Dear Friends…

Yes, you lot out there, I mean YOU.

Thank you all so very much for the wonderful support I have received in the last few days. It makes me feel that there is some point to the blogging that I enjoy so much, that the thoughts I share with you are heard even if you don’t all agree with me, and that for some of you at least, my choices are the right choices too. I am not alone.

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Oops-A-Daisy by Keiki for Moda

Now, let’s get on with quilty life. Here is some fabulous fabric recently sent me by my friend Mrs R as a belated birthday gift. It’s bonkers, but beautiful! I’ve never seen a fabric before that seemed to be smiling at me, but this one does. The colours co-ordinate nicely with the colours I have used (in somewhat less intensity…) in my Heirloom Quilt*, which lives on our bed. So this piece of loud and lovely fabric is going to become my sitting-up-in-bed-with-morning-coffee pillow, backed with the same gorgeous lime green shot cotton as I used on my sofa cushions. I plan to quilt it by hand, following the outlines of all the flowers, leaves, birds and butterflies, using some of my Aurifil graduated quilting thread – either the lime green or the orange, I think. The pattern is really large, so it’s not going to be an endless job.

With reluctance, however, I have to put it aside for a while. Worldwide Friends is demanding my attention, it has been sadly neglected recently and I must churn out some more hexies, make flowers and fillers and stitch another big piece together. It has to be finished by early June to be entered into the Mackay Annual Show. No pressure then… Also on the Look At Longingly List is the Swoopy Shirt, which has achieved stasis as a fully cut out pattern, and is sitting folded tidily on the side of my work table. Somewhere between the shirt and the pillow is Claire’s Wedding Quilt, which is trying to emerge into reality from my brain, where it flaps and glitters in fully finished glory.

I admit it. I have a terminal sewing/quilting problem. The joy of making things which are both beautiful and useful is eternal. I hope to die with that joy still lively in my mind, and my hands as active as great age and arthritis allow! 

 

*Have a look at the Chiconian Quilts page.

Languid Lounging, part 3

The first one’s done!

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Look at that perky little pillow!

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Tidy zipper 🙂 If it hadn’t gone in well, I wouldn’t have shown it!

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Simple close quilting, but it looks good and gives the front much needed body

The shot cotton on the back looks gorgeous, I’m so happy to have an excuse to look at that every day. I’m also pleased with the way the quilted front makes it hold its shape better than just floppy fabric, and the quilting just adds an extra dimension of cushiness.

The lovely Nanette is also going to be making some nice new pillows for her sofa soon, and it was her excellent suggestion that we have a CushAlong.  It’s a great idea, and a good forum for swapping ideas, hints and tips and encouraging each other. And it’s a well known fact, of course, that one can never have too many cushions/pillows, whatever you call them. The cushions can be patchwork, wholecloth, crochet, knitting, embroidery or whatever takes your fancy. If you’d like to join in, let me know, grab the logo below for your post, and we’ll fix a date for Show and Tell to display the resulting Cushes… Otherwise she and I will contentedly crank out some much needed loveliness for our lounging spots by our own selves…

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You can show a previously made cushion/pillow, but it’ll be more fun if you start from scratch, so we can see how you got there.

Right, I’m off  to start the next one. This is fun!

Languid Lounging, part 2

I got stuck into this one straight away.

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Using my favourite trick for sewing the HSTs takes all the guesswork and margin for error out of the process.

It’s going to be some squares, some half square triangles, finished block size 4″, 4 rows of 4 to give a 16″ square pillow. Mainly because that’s the size of pillow insert I’ve got… But I prefer a small, plump pillow to a big one. The larger ones are either too well stuffed and rather firm, or under stuffed and too floppy. I’m going to be spending a bit of quality time on the sofa, and I want it comfy…

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Lining up the pattern was a total accident, for which I claim no credit!

I’ve had this fabric selection for some time; I love the combination of black, white, grey and acid lime, and I have remnants of the olive/lime shot cotton I used for the back of Broken Bottles for the backs of these pillows. I’m going to do a very simple back, no fancy hidden zippers or envelope backs. A zipper straight across the centre back, with a placket to cover the teeth. The only fancy bit is that the zipper is grey to match the front fabrics, instead of the olive/lime fabric. A bit silly, perhaps, considering it’s going to be hidden, but I like hidden details.

I’m going to quilt the fronts, which will help to give the pillow body. I think there’s going to be enough fabric for 3 or 4 of them, so each pillow is going to have a different front layout and quilting design.  They’re small, so I can get fancy on that bit. Machine quilting, though, I want to be using them very soon!

Any useful scraps will probably get turned into a set of matching mug coasters. Big bits will get returned to the stash. Did I say before how much I love these fabrics – especially the grey spot and the lime HST design?

It’s such a luxury having a cutting table that’s just for cutting…. No clearing away all the time.

Broken Bottles #10: Pinned, perfectly

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I used about twice the normal amount of safety pins…

It’s done, and I didn’t even have to grovel. I checked with my back and knees, and they told me that if I got down on the floor, there’d be industrial action and a few days of grief. So I took the whole shebang outside to my l.o.n.g patio table, taped the short edge of the backing to one edge, and drew the fabric tight across, putting the rest in a roll on the seats of 4 chairs to hold the tension. Then the batting, same deal, and then the top. Once I’d done the top half, I unstuck the tape, and rolled it the other way to do the lower half.

Screen shot 2014-05-17 at 12.03.51 PMI worked quite fast, as the wind is picking up and we’re promised rain later, but it’s done. The thing is totally flat and heavily pinned; wrinkles and puckers are not welcome here. Yes, OK, I had to put in two and a half boxes of safety pins, but I didn’t need to bend over. Instead of being in pain and over the whole business, I’m ready to get quilting! Or I would be, if I didn’t need to go and stuff up my back in other ways, digging up turf in the vegie garden…

Screen shot 2014-05-17 at 12.03.33 PMIn the event, I decided not to piece the spare blocks into the back, so it’s just plain. And gorgeous. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE that shot green? Maybe these two photos give you an inkling: it’s the colour of fresh, green growing things, and after quilting, my next favourite thing is gardening…

Right. Time for a cup of coffee, and then I have to go and tackle the back yard.

Broken Bottles #9: Green, and gorgeous

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 1.39.21 PMI have found the most beautiful shot cotton for the backing.

It’s in a colour called ‘green tea’, and it’s a lime weft thread on a dark olive warp. Truly beautiful. I have bought just a tiny bit more than I need for the backing, because I want some good scraps of it. But only a tiny bit… I may have to go back. It’s brighter than most of the other greens, but it sort of lights up the quilt. I have just enough dark green leafy print to do the binding with about 16″ left over. Close, but not too scary.

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 1.40.32 PMI’m going to piece the back. The seams will be horizontal, the full WOF across the bottom, then a seam and inset squares, one of them straight strips, and two diagonals, offset and surrounded by plain green, then another seam and the top half also green. That way, I use up the three squares I have left over, give the back a bit of fun, and give myself a few more bits of scrap. Cunning plan, eh? On the other hand, if I use one of the squares for the front of a sofa cushion with a border around it, backed with the shot cotton, that would also be fabulous. No, I don’t think I can be that noble. The scraps are mine!