14 done!

I had a very productive Easter weekend and was sewing most of the time. I have one block to redo, the original ended up in the rubbish bin. But that means I completed 14 of the 15 blocks. There is one more that I might do again. Honestly, I am actually really happy with my blocks for the Splendid Sampler

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The Splendid Sampler blocks

 

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Only 9 blocks left to sew!

I cannot believe that I have completed 61 blocks. Every time I made some I counted the number completed – I have made 12; I have made 10…..today I can see the end and I can now say ‘Nine more’! I think 70 will make a good sized quilt, with 7×10 plus a border.

It is such a good feeling. Ever better when I look at how I started, with this quilting bug biting me in March. I am happy! Yes, there are mistakes, with points not as pointy as it should be, with some square pieces not 100% square; and the biggest mistake that I squared all the blocks to 6″ instead of 6.5″ because I didn’t realise at the beginning that with ‘finished blocks’ quilters meant at the end of the process. But I squared the first 12 to 6″ and then decided the best would be to continue that way. The blocks for the other two quilts I am making are 6.5″ as they should be. I started with this quilt on 7 April this year and was hoping to complete it by the end of the year – I think I’ll reach my goal πŸ™‚

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61 completed blocks – a whole pile πŸ™‚
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No 61 πŸ™‚

Progress

It is winter, with snow covering a huge part of the country, especially in the South Island. We had a dusting here in Wellington, but mostly cold rain. Sleeping in every morning is still a priority, with the rest of today sewing. I have made progress with all three quilts. 53 blocks done of the blue Elm Creek Quilt, and 13 each for the two Farmer’s Wife quilts. My aim is to have 55 blue blocks done by the end of next week and 20 for each of the Farmer’s Wife quilts.

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Two Farmer’s Wife quilts – 13 blocks for each done
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Elm Creek Quilt – 53 blocks and Bella the cat

Holiday

It is vacation time – two weeks of sleeping in, reading lots, photography and needlework. And I started very well by taking not just one, but two naps yesterday

Saturday I went out with the photography group. We visited the St Gerard’s Monastery. Β They used to have an open day once a year and I always missed out. When I heard they now offer guided tours twice a week I couldn’t wait. It is a landmark in Wellington, well lit up at night and you can see it up the hill from so many places in Wellington. I enjoyed taking my camera out again and am very happy with the photos. What an amazing place

view
View from both sides of the verandah
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The Church
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Bicycles in the monastery

Today I made 5 blocks. One for the red/black/white quilt, one for the blue/black/white quilt and three for the blue quilt

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More blocks for the three quilts

Good progress

Queen’s birthday weekend here in New Zealand, which means we had a day off work today. I spent the day working on the Farmer’s Wife quilts – I make two of each blocks, planning to make a similar quilt for each of my boys; one with blue, black and white and the other red, black and white.

Twelve blocks done and I feel happy about it. I redid the blocks I messed up yesterday

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Farmer’s Wife quilts

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 πŸ™‚

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Bella is keeping an eye on me

Blocks

Easter Monday, my body still not adjusted to daylight savings when the clocks were turned back one hour, and I woke up early. Today I was planning to cut the first blocks and I was very hesitant to get out of bed – a bit nervous of what was waiting for me. I ironed the fabric a few days ago and I unpacked the rotary tool and cutting board.

Knowing full well it cannot be delayed any longer I got up. I couldn’t think of a single reason not to, I also could not think of a single reason why I decided I wanted to make a patchwork quilt 😦

So I started…..very nervous and not 100% sure how and what and where. I have never used a rotary cutter before. I have never even used a cutting board before. A few days ago I calculated how many blocks of each colour and each size I needed for the first blocks. This made it actually much easier in the end.

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Ready to cut

It took me a few hours, but I have cut everything I need for 12 blocks! I added the bits and pieces for each block in a little bag, with the number of the block

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12 blocks ready to go

The correct foot for my sewing machine arrived, I have bought the sewing thread. It will only be possible to start sewing next week as I am off to Sydney for a few days. But I think the worst is over – I have made the first cut!