Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here's one way I've been sewing the strings. I pair them up by similar lengths, and sew the straightest side together, not worrying about squaring anything up yet. These are pretty rough, but I don't want to have to do too much preparation with this technique.
I press the pairs, then trim both edges straight. I don't make then parallel, because a bit of wonkiness adds interest. You can even things out by sewing the next seams; notice the wide end of the green strip evens out the narrow end of the blue strip.
I keep sewing pairs together keeping the length as constant as possible, but not being too fussy This isn't fabric I really care about, and a bit of waste isn't going to upset me.
I end up with a pieced fabric that I can cut in all sorts of ways.
I used my small square ruler to cut some more 3 1/2" squares for my string cross blocks

and paired up some of the leftover triangles to make crumb blocks, so this isn't wasteful at all.
The blocks end up very random, but that's the whole point of strings, I would think. I've got another block to post soon, I keep thinking of ways to use my pieced string fabric.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Scrappy Bargello has finally been bound and photographed and will be sent off as soon as we get some other quilts together for the flood relief. I was really pleased with this pattern and would make another very happily.

I've been sewing my strings and I've got a few blocks to show you, but I haven't got time to do a post on them yet. I'll probably end up with two or three quilts in progress from this collection of bits, I'm amazed how far the strings go.

Henrietta remarked that Pippi was getting big, and I agree. We think she may be bigger than Dolly, her legs are longer and she has a bigger frame than Doll had when she was four months old. We'll have to wait and see, but her appetite is certainly all encompassing, including some of Keryn's potplants. (Got into trouble for THAT). And a few of our socks ...and two slats of the venetian blinds.. and a roll of paper towels.. quantities of grass and a green shopping bag, among other things. I think she's chewed more stuff than Macca, Bonnie and Dolly combined. But she hasn't lost her baby teeth yet, so perhaps she's just going through a phase? I hope so. And Henrietta also asked if she would get lighter as she got older, but I don't think so. Macca has got darker the older he gets, and Dolly's coat deepened in colour too.

I've given up trying to draw Pippi when she's awake because as soon as she notices me watching her she gets all silly and tries to climb into my lap.Perhaps when she's more mature I'll be successful. Sleeping dogs are much easier!

And here's Dolly too.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

I've been trying to tidy up my sewing room, which has been a bit jumbled since I moved. Some of the messiest containers were the ones (note plural) that housed my strings and crumbs and bits that I just wanted rid of. There are strips torn off backings and donated strings and weird crooked lengths in here. I kept opening the drawers and staring at the contents, getting stymied as to how to use them, and putting everything away again. I felt like Kramer in that Seinfeld episode where he has the line in a Woody Allen film- "These pretzels are making me thirsty", except I was saying "These strings are making me anxious!"

I've come to the conclusion that I don't like piecing string blocks on a paper foundation, even though the majority of quilters seem to love it. I don't like the process of the sewing, or tearing the paper off afterwards, and my strings seem to make really boring dull blocks anyway.
Look at these two, Boring!! (And don't mention fabric foundations, I like them even less)

Yet I love the finished results that others seem to get, especially the antique examples I've saved. Even the old and faded ones are beautiful.Can't say these are boring..
Wow, lots happening in this one,
and these three have given me an idea...

I cut the blocks into quarters and sashed them-
much more interesting now methinks. I might even learn to like the process eventually.

In other news, Keryn has to dig a trench on her property for some cables to be laid, and we thought the best way to soften the ground would be to keep filling it with water and digging out the earth the next day when it had drained away. She had two avid helpers, especially Dolly who obviously has a keen interest in engineering. Pippi just ran around like an idiot, falling in the trench at intervals and getting filthy. Eventually I put them in the car and took them home to my place.

Note that I put some paper on the seats to protect them a bit- somehow it ended up scraped to the back and the mud ended up all over the place anyway.

But Pippi had such a good time I couldn't be cross, look at that happy face!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Scrappy Bargello was really easy to put together, and Bonnies instructions worked like a charm. She adds extra length into the strips to allow for trimming up the strip sets, but I had one piece of fabric that was a tad too small.
I thought I'd squeak it out, but that was the strip where I had to make an extra clean up cut, and I was 1/4" too short at the end. I thought of cutting the whole strip set down, and putting it on the edge of the quilt, because it wouldn't make any difference to the overall look.
But I found another piece of the fabric, and it was the work of minutes to unpick a bit of the seams, insert the patch and sew everything back together again. This is called a 'poverty patch', and a lot of old quilts had them, where the maker eked out the fabrics she had to try to keep to the pattern. I always enjoy finding them when I look at antique quilts, it's a real reminder of how women had to 'make do' in the early days.
I found some pretty rose fabric that had all the colours of the strips in, added the borders and started the machine stitching last night. I couldn't finish the quilting, but it will only take an hour to have this done, and then I can add the binding- the first finish for the year!


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