Saturday, December 13, 2014

When I finished my 16 patch top I had a lot of cut two" squares left over. I was going to just put them away for another day when I came across his photo of an antique quilt that I'd saved years ago. I'd always meant to use 2 1/2" squares, but I had these 2" leftovers, all in the right colours....

 Then I remembered I'd actually bought some blue fabric intended for this top, in the form of a 70's style "Brunch coat". I loved the pattern of the fabric, but the style of the garment left a lot to be desired.

 It was full length, had cape sleeves that were completely lined,  a gathered skirt, round yoke, also lined, and lots of white daisy lace in various places. What a pity I didn't take a photo before I deconstructed it! It was cotton, and I would say hardly worn at all; although it's a bit flimsier than todays quilting fabric I thought it was quite sturdy enough for piecing.

So off I went, thinking I might get a small top finished before I ran out of setting fabric..

I called a halt at 50 pieced blocks, and 49 6 1/2" setting blocks, and I still have most of one skirt panel left over.

Thanks to the four cape sleeves and huge yokes, there was a lot more fabric than I expected here. A nice surprise, but as I want to make a pieced border as well, I don't want to make it any larger than this.

I'm planning to make the borders my leader enders for the rest of the year, while I work on finishing something else. I haven't actually chosen what to work on yet, but I'll let you know.

In the meantime, I think we're putting up the tree at Keryn's place, Christmas has really snuck up on us this year!


Sunday, December 07, 2014

 The colour in these photos is really bad, the greens are much more vibrant in real life. I've already chosen a backing fabric and cut the binding, but I doubt it will be quilted for a while yet. I like having it all organised in case I have a spare moment to throw  one of our tops on the machine, but that didn't happen much this year. I'm hoping January will be a quiet month and we can get some quilts of our own done.

I weighed the top, and according to the scales I've used 7 1/2 metres of fabric making this. I've only used a total of 73 metres all year which is pretty pathetic, but if I finished all the projects I'm currently working on the total would be more respectable. I'm doing my best, but things are only going to get busier from now on, so I might have to settle for whatever I can fit in.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

I thought I would be clever and include a little twist to my piano key border by adding a 2' by 2 1/2'  strip to the top of each 2 1/2" by 5 1/2" 'key'.  That sewed up really quickly, and I was congratulating myself on doing something a little different...when I came to a screaming halt at the corners.

I hadn't worked out what to do when the little bits met, because I'd need a 2' square to make the border turn the corner....hmmm.

I often just run the border off the side in a butt joint, but that didn't look very nice with this configuration of strips, so I had to figure out a little block in keeping with the look of the rest of the piecing.

Back to the piles of green still on the cutting table, new 2" strips cut, and I had this little filler block whipped up.

 Then off to the sewing machine to get these borders sewn on; photos of the finished top in the next post....


Sunday, November 23, 2014

 Well that didn't take long! Thirty blocks joined together, and I'm still not sick of this pattern. I had fun using lots of different greens, there are grey greens, blue greens, limey greens, dull greens. Overall they go together, but they're certainly a varied lot.

I couldn't find exactly the red I wanted in the stash, but Keryn suggested this cheerful fabric, with it's large yellow and pink design, and it really does liven things up. I was going to just have long sashing strips across the width of the top, but then I remembered how I hate lining up the blocks. I usually measure and draw marks on the strip which is time consuming and fiddly, but accurate. It seemed easier to put a square of low contrast fabric in between the sashes  so that the setting looked as if it were one fabric, but it was easy to match corners up. I like this and will do it again, it was a neat  solution to the problem.

There are still piles of green fabric littering the cutting table, so I think I'll have to try a piano key border in an attempt to use even more scraps in this top. They can be my leader-enders while I finish another project- I'm working on my list of tops to complete before 2015 and trying to be realistic about what I can actually achieve. But this one will be done for sure....


Friday, November 14, 2014

 I've been meaning to make a Sister's Choice quilt for a while, but a photo on Bonnies's blog here tipped me over the edge. Does anyone know who this lady is, so I can give her credit for inspiring me?  I've been trying to use up green scraps, and this seemed just perfect. It's also vaguely Christmassy, and we're heading into that time of the year, aren't we?

I was going to use Bonnie's instructions, until I realised flippy corners were involved. I will use this method on occasion, it's certainly quick and easy, but I cannot bring myself to throw away the cutoffs and I have bags and bags of them waiting to be dealt with already. I wondered if I could use the Companion angle to cut the background pieces, and it was blindingly easy. I love speciality rulers!
These are 2 1/2" strips and I first trimmed a triangle with the Easy angle. This block doesn't need any light triangles, but it's an easy way to get the proper angle and not waste that first little bit. The triangles went in the drawer to be used somewhere else.

Then I flipped the strip over so that the angle was sloping the other way

and put the Companion Angle on it, lining up the sloping edges and making sure the 6" mark is on the bottom of the strip. This means the finished size, after the triangles are sewn on will be 6", just the measurement we need.

I kept flipping the strip, and also I only do one layer at a time. If you make a mistake with big pieces like this and multiple layers  you run the risk of wasting a lot of fabric. I found it still went really quickly, and you eliminate so many steps of the flippy corners, (marking the sewing lines, sewing the second line, trimming them off..) that it's well worth it. At the other end of the strip I cut another triangle, or a square if there was room.

I could get enough pieces for two blocks from a WOF strip, and  needed another strip for the corner squares.

Then I cut eight triangles from the star point fabric, 2 1/2" strips again.

Sewing them was so quick, I chain pieced about seven blocks worth at a time, then pressed them all. I love having all the different parts stacked up ready to go.

I've made about twenty now, but I'm having such a good time I think I'll increase that to thirty. The green scraps aren't disappearing fast enough for my liking...


Monday, October 27, 2014

 I finished setting together my 16 patch top, and I really like the shimmery effect of the darker and lighter blocks. They are so easy to make, and were a great leader-ender project. I want to start another one, simply because they were such fun to make, and also because I still have lots of 2" squares left over.

I wanted there to be low definition between each pair of fabrics, and sometimes the dark in one block was used for the light in another. I love playing with tone, it's all a question of contrast.

Even the borders are low contrast and muted, but I'd like to try a darker border next time, just to see the difference.

( I don't know why the border is curved in this photo, the breeze was blowing the top a bit I suppose. The top is flat, I assure you..)

I decided a while ago that I'd like to finish every project that I started in 2014, and I know I've completed some UFO's, so technically at the end of the year I'd have less things on my list.But wait, I haven't actually made a proper list yet ! I'd better do that first up, before I decide whether it's even possible......


Monday, October 06, 2014

 When I set my blocks together I really like sewing them  into chunks like this instead of long rows. The seams are so much more manageable and the pressing is easier too. I used to hate manhandling every single long row through the machine and the top just got more and more unweildy. Sewing them this way does wonders for my temper and it seems to go quicker too. I've since finished setting these 16 patch blocks and now I have to choose a border.

I decided to put the final border on this paisley album top the other day, and I had fun looking at all the fabrics again.
 Not all of them are paisleys, some are just large patterned fabric I wanted to use, but they all work well together.

I think this is finished, it probably doesn't need another border, so later I'm going to weigh it and add the yardage to my "used" total. I'm very casual about this, but it's nice to have a rough estimate.

So far this year I've used 50 metres, but that's only in totally finished tops. I've sewn so many blocks that aren't put together yet that it's probably twice as much in reality. But I don't get to count it until the tops completely done, that's my rule.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

My goodness I've had some disrupted weeks just lately. Keryn and I had quilting deadlines that put everything else on hold, then my DIL Liz hurt her shoulder and couldn't pick up Isobel without causing more damage. So what's a Nanna to do but help out for a week or so?

I went in every day and did the heavy stuff and the rocking and cuddling and general smooching and I loved every minute of it. Isobel is the only grandchild I have close to me, and it's wonderful to see her on a regular basis and see her grow up. Travelling in every day was fun but it put me behind on a lot of jobs around here and I've been trying to catch up since.

I looked after Matt's little dog Jessie for a week and while she was no trouble herself, Pippi reacted badly to having to share everything. She was soo needy and anxious all the time it was exhausting.

 Even though Jessie has her own tiny bed she kept stealing Pippi's, just because she could. It was a battle of wills, and most of the time Jessie won- my dog is a bit of a wuss. Pips kept running to me and telling tales "Jessies on My bed!...she's on My cushion!... She's eating out of My bowl!..." Each tattle was accompanied by a clawing at my arms or legs and a frantic "Do Something" look on her face.

 If only she had stood up to Jessie, who is a fifth of her weight, and not just given in all the time. At the end of the week Pippi had developed her own revenge which consisted of rushing at Jess and barging her to one side then looking around as if to say "Oh sorry, I didn't see you there!" It was a long week....

I needed to have something mindless to sew while I was so busy, and squares are certainly that.

Scrap 16 patches...

 leader ender four patches....

red nine patches....
more 16 patches....

However I think I've od'd on them for now, I need some triangles for heavens sake!


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

  Just lately I've been trying to use up groups of scraps, like the florals and yellows in Florabunda, and dark greens and yellowy creams in four patches for another 4-4 Time. I had a little bundle of red scraps and some tan bits that I wanted to get rid of, so I cut all the reds into 2" squares and pieced them into nine patches. I sewed thirty of them, a very nice amount  for a little quilt, and then set them with tan squares, on point for something different.

I went a bit overboard on the borders, butI like the overall effect. I forget how much work is involved in doing multiple borders, these took a couple of nights to cut, piece together and then sew to the blocks.. I still haven't sewn the mitre down, but I have chosen a backing fabric already, so that feels like I'm trimming down the stash. It's good to assign homes to material that has been around for years.

Keryn and I, ( known collectively to my first grandson  Logan as "The Nannas") have been going to visit Miss Isobel a few times every week, and she is growing so much it's incredible. I've been trying hard to capture her beautiful smile, but all I seem to get are the 'Preparing to Smile" faces, and the "After the Smile" ones. My camera either goes off when I don't want it to, or takes so long that the moment is past. Oh well, she's adorable no matter what she's doing and somewhere along the way I'll photograph some of those gorgeous expressions.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

 Sorry for the silence, but there have been a few family worries over the last weeks, and I couldn't really share them. While I don't feel like blogging when I'm worried, I certainly did a lot of sewing. I kept going from one thing to the next, so I haven't actually finished anything (and I may have inadvertently started a couple of little things...).

I have borders to put on this little top,

and I've been wanting to try Bonnies Scrappy Trips in 2" strips, so now I know that works, and I have these four blocks to prove it.
Sewing really is therapy, but I'm increasing the project list instead of finishing things like Keryn has been doing. She's been so good this year; I'll have to take a leaf out of her book I think.


Monday, July 28, 2014

 The centre of my Split Tumbler is now done. Keryn and I have both had miserable colds for over two weeks, and it derailed my sewing schedule somewhat. We're on the mend and to get back into the swing of things I finished these blocks and sewed them together, and then added this little striped border.

Both Keryn and I love this fabric and have used it multiple times over the years. It's a Jo Morton stripe with a black background. When we were buying fabrics by the bolt they accidentally sent two of this design but we realised how valuable it would be and happily paid for both.

Because I cut the stripe lengthwise I could calmly reel off two metres without a qualm. Bolts of fabric give one a delicious feeling of abundance...

I cut quarter of an inch beyond the little tan stripe, to make the seam allowances, and then I sewed exactly on the line on the back of the fabric. Or rather very slightly to the right of it. I almost went crosseyed I was concentrating so hard but it turned out well so it was worth the effort.
I mitred the corners and they looked very classy; this fabric is very forgiving and I didn't need to take any trouble with where the corner fell.
I think there will be more borders but I haven't decided on them yet, I'm just happy to have got this far after feeling awful for weeks. I'm making progress on other projects, so I'll put this to one side, and something will occur to me down the track. It's great to be sewing again!


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