Friday, 22 March 2019

The questions you ask yourself

I have been surprised by enticing I have found these blocks.  I think it's the sense of unpredictability; try as I might I can't look at a strip set and imagine how it will look when it's cut up and reassembled, so each time I do it it's almost like magic.  

I have been aware, somewhere at the back of my mind, that they are very tidy blocks (for me) and that usually I would look at all these straight lines and feel slightly uneasy, want to tweak things or mess around.  That I have kept going without fiddling is definitely due to that sense of wonder I get from making these (maybe I'm easily pleased, but it's a fine feeling).
I am also influenced by the fact that I will be selling my house shortly and expect not to have a good sewing space for a while.  Not sewing at all feels like a bad option, so I am thinking that working in a more block-based way may be a temporary answer.  This piece might be seen, then, as an experiment in that direction.  

However, Soma commented, quite fairly, on this uncharacteristic neatness and now she has me wondering.  Here are my questions: am I happy to keep these going, with just little changes in the individual blocks to keep me happy; should I try the same block but deliberately be less neat; might I leave these as they are but add something in? Pros and cons and no answers here at the moment.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Short attention span

So...I liked the chunky strip sets I was making last time, but they didn't keep me interested for very long and I found I was doing that thing of unintentionally cutting pretty straight lines, which was giving me very orderly-looking chunks at that.  Thoughts of triangles and circles were whirling about my head so I decided 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' and started chopping.

I made some triangles, then put them back together into these.
For some reason I find it very entertaining to make all those crosses and concentric squares in this way, so I kept going.
When I get bored of doing this, I'll figure out what next, but for now I'm having fun.

Friday, 15 March 2019

When life gives you plaids...

Sometimes life just doesn't play nice.  Off I went to the charity shops, looking for dark, dark reds and some pattern that wasn't plaid. What did I find?  Nothing really dark, no patterns, but a whole pile of lovely plaids and stripes.
I have taken this as a sign and am going to work with what I have.

I think that if the plaids and stripes dominate my reds, they will balance all the plain and plain-ish fabrics I have in my pile of other colours.  I've started by making some sets of strips - wider than I would normally use but I'm trying to apply some of the lessons from Playing with Scale and not always start with the skinniest options.  Here's an example.
I'm planning to make a pile along these lines and then figure out what next.  I might use them as a version of Chinese Coins, might cut squares from them, or triangles or...who knows?  At least I am handling my fabrics and getting a feel for the colours and how they work together.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Playing with Scale: done and dusted

I may be (still) behind with a lot of things, but my quilting is going just fine and as a result I have my second finish of the year, which makes me feel a whole lot better about everything else.
It's quilted with wonky concentric diamonds, largely following the shapes in the piecing. 
As usual you get a better idea from the back.
The binding is a black and white print - random letters, I think it's an old Cloud 9 print.
And the details.

Finished sized 65" square.

Pieced from a pile of shirts (you can see where I started here) and fabrics from stash.  The wadding is an organic cotton, new-to-me option.  There's been a wee bit of bearding showing on the black fabrics as I quilted, but it's pretty much settled down already so that wouldn't put me off using it again.  The quilting is done with perle no. 8 - I just pulled out everything in greens, browns, black, white, that I had in the box and got on with it. 

This was started on 30th January 2018 and the piecing was finished on 13th March that year.

I started quilting on 3rd February this year, finished on 9th March.

I feel like I met the challenge, to play around with scale pretty well, since I worked with much bigger units than I normally would and also used that large-scale black and green print.  And I made my first string quilt into the bargain, so all round I'm pretty happy with things.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Still pulling and pondering

I am behind.  Behind on my blogging and behind on my blog reading.  Not so much behind on my sewing, which I guess is the most important thing, but I will be happier once I catch up properly.  

Mostly I am quilting, trying to get Playing with Scale finished, but I am also, still, playing around with options for Red is a Neutral.  

It's a tricky thing to get your head round, on some levels.  I find myself a bit overwhelmed by all the red, though I have been happy enough to work with it in the past.  However, I came across an explanation of why red works as a neutral that is helping me.  The gist of it is that a neutral is any colour that shows off the colours it is paired with to their best advantage; conversely, any colour can shine when paired with red.  

If I take this idea to its logical conclusion then it shouldn't matter what else I choose to add in to my pile of shirts.  I've started by pulling out some of the colours I can see in the plaids - blues and greeny blues but also yellows and a bit of brown.
 I like these, but when I look at them with the reds...
I feel like I'm not quite there.  Ideally I would like something much darker - navy, charcoal, black - and one or two more prints.  The fact that they are not there reflects my dwindling stash: I have hardly bought any fabric for nearly 3 years and this may be the point where I need to address that.

In the meantime, I'll do another pass at the charity shops and see if that yields anything encouraging.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Night Birds: done for now

Not much sewing got done last week, but I got off to a quick start this week, largely thanks to notes I had made on my phone.  Just before it all went into the box I had climbed on a chair to get a good look and seen a few things I wanted to tweak.  The notes read "replace bottom with dark, replace top Carolyn Friedlander with dark and make thinner to room for strip under wee star." 

So my first step was to look again and see if I agreed with myself,  which I did.  Here's the before and after.  

Then a column of stars and geese and just like that I was done. Now I am going to have a cup of tea and feel pleased with myself.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Low level multi-tasking

I may not be able to work on more than one quilt at a time,but at least I can occasionally work on several different bits of that single quilt simultaneously.  I am now playing around with the last 3 columns of this.  Correction, the last 2, since the right-hand end is pretty much done.
I've got plenty of bits and bobs so it's just a question of shuffling them about until I like where they land.
I've got a lot on this week but am hopeful this might get done in the next fortnight, since I'm itching to have a go at the current AHIQ challenge, Red is a Neutral.