Two more blocks, but another unsatisfactory crafting weekend

In the last fortnight I’ve finished these two blocks, both of which I’m pleased with design-wise, though when it came to sewing the outside strips to the second one the points were a good 3 mm out so I had to sew below the 1/4 inch seam line I’d pencilled on in order to make them meet, but goodness knows whether that means the block is smaller than it should be, or whether I’d mismeasured the corner squares where the problem lay.

The overall look of it is still too messy and too orange, though I hope improving. (I took this photo from the wrong side as it was the best place to put the step ladders, thinking I could rotate it 180 degrees on the computer, but hadn’t taken perspective into account so am leaving it upside down on screen or it makes one dizzy). I’ve just noticed I’ve made a mistake laying it out because where the bird is the alternating block design has gone awry. It was just to give an idea, so doesn’t matter for these purposes.

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When it comes to the pink quilt for my aunt, I laid out the design last weekend and had made all the pinwheels, but have yet to attempt the scary needle-turn applique. During the week I sewed the first row together. My hope this weekend was to sew together the second row, but I only had the opportunity to start it this morning (Sunday), then hit the plain block that requires the applique shape, so didn’t finish it. I read about how to do the applique and got as far as making the template (traced it from the screen from Wiki-images) before it was time to go and help with the ‘Cream Teas’ at my church, i.e. spending 3 hours drying dishes (phew, it was busy). I’m daunted by the idea of sewing this on while turning under the seam and  putting little cuts in it so it lies flat. My use of the sewing machine to sew the squares together has not been brilliant, I find the start and end of the line of stitching where I’ve gone forwards and backwards to secure it, as per instructions, has left it puckered. I also often go off-course despite best efforts, just slightly but enough for the seam ripper to come out roughly every other seam.

I wanted to have designed the next autumn block but have only done the middle part of one, but it gives me something to work on on the train tomorrow. Finally, I’d intended to finish another 16-row block of the cable knitting I’m doing, as I’m almost finished the back of the jumper, but only managed  6. Over-optimistic as ever. Of course, if I’d got on with it Sat. p.m. instead of sitting glumly contemplating my uselessness after yet another horrendous driving lesson, it would have helped. Between being useless at that, useless at using the sewing machine, having tried to make a cake for today’s Cream Teas but failed because it wouldn’t rise, and not having noted in my work diary a research visitor’s appointment on Friday and being very surprised when this person whom  I’d forgotten about completely  turning up, I was struggling to think of something positive that I can actually do well. Scales still not in my favour, but I’m told  I’m good at drying dishes!

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Another leafy one (and the start of a pink project)

Here’s the latest of the plainer ones I’ve been making, using a new cream fabric with small autumnal leaves that I like a lot. It’s very similar to the other ones I’ve made recently, and I think having laid them all out that they’re making a definite improvement to the quilt as a whole. I’ve now run out of the dark green fabric used here, so the top right and bottom left corner pieces are a substitute fabric that I got. I don’t think it’s too noticeable, and I did spend some time laying them all out to see which would work best. I’ve been getting fabrics, including the new one and the orange / gold one used here online from ‘Laughing Hedgehogs’, which have a great range. As I’ve also run out of the brown fabric with orange leaves used on the previous block, and it’s not in stock anywhere that I can find (bought it on ebay so it will have been end-of-line) I got a different brown one from Laughing Hedgehogs, which I think I’ll use in my next block. As I had them laid out last night, I thought last week’s block was my favourite to date, and there are some I made earlier that I definitely regret! Oh well, learning curve.

I’d love to be able to machine-quilt it, but know at present I’m not capable. I don’t even know if it’s possible to machine-quilt a big quilt without long-arm quilting, and suspect not, but nonetheless I want to be able to use my sewing machine better. Plus, my mother-in-law wants to help me with it, as she’s a very good dressmaker, but I’d like to be able to say I did the whole quilt myself (I know, pride comes before a fall), so would like a different, quicker, project, to have for her to show me how she uses the machine to quilt. She says she doesn’t even use a quilting foot! So I decided I’ll make a quilt just using simple 5-inch squares, in shades of pink, for my aunt. It would be a lap quilt, so not too big. Whether she’ll want it or not is another matter! So last weekend, though in a great rush because I was booked to help at church in the afternoon, I cut a load of 5-inch squares using fabric I had in stock, with some pre-cut squares left over from a pack I bought for a previous project (a 25-inch cushion cover, the biggest thing I’ve made yet!) but which I didn’t use as they were but cut up because the project consisted of half-square triangles (and 3/4 and whatever you call squares made up of 2 half-square triangles!). I’ve pepped it up with a few green, which do tone in with pink/green blends in some of the other fabrics. I decided it couldn’t leave it entirely plain, so am making a few pinwheels. I’ve missed doing pinwheels, with all these flying geese I’ve been doing for the autumn quilt. I’d also like to try needle-turn applique to do a few pink flower shapes to sew onto some plain green squares, so that the quilt isn’t entirely plain but has a few features. The picture is just the squares to date laid out to give an idea of size and some spacing of the different colours, though obviously not exactly because it’s without the pinwheels and there are too many elephant squares too close together! I’m not sure yet if it’s too small. I hope not, because I’m really keen to get on and play with my sewing machine. Oh, there are not enough hours in the day!