99 days

99 days left in 2019 (it’s frightening how fast the years go by now).

I’m keeping busy — I may not have been blogging but I’ve definitely been working on sewing projects (including my FAL goal).

I’ve been a little sidetracked by historical costumes the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reading my costume books (I have most of the Herbert Norris and some Iris Brooke tomes) and trying to make sense of the Janet Arnold pattern books. I have spent more hours than I care to acknowledge watching YouTube videos on dress and hairstyles of the 18th and 19th centuries and scrolling through costume blogs. Now I’m feeling the urge to try making a couple of toiles from the Arnold patterns …

There’s a reason for all of this, of course, but I can’t tell you yet as I’m still waiting on a couple of things to be delivered.

Retrospective: 1998 Castle Wall

Welcome to the sixth in my more-or-less monthly series of quilt retrospectives.

Castle Wall Hanging
Castle Wall Hanging

Size: 90 cm / 36″ square (approx)
Design: traditional blocks, in my own arrangement
Batting: unknown, low loft
Pieced: by hand (blocks) and machine (sashing and borders) July 1988
Quilted: by machine (Janome MemoryCraft 8000) August 1998

In 1998 I underwent an operation that I knew would entail several weeks’ convalescence, during which time I would not be able to do anything that required upper body strength, incudling lifting or machine sewing. I decided to embark on a hand-piecing project, which resulted in this wall quilt.

The centre is a Castle Wall variation in burgundy, green and gold, with the colour placement emphasising the star shape. Sewing this together took me only a few days, so I did the Kaleidscope blocks as well. By the time I had finished the blocks I had recovered enough for light machine work (that is, capable of sewing, not of lifting the machine), so I got one of my friends to set up the machine and then I sewed the border strips and set the top together.

It was machine quilted by me, mostly in the ditch but with a star in the centre octagon (formed by extending the seam lines) and some free-motion work in the strips. The binding is attached by machine and sewn down by hand.

I never did get around to putting a tube on the back, so the Castle Wall wall hanging has never been hung. (!)

Lessons learned:
1. Plain strips are plain.
2. Free-motion quilting is difficult and I need to practise more.
3. Hand piecing is much more fun than I had anticipated.

August Achievements and September Goals

September already! The days are getting lighter and warmer, and I’m hoping to enjoy at least four weeks of nice weather before it gets too hot and I start complaining about the heat. My poor friend in Queensland is already suffering 36°C — way too hot for this time of year.

August goals:
1. AHQ: 4 generic laundry bags. I got three done instead of four — they all had the same accent fabric so it was very easy to do them together. I’ll have to cut some more kits soon so that I can make up two or three in a day if I need them quickly. JM has put out a call for bags to go to Butterworth so I’ll send these off once I’ve done a few more.

Three generic laundry bags
Three generic laundry bags

2. Personal: I didn’t set one this month.

3. FAL: Complete the Blue Christmas top and start on the quilting. Well … I finalised the design and cut the fabric but I haven’t actually set a stitch in it yet. I still have five weeks or so until the finish is due so I need to make this a priority for September.

Blue Christmas all cut out
Blue Christmas all cut out

Other work:
I’ve resumed regular progress on my second Penrose quilt. My wrists are coping with two units per night so I’ll try keep it at that and not push it. I should finish this section by the end of the month, and then I have rosettes to do.

September Goals:

AHQ: Three more generic bags for RAAF Butterworth.

Personal: I really would like to get those last two Hawaiian blocks done. I keep looking at the two pieces of stiffened fabric that are ready for the design and telling myself that I could get them done in only one or two days, just as soon as I’ve traced the design.

FAL: No time to dilly dally on this one. Get the top done, quilt it and bind it before 10 September October.