Wednesday, September 03, 2014

  Just lately I've been trying to use up groups of scraps, like the florals and yellows in Florabunda, and dark greens and yellowy creams in four patches for another 4-4 Time. I had a little bundle of red scraps and some tan bits that I wanted to get rid of, so I cut all the reds into 2" squares and pieced them into nine patches. I sewed thirty of them, a very nice amount  for a little quilt, and then set them with tan squares, on point for something different.

I went a bit overboard on the borders, butI like the overall effect. I forget how much work is involved in doing multiple borders, these took a couple of nights to cut, piece together and then sew to the blocks.. I still haven't sewn the mitre down, but I have chosen a backing fabric already, so that feels like I'm trimming down the stash. It's good to assign homes to material that has been around for years.

Keryn and I, ( known collectively to my first grandson  Logan as "The Nannas") have been going to visit Miss Isobel a few times every week, and she is growing so much it's incredible. I've been trying hard to capture her beautiful smile, but all I seem to get are the 'Preparing to Smile" faces, and the "After the Smile" ones. My camera either goes off when I don't want it to, or takes so long that the moment is past. Oh well, she's adorable no matter what she's doing and somewhere along the way I'll photograph some of those gorgeous expressions.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

 Sorry for the silence, but there have been a few family worries over the last weeks, and I couldn't really share them. While I don't feel like blogging when I'm worried, I certainly did a lot of sewing. I kept going from one thing to the next, so I haven't actually finished anything (and I may have inadvertently started a couple of little things...).

I have borders to put on this little top,

and I've been wanting to try Bonnies Scrappy Trips in 2" strips, so now I know that works, and I have these four blocks to prove it.
Sewing really is therapy, but I'm increasing the project list instead of finishing things like Keryn has been doing. She's been so good this year; I'll have to take a leaf out of her book I think.


Monday, July 28, 2014

 The centre of my Split Tumbler is now done. Keryn and I have both had miserable colds for over two weeks, and it derailed my sewing schedule somewhat. We're on the mend and to get back into the swing of things I finished these blocks and sewed them together, and then added this little striped border.

Both Keryn and I love this fabric and have used it multiple times over the years. It's a Jo Morton stripe with a black background. When we were buying fabrics by the bolt they accidentally sent two of this design but we realised how valuable it would be and happily paid for both.

Because I cut the stripe lengthwise I could calmly reel off two metres without a qualm. Bolts of fabric give one a delicious feeling of abundance...

I cut quarter of an inch beyond the little tan stripe, to make the seam allowances, and then I sewed exactly on the line on the back of the fabric. Or rather very slightly to the right of it. I almost went crosseyed I was concentrating so hard but it turned out well so it was worth the effort.
I mitred the corners and they looked very classy; this fabric is very forgiving and I didn't need to take any trouble with where the corner fell.
I think there will be more borders but I haven't decided on them yet, I'm just happy to have got this far after feeling awful for weeks. I'm making progress on other projects, so I'll put this to one side, and something will occur to me down the track. It's great to be sewing again!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

 I said that I'd started a second quilt using the Triangler ruler, but this one isn't in the book. When I was looking through the patterns, this little graphic jumped out at me, as well as the information that you could cut two of these shapes from a 3 1/2" by 4 1/2" rectangle.

I happen to cut some of  my scraps into this size, and I had quite a stack in the drawer and I decided to use them to try out an idea.

The  image of a triangle quilt in an old Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine (July 1988) floated into my mind  and I started cutting and sewing. I didn't bother to track down the issue and refresh my memory, because I was changing things around anyway, but I've just looked it up and I'm surprised that this stuck in my memory for so long. It was a tiny little part of the background of the photo, but something in it spoke to me.

(The caption says it was made by Janet Grimal, so at least I can give her credit.)

I always thought that I wouldn't like matching  the points of the triangles but the points are blunted in my version, so I don't have to worry about that.

 You can see that the triangle quilt is made of much wider shapes too- the pattern  says a 60 degree diamond cut into quarters. The tip of the Triangler is a 45 degree angle. Two of my pieces joined together look a bit like a tumbler, so I'm calling it a Split Tumbler.

 These went together really quickly, but I made some rules concerning lights and darks and mediums, and I also had to work out when to reverse the shapes. This is one of those simple patterns that can be tricky if you don't take notice of which way the shape slopes- you can't just rotate it around because it has to be flipped, or reversed. I'll do another post telling you how I remembered what to do, if you're interested.

I plan to make this a lot bigger, and have a pile of pieces waiting to be sewn. I just love the overall pattern of this, even though it's only one shape it has an almost prismatic quality.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

 A while ago I got out these Compass blocks and decided to set them together somehow. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted, so I put them up on the design wall and I've been steadily working away at the borders since then.

 I pieced the diamond borders first, and then stared at them for weeks until the cream border occurred to me, and then the floral strip suggested itself and all I had to do was work out the proportions. I'll be able to do some nice quilting in the cream border, methinks.

  Yesterday I redid the centres of two of the smaller blocks, changing them from machine applique to hand stitching, and then I sewed everything together in a matter of an hour or so.

I really like how this turned out, and I will probably add another border, when I've stared at it for a bit longer. It looks very Quilters Newsletter Magazine- ish, but it's not really my style. I won't make a full size top from it, but it would probably be nice as a wallhanging, so I won't pack it away just yet.

It's only taken me four months to get this far, so I'm obviously not in any hurry!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

 Once I had trimmed the blocks I was left with some odd shaped scraps. You know me, I couldn't let them go to waste!

 I cut them slightly smaller  using the ruler, and then when I needed more I cut up the pieces left from the strips I used in the blocks. This made great use of them and I was really pleased I'd found a home for them, instead of adding to the scrap drawer.

I had to stagger the pieces slightly when sewing them together, and I found it was better to do this in chunks of time, rather than using them as Leader enders for another project. Once I'd got the seam allowance right it went very smoothly, but if I had to leave it and come back I had to get my eye used to the amount to offset all over again.

 I slightly trimmed the strips afterwards, making the border as wide as possible, and it ended up a weird 2 7/8". It didn't matter what the final size was, as I intended to just but the corners and not try to make the triangles line up.

I sewed a 2 1/2" blue border to the top first, then the coloured pieced strip, then another 2 1/2" border. The bias edges of some of the pieces seemed a bit wavy in places, but I know this will quilt up beautifully flat, when I get around to it.

I'm not the sort to Squeal, you understand, but this top really delights me, and I feel a thrill of satisfaction looking at it. I had so much fun I'm sure I'll be making another one some time, but I have other ideas to work out first.

And all  of the weird skinny bits left over from cutting the other odd scraps? I cut tiny 1" diamonds from them and tucked a little pile into the box of handsewing pieces. Now I can finally throw out the small  heap of bits that remain- I certainly get my moneys worth from this thing we call fabric....


Monday, June 23, 2014

 I decided I would add  half blocks to the outer edge of the top to complete the scrap stars. The blocks themselves had gone so quickly, it wouldn't take much more time, surely?
I made a strange part-block like this,

 and then used a 9 1/2" ruler to trim them to size. Heather has a neat tip in the book to make sure everything is lined up correctly which helped a lot.

 Also, by keeping the 4 1/4" mark on the centre I could see that I had the right size.

I did the same thing for the corners, just using a smaller portion of the block.

Then it was just a question of working around the top, right? Except of course, I didn't want to have any of the same fabrics touching or being diagonally opposite or even near each other and it took me hours and hours to rearrange everything to my satisfaction.

 I had to put all the bits on the design wall before they could be sewn, and I lost count of the times I took everything to the machine so carefully and then rotated the colours as I sewed them together. Then it was either unpicking them and starting again, which was impossible once they were trimmed, or moving everything else around until the mistake fitted in. I spent more time trying to sew these half blocks than the rest of the blocks put together.

 Finally I just had to  abandon my 'rules' and be happy with however the fabrics ended up or I would have driven myself mad. I always thought I was fairly relaxed about this sort of thing, but apparently it matters more to me than I thought. Perhaps I didn't have enough variety of fabrics, so there wasn't as much choice about what went where, but in the end I was happy with the way it turned out..
I like the fact that the star seems to be the block now, instead of the windmill shape that you actually sew. I would do this again, but next time at least I'll know what to expect!


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