Thursday, October 27, 2022

 I fell off the grid for a while there, but now I'm back. My absence was caused by getting another (!) cold, getting hospitalised for oxygen and IV antibiotics , then a trip to Adelaide and more tests and consultations at the Thoracic Unit down there. I feel much better after all that, and here's hoping no more colds and viruses find me for a while. There are more tests and scans in the future, but I have a treatment plan now, which includes home oxygen; then I'll really feel like an invalid, but maybe I'll be able to be more active too. Silver linings, and all that.

My sewing room feels like alien territory, I can barely remember what I was working on so enthusiastically before I got sick. I've been tackling the remnants of my scrap cutting mania, packing things away into boxes and drawers, and makings labels straight away, so at least my workspace is ready for me to start work. But on what?

I was thinking back on my decision to work on projects and Make A Difference, which led to many MAD cutting and sewing sessions. That was great, but many of those sessions were with new projects, and my existing ones languished. Some of them are many years old, and they are starting to weigh on me. I really hope I can continue to live on my own, but I need to start sorting out all my stuff, while I'm still able to. So I'm going to buckle down and tackle some of the older UFOs.

The red and cream Jacob's Ladder was top of the list. There were still boxes and trays of red and  cream scraps and strips everywhere, and I wanted the whole thing kitted and the leftovers dealt with. First of all I drew it up in EQ8 so that I knew how many blocks I needed; the answer was 56, and I already had 27 blocks completed.

I had a huge cutting session, and kitted up 14 blocks. 

I sewed the  four HSTs and the five 4-patches needed for each block, and packed each block in a ziplock bag.

 That took quite a while; 56 HSTs and 70 4-patches. I was a bit disheartened to realise that it was only half of the blocks I needed, and I still had 15 to cut, kit and sew. Oh well, the only thing to do was keep on with it. I cut all the strips I needed for the remaining blocks, but I couldn't face sewing the units in one big batch. I'll do them a few at a time in between other sewing.

That was rather tiring, but it certainly made a difference to that project. Red fabric is back in it's drawers; the cream fabric was mostly scraps, so it's all gone or cut into 2"strips for the strip drawers. I'm quite pleased with that effort. 35 blocks finished, and the rest are just waiting their turn.

My leader-enders were the Flying Geese units; I'm going to play around with the idea of a pieced border for this, maybe little squares on point, maybe Flying Geese. Those red fabrics might have to come out again.


Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Scrap Chaos (Again)

My cutting table looked like this again. It never stays clear for very long.

It was a mammoth effort to sort it all, and cut up the bits for all the various projects. It took the better part of a day, and my mind was fried at the end. So many decisions!! So even though I was tempted to abandon it halfway through and go back to making a mess, I remained dedicated. 

It will be much nicer to work in this space now, and I won't lose rulers and cutters under the mess. I can't guarantee that it will stay like this for much longer, because there are still scraps to cut, but at least I won't be building on the mess that was there.

Every time I start a random scrap quilt I pull containers off shelves and out of cupboards and act like I'll be getting rid of the bits once and for all. But every time I find new containers that I didn't know were full of scraps, so they are never going to go away completely. After years of foisting scraps onto Mereth, years of scrap quilts, I'm still inundated with them. 

I drew up the Ladder quilt in EQ8 and it says it takes 4.5m. Is that all? 4.5m of scraps is a lot of ironing and cutting, but it's hardly a dent in the pile. I think I'll end up making at least 1 more quilt in this pattern, using some of the really bright fabrics that I don't like. Someone will like them, and I can just add it to the donation pile. 

I want to be sewing on my good projects, but I'm stuck on the scrap dealing for some reason. I guess I don't want to pull out good fabric and iron it and cut it when my room is still covered in these bits and pieces. I think it will be worth a few more days of cutting if I can get all this stuff dealt with.

This is how I'm working through the piles. First I pull out all the light fabrics and they get cut into 3"squares for my Flying Geese blocks. Any leftover bits are cut into 2.5"squares for my Scrap Squares leader-ender, or 1.5"squares to go into the box.

My dark and medium scraps are dealt with differently. If it's a big piece, like a FQ remnant, I cut an 8.5"strip. This gets cut into 8.5"squares for the Scrappy Montain Majesty blocks. There's often a little bit of the strip left and it becomes a 2.5" strip, which I cut into a 4.5" brick, and a square. The bricks are being amassed for another Brickwork quilt, and the squares go into the box for the current leader-ender.

If it's a smaller scrap I try to get a 4.5"strip from it. That gets sub-cut into 2.5"slices; sets of 4 go into the Ladder project box, the rest go into the bricks collection. If I can get four 1.5" strips at the end then they go into the Ladder box as well. If there's not enough for 4 then the 1.5"strips go into a drawer for a future piano key border.

Little scraps get cut into 2.5", 2", or 1.5"strips. The 2"strips are going to become another Carolina Chain quilt, or a variation of it, and the others go into the Ladder project, or the bricks, or the piano key border. 

And some scraps are only enough for a single square, and that just gets filed in the right box. So far, this system is working really well, it's removed a lot of decisions I normally go through. Should I cut a 6.5"strip, it's big enough, but what will I do with that. Should I cut this or that, or both, or....Just being committed to the 8.5"and 4.5" strips means that a whole chunk of the scrap can be decided with 2 cuts.

My scrap drawers are pretty full already, so cutting directly to projects stops me from scrunching more into them. Once I have a handle on all this I'll have to pick a project and cut from the drawers. And someone needs to call an intervention if I ever buy another scrapbag from Facebook.


Saturday, October 01, 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. 

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