Sunday, June 29, 2014

 Once I had trimmed the blocks I was left with some odd shaped scraps. You know me, I couldn't let them go to waste!

 I cut them slightly smaller  using the ruler, and then when I needed more I cut up the pieces left from the strips I used in the blocks. This made great use of them and I was really pleased I'd found a home for them, instead of adding to the scrap drawer.

I had to stagger the pieces slightly when sewing them together, and I found it was better to do this in chunks of time, rather than using them as Leader enders for another project. Once I'd got the seam allowance right it went very smoothly, but if I had to leave it and come back I had to get my eye used to the amount to offset all over again.

 I slightly trimmed the strips afterwards, making the border as wide as possible, and it ended up a weird 2 7/8". It didn't matter what the final size was, as I intended to just but the corners and not try to make the triangles line up.

I sewed a 2 1/2" blue border to the top first, then the coloured pieced strip, then another 2 1/2" border. The bias edges of some of the pieces seemed a bit wavy in places, but I know this will quilt up beautifully flat, when I get around to it.

I'm not the sort to Squeal, you understand, but this top really delights me, and I feel a thrill of satisfaction looking at it. I had so much fun I'm sure I'll be making another one some time, but I have other ideas to work out first.

And all  of the weird skinny bits left over from cutting the other odd scraps? I cut tiny 1" diamonds from them and tucked a little pile into the box of handsewing pieces. Now I can finally throw out the small  heap of bits that remain- I certainly get my moneys worth from this thing we call fabric....


Monday, June 23, 2014

 I decided I would add  half blocks to the outer edge of the top to complete the scrap stars. The blocks themselves had gone so quickly, it wouldn't take much more time, surely?
I made a strange part-block like this,

 and then used a 9 1/2" ruler to trim them to size. Heather has a neat tip in the book to make sure everything is lined up correctly which helped a lot.

 Also, by keeping the 4 1/4" mark on the centre I could see that I had the right size.

I did the same thing for the corners, just using a smaller portion of the block.

Then it was just a question of working around the top, right? Except of course, I didn't want to have any of the same fabrics touching or being diagonally opposite or even near each other and it took me hours and hours to rearrange everything to my satisfaction.

 I had to put all the bits on the design wall before they could be sewn, and I lost count of the times I took everything to the machine so carefully and then rotated the colours as I sewed them together. Then it was either unpicking them and starting again, which was impossible once they were trimmed, or moving everything else around until the mistake fitted in. I spent more time trying to sew these half blocks than the rest of the blocks put together.

 Finally I just had to  abandon my 'rules' and be happy with however the fabrics ended up or I would have driven myself mad. I always thought I was fairly relaxed about this sort of thing, but apparently it matters more to me than I thought. Perhaps I didn't have enough variety of fabrics, so there wasn't as much choice about what went where, but in the end I was happy with the way it turned out..
I like the fact that the star seems to be the block now, instead of the windmill shape that you actually sew. I would do this again, but next time at least I'll know what to expect!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

A while ago I read on Heather Mulder Peterson's blog about a ruler, the Triangler, that she'd developed and I could instantly see all sorts of uses for it. I ordered it and the accompanying book, and I've been a bit sidetracked since then.

I've limited myself to starting two new quilts, but I love the possibilities I can see using this shape.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is the same as a Tri  Tool, because the angles are very different. That top angle is 45 degrees, which means it can be used to piece eight point stars for one thing, and a whole lot of other amazing blocks if you look at the instructions in the book. I'm very impressed with the way the book is set out, and the handy tips that make things so much easier, including pressing instructions. These are of course my own opinions, but not only can I see myself making the quilts in the book, but also using it as a jumping off point for a lot of ideas of my own. That makes it very good value to me, even taking into account that I had it shipped to Australia.(Very quickly, and with a handwritten note as well -I was very happy with the response)

So which quilt did I decide to start with? I loved Windsor Knot, shown here with her gorgeous little son Carter.

 I made it slightly different to Heather. She appliqued over the centres with a square, which looks very nice and covers up a multitude of sins  if you're not too sure about how neatly you can match all those points.

I decided to have a go at getting them to sit nicely, and then if they looked dodgy I could add something afterwards.

 I don't have very many modern prints in my stash, but I gathered a few on my table and began cutting. Everything went together really well, the instructions were a cinch to follow and before long I had twelve blocks on the design wall. I'd had such a good time and they'd gone together so quickly I decided to make another eight so that I had twenty.

And the centres were working out pretty well, so I was all enthused.

Don't you love it when a project goes so easily that you just want to keep on and on until it's finished? If the astute among you are sensing a "but" coming, stay tuned and I'll tell you how I like to make things more difficult for myself.


Friday, June 13, 2014

The Nifty Thrifty blocks are in one piece and I'm glad to have then done. Even though they were so easy to sew I got weary of them towards the end. And weary of the colours, this combination of green and maroon used to be very popular in the '90's,  which is why I had so much in my cupboard.

 I usually start these easy quilts to use up a particular section of my stash that I want to get rid of, so that means I'm slightly sick of them to begin with. This attitude drives Keryn nuts; she says "Sell them on Ebay! Get rid of them!!" but I liked them once and I love using scraps and odd bits.

However the top got bossy at the  end, and even though I'd pieced quite a few units for a border, they just wouldn't go on. The blocks demanded another simpler pieced border first, then one of maroon, and by this time I was sick of being bossed around and called it quits.

I might go back and try to add the other border later, if I feel like it. I'm already on to prettier fabrics and more intriguing patterns....

Isobel had her first photo shoot, and we have some beautiful pictures of her now. This is a really talented photographer, and I'm so pleased to have these shots to remember how little she was.
  She's nearly a fortnight old already, and has changed so much since she came home from hospital, she's just adorable.


Friday, June 06, 2014

I had a whole day of cuddles with Isobel and she's absolutely gorgeous. It will be lovely being so close to her, I don't get to see my beautiful grandsons very much because of distance and I really regret that. But next month Rob and family are coming to meet the latest arrival, so they'll all be together, which will be wonderful.

In sewing matters I was using these Nifty Thrifty blocks of Bonnies as leader-enders, but they decided to take over and I'm close to finishing the top. I'm making a pieced border for them, so there's still a fair bit of sewing left to do, but it will be  my main project until it's all done.

I'll have to get out the graph paper and work out how to turn the corners, but I quite enjoy doing that. I just hope that it's fairly easy to resolve.
I've also been hand-piecing the borders for this old project and I'm nearly finished those too. I've been working on so many different things that I'm going to have about four new tops soon, and then I get to pick out some more old projects to work on. I think I've worked out the borders for a few tops as well, so I want to get stuck into them. So many ideas and decisions, but I'm really enthusiastic, which is a very good thing.


Sunday, June 01, 2014

Ah Finally! After a protracted labour Liz and baby Isobel Jane are doing fine. She weighed 7 pounds, so she's a petite little girl, and I can hardly wait to hug her, and her parents. A brand new family is born.....


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