Tuesday 31 May 2016

Lighthouse ahead

Ok, I am now officially multi-tasking again (in quilting terms).  I can't even pretend I don't know how it happened (one tiny project at a time), but I'll go with the flow again for a bit.

The lighthouses are still my main preoccupation though, and no. 3 is done.
A bit shorter and fatter than the first two, but I'm not too bothered about getting them all the same size.  Next up I'm going to try a much shorter one.  I am consistently torn with these: I can see it would be easy to finish them individually and call them wall quilts, but still I keep making with something bigger in mind.  Someone said 'kids' quilts' but I don't have a horde of children beating a path to my door demanding quilts right now and my two are just big enough to have their own ideas on these things, so unless I manage to squeeze in a superhero or two I won't have any takers.

Given that this is about as cute as I'm ever going to get,I'm linking up with Blossom Heart Quilts today for Sew Cute Tuesday.

Sunday 29 May 2016

Next quilt in the hoop

Lots of handwork for me this week: my second walls quilt has been backed, pinned and is in the hoop...
I really need to come up with a name for this one: I've just been calling it Walls 2, and often my WIP name for a quilt sticks in the end, but I don't like this one at all.  

I'm also doing the daily circles - six done so far, two to do today to keep up-to-date.  Here's one:

Saturday 28 May 2016

Saturday photos #65

I know there have been a lot of flowers from me recently but it's a lovely day again, and sooner or later it will rain for a month and I'll be back indoors so I'm making the most of this while I can.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Build Me a Wall - the finish

Here, as promised, is a proper 'finish' post for Build Me a Wall.

The front:
The back:
The details:

This was started on 6th March 2015, in response to a challenge from LeeAnna. I finished piecing on 13th May 2015 and its at in the quilting queue until February this year.  I started quilting  on 14th February, finished Monday 23rd May.

Finished size: about 60" square.  I used Hobbs Wool Wadding again, quilted by hand using various shades of perle no. 8.  I couldn't decide on a binding so used a facing instead (a first for me but something I would definitely consider again).

I'll link up with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday and with TGIFF

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Crafted Applique blog hop and a giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog hop for the lovely Lara's new book, Crafted Applique.  There have been lots of great posts on this already - do go back and check them out if you haven't already: you can find the full schedule, with links, here.

There are some great projects in this book - what's not to like about a little vintage caravan?  But I know myself, and I know that I am useless at following instructions, so I thought that rather than trying one of Lara's projects and embarrassing us all, I would think about what I would want, as an improv quilter, from this technique.  I decided I would use a little cat picture that my youngest girl had produced (actually she's produced about 200 of them, all about an inch across).  I enlarged it on the photocopier to get a size that was workable, and then pulled a load of floral prints and went about putting together a garden for it to live in. 
The  thing that had leapt to the front of my mind at the start of this was that I wanted to be able to work with these applique pieces in much the same way as I do my piecing: I wanted to play around before sewing things down, to try out different layouts, add bits and take bits away.  Of course you can do this with pieces you are going to attach with traditional methods, but I have found various drawbacks to this (though that may just be me).  Lara's method performed beautifully: no fraying, not one tiny thread, and none of that thing where you've just got it right and someone opens a door and the whole lot goes flying.  I played around for ages with these pieces and they were as good as new when I finished.

The second thing I wondered about was whether this method would still work with hand stitching.  I don't at all enjoy the painstaking work of machine stitching shapes into place - would I be able to secure these without the machine, ie would I be able to hand stitch through the prepped pieces.  I have to say I expected this to be where the method fell down for me but it worked fine.  I used a nice sharp needle and Sulky 12 thread, but even when I switched to perle no. 8 (just to do the knots for the cat's eyes) I had no problems.  I would certainly feel confident planning to hand quilt a piece made in this way.

As a side note, the book also includes a method for back coating fabric; if I had been more patient I could done this and the cat would not have stripe down the middle of his head!

Now the fun bit: if you would like to win a copy - and I really can't see why you wouldn't want this book - leave a comment.  It can be any comment but if you want a starter, how about telling me if you are already an applique person and if so what your favoured method is right now.  If you already have a copy, enter anyway, as Lara has offered to refund the purchase prize if you win.  A winner will be randomly selected next Wednesday, 1st June. For more chances to win, check out the remaining participants in the blog hop - and good luck!

Tuesday 24 May 2016

AHIQ- share your improv #9 (and a finish)

Welcome to the 9th AHIQ linkup.  We had a particularly great group of posts last month, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you share this time round.

I'm feeling very chirpy this morning, on account of having finished Build Me a Wall.  I'll do a post later in the week with all the details, but for now, here's a quick pic:

(As a side note, if you are interested, pop back tomorrow for my turn on the Crafted Applique blog hop.)

Monday 23 May 2016

Just picking colours

I have finished a quilt today, but haven't taken the photos yet, so by way of a little light fun have just been choosing the starting fabrics for lighthouse no. 3.  I find I am pulling either a selection for the sea or the sky and once that's clear in my mind I work out what will go with that initial set.  It's a slightly different way of working for me, but I am enjoying it, though I'm still wondering where it will all lead.  In the meantime, though, here's some pretty fabrics...
I like the yellow-y grunge so much I think it deserves a quilt of its own at some point.  

On another subject, a reminder that the next AHIQ link up starts tomorrow and that you can join in here, or over at Ann's.

I'll link up with Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt this time round.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Crawling to a finish and starting up again

Build me a Wall is nearly done.  I am facing it instead of binding (using this great tutorial from Victoria Gertenbach) and it's all machined on, so just the hand stitching to do.  I wish a day of Slow Sunday stitching would see me to the end, but the day is more than half gone, so maybe this week...I've got so many pins in this now I'm just hoping I get to the end without incurring some sort of pin-related injury.

I'm also jumping back on the Quilty 365 bandwagon.  I did a circle a day from November 8th to April 18th, then stopped and those into a top.  Now I'm going back to the portholes idea that I used in Build me a Wall but I've decided to do all the stitching by hand.  I'm going to use some more recycled shirts and some scraps and I'm thinking about stitching (something needs to attach the fabric behind on the hole onto the front bits anyway).

Here's today's start - I've back-stitched the circle.  You can see tiny bits of the stitching when I turn the top fabric through the hole, but I quite like it. I'll certainly keep going for a bit and see how it goes.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Saturday photos #64

Green and white.  That's what the whole world looks like at the moment.

I'm still puzzling over the question of photo editing software, so this is not entirely to my liking, but was done with a free online option.  Why, oh why can't software developers just leave us alone and not always be wanting to improve things (and yes, I know the answer is that it will benefit them in some way to implement the changes.)

Friday 20 May 2016

Happisburgh lighthouse

Here's lighthouse no. 2.  Not quite finished, but well underway.

I also have a query, for those of you who know about these things.  I have been using Google's Picasa programme for photo editing; it's not sophisticated but then mostly I'm just cropping out the mess, or my feet, or the cats, and tweaking the colours if they look completely wrong.  However they are now phasing this out.  I know Photoshop is the big name, but it's a lot to pay to do my simple bits, so any recommendations would be gratefully received.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday and NinaMarie for Off the Wall.

Thursday 19 May 2016

A lighthouse and a thank you

I finished a lighthouse.  I like it.  So far, so good.  

I'm still not sure where next with this: I don't know if it would be better on its own or if I could put several together in a quilt.  I've decided to make a second one and then see what I think.  There are some ideas ambling around my head, but I'm going to hold fire until number 2 is done - they don't take too long.

Changing the subject, let's pause for a moment and give thanks for the friendships we build over the internet.  More specifically I am giving thanks for Cathy, who won a gift certificate for Simply Solids in the UK and who very generously offered it to me.  I haven't been buying much fabric recently, so I was like a kid in a candy shop - and it really cheered up my week.  Thank you Cathy - here's what I bought.

Today, for a change, I am linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My QuIlt Infatuation.  

Monday 16 May 2016

Heading for the top

This lighthouse is well on its way now - just the top section to do and I can sew the all the bits together.

I have been playing around with sky-ish backgrounds: these are the candidates, but I've played around with the order quite a bit...

And here's the next-to-top section...

Once it is pieced, the next question for me is what I do with it.  This is quite big, despite me resizing the bits - it will finish about 30"long, I think, and somewhere around 25" wide, so it wouldn't take many to make a quilt, especially if I mixed them up with something else.  Alternatively I could make some smaller ones to add into the mix.  Not sure.

While I ponder I am linking up with Monday Making at Love, Laugh, Quilt.

Sunday 15 May 2016

A bit of mending

Today I am Slow Sunday mending.  These jeans have been sitting around waiting for me to get to this for so long I'm not prepared to admit a time frame but this is their moment.  I have made a start, and aim to get them finished today, so that I can start wearing them again.  There was a time when I would have worn them with the tiny hole and just let it grow, but since I tried my first mending, last year, I am less inclined to do this.  

Last year's mend drew comments along the 'pretty but not very practical' lines, but let me show you how they look after a year of pretty solid wear:

The tear has maybe doubled in size, none of the stitches have given.  I used Coats Dual Purpose thread for this mend and am sticking with that for the new one: can't fault its performance.

This time I thought I'd try something just a bit different, so am using cross stitch.

The patch of new denim is on the inside; the pins show you roughly where its edges are.

Friday 13 May 2016

All at sea

It occurs to me that I have shown the start of my free piecing attempts without mentioning at all where I think I am heading: here goes.  I love Julie's quilt, and can see that the barns strike a particular chord for those of you in the US, but of course barns here in the UK are not the same iconic structures, so I thought I'd play around with some other ideas.  I had loads but rejected some as not offering enough natural variation, some as probably being waaay beyond my skill level.  Anyhow, to cut a long story short, as I was wandering the internet I came up on this and the spark of an idea presented itself.  

I love the sea so lighthouses seemed an interesting possibility.  Add to that my fondness, on sleepless nights, for Radio 4's shipping forecast  (skip the first couple of minutes of music if you want) and the idea grew.  

Since last posting I have given in, just a wee bit, to my preference for small and trimmed my pieces down.  The blue strips were bothering me most, so they got chopped into chunks.

I haven't taken much off the building bits: just enough for me to feel more comfortable with them, and I'm glad I did as things seem to be flowing better as a result.  Here are the bottom two bits underway.  

Linking up with WhoopWhoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and with Nina Marie for Off  the Wall Friday

Wednesday 11 May 2016

First steps

Well this is a new thing for me - free piecing and I've learned a thing or two already.  I have, of course, a rough idea of what I want to try, so now it's all about seeing whether that works or not.  I have drawn a couple of little sketches and, having read and reread Julie's book, I wrote a note to myself "remember not to start too small".  This in itself has result in a slight level of discomfort, since my natural inclination is to veer towards small, but I am sticking with it, even though there's a niggling worry I will end up with something sort of clunky and ungainly.

Here are pictures of the day so far:

I'm guessing you can see where I'm going with this.

Linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts today.

Monday 9 May 2016

A new dawn, a new day, a new project.

So...this month I am planning to try two new things: free piecing a la quiltdivajulie  and applique as expounded in Lara's new book.

Just a quick note on the applique for now:  I am one of the people participating in Lara's world record blog hop, for which this is the schedule:

Crafted Appliqué: New Possibilities Blog Hop - May 1st to June 5th

Sunday, May 1 - Introduce the Hop and post the schedule on BuzzinBumble
Monday, May 2 - Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
Tuesday, May 3 - Dana Gaffney - Stormy Days
Wednesday, May 4 - Lorna McMahon - Sew Fresh Quilts 
Thursday, May 5 - Mary S. - Needled Mom
Friday, May 6 - Heidi Kuntz - Red Letter Quilts
Saturday, May 7 - Alycia Carmin - Alycia Quilts
Sunday, May 8 - Amy DeCesare - Amy Made That
Monday, May 9 - Sherri McConnell - A Quilting Life
Tuesday, May 10 - Lara Buccella - Sew Mama Sew 
Wednesday, May 11 - Christina Cameli - A Few Scraps
Thursday, May 12 - Melissa Corry -  Happy Quilting
Friday, May 13 - Sarah Craig - Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Saturday, May 14 - Soma Acharya - Whims and Fancies 
Sunday, May 15 - Val Reynolds -  Val's Quilting Studio
Monday, May 16 - Angela Pingel - Cut to Pieces
Tuesday, May 17 - Sandra Walker - Musings of a Menopausal Melon
Wednesday, May 18 - Cheryl Brickey - Meadow Mist Designs
Thursday, May 19 - Judy Murphy - Quilt Paradigm
Friday, May 20 - Yvonne Fuchs - Quilting Jetgirl
Saturday, May 21 - Cindy Pieters - Stitchin' at Home
Sunday, May 22 - Susie Zlogar - Susie's Sunroom
Monday, May 23 - Connie Kresin-Campbell - Freemotion by the River
Tuesday, May 24 - Ruth Bourke - Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner
Wednesday, May 25 - Kaja Ziesler - Sew Slowly
Thursday, May 26 - Ann Brooks - Fret Not Yourself
Friday, May 27 - Cynthia Brunz - Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Saturday, May 28 - Monday, May 30 ... Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.
Tuesday, May 31 - Jenn Trott-Zisserson - Quarter Inch From the Edge
Wednesday, June 1 - Paulette Horn - The Way I Sew It
Thursday, June 2 - Sandra Jansen - Studio Sew of Course
Friday, June 3 - Christine Sherman - Triangles and Squares
Saturday, June 4 - Darlene Simmons - Quilt Shop Gal
Sunday, June 5 - Announce BuzzinBumble Giveaway Winners - Lara Buccella

There's a chance to win the Crafted Applique book every day, and there have been so cool posts so far, so if you haven't already, do go and check out the other participants.  

As you can see, I have until May 25th to play with this technique so in the meantime I am making a start, I hope, on something free pieced.  Nothing to show yet, though, except my first pull o f possible fabrics, which looks like this:

Onwards and upwards!

Saturday 7 May 2016

Saturday photos #63

Today I am mostly trying to set up a new computer: the old one has not quite died but is staggering along in such a pitiful way that I have taken the plunge. So these are shots from a couple of weeks ago.  I took loads of photos but fish don't ever stop moving, so mostly I just ended up with blur.  These are pretty though.

I'm linking up with Wandering Camera at Soma's this week too.

Friday 6 May 2016

Done for now

Little borders added (I used a shirt fabric with a very thin, very pale blue stripe), last round of squares added, this goes in the pile to wait its turn for quilting - even if that might be some day in 2020. The 

I had some fun and games with the photos, so have ended up with one on the fence, which shows the circle-y bit best and one I took from the top of the climbing frame, which gives you the whole thing, including the top row.  This, I guess, is why some people have clever rail things for their quilt photography.

This isn't at all the quilt I thought I would be making when I started the circles: I was imagining something much simpler, I think, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out and I really, really like that it has some of my shirt fabrics in there along with the denim and the blue scraps.  

Linking up with Confessions of a Quilt Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Bordering on a finish

I'm working hard now: both on the piecing of these circles and on my quilting.  Today I pieced another run of squares for the top, bottom and left hand side, so just the right side to go.  I'm pretty sure that will be it. 

Having said which, I laid it out with a little gap between the existing section and the new bits, so that you could see what I was adding and I kind of like that little gap.  Now I'm wondering about finding a fabric to add in there to retain in. This may be too much fiddling about for me - depends entirely when I do it - or may not look that great when I come back to it, but I am pondering.

Need to make that last strip first though.