Delft #7: thinking through the border

So, I put down my secret project for a couple of hours.

It was time to get cracking on the border for Delft. I’ve been putting it off because I knew that the fabric I’d bought wasn’t quite long enough now that I’d added an extra row to the bottom of the hexie panel. I knew I’d work something out, but it was going to take a bit of consideration

Sorry about the gloomy lighting, it’s been a very dark and overcast day

So, here’s the result. The border pieces are short by 8 inches each. I had enough left over to improvise cornerstones, but not the length I needed to make each side long enough to mitre the corners elegantly. Cornerstones it was, then. The borders are 10 inches wide. This meant that there would be a Y seam running diagonally up to the cornerstone. The fabric is, as you can see, very directional, so I needed a solution that would address this. So I cut half square triangles and alternated the print direction. I think it works. I’d already made the 4 pink hexie flowers thinking I might use them to disguise any, um, messy bits unsuccessful improvisation. I’m not sure about them. Do you think they look like afterthoughts, or like I’m trying to hide something?

I need to be happy with the solution before I start work, as the next stage is to press all the edges super hard, pull out all the papers and then baste the edges to the borders. Once they’re secured, I’ll make the mitre that forms the bottom of the Y seam and then insert the cornerstones. If I do the mitres first, it will inevitably mean that something doesn’t fit, there will be gaping or puckering and it will be nasty. Far better to attach the edges first and then fold away the mitre.

So that’s the plan. Probably. For now, anyway.

Anemone, finally finished

Can you believe how long this has taken?

Not the hand quilting, which was long enough, but the whole thing. I started this lovely six years ago! And looking at it now, fully completed, I wonder why I was bonkers enough to put it on the back burner. Still, the hiatus hasn’t dimmed my enthusiasm for it. I still love it soooo much! I really like faced hexie quilts, because it retains the distinctive shape of the outer edge, and although it’s meticulous, laborious work to create and apply the back facing, I feel it’s really worth the effort when you look at the front.

I don’t have my handy quilt holder-upper (aka the Husband) today, so I have draped it tastefully (I hope) over a sofa. Possibly you can’t see every single hexie, but you get the idea.

Weird that the pink quilting thread looks black, but there you go.

And here’s a close up.

And the label, which I have concealed behind a hexie of appropriate colour on the back of the quilt, stitched in so that you can flip it open just enough to read it. I’m beginning to find labels a bit intrusive to look at unless they carry an important message (as in the DfG or Ovarian Cancer quilts), so I think I’ll keep this ‘hidden message’ option going forward.

And so we say farewell to Anemone. Next cab off the rank should be Delft, but I suspect I’ll finish assembling the front, remove most of the papers and then put it away for a bit. My fingers need a break from hand stitching for a good long time. And there’s another hat cut out and waiting for me, not to mention other quilt projects.

You’ll just have to wait and see what I pick next!

Anemone: row 24 quilted

I decided it was time.

I’d been neglecting Anemone in favour of feverishly stitching away at Delft. I’ve reached the point with Delft that it can just sit for a bit until I’m ready to piece large sections together, never my favourite part. Anemone has been quietly waiting on my cutting table (and yes, taking up all the space and preventing me starting yet another new project). Time to start hand quilting again.

So that’s what I did. And now I’m up to row 24 and three more are marked up ready to go. It’s actually quite soothing. I can listen to podcasts or YouTube videos while I stitch along the rows of scallop shapes. Three rows at a time is about enough before the fingers get too sore and I have to take a bit of a break before starting again.

It’s still hexies, but at least I’m not sewing them together any more…

Delft #6: the least fun bit

I have made lots of silent progress.

I’m at the stage of this quilt where I have to stitch everything together, which is absolutely not the fun part. It’s a very great deal of stitching, and was incredibly overwhelming at first. The upside of assembling it all once all the hexies are made is that you can arrange things rather than doing it  as you go, which doesn’t always give the most harmonious results. I’m about 60% done now.

In the photo, the area outlined in red is fully assembled and all the papers removed except those at the outer edges. Outside that, the area outlined in green is assembled into large chunks for ease of handling, ready to stitch onto the central square. Below that, only the flowers are assembled, and the rest is still to go.

The striped fabric for the outer border has arrived and it’s lovely, 1cm wide stripes of dark blue and white. I’m still debating some additional flourishes of some sort, I’ll see what I’m inspired to do once the border’s on.

And of course, it’s finally dawned on me that this is yet another quilt that’s going to need hand-quilting. So yes, I’d better hurry up and finish Anemone, which has stalled rather while I’m slogging away at this one…

Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself. And then I look at my quilts, and remember.

Delft #5, and doggos

I’m making progress.

The central section of Delft is assembled, with joining hexies stitched in. It’s slowish work, but I really like the effect. I have 70ish hexies in another fabric which I want to use for the next outward row, and I can revert to the fabric I’ve used in the centre outside that, as I have a lot more of it.Fingers are holding up well, and it’s undemanding work I can do while I listen to YouTube or podcasts. I also have two yards of a lovely stripe fabric for the border on its way, 1cm stripes of white and dark blue. I’ll show it when it arrives.

In other news, I’m taking care of two doggo friends of Mouse’s, Sunshine and Tiny. Their Staff dropped them off this morning on their way to a short break on Hamilton Island, where doggos are not allowed. It’s been an interesting couple of hours as they explored the house, the back yard, Mouse’s beds and toys, etc. They have finally stopped leaping up every time a car passes, they’ve had snacks and are now draped across the floor with maximum inconvenience to foot traffic! Mouse is delighted with the toys they brought with them, especially the squeaky fluffy zebra toy. It may have to be pried from his jaws when they leave on Wednesday afternoon…

The only downside? I now have three pairs of eyes trained on my plate while I eat….

Delft 4: nearly big enough

18 more hexie flowers needed…

And then it will be large enough, I think. Not bed size, but certainly a comfortable lap quilt size once I’ve added the border all round. I have some more of the mid-blue flowers in progress, not quite enough, but I’ll top them up with a bit of dark blue with medium white spots. For the border, I’m thinking a dark blue blue and white stripe, ideally quite wide. What do you think?

The eagle eyed will may notice that I’ve rearranged things a little. Yes, everything’s dark blue and white, but even so, the eye ‘catches’ on colour jumps and things that stand out, and this new arrangement is more satisfying to my eye. This is now…  Another row needed on either side to fill it out a bit.

And this is the previous version. As you can see, the centre is different. Not bad, exactly, but not as pleasing, in my opinion.  And yes, I have been busy recently, haven’t I?

Once all the blue hexie flowers are done and I have enough filler hexies, it’ll be time to start assembly.

Cue doom-laden Star Wars March music…

Delft #3: progress

I have been industrious.

Here’s where I am today, all current hexie flowers pinned to my design wall. The layout measures 48 x 42 inches (123 x 106cm), which is quite a substantial piece. I’ve done a lot of the paler joining hexies too, but time is short today and I didn’t have the additional half hour it would have taken to fill them in. It will change the look a little, make it a little more interesting than the pale putty colour of the background.

Sorry, the lighting is bad as it’s overcast today.

I still have a lot of the dark outer hexies fabric and even more of the brighter blue and white leaf print fabric, so I’ll be increasing the size with those. This probably isn’t the final layout, but seemed an appropriate way to show what I’ve got so far.

Amazing how much Netflix you can get through while your hands are busy and your back is sore…

20% plus a fistful more

The 20% is Anemone. 

The fistful more is the yet to be named blue hexie quilt. I have finally applied myself to naming it, as calling it the ‘yet to be named…’ is both embarrassing and clunky. I have decided to call it Delft. I am half Dutch, so the beautiful blue and white pottery by that name which I love so much is part of my cultural heritage. Also, the city is the birthplace of one of my favourite painters, Jan Vermeer (think Girl with a Pearl Earring) and is a beautiful place in itself.

There is progress on both. Anemone has now reached the stage of being 20% quilted. It’s going well. I find it soothing, and easy to find enough time in a day to do a row or two (or maybe three). I’ve finally located my thread conditioner (the little blue box), so now it’s even easier, since it tangles even less than it did before. The relative firmness and non-tanglyness of hand quilting thread is one of the great things of hand quilting for me, especially as I am a lazy quilter and use a long thread. Life is too short for constant knot-burying. Getting this quilt done is my priority just now, as I can’t use my cutting table for other things while I’m working on it.

Starting Row 15

And Delft? I have made a bunch more flowers, some with scraps and some with my new yardage. it’s clear to me I’m going to need a LOT more dark blue fabric; those hexie flowers munch it up fast, whilst the paler separator hexies are comparative fewer. I should have bought twice as much dark and half as much light!

A fistful more hexies

Oh dear. I have to go fabric shopping….

Fast, and too fast

First, the fast.

Well, they make quite a big piece.

Considering this is the idle handwork of a 2 week holiday, that’s quite the size, wouldn’t you say? It’s not like I was doing it all day, every day, but once I get started it’s virtually automatic and I don’t have to pay attention. I need to start cutting into that new piece of blue fabric, and also make a start on some of the more scrappy pieces I have. There are two scrappy flowers in this layout so far, where each petal of the flower is a different fabric, but a few more will leaven the mix. I also need more pink hexies for the flower hearts; currently I only have gingham ones and I feel the need for more variety. I also have a few scraps for the lighter blue divider hexies, so I should probably get those made up and tidied away.

And now, the too fast.

Before we went away, I hung a stem of Ducasse, or sugar, bananas up in the garage to ripen slowly. You pick them when they have filled out, but are not yet yellow, and hang them somewhere cool. They ripen slowly and out of the reach of fruit bats and birds, and you can cut off a hand at a time.

Well, the weather has turned warm, the garage is warmer and the little bananas are ripening fast. So I’m offering them left and right to the neighbours. But we’ll still end up with too many to keep up with, even if I have peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch every day for a month and send the Husband to work with them.

What’s worse is that there’s a whole other stem out there, which hasn’t yet filled out but which will surely follow suit now that the temperatures are rising. I shall have to make large batches of banana bread and freeze them. I find dried banana too sweet.  Anyone out there have a tasty recipe for something other than banana bread/muffins which will help me use up my unmanageable excess?

Oh, the hardship of life in the tropics…

Blue hexies: evidence of industry

The rain was good for something, after all.

I have 40 hexie flowers made, as well as a bag full of ‘intermediate’ hexies to place between the individual flowers. That’s… rather a lot of work! But I enjoyed it, it gave my hands something to do while I listened to talking books, or YouTube or music.I’ll probably carry on cranking them out when I get home, having got so far ahead these past few days. One thing past experience has taught me, though, is that I need to start assembling too, not just making the flowers. Otherwise the exercise becomes hugely intimidating. Make up blocks, stitch the blocks together, remove the papers, press. If I stick to that routine, it won’t be nearly so discouraging to look at once it starts to grow!

We’re heading home tomorrow. An early start should see us on the road by 9.30am at the latest, and we should have a fairly straightforward run to get back. I’ve made sure there isn’t a laundry mountain to tackle, but we’ll need some groceries, and Mouse will need a while testing out all his beds to see which one he wants to sleep in after being ‘forced’ to occupy just the one bunk while we were away!

When I get back, it’ll be time to choose which of the many projects swirling around in my head I’m going to make a start on.