Thursday 28 March 2019

Holy (S)Crap!

Life got busy and there was little time to build any mind blowing patchwork last year. The random moments that turn up here and there that allow time to sit and stitch mean I need to have a simple project that can be left "in progress" for an undetermined amount of time... a scrappy improv slab quilt was just the thing.

Scrappy slabs are easy to pick up and put down. The pieces are already cut and waiting to play in your scrap bin... maybe yours, like mine, is overflowing? In August of 2018, I sifted my bin and pulled out a whopping pile of wee bits in yellows, pinks, greens, oranges and corals. I threw in a few scraps of red & grey, a small dash of low volumes and, of course, a splash of purple went in as well for good measure.

I sewed and trimmed bits together as they came out of the pile... just mindless know, the best kind where you just blissfully work along with wild abandon. Sew, press, sew, press, trim, sew, press, trim, sew, get the drift. I did try to watch out for the directional ones and plant them upright for the most part... and I did fussy cut a few lil pieces that were too adorable not to include, even a few selvedge edges went in. After a while I had a stack of slabs in various sizes and decided to start making horizontal rows.

Things moved along rather nicely and as the blocks turned into rows the project picked up speed. I found myself carving out moments in my days to sew... 10 minutes here, half an hour there and before I knew it, there was a BIG flimsy growing in my mind's eye. I rarely make big quilts; I think the last bed sized quilt I made was my Gravity quilt that lives on our bed and that wasn't yesterday! Mister Recipes has been grumbling about a certain super cozy, grey blanket I happen to love on our bed... he hates the feel of it against his skin. He moans and groans about it almost daily and pesters me about switching it out for a stack of quilts instead.  Now, let me say I am absolutely unopposed to sleeping under a stack of quilts but I had 2 problems with his proposal. First, I love that offensive blanket; the softness against my skin is a welcome and pleasant sensation. Second, I don't own any more queen size quilts... I have some large(-ish) ones, but not exactly what I need size wise to fit the bed. This scrappy thing was the answer!

Like I said, I make rows horizontally. I start with similarly sized slabs, determine the target height and add bits or cut off bits as necessary to get them all to line up squarely. In this case I made 6 rows, none of them the same height; some were 22 3/4", some were 15 1/4" and the rest were somewhere between the two. It doesn't really matter as long as they are straight, flat, and in square. The width of the individual rows get cut when the rows are all sewn, this time, I used 95" as the number for every row. (If you Google a "scrap vortex quilt" you'll find a handy dandy tutorial that explains the process in a way that is fairly similar to how I did this.)

I made the flimsy to measure 95" by 94", which should fit nicely under the 98" square Gravity quilt. In keeping with the scrap taming and stash busting idea behind this one, I fashioned a back nearly as interesting as the front using chunks of leftovers, some coveted Cotton&Steel skull yardage and even a few extra slabs that didn't make it into the front.

Since I no longer have The Robot (and his new owner isn't quite ready to roll yet) I took it out to TLC Quilting Studio in Bedford to have it quilted. Bruce put a circle design over it with an orange thread. I've gotten it back... it is amazeballs!!  All the little bits offer so much to please my roving eyes; it is almost Eye Spy-like with so much to see. Now, to find a bit of time to bind it...

Monday 25 March 2019

March On

There are some seasons that seem to go on forever.... like Winter, for example... it seems to last a helluva lot longer than it needs to. I'm certain the calendar proclaimed this week that Spring has arrived, but the view out my back door still resembles Winter complete with snow and ice. Now that said, things are melting now and any rain that makes a respectable dent in the cold white stuff tends to end up trickling into my basement... so it's a bittersweet sorta time. Melting equates to mopping. Yay me.

So, according to the date of my last post, it's been a long while since I've written anything here... I tend to throw things on Instagram more and more but in doing so I have become a rather neglectful blogger. In my defense, I have been crazy busy with work and home and there's not a tonne of quilty stuff going on around here. A new baby springy thing came to live here in The High Tant back in November; our wee Ripley has been a constant source of joy & amusement... along with unending work, sleepless nights and cash depletion. Nothing chews up your mad money like a puppy....

I made a couple Christmassy quilts before the holidays... one for my Mum and one for the cupboard. Just simple patchwork, super quick and not fussy. When there's very little time a simple design is the difference between ending up with a UFO or a finish.

Patching quilts for Sister Purpleboots has been fun too! She's got a wee Jamaican rescue dog that's turned out to be a bit of a bedding nightmare and he continues to munch holes in her quilts. I had fun with the last repair... it was both a challenge and a delight.

I cut out the worst spots, and set in a patch that would look right on the back. I had to stack up a couple layers of batting to make the hole about the same thickness as her quilt and then I set out to make an improv slab from which I could cut a whale to appliqued over the hole. It worked out splendidly.... adorbs on every level.

Sister Purpleboots was pleased... the dog, not so much. Reports indicate that he has since chewed a hole in the whale. Silly dog.

Oh and I suppose I should share that The Robot has moved out and taken up residence with one of my nearby MMQG guildmates. Not only was that a huge decision to make, it was also a big job to dismantle & move him again. I will say that having done that less than a couple years ago made it a wee bit easier this go round. With The Robots glaring vacancy my sewing room now seems huge and I have my weekends back to myself... no more working 7 days a week or feeling like I have to.  I will certainly miss having the longarm at the ready, but all the time I spent quilting for others meant I didn't have time to sew for me anymore... I missed having time to play with fabric and build patchwork.

With life changes come life changes... the trick I guess is to know when change is necessary and make it. Change is often difficult... but we have to march on.