April Achievements and May goals

I missed my usual retrospective post around the 21st of the month — the post itself has been drafted for a while, but the quilt I’m talking about was sold long ago and the only photos I have are prints from film, so I need to get the scanner working in order to have digitised images for the blog. I’m an Olympic-level procrastinator so it hasn’t happened yet … maybe next month.

Apart from that, though, I’ve been very productive.

AHQ goal: One quilt and one laundry bag. Almost done. I’ve finished the quilt and I’m working on the laundry bag — I don’t anticipate any problems in having them in the post by 06 May.

Personal goal: make the last two Hawaiian appliqué blocks. Not done. Now that I’ve found my bottle of fabric stiffener, however, they might just get done in the next few weeks.

En Bourgogne borders
En Bourgogne borders

FAL goal: Attach borders to En Bourgogne. Done. I’ve attached the two borders, basted it (with the help of my friend Sue) and started the quilting. I’m doing straight diagonals first, and then I’ll add some FMQ later on, just to ensure that every piece is quilted. It’s a large quilt, and the batting is a little denser than I had expected and not very easy to shift around so it’s slow going.

En Bourgogne being quilted
En Bourgogne being quilted

Additional work:

Shiny squirrel attack! The Sunday before Easter I had a rush of blood to the head and made up some stained glass blocks while I was watching the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs (North American ice hockey, for those who don’t follow it) — once I got into a production line it was so fast that I decided to complete the lot over the next few days. There are 15 A blocks and 15 B blocks:

Oriental Stained Glass Blocks B & A
Oriental Stained Glass Blocks B & A

I still need to assemble the blocks and attach the border to the top and right side, but I’ll leave that until next week or the week after.

I also went up to see Jan-Maree just before Easter (she’s doing very well) and helped her to sew two tops for recipients. I discovered that I have been spoiled by my Janome 9400 — I didn’t want to take it up to Sydney (it’s very heavy) so I took my little Pfaff Passport 2.0 instead. Unfortunately the Pfaff doesn’t remind me to check the pressor foot so I managed to break two needles by trying to stitch zigzag on a straight-stitch foot. Luckily the machine continued to work but I think I’ll take it in for a service before it’s used again.

I haven’t done much hand work at all — my wrists and thumbs are recovering (slowly) from the overuse I subjected them to in March, but it will be a few more weeks before I can do more than half an hour of piecing at a time. I’m hoping that hand-quilting will be a different enough movement that it won’t aggravate them, but we’ll see. The weather is definitely cooling down at night so quilting season will be here soon and I want to get started on Pentastic (the quilt in the header).

May goals:
1. AHQ: Four laundry bags for Townsville.
2. Personal: Assemble the Oriental Stained Glass top.
3. FAL: Finish the quilting on En Bourgogne.

The perils of writing one’s own pattern

I had a little spare time this afternoon after finishing an Aussie Heroes quilt and I had black thread in the machine from the quilt’s binding, so I decided to make one of the Oriental Stained Glass blocks I had cut out. In the process, I discovered that I had somehow managed to add twice the seam allowance to the black sashing strips — they were supposed to be 1″ finished / 1.5″ cut, and that’s what it says on the spreadsheet and at the top of my notes page. However, further down, when I wrote the cutting instructions, I had somehow forgotten that and wrote that the strips were to be cut at 2″, finishing at 1.5″. Yikes.

83 two-inch strips of black fabric
83 @ 2-inch strips

See all those 83 strips? Every single one of them is half an inch too wide. I wasted more than a whole metre of fabric because I didn’t check my own work. So stupid. Still, the lengths are all correct and all of the oriental fabrics are cut the right size, so it’s not a complete disaster, just intensely frustrating.

There’s nothing for it but to trim all the sashes if I want to make this quilt — I decided to do it block by block as I sew them together rather than trying to do a lot at once.

Trimmings from Oriental Stained Glass Block A1

In spite of the mistake, I’m very pleased with how well the first block turned out:

Oriental Stained Glass Block A1
Oriental Stained Glass Block A1

My design inspiration was the Stained Glass Quilt designed by Bob (which luckily survived the Craftsy/Bluprint purge) but I changed the proportions and designed an alternate block to increase the variety:

Oriental Stained Glass Block A design
Oriental Stained Glass Block A design
Oriental Stained Glass Block B design
Oriental Stained Glass Block B design

Even with the additional trimming (and a couple of unsewing sessions when I sewed the sashing to the wrong edge) it didn’t take long to make a block so I’ll try and do one a week until the top’s done, and then it may feature in a future Finish-A-Long post.

March Achievements and April goals

As usual, my monthly goals were divided into Aussie Heroes, Personal and the 2019 Finish-A-Long.

1. AHQ: make two quilts: Done. One was posted this morning, the other is in the wash and will be posted tomorrow. Pictures will be on the AHQ blog sometime.

2. Personal: none set for last month.

3. FAL: Bind the tumbling blocks mini: Almost done. I’ll post pictures and details later this week during the Q1 FAL round-up.

Additional work:

I finally got around to cutting the black sashing for my Oriental Stained Glass quilt (I cut the oriental fabrics in January). Vanima “helped”.

83 two-inch strips of black fabric
83 @ 2-inch strips
Sashing strips bagged
OSG sashing strips
Vanima lying on cutting table
Vanima “helping” me to cut fabric

I also finished tier 3 of the Penrose tile quilt I’m doing — I posted about that here. I’ve started work on the next section but I doubt I’ll get very far before the cold weather sets in and I can start quilting Penrose 1 (the quilt in the header).

Finally, I made 15 appliqué heart blocks and sent them off to New Zealand (details here).

April goals

1. AHQ: One quilt and bag for a recipient in the Middle East. I also want to make some laundry bags for Townsville — many ADF members lost their quilts and laundry bags along with everything else during the monsoon floods in January — we can’t replace everything but we are doing our best to get everyone a new laundry bag.

2. Personal: the final two (out of twenty) Hawaiian appliqué blocks.

3. FAL: to be determined (I think I know which project I’ll choose, but I might change my mind).

January’s Achievements and February’s Goals

A cold front came through last night and the temperature is delightfully cool today. If it were winter I’d be thinking of putting on a light jumper or cardigan but I’m enjoying the novelty of being slight too cold (it’s 22° C inside, if you’re wondering what feels cold to this Aussie). I hadn’t realised how poorly I was sleeping when it was hot, but I certainly feel a lot brighter and more rested today.

January’s achievements:

AHQ goal: I finished the bag and quilt and sent them off to the Middle East. With luck they might have arrived now.

small nine-patch quilt in orange and brown, with a green border
Brown 9-patch mini

Personal goal: this was to bind two minis leftover from workshops I did a long time ago. I finished one, shown above, but not the other — I should get the second one done soon and then I’ll talk about them both later in the month.

The heat prevented me from sewing as much as I usually do, but I did get a head start on my February AHQ goal, which is to finish quilting and add binding to some ex-demo quilts.

Oriental fabrics cut for a stained glass quilt
oriental fabrics

I also cut up a lot of my oriental fabric stash in preparation for a stained glass quilt. Once I’ve cut the black sashing strips I’ll be able to start putting blocks together. Somehow, I thought that this would use up a much higher proportion of the oriental stash than it did … Silly me, I should have known better. I guess I’ll just have to make a few more quilts!

Finally, I finished the SID quilting on the tumbling blocks quilt that is my Finish-A-Long Q1 goal. I should be able to get the ruler work portion done this month.

In hand work (which barely qualifies as work because it’s so relaxing) I’m still piecing the Flame Rose quilt. I’m up to the third level of the design which requires 365 diamonds so that will take me a while. I estimate that I’ll finish this section around the time that the weather changes in April, and then I’ll be able to start quilting Pentastic (the quilt in the header).

February’s goals:

AHQ: bind three ex-demo quilts.
Personal: cut black sashing for the stained glass quilt; put borders on another quilt top.
FAL: ruler work quilting on the tumbling blocks mini.