Amistad, Chapter 3

Sewing this baby at last!

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The first two rows, pieced but not stitched together

On our trip south, I collected Mrs R’s contribution to Amistad, so I’ve been able to get behind the sewing machine and make some strides. Her lilacs and teals have provided the foil this quilt needed to prevent it being overwhelmingly, well, pink. It’s still very feminine, floral, fun, frivolous and other words beginning with F, but there’s a tiny bit more depth to it now. I have the first two rows sewn. Tomorrow I hope to get the next three done. After that, it’s sewing the rows together and then the top is done. I should have a Friday Finish to show you.

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The other three rows laid out, waiting to be sewn

As I work on it, I’m revisiting my original ideas for the quilting. The large floral patches were originally going to have the flowers and shapes outlined, and the 9-patch blocks would have a spiral radiating out from the centre square. I’m beginning to think it’s all too busy for that, and what is needed is something plain, severe and formal, which will add depth but recede. I reckon I’m going to revert to my classic fall-back, cross hatching. Widely spaced in the large squares, closer in the 9-patches to give some textural differentiation. And definitely lilac binding. The backing will be whatever I can find in wideback that works. Cream, pale green, pale yellow. Not pink. There’s altogether too much  of that already. Failing wideback, I’ll go for some simple print without direction so I can fling it together. I don’t find the backs of quilts interesting unless they serve to show off the quilting.

I lost an hour or so of sewing time this afternoon, when the power company came by to fit new electricity meters following the installation of our solar panels. It’s nice to see the arrow going backwards, indicating we’re importing power into the grid. But I wish I had that time back.

The light’s going in my sewing room, and it’s time for the work lamp and some hand stitching.

Steampunk Wheel XI: ring 4 is complete

I couldn’t get through yet another day without a bit of sewing…

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Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 1.17.21 PMThe outer stormy grey is Ring 4. Outside this will go another silver ring, then another set of stars.  I’m still debating fabric choices for the stars – I think I may want to change the colour balance a bit, to give a different look. As it’s the largest ring, and the most complex type in terms of piecing, I’m going to need to be really sure, otherwise the unpicking is going to be horrendous.

And I’ve got Amistad laid out on my design wall. The whole thing. You’ll remember it’s a very simple pattern: large squares alternating with 9-patch blocks. So it’s done, and I’m happy with the balance of colours. It’s too large to get into one photo, so showing it’s going to have to wait until I’ve got some of it sewn together, which should be quick. I have lots of lovely leftovers, so I reckon there’s a couple of cushions and quite a few pincushions or other doodads waiting to emerge. Mrs R’s contribution is in there, pinging out some beautiful lilac highlights (hello, my lovely, great to see you the other day). I’m thinking this baby is going to need lilac binding too, so perhaps a visit to the LQS will produce something suitable.

Off to cut some fabric for Steampunk – Ring 5 – and then I can thread up the sewing machine and make a start on Amistad.

Steampunk Wheel XI: time for a breather

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 10.26.50 PMI have perhaps been spending a little too much time with this quilt… But I’m loving every minute of it!

So now that it’s complete out to Ring 3, I’m going to put it aside for a while. A couple of days, at least. Probably….

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Detail of the silver bling

I need to do some work on my Wedding Sampler, which has been sitting neglected while I raced through Happiness, Broken Bottles and the start of Amistad. It’s not a big piece, but there’s a lot of counting and rather small stitches, so I need to devote proper attention to it. Plus I’m now in a Stitch Along with three other stitching ladies, so there’s some small but good pressure to actually make progress! I’ll be reserving my tah-dah! photos for the link up day on 29 June.

And after 6 June, I should be in possession of Mrs R’s blocks for Amistad, so I’ll be doing some work on that too. Time to broaden my focus again; too much time doing micro stitches on small pieces of fabric under strong light gives you a sore back and a short fuse!

More soon.

Amistad, Chapter 2

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 11.00.00 AMI put a new blade in my rotary cutter, and got to work

The results are a heap of 12.5″ squares of the large scale prints, and a larger heap of 4.5″ squares of the smaller scale prints, plus some odd ones of the larger ones to mix things up a bit. There was a bit of a drama when I was cutting the larger squares. The fabric had been cut a bit scant, and I couldn’t get enough squares out! So I did the frugal thing, and instead of going out and buying more, I joined some pieces and cut the big squares out of those. The patterns don’t match up, but I’ve made an effort to place related colours next to each other to try and create some continuity. And I find I don’t mind too much: Perfection is for the Almighty, I’ll content myself with having a damn fine quilt!

And now I come to a halt while I wait for the 9 patch blocks Mrs R is making.  Once they’re in, I can put up the design wall again and fiddle about till the colours and layout please me.  I love the colours I have, but the lilac colourway is going to add a certain something, particularly as there won’t be much of it. I have withheld the cream with large coral spot – I may cut a test piece or two and see how it works, but I’m concerned that from a distance it’ll pop out from being too pale and too graphic.  I have also avoided cutting into the two fallback fabrics until I see whether I need them; no point in cutting squares I’m not going to need.

It feels a little weird not to plunge straight into the sewing part. It’s probably a good test of my patience, a commodity for which I am not particularly well known…


Amistad, Chapter 1


Amistad: fabrics and very sketchy sketch.

My conscience is clear, and so is my work table.

It must be time for Amistad!

For those of you who don’t know the story, I had a small stack of very pretty Moda Chez Moi Mimi co-ordinating fabrics in three colourways (pink/teal/green) which I bought at last year’s Brisbane Quilt Show. It sat in my cupboard waiting for me to get round to it. Then a friend gave me some more fabrics in the same range for my birthday. There was nearly enough for a quilt. Between us, it was decided that the quilt would be a joint effort, just as the fabric purchase had been. She’d buy a couple more in the third colourway (lilac), and contribute a 9-patch block or two. I’d do the rest. It would be called Amistad, or Friendship, because that’s what it celebrates.

I’ve pressed all the fabrics, and have sorted them into two piles: large and small scale prints. The large ones will be cut into 12.5″ squares to maximise the impact of the prints. The smaller ones will be cut into 4.5″ strips for piecing together  and making the 9-patch blocks. There’ll be 13 x big squares and 12 x 9-patch blocks in total, and the finished quilt will be 5 blocks across by 5 down, 60″ square. So long as my dear friend Mrs R comes through with her 9 patch contribution fairly soon, this quilt should go together really quickly. (No pressure, my lovely!)

Screen shot 2014-05-31 at 12.40.38 PMThe fabric quantity is still looking a tiny bit skinny, so I’ve hauled two fabrics out of the stash which blend, even if they’re not from the same range. They could be used as fillers if necessary. If there are any nice scraps left, I shall make Mrs R something pretty with them, to remind her of the quilt. Son of Amistad, perhaps…? It’s not quite a bee, there are only two of us, but I think we should both end up with a souvenir of the enterprise.

I shall start cutting and sewing soon. Watch this space.

What’ll it be, then?

The decks are cleared, the desk is clean, the sewing machine is defluffed and all the pins are put away. Finally.

Happiness is draped over the back of the sofa, preening itself because it knows it’s the prettiest thing in the room.

I find myself at a slight loss…

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The big question is, which project do I start next? Will I continue crocheting Woolly Thing? Will I start knitting Fluffy Thing?  Will I begin cutting out for Broken Bottles (overdue), or start work on Amistad (self indulgent, but gorgeous). Will I make the other 4 fabric baskets I need for the Cupboard of All Colours (black&white, brown, neutral and multi, yup, boring), or will I start the big scrap sort I need to make the thousands of 2.5″ squares for two scrap quilts for nieces (not urgent).

You’re going to decide for me. If I take your advice and it’s boring, then it’ll be your fault! Result anyway!


Thank you, and I look forward to potentially disregarding your vote. Well, you should be used to that, what with politicians, and all…

Addendum: Some of you have indicated that you can’t see the results. The poll was set up so that you could, and I lay the blame solidly at the feet of WordPress. I will publish the poll results tomorrow so you can all see, so keep voting, because your vote counts, as they say at election time.

The List

I’ve been feeling a bit glum due to lack of forward motion on various projects.

It’s not that I’m bored with them, it’s just that events and schedules have conspired to reduce my available sewing time.  So I thought it was time to review The List for the year.

Tree of Life: Finished. Waiting to be delivered in person in April.
Wervelwind, Vlucht and Komeet: Finished and delivered.
Happiness: Top half done. Needs more white fabric
Car Quilt (to be renamed when done!): centre section done, outer borders still needed for the top
Amistad: planned, fabric pulled.
Broken Bottles: planned, fabric pulled

That’s the quilts to which I have committed so far.  In addition, we have:

Mariella’s scrap quilt
Claire’s scrap quilt
Ohio Star UFO: see if it can be saved – the bits so far are badly distorted.
Hat Box quilt
Winter quilt (hand pieced)
Steampunk quilt (hand pieced)
Lap quilt for Natalie
Postage stamp scrap quilt for me.

Plus whatever I decide to do with the fabrics I bought at the Brisbane Craft & Quilt Show in October…

Now obviously the entire list isn’t going to get done this year, given that I’m not an especially speedy worker.  But I do want to finish Car Quilt, Amistad and Broken Bottles by the middle of the year. And then I’ll see.  I’ll need another hand-pieced project once Car Quilt is finished, so it’ll be either Steampunk or Winter. Steampunk will be smaller and therefore more manageable, but Winter’s been planned for so long I’d really love to start it.  Plus I have the Winter fabrics, but I’ll need to shop for Steampunk, and so far this year I’ve been really rather well behaved where fabric purchases are concerned.

Winter quilt fabrics: three Hoffmann Bali Pops in Grasshopper, Sangria and Zinfandel, plus Fossil Fern yardage in three colours.

Winter quilt fabrics: three Hoffmann Bali Pops in Grasshopper, Sangria
and Zinfandel, plus Fossil Fern yardage in three colours.

There’s a whole raft of other sewing projects, but if it’s a question of priorities, quilts come first, always. So the needlepoint, dressmaking, bagmaking and cross stitch projects will have to wait.

And of course, let us not forget Mystery Woolly Thing, growing fast but still not large enough….

Back to the Car Quilt.  I’d like to get at least one side done by the end of tonight.

Planning time again

With Happiness pinned to my design wall, just waiting for me to give it some time, I looked at my To Do List.

High on the “I know I shouldn’t but I just want to play with it” shortlist is the Chez Moi fabrics bundle.  This quilt is going to be called Amistad (Friendship), because a friend has made it possible.  I think I have just enough to make a 9 patch/1 patch alternating step and repeat layout.  It’s not going to be a big quilt, but big enough to wrap up in and feel friendship keeping me warm!  The plan is to use the large prints in the range for the 1 patch, and the smaller prints for the 9 patch.  I’ll then hand quilt around the design on the 1 patch squares, and do a spiral in the 9 patch squares.  Haven’t got as far as the back yet…

Amistad: fabrics and very sketchy sketch.

Amistad: fabrics and very sketchy sketch.

Then I’ve got the lap quilt I promised my sister in law a year and a half ago. She has been remarkably patient, and very undemanding in terms of what she wants.  I have a nice green jelly roll of lights and darks, and some green/blue Aboriginal Spot to bind it with.  So I’ve picked a gorgeous geometric format which Avis at Oh Sew Tempting was kind enough to design and post a tutorial about here.  I think it’ll look a bit different, because my greens are mainly darkish and lightish, rather than very pale and very dark, but it should work nicely.  Haven’t begun to consider the quilting yet! And depending on how it works out, I may call it Broken Bottles.  Because of the colour, you understand! It would be wonderful if I could get this one done before we go away in April.  That would mean that my brother gets his birthday quilt and his wife gets hers at the same time. I could carry them both with me and hand them over in person.  Hmm. Bit of time pressure there, then. We shall see.

Broken Bottles (maybe), jelly roll strips and Oh Sew Tempting's design.

Broken Bottles (maybe), jelly roll strips and Oh Sew Tempting’s design.

Tomorrow I’m off work, so after some morning chores, I’m free to indulge myself with several hours of quilting.  The Husband is on night shift, and will be disappearing out in the afternoon.  So I’ll be head down, machine roaring, iron hissing and steaming, happy as Larry. It feels great to be back at my machine, after over a week away from it!

Well, that’s my work list completely turned upside down, but I’m happy about it.  It’s actually looking quite healthy; things are being completed and crossed off.