Sunday, January 27, 2008

The top is in one piece and that's about all that can be said for it. It's not a pretty quilt by anyone's standards, but it's made from scraps and oddments of time and that's why it appeals to me. The 9 patches were pieced from the little offcuts we got from a shop-owner and most of the setting triangles were the leftovers from a quilt backing. The brown leaf sashing was a skirting remnant I bought 20 years ago, so I figure this top doesn't owe me anything. And I had fun making it, so it's all good.
I wanted to make a Hired Man's quilt, long and skinny, but that didn't use enough blocks. As it is, this setting only gobbled up 96, so I still have a few in the drawer. (47 to be exact, sigh.) Can't use Everything up, can I? Do you think these are OK dimensions for a Hired Man's quilt? It measures 71" by 47".

I was going to leave it without a border, but I think I might put 4" of something around the edge. I'll audition some fabrics later today. And I want to put Baptist Fans on it, the Statler will make short work of that.

My sewing room has french doors leading onto the sunroom, and I've got a rod hanging over them for photographing quilts. Today I turned the light off while the top was still hanging up and was entranced by the sunshine streaming through it. Makes the seams look like leadlight, doesn't it?If I didn't have to use the door I'd leave it there, it entertains me no end...


Saturday, January 26, 2008

I got a phone call today, from middle son Rob, asking if I could do a favour and babysit grandpuppy Curtis while they went to a barbque. Could I? Yep!!

This is the state of every rug in the house after Curtis skidded into town, delighted to see me again and doing laps of the rooms at a million miles an hour.

He's much bigger, and is still adorable, but his fringe had grown so much that I couldn't see his lovely brown eyes.He wouldn't let his mum cut it, but I've had more experience and after a brief tussle of wills.........
"I can SEE!!!"
His legs are longer than ever, his coat soft and curly and that tail just makes me laugh. He's a cross between a Britttany Spaniel and a Golden retriever, what I call Designer Mongrel. We can't think of a snappy name like Labradoodle or Schnoodle, but he's a good mix of genes, and a real character.

Quilt Pixie commented that the 3" 9patches could be made into Disappearing 9patches, ha ha. Yes, but a person would have to be totally stupid to even attempt that, wouldn't they? I mean, it was a joke, not a Challenge, surely. Because if someone saw it like that and spent an hour fiddling with tiny little pieces just to prove a point, they'd be a pretty sad sort of quilter, don't you think?

Besides, those little squares in the corners would be so tiny, the seam allowances would almost be wider.....
The little squares would measure 1/4" . Finished! No, a person would be totally insane to take this comment seriously. Nuts in fact.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've been really lax about replying to comments, so I'll have to try and cover all the questions you've asked.

Firstly, Henrietta, Keryn and I sell our patterns in America through Golden Threads, and Keryn has her own website here. Keryn is busy trying to get some new designs ready for release this year, always a stressful activity, and hopefully it will all go smoothly.
Carmel (Hi!) asked about the Disappearing Ninepatch instructions, but I can't remember using any in particular. Once I understood the concept I just made the block, but I did make some rules about tone.

These fabrics were all so wishy-washy, which is why I'm surprised the quilt turned out so nicely. I used 4 1/2" squares, as I didn't want it to end up too small. I put the darkest square in the middle and then pink or green in opposing corners. The lightest fabrics were in the centre of each row.

When I laid the ruler across the block to make the cut, I made sure that the 2" marking ( half of the finished size of 4") was a whisker under the seam allowance, that seemed to give me nice even halves.

Cut in both directions to give four quarter blocks ,

and then I rotated the pieces so I had either the pink meeting in the middle, or the green.

Easy as, and the small darker squares just gave it a bit of design. I think one of these made from novelty fabrics as an Eyespy quilt would be really good, and you could put pairs of fabrics in the corners, mix the blocks up after cutting and it would be like a game to pick the pairs in the finished quilt. I'll definitely make another one of these in the future, especially if I want to use up a whole pile of certain fabrics.
Also Nancy sent me an email about handpiecing eight point stars, particularly the centres. I'm going to get Keryn to take some pictures to illustrate how I do them, so I'll post that later.

My dear sister may have mentioned my 9 patches in her last post. I've been opening this drawer over the last few months, and in it is a stack of small Jacobs Ladder blocks I was making from Leader-enders. That's ok, there's about 30, and I wasn't planning on doing anything with them right away. But last week I pulled the drawer all the way out and discovered piles and piles of 3 1/2" 9patches at the back. Hmm, how many did I run up, again as leader-enders, just let me count them..........Over 140?!! How can that be, it was just a few scraps...! I've challenged myself to use them all in one quilt, but I don't think I'll succeed. Next post I should have them set into a top, or most of them. Somehow I never seem to be able to use up Every Last Little Bit, it's one of the Laws of Scrap Usage.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Now I have three quilts to bind; here is a Bricks and Stepping Stones done from Bonnies excellent instructions. I found this was a great pattern to use up medium tone fabrics and some weird florals. It went together so easily that I'm cutting odd bits for another one as I deal with my scrap pile. I love patterns you don't have to think about, and as long as you have the dark and light 4-patches, and the bricks from medium tones you can't seem to go wrong with this. Loved it.

And I read about all these Disappearing Nine-patches that people were making and decided to try it for myself. I cut out one from pallid pinks and greens that were cluttering up the stash, very pretty and girlish (I seem to be obsessed lately with using up the fabric that isn't my style, just getting it out of the stash).
I was prepared to whip this up quickly and put it in the local shop for sale , or my Etsy one, but I've grown quite fond of it now. Shan't keep it though, but I'll be sorrier to see it go than I thought.
The pattern was blindingly easy, and again not much thought was required. I used up all the rest of the fabrics on a pieced backing like Bonnies and realised too late that I could have put a plain back on it and had enough fabric to make matching twin size quilts. I'll take a photo of the back soon, that turned out really pretty too.The panto was one of mine called "Pashmini" which I hadn't used before, and it suited this quilt perfectly.
Bonnie says (coyly)
"Why Sir!! You do disturb me in my bath!!"


Friday, January 11, 2008

The borders are on this little quilt, I shopped Keryn's stash for just the right fabric. I get the satisfaction of the finish, and she gets to take the credit for 50 cm of fabric gone from her cupboard. I've been keeping track of what I cut, as she suggested, jotting down the strips in a notebook and totalling them up at the end of the day. I was astonished to find that I used nearly three metres yesterday, making a binding, cutting two borders and a few other strips. It really does add up and it's nice to know that much is gone from the stash. I don't know how I'd calculate what I cut from scraps, probably weigh a pile before I start and compare it to a full metre of fabric to get some idea of how much is there.
Now don't get excited seeing Keryn's quilt in the background of this shot, I think she's changed her mind about the borders again. It's looking good though, isn't it?

We had a customer coming to visit yesterday, and threw this little top on Ms Millhouse so we could have the machine running when she got here. (Some people round here have never seen a longarm working.)

This top was made from all those little samples that shops send, and which build up alarmingly if you're not careful. All the fabrics I liked just went into the scrap drawers, but these pastels, while pretty, just aren't "me". I trimmed them to 2", sewed them to a white on white (which also isn't my style) square and made this little baby top. I had one square left over, which I was really pleased about!

I took the time to open the stitches on the intersections and swirl the seams out, doesn't it look pretty on the back?Another quilt waiting for binding, just when I'd got caught up, sigh.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

We all enjoy those moments of quiet contemplation in the bath........

One of our New Years resolutions was to be more diligent about keeping up our fabric books. I have found mine to be invaluable when I want to know how old a fabric is, where I bought it, whether it's the right colour I'm looking for without having to rummage through the drawers.

If I wanted to I could write how much I'd bought too, but over the last 6 months I couldn't even get round to sticking the pieces in.

So I dragged out piles of new fabric and began cutting little snips, ready to stick into the pages. I also had a pile of little orphan and stray blocks sitting on the table and I began to idly wonder what some of the fabrics would look like if......... Another ufo finished!

The blocks are tiny, only 5", and it was the work of about an hour and a half to get this in one piece. It's vaguely Christmassy, so I'll quilt it and put it away for next year.Sometimes I surprise myself, I had no intention of doing this when I started sorting my fabric book. Does this just demonstrate my lack of focus, even though I have a finished top to show for it? Who can say?


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Well, we did our best with the jigsaw, but the nasty discovery that there were several pieces missing from one section was it's death knell. (Funny that you can only ascertain this after putting 1500 other bits together-oh we laughed!) The printing is so fuzzy and the shapes will obligingly fit together in numerous combinations so you can't be sure that anything's right... Bah Humbug!!! We officially give up. And if Keryn hadn't originally posted about it, I doubt we would have persisted with it thus far. To get my confidence back I quickly started this little 500 piece puzzle and much was done over one cup of coffee this morning. That's fun, not the sadistic torture of 3000, sorry 2992 piece monsters!

The anvil top has a couple of borders, and now I'm perversely wondering why I didn't make it bigger. Because you were sick of it, duh! The answer is not to make it bigger (Keryn please take note), but to just finish it. Perhaps I'll do a bedsize one in different colours later on, but the idea now is to clean out some of the old projects, leaving us free to start the things we really Want to do.
Another pile of left-over blocks from the twin quilts I made last year has become this top, awaiting borders and quilting. It's so good to get rid of the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates, I have two free containers now! Ready to fill with the next project.


It's sitting-in-my-water-bowl weather again! Perhaps if we swapped bowls it would be cooler......Nup. Still as hot as ever.

But we're good-natured about it, aren't we?

But what's that you say? You've got a present for us?
Oh Yeah!


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