Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Scrap Projects

While the strips I cut were out I decided to cut the 3.5"and 1.5" ones into pieces for a Plaid quilt. Some people call it a Crossroads block, I've always called it Plaid.

I had to make a couple, just to see what they looked like; I've made 2 quilts with these  blocks, but never with reproduction fabrics, so I was a bit curious.

They look fine. Now I want to be disciplined and put them aside to use as leader-enders, but I don't have a very good track record with that.

I also started playing around with the other strips sizes. I want to cut for a Log Cabin, but I also want to make blocks of surrounded squares.

I made one that uses 4 different size strips, and then thought that I could make lots of blocks with the strips varying in position. The finished size is 8.5", so I need to stay within that size. I tried a couple other combinations as an experiment, and realised that the outer rounds need quite a bit of fabric. That won't work with my short strip scraps. 

I think I need to cut as many of these blocks as I can with my long strips, and then switch to Log Cabin blocks where every log is different. That way I can use up all the little bits and pieces. Once I've cleared out the tubs and drawers I can start cutting from FQs and use the full strips for my surrounded square blocks. I've heard them called Housetop blocks, so maybe I'll use that name for them.

It's tiring trying to see what I'm doing, and I don't think I'm as accurate as I normally am because I just can't focus on the marks on the ruler. But I have a date for my second cataract surgery, in 2 weeks time, and I'm very happy about that. I don't expect it will cure all my ills, but I'll be closer to getting new glasses that take into account my changed vision. I'm looking forward to that.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tiny 9-patches

 Everyone across Blogland is making little nine-patches, thanks to Taryn at ReproQuiltLover.  She is replicating an antique quilt with truly tiny nine-patches, and offers tutorials for 3 sizes. She calls then Teeny Tiny (1/2"squares), Tiny (3/4"squares) and Small (1"squares). I was intrigued, but not tempted to join in; I have enough to be going on with, until my eyesight improves.

However. On a recent visit to Mereth's sewing room she showed me an old Quilters Newsletter Magazine with an interview with Lee Porter. One of the quilts on a bed was a beautiful old 9patch with pink sashing, and I decided it would be perfect to use up my extensive collection of 1.25" strips. Mereth has already made a trial block, and I have unashamedly pinched her idea; that's the problem being identical twins, we usually love the same things.. 

I did some rough calculations and decided that the 2.25" 9patches would make a nice size quilt, with 25 or 30 blocks.  It would also use up those containers of 1.25"strips that have been hanging around since 2013. In order to use these strips of all lengths I'm making my 9patches by a different strip pieced method.

I cut a light and dark strip to 6.5", plus a 1.25"square from the dark. The strips are joined together, and subcut into 5 1.25"slices. 

I need 4 for the 9patch, plus there's an extra one to build into a scrappy block later on.

Three of the little units are sewn together, and the single square is added to the other one. Then that unit is added to complete the 9patch.

The scrap blocks are going to be cute; I'll raid my box of squares for the single piece needed to complete the 9patch.

 I'd probably prefer to strip piece 5 blocks at a time as Taryn details in this tutorial, but until I whittle these strips down I won't do that. My quilt plan needs 480 blocks, and even though each 9patch block only takes 2 six and a half inch strips I don't think I'll have enough.

The setting strips are also 1.25" strips, and I can use the longer strips for that. I'm really hopeful that I can clear out those 2 boxes, and then I'll have permission to cut new scraps. 

These will be a long term project, and I will have to start looking for a pink sashing fabric. EQ8 says I'll need 2.5m, so I may have to go shopping. Such a chore 😄.


Sunday, February 18, 2024


I started with this collection of scraps and leftovers, plus some more in various other piles.

I've been assiduously cutting for days, not thinking about the final destination of this fabric, just trying to get it cut down into useable sizes.

So many decisions are involved, but to make it simple I just tried to get the biggest strip or square that I could from each piece.

It's very satisfying to see an empty container, and know that everything in it has been trimmed and assigned a new home.

These are my little strips, and I emptied that white tray cutting these little bits. They range from 1"to 1.75", and I have plans for each size strip. There may be some Log Cabin blocks in my future, featuring 1"strips, and I'm thrilled to be using every last skerrick of a scrap. 

I still haven't conquered Mt. Scrapmore, but I've made lots of progress.

The strips starting at 1"and ending at 3.5". Lots of squares to go into the boxes for current and future projects.

This is the pile of larger scraps, all ironed and ready to cut the bigger size strips. I have plans for the 3.5"strips, and I enjoyed my last 2.5"leader-ender so I'm going to do another one. Even though that size seems too large for my taste, I like working on blocks that grow so quickly.

I have three quilts that I'll cut for from these strips. I think I've powered through the cutting because I haven't stopped to cut individual pieces for those projects. Once I've dealt with the whole lot I can go back and kit up the blocks I want to make. Maybe I can finally get a handle on how to manage my scraps; just being hopeful here.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

I'm mighty sick of the mess in my sewing room. every surface is piled high with random collections of fabric and strange containers full of scraps. Not to mention the shirts draped everywhere. Enough is enough!

First up I pulled out a bunch of light blue and white scraps and cut enough wedges for another 7 Dresden Plates. Now all the rest of the shirts can go back where they belong while I piece these together. I'll have to find enough fabric for the background squares, but I'll deal with that later.

What is most urgent is sorting out 5 containers of strips and scraps, some dating from quilts I finished 2 years ago. I've never sorted out the leftovers from any quilt I've made, it all accumulates into a giant mess.  I can see several days of sorting and cutting ahead of me, but if I get sick of it I know Mereth will take all the rest. She's positively willing me to fail, 😀. (Ooh look, we have emojis now. How exciting..)

Last time I was at Seonaid's we did jigsaws again, heads together as we searched for the right pieces. We were both a bit appalled then, when she tested positive for Covid.  She immediately isolated in her bedroom, I wore a mask and so did she when she came out for something to eat. I couldn't go home straight away because the next day was a 44° day, way too hot to travel, so we just tried to minimise the contact. I wrangled the kids for another day and a half so she could be sick in peace, then I came home hoping that I wasn't going to get sick.  And amazingly, I didn't. I did 4 tests, all negative, and no symptoms.

And then after a family get together last week at the coffee shop, Mereth tested positive. Again I waited to see if I'd contracted it too, but I didn't. I think it's pretty amazing that I've avoided it when it's come to so close to me. Mereth's granddaughters are the source for her infection, so it's going through the schools yet again.  I just hope I can continue to dodge it.


Monday, February 12, 2024

Still here...

 I've certainly had enough time off from the blog, time for a catch up.

I haven't blogged in so long because I don't like complaining on here, but I've done a mighty lot of that in real life. Problems with my eyesight, problems with the Statler, problems with several customer tops that had many, many issues, catching some sort of cold/flu from the grandkids after Christmas that floored me for 3 weeks. Plus my dear old AC just blew up, so there is no respite from the heat. I wasn't remotely inclined to go near the sewing machine, which is so unusual for me. I guess it's because I can't see properly, and I don't want to struggle with it. Sigh!

I've mainly been reading, and doing jigsaws, and finally getting all my bookwork up to date. Which was literally painful, trying to see what I was doing on the computer. I can type and type and type, no problems, but trying to proof read and edit is really difficult. The optometrist suggested plain 2x readers for my computer work, and they are helping. My second surgery should be next month, and hopefully things will improve then.

See! Lots of complaining. Must do better, and look on the positive side; I've read heaps of books...And blogs of course. I feel guilty that I get so much pleasure from other people's blogs, but I don't bother to update my own. I can't do Instagram, I don't understand it, and reading one little bit after another just gives me a headache. I know other people feel the same way, so I'll do my best to contribute to blogworld in future, even if my posts are full of typos.

Just lately I've been sewing a few minutes here and there, just playing around. I need to clean up the sewing room yet again, but I keep getting distracted. Those darn shirts are always leading me off the beaten track. 

Cutting fabric is hard when I can't see so well, but this Dresden Plate pattern can be mashed into shape with an iron so the accuracy isn't that important. I designed this with 15 blades, so any inaccuracies in the piecing don't really show up the way it would with an even number of blades. 

I printed out a template and stuck it to a ruler; I make sure I have a straight edge to line the base of the wedge to. I cut along the top of the ruler, then flip the cut fabric over.

Then I line up the template with the cut edges and trim the top of the wedge. Easy. I just cut enough for one block at a time, I'm determined to keep this playful, and not let it turn into an almighty chore.

The background blocks are huge, so there is not much left from a shirt back; once I use all the suitable backs I may start piecing 4-patches as a background block.  I'll applique circles at the centre so I can trim out the bulk of so many seam allowances meeting there, and because it's a nice little pop of colour.

I'm working on another project, to use up scraps of course, so I'm gradually getting back into the sewing room. It's slow going, but I'll get there.

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