Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday stash #6

Here I am posting on Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash again and I realise it must look like I spend most of my life fabric shopping (but read back and you'll see that's my mum, not me!)  

This time I've been out and spent my own money. Rather, I've been upstairs to the computer and spend my own money.  I hardly ever buy in real live fabric shops because the choice is so much better online and I can browse the UK and the US all in one go.

One of my favourite fabric lines for a while was Lily Ashbury's Trade Winds collection but I only discovered it when it was pretty much all gone.  I bought some in a sale and it became Eden's quilt but wished I'd bought some of the other fabrics in the line.  However I occasionally trawl around looking for it and this time I succeeded and scored these.  If I had a happy fabric dance, I would have been doing it when they arrived.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Photos for the week

A damp Bank Holiday weekend in Shrewsbury.  Yes, we were camping but sadly neither the orange Beetle nor the bus are mine.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

If I could talk to the animals

Finally I've had a chance to get back to quilting.  I've been itching to get the new animals out and see if they fit, but sometimes real life has to be the priority. (Oops, what am I saying?  Obviously real life is always my priority, but sometimes real life and quilting manage to coincide, other times they head in opposite directions.)

So Mr Hippo found his place quickly:

This took 5 minutes.  Two hours later I still hadn't worked out if the other elephant works too.  I've tried it in all sorts of places, moved the layout around, taken the big star out and put it back, moved it to the right, then to a slightly more central position than it started in.  Here are some samples of my tweaking.

Nothing was decided before real life reared its ugly head again. I'm hoping that when I come back, elephant #2 will tell me where she wants to be. 

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's, Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Monday Makers at ayliN-Nilya.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

New to the jungle

So here are the two new animal panels - an elephant and a hippo.  Now to have a play...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Where is Little Elephant heading?

I thought I knew the answer to this question.  I had got in a good chunk of time working on him and he currently looks like this:

(As an aside, I must come up with a better solution for photos than me standing on the table, quilt on the floor, but once they get beyond a certain size I can't get them onto my design wall.) 

Now, I was pretty happy with my progress, then I got a call from my mum to say she had just visited the person from whom she bought little elephant and was about to send me two more panels (a rhino and another elephant).  This is really kind of her but leaves me with a dilemma: do I try to incorporate them into what I've done already, or do I carry on?  I have decided at least to wait until they arrive to make the call, but my fingers will be itching while I wait!

While I wait I'm linking up with Lets Bee Social and WIP Wednesday .

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday stash #5

As I have mentioned before, my mother seems to have taken on, single-handed, the task of building my stash to monumental proportions.  This weeks contribution, seen below, was picked up while she was on holiday.  She is one of the few people I know who would journey by boat all the way to the edge of the Arctic Circle and come back with fabric.  

Posting on a germ-laden Molli's Sunday Stash.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Learning to look #2

This week I learned that if you are going to use software to zoom in on your photos you'd better make sure you dusted first!  

I took loads of pictures, in about half an hour one morning, mostly in my living room and bedroom.  The bedroom doesn't have a lot of natural light and I ended up rejecting lots of stuff where the flash over-lit what I was trying to do.  My camera is just a basic point and shoot, so I'll have to learn to work with its limitations.  I'm using Picasa to edit until I get something I'm happy with; for me that's all part of the learning to look:picking out the detail, cropping to emphasise a particular shape or colour or change the balance of the picture.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Little Elephant going slow

What a frustrating week - my wireless router died (there goes a whole morning talking to the internet provider on the phone, another day waiting around for the new one to come...)  Then another day having my woodburner taken out and the chimney relined.  Not much sewing has been happening.  Finally today things have settled down and I got going again.  

The one thing I had managed to do was make some little stars so that I would have something to work:

Today I wanted to play around with laying out the vertical strips I am thinking of using, so that I could start seeing where things lay in relation to each other. Like this.

Not a finished layout by any means, just giving myself some guidelines.   Then I started to look at the group of bits you can see in the picture (they're not sewn together, just sitting on the floor like that).  My feeling was that although the idea of all those prints piled up together still appealed to me, in the flesh it all kind of blurs together a bit too much - have a look at the close up to see what I mean.

To try and give things a little bit more definition I've started adding in a lot more little pale strips - the gray and a blue-gray as well (again not all of this is sewn together yet, so the really big strip in the middle will get narrower at some point). I think this may be starting to go where I want it, so am going to carry on like this and see what I think in another day or two.

As an aside - it feels quite weird putting stuff I'm not yet happy with up for everyone to see, but I am trying to be true to my process and this is pretty much how it goes.  It's also an interesting discipline having to articulate what I like/don't like and what I am doing - I hope to get better at that as I go along. 
So far the comments you have left have been kind (thank you!) but have  also helped me in thinking about all this, so thanks to those who took the time to give your perspectives.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday Stash # 4

No fabric, but look at my lovely pincushion! I just won this in a giveaway to celebrate the first year anniversary of LeeAnna's blog, Not Afraid of Color.  If you haven't visited it, go have a look, it's one of my favourites; she really isn't afraid of colour and has a great, often quirky, take on things.

I love a good pincushion and not only because they're useful.  Thanks LeeAnna - it's been put straight to use, as you can see and I'm showing it off over at Molli Sparkles.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Sunflowers and the strawberry patch

I've been reading a great blog: Mary & Patch. Not only are her quilts awesome, but she has loads of photos and colour inspiration posts.  This has got me thinking about the way I look at things.  I know I'm a visual person, but like any other sense or skill, I believe the more I try to develop that side of me, the more it will grow, and this will inform the work I do, the quilts I make.

So I am setting myself a small task.  I will try, once a week, in just a short time (this time it was about 20 minutes) to take the time to look in a really mindful way at what is around me, to see things better.  I'll post here, just to keep myself going and hopefully there will be some inspiration in it for me as well!

These were all taken in a break in the rain on a damp Friday afternoon. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Little elephant marches on

Here's where he's got to.

I took a deep breath and sliced off some of the block of which he is the centre.  There may be more slicing and dicing to come but for now I'm doing it one little step at a time.

Then I added a little slice of white.

I started making some little blocks that would bring some more white into the mix. (Though actually I don't think I've ever bought a white fabric, so this is really the palest of grays.)

I made this.

So in short, smaller elephant, start to balance that block, more whites. Now the section I'm playing with looks like this:

Thanks to Ann and Lorna for their comments on my last post, it's really helpful to get another perspective sometimes!

I'm posting this on Off The Wall Friday.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Little elephant got stuck

This has been growing really slowly.  Rather, it hasn't been growing at all.  I got stuck.  Here's why - I realised that this was turning into a medallion quilt and having just finished one of these I thought I'd like to try something else, but found myself going round and round the little elephant in the centre.  Now it may be that in the end he just wants to be in a medallion and I may have to backtrack, but for now I'm trying this:  I drew a couple of very, and I do mean very, rough sketches.  

I've only ever done this once before, but it worked okay, so it was worth a go. This is where I got to.

In this version, elephant is in right hand corner.  Most of this is not sewn on, it's just laid out on the kitchen floor for now.  Still seems a bit block-y to me, looking at this picture, but I'm going to leave it there overnight and see how it takes me in the morning...

Joining Show and Tell Tuesday at i have to say..., Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts , WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation .  There's some great stuff - go take a look!