Saturday, 25 January 2020

Removing the lens cap is always a good idea

I did quite a lot of sewing earlier this week and took a few photos as I went along.  Unfortunately I didn't remove my lens cap at any point in the day so when I came to blog on Wednesday all I had was a collection of black rectangles which, lets face it, aren't going to enlighten anybody.  Yesterday I got the whole piece out of the box, laid it all out on the floor, took photos and then put it all back without sewing a stitch.  Needs must, but I have to say that just didn't feel right at all!

Right or wrong, though, this is where I am up to.  I have been working on three areas at the same time: bottom left, bottom of the next block over and top right.  I don't think it will get much longer but I'm probably only half way across.
Remember that long pink strip that I took out earlier?  That fabric is going back in but in much smaller bits.  Like the black strips, which I'm adding when I want to join two similar coloured strip sets of different widths, this has a specific job: I'm using it to straighten things up when a strip set is particularly curvy, like this:
 or this.
Once again, the combination of camera angle and winter light/flash seems to do the fabrics in this a disservice.  In the top picture a lot of things that have pattern read as solids to my eye whereas in fact there are only two solids in the whole thing.  Never mind - when I get to the stage where it's on the washing line for photos I know these things will be easier to see.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

What remains

Two things are now gone, as promised in my previous post.  One is the long pink strip to which I gave serious consideration. In the end I decided that it wasn't adding anything, so out it goes.  In fact I like the way the black and pink checked pieces sit up against each other much better without it interrupting.

The other thing that went was a little piece at the bottom of the left-hand side, where I had added two horizontal rows.  Off they came - this piece seems to be working better if I stick with the vertical, although changing directions worked well for me in my last Coins quilt.  

This is the current state of play.
Cutting freehand produces strips with a lot of curve in them, so at some point that pink may be to go back in to help straighten things out but for now I'm just sewing together smaller sections and not worrying overmuch about the technicalities of construction.  

I seem to have gone over the course of about a week from groping around looking for answers to having a pretty clear idea of what I think I'm doing.  This feels good, though I'm not taking anything for granted - next week I may well be stumped again.  

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Some things to keep, some to remove

Yesterday I thought I was going to take the little chunk I had pieced and work out from it in one direction or another.  But I couldn't come up with something I liked so I decided just to work on a completely different bit and worry later about how they went together.
 As it happens I think they sit quite nicely next to each other.
At least two things in this photo will be gone when you see these bits again though.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

What happened in 2019?

Well, something rather strange.  I fell out of love with the internet.  It started with a conscious decision to be more focused in how I used it and to reclaim some of the time that used to leach away from me: you know how it is - you come to blog, then you check other people's blogs, then you look at some new ones, then you follow a chain of thought...What I hadn't anticipated was that the less I was here, the less I wanted to be.  I still used the computer for work, but lost all urge to turn it on for anything else - I even did my Christmas shopping in real shops this year and I don't remember the last time that happened.  

Reflecting on this in a conversation this week I think that there is a danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water, so I am making a proper effort to put some time back to blogs - both my own and other people's.   My plan is to allocate little time slots, like I would with work tasks - get the post written, the visits made and then turn off the computer again, no aimless wandering;  I rather like the extra time I have clawed back.  It's a new way of doing things for me, so who knows if it will work, but if not I'll just keep tweaking until I find a new rhythm.  

In the meantime, I have been through all sorts of theories with regards to the latest piecing - I have added in and then removed several sets of fabric, tried pinwheels, tried hourglasses, tried standing on my head and looking at it sideways.  This is what it looked like yesterday.  Just a little chunk, but it's one I'm happy with.

In a nod to Ann's first AHIQ prompt for this year I shall definitely be including more hourglass blocks.  Apart from that resolution I am still groping my way in the dark, but maybe there's a tiny light at the end of this particular tunnel now.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Sitting and staring

I am quilting as much as I can manage at the moment, since I have two quilts on the go.  One is still The Shipping Forecast, which is, it turns out, massive.  I get discouraged and put off going back to it, but that's no way to get it done.  I also have a lego quilt I need to get done, so I am alternating.  The lego blocks offer more encouragement since it's easy to gauge progress and I'm hoping it will gee me up a bit.

I have also been looking at this tiny pile of shirts for the best part of a week.
I had been thinking I would like to stick with the Trip Around the World thing for another quilt, but I'm not sure these are the right fabrics for that.  I have also been struggling with adding to my pile.  Eventually I came up with this:
but I know this is not enough fabric so I still need to find more.  There's also not yet enough variation in either pattern or tone to please me.  

One of the consequences of my changed buying patterns over the last 3 years is that my stash is smaller and sometimes that means I struggle to find a solution to a specific problem.  I am reflecting on this, as we belt towards year end.  I can't imagine abandoning my basic approach but either I need to consider investing a bit in rebuilding an organic stash or in holding a bigger stash of shirting.   I am wondering whether I might get some project boxes up and running, so that I could save a pile I like until such time as I find the extra it needs to progress to quilthood.  

In the meantime I will revisit my boxes one more time and maybe run around a charity shop or two, in the hope that I can find a solution.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Butterflies and flowers, done for now

It takes a while, but I get there in the end. I actually got to this point on Monday.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to go one round longer but the photos, which of course stretch things out, weren't at all helpful. Since we were in the middle of quite phenomenal rain, the washing line wasn't an option so I decided to hold out for better weather.
 Yesterday there was finally a day without a deluge so I nipped out and hung it up.  I didn't hang about though, since the grass was still soaking.
I think I'm stopping here, though am still not absolutely sure.

I am happy with the results of eking out my dark blue floral: in some places I just replaced it with one of the darkest blue shirtings and in others I used my tiniest scraps to piece squares that are partly dark blue and partly something else.  Most of these have ended up in the top right corner.  

In fact I am generally pretty happy with this (despite that tiny lingering doubt about the length).  It's not at all what I set out expecting to make but I love how it turned out.  In fact I'm wondering about doing something else along these lines.  

First though, I need to take a breath and get back to my sadly neglected quilting.

Monday, 4 November 2019

I've reached the bottom but not the far side

I am back to sewing after an unexpected break, caused by events outside my control.  I am keen now to push on a bit with this one, not because I'm in a big hurry per se but just to help me regain some momentum before Christmas looms and I lose it all again.
This picture seems a bit blurry and I'm not sure why, but you get the gist of things anyway.  I know from the comments that the pink strips are not always equally easy to see, but they show up much better in real life.  I think once I get the whole top pieced and take pictures on the washing line (always seems to get the best light) then they will be clearer.

I think this is full length now but I am planning to take the width over past those little red squares you can see in the top right corner.  As always, fabric shortage becomes an issue at this point.  I have loads of blue shirting, so that's not a problem but am down to the last scraps of the dark blue.  That's a shame, but I am continue to break up the diagonals here and there and to try, randomly, a range of alternatives.  So far I think I am getting away with it!