It felt like I was playing a giant version of “Countdown” when I laid out all of my denim wordsearch letters to check that they were all there. I realised that I had completely forgotten about 13 letter I’s, and had a surplus of O’s. It took a while to sort, cut and stitch the missing letters by which time the whole lot was all in a muddle again. All I know is that there are some more than the required 121 or 11 x 11 squares. I masked off a slot ruler and cut them all into very neat 8” squares. I will probably have to use a larger than ¼” seam allowance because some of the denim is very thick.
I was not ready to start sewing all of the denim blocks together so I loaded a piece of cream fake leather onto the Bernina Q24 and randomly placed some of the my own Qmatic designs. I will add some more circles and freehand stuff later then post it to my collaborator, Christine Escanes in Florida to see what she wants to throw at it next. I even whizzed up a Fancy Forest Fox because he is so much simpler than the other creatures.
I checked that I had all of my supplies ready for my Coburg teaching trip in case I had to order any more pleather or felt. I am very excited to be going back and to visit a German Christmas market although I am not looking forward to my 3 am start on Thursday morning!
I offered to help Fergus do some research for his art history essay on The Impressionists but I was far more enthusiastic than him and got quite carried away, finding out obscure facts about Manet and gangrene, before launching into a second bout of research on “The Raft of the Medusa” to help fill in the many gaps in a previous assignment. I rather enjoyed my foray into homework – it’s a pity that Nell won’t get the same level of help from me with her algebra. I have often wondered whether I would enjoy being a mature student, studying something like Classics – maybe when I retire and have some spare time;) In the meantime, I have enough to do to keep up with a book group that I joined recently. I mostly read in bed but sometimes don’t get very far before I fall asleep unless it is a thriller that keeps me awake past midnight.
Sadly, Welly the Mad Spaniel, died this week. I always said he was so bonkers that he would just drop dead one day. It was almost like that: at 13+ he just became doddery and lost his appetite as if he knew his time was up, curled up in his bed and faded away. He certainly had quite a few adventures, including swimming across the river in full flood and pig herding. I will actually have to make an effort to go for a brisk walk every morning because Bumble does not exactly hurry and my cats are just not interested.
The kids had two days off school for teacher training days so I took Nell to see “Paddington2” at the cinema. We laughed and cried at the small bear’s antics and wished we had taken marmalade sandwiches as our movie snack.
I chopped up a pile of old jeans into squares and raided my stash for any additional fabric that could pass as denim. My arithmetic skills failed me when trying to work out how many blocks would be needed if cutting out a positive and negative letter for the giant wordsearch quilt that I have in mind. Despite making a list and crossing off letters as I went along. I seem to have a few extra that might end up in another reincarnation. On the whole the Scanncut made a good job apart from spitting out the cutting mat when the dodgy roller became dislodged. The biggest problem was that denim backed with Bondaweb would stick well but not cut nicely, whereas the fabric backed with HeatnBond cut nicely but hardly stuck at all, even when ironed. The tedious solution was to stitch all of the letters in place using a small zigzag and invisible thread, otherwise the letters will just fall off when it comes to sewing the blocks together!
In the middle of the week I wrote down a Plan of the Day in big writing and managed to whizz through several jobs without getting distracted. This included 2 customer quilts, both of which also had to be bound.
One evening I sewed the second half of the Fancy Forest bunny block and had to concentrate not to muddle up the many pieces. It is cute when finished but I will definitely cheat and enlarge the sizes of any future blocks as I don’t want it to be a 5 year project. In fact, I reckon I could rattle off a DWR quilt more speedily.
It was great to receive an acceptance email from the Road to California show for BzB – my friend, Bonnie in Oklahoma has kindly agreed to look after all of its deliveries while in the USA. I have entered it into a couple of AQS shows so I will just have to wait and see if it gets juried in. I think I have now settled on an idea for a new show quilt from my wacky list of potential ideas so I hope to have a crack at at test block in January and see how it develops…
My plan was to work on customer quilts for 4 days then leave Friday to experiment with the ScannCut machine. I managed to stick to that plan fairly impressively, working on 3 different customer quilts. There was a lovely leafy appliqué quilt then a large blue and white quilt where the back was the same size as the front and had the additional challenge of bulky intersections, followed by a baby quilt that also needed piecing as it was actually a box of 40 hand stitched squares.
The free day on Friday was scuppered by having to get the Landy’s dodgy headlamps fixed which only left me with an afternoon to play. I was not pleased to discover that the ScannCut machine was loading the cutting mats lopsidedly. After a frustrating amount of time spent cleaning and huffing I even contemplated blowing almost £500 to buy a brand new one before noticing that one of the little black rubber rollers had gone out of alignment.
I wanted to find out if it could speed up the process of cutting out DWR pieces which on balance, it just about does. It cannot cut out the large pinched square piece because that is just a smidge too big but it can mass produce little bits although they have slightly sticky backs where I used spray glue to get them to stick to the cutting surface.
My main challenge with the cutting machine was to cut out a stack of large denim letters for a quilt that I am planning. The trouble with that was that denim backed with Bondaweb did not seem to cut cleanly whereas denim backed with the HeatnBond cut well but was not sufficiently sticky. I was hoping not to have to stitch around the letters before longarming but if they keep peeling off I may have to – goodness knows how tricky that will be with all that stickiness under the needle!
Jobs like paperwork, tidying up and cleaning my printer seem to have been forwarded to next week’s To Do list – again;)
I stayed on track fairly well this week, only sidetracking a couple of times! I was determined to finish the remaining samples for my upcoming class in Coburg so put in a couple of long quilting days to finish a wool folk-art piece and the pleather rendition of a St Moritz drain cover in fake leather.
I even got a customer quilt done which was tricky with absolutely no wriggle room on the backing.
The sidetracks were an experiment to see if I could make little pouches using foam interfacing – I decided that they were too bulky, a fabric strip covered bowl – not sure I liked all the fraying/wrapping, and some more giant double-wedding-ring blocks using clashing Nigerian fabrics.
It is alarming that the clocks have gone back and we are now into November – I simply don’t know where all my time goes;)