Monday, July 31, 2017

What's In The Box Mystery 2017

Throughout July I have been working on this mystery quit, designed and run by Susan-Claire Mayfield of Gourmet Quilter. She asked us to not publish anything on social media until after the mystery was revealed. So here is the history of a month of sewing!

The first clue arrived on the 3rd, which is part of why I was up to see that lovely sunrise. That clue involved a lot of cutting:

The next clue involved making some 9-patches, and a bit more cutting:

Clue three involved some wonky sewing:
I discovered it is not easy to be deliberately wonky!

A few days later I made these:
The diamond in the middle of each block is sewn into the seams, but not around the edges. I've never made this unit before, and found it challenging to avoid tucks
 and catching the top surface of the diamond in the seam
So my quick-unpick got a bit of a workout!

Next up:
The wonky units became stars.

Another unit I've never made before was the next clue:
Pinwheels made with little prairie points.

The next clue involved some more cutting:
Curvy sewing ahead, obviously! This template had been in the "Box" right from the start, but was in a sealed package we couldn't open until receiving this clue. I like the way the etched markings seem to glow. The template is easy to read on both light and dark fabrics.

Then there was some curvy piecing:
Curvy piecing does not run through the machine smoothly.

Finally I was ready to assemble the top. Here are the rows clipped together ready to be sewn:

And here are all the rows assembled:

Up until now everything had gone fairly smoothly, but the last step was a nightmare. When I started putting the first couple of rows together, I found that my curvy pieces did not meet up to make a smooth wave. They were out by a really obvious amount, which was too much to fix with a little pulling and fudging. And because my curves were such a contrast to the rest of the quilt, the mismatched  seams really looked bad. No photos, it was too upsetting! The solution I came up with was to use a wider seam allowance. So I just sewed the seam where the curves crossed, rather than trying to make them cross where they should have.

That meant a seam allowance of more like a centimetre - and in places it was closer to half an inch.
That meant my blocks were no longer "square". Instead of finishing at 9", now they are closer to 8.5". But at least the curves match up!

So here it is, after much upset yesterday and today. The completed top, hanging on the line:
Of course the sun was out before I took the photo, and came out again after I had given up and gone back inside. The colours probably look nicer in the sun, but we'll have to wait until it's quilted to see that.

I will be basting this on 12th August, at my quilt group's next scheduled Basting Day. Then I will quilt it so that it doesn't become a UFO!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Week Nine

Not sewn together yet, but here is the ninth week of my temperature-based year quilt:
Every day this week fell in the range 10 to 15 degrees. Saturday and Thursday were only just in that range at the cold end, and Tuesday felt almost like spring as we got close to the warm end of the range.

The details:
28/07/2017   11.3   aqua/teal
27/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal
26/07/2017   12.0   aqua/teal
25/07/2017   14.7   aqua/teal - highest temperature yet
24/07/2017   12.3   aqua/teal
23/07/2017   12.0   aqua/teal
22/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal

Tomorrow is forecast to reach 15 or 16. If we make it, it will be nice to introduce a green fabric!

Linked to Sarah's weekly weather report.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Quilt Showcase

Went to the city today to check out the Vic Quilters Showcase at the Craft and Quilt Fair, which is on until Sunday. I volunteered for white glove duty, which meant I got free entry to the show, and got to get up close and personal with the quilts. But I didn't take any photos! There are some amazing quilts on display though, and the winner of best in show is just stunning. Worth seeing if you can get there.

My feet were very sore by the end of the day. Definitely chose the wrong footwear for the job, but I did manage to get to 10,000 steps before I got back to the train, so I could just relax when I got home.

My only purchases for the day:
A couple of pairs of gloves from Daiso, and some pins. The photo doesn't show it properly, but the gloves have three fingertips missing. Only the last two finger have tips. The idea is to use them for quilting, but not have to take them off all the time to tie off threads or the like.

The pins are for the curved piecing I am doing on my mystery quilt. My old dressmaking pins just didn't want to slide into the patchwork fabrics, so I treated myself to these very fine ones. They are only .4mm thick.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Penguin March

This week I've been working on my mystery quilt, which I still can't blog details of. It is getting close to the end, though.

I'm still managing to do 10,000 steps each day, and apparently today I reached penguin distance!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Off Lead

Today the dogs got a bit of off-lead exercise:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sit and Sew Day

Because I'm still holder of the key, I have to get to my quilt group's Sit and Sew sessions first, to open the hall and get everything set up.

So today I had an hour to myself before the next person arrived. Just the Queen and me!

I got three small things done today; stitching this week's temperature rosette to its background, adding a hanging sleeve to my flower ball quilt so that I can finally hang it in the hallway, and this:
The sixth clue for the mystery quilt I'm working on. Although one of these 3D pinwheels may need to be re-sewn.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mid-Winter Blues

Week 8 for my temperature-based year quilt has been cold:

21/07/2017   11.8   aqua/teal
20/07/2017    7.1    blue
19/07/2017    8.1    blue
18/07/2017    9.8    blue
17/07/2017   11.4   aqua/teal
16/07/2017     6.5   blue - coldest day yet!
15/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal

Here's the second row of the quilt so far:
Weeks six, seven and eight.

Linked to Sarah's weekly weather report link-up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Top Tiers

Not so much of a UFO now:
I added the remaining two pieces to the tree I made yesterday, and even included a ribbon to hang it by. It may even get some embellishments at some stage.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Potential UFO

Today in a workshop I made this:
It has a couple more pieces to be added to the top, and then it is mean to be embellished with beads or whatever. Actually it is meant to be twice as tall, but I only cut half the required number of pieces.

The pattern is "Towering Trees" by Wendy Hager. It is meant to look something like this:

There was only one copy of the pattern available between about 8 people which made getting all the pieces cut quite time consuming. Especially if you are last in the queue! And then there didn't seem to be a full set of instructions anywhere, so I don't really know how the last piece is going to be attached.

Now I'm faced with the decision to either try and finish the thing, or throw it out and write it off as a WOMBAT - Waste of Money, Brains and Time. Or perhaps more relevantly, Waste of Material, Batting and Time. (But in reality, the batting was offcuts from my last quilt, and the fabric has been in my stash for ages, so no cost really.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Slow Marathon

Apparently I have walked over 42km since Tuesday:
That "Earned on" at the bottom is wrong. The fitbit must be working on US time zones, as it didn't "award" me this badge yesterday.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Temperature Quilt Week Seven

Another week,
Another lot of cyan fabric!

14/07/2017    11.8    aqua/teal
13/07/2017    10.9    aqua/teal
12/07/2017    11.8    aqua/teal
11/07/2017    10.8    aqua/teal
10/07/2017    11.9    aqua/teal
9/07/2017       9.7     blue
8/07/2017       9.0     blue

A couple of these "aqua" fabrics are rather borderline aqua. I could have planned this a bit better. I have many more blue fabrics than cyan, but it looks like winter is going to be more cyan than blue. Here are all the blocks so far:
The top row will have only those five rosettes, with something else (to be decided) at each end. The next five rows will each have seven rosettes, so we will be almost at the end of winter when I reach the third row.

Linked to Sarah's HeLP for Hexie-aholics.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Major progress on the wisteria pergola today:
Welding one of the curved supports.

Positioning another support:

Then once all the supports were welded in place, it was time for the mesh:

First piece of mesh in place:
And down at the bottom of one of the posts on the right hand side, you might just see a tiny wisteria already in the ground.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Good-Bye Garmin

My replacement tracking device arrived today. It is a Fitbit Zip. So here is the last reading on my Vivofit, showing the little plus sign that means I made it to 10,000 steps today (194th day):
The Fitbit only shows 3,600 steps because I didn't collect it from the postoffice until this afternoon.

So from tomorrow I will know how close I am to my goal during the day, rather than being in the dark until the 10,000 clicks over. Hooray!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Year Quilt Week Six

At the quilt-in today I got this rosette assembled, but it isn't stitched to the background fabric yet:
7/07/2017   10.2   aqua/teal
6/07/2017   12.0   aqua/teal
5/07/2017   12.1   aqua/teal
4/07/2017   10.7    aqua/teal
3/07/2017    9.4    blue
2/07/2017   11.0   aqua/teal
1/07/2017    9.8    blue

Not a lot of variation in the temperatures for the week. And the week ahead looks like more of the same:
Today's temperature, which isn't shown there, meant that week seven also starts with a blue hexagon.

Added later: Sarah has started a weekly link-up for people making these quilts. Here's the first week.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Quilt-In Preparation

Tomorrow I'm going to the Willows Quilt In in Melton, so to give myself plenty of hand-sewing to take along, today I added the binding to my table runner:
I've also got a couple of weeks of hexagons to stitch to their backgrounds, so I shouldn't be short of something to do.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


The second clue for the "What's in the Box" mystery quilt arrived this morning. By the end of the day all the fabrics used in the quilt had been cut in to. 
On the right is my old phone case. I love the colours of the design, and used it as inspiration for the colour scheme of my mystery quilt. I think the trimmings are a a pretty good match.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Plus Sign

Yesterday the "10,000"s figure on my Vivofit stopped working. A couple of weeks back I suggested that once that happened the device would be useless.  However, I discovered I can still tell when I've reached 10,000 steps by this little plus sign:
This is the screen that tells me how many steps until I reach my goal. The plus sign is pretty tiny, and I can hardly see it, but for now it means I can keep using the device. I'm hoping it will last for a few more days. Today I purchased a different pedometer device on Ebay, and I hope it gets here quickly! I've walked 10,000 steps every day for the last 185 187 (I can't count) days, and don't want to break that run.

Monday, July 3, 2017


Pretty sky this morning.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

UFO for July

I finished my UFO for June, getting it basted, quilted and bound by the 24th:
So happy to have another project crossed off my list of unfinished ones!

For July, Judy has announced 12 as the project to work on. However, this month I am doing the Gourmet Quilter "What's in the Box Mystery Quilt", so my project number 12 will have to wait a while.

Here's the link-up to see other people's UFO progress for this month.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Icy Start

It's five or six weeks since my bethel sage started flowering, but this morning may have put an end to it:
Minus three degrees.

Pretty geranium leaf:
If you are reading this, Jenni, that's the red-flowered one you gave me.

I know from last year that all these leaves on the blue and the white salvias will turn brown and drop off after a morning like this:
But I also know the plants will come back in spring.

I can only hope that the TreeProject seedlings will all survive it!