Monday, May 29, 2023

More playing with shirts

I'm up to 10 completed Rail Fence blocks, with the pieces cut for many more.

It's using up a satisfying amount of shirts and scraps, so I'm really pleased about that. The more it takes the better, as far as I'm concerned. But there was the box of offcuts sitting there.....

I quickly made 2 crumb blocks, to help me decide if I wanted to throw the bits out, or turn them into yet another top. Guess I'm not throwing them out.

This hexagon project has been hanging round for about a quarter of a century. It's made with .5"hexagons, using little 1"sample squares from shops. I lost interest in it, after I'd sewed that dark border bit. Hated it, set it all aside.

The other day I thought, maybe I could un-pull those dark rows and use another colour there, and actually finish this. It was just a thought, but I decided it was worth a try.

However, I seem to have sewn the hexagons together with 20 stitches a side, stitches so tiny I can't even see them without magnification. I had very good eyesight when I worked on this, and I never took it for granted. I was always grateful that I didn't need glasses, or even particularly good light to work in. I do now though. If I do decide to take those dark hexies off it will be a long process.

I could be sewing each and every night, but I've been spinning whenever the mood takes me. This was a ram fleece, so stinky all I could ever do was shut the bag up as quick as I could. But it was a lovely colour, and really long, and cheap. About three weeks ago I held my breath and crammed it into a bucket of water with a lid, and left it in the sun to marinate. Last week I pulled it out, still reeeking, washed it twice in blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, and then put fabric softener in the rinse water. Now it smells beautiful, and I've saved it from the compost pile. But it just goes to show, I can never throw anything away.

I was pleased with how even my spinning is getting, but then wondered why I would want my handspun to look just the same as commercial yarn.. It doesn't feel the same though, it feels bouncy and full of life, and it smells great too! Maybe I'll end up with enough to make a vest, that would be a great project to aim for. It's getting mighty chilly in these parts.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Last week I finished this top, and I like how it turned out. It's 62"x 70", a good size couch quilt.

I like how rustic it looks, and I like the border of random rectangles. They were cut from the 3.5"strips and the ends of the 8.5"strips that I cut for the big triangles. I'm all about using up all the scraps.

My Rail Fence is coming along nicely, I should have 7 blocks finished, but....

I shouldn't sew late at night, and in a hurry. My first thing today will be ripping out this seam and sewing it the right way. I have lots of strips cut ready for the next batch of blocks, and I'm ironing more shirts to send through the Accuquilt. I've spent hours starching and ironing shirt pieces, but it pays off when the pieces are more stable and go together more accurately.

I'm trying to get rid of everything except shirt back and sleeves, so there aren't any little bits left to store. I'm ploughing my way through the yokes, which will yield a 2" or 3.5" strip. The rest can go in the bin.

Some shirts aren't the usual check or stripe; these ones are beautiful quality, but they just don't go with the others. I think they will find their way into my regular stash. That blue paisley is just gorgeous.

I'll have to make a decision soon about whether to make string or crumb blocks from the offcuts. It's a lot of fabric to throw away, but I have to draw a line somewhere. My ordinary stash is calling to me, and I would like to get back to regular programming soon.

Last night we did something we haven't done for ages, and went for a drive at the end of the workday. The clouds were beautiful, so we drove down country roads, marvelled over old stone farmhouses, gave ourselves the creeps photographing an abandoned homestead, and then followed the water pipeline home, over more bumpy dirt roads. The sunset was just stunning. Such beautiful colours, it's the perfect end to the day.


Monday, May 15, 2023


 2023 is not going to be my best blogging year, I've been very lax. Maybe I can do better in the later stages of the year. I'm always disappointed when I let the blog lapse, because often it's the only record I have of how I spent my days. I must try harder.

I've been making a glorious mess in the sewing room and environs, leaping from new project to new project. I've ditched the batiks, and now I'm working on sewing down the stash of shirts. 

 It's a very scattergun approach, but ideas keep occuring to me as I sew, and I need to make a sample before I forget, so I get sidetracked. I guess I should feel guilty, but I'm having a wonderful time, so I'm not going to rein it back. I'll end up overcome with sensibility soon enough, it's time to play right now.

It all starts with other people blogging about quilts that I'm instantly drawn to. It was just such a quilt on Lovin' Life At The End Of The Dirt Road that sent me down this rabbit hole. That plaid quilt....

I began cutting from the 4 tubs of shirts that I have stashed away, and I kept cutting, and cutting....and cutting. I couldn't stop. Those big triangles are cut from an 8.5"strip, so that used up a shirt front lickety split. After I cut more than twice what I needed I came to my senses and concentrated on the smaller triangles. They are cut from 3.5"strips, and I went a bit overboard on them too.

The solution was to have a Plan B of course. 

These go together surprising well, considering how varied the shirts are, from soft flannelly cotton to crisp poplin to homespun check.

I'm going to sash them with one of the bigger shirts, just haven't decided which one yet.

Having made an excruciating mess of the shirts I decided they needed to be reduced to one tub. So I began cutting for at least three other projects (Plans C, D, and E).

The big rectangles will become a bricks quilt. The squares will be cut in half for triangles, or will become nine-patches. The little rectangles will become this quilt, that I can blame Becky at Quilted Twins for. Mine will be made from 2"x 3.5"rectangles though; her smaller size would be sheer hard work with these shirts.

After having rejected the shirts with stripes again and again, I decided to do something about them.

This fussy cutting is turning out to be loads of fun, and I can't guarantee I won't buy another couple of shirts to help me complete a whole quilt. Four of the striped shirts are cut up, but the scraps!! My gosh the scraps from them, all promising more possibilities.

I've chucked a lot of shirts too thin to use, and I've sorted what's left into more sensible categories, and I'm still cutting and cutting. It's nice to have my enthusiasm back, even if it means 5 new projects.

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