“I May Have a Scrap Problem” July wrap up

DD and the Grandboys spent a little over a week here at the beginning of July. DD was in the mood to sew, and sew is just what we did… twenty blocks later (with a bit of help from the Grandboys, especially Older Grandson; and even Grandad sewed a little) we had enough for the central part of a new quilt.

spider web detail

We also sewed the equivalent of seven yards of 4.5-5.5″ strips together to make a border.

In the week after they left, I sewed the blocks into rows, and the rows into a flimsy. I then added a solid inner border and the pieced outer border. Because I had learnt to do Y seams while making Attic Window blocks, I was very brave and decided to mitre the corners of the border! It turned out quite well, if I do say so myself! (No the strips aren’t meant to match at the seams — we used strips of varying widths randomly)

Spider Web mitred corner

So, may I present, for your viewing pleasure, our team effort — the flimsy that will soon become our Spider Web Quilt.

Spider Web flimsy

Sarah, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, didn’t run the “I May Have a Scrap Problem” challenge this month but I’m still pleased with our response to the challenge I set myself. My goal, at the beginning of July, was to use scraps instead of storing them — the container has gone from filled almost to overflowing, to looking quite bare! All the strips that remain are under 5″ so I will have think of a different project for them!

How about you? What have you been doing with your scraps?

See you soon with a knitting-based post (shock!)

In the meantime, may your stitches bring you much joy.



“I May Have a Scrap Problem” July goals

This month I would like to focus my scrap goals on actually using some of my scraps rather than storing them. DD and the Grandsons are here with us for ten days (school holidays) which has helped me focus my attention.

Last time they were here, I promised the boys we would make ‘spider web’ blocks. The blocks looked complicated so I read several tutorials online and have modified what I learnt to suit my needs.

My plastic shoe box of these scraps was neatly packed with piles of ironed strips but we’ve already started on the blocks so the container has been tumbled a few times. This is what it looks like after two days of sewing. We’ve made seven and a half blocks so far; with twelve and a half to go.

9 july 2016 less than 6 inch strips in use     9 july 2016 less than 6 inch strips in use 2

Sarah, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict blog, is not running the scrap challenge this month due to her commitments with the “12 Days of Christmas” blog hop but I want to stay in the groove, so to speak. It may be summer in the northern hemisphere but it’s a cold, wet winter (so far) here in NSW (Australia) — perfect weather for staying inside and sewing.

What about you? Are you taking a summer break from sewing or are you pressing on, regardless of the weather?

Whatever the temperature, may your stitches bring you much joy.


another finish

In November last year, I began strip-piecing monochrome 8.5″ blocks in preparation for our grandsons arrival at Christmas time. They like to sew (for short periods of time) and strips are more forgiving than squares! I had intended to make spider-webs, knowing that they would appeal, but mistakenly cut 60° triangles instead of 45° triangles — ending up with hexagons!

hexagons — no thanks

Our grandsons were not really impressed but we sewed anyway.

stack of triangles as at 31 Dec
stack of triangles as at 31 Dec

DD and I, inspired by Emily Cier’s pattern, Slices, in her book “Scrap Republic” chose to make our version of the pattern without the use of the lighter coloured blocks.

Emily Cier's "Slices"
Emily Cier’s “Slices”

When the family visited for the April school holidays, we sewed some more. By the time they left, there were only a few blocks needing completion, so I finished them.

Sewing the triangles into rows was fairly easy, once I realised I had to match the points that extended beyond the seams. Joining the rows was more complicated. I tried really hard but some are not good. However, as my mum used to say, “a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn’t notice!” Oddly enough, the more seams I sewed, the better my point matching got! 🙂

Seriously, getting the quilt finished was more important that perfectly matched points, although I would really like those. The quilt is not going to an exhibition; otherwise I would take it apart and start again. The truth is, most of the points are pretty good and a few of them are perfect. The recipient, probably a patient in the palliative care unit of the local hospital, is probably not going to be studying the points — they’ll be glad to have something bright and cheerful on the bed to keep them warm.

I love this quilt, it’s so much more exciting to me than the previous two finished quilts — more my style really in that it’s bright and a little less traditional.

Rainbow Wedges finished front

I decided to strip piece a panel for the backing — there are enough matching points where six blocks meet on the front of the quilt without adding more bulk in the backing.

Rainbow Wedges finished back

I wanted to quilt along the diamond lines with a row of double stitching but I didn’t want any other quilting to show so I decided to do horizontal in-the-ditch stitching. That was fine where the rows met but because the individual triangles were made of various width strips, it just didn’t work. I bit the bullet and did diagonal quilting across the diamonds using a clear monofilament thread.

Rainbow Wedges quilting detail

This was the first time I have used invisible thread and I was surprised that I found the right tension straight away! I had read some web pages about using invisible thread and they all suggested lowering the tension to 2 and working from there to get the correct tension. My biggest problem is that the very fine thread kept slipping out of the thread guides and, one time, it tangled so badly that I had to unthread the machine and cut off a huge knot. But the quilting was done and, like most learning experiences, the more I did the more I remembered to keep an eye on the thread guides!

Of course, then I had to remember to return the machine to ‘standard’ tension settings to put the binding on!

In the winter school holidays, which begin on 1 July, DD, the boys and I will probably make spider webs!

This post links up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday which is being hosted  Whims and Fancies this week. Why not check out what other people have being working on?

What about you? Are you making quilts? Or has some other form of stitching grabbed your fancy?

Whatever your choice, may your stitches bring you much joy.

another finished flimsy

Although I started making these blocks in February 2015, so that I could learn the technique of sewing a Y-seam (in class), this project didn’t get its place in my sewing room until January 2016. At that stage, I had 40 x 6″ blocks made; 20 in blue and the other 20 in red or green. Some of the green blocks weren’t working well because of my choice of fabrics and needed to be ripped apart or replaced.

January was the month for blue on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge so I decided to make this project all in blue. Getting all the blocks done (I needed 80) took me into February. Here are some of them (pinned in groups of four).

last twenty blue blocks
last twenty blue blocks

In the last week of February, I turned the 6″ blocks in to 12″ blocks.

one pinwheel

It was 29 February before I took it to class at my LQS to use the design wall. During class, I sewed the blocks together in rows which left me only four seams to go to complete the flimsy at home.

Attic Window Pinwheels flimsy

This is far from my most successful project: the pin-wheels don’t stand out as well as I had hoped but I’ve learnt how to make y-seams, vastly improved my technique in making attic window blocks, got ideas for a future quilt and, when it’s quilted, it will keep someone warm who would otherwise not have had a quilt. Better still, it’s my own design (with the help of EQ7) and one of my class mates wants to make a quilt like it from her scraps, so I’d call it a success.


This post has been linked with the Rainbow Scrap ChallengeScrappy Saturday” post.

May your stitches bring you much joy.

work in progress (and a finished flimsy)

One good thing about being at home most days as a full-time carer is that I have plenty of time to do the things I enjoy doing. Afternoons, if it’s not too hot, are reserved for some light gardening with WM. If it is hot, we go for a ‘swim’; well, we get wet in the swimming pool, no one actually does much swimming.

Blanket #10 in progress
Blanket #10 in progress

In the evenings, I often do some knitting. As you would probably be aware, I rarely have time for my own knitted projects these days. Most days, except when it’s too hot to sit under a warm covering, I work on the sashing and borders of mum’s knitted blankets. This heap on the floor near my armchair is the one in progress. I am doing the sashing and borders in bright yellow (for a change from my usual white) and I’m liking the effect.

During the day, I am usually found in the sewing room. Sometimes I’m on the computer or piano but, more often than not, I’m doing something sewing related.

Last weekend I trimmed a large number of HST down to 2.5″ squares. Those little tags on top of each pile say “96”; saves me counting each time! I still have another 150 or so waiting to be trimmed and an unnumbered pile (no photo) waiting to be cut and/or pressed.

192 done; 576 to go!
150 waiting to be trimmed
150 waiting to be trimmed
Scrappy Mosaic quilt

I’m not in a hurry with this project; it is my leader/ender project so it is moseying along and will get there eventually. It started because I had so many 3″ blocks in storage and thought it was better to use them than store them. I ‘designed’ the quilt for them on EQ7.  The two colours in my design don’t mean anything; they just help me distinguish between the two different blocks; which are variations on Mosaic blocks in the EQ7 library. My quilt will be made of scraps so I just need to see where the lights and darks go!


last twenty blue blocks
last twenty blue blocks

On Wednesday, I made twenty more Attic Window blocks. I now have the eighty blocks I need to make an all-blue pin-wheel quilt. Here are some of the blocks — these are 6.5″ square and will therefore make 12″ (finished) pin-wheels. What you can see here are five sets of four blocks pinned together. I refer you to this post to see what I’m planning. In that post, I had blocks of three different colours but half of them were blue. After writing that post, and spurred on by January being ‘blue’ on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, it occurred to me that I had more than enough blue scraps to make the quilt entirely in blue. The left over blocks will either go on the back or will be the basis of another project!

All eighty of these blocks will go with me to class next week to be trimmed and joined into pin-wheels.

One of the advantages of being in a class at my LQS is access to a design wall. I took the 30 blocks for my Green Strips and Triangles quilt to class on Monday.

During class, I turned 30 blocks into six rows. Over the next couple of days, I joined those rows together (only the first seam had to be completely ripped out because the points were “right off”). I admit that I did spend some time watching YouTube clips and reading other web pages to find the trick to getting those pesky joins ‘right’ but I didn’t really find any information that I hadn’t heard/read before.

Anyway, the flimsy is finally done so this week has been a good stitching week.

What about you? What have you been stitching?

May your stitches bring you much joy.


a move from UFO to WiP

Welcome to my new blog home. It’s fitting that this first post at my new address should be about a project that has moved from being an unfinished object to a work in progress (a bit like this new site).

In March last year, I decided I wanted to learn how to make Attic Window blocks — I was intrigued by the so-called “Y-seam”. It took several weeks before I became even remotely confident with the technique.

I started without a plan for a quilt in mind (I just wanted to practise the technique) but quickly realised that attic window blocks made interesting pin-wheels, so I began making four blocks with the same dark fabric but using different fabrics for the window pane and the lighter frame (scrap quilting is what I do).


Each pin-wheel, of course, takes four blocks. I have looked on my (old) blog and I don’t have any posts about  these blocks — which is a shame; when I pulled the project from the UFO pile last week, I already had  32 blocks made. I told you it took a while for me to become confident with the technique!

Some of the blocks don’t work as well as they might — the fabrics I have chosen tend to blur part of the pin-wheel because the window pane is a similar tone to the pin-wheel ‘arm’. Look at the block on the bottom left in the photo below, the batik used on the window pane is too similar to the arm of the pin-wheel. The paisley print in the left top block is not much better!


Two of the blocks, perhaps two of my originals, would make the pin-wheel spin the wrong way so they have been relegated to the back of the quilt to be part of my signature block panel. Therefore, before I could go any further, I needed four more blocks; two for the back, and two to replace the odd-bods! I made the four ‘replacement’ blocks on Wednesday but it had been so long since I had visited the technique that only one of the four went well (the first one!).

Now I had 32 blocks for the front of the quilt and four blocks for the back. Each pin-wheel is 12″ square (finished) A quick calculation showed that and I would therefore need 20 pin-wheels, or eighty blocks, for the front and four pin-wheels for the back.

January is blue month over at the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge so I pulled my blue scraps to make some more pin-wheels. I cut enough fabric for five more pin-wheels but I didn’t feel confident to go ahead. Hurrah for YouTube and the wonderful people who share their tutorials there for free! On Wednesday night, after WM and Mum had gone to bed, I watched a fantastically helpful video called “Mitred Corners in Attic Windows or Borders“. I tried using their technique on four blocks and it worked perfectly! Hurrah! Thank you, Ruth’s Stitchery! (I’d embed it here but I don’t think WordPress allows videos on their free site — at least, I can’t find a way to make it work! So, I’ve added the link so you can check the video for yourself if you’re interested).

On Thursday and Friday I churned out a total of twenty more blocks! My latest blocks are stacked in sets of four; there are actually twenty blocks here, not five: I don’t have a design wall top take photos of that many blocks at once!


Persistence and practice are, as always, the key to success!

This post is linked to the latest post for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at SoScrappy blog. Why not pop over there and see what others have been doing with their blue scraps?

In the meantime, may your stitches bring you much joy.