TWX: two more blocks

Beautiful blocks continue to trickle in for TWX (Tealed with a Kiss).

Look at these two lovelies from Ali of Thimberlina.

ali-twx1

ali-twx2

Just a reminder: if you’d like to contribute a block or two, the specs are very simple:

  • Any format of block resembling an X; formal, improv, appliqué, whatever takes your fancy.
  • Any shade of teal and cream, can be teal on cream or cream on teal.
  • Unfinished size 12½ inches square or a little more if possible.

There’s still lots of time; I have to get this one finished by mid April next year for a May fundraiser, but if you’d like to make one, do let me know so I can plan for your contribution.

Right, back to cutting joining strips…😦

 

QAYG: breaking it down

Sometimes you have to look past the logical solution.

QAYG (quilt as you go) is a clever, tidy and relatively painless way of sandwiching and quilting your blocks before you assemble the quilt. For those of us quilting on a domestic sewing machine, this is a great way of avoiding the shoulder-pain of hauling a huge piece of quilting through the narrow throats of our machines.

However, once the quilting’s done, you’ve got to attach all the pieces to each other. Logically, you’d join it up row by row. After all, that’s how you’d do it if you were simply sewing the blocks together before quilting conventionally, isn’t it? Trouble is, you end up with at least 4 or 5 very long seams where you’re wrestling many, many layers together into quarter inch seam allowances. Things can wobble and gape, sewing lines can go wonky, and the pin sticks alone can lead to insanity.

I’ve come up with a way of reducing the number of very long seams you have to sew to only 1. Better, yes? I don’t claim it’s original, but I know it works for me, and I haven’t see it documented anywhere else.

qayg-assemblyIt’s as simple as this:

If your quilt’s an even number of squares (eg: 6×6 or 8×8), divide in half horizontally and vertically.  Make up a square of blocks for each corner, join the two top and two bottom sections, and then you only have one long seam across the middle.

If your quilt’s an uneven number (eg: 5×5 or 7×7), offset the horizontal and vertical divides, but proceed the same way. One side will be squares, the other rectangles. Proceed as above. If your blocks are smaller and there are more of them, you can afford to create sections which are 4 or 5 blocks long/deep, as the seams will still be shorter and the sections more manageable.

Joining sections which are only 2 or 3 blocks deep is much, much easier and more pleasant. You’re not hauling the bulk of what you’ve already joined around every time. Only one really long strip. Works for me!

Lynn at Tialys and I both have a quilt to assemble by this process. Mine’s 5×5 and hers is 5×6. We’ve both done it the hard way, row by row; now I want to see whether she finds it easier this way too. Starting this weekend, we’ll be working together (if 18,000kms apart), as we both want our quilts finished by Christmas.

Stay tuned – I’ll be taking photos as I go to try and clarify my scruffy little drawings.

F²F² November round up

Sorry I’m late with this, but I had something urgent and unplanned to do for the last two days, and there was no opportunity to get this post written, let alone published!

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmSo, November is all but done. All the blocks barring one set are made, and if not yet received, then at least in transit. Esther is having a struggle to find sewing time and space; she has sold her apartment and is camping with her family till her new home is ready. I imagine her sewing things are mostly packed away and she has not much space to work in, hence the understandable delay with her blocks. The blocks that have already been completed are there in the gallery; they’re lovely, and worth a visit.

December is Gun’s month. She has chosen pink, yellow and blue, in vivid, bright shades – hop over and take a look at her inspiration photo on the Members page, and you’ll see how harmoniously they work together. I definitely need to go and buy more yellow!

Just to remind everyone that the Christmas season will mean mail takes longer than usual.

Bee, Myself and I #8

To make up for lost time, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing in the last couple of days.

hatbox-11

Block 11

hatbox-12

Block 12

And here is the result of some of it. Two more hatboxes for my Bee, Myself and I selfish sewing project. I’m now officially one third of the way through the blocks I need, and I’ve picked out the next bunch of candidate fabrics. It’s all looking a bit pale and pastel-y up there on the design wall, so I’m going for stronger backgrounds and more saturated colour for the next round.

I’m not sure how many of the original participants are still stitching along quietly with their selfish sewing, but I know this bee’s owner, Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl, has reached a major landmark with hers. Nip over there and have a look, it’s really impressive!

If you want to know more about the bee, click on the button a fair way down in the left hand column.

Foolproof…

The thing about gluten free bread is that it’s cranky.

By which I mean that results are variable, the ingredients expensive, the taste can be…odd, and the process time-consuming.  I also don’t want to make a whole loaf, and then only manage to eat half of it before the remainder goes as hard and dry as an old brick, which happen pretty quickly with GF bread.

Since my back problems 6 months ago, I’ve put on weight. Being unable to walk for more than a few minutes and unable to stand up straight will do that for you, and I haven’t managed to lose the extra lard since. So I decided it was time to revisit what, and how much, I eat. Cutting back hard on sugar, hugely increasing the amount of vegies I eat and greatly reducing the carbs is working nicely, and I’m showing a slow but steady decrease in the tightness of my clothes!  But sometimes, I want a bit of bread. And here is a recipe which combines the virtues of being low(ish) carb and gluten free, and tasting good and being very quick to make. It makes a small loaf, two large rolls or 3 or 4 small ones.

Ingredients:
1¼ cups almond meal, either bleached or natural, whichever you prefer
5 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1¼ cups boiling water
¼ cup of sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds or linseed (optional)

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Mix the dry ingredients, and whisk together with a hand beater to ensure the baking powder is well distributed. Mix the egg whites and vinegar, and add to the dry ingredients. Beat in, then add the boiling water. Beat well for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, till the mixture starts to thicken, turning from a slightly wet and lumpy batter to a dough. Don’t over-beat, or the bread will be gummy. Put whole into a small oiled bread tin, or divide into rolls with oiled hands and put into the oven on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Bake for 50 minutes for small rolls or 1 hour for large rolls or a loaf. Cool well before cutting.

You can double the quantities for a larger loaf, but you’ll have to adjust the cooking times upwards  a bit. You can also add a tablespoon of dark brown sugar, half a cup of raisins and half a teaspoon of  cinnamon for a raisin bread, and can brush the crust with melted butter if you want a bit of a shine. It doesn’t have the yeasty flavour of true bread, but it’s not as odd tasting as some GF recipes, and it is wonderfully substantial if you’re hungry!

This is based on an original recipe by Maria Emmerich.

SAL 38: a bit more border

I’ve had a chance to do a fair bit of hand stitching in the last two days.

The blue sampler has reaped the benefit; I got another chunk of the left hand border done and made a start on the next row of letters. This border’s very soothing to stitch, lots of repetition and no counting! The one on the other side is another story, which is absolutely the reason I took the easy option🙂

alphabet-2-lines

Before

blue-sampler-row-3-started

After

Below the letter R, everything gets pretty and twiddly again. More decorative blocks, more floral borders… In the interests of the design, I’m leaving the W out as well. This isn’t a teaching sampler, it’s allowed to be just for pretty, and I think it looks prettier without. I’m really looking forward to the three blocks of dense design along the bottom.

As always, the others in the SAL will have something lovely to show. We’re on different time zones and you may have to wait a while before all the posts are up, so keep checking back!

Avis at http://sewingbesidethesea.wordpress.com
Claire at http://claire93.wordpress.com
Gun at http://rutigt.wordpress.com
Carole at http://aslightobsessionwithbooks.wordpress.com
LucyAnn at https://lucyannluna.wordpress.com
Jess at https://everthecrafter.wordpress.com
Sue at http://sewingmagpie.blogspot.com
Constanze at https://textiledreamer.wordpress.com
DebbieRose at https://sewrosey.wordpress.com
Christina at https://petalsandpins.wordpress.com
Susan at http://susanpblog.wordpress.com
Kathy at https://livinginrapidcity.wordpress.com
Margaret at https://thecraftycreek.com/
Cindy at http://homeofaflossjunkie.blogspot.com
Helen at http://stitchingranny.wordpress.com – our new member: welcome, Helen!

See you next time, on 18th December.

Stay+ part 3: another line completed

One more row to go, and then the assembly can start.

This is where we were last time:

stay-line-2-half-of-3-quilted

And this is now:

stay-80-quilted

One more row to go, and I’ve done all the prep. So now I just have to quilt all 5 blocks, and then I can start joining everything together.

I must go and buy some fabric to cut the joining strips. They’ll be the same cream fabric to match the backing, and give the individual blocks some separation on the front.

And somehow, I’ve worked through another kilometre/a little over half a mile of cream thread…

Another big push, and then it’ll be time for all these lovely blocks to become a quilt🙂