Monday 29 May 2017

Considering negative space

Last week's AHIQ posts by Monica, Ann and Sharon and a comment here, also by Sharon, have prompted me to think about making choices as I work, and specifically to consider negative space.  It's pretty clear from my quilts that it's not a concept I spend a lot of time pondering; my approach seems generally to be not so much 'less is more', but rather 'more is more'.  However there's a time and a place and maybe this is it.  

I had moved my latest chunk down to the bottom and paired it with one of the big blocks, but it's not quite working for me - just a bit too busy I think.  So I sat there, pondering the image of the existing blocks floating in white space, or grey space.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I will try using my striped shirtings in bigger pieces (for as long as they last), to try and add extra quiet space around the quilt.  I haven't sewn anything together, but you can see I've laid out a couple of bigger bits, just to see what I think.

My intention now is to separate those two bits at the bottom, either with a triangle strip or, more likely, with one of these shirting strips. 

Thursday 25 May 2017

Another day's work...

Just a few quick shots of what I've been playing around with.

Thinking about ways of filling in the spaces between the big blocks and also pondering the questions of what needs to go on vertically and how many triangle bits I can bring myself to make.

I've now got this bit in the bottom left-hand corner, though as it happens that's not where it's going to end up, just where I had floor space.

Linking up with Linda at Kokaquilts and JulieLou for sew stitch snap share.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

AHIQ- share your improv #21

I'm still plugging away at this.  The fourth big square is finished.

and I've made a couple of smaller ones too.

I think the challenge with these very square blocks is still how to stop everything looking static and lumpy, so before I put the bits away yesterday I tried moving things around a bit to see what I thought.  

I don't know that this makes much difference, but it all helps.   Right now I am wondering if I can introduce a few more vertical pieces and keep varying the size of my housetop blocks;  tomorrow I may have other ideas.

Since this is AHIQ week, I want to say thanks to everyone who is joining us in this latest adventure.  I have seen some projects here and there over the last month and, as with the Chinese Coins, am fascinated to see how different people go about tackling the theme.  It's definitely provided me with some food for thought already.

Friday 19 May 2017

Still making bits

I think the bit-making phase of this quilt is going to be a long one; that's what I get for deciding little triangles were the way to go instead of enormous strip sets.  

But progress is being made. I have now made three of the big blocks

and the fourth is underway. Each one is different. The individual quarter blocks are not measured so vary in size.  When I come to sew four together this dictates what happens.  If the two quarters match, I sew them together without tweaking; if they don't then I add a strip, or some triangles.  Then I look at the next two.  I like the variations.

 Right now my floor looks like this.

I should note that I am not making assumptions about layout yet, but this arrangement is the easiest way to fit everything into a photo without taking in swathes of mess around the edges.  I am pretty sure that the centre piece in the picture about will be in the centre of the quilt, but beyond that it's all still up for grabs.  

Now there is a pile of little triangle-y bits waiting for me, so back to work.

Tuesday 16 May 2017


The bulk of my time now is going on making bits and pieces.  I've done a pile of smaller housetop blocks, like these:

and loads of little triangle bits.  I like how they look, but it does take ages to turn out a decent number of them.  

To keep myself interested I stop every so often for a play, like this.

I'm not making any firm decisions, but it's fun to move things around and get a feel for what I like and I guess it's all groundwork too.

Sunday 14 May 2017

One door closes...

another one opens, and it turns out that behind every door is a top waiting to be quilted.  Next in the quilting queue was All at Sea, which was nicely backed and basted and ready to go as soon as I finished the denim circles.

Not much more to say about it yet, but here's a picture.

As usual, I'm sharing this for Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  

Friday 12 May 2017

Another small step

Pointy bits added, top right and bottom left, and then the two sides joined together.  Then I've added another row of triangles across the bottom, only these are a bit bigger.  I went back to my stash and pulled out a minty green Grunge for this.  It works well with the other fabrics and provides another little quiet space amongst all the pattern. That's the theory, anyway.

I don't want to make all my bits the same so the next one, (bottom left in the picture below) has just got one little strip on the top right, though I'm thinking I'll add some across the bottom too.  The third set I haven't done anything with yet.  

Next up, I clearly need to make some more blocks and some more triangles strips.  I'm thinking of mixing up the sizes a bit too.

Linking up with NinaMarie for Off the Wall Friday.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Denim done and dusted

The denim circles are finished.

Here's the back.

And the funky binding.

I started this on 8th November 2015, as part of Audrey's Quilty 365, but got impatient and finished it on 6th May 2016.  Looking at it now, the little coloured strips in some circles mean I can still identify those that mark family birthdays and a handful of other significant dates that happened in the 6 months that I was making the circles.

I started quilting it on 16th April and finished it yesterday, 8th May.  I have no idea how it got done so fast.  The lines of quilting are not widely spaced - they are one or two finger widths apart -  so I can't explain it that way.  In any case, done it is.

The front is made from recycled denim (doesn't that sound a bit fancier than 'old jeans'?), recycled shirts and tiny scraps of every blue fabric I could lay my hands on.  

I used Sew Simple's Supersoft Eco Blend wadding ( it's a 70/30 blend made from 100% recycled material) and quilted it with Aurifil Lana 12 in 2 colours.

Finished size is 66" x 55".  

All it needs now is a name.

Monday 8 May 2017


The big question circling my brain for the last few days has been what should I add to my housetop blocks.  A quick gallop through my thought process would go: pinwheel, hourglass, pinwheel, a different version of log cabin, hourglass...What this amounts to is that I was having a hard time letting go of what had been in my head way back when, even though I had abandoned the initial plans.  I'm sure that you could shut your eyes, pick one of the options and, with a bit of application, come up with something that worked.  But I didn't do that.  Instead I engaged my brain and tried to understand why I couldn't settle.

The answer I came up with was that in all cases what I pictured in my head was too static - just a collection of big, square blocks with different things in them.  Again, that's I'm pretty sure tha's not how it would be if I sewed them, but it's definitely what happened when I just conjured up a mental image.

So I moved away from square-based options and made this long, thin, pointy thing instead.

This, in fact, is not unlike the long, thin, pointy things I was in love with before I even started, so it pleases me inordinately that I have ended up here.

Of course nothing is simple: my housetops are nice and big, but when I made a big pointy triangle strip I didn't like it, so this one is teeny. It seems like my mind just likes lots of little pieces; wherever I start from, they sneak in somewhere along the way.  Ho hum.  

I added the strip down the left hand side first, but now I've added one at the top on the right too.  I have a cunning plan.  I also have socks that match my sewing.

I'm linking this post up with Linda and Julie for Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Slow Sunday binding

The long and short of it: it's quilted and now I just need to do the binding.

That's what happens when I take a break from piecing!

Thursday 4 May 2017

Three,six, nine

I have gone from 6 housetop blocks to 9...

and from 9 to 12. 

I don't like the middle one here, (I want to separate those two red strips with the little birds) but it doesn't matter as they are reorganised every time I get them out of their box.

I have laid them out in random formations and in more orderly groupings. I have had them facing in and out, left and right, up and done. I have even contemplated slicing into them.  Right now I'm still just fiddling about, to be honest, getting a feel for things (can you tell?)

I could just keep on making on doing what I'm doing; it's good, clean fun, and I'm not doing any harm,  but really I need to decide what direction I'm heading in next so that I don't waste fabric making blocks I don't end up using.  

Tuesday 2 May 2017


Having spent a day or two letting things simmer while I attended a funeral, mopped up quite a lot of sick and enjoyed a very pleasant walk in the bluebell woods, I came back to my unco-operative fabrics.   

For the curious amongst you, I had originally thought I would keep it simple and carry on with the pinwheels I used in last quilt, but had then been distracted by this combination of pointy triangles and cross blocks, which I love.  But no, instead I'm making these housetop/quarter log cabins.  They weren't on the my radar at all, and to be honest I'm a bit scared of them as I think it would be easy to end up with something very predictable.

I also have, of course, not a clue what else I am going to put with them, or how it will all hang together, but there you go; I've made a start and will have to feel my way for now.  Before I do anything else I'm going to make a few more of these, sticking to the fabrics I've already used, and see how that feels.  

All part of the fun, I guess!

Monday 1 May 2017

Fluttering by

A few little butterflies.

This is very much an aside, in quilting terms.  I cut a few squares, sew a seam here and there.  Nothing is going to happen quickly, but that's fine.  I don't know how long I will keep making these little units before I get bored and need to add something else, but for now they are a great way of using up odd little bits of shirting (I'm cutting 3" squares).  

I'm linking up with Ann and Cathy for their Kaleidoscope of Butterflies.