Tuesday 27 February 2018

AHIQ - share your improv #30

You would think, wouldn't you, that if I was setting a task for other people it might be one I found straightforward myself.  But no; this is causing me all sorts of headaches, though I'm not disputing that it may be good for me.

I've gone through countless iterations so far.  Some I like, some I don't.  I've added circles, taken them away, added them again, taken them away again.  I've made some coin strips but don't know if they get to stay either.  Since there's no rhyme or reason to all this yet I will punctuate the rest of this post with photos, but without commenting on them.
What I have been musing on though, as I crawled around the floor shuffling things about were some more general issues.  

The first thought that has occurred to me is that size really does matter.  I like the idea of circles, didn't mind making them, but was distinctly underwhelmed when I added them in.  Now that I've tried this repeatedly I have come to the conclusion that they are the wrong size rather than the wrong shape.  I think if they were just a tad bigger I would like them better.  Can't do that, though - nowhere near enough fabric.  Or maybe if they were small, but that would be extremely fiddly and is therefore most unlikely to happen!

Then I moved on to thinking about negative space.  I know it's got its uses and that every quilt needs little places for the eye to rest, but even when I can see it might be a good idea I just don't have it in me to leave well alone.  So this leads me to look for alternative ways of achieving this; the circles might have been one, now I am trying to mix in a few more triangles that are a single fabric rather than pieced.  More black would be another thing to try, I think.

I wonder whether negative space is better suited to modern trends in machine quilting?  I know people do/have always done wonderful whole cloth work by hand but most negative space I see is taken up by machining.  I can't quite imagine those very precise, clear lines on top of my wonky piecing rather than the more organic feel of hand quilting but have started to wonder about ways I would fill big areas of space if I had them.  For now though, I guess I'll just keep adding stuff in.  

(I wrote this post on Monday.  Last night Mr Sew Slowly felt the need to get up and make toast in the middle of the night.  This is not on the whole a habit to be encouraged, but as I lay there trying to get back to sleep I had a bright idea about my circles - maybe there's something I can do here).

I'm looking forward to seeing how other people have approached this, but of course you are welcome to link up any project you are working on.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Stops and starts

Hmm, this is clearly not going to be straightforward.

I am still quite happy with my wonky string blocks, but am already oh so bored of making them.    Here's one step on from where I was last time.
So I thought I'd make some circles, as some of you suggested.  They would provide some variety in the making and, in theory, might provide some little spots of calm in what is a very busy quilt.  I could have gone about this in a number of ways but thought I'd try something I haven't done before, so they are inset (following this tutorial).  Occasionally I like to have a go at something that requires precision, just to prove to myself that I can do it (or not) and this time it worked out fine.  
 I made three then had a play.  I've deliberately not made them exactly the same size as the existing squares and you can see the different ways I thought about making them larger: plain black strips, black with the green insets or using a string style edging.  
And after all that work I wasn't convinced they added anything.  I've not absolutely decided yet, but for now I've stuck them in a corner and gone back to playing with just the two elements (you can ignore the little coin strip on the right hand side). 
Nothing for it, then, but to make more strings.

PS Since I'm only a day late I'll link up with Sew Stitch Snap SHARE too.

Friday 16 February 2018

Persistence pays

I don't think I've ever had as many interesting/useful suggestions in response to a blog post as I got to my last one.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment; you have definitely moved my thinking on.  It is well within the bounds of possibility that I may throw the kitchen sink at this quilt now, and that in the fullness of time you will see Chinese Coin strips and circle-y blocks alongside my triangles.  

The one thing I did like about that formal-looking string block was the colour balance.  It was the first time I had looked at those fabrics and felt like they were really working for me, so I decided not to give up on my strings, went back and tried again, working  at overriding my newly-discovered tendency to be straight and tidy (and there's a sentence I never thought I would write!)

So, newer string blocks, much more me, I think.

Consequently they work better with my triangles, though you will notice I've replaced some solid pieces with extra strings.

I've got a couple more of these on the go, then I might switch things up a bit.  Wild seems quite appealing right now, if I can make it work.

Monday 12 February 2018

Not the smoothest of starts

This is taking a while to get going.

Following on from last time, I cut the rest of my big print into triangles, but that didn't seem to amount to much, so I made some more using my black and green grunge fabrics, and now have nine pairs.

Now these weren't doing it for me at all when they were all laid out on the kitchen floor, but looking at them on the computer screen I am revising my opinion so they may survive as they are.

Clearly this doesn't amount to a whole quilt, and my first thought was some smaller flying geese (you can see one lurking below the two orange-y blocks).  My second thought was that I might go a wee bit mad if I went back to fiddly little triangles, albeit it rectangular rather than square. 

Now I'm wondering about simple string blocks.  I made one, to see what I thought.  The strips were cut freehand, some with a rotary cutter, some with scissors, but it is irritatingly orderly.  Never mind.  I'm going to look at it for a while and then decided whether to make more.

Friday 9 February 2018

Not what I was expecting

When I decided I was going to  work with this group of fabrics I had a vague notion of what I might try.  Using the black and green print ticks the 'scale' box for me in terms of the AHIQ challenge, but I also wanted to stick with bigger pieces than usual, and to keep it fairly simple.  I had in mind something pared back, maybe just rectangle pieces.  

I cut myself a rectangle.  I started with that print, because that's the hardest fabric to work with (for me).  And I stuck my rectangle on the floor and started off just putting other things next to it and seeing what worked and what didn't.  Here's an example.
Did I come up with anything that floated my boat?  Nope.  Not even remotely.  Looked like this would be trickier than I thought. Then, as I grabbed my rectangle I somehow managed this
which I did rather like.  So I tried cutting triangles and joining them back together with a strip of something different.  I got this
 and then this.
Like I said, not at all what I was expecting, but I like it enough to keep going.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Revised fabric pull

Ann made a good point on my last post, about having more than one fabric with a different scale in my piles.  With that in mind, and pretty sure I wanted to find some more earth tones, I went back to my boxes.  I've put back (for now at least) some of the greens, specifically a couple of solids and tiny prints, and pulled out some other options.

I have two piles, this one of shirts

and this one, from normal stash.

I've even washed all the yardage, hence the creases!

This feels more like something I can work with, so here goes..

And in the meantime, I'm linking up with Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE.  

Friday 2 February 2018

Back to the beginning

Several thoughts have occurred to me.  

The first is that my practice of never buying more than 1/2 yard cuts fits very well with my habit of working with relatively small units.  If I try to make bigger blocks this might cause me some issues.  That's not to say I won't give it a go, I'm just giving myself a mental warning.

The second thought is that I have made several quilts already where I mixed up different sized versions of a block, like this or this, so it might be interesting to try to move beyond that in whatever I do this time.  Though I'm not going to beat myself up  if that seems the best idea when I get down to it.  This leads me to think I am definitely going to throw at least one large scale print into the mix this time around and I have been trying out some combinations of shirts, large-scale prints and whatever else I can find.

This was take one:
The black and green print might be hard to work with and I'm not at all sure I want to make a whole quilt that's just those two colours, but what if I added in earth tones, like this

This might work, though the balance is not right at the moment (too much black for me) and I'm not absolutely sure I would  like a quilt in these colours  - an extra challenge or a step too far?

Or I could get a bit more cheerful - something like this.

Hum...not sure.  And maybe I won't go with either of these, but I need to make a decision of some sort and I can't starting thinking about where I'm heading until I know what I'm taking with me.