09 January 2021

A Pink Quilt

I am always fairly optimistic at the beginning of a new year, my head filled with what I believe I can/will achieve.  The feeling will last at least another week, until my summer leave is over!  But meantime I have been playing with old blocks and bits.
For many years I have carefully trimmed all of my crazy accumulated scraps in Bonnie Hunters Scrap User's System and filed them away in appropriately marked boxes.  Then for the past few years I have participated in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, with Angela's enouragement to us to use our fabrics with her declared monthly colour.  What we sew is our own choice, and so I had made a variety of different blocks, and these too got filed away!   Am linking up with her today,
I have now started to use some of these blocks, if only to make way for more. 
Postage stamp quilt number two.  Using the 8-inch blocks, this was one of the draft layouts back in early December.  When I was happy with the layout I stacked the columns ready to sew.
This was the start of assembling the columns on New Year's Day.
 And it became a finished top.  48-inch by 64-inch

We have been making a "row a month" blocks with my monthly quilt group.  These cute 6-inch sailboat blocks were for December's row.  

I find it very hard to resist Bonnie Hunter's year-end mystery, and these are the 60 sashing units for Grassy Creek.
I have two storage boxes with parts and sample blocks, and a couple of times in the past I have tried to organise these into usable groups.  I have made a couple of quilts in a mixed row style, but struggled to get some cohesion from the variety of blocks, sizes and colours.  After seeing what Cathy managed to do last year with her Creature quilts, the light bulb moment hit on Wednesday, and so sorted all of these units into separate colours.  Pink being January's colour, started by playing with a layout in anything with pink .

And, today, by adding in some longer strips, had this top complete!  51-inch by 71-inch.  The memories of some of those units stretch back to the 1980s, from left-over blocks won in local guild challenges (the others were made into a quilt for my late mother-in-law), to Block Lotto winnings, to extra blocks from quilts for two nieces, to fabric from skirts.  And there are still quite a few pink blocks left for next year!

31 December 2020

Quilt tops and finishes

I trawled through a lot of blurry photos to find a few clear enough to share of the sewing from this year.  This is the year in which we've been sheltering from the pandemic, the highlight of which was more sewing time.  

The first is a quilt made from left-over 3/4-inch and 1-inch solid strips from a previous quilt.   Initially, the pieces were joined randomly into two long bundles.  The whites are all white-on-white fabrics.  Made the 25 log-cabin blocks, not all exactly the same size, so fudged the final layout with the remaining coloured strips. The backing a grey soft brushed cotton.  About 50-inches square-ish.  Gifted to a colleague for his new-born son.

 After many years of occasional construction, my now named "Covid-19" is complete.  The units started as hexagons, and then morphed into heptagons, and then octogons.  Quite a challenge to assemble!  I see this was taken before the binding stitched down!  About 65-inch in length and width.

I have been working on using up orphan blocks for donation quilts.  I don't have many of each block, so filled in with some of the many 2-1/2-inch strips waiting to be used.  Finished size about 51-inch by 71-inch (our go-to size for a local childrens's home)

The South African Quilters' Guild asked the local teachers to make a 10-inch square mini quilt, the theme of which was Hands Up,and based on one's own hand outline.  All of them will be part of a travelling exhibition.  This is my improv piece, entitled "Using My Hand"
No title, but based on New York Beauty blocks, started in a class in 2018.  Destined for a wall in my new house (whenever we actually get there!)  33-inches x 43-inches.

And some tops.  

The centre from a big 2020-year-long mystery.   I really love the centre, but didn't love the rest, which have been made into 2 smaller, almost complete, tops.

Postage stamp colour-wash quilt.  For the past 18-months or so, made various sized postage stamp blocks with three different shades of the RSC colour, from 1-1/2-inch cut squares.  The bigger blocks are waiting to be sewn together, but this was mostly from the smaller blocks.  Some adjustments to blocks was needed to get it to all fit.   Love this one!

Happy New Year to everyone!

14 November 2020

Just checking in

Well, it has been a while, but I am still here and kicking quilting.  I get a lot of daily pleasure from reading the blogs of other quilters; it's like being part of their lives, getting to share their ups and downs of this crazy existence.

Like many people, who are fortunate to have the option, I am still working from home, and this is likely to continue until well into the new year. 

I get to chat, via Zoom, with most of my small weekly quilt group, which, like meeting in person, is food for the soul.  My monthly group, has also been using Zoom to meet, and managed to have some of the ladies meet, albeit suitably socially distanced.

A fair amount of sewing has happened but not a lot of pictures.  Just before the lockdown started, my mobile phone started to split apart, with the gap slowly getting wider.  It still worked fine as a phone, the only problem this caused was that the camera began to be obscured.  Eventually, after about six months, and when I felt brave enough to go do something, it turns out that the battery had expanded, and had actually been a fire hazard.   The techie replacing it was very nervous in case it exploded.

So instead of quilt pictures, I am posting a photo of my grandson. His family live in Wales, and we get to video call often, and get plenty of photos.  It is going to be a long time before they or us will be on a 10-hour flight to see each other.  

 Thanks for reading!

24 April 2020

The Continuing Quietness

We have been told that the strict lockdown conditions will start to be eased as from next Friday.  To contain the growing virus scourge, this will happen gradually, but maybe slower in the metro areas than the rural areas.  We can't continue much longer without some more economic activity as a large portion of our population will simply starve.  Much has been done to feed as many people as possible, but there are still many not being reached.

I had planned to try and post regularly on a Friday, weekly seems a bit easier than more often.   But, when looking last Friday, most of the photographs from the previous two weeks had been replaced with a grey no-entry type graphic, which promptly sent me into a decline!  After a few days I put my photos back, but lacked the desire to write any more.

These are my RSC blocks for April's colour of light and bright blue.  Four more scrap slabs, and four scrap kites.  Actually, it took very little sewing, as I had some bigger rough slabs tucked away in the box of blue crumbs from the last time this colour had a turn, serendipity!

Finally felt up to playing the blocks from RSC2019's Tiny Tuesdays.  These were a block a week last year.  Tried to alternate square and on point blocks, but did not have an equal number of each, so played and played until this layout seemed the best it would be.  Stitching up was quick, and it was a delight to have on the wall for a few days.

 Frolic ll - with first two borders on.  Yes, somewhat  a bit wavy on the bottom.

And with the final border on.  Still a bit wavy on the sides, but I'm sure the quilting will take care of that!  I have enough pieces and parts left over from this that would probably make other quilt, but decided to file them away for the future.

 I have four loose inch-and-a-half thick polystyrene boards covered in brushed cotton/flannel, as my design walls.  Mostly two out at a time, next to each other, propped up against my bookcases, so quilts don't quite lie perfectly flat on them. 

 The central blocks, of which I have 53, were made last year.  The plan was each month to take RSC colour as the centre of 6-10, and add the previous month's colour as the next round, using string pieces.  Each round was carefully trimmed as big as possible with 90-degree angles, some ended up square and some as rectangles. Each block has six rounds, in the same order, but starting with one of the six colours.

To these 30 blocks a final wide round of either white with a single colour print or a white with black print added.  And trimmed to 12.5-inches square.
 The prints had been stored for some time, and were not getting used much. 

My desk is very close the design wall!
Turned through 90-degrees.  Size at this stage is about 60-inches by 72-inches.

The remaining 23 blocks are being put away to be played with at a future date.  Some have the final round added, but they ended up smaller than these in the quilt top.

This has taken most of the evening to transfer and edit photos, and to write, and I wish I know how other bloggers are able to write more frequently!   For me it is often a tug-of-war between writing and sewing!  But it's useful, and nice, to look back at previous photos.

10 April 2020

A Quiet Good Friday

 It is still very quiet here.  As of last night we've had
our national lock-down extended
 until the end of April. 

The sewing for this week includes:

A dozen framed nine-patches in the colour for April for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, in light and bright blues.

Continuing with RSC colours, more Postage Stamp blocks, three of the eight-inch squares,  three of the six-inch blocks, two four-inch blocks and three two-inch blocks.

And the progress so far on Frolic II. These blocks are set on the diagonal and I misjudged (as I did not measure!) the setting triangles, so they are a little short.  As I had stitched up all the block parts, I was not going to disassemble blocks nor cut more pieces, so the edges will be a little chopped off, but not too unhappy about this.  Think will add a raspberry inner border and a green outer border.  I have all the half-square triangles left, so might add these in as well.  And three whole star blocks, that may go on the back.

03 April 2020

March 2020 sewing

Working from home, now three weeks in, has meant that I seem to have had less time for sewing, but maybe that is an illusion.  
The pandemic numbers are rising, slowly here thankfully, but alarmingly elsewhere.

This was the list of the planned sewing for the aborted long weekend away.  Yes, I had worked out roughly how long each partial project would take, as I didn't want to run out!

 These were the project boxes for the list, almost all were cut or in strips.

I didn't get even close to the sewing machine until the Saturday afternoon, can't remember why, but eventually since then each project has had it's turn to be moved on a little.

First on the list were the March blocks for Good Hope Quilters'Guild Mystery 2020.

 The above cut pieces turned into these blocks. I really like them!

Teal was March's colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 
Framed Nine-Patches (numbers 65 to 76...getting close to the 99 needed), although they don't look too Teal-ish in this photo, each print has some darker teal on it!

Four more Scrappy Slabs.  These are the thirtheenth set of four, need seven more sets.

 Postage Stamp blocks.  I don't know how many of these I will need, but these 3 x 8-inch, 1x 6-inch and 5 x 4-inch blocks bring the total number of blocks to 102 blocks. And I think I like them on-point.

Teal kite shapes. Definitely teal, not the more blue they seem!

And, yay, a finished top.  My Bonnie Hunter Frolic re-engineered.  About 67" x 80"

And have started sewing up the remainder of the blocks but playing with
 a different layout, and edging.  Some way to go on this still.

This is Claremont Main Road at 2pm yesterday when I ventured
 out yesterday, after a week at home to forage for food buy milk.
 Almost devoid of traffic, it is normally one
 of the busiest intersections in the area, and not a minibus taxi to be seen.
  Good to see the now mandated country-wide lockdown is being observed.

 And, from that list, although I did work on the Dress-Up Orphans (no pictures), I decided to abandon the purple split 9-patches, and never even looked at the Jack's Chain blocks.

But it is the start of another non-socialising week-end / week  /month, so maybe some more to show in due course.  Lots of Netflix viewing or BBC Radio Comedy to sew along to.  

Off to sew!

21 March 2020

Quilting Day

It's International Quilting Day and I intend to sew the whole day, after posting this picture heavy post!.  This was supposed to be a quilting weekend away but, because of advice to slow the spread of Covid-19, it was put on hold until happier times.

We thankfully have not yet had a death in South Africa from this, and in spite of the authorities being on the alert and doing their best, if it does spread it will be a disaster in our very crowded poorer areas.  Locally, I am concerned for my niece who is a paramedic on an ambulance should things get bad.  I have two adult children and extended family in the UK, and my daughter shares that some people there are not taking this seriously enough.  It is sort-of surreal though.  Since Monday, all my work colleagues are now working from home, and we have no idea at this time for how long this will be.  We are not in complete lock-down, but businesses and incomes are already being affected, my husband's fuel station has seen a significant drop in sales, my tour-guide sister will be affected, family members who are in entertainment and hospitality will be affected. 

 Stay away from people, stay safe and protect the vunerable in our world.

But on to quilting news:

This is a very old project I've been working on for the past month, now named Covid-19.  This was started years ago as an improvisional quilt, and I referred to it as 6-7-8, because the central hexies morphed into 7-sided, and then 8-sided shapes were to be next.

It grew to this about two weeks ago:

And now is this, but still some seams to be secured, and bits added on the edges:

I recently gave a few quilts to a quilting friend who co-ordinates quilts for some of the children in care in Cape Town.  She had asked for quilts about 130 cm by 170 cm, most of these are about this size.    (Sorry J, quilts for my great-nephews still to happen!!)
 Sunshine and Shadow blocks - enlarged with borders. Free motion quilted on frame.

  This is an adapted pattern from a mystery (Alycia Quilts).  I didn't like the reveal layout, so changed it to this.  Again free motion quilted on frame.

 I have a lot of sample blocks and blocks left over from other projects, blocks that I thought I would like, but didn't, and at our quilt weekend away last September I started putting them together in a row-by-row layout.  I filled in with various blue 2.5"strips.  The oak leaf blocks were a Block Lotto win - still have more!.  More free motion quilting.

 A nasty blurry picture!  These were also a Block Lotto win.  The long-arm ruler and free-motion quilting done by amazing friend, Tracy B - The Quilting Co

 Started in a class by Carol - quilt as you go Stars.  Oh, the batting was very puffy one, but I did like the effect!

 A quilt from one of the three tops made from the pieces from Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery.  Free motion quilted on my frame.


Now off to sew!

12 February 2020

Getting Organised

A couple of years ago I was inspired by the way Elaine, a quilt-blogger, organised her processes to Get Things Done.  I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the growing pile of projects started but languishing, and after reading how she managed to keep her projects moving along, decided to apply it to my pile.

I have always been a "list-maker", and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction of crossing-off items as they get done, but Elaines's way took things to another level, and it seems to be working.  But please go and read her article, as it makes more sense, and she is very detailed!

Starting in the front of an A4 hard-cover exercise book, I made a list of all my quilt related projects.  In 2018, which spilled over into 2019, I had 56 projects, varying from fabrics selected, to sample test blocks, to quilt tops waiting to be quilted.  In spite of finishing 13 and abandoning one, my new list for 2020 has 77 projects in progress.  But curiously I don't feel as overwhelmed as I did two years ago, as this is a plan that is working for me!

At the back of the book, using Elaine's ingenious plan, I make a list of the weekIy tasks and I am very happy to highlight them when completed, and as an extra, draw a diagonal line through the weeks' list when all the tasks are done!

I have started adding some non-quilt related items each week, just as reminders that other things also need to get done (remember, we are building a house!)

Sometimes there are items on the weekly list that don't get done for ages, but it remains there as a constant reminder!  And yes, there are always new things to try out, and they do get added (that's why 56 grew to 77).

So far this year only two new projects (which are block-a-month year-long ones with local groups) have been added, and although I know there maybe more, and the object is finish a lot this year, I am not setting a goal number, as it is like new year's resolutions, depressing when the goal not met!

Samples of the first month, a row of beach houses and purple/green four-patches

I do have a day job (not quilt related!), and I now enjoy coming home and being able to get sewing with the list as a guide.

25 January 2020

Why not much sewing

It's gone very quiet here at home.
My eldest and her family have returned to Wales.
Oh, so quiet!
Being mid-summer, swimming in the late afternoons was on the agenda.

T getting her first go on the quilting frame. She pieced both quilts whilst here.
 Amazingly, not one thread break, I think she has a gentler touch than me!

 And, the second one, all ready to quilt.
We did manage a trip to the Aquarium, and this is E inspecting the clownfish.

 On Thursday, my weekly quilt group had its "end of year" 'dinner.
We hold it over to January so there is less rush!
My younger daughter was commissioned to do the catering, and this is the amazing dessert - a chocolate ganache tart on a ground almond base, served with cream - not one piece left!