Monday, February 15, 2021

 Keryn and I have been collecting mens shirts for quite a few years and recently we went through our collection and got a bit of a shock at just how many there were. Despite always adding to the stash  I had never actually finished a top using them. Keryn has made at least three and I loved them all.

I started this Double Four Patch years ago but was  disappointed in the thirty or so blocks I'd sewn and decided to make a small throw and be done with it.  I've still got dozens of the little four patches and they'll go into another project but I'm  relieved at crossing this off the list. It was beginning to weigh on my mind and once I'd decided to not make any more blocks I was energised about the rest of the shirt stash. I've got another project mainly cut out and another one in the works.


Monday, February 08, 2021

Keryn said to me the other day "Do you realise that your last post was in October?" No, that couldn't be right! But it was, and somehow the time has just raced away from me. I was sure I took photos for a follow up post on sewing my string quilt but I can't find them so I'll try to take some more.

We had a break from customer quilts in January but despite that I still only managed to quilt one of my tops. This green Sister's Choice has been laying around the workshop for months, with the backing folded up inside it and I was sick of moving the bundle. So it was loaded and quilted in one afternoon, and is now awaiting it's binding. I don't know why we don't do more of our own tops, it's so satisfying to get them moved along. Mind you, Summer is not the best time for quilting here, so that's probably the main reason, now that I think about it.

The piecing remains a priority though, and I  spend several hours a night at the machine. I started 24 new projects last year. (Gulp!) I finished 14 UFO's, and some of the projects were only little but I'm going to have to concentrate on getting things completed, and not just tops.

I don't know when  made this top but it was a few years ago. I thought I'd blogged about it, but it took me ages to find the post, mainly because it was in 2014. I thought it was more recent than that! There's a post here about how I cut it out using the Companion and the Easy Angles, which meant I avoided the flippy corners entirely. I certainly don't need to add any more of them to the huge stash I already have.....


Tuesday, October 06, 2020


I seem to end up with collections of scraps that I don't know what to do with. There was quite a large box full of strips of large florals, toiles, bits leftover from backings that featured large patterns, strips from jellyrolls that varied so much acrosss the width of fabric that they were unusable in any normal way.

One of the first ways of taming these weird pieces is to group them together so you know what you are dealing with and I'd been putting stuff in this container for years. I kept puzzling over what to do and trying to think of some pattern that would bring cohesiveness to such a random assortment of fabric. 
At the start of this year Keryn and I were discussing what we'd like to achieve in our sewing this year, and one resolve was to try different things, in particular something we weren't comfortable with. For me that was string piecing, a style of patchwork I adore but haven't had much luck sticking with.

I loathe the mess it makes! It seems to overwhelm my sewing space and every single seam is a choice and the more you sew, the more mess it makes. I must admit I lose patience with this way of working, but I love the results. I've often joked to Keryn that if I had a separate table and machine and enough space to devote to a "messy corner" I could probably stand it. I like my sewing to be more ordered and in control, I'm afraid.

I saved this picture many years ago and while going through my 'strings' folder in search of inspiration I thought this might be what I was looking for. Varied sizes of strips, so I could use up all of the length of fabric and enough of a pattern to give some structure to the design. Those big florals and strange large patterns and toiles could be used in between more solid strips to calm everything down.

Now I had a plan and drafted a large diamond and cut papers that I could use as a foundation. This much I could handle, and I thought I'd be able to cope with the mess in the heat of inspiration! Wrong! One block was made and then hours of scrabbling and searching and trying out this bit and that resulted in four more diamonds but I'd regressed to hating the whole process. I was left wondering whether to abandon the whole thing.

After more thought (and packing the offending project away out of sight) I may have come up with a plan on how to proceed with this and not drive myself mad. I'll give it another try.....and let you know how it works out!


Saturday, September 26, 2020

 I have completely lost track of what I've shared on the blog over the last few years. I thought I'd posted the finish of Jo's Stair Steps Rail Fence but apparently not. (I can't seem to find her original post about this quilt )

I loved making the 1" finished red and cream HST and they were a great leader ender for a long while. Then the sewing of the rails took their place until I lost patience and wanted to work on this full time, which quite often happens with the leader ender project. 

I didn't make it as large as Jo's but I'm happy with this size. It used up a heap of drab and medium toned fabric that I had fallen out of love with and turned them into a quilt that is a favourite  now.

I've sold a lot of quilts over the years but I decided I was going to keep this one and I had the perfect fabric for the backing. I bought these two dress lengths in the eighties, intending to make shirts or sundresses, but they really were a bit lairy for that. Such good quality cotton though, so I was sure I could find a place for them in a quilt somewhere. They were only  printed to look like batiks which meant that they were a lot softer than real batik fabric would have been.
I think I'll use this as a Christmas quilt this year, December is rapidly approaching!


Sunday, September 13, 2020

 The blue chains top is in one piece and I'm pleased with the way the border turned out. It seems to turn the blue chains into a continuous pattern instead of just running off at the edge. Despite it using up nearly 10 metres of scraps, it didn't use them ALL. 

Sometimes I wonder if it's even possible (or desirable)to use up the scraps completely. I regard them as a sort of 'starter', like sourdough that will contribute to the next project.  I have an idea for the rest of the bits so they'll be tucked away in a container, ready for the time when I can face "Blue" again.


Monday, August 31, 2020

 I've said before that Keryn gives me a lot of scraps and her binge of blue tops from a few years ago left me with piles of blue oddments and leftover cut pieces. It was getting too much, even for me!

I sewed up the cut pieces into hourglass blocks or squares, and then decided I was going to make another Blue Chain quilt using ALL the rest of the scraps. Just to make things interesting I changed the block size from 12" to 8" which meant I could use a heap more of the smaller bits. 

I can't remember when I started this but it's been ongoing for at least a year. I've done my best to cut everything into 1 1/2" squares or 2 1/2" triangles and I have decimated the drawers full of blue scraps. However I'd accumulated so many blocks that I had to call a halt to production- at last count it was nearly 300 4" blocks. Are you getting an idea of how much Keryn passes on to me?

I've set them into three panels and now comes the big job of putting it all together and deciding on borders. A finish is in sight....


Thursday, August 20, 2020

 When Bonnie made her Jewel Box Star I liked it, but wasn't tempted to start one of my own. Then I saw Jo's version and decided I could start using some of the white based neutrals I'd been collecting. And use brighter, more modern fabrics.

The 2" squares were my leader-enders for a long time, and the four patches built up in a satisfying manner. Then I binge sewed a heap of the 3 1/2 hst and put together the small blocks in another session. For some reason I moved on to other things, and they've been sitting in a drawer ever since.

Determined to move the project along I got an old magazine and laid out the blocks in groups of four to get the star effect, one lot to each page. (you have to start at the back and move forward) This container with the magazine inside has 14 blocks laid out ready to sew. The bits on top were spares that had too many repeating fabrics to go together, and don't think I didn't try shuffling things around! There's only so much faffing around I can tolerate with a project I'm not really wedded to in the first place. I have to make more of everything anyway, and these leftovers will be absorbed into the new blocks.


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