Friday, 31 October 2014

Everybody has to sometime get the blues

So, looks as if Two Hungry Birds is done, for now at least.  I know where I want to start my next piece, but am just slightly freaked out (as I've probably said before) at having a queue of tops waiting to be quilted.  Well not really a queue: just 2, and I know there are people out there with waaaay more than that, but it's not what I'm used to.  

My very temporary way of dealing with this is to take a tiny pause and play around with a couple of things for a few days, instead of launching straight into the next top.  Won't be enough to let me catch up but I might at least close the gap.

This is the beginning of something I have been talking about with my sister - not sure where it's going to go, not sure even if it's going to go somewhere.

The little orange scraps belong to something else, but I liked how they looked when they landed on the denim.  

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Two hungry birds, one big piece

So, this morning I joined all the bits of this together and hung it up to have a proper look.  I can't decide right now whether to leave it at this, or to border it, or to add some geese horizontally across the top and bottom.  Any thoughts on this?

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and Lets Bee Social.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Things I've learned...

I've been reflecting a bit recently on my quilt-making journey, the stuff/people that have influenced me and the things I've worked out for myself and thought I might do a few short posts sharing some of it.  

The first, absolutely most important, moment for me was reading The Fabric Makes the Quilt by Roberta Horton.  She set out some simple rules for approaching a new (to me) way of quilt-making and reading the first of these was my lightbulb moment.  It was 'the line should not be straight'.  

That's right, the line should not be straight.  Yippee!!! No straight lines. Straight-ish lines instead.  My lines had never been straight, even when I tried, but now I didn't have to.  I stopped using my ruler, started cutting free-hand and have never looked back.  In fact I get less straight with every quilt that I make! 

I know quilting is all about straight lines and perfect corners, but this is so much more in tune with who I am and has really freed me to make the quilts I want to make.

Thanks Roberta!

Linking up to ayliN-Nilya for Monday Makers, Lee at Freshly Pieced  for WIP Wednesday and Nina-Marie for Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Bloggers quilt festival - Fine Feathers

One of my motivations for starting this blog was to connect with other quilters, since they are thin on the ground round here. The Bloggers Quilt Festival, run by Amy at Amy's Creative Side, is a great opportunity to share what you have been working on and to see what other people have been up to.  There are already some great quilts on show and there will be more to come over this week.

This is the first time I have entered a quilt (on account of how I haven't had a blog before!), and I'm really happy to be participating. 

This is a quilt I made for my daughter this year.  Working name was Annie's quilt, but we wanted a posh name as well, so it's Fine Feathers.

She's been waiting a while, but finally it was her turn.  She loved the Michael Miller Wing Song fabric so that was my starting point and it grew into a sort of medallion with a big piece of that at the centre.

I played around a lot with wonky stars (the first time I had used them) as well as little log cabin blogs and blunt-nosed triangles.  It was a lot of fun.

The back was a few, very few, scraps left from the front, plus some pretty French General fabrics and other bits from stash.

The technical stuff:

Quilt is about 70"x85", machine pieced and hand quilted using perle cotton. The wadding is Hobbs Heirloom wool.

I am entering this in the Original Design category.  If you haven't already visited do go and have a look.

Linking up to Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Monday.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Two Hungry Birds moving along

Not so slow this week, though my Frozen dress-making interlude has probably helped. 

Mind you, as the piecing part of my process is definitely happening quicker than it used to I am suddenly, strangely, at risk of having several tops all waiting to be quilted.  This backlog is not something I'm used to, and I find I don't much like the idea.

Since there really isn't a way to hand quilt much faster, maybe slowing down the piecing would be the answer, if it weren't for the fact that I get a bit twitchy when I'm not doing it, as if all the ideas inside my head are scratching away trying to get out.   Alternatively I may just have to get used to things not moving in perfect synchronicity!

In any case, here's where the Birds have got to.

As usual linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Lets Bee Social.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Where I sew

Recently I've enjoyed various blog posts by people sharing their sewing space - the most enviable of which feature well organised stash storage, copious natural light and usually a nifty little Ikea trolley loaded with threads, scissors, rotary cutters and other essentials, all ready to be wheeled to wherever they are wanted.  Bliss.  

So I thought I'd redress the balance by sharing my current sewing space.  Here you go.

The sewing machine box is there so I can stand on it to take pictures, the plastic bag on the door handle is my scrap storage.  Most of the time the floor is my design wall - I have at least trained the family to walk around fabric piles on the floor.

I also have to admit that this is looking tidy for me, since I only seem to have a little pile of Two Hungry birds fabrics and my leftover satin shiny stuff out.  When I was making Little Elephant this whole area was knee deep (and I'm not talking metaphorically here).  

But the good bit is - I don't care!  I like my sewing machine up there between my Kitchenaid mixer and the cooker, I don't mind standing on the box for photos, and as for the mess, I've come to accept that it's just the way my mind works.  If things are too tidy then I can't find what I want, can't even work out what I want.  The mess somehow makes sense inside my head.  (And it was the same when I was doing academic work - my desk was a shambles but I could always put my hand to what I needed).  

Clearly I do clear away if I'm using the mixer or doing loads of cooking, but most of the time, this is the view. Enjoy (unless you're my mother in which case you should probably have stopped reading right at the beginning!)

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday stash # 8

It's been a while since I've bought much, though I have used up a quite a lot, but this week I decided a bit of stash-building was definitely called for and ordered these:

A selection of the brand new Carolyn Friedlander line.  I could have bought piles of these, but stuck to my self-imposed limit and got 1/2 metre of each.  Aren't they lovely?

Linking up with Sunday Stash over at Molli Sparkles today.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Saturday photo - let it go, let it go

Any guesses what I have been doing in my spare sewing time this week?  Not quilting, that's for sure.  I have become strangely fascinated with all the shiny satin and sequins and the way the light bounces off them.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Charley's in the frame

Actually he's in a biggish quilting hoop, but that just doesn't have the same ring.

I took a little bit of a break after finishing the last quilt, but finally got this started a couple of days ago.  

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday and with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

That slow phase...

Yup, that's where I am right now.  The right hand side of this came together fast, but this is taking me longer.  No problem with this for me, as the waiting game entails lots of cups of tea and pottering about while I let it all simmer.  

So this is just a quick picture of what it looked like at some point today.  Doesn't look like that now but my camera battery is flat!  It is good enough for the time being though.

Linking up with Lorna and Lee.

Monday, 13 October 2014

And now...back to the birds

No surprises there, I know.

I had a bit of a slow week last week, so was glad I had something else to post or it would have been very quiet here. But eventually chores were done, broken towel rail (don't ask!) was fixed and snakes were cleaned out (a word of advice - don't let your 12 year old kid have a pet that is going to live more than 5 or 6 years unless you are sure you want to be looking after it for years once he goes to university).  

Then I got back down to it.

I've been playing with the collage function on Picasa and thought I'd try this for a change.

I ended up here:

Onward and upward...

Linking this one up with Monday Makers.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Saturday - a photo again

After a couple of weekends with no photos because I was off enjoying myself, here we are again.  Just the one this time: I don't know why I like this one so much, but I do, so am just going with it.

Friday, 10 October 2014

My done and dusted moment

And here is the finished quilt that has been the subject of this week's posts (here and here).

Athough at the beginning of the process the fact that I was making this for other people (as opposed to making it and then gifting it) freaked me out a bit - a state of mind I revisited occasionally as I went along - I also learned a lot from this quilt.  The colour choices, the design, even the spiral quilting all came directly from my sense of what my friends would like; so I tried new stuff instead of just what I already like.  I still had 'what if they don't like it' moments of anxiety along the way, but kept faith in my instincts over this and, happily, they were not disappointed.  (That's a kind of English understated way of saying they loved it!)

The finished quilt is 65.5" by 87".  I used loads of different fabrics, including the red/purple ones from an Oakshott Ruby Reds bundle, some Carrie Bloomston collage (one plain, one newsprint strips and a bit of bird border), some Kaffe Fassett fat quarters, Kate Spain's Daydream (for the moon). There's even a couple of batik fabrics in there - the very dark purple with the tiny squares in the picture below and the long strips with the curvy pattern.

I used Hobbs Tuscany Wool Wadding and quilted using a Valdani variegated perle thread.

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday, TGIFF, Fabric Frenzy FridaySlow Sunday StitchingAnything Goes Monday and, in for a penny, in for a pound,  Sew Cute Tuesday

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

How high the moon

It felt a bit like cheating to use this quilt for more than one post, but on reflection I decided that since I had spent a solid 5 months of work on it, it could jolly well earn its keep.  

So here it is nearly finished...

and in the quilting hoop.

I promise to post the finished top next time!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Changing the subject for a moment

No birds for a couple of days, because I want to show the unblogged quilt I have been working on since April.  It was finished last week and went to its new home this weekend.  My lovely friends were happy with what I had made, and that made me happy too (and was a bit of a relief, since it's the first one I've done that's gone outside the immediate family).  They had very bravely set no limits on size or style or colour (except to say no pastels) but they wanted something that reflected who they were - or at least my interpretation of that.

I drew a sketch almost immediately (first time ever I'd done this) but it worked really well and the finished product is pretty much what I drew.  Lost the piece of paper, I'm afraid, but here's my fabric pull.  

And this is where it took me.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Hungry birds, flying geese

So I haven't really got loads to say here.  I've made more geese, moved them up, and down, left and right and shifted other bits around.

I became aware that my inclination is to let things get bigger and bigger, but I know I don't want this to be a huge quilt, so am laying out on top of an old rug to keep me sensible (hence the very fetching beige background). Not so photogenic but it works for me.

Although I lay out lots of bit, it's mostly just to give me a rough idea of balance.  Nothing is necessarily where it's finally going to live at this stage.

But I have ended up with a chunk that I'm fairly happy with.

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Balancing birds

After a weekend of fun and games in Manchester (where I saw the excellent Maxine Peake play Hamlet - well worth the trip)  I still liked what I had done last time, so have been trying to move it on.

I have some ideas to play with.  I want to try some wonky (as always) flying geese, now that I'm done with the stars for a bit.  

First go looks like this, but then I needed to work out how they relate to the big bird bits...

After a bit I got to this:

and stopped again.  The things I am thinking about now are:

  • Do I like the stripe with the orange/blue/brown?  (The colours aren't quite right in the photos but probably near enough).  I picked it up because all the greys and blues felt a bit same-y and I didn't want the whole thing to turn to mush.  Or because I just can't control the urge to bung a whole load of extra colour into everything.  Take your pick!
  • How do I put some horizontals in to balance the really strong vertical lines a bit.  This is clearly going to be a vertical quilt, but needs some movement the other way too.
I hope these questions make sense - as I've said before I don't normally articulate, but am trying to just for the sake of the blog.  

Will link with Lorna at Sew Fresh for Let's Bee Social,  Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday.