AHQ: …. Ad Astra

The Corporal’s Quilt, front and centre!*


Once again, the wind made a straight shot impossible, but at least the sun obliged with some shadows to show up the (somewhat wobbly) quilting. The Corporal won’t care… Started 8 October, completed 28 October.

It’s done. Once I’d taken it down from the line I folded and packed it in the prescribed manner, to fit the free posting box and allow a little room for home comforts and edibles. It’s on its way to Iraq, to give chilly winter night-time comfort, something to wrap up in, and most of all, to remind the Corporal that his service is gratefully appreciated and remembered by those at home, even total strangers.

My next job will be to test a block for Esther at ipatchandquilt; she has designed a lovely new paper piecing pattern, and it will make a nice little break between this and the next quilt, which is going to be large, complicated and long-term – the deadline is the beginning of May 2016.

*front and centre!
(idiomatic) A command to come to the centre of attention of an assemblage of military personnel.
(From Wikipedia)

AHQ: Border patrol

Forward progress continues…

Stars & bordersI have completed the foundation pieced stars, so the Southern Cross is ready. After a lot of twiddling around, I worked out the sizes of the all bits I needed for the border. Not having much of a head for arithmetic, I do hate all the calculations needed, and as I don’t have Electric Quilt I need to work it out old-school style, with pencil, paper and calculator.  Still, it’s over, job done.

I have the border elements two-thirds completed. The plan is for a repeat of pinwheel, 4-patch and diagonal strip piecing. As you can see, I’m making full use of all the scraps and strips from the Doggies quilt, with a random seasoning of kangaroo fabric, always popular with the boys and girls in uniform. It doesn’t look like a whole lot of progress, but it’s 20 blocks and a whole lot of cutting, sewing and pressing.

Strips for blockAll that’s left to do on the main part of the front is the diagonal strip piecing, 4 strips per block, 8 blocks in total. The cutting is done, so I can just crank out the blocks tomorrow, and then at last I can start piecing it together. The appliqué is going to take some time and careful work, so I don’t want to rush it. I’m making good enough progress that I don’t feel I need to be in a hurry.

Time to put my feet up for 10 minutes before I have to head to the kitchen to sort out something to feed us both for dinner tonight. I’m thinking pork and fennel Italian-style meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta…

Right, cup of coffee and a cook book.

AHQ: The Corporal’s Quilt…

…Reporting for duty.

Corporal1Here is today’s progress. I have the templates for the RAAF roundel, the motto and his initials done. The blue squares for the main background are cut; I have 4 more stars to piece, and then the Southern Cross is done. After that, I’ll concentrate on the border squares, which are a repeating series of pinwheels, 4-patch and diagonal strip piecing in blue and white, and then I can start piecing the front together.

Following the piecing, I still have to do all the appliqué for the roundel, motto and initials. This week is pretty clear, so I should be able to make some good progress. I haven’t even thought about backing and quilting. It will make itself known in due course.

At the current rate of progress, the Corporal should have his quilt in plenty of time to hit the 100 Quilts for 100 Heroes by Christmas deadline.


AHQ: stitches afloat!

The stitchers of Aussie Heroes Quilts recently had this photo sent to them, full of smiling faces and beautiful quilts flapping in the breeze:

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Can you spot it? Just below the bottom right side of the gun turret, light blues with crosses. Click on the image to enlarge.

This is HMAS Toowoomba, and the big bearded smiling face I showed in an earlier post is there, proudly holding his quilt.

The Chaplain, who is a major player in getting the quilts organised for the service people, said he could not stress enough just how much he and the crew appreciated our visible and real support when they needed it most.

2015 will see me start work on AHQ again; I have a laundry bag idea lined up already, and there are some donated fabrics and blocks which are calling out to be used for quilts.

It’s a handsome display, isn’t it?

Who can resist a bargain…?

Not I, that’s for sure.

The post-Christmas sales are on. And since the fabrics were 40% off (yes, you did read that right), I indulged. A bit. OK, quite a lot.  But it was all sensible or necessary, I promise. Sort of….

So, here’s the identity parade:

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Lovely neutrals. I can’t pick a favourite, they’re all great.

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It must be obvious by now that I’m a paisley freak and that by extension, I simply had to buy this fat quarter….

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More of the lovely stuff I used for backing my Happiness quilt, plus a warm beige homespun, and a little more of that fabulous green shot cotton.

Also bought but not shown because it doesn’t photograph particularly well is 2 metres of indigo wideback for the back of Worldwide Friends. Looks like the back’s going to be blue too, but with a different feel.

Next year, I must make a few more AHQ quilts and laundry bags; I feel guilty every time I see that so many other ladies have been busily stitching away. And I must finish the Husband’s Star quilt. And Steampunk needs a good bit of attention. And I have the Kaffe Fassett Hatbox quilt I’ve been promising myself since forever. And there’s my Winter Quilt, all hand stitched batik clamshells in rich dark shades, not even started. And one day, I’ll actually make a quilt from all the denim squares I’ve recycled from the Husband’s work jeans. And so on. You get the idea…

Back to hexies. I’m slowly assembling the square block I showed in my last Worldwide Friends post. Once that’s done, I shall make the equivalent square for the other side.  It’s going to be important to watch out for patchiness in the colour balance. I don’t want it to look splotchy. My plan is for the quilt to be darkest in the centre and get a little lighter as I work outwards, since not all the fabrics are very dark indigo. So far, it’s working pretty well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are ready for both challenges and fun in the New Year.

AHQ: Takeoff

It’s done, and on its way to the Leading Aircraftwoman.

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I hope it keeps her warm and comfortable on cold nights, and is a reminder that not everything is a regulation shade of grey.

I won’t be taking another one on till after I’m back at the end of November, but hopefully by then I’ll be raring to go again.

Front: One jelly roll of Moda Scrumptious
Back: generic white on cream print wideback from Spotlight
Binding: Seaweed and Submarines by Tula Pink in Orange

More soon.

Amistad Chapter 7: one third quilted

It was a very long and tiring day yesterday.

I baked all day long. Two lots of chocolate fudge brownies. Two lots of carrot cake with lemon creamcheese frosting, a big vegetable frittata, 6 chicken and mushroom pies, a gingerbread and date loaf. I had to get more plastic containers to transport them. The orders have gone from 3 items once a fortnight to 5 items per week, so it’s looking hopeful, but on baking day it has me on my feet all day in a small kitchen, having to wash up constantly because I have no space!

I also got the AHQ quilt finished, packed and sent off, in good time to reach HMAS Toowoomba before she sails. I just love waltzing into the post office and plonking down a box they can’t charge me for! Parcels under 2kg to an AFPO are free. I have had to straighten a couple of people out about this, and managers have been called, but they know now at my local…

Screen shot 2014-08-22 at 5.40.39 PMScreen shot 2014-08-22 at 5.41.03 PMWhat I didn’t get a chance to do is work on Amistad. So today, after I sorted out all my tax return paperwork (oh yes, I got that done too!), I sat myself down in a peaceful frame of mind and just got stitching. I’m now about a third through the quilting. It’s getting easier and quicker. I have everything neatly to hand at my sewing table, I rest the hoop on the table edge to save my arms and shoulders, and I have a brilliant LED work light with a magnifying lens for when my eyes get tired. Like now…

Screen shot 2014-08-22 at 5.39.39 PMBack to the needle.