Monday, 26 September 2011

Time, tide and thrift

[If you are looking for the giveaway, click here.]

For the first weekend in some time I did no knitting or sewing (in spite of the fact that I hauled a big bag of yarn and needles down to Devon and back), but luckily I can show you a pretty picture for here is something I made earlier.

Yes, yet another another patchwork cushion because I seem to be on quite a roll thanks to the dear old Go! Baby, which has certainly revved up my productivity.

I am beginning to realize that the thought of all that cutting out was a barrier to creation, and now that by winding a little handle for a few seconds, wham! 32 triangles can appear as if by magic.

You may remember that I made the cushion above for my sofa a little while ago, and I felt that it needed a friend to cuddle up to. I did not want to use exactly the same pattern, but I did want to use the Go! Baby to do the cutting, and being a relative newbie to this sort of patchwork, I found this book from Search Press very helpful in giving me ideas as to what patterns I could make with my half-square and quarter-square triangles.

It is called Patchwork: 200 Questions Answered, by Jake Finch, and is a handy little companion, particularly useful to the novice patchworker, as it answers all those questions you need to know the answer to but don't know who to ask.

It shows you exactly how to piece a huge range of blocks, from the simple to the complex, and also covers the finishing of quilts, sashing, binding, etc. The only criticism that I have is that the book would be hugely improved if it had imperial as well as metric measurements - I know that officially the UK is metric, but most quilting in this country is done using inches, and in fact when I started out I could not have bought a metric cutting mat or ruler in my local shop even if I wanted one.

After some thought, I decided to do the centre of the cushion using my 4in finished size half-square triangle die, with a border of quarter-square triangles to link up with the first cushion, using red and aqua reproduction feed sack fabric. The Go! Baby really came into its own when after cutting out all my triangles and laying them out I changed my mind about the colour scheme - I was able to cut out another 20 quarter-square triangles in a trice. I know that if I had had to start again with the rulers late on a Saturday afternoon I would probably have given up!

But I won't waste the rejected colour, which you can see making up half of the back envelope - I have another cushion design planned for the triangles I cut from this fabric, which I think will involve some of Amy's My Happy Place fabric. (I have also found out that if you sign up with Accuquilt, not only can you download the free pattern books I mentioned before, but they also have a big selection of free patterns which can be downloaded direct from their store, which I have found a great source of ideas and inspiration.)

So two out of the three sofa cushions are now done - and now I will give you a handy little hint. These cushions are sitting on two 'thrifted' chairs: in fact, they were so thrifty that they were free, abandoned to their fate by their original owners. But before acquiring a chair, please do sit on it. And if it is not comfortable at first, then forget the proverb encouraging you to try, try and try again, however wonderfully shabby chic it looks.

I spotted the chair on the right outside a cottage that was being renovated one day a dozen years ago when I was out walking the lanes, when thrift, and vintage, and recycling weren't nearly so commonplace as they are now. The builders looked incredulous when I asked to take away the chair and highly amused as I lugged it off down the lane, so pleased with my find. They had obviously tried sitting on the thing which has bitten and harassed everyone who has sat on it since, however many cushions it is loaded with. A stream of polite guests have said, no, I'll be absolutely fine here, when the family have vainly offered to take the pain as they seat themselves all innocent and unknowing at the table.

But enough is enough. Twelve long years and I have finally come to the conclusion that as nothing is going to make that chair comfortable to sit on, why on earth do I give it house room? The Fly Lady says that you have to declutter as the first step in gaining Control over your domestic situation; I am going to pack that pesky seat bag and baggage out to the bonfire and consign it to the flames and will not pretend any longer that its looks can compensate for its vicious tendencies.

And I have the Fly Lady to thank for a relaxing weekend away. The Head Chef and I took our short break - many kind thanks to those of you who wanted to send us to Tuscany, Canada and the like, but with such a short time available we headed south-west to our spiritual home for a revivifying walk on the beach at Padstein and some invigorating cliffs and crashing waves at Hartland Point.

I was able to head off with a clear conscience thanks to my very shiny sinks and buffed-up bathrooms; the rest really did not seem so very bad, and even a tearful phone conversation from Princess Bunchy due to her having suffered a very serious sick feeling All Day which necessitated Leaving the Pool Early at swimming club, and multitudinous phone calls between the back door and Guildford, only caused me the slightest wobble. You will be glad to hear that the Ploughboy took her in hand and administered his fail-safe remedy for all ills: drink two pints of water (preferably followed by a hearty meal) and retire to bed early, and I just concentrated on thinking about the uplifting power of shiny sinks.

So here are some handy hints: if you want a nice holiday in Devon I can highly recommend The Old Granary at Leigh Farm in Hartland; two pints of water proved very efficacious in curing a sick Princess; sitting on chairs is a surefire way to tell if they are comfortable.

Now back to the fray: real life begins again with sinks to shine, a house to declutter, and Routines which promise much (not to mention a new pattern to try out, too). Which shall I start with . . . ?


susan said...

I would like to be responsible and suggest starting with the declutter. But that advise would be so out of character for me it's just silly. Get the pattern and start looking at your fabric stash!!

Karen L R said...

Batman and I have been becoming ruthless as we prepare for a "tag sale". I've had the most enchanting chair sitting about for at least 25 years, and no one sits on it. So, bye bye, I say!

It does, indeed, feel good to be de-cluttering.

So glad you had a great weekend!

Annie said...

Yummy cushions :D I think I need a Go! Baby ... actually I think my entire life could do with a Go! Baby just now ... if ever there was productivity that needed revving up it's mine!
Yours is clearly well revved so forget sinks, you have a new pattern and a fabric stash to commune with !

Katy Cameron said...

Love those cushions, so pretty!

Amy said...

I love the triangle pillow! I can't wait to see the pillow made with My Happy Place! How exciting. I love mismatched old chairs. I pick them up from the roadside. I still have a great memory of one of my husband's friends sitting in one and the legs just went out from under him. He doesn't trust any of my finds anymore.

Catskill Quilter said...

Love the cushions, and I have to tell you, the first photo in this post, of the rounded chair with cushion in the garden, looks SO inviting! Glad you got a chance to go away -- such a good feeling to leave home, and then to return refreshed!

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Love the cushion, the colours are great together!
So glad you had a lovely weekend. :)
Vivienne x

Mrs. Micawber said...

Aqua and red - such a perfect combination. I love the movement created by the different triangle sizes.

I don't think I could quilt in metric. Somehow halving and quartering amounts seems easier than dividing by tens. If the US ever went metric, they'd have to pry my 24" Omnigrid out of my cold dead hand to get it away from me.

"Vicious tendencies" sounds delightfully Austenian. If you weren't about to destroy that chair you could name it Mr. Wickham...

Caroline Lovis (Redneedle) said...

One day I will get into quilting, if only becasue I like the sound of a 'Go Baby'. Lovely cushion Pomoma. I decluttered a kitchen window sill yesterday does that count?

Mousy Brown said...

A trip to Cornwall sounds like a lovely reward for all that hard work and a gorgeous cushion to rest on when you get back - perfect! Em x

Serenata said...

That cutter do dah looks a fabulous thing to have in your sewing armoury.

Well done on committing to getting rid of the chair!

Perhaps do a bit of decluttering first and then 'reward' yourself with someone much more fun.

Miss Holly said...

fantastic job on the pillows.....I love your fabric selections.....It's giving me lots of ideas!! Thank you!!

dragonfly said...

The whole FWQAL project has me fascinated with triangles and all their permutations. Your cushions are fab.
Glad you had a lovely break too.

Lisa said...

Another fab cushion.
Good luck with the new routine. I like the planning and list making but am rubbish at putting these things into practise.
Am doing slightly better with my new routine of a little every day and not just try and do all on a Monday.
Lisa x

Frances said...

You've made me laugh with those visions of shiny sinks. Perhaps mine own kitchen sink might benefit from some shining.

Your triangled patchwork cushions are so lovely, the close value in one and the greater contrast in the other really do show how patchwork offers up lots of differing optical effects.

Your time away surely must have been great fun and very energizing.

Bravo on all fronts!

taylorsoutback said...

All your pillows look so inviting - and your little chair that people avoid is sweet looking! We had a lady's "slipper" I think they called it - rocking chair...beautifully caned and smooth curved oak trim - 1890's or so. But so uncomfortable & finally made the decision to let it go.
We also decluttered 14 years ago when moving into our new home - well no plans to move but we need to declutter again!!

Arianwen said...

Loving the cushions, but I have missed something what's a Go! Baby?? When you have decluttered your house maybe you can do mine- I sent a black bag to the charity shop of Oriana's old clothes on tuesday and you really cannot tell that anything is missing.

Little Blue Mouse said...

Well I think you should start by trying the new pattern.

Manasi said...

Love the cushions! Now I'm dreaming of my next vacation.

My shabbychic vintage frugal life said...

hello , i have just discovered your blog , i love the cushions , i have lots of scrap fabric so i am going to make a cushion like this.


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