Thursday, 20 January 2022

Time, no space

 I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but currently have nowhere it is easy to piece (floors back to concrete, walls back to plaster, dust and mud all over the place).  I had thought I would just ride it out, but there's still a way to go.  Maybe I can come up with a project that I can manage in a tiny space.  All I've done so far is shuffle a lot of shirts around and come up with a couple of piles I quite like.

This one would be good to go.  I like the oranges and range of prints I have in this, and know there are other things I have that would fit if I need them.
This one probably needs a couple of additions before there's enough fabric there to be feasible, but I really like the stripy shirt second from the left and the fabrics on either end which both, by change, have cranes on them.
That stripe, which doesn't photograph well, has deep pink and green stripes in it as well as the creams and yellows, so there is plenty of room to expand the colour scheme if I need to.  

Of course I need to figure out what sort of starting point I feel like, which may well inform my decision over which pile to go with.  I may also see if I can track down something to add to the second pile and I guess that might make a difference too. 

Incidentally, I know this approach doesn't fit with the challenge I set for AHIQ this time around, but there's still time for that one.


Thursday, 30 December 2021

One last finish for the year

Finished with a whole two days in hand!  The builders have left things nice and tidy over the Christmas break but the inside of the house is not what you would call picturesque so once again I braved the drizzle to stick this on the line.  It's a challenging business, since everything is kind of cock-eyed, as you can see from this unedited photo.
There is no slope in the garden - just in the washing line.  Just out of shot is a long length of drainpipe, with two pegs stuck on the top edge, which is serving as a prop for the line.  

At least things look a bit better once I crop out the wonky background!

Working up close on the quilting I had lost track of the big picture with this one, but now that it is done and I can stand back a bit, I am really happy with how it has turned out.  I can absolutely see how it relates to my starting point of maps of the back-to-backs in the centre of Birmingham in the 19th century.  

This was started at the beginning of August 2018 in response to an AHIQ challenge and I finished the piecing on December 5th.  I think maybe other quilts jumped the queue, because that seems quite a long time ago.  Anyway, I got it into a hoop in August this year and finished it first thing this morning.  In fact, I got up early specifically to stitch the last foot or so of binding.  That seems like a long time, I know, but because I mostly have two quilts on the go at the moment and both of them are now done, I think it still works out at somewhere between two and three months per quilt, which feels pretty fast to me.  

This was made out of a lot of shirts (the very darkest blue here is one of the nicest shirts I have ever used, I think) with bits from stash and a few very old Oakshott cottons in the mix.  Wadding is organic cotton and I used perle thread from stash.  I am used to cutting it fine with my fabric but in this case I nearly ran out of suitable thread.  There is one corner where everything is quilted in either white or a dark green, because that is all I had left.    
I am particularly pleased with the back for this.  The centre is made from an old tablecloth which depicts historic buildings of Tasmania.  I was experimenting with using things that I wouldn't want to cut up for a front and tablecloths have rather taken my fancy.  Not big enough to save me much piecing, but somehow pleasing nonetheless.

Finished size is about 65" wide by 80" long.
No better way to see out a year than with a last minute finish. 

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2022.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Finally, a finish

In fact, I have another quilt coming hot on the heels of this, which I am hoping to complete before year end, but for now I am going to pause and enjoy this finish. 

This was a quilt which began life as an attempt to use up a handful of little butterfly blocks I made with shirt fabrics and floral scraps in April 2017.  It's not like me to start something and not finish, so I think maybe they came from a phase when I thought I might do the Rainbow Scrap Challenge or something similar.  They sat in a box for a while but in the middle of July 2019 out they came again, with the idea that I could combine them with some pretty florals - literally butterflies in a garden.  Hah!  What I remember is that my early attempts produced some very unimpressive examples of visual mush.  Eventually, though I came up with this loose version of a Trip Around the World and things started to click into place.  

I like that this is off-centre (there's a thing) and that I have disrupted the pattern enough to keep myself entertained but not so much that you can't see what it is.  I love some of the fabrics in this, including the red birds and the dark blue floral that create the clearest lines
but also the blue pansy shirt and some of the more extravagant florals.

Here's the back.
I began this in September 2019 and finished the piecing on November 14th the same year.  I started quilting it some time this summer, but for some reason failed to make a note of exactly when.  I finished it on December 8th.

It is made mostly from shirting, and even most of the florals are shirt, but the dark blue and red bird fabrics are organic quilting cottons.  It has organic cotton batting and was quilted with perle no. 8, from stash.  

Friday, 3 December 2021

Closing time

I'm putting a pin in this and calling it done.  It is a little smaller than I had thought I was aiming for, and I did have fancy ideas of what to add next, but there came a moment when I looked at it and decided I liked it well enough as it was.

I have added runs of this striped fabric...
In the middle I made two long strips and joined them with one of my shinier reds, like this.
On the edges I kept it simpler.  I had to resort to the line again, though sadly the garden is not as pretty as last time I did this and the sun is so low in the sky that it skews my colours, but it is what it is.
This will be my last serious piecing this year, though I might tinker with some scraps if I get the chance.  However I have one quilt being bound, another I am hoping to finish before year end and a new one all nicely basted and ready for the hoop, so I will still be around and posting.

Friday, 26 November 2021

More doors and builders on the way

Good progress this week, I think.  I am motivated by the news that I will have builders in the house by the end of next week, which at best will slow my piecing right down and more realistically will stop me completely for a while.  I'm not complaining, since they were supposed to be here in September.  My plan is to keep on hand quilting and maybe find a very simple project that I could piece without needing to lay it out on the floor and look at it. That, though is time dependent.  

But enough of that.  I have three columns of doors now and am perfectly happy with them.

I have thrown in a couple of variations - there are a few blocks that I think of as windows and also some tiny houses.  I am not planning to make more of these now but have moved on to figuring out how they go together.   

I know several things that will inform this bit of the process.  The first is that I don't want total symmetry, so I have joined two of the strips together with a thin slice of colour.  Most of it is an extremely dark blue that I haven't used anywhere else.  It is an Oakshott cotton that I only have an 1/8th of but it is the most lovely, deepest, darkest shade, so I am going to get as much impact from it as I can squeeze.
The second thing I know is that my 3 columns are neither wide enough nor quite long enough for my liking so I will need to come up with something to rectify that.  No ideas yet, but I do have one lovely shirt that I wanted to use but haven't cut up yet.  I'm thinking that will be a good place to start. 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Going up, not going out

Like some of the commenters on my last post, I rather liked the picture where my blocks were staggered, with quite big areas of empty space - ie floor - around them.  The most obvious thing to try was adding in plain chunks of colour. I did NOT like this. Here is one iteration, but there were others.  I varied the fabrics I used, cut some bigger pieces, played around with placement. Nothing was any better than this and this is most definitely no good.

Isn't it frustrating when lots of quite sensible ideas produce an utterly dull looking quilt?  Fortunately scrapping this approach doesn't entail any seam ripping, so that's a small win.

Another possible way to go at this would, I suppose, be to cave in and add something lighter.  It may come to that but it doesn't feel in the spirit of things;  I really want to find a way to work with just this dark range, if at all possible. For now, I am going with the long, skinny chunks, but have introduced a few solids to break things up a bit.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Early doors

I titled this post 'early doors' but now I wonder whether that is a phrase anyone uses outside the UK.  Perhaps someone can tell me? We mostly used it in the days when pubs shut in the afternoon and reopened around 5.30.

Since I'm still at the beginning of this, I am pretty much just making doors.  This is what they look like when you have enough to start playing around.  
I like this version better - taller and skinnier and more reminiscent of the shape of the individual blocks.
To keep myself from getting bored I have also been moving them around to create different patterns.
This, in particular, has me wondering what I would put in those gaps.  It can't be something light, since that would rather miss the point of this.  I am hoping that if I keep shuffling, something will eventually occur to me that feels right.  Plenty of time and no big hurry.