Fabric Choices

The weekend plan includes making some blocks using these fabrics. There’s an idea for a small quilt that’s begging to be made so last night I pulled some batik and hand-dyed fabrics that will be in the 12 blocks I plan on making. I’m planning to stitch them on the machine and am hoping that I can get all 12 done quickly and then put the little top together. There are a lot of tiny HSTs (half-inch ones, actually) in each block. I may decide to use a black fabric instead of the white.

My plans for the long weekend are almost all quilt-related. Along with the blocks mentioned above, there’s one quilt I want to get quilted (machine quilting), a top I want to finish and perhaps get basted, a top I want to baste and perhaps start the quilting of and a few design ideas I’m dying to play with.

While putting the fabrics out on the board to photograph, a little helper arrived to investigate.

Baxter seems to prefer to sleep with his front paws up around his ears. Makes us laugh every time.

Little Blocks and Big

Well, little blocks and big ones is all relative, I suppose.  The big blocks are 5″, the small ones 2.5″.  I think I’ve got the beginnings of a setting idea for these that may look something like this.  The quilt may end up a bit larger than I originally anticipated as each time I start to stitch one block, I can’t stop until I’ve stitched at least 2 or 3.

Then we get to the biggest blocks of the post.  These will finish at 9″, which seems enormous in comparison to the little cake stand blocks.  Another amazingly quick block to stitch.  I’ve had some ideas regarding a setting for these blocks and, as soon as I get another 3 of them done, I will start playing with layouts.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I quilt.  For me, it’s not about making bed coverings although if there’s a new baby or a friend in need of comfort I’ll definitely make a quilt for them.  Generally speaking though, for me making blocks and tops is all about playing with fabric and ideas and just the sheer joy of stitching and watching fabric that I’ve cut into small pieces and sewn back together again start to form patterns that I find endlessly fascinating.

It makes me think of the quilters of the past and wonder what motivated them to create their quilts.  Was it mostly for practical purposes so that their families would have warm quilts under which to sleep?  Was it because they too were fascinated by the patterns?  Or was it a combination of both?  It’s impossible to think that they were motivated solely by practical considerations when one sees the beautiful quilts they created.

Smudge was lounging in his kitty bed.  The paw draped over the edge makes me smile.

Cake Stand and Ovals in Batiks

It seems I can’t resist these little cake stand blocks. It’s rather fun making a large and smaller one at the same time.  I’ve decided to make however many blocks I can using 4 or 5 different batiks for each size and then play with the settings.  So I have no set size in mind or layout.  This is just play time for me and I’m loving every second of making these.  I was reminded to change out my needle last night when I realized the needle wasn’t gliding through the fabrics quite as easily and that I had been using the same needle for at least 3 evenings of stitching.  With batiks, that’s just too long.  As soon as I started using a fresh needle, the difference was stunningly evident.

As I had stated I was going to try to do, I managed to get a couple of the batik ovals appliqued as well.  If I can keep adding a few each week eventually I’ll get all the blocks done.

The hearing on Wednesday was nowhere near as long as the day before but it was the third day in a row of uncomfortable chairs at the wrong height and last night my back was aching beyond belief.  I’ve now dubbed them the torture chairs as they’re little better than card table chairs.  I think everyone was relieved yesterday when the hearing was adjourned and they could get up and stretch and get out of there.  The hearing itself is quite interesting, but the chairs make it close to unbearable.

I couldn’t even contemplate sitting at the computer last night or this morning which is why this blog post is so late today.  I usually do my blog post the night before and set it to publish the next morning.  Last night there was no chance of that happening.

Smudge was apparently posing for Mr. Q.O. before I got home yesterday.  I love this profile shot.

Another Pair of Cake Stand Blocks

These blocks have turned out to be the perfect stitching for evenings when I’m tired. They’re quick and easy to stitch.  Thanks to Wanda‘s comment yesterday, I now have an idea for setting them using the little blocks as cornerstones with sashing around the larger blocks.

They press beautifully.

The neutral I’m using is one of the nicest creams or whites I’ve worked with.  While it has a design to it, it’s not heavily painted on and is easy as can be to needle.  It’s a fabric by Avlyn called “Essential White”.

Tuesday was a long day.  In typical office building fashion, it’s either too warm or too cold.  Tuesday it was too cold.  It was pouring rain when I left Tuesday morning and chilly, so I was chilled before the hearing began.  By the time the hearing adjourned, I thought I’d never feel warm again.  I’m hoping that today we’ll adjourn early.  I’m definitely wearing something warmer today.

Smudge was relaxing with his favourite toy Tuesday evening.

TIny Cake Stand Block

Looks like I may not get much stitching done this week.  Monday night I was absolutely exhausted, partially because I had barely slept Sunday night for some reason, and got very little done.  This little cake stand block was all I managed to stitch Monday night.  It seems I’m determined to make a small quilt with the 2.5″ blocks.  I decided to use a QST for the triangle at the bottom of the block and am going to use the same cream for all blocks as the neutral.  I’m not sure how many blocks I’ll make, but it’s definitely going to be a tiny teddy bear quilt.

The back:

I’m going to continue making some of the 5″ blocks as well, with a view to making a small baby quilt.   I have an idea for the borders of both the tiny and slightly larger quilt and am planning to piece the borders as I stitch the blocks.  That way when I finish stitching the blocks I should have most of the pieced borders completed.

Monday wasn’t a long day at the hearing, but it appears that today will be as will Wednesday.  So blog posts for the next couple of days are probably going to be rather short.

Smudge was looking at a toy I was holding above his head while Mr. Q.O. got this shot.

Cake Stand Block and Hugo Goes to the Castle

What possessed me, I have no idea but on the weekend I decided it would be fun to make a 2.5″ cake stand block.  It was actually a lot of fun to stitch.  I printed .50″ and 1.5″ HSTs, a couple of .5 x 1.5″ rectangles and two .50″ squares and the little block practically put itself together.  I used two different Inklingo collections to do so, the HST collection and the .50″ Log Cabin collection.  That’s a penny in the photo, to give an idea of scale.

Then for fun I decided to make a 5″ block using the same fabrics.  Again, it practically put itself together.  The only difference in this one was that I used shapes from the 1″ Log Cabin collection with the larger HSTs.

The two blocks, side by side.

The back of the larger of the two blocks.

After watching so much coverage of the Royal Wedding on Friday, Hugo needed to see a castle so off we went to take him to see Casa Loma.

First he saw part of the stone wall.

Then the castle started to appear.

We rounded the corner and Hugo got his first good glimpse of the castle.

We saw the castle stables.

And then we were right across the street from the castle.  Hugo jumped up on the dashboard and had a good long look!

This is going to be a busy week as I’m acting as registrar at a tribunal hearing all week.  Oh, how I wish I had a smart phone or iPad!  With one, the inevitable long drawn-out recesses would be much more bearable.   I think the next technology buy for me will be one of those two things.

We seem to have found food that Smudge definitely likes and is eating.   That is a huge relief for us and he seems much happier.  Here he was relaxing.  I love the crossed paws pose.

Shabby Chic Cabin and HSTs

Wednesday I decided to try machine stitching one of the little 5″ shabby chic log cabin blocks and was pleasantly surprised at just how well it turned out.  In fact, I think it looks better than the one I had previously hand-pieced.

The back looks wonderful too.  The one thing that I can’t get used to is the amount of pressing that machine piecing entails.  When I hand piece, I usually leave the pressing until the end but with this I found I was jumping up to press after each little log was added.

When I was cleaning up my stitching area I found these 2.5″ half-square triangles I had made quite a while ago using Inklingo.  For these, I had printed the triangles on the back of the cream fabric and then stitched on the lines.  When cut apart, I had perfect HSTs but that was as far as I went.  I decided to try joining them into a couple of rows using the machine and was again pleasantly surprised.  This time I decided to try stitching without all the pinning and, while a few of my joins aren’t perfect, it’s good enough for a small doll’s quilt — and a great learning tool for me.  I’ll keep making the rows and joining them until I’ve used up all the HSTs and then will decide what, if any, border to add.

One of the things I found at the Creativ Festival was the Grace Company TrueCut My Comfort Cutter.  I’m really impressed with this cutter — it’s very comfortable to hold and use and doesn’t set up any pain in my wrist or hand.  The ruler is interesting as it has a slight lip on which part of the cutter rests and rides along as you cut and makes it easy to get perfect cuts.  The best part to me is that the rotary cutter takes any blades on the market.  I hadn’t even heard of this cutter before seeing it at the Festival.

Smudge loves to lie at Mr. Q.O.’s feet.  Wednesday night he was having quite a dream and was growling in his sleep.  That’s the first time we’ve ever heard him growl while dreaming.  Normally he only growls if he sees a dog at the vet’s office.