Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keryn and I are reproducing an antique quilt and it has lots of half square triangles in it, so that's all I've been sewing lately. I'm going to make dozens and dozens and then try to work out the fabric combinations in each block. It's very complicated and needs a lot of focus and care taken with the measurements and I'm just too distracted at the moment. But I can sew two triangles together alrighty!
I have to trim the 'ears' off this batch, and can anyone remember my glass bear that was holding all the little bits for me? Last time I posted about it he wasn't very full at all....(he looks more like a pig in this photo)
But Keryn had been adding her bits to him, and so have I. He's now full up to his eyeballs, and I think we'll get another six months worth of tiny triangles into him and that's it. I do shake them down and pack them into the indentations, but they're pretty springy little customers and bounce up again when he's back on the shelf.

That's a lot of triangles we've sewn together....


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Woohoo! I finally have my new computer, which is faster than any computer I've ever had before. I can't believe how quick it is, I used to go off and make a cup of coffee while Photoshop loaded. Not any more, it's all lickety split...done! My internet speed was the next hurdle, but I've found a way round that too and hopefully it's all plain sailing from now on.

I wanted to blog about this package from Andrea, all the way from Wales. I won these lovely vintage looking fabrics in her give away, and now I'm planning what to make with them. I've never won anything before, so it was quite a thrill. I do adore vintage fabric patterns and Keryn and I have quite a stash, packed away at the hall. I'd like to start going through them and posting photos of a few, some are gorgeous and others completely bizarre. Stay tuned for that...
I've been very unsettled in the sewing room, and sewing has been at a minimum while I moved furniture and generally made a right royal mess. I did start Bonnies Orca Bay mystery, but fell off the horse at the first sign of string piecing. I know she says absolutely no whining allowed, and I knew there was string piecing involved and I really thought I could do it.... but I can't. Won't. So I've been doing the pieced units and I might just cut squares of the red and blue fabrics when it comes time to put it all together. I'm not a very good mystery participant at all. I'm always the one in the background looking very worried and piping "But what happens next.... where will this go.... what if I change that..." Best if I don't try at all it seems.
I've used up some blacks and neutrals, which is good; these were a bundle of scraps hanging around to no good purpose.

This is a top I quilted last week for a 14 year old girl, her first finished piece. She did a wonderful job of it, beautifully pieced and balanced. She's already enthusiastically planning her second quilt which I think is great. Get them sewing young, and then they don't have all those regrets about not starting sooner.
It made me want to pull out all my scraps and make something so cheerful and pretty.


Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm having dreadful computer woes, and am in the process of having a new one built. I'm limping along on the old one, but everything takes ages to load and then freezes or just shuts down. Grrr!I really wanted to blog about my first quilt on Bonnies blog, but I can only refer to an old post as resizing photos and trying to blog here is beyond my ailing technology. I would have liked to show you the first quilt I made entirely on my own, without help from Keryn, but I don't even know where the poor thing is now. Stored at the workshop somewhere, I suppose.

I still love my early quilts, I was so enthusiastic over the whole process. But I guess I would have been thrilled to know that I would one day make my living from finishing other people's quilts, something totally unforeseen back then. Hundreds and hundreds of quilts, and I'm still loving it, that says something....!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back to the customer quilts after a much needed break.
This colourwash heart needed extra rows in the centre and the borders added to finish it, which I did last week. Then it was loaded on Millhouse and custom quilted with allover feathers. I had great fun with it, just going where I pleased.
The fabrics in this were beatiful, it must be fun to collect them over time.
Of course more feathers in the border....In my sewing room I returned to these blocks (must see if they have a proper name) and now have twenty sewn.
They were good fun to piece, but now I don't know how to set them.

Straight, with sashing....
or on point, with setting squares?I'm going to have to have an audition session, with fabrics and different settings and probably graph paper involved at some point. I just hope the final decision doesn't involve me making more blocks, because I'm ready to go on to something else.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Back again, after a ten day stay with Rob and Elisa in New South Wales.
It was lovely spending so much time with them and getting to know Logan properly. He's a good baby, and very cuddly, which suited me fine. He wasn't in the least bit shy of me, he's such a friendly little chap. It's hard to believe he'll be a year old in less than a month, that time seems to have flown so quickly.

Curtis has had a hair cut and looked very well groomed. He doesn't forget me and he needed his share of attention too.
Unfortuneately it rained most of the time, so we didn't get to sightsee as much as we could have. We went to some wineries and a cheese factory and the markets, but even there we were rained out. I'll have to go in summer next time.

I didn't get much sewing done, in fact this is all I accomplished; part of a Carpenter's Star.
(I bought this little case at the cheap shop, and it was perfect to pack all my sewing stuff in.)
I knitted nearly a whole sock, and made an art smock for Logan to wear at daycare, but I was quite content to just spend time playing with him and not doing handwork. I can do that now that I'm home again.

Rob and Elisa's house is in a new development and there was lots of building going on. This view was at the top of their hill, wouldn't it be nice to see this from the lounge room window? It was very nice countryside, lots of horse studs, wineries, and of course coal mines.
Very pretty, and I liked watching the rain storms roll across the hills like this.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm still enjoying sewing my nine-patches, but I thought I'd better start making some decisions about setting them into blocks. I hunted through my extensive collection of photos and it was so hard choosing just one. I want to make them all!!
This is what I was thinking of originally, just a standard double nine-patch, with sashing, pretty straight forward. How about that colour though, I don't think I'm brave enough for all that yellow- wow!
I've always loved this very ordered setting, and it wasn't until I studied it this time that I noticed the chains are made from the white squares. For this I'd need to use five shirting squares in each little block, and four dark squares, but I've done them the other way around. Oh well, next time.

This made me look at my other pictures more closely and I found a lot of the antique ones were made with this configuration, some of the times set on point as well.
Doesn't this simple change in the placement of the light squares create a whole new look? And here's a luscious Amish version, love those darker colours.
This just makes me think I have to create more and more nine-patches in all sorts of fabric placements to try all these different ideas. I'm not sick of them yet and they make great leader-enders- how many nine-patch quilts can you start before you know you've got a problem (hint: obsession!)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

I suppose pikelets are an English thing, along with the scone, which, by the way we pronounce to rhyme with John. The American tv shows we've heard make it rhyme with stone, which we find peculiar. And I've got no idea how the English say it, any British readers out there that can offer their pronounciation?

Anyway, my recipe comes from this book, which is the first cookbook Keryn and I ever owned. Mum gave us each a copy when we were in our early teens, and they were duly placed in the "Glory Box", ready to assist us in our married life. (I should do a seperate post on this out-dated custom, which was virtually a trousseu girls collected over years and years, usually in a big trunk of some kind.) This book is Keryn's, which stayed a lot cleaner than mine did.
I used to make pikelets when the boys had sleepovers, and I can remember standing over the frying pan making batch after batch and watching them all disappear at an incredible rate. They were a great cheap snack to fill up hungry boys, and the ingredients were always at hand. I was happy when the boys graduated to being able to cook them on their own, and then I didn't have stand there, spatula in hand and looking at a child holding a plate out for more, more, More!!
And yes, they are smaller than usual, because I found this cute little ladle at the op-shop, and even though I had no idea what I'd use it for I had to buy it. That's a teaspoon for scale. It makes
dear little pikelets, and I love the fact that they're all the same size, and that I found a use for my purchase.
I'm still flitting from project to project- will I ever settle down to one thing again?
There are nine of the pastel Arrowhead blocks, still being pieced at night while watching telly. (two finished since this photo was taken)
These blocks have been resurrected and now there's ten of them.
There's eight of these blocks, and then there's the nine-patches!

Arggh! the nine-patches! (clutches head and wails...) I can't stop making them......110 at last count and I still haven't decided on the setting!


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Here's a close up of the setting fabric for the Feathered Square blocks. I didn't realise it was a quilting fabric until I read the selvedge, this feels more like a lightweight dress material. I do love the pattern, and when I first saw this there were very few large repro type prints available so I fell on it and bought about four metres.

I'd already used it as a setting fabric in a smaller top and it was flimsy but the straight seams helped control it- no bias to worry about here.
I like the idea of making a pillowcase from the remaining fabric, thanks Henrietta!

It was also Henrietta who said that Dolly and Pippi were such good dogs. Yes they are..... but there have been times when they've been in disgrace. Take for instance this pretty pink and green top of a friends that we ordered a special pink and green thread for....
Pippi pinched the reel from the table and this is what it looked like by the time I found it- unrecognisable. And as it came from America there was no hope of quickly getting another. Bad Pippi! And Dolly has turned out to be a cat chaser which is something we're trying to discourage- but no-one's perfect, are they?

The golf course is so lush in parts that the dogs have to wade through the grass and weeds. This is the last resting place of many golf balls but they love it and it uses up a lot of their excess energy jumping through it.
But there's always enough pep left for attacking a sister when she least expects it...Gotcha!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Feathered Square blocks are together, and I'm very relieved to have this done. The fabric I chose for the setting was an old favourite, but it wasn't very good quality and it sagged and stretched and generally misbehaved. Those long bias edges on the triangles were very hard to keep flat, and even after they were sewn to the blocks and stabilised the strips seemed to change lengths as they were pinned on the design wall. I had to bribe myself to keep sewing until it was all done, and I could only do one long seam at a time before I lost patience.Of course I like it now that it's in one piece and all the bias has been contained but there were times that I was ready to stuff it back in the project box and put it on top of the highest cupboard in the sewing room. Where it had been for many years before this.

I've done this Streak of lightning set many times before, and this is the first time I've ever had any trouble. I still have a little bit of this fabric left and even though I like the design the flimsiness might dictate where I use it from now on.
I made pikelets a while ago and everywhere I moved in the kitchen I was concious of this appealing little figure in the background. She knows she has to "sit" before she gets any treat, so she shuffles around on her bottom as she follows me, eyes pleading and the very tip of her tail wagging quickly. "Pleease!" Needless to say I usually give in and she gets a taste of what I'm having.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Woven Geese now has a border, and the backing is pieced and pressed, waiting for it's turn on Millhouse. I'm really pleased with this simple pattern and I'm already planning one in different fabrics. Matt will probably end up with this one and I'll make a prettier one for me.

I'm still flitting from one set of blocks to another, and have even begun a new project.
I've always wanted to make another Double Nine Patch, so I've started making the units. I was cutting strips for one of my sets of blocks, and thought I'd just cut the one and a half inch strips while I was at it. Then I thought I'd just "test" a few blocks and suddenly I've got a production line going and the nine patches are all I want to sew.

I don't care, I don't want to feel pressured to stick with any particular project, and I'm having so much fun I can't feel guilty over my flightiness. However I did need a way to keep all my pieces separated nicely, and I found these plastic catering trays in the cheap shop.
They are big enough for the individual sections of the blocks I'm working on, and then I can stack them all neatly depending on what I feel like sewing at the moment.
I think they're great for organising my piecing, even if it was for just one project instead of the three I'm sewing now. As you can see I've got about six trays stacked up there- that's not excessive, surely?


Thursday, August 04, 2011

This is the project that I was hand-cutting pieces for last week. I'm not sure what this pattern is called, Broken Arrow?

These blocks were an old UFO that I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish. They spent some time in the orphan pile before I decided I did want to make more and rescued them. They are terribly wishy-washy, but I wanted that faded, washed-a-hundred-times look, rather like my Rolling Stone top I did last year.
And the hexagon blocks that I finally finished......I think I should stop with the faded wishy-washy theme already! All these blocks are an attempt to use up all my old, old fabric, and I don't seem to be making a huge difference. I decided to go through all my containers and weed out everything from that early era, 1980 to early '9o's, and I was shocked at how much I still had. I think once these tops are all finished then I have to take whatever's left and piece backs for them and hopefully that will use it up entirely.

While I was rummaging in the container of diamonds I'd cut out I decided to try piecing a Carpenter's Star by hand, just to see how tedious it was.
I enjoyed it, even though it was time consuming, so I might start cutting some of these from my nice reproductions. I was hesitant before because I thought I might hate all those set-in squares, but they were a doddle by hand. I've always loved this pattern, now to choose which version to sew...
I don't know that I could use just one fabric, might get a bit boring, even though the results are stunning.Alternate setting blocks so I don't have to make so many...?Mmm, I'm going to have a hard time choosing because I love all the possibilites!


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