Monday, October 23, 2023

The Strip Twist blocks became a top, and it's very colourful and cheerful. I want to make another one, but first I'll sew on some UFOs. I need to put all the modern fabric away, because it's cluttering every surface of the sewing room, and I can't find anything beneath the piles. I figure if I haven't learned to clear up after a project after all this time, then I'll never change, so I just have to have giant clean ups periodically.

While I was deciding what to work on next I did a few chores that are easy to put off till they become critical. I cleaned out my poor sewing machine, which was clogged with lint from my long sewing sessions. I put new covers on my ironing board and ironing pad. I cleaned the sole plate of the iron. I cleared off the top of my sewing table, and dusted and sorted out all the items that accumulate there. I vacuumed the carpet, after gathering up as much of the fabric and thread scraps as I could. I collected all the rulers and templates and put them where they should live. I changed the blades in my rotary cutters. Once I'd done all that I was more than ready to get sewing again.

First up was this scrap project that has been my leader ender for many months. It used a satisfying amount of strange scraps and leftover bits, and it really was mindless to put together. I need another 20 blocks, but I'll get the centre into one piece before I go back and make them. It will seem much easier to complete if I jut have to add a row of blocks top and bottom. This never even made it onto my UFO list, so I'll have to add it, then cross it off.

It was our birthdays on the weekend, mine on Saturday, and Mereth's on Sunday. We celebrated with friends at their coffee shop; a birthday muffin for me, and birthday cheesecake for Mereth. It was a lovely get-together. Another year older, but not much wiser.....

After all my cleaning and duty sewing I had a play with my fussy-cutting project yesterday. I cut out 7 new blocks, and sewed a few pieces together; I'll finish them later, when I need a hand-sewing fix. I was all about the auditioning and cutting of fabrics, and trying to work out an easy system of marking the sewing line accurately. I enjoyed looking at my fabrics differently, with an eye to what patterns they would make; it was interesting to analyse the various prints and work out what I could do with them, and if I had enough repeats.

I really don't like the Swiss cheese effect though. I'll get another block out of the remnants of this FQ, and I suppose I can use the odd leftover bits in string or crumb piecing, but this way of working seems alien. I've spent too many years trying to get the most out of every fabric, but I just need to tell myself, it's only wasted if I don't do something with it.


Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Progress on several projects

The spate of customer quilts is under control now, so I've been spending a little more time in the sewing room. I have no sense of purpose really, I'm just wandering from one thing to another as the mood takes me. I know this is the aftermath of the busy time I've had for the last 2 months, so I'm just going with the flow.

I've been pondering my UFOs, especially the long term ones, and decided I should work on a few just to maintain a bit of progress. While I was away I finished the last of the 35 blocks I needed for my handsewn Periwinkle blocks, which was momentous. Those things have been hanging around for years.

My intention was to handsew the entire quilt, sashings and borders, but I've gone off that idea. I tried one sashing by hand, and one by machine, and the machine one got the tick of approval. I have other things to be doing with my hand piecng time.

I hadn't even looked at these star blocks for quite some time, so I dug out the box and started sewing. I had enough kitted up for 46 blocks; when I kit them I make the 9-patches and the Flying Geese unit for each block and put them in separate baggies. Then it's as easy as sewing a 9-patch to put them together, so it only took a few sewing sessions to finish all the kits. I will have to decide what size I want this quilt; I discovered a tray full of strips precut for more blocks, so there will be more of them in future.

These scraps were cut into 2.5" strips for my scrappy blocks, and I've been using them as leader enders for other projects, so there are 120 of them now. 

Enough for a small quilt, so I might have to choose another leader-ender pattern now. I still have strips to use up, funny how that works.

From there I got a mad idea about using up the horde of 2" strips of bright modern pastels, and decided on Bonnie Hunter's Strip Twist. Her strips were 2.5", and mine were smaller, but how hard could it be?  

I made a few dozen of the quarter blocks, and they were sheer fun, and then I started trying to put them into blocks. It was a lot harder than it looked, everywhere I put a block it was adjacent to another identical fabric. Because of the smaller strip size I needed 20 blocks instead of 12, so that meant 80 quarter blocks. It was a lot of work. 

It looks good with a sashing separating the blocks, so I'm filing that idea away for next time. 
It still isn't completely sewn together, but I'll work on it till it is, just so I can clear the design wall and go on to another UFO. I have so many to choose from. I was a bit silly and cut 2.5" strips while I was cutting extra 2" strips, thinking I could make the same pattern again. I think I may choose another pattern now I know how hard I found arranging those blocks.

And of course the strip off cuts turned into another project.... 

There's at least 2 UFOs vying for my attention, I'll choose one while I finish up this project. It's so lovely to feel enthusiastic about sewing once more

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