Bits and piecing

I’ve had a tired little man this week. Which means long naps for him and a spurt on the memory quilt for me.

Since my last post, I’ve spent several hours piecing the quilt top.

My aim was to have fewer smaller squares than my last memory quilt. Mainly because they are such a pain to join together – matching seams. This was my starting point of piecing.

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It wasn’t as symmetrical as I’d like. Having shown it to the friend that commissioned it, she said (with trepidation) she liked the smaller squares. I was inclined to agree. So I set about finding a way to incorporate more smaller squares, but without as many in my last quilt for her. Which looked like this:

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First, I played around with colour combinations of smaller squares.

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Then I dug out a notebook and sketched some ideas. My favoured one being this:

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Then it was time to try it with my squares. First the smaller squares:

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Then incorporating these blocks into the rest of the quilt:

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Not bad for a day’s nap times.

Meanwhile, I’m also ticking along with my cross stitch. There are some perks to being back at work part time:
1) lots of chatting with other adults
2) getting an hour’s lunch break – being able to shop on my own, or go to the pub and craft over a Coke and crisps with ThePolkaDotGiraffe
3) reading the Metro/my book/doing some cross stitch on the train
4) earning some money (albeit not a lot)

This afternoon, whilst catching up with last night’s Strictly while little man napped and my husband played hockey, I cross stitched.

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Little man was still asleep, so I dusted off my sewing machine, changed the walking foot back to my 1/4″ foot, threaded it and began sewing the squares of my quilt.

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I’ve done the washing up, emptied the washing machine, put the bins out, written this blog post. And he’s still asleep! 3 hours and counting.

I’m going to set myself a challenge and see if I can get the quilt top sewn by the end of next week. Here goes!

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Sew it begins

Sewing of the memory quilt has begun! Things should speed up from hereon in. She says hopefully.

After another evening of piecing last night, which started like this:
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I’m using the pink single duvet as a side guide. Clearly, it doesn’t go.

I was struggling with how to use the smaller squares to fill in the gaps. Use lots of the same like this?

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Or mix it up a bit, like this?

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Having consulted my crafty friends/gurus, I opted for the latter.

The next challenge was how to get it all upstairs onto the spare bed, without messing it all up. The problem with a crawling baby roaming around is that I can’t leave it out during the day, so end up having to pack it all up each night. So I thought the spare bed would be a good new home for it. Anyway, I digress. I seized upon the idea that I might be able to roll the duvet cover up, row by row. Worth a try rather than having to transport all the squares upstairs and then reassemble.

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Amazingly, it worked! I felt like I’d won the lottery. Time saved, woohoo!

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I was going to have an early night tonight, but then Mr UnfinishedCrafter informed me that he had booked the tv to play on the Playstation. So, instead, I’ve pinned my first row, dusted off the sewing machine and started the sewing. Hurrah. I’ve done the first block and then hung up my sewing hat til tomorrow.

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The tale of a sliced finger, a missed deadline and being saved by a friend

An emergency quilt meeting was held on Sunday night as I was struggling with the piecing. It was decided that the 9×9 squares should be cut down to 6×6, then we’d only have two sizes of squares to work with. “Can you just cut one down now?” my friend/client asked. “Sure.”

Lesson: do not talk and cut at the same time. I sliced a chunk off my left index finger with the rotary cutter. An hour and a half later, when the bleeding hadn’t stopped, I went to A&E. After waiting there an hour and not being seen, I came back home again! There was a three-hour wait and I didn’t fancy being there til 1am when my little man has been waking at 5:30am. So I went for the DIY approach.

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Being right-handed, I didn’t think it would hinder me that much. But, even now, I keep forgetting that I use that finger to type. And I can’t. For now.

Anyway, previous to the incident, the deadline of today (!!) was relaxed. On the basis that the – now one-year-old – recipient wouldn’t know if it was late.

I cut the rest of the large squares down. And that’s all I managed all week.

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Until tonight. I cut what I hoped was my last few squares. And started piecing again, according to what we’d agreed on Sunday night.

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Still busy. At this point, I was in despair. Wanting to rewind time and not accept this commission. I sent a despairing message to my crafty friends and a suggestion came back: try blocks of 4 larger squares and blocks of 4 smaller squares. I tried it.

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A big improvement! So I carried on.

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I’m going to pack it all away now, will start again next week. But am much happier with this type of formation. So glad my plea for help was answered! I’d be lost without my crafty friends.

Piecing

Now the piecing of the memory quilt. begins. It’s hard. And headache inducing. I’m being paid to make this quilt for a friend’s little boy who turns one on Friday. I’m behind schedule so think it’ll be late … No change there!

I’ve cut out 84 of my squares, or squares totalling 84 6″x6″ squares. I was aiming for 88 squares. But I’ve run out of interfacing (more arriving Monday), so I thought I’d see how it looks with what I’ve cut so far.

I laid out some old wadding which is similar in size to the finished quilt size.
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All my squares neatly stacked ready to start piecing.

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Although I’ve been asked to cut different sized squares, I think my friend prefers the uniform look of squares which are all the same size, like this:

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But I don’t have enough squares that size, so I added in the 9×9 and 3×3 squares:

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I knew she wouldn’t be too keen on this look, and I think that too many small squares together looks a bit messy. So, I switched in some 6×6 squares, like this:

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I then added a row of 3×3 squares between each bigger row. Overall, I’m left with this:

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Needs a lot of tweaking to balance it out. I think my friend will find it too busy! Maybe I’ll start again tomorrow. It may mean getting rid of the 9×9 squares and having alternating rows of 6×6 and 3×3. Which means I’ll need to get cutting again! Zzzz