Seven quilts ago

That’s how long it is since I cleaned my design wall.

Lint roller sheets

Yup, there sure are lots of teal threads in there. Well, think about it. From the bottom, Stay Positive, Tealed with a Kiss, Gonna Teal your Heart Away, The Blue Hour, Gallimaufry, Sea Glass and Bonnard. (As well as those, there are the blocks for Signed, Tealed & Delivered, which isn’t yet a quilt top, let alone a finished quilt.) Five of those seven contain significant amounts of teal, so I suppose it’s no big surprise.

What is surprising is how long I left it; Stay Positive was finished a year ago. I’m blushing here… In my defence, my work and cutting tables are immaculately clean and tidy. The floor is another story, but I do sweep up regularly. But I’d just let the design wall get thready, then fluffy and finally downright hairy. It was time, and more, to clean up.

So now I’ve got a beautifully clean and tidy design wall, and no more excuses. Time to get cracking on the back for Bonnard.

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There may be trouble ahead…

… if this cloud is anything to go by.

Thundercloud at dusk

Thundercloud at dusk

Isn’t it fabulous?  The light was fading fast, so the other three I took were unusable, but this one captured the last, dying light of the sun on the edge of that big white thundercloud.  There have been rumblings and big black clouds all day but tonight’s show was super dramatic.  I ask you, grey and black and PINK…

The sea rises! On the design wall, waiting to be sewn together. The pieces are 4" squares, finished size will be 3.5".

The sea rises! On the design wall, waiting to be sewn together.
The pieces are 4″ squares, finished size will be 3.5″.

On a lighter note, I’ve managed to get the Sea section of the Tree of Life quilt set out on my design wall.  I thought a photo was a good idea in case they all fall down overnight. It’s happened before, and I’m never as happy with it the second time round.  I just walked up and down the rows with all the colours on a tray, and dipped and placed and dipped and placed.  I think I probably repositioned about 4 squares at the end of the process, and that’s it.  I’m not going to over-engineer this quilt.  It’s coming from instinct, and that’s the domain in which I will leave it.

It’s been a hot, hot day at work, 32C/95F, and guess what, no aircon in my office.  The fan just pushes the hot air around.  Not a breath of wind until it was time to go home, at which point, of course, a breeze blew up.  But just to look on the bright side, I don’t have to go back there this week.  Next working day is Monday next week.  By which time, all sorts of excitement will have happened in my sewing room…

Until tomorrow, my friends.

The Tree of Life, Part 2: cutting

I think I may be cutting 4″ squares in my sleep tonight.

On the left, the range of colours for the sea in the bottom half

On the left, the range of colours for the sea in the bottom half. On the right, sky colours for the top half

I have pressed and trimmed the selected fabrics and cut out all 324 background squares for this quilt. It’s just a teeny bit repetitive… I have spares, odd ones, outsiders and jokers in the pack, just in case a particular section of the quilt background tells me it needs something a little… different. My design wall flannelette sheet is up again, hanging from its pole across the top of my bookshelves.It’s not a hard surface, but it has the overwhelming advantage of being washable and folding up into a small bundle to be stowed away in the top of my fabric cupboard when it’s not in use.  Since I like to lay out a whole quilt at a time rather than block by block, this queen size pale taupe sheet is just about large enough (it’s not quite tall enough to take the full height, but then I’m not quite tall enough to reach the top of a full height one anyway!). I’m going to assemble the background in blocks of 9, 32 of them. It keeps everything stable and in manageable bite size chunks, and there’s not too much unpicking if I change my mind about something.

Sky and sea at the top, and below the fabrics for flowers, fruit, tree, leaves and at the bottom, the fish

Sky and sea at the top, and below the fabrics for flowers, fruit, tree, leaves and at the bottom, the fish

The fabrics for the other elements have been auditioned and selected too, but I’m not even going to think about them until I have the background completed. Now that there’s a small amount of visible progress, my subconscious is sending all sorts of ideas to the surface, mainly to do with how I’m going to quilt it. Talk about being a bit previous… So I’m making notes. And I think I’d better do a lot of FMQ practice too. I can’t quilt too densely or the thing will become as stiff as a board, and the original idea was for a lap quilt to tuck up under in the winter, so stiff is not good.

Creating the templates for the enormous amount of applique is something to scare myself with another day. I’m trying not to think about the applique itself. Can I face doing it by hand, needleturned? Or is it going to be fused and stitched down by machine? Either task is large, but the hand sewing will be monumental…

Anyway, the Husband is off to work on night shift, and for the next 4 nights, so I’m going to treat myself to some TV and hand sewing hexagons. I assembled the hexies for another 10 flowers last night while watching a DVD, so they’ve got to be sewn together tonight. Beautifully mindless automatic handwork.

And I might just make a cup of tea and have another slice of my freshly baked pineapple upside-down cake…