Tuesday 23 February 2016

AHIQ - share your improv #6

Sorry everyone, but I have got some vile flu-type bug going on and as a result have nothing to share today.  

I look forward to catching up with what the rest of you have been doing in a day or two.

Sunday 21 February 2016

More than enough for one Sunday

At the moment I'm spoiled for choice when it comes to slow stitching: I don't have much on the go that doesn't involve sitting with a needle and thread.  So, today, I will be basting the next pile of circles.

Once those are done I'm going to add a bit more to my jacket - I have some pieces pinned in place and keep catching myself on the pins (the jacket is on the back of my sewing chair) so I want to get rid of them before I do some damage.

After that, if there's time, there's quilting to be done.

Saturday 20 February 2016

A little bit of brown

Well, the idea of the RSC may be to use up your scraps, but this month I have been scraping around trying to find enough brown bits to make even a few little blocks.  In the end I managed 3, but only by pinching a couple of bits from as yet unused yardage to make up the numbers.

Here are two:

As is my usual habit I am not using a ruler to make my squares, just eyeballing the lines on my cutting mat and hoping for the best.

Interestingly I had four brown shirts, so my strip sets were not a problem.

And I have one block combining the shirts and the squares.

At the moment I envisage that all these diverse bits will end up in the one quilt, but I don't want to put anything else together right now - let's just see how it goes as I add all the other colours.

Since I have finally done some brown bits I'm linking up with the RSC today at So Scrappy.  

And a reminder, this months AHIQ link up will go live on Tuesday, so if you are making it up as you go along, come and share!

Saturday photos #55

It seems to me I've been a bit of a misery this week, so, to redress the balance, I went looking for the first signs of spring. To be fair, I only went as far as the front garden, but I still found plenty.

A bit late in the day, but I am linking this up with Wandering Camera at Whims and Fancies.  I wanted to do a new post, but flu intervened...

Friday 19 February 2016

Squeezing in the circles

So, I have stopped grouching.  I have also accepted that under current circumstances working where kittens can get is a non-started, so am utilising the conservatory, which is unheated and therefore pretty much just storage space at this time of year.  This means I can lay my circles out and leave them.  It also means if I want to spend much time in there I need a coat.

I'm not sure if this is at all edifying but here is what is on the floor right now.

In this version what I have been thinking of as the top left corner has become the bottom left.  Who knows where it will end up?

And, just because, here's the view if I zoom out a bit.  Sometimes I pile everything in one corner to take photos but today, honestly, I am full of cold and really can't be bothered!

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Less grumping, more getting on with it

Yes, I have pulled myself together and got on with piecing my circle blocks.

Some done:

some ready and waiting:

When I get fed up I am piecing shirt strips for the RSC, or quilting, or sewing a denim circle for Quilty 365, or stitching my jacket a wee bit or, occasionally, not sewing at all but sitting down with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

Monday 15 February 2016

I learn the hard way, if I learn at all

I'm still plugging away with these stripy circles and in fact the pace of the whole project is being dictated by the speed at which I can get the basic units done, which is to say it's slow!  At least I have one good sized chunk actually sewn together now and am starting to look at the next one.  

Those of you who followed the last quilt will remember that I whinged a lot about being bored while I made my basic 9-patch units: well I'm reaching the same sort of point now, which is to say I really like how it looks, don't so much like making the bits.  This leads  me to wonder why, for the second time in a row, I have chosen to make something in this way ie with lots of repetitions of a simple unit. I keep trying to think of ways to switch things up a bit, just to divert myself, but nothing remotely feasible has occurred to me yet.  Short attention span? Me?  I'm not so sure I'm keen on this quilty self-knowledge; I prefer the idea that I am endlessly patient, but there you go.

Anyhow, this is the floor right now:

Yet again, need to make more circles!

Sunday 14 February 2016

It's all slow here

Everything I am working on at the moment involves hand work - lots of applique, simple stitching and quilting, but today, I think, I'm going to quilt.  

It's the turn of Build Me a Wall, which has been pinned for a while and in the hoop for probably a fortnight.  For some reason, though, I'm not feeling much love for this project right now.  This hasn't happened before at this late stage in the process, so I'm reserving judgement.  I'll keep quilting for a week or two and see if I'm happier.  If not, I'm not sure what I'll do.  I've never left something unfinished before so I guess it will get done.  I can't even put my finger on what is bothering me, so maybe I'm just being moody.  I guess we'll see.

At least I enjoyed taking the photos, though.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

AHIQ - a little bit of scrappy inspiration

I thought this week I'd pull together some inspiration for anyone thinking about working with their scraps.  Here are quilts made with quilting scraps, with recycled clothing, with limited palettes and with a vast range of different colours and textures.  As is always the way with scrappy quilts, the longer you look, the more there is to find. I hope everyone will find something to excite/inspire.

If you click on an image it should take you to the original post, and details of the makers and their websites/blogs are given under each image. 

As always, huge thanks to all the talented quiltmakers who so generously agreed to let me use their images here. I do encourage you to go and visit their sites - especially if any of them are new to you.

This  beautiful log cabin is by Nifty Quilts.  You can read her post about making it is here and it's worth checking out the backing fabric too.  There is a real skill to getting that seemingly random look, and bringing so many fabrics together in one piece.  If you don't already know her work, have a good look around the blog: there are loads of fantastic scrappy quilts.

This beautiful  baby quilt was made by Ruth Mowray at Birds of the Air. I love the soft, pretty colours and all the tiny details (birds, teacups, little flying geese) and it's worth reading her post, both for the close-ups and to see how many different fabrics went into the top.  

Harriet Quilt # 1, by Kate Graves,  whose website is  www.kategraves.com . This is one of a series of "Moving Blankets", which were made in a collaborative way.  In this piece the checkerboard pieces were made by Harriet and then given to Kate, who combined them with her fabrics.  I love the idea of this way of working. You can read more about them on Kate's blog.

This is one of the daily circles being made by Stephie Boon at Dawn Chorus Studio - here's the link to the gallery where you can see all her circles. Again, it's well worth looking at all of them: each one is different and they are a great source of ideas/inspiration.

Cortelyou by Zak Foster.  I chose this particular quilt because the palette is not one I would have thought to put together, but I really like how it works.  You can check out his website here and his blog here. I never thinking of tieing my quilts but I like a lot the way the white of the ties makes an extra layer of pattern over the coloured blocks here - it makes me think I should look for opportunities to try this.  

Ice Cream by Heidi Parkes.  Heidi's website is www.heidiparkes.com. Heidi uses a variety of recycled fabrics: this piece includes vintage prints and floral fabrics from her grandmother. I like the way her horizontal strips are much longer in the middle of this quilt, shorter at the top and the bottom; the balance between the plain blue and cream fabrics, the prints and those little snippets of red with white dots.

Striped Shirts was made by Lynn Dysktra, who blogs at klein meisje quilts.  It is made entirely from thrifted shirts.  Look how cleverly Lynn has worked with the stripes to create different motifs.  I like the changes of scale and the way there are recognisable blocks (especially the ones with concentric squares) mixed in with less structured bits.  I wish I had made this one.

I thought I'd wind up by showing one of Ann's quilts.  This Spiderweb is unfinished, but I thought I'd show it anyway: I am always full of admiration for the way Ann is able to use scraps in her quilts but still make it look completely deliberate and thought-through.

On a side note, some of my comments from the blog are no longer turning up in my email inbox; I'm guessing it must be something to do with Gmail/Google+. Now that I know, I will check to make sure I don't miss any, but if you don't get a response, this will be why. It all worked beautifully; now they've 'improved' things and it doesn't.  Ho hum.

Monday 8 February 2016

Circles moving forward

It feels like time to get these circles moving.  I'm still basting and sewing the individual units but want to get more of a feel for how they are going to go together.  

I have sewn together this chunk.

I liked the way the lettered strips looked en masse in the photos I took, so, although I originally envisaged using them singly,  I'm now  going to layer them up deliberately, just as long as it fits with the circle blocks.  I don't intend to go causing myself too many problems fitting this all together.

Now I''m laying out options for the next bit.  I like the third row better here than with the offset circle, and the purple strip down the left hand side may get a friend or two, but nothing more has been stitched so I can keep on tinkering for a bit.

I'm going to link up today with Em's Scrapbag for Moving it Forward Monday.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Off at a bit of a tangent

Now that the denim is finished, I managed to sneak in a day sewing with my sister again.  We are trying another jacket: this is where we've got to so far.

So my slow Sunday stitching today will be a bit more on the front of this.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Saturday photos #54

This looks pretty, but boy was it cold, and wet, and muddy. Signs of spring everywhere, though, thanks to the ridiculously mild winter we've had.

Friday 5 February 2016

Denim done and dusted

So this is a strange state of affairs: this is my second finish this year.  This means that I have nearly eleven months to finish one more piece and I'll have hit my usual total.  Go figure.

In fact I could carry on stitching this if I wanted to but am stopping now for two reasons: on one level I like the idea of this as a sort of map, and in my head the most dense section, roughly in the middle, is like a town, and then towards the edges there are more spaces, like fields or open countryside.

Also,I have been going with the flow all along, stitching where and when I feel like it, adding patches, leaving pockets one or taking them off, leaving gaps.  And now it feels like the journey this has led me on is done, so that seems the best place to stop.

In the end this is a good size for a lap quilt: about 55" on each side.  It is made entirely from old jeans, and the little patches are scraps from Small Pleasures.  I used all sorts of threads: anything I had in the right sort of colours; stranded cotton, rayon thread, perle, some space dyed, some not.  The backing is flannel, so this is a heavy, heavy piece, but that's what I like. 

Started late 2014, finished February 1st 2016. Its official name is Eclipse.

And, just because I like them the best, here's one of those landscape-y shots.

And, as this is a finish I'm linking up with TGIFF, which this week is here at Devoted Quilter, and with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop, Whoop.

Wandering camera

I have always loved the photos Soma at Whims and Fancies posts  and now she has come up with the great idea of a monthly photo link up, called Wandering Camera.  I was going to link one of my Saturday photo posts but looking through my phone realised I have some snaps that I like a lot and that have never made it into a collage.  So I've given them one of their own.  

It's definitely worth a look at the other posts; there are some fantastic photos.

Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


Wednesday 3 February 2016

Basting and fiddling around

I am still making good (but clearly slow-ish) progress with my colour definition quilt.  I would be going faster, I think, if I hadn't spent so much of my time this week reading the dictionary.  I am fiddling around with little bits of layout, but it's pretty clear that I need to make more circles, in all sizes, to give myself more scope.  

Here's my floor right now.

I like the top two rows, but not the bottom one here; the 3rd big circle in needs to be at the same level as the others, I think.  I guess this may be put together in rows and I want to break them up a little bit, but this clearly isn't the way.  I also want to use the strips a bit more: I really like how they look stacked up so will see if there's a way to get little moments of that in somewhere.

And now, again, back to basting circles.

Tuesday 2 February 2016

AHIQ - getting scrappy

Last time I wrote a 'why don't you try this' post I think I scared a few people by suggesting they cut into treasured yardage, so this month, to redress the balance, I've been thinking about scraps.  We've all got them and the popularity of RSC and Oh Scrap suggests that we all want to reduce them, yet we go on hoarding the tiniest of pieces then worrying about how we should use them. So why not use them for your improv?

Now,  I know the idea of scrappy improv is not a new one: flick around the web and you can find plenty of examples of crumb blocks and 'made' fabric, sometimes used to give a modern twist in traditional designs, sometimes put together in a less structured way.  

You can sew together your scraps into strip sets and use those as the basis for something, grab a handful of scraps every time you start a quilt and work them in as you go along, use them for specific scrappy elements in a design, work small or sort through what you have and employ your bits in a clearly defined colour scheme.  The possibilities are virtually limitless.

The blue and yellow strips in the borders here were leftovers from Eden's Birds

However you go about it, a mix of fabrics can make a quilt interesting to look at, drawing the eye from one detail to the next,  creating moments of surprise for us to discover and enjoy. What's more, the challenge of making something coherent from a mishmash of bits, instead of using a well planned selection of yardage, teaches us a lot about the use of colour, placement, value, all that technical quilty stuff that makes such a difference to a successful piece.

Alternatively you could just make a dog.

Monday 1 February 2016

Quilty 85

At least I think it's 85 circles done now.

Here are January's.

Ah,, but now I see it's 84 done and one waiting (Jan 31st, which I didn't get round yesterday).

I'm sewing into 9 patches pretty much as I go along now, every time I've got three I make a row, every time I've got two rows I sew them together straight away.  The more there are of these together, the more I like them.  Mind you one of the aims of this was to improve my skills and some days are SO much better than others.  See if you can pick out the circle I made the day I'd had no sleep and then a big glass of wine. But these are a record of my days, so if it was a badly drawn, fuzzy-headed day, that produces the world's least circular circle, so be it!

Everyone else's circles will also be display on the monthly link up at Audrey's today.