Sunday, November 24, 2013

I was just practicing my accurate 1/4" seam allowance... honest

Because I couldn't wait... and just had to see how it was going to go together, I had a bit of a play with the Seeing Squares pattern, and ended up with a few little blocks :0)

The basic components are large blocks finished at 6", medium blocks finished at 4", small blocks finished at 3" and 2" filler squares.  The trick is how they all go together :0)
The cutting requirements are either 2.5" or 1.5" based for the pieced blocks, and there are some plain blocks too - so I can start whizzing through those scraps

Meanwhile the ladies are getting there.  This bit is all pieced together.

Two ladies are still awaiting their makeup... and are holding the whole thing up!  But as you can see, there isn't that much more to do for the top to be finished.  Whoop whoop!

Block 78 did grow up to be a fireman get finished...

And I am totally blaming someone else for the fact that I bought this terrific pattern from Jess @ The Elven Garden yesterday, and have started making a throw size for my still to be hatched niece/nephew.  I've used some of the left over FQ from the Tokyo Subway and am pulling the rest from the stash.  Each stripe of colour uses 6 x 10" squares.  The remaining stripes in the pattern are purple and green - I haven't decided yet whether to throw a pink stripe in just in case it turns out to be a girl.  It all depends what turns up in the stash :0)

Simple but oh so effective!

This is the end of the line as far as the design wall/floor goes... so something has got to get finished.  It's getting serious.  Let's just say I'll have plenty to keep me busy over the Xmas holidays (which are not all that far away).

Hopefully you too have had a productive weekend?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When I get big...

I want to be a fireman.  Or at least, Block 78

Progress on the Modern Sampler is roaring along.  The green block for the week...

... in the green corner.

And the pink block for the week...

... in the pink corner...
pardon the cord!

Couldn't decide which angle looked best... but this one has the iron cord too!
My little ladies eyes and mouths are a bit slower in appearing...

4 eyes/3 mouths so far...

And the last November Tokyo Subway block has one more seam and then it's done!

Block 25 - not the last block, as we have been completing them out of order... but only another four to go and they will all be complete.

Also on my radar this week is SCRAPS!  Mostly because I can see an end to two significant projects (the Modern Sampler which is made up almost entirely of scrap fabrics, and the Tokyo Subway which has been a good filler-in sort of project).  I really did think that the Modern Sampler would have made SOME sort of dent in my scrap pile.  But I don't think that has quite panned out.

This is my current scrap management system.  Stuff it into a teeny tiny plastic drawer system:

Simple sorting: blue/green/blackish/white-ish/yellow & orange/red & pink.  There are always the wrong colours in the wrong cubby... it just happens :0)
 The problem is the scraps that I located from when I first shifted into the shed, that will not fit into the storage system, no matter how much I push!  OK, I haven't even tried... I know they will never fit!

I have another plastic bag full around the corner...

So I've been thinking of projects for 2014 (the year of the scrap quilt) that could help use up some of the scraps... and still make a quilt that I would like to make. 

What I like about the Modern Sampler quilt is that it uses a variety of fabrics in a range of sizes (my scraps range from biggish to smallish).  Because the blocks are sashed - there is room for each block to tell its own story, and gives the eye a place to rest (which means you can add lots of fabrics and still achieve a harmonious look).  Plus I think the rainbow setting helps to make sense of the scraps.

So my first contender is "Seeing Squares" by Empty Bobbin.  Quite a different project to the Modern Sampler, but it does use a range of fabrics in a variety of sizes.  How can I make sure that I don't just end up with a hot sticky mess?  Well, I'm thinking of incorporating three different solids (white, light grey and a touch of dark grey) to allow each scrap a bit of breathing space.  Maybe I need to think about that rainbow setting?

The second contender is Tillies Lane which is a BOM project/pattern by Anni Downs.  A completely different project.  Again there is the scope for a lot of different fabrics - in quite small pieces.  The small repetitive blocks could fit in well as leader/ender projects and the nine applique blocks would easily fall within a monthly timetable.  The light areas could be a single solid... again giving a bit of space to the scrap mix - or I could mix in some low volume prints to liven things up.

What I really need to do now is finish the million other projects I have on the go, and then do some serious figuring on how to break these projects down into manageable bites.  When I committed myself to the Modern Sampler, I thought three blocks a week was a huge commitment, when in reality, three is the perfect number.  When Monika and I started the Tokyo Subway quilt, we decided to complete 2 blocks each month... which has had it's ups and downs.

So is anyone tempted to join me?  If not, what are your plans for your scraps?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The week that was and the week ahead

Sunday is organising day.

First up lay out the last Tokyo Subway block for November (block 25). 

Next is choose the fabrics for the three Modern Sampler blocks for this week.

I've found this is a vital step, and makes the rest of the week a breeze

Lay out and attach a bit of sashing for the ladies...

We have three pairs of eyes complete, and two smiles so far...

I decided to frame all the ladies with the same beige dot, I think it helps to calm down the whole arrangement

I like that I'm at that stage in my quilting career where I can approach a pattern, read the instructions, and then do what I want.  I'm not a fan of sashing with the big long strips between rows... I like to do mine short.  Sashing just two sides makes it heaps easier to keep things aligned at the next stage...

And this is exactly how I will put together the Modern Sampler... four blocks down... 96 to go :0)

OK so focus projects for the week... finish off my eyes and mouths... I can't do much more on this project until they are complete, and I want need to free up the floor space if I want to get any basting done.  Once that embroider is done, I can get these sashed blocks all joined up and look at border treatments.

Obviously, the Tokyo Subway and Modern Sampler blocks are ready and waiting... and I should check the stash and see if there is any binding fabric suitable for this one...

Another busy week ahead...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WIP Thursday

A bit more plodding this week... but a little bit of plodding can result in great things :0)

The three Modern Sampler blocks for this week.  CHECK!

Some left over binding... still with the heavily pressed fold line and an interesting green fabric that comes in very handy for applique leaves

This one has fabrics from the first quilt I finished for Nadia... so pretty!

Scraps from the indigo quilt that never was... the book uses a single solid navy/black but using what I had meant a more scrappier finish.  I like it just fine!

It's filling up... sorry this shot missed the pink corner Ms Lottie!
And you know what this means aye? 

Tagged and released... another Tokyo Subway block bites the dust.  Just one more to do for November (25) and that leaves just four more blocks!!! 
The ladies have been liberated from filling the gaps in the design wall...

and are now legless all over the floor

Still with no mouths, and mostly no eyes...

I found it interesting that all the floral prints played so nicely together...

it was the blender prints that caused all the havoc

This green print and the pink print below had to be segregated from each other... just too much going on - quite dizzy in fact

Hopefully I got the mix just right?

Now it's just decision time about the final frames for the rest of the ladies, their eyes and mouths to embroider then on to sashing...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Slow but steady wins the race...

OK, well, I'm not sure about what race I'm on or whether I am any closer to winning - but there HAS been some slow progress in the shed this past TWO weeks.  The sum total sewing that was done last weekend was zilch due to the children deciding to switch bedrooms.  So instead of sewing it was tidying, picking up rubbish, putting rubbish in the bin... and more tidying (have I mentioned that my children are slovenly pigs?).  This meant that I was now a week behind in my Modern Sampler blocks, and had well and truly missed the October deadline for the Tokyo Subway blocks (but that's OK because I know the organisers :0)  Late Sunday I laid out the pieces for Block 23 and chose the fabrics for the next 6 Modern Sampler blocks.

This last week has been "stressful" to say the least, between work and other occurrences.  I haven't had any major focus projects or goals, and haven't even really felt like sewing, but have tried to complete one Modern Sampler block each day, and fit in the Tokyo piecing as a leader ender project.  Short and sweet... I'm happy to report it has worked and I am all caught up... drum roll please!

This block was completed last... I just couldn't cope with all that pink earlier in the week.  But now that it's done, it's OK.  This is the bottom right corner block in the grand scheme of things - in the pink corner obviously :0)

This one is completely different from the colourings in the book... but it suits the surrounding blocks perfectly so I am happy with it.  If only I knew where that teeny tiny floral fabric came from... it irritates me that I have scraps that have appeared from nowhere... it is true that they multiply by themselves?

... and I've laid out and started block 24

... and embroidered one very cute set of eyes and lashes... just a wee smile to add and this little lady will be all done (just eight more to go)!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lovely Ladies

I just can't decide what to wear... and I just can't do a thing with my hair...

I had a bit of fun today with my Lovely Ladies pattern by Fiona Tully (which appeared in Australian Patchwork & Stitching V13 No9 last year)... a cute pattern styled on the little Kokeshi Japanese dolls that have developed into a collectors item around the world.  This pattern has nine of these applique ladies - each with their own individual hairdo.

It wasn't long before they started cropping up on my design wall...

Maybe I should add some into the sampler... they look right at home :0)

Some of my favourites... I ended up using two prints from the Bonnie & Camille Marmalade charm pack in most of the colour ways.  The small all over prints seemed to work out best.

And a couple of outfits that didn't make the grade.  First up I experimented with a slightly larger floral spray...

This one ended up being a little bit too skin coloured for my liking... and the flower print sat awkwardly on the dress.
 And although this print was small scale and relatively all over... it just looked weird.
This print just sat funny... no matter how I fussy cut it.

The prototype blanket stitch version... face yet to be embroidered...

I have been a bit quiet about my focus projects this week.  Not that I haven't been busy :0)  This week I focused my attention solely on quilting the Reunion Playground quilt, and I'm happy to report that as of yesterday afternoon, it is all quilted.  Whoop!  Next up will be binding decisions... other than that, I have run out of my batting supplies, so although I have several more tops that require quilting, that activity will stop for the next little while.  Whew!  I have neglected the second Tokyo Subway block that was due for October, and I've got this weeks Modern Sampler blocks also to catch up on... so guess what I'll be doing over the weekend...