Adjusting to a new season in and out of the sewing room

Japanese Graden, Kew by Allison Reid
Peace and tranquility at the Japanese Garden, Kew – a photo memory from Oct 2018

I knew September would throw up a lot of changes but I hadn’t factored-in quite what an impact adjusting to them all would have on my slowed-down, lock-down self. In trying to accommodate increased social activity I know I’ve dropped a few balls, including writing for this blog. Sorry for the lack of regular posts – there have been plenty written in my head!

I’m definitely not grumbling about the way life is changing, just having to acknowledge that returning to a more normal, pre-Covid, level of activity is going to take some time to get used to.

Gratitude Log. First and foremost I am grateful for the roll-out and up-take of vaccines in the UK – over 80% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated. The vaccination programme has made the following events possible and I’m acutely aware that most of the World’s population have no where near the levels of Covid-safety I’m privileged to enjoy.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been grateful because:

  • Both my husband and younger son have found employment and we are settling into new routines.
  • I’ve been on a sewing day – first in 18 months πŸ™‚ Felt so odd being in a public hall and not wearing a mask! Funny that I sat next to a lady and as we chatted we realised she’d been one of the customers I’d served earlier that week in Purple Stitches – we’d both been wearing masks in the shop so didn’t recognise one another!
  • The ladies mid-week Bible study group at Church has begun meeting in-person rather than on Zoom.
  • We’ve been able to meet up with family and friends for a variety of socials including birthday celebrations and an in-person meeting of our Housegroup.
  • I’ve begun teaching again. The first class of the four session Beginners Course took place last Saturday.

Whew! That’s a lot of social activity and I’ve just had to accept that it’s going to take introvert me a little time to cope with this return to a more balanced social routine.

Which makes me grateful for something else, namely my sewing room πŸ™‚ Definitely a place to retreat into, find rest in creativity or just find rest in pottering about, fondling fabric and playing with new ideas. Occasionally this sewing room space does become a place of work though. For the past two weeks I have been pressing, rotary cutting and collating novelty print fabrics. I managed to source 42 different cotton prints. After laundering them all I set about cutting them into 1,156 five inch squares! (I’ve only just worked that out – definitely better not to have known at the start of the process how many were needed!).

I have collated the squares into eighteen packs of 42 and twenty packs of 20. All are now listed in my Etsy and Folksy shops for UK customers. Alongside the packs of novelty squares I’ve listed my I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern. I’m proud of this pattern as I designed it to be a quick and easy make and it has received positive reviews ☺️

Apart from the 42 novelty print squares all that’s required to complete the patchwork are two background fabrics – one a darker shade of the main background to create the ‘shadows’. The pattern has step-by-step instructions for strip piecing. Despite appearances there’s no fiddling about with sashing as the strips between the novelty squares are part of the blocks. The pattern is available as a pdf download on Etsy or as a printed pattern for UK customers on Folksy. (Unfortunately Etsy add tax onto the price of the pattern – obviously I don’t receive that money).

Handling all the novelty fabrics has got me fired up to make another I-Spy Shadow quilt. I think I’ll try making a smaller version using 30 novelty squares in a 5 by 6 layout. I’ll be posting my progress here and on Instagram @allisonreid.neweverymorning

Background fabrics along with the excess novelty squares I’ll be using.

Other projects that need attention this weekend are my blocks for the Beginners Class – can’t have the teacher falling behind on the homework! I’ve taught the Beginners Course several times, making at least five versions of Viv’s Dashing Stars quilt.

My most recent Dashing Stars quilt – I added borders to this one.

This time around I’m mainly using fabrics from my overflowing bins of blue scraps. I’ve decided to alter the pattern a bit by making Square-in-a-Square Blocks in place of the large feature fabric squares. I used this table on the Quilter’s Paradise site to figure out the cutting of the fabrics for the Square-in-a-Square Blocks. A very handy resource for anyone who ties themselves in knots doing quilt math!

Once I’ve done my Beginners Course homework and the prep for lesson two I will turn my attention to the ninth block of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along. I’m making these blocks using scraps of blue fabric – surely I’ll be able to close the lids on those bins soon? πŸ˜€

I hope you have some time to be creative this weekend.

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

PS. Catching up with reading blog posts is definitely on my list with the intention to re-establish Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts as soon as I have brain space to absorb more than ‘absolutely necessary’ information!

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (269)

Welcome back to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share after our short Summer break. I hope you have a project to bring along and some time to join in the sharing of inspiration, tips, news and views with our Worldwide Quilting Community. Use the links below to find your way into the Community, leave an encouraging message in the comments boxes and enjoy absorbing some of what’s been shared over the past few weeks πŸ™‚

This week I finished the third version of the bag I’m designing (it’s listed along with a matching facemask in my Folksy shop). It was a bit of a slog as I was not only sewing but also taking step-by-step photos and amending the draft pattern as I went along.

 

I’m pleased with the adjustments I’ve made to the design. I’m particularly proud of the bottle holder πŸ™‚ Little things, little things…

Whew! It is a relief to have pushed the pattern writing process to a new stage. Now I have to edit the photos, integrate them into the pattern draft and polish up the written instructions…

Having finished a sewing project I took time this morning to clean the lint out of my machine and change the blades of my rotary cutters. Why do I always delay doing these simple but game-changing tasks? πŸ˜€

Then I scratched my ‘patchwork piecing itch’ by making the eighth block of Melva’s Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.

Grandmother’s Block

The Sew Along is ideally paced for me with a new block being announced just once every three weeks. The blocks themselves are interesting to make and at 12Β½” square provide a relaxing break from more fiddly sewing.

Just as well I am keeping up with Melva’s Sew Along. Looking around my sewing room and up at my design wall I can see I’ve got rather a lot of projects stuck at a standstill.

The EPP/applique English Country Garden QAL blocks are the February-April blocks, I still haven’t finished the May Marigolds; the blue EPP hexagon flowers were made many months ago to fill in the open spaces of the Irish Chain quilt languishing on the back of the sofa bed; and there are several other partially completed projects stored in clear boxes around the room/house. I think I either need to make progress with the projects on the design wall or replace them with a selection that will get me motivated. It feels like a good time to freshen things up; we’re entering a new season, the new school year is getting underway and several groups I belong to are about to resume after the 18 month Covid break. Are you gearing up for changes in projects and activities as we enter the last third of the year?

Before we get to the links just a reminder that I’m now sending out a newsletter a couple of times a month. There’ll be more links into the world of patchwork quilting as well being the place to hear about new patterns and workshops before they are launched. Newsletter 2 will be winging it’s way to in-boxes in a few days time. Sign up here to keep ahead of the news πŸ™‚

Here are some links that I hope will be of interest and spark your creativity:

Izzy has chosen a flower design to free motion quilt across a Plus Sign Patchwork. The curvy, swirling design makes a great contrast to the straight lines of the patchwork and creates a comfortable, smushy texture too.

The final part of Cynthia’s scrap sorting trilogy includes a selection of the quilts she has made from the scrap fabrics she keeps so well organised.

Watching someone else exercising their free motion quilting muscles is always entertaining (well! in my quiet world it counts as entertainment!). In this short video clip watch Leah Day quilt out ‘Loopy Angles’, straight lines and triangles take the place of loopy lines and circles.

On a fmq roll here so why not add another fmq link? πŸ™‚ This link will take you to Angela Walter’s ‘Tips for Quilting Negative Space’.

Inspiration comes from all directions… How about Van Halen’s guitar? πŸ˜€ Izzy has interpreted the design on said guitar to make a cushion cover for a VH fan.

Quilts that make you say ‘wow’! I have no desire to make a millefiori style quilt but I am fascinated by the process and the results Wendy shares in her blog posts. Her latest quilt ‘Fireworks’ took four years to make! It is EPP and hand quilted. All done exquisitely.

Following the progress of a blogger’s project via their posts makes me eager to click on the email notifications when they arrive in my inbox to see what’s occurring. Finishing the piecing, then quilting and binding someone else’s abandoned Double Wedding Ring quilt certainly provided an interesting series of posts as Sharon battled to keep the project moving, overcoming several difficulties along the way. Having willed the project on I’m so pleased to see the quilt finished. It certainly is a masterpiece in perseverance and well worth all the effort Sharon put into it.

Yvonne is an experienced quilter of negative space. She shares her quilting plan decision making process in this post.

When you finish a huge UFO quilt and decide it’s your favourite make ever! Take in Rebecca Grace’s pure pleasure at moving her Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt to the final stages of it’s construction πŸ™‚

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday. She has finished a scrappy quilt which looks just great.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (266)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your projects(s) and join in the sharing going on in our Worldwide Quilting Community. Take part by clicking on the links below, leave an encouraging message in the comments box of the sites you visit and keep the patchwork quilting inspiration flowing πŸ™‚

Well! Have you had opportunity to do a bit of stitching this week? I’m still making bags – this week a second Reversible Hobo Bag from a pattern by Mrs h Sewing Patterns.

Blue rose fabric is an extra wide backing by Riley Blake called ‘Flea Market’.
Reverse bag – I stitched & flipped strips of ‘Spirit’ by Lila Tueller from a Moda Scrap Bag onto a foundation of Hobbs 80/20 wadding.

I’ll share a quick Stitch and Flip tutorial in a separate post.

I’m keeping up with the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail QAL. Melva published a pattern for a Shoo Fly block along with the latest instalment of Marian Russell’s girlhood memories of living along the Santa Fe Trail in the 1850s.

Maybe this weekend I’ll switch back to hand stitching and finally make some progress on the May block of the English Country Garden QAL – the August block arrived in my in-box today!

Here are a few leads into our Worldwide Quilting Community. I hope you find plenty of interest πŸ™‚

Scrappy Half Square Triangle blocks, what’s not to like? Well! OK! Maybe trimming them all can be a bit of a chore! However Patty has a new trimming ruler to play with as well as a stack of charm squares just asking to be made into a quilt. The photos of her scrappy HSTs reminded of the cover of a book I have on the shelf called, ‘Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle’ by Jeni Baker.

And talking of HSTs, Cynthia’s completed a quilt using her ‘All That Jazz’ pattern. I like the way the staggered arrangement of her large HSTs gives the quilt a really dynamic look.

Linda has been making good use of her Quick Curve ruler. The quilt she has created is in her signature sunshine palette. In her blog post Linda has included several short videos demonstrating how she achieved the different quilting designs across the quilt.

Carole has a new talk to add to her list of in-person/Zoom presentations. From reading her blog for several years I know she has a wealth of experience and expertise to share in her ‘Well Loved Quilt Repair Programme‘.

Beth has used block patterns from a QAL to make a table runner and ends her post with a rhetorical question, ‘Isn’t patchwork fun??’

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday. Alycia has been inspired by family circumstances and the actions of other patchwork quilters to make and donate quilts.

Happy Stitching!

Allison