Advancing on two fronts…

I have progress to report, but the photos don’t really do it justice.

On the AHQ quilt, I have finished the front and the back, and it’s sandwiched and mostly pinned, ready for quilting to start tomorrow. I have used up all three of my boxes of  quilting safety pins, having two quilts currently at the quilting/ready to quilt stage, so there are a few rather gappy areas.

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 5.29.00 PM

The back: red at the top, then cream, then the navy kangaroo fabric I love so much. Simple, easy, and DONE

I was therefore forced to do some work on Amistad, so that I could free up some more pins for the AHQ one. Oh, the hardship… I still need about 15 more to properly secure it, but my fingers are complaining quite loudly now, both from the arthritis and from the needle sticks. It’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 5.28.40 PM

Smaller Big Stitches, achieved in a fraction of the time.

I’m pleased with how the hand quilting is looking. I tried a short ‘between’ quilting needle when I first started hand quilting years ago but I couldn’t get along with it. So I’ve always used a fine long needle with a long eye. On the first Amistad block with interlocking circles I found the curves were too tight to use the long needle properly. I was getting grumpy, and the needle got bent. I fished out my needlebook, took out a between needle, and away I went. I will never go back to a long needle. I don’t know what’s changed, but I’m loving the short fine needle now and I can work much faster. I can even see myself doing weeny stitches, it’s so much easier to use. But try telling me that before!

Right, I must now attack the third front: the Wedding Sampler.  Until tomorrow…

The Tree of Life 16: no more excuses

The cyclone is over.  It was stronger than expected and closer than expected, but we came through unscathed.



Ready to pin

Ready to pin

Ready to quilt

Ready to quilt

So the Husband was off to work on schedule, and I was left to look at the ToL backing, batting and top, and completely fail to find a reason not to pin them together. I don’t enjoy the grovelling around on the floor. My knees and back are too old for this game. But it’s done, despite a visit from the Dowager with a birthday present, lots of conversation, making a batch of bickies and serving them with coffee and assorted other displacement activities. I’ve put all the furniture back and vacuumed the carpet and loaded the dishwasher and had lunch. Further displacement activities, you see, so that I don’t have to start actually quilting. And of course, there’s writing this blog…

Thank you to everyone who gave me their thoughts on how the quilting might look. It’s been very helpful in getting me to actually narrow down the list of possible options. It’s also amazing how much less stressed I feel about the quilt now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The first part of the quilting’s going to be pretty miserable, but after that, I can have a bit of fun with my clouds and water ripples. And I actually love binding and labelling, so that’s all good too.

I’m keeping those Amy Butler charm squares out on my work table to act as  a reminder/incentive/goad when the going gets tough.

OK, I’ve cleaned all the lint out of the bobbin race, replaced the needle with a new quilting needle and adjusted tension and stitch length. Time to get cracking.

I’m going in!

Instruments of torture

Have you ever noticed the dumb animosity of supposedly inanimate objects, especially the ones you use a lot?

The serial offender, my sewing machine, chugging away and making wonky lines ON PURPOSE

The serial offender, my sewing machine, chugging away and making wonky lines ON PURPOSE

My sewing room is full of these evil creatures.  Prime offender is the sewing machine, which runs out of thread at critical moments, jams, breaks needles and lurches around the worktop, trailing its extension table behind it.  Don’t get me wrong. I love my sewing machine despite the narrowness of its throat.  It’s just that it fights back when I’m grumpy.  Another offender is my thread snips, a tiny pair of scissors which either disappears or gets stuck on my porky fingers so I can’t put it down. Then there’s the truly vicious quilting safety pins. Don’t get me started on those little buggers.  We’ve just replaced the former worst one.  The ironing board.  Let me set the scene for you….

My sewing room is not large, and it’s dominated by my large fabric cupboard, my bookshelves, which run the length of one wall, and the L-shaped arrangement of tables which holds my computer and printer, toolbox and sewing apparatus.  This leaves a space 1.5 x 2m of free space – some of which is taken up by the Husband’s ‘visiting throne’, for when he comes to supervise…  The ironing board has to fit in the remaining space, and as any quilter knows, putting a quilt together is a process of sew, sew, press, sew, sew, press, so the ironing board and iron have to stay out, and turned on. So, the ironing board. The old one was rickety, narrow, hard to put up and take down, and had a nasty habit of shaking off the hot steam iron if you so much as breathed at it wrong.  I don’t know how many times I’ve had to leap back to avoid said hot steam iron landing on my feet because of the bloody ironing board.  So I took a stand, and today, we went out and bought a large, stable, friendly ironing board, which doesn’t have hissy fits, doesn’t fall over, and is also large enough to be useful when you’re rolling up a quilt to make it small enough to fit under the sewing machine arm.  Pressing bliss….

Go the Pies is about a quarter quilted.  I’ve stabilised the centre section and done the longest lines.  Now I have to retire to the kitchen to make more cookies – the last batch seems to have unaccountably disappeared – and perhaps a cake or tart.  Anything rather than being thwarted, pricked, burned or trapped by my hostile sewing kit…