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: Per ardua

The top of the Corporal’s quilt is done.

I gave myself a whole heap of trouble when I decided to have the RAAF motto and roundel at the top and initials at the bottom. 20 different appliqué elements – what was I thinking? ‘Per ardua ad astra: Through adversity to the stars’ indeed… Only on this quilt, the stars came first and the adversity followed!

finished topA day off sewing to fill a bakery order (Oh no! More cake…), and then I can look at getting the sandwich done. I’m going to use a blue and white checked flannelette for the back – the same stuff as I used for the Husband’s Truck Quilt. It makes it nice and cosy, and I have the fabric already so there’s sadly no need to expose myself to the temptation of going to my LQS, where there’s a new fabric line in stock I want to check out. Must…Not…Buy…Fabric…

You’ll be glad to learn that I got through the whole day yesterday without pricking, cutting,burning or otherwise injuring myself. No cake required… 😦

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.

AHQ: formation quilting

The quilting is finished.  

Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.56.53 PM Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.57.05 PM Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.57.46 PM Screen shot 2014-11-01 at 4.57.32 PMI decided not to just keep on making concentric squares – the quilting isn’t quite flying geese, but there is a sort of flight-y, arrow-y direction to it, which is appropriate: its intended recipient is a Leading Aircraftwoman.

Over the next few days, I’ll deal with all the loose threads, trim it out and attach the binding and label. And then it’s good to go, together with a number of goodies to fill out the mailing box and give her something else to smile about!

I’ve located the box containing Steampunk, so I’ll be cracking on with lots of hand sewn pieces for that over the next few weeks. It’s been ages since I’ve been able to do any work on it, so I’m looking forward to getting out all those fabulous reds, golds, rusts and bronzes for the next wheel…

Trouble is, I’ve also located lots of other project boxes too!

Worth every moment

I just wanted to share this with you.

A while back, I made my first quilt for AHQ (Aussie Hero Quilts). We make and send quilts and laundry bags to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force without expectation of a response; they are, after all, on active duty and they have one or two other calls on their time. Sometimes, though, you either strike a chord with what you’ve done, or you strike it lucky.

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 5.09.41 PMThis quilt did both. Just look at that smile!

At times like these, I truly understand how much they enjoy knowing that someone other than their nearest and dearest is thinking of them. And it makes it all worthwhile.

Right, back to pinning together the latest one.

AHQ: back in action

I have been unable to withstand temptation any longer.

Out came the Moda jelly roll I have been hoarding. Pre-cuts make life much easier when you’re not operating at full efficiency. I contacted Aussie Hero Quilts for a new mission, and have been given the ideal task: a quilt for a Leading Aircraftwoman who has left the colour and theme entirely up to the quilt-maker. So I’m going totally girly, as an antidote to the large quantities of neutrals she’ll be encountering in her working and living environment.

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How’s this for an antidote to grey?

In case you’re interested, this range is Scrumptious, by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. I’m going to be joining the strips horizontally in the order you see them, then slicing through the lot vertically about 2/3 of the way across, inverting the narrower section and inserting a white sashing strip between the two sections and a white border round the outside. I shall have to see what I have for backing, and there’s plenty of colour choices to pick from for the binding.

What I’m going to do for quilting is still an inscrutable mystery, but I expect it’ll reveal itself soon. Whatever it is, it’ll be done by machine as I have a time deadline to meet which doesn’t allow for hand quilting.

But before I start, I have a lot of fairly tedious but very necessary pressing to do, o joy.

AHQ: You’ve got mail

In my last post, I wrote about making something for a young servicewoman who had no family to send her mail while she was on active duty.

Someone else is kindly making her a quilt, and today I mailed her a box of appreciation: this laundry bag in her favourite colours with her initials on it, and some tasty snacks to relieve the monotony of shipboard meals. I’m told the food’s actually pretty good, but you don’t have access to a lot of snacky stuff, so that’s what she’s getting… So now she’s getting at least two parcels from ‘home’ while she’s on operations. Which is good.

Screen shot 2014-09-15 at 1.10.02 PMI have one more small sewing job to do, and then with much reluctance I have to finish packing up my sewing room. I just know there’ll be something I urgently want to do or fix or mend the minute I’ve taken all the boxes to the storage unit. Too bad…

More soon.

Advancing on two fronts…

I have progress to report, but the photos don’t really do it justice.

On the AHQ quilt, I have finished the front and the back, and it’s sandwiched and mostly pinned, ready for quilting to start tomorrow. I have used up all three of my boxes of  quilting safety pins, having two quilts currently at the quilting/ready to quilt stage, so there are a few rather gappy areas.

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The back: red at the top, then cream, then the navy kangaroo fabric I love so much. Simple, easy, and DONE

I was therefore forced to do some work on Amistad, so that I could free up some more pins for the AHQ one. Oh, the hardship… I still need about 15 more to properly secure it, but my fingers are complaining quite loudly now, both from the arthritis and from the needle sticks. It’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

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Smaller Big Stitches, achieved in a fraction of the time.

I’m pleased with how the hand quilting is looking. I tried a short ‘between’ quilting needle when I first started hand quilting years ago but I couldn’t get along with it. So I’ve always used a fine long needle with a long eye. On the first Amistad block with interlocking circles I found the curves were too tight to use the long needle properly. I was getting grumpy, and the needle got bent. I fished out my needlebook, took out a between needle, and away I went. I will never go back to a long needle. I don’t know what’s changed, but I’m loving the short fine needle now and I can work much faster. I can even see myself doing weeny stitches, it’s so much easier to use. But try telling me that before!

Right, I must now attack the third front: the Wedding Sampler.  Until tomorrow…

Amistad Chapter 6: taking big stitches

I’ve started the hand quilting, and in the process I’m rediscovering my quilting calluses.

The design is a step and repeat of two alternating patterns based on Japanese sashiko stitching. The first is a grid of interlocking circles called Shippo, or Seven Treasures. It looks a bit like the quilt pattern for Cathedral Windows. The second is a simple square design called Raimon, or Spiral, which is almost a Log Cabin. As the quilt top and backing are not sashiko fabrics, I’m not attempting to use the thicker special sashiko thread, which would be impossible to force through this closer weave.

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 5.41.10 PMScreen shot 2014-08-15 at 5.41.26 PMScreen shot 2014-08-15 at 5.41.41 PMThey’re both pretty easy to stitch, and I’ve managed two 12″ squares today. Only 23 more to go….

The photography lighting is a bit moody, but it was the only way to show the quilting up against that extremely busy floral, and as I’m using white thread, it doesn’t show on the cream back either unless I light it from the side.

I’ve just taken a look at the latest post from Aussie Hero Quilts, and they need 4 more quilts urgently for HMAS Toowoomba before she sails. I’ve put  my hand up for one, but it’ll have to be a very simple one that I can finish in under a week, or it won’t reach her in time before she deploys. I’m waiting to hear if they still need it or if someone else has snaffled it up…

Nothing like a deadline to make me get my act in gear.