Delft #7: thinking through the border

So, I put down my secret project for a couple of hours.

It was time to get cracking on the border for Delft. I’ve been putting it off because I knew that the fabric I’d bought wasn’t quite long enough now that I’d added an extra row to the bottom of the hexie panel. I knew I’d work something out, but it was going to take a bit of consideration

Sorry about the gloomy lighting, it’s been a very dark and overcast day

So, here’s the result. The border pieces are short by 8 inches each. I had enough left over to improvise cornerstones, but not the length I needed to make each side long enough to mitre the corners elegantly. Cornerstones it was, then. The borders are 10 inches wide. This meant that there would be a Y seam running diagonally up to the cornerstone. The fabric is, as you can see, very directional, so I needed a solution that would address this. So I cut half square triangles and alternated the print direction. I think it works. I’d already made the 4 pink hexie flowers thinking I might use them to disguise any, um, messy bits unsuccessful improvisation. I’m not sure about them. Do you think they look like afterthoughts, or like I’m trying to hide something?

I need to be happy with the solution before I start work, as the next stage is to press all the edges super hard, pull out all the papers and then baste the edges to the borders. Once they’re secured, I’ll make the mitre that forms the bottom of the Y seam and then insert the cornerstones. If I do the mitres first, it will inevitably mean that something doesn’t fit, there will be gaping or puckering and it will be nasty. Far better to attach the edges first and then fold away the mitre.

So that’s the plan. Probably. For now, anyway.

Juggling

Another word for busy with no tangible outcome!

I have lots of things on the go, I’m actually quite busy, but nothing really post-worthy on its own, which is why the photo is pretty random – we took doggo and a picnic to the newly-developed Riverside leisure area in Mackay for a bit of a change. Beautifully done: loungers, tables and chairs and benches under cover, very nice amenities, ample rubbish bins, and best of all, a couple of free filtered-water dispensers for people and doggos. We’ll be going back again soon.

The entire central panel of the Delft quilt is now entirely stitched together, a mammoth undertaking. I’m currently cutting borders/ working out what I want the corners to look like, preparatory to taking the project away with us when we go travelling at the end of January, as handwork. Stitching the hexie edges onto the straight border should be challenging, as well as tedious time-consuming. It’s easy for things to get puckered and bubbly if your stitch tension is too tight.

I’m making a skirt out of a thrifted pair of pants. It’s a work in progress… If it works, I’ll show it.

I made a work apron out of a pair of the Husband’s old work pants. More on that for ScrapHappy Day on the 15th.

I made a waterproof iPhone hiking pouch for a friend. Fold-over press-stud top for waterproofing, and zippered bottom for quick access.

I made a set of 3 ‘feminine hygiene’ kits for a young lady of my acquaintance who is going to need them soon. Ecologically friendly, washable, comfortable, colourful, practical, discreet, and nothing to landfill or the sewage system.

The red kurta is still on Rosita, my dress form. I have opened out the side seams and basted in muslin panels to act as patterns for the eventual final inserts. And there it has stopped. For now…

I have a green silk thrifted top that is waiting to be altered with a patterned silk insert. It’s a gorgeous colour, but as an occasional-wear item it’s not high on the To Do list.

I just finished making a set of napkins from some beautiful French red and white striped linen. I wanted super-large ones (nearly tea towel-sized), and you just can’t buy them that size.

I carved, vacuum-packed and froze the rest of our Christmas ham. I made pea and ham soup from the bone and smallest scraps. The shells from 2kg (4 pounds) of prawns are still sitting in a bag in the freezer waiting for me to make a stock from them for a bisque. The soup I made from the two chicken carcasses is almost history already. And that’s the end of the Christmas leftovers.

I am 3½ pages into the instruction book for my latest miniature kit. The booklet is 24 pages long… The kit is a surprise gift for someone, so I’m not going to be showing any pictures, but it’s one of the most content-intensive ones I’ve seen, so there are literally dozens of pieces to make for it. And I’m on a deadline. Why do I do these things to myself? Oh yes, because it’s heaps of fun!

And finally, we gave Miz Lizzie the caravan (travel trailer) a major bath and beauty treatment. After years of restrictions, we are finally getting ready for an out-of-state 1400km/870 mile trip down south to Nambucca Heads in northern NSW, where the Husband and I will both celebrate birthdays with friends and family. Miz Lizzie is looking very clean, shiny and spiffy. She will shortly be off to visit the caravan repair yard, to have two more inline bilge fans fitted to her new air conditioning system to help the cold air shoot out faster. The new system couldn’t be fitted in the old location due to size, and the new ducting is much longer, so the built-in fan loses efficiency and the cooling is reduced. We fitted one in-line fan at home to test whether it helps. It does, so she’s off this coming week to get the rest of the work done before we go away. I hope it gets done fairly quickly, as we had to strip the interior to get at the relevant ducting, and it all has to go back in again before I can clean and start packing!

So, as you can see, my comparative radio-silence has not been evidence of idleness, but rather of too many irons in the fire and not enough completion.

So clearly, my word for 2023 will continue to be FINISH.

ScrapHappy December

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.

After last month’s highly successful and so far, much complimented scrappy fabric necklace, I eyed the remaining triangles of batik from the Floribunda quilt with a much more assessing eye. And this is the result. A Christmas hemi-wreath, decoration, whatever you’d like to call it. I call it pretty, and hung it on a door. I love those colours!

Scrappy Christmas, everyone!

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). The list below is the most current one I have, so if you’d like me to update something, let me know in the Coments.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv

Anemone, finally finished

Can you believe how long this has taken?

Not the hand quilting, which was long enough, but the whole thing. I started this lovely six years ago! And looking at it now, fully completed, I wonder why I was bonkers enough to put it on the back burner. Still, the hiatus hasn’t dimmed my enthusiasm for it. I still love it soooo much! I really like faced hexie quilts, because it retains the distinctive shape of the outer edge, and although it’s meticulous, laborious work to create and apply the back facing, I feel it’s really worth the effort when you look at the front.

I don’t have my handy quilt holder-upper (aka the Husband) today, so I have draped it tastefully (I hope) over a sofa. Possibly you can’t see every single hexie, but you get the idea.

Weird that the pink quilting thread looks black, but there you go.

And here’s a close up.

And the label, which I have concealed behind a hexie of appropriate colour on the back of the quilt, stitched in so that you can flip it open just enough to read it. I’m beginning to find labels a bit intrusive to look at unless they carry an important message (as in the DfG or Ovarian Cancer quilts), so I think I’ll keep this ‘hidden message’ option going forward.

And so we say farewell to Anemone. Next cab off the rank should be Delft, but I suspect I’ll finish assembling the front, remove most of the papers and then put it away for a bit. My fingers need a break from hand stitching for a good long time. And there’s another hat cut out and waiting for me, not to mention other quilt projects.

You’ll just have to wait and see what I pick next!

What do you think…?

Personally, I reckon it works rather well.

I need a lot more, so that they’re thickly clustered, but I think the overall effect is pretty good.

It’s not too tricky. Take an inch of silver wire. Turn up one end with a pair of needle nose pliers to form a ‘stop’. Slip on a small silver spacer bead. Fold your triangle of fabric in half and poke the other end of the wire through both thicknesses of fabric at the apex, about an eighth of an inch from the point. Push the triangle down towards the bead at the end. Fold the two ‘wings’ of the triangle in towards the centre. Poke the wire and fabric into the bottom of the cone and feed the wire through the hole in the top. Slip another spacer onto the wire. Using the pliers, form a loop at the top, snipping off the excess wire before you close the loop. Done. All that’s left is to gently pull off any dangling threads and slip the ‘bead’ onto the wire choker.

I need to remake a couple of the beads where the fabric has come adrift because I didn’t use the first spacer bead inside the cone. Apart from that, it’s really simple.

Now I just have to think about what to do with all the other triangle scraps. This necklace  has barely scratched the surface…

Anemone: row 24 quilted

I decided it was time.

I’d been neglecting Anemone in favour of feverishly stitching away at Delft. I’ve reached the point with Delft that it can just sit for a bit until I’m ready to piece large sections together, never my favourite part. Anemone has been quietly waiting on my cutting table (and yes, taking up all the space and preventing me starting yet another new project). Time to start hand quilting again.

So that’s what I did. And now I’m up to row 24 and three more are marked up ready to go. It’s actually quite soothing. I can listen to podcasts or YouTube videos while I stitch along the rows of scallop shapes. Three rows at a time is about enough before the fingers get too sore and I have to take a bit of a break before starting again.

It’s still hexies, but at least I’m not sewing them together any more…

Delft #6: the least fun bit

I have made lots of silent progress.

I’m at the stage of this quilt where I have to stitch everything together, which is absolutely not the fun part. It’s a very great deal of stitching, and was incredibly overwhelming at first. The upside of assembling it all once all the hexies are made is that you can arrange things rather than doing it  as you go, which doesn’t always give the most harmonious results. I’m about 60% done now.

In the photo, the area outlined in red is fully assembled and all the papers removed except those at the outer edges. Outside that, the area outlined in green is assembled into large chunks for ease of handling, ready to stitch onto the central square. Below that, only the flowers are assembled, and the rest is still to go.

The striped fabric for the outer border has arrived and it’s lovely, 1cm wide stripes of dark blue and white. I’m still debating some additional flourishes of some sort, I’ll see what I’m inspired to do once the border’s on.

And of course, it’s finally dawned on me that this is yet another quilt that’s going to need hand-quilting. So yes, I’d better hurry up and finish Anemone, which has stalled rather while I’m slogging away at this one…

Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself. And then I look at my quilts, and remember.

Send in the clowns

By which I mean our furry guests.

Mouse brings a certain…. gravitas to his position of Supreme Boss of the Household. He does indulge in the odd roach (aka, greyhound sleeping on its back with legs in the air), and does zoom around the backyard in a very uninhibited way when properly encouraged, but he’s not usually plain daft. Our guests, on the other hand….

Sunshine, sleeping

Tiny, sleeping with his eyes open

Well, you can see what I’m talking about. It’s very, very distracting!

They’ve gone home now, as their Staff have returned from a well-earned break on Hamilton Island. We returned them in one piece, fed, watered, dosed and walked, and are told that the favour will be returned if we ever need to travel somewhere without His Lordship for a few days.

I confess, it was worse than herding cats. It was like caring for rambunctious 3-year-old triplets: noses into everything, restless trooping from room to room, bed to bed, stealing toys, cadging treats. Out, please. In, please. Scratches, please. Oh well, it’s over now!

I did manage to get a little sewing done once they’d gone. It has been so long since I managed a Parterre block, I wanted to see if I still could! This is Parterre Block 27. Sorry about the lousy lighting, it’s very gloomy and overcast today.

Parterre Block 27

I have the fabrics picked out for the next one, and it’s on my work table, ready to go.

Hopefully normal service will now be resumed. Hopefully…

Delft #5, and doggos

I’m making progress.

The central section of Delft is assembled, with joining hexies stitched in. It’s slowish work, but I really like the effect. I have 70ish hexies in another fabric which I want to use for the next outward row, and I can revert to the fabric I’ve used in the centre outside that, as I have a lot more of it.Fingers are holding up well, and it’s undemanding work I can do while I listen to YouTube or podcasts. I also have two yards of a lovely stripe fabric for the border on its way, 1cm stripes of white and dark blue. I’ll show it when it arrives.

In other news, I’m taking care of two doggo friends of Mouse’s, Sunshine and Tiny. Their Staff dropped them off this morning on their way to a short break on Hamilton Island, where doggos are not allowed. It’s been an interesting couple of hours as they explored the house, the back yard, Mouse’s beds and toys, etc. They have finally stopped leaping up every time a car passes, they’ve had snacks and are now draped across the floor with maximum inconvenience to foot traffic! Mouse is delighted with the toys they brought with them, especially the squeaky fluffy zebra toy. It may have to be pried from his jaws when they leave on Wednesday afternoon…

The only downside? I now have three pairs of eyes trained on my plate while I eat….

ScrapHappy October

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.

Well, you’ve all seen that the quilt now known as Delft has taken off. So I’m no longer even slightly pretending it’s a scrappy project, since several new and gorgeous bits of fabric were purchased to bring it more beautifully to life.

But that doesn’t mean I have nothing scrappy in the pipeline. This is me, after all. I have made a start on cutting pieces of Days for Girls scrap into useful 2½ inch strips of various lengths. This is going to be a strippy quilt for their next fundraising raffle. The size is carefully chosen to make good use of the pieces I couldn’t use on previous quilts because I’d selected a square size that was too large. No waste, see? It’ll be a simple square lap quilt, with the strip direction in each quadrant running alternately horizontally and vertically. Basketweave, in other words. It’ll be quick and colourful. Exactly what’s needed, and cutting the strips is equally quick and easy, so a nice stress-free project. I don’t entirely rule out some embellishment once the main thing is done, but don’t hold me to it!

Also in the pipeline is a second repair to my friend Sally’s favourite shirt. It’s old, it’s gorgeous, it’s gently and gradually falling apart, and I’m doing my best to mend it without disrespecting its original beauty. This is a scrappy job because the spot fabric I’m pinning to the front yoke to hide the fraying shoulder seam is a scrap from the Delft quilt, and it also matches the original back yoke repair I did in the same fabric some time ago. Sally is thrilled she’ll get a little more life out of it. I hope she’ll let me have whatever remains once it finally gives up the ghost for my scrap collection…

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). This is an updated list, so ScrapHappy members, please check it against the one you post.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin and Viv