Tyger Ten: It’s done

Gosh, I do love Aretha.

By which I mean my new sewing machine. It’s been a while since I quilted a whole quilt top rather than constructed it by QAYG, so I was slightly dreading the process. However, what would in earlier times have been a solid three days of strenuous and frustrating quilting now took just one (and a rather easy one) day of sewing. Stitching down the binding is one of my favourite parts of the construction too, so the past few days have been rather pleasant!

So, the Tyger quilt is finished. I quilted it with straight lines in a chevron pattern, to echo the chevrons on the jerseys the teams (both regular and Indigenous) wear. I’ve bound it narrowly in the same dark charcoal I used in the blocks, and have left the central tiger motif un-quilted, just framed.

I wish I could have photographed it outside for more accurate and brilliant colour, but it gets dark early, the Husband isn’t home in time to hold it up in daylight, and it’s too soggy to put it on/over something since all the rain we’ve had. But it’s pretty brilliant anyway, so I’m not too upset about that.

I’m pleased with it. I hope my SIL will be too. If nothing else, it’ll keep her cosy whilst watching the footy games now that winter is drawing in Down Under.

And now, on to the next thing.

Tyger Nine

The quilt top is together, finally.

In the end, it wasn’t too bad. A bit of easing here and there, some slightly wonky seam line-ups here and there, but it really doesn’t look too bad, considering I started off with a brand new quarter-inch foot that… wasn’t. Never take their word for it, ladies. Always measure. The foot has been relegated to the outer darkness and I’m using my standard foot with a handy bit of blue painter’s tape applied to it to show an exact scant quarter inch.

Today, I need to cut the backing and batting, and then I’ll enlist help from a friend to baste the whole thing, since it’ll go more easily with two sets of hands. I can do it myself using pool noodles to roll the three different layers on, but it’s so much faster if I don’t have to.

The backing is a nice stone-colour wideback with a white sorta-kinda paisley patter, and the binding will be the same charcoal/black fabric as I’ve used on the rest of the quilt.

After that, I have two 12 inch blocks in black & white which I plan to use to make a cushion cover to go with the quilt.

And then it will be done.

Tyger Eight

Aaaaand, I think we’re there.

Yesterday, you saw my ScrapHappy post about the block options I made to solve my ‘need an extra row’ dilemma. There were five iterations in the end: I just couldn’t seem to achieve a final layout that pleased my eye and my brain’s need for visual order.

You can see the four earlier ones here. All variants using the same 5 scrappy blocks, just arranged differently. Nice… but not right.

And then I did the hard stuff, and poked about and pieced and got two more rail fence blocks together.

I had to introduce an entirely new (if nicely blending) fabric to have enough, and you can’t see just how many seams it took, but they’re fine, and they do the job, and the final layout below is working for me at last.

The black and white blocks have been booted to the kerb. They’ll make a nice cushion cover if I ever get that far. Or they can go into my orphan blocks box against the time when I feel the urge to make another scrappy rainbow quilt. I’m happy with the two light and one darker orange scrappy blocks that have made the grade. They add to the overall effect rather than distract from it, as the b&w blocks did.



The new portrait proportion feels so much more comfortable, less like it’s been chopped off at the knees!  And the final block arrangement? To me, it goes to show that even if you’re good at visualising colour (which I think I am), sometimes a test piece or colour sample is very valuable to show how things will work in glorious colour as opposed to a pencil drawing!

And now it’s time to start assembling.

Tyger Seven

Well, that’s the main bit done.

Any wonkyness on the photo is due to the fact that I haven’t assembled it yet, so most of the seam allowances are still overlapping. Hopefully I’ll be able to achieve a decent amount of seam matching!

It looks good, but it needs another row. It just gives me a top-heavy feeling, even though it’s square, perhaps because I’m so used to making rectangular quilts… And I can’t extend the zig-zag pattern because a) it’d look weird and b) I don’t have enough of the orange fabrics, only scraps. I like how this looks, it has a sort of South-Western vibe which is purely accidental, but which I think works really well. I don’t want to mess with this bit, but I don’t mind adding on to it. I have some ideas…

So for the bottom row, I’m defaulting to one of my fun activities: Scrappy blocks. You’ll see how that looks in the next ScrapHappy post on 15th of this month. Suffice it to say I used up a lot of the too-skinny, too-short and too ‘not-quite-right’ fabric pieces, which is good news.

I’ll be binding it in black, so those white edges will be contained, which pleases me.

See you on ScrapHappy Day, then!

Tyger Six

That’s better.


The previous version made me uneasy. I couldn’t get the secondary pattern of the rail fence blocks to make sense, and the way they were put together produced an unfortunate design in the repeat which I couldn’t put up with. It looked just fine on paper, but in real life the charcoal fabric stands out far more strongly.

So I unpicked and remade four blocks. At times you just have to do the work to make it work, you know? If it won’t do, you have to make it do.

… And after

But it’s all good now. Bold, but cohesive. It won’t take me long to finish the rail fence blocks now that I know where it’s heading, and after that, I just have the scrappy row at the bottom.

It took a while to get this quilt started, but I’m really motoring now.

Tyger Five

Progress is being made.

Nothing stellar or super quick, but I’m enjoying the process. I’m debating the layout and placement of those rail fence blocks around the perimeter. It looks different on my original drawing, and I’m thinking I may want to change them so that I don’t get that strong black meander shape happening as a repeat all round. Perhaps I can alternate having the black and white strips on the outside.

Love those corner blocks, and that I’ve been able to make the wonky middle section fit together nicely. with a little work.

There will be a final row at the bottom, and I’ll be making it super-scrappy, using a lot of the small bits and pieces generated by the existing blocks. That will satisfy my ScrapHappy soul, make a bit of space, lengthen the quilt without disturbing the pattern, and above all, be fun to make!

More tomorrow, I hope.

Tyger Four

Well, I fixed it.

Mostly, anyway. The more I looked at it, the more irksome I found the issue, so I just gritted my teeth and settled down to it with my stitch ripper and a talking book. Six exquisitely tedious seams later, I was happy enough with the fix that I didn’t need to proceed with taking the whole thing apart. Lesson learned…

The photo shows the result. Any remaining visual wonkiness is because I didn’t hang it up straight enough on the design wall. I’ve carefully marked the ‘remedial’ seam allowances with pins so that when I put the whole thing together it will match as well as I can make it without starting the whole thing from scratch.

And I’ve started the outer corner blocks. I really, really like how these look. That amazing black and white fabric is recycled from a top I bought exclusively because I loved the fabric so much. The top was dreadful and fit me nowhere, but I was able to recycle a lot of the gorgeous fabric out of it. This quilt is the perfect use for it; the scale really works, the wild pattern works with the whole theme and it gives the eye some entertainment and relief from the very structured shapes used in the blocks. I actually got another one made after I took this photo.

As Tony the Tiger used to say, “They’re gr-r-reat!”

NOTE: I’ll be taking a little break from this for a few days; the three of us are taking the caravan and heading north for a change of scene before we get stuck into a bunch of projects back at home, mostly involving CHICKENS!  Mouse-dog will of course be providing the usual blend of snarky travel commentary and complaints about the trip over on his blog (http://happygreyssocialclub.wordpress.com)

Tyger Three

This one’s growing nice and fast!

The four Trip Around the World blocks for the corners are done. I debated strip-piecing them, but that would have prevented me using up scraps, so I cut and pieced individual squares.

Which revealed a problem, or perhaps that’s just a ‘personal idiosyncrasy’ of Aretha’s. Her quarter inch foot… isn’t. It’s distinctly over-generous. I used it when I made the central section shown in yesterday’s post, but it’s made the block very skimpy. Today I rootled around amongst the supplied feet and found that none of them gave an accurate (let alone scant) quarter inch seam. The quarter inch foot from Ariadne doesn’t fit, of course.

So I have measured a scan seam, dropped the needle into the fabric and marked where the edge of the fabric comes on the foot with blue painter’s tape. It’s producing good results, but I will have to do one of three things when I assemble the centre: 1) unpick all the long horizontal and vertical seams and remake them (aargh!); 2) Ease as much as possible, using the blocks as they stand, and hope there aren’t too many really bad mismatches, accepting and embracing the imperfection as a learning experience; or 3) put a narrow border around the edges of the central cross section to make up the deficit.

I’m inclining to option 2. I don’t think the border will look good, and life is too short for option 1. I know that if I was a perfectionist it’s the way I’d go, but I’m not; I’m happy with imperfection that’s just reasonably attractive!

Onwards. Tomorrow I have the four outer corner blocks to make.


Tyger Two

I’ve started it!

For the longest time, I’ve been staring at the basket full of fabric pulls for this quilt. Finally, I’ve extracted the digit and have made a start, and now that the engine is running, I’m wondering what took me so long. Possibly it’s because it’s a medallion quilt and I feel a bit intimidated by them, the need to make everything fit and line up and look good. So prepare yourself for some ‘intentional’ wonky and infills!

The original post was here, in case you’ve forgotten what this quilt’s about. So far, I’m really loving the effect of the bold colour contrasts!

Next step is the corners surrounding the central motif. I’m debating whether to go simple and simply cut a whole bunch of squares, or whether to cut a bunch of strips and make ’round the world’ blocks from those. The latter would certainly be quicker. Once those four blocks are done, I have half a million rail fence blocks to make (OK, 48…), the final 4 corner blocks, a final row of checker-board blocks at the bottom, and it’s, well, done.

Which is kind of quick compared with quilts I’ve made recently.

A limited colour palette helps a lot, and the design is kind of simple but striking, but after that prolonged bout getting Hopscotch done, it does feel strange. Nice, but strange.

Oh, and if you’ve noticed my maker’s label on the bottom left corner of the central motif, blame it on burning myself with the iron steam. My hand jerked and the edge of the iron caught the transfer and lifted some of the colour off. I wasn’t about to make the whole thing again, hence the label. It’s a pragmatic solution for a clumsy worker.

Onwards. I have a million lots of strips to cut!

A needed pause…

I have given myself a break.

I needed it. Not sure why, but I was feeling a bit burned out. Things I normally enjoy had no savour, I was tired all the time, the sewing room wasn’t enticing me, that sort of thing. On top of that, we’ve once again had to cancel our trip south to see friends and family as the Rona is rife in our destination. This was a really big disappointment. I haven’t seen my sister for 2 years, and my friends for the same period. FaceTime or Duo calls are great, but they don’t replace hugs and face-to-face conversation. Oh, and there was a nasty migraine in there a few days ago, which always knocks me about a bit. So, yeah. It wasn’t depression, but it was close. I have stuck a smile and some lippy on my face, and away we go.

And now it’s time to pick up the reins again. A month off is plenty long enough to whip myself back into shape, I feel. I’ve had a rest, indulged my blah, and now, it’s time to get my big girl pants back on.

Next on the agenda is finishing the Hopscotch quilt. I have managed to complete quilting all the blocks in record time on Aretha, my beeeautiful new sewing machine (my word, that thing is a total pleasure to work on!). I’ve cut all the joining strips and have started assembly. I don’t love this quilt, it has always been just a way of using up scraps in a constructive way, and I don’t feel inspired by it or look forward to working on it, but it deserves to be finished.

What I AM looking forward to is getting on with a number of other projects. I have all the lovely blocks from the last F2F project waiting for me, and the other day I fetched them out and laid them out. After lots of rearranging, I think this is probably the layout I’ll go with. Any blocks not used in the quilt top will go on the back, probably.

I also have the Tyger quilt to start on, which is exciting me quite a lot; I haven’t worked with such a restricted colour palette in a long time and it’s going to be fun! I still have lots of Parterre blocks to make… So, plenty to keep me busy!

I told myself I wasn’t going to set a key word for this year. And I still think that, but Finish is starting to look like it would have been a good choice! Closely followed, of course, by Start!

Anyway, I’m back, and if I’m not quite firing on all cylinders yet, I do at least have the engine running and some colour back in my life 😊