quilts, not one big quilt. It's a lovely leader-ender, so once I'm done with the pink scraps I'll switch over to some other colours. I love squares, so simple, so many patterns.

After the triangles in Blue Ridge Beauty I needed something simple to play with, so I laid some squares out as 49-patch blocks. I love these so far, but I came to the end of the scraps that were suitable for this, so it will have to wait till I have the energy to cut more strips.

There was time spent clearing tables and packing fabric away, and sorting out all the mess that accumulated while I was busy elsewhere. I'm glad I finally put the room to rights, so I could work on my projects, except I don't seem to have done that. I'm just drifting around, not able to settle to anything.

Oh well, a bit of sorting here, a few seams sewed there, it all adds up. 


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Where was I?

Oh my wordy lordy me! Where have the last 5 weeks gone?. Life has been so hectic, it's all gone by in a blur. No time for blogging, obviously.

Seonaid is in the last weeks of her college course, with three huge assessments due. I've been spending time down there, helping with the kids, while she does her computer work. She's also been arranging to buy another car, as the existing one was damaged in a huge hail storm and the insurance company wrote it off. So many phone calls to arrange delivery of her replacement car and the payout from the insurance company and the finance company. I guess it's better than the old days, when we had to go in to an office and apply in person, but it takes hours and hours on the phone. Which the kids don't understand, so it's good that I was able to wrangle them and leave her to deal with it.

Of course the kids caught colds at school and day care, and passed them on to me. Nothing serious, but even minor colds tend to linger on for weeks with me, so I've been struggling to get everything done. The other day, on my once-a-week visit to the coffee shop, Mereth and I were the only ones there who hadn't had covid. That's because I stay at home all the time, except for my visits to the grandkids. They've all had covid, so I feel fairly safe there, but I also can't help but think that my time will come.  I'm fully vaccinated and boosted, so I hope that helps.

I've been obsessed with a commission quilt that I'm not at liberty to reveal, but it's done now, so I can have a bit of my life back. I'll just say that these Di Ford-Hall fabrics were involved, and they are lovely.

What was I working on, all that time ago in May?

I was adding to the stack of Jacob's Ladder blocks.

I was working on blue Carolina Chain blocks made from scraps.

I don't know whether to set them straight, or on point? I'm just stockpiling the blocks, don't have to make a decision straight away.

I might have succumbed to another Bonnie pattern.

It's Maymont, another happy, scrappy pattern. I'm making my first one in pink and green scraps, aiming for a crib quilt, or single bed topper, but there will be all sorts of scrap blocks later. It's one of my favourite block patterns.

I know I don't need to buy a pattern to make a 25-patch block, but my thinking is this; I get a whole lot of enjoyment from Bonnie's blog, so every now and then I'll buy a pattern from her as a thank you for all the time and effort she puts into her blog.  Then I can blog about my 25-patch without someone pointing out to me that I've stolen her design (!) and then everyone is happy.  I'm eyeing off Bitcoin as my next purchase.... Got to get those scraps under control.

Now I need to clean up the mess in my sewing room, and then I can settle down to some sewing just for pleasure, not for a deadline. I'm looking forward to that.


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.....

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