Production line

(Warning to family-type people who read this blog: there are Christmas-present spoilers below.  If you don’t want the surprise ruined, stop reading now.  Alternatively, if anything really catches your eye, let me know and I’ll make sure that one’s your present 🙂 )
January and the start of my masters is looming large, so I’m trying to fit as much as I can into the rest of this year, before I have to be head down over the books again.  Of course, my list of things to do (urgent) is much longer than the time remaining, but I’m making pretty good progress.  Last weekend I decided Saturday needed to be a “buy all the things” day, so I planned out an over-ambitious route to various corners of the city to tick off some of the retail-based to dos on my list. And ended up walking most of it.
That wasn’t the original plan – I was going to walk as far as Hands, then catch a bus from there into town, walk from there over to a place on Fitzgerald Ave, then catch a bus to Riccarton, and finally bus home.  But I spent too long in Hands (a common problem), so just missed the bus into town.  And it turns out they’ve changed the timetable so that bus only runs once an hour at weekends now.  So I decided I might as well walk into town (probably a stupid decision, given how hot a day it was, but the alternative was sitting at the bus stop for an hour (or going back to Hands… but that could have got expensive!)).  And from there I still had to walk over to Fitzgerald Ave of course (which is only a few blocks more, but walking through the dusty wasteland of the central city it feels much longer), and then I discovered the shop didn’t have what I wanted anyway, so I had to go to another place on Memorial Ave (another several blocks across the wasteland in the other direction), then back to the bus exchange – I’d love to have had one of those step trackers on to find out just how far I walked in total  (Actually, I just looked on Google maps – it adds up to a bit over 11 km!!!  No wonder I was feeling tired!)
I didn’t quite get all the shopping done I’d planned (clothes shopping got struck off the list due to feeling too hot and dusty to try anything on… or possibly just because clothes shopping is my least favourite variety of shopping, so it’s easy to find an excuse to put it off – I’m sure the clothes I bought years ago will do me for another season, won’t they?), but I did manage all the important stuff at least.
Which left Sunday free to spend working my way through the pile of sewing projects I’ve got on the go (most of which will end up as Christmas presents, so look away now, Mum (yeah, I know you won’t…)).  I had quite a quilting production line going: I managed to get most of the patchwork bits done, quilted all but one of them, and even did the binding on one (the rest might be sitting in front of the TV in the evening jobs).

My “failed” first attempt at a star. Now that it’s all quilted and bound, I’m much happier with it – the wonkiness and missing points are much less noticeable (though I still know they’re there). I was really pleased with my free-motion quilting – I felt like I was finally getting a feel for the right speed to use, so it flowed quite nicely, and the tangled Christmas lights effect I was going for came out really well.

I did the same FMQ design on my better stars – a wee bit trickier on this bigger size, but I think it looks really good. The centre star looks like it’s missing a set of points, but that’s just because the fabric is a bit too similar in shade to the background, so it got a bit lost when I quilted it. I actually quite like the effect though. Obviously, this one is still in the “needs binding” pile.

Another one that needs binding. This is the reject bird that I’d planned to put on the back of my ‘Birds in Flight’ quilt (which is also in the to do pile, but will probably sit there quite a bit longer – it’s so huge that I’m totally intimidated by the idea of quilting it. I probably should just give in and pay someone to do it), but that I got the colour progression back to front on. It was sitting there looking sad and unloved, so I decided to turn it into something. I’m really pleased with how the FMQ came out on this – I wanted it to have the feel of air currents swirling around the flying bird, and I think I achieved that. I probably should have done something different on the bird itself, and just had the currents around it, but it’s such an intricate shape that sounded to complicated, so I just went with the all-over swirliness. Let’s just pretend that it’s a depiction of air as a three-dimensional space, so some of the air is between us and the bird… yeah, that works 🙂

And more stars. I’m not obsessed with this pattern, honestly, it’s just that I keep getting it almost but not quite right, so I have to have another go to see if I can do it better. I haven’t got as far as quilting this one, but it’s basted (that’s what all the safety pins are for), so all ready to go as soon as I decide whether to go for the tangled lights design again or to try something different.
The other projects I wanted to get done before the end of the year are all still in the rough-sketch-in-a-notebook stage (or the even earlier vague-idea-in-the-back-of-my-mind stage), so whether I get them done is pretty doubtful. So many ideas, so little time…

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  1. When I was growing up, the only way I ever knew to finish a quilt was to tie it with yarn or embroidery floss. This freehand quilting is SO lovely! And my favorite part about it is that the patterns are similar… but not exactly alike, and this makes your eyes and mind wander and explore so much more on the quilt.

    1. Thanks! I suspect that the “similar but not exactly alike” is due to my very novice abilities – I’m sure proper experienced quilters try and get the pattern as regular and symmetrical as possible and would be horrified by my efforts. But I agree with you – I actually prefer the little quirks and individualities that make the overall pattern more interesting (even though when I’m actually stitching them they feel more like “oops, I stuffed that bit up!”).
      And I’m having lots of fun doing it, which is the main thing 🙂

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