Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes Henrietta, I'm still here,thanks for the wake-up shout! I don't know what happened to the last week, one moment it was Christmas and now it's New Year. I have hazy memories of a food
induced torpor (mm, leftovers!!) and a massive book binge that saw me finish four books in four days. One was 600 odd pages long, and they have all run together in my mind so that the characters and plots are completely jumbled. Next year I don't think I'll indulge myself like that again, I have literary indigestion.The family got on great, there were games with the dogs and mock sword fights on the lawn like a scene from the Princess Bride, hysterical bouts of Pictionary and companionable laughter in front of the telly. I do love my boys and the girls they've chosen....

Exactly 21 years ago I was in labour with Matthew, not the most comfortable way to welcome in the New Year. But he was worth it, and I can't believe it was that long ago. Keryn and I are now going to watch a dvd and raise our glasses to the New Year,and Matt's coming of age, remember the old year and make plans for the next. I hope 2009 is a great year for all of us and that you'll hang around and see what Keryn and I get up to!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

I managed to put the binding on this runner yesterday, so I have another finished object. The centre square in square blocks were made with the leftover red triangles from this project, and extra square in square blocks from this top. I was going to add them to the orphans pile when by accident they were jumbled up with the paler green fabric. "Hmm", I thought, "Why not add another round of triangles...." and so I did, and then I decided to make a little project, something I could use straight away. The orphan pile is tottering anyway!It took no time at all to piece, and when Keryn was quilting her runners I threw this onto the remaining backing fabric and had it quilted before I even knew it. Yay for little projects.
But I'd made nine blocks to use up all the bits, so there was still one block to donate to the orphans anyway. I can't use up Everything it seems.

I don't know what this block is called; I've been referring to it as "Fancy Churn Dash" but I suppose I should go look it up somewhere. It's finally in one piece, except for the corner setting triangles and the borders, but I know what I want to do and hopefully it won't take too long.
I started these ages ago and kitted them up from some reproductions my friend Kaye gave me. I was so thrilled at the time, but now they appear a bit dull, in light of what I've added to the stash since then. But I'll always remember how special they were to me when genuine reproduction fabric was rare here and usually more than I could afford.
I don't know why, but I just adore on-point settings. I tip blocks on their point as a matter of course and there's very few that I don't like from this angle. There are so many possibilities with every block, how could we run out of ideas?


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here are the red and yellow blocks set together, and looking a bit washed out. It's very red in real life. Keryn has since added the outer row of sashing and we'll do something about borders today, hopefully. Another top to join the pile! I like how these turned out but didn't get excited until the indigo corner posts were added. I LOVE green and indigo for some reason.
I just finished making two heat bags for a friend who wants them for Christmas gifts. She did the cute stitcheries from an Anni Downes pattern and I sewed them up for her. I still have two more to do today, and although I don't usually 'do' little things I'm intrigued by how fast you can finish them. It's nice to see progress on something in hours instead of weeks!
How cute.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Well, it seems that my talents could be in demand, judging by your response! Keryn and I will organise the Stash Tidy Tour 2009 and let you know when we'll be in your area. She's just along to carry the bags of course.....

Judy had a Quiltathon weekend, and we decided to join in. I sewed at home on Saturday and jumped all over the place with lots of different projects.

I started these green Duck Paddle blocks last month, based yet again on a quilt I saw on ebay. I wanted to use a pile of old greens and try to stay just in two colour mode, so green and cream it is. I've got about 14 of these done now and lots more cut out.
I began setting these blocks and got all the rows done, now I just need to cut out the setting triangles for the sides and that can be finished.

I had a heap of these cream triangles cut so I'm thinking of cross blocks for my next leader ender project, hmmm, skinny or fat? I'm just making both at the moment...And these are my old leader ender blocks which are coming to an end, have to see about a setting for them too.

I cut out dozens of blocks for other projects, if Keryn can't stop sewing, I can't stop cutting! I know Christmas plans will derail the sewing for a bit, and I figure that if everything's cut I might be able to put a few bits together at odd moments. I have a mountain of tiny offcuts on the floor by my table, it's quite impressive actually. SOOO much fabric has been chopped up in the last few days I'm feeling quite virtuous.

After tea I went around to Keryn's place and we sewed until the very early hours. The coffee kept coming, the tv entertained us and both sewing machines whirred steadily along. I can't believe how much we got done, and it all seemed effortless. How nice to sew with good company and be spurred on by each other's efforts.
I got the last ten of these album blocks finished, except for those two missing corner triangles. I couldn't find them anywhere, but yesterday I got down and ferreted under the machine table and found them behind a stack of drawers. Won't take me long to sew them on.

I went home at 3.30 and I wasn't even yawning! Talking to Keryn later the next day we discovered that we both woke up at exactly 11.20, must have been on the same internal clock.
I went back last night and we sewed again , but I don't have any pictures of my progress on the red and yellow Pensylvania Dutch blocks that I was setting together. I got half of it in one piece, but I made sure I was home in my own bed by twelve o'clock. We're not as young as we used to be, after all......


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

When Keryn and I lived 3000k away from each other I laboured under the impression that our work methods were fairly similar. She did a lot more cutting than I , resulting in parcels of excess strips and scraps being sent my way at regular intervals, but I really thought that we operated under the same principles.

But after a year of observing her in her natural envoironment I'm forced to conclude that when it comes to the sewing room we have different outlooks.
Recently she cut some scraps up, and this is her 2 1/2" drawer afterwards. Can you see the problem of trying to force this back where it belongs? The solution is to either get a bigger drawer, or to leave it stacked somewhere with other drawers that won't fit in their respective places.OR...... your sister could come along and sort and stack it all so that it does actually fit in the container and then put it away.
Likewise when cutting half square triangles for a project, you could do this, and have teetering piles that you can't move quickly, and that get creased and rumpled
or your little quilting elf could stack them into dark and light piles and then put them in a little container to keep next to your machine.
Now no-one who knows me could accuse me of being neat and housework is the very bottom of my list, but for some reason I love to organise my sewing room. I like everything to be sorted and projects together, scraps ironed while they wait to be cut, drawers tidy. Sometimes while I'm having a cup of coffee, in between bouts of sewing I'll just pull out a drawer and quickly tidy it, because I like to do it. I like to fossick through what I've got, I like to handle the fabric and I like to dream of what I can do with it.

And don't think I'm saying Keryn's way is wrong! She does lovely work and she gets caught up in the frenzy of sewing, and things literally go flying when she's looking for the right bit. She doesn't want anything to get in the way of what she's doing when she's sewing furiously, and all she focusses on is getting it done. I don't know that she would ever change, or whether it's even desirable.
But I do get sick of the lost things, the blocks that can't be found, the material that vanishes, the tools that disappear the minute you put them down.Which is why I crept guiltily into her sewing room when she was away and organised it for her. Now I would be horrified if someone did that to me, but I know how she likes to work, how she differs from me and I basically kept everything the same. I just grouped things together, for instance there were three drawers with 2 1/2" strips in different locations, so I combined them to two drawers of lights and darks and put them in the same place. I put drawing and drafting tools together, all the papers in one spot, rulers where they're used most, kits and projects together. I made sure to leave all Keryn's organisation the same, and just maximised the space and put away the flotsam and jetsam.
I honestly don't think she notices that much and I've decided that as I LIKE to do this tidying that I will just putter around a couple of times a week and put away the things she's finished with. I've got a basket of scraps near the cutting board and I'm cutting them up for her while we chat in the sewing room, and one day I'll have the three containers of scraps under control too.
Now the question is, am I a wonderful quilting angel/elf who you'd like to have a visit from, or just a control freak who can't leave other people's things alone?!!


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