Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Take Out - Travel Happy Stitching

October started with a happy chaos. Pulling out all my old projects for #WIPtober to give them my attention again, flitting between ideas and quilts with abandon, throwing around old blocks and yardage and scraps in a kind of was an exciting couple of weeks that have have left me feeling tired and a bit lost. I've become disillusioned with finishes for the sake of finishing. I want some meaning and purpose in my sewing again.

It's not the search for meaning that brings me back to Nana Mac, my English Paper Pieced quilt coping an Australian pattern from the late 1800s. It's the fact that about a month ago, I put a lot of work into organising this quilt to make it easy to take out. So while I ponder the point of it all, trying to decide what project motivates me most, and wondering whether I should push myself to sew even when love has been lost, Nana Mac is making slow but steady progress, because she waits, ready in little zip lock bags, for the next time I'm heading out for a meeting or appointment.

So I thought I'd share this little arrangement with you, in case you're in a similar spot to me. Because glue and cardboard and zip lock bags are a fun little change of head-space when the sewing you is having a nap.

I started stitching Nana MacIntyre's quilt from the centre, cutting and basting my shapes as I needed them, and always adding the next piece to the larger patchwork, rather than stitching in sections. I found it easier this way until I finished that round of yellow and orange stars and my next job was to add 'star blossoms' in rows. In this section, it's easier to keep track if I work on a single star at a time, and add them together at the end. Also, my patchwork is getting so big that pulling it out all the time is wearing the seams, so my plan now is to get all my separate stars made and stitch them together over a couple of free weekends. (Sewing retreat anyone?)

I started Basting Day with a tonne of 2.5" strips in the right colours. My 1" hexies, jewels, and 2" diamonds all sit nicely on a 2.5" strip. I then sat the paper piece on the strip and cut with a generous 1/4" seam, put the paper and new fabric shape in a pile, and grabbed another paper piece to cut around. When I had a sizeable pile, I started to glue baste.
I've used every basting method imaginable, and my favourite for this project is glue basting. I like the special glue basting pens you can get, but they're $10, and these are $1 and available in town, so guess who wins! If you just use one swipe of glue along each edge, the fabric should come off the paper again easily, without tearing the cardboard, or warping the fabric.

Then, when I had a large pile of fabric covered jewels, I sorted them in to bundles of six, with one coordinating hexagon. Then I added to each pile, the next border of diamonds, and then the next border after that. And sadly, this is where I ran out of diamonds, so I have some stitching to do before I can free some up and reuse them.
I dug out every zip lock bag I could find, and the little satchels the paper pieces came in, and bundled them in their separate star blossoms. And now, whenever I'm walking out of the house to go to our weekly staff meeting or Bible Study, I grab one or two, and my little stitching purse, and sew while I listen.

I enjoy this pace of stitching. It's ticking over nicely without a whole lot of thought or effort. It doesn't have to be my 'main focus' quilt, or interrupt any time I need to give to machine sewing. It's like a bonus quilt, a free gift with all the sitting and meeting (and any TV) time in my weeks, added up to make something quite wonderful. It's like my very own sticker chart! And it's why I think everyone needs a hand-stitching project on the go, in little zip lock bags.

1 comment:

  1. I love having an EPP project to go or have at home. I'm currently working on two because one's a gift for my sister and one's for me. The one for me I'm remaking a mini quilt I had made for someone else in a swap. The first time I worked from the center out but this time I'made making small sections like you are. I don't have to concentrate as much during.


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx