My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Sunday, October 2, 2022

September Stocktake

Well, well well, September is done and dusted already!
In an attempt to appear slightly organised I thought I would do a bit of a tally-up to see what I was actually up to during September.
First of all, the blocks.
One more Wings and Pretty Things block. I've been wanting to get back to this project for a while but my evening hand stitching time has been taken up by other things deemed more urgent —
I've now done seven of the 12 needed to surround the centre block —
Lin, who is also making this quilt, tells me I need to start on the elongated hexie borders so they don't become too much of a bear at the end (!). I really like how Lin has hers sewn onto a different coloured fabric (see *here*) so I will have to get my thinking cap on and make some decisions. (I was just going to use cream but have gone off that idea!)
Other evening stitching blocks, previously talked about *here*....these Foxley Village blocks —
And this wee stitchery - destination unknow!
I had a goal to complete the 12" blocks needed for my churn dash quilt - and in spite of other churn dash distractions, here they are —
A couple of 8" blocks thrown in for good measure —
Here are the different sized blocks I've been making, 6", 8", 12" and 18" —

The pile of hourglass blocks I talked about in my last post is steadily growing too. 
I now have 30 of them. I have enlarged the pattern so need more than the 96 stated. Better keep sewing!

I made a total of 48 blocks in September. The number surprised me as I hadn't felt particularly productive. I've been keeping track of my block making for the 350 block project ...when you have little to show in the way of finishes, having a decent pile of blocks instead makes one feel a little better!!!
This gives me 326 blocks made so far this year!!

Yep, finishes for OPAM this month, Zilch. Not even a 5 minute Barbie quilt!!

We've now been calving for 2½ months and are just waiting for the last few (5) cows to calve. Generally, the first four weeks of calving are really hectic as about 70-80% of the cows calve then, and the rest of the cows just slowly do their thing when they're ready!
I have 117 calves that I'm rearing so the workload is still reasonably high. I'm hopeful of getting to 120 calves as that sounds pretty respectable. It all depends on what's born...all the beef heifer calves are sold and we raise the beef bull calves.
Most of the calves are now out on the farm learning how to eat grass as well as getting their daily milk feed.
Our son-in-law is still working on the farm which has decreased my workload. Sometimes YD and Odie come and 'help' too —
"A Family Affair" - a great thing about farming ♥
I'm looking forward to a quiet rest of my day today so hope to get some quilting done - it's a quilt I ideally wanted finished several months ago but more brain power than what I had was needed!
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Design Wall Saturday

A quick glance at my design wall this morning gave me the inspiration for this post.
It's got a few bits and pieces on it —
First and foremost we see the Churn dash blocks.
I said I was going to sew up the 12" sized blocks next and I made a good start, with five of them made.
I got a little restless with those, wanting to see how the whole quilt was panning out (in other words, hoping that I was heading in the right direction!).
So I made one of the 18" blocks which incorporates one of the 6" blocks previously made) —
And then assembled them. This is the top left hand corner of the quilt. 
The photo below sort of shows the layout of the quilt; there are different sized blocks scattered all over the place!
I haven't really got a colour scheme going, just using fabrics as I find them. I'm using cream/yellow toned neutrals as my background fabrics...and as I run out of one, I have a hunt through my stash, or the shop, for another suitable one. Typical Raewyn-style which works for me.

I discovered, once I sewed these blocks together that this design also has some 8" blocks which form part of some huge 24" blocks...they have peculiar cutting sizes (16ths are mentioned) but not too many are needed so I am hoping they aren't too problematic to make (and get the size right) or I will be doing some improvising!!
The pattern I am using is Barn Dance by Denise Russart.
So the churn dashes have sort-of become my main project, rather than my  leader-ender project which is what they started as.

My leader-ender project is now sewing copious amounts of hourglass blocks. These will be used in the setting of the 36-patch blocks I made a couple of months ago when I was having a sort out of my scrap 'bins'.
I had made the 36-patch blocks and hadn't yet decided on which fabric to set them with. Now that the decision has been made, I will chip away at these blocks. They are all the same fabric and all the same block - not my ideal sewing but they go together quite quickly!
The hourglasses are joined, and frame the 36-patch blocks. The cornerstones will be a light coloured square.
I love to nest seams and it annoys me, when putting blocks together, when I cant! 
To explain (if it will make sense) - on the block below I have an 'uppy' seam and a 'downy' seam where the two blocks join at the top of the blue and two 'downies' where the blocks join at the bottom of the blue. Two downies (or uppies) together means the points don't always meet - even with careful pinning!
I've discovered if I make these blocks as pairs, twirling the centre of one, and not the other, that I can nest the seams nicely, and they sit a lot better - and those points match up a lot easier too.
So below I now have an 'uppie' and a 'downie' nesting nicely, both top and bottom of the blue join.

EDIT no, I don't need to clip any seams to achieve this; it's simply a matter of pressing the seam two different ways .... and it happens like magic! I do try to always press to the dark, but you don't have much choice when making the hourglass blocks (the way I make them!)
Which makes for less bulk in the seam and better points!
Sigh - the things that occupy my mind at times!! But they do say it's the little things that make a difference :-)
And this pattern is Smidgeon by Jessica Dayon.

There are two stitcheries up there on my design wall. The bigger one ("To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow") I have shared before but the small one is one I just completed recently. With idle hands one evening, I searched in the drawers next to my night time stitching chair and found it waiting for some attention. I'm not sure where it came from and what my idea with it was, but it's very cute. Being  just 2" x 3" it didn't take too long to stitch.
Well this missive is getting a little long so I will finish it here. My PC is also doing one of its anti-virus scans and everything is a bit slower than usual.
After very little sewing time this week, I hope to get a bit done now!
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Monday, September 12, 2022

Old-ish things

I think I'm not the only one who has trouble coming up for titles for a blog post? 
Sometimes a title is obvious, other times it's a boring repeat (e.g. 'Time for a Catch up" - I've used that several times!)
Today's title stretches the imagination a bit with this grouping of subjects with a very loose connection!

An 'older' project pulled out recently was Foxley Village. I started this a few years ago. Last year (or before?) I diligently worked through all the (hand) applique blocks and then put it away. I realised though that I had missed a couple of applique blocks. They needed some piecing to get them started.
I thought of them, and pulled them out recently when I was wondering what to do in my evening stitching chair.
I joined these to the sheep block I had completed previously —
And then thought -hold this blogpost- I may as well finish the section! 
This apparently is called a Flock of Geese block —
And this completes Part 6 from the July 2016 edition of the Australian Homespun magazine!!

Memory Lane is an 'old-ish' project because the stitcheries in it are all from designs done over the years in The Country Yard's mystery stitchery projects. A bit of this one and a bit of that one. It's been nice to make as I didn't do all of these BOMs, although I was involved with cutting fabrics, layouts or mailouts of many of them!
It was my UFO project for the recent bloghop. Finally here it is all together, with all its borders on —
A little more detail; top —
and bottom —
So onto the quilting pile it goes!

I came across this very old little cutie the other day. Made by ED many moons ago. All completely by hand... I insisted my girls did their first bit of sewing by hand as Mum had insisted that I do my first bit of sewing by hand!
You can't really see the 'button holes' - just loops of thread for the buttons to slip into😀
This wasn't her first piece but definitely one of her earlier ones! I suspect I may have been at work at the time. There was a period when I would arrive home and my girls had made amazing bits and pieces - Harry Potter capes included, all by themselves with just my stash cupboard and their imagination at hand!

Another 'old' thing is this finish from last month - George's jersey. 
He was really excited about it, and ED recently reported that this, and Lily's cardi from last winter, were extremely cosy on their recent holiday to Mount Ruapehu, where it was a lot colder than it is here.
We don't need a lot of this sort of clothing here, but the odd item comes in handy!

'Old' plums found at the bottom of the freezer the other day became some yummy jam.
YD visited the next day and insisted on scones and cream to celebrate the new jam! 
(GF scones are never that flash but were well disguised with the jam and cream.)
Fuelled by his lunch, Odie had a great time out n the paddock with a bike and his dogs —

And there are plenty of photos to share about all my calves who are keeping me busy but I'll just share these two today. The two 7 year olds led their pet calves over for a walk the other day...a reasonable distance and they were all still smiling by the time they got here!
The adults chatted and the calves waited while the kids played —
Off home again —
One last photo; freesias courtesy of YD. Just lovely!

'til next time,
happy stitches,

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

August ends....

It's time to report on the churn dashes I'm making for the Churn dash SAL.
The quilt I'm making has several different sized blocks and my personal goal was to get all the 6" blocks made by the end of August. These are the last of them, made over the past week —
The yellow isn't as insipid as it looks in the above photo —
I took a family photo —
And a fancy photo —
And then did a proper count up - I realised I was one short!!!
So one last, lonely 6" churn dash was made!
(39 x 6" blocks.)

Next I'll start on the 12" blocks - 11 are needed. I have made one already so hopefully they'll all be done by the end of the month. Chooky has a list (with links) on her side bar of those of us who are taking part, so take a look *here* if you want some churn dash inspiration ♥

I finished the stitchery I'd started in my last post. I'm happy with how it turned out but still haven't decided how I will use it. One thought is maybe a gardening journal cover, as a gift....?
And speaking of gardens, the daffodils at the cowshed have started flowering...they're very pretty. Most of our daffodils have finished flowering (we seem to have had 'spring bulbs' since May!) but these ones were only planted in May so are a bit later.
And I spoke previously about my concern that the Magnolia tree would lose its flowers in the nasty weather we were forecast 10 days or so ago. 
It was pretty windy but the blooms held on and we have had a wonderful show.
Not to mention a gorgeous fragrance which wafts around and catches you unawares as you're walking by!
The bees have been busy. Check out the pollen laden legs —
The leaves are growing now, a delightful splash of lime green.
I'm sure the calves are enjoying the Magnolia too - you can just see it here in the background while they are feeding!
Must away,
'til next time,
happy stitches,