Friday 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas to all

and to all a goodnight.  My broadband router has died, so I am taking this as life's way to telling me to give it a rest until the New Year.  

To close 2014, here's someproof that my poor, much maligned camera can still do okay if given just a bit of daylight.  5 minutes of frost, first thing in the morning.

Thanks for reading, hope to see you again next year.

I'll link up for one last time with Nina Marie for Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Charley and the blues

First off, a progress report on Charley Harper.  I am nearly there (although of course that probably means two weeks off, or four, given the time of year).  He is out of the hoop, and I am working on all the bits right around the edges - my least favourite part of quilting.  After that, the binding, another job I'm not so keen on, but I am keen to see him finished, so I am trying just to relax and keep stitching.

The next piece of denim is started too.  Machine stitched together again this time.  It began life like this:

but this time I have added a couple of little scraps of colour:

and started stitching:

As we rush headlong towards Christmas stitching time is diminishing, but I have a day of sitting around in a hospital on Wednesday (not for me; I'm the moral support), so am hoping that this at least will get some attention this week. Otherwise I have a lorry load of food to organise before large children descend, plus all the stuff everyone reading probably has to cover too, but I have my Christmas cds out now, plenty of tinsel and I'm comfortably in my Christmas groove.

Joining Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching - one of my favourite linky parties.

Saturday 13 December 2014

Saturday photos - pink and orange

Five minutes just before sunrise on Wednesday morning.  The most amazing colours everywhere.  The world was literally frosted pink and orange.

Friday 12 December 2014

Running out of time in the city

As the rush towards Christmas continues, quilting time seems particularly precious.  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, love the return of family, the decorations, the same old Christmas songs on the radio, the silly traditions (oh, and the food).  In another week I will happily sign off until the New Year, but right now the thought of going cold turkey is a bit scary.  Of course I won't stop altogether: nothing wrong with quilting quietly in a corner, but the piecing will have to be put on hold.  So for now, I'm savouring the time I get.

Another chunk of the city quilt is in place:

I'm not going up any further, so once I've got the right hand side filled in I'm going to look at the left and bottom.  I have an idea that at some point I might put in a simple border, and it's literally just come to me that maybe I would like a grey that heads towards blue, like in the city fabric.  Not sure I've got anything that will do though. Off I go to root about in my boxes!

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday and Monday Makers.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Big city back in focus

The answer, for now at least, to my blurry photo problem appears to be 'borrow a better camera'.  I don't really know why I didn't think of it before.  The fancy Canon coped fine with the low light in my kitchen.  

I have added to this on three sides today - top, bottom, and a bit on the right. Quite a lot of what you see is not attached right now, but probably will be, though looking at the photo I can see a couple of things I want to tweak.  It's funny how different things can look through a lens - but sometimes it gives me the distance I need to look clearly at what I have done.  

Having said which, I also notice that some of the lightest prints read almost as plain colours here - look at that strip right in the middle at the top - that is actually made of three quite different light fabrics, but here they all look pretty much grey.  This bit looks better in the flesh than in the photo.

I'm linking with Lorna for Let's Bee Social today.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Got the Sunday blues again

Second denim sample finished.  

I unpicked the pocket ( which can be added onto another piece at some point) so that the unfaded denim underneath would show, and I love how this works, though might go back and stitch over more of it.  

I find I am looking at jeans altogether differently now, thinking about the selvage, the colours of the stitching, the details inside the waistbands, and how they would look if I leapt at them with a pair of scissors.  I am telling myself sternly that this project should encourage me to mend and wear old jeans for longer, not to hack up things that are still perfectly wearable.  Of course I won't do this, but the thought does cross my mind...

Next up I am going to try adding some little patches that are not denim.  I'm hoping to get one, maybe two more bits done before I have to stop any meaningful stitching over the Christmas period.  

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts and Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch.

Friday 5 December 2014

New York: another block

I'm not sure if the double meaning of block in the title of this post counts as a quilter's joke - if it does I should probably apologise.

Photos still rubbish, though I have a plan now at least, so just one little photo, of one little block stitched together for now.  

I will be sharing this tiny offering at NinaMarie's Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday 4 December 2014

New York: slow progress

I am still playing around here - no huge progress.  I added the next black and white stripe across the top (though it's not sewn yet, just lying on the floor) and one down the left hand side, and have been thinking about using more New York fabric working sideways as well as vertically, hence the piece on the far right.

I was looking at this

which, let's face it, is just a bit of a mess, when I realised that I am trying to work with too few bits. What you see here is pretty much everything I had sewn  and, frankly, it's nowhere near enough, especially at this relatively early stage.  Quite often if I can't get something to work how I want it's because I have the wrong pieces and I'm trying to force them to go together: going away and making new stuff  adds to my options and usually leads to a solution I'm happy with. 

So I spent the rest of my time this morning making some more log cabin blocks and a few more strips, not even thinking about where they are supposed to belong.  Next time I'll see if something will come together.

Linking up today with Needle and Thread Thursday.

Monday 1 December 2014

Things I've learned # 4

This one might seem obvious, but I figure it's worth stating anyway: if you do something once, do it again, then do it again.  

So, if you use a colour, or fabric, once, repeat it. And by extension, if you combine two colours the more times you repeat the combination, the better it will work.  

An example:  when I started Two Hungry Birds I wasn't sure about this brown striped fabric.  I thought it might be too strong a contrast, might jar.

But I decided to stick with it but made sure that I kept looking at how often it was occurring as the quilt grew. I think if you kept the level of repetition right then it acquires a kind of internal logic (if that makes sense), so that almost anything works if you do it just often enough and no more.

When I was making this quilt I had no red at all in my initial fabric pull.

The child for whom it was made requested the red birds in no uncertain terms, so I included it, and then added in the other fabrics with red.  Use it once, use it again.  

I tend to follow the same rule when I'm piecing.  So, if I slice a strip up and add a little bit of something else, then I'll keep on doing it.  If I add a star, I'll probably add another one somewhere along the line.  Annie's quilt is a good example of this.  The first time I put a little slice of red or orange into the vertical turquoise strips it was just a pragmatic way to join two bits and make them long enough, but I went on doing it the whole way through the quilt.

The same thing applies with the stars, the little log cabin blocks, the blunt nosed triangles.

Like I said, do it once, do it again.

I'm linking up with Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch and Lets Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.