Monday, August 28, 2017

Winding Down to the End of the Month

Somehow August just seems to keep on going... I managed to piece together all the Tillies Lane blocks into one huge square.  This was one of my Epic Quilt Challenges from the start of the year.  Now I just need to make some final decisions on borders.  One challenge at a time.

I have also sewed and sewed and got through "almost" all of the TATW blocks for the last two weeks.  These blocks I had sewn the strip sets, but not subcut or repieced.  One more block to go, and then these 8 are finished, and only 8 more to go until the quilt top has all its blocks pieced.

I decided to trial a Saturday night sew in with Barefoot Quilter on instagram... I'm not much of a night time quilter - having my sewing cave in an external garage means it is not overly social or pleasant to disappear to in the middle of the night.  And having something move in there that was not me, kinda put me off the whole experience.  Once the heart rate had returned to normal, I reorganised my blocks into a totally different layout, and am now pondering whether I like the offset square look... excuse the dark depressing middle of the night photo!

or whether to go back to the multiple radiating squares...

As the month end approaches, I realise that I haven't started the Carol's Quilts mystery for this month (don't tell Charlotte).  So today has been spent cutting and piecing the first few units of this months mystery.  We are up to Month 4 now, so only two more months to go before the mystery is revealed.  Very exciting!

No Rainbow Scrap Challenge for me this month - this months colour was neutral, and I decided that my rainbow didn't need neutral.  I'm looking forward to next month to see what colour we are working with and get back into this project.

And I think that about finishes my monthly roundup.  Next month I'm keen to get the last four My Tweets blocks framed, and attached to the centre unit, and get back to FMQ on the Stack, Shuffle Slide quilt.  Lots going on here...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In which nothing really gets finished at all

It seems like it was just last week that I was sewing bias stems... wait, it was just last week. 

And this week it has been more of the same... just a different coloured basket (the moment when I realise that the photo is on my instagram photos and not on here).  Anyway - just imagine the picture above and change the basket to purple. 

I didn't manage to finish this border section this week - by Tuesday my week has turned into a rerun of Groundhog Day last week, so I changed things up a bit and sewed together my strip sets for the next four TATW blocks... which I didn't get finished either.

Saturday was set aside for Tillies Lane and I put my "get it done" pants on and made the remaining 20 hourglass blocks and cut enough plain squares to fill in all the gaps.  I had ended up with a whole heap of green blocks, and needed a mix of other colours to blend things in.  It was actually a lot harder to place all the blocks in this final top section compared with the other three sides - where I just randomly put down colours that I liked, making sure that the next block was not the same colour. 

And progress by this afternoon - I have two larger chunks put together on the top section (far left, and far right), with the middle section still mostly unpieced.

I had bought a metre piece of this little floral fabric, just because I liked it.  Accidentally placing it next to my Tillies Lane project made me realise that although it has limited colours (only one shade each of red, yellow, blue, green, white and the grey background) - it toned in really well with the multicoloured blocks.  Funny how you can never really pick how fabrics are going to work together.  I would have thought that  border fabric would need to include a whole heap of colours to work with such a wild range of blocks.

The quilt pattern finishes at 63" so I would want to add a border regardless - I just need to decide whether it needs a narrow plain border first... or to just whack a larger - maybe 5" border on.

Life it always full of decisions isn't it?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mini Milestones

I have had a few mini goals in mind this week:
* finish the first applique border for the Orphan Block Medallion Quilt
* get the left hand side of Tillies Lane pieced
* get this weeks four TATW blocks completed

Yes... mission accomplished.

I decided to add these borders as partial seams, meaning I could add one basket block onto each side panel - and complete the applique; instead of needing to complete the machine blanket stitch on all the basket blocks after this border is completely attached.

Playing with the applique shapes, I decided I quite liked this flower flowing into the previous border.  I left a small amount of the flower unfused and only partially sewn.  Then once the border was sewn on, fused the last little bit down.  Now I just need to sew the last three petals.

And the partial seam end - once the remaining borders have been added, I will hide the end of the other bias stem under a leaf.

The other end of the stem... a long piece of stem that will need to be sewn into the other basket, once all the borders have been added.

Tillies Lane... it just keeps getting bigger and more exciting.  I can finally see light at the end of this tunnel.  I love looking at all these little scraps.

And the four TATW blocks for this week.

And the blocks so far... I am officially over half way now :o)  Actually I've got two more than what is showing... I need to reorganise my room now if I'm going to add them onto the design wall, and the design floor is currently occupied.

As far as construction of these blocks goes, I finally worked out that with my colour placements, it was easier to make a light set, and a dark set of strips for each block.  The light set I press away from the light solid (towards the centre), and dark set I press away from the dark strip - or the strip in the centre, as it is not always the darkest fabric.

Then after sewing the strip sets together top and bottom, they are subcut, and arranged in order.  I've found that visually, I need to follow these steps, to make sure that I don't get confused.  The sets all need to be pointing in the same direction.  Then I start unpicking seams, starting with the left hand strip and the top seam, and moving to the next seam down on each set.  

Once I've unpicked the first four sets, I flip the next two sets over.

And unpick the last two seams.  Opening out the sets is when the magic happens.  This is the order that the strips open out into.  Pretty but not what I want.

So I reorganise the sets to make the centre diagonal stripe the dark one.

All ready to piece together!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Block 16 of 36

Four weeks of TATW blocks means Block 16 is now finished!

I've picked out the fabric strips for week 5... so with a bit of luck these will get sewn up this week.

After having a wee break from the Orphan Block Medallion quilt, I have picked up the challenge again, and started on the next applique border.

Remember, I am using the Midnight at the Oasis pattern as inspiration.  I really liked the cute applique border in the pattern, but thought it was a shame that it was hard to see due to the fabrics chosen in the pattern sample.

At the moment it seems like I've been sewing miles and miles of bias stems... although I'm still working on the first panel.

With my slightly plainer dotty background fabric, and strong basket colours... there is no problem identifying the items I've been spending time completing!

With the addition of some simple flower shapes, this will look terrific!

Friday, August 4, 2017

A little bit, and a little bit and a little bit

While it hasn't felt like I've been getting much done, in fact, a little bit of progress, repeated often, does eventually result in progress that you can see with the naked eye!

I got the last two TATW blocks sewn together - that's the last two from last week - not the last two in the project!

So all up 12 blocks completed so far.  This takes up my entire design wall and I will need to move my desk and ironing board to get the blocks laid on towards the bottom.

Meanwhile, Tillies Lane has steadily been growing!  I finally made a decision on the centre block... well, it sort of decided itself, but it is done and sewn together now, so no changing it.

And I spent odd bits of time during the week squaring up the large applique blocks and sewing them together, along with the first section of hourglass blocks.

And today I got the centre panel completed, and sewed together my first "chunk" of blocks. 

Now I'm working on the right hand side... making another chunk to attach, and I laid out my remaining hourglass blocks at the top, to see how many more need to be sewn... not all that many!  Bonus.

I have decided that I am just a sucker for a sale... Spotlight had a 40% off all fabric sale and I had an extra 20% off voucher; and although I couldn't face shopping in person (I know, tragic - but it happens), decided to try out their online experience.  A couple of days later a humongous package arrived.

I also needed more winter sheets, which also happened to be on special, so those were the first into the cart.

I ordered a wide backing fabric, hoping it would be suitable for the Orphan Block Medallion... but check out the state of the fabric!  Honestly, it was disgusting how it had been packaged.

The actual fabric is lovely - these butterflies are huge... so once the wrinkles have been ironed out (and the quilt actually finished), it will be a beautiful match.

I also found this stripe - which I think could be perfect for my RSC quilt.  Or I would be quite happy just putting it into my stash for another day... and stroking it now and then.

And these pretty fat quarters just were too enticing.

I have worked out that Instagram is also bad for encouraging shopping activities!  Treehouse Textiles tempted me and a different package arrived with a new pattern...

... and a starter pack of fabric.  

I haven't looked too hard at either the pattern or the fabrics yet - yes, I know I have too much going on already... but it is something to look forward to.  Maybe around Xmas?