Thursday, September 25, 2008

A star, so bright

All the stars are coming out tonight
They’re lighting up the sky tonight

It will be no surprise to anyone who knows me to discover that I frequently underestimate time and overestimate how much I can achieve in that time. Accordingly, shortly before I started this wonderful holiday week I made a list of everything that I wanted to accomplish; suffice to say that it contains enough quilting, knitting, embroidery etc to occupy a week each. However, one true aim was to finish putting together my Star-along quilt.

I finished the setting blocks on Tuesday afternoon and did all the cutting for the sashing blocks. I like the cutting but I really need a higher work surface to cut on and that's not something that I can make from shoe boxes and sellotape - I'll have to give that one some thought.

Yesterday I devoted myself to fights with my sewing machine over the bobbin and the thread tension, which I still don't really understand. I was getting little locks on the surface of the fabric where it looks like the top thread is not actually being pulled through the fabric. The manual said loosen the top thread tension which at one point I could take down to 0 with no discernible difference save that the back was a jumble of loose thread. I think it has something to do with the bobbin so I just kept resetting the bobbin until it worked but it was all very frustrating.

Anyway, I have a quilt:
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And it's massive - I was trying to take pictures last night but I just couldn't get it all in!

This is over a king size bed, and it's only slightly smaller than the duvet:

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And here we have the quilt smothering our comfortable two-seater sofa

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It wasn't until this morning that I could take this photo, by laying it on the lawn and leaning out of the bedroom window:

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It is I think a classic beginner level quilt, if you look closely there are blunt triangles and lines that don't quite match up but I don't really care. AmandaJean has done a fantastic job with her second quiltalong and I highly recommend it. My massive quilt is not going to get much bigger, I thought about adding a border but I don't have enough fabric so instead it will get a simple blue binding to match the setting blocks when I've quilted it (when!!! eek). I need to practice on something a little bit smaller first and then we can try this one.

I'm contemplating quilting down the diagonal lines made by the setting blocks and then outlining each star or something like that - any suggestions?

My second quilting project for the day/week (yes, I know, see above under reference 'obsessive') is also taking inspiration from another tutorial from AmandaJean, this time a good deal smaller,

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This isn't quite finished but you can get the idea of what it will look like. Underneath the fabric is a cheap pinboard from Ikea (I think it may have been called Chris) which I bought for my library/study/who-are-we-kidding-sewing-room. It is pinboard brown in a tasty pine frame, not the thing for my haven.

So, I cut strips of fabric 2" wide and sewed them together and then cut three patches at different angles 4.5" wide, and the square strips. The pieces in between are some relatively heavy grade calico.

I love the fact that from a distance it looks as though it might be slightly floral, and then close up:

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Sparkly cake. The child within me is alive and well.

H has a plan for attaching the pin board cozy to the pinboard which involves one of his palette knives and a staple-gun. Apparently a staple-gun is a useful thing to have around so he is quite pleased to be getting one. My role is clearly to stand by with bandages and check it goes on straight!


  1. Your quilt looks wonderful.

    I have some spare housebricks at the plot.. if they would help the height of your table. You could always cover them with some nice paper/material if you don't fancy the rustic charm of a clay brick.

  2. My top sewing machine tip is when all else fails, rethread it and if that fails too then change the needle.

    Are you planning on machine quilting or hand quilting the pretty blue top? Either way if you use a cotton batting and wash it afterwards the slight shrinkage hides any boo boos in the stitching.

    (Did you know I was a quilter before I came back to knitting?)

  3. That's a very lovely patchwork blankie - bet it gonna be warm and cozy !!

  4. It's exciting to see your quilt in full--it looks great! Good luck finishing the beast up! And I totally like the style of your latest project.


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