Tuesday 30 January 2018

The Shipping Forecast: done for now

Phew!  Extra borders are on and this can join the quilting queue. No more HSTs for me for a while, that's for sure. 

Sunday 28 January 2018

Quilting update

This is just a quick update on the quilt currently in my hoop.  The big central circle is done

and now I am working my way outwards.  This picture gives the impression that the plain blue quadrant is not done, but it is; for some reason the stitching's just not showing up here.  

Someone asked about scale so here's a picture with the hoop, which  is about 23".

Friday 26 January 2018

Partial seams for total satisfaction.

I think I've mentioned before that I am not the world's most patient person. Actually I know I've mentioned it before. I'm still plugging away at The Shipping Forecast and finally had a piece long enough for the left hand border. The sensible thing would have been to wait until I had finished piecing across the bottom, but I didn't want to wait, I wanted instant gratification. Nothing for it then but a load of completely gratuitous partial seams. I am telling myself this is good practice, but in truth it's just giving in to my character flaws. 

 Looks good though, I think.

The next time you see this is will be a completed top.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

AHIQ - share your improv #29

Welcome to the first AHIQ link up of 2018, and the start of a new invitational. We're thinking that we will run two this year rather than three, just to allow people some breathing space.  In the same spirit I have been trying to think about setting a challenge that might fit in with existing plans, for some of you at least.  I have hummed and hawed around this; there are 3 pinterest boards on the go and I have made notes on all 3 possibilities.  Even as I started to type this post I hadn't absolutely settled.  I do this in restaurants too - never know what I am going to order until everyone else has chosen and the waiter is looking at me expectantly.  But there comes a point when prevarication has to stop. So here goes...

I am suggesting that we have a play with the idea of scale.  When I started to think around this, I came up with lots of different possible approaches you could consider.  Here are just a few:
  • Mix large and small versions of one block.  This sounds, perhaps like the most obvious option, but could range from something quite ordered, like this  to something much more wild and organic, like this quilt by Rosie Lee Tompkins, this one, made in the 1850s in Wales, or this variation on a Blazing Star (IQSCM; Robert and Helen Cargo Collection - you can click on the images for more details).

  • Make one really big block, if you tend towards small bits (I'm looking at myself here).  I always admire single, large log cabin blocks but how about this giant pinwheel
  • Try working with some smaller units, if you tend to head for large ones.  This quilt, made in the early 1900s, is mind-blowing (the smallest pieces are about 1/2"). Or how about this one? (IQSCM: Ardis and Robert James Collection).
  • Throw some large scale prints into the mix.  This could work if you simply add large scale prints in with solids or small prints - here's a nice example - or what about this quilt by Alethea Ballard, who has used a large scale print to sash her housetop blocks?  A quick rummage through my fabric boxes threw up lots of stuff that I like, but that has been passed over lots and lots of times, mostly because I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to do with it.

  • Try adding very fine lines to a piece, like Kathleen Loomis or this quilt by Paula Kovarik
  • Find an inspiration piece that fits, like the ones above and then see where it leads you
Given that this is improv your end result doesn't even have to look like it started here - it really is about the process as much as the product.  Of course you are more than welcome to come up with your own take on the theme and push it in any direction you like.

I'm calling this Playing with Scale, so if you post on instagram you can use #AHIQ or "AHIQplayingwithscale and there is  a pinterest board with lots more lovely examples. 

Monday 22 January 2018

Concentrating the mind

Setting a deadline certainly concentrates the mind.  There's no way this will be finished before the AHIQ link up tomorrow, but I'm relaxed about that: the end is definitely in sight and I'm much further on that I would have been without a goal to aim for.

I have used nearly all the huge pile of HSTs that I made in the early weeks of this project - this is what's left
so I'll have to get on and make a few more, though I'm eking out my scraps now.  

This picture shows where I'm up to now.  There are a lot of bits not yet sewn to anything, but you can see how much I've still got to go.  It's not that big a job, I'm telling myself.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Wider than before

There's not a lot to say about this really, except that it is getting wider!

And on I go!

In the back of my mind I am not thinking about triangles at all now, I am thinking about the next AHIQ challenge, which will be kicking off here next Tuesday.  One thing I can promise you is that it won't involve HSTs.

Monday 15 January 2018

How big is big enough?

I got another chunk added onto the length of this, and then thought it was time to stick it on a bed to gauge its size.

As you can see the length is not far off.  I already knew I needed to go wider, and this is a big bed (6' across) so I don't need as much as you might think from the photo.  There's still quite a bit of work to do, but I feel like I've got the bit between my teeth now, so as long as I don't have too many unforeseen interruptions, I might meet my self-imposed deadline (or at least come close).

Thursday 11 January 2018

No turning back

I spent the first couple of hours I had mentally allocated for sewing this week learning how to replace the battery in a wired smoke alarm: one of those tasks that is straightforward once you've done it, but less so when you hadn't even given serious thought to the fact that there was a battery in there in the first place.  

Yesterday I had much better luck, thanks mostly to being stuck in while I waited for my car to be serviced and MOT'd, and then for them to replace the brake pads.  
 I still like how this looks, but am getting a bit bored of the making - not much variety in line after line of triangles really - so I'm going to knuckle down and try to get done before the end of the month when the next AHIQ challenge will get going.   It's nearly long enough now, but I need to add width (currently measures roughly 80" x 57").
I pondered the idea of adding the extra printing around the edges as a thin border.  On balance I tend to think that while it would be satisfying to get every last word onto the front, it wouldn't add anything visually, so will probably just stick with HSTs.  The huge pile I made early on is shrinking rapidly and I have reached the point where I am making the tiny ones as I need them, but I've come this far, so there's nothing for it but to keep going.

Sunday 7 January 2018

New year, new quilt in the hoop

There was something very satisfying about finishing a quilt as December came to an end, and even more satisfying about starting work on a new one as this new year begins.  Having allowed Yellow Birds to jump the queue, because I had a backing ready, I am reverting to the old pecking order so Not Speaking for Me is next up.  

I've already made a fair start

but I'm not sure the red/white/blue makes for particularly interesting  close up photos.  Maybe I'll have to try something different next time. 

For now, though, these will do and I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Thursday 4 January 2018

Getting back down to it

Happy New Year everyone!  

Things are slowly getting back to normal here, though I still have a spate of family birthdays and a deadline to get past.  As a result I finally have a little progress to share.

This still needs to be a little longer and quite a bit wider, but I have plenty of HSTs ready to go - you can just see them spilling over the bottom left-hand corner of the photo.  

It felt really good to get the piece with the black lighthouse finished and joined on; it has really caused me a few headaches but I persevered and am happy enough now, though I have had occasion to regret my decision, way back near the start, to make tiny triangles rather than using filler strips.  It looks much better, but boy is it a lot of extra work.  Too late to back out now though!

It occurs to me that I haven't blogged the names of the three lighthouses.  I could, of course, just make buildings up, but it gives me pleasure to use real-life starting points, so here are the links.  The white one at the top is the South Light on Fair Isle, the yellow one is Vattarnes in south-east Iceland and the black one is Irish: Ballycotton, off the coast of Cork.