A Billion WIPs

Doing that WIP Wednesday Thing again!  Does twice count as a habit?

I’ve been muddling along with quite a few different projects recently.  Why is finishing things so hard?  But actually, I am beginning to feel more on top of my current projects.  Woo!

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Grounds for Cautious Optimism

After my woeful efforts with FMQ on the Pfaff the other day, I dodged further quilting adventures in lieu of doing more piecing for my Damask Suns quilt while I waited for my FMQ bits ‘n’ bobs to show up.  After Quilt Club on Friday, I popped into town to see what thread alternatives I could find at the haberdashery stall in the market, and plumped for some reels of polyester Guetermann thread to try, plus some plain white cotton for piecing because I’d almost finished my current reel (1000m of thread goes nowhere when you’re doing patchwork!).  When I got home I found that my new open-toe FMQ had arrived, and Sunday evening I finally had a chance to try it out, along with the new thread:

Left: Top.  Right: Bottom.  Funnily, the bottom looks better.

Left: Top. Right: Bottom. Funnily, the bottom looks better.

Well.  Although I think there’s still room for improvement, the very brief trial of new foot + Guetermann thread was very encouraging.  With the same thread in both needle and bobbin and an 80/12 needle, I dropped the feed dogs, took off the IDT, set the machine to the spring foot setting and the stitch length to 0 and doodled a little on a charm-square quilt sandwich.  Immediately, I was pleased to note that the thread did not break and no stitches were skipped.  WOO!  No, seriously.  That’s a BIG THING for me.  The tension seemed off, however, and decreasing the tension bizarrely seemed to make the problem worse, not better.  I could see big loops of bobbin thread being pulled up through the fabric during sewing and on tighter curves it looks like the top thread is pulled too tight, yanking the bobbin thread through the layers.  Hrmmm.

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Tutorial – Tea Cosy v.2.0

After making one tea cosy for mum, I decided to make a second for her birthday because I wasn’t completely happy with how the first turned out.  This, then, is how I made tea cosy v.2.0, and it was actually rather easier than the first, as well as fitting the tea pot better.  :)  (I’ll update with some pix if/when I take some.)Tea cosy

Required (for a good-sized tea pot):

  • Coordinating fabrics; enough to make 20 dresden plate blades 8″ long
  • Scrap of fabric big enough to make the centre circle of the dresden plate
  • 2 1/2″ wide strip of fabric for the elasticated strap (8-10″ long is good)
  • Wadding (I used a heat-resistant wadding, but I think ordinary wadding would be fine too)
  • Lining fabric; must be big enough to cover the completed dresden plate (I used therma-flec, but again, I think ordinary fabric would be fine)
  • Sturdy elastic

All seams are 1/4″ unless stated.

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Creative Oozings #30 – Looking Back, Looking Forward

Well that was an interesting year.  Not the easiest we’ve ever had, what with new babies and household crises, but we seem to have survived, just about!  It has also, for me, been a year of much quilting.  It’s very easy, when reading forum threads and blog posts from apparently super-human peeps churning out king-sized quilts every other day, to feel that I’m not managing much in comparison, but in fact I think I’ve had a fairly good year for actually finishing things, even though I still have some substantial projects outstanding.

Finished Things!

Actually, I think that’s quite a lot of things finished.  Especially since some of them are quite sizeable or have multiple parts.  And there were a couple of little projects that never made it to the point of being photographed (a couple of pot holders and a phone case for mum, iirc.)  *slightly proud face*

Not-Finished Things

  1. That Damn Wedding Quilt!  It’s becoming a serious bugbear now.  I have the fabric I need to do the necessary Bs (border, backing, binding) for it, I just need the confidence, time and space to tackle those last bits.  Oh, and the quilting.  Oh god, the quilting!  Though I seriously hope my new machine will help greatly there, what with the bigger throat space and the huge extension table.  After I’ve cleared mum’s birthday and a couple of outstanding unfinished Christmas presents, I must make this the number one priority; maybe it’ll be done by Sian’s birthday in March (or by their wedding anniversary in June at the latest!).All The Hearts
  2. Japan Fans door curtain.  I started the quilting, then had to stop because I was running out of my chosen metallic thread.  However, I bought plenty more so I have no excuse now.  Chances of me finishing this before mum’s birthday on the 5th are slim-to-none, but there’s always Mothering Sunday!Japan Fans Attic Windows door curtain
  3. Baby quilt #1.  *SO* nearly done!  ;A;  This is the one with the mangled quilting thanks to my cheap-ass walking foot copping out on me.  I’ve unpicked the snaggly bits, I just need to point the Pfaff at it and let ‘er rip.  So to speak.  And then spend AGES brushing off all the linty bits from the wadding that have coated ALL the black fabric.  :(  Suddenly I get the point of black wadding!Coin stack
  4. Baby quilt #2.  Still in a pile of unconnected, untrimmed HSTs on my cutting table.  :(  Though I did trim a few more yesterday.  It’s tedious but undemanding work, at least.  When I was doing the festive table set, I figured out a quicker way to trim HSTs before ironing them (very handy given the tiny size of the ones used there), but unfortunately all these are already ironed so I just have to grit my teeth and trim all the sides.HST blocks
  5. Disappearing Nine-Patch.  The back of this is still all over the floor of my craft room, looking sad and reproachful because it was shoved down the to-do list thanks to my focus on Christmas presents.  And the fact that I don’t much like sewing Y seams.  I must be brave and tackle it.Scrappy Lone Star
  6. …Other odds ‘n’ sods.  Like that weird tea-coloured D9P and the scrappy batik squares I made.  Oh, and the hilariously late Advent Calendar.  (It’ll have to be ready for *next* Christmas!)  I’m sure there are more that I just can’t remember right now!  :p  I’m also developing quite a mess of scraps, so at some point I need to spend some time trimming them down into usable squares and doing …something… with them.  Maybe a Linus quilt or two; one of my fellow Quilt Clubbers is now an organiser for the Linus Project and I’m sure she’d welcome the contribution.

I also have vague and not-so-vague plans for more quilty projects, fuelled at least in part by recent fabric purchases.  Sometimes I think I shouldn’t be allowed out unsupervised!  I’ll show off my recent acquisitions in a future post, though.  Whatever else 2015 might bring, I have a feeling there will be quilts in there too!

Creative Oozings #29 – Christmas Presents (Part 1?)

One day, I will totally follow through with my intention to start making Christmas presents early and finish them on time.  However, Christmas 2014 was no break from my usual tradition of being up in the wee small hours of Christmas Eve/Christmas Day frantically trying to finish making something, and I didn’t manage to finish anything like the amount of things I wanted to make.  That’s par for the course too, and a “tradition” I’d really like to give up!

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Creative Oozings #27 – Just Call Me Crafty Owl

Brownies making wreathsLast Monday, Mum and I were volunteered to come and help my auntie Sue’s Brownie pack make Christmas Crafts to sell and raise funds.  Mum, with her talent for flower arranging, was put on oasis-and-greenery duty, while I armed myself with a small pile of cheap wooden embroidery hoops and a large pile of assorted strips of fabric and braced for impact.  I hadn’t managed to write a tutorial for fabric wreaths for the Brownies, but  I did manage to cut up a whole pile of strips of fleece from the off-cuts I got from Stef and make a “here’s one I made earlier” example wreath.  In the event, I was glad I hadn’t wasted my time making a tutorial; the wreaths are very straightforward to make (tie strip around ring, repeat until full, decorate as desired) and the girls were far too excitable to read anything.Brownies_6They were fascinated by all the fabric strips and helped me sort out a few piles of different colours, then I managed to redirect them to the hoops and started them tying on the strips.  It seemed to go down very well and there was lots of enthusiasm all round, and I was very grateful to the two Young Leaders who were assigned to help me with an ever-increasing number of excitable young girls.  There was a lot of, “Look Crafty Owl!  Look at this!” and I helped the girls tie on spray-painted pinecones and Christmas baubles to finish off their wreaths.  Aside from occasionally needing to police the pile of shiny fabric (of which there was a somewhat limited supply), everything seemed to go very smoothly and a grand total of 11 wreaths were made – not bad for a first attempt.Brownies_4(That’s my arm in the red – I don’t like photos of myself!  :p)

Sulk

I’m supposed to be at the Quilt Club Christmas lunch, but I’m not.  I’m sulking at home, feeling drained and exhausted and not really capable of anything except slumping here wearing lots of layers and drinking copious quantities of tea.  I really hope Tuesday’s B12 jab starts kicking in soon; I hate having pernicious anaemia.  In the meantime I shall be poking a manuscript in a desultory manner and if I feel really enthusiastic later then I may write a small tutorial on how to make fabric wreaths for my aunt’s Brownie pack.  I did promise I would.  :(