Wednesday 29 April 2015

How to grow a wall

This piece has definitely been a challenge for me, in good ways.  Using the holes has been an interesting exercise, but I am also being forced to think about my need for everything I make to be useful.  I have been aiming at 60" or thereabouts, because that is a feasible size for a lap quilt.  And I am now at 56" square (ish) and happy to stop working outwards now.  

The question is, without that self-imposed requirement of functionality, would I have stopped before this?  Probably.  Would the piece have looked better if I had?  I'm not sure, and to be fair I haven't finished with it yet, but it's all thought-provoking stuff.  How do you decide on the size of a quilt?  Up until now I have just kept going until I felt it was "done", but if it is for a bed, for example, then there are clearly some basic requirements.  How big is too big, how small is big enough?  I don't have any answers.

Anyhow, this is where I went...

Needs to be longer, so add to top and bottom.  I like the bottom; top not quite right..

Added one new row at top then a second.  Added little orange-yellow strip down right-hand side.

Auditioned fabrics for sides...right-hand side seemed too heavy and this is my last piece of the green...

Four sides done, and I am happy enough with this.

Now, I think, for some more holes!

Monday 27 April 2015

Holes done, what next?

Holes all filled, so I am feeling pleased with myself this afternoon.  It didn't take long in the end; once I got into the swing of it, and I really like how it is looking. 

Still not quite big enough, though, so that's the next thing to tackle.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Holes and edges

 Little Elephant is out of the hoop.  Sadly this doesn't mean finished: I use a circular hoop but this leaves quite a bit around the edges that has to be done at the end.  Also, next time I start to use any version of blunt-nosed triangles in a border, please someone remind me that they are a bit of a pain to quilt!

These edges will get done, an hour or two a day, but I'm also working on attaching the little oranges squares to go behind my holes in Build Me a Wall. This is going quite quickly, mostly because I'm just trying to hold them in place at the moment.  I cut four or five at a time and try to get them all done in one go.

I really like how these are looking, which is a great motivator for what might otherwise seem like quite a tedious job.  The stitches, rough as they are, are also helping me think about quilting/stitching for the top once it's ready for such things.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Saturday photos #20

Five minutes looking at water.  Literally all taken within five minutes, and all within about ten paces of each other.

Friday 24 April 2015

Filling in the holes

Finally a decision, and I have started to fill in the holes.  If I had a lot of this fabric I might have just slung the whole piece behind what I have already, but my scant half metre doesn't allow for that, so it's a slow, slow process.

I am also adding slowly to the bottom of the piece (still aiming at something a bit bigger than I have now, if I can manage it).  

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Things I've learned #5

It's only fabric.

That's right, it's only fabric.  I know we love it: we love the colours, the patterns, the endless choices.  We save it, stroke it, and maybe a few of us even roll around in it.  But still it is only fabric and we shouldn't respect it too much.

What I mean by this is that we shouldn't be too afraid to cut into it. After all it was bought to be used, not to sit in boxes looking lovely.  At least that's what I bought mine for.

I have learned that if I care about it too much, am too reluctant to chop a special piece, that's when my quilts don't work.  It becomes about the fabric, not the quilt, and that's all wrong.  

The most recent case in point was Inner City.  I had a fabulous piece of fabric I wanted to use, but I couldn't get that quilt going. It looked lumpy and clumsy and not at all what I had imagined.   It was only when I took a deep breath and starting cutting that things started to work.

Take a look at the original fabric:

Now my first go...

And finally, the same fabric after I got over myself and used my rotary cutter. This is what became the core of the quilt.

It is sometimes a bit scary, but maybe that's not a bad thing, and it's not like it's irrevocable (unless of course you cut 1" squares).  Here's a quilt where I had cut my favourite fabric into chunks, then decided I shouldn't have.  If you look at the bird on the right you can see where I sewed 2 bits back together.

And another.  I know that somewhere in this quilt I pieced together two bits of the Charley Harper nuthatch print, but looking at the picture I can't see where.

 In short, be brave.  What's the worst that can happen?

Monday 20 April 2015

Still full of holes

I have been playing around with more options for my holes.  This time I tried things I didn't even think would work, just for the fun of it.

Only two of them sparked my interest: this one

and this one.

Time to make my mind up now.  (And I'm always interested to know what others think, so if you have an opinion, do feel free to voice it!)

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Slow stitching for Sunday

Another update on my hand stitching.  Trying to do too many things at once was taking all the fun out of things, so I have put the denim on hold until I have finished Little Elephant.  I don't mind that quilting takes an age, but do get to a point when I'm ready for a quilt to be done, and I am pretty much there with this one.  This is the most recently quilted bit:

and this, plus the borders, is what I have left to do. Oh, and the binding.  

So I'm putting all my spare moments into quilting.  I have learned from experience, though, that those last bits always take twice as long as I think they are going to, so I'm not getting too excited just yet.You never know, I may be done by the summer!

On a tangent, but appropriate for Slow Sunday Sewing, I have been thinking a lot about holes recently (in fabric) and this has led me to the work of the wonderful Alabama Chanin. I may be the last person on the planet to have come across them, but if you have also missed out, do go and have a look.  I am now pondering the idea of a slow stitched wardrobe...

Saturday 18 April 2015

Saturday photos #19

Something a bit different this week.  I went to start editing this week's photos, clicked the wrong button and ended up with this.  

I kind of like it, and more to the point, it feels like a quilt.

Friday 17 April 2015

Cutting and sewing, humming and hawing

Having finally dealt with all those facings what did I do?  Yes, added more squares, created more facings.

 This time, though, I just got on and sorted them straight away.

This now measures about 50" wide by 35" long, so I need to add a bit more to the length.  At the same time I'm working on making a decision about what goes behind the holes.  Lots of people have liked the turquoise stripe, which I too really like and which I happen to have a whole metre of (I was buying in the Oakshott factory sale and the lengths were already cut).  The extra length might be useful here.  I have looked at it top, and bottom, and played around with adding in more of the African tie dye too:
It's okay.  Right now it's not doing much more than that for me, although maybe the 3rd picture is going somewhere.  But I keep coming back to this:

Only half a metre of this one though.  

Time, I think, to go back to my boxes and have another dig around.  At least this time I don't have a ton of facings lurking in the background waiting to be turned.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Not quite knowing...

Facings all done so now I am feeling rather pleased with myself.  Now to add some more squares.  I have cut a few out and am lying them on the top and playing around until I like how they look.  It's an imprecise art, since obviously the holes will be a bit smaller than the original bits of fabric, so I have to guess at spacings, but I quite like the not-quite knowing.

Monday 13 April 2015

Chores on Monday

Once again I am doing the sewing equivalent of housework - which is to say I am turning my facings and tacking them down.  Not, you will notice from the picture, pressing, which they sorely need, but at least I am underway.  The motivation is that I need to add more holes, so feel I must tidy these up first, otherwise the task will grow and grow and I may just lose heart.

I am also quilting as if there's no tomorrow, but no pics of that at the moment.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Saturday photos #18

This one was easy - a trip to the garden centre and lots to see.

Friday 10 April 2015

Another brick in the wall

And who'd have thought one little quilt would provide so many opportunities for corny post titles.

Just a quick look at where I'm at.  No decisions on what goes behind the holes, or borders it, and no progress on those facings (yes, I'm a bit ashamed to admit that).  However it has got a bit bigger.  In view of my reluctance to make anything that wouldn't be functional I am aiming at about 60" square - though obviously it's more like about 60" square-ish.  So I've added a bit to each side, and will probably do one more wee bit on the bottom.  But no more wall strips after that.  More holes though, are on the cards.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Stripes and splodges

As things calm down after Easter I have taken out the fabrics for Build Me a Wall again, and gone back to playing around.  I had/have a kind of thought that I would like to use a skinny border pretty soon and then some more wall strips, so I have been auditioning fabrics for a possible border and also thinking about what goes behind my holes.  You will see from the photos that I am still putting off doing anything with the facings but will give myself a stern talking to and tackle them soon.

First up was a stripe that I pulled at random from my boxes.  I wondered if everything was getting too nicely matched so wanted to try a good variety.  It looked like this:

Then I tried a different yellow/green shade (but the sun came out so my photo is of the only corner not covered with shadow lines).

Then I stuck the Alison Glass print into the mix...

And then maybe I went a bit bonkers - looking at the splodges on the last fabric I pulled out a plain that matched.

On reflection I think this is probably a step too far, although I haven't necessarily given up on the idea of sneaking a bit of that pink in somewhere.  No decision on what next yet though, so I'm off to tackle those facings.

Saturday 4 April 2015

Saturday photos #17

Lots of cleaning going on here, lots of clearing tables and kitchens, lots of cooking, lots of people , but not so much sewing!  

We did find time yesterday to visit a place which describes itself as a Vintage, Antique and Arts Centre - and about halfway round I thought to start snapping with my phone, so here are todays pics.

Everything from bins full of spare Scrabble pieces to some lovely vintage clothes, to piles of cinema seats - a great place to browse!