Sunday, 14 May 2023


I am closing in on a finish now and have reached a point where my decisions are being driven mostly by the fabric I have left. In this spirit, I used a left-over quarter-oval to complete the big shape bottom right, but won't be making one for the gap on the left-hand side.  Cutting a big curve like that would be too wasteful of the fabric I have left, so I'll have to fill in the gap another way. 
Using a combination of pinwheels (made from my tiny scraps) and squares cut from any bigger pieces is, mostly, pleasing to my eye but is also a practical way to get the most from the fabric.  I'm so close to the wire now that I'm not losing any scrap into a seam allowance if I don't have to.   I have a couple of fabrics there is more off (the pale green and the darkest red stripe) but even those are going down quickly now.  In aesthetic terms, it doesn't seem to work if I have too much of that green in any one place so there is a constant juggling to stretch my fabric far enough without having to do something I find unpleasant to look at.
My current theory is that I will use more of my lighter bits top and right and concentrate the darker leftovers bottom and left, though of course there is a lot of crossover.  I think that I want to add a row of pinwheels top and bottom as well as on  the sides but will have to see if I can stretch that far.  

Although I am having to be so careful this quilt is sparking lots of ideas, so it's a satisfying process, figuring it all out.  I thought I might be done with curves for a bit by the end of this, but not I'm not so sure.  Maybe I will go again.

Monday, 8 May 2023

Progress report

First off, I want to apologise to all those whose blogs I visit.  I have not been managing to look at/comment on much, but am hoping to get back to it soon.  The cricket season has started.  If you knew my family, you would understand that everything else now takes a back seat until September and that the sport will expand to take up all available space.  It's fun, and a bit mad, but I scrabble around to fit my stuff in.  I'll get it sorted though.

I have chugged along with this where and when I could.  I added the little pointy bits top and bottom.

Of course that doesn't help me make things wider, but I like them.

Then I turned to the sides.  I wish I had read in time Patty's comment on my previous post, which suggested using the same shapes but in a different colourway.  I think that's a fabulous idea and shall be tucking it away for future quilts.  Instead I have been working away with the few curved pieces I had left over and pinwheels.
Where I have big enough scraps, I am cutting squares instead of sewing them into the pinwheels: it breaks things up but is also the most efficient use of what I have left.  If I have enough fabric, I am going to do one extra row of squares/pinwheels top and bottom, but that will have to wait until I'm nearer the finish line.  

Sunday, 30 April 2023

Fun and games

The title of this post is ironic.  My laptop died so I have wasted a week of good sewing time figuring out what to replace it with and ordering said replacement.  Then the delivery company thought they had delivered it - well they had, just not to me.  Their driver had given it to a random builder working on a house somewhere else in my village!  So then he had to come back, retrieve it and redeliver, only this time to the right place.  Now it's up and running, but the photo software I used to use (which was basic and idiot-proof) is not around anymore and I can't find an alternative that both sorts and stores and lets me do simple editing all in one go.  Oh my, the range of complicated options out there is slightly terrifying!  I have just had to find two tutorials, one to straighten my image and one to crop, which just seems ridiculous.  If you have any recommendations, please add them in the comments.

In the meantime, I have got as far as this piece, which I am generally pretty happy with

except for the dimensions: it is about 60" long, but probably only half that across, so very long and skinny.  I have played around with things I could try on the sides with limited success.  There are photos but I lack the tenacity to turn them into useable images right now.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.  

Thursday, 20 April 2023

View from the kitchen floor

Things have been coming and going this week.  I have a few photos but also took loads of duds (for simple, technical reasons that were my own fault).  It went something like this. 

Pinwheels reinstated, more pinwheels made.
I don't think they belong there, though.  What about this?

Nope, that's not working for me either.  I'm trying to concentrate on this one area - so how about moving those quarter-ovals around a bit? I know this looks like a hot mess, but it is a good example of how it looks most of the time when I'm working.
Hang it, let's ignore what I just said and do something right up at the top and on the other side...
Now this, I'm happy with.  

For those who are interested, the thing I have struggling with is the balance between still and busy in this piece.  Also, I have been thinking about the straight sides of my ovals: if they sit on their own, instead of in sets of 4, what happens on those edges?  I have some ideas but things that seem possible often aren't pleasing me.  Just to be contrary though, I do like the row of pinwheels butting up to the quarter-oval in the top right corner.  Now, my brain was pretty sure that wouldn't work, yet my eyes don't mind it at all. We live and learn.  

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Making my own problems

One of the things I most appreciate about blogging is that sometimes people say really, really helpful stuff. A big thank you on this occasion to Yvonne and Julie and Ann for their comments, which have, I think, stopped me from getting bogged down. As a result I have been thinking about using some of my quarter-ovals in other configurations, though I haven't reached any firm conclusions.  In the meantime I started making extra bits, to use up the scraps I have made in cutting the curves. I am making more of the strips with tiny triangles, but also some pinwheels.

I wondered about something like this
But decided against it and instead sewed my bits together like this.
Of course this was just downright silly, though it seemed like a reasonable step at the time.  Looking at it the next morning it clearly wouldn't do.  I seem to be having the same issue with this quilt over and over, which is to say it tends towards the static and I am doing very little to help things.

There followed a period of denial, when I just looked at other areas and ignored the offending piece, hoping it would sort itself out.  I had a cup of coffee and a biscuit.  I had a chat with my sister.  I did a spot of weeding.  Eventually though I gave in and started unpicking and resewing.  

I did not have a lot of fun over the next hour. I was unpicking several seams and at one point realised I was working on dismantling something I could have left alone.  Oops.  Then I had to cut off a section, replace it and match the curves, using the cut-out piece as a template.  That would have been enough right there. but I managed to slip and nick the piece I wasn't doing anything to, this adding in a self-inflicted repair job. Fortunately the adding-a-bit-and-sewing-it-all-back-up stage went better than the unpicking otherwise the whole thing might have been shoved to the back of a cupboard.
All that work and I am pretty much back where I started, but I'm happier with this now so I guess that's progress.

Friday, 31 March 2023

Ifs and buts

Back to the current piecing.  I have spent a lot of time staring at the floor and shuffling things about but progress is slow and I am not necessarily moving in a straight line.  In fact, sometimes I am going backwards.

I have realised that what both fascinates me and frustrates me about all these circles and ovals that I've been playing with recently is that a circle is a closed shape.  Four quarters makes a whole, but there it ends.  This can be pleasing but it can also make for shapes that feel quite static; the trick is in trying to find a way for them to interact with each other.  If you don't get it right, it feels a bit like a room full of children all glaring at each other from opposite corners but refusing to play.

I tried adding in extra elements: the green strip on the left and the dark piece (actually a black and brown check) with tiny triangles.  
Nearly works but the green just felt a bit off, so I unpicked and tried again.
Better, I think.

I am thinking I might run the ovals diagonally, like this.

Already, given the size of my curves, I am wondering what I might do when I run out of bigger pieces of fabric.  No conclusions as yet and not much actual sewing things together, just a lot of ifs and buts.  

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Brief pause for a finish

It's always nice to step away from tricky piecing for a moment or two and remind yourself why it is that you bothered in the first place.  

This quilt was made in the summer 2021, as my attempt at the AHIQ Symmetry/Asymmetry prompt.  As regular readers may have spotted, I am mostly, if not entirely unsymmetrical in my approach to quilting, so I took up the challenge of working in a way that felt comfortable but still produced something broadly symmetrical. 

Turned out, this wasn't as uncomfortable a process as I anticipated, though I did have to take myself in hand once or twice. The medallion layout helped a lot, I think, and I sneaked a few little twists in to keep myself happy.  
When I finished the piecing I liked this well enough, but it has turned out to be one of those quilts where the quilting makes all the difference, because now I love it.  The colours are maybe a bit prettier and softer than I would normally go for and there's a lot of flowery stuff going on, but the prettiest, softest, floweriest bits are all from shirts and somehow feel just right. The non-shirt contributions come from a very old Oakshott cotton, which I used for the dark teal strips and some dress-making scraps (the glazed cotton right at the top and bottom).

I decided to quilt triangles shapes right along every strip, echoing the pieced geese.  There were moments (see those little skinny blue strips) when I wondered why I ever thought that was a good idea, but I stuck with it and by the end was jolly pleased that I had.  They don't photograph well, but all those outline geese have added a whole extra layer of movement and texture.
I started piecing this in July 2021, though the central section came from this quilt top, made in 2019.  Finished piecing 9th September 2021.  I started quilting in July 2022.  That seems a long time ago, but I have two quilts on the go and this was the back-up quilt for a while rather than my main focus, so I'm okay with that.  
It was quilted with perle no 8 and the wadding is organic cotton.  The binding is from a bundle of organic fabrics my kids gave me - only 1/4 metre cuts, so I used two different prints, but I like how that looks.

Feels good.  But now I have to stop patting myself on the back and get back to puzzling out my current project.