Sunday 30 August 2015

Filling in the blanks

Most of my slow Sunday stitching is actually quilting, but I will also do a bit more on the denim.  I have carried on adding little patches along with the stitching and am like them a lot (not to mention using up some scraps).  This week's job is to fill in some of the big areas still untouched.  I keep thinking I will leave some blank spaces, but when I've tried this they haven't looked quite right: more unfinished than deliberate.  I still like the idea though, so will keep fiddling about trying to get it right.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

I am not a robot

And if I were, I wouldn't have a stupid dodgy leg that hurts when I sit down to the sewing machine for more than 5 minutes at a time.  Luckily I am waiting for the cavalry to arrive with my extra fabric, so I can take things a bit slower than I would otherwise want to.  I have sewn together some of my bits but now am going to pause until the post delivers.

Following the discussion about the horizontal strips I have trimmed quite a bit off the one that is sitting at bottom left (and of course will lose another little bit in the seam).  It looks much better, not so heavy now, and I am watching out where I need these strips to make sure I don't make the same mistake again.

In the meantime I am playing around with ideas and drafting a post or two for AHIQ - only a week to go now!  

As for the title of this post - I don't mind comment verification, understanding that it serves a purpose.  For a while I was even enjoying it, particularly when I was invited to identify 'all the cakes' or 'all the bread'.  Picking out street signs was less fun, but I discovered that if you got it wrong, they sent you back to foodstuffs.  But now, heaven help me, they are asking me to identify 'all the commercial trucks'.  Firstly, don't care about trucks of any description AT ALL, secondly I didn't even know there was such a thing as a non-commercial truck (am I particularly ill-informed or is it a more American thing?).  A robot has as good a chance of getting this right as I have.

Monday 24 August 2015

Eking out the scraps

I'm still here, eking out my last bits of fabric for now, but I have to confess that I have asked Lara to send me her blue grunge.  I have literally used every single last tiny scrap and though I might not need much more of it, I am pretty darn sure I'm going to want at least  a wee bit more.  

In the meantime, more blocks with scrappy edges, like this little one.

I did a couple more like this too.

Interestingly, when I tried this one out, the gold didn't look right to my eye, a bit too heavy, so I tweaked it a bit:

Much better.

I am playing around with layout all the time too.  There are some chunks stitched together, but nothing much bigger than six or eight blocks, so it's easy to move them about.  It's funny how some versions look much better than others.  

I am trying to make sure any horizontal strips I use are a bit on the slimmer side now, and have moved the two heavy ones so they are no long right next to each other. I think this will work a bit better. 

Do you like how I have chosen to work in the doorway between two rooms this time, so that wherever I stand I end up with a bit of door in the corner of my photos?  I also knock myself silly on the top of the door frame every time I stand on a chair to get a picture.  I have only myself to blame!

Sunday 23 August 2015

Patching not worrying

I am still stitching away at my denim.  I had left some gaps - bits which I didn't stitch, to see if I liked the contrast between the plain denim and the decorated but it wasn't quite working for me, so now I have gone back and am adding little patches.

On and off I wonder where this piece is going to end up but I am coming to the conclusion that it seems to be more about playing and learning than making something specific.  It still sparks ideas for me all the time, and I guess one or more of them may lead somewhere, but for the time being I'll just stitch if I want to stitch, patch if I want to patch, and, just this once, not worry about where I'm going.

Saturday 22 August 2015

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Learning to stretch!

This is a post with two strands. The first is this:  I have been working away at Walls assuming I knew where the top was but yesterday I looked at it from a different direction and quite liked it that way too., like this:

Ignore, if you can, the longest vertical gold stripe, which is too big and too central (in this picture at least).  I think I am going to stick with my original plan, but this may at some point turn out to be a different quilt!  And sadly, one of the things that argues against this is that I like my tiny gold triangles to have their points heading upward not over to the side.  I'm not entirely sure what that says about me, but I definitely wish I could be a person less bothered by triangle points.  Funny how whenever I learn something about myself whilst quilting it turns out to go against my view of myself (less calm, less patient, and now more picky about little details - oh dear!)

My second thought for the day is that I definitely will not have quite enough of the fabrics I have been desperately trying to stretch.  I do have a virtual safety net in the form of lovely Lara, who has offered to send me more, but am resisting on the grounds that it will be good for my character to make this work the hard way (that's my Methodist upbringing rearing its head).   So, I am now going to push it as far as I can with the gold.  My latest block went like this:

Here it is in the middle of the rest.

I think it looks fine, so will try a bit more of this and see how far I can take it.

Leaving aside the mess of random squares on the right hand side of this (it's okay, I already knew I was messy!) I can see some things I don't like as well as lots I do in this picture.  At the moment the strip horizontal strips are a bit too chunky for my liking, but as they are not yet joined to anything else I'm hoping they'll look better once I've lost the extra bit in the seam allowance.  Also the lower gold strip is not right - I think I don't want it directly beneath the top one.  Luckily it's not joined to anything, it's just laid down there, so plenty of room for manoeuvre there. 

Finally, thanks to everyone who has expressed an interest in AHIQ.  It will kick off on September 1st.  After that posts will be on Tuesdays, and the linky party will be the last Tuesday of each month, so keep an eye out.  The button in the sidebar is just me trying to work out how this all works!

Monday 17 August 2015

Backs and fronts

Well I managed to waste most of yesterday looking for the box I keep my hand-stitching threads in. Turns out it was in a box in a garage about 10 miles away from me (don't ask) so I achieved exactly nothing on that front.  I decided to try and rescue my weekend by doing some boring but necessary stuff.  I am months away from quilting Inner City, but keeping sorting past its leftovers in my scrap box so I started piecing a back. 

I have also been busily making blocks for my Walls piece (still nameless).  This picture, taken halfway through Saturday, shows how much I have got, though they are just plonked down every which way.  The top, bottom, left and right edges here, if I filled in all the gaps, would get me to a reasonable size.  I've made more since, so may just get away with this one. In any case I liked the gold insets so much I am thinking I might include those whether I need them or not.

Saturday 15 August 2015

Saturday photos #35

I know I said I was done gallivanting around for the summer, but last Sunday was glorious and a quick trip to Calke Abbey (already the subject of at least a couple of these posts here  and here) seemed in order.  

The wildflower border was new and spectacular.

Friday 14 August 2015

Hedging my bets

Earlier this week I worried about running out of the fabrics I am using for the outer part of my "stones".  I have been thinking about this quite a lot. Usually I'm fine with having to work out what to do next, but this quilt has quite a different feel for me: I  have deliberately been trying to work in a simpler way, just to see if I can, and I'm loath to let things get too busy.  So, how do I make what I have stretch?

My first strategy is to make sure I use every single tiny scrap.

My second line of attack is to make some central squares that are quite a bit larger - I think this will work well in any case and as a bonus a large centre with a thin border uses less of my precious fabrics than a small centre with a chunky edge.

Mindful, though, that this might still not be enough I have been fiddling about with the two gold Doe fabrics as well.

I like how these work a lot, so might go down this road anyway, as long as I can do it without losing the current mood of the quilt.  I have lots of options, at least!

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Brick by brick, stone by stone

My wall is growing.  

I started out trying to work outwards from the section I had sewn together on Monday.

 I liked this but kept getting stuck - going so far and no further, so decided to go back to making little chunks which I can put together further along the line.  I got this

and this.

I am also starting to think about what I'll do if I run out of the cream and blue fabrics I am using for edging.  I started with half a metre of each, so might just about have enough, but might also fall a bit short. Usually I use a lot more fabrics in a quilt but I'm liking this one with a relatively limited range, so I'm kind of hoping I won't run out.  If necessary I think I will go with using more of something that's already in the quilt rather than adding a new fabric - maybe sneaking in a bit more of the gold-y Doe somewhere?  

Monday 10 August 2015

Making stones

Still building my wall.  I have gone back to making the square units, but just to stop myself getting bored, and to make putting the next bit together interesting I am making some with one odd side:

Laying a few out I got something that looks like this:

I need to keep going and make a few more, though, before I can go much further. Back to work.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday. 

Sunday 9 August 2015

Revisiting denim and a confession

This seems to be my month for going back to things that have been pining for attention; this time it's my hand-stitched denim.  It got put away when juggling several projects at once got too much for me, but it's out of the bag now and I'm ready to go again, so this will be my Sunday stitching project for a while.

Just as a quick reminder, this is where I had got too.

I have mentioned before that the denim got under my skin a bit and that I had been eyeing up people's clothing rather too much, so here's the confession:  earlier in the year I was at a cricket match with my sister, standing in parallel queues for food, when she pointed out the rather nifty patches adorning the jeans of the chap in front of her.  Wasting no time I slid my camera across the lines to her and she sneaked a photo of which this is a tiny detail.  Mission accomplished!

Then I got home, looked at my photos and realised that maybe a hobby which leads me to be sneaking photos of the jeans of strangers is a hobby which has gone a step too far.  Harmless but a step too far towards weird?  

They were great jeans though.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Friday 7 August 2015

Want to improv?

Back at the beginning of the year I posted my first ever bee block and commented in passing that I wished there was a bee for improv quilters.  This prompted Ann of Fret Not Yourself to suggest to me that we should consider starting something together.  

 Now of course it's not quite that simple: you can't really say to a load of other people "make me an improv block this way, using these colours and finishing at that size".  After all, if they get all of that right they're not improvising.  But we couldn't quite let go of the idea and so we've come up with something a bit different.

Starting in September we will be running a monthly linky party specifically for all improv quilting projects (our definition of improv is a broad one, but more of that nearer the time).  However we also want to offer a place for discussion, encouragement and inspiration - potential starting points for anyone out there who wants to try improv but doesn't quite know where to begin - so each month we will put up posts on a different aspect of improv; discuss different approaches; review some great books ; look at sources of inspiration. 

I have noticed recently that improv projects seem to be popping up all over the place. Of course some people work like that all the time but I think maybe some of the recent books on the subject (Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion Quilts for example, and Sherri Lynn Wood's Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters ) have sparked an extra interest, precisely because they offer great starting points.  

We are calling this project AHIQ (Ad Hoc Improv Quilting) so keep an eye out for future posts. Whether you are happy to leap right into a pile of fabric with your rotary cutter or are someone who finds that idea terrifying (or ridiculous) we hope to have something for you.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Back to the wall

So, I have reached the point where all the excitement is over for the summer and we're just coasting along, trying to make the most of the sun, as and when it appears.  No more festivals, no more family gatherings, just back to routine and back to my sewing machine.  I have to say I am ready for this - I've been getting a bit twitchy and am happy to be looking at this wall piece again.  

(Note to self - I must think of another name for it as this is a bit misleading: it's not a piece for the wall, it's a piece inspired by walls).

I decided to take out the little checkerboard pieces I was playing around with when I last posted about this and replaced them with this:

I am happier with this, so have carried on and now have a fair sized chunk.

Linking up today with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Nearly a dress

Not much quilting has been going on here the last couple of weeks; partly because I like to be in the garden (though it has been a pretty cool, damp place) but also because all my sewing energy has been going into my dress.  To be quite honest I think I got a bit carried away, but it's been fun and now I'm nearly done.  There are lots of tiny shapes still to outline, but the bulk of the work is out of the way and I am very happy with the result.  There are things I will tweak when I make another one, but that's always the way.  

Everything is hand stitched, I felled the seams and have tried out reverse applique. with and without beading, straightforward ordinary applique and a sort of satin stitch. The beading is probably a one off; as much as I love it I just don't live that sort of life!

Saturday 1 August 2015

Saturday photos #32

Out and about last weekend, so here's a taste of what I got up to.  I became strangely obsessed with taking photos in the dark.  Since my little camera is only simple this has resulted in lots of funny blurry pictures but I like them anyway, so have included my favourites (one of them has the moon in it too). What the collage doesn't convey is that most of the time was spend running like made from place to place to escape torrential rain, so I could have done a whole other post with wellies and raincoats and things dripping. I choose on this occasion to remember the drier bits!