Three more and lessons learnt

I am finding that making these blocks are quite relaxing and it helps me to ‘switch off’ after a hard day at school. This afternoon I basically came home and immediately started to work on a block……and finished three today. I have three more already prepped

This is my first patchwork project and I am learning as I go. I am finding out that I really have to concentrate when cutting the pieces for the blocks – I still measure and cut, instead of measure and measure again and then cut! I have discovered that cutting in front of the line on the ruler, or including the line actually makes a huge difference if you are working with 6″ blocks.

Yes, lesson 1 is definitely – be very accurate when measuring the pieces!

Lesson two – press, don’t iron. Ironing can stretch those tiny little pieces. Press gently. And press every little seam! Not only are the seams lying neatly on the back, but the end result is so much neater too

Lesson three – do not, I repeat, DO NOT press when the block is on the cutting board. The cutting board is plastic and will melt. It will leave a mark on your iron……..say no more 😦

Lesson four – sew an easy block and then a more difficult one. Do not sew all the easy ones first. At some stage those difficult ones will have to be done and if you alternate easy and difficult you will make life easier for yourself. I didn’t do it that way – my first blocks were all the easy ones. And now I am working on the complicated ones. Not good

Lesson five – careful with those points! Although I am still quite proud of what I achieved so far, I know it is not perfect. There are heaps of mistakes. But I am learning and I am getting better with each block completed. I do know my blocks appear neat and tidy, but the points aren’t always the best. I also know my colour combinations are not always the best and some blocks look quite ‘busy’. A lighter fabric would have the better choice with the flowery fabric

Also be careful when reading the instructions. Read it properly, read it to the end!!!!!!! The size 6″-blocks got stuck in my head and that is what I aimed for. But if I read it properly and with more understanding I would have read ‘6″ finished”. But truthfully I also blaming the fact that I am a total beginner and didn’t really realise what the difference was between unfinished and finished. I thought unfinished meant before you sewed the pieces together, and finished meant the block sewn together. I actually trimmed the first blocks I completed to 6″ exactly – forgetting/not knowing that there should be a seam allowance and the blocks should actually measure 6 1/2″. So yes, my blocks are all 6″ which means the points and triangles and seams are going to be even less perfect when I sew the blocks together for the quilt. But I can’t change it now. I only understood it should be 6 1/2″ after I dutifully trimmed the first 12 blocks.

I have learnt much more than the above-mentioned lessons, but some things should not be written down as I really don’t want to look like a total fool 🙂

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Bella is keeping an eye on me

Baking and six more done!

Public holiday today which means I didn’t have to go to work!!!!!! Was planning to sew more blocks today, but felt like baking when I woke up. And I found a recipe for bacon and cheese bites which I thought would be perfect to snack on between blocks. And yes, it is a recipe I will use again. It is wet and windy outside, with a weather warning about very strong winds later today

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Cheese and bacon bites

The recipe: (I added some garlic salt to the mixture and then some grated parmesan cheese on top of each bite, before baking it, with some chilli)

Bacon Cheese Bites

1⁄2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups grated cheese, a sharp cheddar is best
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon grainy mustard (or French mustard)

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Combine egg and milk, and stir into remaining ingredients.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake until golden (about 20 minutes).
Cool on wire racks.

I made 6 of the 12 blocks I prepped yesterday. My pile is now up to 30 blocks and I feel quite proud

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Six more done!
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Ready to start today

Sunday

A very grey, windy day here in Wellington. The rain is not far away. It is a long weekend and I don’t have to go to work tomorrow – it will hopefully a day full of sewing. I am still struggling to get the smell of smoke out of my house. I just turned the Scentsy on with some new wax, it will be a test to see how good it really is

When I grew up my mother made all our clothes. She was always busy, never sat down relaxing without knitting or some kind of needlework. Mum taught me how to smock. My daughter always had smocked dresses. But on Sundays mum read, she didn’t do any needlework at all. Whenever I even think of sewing on a Sunday I can see mum’s face in front of me and I simply feel too guilty! Therefore I don’t do any sewing on Sundays either. Which is very tempting today as I have 12 blocks ready to sew 🙂 I am still very organised, as I have been since I decided to make my first quilt. Work out the sizes I need, cut pieces for 12 blocks, sew. Not sure why 12 blocks got stuck in my head and why 12, but this is the third set of 12 ready to sew

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Bags ready
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Pieces cut for more blocks

Really angry with myself

It is long weekend here in New Zealand. I planned to just relax and do nothing else. This morning I cut the pieces for 12 more blocks, which I am really happy about. Although in the process I ignored the bacon on the stove and it burnt to an unrecognisable black mess. And my house smells, everything smells and I am burning candles and sprayed air refresher about a dozen times already 😦

And then, to make matters worse, I opened the junk mail and the fabric shop were selling fat quarters – 10 for $20!!!!!! I am looking at making the Farmer’s Wife quilt in the near future, but I wasn’t planning to buy the fabric yet. But at that price I couldn’t really give it a miss either, could I?

Funny thing……I was in the shop looking through the quarters, trying to make up my mind. Everytime someone walked pass me I thought I could smell smoke. By then I have totally forgotten that I cremated breakfast and it was only when I went to the car that I realised I am the one smelling – the smoke smell is in my hair 😦 😦

Anyways, I have bought the quarters for the next quilt now. I couldn’t make up my mind until I saw the stripy bit…….from then on I went crazy!

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Framer’s Wife quilt fabric

Work is getting in the way

School is crazy at the moment. It seems as if it is much busier than last term already and I came home totally exhausted this afternoon. And it was only day 3 of term 2. I should still be relaxed after the holidays, but it feels as if I haven’t had a vacation for years.

When I am this tired I struggle to concentrate and therefore don’t want to cut pieces for more blocks – I just don’t want to make a mistake and then have to do it all over again. So instead of cutting and sewing I am working on the cross-stitch baby blanket, which I am happy to say, is going well. Also have to say it is quite hard to photograph 🙂

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Cross-stitch Afghan baby blanket

Oh no!

On the needlework side of things not much is happening. At school I am busy developing an online course for our junior students and it seems as if I am using all my creativity there. When I come home in the afternoon I just want to sit and eat chocolate for the rest of the day. I am working on the cross-stitch baby Afghan blanket when I have some energy – and it really helps me to switch-off and not think about school and how much work I have there. But I am planning to cut the pieces for the next 12 blocks over the weekend. Not sure why I keep on working in 12’s, seems to be the way I am thinking, but there is no reason at all

I have been a member of a Quilt group on FB, a silent member observing and reading and admiring all the beautiful quilts everyone is making. And then an event on the page – they are all going to start working on a specific quilt in May. Not to share the blocks, just sharing the progress and support. Why am I so tempted to join? They plan to only make a couple of blocks a week. It feels to me as if it could be a brilliant way to learn more about piecing. Yes, I am making this Elm Creek quilt, but I am making mistakes. Work with experienced quilters will be wonderful. So……….I have been thinking about colours and also ordered the book. But I haven’t committed yet 🙂 It is The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. Very similar to the Elm Creek Quilt. And I thought I could maybe make it for one of my children, maybe my daughter who lives in Canada and in the process of getting a new house. We’ll see!

Preparing for the second term at school

I couldn’t do any patchwork or prepping blocks this weekend as it is the last weekend before school reopens again on Monday. I cannot believe it is the end of the holidays 😦

Yesterday I cleaned the house, tidied everything in the sewing room (and everywhere else – it seems as if fabric took over my house). Today I had the slow cooker going, cooking meals to freeze for those days when I am too tired after school to prepare a meal. And it is always good to have casseroles in the freezer for the cold days. It was already much colder yesterday and today, with snow in the South Island and even some in the North Island. It is going to be a cold winter.

I won’t be able to do needlework for a while and will focus on the cross-stitch Afghan blanket I am working on. I have decided not to fringe it when finished, but rather give it a backing, using soft fleece. This will make the blanket much warmer and it will be used more

The Monarch butterflies are also still active, there are still about 5 chrysalis hanging around

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Monarch butterfly