Monday, January 31, 2022

My Mad Piecing effort

Keryn talked about MAD piecing in this blog post when she was lamenting all the bits of progress she was making on many projects. Her idea was to make a difference - (MAD) - to one project by making a concentrated effort to move it along. I was searching around for one of my projects to give it a hurry on, and instead fell down another rabbit hole.

For the last two years I've made promises on my yearly to-do list that I would find a pattern to use a container of dark grey scraps which had accumulated seemingly without any effort on my part. It's not a colour I'm drawn to but the trimmings from customer quilts, scrapbags from the opshop and other gifts meant that I had quite a collection. I could have just passed them on I suppose but I really thought I could find a use for them, if I just found the perfect design. 

Also on my list to be dealt with was a cheddar/yellow group of scraps that weren't reproduction and that I wasn't wedded to. I have a drawer full of lovely authentic repro fabric in this colour that I would use if I wanted to make a serious quilt. Is this an odd attitude, leaving my gorgeous yardage in the drawer and fussing about scraps that I didn't even choose? It drives Keryn nuts but I seem fascinated by the concept of just using what is there. I  can't give up on the scraps, it seems.

I'm a member of a facebook page called QuiltHistorySouth and they recently had a discussion about cheddar in old quilts. One of the photos depicted a four-patch quilt using black AND cheddar, as well as some shirting and plaids. I could substitute the dark grey for the black, and use both lots of lingering scraps.

Over three days I've had a blast, decimating both containers to the point that I might have to start using a strip or two from the regular stash. The shirtings are from opshop shirts which is another section of the stash that I'm gradually whittling away. I feel so virtuous, and even though the result is not particularly attractive it will be functional and has a more masculine feel to it.

I have fifty or so blocks made and pinned to the design wall and I'll be making more four patches to replicate some of the darker areas of the quilt. Unfortunately I virtually have to use a spotlight to get any sort of picture of my design area so it's not as washed out as my photo makes it.

I just hope my enthusiasm carries through to actually making a top but at the very least I can say I've made a difference to those grey and yellow scrap containers.


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Stuff just vanishes..

After I had finally found my missing blocks I thought I could have a very quick finish for 2022 by whipping up this simple little top. I nearly had it in one piece when I ran out of the white setting fabric.

Now I've been reading Becky of Quilted Twins fame and I was taken by the fact that she sometimes uses sheets as her white fabric, acres of material all the same and plenty to waste without worrying about running out. No need to try and match different whites or creams, wonderful!!

So when I found a new set of lightly patterned cotton sheets in our opshop I bought them with this in mind, and promptly cut up one pillowcase to make these blocks. Yep, this is working well, until..... I lost the sheets! I'd gone as far as I could with the setting and needed just a few more strips but I couldn't find the double bed size sheets anywhere. They make quite a large bundle and I've searched everywhere I can think of. Having just pulled the sewing room apart trying to find the blocks I knew that such a large pile couldn't be hidden there. Grr!

I can only wonder if I took them to the workshop (to iron perhaps?) and they've been swallowed by one of the mounds of stuff there. In my trip to the opshop I found another pillowcase of the same design, so I'll use that to finish the top, and then I'll promptly find the sheets I suppose.

When I was putting the pieces back on the design wall I noticed this...

The edge block is in backwards, argh. So I have to unpick this and resew it before I can set the rest together. I'm not happy with this poor little top, through no fault of it's own. I think it was a design from maryquilts

 It is a very nice easy pattern to sew, when everything else goes smoothly.


Sunday, January 09, 2022

Home time

 On Boxing day I woke up with a slightly scratchy throat and wondered if I was getting a cold. Sometimes air conditioning over night gives me that feeling but next day I knew I had 'symptons.' I wanted to get tested for covid but our local centre was shut for the public holiday, so I decided I would isolate (which they'd tell me to do anyway) until I could get a test and the results. 

Four days later I had a negative result, as well as a hacking cough, but I have to say it was a very enjoyable home stay. Somehow, between helping with the pirie family, quilting for others, shopping for family members, appointments and working a couple of other obligations I hardly ever have a day at home to myself. Even on weekends I'm often playing catch up, running between the workshop or family commitments. 

So the prospect of time at home was just amazing, and as I didn't feel too bad apart  from the cough  I decided to sew up some little blocks I'd finished earlier, as a last minute finish for 2021. Do you think I could find them? Nope, nowhere to be seen.

This resulted in the biggest, most thorough sewing room clean up in years. I literally looked in every box, every container, every bag, drawer, cupboard, tub and tin. It was wonderful, knowing I couldn't go out and I could make this big mess and sort and purge and consolidate knowing that I had hours and hours, nay days to do it in. It seemed like a gift, and the ongoing organising of my space has continued to make me happy. 

Once I finished in the sewing room I moved into other parts of the house and it was great filling up the wheelie bin and the local donation bins; what a wonderful start to the year! I think I'll aim for this every year after Christmas and New year.

But did I find the blocks? No, not until this morning when I was bemoaning the fact to Keryn and wondering where they could be. I was searching for something else in a drawer, I picked up another set of blocks at the bottom and there they were cowering out of sight. Grrr, I'd looked in that drawer so many times before, but I didn't completely empty the contents. Lesson learned, hopefully.

Another lesson is that it shouldn't take the threat of having a dangerous virus to make me stay home and carve out some time for myself occasionally. This week or so of home time has been precious and restoring and I need to make it a regular part of life.


Friday, January 07, 2022

2021 wrap up

Blue square in squares

In 2021 I finished ten tops, none of them very big. I made dozens and dozens of blocks for various projects, but a lot have become stuck on the choices for borders and settings. I cut a huuuge amount of material and 
scraps up, but I don't count it until it's a finished top, so there are no figures for that.

Green album

Cobblestone corner

I finished this top with a small border, but never got a photo of it because it was such a hassle getting it back up on the design wall.

flannel staircase in repros

flannel improv scraps

baby flannel staircase 

Shirting four patch

I also finished a little cross baby quilt.

baby cross

pastel 16 patch

Jewelbox star

I spend a minimum of four hours in my sewing room every day, not all of that at the machine, but lots of cutting, sorting, designing, musing. It's more than my happy place, it's my sanctuary and I love it. I hope to spend just as much time there in the future, but it's not really about the productivity and how many tops I get done. It just makes me happy and centred to be in my room, pottering away.


Monday, January 03, 2022

 I finished my leftovers top and it goes into the quilting pile. 

The maroon border was from the binding of a customer quilt and the William Morris fabric came from two long strips torn off a backing. There wasn't enough to go all the way around- the two little pieces to the side are all that was left after I'd finished. Just squeaked it out by putting little blocks in the corners, but it looks ok. I'll trim the sides down before it's quilted.

This was the tenth top I completed for 2021, I hope to do better this year!


Sunday, January 02, 2022

Happy New Year! I had a lovely Christmas visiting the Adelaide family and I finished my first jigsaw and have polished off a few books. I'm doing lots of sorting and cleaning and throwing out, and it seems  a good way to start the year. Onwards!



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