Monday, 3 August 2015

(Slow) Progress

The top item on my new FAL list and the project to which I am dedicating all of my 'sewing machine' time (that's any time I'm awake and in the house on an afternoon) and a lot of my 'something to do while I watch telly in the evening' time (I pin blocks/rows while I'm watching telly and then sew when I'm next able to use my sewing machine) is the blue and white nine patch/snowball quilt, started (oh, the shame) in February 2012.  Mam and I hatched the plan (the quilt is for her spare bed) over one of our 'I need a sit down, a pot of tea and a scone' breaks during a visit to Harrogate Quilt Show in September 2011 and most of the fabrics were bought then or spirited from my stash/scrap boxes soon afterwards.  To my shame, this quilt still isn't finished but I'm (finally) getting there!

Since I last blogged about this project (almost a year ago!), I've managed to keep the project just about ticking over (have I mentioned that it's really boring and tedious to pin and piece?!) and have pieced four sections in 5x5 block 'bites' which have been/will be pieced together to form larger sections of the quilt:  

*All 255 blocks (yes, 255!) were pieced before I started piecing the sections so I've not necessarily made as much progress as I've made it appear!!!*
Blue and white - section eight (of twelve)
My apologies, the photo is awful - the camera couldn't cope with the combination of colours.  Or something .  Whatever the problem, this was the best of a bad bunch!
Another section done
You can see why I don't blog about this very often, all the photos look the same!
Bottom left section
This is the bottom left-hand section of the top - essentially, it's more of the same!

I had a great plan to lay all the pieced sections on the floor and take a progress photo so you could see how it all tied together and how much progress I've made but it was too bloomin' big!  The blocks are 6" (finished), so the top section alone measures 90" x 42" - too big for my front room floor.  Until I've completed the top and can take a 'put the quilt on the lawn and then lean out of an upstairs window' photo, this is the best I can do:
(slow) Progress
It's an atrocious mosaic but it'll hopefully give you an idea of what's left to do!
As you can see, I've *only* got two 5x5 sections to piece and then I'm a few seams away from a finished top.  The next section is currently under construction and will hopefully be finished by the end of the week.  The way I'm constructing it means I'll only have one very long seam to piece and is by far my favoured way of constructing quilts, especially when they're quite wide and have lots of seam intersections in them.  The great irony of this quilt is that if I'd chosen to hand prepare and piece the blocks/top (which, as I'm sure you'll agree, is generally a slower method of piecing compared to rotary cutting and machine piecing), I'd probably be either finished the quilt or at least well on the way with the quilting!  As it is, I'll be glad to see the back of all this tedious pinning and piecing!

In between naps (although I'm not convinced that sleeping for three or four hours almost every afternoon still qualifies as 'napping'), I've managed to plant some of my new plants.  Mainly in the bed under the front window:
Much better!!
Eventually there'll be a box 'cone' in the centre back but it's currently refusing to leave its pot.  I have the bruises to prove it!

There's been one new addition to the back garden (the hole was already there from a plant which upped and died a few weeks after planting, so all the hard work had been done!) - a Physocarpus 'Amber Jubilee' which I bought with some Thompson and Morgan vouchers I won in a Twitter giveaway, with a couple of Virginia Creepers planted behind it to cover the fence (and, more specifically, the change in colour between the old and new planks!):


My 'to be planted' queue is still substantial, however, as I find it nigh on impossible to walk away from a cheap but good plant!

The to be planted queue is a little smaller...
Most of these are going in the new raised bed (when it's built) but some are going in the ground or in the existing beds, when I get round to it/work out exactly where I want them.

The planted parts of the garden continue to please me (and I continue to ignore the gaps where plants used to be/should be/want to be):
Garden August 2015
Ignore the abandoned box in the mucky pot - it's staying there until it agrees to leave the pot and live out the front!

And the assistant head gardener continues to keep a close eye on the under gardener:

What do you think you're playing at, sneaking in for a cuppa when there's tidying up to be done?  Now get to it or you'll feel my hand paw on the back of your head.  And bring me a biscuit while you're at it, there's a good 'un.

Thanks for popping in!


  1. Your quilt and your garden are both coming along so nicely!

  2. The garden looks great, AND you've had sunshine - lucky duck! Loving the blues and whites! Jxo

  3. Good boy, keep up the good work! Love you, sweet puppy. ♥

  4. I'm so excites that you are getting close to finishing this one as I know how relieved you will be! I'm surprised you gave got this far. Bravo and keep going. The agapanthus looks gorgeous and it looks like you are continuing to enjoy the challenge of gardening. Hope the physocarpus does well. Why will the box not come out ? Will a good soak help ? If roots through the bottom is holding it back you can always trim them

  5. I'm trying to improve our garden ready to sell but I know nothing about what type of soil I have, what plants go where, what space they need, how big they grow, etc, etc how do you learn this stuff?!

  6. It's so hard to finish something when it's repetitive work, but those beautiful blues would keep me coming back :)

  7. The snowballs and the garden are looking good x

  8. I love the freshness of the blue and white. It will be lovely when you get there!
    And your garden loks good too. Much helped by that unusual white statue on the paving. You should keep that one!

  9. I love your snowball quilt pictures. It sounds like a lot of work but the effect is beautiful. And your garden is looking lovely. I hope you and Archie are enjoying the Summer :)

  10. Such a pretty quilt Helen! Your garden is coming along nicely :)

  11. Your quilt is lovely - and the garden is looking amazing!

  12. Well, your soothing Blue and White Snowball has always excited me. Its so restful. Yes, tedious, I can imagine, to construct . . well done you for forging on, and thus getting closer to finishing this awesome gift for your Mam.
    And I love seeing how your garden has caught on over the past year.
    Archie is lucky to live in such luxury... you do spoil him!


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