Sunday, January 15, 2012

Good intentions

 As usual about this time of year, I start making resolutions involving stash-busting, and yet every year the situation becomes even more dire than the one before. It is always too hard to resist the crisp newness of brand new fabrics, the exciting new designs that come out, the pleasure of not having to try to match fabrics that comes with buying a set of pre-cuts or fat quarters from a new range.

But this year will be different! I will start making scrappy quilts and will be a bit more prolific about piecing too. By the end of the year, I'll have cleared some room. I promise.

So today I rummaged through some scrap bins and started making some scrappy houses.

I couldn't find a block the size I wanted so had to draw up my own. These are 12 1/2" unfinished blocks. The windows and chimneys used 2 1/2" squares and the doors 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, so these were perfect for little scraps.

I put them together without rhyme or reason, totally randomly except for trying to get some degree of contrast between the main house colour and the windows and doors.

I'm not sure how I am going to put them together. I have seen a lot of lovely house block quilts on the web where the houses are tilted a bit wonkily. Or should I make scrappy sashings to use even more scraps? Or not use sashings at all and make them into row or town houses, a bit like the pic above? Or maybe add a few tree blocks in between? Hmmmm, there are too many options, it is hard to make a decision.

I also finished hand quilting my little autum hourglass quilt this week.

While rummaging through scrap bins I found a good quantity of some deep purple, hand-dyed fabric which will be just perfect for the binding, so putting that on and finishing this quilt will be my task for this week.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy 2012

I've spent this morning preserving some produce. Despite the coolish summer so far, and probably as a result of the heavy rain, everything has just been so productive except for the tomatoes which are yearning for some heat. I have been eating spinach and leek pie, zucchini slice, eggplant bake, miscellaneous quiches etc constantly for weeks! And still can't get rid of everything in the garden!

This morning I preserved some zucchini strips in olive oil and pickled some beetroot. To do the former, I degorged the zucchini overnight in salt and cold water, then drained and pressed out the excess water. I brushed the strips with olive oil and grilled. Then tossed them in some cider vinegar, lemon thyme and garlic, packed into jars and topped with olive oil. These will good for antipasto, pizza toppings, pasta sauces etc throughout the zucchini-less months.

This is my favourite project of late ..... a cute little bag made from Ruby charm squares a Secret Santa gave me.

These fabrics are just so fun and lively. I used some ribbon that came on one of my Christmas presents for the drawstring, but I think I'll look in my stash for an appropriate fabric to make some more dainty ones.

I've also put together a small lap quilt made from 80 charm squares and a couple of other fabrics. The fabrics are from the Bittersweet range, a lovely autumny collection. I love the way they appear so radiant and jewel-like when set off by a neutral background.

I'm handquilting this one, and not doing a very good job of it. I'm not using a frame, but even though my stitches are sometimes a bit too taut and the fabric isn't quite flat, I really like the antique, puckered look this is giving it.