Saturday, May 31, 2014

These blocks first appeared on the blog here,  in 2008; then I lost enthusiasm for them and they languished in a basket.  I had another go at finishing them in 2011, but that didn't take either.  It took another 3 years of 'maturing', packed away on the shelf, before I decided what to do with them.  I love making this block, it's so easy and effective, and great for scraps.  I must love it, as I have a set of multi-coloured ones as well.

I sewed all the pieces together quite happily, but now the border is being difficult.  I know I want it done quickly, but something in me just loves to fuss with options and details and maybes.  Nothing is ever simple once I get in this mood, but instead of fighting it I should just power through it, choose one thing and then get it DONE!

It's a long narrow quilt, 50 x 70", which I don't like, but I want it to actually fit a single bed, so I'm not going to make it too wide.  It needs a border to finish it off and bring it to a useable size, but the question is whether to make it a dark border, or a light border, or something in between.  Pieced?  A single fabric?  Long scraps of different blues?

I remembered a zigzag border I made for another quilt;

being me, I cut out a whole border, sewed most of it together and then decided it was too dark for the quilt.  Then I bought a more suitable blue, and used that to make a whole other border. 
The rejected bits are still waiting for the right quilt, and I thought this one might be it.  However, I think it's a bit heavy, and a bit too spiky. 
All those zigzags seem to fight with the centre blocks.  I love the border, just not on this set of blocks; I think it will look good on another indigo quilt I've started, so I'll put those two together and see if it's a match made in heaven.

I tried various  blue and white prints, but they didn't appeal.
 There is an equal amount of dark blue and light neutral fabrics in the blocks, so I started thinking about fabrics that have the same mix of light and dark.  This coverlet print seems to work;
it's not blue and it's not neutral, and I like the large scale of the print.

Hmmmm, what to do with the dozens of triangles left over from the blocks?
Maybe turn them into scrappy Flying Geese and make a little border?
I like this, even though I'll have to make a lot more of them to go all the way round the quilt.  But whatever happened to my quick-fix UFO finish?  I'll be making HSTs for the rest of the weekend, and puzzling over how I'll get that border print to go round the corner nicely.    I must love a challenge, because I keep setting them for myself.  I might learn a lot from solving these puzzles, but I haven't yet learned how to slap something together and call it done.  I need lessons in that.....


Monday, May 26, 2014

Finally!  A cool rainy day has arrived, and I'm excused outside chores.  Mereth and I have been constructing a paved entrance to our workshop, and I've been shovelling and crawling around on hands and knees for a couple of days. The actual paving took about 30 minutes, it was the preparation that took so much time and effort.  We're using all the second-hand pavers we can find, so that will save a trip into town to get more; it might not be pretty, but it's better than the weeds and dirt that was there before.

Nothing more can be done while it's raining, so I'm going to hit the sewing room and get some fabric running through the machine.

Of course Dolly helped with the paving; every time I turned around she was lying on her back on the newly levelled crusher-dust, or chasing her tail and spreading stuff everywhere, or trying to crawl under my arms as I lowered pavers into place.  Very helpful indeed.  
The pile of crusher-dust was apparently very comfortable, and a good place to survey her domain.

There's a lot more to do, but it will wait until the rain moves on.

I went a bit stir-crazy yesterday.  I've been working on the vintage hexagons; I've been making more Flying Geese units and bagging them up into kits for the Wild Goose Chase blocks.  I've been tidying and sorting.  And NONE of it was going to lead to anything being crossed off my UFO list in the next month or so.  It drove me nuts.  
So,  I chose a set of blocks from the list, made a very snap judgement about the setting and was off and cutting.

I rummaged through my scraps and pulled out every dark blue and cream piece and sliced them into 2" strips, then joined them in pairs.  It didn't take long at all, and then I cut them into sashing pieces, and the parts for four-patches, and laid it all out on the design wall.  I'm glad it looked good, because I really didn't have a Plan B.
This morning I pressed and trimmed all the blocks, and cut out pieces for a few more; I want to spend this afternoon sewing it all together.  I needed a quick fix, and this is it;   Once it's done I'm sure I will be able to go back to my snail's pace on the other projects.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

I decided to be brave and tackle the pressing of my vintage blocks. The most annoying thing about it is that for every seam pressed correctly, the iron nudges four other seams in the wrong direction. To counteract that, I borrowed Mereth's mini iron, which has a 4" sole plate. It was perfect for the job, only pressing the seams I wanted it to. There's no steam either, so no burnt fingers.

I ironed it with the big iron afterwards, on the right side, and now it looks nice and tidy. I've pieced another row, so once that's joined I will have 3 done and another 6 to go.
 I know I'm making progress, but it's so Slow!  Once I have the rows of rosettes together I'll have to make some units to fill in the sides.  It will take months. I think I'll have to fit in a pieced UFO, something that can be finished in a week or so.  I need to go through the list and pick something quick.

We visited our friend Helen's farm last week and had a lovely morning tea, before a wander around the garden.  The crysanthemums were lovely this year, I bought another 6 to add to the 18 I already have.  There are so many varieties I don't have, all the lovely ornate old ones, so I'm going to keep collecting them whenever I see them.
 I have greenhouse envy!  A neighbour gave Helen this huge one, and she and her hubby loaded it onto the back of their biggest truck and brought it home.   I wish I had neighbours like that...
 Their are quite a few orphan lambs at this time of year, and Helen raises them in a pen next to the house.  To her hubby's amusement, they all have names.  They are awful cute at this age.
 Oh well, best go get into the garden while the weather is still nice; as soon as it gets colder I will be able to stay inside and sew all day, but while it's this lovely outside, I'd better make the most of it.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

My work commitments took over my life for the last fortnight, and I hardly had time to turn on the machine.  I left the Big Dipper quilt top on my design wall until yesterday, and it was a very nice place to rest my eyes, in between struggling over computer work and the like.  However, I'm caught up on most of my chores, so I am going to spend the afternoon doing whatever I want to.The weather is lovely, grey skies and given to little showers of rain; I may be able to get some garden time, and I'll save the sewing till after dark. This weather is perfect for weeding.

 I still don't feel any inclination to work on new projects, the UFOs are occupying my mind.

I've organised all the bits for the vintage hexagons so that I can work on them first thing in the morning, before I go to work, and then again just before bed.  There are hundreds of little 1" seams to sew, but I will get them done one at a time, no matter how long it takes.  It's been quite painless so far, but the pressing is going to be irksome.  I will have to make sure I do it as I go along, it would be horrifying to have to do it all at once when it's finished.

I've been making a few Flying Geese units for the Wild Goose Chase quilt, and there are a few more completed blocks;
I'm not loving it though, and I think it would be a shame to sew up all the pieces I've cut and not enjoy it, so I'm not pushing myself to work on them.  Their time will come.  That bit of lace on the design wall is there as inspiration for an applique border. It was in a scrap bag from the op-shop, I wish I had more of it.

Instead of sewing, I've been sorting fabrics and organising the stash so that it's easier to find what I want.  Now I just have to remember to put things away in their proper places.

A while ago I lashed out and bought three of Cindy Blackberg's quilt stamps, but I haven't had enough spare time to plan a quilt using them. 

I grabbed some charm squares and made this little LeMoyne Star, finishing 4.75" square. 
It's so cute, and was easy to sew; I will go through the scrap box and stamp the pieces for a few more blocks, while I think on a setting for them.  I would like to do a few doll and miniature quilts, and these little stars would be perfect for that.  I also bought the Tumbler and Pointed Tile stamp; they will be great to use up little scraps and charm squares.
My design wall now holds the blocks I was working on before the UFOs sidetracked me;  I'm sure I'll get enthusiastic again, if they are always in view.  I bought the fabric I wanted for the sashing a while ago, so when  I fall in love with them again, I'll be able to get them set together with no hassles.  Hopefully.

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