Thursday 31 March 2016

Nearly there

The end is in sight.  I have just one more row to add at the bottom, and maybe another stamped strip or two on the sides and with a fair wind this will be done tomorrow.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Circles in the sun

Knowing that my machine would be packed away over the Easter weekend I had prepared lots of circles for basting and applique, in the hope that I might end up with enough to finish this top off.  And I seem to have done the trick.  In fact I have a few still waiting to be done that will be surplus, though I'm thinking I'll do them anyway, just to give myself a bit of wiggle room when I'm laying things out.  

Of course when I come to start work again I can't remember exactly where everything was before I packed it away so I spent half the morning moving circles about trying to decide what I liked.  And yes, I had taken a photo, but when push comes to shove I often can't be doing with trying to recreate in that way, preferring just to do the job twice.  

Anyway, I got quite a lot done: another big chunk pieced,  a couple of smaller bits and I have a good sense of what I need to do to finish this.   While I worked the sun came out and was streaming onto the floor - hence the slightly dodgy photo, but on balance I'll take the trade off.  I think you can still get the feel of things from the picture.

Close up of the left hand side, all done except that bottom row.

I spent the afternoon printing more strips, no photos of that, but I did take one of the stamps after I'd finished, just because I like how they look.

Not far to go with this one now.

Saturday 26 March 2016

Saturday photos #58

Last week village England, this week London: from a canal bank and from a rooftop right in the heart of the city. Taken with my phone again.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

AHIQ - share your improv #7

I am still plugging away with the circles: I think I probably have enough big ones now and the smallest size are prepped and ready to go.  Doing all these extra steps, the applique and the stamping, means that working on this quilt has had a different rhythm for me, with much more focus on those small stages and maybe less of an overview, but suddenly I feel like the end is in sight (though you can remind me of that in a month's time when I may still be saying the same thing!)

Yesterday I was working on what I think will be the bottom left-hand corner:

Unfortunately the return of better weather means I have lost the conservatory as a place to work (people actually want to use it as a living space - how unreasonable!)  The upshot of that is that I can't get the whole piece laid out somewhere so have had to fold what I have already done so that I can see at least the piece I will be joining on to, if not the rest.  This isn't ideal, and I might have to jig things about once I finally get some space, but I'm trying to make it work for now.  Taking this photo, though, I see that maybe the central square on the bottom line is not quite right.  

In any case I had to stop piecing to go and stamp some more strips, but that is done now so I can go back to tweaking.

I really look forward to these improv link up weeks, especially in months when I haven't done so much myself, so without further ado...

Saturday 19 March 2016

Saturday photos #57 - note to self

This week's photos turn out to be a useful reminder to me.  I decided to stop my car on my routine run through the next village over and take some photos.  It's a very pretty place, and old, but when I got back and started editing what I had, I found there was way, way too much of this sort of stuff:

I love old brickwork, the way it weathers (though I recall that's not so great when you're living in it), and the contrast between the bricks and other surfaces - the wood, or tiles, or slates.  But too many brick pictures in one photo collage and what do you get?  Brick mush.  I should have looked better at other things: maybe more doors and windows, and that would have given me a better choice of colours and textures.  But it's a good lesson, so I am sharing my less than satisfactory collage anyway. 

Friday 18 March 2016

No sense of size

Honestly!  How long have I been doing this now?  I was laying out the next few circles this morning, trying to get an idea of how many more I thought I would need to prepare, when it occurred to me to measure what I already had.  As it stands the piece I have sewn together is already nearly 70" wide and I think only needs two more rows of circles to make it a sensible length.  Somehow in my head it was much smaller.  

The big upside of this is that I have almost enough of the largest circles already: I think I will need maybe two more.  I need a lot more small ones, but at least I now have a realistic idea of what I am doing. 

So, I have joined on the left-hand side piece that I put together yesterday and starting laying out the next section, though it will have to wait for the baby circles again now.

Here's my nice little pile ready for basting, with my wonky hand-drawn circle templates.

A reminder, also, that next Tuesday is AHIQ link up day.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Wandering circles

Another chunk has gone onto the circles quilt and now it looks like this:

Some time in the last couple of days I realised that I had been getting stuck with this because I kept wanting all the big circles lined up.  Now, my original little sketch wasn't all neatly boxed off like that, but I think because the first chunk I put together happened to work that way I became too fixated on keeping it going.  And that gets hard - or it did for me: firstly because once I'd decided on those vertical runs of the medium circles they threw the whole thing out but also because I kept wanting to do other things that would mess up that perfect grid.  Anyone who has watched me work for more than about 5 minutes knows that I am not normally a perfect grid sort of person, yet I got sucked in.  I am glad to say, though, that I have given myself a stern talking to and will not be obsessing about this any more.  The one circle that isn't lined up (top right corner) seems to me to work fine, so I will be letting others wander a bit too.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Sometimes one thing at a time means not very much

So today I am basting and appliqueing circles, but then you've all seen that before.  If you fancy something different though, you could check out Stephie's blog for her series 'How Long Does it Take to Make a Quilt'.   She has been kind enough to include me, along with Ann (last week) and Audrey (next week), in this series, even though I reckon I am probably one of the slowest quilters out there.  She has done an excellent job of ordering and editing the information she got and writes really well too. 

Sunday 13 March 2016

One thing at a time

This is my new motto (at least for this week...) so today I am just quilting.  

Build Me a Wall is not very big, just small lap quilt sized, but that means that a little bit of quilting seems to go a long way.  Happily I am starting to like it much better as I get back into the swing of it and have a clearer idea of what I'm doing.  

Saturday 12 March 2016

Saturday photos #56

Lacking the energy/imagination this week, so I just went back into the garden...

Friday 11 March 2016

Circling again

I have decided  that for now I am going to ignore all the things I haven't done (365 circles and purple scraps to name but two) and just pootle on with my stripy circles and a bit of quilting.  It's not that I don't want to do the other things, but I find I am kicking against the idea (entirely self-inflicted) that I am "behind" with things.  Tell me I've got to do something and I dig my heels in!

The circles, though, are moving on.  This is where I was mid-morning...

and this is now.  

Quite a big chunk is sewn together (3 circles high by 5 or 6 wide), the rest is just sitting there on the floor while I consider it.  I am liking the vertical line of medium circles better now that I have repeated the idea in other parts of the quilt, so it can definitely stay, even though I've located the seam ripper.

No getting away from the fact that it all comes down to making the basic units again now, and printing more strips (though that's lots of fun). I started off just making them willy-nilly but now, especially with the biggest circles, I am trying to look at what I have and think a bit more about what will work best in the gaps. 

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Coming up for air

Well that was not a lot of fun; I can't remember the last time I didn't even pick up a needle for two weeks.  I'm slowly getting back into things now, though that is presenting its own challenges.  I am finding that the enforced break has slightly thrown me off my stride, so when I went back and looked at this:

which had just been sitting on the floor where I left it, I wasn't very happy with it, though I couldn't put my finger on why (my brain is still a bit woolly I guess).  I definitely wished I hadn't added the vertical line of medium-sized circles down the right hand side, and would have taken it off again, only the seam ripper has gone walkabout.  Instead I have decided to leave it there, but to change other bits around.

This is feeling better, so I am leaving it on the floor while I go to print more of the colour definition strips and prep the next batch of little circles.