Happiness is….a finished quilt!

Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 4.31.11 PMIt’s done, too late for a Friday Finish, but I’m glad I held it up, because now it’s right. You can see I finished in the late afternoon, with the westerly sun making an interesting fence shadow on the bottom half. I could have waited some more and photographed it tomorrow, but I didn’t want to!

Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 4.33.10 PMScreen shot 2014-05-04 at 4.33.55 PMThe hearts are great, but the linear hand quilting just wasn’t working for me at all. And I’m loving the buttons! The lack of quilting is making it softer and puffier than it would be if I’d done some form of all over design, such as my usual fallback, diagonal cross hatching. But since this is a sofa snuggler rather than a bed quilt, that suits me fine.

And now I’m free to pick up other projects. What is lying uneasy on my conscience is Broken Bottles for my sister-in-law. I promised it to her over 2 years ago. I’ve had the fabric all that time. Now I have to do something about it, especially as my brother now has his. Since it’s made from jelly roll strips, cutting it shouldn’t take long, so perhaps I’ll start that.

Time to clear my table, change the needle and de-fluff the sewing machine. Oh, and empty the bin!

Happiness – creeping along

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 6.01.48 PMThere are advantages to quilting the same motif over and over again in the coloured squares of this quilt. You can use a template, and mark the design as you go along, instead of running the risk of having a fully marked design rub off. You get better at judging how many stitches and how large those stitches should be in order to form the heart shape. You get in the groove.

There are disadvantages too. It’s a shape in the round. Which means you have to turn the whole quilt around to move around the shape. Personally, I can’t stitch from left to right, and there’s no other way to do it. And finally, there’s the disadvantage of sitting with a large quilt in your lap on a day that’s too cool for air conditioning and too hot to be swathed in heaps of fabric.

So I quilt in batches. I’ve done the two squares either side of the centreline, from top to bottom. And then from side to side. I do 4 squares at a time, and then fling the thing off to cool down.

I’m 36 squares down, 64 to go. Increasingly I’m of the opinion that I’m going to want more quilting to prevent the layers going baggy. But it’ll have to be something fairly minimal, just to hold the layers together, and straightforward, so I can do it in long continuous lines without the endless quilt turning. Either straight or slightly wiggly lines on the white sashing, I think.

Any thoughts or suggestions from my stitchin’ sisters (and brothers)? It’s got to be simple – I’m still hoping for a Friday finish for the quilting!

Hello again, Happiness…

Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 8.26.34 AM Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 8.26.10 AMI ♥ Happiness!  

And I’m not being all teenage and girly here. I’m literally ‘hearting’ Happiness. I faffed about for several hours yesterday, putting off the moment when I actually threaded my

needle and sat down with the quilt in my lap. I always hate starting, because there’s so much still to do. But it’s going surprisingly fast. I’m not even going to think about how many I still have to do, but it’s not going to take too long.

I’ll look at it again once the hearts are done, and work out whether I think outlining the squares too is necessary/would look nice. I like my quilts only lightly quilted, I find them softer and more drapey.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a good bit more done in the next few days. We’re due some rain, it’ll be a lot cooler, and I won’t mind sitting for hours with a great big quilt in my lap. I held out as long as I could yesterday, but after a while I was so hot I couldn’t stitch nicely, it was bothering me too much even with the aircon going. Life is hard for tropical quilters, eh? As usual, I’m not using a hoop to quilt in, just stretching the quilt over my hand. It seems to work fine.

In between times, I’ll get back to the small list of little projects. Some of you will be getting lawn hankies soon – I’ve started cutting out the squares.  Some will be small and dainty, others will be larger and suitable for a good blow. It depends on the piece of scrap I’m using!

Right, back to work.





The Shrinking List

The heart template for the inside of the Happiness squares  and the teal thread. The coloured squares will also be outlined in white.

The heart template for the coloured squares on Happiness. The heart will be done in teal thread, and the squares will be outlined in white.


The finished Survival Kit.  It holds quite a lot for such a small bag.  The side pockets have Velcro dots to hold them  closed, or they gape a bit when empty.

The finished Survival Kit. It holds quite a lot for such a small bag. The side pockets have Velcro dots to hold them closed, or they gape a bit when empty.

Here are today’s finishes: the Survival Kit bag, and the sandwiched and pinned Happiness. As you can see, I’ve decided on a heart motif to go in the centre of each square, in the teal thread. I’ll outline quilt each square as well, in white. As before, I’m going for big stitch quilting; I like the way it looks and it goes much faster than the other kind. Strangely enough, I think it’ll also be faster than machine quilting, since I can move the quilt around easily without having to roll and unroll and drape the thing over myself when I’m sewing.

I had a look at my To Do List today, and I’m quite pleased with my progress so far this year.

Tree of Life: Done
Car Quilt/Isfahan: Done
Happiness: Sandwiched, pinned, ready to quilt
Nighties: Done
Survival Kit: Done
Holiday Top: Done
Woolly Thing: More than half done

Still to go:

Happiness: To be quilted, ready to go
Amistad: To be started, ready to go (Tracey, are you reading this? No rush, my lovely, end of April is fine)
Broken Bottles: To be started, ready to go
Winter Quilt: To be started, ready to go
Steampunk: To be started, fabric to be purchased (watch out, Husband)
Teacosy: To be started
Egg Cosies: To be started
Scrap quilts for Claire and Mariella: Oh dear. That means I have to sort my scraps….
Irish Chain quilt: On the distant horizon
Fabric Baskets: Black & white, brown, neutrals and multicolour baskets still to be made. Fabric pulled.
Bulldogs Quilt for Carolyn’s husband: Whenever I can fit it in. Yeah, that’ll be right….

The more observant among you will have noticed that a few new items have slipped into the To Do list. What can I say? I can’t help myself, I love to make quilts, and the ideas keep coming. Meanwhile, I’m having to forcibly stop myself hauling a new project out and holding forth with the rotary cutter. There isn’t time to do anything much before we go away. Tomorrow I’ll have some progress to show on the Wedding Sampler. But for now, that’s the lot.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that WordPress have messed with the Add Media function? I can’t insert photos into the text halfway down anymore, the system insists on putting them at the top. If I’m missing a trick here, please enlighten me (not the world’s most techy quilter), because I liked the old system and this is annoying me seriously. Also, it’s much harder to edit a caption so that you decide the line breaks. I tried 4 times to edit a caption so the line breaks were nicer, and it just wouldn’t make the change. Grrrr….

It’s not Friday…

…but I have finishes to show.

Still pretty windy out there. I'm a bit happier with this now there's some pink and orange going on.

Still pretty grey, gloomy and windy out there. I’m a bit happier
with this now there’s some pink and orange going on.

Not quite as wishy washy as they looked in the previous post

Not quite as wishy washy as they
looked in the previous post

The back of Happiness, made from 100% stash and scraps.  I’m quite proud of not rushing out and buying a piece of bland generic wideback. Now to sandwich and pin, and then it becomes my evening hand work. Once I’ve decided how I’m hand quilting it, of course.

So far, it's 38 x 37" or thereabouts.  Still a way to go before it's a lap quilt.

So far, it’s 38 x 37″ or thereabouts.
Still a way to go before it’s a lap quilt.

The blue border on Car Quilt. Now I can start piecing the 4-patch border on the machine. My new day work. After that we’ll be back onto hand work, as I have to applique the blue border to the 4-patch border. I ran out of the dark blue fabric 2 hexagons before the end. After an extended rummage in my still unsorted scrap boxes, I located a piece which was the same dark blue, but without the overprint. I don’t think it shows, since you can’t really see the print anyway unless you get up close and personal.

The cyclone? Not interesting. It’s finally achieved cyclone intensity and has therefore been named Hadi. (I dunno, I’m assuming male, as the other one in the Gulf of Carpentaria has been named Gillian and they alternate between male and female these days). However, Hadi is a has-been and looks set to head back out into the Coral Sea where it can play with the big one brewing over the Solomon Islands. Certainly the wind has dropped drastically from about 70kmph last night to about 20kmph this morning. My banana tree is getting whipped to shreds, and the passionfruit vine is dangling off the fence. On the upside, the Brugmansia flower is hanging on, and I’ll be able to show you what it looks like in a couple of days if a) it develops properly and b) the grasshoppers leave it alone.

Right, off to start piecing the 4 patch border. Compulsive, moi?

Happiness is …. a finished top!

Yup. Done it. And it’s still putting a smile on my face. 

Happy, happy! I love this quilt so much!

Happy, happy! I love this quilt so much!

Now I have to piece a back.  This is not going to be a work of art, but it should be nice and scrappy. The front is the star attraction; as far as I’m concerned, the back is to hold the batting in!

The wind's really picking up. It took ages to get two usable shots. Sun's still shining, though...

The wind’s really picking up. It took ages to get two usable shots.
Sun’s still shining, though…

The weather forecast is making more noises about a possible cyclone at the weekend. As we haven’t undone much of the preparation we did last time, getting ready should be fairly straightforward. 25 litres of drinking water, 80 litres of washing water, some dry goods, fresh fruit and we’re done.

Back to the cutting mat. I have a back to assemble.

Inching along…

Just a quick one.

Car Quilt blue borders: two sides done

Car Quilt blue borders: two sides done

Two edges of blue done on the Car Quilt. Two more to go, and I can start the next border.

Happiness: top half done except for outline sashing

Happiness: top half done except for outline sashing

Happiness: Strips for the bottom half - I just need to add the horizontal sashing and outline sash the whole lot

Happiness: Strips for the bottom half – I just need to add the
horizontal sashing and outline sash the whole lot

All the vertical sashing done on Happiness, and 4 more horizontal sashes to go. Then I have to do the outline sashing, and the top’s done. I’ve had a bit of a rummage in the Cupboard of All Colours, and there’s a complete absence of plan for the back. By which I mean, it’s going to be a hodge podge of scraps.

Once again, my sewing time got mostly eaten up. But I am inching forward!