Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another pretty customer quilt, I loved the pink and yellow colour combination in this one. I've quilted three of these Gardeners Journal tops, and they are all different, it's amazing how the different fabrics seem to change the pattern.
I put the borders on another long term UFO, and I've made the backing and cut out the binding. How's that for organised? I'm keeping an unofficial record of fabric usage this year and so far I've only gone through 68 metres. Got to get those figures up, and backings are a great way to do it.

I'm piecing borders for two other projects, and the Irish Waves one is in a terrible muddly state. If I don't get this sorted soon I'll chuck the lot away, it's really starting to irritate me. I bet Bonnie never gets in a mess like this, her borders are complicated and tinily pieced and add wonderfully to the design. I'm wondering if this border will even suit the top, now that I've gone to the trouble of actually piecing most of it, sigh. Sometimes things look good on graph paper and it doesn't translate as well into fabric. I'll keep you informed...
I'm still plodding away at my applique at night, but I tend to drift off after a couple of pieces, especially if I've been up since four o'clock. When I press the bits before sewing I often muck around, playing with ideas. And then I can take a photo and record it for later, in case I ever want to develop something.
I love digital cameras, I used to do this with film, but it cost a fortune to print them. Technology has added benefits to the sewing room in so many ways, hasn't it? Perhaps if I'd worked my bloomin' borders out in EQ6 they wouldn't be in such a mess now.....


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another busy week gone. When we started quilting for other people I felt very strongly about always having the weekend off, as I've seen many longarmers work themselves to burnout point trying to keep customers happy. There are times when I have worked nine or ten days straight, but I hate it, and I'm convinced that if I'm to be in this for the long haul, I have to have regular time off to look forward to.

Even though I have a huge list of things to do, including much hated housework, I need time each weekend to just potter in my room. I love going through my projects and scraps and revisiting the stash, not to mention cutting the pieces I'll need for the next week's sewing. I've been getting up at crazy hours 3.30, 4.30 am, and when my first thought is what needs to go onto Millhouse next, I know it's time to do something for myself. Hence the pottering and pootling in my room.

Before you express dismay at my weird sleeping patterns, just let me say it's not all bad. Yesterday (Saturday) I got up at 3.30 and started cleaning out the backing shelves. I organised the fabric, cut some smaller pieces into 10 1/2" strips ala Bonnie, decided on backings for two tops that haven't even been finished yet and cut a pile of scraps that had built up over the last few weeks. I got all my washing done and overdyed some fabric for another backing, then cleaned out the laundry. By this time I was starving and went into the kitchen to get some lunch, where I discovered it was only 10.30 after all. I felt as if someone had given me another morning, free, and there were so many extra things I could fit in.I love waking early. I didn't even need a nap in the afternoon, although I did fall asleep at nine that night.
I have this reto cake container on my shelf (Billy bookcase from Ikea, need more) and it's the perfect size for this project- also pretty retro. I started it a good ten years ago in an effort to use up all my bland old fabric, a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt as they still haunt the stash to this day. (I realise that this green fabric isn't bland. I must have been rebelling against the lack of contrast in the rest of the blocks...)
I hand-pieced all the hexagons, which went very quickly and if I'd just stopped there I could have had this in one piece all those years ago. But I saw a quilt on ebay that had another round of pieces, so I made a template and begain cutting again.
It turned into a nightmare, finding the bits and pairing them up, and once I'd done that I realised I disliked adding the extra pieces. It would have been much easier to sew them as triangles first, and today I would machine piece them, probably from strip sets. So do we change.
Last year I counted up the remaining blocks left to sew and told myself "Self, if you do one a week, this project will be finished within a year" and I started. I really detest this piecing, and I bribe myself with all sorts of other things I'm looking forward to.. "When you finish that block, you can do some applique."
As I put the latest block away I realised I only have ten left to do, and I could accomplish that in a week if I wanted to. I don't, but the end is really in sight at last. I don't even know that I want to set it like that long ago ebay quilt, but it will be ready to finish, and that's a good thing. Plus I get to put something else in the cake container, woohoo!- is that shallow?


Monday, May 10, 2010

I set a new Personal Best last week and quilted 7 customer quilts. Two were queen size, one was King size, and the rest were lap to single bed size. I was buttered by Saturday morning, when I unpinned the last one, and slightly bilious. I deserved my weekend off, and today Keryn is working on a huge embroidery quilt, using the Statler side of the machine, so I'm doing other things. I have four of the customer quilts to sew bindings to, so it's it's not as if I can take it easy just yet.

This queen size quilt was made with gorgeous modern fabrics, and it was picked up too quickly for me to get an overall shot.

Another queensize quilt, made with large half-square triangles and some lovely large scale fabrics.

And this was a wedding quilt, with some beautiful embroidery in the centre.

I thought hearts were appropriate as a filler.
And feathers are always special, aren't they?


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

There are only two completed tops so far, but it feels good to have these done. I started the Irish Chain some time after we got Millhouse, and I wanted to have a practice top to do continuous curves and some feathers. It isn't particularly attractive, because it's made out of bleh fabric I wanted to get rid of (how often have I done that?!) and I didn't want to have something so nice I'd be afraid of ruining it with my learning stitches.Somehow I didn't have time to 'practice' these things, I just had to do it, sink or swim, and the top never got finished.

The other top is a really old UFO that I started when we lived on the farm, and each block used up the last of some really precious bits. I hand pieced them all, and enjoyed every single minute, but then I didn't know how to set them. I'd just drafted the block on graph paper, so I had no antique quilt to copy, or give me ideas. I sashed it a fair while ago, and then let it mature some more, and now it's finally finished.
In my rummages I found these blocks, which were going to be my Millenium quilt. I started doing this by hand, and it took ages to decide on fabrics for each block, because the pattern relies on tone for effect, and I was limited by not being able to repeat any fabric. Eventually the restrictions were too much, the deadline was past, and I didn't really care anymore. Perhaps I'll machine piece the two extra blocks and make a wallhanging out of it and call it Mereth's Millenium Folly.


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