Friday, March 06, 2015

 I've finished eighty of my large sq in sq blocks and I threw them up on the design wall. I like the variations in the blues; none of them are anything other than mid value but some of the fabrics seem quite dark next to the paler ones. I drove myself mad over a two day period, arranging and then rearranging so that I didn't have the same fabrics next to each other. In the end I had to ignore ones that were adjacent diagonally or I would have ended up rocking in a corner muttering "They're touching, they're touching....." Therein lies madness. No doubt when I've got two more seams to sew I'll find some pair that I've overlooked, but I've had enough!
 I've sewn a chunk of sixteen blocks together and I like the effect of disappearing stars here and there. I'm looking forward to getting these set into one piece, and as we have a long weekend coming up I'm hoping I can cross this off the list.
 I have a nagging suspicion that it's going to end up too small for my liking, but if I decide to make more there is still  plenty of this mid blue to cut up.

I treated myself to a new book the other day, Sujarta Shah's   Cultural Fusion Quilts. I can hardly wait to try some of the techniques in here, my mind is buzzing with ideas already. But first I have to finish some of the other projects that I'm working on, or I'll be swamped.

Inspired by the four-patch madness infecting blogland I dug out an old project using shedloads of the little beggars and I'm using them as Leader-enders. That makes about five things I'm working on at the same time and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. This weekend should be a good time to get at least two of them finished to the top stage, so that's my little challenge to myself. Let you know how that pans out.....



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Saturday, February 28, 2015

 After I started making my giant sq in sq blocks I was looking through one of my quilt history  books, and as is the way of these things,  I found another example.

This one is in creams and maddery reds and browns, which is much more my cup of tea, colour wise. And stash wise.


The blocks are roughly ten inches, so they finish quite a bit bigger than mine. This isn't constructed as a sq in sq block, but rather hourglass blocks set in altenate rows of bown and cream squares. I think I'll stick to my design because to make the larger blocks I'd need to start with a 7 1'2" square, and an 8 1/4" one for the quarter sq triangles. I want to use some scraps and those measurements are a tad on the large size for me.  Interestingly the cream and brown setting fabrics seem to be the same fabric repeated over and over, and the hourglass blocks use scraps, including some blue grey triangles.

I grabbed some of my scraps, made four blocks to see whether I liked the darker colours, and I think I have another project underway!



And what about this gorgeous toile on the back? Might have to look out for something like that in my travels.....

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

 I was cutting up some blue fabric the other day, and as I looked through the stash I realised that I have rather too much of this lighter blue material hanging around. Most of it is old, because I haven't bought this colour since, well, last century really. I just don't use it, for some reason.

I love my indigos and the patterned navy fabric with coloured prints,

 I like some of the pale blue stuff I have. (Don't ask me why those yellow pieces are in that drawer, I only just noticed them...)


 I love, love the reproduction mid blues.

 But the bright mid blue gets passed over time and again.

As I comb through the stash I've been trying to discover which groups of fabric I don't use and set them aside. If I know I'll never buy them again, I want to use them up and make that the end of the story. I suppose I could sell them on ebay or just give them away, but it's not as if I don't like the fabric...I just don't use it. And I no longer buy it, so once it's gone, it's gone.

I used a heap of old florals and yellow fabric in Bonnies Floribunda, and loved finally playing with them.

I collected very dark greens and yellowy creams from the stash drawers  to cut into 1 3/4" squares for four-patches - if I come across anything  of this colour, even scraps, it gets cut into that size and put in the tin.
It seems that once I have a project for these groups of fabric I don't mind their presence anymore- I know what I'm doing and they'll eventually be used and gone. I've decided to make these giant sq in sq blocks with the bright blues - they end up about 7" so they cover a lot of ground quickly. I doubt this will use all of them, but I'm hacking up swathes of fabric and the smaller bits are disappearing completely.

I don't know how big the top will end up, at the moment I'm just having fun getting this out of the stash and up on the design wall.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

I was originally going to set these blocks on point, with cream squares in between, but when I laid them out I realised there was going to be far too much blank space. The stars were lost amongst it all, and I decided I needed to make some sort of alternate setting block.

I thought of all the extra stars and wondered if I could use them in some way....

I came up with this block, which still has lots of cream fabric in it, but has a bit more interest than just a large square.

I needed twenty of them, so I sewed them up, then set  all the blocks together on point.
I used a large floral to make the triangles along the edge, cutting them a bit larger and edging them with the cream fabric.  I still have to trim the sides and straighten everything up, but I'm quite happy with how this top came together.
I will probably put some borders around this, but as it's quite large they won't be very big. It's far too hot to be wrestling with metres of material at the moment; when it cools down I'll go back to working on it. Yay!  FIFTY of the stars gone in one top, I'm a bit pleased.

There are still piles of them left in the box, possibly two or three quilts worth, because I've added more stars to the total over the years, but there's definitely a big difference. I used to have two boxes of stars, and now they all fit into one, that's progress, isn't it?



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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Years ago, I made 177 eight point star blocks, which I talked about here, and here. I've used a few since then,

this blue and white and yellow version,

the borders in this top,


and this small quilt.


 I also added strips and squares  to thirty of the blocks, intending to make another top, but I hadn't realised how large that quilt would be, and it rather put me off. At that time I had no access to a longarm, and the thought of quilting this on a domestic machine was daunting, so I just let the blocks sit. I decided a few weeks ago that these blocks would be my new UFO project to finish off. It's been very satisfying getting some of these old projects dealt with, and I'll show you soon what I did with these blocks....


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Monday, February 02, 2015

 I was appalled to realise that I only quilted one quilt for myself last year, in November, and I didn't even bind it so it couldn't really be counted as  finished. Last Saturday I decided that I was going to get it done, inspired by JulieKQuilts, who is having a Binding Blitz this year. I have about seven other quilts that need binding, so I'm hoping that I clear the backlog once and for all.

When I hung the quilt up in the workroom to take a photo, I said to Keryn "It's only taken 28 years to finish this!". I was pregnant with my youngest son, who is 27 now, when I started these blocks, inspired by a quilt in a Ladies Circle Quilts magazine. (Gosh I miss that, it was a treasure trove of antique and vintage quilts)
My  blocks were pieced with larger squares and weren't as complicated as the original, which I'd still like to copy, now that I look at it. My blocks were all hand-pieced, and I had a huge number of cream squares cut, which I intended to set the blocks with. What a lot of set-in seams that would have been, but I honestly don't mind hand work. What stalled me was that the material was Actil sheeting, and I just couldn't bring myself to use poly fabric with all the cotton patchwork fabric.  I was so poor at the time I didn't have enough good quality cream to use, so the project sat and was forgotten.

When I got the blocks out and looked at them again a couple of years ago, I decided to set in triangles around the edges of the blocks and sash them, a mammoth undertaking, and I resorted to sewing the last few blocks on the machine. The fabrics are so old and dated, I really didn't care about them anymore, I just wanted them Done!

I set them with a tan fabric because they were such weird old colours nothing else seemed to tone with them, and then added  some chunks of fabric at either end to make it longer. I'm not really happy with the effect, but it will be used on my bed with Pippi sleeping on or under it, so it doesn't really matter. I'll have a new quilt on the bed this winter, huzzah!

This morning in my postie role I was delivering an armful of  parcels, and wrestled with a clunky homemade latch on the gate. I was horrified when it took an absolute chunk out of my finger - I know the letterboxes that are going to bite me and treat them cautiously, but this took me unawares. There was a horrid white scoop completely taken out of my index finger, and as it filled up with blood I thought "I won't be able to use a rotary cutter now...." I left a trail of blood drips up the path and all over the verandah, and the owner rushed and got a handful of tissues and a bandaid for me. I'm going to have to soak this off and replace it with a proper dressing soon, which is going to be quite painful, but I can't leave this on.The worst thing is that I was in the middle of a glorious spree of scrap cutting and kitting some new blocks, and I'll have to wait until I can put pressure on this finger before I can go back to it. And I won't be doing any customer quilts while it's so sore. Grrr!
Not to mention that I can't type without many many errors, thank goodness for tha backspace key!


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Monday, January 26, 2015



I just remembered that I have a finish I haven't shared with you. I was sewing the blocks for the border as leader-enders during the last few weeks , but I quickly realised that it would take me forever that way. There are nearly as many 16 patch blocks in the border as there are in the body of the quilt. So I made this my major project and sewed like crazy to get it done.
 I love the big checkerboard block in the corners, it almost looks like the piecing is the background and the blue squares are floating on it.

I wasn't quite sure that my idea of using the navy print as a constant along the edge would work, but I think it added a special touch. Sometimes you just have to take a chance on these decisions, because I didn't know if I liked it right up to when I sewed the first side on. I just knew that I wasn't making  those blocks again, even if I hated it!


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