Sunday, January 29, 2017

My number one task for the weekend was to deal with the overflowing scrap containers on my cutting table.  I religiously keep all the leftovers and snippets and strips, and then don't store them sensibly.  I can't utilize them if they are a jumbled mess, so it was time to do some organizing.

There are so many layers, dating back several quilts, it's like an archaeological dig.  By the time I've excavated down to the bottom of each container I've revisited four or five projects.
1.5" strips and squares
It didn't feel very rewarding at the time, but I kept going. Only sheer determination kept me pressing and stacking, then cutting and stacking, until there weren't any more scraps to deal with.
3"strips and Square In Square parts
I should have felt even mild triumph, but my over-riding thought was 'I'm never going to do THAT again!'
Strips to send through the Go Cutter for triangles
It was a whole morning dedicated to a couple of boxes of bits that I had no immediate plans for.  In future I either deal with these little bits during a project, or I just donate them to someone who adores them (Mereth!!)
Totally random strip sizes
But look, there is my cutting table with not a thing to clutter it up.  I can start cutting for new projects any time I feel like it.
Of course that will be sooner rather than later, because another quilt from the Quilt Divas bok caught my attention.
All those 1.5" strips need to be cut up into something, so I worked out the dimensions of this block using that size strip. The blocks in the quilt shown are 4"and the pattern in the book makes a 5" one. Mine are 5.75" roughly, because I can't be cutting strange sizes for a hundred or more blocks.
Talk about cute overload!  I can't wait the make a heap more of these.





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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I sewed my Economy blocks into strips a couple of days ago, and then stalled.  I really don't like putting sashing together without corner posts, and I let that put me off.  I read somewhere that some quilters actually use corner posts of the same fabric, so that the seams are easy to align, but it's all the same fabric; yes that works, but I couldn't bring myself to do that either.

It only took an hour this morning to cut all the sashing strips I needed, and mark the seam intersections on them so I can line up all the rows of blocks nicely
 I let the smallest things derail my sewing sometimes! Now I can spend the afternoon getting the blocks all joined together ready for that Flying Geese border.

I bought this book for Mereth for Christmas, and promptly borrowed it back.
There are some lovely quilts in there, and cheddar features in quite a few of them. This basket is really appealing to me right now, and I have the perfect match for the setting fabric, there on the left.  It's a solid, and I"m not used to working with solids, but I should give it a go anyway.
 I could use a whole heap of other cheddars in the basket blocks, it would be so much fun.
I have two other fabrics that would work for the sashing if I'm not brave enough to use the solid.
And this Ohio Star would be perfect for my Quaker red fabrics too.  I'm just swamped in possibilities here,
So pretty!
 I'm not going to cut anything new out till I deal with the scraps on my table,  There are so many that I can't move without knocking over the stacks.  This afternoon I intend to deal with this pile of bits and pieces.  Time to restore order in the sewing room.




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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

10 days into the new year, and finally I have time to stop and look around and decide what I'd like to do next.  I spent 10 days at my DD's place after Christmas, and I've been back again for another weekend, which hasn't left much time to myself.  Add in family visits and work commitments and it's no wonder that my house is still in upheaval and my sewing room is unorganized.

I'm going to pack away all my spinning gear, it's too hot to be working with fleece at the moment, so it's just taking up room in the sewing space.  I started spinning samples of two Corriedale X fleeces for a Fair Isle project, one grey and one nearly black.  It's a challenge, spinning the two colours to be exactly the same thickness, but I'm learning how to gain more control.

I'll keep knitting the sample and decide exactly what patterns I want to use, and when the cool weather returns I'll be able to start spinning and knitting in earnest.  This hot weather is the perfect time to wash fleece tho, so I'll tackle that over the next few weeks.  And I just might start experimenting with dyeing, I've always wanted to try that.

I started cutting out a red and white quilt, from some Judie Rothermel reds that have been maturing in the stash for about 6 years.


They are from a range called Quaker Quilts, and I've been trying to find the perfect project for them for years.
I've got enough to make two or three quilts, so I'll cut out this one and I'll keep looking for another pattern to use up the rest of them.  I want to use them all together, I don't like them mixed up with my other reproductions, and I should never buy them again after this.

I've finished all the Economy blocks, and this afternoon I'll cut out some Flying Geese units for a border.
I'm going to sash it with a cheddar fabric that is about 15 years old, an oldie but a goodie.  I'm not sick of the Square In Square blocks yet, so I may pick out another pattern using them.  I've always wanted to make a Rolling Stone quilt, I may consult Pinterest on that.

Nephew John is moving house on Thursday, so it will be all hands on deck to get that accomplished smoothly.  He and Liz are expecting twins in May, and a bigger house is a necessity.  Mereth and I are more than willing to help with the babies, once they arrive.  It will be fun to have a photo taken of the twin babies and twin Nanas.


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Friday, December 02, 2016

I felt the need to rearrange my sewing room two weeks ago, so everything was in a state of upheaval.  Then I made the mistake of shifting my living room around at the same time, and now the level of chaos is daunting. I'm slowly putting it all to rights, but it's certainly cut down on my sewing time.

I hope the new sewing room arrangement will be fun to work in, I moved in a table and chairs so I can do handwork, or design work there.  I've moved practically everything, so it was disappointing not to find a small ruler that has been missing for months.  I looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  I hate losing a favourite item, I don't want to have to buy another one, but it had 1/16th markings and I found that really useful.  The old one will show up once I've ordered it again.

My new project is from a very old magazine, Fall 1992.  Orange and brown were all the rage then, as were sampler quilts.

I'm making this Economy block quilt, in greys, lilacs and pinks.
I love that sashing, it's more pumpkin than cheddar in the magazine, but my camera has distorted the colour.  I'll be shopping in Adelaide next week, and if I can't find a pumpkin fabric I like, then it's going to be cheddar anyway.
 I'm really enjoying these subtle combinations.  I have 14 blocks made; they are only 9" so I may do more than the 30 in the magazine, I'll decide that later.

Today I did a lot of cutting and got another 17 kitted.
I didn't enjoy cutting all the little triangles for the SNS units, but I just gritted my teeth and soldiered on till they were all done.  Now I have them all  in little baggies next to the machine, ready for sewing sessions over the weekend.  I'm also going to make some neutral 4-patches for Bonnie's mystery; the clues arrive here at 10pm on Friday, so I will be able to check that out while I'm sewing the first clue.  I'll do 40 or so, just so I can participate, but I haven't time to do the whole 221!




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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The last few months are just a blur, so busy with trips back and forth to see the family; when I'm home I'm playing catch up, trying to do all the things I should have done, instead of running away for cuddles with Isla.

But I don't regret that, I'm so lucky to have unlimited access to my granddaughter; two of my friends don't have the luxury of being allowed contact with their grandchildren.
 I treasure every moment I spend with my baby girl.


 I've also managed to catch every cold, flu and germ out there, so it's been five months of coughing and illness; Isla had three months of illness too, so we were both sick together.  She's over it now, and I'm on my 5th course of antibiotics.  Something has to work soon....

The weather has been kind, lots of rain to keep the garden alive, but the weeds went mad, and it's taken me several weeks to restore order.  We've had such a mild spring, only 3 or 4 hot days, it's like a miracle!  I hope summer is just as kind, and we don't have to struggle through the temps of 43 and higher.  I'm so over the really hot weather, can't deal with it at all.

I've been doing a little bit of sewing, but I spent most of the winter spinning fleeces and knitting.  Knitting is so portable, great for travel, but I hardly finished anything.  I'm not that fussed, I've enjoyed the slower pace without the pressure of finishing stuff.  It will get done.

I've almost finished the Ocean Waves quilt that was on my design wall, just borders to go.
I was so overwhelmed by all those intersections to match, it was nerve-wracking lining things up every freaking inch-and-a-half. I'm amazed that it went together as well as it did, because I was not caring much by the end of it.
I don't think I'll put my hand up for anything like that soon.  I need some easy patterns, and some carefree sewing.

DD has actually said she wants a quilt for the baby, so that will be a fun thing to do.  I have a design brief of pale pastels and lots of white, so I will be raiding the stash and doing a bit of shopping for that; it will be fun to make a more modern quilt.
My leader-ender quilt was bumped into primary place, and that's now a finished top.
It didn't use up all the scraps, so I'll have to come up with a new pattern.  But not right away, I want a leader-ender that uses bigger pieces, so I may go back to my 2" squares and make some brown nine-patches.  And to think I used to hate them so much!

Bonnie's first mystery clue comes out on Friday; I don't think I'm going to do it as I have very limited time this year, but I will make a few of each unit.  It's nice to just play along without any pressure.

Mereth and I are still helping out with the mail deliveries, despite quitting more than once; it's such a horribly busy time of year, and they haven't found anyone to replace us right away, so we are still working.  We each do 6 days a fortnight, and our boss fills in for whichever of us is having the week off.  It's such bliss to get up late, stay at home all day, or decide to take a trip somewhere.  After Christmas they will be training a new person, if that person manages to get their motorbike licence; that's the thing that precludes so many people from doing our job. That and the police check.....

I have a new project on the design wall, no pesky intersections, and I'll be back with pictures later.
I really hope I can get back into the habit of blogging, the last 5 months are unrecorded, and that's sad....

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

I have a horrible cold, so I'm not going to go anywhere near my baby granddaughter until I'm over it.  That gave me a weekend at home, and on Friday night I pulled out some books to look at, in the hope that I would find a new project to inspire me. I've  whittled the UFO list down to 17 items, (I ditched one that was just a single block) and that seems such a pitiful number to get anxious about.  I can afford to add a few new things to that list without it feeling overwhelming.  In fact, I think anything under 20 is just fine.

I finally settled on the cover quilt from this book;

and worked out rough sizes and pulled out some scraps from the scrap drawers. 

The main fabrics in this are mid-brown tones, and I have a huge number of them in the stash.  It won't be a problem to find a few dozen of them, plus some bluey greys.  There are 100 pieced units in this quilt, and I could probably make it like a charm quilt, with no fabric used more than once. But I won't, because I'm chopping up scraps until there are no more left, and that means the fabric will get repeated until it's all gone.
Last night I made some sample blocks, just playing with the pattern and trying to decide the best way to press all those seams.

 I thought this red might do, but it's just too vibrant for the more subdued look I'm going for.
These two reds are more like it, but I have reservations about the old Jinny Beyer one on the left. 
It has to be 20 years old at least, and I bought it and some companion prints from my friends patchwork shop in the '90s.  One of the companion prints I used in a quilt and it bled everywhere and stained every fabric it could reach; that made me a bit wary of this one.  Time to test it and see if it's as bad as the other one.
 That's pretty conclusive; this print is going to bleed.  The question is, will it stain adjacent fabric?
Before I washed the fabric I stapled a scrap of washed white fabric to one corner; the test fabric should be washed, so there's no sizing or finish to protect it from the loose dye in the water.

And the answer is yes, it will stain other fabric, and not a nice red either.  It leaves a dirty orangey mark.

Now I have to ask myself it this is such a disaster.  I will wash the red fabric and remove the loose dye.  It might continue to lose dye in subsequent washes, but this may just add to the look I want for this quilt; old, used, well-loved.  I think I will use it, but it's much better to be aware that it might bleed than to just cross my fingers and hope it won't.
Back in the early patchwork days Jinny Beyer was among the first people to bring out fabric ranges dedicated solely to patchwork.  The earliest ones were dyed to decorating and fashion specifications, because the manufacturers had no idea as to how they would be used, as part of heirloom quilts.  So those first fabrics faded and bled.  The industry soon realised their mistake and made their fabrics more colourfast and lightfast, but some of those first fabrics are still in stashes, still waiting to give up their dye.  This one is about to be used, finally.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

 Isla Rose is now 7 weeks old, and thoroughly enchanting.

I've spent every weekend with the family, trying to help out.  I do dishes and clean bathrooms, cook meals and run errands, and my reward is to hold the baby and give my daughter a bit of a break.  Isla has been a bit fractious at night, so while I'm down there she sleeps in my room so her mum can get a better sleep.  It's a precious thing, to hold that baby in the wee hours of the night, rocking her to sleep and marvelling at how gorgeous she is. When she wakes I take her in to be fed, then she comes back with me to settle down for the rest of the night.
She laughs and smiles, and is starting to make talking sounds; that's guaranteed to melt the hardest heart.  But she's not a quiet baby anymore; she has a fierce temper, and decided opinions about what she wants.  My goodness me, she can make her feelings known!
She can also wriggle across the bed to get to her mum, and has rolled over once.  Her arms and legs are moving in practice crawling motions, and she can get up on her elbows to see what is going on in the world. I don't think she's going to waste a lot of time just looking at things; she's going to go get them.
She has two half-sisters who adore her, and I'm sure she'll be trying to keep up with them as soon as she's able.  It will be interesting watching her grow up; I always said to my rambunctious, headstrong daughter "I hope you get a girl just like you!" thinking that then she would know what I went through.  Hmmm. I think I'm too old to deal with another child like her. I hope Isla isn't quite the handful that Seonaid was.

This has been a long weekend in Australia, and I came home on Sunday so I could have a day at home.  I managed to put the borders on the blocks that have sat on my design wall for 2 months, so that's another thing crossed off the UFO list.  I will take great satisfaction in updating the list and choosing another project to work on.
Of course I did what I always do when I can't get to the sewing machine; bought fabric.  Lots of fabric.  Shonny's place is very close to Spotlight, so I've paid quite a few visits; then one weekend Mereth came down to visit her grandies and we went to Tricia's.  The tally isn't going to be pretty, even though the fabric is.  I'm going to give up the pretense of stash-busting this year. I'm just going to do what makes me happy, and if I have a whole new stash at the end of it, so be it.



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