Finding my sewing mojo

I lost my sewing mojo for a fair while this year. Productivity was near zilch, my enthusiasm waned, and I just read blogs, and entered competitions. Not much luck there either! Not that I need any more fabric. Except Kona solids, I always need more Kona solids.

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So, last week I threw myself into an activity I find fires up the creative juices. Making 12 1/2 inch wonky log cabin blocks.

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I find it a Zen-like process. Very deliberate, and time consuming. It usually takes me over an hour to complete a single block, and I deliberately avoid techniques like chain piecing, which are designed to speed up the process.

I limit myself to a single block a day, carefully choosing each strip of fabric, remembering where it came from. Once finished, I mentally pat myself on the back, then move on with the day.

This time I had a finished quilt in mind, having mentioned in passing to someone I could deliver them a quilt in the near future.

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The quilt will hopefully be thrown over a table at Club Day at Massey University tomorrow, then used to keep kids warm at meetings. I say “hopefully” only because the rain has started, thunderstorms are forecast, and I need Daughter #2 to deliver it tonight. If the weather is too atrocious, it might have to wait a week.

As it is, I will be running outside to the drier in between showers to get it ready in time. I threw two colour catchers in the wash with this one! Hopefully it will be a bit more crinkly in texture after a wash and dry.

I did just a bit of ditch stitching, and a simple “U” was quilted into each block, the club’s name starting with “U”. The batting was a scrap leftover from another project, and the backing a couple of pieces of orange floral fabric from my stash. It’s a Blue Hill fabric I love, and bought many, many meters of.

And just a quick shot showing the value changes, which help make the blocks pop.

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Next it is back to a baby quilt, which I am psyching myself up to appliqué the baby’s name on. A first for me.

This is Finish #2 for the third quarter of the 2016 FAL.

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Linking up eventually with Sew Fresh and Crazy Mom Quilts.

A day for charity quilting

On a day like today, reeling from seeing a familiar place impacted by terrorism, it felt right to be doing some charity sewing. Sometimes it seems the only thing we can do in the face of hatred, is to love our neighbour, follow the Golden Rule. Make a quilt, and gift it.

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This lap-sized quilt is destined to be a Prayer Quilt. My job was simply to baste and quilt, then hand back to my friend for binding. I replaced the old-fashioned floral backing fabric with some minky I had in my stash. Nice and cuddly, given our current appalling weather.

I basted the quilt more densely than usual, simply because I didn’t want to take the time to go out and buy some interfacing to reinforce the minky. Believe me, it was pelting down outside. I had read various accounts of how best to quilt it, but decided to just take my time. Thankfully there were no tucks or puckers evident at the end. The stitches appear to just melt into the back of the quilt.

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I simply stitched in the ditch, then ran around the inside of the border. Normally I would add some hand stitching, but speed is of the essence for this one.

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The quilt was actually gifted to the local Prayer Quilt Ministry from an Australian Chapter. Excuse the photo quality, there is little light making  it through the mid-winter cloud cover today.

It took one full day, from basting to finishing quilting. Of course prior to that I procrastinated about doing anything for a full fortnight!

This quilt does reinforce how much I need to get organised and start practising some free-motion quilting, as it would have benefited greatly from it. So much so, that I feel it is unfinished. The question is what to give up, in order to make time to learn it. I’m sure the family won’t mind if I give up cooking, or housework.Right?

Tomorrow is our Mid-Winter Christmas Party at our Saturday Sewing group. Having spent all day sewing, I might just aim to cut fabric for my Glitter Quilt.

This quilt is the first finish on my Q3 list for the 2016 FAL.

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Linking up eventually with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Scraps versus Pokemon

Scraptastic Tuesday

When not conveying the offspring around town in their efforts to capture Pokemon, I have been ploughing through another scrap quilt. I have been quietly encouraging the Pokemon addiction, since it encourages exercise, and gives me lots of quiet time to get things done.

Apparently whole families are taking to town after dark to look for Pokemon, especially in public areas where others have laid lures to entrap them. This is probably as much as many of us want to know about Pokemon, especially if like me, you suffered (and I do mean suffered) through many Pokemon movies while your children were growing up.

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Back to quilting.

Since Orlando there has been a big push to make quilts to support the LGBTQI community, victims families, and the local first responders. Now Orlando is a long way from where I live, so I have been wondering quite what to do. I recently ran into the leader of the local Queer student group, to whom I had given a quilt last year. To my amusement they stuck the quilt on the wall, and declared it art. They even insisted on a label with artists description, which they wrote themselves

In all honesty, I know my creative limitations, and art it was not. However, since the quilt is on the wall, it isn’t performing the function I originally constructed it for, which is keeping people warm during their meetings in a cold, draughty, meeting room. So, instead of making something for Orlando, I suggested to him I make another quilt for the group.

As you know, scraps reproduce like bunnies whenever you close your studio door at night, leading to an inexhaustible supply. This is great for making wonky log cabin quilts, since the more scraps the better, in my opinion. After making a dozen 12 1/2 inch squares, here is my original scrap container…

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looking just as full as when I started. And the blocks so far…

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I am thinking of doing a border incorporating the colours of the various queer flags, separated by a solid or shot cotton in tan or cream. This would increase the size, but also mean it could be used as a tablecloth during student orientation events…unless they stick it on the wall again.

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Any opinions?

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And as for the trimmings, I am learning to let them go. It’s still painful, after all there are bits in there I can use. But I tell myself that by donating them to my local kindergarten, I am encouraging future textile artists. Plus, it means I might actually reach the end of my scraps sooner, and start using up some stash. Meanwhile, I shall leave the light on in my studio tonight, and see if that slows the rate of scrap reproduction.

Have a great week. I shall be hiding from the torrential rain and gale force winds apparently heading our way. Great quilting weather!

Connecting up to Scraptastic Tuesday and Lorna at Sew Fresh quilts.

2016 FAL list for Q3

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I didn’t make much progress during the first half of the year on many of my WIP’s. This was mainly due to a decision to hand embroider my Small World Quilt. Many, many hours have been expended on this one little quilt, to the detriment of my other projects.

So, my aim for the next quarter is to move things along a bit, only embroidering in the evenings.

  1. The Gypsy Wife #2. This quilt only needs binding, though that hasn’t stopped me from ignoring it for months. Must finish!IMG_0013
  2. Finish the Small World Quilt. It might be pushing it, but if it turns out okay, I would like to include it in our Celebration of Quilts, which I think is around the end of September. Maybe I can stitch faster with a deadline?P1070900
  3. Quilt this little charity quilt for a friend. The quilt was gifted to a local prayer quilt group, and has been sitting around waiting to be quilted for a couple of years.  Now of course it’s sitting in my pile, while I try and figure out how to best quilt it. Just a peek, since I don’t know who the recipient will be. P1080121
  4. Another quilt for friends of Daughter #2, using as many strips as possible from my scrap basket. So far I have made ten 12 1/2 inch blocks, and am pushing for a round dozen. More on this one later.P1070735
  5. A pile of pansy squares leftover from another quilt.

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    A fairy, a free pattern from Tartan Kiwi.
  6. A tinker bell block which I inherited from Daughter #2. It will make a nice quilt for a little girl. Just need some inspiration.P1070867
  7. Gypsy Wife #3. I have abandoned the thought of making a third quilt, so will cut my losses and do something with the blocks.

So that’s my list. Short, and maybe achievable if I stay focussed.

Linking up with Leanne at She Can Quilt and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.

A quick catch up…

It’s Saturday, it’s July, and I’m trying not to think about how far through the year we have already come. How? Time does seem to fly by as you get older.2016 button 250 best

Anyway, I have a quick finish to share from my first quarter FAL List. Yes, I know I am running three months late. Unfortunately that means I won’t be entering into the FAL competition, since I didn’t post a list at the start of the quarter.

This quilt used up the “made fabric” I created back at the start of the year, after reading Victoria Findlay-Wolfe’s book on 15 minutes of play. I used all my blue scraps to create 6 1/2 inch squares, which I then chopped in half diagonally, and sewed to some brown solid fabric I had in the stash. At that stage I put it away, not really liking the end result.

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Playing with pieces on the floor of the bach.

I took the squares to Taupo with me, and put them at the top of the pile to work on.

After crawling around on the floor, playing with the squares, Chevrons appeared to work. So, chevrons they became.IMG_0133

I decided to approach the quilting as if the colours were land, sky and sun peeking through. This meant angular lines for the brown, and more fluid lines for the blue. It took two days of quilting in between trips to Taupo and Hamilton to investigate craft and fabric shops, and frequent trips into Turangi for food (so I did’t have to cook on my little retreat), but it was completed before I left.IMG_0145

I didn’t need a quilt of this size (lap size) in these colours, so it became a charity quilt and has been sent off.

Another quilt down, and just a few to go.

My time is still being spent embroidering the My Small World quilt, so not much to show for a lot of hours work. It’s a great way to spend a cold day though, so I am quite content stitching away.

Have a great week.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.