Monday, April 21, 2014

Austen Family Album Update

Yesterday, as I discussed in a previous post here, another quilt block in the Austen Family Album "quilt-along " was introduced. This was number three and honors Jane Austen's father, the Reverend George Austen. It's called "Cross Within Cross". You can check it out on this blog.

So, how am I doing? You may well ask. I realized last week when I needed to finish up the first block before starting on figuring out the second, that I could easily and quite quickly fall very far behind!

The first block, "Bright Star for Jane Austen," which I paper pieced, turned out like this:

                                                      The second block was "Sister's Choice for Cassandra E. Austen." I needed to piece it conventionally as I said in last week's blog. Here is a photo of the the un-trimmed block. I finished it this morning. Once I committed to conventional piecing, the color/fabric choices and placement took longer than I imagined.  The center and the dark half squares are a Japanese cotton fabric called kasuri, that my friend Julie blogged about a couple weeks ago in this entry. This piece came from a recycled yukata. I still need to "square up" but am happy that the piecing is completed.

Onward to the Rev. George!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

And a Finish!

I wrote the other day about working on the Austen Family Album. Today I'd like to show you a finished project. Like most sewists I get requests from all sorts of people for help on different kinds of projects. I try to really limit my acceptances to really close friends for things that I know a little bit about. You may know that I recently moved to an apartment. It so happens that two friends moved from houses to condos near me at about the same time.  I benefited from extra furniture and the use of larger vehicles to mention just two things. So when one of these friends asked if I could re-cover the seats on dining room chairs I answered in the affirmative. We shopped for fabric last week and today was set as the day we'd start the project.

I'm happy to report that the project is completed and it's only mid-afternoon!  All of us are really pleased with the finished projects. Here are some photos:
These were originally covered in a brown tweed fabric. The grey really seems to "go with" the black metal of the chair frames.

The "fire" is a modern device using water vapor and lights. No heat; great for Florida.

This is the kitchen set. The seats here were well worn black vinyl.

Great choice of fabric and great cooperation of friends to get the job done.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Current Works in Progress

I have all of my things moved into my new apartment. I continue to shift and re-pack and place things daily. One of my friends, after asking me what I had been doing that day and hearing my reply said something like, "Honestly, how much more can you shove that bed aside to fit another piece of furniture in to the bedroom?"

Some days I take some time to sew something in my sewing room.  It's a pleasant experience to be able to have both machines and the cutting table set up in the same room and to have a closet where the supplies can be kept. I also unpacked my "new" iron. It's actually a refurbished Rowenta that I bought several months ago and decided to keep for the new place.

I follow several blogs written by quilters and sewists. Recently Julie wrote about an excursion with my lovely Japanese Quilting teacher. It made me think I should be continuing to use the things I learned in her studio all of those Wednesdays in Ichikawa. Along came an interesting challenge in the form of a blog about a quilt-block-a-week project. I must confess that I have not been a lifelong fan of Jane Austen but have recently realized that part of my literary education may be lacking.  So, this seemed to be an interesting way to kill two birds with one stone. I have subscribed to On Sundays (this is the second week, so it's not to late to join in) a blog post is written about some aspect of the Austen Family and also contains directions for a quilt block. The patterns are historical ones the blogger has researched.

The first week was a "Shining Star" for Jane Austen. Great! It was easily translated into a paper piecing
pattern.  I have nearly 3/4 of that block sewn. This week, a tribute to Jane's sister, Cassandara called, "Sister's Choice." Oh dear, it's divided into five rather than four so becomes more difficult when making a 12" square. Looks like I will have to bite the bullet and actually cut and piece that one.

I'm using some Japanese fabrics in traditional woven designs. So far browns, reds blue-grey and taupe. I can see that I will need to be a bit better at finishing each weeks' block in that week, or I will soon be hopelessly behind. Still who could resist such an inviting environment to practice and experiment with this special area of sewing skills?