Monday, December 29, 2008

Why I was getting stuck.

One of the reasons that I had almost given up on getting my quilt finished is that it is a BIG quilt. I am making it, primarily, for my bed and I want it to be 2.4m by 2.4m. So the sheer size of the project become somewhat daunting. The other problem was that I don't (didn't) have a design wall big enough to work vertically. I actually don't have a wall big enough to put that size design wall onto. However, I have found a solution. It just took a while to get there.

I bought 2 pieces of soft board.* They measure 1.2m by 2.7 m. I had to cut them down a bit. Most modern houses have a 2.4m stud. My house in from 1937 and has a 2.7m stud. So 2.7 m long soft board would have been a bit of a squeeze. I cut them down to 2.5m. I thought I would lean the 2 sheets vertically against the cupboard opening where I store my fabric. The problem was that the stuff bends very easily and one sheet was bending more than the other. After a few days of struggling to work on it I finally went to Mitre 10 yesterday and bought 6 pieces of aluminium edging which just slides onto the edges. One goes on each long side of the 2 boards and takes care of the curvature problem (I wish my curvature problem was so easy to fix!) The other 2 go on the short sides at the top and bottom and temporarily join the 2 boards together. Wahoo, a flat surface I can work with.

Of course I can't easily get into my fabric cupboard while it is up, but it is possible to slide the whole thing far enough out of the way to get to that elusive piece of fabric I absolutely must have for the quilt I'm working on :-) I now have a wall that measures 2.4m wide by 2.5m high. I can take it down and store it when I am not working on a large quilt. Now I can give you an idea of the scale I am working on:
Lots to do, huh? I'm not going to make the sashing pieces all the same colour, it would overwhelm the blocks. Another reason for needing a big design wall. It is much easier to choose colour and value when I am looking at it in a vertical plane. Back to the sewing . . .

* This is a whole 'nother story! We used to be able to get a product called flameguard - which we used to call pinex many years ago. At the beginning of this year it was priced at about $25 per sheet of 1.2m by 2.4m, a very reasonable cost. I encouraged my quilting friends to buy some, which they did. When I decided to get some more guess what? They don't make it any more, grrr..., and the replacement softboard is over $55 per sheet, grrr..., grrr... ! I wasn't going to pay that much when I needed 2 of them. so I went to Bunnings. They had some older softboard that was painted black on one side. It was $26 per sheet. But since they were wanting to get rid of it they gave me 2 sheets for $30. Must have been my lucky day. Just as well, really. It cost me $42 for flannel to cover the boards (no fluffy sheets in the shops in summer, ask me how I know!) and the aluminium edging was $15 per two metre length, and I got 6 of them. Sheesh!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'll Get By With A Little Help . . .

. . . from my friends. When I told them I had given up on getting my quilt finished before the deadline my good friend Jo protested and suggested I needed a timetable. So she typed one up on the computer for me (the picture should be click-able):
So far, I have managed to tick off the first day! Yippee, all the hand applique is done. But I have done some work towards getting the sashings done. I'm just not sure I have done enough to cross off the second day :-)

Now I look closely at the time table, Jo has put Saturday at the start of the week and it is now Sunday, so I am already 2 days behind. Yikes!

Thanks to those who have left encouraging comments. I try to reply to all comments by email but Nola and Karen have their settings as 'non-reply'. But thanks any way for taking the time to leave a comment.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Well, this is where I got stuck with my quilt. The sashings are pieced and I am not happy with the light/medium/dark values. I don't know which way to go. The first or the second? Or some other combination?

Or maybe this way out combination?
(Just kidding)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Slow Progress

This is one of the applique blocks that I have been working on over the last few months. The challenge for me was to design something original and I was hoping to have this quilt finished in time to enter for Symposium but this is not going to happen! Entries are due in by 14 January and my quilt top is still in pieces, some of which haven't even been pieced yet, let alone getting it basted and quilted in the next 3 weeks! (drat - I won't be winning Best of Show for a while, will I?) There are 25 of these, all in different fabric, and I still have 5 to finish off. Then they are surrounded by a pieced sashing which I am having difficulty getting the colour values right for and I have done only about 10% of what I need to have done. Oh, well there is always next time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Requiem for a Singer

My trusty old 1963 khaki Singer blew a 'foo foo valve' the other night - literally. I was merrily quilting along on a hearts of hope quilt, which a group of ladies has put together for one of their very dear friends and I offered to quilt for them, when my machine blew up. I knew the old rubber coated wiring was in dodgy condition, I just didn't realise that the condition was perilous. When the cord connecting the light to the electric motor blew it set the quilt on fire. 'H*** sh**' was the expletive deleted as I jumped and then saw flames! Frantic patting of the area with my quilting gloves!
Fortunately it was the very edge of the quilt, the batting was 100% cotton and therefore didn't melt, and the worst affected part will be cut off when the binding is attached.
But a tiny part of the scorch mark on the back of the quilt will not be covered by the binding.

As for the Singer? It is off to my very friendly sewing machine mechanic to be fixed. I love quilting with this machine. There is so much more room under the arm of the machine than my Elna. Why do they make modern machines with such a small harp? Why can't they make a basic low to mid price range machine that has more room?? I know there is a brand new Bernina with 12" harp coming out here in NZ next year. But I am positive it will be way out of my budget. I don't want all the fancy embroidery stitches. Just the basic features we have come to know and love like needle up/needle down, thread cutter, and the walking foot, free motion foot and 1/4" foot included as standard, not optional extras!

Oh, that's right, the Juki 98!

Here in New Zealand we can get this supplied with a very easy to use frame as well. My friend Janice has one. I want one! I just need to save some money. That is going to be a bit harder to do for a while. He, of Honey Bunch fame, is off to University next year. We do not qualify for any student allowances and the amount he can borrow on the student loan is not enough to cover the cost of his halls accommodation. He does have a holiday job but it will not be enough to totally cover the extra so it is mum to the rescue (but only while he continues to pass his courses!!).

Oh well, one day Roger Rabbit, one day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What I did this weekend ...

... was to travel on an 800km round road trip to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. I'm rather tired but also wired. Which is why I am on the 'puter when I should be in zzzzzz land. I gave my mother a quilt which I called "Where on earth is Bettina Monica Nesta?" Those are mum's names and she hates very one of them. She is called Betty which is usually a diminuituve of Elizabeth. But I think she was called Betty even before she was born. I remember as a child her telling me that her older sisters thought her mum had a baby doll just for them! It is a scrap quilt (and I don't think I have a picture of it) I made a couple of years ago. I named if after Mum because it had a tiny piece of fabric with an old lady motif on it.

This is mum and my stepfather Bert. I am thankful that they are well (relatively speaking for their age) and their minds are fully functioning.

My parents split up when I was 18 and Mum has been married to Bert for almost as long as she was married to my Dad. Amazing huh?