Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Latest Blocks and the first blocks of the second Jane

Ok, so it took me almost a month to get these scanned and added to the blog, but believe me, I've been busy! I did one extra block for mum's quilt (the first in two years!) and 3 new blocks for my second Jane "Shadow Play". Bear with me while I remember which block was the new one for mum's quilt... (I'm looking through the pile... they're in number order now so I'll have to go back through the archives and find out what's missing from the blog. There may be more than just the new one missing!)

Ok so there were two missing. The one mum did and the one I did recently. Now I have to remember how I scanned these blocks and got them added to the blog...

Ok so they added in backwards order, but oh well!

Firstly, I'll have to introduce my second Jane (because I loved these little blocks too much to only make them once!) When my boyfriend helped me pick out all of the fabrics, he'd managed to pick out all of the fabrics from the same range 'Shadow Play' by Maywood Studios. Even though I bought the entire bolt of backing fabric, I was still short by about 8 meters, so I changed my design to have an alternate sashing fabric, but I was still short by 5 meters. So I did a bit of research and found that there was a supplier of Maywood studios fabric in Melbourne (a 45 minute drive away!) that was totally worth it as they had my backing fabric in stock! Not only that, they'll order more in if I need it. So my second Jane is made from 5 colours as contrasts (pink, purple, blue, green and yellow) with a very nice burgundy as sashing. Below are the purple, pink and yellow fabrics- green and blue are still to come. I included a purple and blue purposefully as they are the colours I'm using in mum's quilt. By the way, I've hit 31 blocks for mum's quilt now! When the two quilts equal each other, I'll have 40 blocks for each of them done.

This was the third block made for my second Jane "Shadow Play". I had intentionally wanted to foundation piece this block, but for some reason it didn't work. I think my seams were too big. In the end, I resorted to piecing. A while ago mum and I bought a foundation piecing lesson DVD that I'm going to do today so that I can master this because I think that I'm fluking foundation piecing. At least Dan's been great in helping me by cutting the paper pieces out and pulling the paper off the blocks. Though he yelled at me yesterday for starting too many quilts and not finishing any... I'm going to finish one today, I swear! This block was finished on Boxing Day, at night, while I sewed at the machine and Dan ironed them flat for me.

This block was fun. The second 'Shadow Play' block, I was determined to foundation piece, and I managed to. I'm so happy because the last time I attempted this block (pieced, for mum's quilt) the points in the center didn't match up. I did learn a few things- cut your threads after sewing, not after the whole block is done, or your block looks like thread spaghetti, and lining up correctly is key to completion! I think this block is slightly smaller than it should be, but that's ok because at least it's done. :)

My first DJ block for my second DJ quilt- Shadow Play. I picked this block as the first because it was a very easy foundation pieced block, but my gosh I still screwed it up! I didn't line up my triangles correctly so I buggered it up a bit there. But it's ok because it's still the right size and it's still wonderful.

This was my first quilt block for mum's quilt made in two years. Yes, two whole years. I put the quilt down while I dealt with other things (like graduating uni, etc) and one day a month or so ago I pulled out all the little blocks and spread them all out in front of me and got inspired all over again. My boyfriend came over while I was sitting there with all the blocks around me and I said, half to him and half to the blocks, "I miss working on these blocks..." and he said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world, "Why don't you keep making them, then?" And so I did. Patriot's lantern was a difficult little one, only because of all the tiny pieces (I can tell that will be a common complaint of mine with this quilt) but it still came out complete and at a good size, so I'm leaving it as is.

This is the one that I cannot claim I did myself. That's right, mum did this block. When she found out about the quilt she demanded that I let her help. I had already cut out Jane's Tears and she likes applique so I gave her this to do. I think she did a wonderful job and I'm glad that she was able to contribute to the quilt.

Piece and progress counts:

Mum's Jane: 31/0/0/588
Shadow Play: 3/0/0/25

Saturday, December 06, 2008

And we're back!

And I'm reviving my old Jane Blog.

I've recently rejoined the DJ mailing list after being away for over a year, now that I've picked up mum's Jane again. I still have two years left until she's 50 so I can still make it!! I've missed all the wonderful women on that list, and as always, they are a constant source of encouragement and help. I say this because I've bought a special fabric stash reserved for my own Jane, that I will be starting this weekend.

Mum found out about her quilt while we were moving my room around to make way for a new bed, and seeing what I was doing brought tears to her eyes. Then after she got over that, she demanded that I let her make a block, so I gave her J-4, Jane's Tears. Two weeks ago I managed to do another block as well, but I'll post that soon.

My own Jane will be foundation pieced, and the wonderful list helped me find very good instructions online, even telling me that the DJ software has tons of foundation piecing patterns! I've found a website that sells it in Melbourne that I'm putting mum on to for my Christmas presents.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went to a wonderful candy fabric store named GJ's and bought enough fabric to start my yummy quilt. When they didn't have enough of the tone-on-tone cream that I liked, I looked at Dan and pouted and he sighed, walking off and returning with a much fuller bolt of even better creamy fabric. I love him, he has wonderful taste!

Anyway, stay tuned because I will not drop off the face of the earth this time... LOL

Friday, December 01, 2006

F-4 Old Windmill

F-4 Old Windmill

I loved this block! It looks so pretty (maybe because I'm still falling in love with that purple?) and it sits so damn flat! (Trust me, it's been a rare thing for some of my seam-heavy blocks to sit flat) And my points matched up good enough for me.

The reason why I chose to do F-3 and F-4 was because I went looking through my bingo board and noticed that I had a lack of blocks in the middle and North-East part of the quilt. Also, I haven't yet done any blocks from the F or E rows (but I have an E block partially cut out). By the end of this year, I'd at least like one block from every row (A-M and 1-13). I figure this is a more reasonable goal to set myself rather than saying "I want 50 blocks done by December 31st!" As it's the first of December today, I can tell that I have a bit of work ahead, but I'm sure I can achieve it.

The thing with goals, as I've found from many things in my time already, is that you have to be flexible. When I started my Baby Jane on July 1st, I wanted to make 2 blocks each week, with a triangle at every 5 blocks. Then, one day after hitting out 6 blocks, I realised I wasn't into the triangles just yet, none of them were telling me that I was ready enough to attempt them and do them any justice. From my first plan, I should have 44 blocks done by now, with 8 triangles, approaching the 9th (and I said I was going to do it by hand. Ha!) At the moment I have 29 blocks and no triangles, and all done by machine (except the two applique blocks.) But I'm having more fun this way and I'm not disappointing myself. My Baby Jane, despite having a "due date" like any assignment, seems to be working better with an ad-hoc work ethic rather than a strict structure. (Can you tell I do management at uni? LOL) But most of all, I'm enjoying doing it this way, and it gives me freedom to do other things. Though I haven't been tempted to do anything new, as with Jane's quilt every block is "new" or different. There's my ramblings for the day!

I have three more blocks partially cut out, so they should be done soon. Cutting is the part that I'm not too fond of, despite being mum's "cutter" whenever she makes a quilt (rotary-cutter fear, I think.) The blocks go together quickly enough when I'm sewing them, as I use my darling sewing machine to assist me with that!

Mum's Jane: 29/0/0/546

F-3 Snowball

F-3 Snowball

Ok, I don't really know what to say about this one. I've never made snowballs before and I think I got lucky with how I pieced it together. I used the corner triangles (which turned out to be the triangles used in the border!) and trimmed the corners for the triangles in the snowball. I don't think this was what I meant to do, but I was particularly lucky because it somehow worked out. The border triangles are a bit screwed up, but the overall design of the block doesn't need to line up those points perfectly. It only really matters when you can see different colours together (eg. two triangles with touching tips) instead of a seam of the same colour (eg. when from a distance, the same is two pieces of the same colour- you can't see the seam.)

It was a cute, quick block though so I'm guessing I shouldn't complain!

Mum's Jane: 28/0/0/533

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How I store my blocks

Block Storage

This little plastic case was holding several pairs of panties that I bought a while ago. I figured that seeing as the width was perfect, I'd store my blocks here. It's getting rather full at only 27 blocks, so I might have to go shopping for a new storage place soon!

I decided to post a picture of this as I've been asked a few times how I store my blocks. If and when the block storage changes, I'll update again.

The First 25 Blocks - Silver

The first 25.

This is just a photo I took to immortalise the 25 blocks I finished first. It's a bit of a wonky photo as it was taken by me standing on my bed. They were in order, but the photo was flipped so they're on the side. See how cute my babies all look together?

B-1 Bachelor's Buttons

B-1 Bachelor's Buttons

My second needleturn applique piece turned out better than the first, which was good. I kinda cheated as it wasn't solely needleturn- I wrapped the fabric around a circle template (the same way baubles are made) and laid it flat and stiched around it, leaving enough of a gap to pull the paper through. I'm not unhappy with this block at all. I eyeballed the placement of the circles and they turned out really good. I'm actually proud of this one.

Mum's Jane: 27/0/0/516

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A-3 Hunter's Moon

A-3 Hunter's Moon Posted by Picasa

Now this... I can't even think of words to describe this. The stitches (done in the wrong colour, mind you! They were meant to match the top applique piece, not the background!) are tiny and uneven, the shapes are all odd and the only good thing about this block is that it sort of resembles the original pattern.

It only took me about a month to complete this block (well, it only took a few days. It's been exactly a month since the last completed block.) Over a few nights I kept seeing this in my dreams, but this was my first ever needleturn applique piece, and it was my first ever attempt at applique. So for a first effort, this is something I can live with. Oh, and the pen I used to mark the fabric washed off in water instantly, which was a good thing as I had forgotten to test it. I was getting better as I went with the points, and I realised from the start that I will never get this block perfect. I showed mum this and she agreed that it looked fairly crappy, but then she said "Well, applique is hard..." and I finished her off by saying "I'm never doing applique again!" Little does she know, there's more applique that I will do, just she won't see it for a few more years!

Mum's Jane: 26/0/0/511

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A-2 One - Two Buckle My Shoe Revised

A-2 One - Two Buckle My Shoe Revised Posted by Picasa

I'm not sure if I see a massive improvement between the first attempt at this block (see an earlier post) and the second attempt. I know this time that my block lined up better, but it's still slightly off. Maybe this block is cursed? I even pinned this one and it still didn't turn out perfectly. At least only one point is massively off and the others all look better. Does it really look that bad and obvious? Can anyone tell where I goofed? Maybe I just don't like it because there's not enough purple and it was hard. =P

I'm not counting this in the count, as I just pulled apart and re-did the earlier one.

Mum's Jane: 25/0/0/506

J-2 Picture Perfect

J-2 Picture Perfect Posted by Picasa

I made Silver! That means I've hit my first milestone, 25 blocks! Now when I hit 50 I become Gold...

It wasn't until I looked at my bingo board that I realised I have two on point diamonds on top of each other. This one was kind of funny too, but I'm not changing it. I like it how it is. I had to make my seams smaller for it to work, but luckily (somehow) everything lined up without pinning. This was kind of an oddball block, but it was easy, so I'm leaving it.

Mum's Jane: 25/0/0/506

K-13 Brandon's Star

K-13 Brandon's Star Posted by Picasa

This is one of my favourite blocks, just because it looks so nice. And it has a 9-patch too. It went together quickly and easily, which I love.

It wasn't until after the block was done that I realised there were geese units. I really don't mind it either. My pieces count went up! I'm also more fond of the purple fabric so I'm glad that in this block it's the more dominant fabric. Hooray for stars, as they are such pretty blocks!

Mum's Jane: 24/0/0/491

Sunday, October 15, 2006

H-13 Farm Fields

H-13 Farm Fields Posted by Picasa

This block was my first H block. It was fairly easy to sew and press. But I did have to pin this one because the lines didn't match up at first. It was easy and fast to unpick though and I got it right the next time.

Last time I didn't have much time to sew, but I had plenty of time to cut. I've cut out my next two blocks, so the next time I update this I should have 25 blocks complete! A small milestone, but still a milestone nonetheless. After I reach that, I only (LOL) have 200 patterns to go before the quilt is complete. Hooray for progress!

Mum's Jane: 23/0/0/462

M-5 Mother's Point

M-5 Mother's Point Posted by Picasa

I feel cheeky updating this now... Mum's just in the other room and I'm talking to her as I'm typing this while she's playing a video game. She's so cute.

This block was another 'yummy' block, where the pattern contrasts the fabric nicely. It went together really quickly and pressed nice and flat. The only picky bit I have with it, is that the line connecting the 4 quarters is a little off. But oh well! I like the name of this block too. Kinda fits the purpose of the quilt.

Mum's Jane: 22/0/0/455

K-3 Seven Sisters

K-3 Seven Sisters Posted by Picasa

This was another 9-patch. See it in the middle? I thought, "Oh, straight lines, this can't be hard" but I totally forgot about how damn small the pieces are! This, as a result, was 'seam heavy' and didn't want to be pressed. I 'beat it into submission' and made the damn thing sit straight. And eventually, it worked. Yay. =)

I didn't mind this block too much, once I figured out how best to do it.

Mum's Jane: 21/0/0/441

I-2 Kaye's Courtyard

I-2 Kaye's Courtyard Posted by Picasa

See how nice 9-patches are? I found another one, which luckily was quite large. And I think it looks really good with how it's set out on-point with the triangles. This block actually pressed very well too, when I thought it wouldn't. So yay for the block behaving itself!

When I first thought about starting Jane and was asking questions to the 'goddesses' that had finished the quilt, several told me to pick fabrics that I could stare at for more than 5 years. I love the contrast between the purple and cream, and it reminds me of blueberry muffins. It doesn't help that whenever I finish a block I get hungry for muffins, but it is a yummy combination. And I'm lucky with the fact that I can pick any block to do and not need to identify which 'colour' it's meant to be, like Jane's original quilt. My quilt only has three colours, so yay for me. =)

Mum's Jane: 20/0/0/412

I-3 Family Album

I-3 Family Album Posted by Picasa

All I can say about this block is LOL. And I don't care. This looks like a family album made by kindy kids. The lines aren't straight, the block never pressed flat because my seams weren't perfect 1/4", but you know what? They never will be. Maybe it's old fashioned to display 'humility', but this quilt is teaching me not to be a perfectionist!

On the other hand, I have started ripping up my A-2 (see the post in the archives). As I have all my blocks lying in a pile in the order that they go in the quilt, A-2 was constantly staring at me. And I couldn't handle things being that far off. I believe I can do a much better job with that block, even though you can't be perfect with this quilt. Jane wasn't perfect, so why should I be? The answer, of course, is now that I've insulted a civil war quilting genius, I'm probably going to be haunted, and the reason why I should be perfect is because this isn't my quilt, it's mum's quilt. I'm making it for her. But I've come to reason with 'perfect'. No one should try to be 'perfect', but we should all try to be 'better'. Aww, Jane's taught me a new philosophy.

Mum's Jane: 19/0/0/399

I-1 Ralph & Nelda's Wedding

I-1 Ralph & Nelda's Wedding Posted by Picasa

After looking through the book for more 'easy' blocks, I discovered there were more 9-patches than I'd originally noticed. These were easy to cut out and sew, so these were my next steps of confidence. In the last two weeks I've done 6 blocks, and I haven't really been updating like I should. That's why today I'm spending time doing all the web updates!

Like I mentioned before, 9-patches aren't hard. I don't pin as much as I should, but I've been lucky with these minatures that my points usually match up. Pinning is a last resort. This block came together quickly and nicely, which makes me like it even more! =)

Mum's Jane: 18/0/0/382