Quilting: rather nice, actually

I’m finding the cutting part of starting a quilt rather meditative, with a rotary cutter.  I know that doesn’t sound meditative … and yes, I am keeping my fingers well out of the way!

It’s my first time using a rotary cutter, and I’m enjoying the sameness of about 100 tiny triangles, all squared off with a ruler, cut nice and straight down the sides.  (I made more after I took the photo – and even managed to finish before the children came home).

I’m using this pattern for a kitchen table cushion.  And 2 random packs of fat quarters from Lincraft.  I actually don’t love the fabric, particularly.  I think I’ve seen it too many times before.  And the pattern is fine, too, but really I chose it as suitable for a beginner.

I think the combination of focus on learning to use a new tool, and not caring much about the outcome: that’s what I’m finding so calming. Hope it continues.

Fat quarters for quilting: should you pre-wash?

I guess not, based on this experience.  At least not in a washing machine/dryer.

I know for garment sewing, you really, really do need to pre-wash fabric (or calculate shrinkage).  And yes, I’ve heard of hemming fabric before you wash it (and even done it, for a few precious fabrics). But fat quarters? They’re so small, I thought hemming before washing was a bit other the top.

So what do you do in quilting? Not worry?  Maybe I should have cut with pinking sheers?

By the way, no sympathy needed: I don’t mind detangling and they’re all separate and neatly folded now.

In which I solve a quilting problem, without making a quilt

You see, I’ve been planning to learn quilting for some time.  Properly, following traditional patterns. With exact measurements.  And seams lining up precisely and neat corners.  At least to begin with.

It’s a skill I think I should have. And something I can really imagine enjoying, once I get good: playing with colour and pattern, within geometries and repetition.

But after all this time thinking, I still haven’t started yet.  Something’s slowing me down.  A worry.  I’ve finally worked out what it is: the product of quilitng … is a quilt.  I don’t have room for a quilt!!  Well, maybe one.  Two at the most.  Possibly three, but what if I really enjoy quilting and want to make more?  There must be more than 3 techniques I’d like to try.

We live in a really small apartment, with four people.  I have trouble enough storing the Winter doonas and blankets.  And everything else.  I don’t really want to add to our storage problems.  I could throw a quilt or two over the sofa (to be dragged on the floor by the kids?), perhaps give one or two as presents (gift the storage problem to someone else?).  I could put a quilt on the wall, but I don’t fancy drilling into these walls than I have to.  And then I’m stuck.  I do like to justify to myself that most of my crafting is useful.  Knitting produces gloves, scarves, hats, jumpers… sewing produces dresses, skirts.  But quilting?  Just produces more storage problems.

And then it hit me: cushion covers!  Lots of finicky little mini quilts.  Different fronts and backs.  We’ve at least four chairs.  And we’ll need a change of covers – eight.  And at this age, with the rate kids spill stuff – twenty!  Or more!  Plenty of opportunities to explore pattern & technique!

So here is my inspiration, courtesy the library:
– an encyclopedia of techniques;
– a modern quilt reference (I’m always drawn to modern looking quilts);
– the quilt book recommended by the librarian;
– an apartment therapy, for storage hints!

Our apartment is rated “small”.  Pity the other examples of small apartments don’t seem to include children.  And their toys.

And welcome everyone visiting through Kirsty’s creative spaces.

Spring Kids’ Clothes Week

… was far more successful than Autumn’s.  I finished something!  Yay!

Only one thing ‘tho, I was hoping for at least two finished things – I have 2 children.  And actually, it took all “day.”  Although a “day”, for me, is a frequently interrupted period of time, so perhaps 6 hours straight? Or less, allowing procrastination time?  Perhaps I did my week’s worth after all, just on one day?

The skirt is for the littlest.  She doesn’t seem as into clothes, or as critical of them.  I’m glad she still accepts jeans without complaint.  Particularly on cold, windy, rainy days.  And I’m glad she isn’t too influenced by preschool yet, she has her own mind. All the other little girls seem to wear skirts or dresses, everyday.

She has occasionally commented she doesn’t have many skirts.  Trouble is, most of her clothes were her sister’s.  And her sister keeps almost all the skirts, they’re the favourites, even when they’re getting short.  So I’m glad the first handsewn item was for the littlest – she has something first, for once.

The pattern is “b.f” from 女のこのお’洋服 (ISBN 978-4-529-04437-0).  I chose it for the little tucks at the sides (front and back).  I’m not sure the polka dots show them off that well.  The fabric was her choice, she often chooses red clothes, although she says her favourite colour is still blue.  Even after starting preschool.

It was easy enough to sew.  Yes, I can read the instructions, so I did!  I took my time sewing, to make sure it looks neat.  Even if she isn’t fussed how her clothes look now, she might change her mind later.  I made size 110cm.  But, realistically, that’s her big sister’s size, she’s closer to 100cm.  I just wanted to make sure littlest could enjoy the skirt for a good long time.

By the way, here is nearly the first time she appeared on this blog – hasn’t she grown!

Sydney street art #06

I’ve been meaning to show you this little fellow for a while.

I like the expression on his face; his pose; how strongly his attitude is drawn.

Snapped on Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Sitting neatly on the edge of a bus stop, the background is a poster for some vampire movie or other.

I can’t help feeling surprised how cute some sticker graffiti in Sydney is. This guy’s not cloying cute, I agree. But still a little cute. I’d expect (and saw) cute graffiti in Tokyo. Kawaii, you know all about that.

Reminds a little of this (painted) Sydney graffiti – which I still love. And still think would make a great soft toy.