Thursday 30 June 2016

Three, six, nine

I have spent a lot of time considering my floors - one kitchen and one conservatory.  The dilemma has been that when I lay out my lighthouses and words, I haven't liked what I've been able to achieve with fabric as much as I have liked the tiles!  

Well I think I'm happier with my words encased in fabric now, but haven't quite been able to let go of the floor, especially the terracotta one, so in the end I went back to my boxes of fabric and found something that I think might do the trick.  Here is one of my shorter blocks, with the new fabric incorporated:

And here it is in its place, more or less:

I've also been pondering layout in a more general way:  I've been trying to make 6 lighthouse work, but I have a couple of problems with this.  Firstly the pieces I have now are very wide and I don't much want to follow any route I've come up with for adding some length.  Also, some numbers are just more pleasing to my eye: 3 is good, 6 doesn't float my boat, 9 is one I have kept coming back to in all sorts of contexts this year, so I am going to bite the bullet: 3 more lighthouses coming up.

Tuesday 28 June 2016

AHIQ - share your improv #10

It's been a slow few days on the quilting front: I'm feeling a bit glum and not very motivated (and I dedicated all Sunday to sitting on a motorway which never helps).

Anyhow, motivated by the fact that it is link up week I pulled my socks up yesterday and went back to All at Sea.  I have joined another two lighthouses with a name strip to get this.

So now I have these two chunks.  This is not where they will sit in relation to each other, just me trying to fit things into the available floor space.  As usual when things reach this sort of size I am struggling to get a photo that doesn't include the detritus of everyday life around the edges!

Saturday 25 June 2016

Saturday photos #68

Not feeling remotely flowery today, so here's a selection of shots of electrical appliances from round the house (I like to walk on the wild side occasionally).

Friday 24 June 2016

A little finish

Little cats finished, bound and ready to go on the wall.

TGIFF is at Whims and Fancies this week - hop over and check it out.

PS: Don't forget the AHIQ will be going ahead on Tuesday next week.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Progress, with thanks.

What an interesting thing this stage of the lighthouse project has turned out to be.  Last time I posted about it I was struggling with how to fill the sections between the individual lighthouse blocks.   I had tried twice (here) but still wasn't completely happy with what I had.  I had started playing around with a range of solids, trying to find something I liked as much as I had liked the conservatory or kitchen floors.  

Then two comments sparked a train of thought for me, that seems worth sharing here.

The first comment was from Doris  and went something like this

i always have problems with words in quilts or paintings. My brain is always reading these words and my focus is on these so I do not really appreciate the beauty of the other parts.

I had to think a bit to answer this, but here's what I came up with:

I like the idea of text in quilts but have only very recently tried it. I have never much liked stuff with overt messages or statements but love words so am groping towards a version of quilt&text that I feel comfortable with.   I have a sort of theory that if you can get it right, the words create a rhythm of their own, but shouldn't detract from the rest.  Like an extra, unexpected colour almost. 

Looking at what I had done, I realised that I was far from achieving what I was describing.  Part of reason I wasn't happy was precisely because the words weren't working: they just sat in the middle of all those horizontal strips but didn't have the impact I'd liked when I lay them all out on the floor.  They needed to be doing a job of their own, not just playing a minor part.  Things gelled completely for me when Monica added this:

Well, this is another interesting exploration of horizontal and vertical lines, I think! It looks like the one that feels better is the one with a clearer vertical line of contrast in the "sashing." I think that line keeps the lighthouses from overpowering their setting, and helps to put them into context. 

She was completely right - the balance between the horizontal and vertical is what keeps the eye moving and gives things structure.  I had way too much horizontal stuff going on and, for my eye, the result was bland.

So, what I have done is this:  added more words and focused on creating structure with them.  I started to think of them as little towers, echoing the shape of the lighthouses and making much stronger verticals.  

This is where I've got to.

Of course you may read this, think I'm spouting gumph and that there is no improvement, but it makes sense to me! (And I have just realised I put a disclaimer on the end in case I have accidentally been horribly pretentious, which for some reason I always worry about when I try to explain my thinking.)  

In any case I am always grateful to people who take the time to tell me what they think - it's not just about seeking affirmation; the conversations can be genuinely enlightening and, for me at least exciting and stimulating, so my thanks go out with this to Monica and Doris, but also to everybody else who bothers to comment.

Linking up today with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday 19 June 2016

Wall in progress

Do you remember, in February after I had the flu, I said I was going back to basics: piecing one project, quilting one.  That worked well: I liked the simplicity and the clarity of it.  But I just did a count and somehow those two projects have multiplied and by my count I now have seven things on the go.  Ho hum.  Still, I am at least feeling on top of things still.  My 365 circles are up to date, I finished stitching the binding on my applique yesterday and current quilt in the hoop is progressing nicely.

A couple of quick progress shots for Slow Sunday Stitching:

Saturday 18 June 2016

Saturday photos #67

I spent a day woad dyeing on Thursday and had planned to use photos from that for today's post.  Unfortunately my camera spent the day in its bag on the hall floor, which totally scuppers that idea.  So here, once again, is some garden stuff.  My poor roses are taking a battering from the days of torrential rain, but still look pretty when it eases off for half an hour; it was still raining when I took these, just not so hard.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

When things don't go according to plan...

I started today with 6 lighthouses and, I thought, a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do next.

I had pieced some log cabin-y bits around a few of my printed names, keeping an eye on what was on either side of them (sort of nearly matching, if you see what I mean).  So far so good.

But then I filled in the gaps and suddenly I hated it.  (And I would happily show you this, but wasn't working at home and forgot my camera today: if I get time I'll download the snaps from my phone and add them later).

It looked heavy and clumsy and not at all right.  In fact I preferred the photos with lots of floor space. So I have had a go at improving things.  I added in some little bits of the sandy gold that I used in the windows and instead of matching round the edges, just moved things about until it felt better.  This is where I am now.

This is better, but I'm still not sure so I'm going to ponder before I do any more.  

Monday 13 June 2016

Six down...

Six lighthouses done now.

I finished Dungeness...

and then made Point Reyes.  Although my starting point was English lighthouses, a couple of people have shared their favourites in the comments so I thought it would be fun to go with the flow on this.

I have also done some printing with my letter blocks, and have a little pile of lighthouse names, like this one.

The next task, then, is to start trying to pull it all together and it occurs to me right this minute that I should have a quick measure and get some idea of size, before I produce the quilting equivalent of Moby Dick.

A quick note:  several people have seen that Ann is taking a break from blogging and asked about AHIQ.  The plan at the moment is for it to continue, but only on this blog, until Ann is ready to pick up again. The next link up will be Tuesday 28th June.

Linking up with Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt and with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times

Sunday 12 June 2016

Considering my needles and taking action

First things first:  prompted by Stephie's post about what to do with old needles I considered my own. It was not a happy experience.  I have an extensive collection of blunt, or bent or both, plus two of those John James pebble things, which turn out to be stuffed full of old rejects and another packet (new, I thought) which also contains a sad range of decidedly dodgy offerings.  Turns out I have been sewing with duff needles so long I had stopped noticing.  

So I have treated myself to new ones, and not just the basic cheap ones that I usually get, but pretty, slightly up market needles.  
Inside you get this:
Not only does the packaging please me quite inordinately, but I am thoroughly enjoying the novel experience of sewing with a straight, sharp needle.

Right now I am busy quilting the piece I did for the Crafted Applique blog hop. It wouldn't be top of my list of priorities in the general scheme of things, but when were 5 year olds known for their patience? So I am taking the road of least resistance and getting it done.  It won't take long.  I am just outlining the shapes and will leave it at that.
As the picture below shows, my quilting stitches are right next to the ones I did to hold everything down; if I did this again, I would just sandwich earlier and use one set of stitches to do both jobs.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Moving swiftly onwards

Here is Märket done:

and, to get right up to date, here is about half of Dungeness. As soon as I decided on lighthouses I knew I was going to make Dungeness - both because one of my dear friends lives close by and because of Derek Jarman (filmmaker - take a look at the garden he made in Dungeness here).

I am going to make one more and then start playing around: not to say there will only be six, but it seems enough to make a start with.  

Linking up today with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts. 

Monday 6 June 2016

Märket on Monday

Lighthouse no. 3 became Pendeen Watch, thanks to Stephie; lighthouse no. 4 is based on Märket, one of the  Finnish lighthouse on the original inspiration picture: it seemed only fair to let one of them sneak in.  I don't know if I'm going to get it right though - I think I won't know until I've added the rest of the lighthouse.  

This is how it started:

The attached building (on the right) stops here but there's more to go on the left.  This is a lot more fiddly than the last one!

Linking up with Love Laugh Quilt today.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Saturday photos #66 and Wandering Camera

Out and about yesterday, though for the 3rd day of June it was blooming cold: I was wearing two t-shirts, a sweatshirt and a jacket and still felt chilly.  Anyhow it has led to a set of slightly damp and gloomy pictures, I think, but that's how it was: dew on the grass and, by the end of the walk, mud on the shoes.
I'm sharing the damp and dismal this week by linking up with Soma for Wandering Camera - there are some really good photographers who share their work, so it's well worth a visit.

Thursday 2 June 2016

A little bit more crafted applique

Two more little panels to go with the first one:

Just for once I am not aiming at something the size of a small elephant.  The three little panels (10.5" squares) are heading for my girl's bedroom, so I'll sew them together, sandwich and do some simple quilting, then, with a bit of luck and a fair wind, Bob's your uncle.  It will look like this, only nicely tidied up.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

New circles

Today is once again the link up for 365 circles and I'm back in the game.  I'm trying something different this time, so having got the first batch sewn together (here), I'm now making little portholes using old shirts and backing them with pretty scraps - mostly shot cottons from this circle quilt (yes, I know there's a sort of theme emerging this year).  Then I'm adding a bit of stitching. At least that's been the plan up till now, and I may keep on this way but I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about a post I'd seen on  on quilt as you go hexagons (here) and now I'm wondering...

Anyhow, this is what they look like now (I only started again Sunday a week ago).
On another subject, I have just spend half an hour trying to find a way to transfer a picture of the random number generator onto this page so I could announce my winner of Lara's giveaway.  Yes, I'm sure it's really simple and I'm being an idiot, but nevertheless every time I get it up, the numbers have been wiped.  Life is too short, I'm afraid, so I'm just going to tell you without the handy graphic that the winner was Gene Black.  Congratulations, Gene.  I'll be handing the details over to Lara, so you can expect to hear from her soon.  If you weren't lucky this time, check out the other blogs where giveaways are still ongoing.