Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Importance of Correct Nostril Placement

A bit of background history... every two years my kids primary school have a week long trip to the snow for the year 5 and year 6 students... this involves a whole heap of fundraising throughout the whole school.  This year it is Nadia's turn for the snow trip (which starts on Monday), and hence fundraising activities have taken over our lives where we have been able to assist.

Baking seems to be a year long activity... and baking for the big inter-school cross country running event meant double the planning.  Monday afternoon was spent baking the cookies, and then Tuesday was spent decorating them.  I had done these before, so I knew that they would sell the decorated cookies for $1 each... we made about 40, so well worth the effort.

We had piggies...

And cows...

Four boxes of the danged things...

Needless to report, they all got sold!

Sewing during the week was a bit of a washout... so Saturday has been my playing around day.

I cut another Starburst Cross quilt block.  It's funny that I almost never have yellow in my stash.  So I specially bought a few yellows a while back, just in case.  This was one of those yellows and it is just perfect.

So far the 4.5" units are pieced, but not joined to each other.

And the detail of the print.  Yum.

A handful of seams and I have my second finished Sugar Club Block jumbo sized.

I love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

... working on the chain... gang!

While it has not quite been a hive of activity, the sewing cave has been productive.

My Sugar Block Club BOM project is ticking along... so far one block is complete, one block has one final side needing its triangles applied, another block needs its first triangle border added, and another block is about halfway through it's borders being applied. Then there is the pile of blocks and triangles that are still awaitng something being done to them :o)

I finished sewing block nine... not my favourite, as it has turned out a bit big.. points will be cut off to make it the right size.

The Starburst Cross quilt is quietly gaining momentum.  This block has a bit of a quieter feel.

The star fabric is part of the range, while the pale teal is a stash addition.  Yummo!  I am officially in love with this text/post fabric.

And OK, I love these fabrics too.

This floral just reminds me of a 1950's housedress... not that I've ever actually seen a housedress, 1950's or otherwise.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

And so on...

Somehow starting a new project has helped unleash the floodgates of my patchwork creativity.  It's funny, because I was hesitant to start a completely new project in case I didn't maintain any interest in it... when in fact, a new project has helped spark progress in other existing projects.  Go figure.

So new project progress... I've cut a few new sets of stars, and got a few units pieced.  In my original block I pressed the corner triangle sections towards the triangle.  This resulted in units that didn't butt together - but instead once sewn, they merged and somehow crossed over.  Perhaps seeing the units before sewing would help illustrate what I obviously can't verbalise:

Sewn together, the units intersect and if you hit that magic 1/4" sweet spot, the two pieces match perfectly.  This seemed to be working fine, and I had sewn a second block before I realised that the problem would be with joining the blocks together - where the grey triangles met, and both were pressed in the same direction.

Two options here - either press half the blocks with the triangle seams away from the triangle, or press those seams open.  Option number two was the choice of the day.

And the view from the back with the open seams... looks very streamlined.  I haven't finished this trial block yet, but from the seams sewn so far, there are 5 perfect out of 6.  One was a bit dodgy, but permissible.

Also on the agenda has been my  Amy Gibson Sugar Club block BOM.  I have been busyish sewing triangles to add to the setting/sashing, but haven't sewn any of the actual blocks in ages.  Time to remedy that - after all, with my new setting idea I only needed 9 blocks so that was two more than what I had.

I really like this block :o)  I could imagine it made with charm squares as the centres, and then something a bit modern in the corners - maybe a mix of greys, so that when you set it with sashing and corner stones, you'd end up with a churn dash design happening as a secondary pattern.  Oh yeah, I can picture it now.  Luckily I don't seem to have any suitable charm packs waiting for new adventures...

I've done something screwy and have a bit of bowing in a couple of seams.  Oops... hopefully being sewn together will help it to behave.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What, August already?

So the school holidays came and went... as did the first week back at work/school.  I celebrated another birthday... and spent a delicious morning stitching at my favourite patchwork shop, and doing a touch of fabric shopping.

So, something new on the drawing board.  I've been feeling like I need some repetitive sewing, something going on in the background of all the sampler blocks I've got cluttering my work space.

Starburst Cross Quilt Pattern by Sew Crafty Jess.

This particular pattern has been sitting around for a while, and I even had the idea of using a particular fat quarter bundle of Adornit fabric that had also been sitting around for a while.  Well at least since 2014 when it was on my WIP list as fabric without a project.  I think that using fabrics from one range will lend itself to this quilt pattern quite well.

I really like the depth of the pattern in the fabrics... much more than just a simple design.

So, I've started.  To make the quilt square, I have added another 5 fabrics from my stash to the original 20 fat quarters, and bought a lovely soft grey Bella Solid as the background.  I also plan to add a wide plain border to bring the quilt size up to about 72" square. 

I also wanted to experiment with alternative construction methods to the stitch and flip corner triangle method and have trialed using paper templates for the odd shaped pieces.

Block One done and dusted.

My initial concerns about this block included the matching of the star points and the corner units.  Damn those pesky diagonal seam convergences... but so far so good - they are behaving themselves.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Global Warming Perhaps?

After reporting on my glacial speed, sewing my VQR blocks... I am pleased to report there has been a bit of a surge in productivity. 

My tilted star block.  You'll be interested to know that each star point section is identically paper pieced, and then attached to the central square using a partial seam.  Very clever.  This block still have the paper on the back which somewhat explains the ripple effect...

OK - this block looks way complicated... but kinda cool.  This had paper pieced sections added onto the central cross.  Of course, there may be someone who constructed their one a bit different from the instructions.

And just out of interest, this is Monika's block (on top) and my block (underneath) just to illustrate how the secondary pattern looks.  Even with completely different colour placement you can see how it combines to create this sort of nine patch in the block intersections.  Wouldn't this be an ideal scrap buster?  [To be honest I think sewing those blocks together would probably make me shit my pants go insane.  This is probably the best thing about sewing a sampler - you never have to worry about sewing multiples of the blocks together.]

And this is the project in the book using the same block with much simpler colour placement.  [Although I do wonder if you couldn't achieve the same look with a much easier block.]

I got this block finished.  I must admit to thinking this was a somewhat weird block.

Now that I've sewn it - I have changed my mind and am growing to love it.  Might just be the green fabrics with that lovely soft grey...

And this is the quilt project in the book.  I don't know... it still looks kinda weird.  This layout had a slightly different colour in the second-fourth columns... but looking at it together, I think you could have fun with the greater scheme of things, and how the design creates larger squares, maybe creating some kind of overlapping colour illusion.  Sounds technical - I think I'll just stick with the green block I've made.

In other news, I spent a great morning with my old Friday patchwork ladies... and spent some time hand quilting on my Constellations quilt.  Man, a week later and my hands have only just finished aching... which makes me wonder about the hand pains I was experiencing early last year, when I even got to the point of having x-rays to check whether I had arthritis in my hands.  I suppose one good point of not doing a lot of sewing is that my hands have been a lot less achey.

OK, I think that brings me up to date.  Hope you have enjoyed the progress...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In which I am feeling rather good about quite a lot of things.

Progress in the sewing department is proceeding with almost glacial speed... but progress is progress... and it is all good.

We are now on day three of the Term Two school holidays.  Monday felt like ground hog day with the car going into the panelbeaters first thing in the morning.  Remember, last holidays was spent mostly carless due to the panel repairs needed after a close encounter with a hare.  After a few problems, and ten weeks of pestering the panel repair man, Tuesday afternoon we were back to pick up our nice and newly painted car.  Whew, I am glad to get that out of my hair. 

Monday afternoon I spent some time on EQ7 to draft up "that block" from my VQR sampler... the paper pieced one that was giving me dramas.  Happy to report it worked out fine - it is a dream to piece... and even ends up being somewhere around the right size... well, with the right amount of easing/ironing.

So we have my pieced version...

And Monika's paper pieced version.  Looks pretty much the same huh?  Although you can just see the four patch piecing seams through the centre on Monika's version.

Monika has snuck ahead yet again... or from the other point of view, I have fallen behind... and she has finished up this terrific star block.

I have two more blocks that I want to concentrate on over the holidays and then I will almost be caught up.

And the blocks starting to fill up the design wall.  I am going for a 6x6 layout, so really, still heaps to go.

After some retail therapy over the last couple of weeks, I am feeling really quite good about so many areas of my life.  After my hubby broke his wedding band, it was nice over the weekend to find a new replacement one that we both really liked.  We also located an occasional chair to add to our small lounge seating area (so that the kids can be separated on opposite sides of the room if necessary).  With a new chair as inspiration, I was lucky to track down some new cushions which just happened to be 60% off on special - so bonus!  I do enjoy decorating but have found between the kids and dog sometimes it is just more effort than it is worth.  As an extra bonus the lounge has actually had a decent clean up, so it is looking really good too.  Specials meant that the kids splurged on new polar fleece sheet sets and duvet covers.  I am hoping that their bedrooms can be cleaned up before the holidays are over, but I won't hold my breath.

I bought some new facial cleanser and tinted moisturiser which I am really enjoying using.  With skin that is rapidly aging, as well as having acne... well, lets just say it has been extremely difficult to find products that suit both conditions.  Wearing a tinted moisturiser has encouraged me to wear a bit of makeup on a semi regular basis - which is also something I used to really enjoy, but have lost the enthusiasm for.  As a bit of a treat today, I had my hair cut and highlights put through... so I really am feeling GOOD!  I have also had a chance over the last few days to catch up with good friends and family, so I don't know, it's just been really good.  Isn't that nice?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Importance of Corners and Seam Allowance

Well, it's been a funny old time in the All The Good Ones household.  Dylan injured his knee at school - falling and colliding with a hunk of concrete, resulting in a largish gaping hole.  We have spent the last couple of weeks being vigilant with the disinfectant and cover-up plasters... and finally we are seeing progress.  Somewhere along the line the dog has had a recurrence of her breast cancer... with an ulcerated teat which we ended up getting removed.  A very doped up dog came home from the vets... and after a couple of weeks of extra care, she is almost all better again.  We've had an unveiling (a commemorative ceremony for unveiling a headstone), a celebration party for a dear friend who has asbestos-is, fundraising activities for Nadia's snow trip... mixed in the the normal work/school/home routines.  I am officially knackered!

I've got a bit behind with my VQR sampler blocks.  Monika has been making great strides, with another finish last weekend.  This block is cool seen as an individual, but it creates a very interesting secondary pattern too...

I discovered that the units that were completed for my last block attempt ended up with very small seam allowances on these corner bits.  So my sewing time was spent un-sewing the blocks that had caught up parts, and then undoing the other bits, so I could start over.  I'll need to cut some slightly larger squares.  Hmm.  Oh well!

On the promising progress side of things... I have two whole corners FM quilted!  Woohoo!  This means I am over half way.  I love CORNERS!!!

A little closer...

And just a reminder, the coloured stars have rustic hand quilting... I'm up to the stage now where I need to do some more hand quilting before I can do any more machine work.

One of the Craftsy classes I have had in my wish list had a sale... I just had to buy this Amy Gibson Irish Chain class, because I love this quilt.  Simple.  Clean.  Gorgeous.

I have this fabric bundle, which has sat in my fabric cupboard since about October 2013.  I have been pondering how it would look using the two prints (Larkspur meadow) in the large (beige) triangle position, and using the various solids for the smaller nine patch blocks, and the cream for the cream.  Hmmm... something to think about.  Any opinions?

You may remember that I thought about using the fabric for this particular quilt pattern, but then had a coronary when I realised that it was constructed of 2" strips... no way, no how!