Sunday, 7 February 2016

latest post

My latest post, re mum's blankets, published Saturday February 6 (Australian Eastern Daylight time) can be found over at my new blog:

Monday, 1 February 2016

moved to a new home

I've had too much hassle trying to post on Blogger and despite having my blog at this address for nine years, I have moved to a new site:

The site there is still under construction but please follow me to my new address.

See you over there.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

EQ7 beginners' class

Not a lot of sewing has been going in in my sewing room in the past week. WM and I were away last weekend with four other couples from church. We spent Saturday having some "couple time" and ate our evening meals (Friday and Saturday) with the other couples. It was wonderful to have time together, knowing there would be no demands made on us all day!

Otherwise, most of the time spent in my sewing room has been in either practising keyboard (I'm being groomed to accompany the worship at prayer meetings) or cutting up yet more piles of scraps. There are no photos, I think you've seen enough photos of cut scraps for a while!

Today I attended a five hour beginner's class in the use of EQ7 (Electric Quilt). I had a wonderful time, learning the basics of how the program works and a little of what can be done with it.

At the end of the day, the teacher challenged us to each work from a different photo of a tiled floor and create a quilt.

I don't have the original photo to show you but here are my creations as they were modified.

The original photo was "on point" and was quite complicated. My original attempt makes for something interesting but not at all like the original.The colours are a bit too wishy-washy for my taste.

The second image is much more accurate as to the pattern of the tiles with my modification of the colours. This quilt, in EQ7 as it stands, would be 110" square -- way too big for any quilt I intend to make in the near future! The octagons should be more prominent than they are in this layout!

This third quilt is getting closer to something I like, but still using variations of the original colours. This would be a mini quilt; it's only 30" square!

Finally, at home after dinner,  I came up with something I like and could use. I've changed the quilt to a size within the limits of our charity quilts (54" x 66") and changed the colours to something I think is much more appealing.

As I said, I loved the class and look forward to our "advanced" class in a few months time.

What have you been up to this week?

Friday, 8 January 2016

works in progress

The first week of January is almost done. It was as wonderful to have various family members visiting at Christmas and to visit other family members, but it seems a long time ago, despite being less than two weeks! Even New Year’s Eve seems longer than a week ago.

WM has returned to a normal work roster after a four-day weekend for Christmas and a three-day weekend for New Year. It’s summer here (although you’d never know it from the cool temperatures and rain we've had this week) so my quilting class is in recess until February. I've had lots of time in the sewing room and I've tried to make it profitable.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I spent many hours pressing, sorting, cutting and storing scraps. This is after a couple of days of that activity (the strips were cut specifically for the project mentioned further down this post):

Some of my tubs (shoe-box sized plastic containers) were getting very full; most notably the ones containing 2 1/2" squares, 3" squares and strings/strips of all sizes.

Before Christmas I began a “leader/ender” project that took over my sewing time. The project I had planned required me to make lots of HST units measuring 2.5”. That took care of the 3” squares – I still haven’t made enough and I'm running out of squares! So far I've made 320 units (I need 400) and trimmed 104 of them! They call to me constantly from the edge of my cutting table where I have them stacked in groups of twenty for ease of counting. Here are 200 stitched HSTs waiting to be trimmed!

The unused squares call to me every time I sit down at my sewing machine – they are right beside hard-working Jan waiting for the next time a leader’'/ender is needed.

In November, DD and the Grandboys came for a visit. They wanted to sew and decided on ‘spider webs’ so we began making monochrome 60° triangles from strings which we had first sewn into 8.5” squares. They, of course, did very little sewing and little progress was made. After they left, I cut up 144 x 9” strips (of various widths) in five colours –yellow, green, purple, blue and red. I wanted to see how it would work out and sewed all the yellow strips into blocks then cut the triangles. It didn't take me long to realise that we were, in fact, not making spiders webs but giant hexagons!

I looked at pictures on the internet and discovered that spider’s webs were made up of eight triangular units, not six; and that they were generally not made in monochrome fashion!

So, when DD and the family were again for Christmas, we made the decision to use the triangular shaped wedges in a different way; inspired by this pattern in the book Scrap Republic (by Emily Cier). Emily’s pattern is called “Slices”.

We are not yet sure how we will put the units together – that is still quite a way off. We have made all the yellow, green and purple triangles, leaving some of the red and blue ones (their favourite colours) for the boys’ next visit (probably April). Here is the stack of “wedges” we had prepared by the end of December.

The good thing is, because we made squares first them cut the 60° triangles, I have lots of ‘wedges’ left over – there will be almost enough for another small quilt!

Despite being ‘surrounded’ by these two works in progress, on Monday, my first day of sewing without any need to go anywhere or do something else, I returned to an almost forgotten UFO. I started Green Strips and Triangles in July 2014 but abandoned it as being too much trouble. I distinctly remember I couldn't work out how to make sure the strips were long enough to make the 10.5” (unfinished) squares I required. I didn't want to make the blocks QAYG but somehow, the strips never seemed to work! Time, of course, gives a fresh perspective. I realised in the wee hours of Monday morning that I could use foundation piecing to make the blocks and, if I used a wide strip on the centre diagonal, I could make an 11” square (I actually made them 11.25” to give myself a little leeway), I could then cut the white fabric into squares, sew 1/4” from the central diagonal then cut it into two pre-made squares! Why did I not think of that back in 2014? (Although I had made QAYG blocks on wadding/batting, I hadn't ever done foundation piecing on paper back then but now, having learned the technique, it made perfectly good sense!)

Alas, all that preparing foundations then tearing them away afterwards became such a time drain – I decided there had to be a better way. Eventually, I marked out a ‘template’ on my cutting mat and used that. It worked pretty well; not as well as the paper foundations I admit but I got the job done more quickly!

In 2014 I had made four blocks, two of them  wrongly! In three days this week, I made the other twenty-eight blocks I needed! Here are three of them in the setting I plan to use.

As I sewed and pressed and cut and sewed some more, I thought about how I will quilt it... The strips are easy; I'm pretty sure that will be straight line quilting, running parallel to the strips themselves. But what of that self-striped triangle -- what should I do there? I am not competent at FMQ and this is a donation quilt. On the other hand, it might be time to start practising!

What do you think?

I'm linking this post with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

at this festive time of year, it is customary to ....

Apologies for the misquote of Charles Dickens (from A Christmas Carol, my favourite work of fiction) used as a title!

At this time of year, many crafting  bloggers take this opportunity to review the year and summarise their achievements as well as state their goals for the coming year. I guess I’ll follow suit; I need to know that I have achieved something other than joining knitted strips together! I won’t bore you with my non-existent goals!

I wrote 24 blog posts – that sounds good, an average of two every month; but fifteen of those were in the first three months of the year!

In January, I finished four quilts that had been started by someone other than me.
In March, I completed an unfinished quilt that had been donated to our quilting group.
four patch   Triangle Flowers and Brights quilt    Kerrie's quilt finished   Scrappy Strings 2015   Kerrie's quilt 2 faded colours
I also finished a Bargello table runner that was completely my own work, from design to completion.
2014 blue Bargello top completed

During the rest of the year, I finished six of my own quilts, four of which were started and finished in the same year! I also completed one flimsy (also my own work).
green scrappy strippy finished   Jacobs Ladder finished   finished quilt front   finished quilt front
on design wall   finished quilt from front   2015 R2W flimsy
It’s not hard to see I’m a scrap quilter, is it?

I made a zipper pouch (in which I store stockings) and a snap-closed sunglasses pouch.
lingerie zipper pouch   sunglasses case

I knitted and gave the gift of a “Little Charley Bear” toy; and completed just one pair of socks! The second sock of another pair is on the needles – it took five months to finish the first one! Most of my knitting time, as I have previously explained, has been taken up by joining knitted strips made by my mother (with quite a bit of help from me, and some from my MIL and DD). There have been seven in total, I don’t have photos of the last three; and there are two more waiting for my attention but it’s summer here and I have no inclination to sit under a knitted blanket in the evenings!
2015 Charley Bear   socks for someone #8
  mum's blanket #1   mum's blanket #2
mum's blanket #3   mum's blanket #4
mum's blanket #5   [mum%2527s%2520blanket%2520%25236%255B4%255D.jpg]

So, that was 2015 for me, as far as crafting goes. There were more quilts than I thought so I'm a happy quilter! The Wonky Log Cabin quilt is still my favourite.

I plan to be back soon with my first “works in progress” post of 2016 and to show you the quilting books I’ve acquired lately.

In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful, crafty new year.

May your stitches bring you much joy.