Thursday, 28 May 2020

Ninety Nine* or not the 365 Challenge quilt

My 365 Challenge quilt was started with great enthusiasm in January 2018. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I didn’t realise how much of a time suck it would be.  A block a day sounds quite achievable, some blocks were but others took a while to make, sometimes a whole day.  As time went on I fell further and further behind so I put all the fabrics and completed blocks into a box and set them aside.  My friend Sheila completed her 365 Challenge quilt and also entered it in our Festival of Quilts 2019 see here  with great success.

Last year I decided that I would finish the quilt but I wouldn't make all the blocks, I intended to make enough of the three inch blocks to give me a six inch border around the centre block, you guessed it,  I didn't make any more blocks and the quilt was put away yet again.

Last weekend when I was doing a bit more decluttering I opened up the box and took the fabrics and completed blocks out, and thought “what if  I do this“ so I had a bit of a play, then started sewing blocks together. I now have a finished top which needs to be quilted, I don't want to spend too long quilting it so I need to come up with a quilting plan, I'm open to any suggestions.

In the meantime I've cut up some fabric strips to make a pieced backing for the quilt and I had better make a label at the same time so I can piece it in with the strips.

*Ninety Nine refers to the number of quilt blocks I made.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Captain's COVID log - Covid update 3

Yesterday South Australia recorded 17 days without any new cases of corona virus and 10 days without any active cases.  Late this afternoon the Chief Public Health Officer announced our first COVID19 case in 18 days, a timely reminder to us that we need to be vigilant about washing our hands and maintaining our physical distance from others outside our bubble. 

the occasional bunch of flowers bring a smile to my face
Restrictions have been eased and from Monday, places like cinemas, theatres, galleries and museums will be able to open.  Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will be able to admit up to 80 patrons, using a one person per 4m² and 1.5m social distancing rules.  From June 1 the maximum number of people attending a funeral will increase to 50.

COVID baking is still happening in our household

Buying restrictions have been lifted by the supermarkets, although customers can still only buy four tins of baby formula (this was the case before the corona virus).  I still haven't seen full shelves of flour, liquid soap, toilet paper or hand sanitiser in our local supermarkets, but I believe this is due to problems with the supply of packaging for these items. 

Life has gone on for us, we go to the supermarket on Monday and Central Market on Friday, I've noticed there are more people at the market than two weeks ago.  People endeavour to keep the social distancing rules as best they can.  Last Friday we could sit in a cafe and have a cup of coffee in a real cup (not a takeaway container), it felt strange as there were only four tables in the cafe where usually there would be eight.

we've had some nice sunrises lately

I'm still staying at home, the Mister goes for his motorbike rides for his mental health (and mine).  Somedays we wake up and wonder what day of the week it is, we are leading a more relaxed life than previously as we don't see the need to hurry and get things done.  I found this article on "How to be less busy post-pandemic" an interesting read, I really like the bit that says "See the things you haven't done as possibilities instead of failure".

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Quiltcon Day 2

Day 2 was another early start for my second volunteer stint which was essentially the same as Day 1 except I did white gloving for the second hour.  I enjoy white gloving as it gives you a chance to interact with other quilters and non-quilters.  The best part about white gloving is getting the opportunity to see the backs of quilts, there were some real gems at Quiltcon.  I was surprised that very few people asked to see the back of the quilts while I was working the floor.

The rest of the day was viewing quilts, shopping at the vendor mall and attending a couple of lectures.   Lectures were 45 minutes and were all held upstairs in the Quiltcon Lecture hall

The first lecture I attended was: Quilt Design: Idea, Design, Create, Quilt  presented by Michelle Wilkie;

Exploring what techniques can be used to create a quilt top, including choices for quilting that complements the design.  The lecture will provide a starting point that can be adapted to make your own quilts.

I enjoyed this lecture, I started off madly writing notes and sketching and then noticed that others were using their phones to take photos of each slide, so I changed to that, but by the third lecture I had discovered that I could use the Notes app on my iPhone, take photos and add little notes as I went - so much better.

My second lecture of the day was: How Critiques can transform your Quilt Creativity presented by Sandra Sider

Quilt critiques help us learn to develop a discerning eye, recognise fine points of design, and develop respect for the artists's voice.

This was another good lecture there was a bit of audience participation as we were asked what we thought should be changed in various quilts.  The lecturer had photos of various quilts which she had digitally manipulated to show how they could have started out and then by deleting or adding elements, changing the layout made a more balanced quilt. (in the photo the final  quilt is on the left)

The lectures were a great way to break up the day and give my feet a rest from all the walking.

I walked around more of the quilts in between browsing the vendor area,  I took photos where and when I could, I had thought I would try and take a photo of every quilt but in the end decided that I would only take photos of quilts that I liked.

Every registered participant received a show bag which contained various items donated by Quiltcon sponsors,  we all received two bags, little bundles of fabric, thread, socks etc

The Mister met me for lunch once again and we went back to the same place for our coffee and lunch snack of a sandwich which we shared.

Some of the fabric in this quilt used Alison Glass Mariner Cloth,  it has added some nice texture to the quilt but I personally wouldn't use it for raw edge appliqué as I think it frays too much. 

Quiltcon was in February 2020.
Steps walked: 16,475 (12.02km)

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Hearts and Gizzards

I've been meaning to write a post about the small quilt I bought on our US trip earlier this year. There was a price tag on the quilt, but I suspect the quilt isn't very old, (perhaps a vintage quilt)  but I like it and that is the main thing.  I didn't have to pay full price either as there was a 50% off sale happening, I just wished I had a larger suitcase as I would have bought the large star quilt as well.

It isn't a very large quilt, there is no label on it, the binding is a cheater fabric, the backing fabric is brown with a red flower and tan leaf pattern.  The quilt itself is hand stitched, even the binding is stitched on by hand, the batting is very thin.

The block is pieced, (I initially thought it was applique) and made up of 4 blocks joined together, there are three pieces in each block,  alternating the colours has created a striking effect.

I found the block in Barbara Brackman's BlockBase - 1503a,   Barbara also wrote a blog post about the pattern here, searching the archives at the International Quilt Museum turned up a version shown here.

You can  see the quilting stitches from the front (photo above) and the back (photo below) the quilter used a doubled thread for some of the quilting.  Some of the binding shows signs of wear and there are a couple of small holes in the quilt but overall it is in reasonable condition.


Sunday, 17 May 2020

Weekend stitching

finally a clear floor

I spent the rest of the week finishing off the clean up of my work room, it is now a much more pleasant place to be in. I swapped the position of the sewing table with the cube unit so I can look out the window when I want to rest my eyes.There are a few small tasks left, like sorting out the scrap drawers, tidying up fabric drawers and finishing cutting up the Kona colour card I bought last year. I've already stuck some up on the magnetic board, I'm hoping I can talk the Mister into cutting the rest of the magnetic tape and sticking it on the swatches for me.

On Saturday I finished piecing the Pick A Box mystery quilt, I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.  The background fabric is a Moda Bella in Coral, a bit of a difficult colour to work with but I think I've pulled it off using the grey, charcoal and black fabrics from my stash.  Navy fabrics would also have worked but I didn't have enough.

In this mystery quilt we had the option of different "boxes" to choose from, in a real life quiltalong there would have been real boxes, but as this was a virtual quiltalong, we chose from A, B, C, D or E.  I chose block A and ended up with my quilt.  There were also several different settings to choose from, I used the symmetry function in EQ8 to work out a different setting and came up with my version.

I can't remember the last time I turned on the Simply 16 Beast, but it is ready for action now that I've cleared everything off, just need to give it a bit of oil to keep it running smoothly.

I've been trying to put equipment away at the end of the day, hopefully I can make this a habit and keep to it.  I'm cutting most of the scraps into  2 ½” x 3 ½” rectangles and plan to make a quilt or two once I've finished scrap cutting.

I have 4 metres of Moda Bella Capri which needs to be used, so I'm using it for the background of the next mystery quilt, it took me a while to decide on which other fabrics to use.  I was hoping there would be enough brown fabrics in the stash but there aren't so I've chucked some other colours into the mix.  It will be interesting to see how this quilt evolves.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Finished something

I haven't been doing much stitching lately and I believe it is because my workroom is such a mess.  When I open the door I feel stressed because of all the clutter and it really isn't very enjoyable working in there.  It hasn't been helped by me enthusiastically starting a mystery quilt while still leaving everything I brought back from Quiltcon dumped on the floor, and then stacking more stuff on top of that.

Last weekend I decided enough was enough and I‘ve been having a KonMari week and getting things tidied up and clutter free.  I haven't quite finished yet but the sewing table is now clear as is most of the floor space.

While I was putting things away, I discovered this quilt which I had made ages ago, it was originally a test block for another quilt and I had added borders and done some practise quilting on it when I first got my Simply 16.  All that needed to be done to finish it was to put a binding on, and because I didn't particularly want to hand stitch the binding down I decided to have a go at machine stitching the binding.

It didn't take too long and I'm quite pleased with how it looks even though my stitching shows a bit on the back.  I stitched the binding on the backside of the quilt then folded it over to the front and machine stitched that down.

  Front of quilt

I’m quite happy with the result, the quilt is probably going to be a dog quilt, somehow I don’t think the dog will care how the binding looks. I think I need to experiment a bit more with binding widths and needle positioning to get a more professional result.

Back of quilt

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Captain's COVID log - Covid update 2, 14 days free

In South Australia, we have just achieved 14 days free of any new COVID 19 cases, a milestone as it means that the state government will now consider lifting some of the restrictions we are currently under.  I think they will only be minor things like allowing more people to attend funerals, and allowing people to travel to regional areas. 
The Mister and I had a nice Anzac Day, we went out to our driveway, lit a candle, tuned the radio to the live ABC broadcast, stood there and listened to the service.  Further up our street we could see a few lights as more people stood at their driveways for the service.  At first it was very quiet until the birds started waking, we heard kookaburras and magpies, in the distance someone played the Last Post on their bugle (or maybe it was a trumpet) then the neighbour's dog added to it by howling along. 

Petrol has been very cheap (although not for people living out in the bush)  I think it has been nearly 20 years since we have seen petrol below a dollar a litre.  This was the price last week, then a day later it jumped back to $1.15.

Toilet paper is back in the supermarkets and most of the shops have stopped limiting purchases of things like flour, toilet paper, pasta and rice.  I still haven't seen very much liquid hand soap on the shelves, but this could be due to when we shop.  A kind friend dropped off a few bags of flour last weekend so I can bake to my hearts content now.

I made quince jelly last weekend, it took a long time before the jelling point was reached, I suspect I should have used a wider and more shallow pan for better evaporation.  I won't be making any more this year as those three jars will last us quite a while.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

What have I done?

I have started three quilts but as yet I have finished none.  The components pictured below are for the second mystery quilt, step two will be posted tomorrow.  If you fancy joining in to make a mystery quilt the instructions are on Facebook (just search QGSA Pick A Box Mystery 2020) or if you don't like Facebook there are also instructions posted here (open to anyone, no matter where you live).  I know a lot of people don't like Facebook, but the group is really fun, if you have questions they are answered quickly, it is almost like being in a real life group.

I've also been busy finishing up my letters for the Proverbial Quiltalong, just five more letters to sew and then I can finish making words and put the quilt together.  I'm excited to see how it will look once the top is finished.

The first mystery quilt is still waiting to be finished, the only thing that is holding me back is the construction of the flying geese blocks, I haven't counted but I know there are a LOT to make.  It takes me almost an hour to make six or seven pairs, although I know it will be a bit faster once I get going.  Sunday might be the day for a flying geese making frenzy.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Anzac Day 2020

 They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)
For the Fallen

It will be a strange Anzac Day this year, because of the COVID19 pandemic public health restrictions we must all remain 1.5m apart from each other unless you are in the same household  (or bubble if you are in New Zealand).  All Anzac parades have been cancelled and the services that are being held are being conducted with a minimum of people.

We are being encouraged to reimagine Anzac Day 2020 with the phrase "At home, we remember", so we will have an Australian flag hanging, a rosemary wreath and a lit candle placed near our letterbox, and will listen to the ABC radio broadcast of the Anzac Day service. At 0550 the Mister and I will stand at the end of our driveway near the road ready to observe a minutes silence and remember our war veterans. 

Friday, 24 April 2020

Captain's Covid19 Log - Covid day ????

I have been wanting to write down a few things about the COVID 19 pandemic as a record for the future.

Still adjusting to the new normal, we shopped last week, the supermarket wasn't very crowded and people were keeping physically distant from each other, although once we hit the checkouts the 1.5m rule wasn't as closely adhered to.  We avoided anyone that was coughing, some people were wearing masks and gloves, we didn't.

I noticed that there were plenty of vegetables and fruit, a reasonable selection of meat but still no flour, sugar or toilet paper.  When we got back from our USA trip on the 5th March we did a small shop (this was the last time I bought flour) and there was no toilet paper available then.  More than a month later and I still haven't seen any toilet paper in the shops.  The Mister saw some when he stopped to get ice-cream at the supermarket late in the evening, they were restocking shelves so he bought a packet.

It is the same with liquid hand soap and hand sanitiser, a local supermarket had 500ml liquid hand soap the other day, and we signed up for the hand sanitiser waiting list at the pharmacy (there won't be any until May)

I have been doing a bit of baking and as it is quince season, I have poached some quince for us to have with our porridge in the mornings.  I plan to make a small batch of quince jelly in a week or so.

I am taking part in a The Proverbial Quiltalong and am slowly making letters, eventually they will be put together to make a verse of a song which I rather like.

I am using linen for the background and fabrics from my stash for the letters themselves, I don't want the letters to be too obvious so I'm mainly using fabrics that disappear into the background a bit.

The Mister thinks I chose the wrong colour for the background, he fails to realise that I am making it with the linen fabric that is in my stash and the background colour was the only linen that I had enough yardage of.
Our guild president has been running a Mystery Quiltalong on Facebook, we received the final instructions a week or so ago and I finished one block. It is quite large (22") there are 8 more to make, so I shall be taking my time making them.

I made hot cross buns for Easter, I don't have much flour left, hoping it will be available again soon. Apparently it is available in large bags (12.5kg and 25kg) but I don't really want that much, some shops are buying the large bags and repackaging them.

The whole process of shopping takes a lot longer, once we get home, the bags stay outside the house and everything is brought in, wiped down (or washed if it is fruit and vegetables) and then put away. The kitchen bench is then cleaned and sanitised.  We wash our hands as soon as we get in the house, it seems as if we are constantly washing our hands.  I have stopped wearing my rings and watch and also wear a short sleeved top to make it easier when washing and drying my hands.

I miss sitting in a cafe and having a coffee, takeawaycoffee just isn't the same and I miss being able to take my time when shopping at the supermarket.

I have been purposely trying to limit my online time, sometimes there seems to be a lot of doom and gloom out there, I think that I need to start reading some blogs, we have been listening (and singing) to a lot of music lately, it seems to make us happier.

I haven't touched any of my PHDs or WIPs, and I'm fine with that, my work room is rather a mess and I think that I need to have a pause and put everything away so I can have a fresh start.