Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Brief Check In

I've been starting lots of things, but bringing very few to completion. I did get to quilt some blocks this week and I'd forgotten how lovely quilting is, how tactile and pleasing to see the texture grow.

This is a block I made for Sarah Elizabeth at no hats in the house, and her #opgivewarmth project. She posted an awesome colour palette for this month, and this block was hard to send off yesterday.

We're off to the airport this morning. Ireland is beckoning for the next couple of weeks. We need to apply for our new visas, make this move to Houston fully legit. Fingers crossed, everything goes to plan. Looking forward to seeing all the family and friends for the first time this year!

I'm hoping this break helps me figure out what's been holding me back the last couple of months. So hopeful for returning refreshed and renewed, I need my motivation and happy back.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A bit like a headless chicken

So I haven't figured out my blog reading, posting, and commenting problems. I keep saving things up for when I have a little bit of time and I can sit down with my laptop. But I only turn my laptop on a couple of times a week now, and due to medication I now fall asleep at about 9pm. So I've downloaded blogger to my phone, and I'm going to stop waiting for the "perfect time" because, let's be honest, perfect doesn't exist anywhere in life.

I've been sewing, but I've been doing lots of little bits on lots of different projects. Nothing's finished, but I'm also not getting stuck in a sewing funk, cos I can change it up as often as I like!

Today, I'll show you two blocks I made following a tutorial from Nicole at snips snippets. She shows you how to make two Star Dresdens from 13 charms.

When I started I wanted to make one for me for a scrappy sampler quilt I'm planning, and one to send to Little Island Quilting for her Soy Amado project. It hasn't worked out for this block, it's ended up slightly too large, and there are some knots in the quilting that I'm not sure will last (at least one has come undone already). So I'll turn it into a cushion for our sofa and make a more sturdy and correctly sized block for Little Island Quilting.

I have to say though, that these blocks are so much fun and look really great for not a lot of effort. And it's nice to have something you can make from charms that is so impactful! Nicole's a bit of a genius, I think.

I've been toying with the idea of hand stitching the second Star Dresden down, but it might just end up languishing in the growing queue of things I'm supposed to be hand stitching in the evening.

PS I haven't figure out how to insert the pictures in among the text, but they are: 

- the drunkards paths for my sister's Retro Flowers quilt (I started these last July)

- two rainbow Star Dresdens

- doing dot to dot quilting for the first time (still straight lines)

- and, the quilted, too large, block which will be a cushion.

Maybe future blogger app posts should be picture heavy and word light!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Instruction Reading Fail

I had a splendiferous idea last week. I'd make a two-sided quilt to represent the places we've lived in America so far. Obviously, having just moved to Texas, the Lonestar was the first choice.

I already had a tutorial pinned. Janice at Better Off Thread has also set out tables for making 8 different sizes  of Lonestar (with 9-piece or 36-piece panels) depending on your current level of insanity!

I am going to point out upfront that her tutorials and measurements are all excellent, well written, well-pictured (not a phrase, I know), and just generally spiffing. My attention span is the exact opposite of all of those things.

I got enthused when I realised I had those WOF Amy Butler strips lying around, and that there were more than nine of them so I could totally make the easier Lonestar. Yay! There were pretty pictures, motivation to stay up after waking ridiculously early on a Sunday morning, just to start cutting and sewing. I hate cutting. Basically, I was quite excited.

Early morning instagramming...
Everything went swimmingly, right up until I had to cut my groups of three fabric strips (now sewn together). They needed to be cut at a 45° angle and with a spacing equal to the original width of the strips (3"). Sounds straight forward, right!?

That's what I thought. I dutifully went along and marked every 3" on either side of my strips. I lined my ruler up with the marks, and the 45° ruler line with the seams. I cut merrily, until I had 8 from each group, 28 lovely strips for me to admire.

I had already figured out how I wanted the fabrics to rotate when sewn together, so I could have just ploughed ahead at this point, sewing three strips together to make the 9-diamond panels. But I thought I should lay it out, just to make sure I got everything the right way around, and a picture to refer to should it all get hairy during the sewing.

I spent the next two hours, alternating between sitting on the floor looking at the strips, scratching my head, and reminding myself of a toddler trying to fit a round block into the square hole. I'd take a break. Watch some telly, think 'oh, maybe if I rotate it this way' - no, no that didn't work. Back to the internet - maybe the tutorial's wrong or it left something out (it didn't, but I looked at other tutorials to make sure). 'Ooh, maybe if I place them in horizontal rows instead of vertical' - nope.


'Ok, sit down and read each line of the tutorial and look at ALL the pictures'. Oh shit. Yep, that's the one, right there. At that point, two hours in, pieces all over the floor, sitting beside them, I nearly cried. Somehow, I didn't. I'm not sure why not, but instead the spirit of selfish sewing, and 'sure, you might as well find some way to put them together, they're still pretty' came over me.

They're still on the floor, but now they look like this.

Not right, but pretty!

I should point out, that I noticed last night while I explained to Paul all the ways it was broken that the panels on either side of East are wrong. All fixed now, but no picture yet.

Anyway, yeah, there aren't supposed to be those offsets between each point and the next panel. I kind of like it, in that there's a sort of pinwheel-esque movement (reaching, I know).

After coming up with a couple of different potential fixes, I have found my Make It Work fix. I will be cutting 8 more slimmer pieces from the leftover strips, in order to fill those gaps. It's going to make this look a little crazy, but I think that maybe the busy-ness of the fabrics will pull it all together. Then I shall proceed as per the tutorial, consulted properly and multiple times in future, to sash it in a solid, before surrounding it in a cream (I think).

Hopefully, the upcoming DC side of this won't be as torturous. Still though, I'll never forget how to piece a Lonestar :)

PS something was clearly wrong with our karma yesterday, after I did the above, I then made a sleeve for my phone that would be more suited to being a purse (massively huge), and then we somehow ruined our Shrove Tuesday pancakes...

But it's ok, we're going for Pancakes Mark II tonight!