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!

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…