Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spot the difference

Day One of the Term Three Holidays...
Weather: Raining
Health: Everybody sick in some way or another.

Although progress has been a bit hit and miss... photographic evidence does help.
Spot the difference in these photos:

Just like those old Pantene adds, it might not happen overnight... but it will happen!  The jumbo-sized blocks are growing.

And spot the difference with these ones...

This is called last minute disco dressing up for an underwater theme... thank heavens for left over face paint...

We have a new quilt on the bed: Star Crossed.

This was a quilt I designed for a magazine submission, so was top secret for quite some time.  Then I had a friend who quite liked it, so I was hesitant to use it incase it was going to be sold.  When that fell through, it disappeared into the pile of finished projects.  What do I love most about this quilt?  Probably that because of the variety of backgrounds used it catches the light... sort of looking like it is permanently placed under a tree with the sun filtering through the leaves... Was this planned?  No, just a happy coincidence and unlikely to be repeated successfully.  Also, this quilt was made entirely from stash.  I am both proud and somewhat embarrassed by this.  Did this BUST the stash?... NO it would appear not :o(  Do they ever?

The quilting was simple... stipple and spirals with a hint of hand quilting around the stars.

A moment of weakness and a Moda sale meant a new package arrived in my post box.  These were the stash builders... a variety of mostly monotone prints...

Some Bonnie and Camille florals to add to the mix in the Sugar Block Club BOM triangle production line...

And a few just because...
Do I have goals for these holidays?  I've been thinking about it, and haven't quite decided whether I am ready for goals yet.  Maybe, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Catch Up

What a week it has been.  Nadia and my husband went on their snow trip last week - so it was just me and Dylan (and the dog) kicking around home by ourselves.  Just another dynamic to get used to... a different split of chores and trying to make the time special for us as well.  And then there was the washing once they got back... well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but still...

I managed to get some sewing done, and some designing... so it was good all around.

Deciding to sew the Mosaic block for our VQR block swap was an interesting choice.  I find this style of block somewhat frustrating, regardless of how you sew the units, they never really fit together nicely, and resist pressing, regardless of how you try to press them.  Resewing some key intersections (every single frigging time) meant that it turned out OK in the long run (don't look too closely at those seams), but I won't be rushing to make a whole quilt out of this block.

 Monika finished up her version of this block... I do green...

Monika does yellow...

And through a random series of link clicks... I came upon this pattern and thought Eureka!  So I have a plan for a plan, for when the other plan is finished...

A free pattern from Bonnie Hunter
 When I made this pretty block from the Sugar Club BOM, I thought it would be a great block to repeat... and add sashing and cornerstones to make a churndash style secondary pattern...

A bit of a play with EQ7 and I have the starting idea for a new little girls quilt.  Funnily enough Dylan saw it and asked if he could have it in Halloween colours, and I could just imagine it in citrine greens with grey (sort of bright but quite modern and masculine at the same time)... he wasn't at all put of by the flowerlike block centres... it is probably all that "eye of the beholder" stuff.

Excuse the photo of the pre-folded piece of paper!

I'm still sewing triangles like they are going out of fashion, although not appearing to make any progress, and cutting more Starburst Cross blocks. I cleaned the fuzz out of my preferred piecing sewing machine... boy, it has been a while since I did that!  One good thing about my Brother is that you can clean all that stuff without having to unscrew the presser plate (is that the right name??) to get inside the drop bobbin, so I give it a whizz around every time I change the bobbin.  My Bernette is a bit more fiddley, so the cleaning is stretched out until it starts to make weird noises or the stitches come out a bit weird.  Naughty, naughty.  Do you have a machine cleaning regime?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Importance of Correct Nostril Placement

A bit of background history... every two years my kids primary school have a week long trip to the snow for the year 5 and year 6 students... this involves a whole heap of fundraising throughout the whole school.  This year it is Nadia's turn for the snow trip (which starts on Monday), and hence fundraising activities have taken over our lives where we have been able to assist.

Baking seems to be a year long activity... and baking for the big inter-school cross country running event meant double the planning.  Monday afternoon was spent baking the cookies, and then Tuesday was spent decorating them.  I had done these before, so I knew that they would sell the decorated cookies for $1 each... we made about 40, so well worth the effort.

We had piggies...

And cows...

Four boxes of the danged things...

Needless to report, they all got sold!

Sewing during the week was a bit of a washout... so Saturday has been my playing around day.

I cut another Starburst Cross quilt block.  It's funny that I almost never have yellow in my stash.  So I specially bought a few yellows a while back, just in case.  This was one of those yellows and it is just perfect.

So far the 4.5" units are pieced, but not joined to each other.

And the detail of the print.  Yum.

A handful of seams and I have my second finished Sugar Club Block jumbo sized.

I love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

... working on the chain... gang!

While it has not quite been a hive of activity, the sewing cave has been productive.

My Sugar Block Club BOM project is ticking along... so far one block is complete, one block has one final side needing its triangles applied, another block needs its first triangle border added, and another block is about halfway through it's borders being applied. Then there is the pile of blocks and triangles that are still awaitng something being done to them :o)

I finished sewing block nine... not my favourite, as it has turned out a bit big.. points will be cut off to make it the right size.

The Starburst Cross quilt is quietly gaining momentum.  This block has a bit of a quieter feel.

The star fabric is part of the range, while the pale teal is a stash addition.  Yummo!  I am officially in love with this text/post fabric.

And OK, I love these fabrics too.

This floral just reminds me of a 1950's housedress... not that I've ever actually seen a housedress, 1950's or otherwise.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

And so on...

Somehow starting a new project has helped unleash the floodgates of my patchwork creativity.  It's funny, because I was hesitant to start a completely new project in case I didn't maintain any interest in it... when in fact, a new project has helped spark progress in other existing projects.  Go figure.

So new project progress... I've cut a few new sets of stars, and got a few units pieced.  In my original block I pressed the corner triangle sections towards the triangle.  This resulted in units that didn't butt together - but instead once sewn, they merged and somehow crossed over.  Perhaps seeing the units before sewing would help illustrate what I obviously can't verbalise:

Sewn together, the units intersect and if you hit that magic 1/4" sweet spot, the two pieces match perfectly.  This seemed to be working fine, and I had sewn a second block before I realised that the problem would be with joining the blocks together - where the grey triangles met, and both were pressed in the same direction.

Two options here - either press half the blocks with the triangle seams away from the triangle, or press those seams open.  Option number two was the choice of the day.

And the view from the back with the open seams... looks very streamlined.  I haven't finished this trial block yet, but from the seams sewn so far, there are 5 perfect out of 6.  One was a bit dodgy, but permissible.

Also on the agenda has been my  Amy Gibson Sugar Club block BOM.  I have been busyish sewing triangles to add to the setting/sashing, but haven't sewn any of the actual blocks in ages.  Time to remedy that - after all, with my new setting idea I only needed 9 blocks so that was two more than what I had.

I really like this block :o)  I could imagine it made with charm squares as the centres, and then something a bit modern in the corners - maybe a mix of greys, so that when you set it with sashing and corner stones, you'd end up with a churn dash design happening as a secondary pattern.  Oh yeah, I can picture it now.  Luckily I don't seem to have any suitable charm packs waiting for new adventures...

I've done something screwy and have a bit of bowing in a couple of seams.  Oops... hopefully being sewn together will help it to behave.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What, August already?

So the school holidays came and went... as did the first week back at work/school.  I celebrated another birthday... and spent a delicious morning stitching at my favourite patchwork shop, and doing a touch of fabric shopping.

So, something new on the drawing board.  I've been feeling like I need some repetitive sewing, something going on in the background of all the sampler blocks I've got cluttering my work space.

Starburst Cross Quilt Pattern by Sew Crafty Jess.

This particular pattern has been sitting around for a while, and I even had the idea of using a particular fat quarter bundle of Adornit fabric that had also been sitting around for a while.  Well at least since 2014 when it was on my WIP list as fabric without a project.  I think that using fabrics from one range will lend itself to this quilt pattern quite well.

I really like the depth of the pattern in the fabrics... much more than just a simple design.

So, I've started.  To make the quilt square, I have added another 5 fabrics from my stash to the original 20 fat quarters, and bought a lovely soft grey Bella Solid as the background.  I also plan to add a wide plain border to bring the quilt size up to about 72" square. 

I also wanted to experiment with alternative construction methods to the stitch and flip corner triangle method and have trialed using paper templates for the odd shaped pieces.

Block One done and dusted.

My initial concerns about this block included the matching of the star points and the corner units.  Damn those pesky diagonal seam convergences... but so far so good - they are behaving themselves.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Global Warming Perhaps?

After reporting on my glacial speed, sewing my VQR blocks... I am pleased to report there has been a bit of a surge in productivity. 

My tilted star block.  You'll be interested to know that each star point section is identically paper pieced, and then attached to the central square using a partial seam.  Very clever.  This block still have the paper on the back which somewhat explains the ripple effect...

OK - this block looks way complicated... but kinda cool.  This had paper pieced sections added onto the central cross.  Of course, there may be someone who constructed their one a bit different from the instructions.

And just out of interest, this is Monika's block (on top) and my block (underneath) just to illustrate how the secondary pattern looks.  Even with completely different colour placement you can see how it combines to create this sort of nine patch in the block intersections.  Wouldn't this be an ideal scrap buster?  [To be honest I think sewing those blocks together would probably make me shit my pants go insane.  This is probably the best thing about sewing a sampler - you never have to worry about sewing multiples of the blocks together.]

And this is the project in the book using the same block with much simpler colour placement.  [Although I do wonder if you couldn't achieve the same look with a much easier block.]

I got this block finished.  I must admit to thinking this was a somewhat weird block.

Now that I've sewn it - I have changed my mind and am growing to love it.  Might just be the green fabrics with that lovely soft grey...

And this is the quilt project in the book.  I don't know... it still looks kinda weird.  This layout had a slightly different colour in the second-fourth columns... but looking at it together, I think you could have fun with the greater scheme of things, and how the design creates larger squares, maybe creating some kind of overlapping colour illusion.  Sounds technical - I think I'll just stick with the green block I've made.

In other news, I spent a great morning with my old Friday patchwork ladies... and spent some time hand quilting on my Constellations quilt.  Man, a week later and my hands have only just finished aching... which makes me wonder about the hand pains I was experiencing early last year, when I even got to the point of having x-rays to check whether I had arthritis in my hands.  I suppose one good point of not doing a lot of sewing is that my hands have been a lot less achey.

OK, I think that brings me up to date.  Hope you have enjoyed the progress...