It’s not just you

March 5, 2019

Just a quick post to hopefully reassure some of my students. Why can I look at your seam and spot an error, because I look at mine and find them too :) You don’t get to find mistakes by being perfect, you find mistakes by making them so often they smack you in the face when you see them.

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As you can see while Iwas sewing this seam I seem to have taken a brief excursion. Still nothing that couldn’t be fixed by resewing it, and no I didn’t unpick it. Yes maybe in the future someone will look at it and say even back then people made mistakes and had to fix them. I hope it makes someone smile one day.

Unmaking part 2

March 1, 2019

The unmade is now back together and on the frame. The quilting is going slowly, my joints have not allowed me to have long days, but I am very pleased with how it is going. It will have a lot of colour and texture from the quilting. I was a bit worried that would swamp the piecing but it seems to be holding its own very well.

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This is just the start of the first row, it is taking a couple of days per row, though now I have the pattern set I think I will speed up a bit, but with the amount of ruler work it won’t ever be fast.

I did get one more foundaton pieced star done before I switched projects. I had a few days of looking at it and not doing anything before I worked out I needed to switch, no idea why I am so slow on the uptake :) Anywhere here is the other block that is done, and expect to see this quilt again sometime.

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Other than that, why the delay in blogging? well mostly I am house hunting and it takes hours. The market does seem to be a bit slow at the moment and I think I may finally have cought up with it, maybe from here on I just need to look at new listings. It is amazing how similar houses start to look after a while, and even more amazing how fashion works. Several houses have the same bathrooms, which makes things even move confusing when you are trying to compare them.

Unmaking

February 5, 2019

I had a plan. Which is probably where it went wrong. I thought I was going to load a quilt today. It is a top that has been waiting a bit over a year, but each time I look at loading it I do something else. While I was clearing up I found some leftover blocks from this top and tucked them in with it. No real idea why. The top was done with all its borders and as big as I can load. This morning I took another look and I still didn’t want to load it, but I had a plan, it was going on the frame. So as you do in this situation I procrastinated and looked at the spare blocks. Playing with them I decided the outside border was too plain and would look much better with some of these blocks in. Before you know it I was chopping up a perfectly good quilt top to fit in the leftover. I got the cutting done and the blocks added it just needs one more border then I am ready to quilt it. Well that and I have decided I want wool wadding in it so I need to go via my storage unit. I suppose it is progress of a sort. I just wish I had had this revelation before I had put it all together.

Prepare to foundation piece

February 4, 2019

Some of you probably already know that I have a large cabinet full of projects in progress. Let’s just say I probably have more in progress than most people would be comfortable with but it works for me. I am struggling at the moment to really focus on big project so each day I do the work part of the day then grab whichever project I feel like. Seems that I focus on one for 3 or 4 days then hop to another. No none of the projects will be done quickly, but at least they are all progressing.

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This is the last 2 days’ work. One large block from a kit. It was supposed to be a block of the month, but well it has taken a bit longer. It was one of my van projects and with no van it went on hold. I hope to get a couple of the little blocks done before I move on again.

Gravity now has all its crystals on. It was more than I thought but I think it is still pretty subtle. I won’t know for sure until I see it hanging. I now have a binding that needs finishing. Joy. On the other hand the last of my all machine sewn bidnings got finished today as I am well on the way to having a stash of quilts for shows this year.

I listen to a lot of radio in the car. Recently I keep catching things about preparing, either for Brexit or the fall of civilization or maybe even the zombie apocalypse. I am far from convinced that this is needed, and somewhere between impressed and disgusted by some of the companies capitalizing on this. However there is a possible upside. Maybe if the disaster doesn’t appear on time people would consider donating their stashed food to food banks rather than letting it go off. I would guess that a food bank might have a better idea what to do with tins containing 40 servings of a meal than most families, especially in an emergency with a power outage. Now the question is, how can I spread the idea?

What do you do while waiting for an iron?

January 21, 2019

Having finished the quilt on the frame, and cut the bindings, sewn the pipings and assembled the parts, I was hoping to press the bindings and fit them today. My iron had started making some unhealthy humming noises, so I figured it was time to replace it. Seems simple right? My last 3 have been the beefiest Tefal steam generators I could get and I assumed the same again would be great. Unfortunately most irons now have a selection of “features” I can’t live with. For a start an iron that has to have distilled water isn’t going to work. The cost and having to store a supply of water when I do late night quilting won’t be good. Worse than that is an iron I am supposed to let cool before refilling the water tank. So time to look elsewhere. I have accepted I will have to have one that turns itself off, but I do want it to run on either tap water or treated water. So tomorrow the Tefal is going back and I am going to try a Bosch. I am a huge Bosch fan (except for their vaccuum cleaners – I hated those) so fingers crossed this one will work for me. I have read way more instruction manuals for irons than I ever wanted to, I guess that is valuable education or something.

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So what do you do to pass time and relax? Easy – you build a minature Millennium Falcon. This is a Metal Earth model. You punch the parts out of the sheets of metal and bend them to shape. It all fits together with little tabs and slots. It is crazy fiddly, I recommend tools and an illuminated magnifying glass, but it is very calm and satisfying too. Hopefully tomorrow I can do my bindings, but if not I suppose I could force myself to work on another model kit. The model is nearly 3 inches long. Yup, the parts are tiny.

Tip of the day

January 20, 2019

Sorry it has been a few days. I have been busy doing a lot of boring stuff. The highlights include emptying the rest of the boxes that came out of my sewing room. I found my hot gem tool in literally the last box. By then I had almost convinced myself I hadn’t seen it while I was emptying the room. Next time I am at the unit I will pick up the quilt that will be getting the crystals.

I have also been working on binding some quilts. Even all by machine it isn’t my favorite job. However it needs doing, so time to suck it up and do it. Which brings me to my tip. Get a basket you can hang on your ironing board to catch the binding. I seem to press a let of long strips and having them drop into a basket keeps them clean and organised. I have a plastic basket that came with hooks attached but I am sure it would be easy to improvise.

Next week I want to finish sorting out my office desk. That mostly needs me to sort paperwork and pick up pens and pencils the cats have scattered. I aught to get some quilt lables sorted out and a whole stack of binding done.

Only 3 left

January 15, 2019

The box mountain is shrinking rapidly. Just 3 more archive boxes and 3 plastic project boxes to deal with and the kitchen will be back together. I have the new storage installed under my computer desk, so the next free cleaning time will be spent filling that and in so doing making space to complete my taxes. It’s not fun or sexy but it is very important.

 

The quilt on the frame is very near to being finished. Changing the order of work sped things up a lot and had the phone not rung I think I might have finished today. I guess I need to start thinking about which projecting load next.

 

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This is the final layout of the last block I posted, I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of it once it was sewn. I have one more block cut ready, and then I have to pause and find some quilts. Less interesting I know but it has to be done.

5 boxes down

January 14, 2019

Sunday morning seemed a good time to start on unpacking some of the boxes of stuff from my sewing room. I thought if I could manage 2 a day by the end of the month I would be done and that sounded very managable even skipping the days I am teaching. The first 2 went so fast a third seemed a good idea. That was slower but still quite fun so I went for number 4. Well owie, number 4 was a heavy one. I think unpacking number 4 took as long as the first 3 put together. Lots of art supplies and dyes in it. However sitting and unpacking it let me recover from moving it and led to box 5. Box 5 was also slow and took me to lunch time. However I now have a big space where there had been boxes in my utility area and that’s pretty cool. Also the stuff did just go away. Once put away properly things really dont take up much space. It’s weird but I like it.

Part of the motivation for this was that we had tickets for the Harry Potter studio tour Sunday evening. So the cleaning led to a good reward, and a lot of walking. I chose a time when the tour was in its Christmas mode, and I am very glad I did. It may have been fake snow but at least I have stood out in the snow now this year. On the Hogwarts bridge no less, which despite being very crooked and uneven is very easy to walk along. It is a very odd feeling as something that wonky really should be a trip hazard surely. Like any attraction it has lots of overpriced merchandise. I had a butterbeer in the posh plastic tankard, which was not quite how I imagined it but nice. The butterbeer icecream was way too sweet for me but I would have to say a very generous portion to the point where it wasnt much more expensive than an average icecream van.

We tried out wands, it is surprising how wrong some are in your hand. I didn’t expect them to vary so much. Voldemort’s was way too light and flimsy feeeling but most had a good weight and felt like quality items, which also surprised me. I came away without a wand but with a box of peppermint toads and a couple of metal models to build. It was a fun trip but quite tiring, with a lot of walking and a lot of crowds. They do manage the flow of people so only the beginning is really crowded. It is worth stopping to watch the videos from the producers and directors though so you may need to bear with the crowd longer than is fun.

Laundry Bag

January 12, 2019

We are very short of space in our bedroom, well in every room to be honest, and having a laundry hamper is a problem. Last week I figured out what I wanted, an over door bag with a drawstring bottom so I can empty it without taking it down. I was sure I had seem something like that before. After a day of searching the internet I phoned a friend, she remembered them too and in fact had had some. After confirming it would be ideal for me I decided it was time to make one. I can get at all my fabrics now and some of my notions so why not?

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First I started with the hanging loops. This is a really stiff denim like fabric. I think it is a blend not pure cotton and it doesn’t want to take a crease. So to get the fold I needed I used a LOT of clips. It did the job very well even if it looks a bit crazy.

 

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This is one of the three loops. I chose to stitch with black thread to get some contrast details, though to be honest where it hangs it is unlikely to be visible. I will know though.

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Next came the 2 casings for the drawstring at the bottom of the bag. I wanted to have all the fiddly bits done so once I started assembly it was just assembly with no messing about.

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The main part of the bag is 2 large panels. One of which needed a hole for putting the laundry into. I did this with a facing rather than binding the hole. It is a pretty big laundry bag and I didn’t want the hole to sag too much. The facing is as wide as the bag panels so it is held in the side seams and makes that area of the bag much stiffer. The curve isn’t as smooth as I would have liked but with the fabric not wanting to press I didn’t have many options for smoothing it out, and as I said before I don’t think anyone will get a good look at it in future.

I stitched up the sides and top of the bag, trapping the hanging loops in the top seam which I stitched multiple times to add strength. I was then able to hang it up and check exactly where I wanted the casing to be.

 

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One casing was stitched to each side of the bag to accept the drawstring, or in this case drawrope.

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It is up and already in use. It certainly keeps the dirty clothes off the floor, I have yet to test emptying it. I am hoping I can just stick a basket under it and open the rope. Fill the basket and close it off again. Fingers crossed it really is that simple. It does definitely clear access to the chest of drawers and that has to be a bonus for putting clean stuff away.

I am cleaning – does that mean it’s spring already?

January 11, 2019

OK anyone who knows me knows I am not desperate for spring, but I keep seeing things about spring cleaning so either I am doing it wrong or it must be spring. I have been dividing my cleaning time between tasks at the moment. I need to have access to my computer desk before the end of the month, but having my sewing room back in order helps my motivation, so both are getting done.

I can now touch the desk but to get it clear I need some storage. The cardboard boxes under the desk have disintergrated. That’s easy, right? Buy some under desk drawers and it’s all good. Initially I planned to buy another one of the drawer units I put in the sewing room in the summer. Measured up and it fits. Until I moved the boxes and found the back leg of the desk isn’t in line with the first. Why is it anytime this happens the solutions are all expensive? Fortunately a friend managed to find me a cheap set of metal drawers that will fit and I think I can also fit in one of the small cube storage units. It wouldn’t be my first choice but I think it will give me the storage capacity I need.

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This is the current state of play for my sewing desk. Yes the cutting mat does imply I have already made use of it. The boxes have arrived and are in place, although I am waiting for a replacement lid for one of them. The hand dyed fabric is now behind a blackout blind, and I have to say I love how it looks. It really looks like a proper unit not a quick bodge :) The boxes up top are my scraps. I have a few more waiting to go in them I just haven’t found that motivation yet. The cutting table is nearly cleared, my rotaty cutters reappeared and are now cleaned with new blades in.

It all feels painfuly slow. I only do house stuff and cleaning till midday. I need time to work as well. I just keep thinking at least there is forward progress. Eventually things will all be organised and functional. Probably just in time to move house :)