$11R: Completed and bound

I debated whether to wait for ScrapHappy day with this…

But I wanted to share this finish, and I’ll still have a week to come up with a new scrappy project for 15th June. You haven’t seen the back yet, so here it is. It isn’t very harmonious or designed-looking, but it is a scrappy quilt backing in the best tradition 🙂

The binding consists of 6 inch lengths of the blue batiks I used for the sashing on the back, alternating with triples of 2 inch scrappy squares. Because they’re broken up with multi-colour strips, the blues don’t look too repetitive, and doing it this way has enabled me to use up even more scraps without too many thick seams to negotiate.

I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out. It makes me smile just to look at it. There will probably be others of the same sort in my future, because it’s such a good way to use scraps (and I still have those paler blocks to use!), but I’ll try different permutations so I don’t end up with an endless variation on the same theme. What I like about this one is how my $11 dark blue fabric frames the colours and makes each panel seem to be floating on a multicoloured back-lit field. As a previous commenter said: it looks like stained glass.

Now, back to the drawing board. I have a new ScrapHappy project to devise!

$11R, and catching up with myself

I’ve been off the radar a lot, haven’t I?

Plenty of excellent reasons for that, but first, here’s the latest on the $11 Rainbow quilt. I have the last, and largest, seam still to go, and then the top is fully assembled.

I’ve been poking through my scraps, and I will be doing a scrappy binding, but nowhere near as fiddly as the scrappy strip I’ve done for the sashing. For one thing, it’d make the binding very lumpy, and for another, it would take forever. I need at least 270 inches of binding, and that is a very great deal of sewing together tiny snippets. Instead, I’ll still go scrappy but with much larger pieces in random colours, interspersed with 6 inch sections of the blue batiks I used for sashing on the reverse. 6 inches of batik, 6 inches of random. That’ll go a lot quicker. I’ve also taken the decision not to put this quilt into the Mackay Show, for reasons which will become apparent in a moment.

So, the catching up bit. The Husband and I took on the job of organising our motorbike club’s Annual National Rally here in Mackay in August this year: 50-80 riders and their partners, for a three day weekend, organising accommodation, meals, the rally dinner, rides and route maps, catering and entertainment. The hope was that we’d get volunteer help from other members, and plenty of advice and assistance from higher up the club food chain. Neither of these has materialised. Add to this the fact that the Husband works shifts of tremendously long hours, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out who gets to do a lot of the organising.

I’ve also been summoned for jury service in the very week when the Mackay Show is on, and if I can’t go to the show I don’t see the point of submitting a quilt. It’s not as if I’m expecting to win anything with this quilt, so I’ll just finish it as time allows, and take some pressure off myself. What’s chiefly annoying me about jury service is that it’s the 4th time I’ve been summoned in as many years, while the Husband has served only once in his life 😦

And finally, more health fun. Half a year ago I had my coeliac disease diagnosis reversed after 10 years. Well fine, but what was causing the symptoms? Much testing-misery later, I’ve been told to see an Accredited Dietitian and adopt a low-FODMAP diet, as I may have an unusual form of IBS. Eating gluten-free as a coeliac was challenging enough, but this is a whole new ballgame. Thank heavens for the app developed by Monash University, who conducted the original research and have extensively tested the resulting IBS-resolving diet over the past 20 years. I’m slowly working my way through all the nasties that may be causing the problem. It’s dull, but at least I’m not feeling permanently unwell any more. And one day, I’m promised that I’ll be able to eat more normally and things will have settled down for good.

So that’s me all caught up, and hopefully explains why it’s been so quiet in Chiconia recently.  

$11R: Just what it needed

I’m loving how this looks!

Yes, OK, it is a lot more fiddly than cutting simple 1 inch strips of one fabric. But I totally love the effect, and I love even more the way these scrappy sashing strips gobble up my fabric crumbs. It’s a whole extra dimension of colour and texture.

One quarter of the quilt assembled. I’ve managed to keep the sashing nice and narrow on the front and pretty narrow on the back. It’s resulted in having to redo a couple of sections of stitching where the sewn line just missed the fold-over on the back. Luckily it doesn’t show at all, being in dark blue thread on dark blue fabric on the back and dark blue on really dark blue on the front. At this rate I’ll get it done in plenty of time to enter it in the show. I must remember it still needs a  two-part hanging pocket… and a label… and a statement of intent.

I wonder if I have the patience time to make a fully scrappy binding…?

$11R: quilting done

This is where QAYG really shines.

I’ve not had much time to devote to sewing in the last week or so, but quilting one block at a time, rather than having the whole thing under the machine, has meant I could make small chunks of progress whenever I had a spare half hour. And the quilting’s done! Sadly, so is my reel of thread, which needs replacing urgently; it’s the colour I also use for repairing the Husband’s work pants, and there are two pairs of those awaiting attention too.

I’ve also trimmed down my leftover jelly roll strips for the back sashing; they were 2½ inches wide and needed to be 1¾ instead. I’ve also trialled stabilising the edges of the scrappy till roll sashing for the front, as the stitching is coming apart here and there. It does make the strips slightly bendy, but prevents unravelling completely, so I think I’ll do it for all of them. A simple line of stitches down each edge is all it takes, but it has to be done after the paper backing has been torn away. Fiddly, but necessary. I’m going to join the blocks into 4 sets of 4 squares, join two of those side to side, and then have one large seam across the middle. The picture also shows front and back sashing strips cut ready to join the top 8 blocks.

Next time you see this, I hope it’ll be looking a bit more finished. Maybe not done, but with good progress.

$11R: front blocks assembled

Well, I have all the borders attached.

If anything, the colours are brighter and stronger than what you see here, especially on the paler blocks.

I love how the dark blue frames the colourful centres. I also have a lot of the scrappy joining strips made, probably enough to finish the quilt if I stick with my usual narrower version, so that’s what I’m going to do, rather than fiddling about to make a slightly wider version. Soon, I must take a look at the backing fabrics I’ve pulled together. There’s a bit of piecing to be done, and I think if I can make it work, I’d like the backing to colour match to the front, so a scrappy green front will have a green back, and so on. I’m not sure I have enough larger scraps in all the colours, though, so I’ll have to wait and see. All the pieces are pressed and ready for cutting. In case you’re wondering, it’s going to finish at about 60 inches (1.52m) square. I’m still to decide whether this becomes a ‘working’ quilt, or if I’ll hang it on the wall in our rather dark upstairs corridor, to inject some colour. What do you think?

My nephew from Melbourne is visiting us this week; he arrives this afternoon and will stay until Sunday, which is going to be lots of fun, as we can take him round all our favourite places, show him the sights and have the perfect excuse to eat out a bit more than usual. We don’t get a lot of visitors – most people think we’re too far away – so it’s a huge treat for us to have his company.

Time for some more cutting and piecing 🙂

A mixed bag

It’s been a physical couple of days.

Wednesday: Stitches out and a pat on the back from the surgeon. The knee is healing well and in a couple of days it’ll be fine to swim. Thursday: My first tai chi class. In case anyone thinks it’s just slow motion wafting around your arms and legs to an imaginary sound track of traditional Chinese music, think again. Move slowly into a position. Hold it…hold it some more…slowly move out of it. Stand on one leg… for what seems like hours. Etc. Yes, it’s slow, but you can easily end up with wobbly legs and aching arms, as I did. But I loved it! I felt energised without being sweaty and purple in the face, and the effect lasted for ages. I’ll be going every week.
Friday: an hour of moderate torture with the physiotherapist, the first of 4. It brought home how much my left leg has wasted in the weeks of favouring it, keeping it immobile and having it strapped up in a brace. With luck I’ll build enough muscle to protect it from further damage.

In between these sessions, I’ve got half of the $11R blocks bordered with dark blue in my now deliciously cool sewing room. I’ll the rest done over the next few days. It looks really good, and will look even better with the colourful skinny scrappy joining strip between the dark blue borders. It’s also very nice having extra space now that I’ve been able to put away all the teal fabrics for the time being.

Best of all, I had a call today from Emily at Ovarian Cancer Australia to let me know that ST&D had arrived safely. She was so excited! The entire team thinks it’s a wonderful piece of work, and she’s definitely planning to bid on it herself. She also loves the mug rug, and says she’s planning to frame it!  I said I’d hoped she’d use it for her mug of tea, but she was afraid of making it dirty… They are having a professional photographer for the fundraising event, who’ll take photos of the quilt as part of the event record. If you worked on the quilt and would like a digital file of the final photo, let me know. She’ll also let us know who becomes its eventual owner, and how much it raises.

That was a really good phone call, and makes all the work everyone has done in putting the quilt together so rewarding.


The $11 Rainbow

It’s decided, then.

I’m going to make a push to finish the ScrapHappy rainbow blocks in time to enter it in the quilt section of Mackay Show, on 19th June.

Each block will be outlined by a 1.5 inch dark blue border, and then there will be a narrow rainbow sashing between each. QAYG? Of course!

I have the blocks trimmed out to a standard size and arranged to my satisfaction. The dark blue borders are cut and just need to be stitched on. I still have more till roll sashing to make, but that’s just mindless ‘pick a scrap, stitch it on, pick a scrap, stitch it on’. Isn’t it nice to see a riot of colour for a change?

It seemed a bit, well, meh, to call it the Rainbow Scrappy Quilt. How many of those have we all seen? I’m making the sashing with my tiniest scraps, and having unearthed a rainbow of larger pieces of scrap for the backing, all I had to do to finish it was buy a bit of dark blue for the border around each block. And the cost? Well, $11…. and the name chose itself.  I have a huge roll of batting already, so no purchase needed there, and I shall address the issue of binding when I reach that point, but I’m thinking it’ll be pretty scrappy too.

A big thank you to everyone who made helpful suggestions, and helped to firm up my decision-making process (or some might say, ‘headlong rush at the project I wanted to do all along’).

I’m sure I’d have faffed around a lot longer without your help 🙂