Wednesday, March 06, 2024

 This top was also a kit that I cut years ago. I'd even pieced all the sashes and nine patches, so more than half the work was done. The pattern is called Show Off by Becky of Quilting Twins. She used 9 1/2" squares but I think mine were 7 1/2". That way I could use more of the slightly smaller pieces of shirts.

Jo Jramer quilted a blue one that her daughter Kelli made, and it's beautiful. It's a very easy and striking pattern that shows off the fabric, which is how it got it's name I suppose. It's good for doing in stages too. I cut it all out, large squares first and then the shirting strips for the sashing and the ninepatches. Later I pieced all the sashing, in another session the nine patches. Then I packed it away, knowing that it wouldn't take me long to get it in one piece.

It certainly chewed up a lot of shirts that I wanted to be rid of, and the remainder of my shirt fabric  stash is much more manageable now.


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

I started some Jack in the Pulpit blocks years ago, 2013 to be exact, gulp. How can they be nearly eleven years old? I don't understand how time just seems to disappear like that.

 I had fun choosing different fabrics for a fairly muted look, because I didn't want a high contrast between the shirting backgrounds and the coloured portion of the pattern. But when I came to find a sashing fabric anything dark just overwhelmed the blocks and medium fabrics were too wishy washy, so I moved on to something else. Every now and then I'd pull them out, have a play, get discouraged and pack them away again.

 Last year in a bout of complaining to Keryn about my lack of success she suggested this fabric, which is actually a brown print that reads as a warm grey...

Hmmm, maybe....And before I knew it I'd set them all together. We agreed on a large border print to go around it and then life intervened and the bundle sat and sat. I kept thinking how easy it would be to finish the top, now that the decisions were all made, but unless I actually sew the borders on it won't get finished. Duh!!

So the next time you see this it will be sporting a wide floral border and I can tick it off the list. (Fingers crossed)


Monday, February 26, 2024

 I cant believe how much time has passed since I last blogged. I keep thinking life is going to slow down and become 'normal', but perhaps I just better accept this is the 'new normal.' Looking after the grand daughters for half the week, school drop off and pickup and supervising other activities  while son John is at work, plus my own duties at home and helping other family members. I've been watering two gardens in our summer while Keryn is away and working when I'm able.

So when I tested positive for covid I was actually quite relieved. I stayed home for a week, not even getting in the car once, and it was blissful. I had a cough and a runny nose and a really sore throat, but I didn't have any of the brain fog or tiredness I had the first time. I was able to get  projects done that I'd put off for years.  I went through and filled bags of stuff to take to goodwill, as well as organised the whole kitchen. It felt great to be able to concentrate on my own plans, and gave me a glimpse of what life could be in the future. I won't always have so many nana duties and there are other things I have to learn to say no to more often.

I took a good look at my sewing room too, and realised that I have far too many kits all packaged up on the shelves. Most of them are  cut out, and then they get stacked up and put away for 'later.' What is the point if I never get to stitch them? I say I need them in case I can't cut for a project, then  there will always be pieces ready to sew. Hmm, but if I haven't touched them for years, are they all necessary?

So I pulled one container of pieces for a plaid cross quilt, cut from salvaged shirts and made that my sewing for the week. It didn't quite clear out the container, which was a bit disappointing, but this top used most of the pieces. 

The blocks were cut from 3 1/2" strips,  firstly squares and then 1 1/2" strips to separate them. They were so easy to piece that the top was finished in no time, including a border that was attached as I sewed the blocks together. I love doing the borders like this, it takes all the agonising out of the decisions.

I also achieved a lot of leader ender sewing, making tiny nine patches and finishing some little log cabin blocks.I even allowed myself to sew during the day, something I never let myself do. 

I seem to think I should be doing other things, chores and the garden or work during the day, so the time at the machine was  particularly delightful that week. Im hoping there will be more of it in the future.


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Vintage Star

I've been trying hard this year to use up some of the different types of fabric I have.There's a huge stash of vintage material I've been collecting over the years and treasuring/hoarding.  I'm realising, finally, that if it's 'too precious' to use I might as well sell it all. So I picked a pattern and started cutting. 

This was a twelve inch Rolling Star type block, and I kitted 20 blocks quite easily. There were some fabrics that were pretty much used up, especially the lights, but I found that it's going to take a few tops to make a dent in the overall stash. That somehow makes the fabrics more useable because I'm not going run out any time soon. I intend to kit up a few more projects before I put the fabrics away again.

They went together quickly and I chose  sashing colours without too much fuss. I thought I was cheating because the pale yellow I used wasn't vintage, but then I realised it's thirty years old anyway, so it was getting on in age.

(Excuse the dreadful photo, my design wall is always in shadow)

Then I made border units of three and a half inch pinwheels and continued the sashing out to the final border, a vintage green  gingham. I can't get the colours to read true, it's much warmer and prettier in real life.

It's fun using these old fabrics, finally cutting into some of the most precious ones.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A finished top....maybe?

I finished my top that I was agonising about, having run out of the gingham material I used in the sashing. Or rather, I didn't have enough for the final round. I really didn't want to introduce another fabric so I just moved on to another project. 

Then I realised that if I just cut 2" strips instead of the  2 1/2" sashing in the rest of the top, I could squeak it out. Maybe. I did have to piece some of the scraps together, but I made it in the end. 

I don't think the difference is a big deal, but the binding will chew up some of how much of the gingham shows, and I have no idea what I'll use for that. More agonising, or perhaps a small border? The decisions slow me down every time, sigh

Here it is spread on a queensize bed, so it could use a little bit extra round the edges, hmmm.....


Saturday, April 01, 2023

Ages ago Bonnie Hunter showed this vintage quilt on her blog and I filed the idea away in my memory. I'd already made a crib quilt using this block pattern, but once again I'd sold it. 

The half blocks as a border intrigued me, and I wanted to use a stack of fat quarters that were pretty, but not really my 'thing'. 

The actual block is really simple, and the half blocks just used two setting triangles on the sides to turn them into rectangles.  They were such fun to sew I didn't want to stop.

I tried lots of fabrics for the sashing and eventually decided on a vintage pink gingham. I miscalculated how much there was, and despite ekeing out every last little bit there wasn't enough to add the last round of half blocks. I scrabbled through the vintage stash and found a slightly different pink, and that got me to the outer edge, but now there's not enough for that final round, grr.

So I've been thinking about using a solid colour, either a pink or the blue to frame it, but I'm not too happy with the look. I'll come up with something, but I'll have to dwell on it for a while. I'm going to keep making these blocks though, they're so quick and easy to do.


Friday, March 24, 2023

Second time around

Many (many) years ago I sewed heaps of four patches as leader enders, from all sorts of different fabrics just to use them up. Then I put them together in a nine patch setting, and then they sat some more. In the earliest recorded appearance of these blocks I was setting them together on point, way back in January of 2006, a few weeks after starting this blog. Wow, that was along time ago.

Even at the time I was regretting using the pink and blue and other modern fabrics, because I wanted this to look like a reproduction quilt. But the blocks were there and had to be used for something, so I persisted.

I did like the finished top and it was duly quilted after we got the statler. Nevetheless I had it tucked away in my mind that I would remake it one day with more suitable fabrics.

Eventualy I sold it when we had our shop and I sort of regretted it, but realistically I didn't need two quilts of  the same design. However  now I was free to begin making the four patches from repro fabric and get started on the replacement blocks. 


I sewed on the four patches as leader-enders for quite a while last year, and had so many that I slightly changed the block construction. My original design had a plain square in the centre, but I substituted another four patch, so I could use an extra 42 or so. I ended up with three four patches leftover, how's that for efficiency? Hmm, that means I used 210 four patches, I'm glad I didn't have to make them all at once.


Next will be the frustrating task of choosing setting fabric, something that seems to bog me down over and over. Can't be too dark, can't be too light , can't be this colour or that.... I end up pulling out far too much fabric and messing everything up, and then have to put it away again. Which is fine if I find the right fabric, but just often ends in complete frustration. Still, this time might be different?


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