Tuesday 31 October 2017

A little bit of actual stitching

Having spent the better part of two days sitting in an unheated house while a gas engineer charged me an arm and a leg to fix my boiler, a process which took longer and cost a whole lot more than I would have wished, I am thinking that maybe instead of quilting I should use my spare time to learn a handy skill like, let's say, how to how to do boiler repairs.

At least I got some work done in the garden, which was distinctly warmer than the house, and a wee bit of piecing too, though I was limited by the need to keep most of the floor clear.  

Currently this is what I've got.
 Unlike my previous posts, where a lot of stuff was just sitting on the floor, I have a good proportion of this stitched together.  

I realise that I have been struggling with the idea that this piece is going to consist almost entirely of quilt-wide rows.  Maybe that's how it will end up, and there is a strong argument for that but I have decided to approach it by making this chunk, (until I'm level with the bottom of the lighthouse) and then start on the next.  I might well carry on across, but it leaves me head-space for  shuffling things around a bit if I want to.  

In the meantime, I am completely out of white/cream fabrics.  This is one of those moments when I think about abandoning my self-imposed rules since I can't find an organic option, but instead I am off tomorrow to search for a couple of nice white shirts.  

Sunday 29 October 2017

Yellow birds in the frame

Well still not much piecing going on here.  Fortunately it's Sunday and I have at least been doing some quilting, so here's a quick peek at the start of Yellow Birds.

Linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

AHIQ - share your improv #26

I am making progress with my shipping forecast quilt, which is to say that I have made a lot of HSTs.  I had great plans for yesterday, but then the boiler died and I had to sort that out and before I knew it the day was gone and not one stitch had been sewn.

However, since it is AHIQ time I thought I'd mention that I have decided to quilt my Yellow Birds next (it has words on at least) but that when I got it out, and in fact after I had pin basted about a quarter of it, I decided I didn't like the shape.  It looked like this.
Seemed fine at the time but now it's just too square.  I know that's a bit perverse when I've just finished a square quilt, but that worked (because it was consistent, I think: square blocks, sewn into bigger square units, sewn together into square quilt) and this doesn't.  So I unpinned, un-backed and am in the process of adding a couple of rows of geese to make things more rectangular.  It's a bit of a pain, but better than quilting something and then deciding I don't like it.

On to AHIQ and this was scheduled to be the start of our next challenge, but after some discussion we have decided to postpone this until the beginning of next year - Ann very elegantly called it "consolidate and review".  The reasons for this are two-fold: firstly there seem to be a few people who have started one of the previous challenges but not had time to finish yet, so this creates an opportunity to catch up a bit.  Also, in case you hadn't noticed, Christmas will soon be bearing down upon us and that tends to make quite a few demands on people, so if you don't want to make up quilting ground, you can have a few extra moments to wrap stuff, or eat mince pies or do whatever you like to do at this time of year (mince pies and Christmas cake for me, all the way).

If you are all up-to-date/don't do Christmas/are super-organised/never stop sewing and would like a challenge then maybe you could try something new on the quilting front.  You could go graffiti style, like Karlee Porter, try circles if you usually quilt in straight lines,or vice versa, mix hand work with machine quilting.  I have a notion to try something based on Welsh whole cloth quilts some time soon, if I can figure out how to get what's in my head onto fabric, though it won't be happening this year.   Alternatively you could try a different thread - maybe thicker or thinner than usual. 

So he remaining link ups 2017 will run, as usual, on the 4th Tuesday of each month and the next challenge, possibly in a slightly revamped form, will kick  off in January. In the meantime I look forward to seeing what people have to share this month.

I'm linking this up with Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE 

Friday 20 October 2017

Small decisions and an extra lighthouse

I'm still mostly just making HST's but since no one seemed to mind last time I shared stuff just laid out on the floor, I'm gong to do it again.  The first one shows the second lighthouse (at the moment I think there will be one more).  What looks like a big mess of white fabric is actually me wondering about changing the direction of some strips and what that might look like.  

The second picture gives more an idea of where I think I have decided to head, and, in my own defence, also contains quite a lot more actual sewing.  

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Final circles done and dusted

Isn't it amazing what a little application can achieve? This is the last of the quilts that sprang from last year's Quilty 365 challenge (you can see the others here and here).

The back is pretty simple.

I started making one circle a day on 28th May 2016 and finished putting it together on 14th December 2016.  Quilting started on 8th September and I finished today, October 18th 2017.

It turns out to be the smallest I have made, at 50" square. I did spend a while thinking about ways to make it bigger but it felt done, and I'm still okay with that decision.  It's made from a pile of Oakshott charm squares and another pile of old shirts, wool wadding, hand quilted using a Madeira Lana variegated blue thread.  

Monday 16 October 2017

Repetitive action

Now that this is the only top I am properly working on, I am hoping to make some progress, though of this morning things looked like this.

I realise that if nothing changes I am going to be making a lot of HSTs.  I will try not to post lots of pictures which all look the same, but it's a fair bet that any regular readers need to tighten their seatbelts and prepare for some whinging.  It's a question for me to ponder: why do I commit to projects which require me to make lots of bits the same when I know full well that this will make me bored and grumpy somewhere down the line?  Maybe when I get bored enough it will be the impetus to change things about.  Who knows?

Sunday 15 October 2017

No excuses

This quilt still isn't finished and there's no excuse for it.  About three weeks ago I thought "one good week and I'll be done", but then what happened?  I didn't quilt at all, evening after evening.  I've got a whole heap of justifications for this, some pretty good and some pretty blooming poor, but I don't really know why I didn't just get on with it.  

I figure if I put it up here and say out loud that it could be done in literally one or two days, I might drum up some motivation.  I have just one round of little squares to get through, and some of those are already done, then a binding.  

So I am linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching and publicly announcing my intention that by this time next week I will, at the very least, be stitching down a binding.

Monday 9 October 2017

Hourglasses done for now

It's amazing how being short of time can concentrate the mind.  I looked at this first thing and wondered if I even liked the HST-ish blocks I was adding around the edges.  But I knew that I might not get another good run at it this week and decided to keep going.  Now I'm pleased I did: I like how they look and the top is done for now and heading for my quilting pile.  

Normally I'd take a wee break from piecing now and just quilt for a week or so, but since the next project is already underway I am thinking I'll just move seamlessly (!) on.  

Saturday 7 October 2017

Saturday butterflies

Ever since Ann and Cathy started their Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up I have been trying to take pictures of butterflies, and with pretty poor luck, it has to be said.  While I was in France I got two great shots and then,naturally, completely forgot to link them up!  I've remembered now, though; better a month late than never.  

Thursday 5 October 2017

No geese, but a solution of sorts

I must have tried twenty fabrics this morning, in an attempt to find something that I could use as a wider border for this piece.  I realised that what I really wanted was more of the black floral, but I didn't have nearly enough, and am too stubborn just to order more.  

Then I tried the flying geese again, then various other permutations, and nothing was quite right. Though I really, really wanted geese to be the solution I was looking for, this quilt wasn't having any of it. Finally it occurred to me that since what I wanted was more black, I should find a way of using what I had left, and started cutting black triangles and adding them into the mix.  I have also laid them out as squares, so that they echo the units already in the quilt.  

This is just a tiny section, to give you a feel for things without exposing the enormous mess all around; it is possible to take warts and all photography too far!

Monday 2 October 2017

Really, really slow sewing

It's been one step forward, two steps back today.  I added black borders on the last two sides, and am happy with how they look and the way they seem to bring the centre into focus.  

But I'm less happy with my next steps.  My initial idea was something triangle-based, on account of how I've got lots of triangle-y leftovers so it would be an efficient use of precious scraps.  I wondered about a  flying goose border, then something like the arrangement in the picture below (okay, they're all just slapped down willy-nilly, but you get the general idea).  Somehow though nothing is really grabbing me.  

I do know that I want to use more of the deep yellow, both because I like it and because I've got a fair amount.  Looking at the photos now I don't dislike the arrangement as much as I thought, so maybe I'll stew on it for a few days and then look again.    Or I could stick with the HST squares I've already used.  See?  Completely undecided.