One finished, one started

I finished binding the hedgehog quilt (which I think I should call Heidi Hedgehog, seeing as the original pattern I pinched the idea from was called Hazel Hedgehog)

I’m really pleased with how it turned out – free-motion quilting is definitely a lot easier since I got the sewing machine repaired and can actually control the speed properly, and the gloves and slip mat really help a lot too. I feel like every quilt I do, I learn a little bit more – there’s still plenty of things I could improve on (like don’t look too closely at the stitch lengths, which are still all over the place!), but I’m getting there.

And talking of learning, I started to quilt the big flower garden quilt, and that is definitely a learning experience! Just figuring out how to arrange that much fabric in a way that the weight of it doesn’t drag on the bit you’re working on, but so you can still move it around, takes a lot of trial and error. I started off with the bits I wasn’t working on rolled up (and kind of pegged into place, because I don’t have any of the fancy clips the pros use), but I gave up on that after a while, because it made the quilt too stiff and hard to move. Having the bit under the machine loosely rolled, and the rest just sort of pushed up around me so I was working in a kind of nest seemed to work a bit better (no photos of that version, because I was too tangled up in the quilt to reach over for my camera 🙂 )

It’s physically a lot harder work quilting a big quilt, having to constantly move all that weight around, so I don’t think this will be a sit down and get it done in a day sort of project. It’s more one to do an hour or so’s work on, then have a rest and come back to it later. So yeah, don’t hold your breath for it to be done in a hurry, but at least I started it.

I had a nicely social (and foodie) day yesterday. First I got a message from Harvestbird to say she was taking a long lunch break, so did I want to join her. As we had a bit more time than our usual rushed workday lunches, we went into the botanic gardens, and had lunch in the cafe there, which was really nice (despite the sandwich I got not resembling in any way the one I ordered – it was nice anyway, so I wasn’t too worried). Then, in the evening, I met up with Lytteltonwitch to go to the food trucks in the Square. They rotate the trucks that are there, so there’s always something new to try. I wasn’t impressed by my first pick of fajitas (which turned out to be half cold, pretty tasteless, and more stewed than grilled), so threw out most of the dish, but made up for it with some barbecued satay beef skewers, which were really good. We shared some zalabia (a kind of Egyptian donut) for desert, which were covered in a honey syrup, so incredibly sweet – I gave up after just a couple of them.

Crafts, being social, having time for a leisurely lunch – I feel like I’m slowly turning back into a normal human being again after all those months of being a hermit!

We’re gonna need a bigger boat

I basted the flower garden quilt yesterday.  Which is just a fancy way of saying I pinned the top, batting and back together so that it’s ready for quilting.  Which means you’ve got to spread out the fabrics somewhere you can lay them completely flat before you pin, otherwise you get wrinkles in the backing.  Except I made the quilt just a little bit too big for the biggest bit of floor space I have:

I think I need a bigger room. Or maybe I could just get rid of some furniture – I don’t really need a couch in my living room, do I?

I did manage to get it basted in the end, by leaving the edges until last and then moving it around a bit, but the thought of getting that massive quilt on my little sewing machine is a bit daunting!  (And as quilts go, it’s not actually that huge – it’s a bit less than queen size).

In the meantime, to get my FMQ muscles back in shape, I quilted the hedgehog.  I decided to try a spiky sort of quilting design, and I think it came out really well.

It even looks cool on the back. I used more of the orange fabric for the backing, and the spiky stitching on it came out looking like a cross between flames and an autumn leaf pile:

Just got to put the binding on, and it’ll be done (that’s the nice thing about mini quilts – they don’t take months (or years, in the case of the bird quilt!) to finish 🙂 )

I haven’t just been using my days off to sew (ok, mostly I’ve been using them to sew, but I have done some other stuff, honestly!).  Yesterday I met up with some old friends of Mum’s for afternoon tea.  They moved up to Christchurch a couple of years ago, and actually live in the next suburb over from me, but I hadn’t got round to getting in touch with them.  However, the other day I ran into them unexpectedly, so we made arrangements to meet up.  It was great catching up with them (I think I’ve seen them in person only a couple of times since I was at high school!), and they’re really lovely people – they kept insisting if I ever needed any help with anything to call on them, and they’ve promised to invite me to their next barbecue – you’d think it was me who’d newly moved into the area, not them! 🙂

And yes, Mum, I passed on your news, and they’re totally thrilled for you (though they’ve already probably rung you to tell you that – I think P. was going to ring you as soon as he got home!)

In other news, I think it’s time for a rebranding around here.  This blog stopped being primarily about bookcrossing a long time ago, so it seems silly that the name and theme is so bookcrossing-focussed. So I need a new name, and a new decorating scheme.

Except for I don’t know what to call it!  Any thoughts?  I’d like to get FutureCat in the title somewhere, but I can’t think of anything that doesn’t sound cheesy.  Maybe I should just follow Yetzirah’s lead and just make the title my name?  Any ideas greatly appreciated!

How about now?

Or now?

In case you’re still puzzled, it’s supposed to be a hedgehog (based loosely on this one, but simplified and a lot smaller).  It’s destined to be a very mini quilt for Heidi, my other supervisor (not the one I made the baby quilt for), who loves hedgehogs, so her office is decorated with hedgehogs her students have given to her over the years.  So I thought seeing as I made a baby quilt for Lynn, I’d make a wee hedgehog quilt for Heidi that she can hang on the wall in her office.

I’m reasonably pleased with how it turned out.  A few of the seams don’t quite match up, because there’s no quarter inch mark on my sewing machine, so I have to just guesstimate it (and I use metric for everything except sewing, so how big a quarter inch is doesn’t come naturally to me), which is difficult with patterns like this that require total accuracy to work properly.  I’ve figured out that a quarter inch is about a millimetre less than the width of the presser foot, so I can get reasonably close, but for something like this with lots of little pieces, the inaccuracies quickly add up.  But hopefully once it’s quilted, the wibbles won’t be as noticeable.

Oh, and the green face is because more realistic colours were too boring 🙂  I was originally going to use shades of brown, but then I found the leaf fabric, which was just so perfect for the background, so I couldn’t use browns for the actual hedgehog without him disappearing completely.  So instead I picked out colours from the leaves, that would pop out a bit more.  I think I succeeded 🙂

The new project

I finally made it to the fabric shop this morning, so I started work on my new project.  It’s only a little one, but reasonably complicated (made even more complicated by the fact that I’m working from my own pattern – it’s based loosely on a quilt I saw online, but simplified a bit (yes, I did just complicate things in an effort to simplify them, but it’s all part of the learning process)).  Anyway, unlike the quilts I’ve made so far, which have either been paper pieced (in which case you just grab the nearest roughly-the-right-sized bit of fabric you have to hand), or made by repeating the same basic block over and over, this one involves lots of very precisely cut little bits.  So I decided to cut everything out and sew the half-square triangles and flying geese first, rather than dive straight into sewing the block.  I’m not sure if that’s made things less or more confusing (I’m starting to understand why so many of the YouTube quilters use those little numbered pins to label their pieces when they work this way!), but at least they look pretty all laid out:

Can you guess what it is yet? 🙂