Sunday, April 14, 2019

Steps in the right direction

Sometimes it just feels like you are getting nowhere... maybe even heading backwards... and then you turn a corner and think Yes... I can see that light at the end of the tunnel.

Last month was not so good in the ticking off of lists department.  Partly because of the items I had chosen on my hit list.  Really... make significant progress on two major applique projects??  Like was that ever going to happen.  After feeling like a failure for two seconds, then reassessing and altering my goals meant that I changed one of the overall block goals into just finishing sewing down the bias stems, and completely wrote off the second project.  Manageable chunks!

With this under my belt, April's goal was to get the fusing side of the applique finished for the second corner of the Timeless Traditions BOM and get two of the wreath blocks fused also.

So good to stick that smiley face on!

And I can already see next months goal will be to finish the blanket stitch on these sections.  I may not be whizzing through this process, but it is getting there!

Also progress has been happening on the Loosely Woven quilt.

Woohoo!  I have finished the quilting on the striped sections of the top.  Working these feather designs pushed my boundaries as far as the width of feather I am comfortable quilting... there are definitely some weird shaped ones in the mix, but luckily the worst are hidden in the most thread blendy areas.

And I actually got a small amount of tidying accomplished so I can once again see my cutting mat and surrounding area.

Partially due to packing this stuff away into a box.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

April? Really?

Just a few goals on the list for April:

Now that I have my thread sorted for Loosely Woven, my main goal for the month is to get some serious quilting done.

I decided to do large feathers through the striped sections, working the design to emphasise the woven effect.

I have a few areas where I have both the warp and weft lines quilted and it does kind of work.

In Meadowland news... I have a couple more blocks done...

And I had a play with alternative layout options.  I quite like how the blocks look on point, as they are almost unrecognizable from the straight setting.

But, to do this layout I would need to work with an uneven numbered grid to keep it symmetric, but a 3x3 grid is too small, and a 5x5 would be too big.  I need to keep thinking about this, but might just go back to the pattern layout, and consider this alternate layout with a smaller block size.

I'm aiming to get 2 of the Patchwork City blocks finished this month... only 5 left all up, so this project is getting closer to completion.  So far I have chosen and ironed fabric for the first block, and chosen which units to sew.

I would like to get some new borders sewn onto my modern applique quilt and possibly get it basted.  On the drawing board at the moment are which fabric where and how big decisions... and working out if I have what it takes for a pieced backing.

 And I really would like to get the 2nd applique corner fused on Timeless Traditions.  My applique has definitely taken the back seat in the last couple of months; so achievable goal set... and locked in.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Mid month catch up... chasing one's tail!

March is just one of those hectic months isn't it?  March is crazy month at my work, and although I am in a great place deadline wise at work, I am still finding the overall stress of the month daunting and it has affected my crafting life also.

I have been busily buzzing away at my Meadowland blocks and they are so addictive.  The cutting of one block results in cuting pieces for other blocks.... so it is always pulling you forward (or dragging you into a black hole depending on your perspective).  The QAL instructions require blocks to be completed over 4 weeks, so I was optimistically hoping to complete four each week.  Yeah... nah... not happening.  I have scaled back production estimates back to two blocks per week and this still feels like it is taking up all my time.

I am really enjoying the fabric combinations and simple large piecing though!

So today was a bit of a reminder that there are other things I am supposed to be concentrating on and that I hadn't really achieved much so far, so I removed the miscellaneous piecing from covering up my diary and reassessed the month so far.

Not a lot to report

One of my broken down tasks was to trace the applique design onto my Timeless Treasures half finished corner.  So right, I pulled it out and it took like 3 minutes.  Next goal was to get the small sections of bias stem sewn down this week.  Right... another few minutes and I had these pinned down, and a few more minutes and the first of three was done.  Ok... now we're getting somewhere.

I have set another goal of sewing two lengths of thread on the Sugar Club binding.  Although this is a bit of a slow process... it will eventually get finished.

I attached the flange binding per the Missouri Quilt Companys tutorial... then instead of machine stitching through the flange seam, I decided to use running stitch and 12wt thread to stitch it down.  It is quite subtle, but I do like it, and once I am more comfortable with the technique I would be more likely to use more contrasting thread.  Although this was using stuff I already had.

I am thinking that keeping my goals small and very task specific is the key... so I will see how this variation to the diary planning works out.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Keeping it real

Hard to believe is is March already.  What they say about time speeding up as you get older appears to be true!

The close of February saw a few unfinished items on my To Do calendar.

I never did finish my skirt muslin and I only finished 3 of the 5 Patchwork City blocks I hoped to achieve.  But February was also the first month back at work after school holidays and the hottest month this summer (so there was about a week in there where it was just too hot to sew)... So all in all still very happy with progress.

Anyway... a new month a new list and a chance to shake up some of those goals and revise whether they were too ambitious and how to prevent those projects from disappearing into the WIP pile of DOOM!

Back to some of the things I DID achieve:

I have one block left to make in the Tilda Homespun magazine BOM but had felt like I needed a break from this project.  Consequently I decided to work on sashing the finished blocks, and completing construction of the first two rows of this project.

While this wasn't hard or complicated, it was nice to sew some simple seams and start to see this project really turn into something.

I also pulled out this old Craftsy kit WIP which started the year with 4 completed blocks.  I think I've got 8 finished now... well on the way.  This is another good piecing project which I just need to plan the cutting for... to sneak through a few more blocks when I have a spare moment.

I am on a BLUE row for Patchwork City.

One more of these diamond shaped log cabins and I'll have another block completed.

And a new sew along started this week for the Meadowland Quilt.  Sometimes a pattern comes along that you just know will match perfectly with fabrics in your stash.

I started this bundle with the cute hedgehog print.  It has some very pretty colours in the background, with some awesome neutrals in the hedgehog...

It was ridiculously easy to amass this generous pile of fabrics!

And after much dithering about what fabrics to actually put together (very tempting to put into a bag and draw out randomly) I got my test block laid out.

And hot on its heels... block 2 because I wanted to have a go with a neutral block and some directional fabric.

And the two blocks full constructed and together.

I think March is going to be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

One step closer

Part of my reorganisation over Xmas was deciding how to proceed with different WIPs and what was required to finish them. 

My Sugar Club sampler was almost a finished top... it just needed a plain 3" border then ready for quilting.  I even had the fabric put aside and all ready to go.  When I picked up the quilt top... I realised what had been subconsciously holding me back... this quilt top literally weighed a ton already! 

I finished the piecing.... but decided these 100 inches square of awesomeness was going to be long arm quilted!

And over the weekend I got my quilt back from my friendly almost neighbourhood quilter Leeanne from Quilt Me Kiwi - and I am beyond happy.

We decided on an all over floral pattern...

I love how it softens the piecing...

Leeanne also supplied a wide backing fabric and batting.

Luckily I still have some of the plain contrast fabric I used in the quilt top to use as binding...

But I think I'll use it as a peeper flange and use some leftover florals as the main binding.

I will need to add this to next months list!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

It's A Cross Tile Finish

Woohoo!  The Cross Tile quilt is all finished and the last thing to do is add a blog post before it can be forever ticked off my list.

Having a terribly lit, as well as small bedroom means you just can't get far enough away from the subject to fit it all into frame, but you'll get the idea.

These fabrics started life as a Designer Bundle of fat quarters from Stash Fabrics, curated by @misterdomestic.  There were a lot of prints that I never would have chosen (those deer heads!), but obviously the bundle intrigued me enough to buy it!  I love the challenge of finding a pattern to suit an eclectic mix of fabrics.  Adding new fabrics from my LQS The Country Yard and some from stash, I made a between size quilt with a 5x5 setting from 25 fat quarters.

The Cross Tile pattern is by Emily Dennis from Quilty Love.  I did a mix of walking foot, free motion with rulers, freehand free motion and big stitch hand quilting.

This is also the first quilt that I have hand stitched around the circumference to echo the binding.  I really like it!

I love the somewhat retro vibe of this quilt and the way the pattern encourages each different fabric to shine.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

New month New goals

The last day of January saw me finally finishing that last pesky task... the one that I had sort of started, but then just put off, and put off... and you guessed it... put off!

I had the goal of joining the first three rows of my Patchwork City quilt which has been run as a QAL on IG by Joe from @manhandledthreads

There are three main things I am calling triggers that encourage me to procrastinate on these sorts of projects.

First up, I hate dealing with long lengths of yardage.  This project called for 4 yards of background, and the Essex Linen is wider than standard width (double the stress).  I find folding the long lengths, then trying to keep it straight on my cutting mat, all while trying to cut accurate silly little measurements... I feel like I need to be an octopus.  And I put those cuts off like crazy!

It doesn't help that my cutting surface butts up to the wall, so you don't know how many times I have got everything perfectly aligned to find that my ruler doesn't have enough space to measure the required cut.

The solution was ridiculously easy... make a generous cut divisible by the required cut... as generous as my 16.5" ruler will allow, then move the subcut into the middle of the mat and cut into smaller strips.

Here's one I prepared earlier!

The second trigger is cutting long lengths of sashing... even though its really not that bad (repeat after me... it's not that bad), and I haven't magically found a way of getting around this, but cutting all the lengths at one time does help progress.

The third trigger is actually sewing all those long lengths of sashing.  Long rows of patchwork are not my favourite thing and I will often choose to change the construction to be able to sew the blocks together in chunks.  Because of the nature of these bulky blocks, I chose not to do this so that I could always press towards the sashing.  So my solution is to sew each row with its length of sashing, and in the case of the top row it's length of border fabric, so that there are really only two seams where I am dealing with cumbersome length and bulk simultaneously.

All that to say, I finally have the top three rows all attached!

And don't they look pretty?  They go so nicely with the multicolor drawers that used to be in Nadias room.  And only two more rows to go!

And onto February goals... First up is Block 16.  I'm hoping for 5 blocks this month so getting this first block out of the way nice and early can only mean good things.

With the weather being too hot to allow much afternoon or even evening sewing... I have been fitting in odd little moments throughout the cooler mornings.  With this in mind I have made some of my February goals relatively simple, and have covered a range of projects and tasks, including choosing fabric from the stash... always a fun task!

I want to extend this Courthouse Stars deconstructed quilt by adding new borders
Roll on February!