Wednesday 22 July 2015

Two Hungry Birds: done and dusted

Yup, it's done: my second finish of the year.  Of course it is raining, so I can't get outside to take a really good picture, but have clambered around inside doing my best (chairs, balanced on chairs - don't try this at home!)

 The back:

and the binding.

This one is not as big as some of my recent ones, measuring around 58" x 74".

The top has some Oakshott plain and stripes, one Kaffe Fassett stripe, some Kona plains, two of Birch Organics' Charley Harper fabrics and a load of stuff from stash.  

I used Hobbs Tuscany Wool wadding, quilted with no. 8 perle and bound with one of the Carolyn Friedlander Doe fabrics.  

I started piecing on 14th September 2014, finished on 28th October.  Started quilting 1st May 2015, finished today, 23rd July. That's pretty fast for me!

Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday and TGIFF which is at Simply Pieced this week.

Sunday 19 July 2015

Deja vu

Last Sunday I showed my binding for Two Hungry Birds, all nicely coiled and ready to go.  What happened next?  Not all that much, I'm afraid.  So, having machined the front of it on this morning, my task for this Sunday afternoon is (again) hand stitching down the back.

Hopefully I won't still be doing this next Sunday!

Saturday 18 July 2015

Saturday photos #31

I was thinking this week about textiles with some kind of print/lettering on them and how ubiquitous these fabrics seem to have become, which led me to wander around the house this morning looking for bits of text.  Here's what I found.

Friday 17 July 2015

Filling in the gaps

 This morning I started playing around with my blocks again, looking at how I was going to get them to fit together.  First off I tried my little piece with squares in one of the gaps.  

I didn't mind this but thought I'd try stripes instead of squares. 

Decided to go with this, so did some cutting and rearranging, and a bit of adding on and ended up with these.

Sewn on they look like this:

Right now I am thinking that I like this where I have used it vertically (halfway up right hand side) but not so much horizontally (bottom left) but am going to leave it for now and see if it grows on me.  

I should add that I have rejected the idea of using 'cheater' strips, ie ones of the same colours as the existing borders.  there are two reasons for this: the first is a practical one as I only have half a metre of each fabric; the second is that I would prefer to come up with a solution that acknowledges and works with the odd construction rather than trying to hide it.  I could, of course, revert to plan b and use straightforward strips of a single, extra fabric.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Joining and probably tweaking a bit...

Having made a few more of my basic blocks and played around on the floor with them for a bit I came up with something I liked enough to stick with and have now started trying to work out how I will join them together.

Options currently under consideration include 'cheating' by using more strips of whatever edging colour is already there; little pieced strips, like I showed in the last post, introducing one/several new fabrics.

Here are some of the potential additions being auditioned:

I'm also starting to think about what happens next.  I could just keep doing this until I have a piece big enough to call it a quilt, but my chronically short attention span makes that unlikely so I'm probably going to try, at the very least, a bit of judicious tweaking as I go along.  

Monday 13 July 2015

Of binding and little bits

As the end of quilting approaches my thoughts turn to binding - which, as I have mentioned before, has never been my favourite part of quilt making.  I don't mind sewing it on; it's the making of it I'm not so keen on.  So today I grasped the nettle and got on with it.  I realise it doesn't take me that long any more - certainly not as long as the first time I made it, when I kept forgetting which bit went where and I ended up with diagonal seams pointing in every possible direction.  This lot went together in no time at all and now I have a nice neat bundle ready to go.  Maybe I don't mind it so much after all.

Once the chores were done I got on with my wall.  I'm still at the making little blocks stage (though I promise not to keep posting them for much longer) and at the moment am trying to focus on building up my pile of squares edged with the blue fabrics .

Every time I've made a few I let myself have a play around: I don't want to make more than I need.  This time my playing looked like this:

Looking at this made me think about the little gaps that carrying on in this direction will leave me with (see the bit just below the square on the far right?) I could just add in more strips of my outer fabrics but am wondering about something like this.

This looks pretty huge here, but in fact is made with tiny little scraps.  Hmm.

As usual I'm linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday

Sunday 12 July 2015

Slowly moving to a finish

This is the last tiny chunk of Two Hungry Birds, waiting to be quilted.

Then it's on to the binding.  This has been causing me some headaches, but I think I've found something I'm happy with now, so hopefully my next hand stitching will be finishing this one off.

I'm also (very, very slowly) making progress with my dress.  Here's a tiny chunk:

As you can see my beading is far from perfect, but hopefully no one will ever look at it this close once it's finished, so as long as it holds up I can overlook the wobbles (and I'm getting better as I go).

Monday 6 July 2015

Bigger and smaller

I have been making more of my square shapes, and am finally feeling more comfortable with adding in some blues.  I realised when I was playing around with the new additions, looking at how they fitted in with my first bunch, that I have been imagining a sort of variation on a 9 patch in my head; something along these lines:

This meant I've been producing lots of finished chunks that are all the same size, give or take.  Now, I still like this idea (now that I know that's what I'm thinking), but can't quite bring myself to stick to units of one size,  so I've started going bigger and smaller, like this:

Clearly what I have here may look nothing like the finished quilt, but it's good to start playing.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Mood Indigo

Sometimes advance planning pays off: yesterday, although I thought I was way, way too busy to take time out, I spent the day indigo dyeing.  I had booked, I had paid my deposit, so I went.  

This was a new departure for me: both the dyeing and, as it happens, taking any sort of course.  I hadn't been able to find anything I fancied that was within sensible striking distance, but have now discovered the lovely Hope and Elvis only a 40 minute drive away.

The day was led by Claire Wellesley Smith who not only works with natural dyes but is big on slow stitching (hooray) and whose own work is well worth checking out.  

For me this was a great way to kill several birds with one stone.  Firstly, though I love the idea of hand-dyed fabric, I am coming to accept that there isn't enough time in this life to master everything and this allowed me to dip my toe in without a) acquiring a load more stuff I would have to store somewhere and b) making a most almighty mess at home.

The second benefit is that I have  lovely new bits to add to my stash and the third is that I had a lot of fun stitching before my bits were dyed (as you can see from the pieces below.  In fact I think that if I were going to get hooked enough to acquire aforementioned stuff  and make the mess, it would be this combination of stitch and colour that would get me hooked.

But for now, I have enough going on, so am just thankful for a day of fun.

Friday 3 July 2015

Time to move along

Seems like there is only so long I can make bricks and just pile them up (not even neat piles at that), so this morning I took a little step in the direction of progress.

It's a glorious sunny day here, and I point blank refuse to complain about the heat, given that I whinge all winter long about the cold, but there are big sunny patches everywhere I would usually take my photos, hence this rather unappealing blue carpet.  

Funnily enough, although I love the blues I showed in the last post, I found it difficult to use them today.  Everything I put against them seemed wrong, so there are lots of blocks with the cream around them, not so many blue. Maybe tomorrow I will be in more of a blue mood?

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Plan B

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post, offering views on my fabric choices.  I have been playing around with the options, both the lighter tones and a couple of dark blues and for now have pulled these four fabrics out, with the idea that some/all of them will be my 'mortar' choices.  

I don't want to be particularly literal with this quilt, but am sticking with the idea of mortar for now.  Even if it goes out the window somewhere along the way, these will provide contrast in some shape or form.

I'm loath to give up my other blues, so have been cutting some bricks using them and mixing them up with the yellows.

I will be slicing them up and making little pairs, like I did with the first lot, but had just slapped down what I had on the background fabrics to see what they looked like.  Flitting from one thing to another?  Maybe.  But I'm going to try and focus for a bit now...