Monday, March 25, 2024

Getting there

I'm gradually getting back to my sewing, just short bursts of activity until my eyes start hurting and I literally can't see straight. At the machine I'm using a pair of 2.5 readers that I can look over, because my old glasses just don't work anymore. I had to remove one of the lights I was using by the machine because I don't need it to see what I'm doing now. It's mostly good, including not needing any glasses to cut fabric or work on the computer. It's pretty amazing.

I made another 4 Housetop blocks; 6 more needed, but I decided to take them off the design wall for now. I need that space to see what my other projects look like.

I had a stack of Log Cabins by my machine since before the surgery, and finally got them done. I now have 26, and I can see that I like the effect. I'm trying not to use very dark strips; the medium and medium-dark fabrics give more movement than uniformly darker fabrics.

I have 18 of the Half Log Cabins finished. I'm not sure I like this setting, but I'm just going to keep making them and I'll decide later how to put them together. The strip drawers are emptying out nicely now, and I may even have to cut some more pieces before too long. 

Once I have the 1.5" and 1.25" strips under control I want to go back to working on the UFOs. All I've done so far is add to the project tally, which is somewhat counter-productive. 


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Almost Ready To Sew

 5 days after surgery, and I'm almost ready to resume my sewing. There was a bit of drama on the day after surgery, when I reacted very badly to the iodine they used; a quick trip to the hospital for antihistamines and pain killers and flushing my eye with lots of saline and I felt human once more. Poor Mereth had to wait on me that day; I'll have to buy her some fabric as a thankyou. And when she has her cataracts done she knows to answer YES when they ask her if she's sensitive to iodine.

I've been reading dreadful novels from the library, and catching up on blog reading with my one good eye. Today my vision is starting to get back to normal, so I spent some time in the sewing room. I went through piles of magazines and ripped out pages to keep; the rest are going in the recycling. The op shops here are full of magazines, and no-one wants them anymore. Everything is online, but I have some favourites from the old issues, so I'll make a scrap book of them. 

I did some sewing too, about half an hour, but it was giving me a headache so I'll wait a little longer before I go back to that. I'm not supposed to be in a dusty environment till my eye heals, and there is so much fabric dust around my cutting table. I'm trying to be good and do as I'm told, but it's an effort!


Wednesday, March 13, 2024


Oh my goodness, the last 5 days have been dreadful. 41° (105° F) and the night time temps above 25°. Yech! The weather didn't get the memo about summer being over already. It hasn't been too hot this year, so I didn't really miss my AC, but this heatwave did me in.  It was miserable. It's cooled down a bit today, and so of course I got a phone call saying my new AC has arrived and will be installed tomorrow. I'm just happy that it's here and ready for the next hot spell; we often get nasty hot weather into April here.

While the world outside was sweltering I stayed in our shop with the AC running, and tackled even more scraps. 

The scrap boxes at home are my patchwork scraps. The ones at the shop come from Op Shop bags, leftover backings, donations from friends and customers who are cleaning out their stashes. Most of it is modern children's patterns, there's a fair bit of Oriental themed stuff and Australiana, plus panels  and metallics. None of it is my cup of tea, but here it is, clogging up the shelves. 

Seeing as I was incarcerated for the duration I got stuck into the children's fabrics, cutting for Happy blocks and I-Spy hexagons. 

Very quickly I realised there weren't enough large pieces to make a 5" square for the centre, or a hexagon, so I started string piecing 5" squares from the scraps. I'm actually loving it, which surprised me because I've always been on the fence about string piecing.

 I like that it uses up every last piece of some tiny scraps, and everything finds a home somewhere, but the mess is so annoying!

This time I'm coping with the mess by tidying up every few hours, which means all the un-useable strip ends get weeded out, and all the remaining strips are sorted into various lengths and colours, and then I start making a mess again with new blocks. The tidying up is a bit zen, it interrupts the intensity of shoving fabric through the machine and I don't feel overwhelmed by the chaos.

I'm loving these bright colours for a change; it's so not me, but it's fun. I'm aiming for 30 or so blocks, which will put a dent in the boxes, and then I'll decide what to do with what is left. By that time the temperature might have cooled down enough for me to go back to my sewing room, and my regularly scheduled programming.


Sunday, March 10, 2024

They Say It Gets Worse.....

Before it gets better. The mess on my cutting table is certainly worse, but there has been much progress.

I have 20 Housetop blocks finished, and more cut out. I have no set ideas on how big I want to make this, but more a couch size quilt than a bed quilt I think. If there are still scraps left, then I'll pick another pattern to use them up.

The little Log Cabin blocks are multiplying, I have about 18 of them that just need another round of strips. And to deal with the 1.5" strips I may have started a Half Log Cabin project. I've always wanted to make one, so I just began.

It's so easy to cut, they start with a 1.5" square, then each log is 1" bigger. 2.5", 3.5" 4.5", 5.5", it's so simple. It's chewing up the strips. When I come across a longer strip I also cut 4 3.5" pieces for my Plaid quilt kit, which has taken a back seat to all these new projects. And when I run out of 1.5" strips I can still cut these sizes by slicing 1.5" from the end of my other strip sizes. 

I kept rejecting the red strips, I haven't got over my dislike of red. I was sick of them getting in the way when I went through the strips drawers, so I made them all into 16-patches. I have no idea what I'll do with them, but at least they're dealt with now. 

That Moth In The Window block was a little sidetrack because I had 1.5" and 2.5" strips in the same fabrics, and I wondered if I'd like to commence to cutting some of these blocks. It's definitely something I want to do, but it's not on the front burner just yet. It's another Bonnie pattern from her Addeicted To Scraps book that I've had on my list for years

So I'm very busy cutting and sewing and congratulating myself on dealing with the scraps, but you know what? I can't see a difference. This strip box just seems to refill itself overnight. I'll have to try harder.


Friday, March 01, 2024

Creating a mess

My strip boxes are overflowing. I need to get them under control.

I made 4 Housetop blocks with varying width strips to see if I liked making them and I did, but I can't cut them out of scraps alone. Those outer rings take 30" of a strip, and most of mine aren't that long. And the 1.25"strips are what I really want to get rid of. 

So I drew up the Log Cabin block I wanted to make using only 1.25"strips, and went through the boxes and pulled out every bit that wasn't 18" long. My chart showed every rectangle I needed to cut, so it was easy to measure a little strip, then cut the longest piece I could from it.

I dealt with the light strips in short order; it was satisfying to find a use for every little bit, down to a 1.25"square.

All these little smidgeons were converted to logs of the right size, with almost no waste.

Lots of teeny little dark strips found a home too. I haven't touched the larger scraps yet, and I have enough for more than 20 blocks. I have no idea how many I can make out of those 2 tubs, but it will be a quilt's worth.

All laid out waiting for me to start building. I was going to have 5 rounds, but I think I'll stop at 4 and that will make a 6" block. That 8.25"block just seems too big.

At some stage I will have to think about how I want the blocks set; there are so many possibilities that it's hard to choose.

I've always loved Straight Furrows, 

But then again I love Sunshine and Shadows, 

and Barn Raising.

In fact, my first quilt was a Log Cabin, made when I was 15, in the Straight Furrows setting.

I made it for my Mum, and she loved it, though it was all 70s dressmaking scraps, and pretty wonky.

Those decisions are a long way off yet, so I'll just keep on cutting and sewing.

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