Sunday 31 January 2016

An end in sight - definitely!

Today's task, hand sewing as usual for Slow Sunday Stitching, is to finish attaching the backing to the denim.  I've used some lengths of flannel so the back will be nice and soft, toyed with the idea of adding wadding to make it the world's heaviest quilt, but decided against it, and just machined around three sides, right sides together.  So now I'm pulling it right way round and doing the last side by hand.  I considered machining half and then hand stitching the last bit, but a) it is pretty bulky and b) this is the edge with the kind of stepped bit and I want to do that by hand.  

If I get that done, I have the next quilt ready to go in the hoop.  I'm still working in chronological order, so it's Build Me a Wall's turn now.

Saturday 30 January 2016

Saturday photos #53

Today I am treating you to a view of the mess on my work table, which is currently housing 3 sewing projects, two machines, my stamps and inks, a random selection of tools...get the picture?

Friday 29 January 2016

Stamping the strips

Well, I had done loads more printing and laid out some of my circles with the strips, was pretty happy with how it looked, got ready to take a photo to post here and new kitten rolled straight over the whole lot.  So no pictures.  

Instead here's a quick summary of what I've used for the printing.  I was swayed in the direction of Liquitex by a post on Julie's blog, though I've ordered a couple of ink pads recommended by other people to try out too.  

As I reckoned I would only want a small amount of each colour I chose to buy the inks, which come with a dropper, rather than pots of acrylic and I'm glad I did.  To mix enough colour for one strip I only need three or four drops of ink (depending a bit on how long it takes me to get a colour I'm happy with) and the same number of drops of the fabric medium.  

I really like this stuff - the colours are strong, and the fabric medium works beautifully.  I did a tiny sample, on white fabric, not pre-washed.  (I'll add a picture when I find it!)  The following day I stuck it under the hot tap in the kitchen and rubbed like billy-o.  Not even the tiniest smear; it stayed just the same and since my quilts mostly have wool wadding that's about the roughest treatment it needs to stand up to.  

I had ordered some (cheap) blank ink pads but they were rubbish, so I ended up mixing on a plastic lid and then just using a quick wipe with a paint brush to put the colour on the stamps.  Worked fine.

So now I've done a big pile of colour definitions - and had a whole other load of fun looking through Webster's and choosing them.

Next step will be to reclaim my floor!

Tuesday 26 January 2016

AHIQ - share your improv #5

Yesterday I unexpectedly had a free afternoon and instead of sewing decided to try playing around with my letter stamps.  I had been meaning to do this for ages (well, ever since I got them) yet for some reason had been putting it off, maybe in case it was a bit disappointing when I got to it.  But I have an idea, so no more procrastinating; time to get on with it.  

I didn't take photos as I went, a) it's fiddly and a bit messy and b) it's a load of little stamps and some ink, so not in itself very exciting.  I do, however, have a few photos of my first attempts.

These are strips just under 2" wide, cut the full width of the fabric. I'm not necessarily expecting to keep them this long.  Each one has a colour definition, from my lovely Webster's.

I don't want the lettering to stand out too much, so played around trying to get the shades right, ie visible but not overpowering and on that basis some of these, for me, are more successful than others.

This took  me all afternoon, so a slow process, but here's a final shot, of where they might end up.

Sunday 24 January 2016

An end in sight, maybe...

I think I might be nearing the end of this denim piece.  As you can see there's quite an area on the left hand side still to cover, but maybe another couple of weeks...

Looking at this picture I can see there are quite a few places where I have started, then been interrupted and have never gone back, so there'll definitely be some filling in of gaps to be done.  

I've found something to use on the back, though I'm not really sure how I'm going to do that at the moment - I want to keep the wonky shape but that's not as easy as if I had squared it all up.  I'm sure I'll work something out.

Also, a reminder that the first AHIQ link up of 2016 goes live on Tuesday - do come and share your improv quilting.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Still scrappy, but a bit bigger

This week I've made another set of blue shirt stripes, but it looks pretty much exactly like the first one, so I didn't bother with a photo.  I'm saving it until I've got several months worth, then I'm thinking I might do some slicing.  I''m also saving some of my little blue squares, but I took one set and had a go at combining them with the shirts.  Looks like this:

There's lots more blue on display at ScrapHappy Saturday.  

Saturday photos #52

This week, for about five minutes, we had snow.

Friday 22 January 2016

Still circling

Slow but steady here.  I decided to focus on getting some stuff out of the way, so have made a back for the next top I'll be quilting; I got up to date with my 365 circles; I've even tidied up a bit.  And I'm moving on with my stripy circles. 

I have sewed a few into slightly larger units: one big circle, three small ones - they are laid out like this so I could get them in one photos not because this is a layout I am considering.

Why do things always look so creasy in my pictures?  Well I know the answers to that: sometimes I have been carrying bits around, so they start off nice and smooth but get creased along the way; sometimes I have inadvertently plonked stuff down on top of them (one of the hazards if your way of working is on the messy side) and sometimes I get too excited and just sew without even thinking about my iron.  To be honest I don't notice so much in real life, but the camera really seems to show me up.Ho hum.

I've also made a nice little pile of medium sized bits.

It's quite nice and undemanding making all these circles, but I'm going to have to step up soon and start thinking about how they go together.  Maybe just another day or two or pottering first!

Wednesday 20 January 2016

January? Where's it gone?

I had plans for January - an AHIQ post or two I wanted to write, a discussion I wanted to pitch into, and a whole load of sewing, but here I am, 20th of the month already and my weeks seem to have been taken up with car stuff, leg stuff, work stuff, and not nearly enough sewing stuff.  I notice too that I'm not the only one who is feeling like this: 2016 seems to be speeding away from us already.  So I will leave AHIQ posts until February, maybe keep my views to myself on a couple of things, and focus on the task in hand.  

I have hit a rhythm with these circles, which I thought would be very time-consuming.  Every day I prep a few: piece or select backgrounds, cut the circles, baste them and iron them, then in the late afternoon and evening I get them stitched up.  As a result I'm actually happy enough with how I'm progressing.

I like that this is tilted towards the greens, but will probably add a few more reds into the mix, and there is one additional element I want to try adding in, though I'm not sure if what is in my head will work in practice.  I'm hoping to play with that over the weekend, all things being equal. Wish me luck!

Sunday 17 January 2016

Returning to the denim

I am slowly getting the next top in the queue ready for quilting, which is to say I'm making a back for it, but while I do that I'm getting on with the denim, which feels suddenly like an end is in view. Clearly this could be pie-eyed optimism, as the hand stitching can't be rushed, but  progress has definitely been made.

I have a big strip down one side that is pretty much blank still, but apart from that it feels like I am just filling in little bits here and there.  And it's Sunday, so onwards and upwards.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Slow blue scraps

I have just been checking out some of the awesome projects on the ScrapHappy Saturday link up and have concluded that I definitely need to put my back into this now.  So far I have sewn my tiniest bits into little square-ish blocks and added some strips cut from my shirt stash (given my resolution to use these this year this seemed the obvious place to start).  I think I know what next, but for now I haven't got much to show for my time.

On the bright side, I love the shirt strips!

Also, I've come up with a title for the blog post that I can use for months: just substitute the appropriate colour and bob's your uncle.

Saturday photos #52

I'll confess straight up that this is bit of  a cheat.  Clearly today's photos were taken months ago (June in fact), but I'm cold and tired of winter, so am chucking in a sneaky little bit of summer, to cheer myself up.

Friday 15 January 2016

Staggering my circles

I'm having fun with this!

Making the individual pieces is slow, but I'm getting into the swing of it, so prep a few, then sew, prep a few, then sew.  At the same time I am playing around with grouping them.  I started off with everything in a line, but am now having a go at staggering them a bit.  I'm not really making any firm decisions, just seeing how things look, getting a feel for it all.

So here are a few blocks, in slightly different configurations.  I'm going to make some next in a 3rd size, somewhere between these big and small squares, then possibly add another element in, though I'm still on 'keeping things simpler' road that I started with the second walls piece and Quiet Quilt.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Circles on the brain

It seems I've got circles on the brain, but I'm happy enough with that.  

And some bigger ones, I think.

And yes, I will iron that background fabric before I stitch anything down!

Monday 11 January 2016

Here I go again

I've got a couple of tedious, housekeeping-y quilting chores to get out of the way now that Inner City is done, so first job today was making a back for Jellicle Cats.  It's going back from whence it came at the start of next month, so I just need to get it pin basted and ready to go then I'm done with it.

That done I had a bit of time to start playing around with something new.

I have a load of 5" squares of various Oakshott lines, some old, some new, I want to use.  I have in mind that I might print, so washed them first: I don't usually do this and boy do they fray!  Never mind: makes my photo look messy but won't have any effect on what I want to do.

Next up, some Kaffe Fassett stripes - some scrap, some untouched.

Let's see where this takes me...

Linking up today with Moving it Forward at Em's Scrapbag.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Starting on the scraps

I have decided that my 'try something new' for this year will be the Rainbow Scrap Challenge so I am slowly getting my head around this idea.  For now this means digging out every last little bit of blue and discovering that I have less scrap than the overflowing carrier bags would lead you to think.  This is probably because I usually piece my backs using leftovers from the front of a quilt.  However I've got enough blues to be getting on with (even though I've been hacking into them for my Quilty 365 circles).  

I want to use up my smaller bits, so for now have been cutting wee squares and pairing them up.  I think I know what next, but need to try it out.  

I'm clearly a bit slow off the mark here, but if you check out the linky party at So Scrappy there are plenty of people already up and running!

Friday 8 January 2016

Inner City done and dusted

First finish of 2016!  Okay, you might argue it should have been the last one of 2015 but I have really applied myself this week so no. 1 son can take this away tomorrow.  Mind you, if he decided not to I wouldn't be too upset; I'd rather like this one  for myself!

I had the usual mid-winter problem of where to take photos but figure the odd bit of wall is better than trying to do it outside. 

My favourite little bit...

and the back...

This has ended up about 72 x 78.  The original New York fabric was from Benartex, then there's just every black/grey I had, a real mix with everything from Kona to Oakshott to Doe to a piece that was a gift from a quilting shop near the Arctic Circle.  The bright colours in the little squares across top and bottom are from a couple of Oakshott charm packs that have been floating about for ages. 

I used a wool wadding and handquilted using a variegated Sulky 12wt.

Boy, am I happy this is done!

I'm linking up with TGIFF today.

Thursday 7 January 2016

Today I like the postman

Happy mail today, of two varieties.

Firstly, I admired LeeAnna's coasters before Christmas and look...

They look so pretty I think I might hang them on the tree next year. Thank you, LeeAnna!

Next up, I have been thinking about text on quilts for a while now and had a particular idea I wanted to play around with.  I don't know why but the idea of piecing letters didn't grab me and anyway I think wouldn't work for what I want, so I have been looking around for an alternative and I found this on ebay (I love ebay)...

Inside the box...

All the letters, upper and lower case, large and small numbers, and lots of little extras like ''Best Buy" "Best Quality" and "Today's Price".  The ink is dried up, but I am already planning to make my own ink pads with textile friendly ink. First dictionaries, now letters - there may be a train of thought going on here and in case you can't tell, I am excited again!!!

Monday 4 January 2016

Planning or procrastinating?

Well, I'm definitely doing one or the other.  No new sewing for me until Inner City is done, but in the meantime I'm doing a lot of pondering.  I am a bit loathe to share my meandering thoughts as what I actually do this year might have absolutely no relation at all to what I am thinking about right now, and I won't really care if that happens, but just for the fun of it:

1. I have these on my bedroom floor at the moment

They might turn into something.

2. I think I might join in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year, as all my scraps are jammed into plastic bags, no sorting by colour, or size, or age, and I'm starting to feel a bit ashamed of myself!

3.  I did some doodles when I was thinking about Quiet Quilt which I might revisit, and also an undoodled idea from the same time.

4.  Stash.  No pledge to cut down from me, I'm afraid.  I mostly pull from my stash when I start a new quilt, and don't buy much specially, so it works for me.  But I am going to try and think about what I buy - I'm looking for more sources of fair trade/organic fabric and will try to 'green' my stash if I can.  I'm rubbish at rigid rules, but okay if I just aim to improve, so that's what I'm doing.  I also might finally tackle the box of shirts I have accumulated.

5.  As 2015 rolled on I realised that I have certain preoccupations, ideas that keep pulling me back, and I want to go on developing/exploring these.  So I guess there'll be more denim, more simple decorative stitches (running stitch, cross stitch, darning...), more circles, from the look of it.  I have also enjoyed the projects that involved collaboration of some kind (the Wall challenge with LeeAnna, setting up AHIQ with Ann, sewing with my sister and my AFP) so I'm pondering whether this is also something I can take forward.

But for now, I'm quilting, just quilting.

Sunday 3 January 2016

Inner City out of the hoop

Of course there's still quite a lot to do around the edges, but I am feeling like this is almost done.  I'm so optimistic that I have started cutting strips for the binding, though today, being Sunday, is all about the quilting.  I'd like to finish by next weekend, as no. 1 son is passing and could take it with him, but if it takes longer than that I'm not going to beat myself up. 

Also, a reminder that the AHIQ link up will be open until the end of tomorrow if you want to share.

Saturday 2 January 2016

Saturday photos #51

Welcome to 2016!

I thought I might stop these at #50 and try something new, but turns out I want to keep going for a bit.  Here's the outdoor bit of Christmas (it rained a lot) so there wasn't that much of it!

Friday 1 January 2016

Back to business and giveaway results

January 1st - I'm still mulling over whether I will be setting myself particular goals this year, but in the meantime I am confronted straight away by my own limitations:  I have a giveaway winner but can't work out how to post a snap of the rafflecopter in this post.  You can however check it out on the original post.  I am pleased to announce that the winner is the lovely Lara - congratulations! Vishruti will be contacting you directly to organise your prize.  

I may not have got a whole shedload of anything done in the last couple of weeks but the one thing that has been ticking over is the Quilty 365 project.  I am almost up-to-date with my circles (yesterdays and today's to do, but that's all) and have been slowly sewing them into 9 patch blocks, to try and keep things manageable.  

I am on day 53 today, so this picture doesn't have all my circles, just the ones that have already been sewn into blocks.  I am still enjoying the focus that having a daily project gives me and loving that quiet 5 or ten minutes sewing that comes towards the end of each day.  Occasionally I let a couple of pieces back up, but mostly, even over Christmas, I have found the time day by day.  

Today I'm linking up with Audrey for the monthly party where everyone is sharing their circles - and that's another thing I am liking about this; being a part of something where each interpretation is unique but we are all still connected - thanks Audrey for dreaming this up.