Floribunda #16: Blocks 24-28

Just two left to do.

The last pink ones:

And the last green ones:

Which means that I only have two more purple/yellow ones to make, and the blocks for the front are done.

Good. On track for the deadline. I’d better start thinking about the backing and sashing.

Back soon with the last two.

Floribunda #15: Blocks 21-23

Yes, the patchwork machine is lurching back into action.

After my recent unscheduled short break for some assorted Covid-vaccine side effects, I’m back at the machine. I treated myself to a good tidy-up on my work table (nothing too drastic, I do have ‘creative muddle’ to maintain after all) so that I could actually find a few things I needed, and the result is another 3 blocks in swift succession.

These are the start of the next row, and one (the top one) for the row below. On the same row there will also be three pink ones, but that’s for another day. I’m giving myself till mid-May to finish the front, to the end of 3rd week in May for the sandwiching and quilting, and to the end of May for assembly. The quilt has to be entered for the Mackay Show on 4th June. No pressure, then. But as we all know, I do get my skates on best when I have a deadline. I will, however, forgive myself if I miss it, since I’ll also be entering the Hatbox Quilt which didn’t go in last year because the Show was cancelled.

Watch this space for a blur of batik!

Floribunda: two thirds of the top

The Floribunda bug bit me again.

As you can see, I’ve now completed Nos. 18-20 of the Floribunda blocks and am two-thirds of the way through. Another 5 green blocks, 3 pink blocks and 2 purple blocks, and she’ll be done.

I keep tweaking the location of the individual blocks as I turn more out, since sometimes a new one just doesn’t ‘fit’ where there’s a gap. This is the latest layout, and so far, I’m quite happy with it, but naturally I’m not letting the gaps drive the colours and fabrics used in the blocks, so it won’t be the last version by any means!

Of course, after that, there’s the back and the sashing to consider. I shall have to see what’s left of both pink and green and the colours in between. What will work for sashing to complement the orange batik I had planned, and what will work with the yellow print for the back?

Only time will tell. Watch this space.

Floribunda 13: Block #17

Well, hello again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve been furiously making masks; Queensland had a few cases appear suddenly, initially without any idea how. They’re on top of that now, but we’re still required to wear masks in public places, inside and ideally outside too. Everyone who’d put their masks away, got rid of them or had no more stock of disposable ones because of relaxed restrictions was suddenly in a bit of a pickle. I’ve made 10 in the past 3 days, so that’s the family sorted, but I’m keeping the supplies handy.

Now that the rush is over, I’ve had a chance to get on with Floribunda. I’m worried I’ll get lazy about it, let it migrate to the back burner, and then discover that I don’t have enough time to finish it before the Mackay Show admissions date. So I got another green block done. I have a pink block laid out ready to go, maybe tomorrow, or if I’m feeling energetic, perhaps tonight.

I still have to ration my sewing time; although the ankle is much improved and I’ve graduated from crutches to a cane, if I have to stand for more than a few minutes, walk too far, or let my leg dangle (as in sitting on a regular chair) the ankle balloons and throbs. So far, it’s good for an hour of sewing (or a seated tai chi class, as I discovered this morning), and then I have to elevate it. Do-able, but dull…

I got my anniversary present fabrics. The gold one is potentially for the back of Floribunda and the grey one is potentially for my most recent F2F blocks, either as backing or as filler blocks. They’re both Jocelyn Proust designs for Spotlight, and by luck they were both 40% off 🙂 The gold background fabric shows zebra finches, and the grey leaf fabric shows rose-crowned fruit doves. I really love her designs, combining simplicity and innocence with sophisticated colour choices and design. As bolt-ends in both cases, I could only get 3m of the gold and 2m of the grey, but I’ll work around that.

I hope you all had a great Easter and are ready for the seasonal change: winter for us and spring for the northern hemisphere. I’m really looking forward to cooler days and nights and fresh, crisp mornings for dog walking.

Once I’m walking again, that is.

Floribunda #12: starting the second half

And here we go, tipping over into the downhill slope.

This is Block 16. Blocks 13, 14 and 15 were shown in the previous Floribunda post as part of the total halfway layout. Each of these blocks takes about an hour. I could easily do them faster, but I’m being meticulous and tidy and measuring and trimming at every stage. It’s paying off in terms of ease when fitting things together. Alternatively, I could chain piece, or cut all the remaining blocks and start a production line, but I don’t find that enjoyable. Besides, I find that sometimes I want to change things once I take a second look, or something doesn’t work in the space I’d planned for it. You lose that flexibility if you work too fast and without stops to squint and contemplate.

I don’t have quite enough of the batik I bought for sashing since the quilt is now larger than before. That’s OK. I just need to come up with Plan B. Quite often, in my experience, B stands for Better anyway!

I’ll just keep plugging away at a gentle pace. Works for me….

Floribunda #11: halfway there

I have 50% of the blocks made. 

And now you can see how it’s going to look. Just mirror what’s in the photo. This is one of those quilts which will not photograph nicely unless it’s outside, which tends to be a bit of a thing with batiks. The patterns and colour play are subtle, and the camera tends to flatten everything out rather. It’s so much nicer in real life!

At this rate, it’ll definitely be ready in time for the Mackay Show.

I’d better start thinking about backing fabric and whether I have enough sashing fabric. No great rush, but I want to be ready when the last block is done. And the quilting?  Wavy lines, of course! Normally, I’d do vertical, but this quilt seems to be asking for horizontal. Stars under water, as it were.

Tomorrow’s the Days for Girls raffle draw. I’ll see if I can get a decent photo of the winner with her/his quilt if they’re there in person, to post here. Or, who knows, it maybe someone who’s family or a friend. That would be very special too.

My feet are telling me it’s time to stop, both the broken pedal foot and the other one in the brace that ought to be up instead of dangling under the sewing machine.

This time, just for a change, I’ll listen.

Floribunda #10: a harmless addiction

I’m talking about making these blocks.

I finished Block #11, which you saw as a layout last time.

And I made Block #12. Less blackcurrant, more raspberry.

And here’s where it’s decision time. If I make this quilt 5 x 5 blocks and join it simply with narrow sashing, it will finish at 62½ x 62½ inches plus binding, which is a nice lap quilt. If I make it 5 x 6 blocks, it will finish at 62½ x 75 inches plus binding, which is a generous lap quilt. I’ll need to make an extra 5 blocks: 2 greens, 2 pinks and a purple. I have enough fabric, so that’s not the problem.

Is a 63 inch (1.6m) square quilt big enough? Is it snuggle-under-able? Large enough to wrap up in? My niece is petite, but I don’t want it to feel stingy. It’s not a decoration, I want it to be useful and cosy… and gezellig, that wonderful Dutch word that means cosy, snug, homey, etc.

5 more blocks to make it perfect, or will it be perfect as it is? The Husband feels I should err on the side of generosity of scale, and make those extras. I’m quite happy to do so, but I also love a square quilt, so I’m torn!

What do you think?

Floribunda #9: onwards and inwards

I did no sewing or even cutting while we were away.

So it’s really rather nice to get back to such constructive pursuits. It’s all very well listening to audiobooks, reading my Kindle, taking dictation for the travel posts from Mouse, improvising meals from my pretty limited caravan pantry, and taking photos, but I miss the structured calm of actually piecing blocks.

So it’s straight back to Floribunda, and Blocks 10 and 11. Block 10 is done (I like the blackcurrant colours of this one), Block 11 is laid out, ready to sew.

And now you can begin to see how it’s laid out. From the outside inwards: a purple/yellow block at each corner, green all around the outside, pink inside that, and purple/yellow again in the middle. Block #11 will sit below the central pink block on the top row of pinks. I haven’t quite decided yet if this is going to be 5 x 5 blocks or 5 x 6. The blocks aren’t difficult but they are just the tiniest bit fiddly.

And may I just say, I never thought I’d be using the words purple and yellow together in any quilt I made, but there they are, and the combination just works. But I don’t think I’ll be using it again any time soon. I feel a little more positive towards purple these days than I used to, but yellow is still bottom of my colour list, along with baby blue, bottle green and brown.

I got an email while we were away to say that Mackay Show is back on, and inviting me to submit a quilt (or two). I’ve read the rules very carefully, and it doesn’t say anything about when the quilt had to be made, so I’m thinking about submitting the Hatbox Quilt for starters. All I’d have to do is hand-sew on a hanging pocket which I could easily remove afterwards, and put another temporary label over the existing one to comply with the rules. I’m pretty sure I could get Floribunda done by early June, which is when the quilts have to go in. What do you think? Shall I submit that one too? I’m certain I couldn’t get Parterre finished in time, particularly as I plan to hand quilt it, and Anemone won’t be hand quilted by then either, I don’t think… This one’s a fun dilemma to have!

Back to picking out fabric combinations for Floribunda!

Floribunda #8, and other stuff

It’s me, Mouse.

I’m dead worried, I can tell you. The Staff have been striding (Dad) and lurching (Mum) about all day, moving Stuff from one place to another. There was a distinct lack of routine activities, and I Don’t Like It. To be fair, they didn’t stint on the treats or the belly rubs. I think the score evened out at two frozen chicken necks, one bit of beef jerky, one bit of chicken jerky and a dried lamb bite. I got a walk and two runs in the yard, and several up-to-scratch dog-worship sessions in, including one on the bed this morning. But. I know there’s something going on. My Number 2 pillow and blankie have disappeared somewhere. Any minute now Bad Monkey (fluffy Mouse-toy, slayed horribly on a regular basis – Mum) will follow suit. I tell you what it is: we’re off on another trip! (Well-spotted, that sighthound – Mum).

Mum did herself a bit of a mischief the other day when she dropped a glass frying-pan lid on her broken paw. I must say, the language was surprisingly, um, salty, and I’m a sophisticated doggo… She’s also getting impatient for it to mend, and took her Boot off today. Mistake. The Boot’s back on again and she’s hobbling worse than she has been for a couple of days. Never mind, we’ll all have a nice long trip tomorrow and the day after, apparently, and she can rest her paw then.

So, this afternoon, while Dad was fiddling around in the back of the ute (pickup to you non-Australian types), arranging boxes and crates and fridges and tool-bags, Mum decided – finally – to take the weight off. So of course, she had to sew something. Apparently it’s rather colourful. I wouldn’t know… I’m a dog.

She says this is Block 9 of the Floribunda quilt, which is now going to be for her niece. Originally there was no yellow/orange and purple, but there was a special request for yellow, and this is how it’s being used. Apparently Mum is bringing hand work with her, but not this quilt, which needs a machine, cutting table and ironing board.

Instead, she’s bringing bags of scraps. It seems she’s already begun the next Days for Girls quilt, heaven help us. Is there no end to the scraps?  And I ask this as a doggo who enjoys his scraps; one of my favourite ways of making my displeasure known is to have a good rootle in her rubbish bin and spread the contents across the sewing room floor. It can get quite, um, artistic!

I’ll be posting more from the road, so paws crossed for better weather than we’re having here: Hot and wet. There’s nothing wrong with Mum’s fingers, so she can take dictation, as usual, and I happen to know there’s a bag of treats in her purse, so I shall be graciously accepting some of those to stimulate my creative juices. (Let’s hope they don’t stimulate anything else, Mr Fluffbum – Mum).

Look out for more thrilling episodes of… The Travels of Mouse!

Floribunda #7: blocks 7 and 8

OK, a little change of direction here.

First, some brief background. My brother has four daughters. Two of them, the older two, already have quilts I made for them, the Cloths of Heaven quilt and the Bookcase quilt, shown on the left. You can click to enlarge and see the detail.

My brother asked me recently whether I’d make quilts for the younger two. I’d always intended to do so, but unlike with the first two, there was no landmark event to spur me into action. So, well, you know me. Two new quilts.

For one niece, I had a Pinterest board started, but since I’d worked on it, her tastes had changed. That one will need more work and I’ll show you more soon, when I’ve collected a few more fabrics.

The other niece was more of a mystery, but in the end, much less problematic. After some conversations and a new Pinterest board, she is going to receive my Floribunda quilt, but with some modifications. She loves yellow. Eeek. Well, as many of you know, it’s my least favourite colour to work with. But I think I’ll be able to pull it off. So, the plan for Floribunda is changing. No more setting on point, no more trellis with twining creeper. I’ll be setting the blocks straight, and won’t be alternating pink and green. I’ll be able to give you more of an idea once I’ve made probably 3 or 4 more blocks.

In the meantime, here are two new ones, blocks 7 and 8.

The first is just another green one, but the second one gives you an idea how I’m going to include and manage the yellow she wants included. There will be fewer of these blocks than of the pink and green because I have less of the purple background. I really rather love it, I must say. For the record, Floribunda’s going to be a smaller quilt; rather than the 75 inch square, hand quilted item I had planned (which would have taken another year, probably), it’s going to be 60 x 72 inches and machine quilted.

And of course, ready much sooner.