Saturday, January 16, 2016

I'm busy making bright, cheerful Sister's Choice blocks, and enjoying the happy fabrics.  I have 35 completed, and another 7 to sew together this afternoon.

 I keep going back to my usual favourites, but they are so dingy compared to these fabrics that I can't include them.  I don't have a huge collection of brights, so I'm having to use fabrics three or four times, and that feels odd.  My Repro stash is so huge that I never have to repeat a fabric unless I want to. 
I'm struggling with the layout.  I kept seeing quilts on Bonnie's slideshows that are set edge to edge, and I wanted to make a quilt exactly like that.  But now that the blocks are on my design wall I want to fiddle with setting. 
I really dislike putting blocks right next to each other, all those seams form lumps and bumps that I'm not a fan of.  And all that cream irritates me for some reason.  So I tried a little sashing strip, just to see what it would look like.
I love this batik, but I don't have enough.  I have to start buying batik yardage, not just FQs.
I have many metres of this aqua/green print, and it's really pretty next to the green and purple blocks.  The coral and yellow blocks seem brighter next to it too.  I think I've decided to use 1.5" finished sashing; that will solve the problem of too many seam allowances in one spot, and it will bring even more colour into the quilt and the cream areas won't bug me anymore.  Sometimes the things I hate about a quilt have more effect than the things I love; I keep changing things until I don't hate it anymore, and then I discover that I love it after all.
There are lots of leftovers, so I need to choose another pattern to sew these into.  I'd like to completely use up a lot of these fabrics, and then I will be able to go shopping for some lovely modern prints.  I'm certainly shaking up the stash lately, and it's been fun.


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I don't really feel like getting stuck into the UFOs right now.  I feel like cutting up huge swathes of fabric and stocking the empty project boxes with new pieces.  It's mad to ignore all the existing projects, silly to pull out stacks of fabric and cut more and more strips, insane to plan three new quilts.  But it's also fun, and the only thing that's keeping me in the sewing room lately.
I've cut the background pieces for 35 Sister's Choice blocks,

and I've made four complete blocks (just to test my measurements).

Everything is spot on, so I can get busy cutting up scraps and kitting up the 56 blocks I want to make.  They will be set edge to edge, no sashing, so it will be a decent size quilt but not enormous.  56 blocks should make a dent in the scrap containers.

I'm going to make all the star point units first, then all the nine-patch centres, so it will be simple to use the pieces as leader-enders.  It's what makes Bonnie's mysteries so easy to put together; all the units are made, it's just a matter of arranging them into blocks and sewing them together.

When I was visiting Mereth's sewing room I saw some brown nine-patches lying on a scrap of the blue fabric I used for my Sister's Ninepatch.  The blue and brown looked wonderful together, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.  I really miss having nine-patch blocks ready to sew, and the obvious thing to do was to start cutting up brown scraps.
I went through the stash drawers and pulled out anything that was smaller than a FQ, or anything that was seriously old and needed to be dealt with.  The cream and white fabrics have blue prints on them, and are another section of the stash that needs to be whittled down.  A few pieces were sent through the Go Cutter, subcut into squares and I sewed up a trial block.
This is going to be fun.  At the moment I don't know whether I will keep making larger blocks like this, or if I will just set the 3" blocks with the blue fabric.  Can't stop to make decisions, got to keep cutting while the mood is upon me.  And to think I used to hate nine-patches!
I've written these new projects into my spreadsheet for 2016; my project tally is 23, not so many after all.  I think my goal for this year is to finish 16 tops, which sounds perfectly reasonable this early in the year.  It's a fun number to aim for anyway.


Sunday, January 03, 2016

This morning I photographed some of my UFOs and sorted out the boxes and labelled everything.  It certainly helps to know exactly how many there are, and where they are.

I had this many project boxes,
but further investigation showed that three of them only contained collections of fabric for future projects; I found small tubs for the fabric, and now I have three empty boxes.  While I'm cleaning up I will probably find more UFOs tucked away, so there will be a home for them in one of these square boxes.
    1. This floral Stack&Whack is ancient, about 12 years old.  It would only take a day to finish the rest of the blocks, I should slot it in between bigger projects.
    2. Urban Abacus - this is something I'm really looking forward to, it will be one of the first projects I work on this year.
    3.  Batik Squares - not really a project yet, just cutting squares and stockpiling them for the next batik quilt
     4.  Madder Stars - had these on the design wall last year, and put them away for when I need a quick finish.  They are stacked in rows and ready to put together.
    5. Album blocks - ongoing project to use up reproduction scraps.  Love these blocks, but I don't feel in any hurry to get these into a quilt.
    6. Blue and green rosettes - sewing paper pieced hexies hurts my hands, so these will be made into runners or cushions, a little at a time.
     7. Tiny Nine-patches - these were made with charm squares last year, and I have a lot of them made.
    I ran out of charm squares, and other things took precedence.  I'll have to get back to these, they were a lot of fun.
    8.  Octagon blocks - I have all 30 made, just need to organise the sashing. And come up with a name for the blocks.
    9. Pretty tumblers - started cutting these on a whim, and when I have enough I'll lay them out on the design wall, then stack them in rows next to the machine and use them as leader enders.
    10. Red and blue sampler blocks - I'm enjoying them, but have no idea where I'm going with them.
     11.  Blue and brown blocks - I adore these, don't know why I stopped sewing on them.  I have heaps of pieces cut, and the sashing already in the box.
    These should be high on the To-Do list.
    12. Not really a project - all the scrap ends of 2 & 2.5" strips, sewn together in long chains.  These will make scrap borders or sashing one day, but for now they are leader-enders.
    There are other projects around, but these are the ones in the boxes on display.  The other UFOs are hidden away, and they can stay that way for now.  I have plenty to be doing already.


    Friday, January 01, 2016

    Happy New Year to everyone, I hope we're all ready for a great year ahead of us.  I'm enjoying 2016 so far, all 2 days if it.  I'm finally done with all the commitments, and there's some sewing time planned for the rest of the weekend.

    Christmas was a bit of a blur, after celebrating the day with family here I travelled down to Adelaide to spend some time with DD and family.  There was no traffic on the roads, it was wonderful not to have to look out for dodgy drivers.  Shonny lives on the northern edge of  Adelaide, so a few minutes drive away it's country.  I can go visit her without any city traffic at all, which is wonderful.  Her place is two minutes drive from both Bunnings and Spotlight, it doesn't get much better than that!
    We went to Spotlight on Sunday and I bought a few things.  There wasn't much patchwork fabric that I was interested in, but I did get some rayon and linen pieces for clothing.  I used to enjoy making most of my clothing, and I hate shopping for clothes anyway.  I'll have a play with this stuff and see if I still like sewing garments.

    It's been nasty and hot, so I haven't felt like being in my sewing room with no a/c; today is much cooler though, so I came in from the farm very early, before the sun was even up, and started putting borders on this quilt.

    It caused me a lot of trouble, being as I had to match the pattern, and I barely had enough for all four borders.  I've used this toile  for another quilt's borders, and Mereth used the remnants from that, and now every last scrap is gone. This is the first finish for 2016, and I'm very pleased with it.  ONE of the red and blue quilts finished at last.

    I'm still wanting to make a Sister's Choice like Bonnie's; I'm making blue and red ones, but that's not the same.  I want something cheerful and scrappy like hers.
    I may have started cutting sets of blocks from my modern scraps.

    There have been so many bushfires this season already; one of DD's workmates lost everything, the only thing that was saved was her dog.  One of Helen's friends lost his whole house and farm, he has nothing left.  I'm going to concentrate on actually quilting a lot of my modern tops so that I can offer them to people in need.  If I have a selection then it's more likely they will see one they really like.  I love making my quilts, and sometimes that's enough; I don't need to own the quilt forever.  I've never regretted gifting a quilt in the past, so I want to do more of it in future.

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