Time for Teal 23: Time for a teal break

It’s done, my friends.

Last section joined, bound, hanging pocket and label added. Click on the photos to enlarge.

T4T finished frontNormally, I hang a quilt on the line to photograph it, but I didn’t like to disturb Mrs Noisy on her nest. The design wall is fully occupied by S+ so I can’t hang it there. The Husband of Chiconia was unavailable for quilt holding-up duties, being occupied with grubby activities in the garage. So I bit the bullet and approached the clothesline quietly and obliquely. She was a bit agitated for a minute or two, but when it was obvious I wasn’t interested in her or her nest, she sat tight. It didn’t help that it’s a breezy day and the damn quilt wouldn’t hold still, but there you go, I’m not complaining about a nice cool breeze.

T4T reverse, quiltingT4T labelToday or tomorrow, I shall head to the post office to get it off to Ovarian Cancer Australia’s Melbourne office. After that, I’m taking some days off from the colour teal to do some other sewing, read a book, clean the sewing room floor, that sort of stuff. I’ll be getting back to S+ soon, I just need a break from all that tealness, and so, I’m sure, do you…

Quilt details:
Size: W63 x H75 inches (W160 x H190cm)
30 x 12½ inch blocks, made by 13 contributors
6 blocks specially design for the quilt*
Begun 3 March 2016, completed 9 August 2016

I’ll also be stroking the absolutely gorgeous Japanese printed voile I bought in the 30% off Spotlight sale to make myself a dress and trying to find a home for the large roll of batting I also scored for a similar reduction. So, let’s see, what can I find to surprise you with next time?

So many lovely things to make, so little time… 


*If you’d like to use any of the blocks specially designed for this quilt by Esther of ipatchandquilt, please click through to  her Craftsy shop for all these – and many more – beautiful foundation paper piecing patterns.

Time for Teal 22: an end, and a beginning

OK, then, we have a result.

I will not be adding the outer border blocks to Time for Teal. Instead, I’ll attach the final dresden strip to the bottom, and then bind and label it. I’ll add a channel to the top at the back in case its new owners wish to hang it on the wall, and then I’ll send it off down to Melbourne :-), the first of many, I hope.

After that, it’ll be time to get cracking with the second one. Yup, once I’d made the decision, I took T4T down and arranged all the leftover blocks, and guess what? I only have 5 blocks left to make to achieve another quilt! Thanks mainly to the fact that I received Nanette’s lovely squishy this morning with 4 blocks and lots of lovely teal scraps.  See, how nice are these?

Collage 1 Nanette S+

So, what’s the new one going to be like, you may ask (assuming you haven’t fallen asleep with boredom about the whole subject by now, of course…)? Well, quite a lot like this, actually:

S+ layout

It’s call Stay + (Positive). A visual pun, but a pun nonetheless. What, you thought I’d let a perfectly good punning opportunity pass, did you? The plus sign in the centre currently blocked in with dark teal scrap fabric will be made up of chequerboard blocks in all the darkest shades of teal I have, including some of the lovely scraps Nanette sent me. I’ll be able to crank those out really quickly. There’s probably going to be some positional tweaking going on before I finalise the layout, but not too much. Yes, it’s a square, and slightly smaller than the other one, but it needs to be a square because of the + sign, and it’s still a pretty good size at nearly 160cm square. Certainly plenty large enough for chilly evening snuggling.

So, thanks to everyone who took the trouble to consider the issue and leave a comment. I appreciate every single one, and even if I didn’t go with your selection, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about your contribution.

Stay with me, there’s a new quilt trying to escape…

Time for Teal 21: securing the border

I have quite a lot to show you this time.

Dresden top row on

Top dresden border attached

Dresden bottom row joined

Bottom Dresden border completed, waiting to be attached

I’ve completed the top and bottom rows of dresdens and attached the top one. The assembly process is now well established and it doesn’t take me long to get the blocks ready for quilting and trimming out. Attaching the long rows is very fiddly, especially as I have to change the sashing colour partway along for these rows, but really, compared with quilting a big thing like this it’s a walk in the park.

Top & bottom border layout

Top & bottom outer border layouts

Here are the final selections for the top and bottom outer borders. Once everything was up, I did quite a lot of tinkering, so it’s fairly different from my original take, and may still get tweaked a little more, depending on what comes in soon. My design wall isn’t quite large enough for the whole quilt to be laid out with the outer border blocks at their untrimmed size, so the bottom row is on the floor. Excuse the extraneous stuff in the photo, but I can’t quite get the whole thing into one picture without it!

So now there are only 10 more blocks needed. I know that my friend Nanette has posted me something, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming. After that, I’ll know how many more to make.

But having got the whole thing up and seen how it looks, I have one burning question, and I’d value input on this. Is it getting too big?  Currently the plan is to produce a quilt of finished size H100 x W88 inches (254 x 222 cm), more or less, which is fairly humungous. If you were buying a quilt at a charity auction, would you want one this big, or would you prefer a more lap-size quilt of 75 x 62 inches (190 x 158 cm)? If the latter, then I have to stop very soon! But if you’d love the larger one, I’ll carry on with the outer border. If we go with the smaller one, never fear, I will have absolutely no trouble using all the border blocks everyone has so kindly sent already, since there’s going to be a Teal quilt every year. I’ll be interested to hear what everyone thinks – votes for larger or smaller, please.

Even if you never usually comment, this is one time when I really need to hear what you think, so make an exception and let me know!


Time for Teal 20: Border country

Onward to the border!

I have realised I cannot really afford to hang around too much with T4T’s outer border. Life has a way of presenting you with surprises, and unless I maintain momentum I may find myself nearing the end of August with Time for Teal still unfinished. Another sustained effort will help to make it happen.

So I have begun arranging the blocks I have, trying to work out a balanced effect. They seem to divide sensibly into ‘pale’ and ‘strong’ groupings, the latter being blocks with very bright or dark fabrics featuring prominently, and the former being more balanced and lighter in their contrast. So the plan is to alternate, with Viv’s wonderful wonky pineapple blocks at each corner, which definitely fall into the ‘strong’ category!

T4T collage 8I needed two more ‘pale’ blocks for the bottom row, and fortunately I got a squishy in the mail today from Viv’s cousin Robin which fit the bill exactly. I now have the rows sorted out for the top and bottom outer borders. I just need 10 more blocks, 5 on each side, and it’ll be enough. I’ve also made a couple of scrapbuster blocks using the smaller and less useful bits and pieces, and you can see all 4 blocks in the collage above.

There’s a squishy on the way from Nanette with an additional contribution, so I shall see what wonderful loot arrives before I determine how many more I need to make myself, and of what type, in order to finish the side borders.

Time for some sustained prep work. I have 14 blocks ready to go!

Time for Teal 19: I am a machine!

Seriously making up for lost time here…

right dresden borderI’ve finished the right hand Dresden Plate border, and both left and right borders are now attached to the central ‘tea table’ panel, using the pale teal with cream spot I mentioned in an earlier post.

The top and bottom edges of the tea table panel will also be bordered like this, when I get there.

Also completed, but not shown yet, are two of the Dresden Plate blocks for the top row. The other three are batched up and sandwiched with batting and backing, ready for me to start quilting them. It’s so, so much easier doing it this way. I can cut a bunch of back panels, a load of batting squares, press the fronts and sandwich them together in about the time it takes to fully quilt one block.

I haven’t yet run out of different ways to quilt each individual block. There’s only one repeat at present: the two large coffee pots have the same wavy line quilting because I feel it suits the blocks best. Everything else is different.

I quilted the second of Viv’s two dresden plate blocks yesterday, and stopped to think about her as I did so. I think they may perhaps have been the last pieces of patchwork she ever made… Unfailingly kind to the end, Viv. Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.

tea table and dresden sidesO.C.A would dearly like to have the quilt by the end of August for their September fundraiser, and I think we’re going to make it :-).

Tomorrow, I’ll finish the top Dresden Plate border.

Time for Teal 18: playing catch-up

Now that my mojo is back, I’m going for it!

Left dresden borderAlso now finished are the four Dresden Plate border blocks on the left of the centre panel, which are joined to each other but not yet to the centre panel.

Remember I said I wanted a narrow coloured border around the table top?  I’ve chosen the pale teal with cream spot I’ve used in a few blocks, as it’s relatively ‘quiet’, and because I already have enough of it. Next time I post you’ll be able to see how that looks. Meanwhile I have to go back and get a few more metres of the pale beige small print I’ve been using for the back and the narrow sashing. There was enough to do only what you see, and as it is, I had to piece the backing for one of the blocks.

Spray basting these blocks before quilting has been a bit of a life saver. All I can say is, they’ve improved the product since the last time I tried it, and I’m also using very, very little. But it does take far less time than pin or thread basting, and means I can make rapid progress.

I also wanted to show you what the quilting looks like. For the most part it’s fairly invisible on the front, and that’s how I wanted it. The design of the blocks is too pretty to be upstaged by the quilting, even supposing I was capable of quilting that would do that! But on the plain back, you can see what’s going on. It’s like a low relief of the images on the front, and I’m loving it! Sort of a wholecloth quilt effect. I’ve boosted the shadows in the image so you can see it more clearly; the actual back is more creamy-beige than grey!

Quilting, centre and left dresden borderFor anyone who has offered to make a random teal block or two for the outermost border, I’ll be ready to start that in about a week to 10 days. I have about half the quantity I need already. If everyone is busy, though, I’ll still have time to piece the remainder myself and get them integrated into the quilt, so it’s all good.

If you do want to go for it, though, it’s a teal and cream or light beige colour-way on a 12½ inch trimmed out block, but I’d ask you please to allow extra all round to allow for the quilting ‘shrinking’ the block slightly by anything up to a quarter inch. Any design is fine except for more dresdens or tea-related blocks; the border needs to be fairly neutral to let the central part tell the story.

I’m waiting for a firm deadline for the quilt from Ovarian Cancer Australia. Once I have that, it’ll be all systems go!

Time for Teal 17: the last row, and the tea table

It’s taken me all too long to get to this point.

Row 3, T4T It has been a week for multiple tedious medical experiences, including a flight back down to Brisbane for a follow up visit to the spinal surgeon. Thankfully it’s mostly over now, but I will have to scramble a bit to catch up with all the lost time. I’m feeling heaps better than this time a week ago, so I’m hopeful.

I got the last row quilted and joined, and once I’ve joined the three rows together lengthways, the tea table centre will be finished. Next will be the Dresden Plate Border, and then when that’s done, I’ll be able to assess whether I have time to complete the final outer border before the September deadline, or whether I have to finish the quilt there.

Right, back to the sewing machine! 

Tea table, all three rows



Time for Teal 16: another row

It’s getting easier.

first and second rowNow that I’ve quilted and joined two sets of 4 blocks together, and have discovered the joys of preparation and setting up a little production line for the joining bit, I’m making progress.

There’s another row of 4 blocks to quilt and join, and then I’ve got the excitement of joining the three rows together.

Getting everything to line up is going to be the fun part. I’ve done my best to ensure I stuck to a ¼ inch seam allowance and that the blocks are trimmed as close to 12½ inches as I can make them (after quilting has drawn some of them up a bit too much). I think it’ll be OK, and am hoping the quilt police are on annual leave just now…

It’s been fun thinking up simple but appropriate quilting patterns for each block which can be achieved with a walking foot, a ruler and a pencil.  There will be repeats, of course, but not so far.

I’m taking a day off this tomorrow to start doing something on the 3 July F²F² blocks I have to get ready for the end of the month.

Time for Teal 15: Let the quilting begin!

And it has. Begun, that is.

Centre and dresden borderHere’s the entire collection of blocks for the main body of the quilt. All that’s missing is the outer border of random blocks. Somewhere in the last 3 days, the healing of my back has turned a corner and I can now sit at the machine, stand to trim or cut, and bend over very moderately to pin or adjust things. It’s been a bit of a revelation; who knew that making quilts was actually quite demanding?

central row completeThis central row is done; quilted and joined. I’m not hand stitching the folds down on the back; I don’t know how gently the quilt will be treated in its future life, and I don’t want hand stitching coming apart, so it’s getting stitched in the ditch on the front of the quilt, which captures the fold tidily on the back. The speed of quilting and assembly is one of the fun parts of QAYG (Quilt As You Go). No matter where you stop, you end up with a mini-quilt of some description.

I started off by quilting more densely than I normally do, mainly because I could; the blocks are only a foot square and easy to manipulate. But I soon realised this might cause problems on the squares where the measurement was exact or perhaps even a bit scant. Quilting draws up the fabric, and too much of it will make the block a little too small. That’s a problem with QAYG, which relies on accurate blocks, sashing and seam allowances. Moving forward, I’m letting the block designs sing more loudly than the quilting, which will be minimal.

Tomorrow, I’ll start on Row 2, and then comes the fun of joining two rows!

Time for Teal 14: finally, the ribbon

I’m feeling a bit sheepish at how long this block has taken.

Teal ribbonHaving got my F²F² contribution for June squared away, it was time to turn my attention to other things. Despite the siren call of the next Hatbox block, or July’s F²F² blocks, I was firm with myself. The ribbon had to be done. That said, I’ve been a bit easier on myself than before. My previous ribbon block was paper pieced. This time I’ve gone the appliqué route, which meant I was able to give it some nice rounded curves and there are no distracting seams. I’m pleased with it.

Best of all, though, it means that all but the outermost border blocks are now done (and I already have a fair number of those). Rather than dive into the outer blocks, I’m going to stop block construction, and start sandwiching and quilting the ‘tea table’ central blocks and dresden border, and then joining them together. If for some unforeseen reason I run out of time, it means I will have a smaller but complete quilt, and a bunch of lovely blocks to put towards the next quilt. I simply cannot miss the September deadline.

I must find my quilt marking pen. It seems to have gone walkies!