Sunday, June 26, 2016

I'm sewing another set of blocks together and it didn't seem to be flowing smoothly. I'm loving how the blocks look together, but something wasn't quite right. I finally worked out that it's my leader-ender project that is slowing me down!

I'm making Bonnie's Garden Party, and all the little 1 1/2" pieces are great for chewing up those scraps, and the tiny seams make the units mount up quickly. I'm using orange for the setting blocks instead of red, and they went together fast and kept things moving along. I've made 49 of them and I'll need more but I decided to make a start on the alternate blocks as well.  As soon as I started on the cross blocks I seemed to slow down to a crawl, which slowed down my other project too.

Once I realised that, I examined what was going on, and found that I don't like just grabbing bits out of a huge tray of cut pieces. The orange blocks are totally random and I'm fine with that, but I wanted the cross blocks to use only two contrasting fabrics(besides the white). I seemed to spend a lot of time trying to find a particular colour or a missing square, or discovering that there weren't actually enough pieces of that matching fabric.

So this afternoon I sat down and sorted the whole mess out; I put all the corner bits together so that I can sew them as  units, and added the centre square so that it didn't get used in another block. Then I added the light squares for the corner so that it was all in one little pile ready to go.

I'm so much happier now that I can see where I'm going with this and I can make a rough count of how far along I am and how much more to cut. This tray will live next to the sewing machine, and I'll just pick up a little bundle and sew that together in between the seams of my other project. No more scrabbling around....The only danger is that it looks so tempting I'll have to stop myself sewing them all up at once.
And in other news, I finally bound my Floribunda quilt, it's only a year since I quilted it! I love finishing the binding, I don't know why I put it off.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

 While I have started a couple of new quilts this year, I'm really trying to finish up old projects. These Economy blocks were made years ago to use up some blue scraps, but even making sixty of them didn't deplete the blue container much. I think there was more cream homespun used than anything else; the scrap pile of that fabric did go down quite a bit.

I pulled out twelve blocks as being far too dark (now I have to make another little top using them...) and chose a sandy beige setting fabric that's been in the stash for a very long time. I really like the understated effect of just one colour family (blue) and a single fabric for the setting. I raided Keryn's stash for another half a metre when I didn't have quite enough; it's handy having a backup source of free material if I run out. And she has access to my containers too if she needs something.

I made the border about an inch wider than the sashing, and put a 3" square in square block in each corner.

If I bind it in the sandy colour then all of that fabric will have been removed from my stash, and Keryns too. That's a win, and I've already chosen some backing material so that's about eight  metres gone in total. It's not much, but every little bit helps.


Monday, June 13, 2016

 The last two months have been crazy busy, including the birth a Keryn's first grand-daughter and Izzies second birthday. While Keryn was away fulfilling her nanna duties with Isla Rose, I did her postie round as well as mine, worked in a friend's cafe and tried to keep up with the customer quilting and family time.
I did keep piecing and achieved things in the sewing room but I haven't had time to take decent photos and blog about it. Hopefully life will be a bit quieter from now on!

Izzy's party was a great chance to catch up with the relatives who live in Adelaide, including my three grandsons. The latest, Eddy, was a bit of a shock because he's grown into a gigantic baby since I last saw him. I honestly could not hold him for long, unless he was resting on a table or the back of a chair. Completely breastfed too- what will he be like when he's eating food?

This is Keryn holding him- he's only five months old but what a big boy!

Izzy looked adorable in her butterfly wings but it was so cold that she had to wear them over her jacket.

I love this photo of her and Uncle Rob, so cute.

It eventually got too much for her and she had to have a nap, it's tiring being the birthday girl.

Now if I can just manage to take some half way decent photos of what I'm working on, I can resume normal blogging....


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

 I finished another small top, again set with white but at least it shows up on my green design wall. I started this last November I think, to use up some bright scraps and blogged about it here. I did expect this to be the first top to be finished this year because it wouldn't have taken much time at all, but somehow other projects got in the way. Last weekend I was determined that it would be finished before May began, and it only took me a few hours.

Lori in South Dakota had finished her quilt and written to remind me to check the way the ribbons were twisting- she discovered her mistakes too late. My top was much smaller than hers, but I nearly went cross-eyed checking and rechecking the orientation of the blocks before I sewed them up. My ribbons are set in a mirror image, while Lori's strips were all facing the same way, so they are slightly different, but still easy to put in the wrong direction. I'm pleased with the effect, and think this will make a nice cheery crib quilt for someone.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Pastel Strippy top is a bit hard to photograph because the white borders are lost against the design wall. You'll just have to imagine you can see where they end.

This isn't a big quilt, it should fit a double bed nicely, and hopefully I can do some great feathers in all those white strips. I'm very glad to have this crossed off the list, I think I started it in 2012.

On Sunday we had a picnic at Wirrabera Forest, slowly recovering from the devastating  bushfires  two years ago. It will never be the lovely spot it was, but it was still nice to show Izzy the trees and paths for the first time.

She walked off and stood calling "An-mals! Where are you? You hiding?" After a visit to a childrens zoo recently I think she expected kangaroos and possums and who knows what to come out and greet her.
She did some log walking, helped by Mum and Dad, and then we went for a walk, taking it in turns to carry her.

 There was so much fine powdery soil/ash and so many obstacles that we didn't go far, the tracks aren't really pleasant or easy to negotiate any more.

Still we had a lovely day in the sunshine and enjoyed each other's company.
She'll be two at the end of next month, gosh that time has flown....


Saturday, April 09, 2016

 I've been busy doing lots of things lately, dealing with produce from my son's garden, babysitting and visiting with family, trying to finish some projects and of course quilting.

This quilt was a huge undertaking, custom everything and to complicate matters I couldn't quilt on the applique (too stiff with some kind of bonding material) go too near the embroidery, and the back was a very thick fabric, almost like wool. The seams in it proved difficult in a couple of places where the machine couldn't get over them easily, but in the end it all turned out well.

Some people may not realise it, but it's harder to do larger open motifs; the tiny tight quilting so beloved of some longarmers is easier, if more labour intensive. Launching a feather out into a large open space is a nail biting moment for me- is it going to come out well? Even after all this time I still agonise over it, sigh.

 There are always bits I wish I could go back and smooth out or redo, but I haven't got time to make everything perfect. And I have never come across a customer who would let me put placement marks on their top- I'm sure most of them intend to never ever wash the finished quilt at all. So I do the best I can within all the limitations, including what the customer is willing to pay.

I don't seem to have a photo of the finished quilt, perhaps it's on Keryn's camera.

I have finished another long term project, my Pastel Strippy. So many long seams!

I have to iron it and hang it up for a photo, but as you can see the English Squares is still up on the wall, because I'm loath to take it down.I just don't want to fold it up yet...


Sunday, March 27, 2016

 Finally my English Squares top is finished. You would think squares are the easiest pattern you could ever get, but I had to constantly evaluate this and take out fabrics that I really wanted to use and add a whole lot more neutral and lights to get the effect I wanted. I had a couple of tries to get the border squares the right size and cutting the centre medallion was scary because I only had a very limited amount of fabric.

Some tops I struggle to finish and then want to bundle them into a cupboard and not look at for at least six months, but I've left this up on the design wall at the workshop.  I like looking at it so much, and  I get a thrill when I think "It's done! At last!"

So many different fabrics, and some of them were tiny scraps that I could only get a couple of squares from. They were precious, and it seemed right that they should end up here.
The centre fabric in this photo was from the backing of the second or third quilt that Keryn made, back in the early eighties. I only had a few scraps of this- no doubt donated in one of Keryn's clearouts, and this top was a good place to finally sew it up. There are fabrics in here ranging from the fifties to some I bought last month, an amazing variety.
I'd like to say that it used up all the tub of fabric that I was working from, but alas there still seems to be quite a lot left over. Plus I have stacks of 3 1/2" squares that I cut for the border, before realising that they were too big and overwhelming, and 3" pieces were the way to go. I'm currently piecing them together into strips to go on the back of this, so they won't be wasted.

I hope everyone is having a Happy Easter with family and friends.  Isobel is old enough to really enjoy it this year- she was happy enough to sit next to this big bunny but when he picked her up she gave him such a fishy look..."Who ARE you?" She's not going to be won over by eggs and trinkets...


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