Nose to grindstone…

A gross exaggeration, of course.

What you see here is the result of an hour here, two hours there, inserted into the daily routine. But it’s been focused and purposeful. Most unlike my behaviour of past weeks, where I’ve ricocheted from one thing to another, uttering a high pitched whine of frustration, indecision and failure to launch. There was really only one way to do it, and that was to take everything down off the design wall, put it completely away, and keep out only those things which pertain to this quilt. I was able to proceed undistracted ūüôā

Grey Nomad

Not necessarily the final layout …

I really shouldn’t be posting about this project here and now; it’s a ScrapHappy project, and should be reserved for 15th of each month, but I wanted a tiny brag, just to show that I’m getting on with my Stalled Projects (thank you for inspiring the new title, Melanie!). I’ll have more to show and tell on ScrapHappy Day itself, by which time there will of course have been considerable progress (she said confidently…).

Next is sandwiching and quilting. I’ve hauled out all my Never Ever Going To Be Used¬†less useful fat quarters, and large scraps of fabric from¬†past projects which I’ll never use again. They’re pressed and waiting to be cut, pieced and put to use. I love that the backing will be wildly random, varying from one solid piece of fabric, through large patches to lots of skinny pieced strips. Now that really is ScrapHappy! The light background showing through around each square (which is just my design wall) will be¬†replaced by¬†scrappy joining strips, so there’ll be a thin outline of scrappiness around each block too.

Finally, I’ve got the name for this quilt at last. It’s called The Grey Nomad. Firstly, because, duh, it’s got a lot of grey in it. Secondly, because there’s something gypsy-ish about the brightly coloured postage stamp blocks, and thirdly because it’ll be travelling widely with its new owner!

Right, lots of backing and batting squares to cut and piece next.

Simple perfection

I ‚ô• Pinterest.

And the other day, this love and the hours I spend trawling for inspiration were fully, fully justified when I discovered there a tutorial which has been a total game-changer for me.

My quilts are more known for being colourful or an interesting concept or design than for the perfection of my piecing. I freely admit that my favourite mantra is “Finished is better than perfect”. This lack of skill¬†(or perhaps my stubborn refusal to unpick something just a bit wonky when I’m on a roll) has put out of reach my long-time ambition to create a postage-stamp scrappy double quilt. Can you imagine the escalation of non-matching corners across a full size quilt? It didn’t bear thinking about, and knowing myself thoroughly, I sadly put the idea on a very distant back burner.

But look at this baby!  Check out those corners!  See how crisp and perfect and lovely it is!

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 12.30.33 pm

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 12.30.50 pmOK, I’ll stop taking the credit now, and give it where it’s due. I used Elizabeth Hartman’s postage stamp block tutorial. It’s beautifully explained and photographed, all laid out¬†with the kind of detail and clarity any moron or person in an extreme hurry can understand, and it uses no special tools, only things that any average sewist will have on hand. You need only the smallest amount of patience at the start, and after that, it goes astonishingly quickly

It’s so wonderfully simple: cut your squares a tiny, tiny bit smaller than a 2″ grid marked on a square of lightweight iron-on interfacing. Arrange all your squares with edges touching. Press. Crease the interfacing along the gridlines and stitch along the creases. Gently slit the interfacing to open the seam allowance and press open. Do the verticals, then the horizontals. Result:¬†Perfect squares that line up exactly.

I did one thing differently from how she suggests you proceed;¬†instead of making a fabric grid to place under the interfacing, I drew my grid directly on the back of the interfacing with a fine tip biro, and placed the whole shebang on a white cloth so the lines showed through. Oh, and I made mine much smaller, on the assumption that as I could easily¬†stuff it up, there was no point spoiling lots of interfacing. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried! I may eventually make her white fabric grid, because it’ll save ruling lines on every block, but for now, it’s quick and easy to do it my way.¬†I’ve already made this cutie’s big sister, and have another big pile of colourful scraps pressed and lined up on the cutting mat. Obsessive, moi?

The upshot of all this unseemly glee and self-congratulation is that I have now added the postage stamp quilt to my To Do list. Best of all, because I can make it one scrappy block at a time, I can do it almost by stealth, and as part of the monthly ScrapHappy block post that Gun and I do on the 15th of each month. Watch this space. One of these days, I’ll be doing a “Tah-daaaah!” post, and there will be a beautiful postage stamp scrappy quilt to show off.

And a whole lot less scraps to store, not that I’ll ever stop creating them….