Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's the second day of a long weekend, and I'm enjoying pottering from one task to the other. This morning I sorted and trimmed a pile of scraps that Keryn had given me, so they're all put away and tidy. I cut some shapes for the projects that I'm  working on now, and the rest were strips and squares to go in the drawers. Keryn seems to get overwhelmed by the amount of scraps her sewing room produces, and she's happy to clear them all out by giving them to me- who am I to complain?

I've also cleaned out the fridge and I have vegetable soup on the stove and a curry for tea tonight, so the house smells very nice, and I won't  have to stop sewing to cook later on. I have two tops pulled out to put borders on, so there's nothing on my design wall just now. But I found some photos I took before Christmas that I forgot to share.

I've been envious of all the little quilts being posted in blogland, so I decided to have a go myself. Wow! What fun! I could hardly stand it, they were so cute and easy to whip up. Choosing borders from the fat quarter box was lovely, so much more variety.
This is the first one I did, because I had the setting pieces lying on the cutting table, and I found the nine patches in the spare parts drawer. It's vaguely Christmassy and I hoped to get it quilted so I could hang it up, but didn't have time.
Then I found some squ in squ units and made this, which I love even though it's not symetrical.
Then I made some tiny hour glasses (they finish at 2") from scrap triangles and came up with this top, which is the smallest one. I found it hard to keep them little, most of my ideas had them turning into much larger pieces that would still have been nice, but too big to dispaly in one group.

Some leftover hour glasses turned into this square, tipped on point and surrounded by borders. The stripe was fun to do and I was really pleased with the effect.
I got so busy that I had to put these away so nothing is finished, and there are two or three more waiting to be sewn together. It was tremendous fun, and the more I played, the more ideas I had. I don't own a wall big enough to hang dozens of little quilts, but I can have a few grouped together. They don't take up much space in the cupboard either, so I can see many more of these fun projects in the future.


Monday, January 21, 2013

  I've got the Duck Paddle blocks well on the way to being a top now. I only have to sew a few more long rows and it will be in one piece, and then I can make the final decision about the border. The pink in this photo looks horribly bright, but is actually much softer in real life.

 Once again I used an old quilt from ebay as my inspiration. This was very faded and tattered- I wonder if it was used as a cutter quilt when it was sold.

I have to piece two more pink and navy Lemoyne stars and then I'll be finished repairing that top, and to keep myself amused I'm still playing with my little diamonds. I have quite a few stars made but I haven't come to any decision about what to do with them yet.
They're so cute!!

Look! An empty project box- or it was until I put another set of blocks into it.....


Saturday, January 19, 2013

 I've been trying to work out borders for a few old tops and pulled out this project.

I'd set the blocks together last year and put it away when I made a nasty discovery. I'd used some scraps from a friend and I think this blue and white fabric must have had some spray glue or something on it.
  I didn't notice this discolouration at the time but gradually every seam has yellowed and it looked really dirty. I think it's more like a scorch mark from the iron. Wouldn't you know it, I'd used this fabric in at least nine blocks, and to say I was discouraged was an understatement. I put it away while I debated what to do, and then I started to sew replacement blocks in between my other hand piecing at night. I couldn't face ditching the whole project, but I really wish I hadn't had to sew those stars again.

I've got this far unpicking rows and setting them back together and I'm pretty bored by now. I'll be glad when it's done and I can get onto something else with a clear conscience. I think I'll examine gifted scraps a bit more closely in future and I might save myself some hassle.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

 I do feel a bit monochromatic these days posting nothing but my brown blocks. I hope to be cutting more colourful setting fabrics soon, as I have finished the twenty  Flying Cross blocks

  and the Duck Paddle ones. However when I started to lay these out on the design wall I thought the pile was bigger and so it proved to be. There were thirty blocks, not twenty- I really wasn't paying attention somewhere along the line.
So the finished top will be  a bit larger than I thought.
Then I began pulling out fabric to mull over settings and borders and before I knew it I had three other tops out and was off on a completely different tack and there were piles of fabric like this over every surface. It will take me hours to put it all away again, but I think I've decided on two or maybe three borders and a setting for the Duck Paddle blocks. Now I can start ironing and cutting....

And lest you think I'm drowning in a sea of brown, here is my Leader-Ender project these days. Lots of pastel squares and solid blue setting triangles.
 I'll probably make  a strippy quilt set with white or they might be a border for some pastel blocks; haven't decided yet. They're a nice antidote anyway.
(But I still love brown....just saying)


Wednesday, January 09, 2013

 Keryn and I have been having big discussions about how we can get more done and also how to keep track of what we achieve. I love to make lists,(don't always stick to them!)  but Keryn doesn't normally. However she's trying a different tack now, and she seems to be sticking with it. In the past we always made grandiose lists that were doomed from the start, and I realised it was because there might be written boldly "Finish applique quilt", or "Clear out shed" but the applique blocks were only half done and the shed required two days of effort and three trailer loads to the dump. Who wanted to work for days or weeks or months and only get to cross out one thing?

It reminds me  of my son Matt, when he'd been teased into losing his temper by an older brother..."Thanks a lot Rob!!!! Just when I'd decided to be good for the Rest Of My Life!!!" It was never going to happen son....

 In the past I've written out lists of every step for each quilt, thinking I could cross off   "Finish blocks...set into top..choose border...make backing.... quilt...make binding.... label.." blah blah ..zzzzz.Somehow seeing all that work written out like that had the opposite effect and just reminded me of what a long process it was going to be. Crossing off one step only pointed out how much else I had to do.

So breaking things down into what is achievable for the day makes much better sense. Instead of aiming to finish these two tops I'm making twenty of each block, and then I'll start to play with the setting.I may have to make more, but I don't have to decide that just yet.
When these units are sewn together later today I'll have my twenty blocks of each and I can start auditioning fabrics for sashing or setting blocks. These small steps are much more achievable and they add up to the main goal of finishing the quilts.

So it's brown brown all the time around here at the moment. Sue  SA made the comment that my job counted towards Show and Tell, and I realised that I have been a bit slack about posting customer quilts. To appease those of you who think brown is boring here are two  projects from a lovely lady who is over 80 years old. She started to make these gorgeous blocks in amazing bright colour combinations and couldn't seem to stop.
 She turned them topsy turvy and made a quilt and a table runner from them. A loooong table runner! What an incredible array of fabrics here, I was kept amused the whole time I was quilting.
These must have been a lot of fun to do...
However, like Jan said, from What a Load of Scrap  -I've never not been in a brown phase......


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Two of the projects that I want to work on are blocks that I started years ago.This was in my brown phase when I couldn't close the fat quarter drawers because they were full to bursting. I cut kits of these blocks, a Duck's Foot, Duck Paddle, or whatever you like to call it..
and this pattern which I've seen called Flying Crosses. 
 I 'd made 14 of these blocks and had the dark pieces cut for at least ten more, so first on the list of things to do was cut more background pieces.
 I cut some pieces for the Duck Paddle at the same time and sewed some half square units. When it's super hot this afternoon I'll start sewing them all together.

I think this is the photo that inspired the Flying Crosses, but that green looks ill matched to the old blocks. I don't know how I'd originally intended to set these, but I had a length of green fabric on the table and laid the blocks on it just to see. It looks better than the green in the photo, but I'm not committing myself to anything just yet....


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I spent some time over the last week thinking about the coming year and what I'd like to change and what I wanted to achieve. I was not at all happy with how much sewing I did in 2012, for some reason it wasn't a very productive year as far as quilting went. I'm making a list of every project I started, and that's probably longer than I think, but I know there were very few finishes.

I suppose when you finish other people's quilts for a living it's easy to overlook your own-  I did so many bindings last year I can just about do them with my eyes shut. However my own quilts are suffering and I want that to change. I need to get the mountain of quilt tops quilted, and the staggering number of blocks and projects made into tops. I'm sick of the stagnant state of the sewing room, and I intend to start things humming again.

Of course it's hard to be enthusiastic when the projected temperature for the next two days is 43C-gak!!!! It's absolutely draining, but I've finished a small top today and I'll plod away tomorrow at another project near to completion.

I found some photos of the back of my FlyingHome quilt that was in Homespun, I adored piecing these beautiful fabrics together.
  I would be glad to use this side on a bed, and we were pleased to finally find a home for that centre fabric. Keryn had bought it on spec, and agreed that this was the perfect place for it.
One of my resolutions was to blog more regularly- isn't it the same every year? I need the record of my days because it's so easy to forget what happened when I look back over the year. All the customer quilts and the sewing and the family and the garden just disappear in a foggy blur of events, and the blog is a little reminder of what life is like, with dates and photos.

I just tried to find a recent photo of Pippi to end this post with and the last one I took was  about eight months ago. How slack is that? Obviously  using the camera more should be another resolution.
  So here's Pippi waiting ( I'm Bored!!!! big sigh...) until it's cool enough to go out for the nightly race around with Dolly,

and a photo Keryn took of some roses from my garden.


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