Friday, 18 January 2019

Disintegrating Star

the Mister pinning my quilts up for display

For Festival of Quilts, Adelaide (held in July 2018) I was asked to do a special display of the modern quilts I have made.  Some of the quilts (in the photo above) have been shown in my blog previously, but as my blogging has been quite sporadic, and although there are some quilts that have made an appearance on IG, I’ve never blogged about them, so this will be one of several blog posts in an attempt to rectify that situation. (better late than never)

Disintegrating Star (47" x 51")

I had been wanting to make another star quilt for sometime, this one was made using Quiltsmart printed interfacing (bought on sale ages ago) to make the Lone Star quadrants.  The quadrants were then moved around on grey fabric until I saw an arrangement I liked, then it was pieced together ready for quilting.

I always start my quilting by ditching the main areas as I find this usually helps me formulate a quilting plan.  After quilting piano keys, feathers and swirls on about a quarter of the grey background, it didn’t look or feel right, so I set the quilt aside for a month or so. After some reverse stitching I decided to start quilting in the middle with a ghost half star and some straight lines, I felt  much happier with the quilting after seeing that first section (below).  I then quilted scattered diamonds and ghost quadrants in the negative space, interspersed with plenty of straight line quilting.

The quilting was all done on my Simply 16, using a ruler to keep the lines straight(ish).  I marked the diamond shapes out with an air erasable marker (a purple Clover one I think), and eyeballed most of the lines, thread used was mainly Aurifil 50wt  (Rasant thread used in the bobbin).  I quite often use a double layer of batting as I feel it really shows up the quilting, but this time I opted to use a single layer of wool batting, which I think achieved the same result as double batting.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Workroom revamp part two

My workroom is quite compact - approx 3m x 3m (10' x 10'), and I consider myself very fortunate that I have such a nice area to work in.

the old 9 cube unit

I replaced the 9 cube unit (above) with a six drawer unit, it takes up less floor space and the drawers also keep the fabric away from the sunlight, plus the two shelves are a nice bonus.

Although it is recommended to attach this unit to a wall, we haven't done this as I am an adult and won't be doing anything like opening all the top drawers at one time to make it top heavy (which could make it topple over).

it makes me happy to see the fabric neatly folded

 My fat quarter bundles fit nicely into  these storage boxes, (below) they come in a flat pack and need to be assembled, and although they are a wee bit flimsy they are the right size for the job. Charm packs also fit in quite well, if they are still packaged.

I replaced my heavy cutting table with this Bror trolley from Ikea, I use it for ironing and cutting. The 24"x24" cutting mat fits on top nicely and when not in use I just slip it on the shelf underneath.  The trolley itself will hold up to 50kg of weight, two of the casters can be locked to hold it in place and it is very easy to move around.

Instead of having shelves on the wall above my sewing table, I bought some add-on units (here and here) so I can store things like pens, lint roller, cones of thread etc.

Last winter I bought a Daylight LED Slimline  lamp (not seen in this photo, but you can see it in the second photo in the previous post) which clamps to my sewing table and extends over my work area, it really makes a difference on the duller days.  We also changed the central fluoro light to an LED downlight, which combined with the new paint job seems to have made the room a lot brighter.

The trolley will be useful to hold my tools when I am using the long arm, the Mister would say I could put my coffee mug on it as well, but I have a strict No food or drink policy in my workroom so that won't be happening :)

The side of the six drawer unit is also a great place to hang some of my rulers, I used  Command™ Brand hooks for this, they hold a reasonable amount of weight and are easily removable should my needs change.

I now have two pegboards, one metal one (from Bunnings) and a wooden one from Ikea (Skadis pegboard)  I wouldn't recommend hanging heavy items from the Ikea pegboard as it is only fixed from the top, and tends to flap a bit.

 I still have a little bit of fine tuning to do, I need to put some labels on some drawers and folders but it is all organised now and it is ao enjoyable to come in here to sew noq.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Workroom Revamp part one

The last half of 2018 I took a bit of a "sewbatical", my workroom was starting to resemble a rubbish tip (my own fault as I was just dumping things wherever there was space), and I wasn't really feeling the love for quilting, had problems finding things and was starting to avoid going in there.

Looking into my workroom from the door

Having to remove the majority of my accumulated "stuff" provided the impetus to have a good look at everything and decide which projects, fabrics etc still sparked joy.  After looking at all my fabric I knew that I had a major SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) situation. Not wanting to burden someone else with the problem of disposing of my stash in the future, I passed on a lot of fabrics to a friend who makes charity quilts, other items went to the local thrift shop.

The sewing side

One of my main aims was to have more available floor space so I drew up a floor plan and moved things around on paper before deciding on the final layout.  I also decided to remove the design wall so the room could be painted properly.  With the design wall gone, there were two empty walls, so the Simply Sixteen went on one side and everything else on the other side of the room. 

The quilting side

 So far the layout is working well,  I have a lot more room around the Simply Sixteen and don't have to squeeze myself between anything to access the power point as I did previously.  Having it in this position also means I have good peripheral vision and it is less likely that I will get surprised by the Mister while I am engrossed in quilting. 

I'll do another post about some of the other changes in my workroom in a day or so.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Looking forward to 2019

Partially completed centre of the 365 Challenge quilt

Things have been a bit quiet around here lately, we have been having the interior of our house painted and that means lots of furniture moving and also provides a good opportunity for decluttering.  Some rooms only needed the removal of small items with the larger items of furniture being moved into the middle of the room and covered with a dust sheet to protect from any paint splashes and drips.

Because of the smaller size my workroom needed a slightly different approach, so with the exception of my sewing machine table and the Simply Sixteen everything else was removed.  It took me a few days as there was a lot of "stuff" in there, I did start to wonder how I had managed to fit it all in the room, and I know the painter was quite amazed with the amount of "stuff" that came out of the room.

It has taken more than a few days to shift things back into my workroom, I decided to change the layout and reduce the clutter which meant some hard decisions were made but I am quite happy with how it is looking, which means I will be able to get back into my quilting again.

A corner block of the 365 Challenge quilt 

On the quilting front, I did have a few finishes this year, although I wasn't able to keep up with the 365 Challenge quilt, but I did download all the blocks so I will be able to continue on with that in 2019 (and no doubt 2020).

Completed Free Wheeling Single Girl flimsy

I enjoyed participating in the Free Wheeling Single Girl QAL, it was a really nice quilt to make and I suspect there will be another one in my future.

Completed Trip Around the World flimsy

I think the best finish for me was finishing my TATW quilt top which I started back in August 2014 and finished in October 2018, all handpieced, now I just have to bite the bullet and get started on the hand quilting.

There were a few other finishes which I will detail in another blog post (once I have found the photos).

Monday, 5 March 2018

Chugging along

I've been working away on the My Small World quilt, all the components of part three are complete and just need to be stitched together, after I've checked the measurements that is.

Looking at the photo there is one section that I'm not totally happy with, as I think there might be a better fabric choice somewhere in my stash.  It will be a fairly easy fix as it is only a couple of bits of fabric that need to be swapped.

There are a few bits of applique and other handwork in this quilt so while I was at the SA Modern Quilters sit and sew at Hettie's Patch I occupied myself stitching together hexagons (½" ones this time) for the hill in part five, the clamshells below are for part six which I hope to start on tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

365 Challenge scraps sorted

It took me about an hour to sort and clip all the scraps of fabric for my 365 Challenge, and then I made the block above, it was so much easier as I first looked in the scraps to see if I had a piece that was the same (or a similar) size and then I just needed to trim to the right size and start sewing.  I wish I had done this before, although it has used up a lot of my Clover clips.

I've also been thinking that I should be finishing a few things off instead of looking to start something new.  The SA Quilters' Guild Festival of Quilts will once again be held in conjunction with The Sewing, Stitching & Handcraft Show on July 6-8 2018  and I always like to enter at least one quilt to support the guild.  I often hear people say their quilts aren't good enough to enter but it isn't a competition it is an exhibition and without members' quilts we wouldn't have a show each year.

So with that in mind I pulled out the My Small World quilt which I started in May 2015  it suits me to work on this now as it is another quilt with small piecing and my brain seems to prefer small piecing at this time.  It isn't a large quilt - only 33" by 52" so I'm about halfway there with three more full sections to make plus this one which I'm about quarter of the way through, it is mainly flying geese and various blocks that have to be made in this section so nothing too onerous. 

I didn't follow the pattern exactly for this part as I couldn't be bothered with y seams, it was a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.  I had forgotten about all the small squares that make up the sky, they may be swapped out for some more larger squares, will see how I feel when it comes to stitching that part together.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Falling behind

The past week I had fallen behind with the 365 Challenge blocks, I told myself that it didn't really matter as I was still working on the 365 Challenge because I was making the centre block and the borders that surround it.

Even though the blocks are small (3½") some of them take longer to make than others :(
The bottom left was one that took a little too long, which meant it was a pleasure to make the two right hand side blocks, they were done in less than 30 minutes.
Now that I am up to date with the 365 Challenge I need to have a bit of a tidy up, all those small pieces of fabric tend to pile up and make a bit of a mess.  I have been keeping the larger pieces of fabric folded on a tray and the small ones in that red basket, but I think a different system might be required for the smaller pieces.

I think I will try clipping the same fabrics together, then put them on a tray.  My usual method of finding the right scrap is to tip the basket on the floor and scrabble through looking for the right sized piece, if they are clipped together it should make it a bit easier and there will be no threads to vacuum up.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A finish

My first finish for the year!!  Very happy with how my Goin' Uptown Tote turned out.  I'm not sure if I will make another one anytime soon as it was quite hard on my hands manipulating all the layers of the bag at certain stages of the construction.

The inside of the bag, I added another pocket on the other side, after all you can never have too many pockets.

Plenty of room in here, I have my iPad, a drink bottle, my Necessary clutch and a small zip pouch in there.  I could probably fit plenty more in but I'm a fan of minimal contents in my bags and I do have to carry it as well.

My phone (iPhone7) fits into either of the side pockets perfectly, there is about one inch leeway at the top and the same each side so no worries about it getting lost in there.

The bag closed up, I added a litte zipper pull, not sure if I will leave it there or put it on one of the side pockets. Instead of sewing the handles down I used Chicago Screws similar to these for fixing the handles on, if for some reason I need to change the handles then it should be an easy fix.

I gave my bag two coats of Scotchgard which will (I hope) keep it a bit cleaner. I don't think that my Necessary clutch really works with the fabrics in this bag, but I think I might have just enough of the Alison Glass and Essex linen fabric to make another one, not just yet though, I'm a bit over bag making.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A bit more catching up

Finally I'm caught up, I've finished with bag sewing for a while so I changed my needle and thread back  to my usual sewing set up so I can get on with some other stitching.

We are now making variations of quarter square triangle units, I think they will get smaller yet, will have to wait and see.

I printed out a calendar so I can cross off each day as I make the block, much easier than trying to remember where I'm up to.  Even though I save the emails sometimes I forget to delete them after making the block and then get a bit confused as to which block to make.

This is what I have made so far, we will be making 6" blocks to go in the corners and then I think there is a large centre block.  I just threw the blocks on my design wall, when it comes time to put them together I will probably move some around.  I'm liking how the black is creating different secondary patterns.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Playing catch up

My stitching time during the weekend was mainly spent catching up with the 365 Challenge blocks although I did manage to spend a bit of time on my Goin' Uptown tote.

There were a lot of triangles in a couple of these blocks (the ones on the right hand side of the photo) and the blocks seemed to take longer than usual.  The block for today was easy  (the bottom left of the photo) it took me longer to thread the machine up than it took to stitch it.  I'm hoping the next few blocks are easy ones too.

After changing threads on my machine I started on the recessed zipper pocket, I'm pleased with the way it has turned out as this was the first time with this particular technique.  I didn't read the instructions properly and marked the cutting and stitching lines incorrectly on the right side of the fabric instead of the wrong side, you can just make them out on the lining fabric in the photo below.  I figure that as it is inside the pocket it isn't really going to make a difference. 

This fusible web from Clover has been a real help, I've used it quite a bit instead of pinning and it has made the sewing on some of the fiddly bits much easier than using pins, Clover clips or glue. It pulls apart quite easily if you need to readjust something before you stitch.  I know there are other types of  fusible web around but this was all I could get at the time.  You just need to make sure you take the paper off before fusing :)