Sunday, 18 January 2015

A(n almost) finished object!

Please excuse the artifical light in this picture - I just wanted a record of how I spent my Sunday, working on this UFO.

I started this morning with a pieced top and the fleece backing ready to go - and it had been like that for over a month - and hoped to get up the energy to baste it by the end of the day. About lunchtime I swept the floor, spread everything out and started the long and arduous task of crawling around with safety pins. I can definitely see why so many quilters use those gadgets to close safety pins - it'll be days before my fingertips recover.

I had some clear ideas about how I wanted to quilt it, but only partial ideas. First things first, I quilted in the ditch between each block, and then looked at it to assess how much more quilting it needed. I wanted it to be a soft, snuggly quilt, so not too much quilting was in order, but it definitely needed more quilting than just a 12" grid. My issue was mainly how to quilt it with all the squares being so different to each other, and give it a sense of unity within the quilting.

I began with the ones with a clear square in the centre - the middle two, the churn dash above them, the star from 'made' fabric, and so on. I quilted around that square. Then I looked for similarly sized shapes in the others, and quilted square or square-ish shapes in those. In the house  block, for instance, I quilted around the shape of the house. I quilted around the central square of the pinwheels block and the inside octagon of the bowties block. The four squares that meet in the middle of the nine-patch block were treated as one square in the quilting. For the string block, I found a place where three of the quadrants had seams that met, and quilted that diamond, even though it meant going down the middle of the strip on the other quadrant. Finally, for the 'breaking out' block, I quilted a square set on point around that central pinwheel.

I bound it using seven fabrics that are either represented in the quilt or from the same collections. I didn't want to hand sew the binding to the back because of the fleece backing, so I consulted this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew and machined it. All that remains is to bury all of my threads, and the quilt is completed. Not too shabby for one afternoon's work.

This is deeply imperfect. There are so many seams that don't match up, I was astonished when I found any that did! There are fabric choices and colour choices that I would definitely not make if I was making the same blocks today. The blocks came from the We Can Do It skill builder and were almost all made in 2011 or 2012. I made those blocks when I was still getting to know my sewing machine, totally new at sewing. The blocks moved home with me 5 times before they got put together. When I made them I was an undergraduate - now I have 3 degrees and a proper job. This quilt was started in a totally different chapter of my life to the one in which it will finish. Funny how quilts can span ages like that.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Resolutions after all

I don't blog much about anything, but I particularly don't blog much about my life, I think. I try to keep stuff craft focused. This is in part because of my job (I work with nosy kids who will ferret out any information they can about the adults in their lives, up to and including searching tirelessly for them on social media), and partly because I'm uncomfortably aware that my life is very much in the vein of barely-stopped-being-a-student. I mean, I have a 'proper, grown-up job' but I just six months ago got done being a full time university student, which I had been for six years. So in many ways I still feel like/live like a student.

Anyway, for much of the latter half of this year, I had no central heating in my house. This was fine in September when the weather was still pretty warm, but by the end of November was really cramping my style, and by the time it was fixed at the beginning of December was definitely necessary. This was due to an issue with the gas, so I also had no oven or stove cooking facilities at the time. The people around me were horrified that this was how my life was, but (student mindset!) I just got on with stuff.

Anyway, I realised that there are a couple of other things leading me to still live like a student and honestly, I'm done with it. Two things in particular: I have no light in my living room or bathroom.

The bathroom I'm pretty certain just needs a new lightbulb. Unfortunately the ceilings are pretty high for a house I'm pretty sure was built in the 20th century, and it's going to be a stepladder job, and I'm 5'2 first thing in the morning if I've slept particularly well. Also there'll be screwdrivers involved to take the light fitting apart. What I'm saying is that there are reasons that I haven't got around to sorting this yet, but it needs doing because showering in the dark is not the funnest thing ever and while I can pee with the door open (I live alone) it slightly prohibits having guests around outside of daylight hours.

The living room is not a lightbulb issue. It's had new lightbulbs and still doesn't work. I don't know what's wrong with it. I'll have to have a handyman round to sort it out, which means phoning my landlord and making a fuss. But in the interests of not living like a student any more, I should just do that. I don't have a good excuse for not having done that already (plenty of excuses, mind, just none that hold water). So that's the other resolution. Get the living room light sorted out.

Is there a word for that sort of thing? Where you sort of say, 'oh, the light doesn't work. Okay, I'll put a lamp in here/pee with the door open/absent mindedly sort things out so that it's still sub-optimal but not as bad as it could be'. Is it the missing stair that you get used to jumping over? You put a bit of carpet over it and tell the guests, 'by the way, that step's missing, so don't stand there.' It gets ridiculous, but you're used to jumping over that stair, so you fail to notice how silly it is. Just get the repairmen in. Fix the damn stair.