Super-scrappy stash-slashing

Definitely not a title to attempt after any kind of alcohol…

And it isn’t even a ScrapHappy Day… Back to the point. I’m talking about the back for my Days Gone By quilt, the one I’ve made from scraps generated by the local Days for Girls sewing chapter. A reminder of what this looks like, hanging on my design wall:

And this is the almost complete back, on the same design wall.

Just two long seams to go and it’s assembled, ready to trim out. The eagle-eyed will have noted that it’s a lot larger than the front. This is because we have located an extremely kind local Long-Arm Lady*, who has agreed to quilt it without charge so that I don’t have to struggle with the beast. Batting has been donated – polyester, not my favourite, but it will make a nice lofty quilt when all is done. However, we still needed a back. Having already donated over a year of work myself, and the group not being in a position to buy the fabric needed because this whole project is designed to raise funds to buy supplies for the DfG kits, I had to improvise.

I went shopping in my stash. I rootled about until I’d brought out all the larger scrap pieces I didn’t love or felt I could spare, or had always wondered What Was I Thinking? I sacrificed a few bits I still liked but could live without. They are all, without exception, scrap fabric, left over from other projects. There is no particular logic to the layout apart from ending up with something that didn’t actually make my eyes bleed to look at it…  It is, after all, the back. The bit you don’t look at if you can help it. Two more long seams, and it’s done and I can forget about it until the New Year, when it has its January appointment with edge-to-edge quilting and a moment of fame in March at a fundraiser.

It would have been easier if I hadn’t had to make the thing 6 inches larger than the front in all directions; a requirement of long-arm quilting to assist with loading it on the rollers. So this monstrosity is W82 inches x H87 inches.

Which is a very good thing, because there’s now 7,134 square inches less of unloved fabric in my stash!


* For the non-quilters among you, this is not an unfortunate disability, but the ownership of a long-arm quilting machine, an object often 12ft long, which makes light work of quilting large pieces if you know what you’re doing, and is an enviable piece of kit.

ScrapHappy November

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

I’ve finished the scrappy Days for Girls cushion cover!  Everything about this is scrappy: the hexie front, the batting (discarded spill kit pad*), the backing (leftover from the Anemone quilt) and binding (leftover from Gonna Teal your Heart Away) quilt.

Do you remember I wanted to tone down the pale yellow and pink hexagons in the centre?  What do you think of my Sharpie solution?  I think it helps them recede and fit in much better. By the way, the DfG table runner is still a work in progress, but maybe next month?

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date. This month, we’ve been joined by a new member – welcome, Kym!

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire,
Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann and Kym

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

*A spill kit pad is a 16 inch square of thick (nearly ¼ inch), heavy cotton batting, designed to absorb spills of oil and engine fuel safely. They are 100% cotton to minimise fire risk. They also, incidentally, make perfect cushion batting! They are discarded when they start to get a bit battered, at which point I’m standing there with greedy clutching paws, scrounging… 😉

Mending and amending

I don’t do sewing alterations or repairs for other people.

What I do do is help friends, and sometimes this takes the form of a bit of sewing. A friend in my tai chi class recently lost her father. She brought me one of his old shirts, and asked if it was possible to alter/tailor it so that she could wear it. She brought me a couple of her own sleeveless shirts to show what she wanted. Now, my friend is tall and sort of medium-female-sized. Her father wore XXL shirts. It wasn’t just a nip and tuck.

So, it wasn’t a mend. It was amend. I made a paper pattern for the arm-scye from one of her shirts. I removed the pockets from the front and repositioned them (you can see where they were, but it’s not too obvious, and will hopefully improve still more after washing) because their original position would fall somewhere under her armpit. I took measurements off her shirts and applied them. I created a couple of bust darts to give it some shape. (If she wants more shaping after she’s tried it, I’ll put in a couple of back darts.)

Before closing the side seams, I stitched the pockets and darts, closed and overlocked the side seams and then bound the armholes. Finally, I trimmed and hemmed the bottom of the shirt. Job done.

She’d also asked if I thought there’d be enough fabric trimmed off for a cushion cover. Sleeves use a surprisingly large amount of fabric, so I was fairly confident something could be done. I stitched the sleeves lower edge to lower edge with an embroidery stitch, lining up the stripes as much as possible. There was enough to create a 16½ inch square, which takes a standard cushion pad. I backed and bound it with an offcut of rust homespun, and used the last few scraps to create a hexie flower for the quilted front.

And then, while I was folding up the shirts she’d lent me, I noticed that one of them was looking a bit battered. It was pretty fabric, navy blue with a white sprigged print, and was clearly a well-loved but now rather the worse for wear garment. I took a closer look, and decided it was worth mending.

The shoulders are rather sun-faded and in places there were holes worn in the fabric. I hunted through my scraps and found a strip of navy with a white spot. It didn’t exactly match, but it did go with… I made a small pseudo-yoke for the top of the shoulders on the shirt back, which covered both the worst of the sun fading and the holes.

The armholes were in really bad shape, both frayed and in places detaching entirely from the rest of the shirt. I snipped off the entire armhole bindings and replaced them with new bias binding. I didn’t have navy, but felt that the white worked. The armholes will now sit a little further in on the shoulders, but they’re whole and tidy. I’ve had to add new fabric to old, so the mending won’t last forever, but I think it’ll give her another year or so of wearing enjoyment.

I hope it’ll be a nice surprise for her.


A visual antidote to Red and Blue

We just had to get away from it.

The news is full of it. My phone feed is full of it. I keep hearing soundbites everywhere. We needed a break from the relentless meltdown. (And while I’m at it, my utmost sympathy to my US readers for having to live with the hype as well as the consequences).

We headed out for a little diversion. After a brief detour to the beachfront at Seaforth, we headed for lunch at one of our favourite places: The Old Station Teahouse. We held one of the outings of the 2018 National Rally of our motorbike club there, and it received rave reviews from the 80 members who attended.

Tasty food, whilst relaxing on the ‘platform’ of a preserved old wooden station building set down in peaceful, beautiful, tropical gardens. Birdsong. The rustle and rattle of palm fronds.

The scent of murraya and gardenia. Vines, huge leaves, brilliant flowers. You get the idea… We brought Mouse along, as he loves the place, and the staff adore him and present him with scraps of chicken, mugs of puppacino studded with flakes of beef jerky, endless strokies, and best of all in his view, permission to lie on the comfy sofa!

He took full advantage, of course. Most of the customer seating is around tables in the gardens or on the event deck. There are a couple of tables on the platform, and one three-piece suite of two armchairs and a small sofa. We got the armchairs…. of course. Mouse was ushered onto the sofa in person by the manager, from where he issued his demands requests for sustenance and we were granted an audience with His Exaltedness.

At one point, it struck me how perfectly he was placed against gorgeous bright colours. I can almost see a quilt growing from those: saffron, orange, magenta, emerald and black. Or maybe not so much of the almost!


It’s certainly more to my taste than Red and Blue just now…

Floribunda #6: blocks 5 and 6

….how does my garden grow?

Pretty darn fast, as a matter of fact. These blocks are such fun!  The layout’s the same, so you get faster and faster at completing them, but the fabric combinations make sure that each one looks very different. Take a look:

See what I mean? Imagine these blocks joined by a dark jade green trellis. What do you think of the idea of adding a vine winding through the trellis and the occasional 3D leaf here and there when the whole thing is assembled? I’m sorely tempted, on the basis of my usual ‘more is more’ principle, but I do accept it may be Too Much. I will listen to your thoughts on this one, because I know perfectly well I’m in danger of tipping over into Don’t Even Go There territory… I’m going to defer the decision till the thing’s fully laid out in any case.

So, here are the close ups of blocks 5 (pink) and 6 (green):

I missed posting a Parterre block for BM&I at the end of October. That’s OK, I’ll have more time this month.

I must go, Mouse is standing at the back steps, waiting for me to throw him a doggo-popsicle (aka a frozen chicken neck). At what point did I become a slave to this dog’s every whim, I wonder…?

Till next time.

F2F5: October round-up

Hello! Hope you all had a suitably spooky Halloween, mwahaha!

I’ve been doing some online research about the safest way to mail things. Once I’ve finished and can summarise what I’ve discovered, I’ll contact each of the F2F ladies to let them know how and when to proceed with mailing out everyone’s blocks. So far, it’s looking pretty hopeful. Creativity will not be defeated!

We have an almost full house for October in the gallery. As always, once I have the outstanding images, I’ll add them to the gallery as they come in.

October was Margaret’s month. Her colours were soft blues and creams with a touch of sand or taupe. If you’re interested, you can see her colour references on the Members & Their Colours page on the F²F blog, together with the block photos received to date in the gallery – they’re gorgeous, such lovely soft and gentle colours! In the end, I didn’t need to go shopping, which was probably a good thing…

And now for November, Moira’s month. Her colours are red, white and blue, idea for the patriotic quilts she makes from her F2F blocks. Again, her colours are referenced on the Members  & Their Colours Page (link above). I’m pretty sure we’ll all have those colours in our stashes from previous months.

If you’re new to this blog and don’t know anything about F²F, do head over to the dedicated F²F blog and read all about it. The first ever session can be found on this blog, but for subsequent years I set F²F up with its own blog due to the image-heavy nature of the work. You’ll find a rich, varied and vibrant source of inspiration in all the blocks shown in the galleries for the various years. Enjoy 🙂

Time to go and look through my selected blocks for F2F and see what will work best.

Fake it till you make it

In the pink.

It’s one of those phrases people use without really knowing how it originated. Currently it means to be at a peak of condition, or in the best of health. That’s not a state I’m enjoying right now, so I thought I’d seek out some pink to see if I could turn the tide into a more positive frame of mind. So I went to look for pink.

I reckon I found some good examples. You have to smile: it’s spring in Queensland! I made this collage using the Adobe Spark free software for collages.

Also in the pink was lunch yesterday. So delicious, freshly caught prawns, salad, avocado and sun dried capsicums with a caesar dressing.

And finally, the latest Floribunda block, in progress. This is #5.

In case you’re wondering, that surface it’s lying on is a thick felted batting square which is one of literally hundreds supplied to the Husband as part of a spill kit for his job. I have appropriated a dozen or so for bag-making, padding and yes, block layouts so they can be easily transported from one surface to another. The pad is 16 inches square and roughly ¼ inch thick, a really useful weight and size.

Well, the pink has done its job. I no longer feel quite so green….

Floribunda #5, blocks 3 and 4

This is so dratted addictive.

I make a couple of blocks and think that’ll hold me for a day or so. Then I find myself standing at the cutting table, sorting colours and cutting strips for another block. Or two. Or three.

Which is why there are two more ready and the parts for another one waiting on the bench.

Turns out this quilt might be ready a fair bit sooner than I’d imagined, if I keep going at this rate. I really must stop and finish up a couple of other things.

Or not. My willpower may not be up to it!

Floribunda #4: the first two

I haven’t been totally idle on holiday.

I did manage to get the hexie cushion cover done for ScrapHappy, and here are the first two Floribunda blocks done, one pink and one green.

I’ve decided that hand piecing is going to be much, much too slow – I can’t wait that long to see the results! So, I’m going to be machine piecing this one, and with luck, I’ll get the 44 blocks I need completed some time this decade! Some of them are whole blocks, some are halves and there are a couple of quarter blocks, all needed to set this quilt on point, which is the current plan.

I really love how these two have turned out. Roll on the next 42…

The Travels of Mouse: homeward bound

Hello peeps, Mouse here again.

Just a quick one this morning, as Mum says she hasn’t got much time for dictation.

Lovely day yesterday. We went and fetched coffees and pastries for the humans, and met Mum’s blogging friend Aunty Kate in the Sanctum dog park, which is close to her home (Hi Aunty Kate, nose boop!). The sun shone, I ran and sniffed, the humans talked and drank coffee and in Dad’s case, sneaked me a bit of sausage roll. Then a couple of very bad mannered dogs turned up with their human which caused a bit of an interruption, but they moved into another part of the dog park so it was OK after that. Mum says you might like to know that the pastries came from Cédric Corre Patisserie in Hermitage Park, in case you’re ever passing through and in urgent need of a delicious tarte au citron or galette aux pommes – or indeed, some very respectable sausage rolls.

After that we did a bit more exploring, down to Bushland Beach, which is lovely and empty, with a very shallow sloping beach so no surprise drop-offs for unsuspecting doggos. The Bushland Beach Tavern has a motel attached and is right at the beach, and the outdoor eating area overlooking a lagoon looked pretty good too, so we’ve marked that down for next time. Mum spotted some really big old fig trees which Dad says would make very good sustainable, self-renewing fences!

Last stop was a drive up to Cape Pallarenda in the north of the city. We didn’t stop and get out; it was very hot, the trails are long and doggos are not permitted as it is National Parkland, but we could see the start of it. If you love walking trails, natural beauty, bird watching and amazing views, it would be worth a visit. The view across to Magnetic Island is startlingly close, and back towards the city lets you see just how tall Castle Hill is in the background.

Right, got to go. Mum has to get moving, she says.