Saturday 31 December 2016

Tuesday 27 December 2016

AHIQ - share your improv #16 and a new start

Well the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, which is to say I have managed not one tiny bit of piecing since I last posted.  Quite a bit of quilting, but nothing else. Ho hum.

I do, however, have a tiny bit of a plan. I have had this bundle of shirts in my mind for a while now - and now that I come to think of it I have also pondered a yellow quilt at various points but never made one.

So I think it's about time both these shirts and the colour yellow got their turn. I have been digging around in my boxes, pulling out anything that might conceivably work and I have come up with this:

Now that I come to think about it, there's something pleasing neat about starting a new quilt with the New Year and hopefully I will have managed to cut into something here by the time January's AHIQ linkup rolls around!  In the meantime, here's the last link up of 2016, for all those who have been more successful with their pre-Christmas sewing than I have.

AHIQ December link up

Thursday 22 December 2016

Looking back, looking forwards

2016 was the first time I ever set down even vague quilting aims for the year ahead but it has proved to be an interesting exercise and since Yvonne is encouraging us to share our plans for 2017 I thought I'd use the opportunity to reflect and maybe lay out some tentative goals.

It has been a bizarrely productive year for me: I have completed 5 quilts, which I know doesn't sound like much to many people but is a lot for me, and made another 5 tops which are now waiting their turn in the quilting queue.  

Some of my resolutions fell by the wayside pretty quickly but the one I stuck with best was my resolve to 'green' my stash as much as I could.  I had a brief moment of panic about what the implications of Brexit would be (prices have gone up and my favourite fair trade fabric source is closing down) but apart from that I have concentrated on organic lines.  This has its disadvantages (lack of choice, especially if you don't want lots of 'look at me' prints or cute stuff) but also an unexpected upside, which is that I have definitely bought much less fabric.  I looked a lot, to start with, and then talked myself out of things, but after a bit I didn't even look.  It has also pushed me to use the bag of old shirts I had accumulated.  

The other aim I expressed that has worked for me was to keep looking for opportunities to interact with other quilters.  Last year I tried Stash Bee; this year I had a go at joining in with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, but gave up after about three months. I love the idea, but the reality was that my scraps just didn't seem to work - not enough of them for a start, so I acknowledged defeat.  Quilty 365 on the other hand really sparked something. I didn't imagine at the start of this year that I would spend an entire 12 months making circles, but look at the tops completed this year - there's definitely a bit of a theme going on.

So, aims for 2017:
  • Work on finding rhythm.  I've been productive this year but somehow it has often felt scrappy and haphazard and sometimes downright unsatisfactory.  It's down to me to work out how to juggle things (time and space)so that this feels better.
  • I will try to keep up my approach to fabric buying.  I can't bring myself to completely give up on non-organic lines, but will keep up the focus on organic, fair trade, and recycled stuff. 
  • There are a couple of things I've done this year that I would like to revisit or rework.  I've thought this before and not followed up the idea, but maybe writing it here will encourage me. 
  • I still like the idea of finding ways to collaborate/link up with others. If anyone out there has the inclination to play around this idea with me, do feel free to get in touch.   I wish I could find a satisfactory real life option, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. 
  • Finally, I just aim to keep going, keep trying, keep recording what I do, keep learning through my interactions on this blog and by seeing what other quilters are doing.

A final note - the AHIQ linkup will happen next week, just in case some of you are still sewing.  I'm secretly hoping I might sneak a bit of time in between now and then!

2017 Planning Party

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Surprising myself

Anyone who reads this blog sooner or later comes up against my preference to go large. Habitually I find myself wanting/needing to impose a lower limit of around 60" square.  But yesterday I looked at my little shirt-circle quilt, currently 52" each way, and decided to stop. 

This wasn't an easy decision. I wanted, really wanted to keep going.  I tried out all sorts of different ideas - more borders, more squares of shirting, a sort of piano key thing, but guess what?  When I stood back and was honest with myself none of them added anything at all, beyond size.  I couldn't come up with a single option that convinced me to carry on.

I could/might add the little blue strip you can see at the bottom but in the fullness of time a binding would serve the same purpose.  I have left it in this picture just because it makes it easier so see the quilt against the dark floor.

Maybe stepping away will lead me to a solution I can't find right now, or maybe I am really done but I can't pretend I am entirely comfortable with my decision, so if I am missing anything obvious, please feel free to point it out to me (as long as it doesn't involve making more little circle blocks!) 

Sunday 11 December 2016

A bit more quilting

Quite a lot of this is done now; I'm thinking that with a fair wind it may be done some times in January, even allowing for things slowing down a lot in the next two or three weeks.  

The quilting doesn't show up much on the back, as I have used lots of prints, but there is one piece where you can get a good look at it.  I rather like the patterns here.

So my Slow Sunday Sewing today is just to keep going!

Saturday 10 December 2016

Saturday photos #81

I wasn't going to do a photos post this week (yet again) but yesterday found myself sitting in a car wash with my camera on the seat next to me...Well, it kept me entertained for 5 minutes!

Friday 9 December 2016

Moving to the dark side

So, I went in search of dark (ie floor coloured fabrics).

I found: a mid grey Oakshott cotton, a Grunge fabric (though I don't know what the colour is called) and an old shirt.  Here they are:

The Oakshott didn't float my boat and although I do like the Grunge, I decided to go with the shirt.  I started with recycled stuff so it seems the right thing to keep going in that direction if I have the choice.  I think this will work as it is not actually a solid, but has tiny stripes of red and yellow and white running through it. This shot makes it look dark blue but in the cold light of day it is darker and more black than blue, to my eye at least.

I have managed to add strips using squares of this fabric and my left over circle blocks to three sides. I cut them the same size (ish) as the original squares and then added little bits of the sashing fabric in to get things to the right size.  One more side to go and then I'll be back to trying to figure out /what next?'

Linking up with 

Monday 5 December 2016

Sashing and a border

Finished the sashing...

and added a border.  

I know this looks slightly heavy but I'm sticking with it because a) it will be thinner by the time I'm done and b) I'm thinking I'll use this fabric again to do another round.

What I wanted to do next was some version of this:

But...nothing I've tried looks right between those squares.  I've tried squares of the fabrics I used for sashing, I've tried a couple of random prints, but nothing looks as good as the floor.  Funny, I'm sure I've said that before.  Next step, I guess, is to go and have a rummage in my boxes again; maybe I've got some scraps of solids that would be big enough.  I'm trying to crack on now before things close down for Christmas so fingers crossed I can come up with something that works.

Linking up again: