Sunday, 22 September 2019

Not there yet

When I am in the room with this quilt I shuffle things about, think I like something and take a picture.  Unfortunately when I get back and look at said picture on my laptop, I am distinctly underwhelmed.  

Here is one such picture.
You will see that I've tentatively added some verticals, which on several occasions have helped me get a project moving but on this occasion I don't think they add anything.  Moreover I start to feel a bit like I'm throwing the kitchen sink at this and don't have much to show for it.

What I like about this picture is (still) those patches of blue violets and the dark blue.  What I don't like is: no definition, visual mush, no sense of structure or rhythm.  I can see that if I just kept sewing I might have something quite pretty, but, frankly, I'm going to get bored way before it gets finished.  

Ironically the look I like best in my garden is ordered chaos, but clearly I need a bit more order and a bit less chaos here.  Right now I am seriously thinking about ripping seams.  

What I think I might need - or at least what I'm going to try next - is to make a better use of the dark blue.  I like how it sits against the other colours but those rectangles are doing nothing special.  I would also like to find an extra way to add contrast, either a really, really light fabric or...I don't know what right now.  I've looked at yellow-y shades, at greens, at bright pink, at a brown but nothing has sat well, except the pink I used for those wee strips, which sadly adds nothing in terms of contrast.    I think it's back to the boxes, to see what else I can find.  Wish me luck!

Monday, 16 September 2019

What hasn't worked and what might

I promised (if that's the right word) a succession of photos of stuff I haven't liked, so here you go.
First up flowery blocks alternating with blue blocks
 then with columns offset.
 Next up, a few rectangular blocks mixed in with the squares.
Up to this point there were things I didn't hate but nothing I wanted to make a whole quilt of.  Mostly I just seemed to have been producing inoffensive visual mush.  In the picture above though, I was drawn to those bigger areas of the fabric with the large blue pansy print (and yes, it was a shirt). Somehow they were interesting but restful at the same time and I need some calm amongst all that busyness.

So now I am adding those bits in on purpose, along with some darker blue bits the same shape.  Maybe that will create enough structure to keep me happy and if not, it feels like a start at least. I am also being very strict with my flowery bits and keep them surrounded by blue, rather than letting them run too much together.  Hmmm.  Whatever happens it looks like this quilt is not going to work the way I first expected.
Whatever made me think I could predict that anyway?

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Things are never simple but maybe they ought to be

So much for gathering momentum!  I have good excuses for my failure to blog, though not worth bothering you with, but I have at least been sewing.

Not that the sewing is straightforward.  It seems like a simple enough idea.  Take my existing butterfly blocks, toss in some florals and hey presto...

I even found an amazing shirt.  Can you believe that all these prints were combined in one garment?
I have played around with all sorts of variations on a theme.  I have made blocks that are more rectangular than these, I have made floral four-patches and some that are butterflies in florals.  I have a nice big pile of bits and pieces.

So what's the problem?  Well, in a nutshell, I have to figure out a way to make all those bits into something coherent and so far I haven't.  I have tried all sorts of arrangements but nothing is clicking yet.  Worse, I haven't tried anything yet that pleases me as much as the original blocks did on their own. I find myself wondering if I am just trying to be way too clever and the answer is to stop complicating things. Now there's something to mull over.  
I'm not going to let it beat me, but you might want to prepare for a series of posts detailing my failures!

Sunday, 1 September 2019

End of summer catch up

Well that was the summer.  Already here the air smells of the coming winter, but I shall try to enjoy the autumn and not fret too much about the fact that in a month or two it will be unpleasantly cold and dark.

The last few weeks have not been entirely unproductive.  I learned from last year and packed myself a little kit to take on holiday, as a result of which I have another lighthouse ready to be backed.  
I have used a different bird fabric this time and opted for piecing in with other blues rather than using it in bigger chunks.  I like how this looks and it also makes the bird fabrics, of which I have limited stocks, stretch as far as possible.  
Since I came back I have also been trying to press on with the quilt currently in the hoop.  It's a bigger quilt than the last few I've done, so I can quilt and quilt and still not really seem much further on. as a result I'm finding it rather hard going but know there's nothing for it but to carry on. 

I am full of good resolutions about hitting the ground running this month, both with my sewing and blogging.  The last couple of years I have struggled to build momentum after the summer and I don't want to follow that pattern again.  Let's see how that goes!

In the meantime I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.  

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Sewing too, too slowly

In fact I am pretty much grinding to a halt.  In addition to the usual summer holiday lull I am contending with a big pile of work for the end of this week, an impending trip away, chickenpox (which in the worst case scenario may spread and scupper aforementioned trip) and this:
In case you are wondering, this is Mr Sew Slowly using the dining room (aka my temporary sewing space) to store landing nets and weigh-slings and in the process completely curtail all access to table and sewing machine.  No sewing today, then.

Instead, I thought I'd do a quick round-up post, largely for my own benefit: to make myself feel like I'm doing something useful.

If I could reach the machine I might be starting work on the AHIQ flower-y challenge, which I'm going to write up in a bit and post over on the AHIQ blog.  I'm not expecting to get far with this before September, but it's nice to know where I'm starting, at least.

As it is, I'll try to squeeze in a bit of quilting instead.  The Shipping Forecast has been in the hoop for a while now, but I've been lacking motivation.  I need to pull my socks up.
I think it's fair to say posts here will be sporadic for the next few weeks (what's new, I hear you say), but hopefully I will at least be able to share some progress on this one - I'm still hoping to reduce the overall quilting backlog this year.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Sugar and Spice: done for now

I'm not sure I like the name 'Sugar and Spice', since I'm not especially keen on the nursery rhyme it brings to mind, but it seems to have stuck,  Maybe I'll come up with something better in the fullness of time.  For now, though, I'm done with this one.

Funnily, having been pretty downcast about this when I started piecing, I really like it a lot now. Mr Sew Slowly said, as he often does "they're not your usual colours".  I am coming to recognise that I seldom start with my favourite colours but that what sparks my interest and brings me (eventually) the most satisfaction is starting somewhere that feels a bit uncomfortable and getting to that point where I feel like I've cracked it.  I learn more this way too.

Having said which, I do love a nice bird fabric and this has ended up with more than its share.  This wasn't deliberate - I mostly pick things for variety in colour and pattern but nonetheless I have managed to squeeze feathers, magpies, parrots and elegant little waders into one quilt.

This goes into the quilting pile (note to self to get on with quilting - haven't done any for a couple of weeks and that's no way to make progress) and I shall start to contemplate making something flowery.  

Monday, 15 July 2019

Not far to go

Today the good news is that I found my last strip of brown fabric.  It's not huge, (those tiles are 13" square, to give you an idea) but then I don't need much.  I could probably have coped without it, by using more of the black fabric, but it's good to have my options open.
I made this chunk, which I think is the bottom right-hand corner. 
I'm not tidying up the edges until I'm sure of what I'm doing...which might be something like this.
I need to get the position of the top cross just right.  If it's too low or too close to the central one it seems to make the whole thing feel a bit squat, though I am finding that the foreshortening that comes with taking photos on the floor makes it hard to demonstrate that with a picture.  Anyway, I know where I think it belongs so it's just a question of working backwards from that point to fill in the gaps.

Nearly there, I think.