Friday, October 27, 2017

Cardinal Stars Finish

It's almost exactly seven years since I first cut the fabric for this quilt, and Cardinal Stars is finally finished!

It's one year since I sewed the red binding and extra yellow flange to the front. I learned how to do it from Mimi Dietrich's book Happy Endings (Martingale 2013), which is practical and helpful.

I thought that machine sewing the high contrast yellow flange nice and straight would be the hardest part. But then I wrecked my back, which changed my posture, and it turned out that hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt had become extremely painful.

I don't have arthritis, the problem is excessively loose joints and pinched nerves. Every couple of months I would try another few inches of binding, and the pain would return. I used to hand sew every day, and for the past year this binding is the only thing I've even attempted.

But, over the last month I've been working on my shoulder, and whatever was out of place seems to have corrected itself. Yesterday I was able to finish the last side and the last corner in one sitting! So that is a considerable relief.

I'm not going to jump back into a full schedule of hand sewing, but at least now I know I can do it once in a while.

Cardinal Stars, about 62" x 62" (158 x 158 cm)

After all that drama, the finish feels a little anticlimactic to me. But, I think all my experiments -- retrimming and remaking the blocks, "floating" the blocks on the background, my first time renting a long arm, and the flanged binding -- were quite successful. I have learned a TON, and I think part of the reason why this quilt feels out of sync to me now is because I've come so far.

So, yay! A second finish for 2017, an ooold UFO off the books, and some hand sewing hope for the future. :D

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Green, Part Two

Last month I shared my three forest green blocks for my Technicolor Turkey RSC17 project, based on Bonnie Hunter's Talkin' Turkey pattern. This time it's lime green.

I tried, but I was completely unable to resist using this Jolly Jungle fabric in the centre of all three blocks!

It is So Darn Cute.

There is not a lot of contrast between some of the limes and some of the backgrounds. But, I think other blocks have more than enough contrast to make up for it.

If you set the pattern with the darker colours, you will see it here too.

At least, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Check out the rest of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants at the link up right here.

I've also been thinking ahead to next year already. I have a really crazy idea...

...and this is the first stage of deciding how it could work.

So far, it seems doable.

Of course, just because I can, doesn't mean I should...

...but so far, it seems to have legs.

It's a Really Crazy Idea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Enough for Now

So yes, they're very cute, but I think that my Hallowe'en diversion with Jacks and Cats is over for now. It is just over six weeks until the next Bonnie Hunter mystery, and before that

At least I finished up all 55 of the wonky nine patches I planned for Jacks and Cats...

...and that feels like a natural stopping point. They will be trimmed to different sizes depending on where they end up in the quilt. Next time I open the box, I will have to finalize my plan for the applique. Right now that still feels tricky, so it's back to the basement for this project!

Technicolor Turkey is going really well, and I'm feeling good about that. And about 20 months after I bought it, I've finally realized that I don't like the fabric I bought for my Allietare border. New fabric is on the way! So I'm hoping that will be an easy finish now too.

With the year end approaching, my list of 2017 finishes is feeling too short. I'll have to see what I can do about that!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Feels like Fall!

Well, the season has finally turned here in Ontario. Even though the colours have not been the best this year, I still love all the gold undertones in the leaves, contrasted against the grey sky. I've been contemplating this colour scheme for Bonnie Hunter's next mystery, but I'll wait until she reveals her colours before I make up my mind. I still think blue & white is a good idea too...

But anyway, Technicolor Turkey is well in hand, so I felt like I could take a break and pull out my old Hallowe'en UFO, Jacks and Cats. I need 55 wonky nine patches for the alternate blocks and pieced border. I'm making them in pairs:

And I've been rediscovering a lot of interesting fabrics in that box! Love those sunflowers above. These oak leaves on the right are terribly dated, but I do still like them. Back in the spring another quilter expressed surprise that I have fabrics from the 90s in my stash. And I was surprised that she was surprised! But I was thinking today that the 90s were 20 years ago, so maybe I am a little out of touch. :D

All the blocks are still waiting for their final trim, but I made reasonable progress today:

I have no illusions that I'm going to finish this quilt this year, but it will be nice to move it along. I've changed my mind several times about how to handle the applique blocks, and more experimentation is necessary. In the meantime, I can play around a little more with these blocks. I think I will give them a little extra improv treatment.

And once these blocks and the border are done, there really will be no more excuses for avoiding the applique.

Plenty to do!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pink Turkey

The RSC17 colour for October is pink, and my three pink Talkin' Turkey blocks are done.

Many people have said they're considering making these blocks too. I highly recommend them!

The design is by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville, and in my first post I shared the two places you can find it. It is fun to make and very forgiving, because you do a final trim of the strings before you put on the last round.

Even though I've now made many blocks in many colours, it still surprises me when I put on the last round and the block transforms from sort of messy to sharp and crisp!

And there are hardly any seams to match, either.

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!

I hope this is the only pink turkey anyone will be served.

And check out all the other pink entries in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up, right here.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Moth Movement

It's the beginning of the month, and the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies continues! Although I haven't posted about my Moth in the Window project since June, there has been steady behind-the-scenes progress nevertheless.

1. I bought more fabric.

I carelessly checked to see what was new from Art Gallery fabrics, and I could not resist a few of these Sage prints by Bari J.

2. I decided (again) to make it bigger.

Reading back, I see that my original plan was 90 blocks, but I know that after the last post I settled on 56. But, now I have more fabrics to use, so the final plan is 81 blocks and just a simple solid border.

3. I cut all the fabric.

This summer I realized that it is a lot easier on my shoulder to cut shorter strips, rather than a full width of fabric. And it is easier to keep the short cut pieces neatly stored and organized, too.

Since I don't have a dedicated studio, this has proven to be a real improvement in the process!

4. I made a few more blocks.

Somehow it really entertains me to have the same fabric in different colourways, like this background fabric here. It's like a poem that rhymes.

5. And a few more...

Yes, this last one on the left is another dud. Two pretty fabrics, not pretty together. But, with 81 blocks to choose from, I'm hoping a few imperfect ones will just blend in.

Right at the end of August I took this photo of our sedum, which was just swarming with honeybees. Driving around the neighbourhood, almost everyone who has a garden has this same plant, so it is good to know that the bees are well fed before they go down for the winter.

For me, I'm sorry I've been MIA for most of the past month. When hurricane Maria was bearing down on Florida, I had my own emergency, with a late night ambulance ride, two difficult and painful procedures, and an unexpectedly long and difficult recovery. It has made me pretty grumpy, and I expect it will still be a few weeks before I am back to normal. But, at least I can still sew a little. :D
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