Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (240)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 Bring along your project(s) and enjoy sharing in the conversations and inspiration being circulated via our Worldwide Quilting Community. I hope you have time to click on a few of the links below; maybe find a quilty blogger you haven’t met before, learn a new technique or discover a new on-line event to join making new friends along the way. Please do leave a comment or a like on the pages you visit – it is such an encouragement to the writers of the blogs we read.

Thank you for all the encouraging comments left me last week after I admitted to having lost my sew-jo. They were just what I needed to get the cover off my sewing machine and get stitching. On Monday I wrote about the string blocks that got me back into sewing mode alongside my plan to make a string block quilt for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2021. I received two messages from readers very politely asking if they might use the design for their RSC quilts? That gave me a real boost – so good to know my idea had given them the inspiration they needed for the Challenge. I think that definitely counts as a tick for my word of the year, SHARE 🙂

Having found my sew-jo I now need to work on my ‘pattern-jo’. Boy! Have I been making heavy weather of writing a pattern for a table runner/wall-hanging project! 😀 This week I’ve managed to write enough to be able to test the cutting instructions for two of the blocks. Thankfully they came together as planned. Now to write the instructions for and make the third and final block…

Of course a revitalised sew-jo lead to a Dreami (drop everything and make it) project has sprung onto my design wall! This began as a solution to the problem of what to do with pre-cut fabric packs? I find it difficult to resist buying packs of coordinating fabrics, they look so lovely on the shelves in my sewing room but what to do with them? I came up with an idea for this pack of eight fat quarters (an on-line, lockdown purchase made last year).

Melange by Stof ‘Misty Morning’ fat quarter pack and yardage.

I wanted to use as much of the fabric as possible to make a good size lap quilt. The quilt plan grew in the back of my mind, some of the maths became my ‘go back to sleep’ thoughts in the middle of the night. This week suddenly felt like the right time to break into the fat quarter stack. After machine washing the fabrics I was pleased all measured just over 18″ x 20″ except for one fat quarter which wasn’t cut straight:

Never mind, with a bit of fiddling I just managed to get the necessary cuts from this wonky fat quarter.

The little basket in the photo contains all of the left-over fabric from eight fat quarters – I’m pleased so little fabric has gone to waste or been added to my scrap bins. The partially completed nine-patch block is the only glimpse I can give of the quilt just now but I hope it will come together very quickly and soon be ready for the big reveal.

Here are this weeks links into our Worldwide Quilting Community:

Cherry’s latest pattern, Oh! Sew Happy, is a cheerful row-by-row sewing themed quilt. There are spools, buttons, a sewing machine as well as a row of houses and the word ‘sew’. Lots of elements of the pattern could be used or adapted to make wall hangings for a sewing room or gifts for stitching friends.

Angela Walters has scheduled a series of live chats over on her You Tube channel (recordings will be available if the live times are not convenient for you). Here is the schedule: 21st Jan, Tips for Machine Quilting Feathers; 28th Jan, Help! How do I Quilt it?; and 4th Feb, The Business of Machine Quilting.

A post by Yvonne Fuchs aka Quilting Jet Girl led me to a skill building block of the month that has just got underway. Organised by Kim Lapacek the ‘Old School Block of the Month’ will have blocks contributed by twelve quilt designers through the year. Here are links to the introductory post and the first block post.

Looking for a speedy way to cut fabric? Katy demonstrates How a Die Cutter Works. And in a second post Katy shares information about the various die cutting machines and their accompanying dies manufactured by Accuquilt.

Rachel has made a serious dent in her collection of string scraps and has a finished Log Cabin quilt to enjoy. I especially like the scrappy border she improvised – another way of using up string scraps 🙂

Happy Stitching!

Allison

Flitting From Project to Project Before Lock Down

Yep! Here in England we are just a few hours away from the second lock down of the year. This was announced on Sunday so there’s been a fair bit of last minute purchasing going on before all but essential shops close for four weeks. Of course, online shopping and click & collect services will continue so really there’s no need to rush around in a panic…

I’m trying to keep common sense thinking to the fore but often failing. I’m very grateful that this morning happened to be the fortnightly women’s Bible study held by our Church (on Zoom, of course). It’s good to have the grounding of Biblical truths to dwell on and learn from in these times when it’s too easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the moment forgetting this is all happening in just a tiny fragment of eternity.

I have to admit my thought processes have been particularly scatty over the past few days. I’ve not been able to settle to sewing, yet in the wee small hours last night I found myself planning another patchwork project! At least figuring quilt math in the dark and quiet got me back to sleep in double quick time! This morning I went into my sewing room all set to work on this new project (like I need another project!) but got distracted straight away by the piles of fabric scraps left on the cutting table…

Well! That got me back to sewing anyways.

Before the Zoom meeting I got those stray scraps stitched together and added them to the partially finished Scrap Vortex blocks. My cutting table now looks more orderly and my design wall more colourful. For this week that counts as a result!

The project I lay awake planning revolves around a pack of eight fat quarters I bought online in the last lock down. I had an idea for them then which is no longer floating my boat.

Melange ‘Misty Morning’ fat quarters on a grey background (I’ve tried to tone down the blue cast but the grey is still looking too blue/grey in this photo)

In fact I wonder why I so often fall for the temptation of pre-cut fabric packs? I always dither about how to use such packs to best effect, so they tend to stifle my creativity rather than inspire BUT a curated collection of fabrics always looks so attractive on a shelf 😀 Is it just me or do you notice in photos of other crafters sewing rooms stacks of beautifully arranged fabric bundles glowing brightly among perfectly colour-matched notions and curios? To quote Queen, ‘Is this real life? Or just a fantasy?’ 

Oh! My goodness! My thoughts are flying around like I’m experiencing a prolonged caffeine rush! I will bring this stream of consciousness nonsense to a close very soon I promise! I feel so sad for young people who have had to postpone wedding dates, cancel much needed holidays or are struggling to find employment. For me lock down doesn’t bring many disappointments: the main one is not being able to have direct contact with my parents and other family members (no indoor mixing of households permitted 🙁 ); the final class of the Beginners Course has had to be postponed, I feel for the students who are so close to completing their first quilts and will now have to wait; I was enjoying the social aspects and sense of purpose working a few hours each week in Purple Stitches provided, hopefully that will recommence in December or the New Year.

On a final thought-flit: I would love to be producing more patchwork patterns. I have almost as many pattern UFOs as quilt UFOs. To write patterns more efficiently (I could hardly be less efficient!) I really need to grapple with Adobe Illustrator rather than getting frustrated with the limitations of Microsoft Word. Hum! Maybe it will do my flutter-by mind good to apply it’s limited capabilities to learning new software? Or maybe I’ll just end up eating a lot of chocolate and throwing my laptop out of the window 😀

Anyone else going a bit loopy this week?

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers.

Allison

Patchwork Project Progress

As hoped I have been able to spend more time in my sewing room. I even missed the screening of The Great British Bake Off in order to progress my patchwork projects! (I know! The sacrifices made for this hobby of ours!). 🙂

Breezy day!

I’ve completed the patchwork top of the Dashing Stars quilt. I think this is the sixth version I’ve made. As I had plenty of the background fabric to play with I decided to make an addition to the pattern. Note the narrow borders on the

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Quilter’s Color Quest: Stash Challenge

The Quilter’s Color Quest is drawing to a close and I have a bit of catching up to do! The Challenges set in August by Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color revolve around stash fabrics. The final chapter in her book , The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color, is all about ‘Working in Cloth’. There’s a wealth of thought provoking advice about evaluating a stash of fabric and how to categorise fabrics by style which helps identify personal preferences as well as how to destash unhelpful fabrics and how to build a stash that will be ready to use when the creative urge stirs.

The first part of the stash challenge is to distinguish between helpful fabrics (simple pattern, one colour, tone-on-tone or solid) and limiting fabrics (multicoloured, large scale or novelty print).

I had a sort through my scrap boxes , selecting nine fabrics that to my eye meet the criteria for being ‘limiting’ fabrics.

Next I had another rummage and found helpful fabrics to sit along side the limiting fabrics. (I realised too late that I’d turned the Challenge on it’s head as I should have been selecting fabrics and proving them to be ‘helpful’ by pairing them with tricky limiting fabrics!)… Anyhow these are the pairings I made:

A helpful fabric to the right of each limiting fabric.

The Quilter’s Color Quest has been such a boon for me through all this pandemic craziness: A series of short, absorbing tasks; learning about colour whilst handling lots of fabric :-); with the promise of a super scrappy Bear Paw quilt at the end.

Picking up the August Challenge today has been a bit of life-saver. Well! ‘Life-saver’ is an exaggeration, maybe ‘mood-saver’ would be more to scale. I’ve read posts by other quilty bloggers who have struggled with the pro-longed social restrictions and found their creativity dwindling. For some reason that’s the place I’ve landed in just lately. This was brought home to me this morning when I pinched my thumb nail between two hard surfaces – ouch! Tears sprang to my eyes. Then I started to cry. I realised the tears and the crumpling of my face had nothing to do with my thumb hurting and everything to do with all the emotions swirling around in my head through this strangest of years. So, I had a cup of tea (as we Brits do!) and disappeared into the sewing room to sort out fabrics for the Quest Challenge! I also put away the FMQ quilting project that wasn’t working – no point testing my resilience at this point, we know it would end in tears and/or rude words!

There is a popular hashtag on Instagram that I often use: #quiltingismytherapy I can truly say patchwork quilting has been a great restorative therapy for me today.

Having worked on the Color Quest Challenge and made some Bear Paw blocks I am ending the day feeling far better than I did at the start. Helped in no small part by my daughter’s prayers and a loaded phrase that pops up in the Bible with reassuring frequency, ‘But God…’ We try so hard to sort things out, plotting and planning events with a particular purpose in mind, forgetting or ignoring the fact we are not in charge! Today I read Paul’s speech to the Jews in Antioch,

Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead…. We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…

Acts 13:28-32

There is no promise in the Bible that we will not have to face great hardships, maybe injustices too. Joseph certainly experienced some deep lows in his life, spoiled by his father, his brothers plotted his murder before selling him as a slave, he rose to a position of trust only to be falsely accused and imprisoned. Eventually he become Pharaoh’s right hand man, all so that he could give aid to his family in time of famine, saying to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (The history of Joseph is given in Chapters 37-50 of Genesis.)

I hope you are not struggling at the moment. If you are then don’t lose heart. If at all possible take a little step towards creativity – the simpler the project the better 🙂 I do believe creativity is a core part of our being – we are made in the image of a creator God – we function better when we have a creative ‘outlet’, even more so if we can share our creativity with other people.

Allison