Sunday 31 July 2016


Not a lot going on here this week, except a whole shed-load of indecision.  In my own defence I have made a quilt back and gathered together what I need for two others, and have prepped all the bits to catch up with my 365 circles (I am 8 behind).  But nothing more.  

My problem, such as it is, is that I can't decide what to quilt next.  I have a scrappy top up and running, but want to alternate that with something else. Previously I have just picked up the next in the queue, which is purely a chronological decision, and got on with the job.  But...the next one should be Quiet Quilt (top left) and I'm a bit less than in love with it right now, so I'm tempted to pick something else, but that requires me to make a choice.  These are the four I have waiting and there's a good chance that this time next week I will have got no further!

So, to sum it up, less slow Sunday sewing than endless Sunday dithering.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

AHIQ - share your improv #11, and a finish

This is my Wall quilt, done dusted.

I started this on 1st June 2015 and finished piecing on 14th September.
Quilting started on the 29th May this year and it was finished on 24th July. 

It is not huge - a scant 60" all round, but that's big enough to cuddle under (and I had no more fabric!)

Mixture of fabrics (bet you can spot some of them) including Carolyn Friedland's Doe, Kaffe Fassett and Grunge.  As is my habit I have used a wool batting and it is quilted with a Sulky 12 blendable thread in a mixture of blue, green and yellow. 

The binding is a Kaffe Fassett stripe.

I know lots of people are away/on a blogging break over the summer but we're running AHIQ anyway - hopefully someone else is still out there!

Monday 25 July 2016

Pottering about

It's been a while since I finished piecing one quilt and quilting another at pretty much the same time, but there I am.  I am thinking that I won't rush into the next piecing project but will take a couple of weeks to mull things over.  More to the point, I could do with a little bit of time just focused on the hand quilting as I now have five tops waiting to be done.  

So my jobs for this week are to make a couple of quilt backs, to get something basted and ready to go, and to catch up on my 365 circles, which I abandoned in order to get the other jobs done.  Not every exciting, but sometimes it feels good to get this stuff sorted out.  As a result, my design wall today looks like this (backing for an as yet unblogged scrappy quilt).

It's time for AHIQ again tomorrow too, but I have a finish to share for that -I'm not planning to make you look at my quilt backs for weeks at a time.

Linking up with:

Sunday 24 July 2016

Slow Sunday binding

I'm really not sure how this has happened but today I find that my slow Sunday stitching is sewing on binding. 

And here's a reminder that the July's AHIQ link party goes live on Tuesday.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Friday 22 July 2016

All at Sea - done for now

Having spent most of yesterday arguing with a hot, lethargic cat who wanted nothing more than to rest in the middle of the table, on top of my sewing, or on the floor, on top of the quilt, I gave up.  Today I packed up and went somewhere cat-free.

I started the morning looking at this:

I could have just sewed this to yesterday's chunk and called it quits, but I had a notion that I wanted to do just a wee bit more.  I wanted to add to sandy band at the bottom of row 2, as it was very narrow in places and I reckoned that by the time I lost the seam allowance it would virtually disappear.

Next I wanted to add to the bottom too.  This all went very smoothly, except it is now so long I can't lift the washing line high enough to get the bottom off the ground!  This is the best shot I can get of it:

And this, for now at least, is the best shot I can get of the whole thing: it has turned out to be blooming big!

I've had a great time putting this together, for all sorts of reasons, so thanks go out to Julie for writing the book and sparking the whole thing off.  Just in case you've somehow missed it, here's the link to her book's blog and if f you haven't tried free piecing, I would thoroughly recommend it - the possibilities are endless.

Since I don't often have the opportunity I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF at A Quarter Inch from the Edge as well as NinaMarie.

Thursday 21 July 2016

A happy coincidence

I am making slow progress still and might not have posted today, but I have had one of those lovely little moments when life comes together very neatly, so I thought I'd share.  

Talking to my sister, who is the keeper of the family history, a week ago she mentioned that we had a relative who was born in a lighthouse.  When she checked it out and sent me the details it turned out that my great-great grandmother was born in a  lighthouse in the early 1830s.  Her family then lived at two other lighthouses in the same part of the country. Funnily enough, this was all only about an hour's drive from where I live now (which is more remarkable when you realise that her family emigrated, mine were immigrants back into the UK, but that I have ended up in this part of the country purely randomly).  I am, for various reasons, feeling quite displaced and disconnected at the moment, but this has pleased me inordinately.

On to the quilt: the top two row area joined together: you can see I added little pieced strips on either end of the top row to make it long enough.  Since all the lighthouse blocks, and the word strips, are made without much reference to the size of what is around them, the word strips/lighthouses do not line up perfectly. This is fine by me - just saying.  What I have done is to line up the central lighthouses and let the rest do what it wants.

Next job, I think, is to print a few more names: the bottom row isn't as wide as these two and I'm pretty sure I'm going to add one more column of words down the right hand side to get it to the right width.

I'm linking up with My Quilt Infatuation today for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Monday 18 July 2016

Piecing the last row

I have been putting off joining the last three lighthouses together as I thought this might be the trickiest row, but today was the day.  

There were two issues that were worrying me a bit: first that the word strip on the left hand side was made when I thought the little grey block would go there; the second was that there was still quite a big discrepancy between the height of the black and white lighthouse block and the other two.  

When it came down to it I thought the words worked okay so haven't touched them at all.  I think it helped that I haven't been rigid about the fabric choices in those strips but have mixed things up a bit.  

In terms of the height differences, I've just used the combination of sandy fabrics that have popped up in smaller bits elsewhere.  

I think the strips of the fabric with the little dark blue whales and ships and things on are maybe slightly heavy looking in this picture, but I am using them elsewhere so I'm hoping it will all balance out in the end.  

Next thing is to look at all three rows together, but that's a job for another day.

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

Sunday 17 July 2016

A bit of quilting, bit of circling

It's actually sunny here today, so my  slow stitching will be confined to the evening but I entertained myself for a while this morning taking shots of my 365 circle blocks:

Also, a quick update on Walls, as the end is sight, though definitely weeks away rather than days.  This is the last chunk that will fit in the frame, then I've just got to do round the edges.

Mind you, it looks like we might have 48 hours when it's too hot to sit under a quilt, so it will have to wait till the rain comes back on Tuesday.  

Saturday 16 July 2016

Friday 15 July 2016

Making a decision, then making another one

After staring and fiddling and more staring and fiddling I gave myself a good talking to.  If I can't decide what is the best move, then I just need to pick something and then do my best to make it work, so that's what I've done.

In the end I have gone with plan B, which was to use the three smallest lighthouses together in what will probably be the top row. They look like this now.

So far, so good.

I think this project has sparked some of the most interesting, thought-provoking comments I've had since I started to blog (so a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share your views).  Several people have suggested that I could do something interesting with the setting for these - for instance using them all laid out horizontally, like a landscape, or finishing them in sets of 3 so that they could be hung in different combinations. Now, I've banged on a lot about my preference for quilts that are big enough to be functional, but in this case this sort of approach seems like it could be very effective and I am drawn to try it out.  

There is, though a practical difficulty, which is that these pieces are pretty big (the strip in the picture is about 70" across) and I certainly don't have walls big enough to take them.  So this will be a functional quilt, but I am going to start again, making slightly smaller blocks, specifically with the idea of trying out a wall piece.

But let's get this one done first.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Getting it right, or not...

Not a huge amount of progress to show here; mostly because I haven't been sewing.   Today I could be sewing, but instead am sitting and staring. Nonetheless I thought I'd share where I'm up  to anyway.

One of the things about working the way I tend to (without a plan and often by making several chunks and then working out how to fit them together) is that you create problems that you would avoid if you planned more.  So, in this instance, I have lighthouses of differing sizes, some red and white, some black and white, some with bright backgrounds, some with dark backgrounds.  Add to that the fact that my instinct is to veer away from symmetry and it can be hard to work it all out.  

So, I had a layout which I shared in my last lighthouse post here.  Then I put it all away and when I got it out the size difference between the top left lighthouse and the other two in that row seemed too much.  

 So I tried in in the second row...

...and moved the little grey one up.  It is more of a size with its neighbours here, which would make things easier, though it doesn't fit so well with the names strip.  The top row would now have all three of the smaller ones in together, which again might be easier. I decided to work on that basis for a bit.

Now though, taking the photos for this post, I am thinking maybe I'll go back to the original plan. Then that I won't, then that I will again.  The questions I have to answer for myself are where to place the black ones so that they sit best with the others, how to balance out the sizes and how to work with the sets of names, which are with one exception already sewn (and which have been done with an eye to what I thought would be next to them).

The two things I can confidently predict are a lot more tinkering before I get anywhere and that despite this I won't be planning more in advance any time soon.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social today.

Friday 8 July 2016

Saturday photos #70

Yes, I know this is going up on Friday not Saturday but I'm just ahead of the game this week.

Still mostly raining here, but some things are just about surviving the deluge.  Look closely though and you can spot the rain drops: some very bedraggled roses, hollyhocks and apricots that may never ripen if this carries on.  

I'll be linking this post up with Soma's Wandering Camera.

Thursday 7 July 2016

Cape Campbell

No. 9 done, so no more lighthouses for now; I need to concentrate on joining this lot together.

This is Cape Campbell, in New Zealand.  I thought I needed one more black/white one in the mix and this fitted the bill nicely. The little dome on the top gets a bit lost in the dark blue that surrounds it, but I am thinking that I will add light beams when I do the quilting and hopefully that will change the balance a bit.

I have played around with the placing of the individual lighthouses quite a bit.  I like the variation that the black and white ones provide, but it does make things slightly more complicated than if I just had 9 of the red and white.  My first attempt had Orkney (black and white vertical stripes) in the top right hand corner but that just didn't work for me - my eye just kept being pulled up there, no matter where I was trying to look.  I think putting it next to Dungeness has worked better and adding the third black and white one also seems to have helped.

Here is what I think will be my top row: two new, one old block.

My attempts to find somewhere to lay the whole thing out without capturing real life (ie horrible mess) around the edges led me to the garden.  This was a mixed success - lots of space, but it was a bit windy!  At least none of my pieces went blowing off down the river.

 This was the best shot I could get of all 9 together.  

No sewing for a couple of days now, but lots of live music instead, which can only be a good thing.  Next week I'm planning to join the 3 sets into horizontal strips and then think about what happens between them.  

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser, New Zealand.

I have definitely hit a rhythm with these now - each one seems to take shape much faster than the first few did. One more to go for now, though my list of lighthouses I would like to make gets longer all the time.

Monday 4 July 2016


A couple of weeks ago Catherine at Knotted Cotton tagged me on instagram to share a picture of Orkney lighthouse.  At the time I had six  done and was intending to stop there, but there was no doubt that if I revisited that decision, Orkney would be next up.  

In fact, the more of this I do, the more lighthouses I find that I want to make. This is funny as when I started I wasn't really thinking about making versions of actual buildings, more of just making my own versions of the generic shape.  As it turns out, making real places is so much more fun.  When I see a good one, I make a note of the name: I already have more than enough for another quilt! 

But let's get this one finished first.

Linking up today with Love, Laugh, Quilt and with Patchwork Times.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Two birds with one stone

Circles everywhere I look at the moment: must be something in the air.  Here are my second batch of Quilty 365s. I started these at the end of  May (28th) and am up-to-date, though it's early days.  I have a different rhythm for these, too.  Not quite one a day.  I make all the holes at the beginning of the week, choose a little square to fill a hole in every day, but then sew them up in batches, and add the extra stitching in batches once everything else is done.  It works for me.

My next decision will be what I do when I run out of background fabrics.  The three I am using here are all old shirts, so when they're gone, they're gone.  I need to start auditioning extras, and thinking about whether they too will have holes or whether they won't.  

This post is my update for Audrey's link up, and also this week's Slow Sunday Stitching post.

Saturday 2 July 2016

Saturday photos #69

Inside and outside the student house in Plymouth just vacated by son no. 3.