Monday, January 15, 2018

The Never Ending Puzzle

Making blocks for the Friends and Whanau quilt is a bit like working on a puzzle that you don't know what it looks like or what size it is!  It is a real time waster because I spend ages stressing about whether to do this block, or that... or whether to use this fabric or that... and whether the finished block should go here... or there...  I finally figured out I just needed to sew some blocks and see what started to happen, and not get so caught up in what was "the absolute best possibility".  The worst that could happen is that the odd block might not get used... I can live with that!

I really liked how this grouping of blocks looked with the filler strips.  It includes two 12" blocks, a 10" and an 8".


I quite like this section too... with an 18" block taking up some serious space.


And slowly it starts to grow...

I decided to frame some of the blocks too... just for a different way of putting sections together.


Although it doesn't really have a place yet.


Definitely a slow but very interesting process.  I am loving having full access to my lovely design wall!


I have also been making progress on the baby quilt.  I have always struggled with straight line quilting, but decided to edge stitch along the grey sections following the edge of the walking foot... while I don't have any puckers, it is still not one of my strengths.


I decided to use this greeny/gold Invisifil thread to FMQ the striped sections.  It blends into all of the patterned fabrics, especially those with gold overlay!


Just a simple stipple but it works well for this situation.


From the back.

And my new FMQ station in use.  We bought a new blind so that this area is a bit more streamlined.


A mammoth road trip with Monika to The Apple Basket patchwork shop resulted in some new fabric purchases.  Mammoth because it is a 2hr plus drive one way!  With two kids!  Who were well behaved but I was completely knackered by the time we got home.

I am pretty sure this is Grunge Dots... I have a cunning plan for a finished quilt that I want to refinish and add some new borders.


A couple of Sweetwater Authentic FQ pieces, plus a cute cat/dog? print that just absolutely had to come home with me.

These were in the specials bin.


And I just loved these pieces together.



No idea what to do with it but I must cut it up pronto.


And these slightly larger bits were also on special.  These ones are just itching to be added to my stash.


My little Authentic collection is growing.  I need to start looking at some patterns that use charm packs.


I bought a couple of shot cotton FQ's from Spotlight...


And some of the necessary evils...


With work starting back again, I am finding my sewing time is a prized commodity.  Even though I am mostly just working mornings... the afternoons turn incredibly hot so not so conducive to sewing in a tin shed.  Oh well... summer will be over before we know it and then I'll be complaining about it being too cold.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What I'm up to at the moment

Living in the country we have had all sorts of animals randomly turn up in our back yard.  The other afternoon it was a turkey and it's babies!


This is the view out our bedroom window.  We only own this piece with the fruit trees on it - the surrounding paddocks belong to the neighbours and do occasionally have cows in them.

Progress is being made in "Operation Reorganize the Sewing Cave".

I have a new FMQ area...

And a new setup for piecing.

The stash cupboard is all beautiful and organized again (although I should go through the fat quarters in the bins and make some sort of sense of them...).  The shelves towards the top have pieces larger than a fat quarter, and the bottom shelf holds larger yardage, as well as other substrates.


These are my bulk scrap bins and a shelf of projects waiting to be FMQed, and look... a spare shelf.  Coincidentally I have more projects to add to that FMQ pile so guess what is going to fill this space!


Unfortunately the other side of the sleepout still looks like this - although I have emptied out the dresser, and when it stops raining, it will be moved into Dylan's room, which will go a long way to clearing this room up.


And although I cleared away most of the fabric stash, I still seem to have a whole counter full of other stuff!   I have been transferring WIP's into the fabric boxes held on the white shelf units, and right down the end I have sorted my collection of patterns and assorted bits of paper printed and collected over the years.


My hubby is the best.  He bought home these packing containers that were going to be thrown out (in the background you can see my mini scrap storage containers).


Unfolded they look like this.


And after a little bit of time they turned into a cool shelf!  These are mostly filled with scraps awaiting sorting at the moment, but I'm not planning on this being permanent.  I am also planning to return the freezer to my main cutting zone as it is the perfect height.  Next he is going to make me another shelf - one with more shelves which "we" will attach to the wall above the large bench, to hold a myriad of small objects.


Last year was the year of the Epic Quilt.  And I made really good progress on two massive projects.  I'm wondering if this should be the year of the Sampler Quilt.

Amongst my sorting out - I uncovered this project from a few years ago.  The Friends mystery stitchery by The Country Yard, which came with a relatively simple quilt layout.


Of course, I decided to make a whole heap of other blocks and make it way more confusing... and put it away for another day... or rather... year.

The pieced blocks so far.  I started making these when I was feeling a bit blah about quilting, and found the low commitment of making single blocks was quite therapeutic.


The exciting thing is, is that with my new sewing space layout, the design wall is completely free of clutter - and I had figured out that I needed to lay this quilt out to be able to keep it balanced, but also make sure that the key blocks were going to be towards the centre of the quilt (on the bed top) as opposed to hanging over the edge of the bed.  Part of the reason it sat around for so long.

So I measured out roughly where an 80x80 square would sit - and measured about 10" in on the sides and marked the centre, and started placing the major blocks.  This is also where I figured out I will need a whole heap MORE blocks!


But on the positive side I have now pieced a central panel which is 24x31"!


I altered one of the original stitched blocks to better represent our family at the time (whanau means family in Maori).  [I still have the spotty gumboots, but Dylan now wears the same size as hubby, and Nadia's feet are way bigger than mine and I don't think she would be caught dead with gumboot with flowers on them!]


So this quilt is now our Whanau and Friends Quilt.

Now to make eleventy million other blocks... oh, and finish tidying up :o)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the start of a new year!  I feel like I should have lots of plans, and be organised and have lists and words... but somehow I'm not quite ready to start thinking about those things yet.

Before the end of the year, I did manage to get my RSC quilt top sewn together.  This had stagnated somewhere around the "pink" month... and even though I only had 6 blocks to get finished, I found it quite hard to get enough motivation to finish these up.  Of course, once I had started, it was easy to finish off and get this top done.

I have since added a 5" black border to the sides making it 62x82"

Adding in a few pink blocks helped to tie in the pink elements included in the "multicoloured" blocks.

I also made some "neutral" blocks with black/white and grey fabrics.


Needing to make another baby quilt - for a teeny tiny baby girl this time, I picked up my Growing Up Modern book by Alison Harris.


I have always liked this Breezy quilt, but it had never quite worked out before.


Using a bundle of 21 x 3" strips in a mix of purple, blue and turquoise (leaving out the raucous green with gold overlay ones *shiver in horror*), I laid the strips out in a soft gradient and altered the cutting instructions from the 2.5" cut strips in the pattern, to suit the 3" ones I had on hand.  I also used the full width of the strips, making a quilt 50" wide, and added a plain border top and bottom making it about 64" long.  A generous baby quilt size.


The fabrics are pretty, but not my style at all.  I have had this bundle for at least 8 years (before I learnt that being a fabric club member was not my thing)... and figured one day I would find the perfect project for it.  Looks like 2018 was that time!  Plain grey and navy homespun created the ideal highlights.




And I found a piece of floral fabric to use as the basis for the backing...


... which along with a few other fabrics will make a backing big enough, and pretty enough also.


In other news, I have been reorganising my sewing shed... moving large furniture items, which meant taking out all the stuff in those large furniture items first!  Including my fabric stash...


Some of the furniture has been temporarily jammed into the sleepout...


But we managed to get things shifted around, and now I just need to clear off the surfaces and fine tune the storage of all those other little bits and pieces we seem to collect.