Scinteallate #6: a meteor shower

EIGHT more stars have fallen into my mailbox.

I think that qualifies as a meteor shower, don’t you? It  means we’re up to 18 stars for Scinteallate, only 7 left to go till there are enough to start quilting and assembling. Good work, everyone!

These are the latest contributors.

Robin (her third block for this quilt)

Lynn (don’t you love that animal fabric?)

Sharon

Kerry

All gorgeous, aren’t they?  I love the range of styles and designs, and I’m flat-out impressed by Sharon’s immaculately hand-pieced block! For those of you concerned about the background cream, don’t be; we need a bit of variation to add definition and individuality with these lovely blocks.

Finally, here’s how they’re looking together on the design wall so far. This is by no means the final layout (unless it turns out to be the best arrangement, of course!), but I’m liking how it looks as a grouping.

I really must crack on with a few more blocks of my own; there’s been a paper piecing pattern and fabric scraps sitting on my table since before we went away.

But first, the laundry 😦

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Scinteallate #3: Back in the swing

I’ve got my paper piecing mojo back.

Every time I don’t do it for a while, I lose the tricks and habits that make this such a great technique for accurate piecing. I start to think it’s too much trouble to make templates of the pieces I need. I forget to adjust the stitch length down. I forget that all-important mantra: Stitch, Flip, Check, Trim, Press. Then, out come the stitch ripper and tweezers and sweaty frustration…

But by the end of this block, I was back in the swing. I didn’t have to take anything apart, the paper came off the back with very little resistance, things lined up as they should, and I’m facing the next one with equanimity, despite the fact that it has 64 pieces! Yup. You read that right. Thing is, they’re almost all rectangles of the same width, just slightly differing lengths. As they say in these parts “She’ll be right, mate”. I’ve got this.

So, this is my Scinteallate block No. 2. En route already are several more from Robin, Gun and Sue, and a further 12 more are in progress from other lovely contributors.

I think the Twinkle Factor is improving rapidly, don’t you?

 

Let there be light…

… and behold, there WAS light!

Let me start by saying I didn’t just hold out my hand and say the words, I went shopping for it! I’ve long found the light on my sewing machine a bit feeble and yellowish. I tried an LED bulb instead of the incandescent one it came with, but something about the frequency made it flicker in a very headache-inducing way. The light was great, but not at that cost. I searched the shops for an LED strip I could plug in, but they all came as separate strips to which you had to solder a connector and then a power cord and adaptor. I could, but I wasn’t going to; there had to be an easier way. Today, while shopping for something else, of which more later, I found a small box with a home-made label on it, bearing the legend ‘LED light strip for sewing machine’. Below was a photo – and it was all cabled up. Not cheap, but perfect for what I need. The brilliant Ray of Needleworx (‘The Hardware Store for Ladies!’) had made several of these up, and had sold them all in a matter of days.

Here’s the difference: Top, normal light only; Bottom, with LED strip

I was actually in there because my light pad had died. The connection between cable and pad had give up the ghost, and 9 times out of 10 the touch-switch for turning it on wouldn’t work without endless jiggling. I find it invaluable for paper piecing, and Ray had just sent me an email to say the Triumph A4 light pads were now a good $150 cheaper than when they first came out. Well, you can’t ignore a bit of serendipity like that, can you? The photos show the same piece of paper on the light pad; Top, with the pad off, Bottom, with the pad on. You can see it’d make paper piecing a whole lot easier… (and for those still looking vaguely puzzled, you sew the fabric onto the back of the paper, but the design is marked on the front, so seeing the lines through the paper really, really helps!).

So now I have a working light pad too, which turns on first time, every time, is bright as day, is thinner and lighter than the old one, and has just eliminated my last possible excuse for not getting on with the paper piecing of teal star blocks for the Scinteallate quilt.

How deLIGHTful…

ITAA: Happy Things

Two more cornerstone blocks in today 🙂

Lynn has made two of the cornerstones I need for the quilt.

You may recall that these cornerstones represent things which made Trudy happy. There’s the Trudy Crowley Foundation she initiated and set up, her work for Ovarian Cancer, her family and friends, a glass of bubbly, the pretty shoes she adored, and the beach, her happy place. So we have the TCF logo, the ovarian cancer ribbon, a heart to represent the ones she loved, a shell for the beach, a fabulous high-heeled shoe and a glass of bubbly.

I’ve done the TCF logo and the ribbon, Lynn has made the shoe and the glass, Sue has made the heart and Margaret has made the shell; the two last are on their way so I can’t show them yet.

Paper pieced pattern ©2018 Kate Chiconi

Paper pieced pattern © Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam

The shoe pattern is available free on the internet, and if you want the glass, just email me, I’m happy to send you a scan of my hand-drawn pattern.

I’ve also made a few extra blocks for the background and border, in case blocks on their way don’t arrive in time for me to start assembling, quilting and bordering. Rest assured that anything that arrives after that time will find a home in future quilts, so your work hasn’t been wasted. With the house move going ahead, my time is so tight now that I may need to make these difficult decisions, so I hope anyone affected will forgive me. I’m not showing the blocks I’ve made, as I’m still hoping they won’t be needed. Also, I’m still waiting to hear from the embroiderers about whether they can do the banner. I’ve virtually resigned myself to having to cut out and place each letter individually using iron-on transfers. That’d be fine, but embroidery would look a bit nicer and save me some time. Fingers crossed…

So, some progress. I hope that in the next few days I’ll receive the shell and a background block from Margaret – I’m looking forward to seeing the shell she’s made using appliqué, it should be lovely!

While I wait, I should look at some F²F³ blocks too, don’t you think…?

Lovely Liberty Lepidoptera

Sorry, sorry, couldn’t resist…

This awesome, beautiful, creative and generally splendiferous piece of work is not the work of my hands. These delicate paper-pieced butterflies and their companion squares are the work of Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts. And this quilt is now mine!

Cath and I share a love of and obsession with Liberty Tana Lawn. She’s an Aussie now married and living in Portland, Oregon, but she’s a Queensland girl originally, and she buys her Liberty stash from Ava & Neve in Brisbane. She asked if I’d mind her lending this quilt to Ava & Neve for their stand at the Brisbane Quilt & Craft Fair back in October, since they supplied her with the fabrics. Well, I said yes, of course. And now this gorgeous snuggly, soft and beautifully colourful quilt has found its way home to me.

It’s currently sitting under our very tropical Christmas tree, on proud display (but I’m willing to bet it’ll be around my shoulders later tonight when the aircon gets a bit too draughty on my bare shoulders).

I was about to take it outside to hang on the clothesline to be photographed and then it started to rain. Well, this is the Wet season in the tropics… And I didn’t want to create the false impression that it was my work, so a nice bit of informal draping indoors will do just fine. Do go over to Cath’s blog and admire her gorgeous quilts – be sure to take a look at her library of free paper piecing patterns, too. Many of them are her original work and quite beautiful. She also does heaps of work for Project Linus, too, and gives away almost everything she makes.

You’ll have to excuse me. I have to go and pet my quilt a bit more…

ST&D: Till minne av vår mamma

Today, I received Gun’s squishy envelope for the Signed, Tealed & Delivered quilt.

She’s made three beautiful blocks, two envelopes and a postcard. With it, there was a lovely letter, and I don’t mind telling you it made me cry a bit. Let me tell you why.

This quilt is dedicated to Barbro, Gun’s mother, whom she and her sister Monica lost to ovarian cancer in 2009. So you see, Gun also has a special reason to work on the quilts for Ovarian Cancer Australia.

In her letter, Gun explained that her mama had loved bluebells, so she was delighted to find a paper piecing design of bluebells, which she carefully scaled down for the front of the postcard. The back of her postcard is beautifully embroidered with a Swedish stamp and a special message, which translates to read:

Love you, miss you   |   In memory
Gun and Monica        |   of our Mamma

I’m honoured to be working with such a special piece of creative work, and to dedicate this quilt to a mother who was so greatly loved and is so greatly missed.

För Barbro: till minne av vår mamma…  

In honour of all our mothers, and loved ones lost.

 

ST&D: another squishy!

I do love getting those nice fat envelopes in the mail.

On Friday, it was this lovely envelope block for Signed, Tealed & Delivered from Carla. She has the most enviable fabric collection – those gorgeous cats on the envelope lining fabric make me smile!

I’m going to try and get my last postcard block done this week – and don’t forget, if you’ve agreed to make a block or two but are running out of time or life is dishing up a large serve of busy, let me know and I’ll fill in for you.

That’s seven blocks up on the design wall now, and I know more are on their way 🙂 We’re looking good!