Holiday handwork

I can’t do without sewing, even for 10 days.

So I’ve been casting about for a project to take with me. I considered some very simple crochet (which is all I’m capable of), making more dishcloths and face washers, and I may still take some cotton yarn and a hook with me, but I wanted something a bit more, well, creative. I debated taking Anemone, but I need more space for hand quilting than the interior of the caravan allows. My Dahlia tapestry? Nah, not in the mood… Plus I don’t have the right kind of chair in the caravan to work comfortably with the frame.

Where I left it in March…

So, it’s time to pick up where I left off in March. I’ll be taking the Days Gone By hexie quilt I’m make for Days for Girls.  It’s a decent size now, so I’ll make big sections to add to the main one once I’ve done some laying out to make sure there’s no visual clashing. A few photos on my phone will keep things on track, and when I go back to the Saturday sewing sessions on my return, I’ll have some respectable progress to show. It would be nice to have another couple of rows done, at least.

The handy thing is that everything I need fits into a small work basket, so it’ll stow away neatly in the caravan. It’ll be good to get back to hand sewing again. Even after the months of work on the Anemone quilt, I miss the peaceful rhythm of hand stitching.

I won’t even mind if it rains while we’re away…

Anemone: Facing Finally Finished!

Yeah, yeah, I know.

It has taken an age. But that’s what happens when you decide to face the edge of your hexie quilt using the angled edges instead of straightening it all up and doing a nice normal binding. Mind you, it looks fabulous.

It’s a fiddly old process. You have to trim the batting and backing so that they sit ¼ inch inside the edge of the outer hexies. Then you have to make and stitch together 4 long chains of hexies to go on the back as facing. You have to stitch together – as invisibly as possible – all the outer edges. Then you have to remove the basting and the papers and pin down the facing onto the backing, keeping everything smooth. Then you have to go all the way round again, stitching down the inside edge onto the backing. It’s a tad mind-numbing. You can’t watch TV while you do it (although you can, and I do, listen to an audiobook. Or two, or even three).

But it’s done, and I’m really pleased with the effect. Now for the hand quilting. That’s going to have to wait till I get back from next week’s forthcoming trip north for a quick break in Cairns.

Next on the agenda is piecing together scrap batting for the second scrappy Sugar Sprinkle pillowcase, sandwiching and quilting. This is the first one, quilted with some moderately wonky-directional lines. I think I’ll do wavy lines on the other one…

I have another milestone to celebrate too, but not quite so decorative. Mouse and I have been gradually building up the length of our morning walks. It has been difficult because of my back pain, but the Husband solved that problem by buying me what’s know as a shooting stick, or spectator seat. When my back starts to hurt, I can stop and sit for a few minutes wherever I am, rest it till the pain eases, and then carry on walking. It has been a total game changer, and doggo and I are now powering through 3 or 4 km a day, something unheard of in earlier times. I’m working up to the 5km mark, and that’ll deserve a proper celebration, don’t  you agree?

Whether we’ll still manage it when the hot weather comes is another question; I might have to get up at 5 to walk him, feed him at the usual 6am and then we can both collapse for a bit, rather than feeding at 6 and walking at 7am. But for now, we have cool, fresh mornings, some with a mild nip in the air. The Crush is in full swing, and cane fields all around us are slowly being harvested. The landscape is reappearing from behind its 2m curtain of green sugarcane, and on these winter mornings there is a mist lying over the earth on cold mornings. It’s lovely, and makes walking a real pleasure.

Excuse me now. Mouse is demanding to go out and do zoomies in the back yard, preferable with his rope toy.

Your wish is my command, O Master…

 

BM&I #47: Parterre block 14

Here’s Block 14. I love this one!

It’s becoming apparent that my bright colour fabrics tend towards the warm side of the spectrum. It may be time to do a spot of fabric shopping, so isn’t it lovely that Covid-19 restrictions are slowly lifting, despite a recent flare up down south ;-D

Here’s Block 14 of the Parterre quilt:

And because I may be almost halfway through making the blocks, here’s a fun little collage of where I’ve got to so far. The blocks are, of course, the same size as each other in real life. Visualise them joined by narrow black sashing, perhaps with a brightly-coloured cornerstone at each intersection. Does anyone feel there’s a gap in the colour scheme, a colour missing from the line up? All suggestions considered (but not necessarily acted upon!). I know it’s hard when they’re all different sizes. And I think I’ve come as close to brown as I’m going to. Just sayin’.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

Until next time…

Back from outer space

I know, I know, it’s been too quiet around here.

In my defence, I’ve had a pretty foul week. I’ve had to wait for blood test results to see if I had a familial auto-immune disease. Despite having most of the symptoms, it appears from the blood tests – finally – that I don’t. Which is great, but still doesn’t explain the symptoms. Never mind. Life goes on and my sewing mojo is back now that the doom hanging over my head has been removed. I have recovered my equilibrium and my optimism, and I’m back at it.

In token of which, the second Sugar Sprinkles pillowcase front is finished. Completely different, a bit more colour, and patterned fabrics, but still wonky-ish. I just couldn’t go past all those lovely bright colours and splashy prints. The greys are mostly a bit darker, too. The Husband and I can fight over which one we want when the time comes. He thinks they both look like TV test patterns. That’s a brilliant name for a quilt, and I may still need to change Sugar Sprinkles to Test Pattern…  Full credit to the Husband of Chiconia if it happens!

Now to sandwich and quilt these panels, make backs and assemble them. But there’s no rush; my F²F turn doesn’t come till August, and I still have my own blocks to make for that.

Now, what shall I make next…?

ScrapHappy June: Sugar sprinkles

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 don’t really enjoy improv. It’s too…. disorganised. But sometimes, what you have in front of you cries out for some serious improvisation. Later this year, it’s going to be my turn to receive F2F blocks (Footsquare Freestyle, for those who don’t follow regularly). My chosen colour theme is light and mid greys, whites and brights (except yellow, I’m not a big fan and I’m a bit picky, so I’ll be supplying my own yellow blocks!). Well, I thought I’d warm up to making my own blocks by using some of my scraps.

The F2F blocks will certainly become a quilt, and this being the case, I decided to make a quilted pillowcase (or maybe two) to go with it. And this is the first stage, the pieced front (still to be quilted).

I’ve used some fairly tiny scraps and quite a lot of scrappy grey, many of the darker pieces turned back to front to allow them to blend in. I haven’t allowed myself to get all agitated about wonky seams or strange angles. I think it works…. There’ll be another one in the pipeline at some stage. As I said, I don’t really enjoy the process, although I do like the outcome! If the blocks I receive have the same sort of colour balance (ie, more grey than colour) I’ll probably end up calling the quilt Sugar Sprinkles.

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.

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

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

A Message from Mouse

Hello blog people, Mouse here again.

I’ve had to have words with the Staff. I noticed that Mum isn’t adhering to her usual regular posting schedule and I felt she was Slacking Off. I know you’ll be concerned that the same slackness might be carrying through to My care and feeding, but luckily, all that is still happening on schedule and up to standard.

It appears that Mum (aka Chief of Staff and Quartermaster) is having a spot of bother with her back and hasn’t been able to adhere to her proper schedule (except for looking after Me, naturally). She says there’s a fair bit of pain and some very unpleasant clunking and grinding sensations, and that as soon as Dad finishes his last day of night shift, she’s going to have a day on her back in bed to let it all settle down.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. Her back’s not nearly as long for her size as mine, but I suppose as she insists on walking around on just her hind paws it’s not surprising she’s having a spot of bother. And she doesn’t spend enough time snoozing, in my opinion. Catch me ever having back trouble… On the other hand, too much time spent snoozing might impact on service quality, so I’m going to keep my opinion to myself on that subject!

To be fair, she has sorted out a couple of piles of scraps and has ironed them. She says it’s for F2F and ScrapHappy and is going to be a cushion cover.

I wonder if it’s for Me… My bed could do with a a bit of smartening up.

BM&I #46: Parterre block 13

Block 13, and a day late, sorry!

I have no idea why I couldn’t have got a couple done this month, but laziness took over. And mending. And hand stitching the Anemone quilt. And so on. I really love the bright greens, combined with yellow on one side and with turquoise on the other. And the scrap I used for the flower was begging to be paired with them! I mean, they both sing at the tops of their voices, right?

So, Block 13 of the Parterre quilt:

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

Until next time…

ScrapHappy May: not even $11!

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.

Those of you who’ve been around this blog a while will remember my scrappy quilt The $11 Rainbow, so called because that’s all it cost to make. A few months ago, the Dowager (aka my MIL), asked if I’d give it to her, as she really liked it. Despite the fact that it’s one of my favourites, I did. On the very day we were first allowed to visit each other again with a slight easing of restrictions, she came by for coffee and home made bickies. During the visit, she asked if I’d make her a cushion cover to match it. She has a memory-foam pillow in her chair, and wanted a cover that matches the quilt, also quilted and ideally with a zipper. Certainly, ma’am.

Scrappy colour selection in progress

$11R was made from my brightest scraps, bordered with an inky dark blue. She didn’t want the dark blue, though. So I made the entire front from bright scraps, shading from blue through purple, red, pink, orange and yellow. I wasn’t even going to try hiding the joins between the colour strips – for this application, life was definitely just too short!

The colours actually blend a little better in real life; that hard line down the centre doesn’t show so much

The back itself is a little more conservative in colour scheme, using some of my pretty red and green scraps in a larger size than on the front. Because this is wrapping an actual bed pillow rather than a cushion form, I needed to put the zip at one end so it could be put on like a pillowcase, instead of my preferred position across the centre back. The zipper is also a scrap, recycled from an old work jacket of the Husband’s. It was too long, so I shortened it by cutting the end off and wrapping the cut end with a strip of fabric.

What can I say? I didn’t spend a cent, let alone $11!

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. We have a new member, welcome Vera.

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

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Scrappy solution

Our coffee machine gets a lot of use.

I move it backwards and forwards on the bench several times a day, filling the reservoir with water and the drip filter with freshly ground coffee. I hadn’t fully appreciated that the coffee machine didn’t have the usual little rubber feet…. My new (well, year-old) butcher block bench is scratched 😦 Click on the photo and you’ll see what I mean.

I discovered this when I was clearing the benchtops off to re-wax them. They’re looking a little dry and thirsty. I use a food-safe wood wax with lemon oil in it, which produces a nice sheen and a good smell when you buff it up. Anyway, I saw these scratches and I realised I had to do something about the machine as well as fix the bench.

Look, you know what’s coming, don’t you?  I am a quilter, after all.

Yup. It’s a monster grown-up mug-rug for the coffee machine. I went rummaging in my scraps and discovered these four strips sets, left over from when I made extra blocks for the Heaven for Beginners quilt. Perfect. I made a backing from fabric left over from a quilt I made 10 years ago. I sandwiched, and wiggle-quilted, and bound with more leftovers from Heaven for Beginners, this time from the joining strips for the back. The folded strip was exactly the right size to make a nice skinny binding.

The whole thing took me an hour, including hand-stitching the binding down on the back.

By the way, do you see the tile and paint chip in the background? Coming soon to this kitchen. The tile is only one of 6 or 7 grey and white designs in the pack of 35, and I have two packs to do the splashback all round, so it’s going to be a proper ‘sampler quilt’ effect. The paint colour is one I love, it’s a Dulux colour called ‘Geyser’, and will go on the walls above the splashback, and on the recycled cupboards which currently have brown fake wood-effect doors. The new white cupboard doors will stay white. It’s been a while since I did any renovation. Time to get things moving again!

Anyway, scratching… sorted.

Anemone: creeping along around the back

It’s slow, fiddly work, but will be so worth it.

Here’s the exact how-to, with pictures to make all clear (hopefully…).

Trim the edge of the backing and batting away from the quilt top by about 3/16″. I prefer the minimum necessary, and think a quarter inch is too much, the outer hexies get a floppy edge.

Stitch your hexie facing together in pairs. Offer up a pair to the edge of the front, and hem the facing to the front using tiny stitches. It helps if you pull the facing back a tiny bit to give you a clear space to run your needle between the fabric layers..

Stitch both sides of the pair to the outer edge of the quilt front. Stop and knot off. You can see the stitches if you look very carefully, but they are small and neat, and with this ‘hemming’ process they’re not right on the edge and will resist wear a bit better.

Take your next facing pair. You need to stitch the right hand edge of the right hand hexie to the left hand edge of the one you’ve just finished sewing in. Lay them face to face and stitch inwards towards the centre of the back. Knot off, and flip the other half over. Now you’re ready to sew the next top edge.

At this point, I like to undo the basting on the previous pair and pull out the paper. I fold the seam allowance back in tidily and pin the free edge down through the quilt layers to secure it.

Once all the facing hexies are sewn onto the outer edge, you’ll come back to this inner pinned edge and hem that down too. After that, you’re ready to start quilting. Because the batting goes right up to the edge, you can also quilt right to the edge if you wish.

Yes, it is labour intensive, but doesn’t it give a pretty result?