Thursday, August 27, 2015

 I was going through some fabric  the other day and putting stuff away when I found this old blue piece. It's so old I've forgotten it's origins and I suddenly thought "Get rid of it! Use it all up! Don't put any of it back in the drawer!"

I went to the container where I keep small blocks leftover from other quilts, or ones that I've made 'on spec', and pulled out these square in square units, that measure 3 1/2" unfinished. 

It seemed it was all meant to be; there was just enough of the blue to cut the setting squares, and the blocks were all used up except for three.

I was already planning to make another one and use them as corners for the border- the end was in sight until....
I opened a drawer to put away  some fabric and found another one and a half metres of the same material! Arghh! I'm determined that this is not going back into the stash, so I'll have to come up with an extended plan to use it. Even if it ends up on the back, I will use this up completely!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

You wouldn't believe how long it took me to figure out how to turn the corners on this top. It was the little 1/2" pieces that threw everything out of course- my brilliant ideas usually make things difficult for me at some stage. The maths worked out perfectly if I left the last strip off and just had another hourglass in the corner, so that's what I went with. Too much faffing around already, I was itching to finish with this project.

I haven't been able to hang it up to take a photo because we had a bright idea (we're full of 'em) to move the Statler in the workroom so everything is slightly chaotic and the quilt stands are pushed  into  a  corner for now. I actually have a couple of tops to show you, but no good photos.

Like this Pineapple Blossom from Bonnie's pattern that I started quite some time ago. I thought it was finished apart from the border, but when I pulled it out I decided to make it single bed size. I had to hunt up more scraps and piece a heap more blocks, and then I was still faced with what to do in the border. I didn't have quite enough of the pieced scrap triangles to go round the whole top, so I made some HST in pastel colours and finally I could call this done. I've even got the backing ready to piece, that feels pretty good.

In other news, here's a sneaky peek at grandchild number four. Rob and Elisa are having their third child in December, that will make for a fun Christmas!


Saturday, August 01, 2015

I hardly ever plan an entire quilt before I start sewing, unless it's a direct copy of an antique. Usually I get to the border and am overcome with indecision;  that's why so many of my tops stall at this stage. Sometimes I can't choose between two or more options that all look equally nice,; sometimes I don't like anything at all for that particular top. This  isn't the same as saying it doesn't need a border, these tops look 'unfinished' but nothing appeals to me.

All throughout the making of  the Ohio Stars top I thought I would use this idea, little hourglasses turned on point. Easy, and related to the actual block. What's not to like? Except I didn't like it, the pieced units were too small (2 1/2") and the dark triangles were overwhelmed by the light patches and gold surrounding strips.

Hmm, perhaps just the hourglasses sewed together in a strip.... Better, but they still got lost amidst everything else that was going on. By the time you take the seam allowance into account there was precious little colour showing up.

I didn't want to make bigger hourglasses or use another shape- Keryn liked this solution..

Yes, it looked OK, and I will file this idea away, but it didn't fit what I wanted for this top. Rather funny really, as I didn't have a clear notion of what I DID want, only what didn't feel right. This is an incredibly annoying way to work, but sometimes it's the only way I can make progress.

Finally I decided to add a tiny piece in between the hourglasses, to sort of extend that bit of dark triangle without actually making bigger units. I liked it, even though this meant I was cutting pieces that measured 2 1/2" by 1". That little strip is 1/2" wide when sewn into the border. It's hard to believe that such a tiny bit makes such a difference to the overall look, but it does.

I wasn't happy at the thought of cutting 1" strips from my fabric, especially when I wanted a lot of variety, and while I could use 2 1/2" strips, I didn't really want to nibble away at my usable lengths. However... I remembered years ago, when I was cutting up heaps of scraps I would cut the tiniest leftovers into strips, meaning to use them for applique stems, for tiny log cabins and piecing fabrics for applique as Susan McCord did. Experience has shown me I don't really like appliqueing straight stems and 1 1/4" is the smallest I want to go for log cabin blocks.

And yet, I still had the drawer of 1" strips. It was absolutely full, but by the time I weeded out all the brown bits it was decidedly emptier. I know I keep a lot of weird sizes of scraps, but every now and then it does prove useful. I doubt I'll convert anyone else to my ways, but in this instance I was glad of that long ago decision to cut these..

Mind you, I didn't keep the scraps from these little strips- I have to draw the line somewhere. They went straight into the bin!

Now I just have to finish piecing the extra hourglass blocks and piece the borders and work out the maths for the spacer borders and cut them out and sew everything together- shouldn't take me long!


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