SAL 58: just before we go…

We’re off tomorrow!

I didn’t think I’d be joining in this time, because of holiday prep, but I managed to get a bit of stitching done amongst the other handwork, packing, shopping, etc, that lead up to our departure. It’s not quite as much as I’d have liked, but that’s my own fault for slipping in all sorts of extra jobs: making and installing the Lime & Soda porch curtain, mending, crocheting dish cloths, making a pouch for our Garmin SatNav, and of course, the ongoing big job: hand quilting the Bonnard quilt I’m making for my sister.

This is where I left you last time:

And this is where I’ve got to. A bit more light green, and the first bit of white. I can see that the white is really going to make this piece sparkle, and I’m going to make the grey of the background a little darker than on the original design to give contrast.

Do go and take a look at what the others in the Stitch Along are working on. It’s all lovely, and well worth looking at. Do remember that we’re all in different time zones, so if their SAL post isn’t up when you look, do go back later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
ConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaret,
CindyHelenStephLinda, Mary Margaret, Heidi,
Connie, Jackie, Sunny

See you next time, on 3rd March. Hopefully clearing up after the holiday doesn’t eat up all my stitching time 🙂

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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.

A small landmark, and an update

Some of you will have received a notification about this in your Reader yesterday, and found the post was not there. Sorry about that, but I was a doofus and hit Publish too soon. I meant to schedule it, and had to take it down again in a hurry.

First, the landmark.

It’s exactly 4 years and 4 months since I started this blog. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve made many kind and interesting friends, learned a lot and received much support and encouragement. And yesterday, I got this notification:

So to all of you out there, old friends and new, thank you. Thank you for following, reading and most of all, commenting. It wouldn’t be so much fun without you 🙂 People who comment, who actively participate in the life of a blog, are what make the blogging world go round, and I’m so grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to do so.

And now, the update. The Lime & Soda porch curtain is coming along nicely. I have all the rows joined. Next, I’ll start working out the triangular pieces I need at the top to fit under the sloping roof and add the side and bottom border. It’s lovely renewing my acquaintance with these blocks; I’d forgotten just how pretty and fresh they were, and the colour scheme is perfect for this use. Those lovely lime greens pick up the greens outside (or will, when we’ve had some rain!), and the blacks will echo the black porch chairs I have out there. And Bonnard is creeping ever closer to the halfway point. Another line completed yesterday.

Back to the sewing machine this morning, and hand quilting this afternoon.

 

SAL 57: the first of the year

Not that I’ve made any resolutions or anything…

Which is probably just as well, as I’d have blown them away already! I’m doing a lot of hand quilting just now, so my paws are definitely sore and disinclined to do embroidery. Nonetheless, I did get a small bit done.

Here’s the before photo:

And here’s the after. Not terribly impressive, but you’d understand if you could see the quilting! I have managed to extend the petals out to the right hand edge of the piece. Lots of infilling to do now, but the framework is there.

Do go and take a look at what the others in the group are working on. We’re all over the world, so if their posts aren’t up yet, do go back later, they may be in a different time zone.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
ConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaret,
CindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary Margaret,
Heidi, Connie, Jackie

I’m not sure I’ll be able to post any progress for the next SAL on 11th February, as it’s the day before we go on holiday, but if I can’t, I’ll still put a post up directing people to all the other SAL blogs and what they’ve got up to.

See you then 🙂

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…

Carla’s cushion

Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl has designed the most gorgeous cushion.

I was so pleased to be asked to test the pattern for her, and I’ve found it easy to follow; it answers questions before you need to ask them, and it’s versatile enough to work with fabrics of all kinds.

If you go to her blog post, you’ll see her version, a fabulous riot of gorgeous colours, corralled by an elegant set of 4 English Paper Pieced blocks, and trimmed with velvety pompoms. Mine is different. Far quieter, using leftover pieces of the paler colours from my Bonnard quilt, and devoid of pompoms, but elegant and pretty all the same, demonstrating that the same pattern works well with very different fabric designs and colour choices. Like Carla, I’ve made a concealed zipper opening for the back, but the pattern also suggests alternative closures if zippers are a technique too far for you. My cushion will join the Bonnard quilt in due course as a gift to my sister.

Carla has the pattern for sale in her Etsy and Craftsy shops. If you click on the link above and go to her post about this, you’ll find links to both in her sidebar. If you’re looking for a small, interesting but not too demanding hand-stitching project which gives you the option to go bright or pale, dark or light, high or low contrast, lavish or simple, this is for you. Enjoy!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not being paid to say nice things about it – owning this lovely pattern is reward enough.

Hand-stitched heaven

Nothing at all ominous about my sudden silence 🙂

Quite to the contrary. I’ve been labouring away at some lovely hand-stitching. Carla at Granny Maud’s Girl has designed an EPP pattern for a beautiful cushion (pillow) cover, and asked if I’d look it over to assess the instructions. I loved it so much I had to actually make it up! I dearly love a bit of EPP, and normally I do it in a leisurely and intermittent fashion.

This was different, since I wanted to give Carla feedback as quickly as possible, so she can finalise the pattern. It isn’t launched yet, so I’m not showing you the whole thing, but this should give you an idea.

Now I just have to add batting and a backing and I can quilt it. After that, I’ll assemble the cushion, and it will go to my sister to join the Bonnard quilt I’m making for her – I’m sure you recognised the scraps!

If you love this as much as I do, hop over to Carla’s blog and maybe leave her a comment or drop her an email to express interest. She hasn’t posted it yet, but I’m sure she will soon.

I’m sure some interest will help her get it finished 🙂