Nearly a new year

/ Tuesday 27 December 2011 /
I am enjoying the time between semesters, having my daughter at home, and just doing a lot of not much. Unfortunately, I have a pile of marking that I have made very little progress on, and with every passing hour that monkey on my back gets bigger and bigger. (It started off as a spider monkey when term had just ended, but if I don't get cracking soon that pile of marking is going to become a full-blown gorilla!)  But here's what I really want to show you!
I have managed to get a bit of sewing done, and I want to show you my latest project because it's something I'm very proud of.  This block is called Chinese Gongs.  I found a drawing of it on the internet here, where it appears gridded but with no other dimensions or instructions.  So this was my first attempt at drafting a quilting block that had any degree of difficulty at all.  And to be truthful, it wasn't very difficult at all - the hardest part was finding a compass that would expand beyond six inches.  I think it's a stunning block - I think it would make a spectacular two-colour quilt.
The block is 14" square, and the finished quilt will be a 5 x 5 layout, finishing at 70" x 70".  I cut a set of templates that allowed me to mark the curves on the fabric.  Directional fabric means that you can't really get more than one block per FQ and there is a fair amount of waste as a result.  (I should say scrap rather than waste.)  One option is to draft it down a bit smaller so that one could get two blocks per FQ, but that would make for awkward size measurements.  The current block is based on a 14 x 14 one-inch grid.  It is the most tedious thing in the world to trace the templates and cut out each one - six per block - so I am cutting and piecing five blocks per sitting.
For this one I am proud to say that I have shopped entirely from stash.  I am using the FQ set of Heather Ross' Far Far Away III that I bought way back when, and I had a four-yard length of this Kona cotton brown that I wanted to use up.  This is not my typical colour scheme, but I think the brown goes nicely with all the prints in the set, and it provides the contrast to make this block work.  Alas, the weather is making these blocks look pretty pale and washed out.  They aren't nearly so insipid in real life!
I have also made, over the past six weeks or so, a fleet of little zipper bags.  I bought Oh Fransson's pattern for zipper pouches and just went to town on them.  Her instructions are very clear and thorough, a pleasure to use.  I gave some of them away to my TAs at the end of the term and a couple to my daughter, one to my secretary, etc.  Somehow they found homes before I got my camera out.  But I did manage to snap a photo of these two. I made them out of Amy Butler laminated cotton.  It was my first time using this material and I was a bit apprehensive but everything went fine.  I employed Pink Chalk's tip about using a glue stick to hold the zipper instead of pins or (my usual) basting, since these methods will put holes in the fabric.  I found some cute zipper pulls at Michaels.
As the year draws to a close, I'm been thinking about my personal quilting goals for next year.  I've been reading posts about similar topics, and I find a lot of inspiration in the goals that people set for themselves.  That will be a topic for my next post!  Signing off for now - I hope you are all still enjoying some relaxation and family time, like I am!


{ QuiltNut Creations } on: 27 December 2011 at 14:40 said...

your quilt is beautiful!

{ Rachel } on: 27 December 2011 at 14:47 said...

I feel your pain about the marking. I stayed at school until 5:00 pm on the last day to get tests marked and brought home a humongous pile of assignments. I laboured yesterday afternoon and got through just under half of it. I`m hoping to finish it off today...because tomorrow morning I`m going to Paris for 5 days!

The new quilt is awesome! Very interesting design. I hope you don`t stress too much about work and continue to enjoy your time off. You deserve it!

{ elle } on: 27 December 2011 at 17:13 said...

Your drafted block is really quite nice. I like them!

{ two hippos } on: 27 December 2011 at 17:51 said...

Neat blocks! I'm grateful that I don't have any grading to finish, but there's still that pesky dissertation chapter waiting to be finished that serves as my gorilla.

{ Scarlett Burroughs } on: 27 December 2011 at 21:39 said...

What a lovely modern feeling quilt block Lesly! I've featured this post on Craft Gossip here:

Scarlett Burroughs
Quilting Editor, Craft Gossip

{ Andrea } on: 27 December 2011 at 22:18 said...

I love it! The design and the colors are great. Thanks for the data page of the block .. Very happy beginning of the year

{ Manda } on: 28 December 2011 at 04:35 said...

Those blocks will make a beautiful quilt! And the little pouches are gorgeous!

{ Steph F. } on: 28 December 2011 at 11:05 said...

The Chinese Gongs look perfect with Far Far Away III fabric!

I want to try laminated cotton. Some day...

{ Suzanna } on: 28 December 2011 at 14:59 said...

What an interesting pattern. And I mean "interesting" in a good way, not as a substitute for something less polite.

Lesly, have you played with coloured, paper copies of the block? I'm curious to know if you've decided whether the blocks will all face the same direction and if the brown domes always be on the right.

I'm looking forward to seeing the finished top.

{ tusen } on: 8 January 2012 at 07:20 said...

I love this combination of fabrics, and since the brown-blue combination is one of my favourite you can guess which block is my favourite, too.

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