Floribunda: never again

A sad but unsurprising lesson has been learned.

I will not ever again be submitting a quilt to Mackay Show. We went yesterday morning in the hope of enjoyment and interest. Instead, I came away with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Let me set the scene. There’s a large permanent display pavilion where all the craft displays are set out. This includes needlecrafts, children’s artwork, quilts and baking. Normally, all sit together happily. However, this year, the baking and artwork and needlecrafts all seemed to have their usual allocation of space but the quilts were cramped. It didn’t strike me that there were fewer quilts than usual (although I’m willing to concede the point), but they were certainly differently displayed.

Quite a few of them were squashed into too-small gaps, folded in half or overlaid by others, whilst other quilts were shown at full size and in prime positions – and not just the prize winners. Quilts with errors of construction (points being cut off or seams not aligned, bulging and puckering, for example), were fully displayed, where others without those errors were not. (Floribunda, I’m looking at you…).

Floribunda, folded. This was all you could see of the quilt, which was stuck behind an Emergency Exit door and a table.

Justifications were offered by the display stewards, Covid-spacing being the main one; aisles between display walls now had to be wider, and apparently, “some of the ladies who didn’t win prizes took their quilts home to make space” – I heard this exact phrase from two different stewards.

It surprises me that people whose quilts were going to be improperly displayed were not contacted and offered the opportunity to withdraw and be refunded.

It surprises me that quilts with evident errors and poor construction were given full display space while those which were well made were folded and bunched up.

I’m not sad about not winning a ribbon. I don’t think the judging was wrong – the winners were beautiful quilts. What I’m sad about is that in the way the entries were displayed, excellence was not given priority.

Yes, I’m cynical. But that doesn’t mean I’m not also right.

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 #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.

Floribunda #6: blocks 5 and 6

….how does my garden grow?

Pretty darn fast, as a matter of fact. These blocks are such fun!  The layout’s the same, so you get faster and faster at completing them, but the fabric combinations make sure that each one looks very different. Take a look:

See what I mean? Imagine these blocks joined by a dark jade green trellis. What do you think of the idea of adding a vine winding through the trellis and the occasional 3D leaf here and there when the whole thing is assembled? I’m sorely tempted, on the basis of my usual ‘more is more’ principle, but I do accept it may be Too Much. I will listen to your thoughts on this one, because I know perfectly well I’m in danger of tipping over into Don’t Even Go There territory… I’m going to defer the decision till the thing’s fully laid out in any case.

So, here are the close ups of blocks 5 (pink) and 6 (green):

I missed posting a Parterre block for BM&I at the end of October. That’s OK, I’ll have more time this month.

I must go, Mouse is standing at the back steps, waiting for me to throw him a doggo-popsicle (aka a frozen chicken neck). At what point did I become a slave to this dog’s every whim, I wonder…?

Till next time.

Fake it till you make it

In the pink.

It’s one of those phrases people use without really knowing how it originated. Currently it means to be at a peak of condition, or in the best of health. That’s not a state I’m enjoying right now, so I thought I’d seek out some pink to see if I could turn the tide into a more positive frame of mind. So I went to look for pink.

I reckon I found some good examples. You have to smile: it’s spring in Queensland! I made this collage using the Adobe Spark free software for collages.

Also in the pink was lunch yesterday. So delicious, freshly caught prawns, salad, avocado and sun dried capsicums with a caesar dressing.

And finally, the latest Floribunda block, in progress. This is #5.

In case you’re wondering, that surface it’s lying on is a thick felted batting square which is one of literally hundreds supplied to the Husband as part of a spill kit for his job. I have appropriated a dozen or so for bag-making, padding and yes, block layouts so they can be easily transported from one surface to another. The pad is 16 inches square and roughly ¼ inch thick, a really useful weight and size.

Well, the pink has done its job. I no longer feel quite so green….

Floribunda #5, blocks 3 and 4

This is so dratted addictive.

I make a couple of blocks and think that’ll hold me for a day or so. Then I find myself standing at the cutting table, sorting colours and cutting strips for another block. Or two. Or three.

Which is why there are two more ready and the parts for another one waiting on the bench.

Turns out this quilt might be ready a fair bit sooner than I’d imagined, if I keep going at this rate. I really must stop and finish up a couple of other things.

Or not. My willpower may not be up to it!

Floribunda #4: the first two

I haven’t been totally idle on holiday.

I did manage to get the hexie cushion cover done for ScrapHappy, and here are the first two Floribunda blocks done, one pink and one green.

I’ve decided that hand piecing is going to be much, much too slow – I can’t wait that long to see the results! So, I’m going to be machine piecing this one, and with luck, I’ll get the 44 blocks I need completed some time this decade! Some of them are whole blocks, some are halves and there are a couple of quarter blocks, all needed to set this quilt on point, which is the current plan.

I really love how these two have turned out. Roll on the next 42…

Floribunda, holidays – and we’re off

Miz Lizzie the caravan is packed.

And that includes the coffee machine, important food groups like chocolate and potato-based travel snacks, and of course, my sewing kit. While the majority of the handwork in it is hexies for the Days for Girls prizes, I’ve cut two sets of blocks for Floribunda.

First, a reminder of the colour scheme.

Is that not a lavishly luscious pair of colours? I’m so in love with the combinations! Having narrowed down the options from the full range in the two Bali Pop packs, I’m happy I have fabrics that will work beautifully together.

And here are the two blocks I’ve cut and packed to take with me. I do hope to have them ready by the end of the trip, but if not…. well, it just means we had a really, really good time!

Mouse is wandering around anxiously, watching us disrupt his peaceful existence and moving his Important Stuff. I feel doubly guilty because he had to visit the vet this morning for necessary immunisation shots, which he always finds very stressful, and a pedicure. But I’m willing to bet he’ll hurtle out of the house and into the car like a rocket tomorrow – he LOVES road trips! And he’ll be able to visit Miss Viv and his friend Bear the wolfhound at doggy daycare in Cairns, which he loves too. We’ll be in Townsville for a few days before that, and I plan to see and do lots of things we haven’t done before because we were always just passing through.

First stop tomorrow is Bowen, and the famous Jochheim’s Pies. I’m drooling slightly already….

Floribunda #3: this is it!

I have the right block pattern now.

It’s called Ribbon Star, and it’s easy to cut, easy to piece and just complex enough to be interesting, especially in a variety of colours and patterns. It’s made entirely from 2½ inch jelly roll strips. All I’ll need are needle, thread, squissors, cutting mat and rotary cutter, a few pins, a pencil to mark the seam allowance, and my mini iron and ironing mat (which both live in the caravan anyway).

I haven’t wanted to use the actual fabrics while testing so as not to waste them if something doesn’t work, so you’ll have to imagine this with a bright raspberry pink background and a green star, or a fresh green background with a pink star. The ‘corners’ between the star’s points will have some sort of contrast; I haven’t yet sorted the fabrics into sets, but that will happen before I go away, because I need to cut some sets to take with me.

It’s a relief to know what I’m doing, finally!