Saturday 31 March 2018

None of the above

There's nothing like writing a post all about making a fabric choice, sharing the options and then discarding them all and going with something completely different.  Actually, there is something exactly like that and I've just done it.  There were a couple of these fabrics  which I like a lot and really wanted to slide into this piece somewhere, but for the life of me I couldn't quite get to the point where I felt really, truly happy with any of them.  

Instead I used a piece of the stripy shirt fabric that's already in the quilt to join my two segments together, and then got on with looking at how the flying geese might work.  I got to this.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

AHIQ - share your improv #31

Hard to believe this is the 31st AHIQ link up, and even harder to believe I've managed to avoid the spellchecker changing it to "share your improve" all this time.

Sadly I haven't much to share this time. I have lots of good stuff in my box, but that's mostly where it's had to stay.  I have printed a few more bird names, but frankly I've spent more time on the tram and in the car in the last two days than anywhere near a sewing machine.  I console myself with the thought that it's all stewing away in the back of my head, so this is a creative pause, nothing more.  

One thing I have done.  As Patty noted on my last post, this project may end up with some odd-shaped pieces and I am trying to think ahead about this.  The idea was to have one fabric that went into all those places, so I've been auditioning.
Some here are too dark, or too light, or too purple (I will use it in little thin strips), but a couple I quite like.  Some look much better in the photo than I thought they did in the flesh and of course at least one is a scrap, maybe a fat quarter but not much more, which would cause its own problems.  Decisions, decisions!  

Friday 23 March 2018

Tight curves and flying geese

A bit more progress.  I'm piecing the wedges and bird names into chunks, but not joining too much together yet.  As things stand the curve on the left is going to be quite tight, so I'll have to think about what happens over there, but I still like it.
And here's a first go at the other element of this. I like these too.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Pink-footed geese and other birds

A tiny bit of background for the latest project.  I have dear friends who have relocated to the far distant reaches of Scotland, more specifically a place called Findhorn Bay, which is both remote and beautiful.  It's also particularly important for the migrant wildfowl and waders it attracts and my task is to try and make a piece that references that. Since I haven't been there yet, I am relying on photos, but luckily there are plenty of those available

In my last post I mentioned that I had a little scribble I'd done when I started thinking about this new project.  You can see I was just doodling on the pack of a cardboard envelope.  Not very enlightening, I know, and of course where I end up may bear no relation to this at all, but it's a starting point.
I have started by printing bird names onto some of the fabrics I pulled, and then cut some wedge shaped bits to piece with.  I like this shape because it reminds me of feathers, of the spread of a wing, but also of the sun's rays.

Linking up with Linda and Julie for Sew Stitch Snap SHARE.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Starting something new

For once I am starting something with a purpose, rather than just because I fancy it, as my lovely friend Sue has asked if I will make something particular, or rather with a particular theme in mind.  I have been mulling it over and have come up with a vague plan and a not particularly helpful little doodle, which I will share here once I find the cable to transfer it from my phone.  In the meantime, here are the shirts (yes, I'm still starting with shirts).
 And here are some of the fabrics that might go with them.
Of course some of these will probably be rejected along the way and others may be drafted in, but it's a start.

This still relates, loosely, to the AHIQ prompt around scale, as this does not need to be a monster quilt.  Let's see if I can manage something smaller, if not actually small.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

And just like that...

Playing with Scale is done. 

Of course it wasn't really 'just like that' - in fact I don't remember the last time a quilt caused me quite so many headaches.  I have stopped and started, tried lots of things that didn't work, but hopefully I've learned some useful lessons.

Here's a shot that reminds you roughly where I got to last time.
I knew I was close to the wire with my fabric at this point - for instance I didn't have enough of any single fabric to cut another big triangle - and for quite a long time I thought I was going to use that Coin strip in the top right hand corner to fill in a gap.  They were one of the various things I had tried and rejected at various points along the way; of course if I hadn't tried so many things that didn't work, I would still have had plenty of fabric, but that's the way of it.

But the Coins still weren't working for me.  I think if I'd incorporated some elsewhere in the quilt I'd have been okay to use these ones,  or if they had covered a bigger area (maybe two squares wide rather than just the one) so it's not the Coins in themselves I rejected; it was more a question of scale, which seems appropriate, though that doesn't make it any less annoying. 

At this point I was really scratching my head, and could have gone back to my fabric boxes to find an extra piece of something or other, but I finally concluded that if I pulled the Coin strips to pieces I could use those bits of fabric to piece enough strips to make four more string blocks.  If you look closely at the finished top you might be able to spot those last four.

So I ended up here.
Having really struggled with lots of aspects of this make, including the colour scheme, I have ended up with something I like a lot, even if it's by the skin of my teeth.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

It's sunny and I'm feeling fine

It finally feels like I am settling into this and I don't think it's just that it was a sunny day, though that always helps.  It may be partly that I have enough blocks now to get a better sense of the bigger picture, and to be able to tweak away at any given section until I find exactly what I want.  
Of course this is not the finished article; I'm a shed-load of blocks short of where I need to be, for starters.  There's a spare circle block which may or may not make it in and two of the four you can  see here may be moved, though only a tiny bit.  However, I am happy enough with the bottom part to start stitching things together into bigger chunks - no photos of this because, for utterly boring reasons, I am working in the tiniest space ever, but it is happening. And I'm still making those strings.

Linking up today with Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE.

Sunday 4 March 2018

Pulling up my quilting socks

It's been a while since I've posted my quilting progress, mostly because there hasn't been much.  Last year I hit a pretty steady pattern, doing about 2 hours of quilting most evenings.  This year I haven't come close.  On one level that's okay; this is meant to be what I do for fun, after all.  On the other hand I do like to finish something once in a while.  So it's time for me to pull up my socks and get this one moving along.  
I may not be doing much actual stitching but I am doing a lot of thinking about quilting.  As part of that I wanted to look at the Welsh and Durham traditions in the UK, and have just acquired this book: 

I bought it to learn about the quilting, but there's so much more in there.  There's history and culture: I have learned that many Welsh quilts were made by professional quilters, some of whom travelled from farm to farm, replenishing the housewife's stock of bedding, using fabrics and wadding she supplied, and then moving on.  The best of them could make two quilts a week!!!

There are also many beautiful examples of piecing to enjoy and lots of inspiration.  So I may be taking time out of my stitching this Sunday to enjoy the pretty pictures and do some more pondering.

Linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Friday 2 March 2018

Chopping circles, piecing scraps

One of the things I like least about my way of working is knowing exactly what I want to do, but not having enough fabric to do it.  Perversely this is also one of the things I like best - being forced to find creative solutions, work my way around a problem.  This week there has been a lot of that. With the benefit of hindsight I could have done with one extra fabric/shirt in the mix for this quilt.  Several of my choices were fat quarters (like the map fabric) or scraps left over from other things (like the brown plaid shirt) and life would be easy now if there was more of them.  For instance, I thought I would like circle blocks if the circles were slightly larger, but there was no way that was going to be an option.  Then I thought about returning to the idea of quarter circles - you will see what I've done in the photo below.  I didn't need new fabric for these, as I just chopped up the circles I already had and then added an extra round or two.

I still need to work out what goes around them, but I have been saving a couple of biggish pieces so hopefully that will not pose too many problems.

Practicalities are also driving the string blocks now, so I am making more of the smaller ones -piecing scraps together where I have to.  This scraping a finish when you half think you can't make it gets quite exciting!