Sunday 31 May 2015

A view from the back

I am quilting today, so thought I'd share a peek at the back of Two Hungry Birds.  I'm quilting around the birds on the front, but really like the shapes that this is making on the back.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Scribbling stones

Not quite sure why, this second wall piece isn't keen to get underway. In fact I'm going nowhere fast.  I don't mind a day or two (or more) of pondering but this time it feels like I need a jump-start.

I usually just start with the fabric, but on a couple of occasions have used little sketches as a jumping off point.  Not proper drawings of a finished quilt (if I did that, I don't think I'd care enough to make it), just doodles really.  I was reminded of this by LeeAnna, and decided to have a play around.  

These don't look like much - and may bear no resemblance at all to the finished piece, but it's loosening up my mind and I figure it will be interesting to look back at the end and see if there's a connection.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Just because...

I love my garden.

In my last garden I planted a tree peony.  It grew and grew; after three years it produced a bud, but no flower.  I had to wait five years for the first flower which was magnificent but not at all the colour it was supposed to be, so my excitement at the bloom was tempered by the fact that it was bubblegum pink.

Three years ago, in a new garden, I tried again, and this first flower!

I think you can get the size of this flower from the background tulips in the first photo, but just in case, it is 10" across.  

I also have the first of the year's flowers on a rose planted February 2014.  If only there was a way to transmit smells via the internet...

Monday 25 May 2015

Here I go again, maybe

Time to start something new.  I have two or three ideas wandering about my head, but also need to do another wall piece.  Now, I don't really know what I'm going to do with this, but of all the things I could do now, this may well be the one that I can do completely from stash, so I've done a first pull of fabrics, which looks like this.

I know this isn't quite right:  too many of the ochre/mustard-y fabrics; not everything here can go in together and I would probably not use all those Doe ones at once either.  But it's a starting point, so I will look at it for a few days, maybe take some stuff out, maybe add some then see how I feel.  It would help if I could decide what I'm doing with them though!

Sunday 24 May 2015

Wearing my slow stitches

Turns out making a dress by hand isn't the major undertaking I thought it might be.  The patterns from the Alabama Chanin books are based on very simple shapes - my dress is four pieces and some bias strips - which undoubtedly helps.  The instructions they give on how to go about it are clear and straightforward, and because you are working with knit fabric, the edges don't have to be finished.   So, just like that (or so it feels) I have a dress. Furthermore I have a dress that fits okay and didn't fall to pieces the first time I moved in it.

The seams are sewn with a running stitch and then felled, the binding strips that encase the neckline and armholes are sewn with Cretan stitch.  My stitches could be more even: I found especially when felling the seams and sewing through 3 layers that I had to keep checking both sides, or one would look okay but the stitches would hardly make it through on the other.  But this is my first go and I'm pretty happy.  I was even prepared to have my photo taken wearing it but I had to enlist help with this and didn't think to check what else was going on in the picture, so I've had to crop more than I'd like (in real life I have hands, and feet, and a head). Oh, and I had wet hair, so those are drip marks on my front. You can see what a beautifully organised, well thought out life I am leading.

I'm definitely go to have another go at this. 

Wednesday 20 May 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

A few days ago Lisa, from Sunlight in Winter, nominated me for a One Lovely Blog award.  Lisa has a great blog, and an eclectic style which covers everything from EPP to improv - well worth a visit. Thank you Lisa, this was such a nice surprise; I really appreciate it.

Since I am not sewing anything I can blog this week (I'm quilting a bit and reading up for something) I thought I would get on and do my own post straight away.  

If you haven't come across one of these posts before, the idea is to introduce people to blogs (ideally newer ones) which you love to read and which they might not have come across before.  If you accept an award, then you:
  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their post
  • Share 7 things  about  yourself
  • Choose some blogs to nominate for the award. (I think originally it was 10, but 'some' is just fine. 
So here goes.

I was a historian in another life.

I am horribly pedantic about language and grammar (want a lecture about the difference between less and fewer? I'm your woman).

I love, and I do mean love, watching sport.  Any sport will do, but cricket and rugby can both have me on the edge of my seat, with a horrible sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I don't always admit how many kids I have.  It's only 6 but I worry people will think I have no self-control.

I am the daughter of immigrants, the grand-daughter of immigrants and as I get older I find I am thinking a lot about where my roots are, where I belong.

I like to sing at the top of my voice when I'm in the car on my own.  Orrther drivers have been known to laugh.

I believe there are not many things that don't taste better with added chili. 

And in no particular order, the blogs I nominate are:


And finally, can't have a blog post without a quilty picture so here is a tiny peek at an early quilt. (In light of my second point above, I should point out that I know quilty isn't a real word, but I am choosing to use it anyway).

Sunday 17 May 2015

Slowing down for Sunday

After a week with two finishes I have slowed right down - and it's not as if I was rocketing along in the first place.  

I find I am increasingly drawn to all sorts of hand stitching at the moment: not just quilting, but the beautiful work on blogs like Spirit Cloth and Judy's Journal, the handmade clothing of Alabama Chanin, not to mention menders like Tom of Holland.  

The relationship you have with something you hand stitch is so intimate, invests whatever you do with so much of yourself, that it is strangely beguiling, more than slightly addictive.  So, in addition to continuing with my quilting of Two Hungry Birds...

I am having a go at handsewing a dress. I have absolutely no idea yet if it will be wearable, but I'm having fun.

I'm also thinking I might go back to the denim.  

All of which is more than enough for one Slow Sunday.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Saturday photos #23

Taking a longer view than usual today.

This is a drive I do all the time.

Friday 15 May 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Little Elephant

Just in the nick of time, Little Elephant is finished.  In fact it's been finished since Monday but it's too big to photograph anywhere in the house and the weather has not been helpful.  We tried to take pictures on Tuesday but it nearly blew away,  Wednesday it rained, Thursday, perversely was so bright the photos all looked washed out, but this morning I finally got a couple that will do. 

And the back.

Finished quilt measures 80" by 90".
Fabrics - an assortment of lovely African wax prints, plus Oakshott plains ( oranges from their Ruby Red bundle, smoky blue, the off-whites).  Other fabrics from stash, but not that many oddments in this one.
Wadding is  Sew Simple Ecoblend (70/30 - all recyled materials).  Despite early fears it has not bearded.  Thread is a Sulky 30, variegated greens and oranges - first time I'd tried this and I really liked it.
I started piecing on 26th July 2014.  It had to wait a while to get quilted but that started on 11th January and finished on 11th May (that's exactly 4 months. How neat; I hadn't realised that until right now).

I'm entering this in the Original Design category of the Bloggers Quilt Festival. (voting opens May 22nd) .  If you haven't already, do go and check it out; there's always loads to see.

I'm also linking up with TGIFF, Confessions of Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop, and Richard and Tanya's Link a Finish Friday.  When you only make four quilts a year, you have to make the most of a finish when you get one!

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Built me a wall

It seems like I've  been working hard for a while now without much to show for it, but this week it's all coming good.  Today I have reached a stopping point with Build Me a Wall, which will now go into the queue for quilting.

In the end I extended my lines of holes into the borders, but only in three places.  I tried this out before I did any cutting: the sun has messed up the colours here but I think you can see one square on the right and two on the left.

Here's a picture with the holes cut and the backing fabric in.

It's a little bit crease-y at the moment, but I know that there are places where my basting stitches have pulled a bit tight and caused this.  Before it is quilted, at some point when I want something mindless to do, I will come back and stitch the holes and the orange backs properly into place.  But for now, this one is done.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Slowly doing rather a lot

Yes, there's loads of hand stitching going on here today...

A bit of quilting:

A bit of holding things temporarily in place:

And yes, a bit of binding too.

And since all three of these happen slowly, I'm off to sew.  Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday 8 May 2015

Time for a last round

Just this one last lot of holes to go, I think.

I've added 3 more along the bottom, am extending the top row just a little bit and  will probably add one more little half row at on the top left (close up in the second picture.)

I've have been to-ing and fro-ing on whether to take the holes right out into the borders.  The jury's still out on that one, but one way or the other this will be done soon.

Monday 4 May 2015

Bigger holes now

One of the nice things about this challenge piece is that I feel I can play around with things a bit, so the most recent holes are a bit bigger.  I could pretend this was a decision based on perspective or balance or something, but mostly I just fancied trying it.

Even at this size, they don't show up quite as much against the African fabric as against the others I have used, but they are a bit more obvious in the flesh.

Still more to come, I think.

In the meantime, I'm linking up with Patchwork Times today - loads of good stuff to see there.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Moving slowly onwards

So, Little Elephant is now sitting nicely folded waiting for binding.  But since that is a machine job, no pictures this week.  In fact, since I hate making binding, it may take me a week or two!

In the meantime I have been getting the next quilt ready for the hoop and it's the turn of Two Hungry Birds, which is backed, pinned and ready to go.

Having used Sulky 30 for Little Elephant I am back to perle for this one, just because it felt right.  I am ready for a new project, so feel pretty keen to get started on this today.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Saturday photos #21

Pretty simple this week: tulips are my favourite flowers, so I wanted to share this while they are looking their best.  It lifts my heart when I walk through my gate and see this.