2022 Year in Review

I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to this year — admittedly, my big machine spent a lot of time being repaired, but I also procrastinated on many projects. I have been sewing regularly but most of those things remain WIPs at present (Hawaiian appliqué quilt, maple leaf quilt, flame rose quilt, hexagons quilt).

1. Aussie Hero Quilts
I made four quilts and two laundry bags myself, plus I made a further two quilts in collaboration with my sewing friend Sue. They were all bespoke, not generic, so I won’t post any photos. I need to cut more laundry bag kits so that I can supply generic bags fast when required.

2 Personal Quilts
Blue Christmas
Blue Christmas
I started this in 2019 and set it aside part-way through the FMQ — I can’t remember why. I retrieved it and finished it in September.

Queen's Tile
Queens Tile
I started this way back in 1990, but it languished as a top for many, many years. I finally got it basted in July and finished in September.

Hexagon table topper
Hexagon table topper
This was a one-and-done project in November. I’d like to give the bind-as-you-go hexagon technique another try with the backing cut larger — maybe next year.

I have another quilt almost finished — it was the one I was working on when the machine pitched a fit in October. I have the machine back now but in the interim the sewing table has accumulated a large pile of stuff that needs to be sorted. I’ll get onto it in the new year.

3. Doll clothes
Three chemises
Three chemises

Gabriela in chemise, stays and petticoat
1750 underpinnings

I have another two outfits that have been almost complete for several months — one needs buttonholes and the other needs the doll to have her hair arranged to fit the period. I’ll get around to them soon. Honest.

4. Human clothes
Three tent dresses
Three tent dresses
Not the prettiest of outfits, but very comfortable on days when the temperature is above 30°C (all four days so far …).

Plans for 2023
Finishing a few WIPs is obviously a high priority, as is doing a little more for AHQ. I have a huge list of projects I would like to do, of course, but I don’t want to start anything new this year — I’m hoping to move interstate and that will take up a lot of time and energy.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone! Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Yule and/or Solstice if that is more appropriate for you.

I haven’t been able to do much lately — I do have the Janome 9400 back at last but I haven’t been able to set it up due to a plumbing incident that left my sewing room carpet saturated. The carpet is finally dry but I need to do a lot of re-organisation before I can start machine sewing again.

In the meantime, I have some more hand-sewn hexagon flowers:

I figure I’m about 20% of the way through — I need 365 of them for my quilt and I have 74 so far. I’ll need about 1800 more papers, but I can reclaim some if I start sewing flowers to large background hexagons soon. I want the lightest flowers in the centre and the darkest around the edges, and I was toying with the idea of a similar gradient in the background fabrics — white in the centre, moving through progressively darker shades of grey to the black edges. Now I think it would be better to have all of them on black, just lots of different black fabrics so that I can leave the final arrangement of flowers until the end. I may change my mind again, of course. I have plenty of templates for the moment and a punch that can make more so I’m not desperate to reclaim papers at the moment.

We are expecting a lovely day tomorrow — my city will be sunny with a top temperature of about 30°C. To all those in the northern hemisphere struggling with the cold, I hope that you can stay safe and as warm as possible.

A New Hand Project

I have started to assemble the modules for Flame Rose, my second Penrose tile quilt, but it’s got the stage where I need a large clean surface to lay things out so that I can work out what units I need to make for the corners and I don’t have that at the moment, so it’s in abeyance until after I move to Tasmania.

Since I can’t live without a hand project I’ve decided to make a hexagon quilt. Yes, a hexagon quilt. Now this may not seem like a momentous decision to anyone reading this, but to me it’s a complete about-face from when I started quilting almost forty years ago. In the eighties, mosaic piecing* was so old-fashioned and “quaint” that the very thought of basting around templates and stitching them together was enough to make me feel nauseated. My first quilting class was, of course, the standard twelve-block sampler quilt (we’d call it a “skill builder” today), and hexagons made up one of the blocks. Needless to say, I never finished the quilt.

While the plan for the sampler quilt has long since disappeared, you can get a general idea of the style from this book cover, although it doesn’t have hexagons or baby blocks:

Hexagons have been popular for several years now — I know that many people have made Grit Kovacs’ La Passion pattern and there are some amazing hexagon projects on the web if you search for them. My sewing friend Sue has also done a wall quilt from 2″ hexagons that looks great. In my craft video binge a couple of weeks ago I came across several hexagon projects and decided that — surprising at it might seem — I would start one of my own.

There are several options for glues and template materials so I decided that I would buy as many different brands as I could find and evaluate them. All fabrics are coming from the stash and will not include any batiks, just solids for the centres and prints for the petals. I’m using 1″ hexagons so the flowers are roughly 6″ across.

I’m still waiting on my last shipment of templates in order to finalise the analysis, but here are the first 27 blocks (I will need at least 181). You can click on the images to get a larger version if you want to see more fabric details.

As you can see, my fabrics are heavily skewed to purple and teal. I blame the 90s.

* The Quilters’ Guild of the UK has recommended that the term “mosaic piecing” be used in place of “English paper piecing” since it’s not geographically restricted to England and people use other template materials besides paper.