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.

Exciting!

Always with the blues

It’s a bit of a problem, sometimes.

I can’t resist dark blues. And now that I’ve started these hexies, I see lovely fabrics everywhere.

So… I had a fat quarter of a dark blue and cream tiny floral stripe pattern. I say had; it’s a pile of hexies now. But if this was going to turn into anything useful, I was going to need more. So I paid a visit to Cairns Creative and bought half a metre of a really nice dark blue tiny print, and also a dark blue and white Aboriginal meander pattern which will work with the blue and white lawn print I’m  using for the intermediate hexies in the layout. You’ll see what I’m talking about when I start to lay things out.

And of course while I was there I had a poke through their remnants basket and found this beauty!

Eden, by Sally Kelly

It’s the same fabric as some of the scraps I got when I visited Amitié Textiles in Victoria. The scraps I plan on using to make a patchwork coat. I loved the fabric so much I recognised a small corner of it halfway down the basket, and dived for it. It’s so lovely I can almost, almost not bear to cut into it. I may have to turn it into a large panel on the back of the coat, say, so that I don’t have to cut it too much.

But that’s for the future. First, more hexies, and sadly, the end of the holiday is upon us. Two more nights away, and then it’ll be time to start unpacking, cleaning and doing laundry.

Welllll, when you put it like that, I really deserve some lovely fabric, don’t you think?

A hex of a lot…

I just couldn’t stop myself.

I needed holiday hand work. Well, in my case that’s usually hexies. I didn’t have a hexie project on the go, and rather than come up with something different as an alternative, I grabbed a bag of papers, a small sewing kit, poked around in my scraps and an idea emerged. We all know I have a weakness for dark blue. But I also happened to have quite a few bits of soft pink.

And there were also the blue and white scraps of lawn from the backing of Anemone. I expect they’ll have to be supplemented, but I’ll see how far the supply takes me.

And on this holiday it has rained. And rained. And rained. So instead of haring off on various activities and adventures, the three of us have hunkered down, listened to books, eaten snacks, watched YouTube, snoozed (not just the dog, I might add), and in my case, stitched hexies. Many, many hexies. The picture below is just the ones I’ve made up into flowers. The rest are still in a bulging bag of blue – with a bit of pink.

Sorry about the poor lighting. I don’t carry decent lights in the caravan and it’s very grey outside, so this was the best I could manage.

I don’t know where this is going yet, but I’m feeling a back-of-my-chair quilt or similar size, and I’ll be stitching the outer edge down onto a straight border rather than taking the hexies out to the edge or facing the edge as I’ve done with Anemone.

Still, that’s all a loooooong way off. A hex of a long way off.

Days Gone By: done deal

‘Tis finished, people.

Last night I set the last stitch in the binding and the label. It’s finally finished and ready to be handed over to Days for Girls next weekend, when our Saturday morning stitching sessions begin again after the summer break.

A couple of weeks ago, I handed the completed top and back and a large piece of batting over to a very kind lady called Judith, who is a long-arm quilter and who had graciously agreed to quilt it for free. On Thursday I got it back, beautifully stipple quilted, plus all the offcuts. For those not in the know, when a quilt is long-arm quilted you need to make the backing and batting at least 5 or 6 inches larger all round than the quilt top. I had been generous with both batting and backing, and I got one substantial piece and several smaller pieces of both back. Enough, in fact, to do the batting and backing for my table runner, also for Days for Girls.

I made binding from a number of partial or discarded jelly roll strips from other projects. I have some left over, but not, I think, enough to bind the table runner, so I’ll need to dig out more scraps for that.

So, without further ado, the photos. Appreciation to the Husband, who did the holding up.

front

Back

And the label:

A final summary for anyone not already familiar with this lengthy project: the quilt front is made from scraps left over after cutting out the pieces that go into the Days for Girls kits. When I joined the group, I was horrified to see usable pieces being simply thrown away. It meant that all the donated money and fabric was being partly wasted, so I determined that I’d find a way to rectify this. Days Gone By is the result. The backing and binding are made from scrap fabric from my own stash, which had not yet found another purpose. The only new parts of this quilt are the batting and thread, without which it would not be a quilt at all. It’s a truly scrappy, minimal-waste quilt.

It has been a very long pull. Some of you may recall that a large piece of assembled hexies was lost at the end of September 2019, and I had to start again. It was hard, but start again I did, and finally we’re across the line. This quilt, the table runner still in progress and the cushion cover I’ve shown earlier will all be raffled to raise funds to purchase fabric and other supplies for more Days for Girls kits. Although we have been unable to distribute the kits we make because of Covid-19, we haven’t stopped making them, and when travel restrictions are finally lifted they will once again go to the women and girls whose lives are changed and improve by them.

On to the next DfG quilt. This time I think I’ll go for something a bit quicker to make!

Days Gone By: the gap is closed!

I’ve finished all the border cutting and piecing!

Now I have to stitch the seams joining all the border sections together: the top is done, but I have the side and bottom strips to put together, which is why it still looks a bit wonky. I’m really pleased that paying close attention when I was cutting and stitching has meant there are very few places where the seams don’t line up despite the widely varying fabrics used.

Once that’s done, I have to press the outer edge of the hexie section very well, remove the last of the papers, and pin it down onto the borders. Hand stitching the hexies down will take a fair time and requires a large flat surface to ensure that there’s no bubbling or buckling caused by the stitching.  I’ll also have to make a backing, which will, yes, also be scrappy but will be pulled from several sources, not just the DfG scraps. I need largish pieces or all the seams will make the quilting a bit arduous. I have a basket of pulled fabrics ready to go.

It’s so good to see real progress at last 🙂

A handwork dilemma

Not a very serious one, mind you.

The Days Gone By quilt top is in the home stretch. I have two more square blocks to make and then it’ll be time to assemble the border. A few quick seams and that will be done too. After that, I need to hem the hexies down onto the border, but that will be a large piece of work and needs a table and plenty of space, so it’s not handwork I can take on our travels with me.

We’re off again in two weeks for another couple of weeks in Far North Queensland, so clearly, I’m going to need plenty to do with my hands while I sit in the sun drinking coffee and eating cake!

When we have the raffle for the quilt, it would be nice also to have second and third prizes. So I’ve taken the leftover hexie flowers that were too pastel for the look of the quilt or were duplicates, or just didn’t make it into the mix, and I’ve laid them out into a table runner and a cushion cover. That yellow hexie in the middle really stands out, but I’ll probably do something about it after I’ve assembled the whole thing. Also, the table runner may need lengthening and widening with square borders, like the quilt. I’ll see what it needs once I’ve assembled what I have.

They’re in a couple of project bags, together with printouts of the photos I took of the layouts, ready for me to start assembling them. Handwork sorted, leftovers used up, two more prizes in hand.

Dilemma resolved. That was easy! 🙂

Days gone by…

No, I’m not talking about the holiday.

I’m rather proud of myself. I took the Days Gone By hexie scrap quilt along with me in case I had some free quiet time to just stitch and listen to the birds. I didn’t think I would, but we had some rainy days, and time when the Husband wanted a snooze or to watch a movie and I didn’t.

I set myself a goal of adding another two rows. It seemed a doable quantity, and it would finish the shape off nicely. Sorry about the shot, it’s laid out on my bunk in the caravan.

I got them made! (Laid out on the Husband’s bunk this time, that’s his quilt).

Next job was to add the strip to the existing piece. And I’ve done it. The centre panel is now a decent size and shape.

I’m calling time on the hexies, and will border this quilt with squares, probably arranged as 9-patches. With individual squares at two inches finished it’ll be about right, because most of my scraps will easily produce squares of two and a half inches. Plus it’ll make an interesting contrasting border. The hexie edge will need to be appliquéd onto the 9-patch border, and that will be the last of the hand work.  However, there are still a good few hexie flowers left, but in colours which are too pastel to work well in this piece. I’ll probably turn those into cushion covers, which can either be raffled separately or as a set with the quilt.

It’s the hand stitching that has made this quilt so long winded. It’s time to turn up the dial and get something made that Days for Girls can finally raffle to raise funds. Time to start pulling out Days for Girls scraps to start assembling border blocks.

It’ll be nice to have some decent progress to show, for a change.