F²F³: August roundup

August was Claire’s month in F²F³.

What fun it was to work with her colour palette of black, grey and turquoise 🙂 It made for bright, graphic, fresh blocks, and I hope she’ll hurry up and make her quilt from them, because I’m dying to see how they finish up! I know I was ready well ahead of most of you on account of having a very busy month, but I did slightly regret that once I’d seem some of the other blocks :-/

September is Nanette’s month, and she has given us a pretty open colour brief. Any shade of blue from baby to dark, including shades of aqua and teal, plus pale blush pink. One important point to note: she has requested NO WHITE OR CREAM BACKGROUNDS, please. If you need contrast please use light blue or blush pink.

If you want to see the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here, and if you want to check out the colour palettes, go to the Members/ Colours page here. F²F reference and finished block images are now maintained on a separate blog due to their image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous session is also stored there.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, but first, I have to go shopping for a bit of blush…


F²F³: FootSquare Freestyle June roundup

It’s time for a round up of the first month of this third series of F²F.

June is Lynn’s month, and all blocks are away safely – she’s even received most of them already, which is good going, considering some were coming from Australia and the US to France! I hope we can maintain this standard throughout the entire 9 months of the series, although I suspect things may slip a bit around Christmas. Lynn had a lovely colour palette to start us all off: shades of grey, beige and vintage rose.

If you want to see the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here, and if you want to check out the colour palettes, go to the Members/ Colours page here. F²F reference is now maintained on a separate blog due to its image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous session is also stored there.

July is Sue’s month, and she has chosen a classic palette of blue and white, from pale through to indigo. I’ve started her blocks already, and I’m having a whole lot of fun!

See you same time next month.

Who wants to play?

I think it may be that time again.

Many of you will remember F²F, Foot²Freestyle. For those who are new to Chiconia since we finished the last round of F²F, it’s a block swap for 9 or more people, which runs for as many months as we have members. Each month you make three blocks and send them out, receiving in turn three blocks from everyone else when it’s your month. Clearly, some people who’ve played before are pining for its return, as I’ve had several enquiries about when we’re going to start it up again.

It has run twice already now, the second time concluding a year ago. After the first round, I created a second blog just for F²F, as a place to hold all the images of the blocks in a gallery, as a record and as a source of information about colours and how the block swap works. If you click on the link above, it’ll take you there. There’s also a load of info about F²F from the first round on this blog, and a gallery page showing all the amazing blocks members produced.

Well… I’m very happy to get it going again, but I need enough people who’ll commit to seeing it through. You can see that the whole thing will fall apart if someone says yes, and then pulls out partway. Everyone else will end up short of blocks. So, for friends old and new, if you’d like to join the party, leave me a comment. If we get enough takers, I’ll start it up again. It’s fun, you get loads of lovely squishy surprises in the mail, and at the end, enough blocks to make a beautiful quilt (or porch curtain!) in a colour scheme of your choice. So go on, take a look at the information and decide if you’d like to play along too. It doesn’t matter about your skill level, the blocks can be as complex or as simple as you’d like. If you express interest, and we have enough members, I’ll need your email and mailing addresses to provide to other members, and will supply more detail on exactly how it works, timings and specifications, etc.

Join us. You’ll be welcome!

Lime & Soda: the flap is over

I don’t mean the panic, I mean the flapping of the curtain.

I knuckled down yesterday and got the extra bits made. Three ties for the right side of the curtain, and a wide channel for the left. Then I mooched about some more, looking for excuses not to do the last bit, as you do. I even went to the lengths of doing some overdue mending, gasp… We’ve had two days of heavy rain, the temperature is much more reasonable (if very humid) for working, and finally, I could procrastinate no longer. This morning I got the job done.

I drilled and screwed in three eyebolts on the right-hand, outer side of the porch, and fixed the ties onto those. Then I got another batten and cut it so it was just a bit longer than the channel. I then drilled holes in it, top and bottom, and corresponding holes in the wall. I ran the batten through the channel on the side of the curtain and screwed it in place top and bottom. Job done. The curtain is nice and flat without being stretched, and it won’t now get sucked into the compressor inlet. I haven’t tried to completely seal off the section behind the curtain; without some airflow the curtain will twang like a drum, and the aircon needs some throughput.

When we get back from our holiday, I shall move a bunch of plants into the porch to make it a bit less spartan. For now, they can enjoy the natural rainfall, which is forecast in generous quantities! Meanwhile, I’m searching the internet to find those ceramic watering spikes which have a tube to run into a bucket of water for automatic watering while you’re away. I used to have a load of them but they got lost in our last move. eBay has them aplenty, but no-one wants to mail them to Australia 😦  The search continues. Also on my return, I must make another curtain for the screen door at the other end of the porch, a simple, flat panel. I have plenty of lime, grey, black & white scraps left, so it should be fairly straightforward.

And now, I have no more excuses. Back to Bonnard, and the hand quilting. 13 rows to go.


Lime & Soda: not hanging about

I have the curtain mostly assembled.

I say mostly: I still need to add the borders at left and right, and add the triangular bit at top left. But I think this photo gives you a pretty clear idea of how nice it is. I’m so pleased with how it has turned out!  The sashing fabric is perfect for tying together all the patterns and shades of grey, black and white, and the brilliant greens really sing.

I’ve really enjoyed working with all these blocks, and recalling who made them. This curtain is going to be a wonderful way to showcase all the lovely work, something I will look at every day and be reminded of quilting friends far away.

So, next I will add the triangle at the top, then the side borders, and finally, I’ll hem the piece all around. I still need to add a sunblock backing fabric, a triple-pass curtain lining. The curtain will not have a batting layer or quilting, as that will stop it draping. The backing will be sufficient to make it heavy enough to block out the heat. The angle of the ceiling will not allow a rod or rail in the normal way, as the curtain would always be pulling ‘downhill’, so the header of the curtain will be trapped between two long battens of wood, rather than having curtain tape and hooks or rings on a rail. This batten sandwich will be fixed directly to the ceiling, thus keeping the rising heat out.

Once it’s up, I’ll have some fun tidying and dressing up the porch to make it a pleasant annexe to the sitting room.

Staying cool with Lime & Soda

In case you were wondering, this is not a recipe post…

Mackay is in the tropics. Our climate is hot, ranging from pleasantly sunny to raging, stinging heat with the force of a hammer. Our old wooden house requires no heating and air conditioning is a must. In the winter, the sun is the only way of taking the edge off any mild chill inside a house designed to stay cool. To this end, the house was designed with a sun porch running along the north side of the house, following the track of the winter sun from east to west. It gets sun all day long. Our living room has 4 continuous french windows which open onto this sun porch, but they’re never open, despite the fact that it would increase the space, warm the room on cooler days and increase air circulation. This is because the sun porch gets too darn hot; the aircon compressor lives in there, and the louvre windows have no fly screens so they stay closed, and the screen door onto the porch lets in the hot air.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this?

The porch roof slopes down so the curtain needs to be higher on one side than the other. I shall fill the gaps with sashing fabric.

Curtains. If I screen off the area of the porch where the compressor lives with a heavy curtain, keep the louvres closed and the bamboo blinds down, and have another curtain for the screen door, I can open the french windows and air condition the sun porch too on hot days and allow warm air into the main room on cooler days. And the Lime & Soda bit? That’s the clever name my friend Carla came up with, back when I was going to make a quilt from these blocks, which were made as part of the first FootSquare Freestyle (F²F) block swap.

Sashing fabric for between the curtain blocks. The flowers are about 2 inches across

NYB tablecloth, which I will edge with the sashing fabric, and three cushion fronts

Instead, I shall make a heavy curtain from 28 of the F²F blocks, and for the table and chairs in the porch a tablecloth and cushions from the four gorgeous New York Beauty blocks made by Avis and the final  three blocks.

The screen door curtain will probably come out of the numerous black, white, grey and lime green scraps I was hoarding with these blocks.

That leaves just one problem. How to stop the barking geckos leaving their pellets of poo all over everything.

Up to now, they’ve had it all their own way in there, and that’s going to stop.

Still, the little poops are black and white, so at least they’ll blend in with the colour scheme.

Ah, life in the tropics…

Curtain down: Foot²Freestyle draws to a close

For the past 21 months, an unusual swap bee has been quietly unfolding.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmIt hasn’t been well known or publicised at all, but it has produced some extraordinary creativity, exciting use of colour, and inspiration to try our hands at something a bit different. Foot²Freestyle, or F²F as it has been familiarly known, required its members to produce three foot² (12×12 inch) blocks each month, in the recipient’s designated colours, but in any design, hence the Freestyle. Each member took it in turn to receive the month’s blocks, and while the rest of us could see and enjoy the blocks we were making in the F²F and then the F²F² galleries, the recipient stayed away, to enjoy the surprise when opening her envelopes. After the first 12 months, there was sufficient interest in the process to go again, with some new and some existing members from the first round.

The result is a pair of block galleries of great beauty and variety, a source of inspiration and ideas for future quilts for all of us. If you haven’t been following F²F up to this point, I encourage you to go and take a look, using the links in the previous paragraph and scrolling down month by month to see what everyone made. The galleries also show some finished quilts, demonstrating the amazing results a collaboration of creativity can produce. I also hope that members who complete their quilts at some future stage will let me have photos so that they can be added to the roll of honour.

To all those who have participated in either or both sessions, Sue and I as the originators of this block swap would like to extend our thanks and very best wishes for the future. We have greatly enjoyed working with you all, and hope that we will have an opportunity to renew that pleasure at some future stage.

Until we meet again around the F²F campfire, happy sewing, may your creative juices never run low, and see you on the other side of several fun new projects!


Please note that I am on the road most of 2 and 3 March, and may not be able to respond promptly to your comments or messages. I will do my best to catch up quickly!