It’s not Friday…

…but I have finishes to show.

Still pretty windy out there. I'm a bit happier with this now there's some pink and orange going on.

Still pretty grey, gloomy and windy out there. I’m a bit happier
with this now there’s some pink and orange going on.

Not quite as wishy washy as they looked in the previous post

Not quite as wishy washy as they
looked in the previous post

The back of Happiness, made from 100% stash and scraps.  I’m quite proud of not rushing out and buying a piece of bland generic wideback. Now to sandwich and pin, and then it becomes my evening hand work. Once I’ve decided how I’m hand quilting it, of course.

So far, it's 38 x 37" or thereabouts.  Still a way to go before it's a lap quilt.

So far, it’s 38 x 37″ or thereabouts.
Still a way to go before it’s a lap quilt.

The blue border on Car Quilt. Now I can start piecing the 4-patch border on the machine. My new day work. After that we’ll be back onto hand work, as I have to applique the blue border to the 4-patch border. I ran out of the dark blue fabric 2 hexagons before the end. After an extended rummage in my still unsorted scrap boxes, I located a piece which was the same dark blue, but without the overprint. I don’t think it shows, since you can’t really see the print anyway unless you get up close and personal.

The cyclone? Not interesting. It’s finally achieved cyclone intensity and has therefore been named Hadi. (I dunno, I’m assuming male, as the other one in the Gulf of Carpentaria has been named Gillian and they alternate between male and female these days). However, Hadi is a has-been and looks set to head back out into the Coral Sea where it can play with the big one brewing over the Solomon Islands. Certainly the wind has dropped drastically from about 70kmph last night to about 20kmph this morning. My banana tree is getting whipped to shreds, and the passionfruit vine is dangling off the fence. On the upside, the Brugmansia flower is hanging on, and I’ll be able to show you what it looks like in a couple of days if a) it develops properly and b) the grasshoppers leave it alone.

Right, off to start piecing the 4 patch border. Compulsive, moi?

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Inching along…

Just a quick one.

Car Quilt blue borders: two sides done

Car Quilt blue borders: two sides done

Two edges of blue done on the Car Quilt. Two more to go, and I can start the next border.

Happiness: top half done except for outline sashing

Happiness: top half done except for outline sashing

Happiness: Strips for the bottom half - I just need to add the horizontal sashing and outline sash the whole lot

Happiness: Strips for the bottom half – I just need to add the
horizontal sashing and outline sash the whole lot

All the vertical sashing done on Happiness, and 4 more horizontal sashes to go. Then I have to do the outline sashing, and the top’s done. I’ve had a bit of a rummage in the Cupboard of All Colours, and there’s a complete absence of plan for the back. By which I mean, it’s going to be a hodge podge of scraps.

Once again, my sewing time got mostly eaten up. But I am inching forward!

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.

Small progress

It should have been a good sewing day. It wasn’t!

There were too many other things I had to get done: make bread, do 4 loads of laundry, unload, load and unload the dishwasher, make a pot of soup, entertain the Dowager, who dropped by unexpectedly for an hour… My nice gingerbread, which should have lasted us another couple of days, has taken a hammering.

Still, the top half of Happiness is completed. One strip of the lower section is done. I’ve got my paper piecing pattern sorted out, and will have to try it out soon. And I’ve finished the dark blue hexies for the Car Quilt. Now comes the fun job of sewing them all on… o joy.

Car quilt border half laid out so I can see how it'll look. Lots of hand sewing to do...

Car quilt border half laid out so I can see how it’ll look.
Lots of hand sewing to do…

Hopefully tomorrow will give me a bit more sewing time. After I’ve done the cleaning, weeding and folded all the laundry away. There’s a lot of catching up to do because we were away for a week. I’m just about ready for a project finish to perk me up!

More tomorrow, with hopefully better progress to report.

Things to do on a rainy day

The Wet is finally here, and with some emphasis!

Mackay gets a large bath. Image courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology.

Mackay gets a large bath.
Image courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology.

Looking out of the window with European eyes, you’d think it was mid afternoon in February, somewhere in northern Europe: England, the Netherlands, France. It’s grey, gloomy, overcast, and the rain is almost solid. The gutters are gurgling and overflowing, there’s a river running through my desert garden, the banana tree has more water than it knows what to do with, and if I were in London at this moment, I’d be on the sofa in flannelette pyjamas, with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate. However, here, in addition to being massively wet, it’s also bloody warm. About 28C, to be exact. Not a day to be doing anything outside…

Left, sashing for Happiness. Right, squares for the Car quilt borders

Left, sashing for Happiness. Right, squares for the Car quilt borders

So I turned my attention to things inside. I’ve been holding forth with my rotary cutter, and the vertical sashing for the Happiness quilt is cut, plus I’ve cut all the 3″ squares for the border on the Car quilt. My fabric supplies of that one are a bit limited, so rather than make a narrow striped border, which will eat up a lot of fabric in seam allowances, I’m doing 4 patches, in 3″ squares. And it’s very dark outside, so I haven’t attempted any further hand quilting on the ToL, as I simply can’t see what I’m doing well enough.

And now for even more pleasurable stuff. My camera has been slowly dying, and it has now reached the point where it’s refusing to talk to my computer so I can’t upload any images. The Husband’s camera will talk to my computer, but I don’t like the photos it takes; they’re all either rather dark or badly over exposed when I use the flash. The most excellent Husband has therefore bought me a Proper Camera, my first ever. Behold!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not even out of the box yet.
I think I have a lot of reading to do…

Now, of course, I have to sit down and read the manual, and pray that I can retain all the information. I am over 50, after all, and as everyone knows, as soon as you start to get grey hair, your competence with any kind of technology just leaches away. Or so my younger acquaintances would have me believe… Personally, I don’t think I’m doing too badly on that front.

Excuse me while I go and play with my new toy…

Car Quilt progress

The central section is complete, hurray!

The completed centre. It's basically a medallion quilt, since the rest is all borders.

The completed centre.
It’s basically a medallion quilt,
since the rest is all borders.

It’s about 33″ x 36″, which is too small for anything useful. It’s basically one jelly roll plus a fat quarter or so of the beige neutral that goes in the centre and between each flower. The plan from here on is firstly to add a border of dark inky blue hexagons all round. Then, I’ll be making a pieced border out of the fat quarters I have of all the same fabrics. It’s going to be 3 strips vertical, three strips horizontal, alternating all the way round. Making it fit will be a tiny bit tricky because of course the central panel isn’t square. Look out for some underhand business tweaking widths and lengths… After that… well, I haven’t got that far yet. Let alone think about how I’ll be quilting it. That’s going to be tough, because the fabric is all quite heavy and a dense weave. Maybe – shock horror! – I’ll make it a tied quilt instead. Hmm. Definitely something to consider.

So, the next job is the whole bunch of dark blue hexies I have to make and then sew onto the edges of this panel. I’m blowed if I’m going to make a whole string and then sew that on: much too hard. I’ll add them one by one as I make them, which will be a maximum of three 1″ seams at a time.

(By the way, the hand quilting on the Tree of Life is roaring along well, you just can’t really see anything so there’s no point in posting until I have a landmark to celebrate – probably by the end of the week.)

Excuse me while I go and rip out all the basting and take the templates out. One of my favourite bits!

In the bag

It’s done and delivered.

Bag front with tapestry panel

Bag front with tapestry panel

Bag back

Bag back

Inside: pockets, magnetic clasp and label

Inside: pockets, magnetic clasp and label

The Dowager’s bag, that is. I thought it was going to be harder than it actually was. I kept all the extra canvas around the outside of the tapestry, and used it as the interfacing for the front. I used a firm iron-on interfacing for the back. Longer handles than on my little stripey bag, because she wanted them long enough to sling the bag over her shoulder.

I remembered to put the magnetic catch on before finishing the top edge this time. It does the job of preventing the bag gaping open, and so long as you use a patch of interfacing on top of the little washer thingy, it won’t pull out.

I’ve created some quilt labels for myself using transfer paper in my colour printer. The label has my name, blog and email addresses, and space for the name, recipient and date of the quilt. This information gets filled in with an indelible pen once the transfer has been applied to either  a pale background area of the quilt back, or to a white fabric rectangle which then gets sewn onto the backing. End of labelling problem!

So, to round up the weekend: Finished the baby quilts. Made two fabric storage baskets. Made the Dowager’s handbag. Upholstered two chair seats. What about having a night off? Nope, I’m fiddling around with the Car Quilt while I skype a friend and watch TV. Back to work Monday and Tuesday for two days, so I won’t be doing much sewing. Maybe. Probably. We’ll see.

Have a good day, y’all.