And then the weather changed

Today is the first day of Autumn.

The new season has been heralded with a change in the wind direction, and with that, the need to snuggle under a quilt at night and rustle up an extra layer for the early morning. Autumn is my favourite season, largely because it brings an end to hot days and restless nights. Gone are the temperatures that force me inside all afternoon, fighting over the fan, praying for the heat to be over.

As you might have guessed, I don’t “do” summer. Not for me lying tanning on a beach, instead I avoid the sun as much as possible. With red-heads in the family, we tend to burn to a crisp at the slightest sun exposure.

My quilt room doesn’t have great ventilation, so in summer is a heat trap. I am limited to sewing before 9am, after that the sun streaming in the windows sends the temperature soaring. Of course in winter that same sun is a blessing, and I revel in my early morning sewing before the sun retreats, and I am entrenched in shadows for the day.ame1170_gypsy_wife_210x270_fa_page_01

Despite the heat I have achieved quite a lot this summer. Yesterday I joined the first two sections of my Gypsy Wife quilt #3. Since they share the same strip set, it seemed a good idea to finish both together, and section 7 may well be next since again it shares the same strips.P1070907

I have inserted a few new blocks to keep my interest levels up. I raided a few other Jen Kingwell quilt patterns, and found 3 inch versions of hearts and stars to construct. I also found some floral blocks, since this version is going to contain more green, secondary and tertiary colours in an attempt to make it Spring-like. Whether this works is another matter, but I am having fun, which is what counts after all.

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Pershing Block, Gypsy Wife Quilt.

P1070867Also on my radar is a new challenge, the 365 Challenge.

As a beginner quilter I have tended towards the easier projects, or have just played with “wonky” interpretations of blocks. Log cabins, coin quilts, and a badly constructed Postage Stamp quilt. The 365 Challenge enforces accuracy in order to achieve the tiny 3 inch blocks.

I started last week, and have been sewing frantically to catch up. We had the painters in tackling our windowsills, so I managed to achieve quite a bit in between being called out to make decisions, and shift things out of the reach of paint splatters.365-Quilt-960x960

I have chosen to use my French General scraps, interspersed with bits of co-ordinating Moda, William Morris and reproduction fabrics. Unfortunately my collection of scraps is very small, having mainly sewn in bright saturated colour until now. I was hoping the Quilt Fairy would sprinkle my recent birthday celebrations with beautiful French General fabrics, preferably in indigo, but the fairy failed to arrive. Instead, I went online and bought some fabric from Hancocks of Paducah. My version will be red, blue and brown, since I am using up some Josephine charm squares I got very cheaply two years ago.

The LQS which shut last month was my source of French General, and I have few options for purchasing these fabrics locally now. So, online shopping it will be, though I still keep an eye open for the quilt fairy given our lousy exchange rate against the US$.

Otherwise, I am also trying to quilt the My Small World quilt using new-to-me embroidery stitches. I shall share my progress when I have achieved a little more, and found my camera. Losing things is of course the unwanted side effect of having painters in, and re-arranging the house.P1070900

University classes started yesterday, so I now have 2 1/2 hours some afternoons when Daughter #1 is away, and Daughter #2 is asleep. I have missed this time over the summer break. I can lean back and take a breath, and just enjoy the peace and quiet. For about five minutes….then on goes Netflix, and out comes the hand sewing.

I hope you enjoy the first day of Autumn, or Spring.

Linking up eventually with the Gypsy Wife QAL, Scraptastic Tuesday, and lets Bee Social.

P.S. I found the camera, so a quick shot of Sections 1 & 2 of the GWQ….P1070980

 

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And now for something a little different…

A quick post to celebrate finishing a project on my 2016 FAL list.2016 button 250 best

Please forgive the vulgarity, but this quilt is known as the “Anti-cat Puking Quilt”. We have a cat named Charlie, a Le Perm. He has coarse, crinkly hair, and a tendency to bring up fur-balls with little or no notice. I daresay I don’t need to elaborate further.P1070947

This quilt will hopefully protect the sofa from further “accidents”, since the seat covers are very difficult to remove and clean.

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I cut the strips over a year ago, and they sat reproachfully in a corner of my Quilt Room. After piecing this quilt I donated the remainder to the Arts Recycling Centre. They were bought within a few minutes of arriving, so were not wasted.

I backed the quilt with cotton canvas, and left it without batting. Partly this was because I am out of batting, but I also justified it as the quilt being more of a coverlet, and not really needing batting.

Two finishes down, and many more to go.

Linking up eventually with the 2016 FAL, and for now with Scraptastic Tuesday.

Starting Embroidery

I thought I would commemorate my ventures into stitching with a post. In a couple of years, I can look back and hoot with laughter at my first stitches. At least, I hope they are going to drastically improve!

I attended the February meeting of the local Embroiderers Guild last week. It was a little different from the Quilt Guild Meetings, more formal, with white gloves worn for show and tell. Shorter too, which meant I was home and in bed by a reasonable hour. Our quilt meetings sometimes run a little late, closer to 11pm than 10:30pm. Too late for this early riser.

Joining the Guild and taking up embroidery is something I have been moving toward since last year. I finally made contact with the Guild via a class mate at a recent Lisa Walton beading class I attended.

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My beading sampler from the Lisa Walton class. The funny little stick man is supposed to be a cursive “t”. I think more practice is required.

Since attending the meeting I have had a few lessons on appliqué with a friend, and have buttonhole stitched a blue and yellow cow for a neonatal quilt (no photos, sorry).

My tutor “gifted” me this pile of material and flying geese, which I decided I would pair with some stitcheries to create more neonatal quilts.P1070937

Choosing something to stitch proved overwhelming when faced with a pile of her magazines. I eventually found a pattern for a few wonky, rustic hearts which should serve the purpose. Here is my first attempt:P1070940

My stitches are very uneven, and I managed to sew my skirt to the fabric twice, the fabric to the back once, and get knots in the perle 8 once as well. I used internet tutorials for the backstitch and daisy stitch, though the blue line was originally meant to be stem stitch. Maybe next time.

I wasn’t using a hoop, since I do find it easier without one, but tonight I will re-do the pattern using a hoop, and see how it compares. I’m hoping that the second or third version will be good enough to use in a quilt. Practice makes perfect.

I traced on the pattern using a lead pencil, you can still see the marks. My question is whether this washes out easily, or whether I should change to a Frixion or other pen.

I was surprised how fast this was to do, and I enjoyed completing the project while watching “The Expanse” with the family. It’s nice to have something to stitch which doesn’t involve hiding outside in my quilt room.

Connecting up with Silly Mama Quilts this week for a new link party.

Not a Wedding Quilt

My SIL-to-be was visiting my Mum last week and admired the lap quilt I made her for Christmas. My dear old Mum then asked her if she would like me to make her a wedding quilt.

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Quilt #1, virtually identical to Quilt #2. I think I am the only person buying this cheater fabric from my LQS.

If I were younger, I would insert an expletive at this point. I mean who in their right mind volunteers someone else to make a wedding quilt? Only a non-quilter of course.

After losing sleep over it for a night, I came up with a solution. I re-created the lap quilt my SIL-to-be had seen at Mums place, and sewed like a mad thing all weekend to get it done. It’s now waiting to go in the post. Better a quilt in hand, than the vague possibility of one next year.

No doubt the guilt will eventually pass, and I may yet make them a wedding quilt, but it will be my decision to do so, made after carefully reviewing my existing workload and capabilities. I couldn’t do anything but my best for such a special quilt after all!

I’d like to say this decision-making occurred as a result of my new resolve to ignore the word “should” in my life, but it was actually The Hubbie who talked me out of committing to making a Wedding Quilt. Occasionally, he just makes good sense.

Happy quilting, and have a good week.

 

 

Gypsy Wife QAL starts

I have spent the last two days helping clean out my LQS, which has officially closed it’s doors. It had been in operation for 18 years, and was my go-to spot for picking up quilting threads, even if I didn’t buy too much else there. It is a sad day, but we do have another few shops in town, so I am still well served for quilting fabric, in the unlikely event that my stash should run low.

When not taking apart furniture and generally straining muscles in my arms and back, I have been getting prepared for the Gypsy Wife QAL.gw2016buttonSM

For me, this has in part consisted of getting rid of my scraps, or “The Ghosts of Projects Past”. I am slightly embarrassed by the heap of scraps currently piled up in the garage. I had previously assumed I would use my scraps, and kept every last little piece. But they were accumulating everywhere, and after deciding they were a major contributor to my growing discontent with my projects, I decided they had to go.

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The donations include architects paper, irons, piping cord, sequins and even cabinets.

My scraps are piled up with the donations from the LQS, which Daughter#1 and I are transporting to the Arts Recycling Centre.

I’d like to say I have a nice clean Quilt Room now, ready to launch into the QAL, but I don’t. Maybe tomorrow, after I have chased the spiders out, and vacuumed the floor. But it’s certainly looking better.

My plan for the quilt is to diverge from the pattern a little. Having (mostly) completed two Gypsy Wife quilts already, I want to replace some of the larger blocks with alternatives. Even if I only substitute out half a dozen blocks, it will be enough to give it a different vibe from my earlier efforts. I really want an alternative to the pinwheel blocks too, since I have developed a strong dislike to creating them.

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Fabrics ready to go.

I must admit I started early, and have already sewn a few blocks. I’m still trying to make up my mind about the strips running through the quilt though. I am used to sewing the sections together at the end, once my fabric choices for all the blocks have been made. I have been cruising fabric shops online, and quite like the idea of using more Art Gallery fabrics for the strips.

More browsing is required.

Linking up with Hydeeann at SplishSplashStash.