scrappystickyinkymess


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Kids. DOH!

DS has been home for a bit, preparing for a number of things – some shoutcasting at Insomnia and a gig at a tournament in Transylvania (seriously – I couldn’t make it up)  in the short-term, job interviews and potentially getting his own business off the ground – so it’s been all about suit shopping and website building and (my part) business cards.

We had two designs.  You’ll see which we picked but curious – which one do you like better?

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So having gone to all the trouble of printing and hand-cutting business cards, I had t then figure out some way for him to carry them.  I had made him a phone case so I went looking for a good business card case tutorial.  I found this one but as I had no fabric stiffener I had to alter it in a fairly major way to make it work and not be too thick. I managed it and really like how quick it is and how cute, but I am still trying to sort out the measurements.

cardcase

The red and dotty one started as a 9 x 7 inch piece, the madras one as 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 and the green one 7 1/2 x 5 1/2.  They all fit a UK sized card but the green one not a US sized one – and it won’t fit many.  I am not sure I like the hair band as the clasp, since it is kinda bumpy.  And since making these I thought of a couple of modifications that will make it all a lot easier.  But I need some supplies.  Lucky DD and I are popping in to town for a movie and I can make a quick dash to the fabric store and get hat I need (I hope!)

So in the end we went with the left design, but altered to be on white (good thing too, cause printing a back background sucks printer ink like MAD) and I used a corner chomper to make them a bit more distinctive

 

 

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I so wish I had a die to cut and emboss the edges rather than cutting by hand.  No matter how precise you try to be there are always teeny tiny variations.   I experimented with one of my oval dies and I like it, but DS thought it was a bit too artsy fartsy, and hard to fit in a wallet.  Lucky he only needed 20 to walk around with, in case he needed to hand out details.  Next time he can order them!

If I manage to decide on the perfect size and the best fastener I’ll share my version. Right now, the sunshine is calling for towels to get hung out on the line and DD and her movie-day date with Mom awaits….


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Freeform quilt, finally done.

Just AGES ago I started a small quilt.  You can read about the process here.  It’s the top two photos.  I am ashamed to say the other quilts in the post are still unfinished.  The dotty circles one is VERY close to having the quilting done, and the hack and slash QAYG one needs only binding, but I’ve not settled on the fabric.  Since my MIL is here, and she is the quilter, I might as well take advantage of that fact and see what she thinks.

But the Freeform one IS done, and the binding of it, is as close to perfect as I  have ever managed. I have to say the process is fabulous.  Read the book by Rayna Gillman or watch the Interweave video (or do as I did and get both) and you will soon see that it is both fun and easy to do.  You can sort of see the process in a short YouTube video,and  although I can’t say the cinematography is fantastic, it does give you an idea of how it works

Apologies for the early morning, not great light, rushed photos, but DS is due home this evening and there is far too much to do!

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I love the BIG STITCH quilting and the wild colours and the organic way it grew.

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I won’t say it’s the best quilt ever but it makes me smile and that is always a good thing.

Have a great day.


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Crochet hook roll

I found my crochet hooks (YAY!) and as I had duplicates of most sizes. I decided rather than putting all my hooks in one basket, as it were, I’d make a quick little roll to store them.  I figure I may lose track of ONE of my storage devices but it’s unlikely I’ll lose track of BOTH of them LOL!

Pretty simple, actually.  I found a tutorial online for one made from felt, a no-sew version that is actually designed for storing coloured pencils. I sort of adapted it, adding some sewing.  I used a 3 inch strip of felt for the hook storage part.  Cut the felt slits first, using some ruler tape I got from the local discount store.  For the smallest hooks I used a 1/2 inch measure and about 1 inch for the super fat ones:

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I took an 18 x 22 inch fat quarter and folded the edged in.  I left about a 2 inch gap in the middle.

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I sewed along the open edges.  With the gap there was no need to leave a gap on the edge to turn it right side out!

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I laid the hook strip over the gap and sewed that to the fabric.  I added a fold of ribbon on one end to create a tie.

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You can see the hooks fit with plenty of room top and bottom, so I was able to fold over those edges.  That will just contain the hooks so they can’t escape!

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I sewed the bottom in place but added Velcro to the top part.  It might have been OK to sew both folds down, really, but it might have made getting the hooks at the ends out of the roll a bit harder.

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All tucked in to place- but before I sewed the bottom in place.

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and rolled!

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Nice and compact. Slipping the hooks in to place isn’t as easy as if I had sewn in in a strip of elastic then sewn channels into it, but it’s not really difficult. Slipping them OUT is no problem at all.  I’m always losing track of my weaving in needles so I stuck one of them in there as well.

Easy peasy and really took only about 30 minutes to create! Now, DD is home today and we’ve done the movie thing but she wants me to figure out the written instructions for a loom bracelet (DOH!  And I thought I had managed to escape the craze – apparently not….) so I’m off to do THAT.  Typically she didn’t pick the easiest pattern for me to figure out. Off to YouTube I think…

{sigh}


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When quilting and scrapbooking collide…

…and not in the way you are probably thinking.  Not with photos printed on fabric or quilted mini-books, but using scrapbooking tools for quilting.

I had a group of I think 4 fat quarters of this dotty fabric.  I did love the lime, blue and purple ones, less keen on the yellow, but I wanted to make something to try BIG STITCH quilting on.  I love the look. I also wanted to try out something I had seem in a couple of places, most recently in the Freeform quilting book. It’s a technique where you lay your two fabrics on top of each other, right sides up, then cut a curve.  You flip and match the edges to create a curved seam.

This is the quilt top – really, it looks a lot less garish in better light!

dottyquilt

Can you see the wibbly-wobbly edges? I had four of the strips of dotty fabric.  I took one of them, laying a piece of the pale blue over the top, centred.  I cut the curve then swapped over the pieces so they matched and sewed.  But what I USED to cut the curve was my old CM curvy ruler! The plain yellow was a remnant so I had to add in the bumblebee stripe (which I THINK I have enough of to bind it with) and then I used my (still used and useful) CM circle cutter to mark the big round circles for the quilting!

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I’m using a thick cotton thread (not like matte 6-stranded cross stitch floss, but not shiny like pearle cotton either) to do the hand quilting.  It will take me some time to find my rhythm and get the stitches more regular, but even so I am really liking how it is turning out!

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I like it even more on the backing fabric (again, remnants, so pieced) although it does show my imperfect stitching better.

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I’m quilting in a hoop so the wrinkly fabric is not due to bad basting – I think I actually did than fairly competently.

My MIL used to work on something small, to help her get back into the groove and get her stitches uniform, before going back to a major quilting project.  This is my warm-up piece, before I finally, FINALLY, go back to the quilt I started for DS about 5 years ago.  And I am sure that BIG STITCH is the way to go. I think the thick stitches will look fab on the striped denim fabric.

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I went to my local crop today and picked up a Tando clock kit.  I have a plan.  But that will have to wait for another day…..


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Fast Quilt!

You gotta love the internet.  I saw this little video about making a quilt in 90 minutes.  Well who WOULDN’T be tempted t give it a go?  There is a book, which presumably has a lot more info in it, but I felt like there was enough info in the video to have a bash.

Basically you cut all the squares then sew them in columns.  Then you do a Quilt as You Go method, by sewing the middle column and one to the side down to your backing and batting sandwich then flip the outer one out.  You carry on sewing the columns, just like you would making a log cabin or strip block – the NEXT column holds the loose edge in place.  Does that make sense?  Watch the video and it will all be clear!

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I use some polar fleece for the batting/backing rather than have three layers.  Even easier and very cuddly.  I seem to have a LOT of polar fleece, from back when DS and DD were younger.  There seemed to always be a reason to buy it, but often before I got around to satisfying their obsession, the obsession had passed.  I have a huge piece of cheetah print fleece that I have NO IDEA what I am going to do with!

Anyway, the video also shows a shot of the quilting map, so I did a little screen grab or two and used the printouts to mark the corner-to-corner lines.

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I used a hot pink thread which totally disappears on the back (I mean, you can see the quilting lines but not the colour at all) and have some maroon-ish fabric to bind it with.

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Humm.  The seams look more wonky in the photo than they do IRL.  And where I usually don’t pre-wash, I did this fabric and I was astonished at how PINK the water became.  Glad I did, and glad I DIDN’T put anything else in with it!

As this was a bit of a lark when I began, I used some spare fat quarters I had from a pack that had OTHER FQs that I actually wanted to use.  These were a bit country and twee for my taste.  I had the solid brown also from doll-making in the past (DD liked her dolls to reflect reality so not for her row upon row of pinky white faces) so really none of it cost me a dime.  There are two SLIGHTLY different colourways f the fabric, one more pink/maroon, one more brown-y beige.

I have no idea if it will become a LillyBo one or not – just the other day DDs escort asked about something for her soon-to-be-born great-grand daughter.  She said her GD was very traditional and didn’t like anything modern so this may just fit the bill for her.  We shall see.

Anyway, the point is there is a lot of info out there,  if you go looking for it.  While I doubt I would have ever seen this book on the shelf at a bookstore and though Gotta have that! I was interested enough in the PROCESS to see if I could make something JUST based on what I saw in the slide show.  I am 100% sure the book has loads of tips and tricks that the video doesn’t cover, and while it was NOT 90 minutes (probably down to me – I would say maybe 3 hours) it was blinkin’ quick to do.  So I would def. flip thru it and see if I need to add it to my collection.  For a quick charity quilt I would say even the most inexperienced seamstress could manage it. The ONLY “difficult” thing was manipulating the full quilt thru my home machine, and again that is down to my inexperience with machine quilting more than anything else! Oh, and as I did not have a backing fabric, I can’t do the “fold to the front” method to bind it, so may have to do a more traditional binding.  The fabric is merrily tumbling in the dryer as we speak so I will think on it, watch another video or two, and see what I find.


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Folded quilt border detail

Back in 2001 I found a US Forestry Service pamphlet that described a way to fold a strip of paper to create photo corners.  I’ve used it often and did a little You Tube thingie describing the method. I wanted to add some more interest to my little improve quilt and thought I could make this work.  I played around with a handful of different ways to do it and in the end, as a way to ensure no raw edges, I settled on using a pre-done binding strip.

I will note the caveat right up front – I’m not sure I would do this again, at east not in exactly the same way, but I do think the idea bears further exploration.

I started with a bit of this soft iron on interfacing.

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and the pre-made binding pack.

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Using the folding method I folded the entire strip, adding the interfacing to the middle.  By offsetting the folds I could get a 1/2 inch gap in the middle.  The interfacing is sort of temporary as you need it to hole the triangles together but once they are sewn in under the bias binding for the quilt, it’s no longer needed and can be cut away!

This is more or less the folding method – it’s much easier to fold the fabric than the paper, as there is no need for super crisp folds.border2

You do need t be very careful with your iron so you are not ironing  onto the sticky stuff on the back f the interfacing!

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Once you have one or two done the back side exposes none of the interfacing sticky and you can press to set it according to the instructions.

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Once the whole strip is folded and pressed I stitched along the bottom, just to hold it all more securely.  If you cut it apart without the interfacing all the triangles fall apart into separate units.

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Cutting thru the middle gives you two full lengths of the border – I think my strip yielded about 30 inches.

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I pinned it to the edge of the quilt so the bottom edge of the triangle lined up with the edge of the quilt.  You can adjust the pacing to fit your quilt by snipping between two triangles and spacing them.

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The binding strip for the quilt goes over that, the edge lined up with the edges of the triangle.  Sew thru all layers then trip away the interfacing – again, the stitching of the binding strip now holds all the triangles in place so it doesn’t matter if they are actually single units.

Fold the binding to the back and hand stitch.

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What I wanted was the look you get if you sew jumbo ric rak under the binding strip.  BUT I had a heck of a time finding the all cotton jumbo ric rak in the UK and when I did it was £2.50 per meter.  That would have added at least £10 to the cost of what was meant to be an economical charity quilt.

A couple of things.  Due to the folding, there is a LOT of excess material at the edge.  I thin border is NOT the way to go!  I cut this 2 inches because I didn’t like how than and flat the bigger biding looked on the first one.  2 1/2 inches would have been better – all the layers of the bias binding used to create the folded triangle strip would have totally filed in the fold over and it wouldn’t have been so flat. And OMG the corners on this thin a strip!  A couple of then look tolerable, but at least one of them is what can only be described as a “hot mess.” Again, I am pretty sure a thicker border would have been much better.

I had some success doing basically the same thing with fabric rather than the bias binding pre-made, and did much bigger triangles with that.  The thinner softer fabric solves some of the issues with all the thickness of tape.  I think this could work really well on a quilt with a much wider side border or even sewn around the outside, sticking out, a bit like the scalloped border effect but with pointy triangles rather than scallops.

I still have one short side of the binding to stitch down then I’ll have to try to take a better shot of it  – avoiding the corners! Honestly, as I approach each one I can feel my stress level rising.  This whole process is meant to be a learning experience but no matter how many videos I watch or tutorials I read, my corners NEVER look as good as I want them too!! I know I will eventually get better at it but in the interim it just peeves me to look at them.

Anyway, I know this is a bit of an odd thing, and as I said real quilters will look, and be likely to come up with 100 reasons why this is a bad idea, none of which I had the experience to anticipate.  But it was worth a go, and I do like the look.  I’ll carry on playing and then either I’ll give up and decide it’s just a dumb idea or I’ll devise a method, using the right materials to begin with, and ending with the right placement and application method that makes this worth adding to my bag of tricks.

 


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Shameful. And quilting (yes, AGAIN)

Well, by best intentions of yesterday to tidy up went sadly awry. Instead, I was consumed with sewing. I have the crumb blocks done and branched out to the Word Play.  I had to give it a go and see if I could follow the instructions in the book and actually make something.  I am determined to actually follow the Quilt as You Go concept for the whole thing so when I get done I only need to bind it.  I did a sample piecing of a couple of blocks and so far (knock wood) it’s going well.

Th thing that scares me is the machine quilting.  I cannot manage the lovely closely packed scribbles that I’ve seen, so I’ve opted for a simple cross, with stitch-in-the-ditch around, then a seconde square around.  I need to read up on dealing with the pulled-to-the-top bobbin threads, clearly.

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I’ve picked quite a bright stripe for the sashing on the front, and plain black on the back, as the backing fabric is a B&W cow print. And the word ties in with the smiley sunflowers that are at the heart of the crumbs.

crumbquilt

Now, off to Hobby Craft with some shreds of the floss colour to get a better match, and then I have an idea that I THINK will work to add a bit more colour and playfulness to that improv quilt.  Need to get one small thing (although maybe not) to make it work.  It is totally a not-a-quilter idea, and actually uses something I’ve used in my scrapbooks for YONKS.  If it works I’ll share, and then all the real quilters can blanch and gasp and say Why, that’s crazy talk! But I am convinced I can make it happen so I have to persevere.  It is my nature LOL!

Oh and GRRRRR.  Spam and Spammers.  Hating them at the moment. Hating them as mush as I am loving reading up on “liberated” quilting…..


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DOH! So busy…

It’s been a bit manic around here, so I missed out 2 entire days of blogging.  I hate that.  Anyway, what I SHOULD have posted is the X-tied quilt, but a series of things got in the way – I bought some floss at a small local fabric store, and never realized it WASN’T DMC!  I used the 2 skeins I had, and when I ran out, I stapled the band to my shopping list and trotted off to Hobby Craft to match it.  Imagine my surprise when I found the colour in the bin was a dark GREY and not a bright ORANGE.  I knew I had bought the last two skeins at the small store so I had to get something.  Knowing that true colour memory is non-existent, I picked what I thought was the right shade and brought it home.  There I found the problem – I had a single skein of a DMC orange that was a bit too dark.  The band had come off and was laying on my desk, and when I grabbed the band to staple it, I grabbed THAT one, and not the GOODWEAR brand (Huh?) that I had used.  So I ended up with a CLOSE match but not a perfect one.  DOH!

So I will hope to finish the last few ties on that today, and bind it, and then I need to sort out labels and a bag of some kind.  Then I can finally send it off to JoZarty.

In the meantime, here is a shot of how it’s progressing.  I think the X-ties bring just a bit more playfulness to it, as the fabric is less kiddie oriented than I would have picked.  To be honest, I AM (rightly or wrongly) looking at this whole charity quilt experience as a nice way to try out some things that I have seen well in the past (and look at every time I get sidetracked from my love of paper into a temporary fixation on fabric) and to use either scraps I have or inexpensive fat quarters.  I figure that ANYTHING is going to be welcome, as long as it doesn’t fall apart. so the fact this one is not made from overtly child-obvious material doesn’t mean it won’t still be cuddly and a comfort.

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It needs a good wash and dry to get rid of the hoop-creases and I can see a few of the Xs don’t quite line up – or maybe it was the distortion of the hoop that made me mis-place it but that is actually easily fixable.

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I am determined to finish this up today of I can! The weather is ARCTIC around here and with wind-chill it is well below freezing.  Brrrr.  And DH took my car cause his didn’t start so I am trapped in anyway.  Shame – and I SO wanted to run errands….


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Interesting quilt tying technique

Yes, I know, I am a huge wimp.  Sort of.  I had an idea to bring a little playfulness to my quilt by tying it in a different way.  A couple of things to note.  First, I started tying with yarn then decided I didn’t like it so I took it all out.  DOH! The photos ar using the bright orange yarn so they show up really nicely, but they aren’t what the actual end quilt uses.  I used a slightly less intense 6-strand floss, because I like the fray on the back.

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I hope you can see what I am talking about in the photos!

I started with a long strand with the yarn, but I would say maybe a yard for the floss. You can make the Xs any size you like, and on my first try I found that I was wildly irregular size-wise.  After doing it for a while I found I became more consistent.  Also I am “tying” it with the quilt spray-basted and in a hoop.  I prefer working in my lap rather than hunched over on the floor.

1. Come up from the underside of your quilt – leave a 3″ tail. Go down into the QUILT TOP and THE BATTING (wadding for my UK friends) but not thru the bottom. Slip the needle across between the batting and the backing and pop the needle up, in line with the spot where the needle came up from the back.  I experimented with a sort of template to see if I could get my Xs a consistent size, but it ended up being a little to big.  But I think you can see what I mean.

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2. Bring the needle up to complete the X.  ANGLE the needle back thru all three layers so when it comes out thru the backing it ends up CLOSER to the original hole.  The keep you from being to far away to tie neatly.

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See how it is closer than the area of the X?

 

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Now, you can carry on to make the next X, leaving a loop of yarn/thread at the back – doing in a hoop I just catch the yarn on my finger under the hoop, and make sure when I come up for the next X there is some slack. Snip the loops and tie with a square knot.

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I’ll take a shot once I get the centre done with the new tying thread so you can see how it looks. But I think you get the idea.  My goal was to bring a bit of playfulness to the quilt, which is made from not overtly childish fabric, so if the Xs are not PERFECT they will make it so. But my aim is for them to be FAIRLY consistent.

One point to note: you need to keep the quilt oriented the SAME WAY – so don’t twist and turn it while you work – keep the top at the top at all times.  That will make all your Xs crossing the same way – and I found mine were slightly skewed wider across than top to bottom, no matter how hard I tried to match them if I rotated the hoop. You may not care, or you may be a MUCH more precise hand-stitcher than I am, but be aware.

From what I did (before I took it all out) I really like the look of it – it IS playful and the orange (even the toned-down floss orange) highlights the orange in the fabrics and the Xs are just cute as can be. Plus with the extra stitching, the thread is “caught” more so even if some nimble fingered kiddie were able to pick apart the know they would struggle to get the thread out! A bonus, in my mind.

At the moment, because I don’t have a ton of this floss colour, (thank goodness the colours are standardized!) I am making an X, snipping and tying, then doing the next X – it’s a little bit less wasteful, and because I can sit comfortably while I am doing it I don’t mind going slow.  But I swear, I don’t think I have actually SEEN an episode of Eastenders in yonks.  I’ve HEARD them all, while my eye is focused on whatever I am doing, so I haven’t lost the plot yet, but I almost forge what the characters look like LOL!

Anyway, that is what I am dong at the moment.  Hope you find it interesting.


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WOYWW 196 – more sewing

Hi there WOYWWers! I was totally MIA yesterday as I was hunkered down on my floor struggling with another small quilt.  I had 4 fat quarters, and some off cuts from an old project that went, a bit, and got it in to my head that I could make something of it.  I started by sewing the four quarters together.

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The bright yellow is a metre of fabric that I thought would work for the back.  I cut a 12.5 square right out of the middle.

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Then sliced off the intersections and squared off the remaining bits.

 

 

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That gave me some 6.5 inch squares, each with two fabrics. And a pile of plain squares too.

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I started moving them about, and considered how to work in the off cuts (only two long but fairly thin strips, very wonky on the sides.)4fatquarters5

This is where I am.  It’ll get a border of the dark green and then I’ll see where I am.

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It will certainly work out to be more lap-size (I’m thinking about 44 x 30ish maybe?) than even a cot sized quilt, but it’s not bad for such a minimal amount of fabric (and so far what’s leftover is laughable – almost NOTHING) and starting with no pattern or cutting guide at all.

Now I have to decide if I wimp out and tie it or if I have a bash at stippling it.  I think I need a lesson from a real person, as YouTube is good but it’s not really enough!  Maybe I’ll do a practice square and see how I get on.  But not till I desk hop 🙂   Happy WOYWW!