Slowly but surely…

…my quillow is progressing.

Here is the whole quilt part of it, held up by some lovely ladies from my Wednesday morning class:

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I’ve also managed to finish the quillow part. Here it is, complete with borders, and the backing I’ve made up using the rest of the fabric from the quilt. It needed to be bigger than a fat quarter, and it seemed silly to get a 24 inch piece of fabric when I could piece it together.

I’m still struggling a bit with my arms, which is why there are large gaps between my posts. I’m having more physio to try to make more progress, and am also trying really hard to pace myself when sewing or typing. It’s so hard! My natural inclination is to keep going for hours, and I just can’t do that at the moment. Grr.

Will post again when the quillow front piece is ready.

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Long time, no post…

I’ve been working on my quilt for next term this summer, and as my RSI hasn’t been great, the sewing has taken up all my arm energy.

I’m getting there now – only the final borders to put on, then the quillow/cushion panel to finish.

Here is the centre of the quilt, and the foundation pieced middle for the cushion panel:

It’s not in my usual colours – pink, moi? – but I am pleased with it, and it’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone occasionally.

I designed the foundation pieced block to keep the eight-pointed star in the dark pink as a main feature, but played round with it a bit. I’m going to add borders to it, but need a little bit more fabric before I can do that.

Final borders first, though!

 

Quilting with RSI

I have repetitive strain injury (RSI).

This means that sometimes my arms, wrists and hands become stiff and achy – like when you’ve been writing or sewing for far too long, and you just want to shake the soreness out – and stay like that for days or weeks, before slowly getting better with ups and downs on the road.

It started in spring 2003 – just before my final exams at university. One day, my right arm decided it had had enough and seized up. I couldn’t make a fist. My hand wouldn’t close. After a few days, it did get better, and foolishly enough, I thought I was fine. I went back to doing what I had done before – doing lots of typing on a small laptop. Sure enough, it came back again. When I tried to compensate with my left hand, that one got it too.

I have some physiotherapy exercises which do help, but don’t cure it.

The worst thing about it is that it is unpredictable. I’m not sure exactly sure what is going to set it off. If you put your hand on a hot stove, you know you will burn yourself. If I do hand sewing, sometimes I will be fine; other times my arms will rebel and my RSI will flare up.

I’m not giving up quilting – it is too important to me – but it does mean that sometimes I can’t do quite as much as I would like to. I’ve had a bit of a flare up recently, so I’m having to pace myself a bit more. It is a balancing act – do too little and I will get weak (not good); do too much and I will overwork myself and it will hurt (also not good).

That’s why there haven’t been so many posts recently, and why you might not see any updates about the passacaglia for a while. I’ve had to put that on a break, so I can work slowly on my medallion quilt for September. I will get back to it, it just might take a while.

Passacaglia Progress

Slowly but surely, she is growing.

Here is my (fourth) layout.

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Thank goodness for a big sitting room!

Obviously, this might change, but this is where I am at the moment. I’m working on filling in the rosettes in the middle – adding the belt of stars around the centres – and have bought 200 more teeny tiny triangle pieces as I have run out already (gulp!).

I’m raising a glass to glue basting right now!

Tidying my room … with delectable mountains

Isn’t that just the best block name?

Delectable Mountains. I’ve wanted to do something using this block for ages, and decided it would fit perfectly into a pocket for a bed tidy or machine mat.

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They’re not all that easy to see – on the front pocket – but they look like mountains that step up then step down again. Here’s a detail:

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I should have made the contrast stronger. I tried to pick the blue out of the pale fabric in the background, and it is a good match, but not really strong enough to stand out properly. I should have picked another brown, to go with the striking print in the pocket behind.

This project was what I intended the circle quilting for, but that piece ended up too small for the background (doh!), so I cannibalised my very first try at a bed tidy for this cross hatched backing.

Got to love a bit of creative recycling!

Rosettes and rings

My Passacaglia quilt is sort of in limbo at the moment. Making all the rings for the centres of the rosettes was the easy part – now I’m (still) trying to get a layout that really pleases me.

Here is my latest attempt:

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So big, it’s eating the room…

The large blue rosette on the top left has been in and out so many times, it’s a bit like the hokey-cokey. I replaced it with this one for a while, but it just seems a bit washed out and flat compared to the other rosettes:

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I like it, but it just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the rosettes.

I’ve also been working on a bed tidy for my classes to make, and – in a complete contrast to the intricate piecing of the Passacaglia – working on a way to quilt a largeish piece of fabric quickly.

I’ve been playing with concentric and overlapping circles using freezer paper as a template. I tried to stick to 5 basic sizes of circle, drawn at random with a pair of compasses, and went round some with my walking foot different distances from the line.

Here’s the end result:

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There are a few twisty bits in the fabric where the circles get close to each other – maybe I could have glued it better to stop the fabric moving while I quilted. Over all, I like the effect, and might play with it again.

I might also add some free motion quilting in the rings. I wouldn’t do this for a bed tidy, as it would all be under the mattress anyway, but it would be very effective on a panel or a whole cloth quilt.

365 Challenge – Joining Up the Blocks…

I’m designing a mini quilt at the moment, but I’m waiting for the background fabric I want to come into the shop – so I’m a bit in limbo at the moment. I’ve been meaning to get back to my 365 Challenge blocks, and this seemed like a good time.

It’s a really grim and rainy day today, so perfect for sewing. I’ve joined up a few of my least favourite 3 inch finished squares (the ones that didn’t quite make the cut) using some left over black batik sashing strips.

It was a bit tricky in places as the blocks weren’t all exactly 3 1/2 inches… (some trimming was necessary!)

Here is the plain sashed version:

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The strips work out at 1/2 inch finished – just enough to separate the blocks.

I’ve also played around with the idea of having mini cornerstones at the points where the sashing meets. I’m not sure if this will be too much colour, as the quilt is already scrappy. Here are some potentials:

I’ve tried a bright colour, a cooler colour and a mixture.

Too much?

Too much hassle?

Questions, questions…