A mixed bag

It’s been a physical couple of days.

Wednesday: Stitches out and a pat on the back from the surgeon. The knee is healing well and in a couple of days it’ll be fine to swim. Thursday: My first tai chi class. In case anyone thinks it’s just slow motion wafting around your arms and legs to an imaginary sound track of traditional Chinese music, think again. Move slowly into a position. Hold it…hold it some more…slowly move out of it. Stand on one leg… for what seems like hours. Etc. Yes, it’s slow, but you can easily end up with wobbly legs and aching arms, as I did. But I loved it! I felt energised without being sweaty and purple in the face, and the effect lasted for ages. I’ll be going every week.
Friday: an hour of moderate torture with the physiotherapist, the first of 4. It brought home how much my left leg has wasted in the weeks of favouring it, keeping it immobile and having it strapped up in a brace. With luck I’ll build enough muscle to protect it from further damage.

In between these sessions, I’ve got half of the $11R blocks bordered with dark blue in my now deliciously cool sewing room. I’ll the rest done over the next few days. It looks really good, and will look even better with the colourful skinny scrappy joining strip between the dark blue borders. It’s also very nice having extra space now that I’ve been able to put away all the teal fabrics for the time being.

Best of all, I had a call today from Emily at Ovarian Cancer Australia to let me know that ST&D had arrived safely. She was so excited! The entire team thinks it’s a wonderful piece of work, and she’s definitely planning to bid on it herself. She also loves the mug rug, and says she’s planning to frame it!  I said I’d hoped she’d use it for her mug of tea, but she was afraid of making it dirty… They are having a professional photographer for the fundraising event, who’ll take photos of the quilt as part of the event record. If you worked on the quilt and would like a digital file of the final photo, let me know. She’ll also let us know who becomes its eventual owner, and how much it raises.

That was a really good phone call, and makes all the work everyone has done in putting the quilt together so rewarding.

 

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ST&D: and…. rest

So. It’s done.

This has been such a fun quilt to work on. My well-known propensity for coming up with dreadful puns is well to the fore in the quilts I design for Ovarian Cancer Australia. ‘Teal’ has so many possibilities for punning, and I still have a long list to play with. But once I came up with the name Signed, Tealed & Delivered, the postal theme of this quilt quickly made itself known. It has been exciting to put the concept out there and ask who’d like to play too. I’m constantly surprised and delighted at the response, the generosity with time and fabric of the participants, and their willingness to move out of their comfort zones and try new ideas and techniques. It’s good for me too, as I have to try new things in order to achieve what is swirling around in my brain 🙂

I’ll be taking this quilt to the post office on Monday. I’d thought about sending it down to Melbourne with my visiting nephew when he returns home, but that’s taking it right down to the wire, and I’d like the team at OCA to have the quilt in good time.

I’m going to be taking a good break from teal for a couple of months. I have a number of quilts on the back burners, Footsquare Freestyle (F²F) is starting again soon, Mackay Show is coming up in June and there are quilts promised in the family, so I won’t be idle (no surprise there, then).

Once again, grateful thanks to all who have contributed, whether it’s a block, or several, or moral support or advice. This quilt wouldn’t have happened without you.

And now, I must go and sweep my sewing room floor, and dust, and put all those tiny snippets and threads of teal in the bin. Time for something different, for a while.

ST&D: all together now

Yup, the quilt’s assembled.

Getting over the hump of those two big joining seams is always my least favourite bit. It’s such a sweat wrangling them through the sewing machine three times: first to attach the front and back sashing on one piece, then to attach the front sashing to the other piece, and finally to stitch down the sashing flap on the opposite side on the back. But now it’s done.

I have the label made and the binding cut – I just need to join all the pieces, press it in half and then start stitching it down. Once that’s done, I have a couple of days of lap-work, hand hemming the binding down on the reverse of the quilt and sewing the label onto the back. Good job it’s cooler just now.

At one point I thought I had all the time in the world to get Signed, Tealed & Delivered done; everyone got their blocks in really early, and I made a good start. And then the Dratted Knee. Still, by virtue of doing a little bit every day and just plugging along, it’ll be ready in good time.

I want to say thank you everyone who has participated, both those who have contributed from the very first quilt and new sewing friends. This quilt has turned out better than I could have dreamed, and that’s down to you. OCA are very excited about getting this one for their silent auction at the May fundraiser.

I’ll post again once the quilt is done, so you can see the final product.

ST&D: Two thirds assembled

I have the top two thirds done.

As usual, I’m assembling the blocks in sections and joining those, which gives fewer huge seams than doing it row by row. The quilt’s 5 blocks across by 6 down, so I do a 4 block and 6 block section on each third, join those and then I only have 2 very long seams to do instead of 5, a definite bonus. I stagger the seams so the first third has a 4 block on the left and a 6 on the right, the second section has a 6 block on the left and a 4 on the right, and so on. I don’t know for sure if this makes a difference, but I thought it seemed a good idea.

So, one more third left to do, and then I can stitch on the binding, make the label, apply that, and hand hem the binding down. Not too long to go, and I’m definitely going to make the deadline 🙂 I’m liking the teal sashing on this one, rather than cream. What do you think?  It’s a pretty feathery print, with a tiny touch of warm pink which doesn’t show up at all in the photo.

The knee’s recovering a lot faster than I feared. It’s painful, sure, but not as disabling as I thought it might be. Certainly not enough to stop me sewing completely, although I do have to ration my time at the machine or I come to after an intense session with the knee stiff and yelling loudly at me.

Onwards and upwards…

ST&D: all quilted!

Phew!  That’s a relief….

I have all 30 blocks of Signed, Tealed & Delivered quilted at last.

I was getting nervous about getting it done in time, but now I only have the standing-up jobs of cutting the sashing strips and trimming out the blocks to finish in the next few days, and the mostly sitting-down job of assembling it all to worry about. The outside binding strips are all cut already, and I think I’ll try and get the label done in the next couple of days too, so adding that when I stitch down the binding will be easy. Luckily that final stage is something I can do sitting down quite easily 🙂

I’m happy with the quilting. Wavy lines are not something to get too precious about so it’s pretty quick, the design really suits the nature and theme of the quilt, and I really like the texture you get from alternating directions.

So, tomorrow’s job is cutting 1 inch sashing strips in teal for the front and 1¼ inch sashing strips in cream for the back. If I get time, I’ll print out the label transfer, and iron it down onto cream cotton. Normally I apply the label at the bottom left hand corner, but I might put this one in the centre of the big ‘O’ on the back. I’ll see how it looks once the quilt’s assembled.

Incidentally, today is our 5th wedding anniversary. I looked back at the day’s post this time last year. Oh yes…. Cyclone Debbie had just passed by and we celebrated by cleaning mud off our floors, cutting up fallen trees and washing filthy wet towels. Things should be a lot more civilised this year. Except… I’m carefully watching that huge low pressure system wandering up and down our coastline. Just now, it looks like Townsville may be the favoured spot where it makes landfall, but you never know.

And it’s Good Friday, too. Hurray, Hot Cross Buns for breakfast, my favourite! 

 

ST&D: 60% quilted

Another two rows done.

This particular quilting design does get easier as you go along. You realise that actually it’s not really necessary to mark up this design on your block top. You learn the time intervals at which you move the block from side to side to get the wavy line fairly even. You realise that very dense appliqué or piecing should not be closely quilted or it will stiffen, so you open the lines out in these areas. You learn – quickly – that it’s a really good idea to clip your starting threads (assuming you don’t use leaders and enders, I don’t) because otherwise the sewing machine will pounce on them and chew them enthusiastically at the start of the next line. You get in the habit of placing a pin in the starting edge of the block to indicate whether the wavy lines are horizontal or vertical for this particular piece’s place in the layout, so that the chequerboard effect is consistent and you don’t get three verticals in a row. And you give your walking foot some love. Clean out the matted fluff, wipe off any spray-baste residue, give it a good dusting.

Past the halfway point now, just two more rows to go. Signed, Tealed & Delivered is going to be sashed in teal on the front and cream on the back, just because. All cream is a bit dull to work with. I found some very pretty fabric for the front sashing, and it’ll make a nice change.

A bit of mindless quilting has been just what I need as a break from marketing strategy and copywriting. Sadly, it’s time to get back to all that. I have an entire website to edit and rewrite.

Anyone would think I was getting paid for it…

ST&D: Lush!

I have four more blocks quilted.

I confess, I was a bit nervous about this one. I wasn’t sure how the Aida fabric would quilt up, compared with the softer quilting cotton fabrics. I was terrified of mucking it up, so I made a sample using the same fabric and quilted that. It seemed to be OK. There were a few small tracking marks where the new walking foot’s feed dogs had gripped onto the surface, but I though the result was pretty good. So I took a deep breath and got going.

It’s lovely. The firmer fabric hasn’t stopped the texture forming, and there’s a gorgeous soft ripple which catches the light beautifully. It’s a really nice contrast with the slightly nubbly texture of the background and stitching. I’m so pleased with it!

Thanks, Margaret, your beautiful embroidery is a real asset to the quilt 🙂