Wednesday, January 29, 2014

 I'm beginning this year as I did 2013, with a few finished  older projects. I'd forgotten this one, a sort of four patch Puss in the Corner block. I opened a drawer, and there it was, with the borders already cut and ready to go.

I wondered why I hadn't sewn them on, then remembered that I was going to mitre the corners on this stripe. That was enough to make me procrastinate, hence the whole thing being forgotten in a drawer.

When I found it and looked at it I thought "Just sew the darn things on and be done with it" and that's what I did. No fiddly mitres, just butted corners, and in an hour the thing was  done. I don't particularly like this anymore, so why would I waste time on it?

The setting squares are different fabrics in the same dull green colour, - that was one way to get the fabric out of my stash. There wasn't enough of any one fabric to set the whole top so this idea used up three smaller pieces which I was glad to see the back of.

I think I'll have to start selling tops, at the rate I'm finishing them!


Monday, January 27, 2014

 I finally put the borders on this little quilt. It's had a chequered career, and nearly ended up in the bin on more than one occasion. When I'd pieced it together the first time I discovered about half the blocks had discoloured, and I had to replace them. The stars were hand pieced, and I was unwilling to waste all that work so I think this was the only thing that saved them in the end.

(By the way, that's a shadow down the bottom, not another stain)

I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted the top to look like, and I searched for the right border fabric for quite a while. This is Flag Day Farm by Minick and Simpson and I love it.

The pattern was so large that I didn't want those big floral sprays to be cut haphazardly in case the border looked unbalanced.  I carefully measured and matched the pattern and cut  so that the motifs  were in the centre of each strip. I wasted a little bit of fabric, but I was able to space the pattern around the borders so that it looked balanced. After all the trouble I'd already taken unpicking and making replacement blocks, I wasn't going to skimp on the final task. And of course the leftover fabric isn't really wasted because it will just go into the scrap stash and be used in other quilts.....

I thought I remembered the photo that inspired this top so I went through my books looking for it. I found it in this Gallery of American Quilts, which I haven't looked at in quite a while.

I was surprised to see that my quilt doesn't bear much resemblance to the original at all, apart from the stars and the pink background. That's ok, because I like the way mine turned out, but it's interesting to see how a photo can be just a jumping off point for our own interpretation.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

 I don't know how old this set of blocks is, I made them over a few years at different times. I decided to set them with this lovely red fabric and I'm afraid my camera is doing strange things to the colours in these photos. When I get the borders on I'll try to get a more true to life photo, but as I haven't even decided what they'll be it may be a while.
I had so much fun making the sq in sq units; I used lots of beautiful repros and some tiny scraps that appear once and nowhere else. I think that's why I took so long to make these squares, I wanted to use my gorgeous fabrics and really enjoy sewing them.

When I'd made all the units the actual blocks went together quickly, and then I stalled on the setting fabric. When I decided on the red then I couldn't pick what I wanted to put in the posts between the sashes- so many decisions to make!

In some ways it's much easier when I copy an antique quilt; I can already see what I'm aiming for and have a mental image of what I want the quilt to look like. If I'm not too impatient I can usually come up with the perfect solution. but if I rush through the process I quite often regret it and wish I had taken more time to let the top speak to me.

Now if it would just tell me what borders it wants, I could get on and finish this....


Saturday, January 18, 2014

 The last week has been appalling weather wise, temperatures from 38C (100 F) to 45C (115F). I have a small airconditioner in one room, and Pippi and I hid out there and I tried to sew without overhead lights, to keep the temp. down as much as possible. There was a power failure on the fourth day which just about drove me over the edge- I become almost deranged from the heat after a while! It's so frustrating not being able to do things, like cooking the latest batch of tomatoes or working in the garden. And don't even mention quilting, ugh.

We knew there was a large bushfire burning about 40k away, and yesterday we went for a drive to take some stuff out to Matt. There was a huge cloud of smoke being blown over the hills, and it was sobering because we knew this area quite well when we were younger.
 Friends lived at Bangor, where the fire started, and we spent many days out there enjoying the countryside. I can understand why it would be  so hard to contain a fire there, lots of trees and scrub and most of it fairly inaccessible.
 The light became stranger as the day progressed and the cool change that was coming in brought stronger winds, at least where we were. I kept hoping that there would be a huge downpour, but there wasn't enough rain to make much difference to the fire, apparently.
By sunset, when we went to our brother and SIL's palce for tea, this was the view from their side garden, a huge ominous cloud and smoke drifting like a dark grey blanket.

I do so hate the number of bushfires we get here in Australia, so much destruction and death.

There have been three houses lost so far and more sheds and equipment, stock, and who could say how much wildlife has perished. Quite depressing, and it puts my discomfort into perspective. The fire never came more than 30k away from us, so we weren't in any danger, but I think of our friend's farm and the the little town we like to visit so that we can look out over the beautiful hills of the Flinders. From what I can see on a map it's all burnt out now and the view will be very black for some time.


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