Monday, March 28, 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!


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Remnant is a finished top, and I'm really happy with it. Sometimes I fall out of love with a project, but I didn't feel that at all with this. There are so many fragments of treasured fabrics in the strips, I'm glad I combined them all into a top instead of throwing them away.

I'm happy with the corners; I wanted something that would break up the corners, the borders running all the way across the top were distracting. So this little block doesn't show up in any great detail, but it doesn make the borders end at the edge of the pieced centre, but still carries the 3 main fabrics out into the corner.

I've been sewing blocks together for the British quilt, and building more blocks as leader-enders.

One quarter of the quilt is assembled, except for a few seams.

There are enough blocks here to make another quarter. I need to put it up on the design wall before I go any further. Those blocks with the diagonal red QSTs have to slope in the right direction, so I need to have it where I can check I'm doing the right thing.

My three little poppets out shopping with Mum on a wet day. That denim jacket has been a fashion item for all three girls, it will be sad when Isla grows out of it. Thomas is in that long thin phase of growing, he's shooting up like a weed. And Finn has decided to skip all Thomas' size 2 winter clothes and go straight into size 3. 

He is so happy that he's one of the big kids now. 'I not like a baby" he declares loudly. You're still my baby, Finn.


Saturday, March 19, 2022


 Once the remnant strips were all joined together I started thinking about the borders. Before I sewed them on I thought I'd better check it on my bed to see if it was big enough. Surprise surprise, it wasn't. Even with the borders it would barely hang over the sides of the mattress. So it was back to the design wall to come up with a solution.

I was all out of the little bits to make another couple of strips, and I didn't want to wait till I'd amassed enough through cutting out other quilts. So I went to my stash of 2.5"triangles to make up the extra width.

This arrangement of triangles made it look a bit like crumb piecing, with a nice haphazard look. I have a huge collection of triangles, so the two strips of them never made a dent in the box.

While I was fussing over the borders I came to the conclusion that I really needed a 4"block in each of the corners. Off I went to the drawer of orphan blocks, and there I discovered enough HSTs already sewn into strips to have made the 2 strips I'd just sewn. I should know by now that it pays to check all the boxes, containers and drawers when I'm looking for extras. Oh well, they'll be there for another quilt. Or for the backing.

I didn't find a block I liked, but I liked the effect, so I made this one as a trial. It's a definite maybe. 

This UFO was supposed to be a quick finish, but it's anything but. Maybe it will get done in the next day or two, if I can just stop fussing. It reminds me of an optometrist appointment; is this better, or this one? The first one or the second one? I should just toss a coin to decide.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

2 little tops quilted

Last month I quilted the two little blue and green quilts.

I think this one is going to be for Finn.

The panto on this is called Dandy, one of my favourites.

This is made from the scraps of a tumbler quilt I made more than a decade ago. Can't hurry these things. I quilted that with a simple pattern of waves, called Ric Rac. Both quilts were done in no time flat, I wonder why I put things off for so long.

I joined all the strips for the scrappy bars. I think I'll call it the Remnant quilt, as these are all the little bits left at the end of strips

It's going to have different borders on the top and sides, to use up those prints that are great for borders but I just don't have enough of them. this will be the top and bottom border.

And I'm dithering over these two for the sides. Or both? There's only half a metre of the floral, so it would use that up nicely. The holly one is a Judie Rothermel which surprised me. It doesn't look like a repro; the colouring is what I want, but I do have metres of this one. Should I save it for another quilt? Do I have enough to do this and still do another quilt later on. These and other questions occupy my mind.

Mereth and I came out of the workroom yesterday afternoon to be greeted by these ridiculous shaving cream clouds. They were moving fast, changing all the time, so we decided to go for a drive and chase them.

We headed out on the backroads, stopping often to take photos and enjoy the scenery.

There was a lot happening up there, but not a breath of wind at ground level around us.

And then after one bolt of lightning and some rumbles of thunder, they just gave up and wandered off. Even the weather can't be bothered these days.

So we came home and went on with our day, but it was a fun little interlude.


Monday, March 14, 2022

I'm still plugging away at my scrap strippy bars. I'm at the final stage of deciding what order the strips should go in.

They are all different sizes, and the pink strips are either 2", or 2.5". I'm trying not to fuss, and just throw it together, but that not how I usually work. I don't like those 3.5" strip bars at the edge, they look like a border and that's not what I had in mind. I'd like to have a border of something floral, preferably something with a big pattern. My stash is looking a a bit sad lately, I haven't been buying that sort of thing, but I've been using it.

It's better to have the wide pieced strips in the centre part. I'll work on getting this put together, hopefully without much angst.

I went down to Adelaide last week, and took a pile of QSTs to sew. That added another 67 to the total, and today I started another 21. I'm getting very close to being able to pack away all this drab fabric, just another 40 or 50 to cut.

I thought I'd better start actually making some blocks, rather than leave it all to do at the end. I really like how it looks. I'm excited to start assembling the top, but there are other things to accomplish first. It feels like I'm taking forever on this project, but it was only December 7th when I began. If I finish the Hourglass block this month it will have been an average of 200 a month. Not too shabby.


Saturday, March 05, 2022

MAD piecing for March

 While I was assembling the pink and brown quilt I was also working on my Hourglass units. I want to clear away some of the grey fabric littering every surface, and that means I needed to cut a heap of 3.5" squares from them first. Every square makes 4 triangles, equal to one block, so if I cut 50 squares I knew that I had enough triangles for 50 blocks. It didn't take all that long to cut that first 50, so I buckled down and cut another 50, and then I tidied up the scraps. Before I knew it I had enough squares for 135 Hourglass units.

They don't look like much, but they were pretty labour intensive, what with the sewing, pressing and trimming. I had two long sessions of nothing else but feeding them through the machine, and did the ironing and trimming over a couple of days.  Then I packed them all away with their brothers and sisters in the project box,which is getting pretty full now. I tallied it all up, and I now have 667 little blocks finished, just 134 to go. I think I'll work in smaller batches from now on. And work with colours that aren't so drab and gloomy.

I pulled out the scrappy bars that I was working on last year. It didn't need many more strips to make it into a decent size quilt, so I'm pretty sure it can be a quick finish. 

I was a bit horrified when I went to the drawer containing the scrap ends of strips. I've been adding to it constantly, and there was way more than I thought. I'm going to enjoy going through all these little bits, remembering the projects they came from. There are some really lovely fabrics in this lot.

I will have plenty of scraps to finish this quilt, plus enough to start building the next one. I don't want to make the same thing again, so it will involve a bit of hunting through my books and Pinterest searches for ideas. It might be fun to do something in a block format next time, so I can keep using the pieces as I cut them, not letting them build up into a massive pile again. 


Friday, March 04, 2022

2nd top for 2022

I managed to stay focussed long enough to finish these Big Dipper blocks, and get them assembled into a top. This is the second top finished for this year; I'm always glad to get a UFO out of the project box and onto the To Be Quilted pile.  This might only be 2 years old, but it's a good feeling to have it done.

I love this block, it can look so different depending on where the dark and light values are. I had so much fun wth my colour combinations.

It was meant to be brown and pink, but quite a lot of  green crept in.

I made a whole lot of Boxy Bowtie blocks as leader-enders while I put this together, so I arranged all of them on the design wall.

This has been my most successful L-E in a long while, it's stayed in the background in a supporting role, which my leader-enders seldom do.  I think maybe because I'm on a repro 1800s jag, and I don't want to devote all my time to these bright pastels.

I have 29 blocks made, and I think I'm aiming for 42. I'll have to cut some more pieces soon, so I'll be raiding the scrap drawers for suitable pieces. At some stage I"ll have to think about the dozens of sashing strips needed.  This is definitely not a quickie quilt, but it's fun.


Tuesday, March 01, 2022

A project closer to completion

I started making these Big Dipper blocks in January 2020. I worked on them on and off for 2 years, and decided this month to get the top done. The setting and fabric was decided,10 blocks were kitted, and I only needed another 5.

I cut out the setting blocks, and then decided to measure the blocks to see if they measured the required 6.5". Most of them did, but 7 were too small. Way too small. I was not amused; it was going to take a lot more effort than I thought to finish this.

The worst thing was having to pull out a heap of fabric to cut new pieces, while the table was still littered with scraps from the grey Hourglass blocks. I didn't want to clean up, so I just pushed all the mess aside and cut out the blocks I needed. That's not the way I like to work.

I do love making this block, and I love the fabrics I used in them. They are pretty simple, so it didn't take too long to get them done.

There are 40 more Hourglass blocks to add to the collection, I batch sewed them before I started piecing on the other blocks. I'm determined to get these done

 The cutting table needs to be cleaned up again. It never stays tidy for long.                                                                                                                                                                             

I'm nearing the end of this sampler, just a few more motifs to go.  It's been fun, and I already have the stranded cottons for my next project. I enjoy my nightly stitching, but I can't do more than an hour or my hands ache and I literally can't see straight. 

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