Opal 3: change of plan

The blocks are all quilted.

I went with the wavy lines, surprise surprise…

I made the lines a little further apart than usual; despite the slight extra firmness this pattern creates, it’s still my favourite freehand quilting design, and I’m hoping the extra spacing will still allow it to drape nicely. Once they were all done, I offered up a sample strip of the black/ grey/ white floral print to see how it would look as sashing.

Um, nope.

I just didn’t like it.

It seemed to fracture the soft, gentle waves of colour which were unified by the grey, rather than separated. Too hard, too sudden. The back of the quilt is a mixture of pale pinkish-lilac-berry shot cotton and the same sort of blue as the back of the hatbox quilt, but a flat colour rather than a shot cotton. I have enough of the blue, I think, to do the sashing strips on the front. I did a test, and it’s much better. It blends with the grey, it’s the same tonal value and the overall effect is unified.

The next step is to join it all up. Not a very fascinating thing to post about, so I’ll hold off till it’s done. Another UFO approaching completion!¬† What’ll I do when they’re all done…? Not to worry, I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon…

Back soon ūüôā



I’m slipping…

I’ve always prided myself on being fairly UFO-less.

ScrapHappy selectionUntil now, that is. I have too many balls in the air, and I’m finding it distracting and not conducive to finishing things. Something about my brain prefers sequential rather than parallel activity! Let’s review:

Positive signScrapHappy quilt: I’m actually making good progress on this one.
Stay+: blocks all made, waiting for me to buy backing and start QAYG.
F2F1 lime/grey/black quilt: blocks all in, waiting for me to buy backing and start QAYG.
Hatbox quilt: 4 or 5 blocks made, loads to go…
Emmely 3Cosmatesque: stalled; I’m feeling resistant to the hand stitching, but it needs to be moved along.
Steampunk: as for Cosmatesque. Too many tiny pieces… I need to get cracking again.

Unlike many people, I don’t have a pile of finished quilt tops in the cupboard waiting to be Hatbox 5quilted. Having got that far, I’ve always taken it all the way to the end, and actually, I love binding quilts, so nothing gets stalled at the final hurdle either. But I really do need to find a way to re-ignite my ‘finishing fire’ and square some of these jobs away.

I’ll be starting with ScrapHappy, it’s quick and easy up to the point where I start quilting, and I believe I’ll keep it quick and easy after that point too! ¬†Lots of straightforward walking foot quilting. Look out for a progress report on 15th of September, ScrapHappy Day.

Stay+ needs me to do a little backing shopping. Good job a local craft shop has¬†everything 50% off just now… After that, it’s a question of more straightforward walking foot quilting.

F2F1 quilt (any suggestion for names for this one, by the way?): Ah, here’s where it gets more complicated. I’m determined I’m going to get comfortable with FMQ on this quilt. So it could take a while…

And that’s enough for a few months.¬†

The road to hell…

… is paved, they say, with good intentions.

You’ve had the Good. Now it’s time for the Bad and the Ugly. In addition to all the swanking about stuff I’d achieved¬†and my publicly-acknowledged UFOs, there’s a second, secret, rogue’s gallery of projects I’d intended to start, but which never got off the ground, or no further than some very tentative initial work.

My Recycle¬†quilt, made from denim, twill and flannel from the Husband’s castoffs. The ultimate recycling project, most of which is still sitting in a large and inconvenient pile on the floor. The Ugliest of all, because the mess is biggest.

Pannier liner bags for Miss Scarlett, our Big Bike. Another pile, but a bit tidier.

Cylindrical fabric boxes with a hole in the top, for knitting or crochet yarn, intended as gifts. Yup, you guessed it. A pile, but a small one.

Posh Nightie, hideously, screamingly expensive Sea Island cotton fabric from Barbados, to make myself the world’s softest, most comfortable nightdress. Still in a box on the shelf.

Dressmaking: two dresses, a pair of pants, a shirt or two. More fabric and patterns sitting about.

Fluffy Thing. I was supposed to finish Woolly Thing and then start knitting that. Yup. No.

And we’re not even mentioning fabrics bought for no particular purpose, yarn ditto, a lap quilt for a sister that I haven’t even looked at, quilts promised long ago to nieces, my One Day Double Wedding Ring quilt.

There’s a line from a poem by Robert Browning, which says “Man’s reach should exceed his grasp”. Boy, have I have done the double-handed grasp without a hope of reaching my goal… I think it’s time to turn that around, stop buying on impulse and start consolidating a bit…

Watch this space.

And a special thank you to Kirsten, who told me how to do a collage of photos, thereby saving you all from visual hideousness. ūüôā

The Cupboard of All Colours

I believe I may have alluded to this magical piece of furniture before….

It’s a huge American oak armoire, which I designed and asked my cabinetmaker brother-in-law to make for me. The shelves are cedar, and adjustable. ¬†The thing weighs an absolute ton, and has to be dismantled to be moved anywhere, so it’s important to be really sure you want it somewhere! ¬†Originally, it was my linen cupboard, and the cedar made the clean sheets and towels smell wonderful. But in this house, there is a built in, and far larger linen cupboard, so I was able to co-opt this for my fabric stash. ¬† It’s not perfectly convenient where it is, since it blocks the light, and I have to move the easy chair from in front of it every time I want to open the door, but given the rather small space in which I conduct my quilting life, it does a fine job.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAnd now, I’m giving it the respect it deserves by commencing the operation of Sorting It Out. ¬†This shows the progress I’ve made so far. ¬†Still quite a lot of storage baskets to make, I think you’ll agree, but it’s a start. ¬†The box containing the Tree of Life fabrics isn’t there, as it’s back out on my sewing table, waiting for me to extract the digit and get on with it. ¬†I’m proud that my UFOs box is fairly small. I’m proud that my scraps storage only takes up one entire shelf. I’m proud that I’ve managed to reserve some space for garment sewing and bag making materials. ¬†What I’m not so proud of is that there’s no space for my knitting/crochet bag, which you can see leaning against the side. ¬†But that will come. Two nieces are asking for scrap quilts, lap size. ¬†That should take care of some of it…

Today, I made the green and pink fabric baskets. And this afternoon, I shall start to plan and tackle the Dowager’s tapestry bag. ¬†But first I need to go and spend my $10 voucher at Spotlight. I need more pink leads for my quilt marking propelling pencil. I need more batting joining tape. And I need more staples for my staple gun: I just reupholstered two of the Dowager’s dining room chairs, and now she wants the rest done.

The List isn’t looking much shorter

UnFinished Objects

On the road: I’ve been reading through the blogs and recent posts of my fellow quilters, and am shamed to realise that my UFOs are even more unfinished than everyone else’s.

In some cases, barely started.¬† I will concede that I’ve had a few major life milestones which have got in the way of the sort of sustained effort that turning out a finished quilt on a regular basis requires, but I’m not by nature the kind of person who’s comfortable leaving things unfinished.¬† So when we get home from this road trip (4 more days, and a 1500km return journey), I’m going to finish Morning Tea, and then get my nose to the grindstone.

It means resisting the lure of the plant nursery. It means that digging the tropical garden over is going to be light relief from hours at the cutting table or sewing machine. It means that the Husband will be spending evenings in his chair in my sewing room, being asked to comment on things he is only vaguely aware of and not fully comfortable opining about!¬† It means … (drumroll, dramatic music)… I have the perfect excuse to buy fabric at the Quilt Show in Brisbane.¬† It also means my brother will get his Tree of Life quilt before he turns 60 next year.¬† Happiness all round.¬† I’ll post the drawing I made for that another time, but it’s a serious, full-on, major applique project with incidental piecing in the background.¬† There will have to be major investment in fusibles, lots of templates and a major scaling up¬†from the drawing¬†as a prelude to getting out the rotary cutter and scissors.¬† Why do I do these things to myself…?

I also have in my cupboard fabric for the winter bed quilt I’ve been promising myself for a couple of years, fabric for the Kaffe Fassett Hatboxes quilt I’ve loved and lusted after for even longer, a UFO Ohio Star quilt in reproduction¬†American Civil War fabrics, a fresh green and white lap quilt for my sister in law, a lap quilt for my sister in France, and the scrap quilt or two my frugal nature obliges me to make from the enormous selection I have lurking in the aforementioned fabric cupboard.¬† Now, I know that I can be beaten hands down in the UFO challenge by many, many of you, but this is not a situation I’m comfortable with.¬† So I need to get the garden to a point where I can leave it alone (apart from watering and feeding, of course), and then I need to crack on.¬† Let’s see how a little self-imposed peer pressure works.

I know that going to the Brisbane Craft & Quilt show next week is asking for trouble, but events like these are few and far between in my neck of the woods.¬† I actually won tickets to it last year, but ended up not going because that was the weekend I first met my now-Husband in person.¬† Since it was an old fashioned case of love at first sight, I never made it to the show.¬† So this year I feel impelled to get there, and since the Husband has indicated that buying books and fabrics is in order, and that we might actually look at and price up a new sewing machine with a larger throat so quilting is easier, I’m going to be in hog heaven.¬† Yes, it’ll mean the fabric cupboard is even more stuffed, but I’ll also come back with a head full of inspiration and a gut full of enthusiasm.

I think what I need is a small hand-sewn portable project to carry around with me instead of playing Sudoku on my phone all the time.¬† Why didn’t I think of that before we left on this trip.¬† Drat!¬† Oh well, I’ll have to see what I can pick up in Brisbane… Heh, heh, heh.

More soon…