Saturday, December 05, 2015

I finished my split ninepatch top, but lost my camera after I'd taken photos ready to blog about it. A friend gave it back to me today, and I can't even remember using it at her house, so I never would have thought to ask if it was there. Phew! I'd hate to have lost it completely.

I just can't get the greens to show up nicely, they either look dead and cold or yellow. You'll have to imagine them somewhere in between. The top does look very Christmassy.

I decided to use two red fabrics for a tiny 3'4" finished border, and then a 3" finished green scrappy border. The greens were sewn into units measuring 6 1/2" long, then a red skinny strip added to one side. I just had to count the blocks along the edges of the top, make that number of units and the border fitted perfectly. In the corners I used a green square with a flippy corner to give a touch of red and I was all done.

I'd love to quilt this in time for Christmas, but the customer quilts have to be dealt with first. I'm really pleased to have this done, being able to link up to Jo's posts was a great incentive to finally finish this up.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

 I'm still working on the borders for my red and green split nine patch, but I realised I hadn't shown you my Blue Chains top which I finished a while ago.

I really love how this turned out, just like the original antique one. It used up heaps of blue and shirting pieces and the blocks were so easy to put together I never got sick of them.

I like having both dark and lighter blues in the top, it adds movement and interest, but I've been wondering about a real two colour quilt, just one blue fabric and one white. I'm not ready to tackle it yet, but I'm definitely thinking about the idea.

I haven't decided how I'll quilt this, but I can see a nice old fashioned cable in that shirting border for a start.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

 The blocks are finally set together and I can think about the next project to go on with here. I'm also wondering if this top needs a border; I have a pretty red floral which would be nice.

Another alternative would be a scrappy green border.

 I went through my cut pieces and pulled out those measuring 3 1/2" in one direction.  I could sew these randomly together and if I made each segment measure 6 or 12" finished it would be very easy to make it the exact length I need. It would be nice to get these pieces out of the stash, but the overall effect might be too 'heavy'. I'll obviously have to experiment some more and see which idea wins out.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

I've had an insanely busy week and haven't had much time to sew unfortunately. A trip to Adelaide, a 5 year old's birthday party, helping out a friend with a new business venture and yesterday a car boot sale that got rid of heaps of stuff but left us fairly shattered afterwards. Today will be equally as busy, and then tomorrow it's work again,,, and three customer quilts to do before Friday.

I took the time to play with layouts, even though I knew I wanted to do the zigzag setting. Sometimes it's nice to have a play around with actual blocks, instead of drawing things on graph paper or on the computer.

Straight furrows was fairly boring, and I didn't bother with putting more blocks on the wall.

Barn raising with a light centre...

or a dark centre.

Nice, but I still liked the zigzag better, so I started setting the blocks together.

I'm sewing them in groups of four then joining them into rows, and I've got about half done this way. If I get some down time this afternoon I'm going to try and have this in two large pieces, and then it will be only one long seam and I can call it done. I'm still not sure about a border, but the main thing will be to free up the design wall and move on to another project.

Speaking of my design wall, it's a very large board on wheels, that was used at our local gallery for years for displaying smaller works of art. There were two of them and I always said that I wanted to buy them if they ever came up for sale. It pays to speak your mind, because they were offered to me for $40 apiece, a bargain in my eyes. I had to take the base off to even get one in the doorway of my tiny cottage, and I now have this huge wall on wheels in my lounge room, but I love it. The other is in storage for when Keryn needs it....

It's so high I need this little chair to stand on when I arrange blocks at the top.

This was a kindergarten chair that's at least fifty years old, and it makes the best stepstool ever. I wish I had one for every room, and as it cost a dollar I could have afforded them, but there was only one. At the boot sale yesterday there was lots of wondering why we ever bought some of the junk we did, but there are other bargains that you never regret. I wouldn't part with either of these, and I use them every single day.


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

I was nearly at the bottom of the box of red HST when I realised that the last layers were made up of these fellows. All the same red print, and a white homespun. Arghh! I just can't sew whole blocks using three identical HST, not when the rest of the top is so scrappy. I wish I'd remembered there were so many of these (about 70 of them ) and then I might have been able to scatter them throughout the other blocks.

Oh well, back to the red scraps, cut cut cut......
a bit of sewing, and I had the last 26 blocks all ready to go. I should be able to finish these tonight, and then I can think about how to set them.

I'm making 120 blocks, but part of me is thinking that's not very large, and I do have more green scraps so I could keep going.. It all depends on whether I have a border or not. Decisions, decisions.

I put the blocks I've finished on the design wall in this configuration, which is how the quilt in Bonnie's post was made.Now I can't decide which I like better, these zigzags or the block in my previous  post..

Instead of stewing about it I'm going to sew the last blocks together and then play around with various settings.  A Barn Raising might be nice too. Or I could make two smaller tops.

Stay tuned.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

I've made thirty of my Blue Chains block, so I'm ready to set that together, but I've allowed myself to be sidetracked.

I've been making red and cream HST for a Split Nine Patch for most of this year, and this little box had over 400 stacked inside, (which should be more than enough I hope!)

Bonnie showed a picture of a red and green top on one of her posts and I thought it would make a lovely Christmas quilt.

Jo from Jo's Country Junction is having a UFO challenge to finish a project before Bonnie's new mystery comes out. I don't know whether it's supposed to be a Bonnie pattern, but  this seems as good a time as any to move this to the front of the queue.

Out came the green scraps,  light, medium and dark, and I've been cutting bricks and squares, enough to make 100 blocks to start with.

Having the HST already made means this is flying along, I've made 50 blocks already and I'm beginning to wonder if I need to go back to the red scraps as well. I do love cutting out fabric, especially when I can use up so many scraps in one pattern.
But in some ways it's quite annoying that I can say "No yardage was harmed in the making of this quilt".....When am I ever going to get to cut into the real stash?


Sunday, October 18, 2015

 This block is so simple and versatile, I think it will become a favourite to use up scraps.

I quite often use an Easy Angle ruler to cut half square triangles, but in this case it made more sense to use 3 7/8"  squares.

I cut my strips about 4 1/4" and trimmed a 3 7/8" square first, and then I cut two 2" strips. Those strips were cut into four 2" squares, and that's it.

 If you layer a light 8 1/4" piece and a dark one you can cut the whole block out at the same time, a nice time saver. (I would of course lay them right sides together but the  blue piece had a white back and didn't show up properly for the photo)

I like to leave a bit of wiggle room when cutting like this- I could use a 4" strip, but somehow trying to make two 2" cuts always leaves one a little short. It's easier to have the extra to play with.

There are so many ways you can use these units together, if you reverse the darks and lights it becomes a Jewel Box block...

(which is much more  effective with scraps I have to admit)

 I also realised that Bonnies  Blue Ridge Beauty from Adventures With Leaders & Enders uses the same units in a different arrangement....use the link to see her hints on pressing.

 or what about a plain old Anvil block?

That reminded me of a little quilt I made years ago, with a border of Broken Dishes blocks. I always meant to make a bigger version of this- perhaps I'll keep cutting out those blue scraps!


Thursday, October 08, 2015

 Recently I was looking through some older magazines, and came across this photo of a blue and white quilt.

I've been meaning to clean up my blue scraps, especially the non reproduction ones, so this seemed like  a good candidate. Each block is made of four smaller blocks, so all the little bits could be used as well as the larger pieces.

The instructions in the article were for an 11" block, but I changed that to 12" because it was easier.  I don't have a lot of white shirtings, most of them turned out to be cream but I think I'll have enough to make thirty blocks. If I run out I might have to raid Keryn's stash, it's handy having a backup.....


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Keryn has had  a Go Cutter for quite a while, and seems to have a lot of fun cranking fabric through it, making piles of strips and triangles. I appreciate it's efficiency  but up to now I've been willing to bumble along with my slower cutting methods. I actually like cutting, it's a sort of Zen activity for me which I find calming and very satisfying. All that fabric dealt with....Yeah! I look forward to cutting up scraps and putting them away, and since Keryn bought the Go cutter I've accepted the bits  leftover from her cutting sessions so we're both happy with the investment.

I did try piecing with some of the strips, but I found I had to use a really scant 1/4" seam, and the pieces didn't fit together with the bits I'd cut on my own. The cutting measurements really are exactly what they say they are, and I must have a little bit extra built into my pieces. I come up with a perfect final result, so it works for me, but I didn't like mixing the different cuts.

Then Keryn bought this die on the right, and I decided to give it another go. The whole block is cut out at once, so I can use my really scant 1/4" seam allowance throughout and not have to bother about adjusting it.

For each block you need two light rectangles and two dark, each measuring 6 3/4" by 7 3/4" so I got to work and cut a heap of them- that was tremendous fun and much fabric disappeared very quickly. Then I went round to Keryn's place and acquainted myself with the equipment!

I had to fiddle a fair bit to get the pieces cut smoothly, there were some bits that didn't quite get cut, or the edges were pushed into the foam and frayed when I eased them out. On Keryn's advise I tried all sorts of different things, more layers, less layers, changing which end of the die to feed through, and finally found the recipe that seemed to work best for my fabric. A sheet of junk mail on the bottom, 7 layers of material, another layer of paper and feeding the wider cutting shape in first. I really don't know the recommended practice, but this had the best results for me.

The first block I made was a little bit wrinkly in the centre, but the next one I trimmed each quadrant to 90 degrees before I sewed them together. There was a tiny bit of excess fabric in the middle- the outer edge was fine- and then it went together perfectly.

I'm aiming for 35 blocks, and I've got about half cut out, so this weekend I plan to have another cutting session and then pack this away as a kit to make in January when it's so stinking hot I won't want to iron piles of fabric and heat up the sewing room.

I might even look through my files of antique quilts and see if I can make one in another colourway. I've always adored this pattern and the ease with which I can cut out a whole quilt is certainly tempting....


Sunday, September 20, 2015

 Here are some photos of a customer's William Morris top I quilted about a month ago ( pattern by Michelle Hill).

I've done quite a few of these over the years, and even though they are labour intensive, they're always rewarding to  quilt. They look so spectacular afterwards it's worth all the ditch stitching!

I'm pretty sure I'll never make one, but that's ok because plenty of other  people are. I picked up another top yesterday in a different pattern, so I'm looking forward to finishing that.

Sorry for the poor lighting in the photos, I was trying to get the quilting to show up.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

  We seem to have all come down with colds or other ailments.  I spent two days looking after Izzy when her parents were sick, which means I'm behind with customer quilting now. I'll have to put some extra hours in there, and it means I can't sew on my own projects as much as I want to. Keryn and I still have the awful cold that lingers on and on, it doesn't seem right to be coughing and sniffing when it's beautiful spring weather outside.

   I finally got back to this little top when I felt a bit more human.  I found a heap of four patches in the container of little blocks and decided to enlarge the centre by adding two rows around the square in squares. It almost has the effect of a border, subtle but effective.

Then I added a 1 1/2" light strip, a 3 1/2" blue strip, and nine patches in the corners.

I wasn't sure about the corner treatments, as the top isn't symmetrical. I decided to just go with it, they balance each other even if they aren't mirror images. (There's probably a term for this sort of symmetry but I can't remember it.)

I can live with it!

I was successful in using up all the blue fabric, I have just enough to do the binding and then it will be out of my stash. I enjoy making small tops for a change, it's nice to see a finish after some of the large projects I've been working on.


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