Monday, July 29, 2013

 I've been quilting quite a few applique tops lately, and they always prove interesting. This one is very soft and pretty, and looked lovely when it was finished. I've quilted three tops in this particular pattern, and they were all very different fabric choices.

Then I did this black and brights bird top, which went to the other extreme. It was so vibrant and colourful, and made a very dramatic statement. It's fun being able to work on such a range of patterns and fabrics; I never know what's going to come through the door next.Within the next fortnight  I have to quilt a huge pink and white candlewick top, that will be a first too!

All the applique is making me want to start a project of my own, but I'm trying to take a lesson from JulieKQuilts. She's been trying to focus on one main project at a time, and seems to be getting some good results that way. She writes " If I can just stop thinking of the next quilt, and cutting out pieces and parts for quilts in the far future...I can make real progress". Ouch, I've been doing that just lately, cutting out so many different things that I'm confusing myself, and I can't really point to any one thing that I've acheived.
So I decided to focus on one main project (I will never, ever be able to work on just one project at a time, I know myself too well to make that promise), and see if I can't move it along to the the next stage. I picked my Leader-ender pastel strippy, because it's getting to be a huge pile of sewn pieces. I don't want to suddenly find I've made far too many strips, so I've been sewing bits together all weekend.
I think I now have enough pieces  for four strips about 70" long, and  I'll have to put some thought into whether I make the top four or five strips wide. And how to set them all together I suppose, but I really am on the downhill side of this project. I want to stick with it and see if I can get all those pastel squares completely sewn and the remainder of the fabric put away..

And of course my first reaction is that I'll need another Leader-ender project, and what can I cut out for that? Common sense tells me that I already had at least three other projects I was piecing in fits and starts, so I should pick one of those and  hmmm, 'Focus' on it for a while. Rats! I do love to cut fabric up but I'm going to try to be good and see if I can't get some projects finished around here.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

 I was going to set together an old project, but when I got the blocks out I discovered there were only nine finished. I was convinced there were twelve of them, and now I have to decide whether to make a square quilt, which I'm never happy about, or piece three more. After a lot of searching I've found a bit of the background homespun I used, and now I have to hunt up some vintage scraps. This design is quite intricate to piece, but I think cutting all those pieces will be more time consuming. I suppose I keep hoping that I'll open the Drawer of Requirement, (sometimes  known as the Drawer of Abandonment) and there will be the three missing blocks....Problem solved.  Or I might just choose another old project.....

While I'm working on that little problem I thought I'd play with these blocks that I made a while ago. I decided to sew them into a Barn Raising setting, but I forgot that I'd sewn 24 of them into six of these blocks before I put them away.

I used what was left to make a start, and suddenly I'm faced with that question again- do I make this square to continue the pattern, or keep it rectangular. For some reason I'd rather not make square quilts, but sometimes you have to if you want the full effect of the design. Too many decisions, so I just sewed another pile of them and decided to decide later. Problem postponed.
By the way, the top row is only placed roughly on the design wall, but not sewn together, so don't think my piecing's gone all wonky. I was very happy that I'd posted my cutting method on the blog, because I'd forgotten the finer points and would have had to work it out all over again. Old blog post to the resue! These are seriously fast to make, I made ten last night in about an hour.

We've made a rule that the dogs aren't allowed in the new workshop, but a sudden shower of rain yesterday meant they were pressed against the door shivering and begging to come in. We relented (just this once....) and then barricaded them away from the machine and the customer quilts.
Pippi hopped over the arm of the chair staight away and was put back and told to "Stay!", which she did, with many beseeching looks.
  Dolly chose to stand pathetically behind the bars of this divider and beg constantly to be allowed in. She could have laid on her blanket and got warm and gone to sleep, but she does have  a knack for looking woe-be-gone and hard done by; sometimes the guilt factor works, but not in this case, sorry!



Thursday, July 18, 2013

 When Keryn cleaned up her sewing room in the past she used to save all her scraps that she didn't want, and about twice a year she'd give them all to me, and we were both happy. She got rid of a pile of bits she couldn't be bothered with, and I got a lovely lot of new-to-me goodies to go through. However earlier this year, after the move back to living in the hall, she decided she'd she'd gift them to me as they accumulated. So I've been getting these little bundles of this and that, scraps, cut pieces, strips and squares and triangles-whatever she threw in the container.
I think because she gets rid of them straight away and  she can't go back and pilfer bits out of the box, I seem to be getting more than ever. When I decided to clean my own work area this morning, I found I had a strange new problem..Triangle Abundance. It seemed everywhere I looked there was yet another box of triangles,
some already sewn.....

 and some still in their raw state.
My goodness, where did they all come from, and how can I control this explosion?
 I quickly made two little Broken dishes type blocks- this one looks like a star in some aspects,

 and this one is made from pinwheels for a slightly different look.
 I don't know which one I like more, but each uses 16 HSTriangles, so that's going to dispose of a fair few of the 2" sewn ones. I still haven't worked out what I'll do with all the other sizes, but this is a start at least! And I hope Keryn hasn't found more that she wants to get rid of....


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

tiny diamonds

 I've been sewing my tiny diamonds at night, without any real plan. I have a heap of plain stars, but I also decided to try some other blocks too.
I made this larger star in a controlled colour scheme; I quite like it, but it looks very 80's Quiltmaker to me.
I made seven tumbling blocks and arranged them like a hexagon flower; I loved this but might try it with slightly larger diamonds.
I sewed a Seven Sisters out of star blocks, -very nice, but then when I looked at my photos of antique quilts,
 they all seemed to be this arrangement of seven stars, without so much background cream.

 I like this, but it was a bit of a pain to put together. There seemed to be a lot more stitching in this block, because it had to be 'built' in a different way, rather than just simply sewing the stars. They are interlocked, which is a nice design, and you also get secondary stars happening. I might do more of these... later.

The pressing was also more tedious, because with the first block I was able to press all the completed stars before sewing them together.  Even though I finger pressed each seam as I sewed it, this is the back of the finished second block; lots of tiny seams and hardly any room to press it all without snagging other seam allownaces.
But I persevered and they all lay down flat in the end. I'm so glad I trim all my seams neatly as I finish them, it's much easier to sort out the pressing order and the backs of the blocks are as tidy as I can make them. As a bonus there are  little sparkly pinwheels at the intersections, -how cute!


Saturday, July 06, 2013

green sashed top

 Here is the green top I was talking about in the last post. It looks very grey and uninspiring, but actually appears better in real life. The setting fabric isn't as dull as these photos suggest.  I did use a mountain of green scraps in this top, but they've built up again and I could probably make another 42 blocks easily. I need another pattern that I like so I can cut them up and kit them.How many green quilts do I need?.....
I didn't show the Sawtooth stars with the border added- this is the fabric they were hanging out for. I still think this is a bit too "good" for this top, but I have enough top put it on another quilt if I want, and it's so nice to have this finished.

The top and the pieced backing  both weigh around 800g, which is about 6 metres of fabric each. Wow! That's a lot of bits to use up, especially in the pieced back. They are only 5" squares, and I couldn't believe how much sewing there was. Finally, I can pack up all the brown and move on to some other project. Anything, as long as it has a few different colours in it.
 Bye bye Brown, for a while at least....


Friday, July 05, 2013

one more...

 I found twelve of these blocks in my drawer, the leftovers from a much larger top that I set with green fabric. I've just spent a fruitless half hour searching my blog, and then my photos trying to find a reference to this, and it seems I never even took photos of it. So I can't show you that at the moment.

There was a post about making the blocks here, and coincidentally there are the beginnings of my little cross blocks too! It's only taken four and a half years to get those finished....
I did try to use just two fabrics in each block, I love that flat, cutout look,
but I couldn't resist the scrappy variety ones;  they were so much fun to do, and used up lots of smaller scraps. I love this block sooo much, it's the same as the brown top I finished in February this year and I'm still not sick of making them. I had to replace one block that had a too-dark background, and all I want to do is cut out more.

The  antique quilt I based it on was set like this, just lots of cream, and the blocks floating in it. I was always slightly dissatisfied with the first top  I made and now I've got this little cot size version that stays true to the original. Another top to add to the pile....


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Another little top

 I've set the small red crosses into a top, and I think it's pretty cute. It's not very big because the blocks only measure 4 1/4" finished- it's shown here folded into quarters on my quilt rack because the pale border just disappeared into the design wall. I like this pattern enough to make it in 'good' fabric instead of scraps, so I'll cut some pieces and kit them up. Such an easy little block to sew, I love that aspect of it.

The other set of cross blocks are in the time-out corner for now. They refuse to tell me what they want, so we're having a little time apart and see if that improves communications.

I returned to my pastel strippy project for my Leader-Enders, and just kept grabbing pieces out of the box until suddenly there was nothing left but pink and apricot squares- I'm not sewing those together. Oh, and that one blue that is too dark and shouldn't be there at all. If I pick it up I throw it back in, and commonsense would tell me to just Leave It Out!, but I keep putting it back, sigh.

I've filled this box with cut pieces two or three times, and used all my pastel scraps in the process. I'll have to cut from fat quarters now, which involves ironing and cutting strips, so this part of the pattern might grind to a halt.
 I pressed and counted the pile of five-square strips, and I had 24, not bad for a few bursts of piecing.
I've cut some more blue triangles for the sides, and I'll use these as my Leader-Enders for now.
  The strips are building up satisfactorily and soon I'll have to have a big session of putting them together to see how much I need. I've sewn a lot of these into pairs already, which will speed the process.
I weighed this lot, and it equals about two metres of fabric, all those scraps add up to yardage in the long run.


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