Sunday, July 31, 2011

Empty chair for now

Yep, just like they tell you, the last chemo is a doozy and I am flattened. The chair is empty, but the brain is very full. My brain should be saying: "when I am healthy I am going to be charitable, focus on self-improvement and helping others". Actually it says "when I am healthy I'm going to make a mitred stripe quilt with stippling".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So much FUN

I've been reading Melody's adventures in her modified quilt-as-you-go with scraps and adding borders with connector strips. Melody linked to excellent tutorials from Marianne on how to do it. I thought - that looked fun and easy and would use up the pile of hand-dyed scraps which are BREEDING in my cupboard I swear - so I made some. I made a scrappy yellow/green square, a pinky/orange one, and a green one. I quilted them and joined them together and it was awesomely easy, and satisfying, and looks really cool.

So I made a purple one.

And a green one. There is also a brown one, that I didn't photograph, a pink one being quilted and a yellow one being pinned. This is addictive!!!

I'm going to make an enormous quilt - 100 x 100 - for our enormous bed so I'm trying to make every piece a multiple of ten (the purple is 30 x 30, the green is 20 x 50) and hope they will all fit together at the end. The glory is, if they don't fit, I can cut them in half, or any multiple of 10. I'm even using scraps of batting and ugly bits for backing. The piecing is random and depends on the size of the scraps in the cupboard ...

... or the pile ....

This is a lot of fun.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moshling bag

The moshlings have jumped up and bit me again - I was coerced by baby bambi-eyes into making a bag to hold his moshling figures in. He was extremely specific about the details; went through the plain colours to find the right purple, drew me a picture of the shape, picked out the lining material and measured the length of the strap using a tape measure on his arm. He insisted on round, which is damned difficult to get looking good, but he doesn't seem to mind that the seams are a bit puckered. And that the lining is slightly bigger than the outside :)

The most time-consuming bit was appliqueing Iggy on the bottom of the bag. Those eyes have five different pieces!!! It's raw-edge, so a bit rough, but it does look recognisably like the moshling Iggy, if I do say so myself. Iggy is Ultra-Rare. Wow. By the way, I have no idea why this paragraph is underlined, and I can't seem to remove it.

Now I have to decide if I let him take the bag, with figures, to school. I know it will end in disaster, but can I resist the bambi-eyes?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sunshine quilt finished

My little cot quilt is quilted and bound, and none of the piecing flaws seem quite so problematic any more. I enjoyed machine quilting this - the flowers are done in parallel lines and the inner orange/yellow border is my first attempt at free-hand feathers. And they're great! not my particular ones of course, but the general concept. I'll use them again - and practice will make them better.

I was a bit worried that the second border of diagonal parallel lines would become uneven, so decided to do it continuously; that is, to go across the bottom of the border and then come back up, then back down again. The picture of the bottom of the quilt might show it more clearly.

Surprisingly, this made the border lie flatter (which is good) and seem more even! Yay. The flying geese border is a large meander.

I washed and dried this when it was done, as recommended by several bloggers who thinks it makes it more snuggly and lived-in. I think it makes it looks rumpled and used .... but these are the bloggers who use "thrift" as a verb and get excited about vintage pillowcases. Maybe not the best source of advice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yay for scraps

I just luuuuurv scraps. I love hauling them out of the bins, sewing with them, and I love the quilts that they make. I love that the fabrics don't match - that they are barely organised into the broadest of groups. After a few too many visits to blogs that are co-ordinated and beautiful and use the word "yummy" I need some grubby mismatched scraps to get my quilting self down from the sugar high. I spent yesterday with the small scraps bin -

and the large scraps bin -

to make myself twenty five five-patch blocks in lights and darks. At the start of the sewing process I had an idea of what I wanted to do with them, but it melted away. And now I have no further interest in them. But that's OK - sometime in the future I will be making a scrap quilt and they will be perfect.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simple things make me happy

Don't you just love it when you read or see something that you have never thought of, and would probably never think of, but is a deeply simple and practical solution? Introducing the scraps of binding ball!!!

I saw completely cauchy's frankenbinding and a light went on! Up until now I've put my leftover binding in my scrap bin, but I never use it for string piecing or scrap piecing because the fold is ironed in and impossible to get out. And when I do want to do a scrap binding I have to dig through the scraps until I find it, and it's a pain. But now I have my very own ball of scrap binding ... simple things.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Raising artistic geniuses

It's school holiday time, and the distraction activities are up and running! The boys had a couple of days in a school holiday program, which they quite enjoyed (even though they moan a bit about it before they go). The rest of this week we're all at home together which is quiet but enjoyable - I feel a twinge of guilt about them not having the most exciting holidays in the world - but hey, life's not always a barrel of laughs when mum's having cancer treatment, and they understand that. Number one son decorated his t-shirt...

And number two son did a pillowcase with his latest interest / craze / obsession - Moshlings!!!

Moshlings are running my life at the moment - number two son is completely engrossed with playing them on-line, buying them on e-bay, drawing them and comparing them and marking them off on his chart. He has a collectors personality; we went through all this with thomas the tank engine, and dr who, and now it's .... Moshlings!!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quick and sunshiney

This circle and flower print with the aqua background has been staring at me for a while now. It was on top of the latest Hancock's pile, and made me think good bright happy thoughts. I didn't want to chop it up, so thought it would be good as a medallion, then used in subsequent borders. Good idea, but the lines of flower circles bore no relation to the grain line. Really, I shouldn't have expected them to.

So the middle area looks quite respectable. But the borders get more dodgy as you go out. I did enjoy making the flying geese (I seem to be on a flying geese roll) but had to just chop one end off to get it to even sit remotely flat. And there was no way the circles were going to sit neatly into the border! Here is my quilting shame in multi-colour close-up.

But it will be just fine for a baby quilt. A happy sunshiney baby.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Design wall ... bed

My alternative design wall, for projects too big for the sewing room floor, is the spare bed. It works well for spreading everything out and looking at it, except when there are visitors in it. Most houseguests don't take kindly to having bits of fabric strewn around their room. But we are visitor free at the moment, so today on the design bed I am auditioning the next border on my broderie perse medallion.

I decided to do a flying geese border after the red and yellow. It pained me, but I stuck to one fabric for the geese. I couldn't bring myself to do it for the cream backgrounds though! I have a very very strong scrappy instinct, that makes me want to use fifty fabrics instead of one.

I think the next border will be another plain one - a red narrow border and then another patterned fabric inside it. It will have to be a different red because I've used up the other one, but that's OK. At the moment the frontrunner for selection is the mid-blue with the pinky red paisley pattern on the far left.

I was thinking of using some more creams or golds - which is why the pile to the right below - but it made it too light in combination with the cream centre and the eye skipped over it. I like making medallion quilts because you get different decisions at each point so you have to stop and think about it ... but the risk is that stopping and thinking turns into just stopping.

We are having bleak and grey and windy weather at the moment - snow on the hills and two cats that have to be huddled together in a tight circle 24/7. For more design walls (including some real ones! not beds or floors!) see Judy's wonderful blog.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

UFO sighting

I'm not very disciplined when it comes to finishing off quilts. If something has lost my attention then it tends to lose it forever. Luckily, most of the time my enthusiasm carries me through to the end without too many problems; although my concentration span is short enough that I normally have about half a dozen projects on the go at once. So I have a few UFOs, but not an embarrassing number.

In August last year I spent a few weeks doing a broderie perse centre for what was to be a medallion quilt. Fun, but then when it came time to decide on the borders I lost patience and wandered off to the next thing, and the vase of flowers went onto the High Shelf (not as bad as the Bottom of the Cupboard, where all hope is lost).

For some reason I picked it up again and put these borders on it. Red and yellow. Great ... but now what?