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!

Still not there…

I tested two more ideas.

One’s a variant of the original block. But I still need to do 8 Y-seams, and I think it looks a bit clumsy and blocky without the extra ‘tail’ on the windmill blades.

I’d also have to find fabrics for all the 3 inch centres.

No. This isn’t it.

The other one is a sort of tulip/lotus blossom idea using the strips. This was a whole lot easier and quicker to make, but it doesn’t have the charm of the original star design.

No. I’m still not there.

But I do have one more waiting in the wings, and I’m feeling good about it. One more try…

Third time’s the charm!

Floribunda #2

Hmmm. I probably need to change a few things…

Unless I’m happy to finish this quilt some time around 2025, I’ll probably need to use a different block design 😦

I’ve made the test block. It’s really lovely, but it’s very, very time consuming to make by hand. I know this was the first one, but it took hours to cut, mark, stitch and press. And I do want a block I can make by hand. Just not one with eight Y-seams and a central 9-patch of 1 inch squares…

I also made life harder for myself by using a couple of directional fabric prints. That said, it wasn’t hard to make, just very, very fiddly. And the hand piecing process isn’t hard either, so long as you remember just a few simple rules.

Tradition has it that you don’t press any seams till you’ve finished assembling it. That didn’t work so well for me – I like to see what I’m doing – and I don’t think it’s necessary so long as you have a plan for how the seam allowances will lie.

This block can now go into my basket of orphan blocks, waiting for me to find a use for it. Or maybe one day it’ll form part of a scrappy sampler quilt, all different designs.

Oh, and I want to reassure you that the Quilt Supervisor was hard at work, keeping my nose to the grindstone.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it…

Floribunda #1

Well, this is going to be the next one – and it’s for me.

I bought these two Bali Pop packs nearly a year ago, without any clear idea of what I wanted them for, but I was unable to resist the fabric mixes. Now, I have found a block I like. It’s really quite simple, but is just complex enough to be interesting.

It’s designed to be machine-pieced, but I want a big handwork project to keep me going for a while, so I plan to hand-piece it. I also need to be able to break it down into smaller parts for easy portability, and that too works well with this design, at least until the point where I have to assemble it.

I’m going to use the individual block design from Jen Kingwell’s Star Dust quilt. I won’t be laying it out like hers; mine will be on point, and with a single fabric sashing between the blocks rather than double. I’ll also have a much simpler colour scheme: I will use the two batiks as alternate green and pink backgrounds, and from the Bali Pop packs, I will select 25 or 30 strips for the petals, putting pink on the green background and green on the pink, but with some variations and ‘wild cards’ for visual interest. The solid green and pink will become the central tiny square of the 9-patch blocks which are the centre of each flower. I’m thinking a dark blue-green for the trellis which is formed by the sashing between the on-point squares. I haven’t quite decided what’ll happen in the setting triangles and corners. Maybe leaves…?

I think a marathon cutting session is called for, so I can package up the pieces for each individual square to make a travel kit to take on trips with me. Though I should probably do a test block or two in advance in case I find the hand stitching unbelievably tedious, wouldn’t you say?

Oh, and do you like my ‘squissors’?  That’s what they’re called, scissors you squeeze, no need to get my porky digits into tiny holes in order to snip threads. The blades are slightly curved too, so you can get right into tight spaces. I love them! So much easier than the little embroidery snips I’ve been using.

Now I have something to look forward to, watching these flowers grow on my trellis.