Square in a Square

Four little 2.25″ blocks are all I have to show for yesterday’s stitching. I wasn’t happy with the corners of one of the pieced borders on Scrappy Star. I knew I was going to have to come up with a different idea. It will involve a little unstitching, but I know I’ll be much happier with the result.

Once I had decided on this idea I looked in the scraps container and, sure enough, I had just enough of the pink/green fabric for the four centre squares. I quickly ironed it to freezer paper, fed it through the printer and had my squares. A minute later and I had printed the 16 triangles needed to turn them into the squares in squares. Half an hour later and they were stitched.

A minute later, they were pressed.

Why so little stitching? Well, because we’ve hit that terrible time of year — tax time! A lot of organizing was going on here yesterday with more promised for today. Hopefully it will all be ready to go out the door by tonight. There will be some stitching tonight, no matter what, as I don’t feel like I’ve relaxed until some stitching has been done.

One of these years I’m going to get organized with a computer program so that this nightmare doesn’t repeat every year. Does anyone have a suggestion about a good program for keeping track of expenses/receipts that’s a Mac-friendly program and one doesn’t need to be a chartered accountant to understand?

As soon as the camera was turned on to take the photo of the little blocks, Baxter was posing.

Quilt in Waiting

While I am still working on the pieced fourth border for Scrappy Star, starting to work with these pieces in earnest is what’s beckoning although it is still quite a ways off. I finally finished cutting all the Winding Ways pieces last week.

They are now nestled in their own box, just waiting until I can devote some serious stitching time to them.

But before that happens I have to not only finish the pieced fourth border for Scrappy Star but also the final pieced fifth and possibly sixth borders for it.

The pieces in this box will be incorporated into those pieced final border(s) for Scrappy Star.

Then there’s the red and white Sunflower/Feathered Star quilt top that is next up on the list to finish as soon as Scrappy Star is done. After Scrappy Star and the Sunflower/Feathered Star tops are done, the Winding Ways blocks are going to be such a wonderful fun stitch.

Some interesting comments yesterday on the topic of pre-washing fabric. It seems like almost all those who left a comment have the same feeling; that it’s the dirt and chemicals that are the bigger concern than the possibility of bleeding.

Mr. Q.O. and Baxter have a game they play. Mr. Q.O. tosses Cappy, Baxter’s favourite toy, on to the windowsill. Baxter races over to grab it and then jumps back on the bed with it in his mouth. But yesterday? Yesterday, on one of the tosses, Cappy landed on the edge of the open window. Baxter apparently sat there for quite some time trying to decide if he’d grab it or not. Finally, he walked away. We rescued Cappy and all was well.

Next Border on Scrappy Star

There are three borders on Scrappy Star now. I’m working on the fourth border, which is a pieced border. For it, I need close to 200 QSTs. That’s the majority of them in the picture. In less than the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, I had all of them printed, cut out and ready to stitch.

So what does this have to do with it? On the weekend, I was washing some fabric for various projects. I tend to wash a lot of fabric by hand for numerous reasons, including the fact the washing machines in our laundry room are front loading and lock once the wash cycle begins. So I can’t check the water to see if anything is bleeding.

But that’s not the main reason I wash my fabrics. I want to get rid of the sizing and other chemicals that are in the fabrics. Many of the fabrics we use now are printed offshore and come to North America in large shipping containers, sit in warehouses and then get shipped. And something I’ve noticed a lot lately is that when I wash fabrics, even though they don’t bleed, the water is … well, dirty. It’s the only word for it. There’s a real grey dirty look to the water. After a good wash and rinse, the water is rinsing clear.

I know it’s a never-ending debate in quilting, whether to pre-wash or not, and everyone has their own preference. My choice is to work with fabric that’s clean and as free of chemicals as possible. As a hand piecer, I prefer the softness of fabrics with the sizing washed out. The very few times I’ve worked with unwashed fabrics, I’ve found myself coughing every time I pressed whatever I was making with them. I think that’s the formaldehyde and other chemicals reacting with the heat of the iron that bothers me.

I know I’m opening up a big can of worms here, but what’s your preference and why?

Baxter has no opinion on the subject at all. He’s much too busy guarding the toy basket.

Scrappy Star Squared

All four corners are added to the scrappy star. Now it’s a matter of the borders. There will be multiple borders on this, at least two of which are going to be pieced. Right now it measures approximately 36″ square. The final size I’m not sure about yet, but it will tell me when it’s finished.

Most of what I need for the pieced borders is contained in these two boxes. That is, of course, unless I decide to add more pieced borders than I’ve currently got planned.

I haven’t graded the seams on this quilt top. As there are so many little pieces in it which means a lot of seam allowances, I’ll start working on this sometime soon and definitely before the pieced borders get added. As the pieced borders are made, they’re going to be graded right away.

And no, don’t ask — I have no idea how many pieces are in it so far and am almost afraid to check. I have kept detailed notes on the making of this quilt so far and will keep adding to those notes but I’m not looking at the total of the pieces until it’s done.

Baxter loves to get in little hiding spots. Perhaps he thinks that we can’t see him and then will be able to spring out and surprise us?

Scrappy Star Round 7

It’s now at 36 inches. I’ve decided to square it up now as I have a couple of borders planned that will take it to a good-sized lap quilt. The last round of diamonds took 2 evenings of stitching to add.

The back. I am so glad I pressed as I went on this. Pressing the last round took only a few minutes as I had finger-pressed as I stitched, but I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to press the whole thing at one time.

Last week I was put on a medication that initially has made me very groggy and I’m sleeping close to 12 hours at a time. That’s not the point of mentioning this, though. The silver lining has been the dreams! I’ve had many dreams of quilt designs and the dreams have stayed with me long enough that I’ve been able to write them down when I woke up. I’m thinking this is a definite bonus.

Mr. Q.O. captioned this photo, “Well, are you going to just sit there or finish it?”