Thursday, 13 May 2021

Old-fashioned progress post

I had a happy moment this week when I discovered I had more tulip blocks than I had realised.  I had been unpicking upstairs because there was someone working on my fireplace downstairs.  When he finished I moved back down but left said tulips behind.  I think they may just be enough to get me over the line on this without having to sew any more blocks.  That would be a bit of a result. 

Here are two versions I have been playing around with.  I have been struggling with the symmetrical nature of this piece and trying to come up with a way to disrupt that a bit.  This photo is me wondering if I could add something - either one fabric or something pieced into the mix.  So far I haven't found anything that would work and if a fabric doesn't present itself this is rather dead end.
In the second picture I am just trying to use the extra tulips to move the eye around.  I think this may work out better.

Either way, I think this is not going to get much larger; I'm not going to keep going just for the sake of it and even if I haven't settled exactly on a final version, it rather feels like there's not far to go now.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Considering my options.

I am considering my options, but thankfully not in that "where's the seam ripper" way; more just not wanting to commit until I'm sure.  There is a temptation for me to be so glad this is working better than the first layout that I just sew it all together to try and get to a finish as fast as possible.  Instead I am taking a deep breath and trying to give my quilting brain space to do its thing.  Also, as so often, I can see that I won't have enough of the very dark blue fabric to just keep going like this, so I need to build that into my ponderings.

First up, the thought came to me as I got out of bed that I could reverse the two blue fabrics, stripe next to the strings, darker one on the outside.  Like this.

I like the variation and on a practical level it is using more of the fabric that I have more of.

Next up, those tulips...hmm.  They look okay sitting on the edge (last pic, previous post), but are they blowing my socks off?  Nope.  In fact they aren't really drawing my eye at all.  So maybe if I mass them together, like this, they will be happier.
This seems more effective but in turn produces things to consider.  For instance, if I offset the next round of blocks, I am going to end up with gaps to fill, so the question is "with what?"  Ann's comment last time has made me aware that I don't need to offset both vertically and horizontally, so next time these blocks are out I am going to have a play with that idea.  In the meantime, this is what it would look like if I just kept going.
The little strips of strings aren't working for me here, but it was an idea worth trying.  I have a few tulips half-made, that I thought wouldn't be needed but I am reconsidering.  It won't take long to complete them and it is starting to look like the more of them I use, the better.  Also, it will help me to counter the shrinking pile of dark blue.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021


I am still pretty happy with how my revamped string blocks are going.  Mostly I am occupied with cutting up the originals and adding dark blue edges.  I am doing all this by eye, so the coloured bits are not exactly centred in the blue and no two are exactly the same.  I kind of like that they don't sit in neat lines.   

 I am also taking a bit of time to play around.  I like the blocks offset
I wonder about adding some of the little quarter blocks from my strings...
and maybe a tulip or two.
I need to try this out over a bigger area to see if it really works but at least it feels like I am heading in a more sensible direction now.  

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Take 2

I have gone right back, almost to before where I started, if such a thing is possible.  I had in my mind's eye a half-remembered image of tiny bits of colour surrounded by something dark.  I wondered if I could use my string blocks to constitute these little bits of colour.  So, you guessed it, out came the rotary cutter again.  I cut a few little squares (a quarter the size of the original strings).  The original intention was to use each one on its own, but as I played around I wondered about reforming the Os that I had in my first attempt.  Like this.
I have log cabined around these centres, to bring them back up, roughly speaking to 10.5 inches.  The dark blue/black fabric was nearly a pair of trousers about 2 years ago, but the pattern, which had looked fine on paper, was very odd sewn up so they never got finished.  These pieces have been lurking around ever since.  It is very lovely in the flesh, but is, I think, a linen and cotton mix, so slightly unruly to handle.  Never mind.  

I liked these, so I made a few more.
And then a few more.

Very crease-y but otherwise okay.  This isn't a layout, of course, just a bunch of bits arranged for a photo; I will play around once I've got a few more under my belt.  I am getting 4 little bits from each of my original string blocks, so almost nothing is going to waste and hopefully this version will work better than the first, otherwise I will end up working with postage stamp-sized pieces.  ]

Will my tulips work with what I have here?  I have no idea yet and haven't wanted to jump the gun by trying them out.  For now I'm just concentrating on one thing at a time.  

Monday, 26 April 2021

Slicing and dicing

This is just not happening for me.  I don't remember when I last got so comprehensively stuck (actually, I've just looked back and it was 2015!)

Here's how it panned out.  I made another chunk I quite liked.  I tried it on the left, I tried it on the right.  Not happening.  I tried it at the top of the piece I already had.  That seemed like the best thing I had tried.  It looked like this.
I put it away for the weekend, came back to it today and realised I didn't really like it at all.  I tried adding in HST squares, half white shirt, half coloured.  Nope.  I tried using the white shirt with a centre strip, so that it echoed the shapes of the string blocks.  Now, that's an idea that I liked and that has possibilities, but it didn't work here. 

So...I took all three chunks apart.  You can tell I was fed up because I didn't even bother to unpick, I just ran my rotary cutter right along the offending seams.  I have sliced off the dark strips too.  

I don't have any idea what I am going to do next, but that's all part of the process, right?  I am choosing to be okay with the fact that my process currently involves going backwards!

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

One chunk, two chunks

I still  haven't hit any sort of rhythm with this top, though to be fair last week was unlikely to be the time when that happened.  I do however have a chunk I like.
I am now working on a second piece, using something I have unpicked half of, to see if I can revive it without more unpicking.
I don't envisage it sitting in its current position; that's just the clear piece of floor.  In fact, one of the things causing me issues with this is that I can build little sections I like without too much difficulty but I can't for the life of me figure out how to connect them in a way that pleases me.  

A couple of people have commented about the white fabric.  I should explain that it is actually a shirt with a fine dark (probably black) stripe, so is not as glaring and naked as it looks in the photos.  Why the stripes don't show up, I don't know but in real life it has a different effect entirely.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Slow going, still better than not going at all

It's slow going  here this week, but not because I'm stuck (though I'm not yet unstuck).  It's just the second week of the Easter holidays.  Last week my guys went to cricket camp, thrilled that our lockdown has been lifted enough for this to be possible.  Mind you, normally they would have been inside; this year they played cricket in both driving snow and pouring rain and, quite consistently all week, in temperatures barely above freezing.  Didn't seem to bother them though.  This week, no cricket, so I have to be more entertaining.  

I am sneaking in a bit of tinkering and quite a lot of just pondering nonetheless.  I have to thank everyone who took the time to offer up an opinion on my last post - all those clever ideas whirl around in my head and sooner or later something comes of it all.  So far I have decided to add in both a lighter light (a shirt, basically white with a very fine stripe) and some darker options.  I have also settled on emphasising the 'o' shape with the string blocks rather than the crosses.  This means that if I disrupt the pattern, I will be doing so in a more careful way. 

This is just a little bit where I have reorganised the strings and added in a couple of white squares. It's always a bit odd judging something from a small piece, given that repetition is so important, but you can get my general drift anyway.

Here are the new darks.
And this, in the interests of thoroughness, is a black and white version.  
Beyond this, I have no clue as yet, but I am hopeful that by the time I get a clear run at it again, something will have percolated through and I'll be ready to crack on. 

In the meantime, I am quilting and quilting.