Saturday 30 June 2018

Saturday photos revisited

I used to enjoy making a weekly photo collage, until I suddenly didn't any more.  Soma at Whims and Fancies has just relaunched her monthly photo link up, Wandering Camera, so I thought I'd have a go at joining in - should be able to manage one a month!

Last week I was in a butterfly house, taking lots of photos, trying to catch the split second when the little beggars stop moving.  I didn't do too badly.  When I looked at the pictures afterwards the thing that struck me was how well each butterfly camouflages itself - there were flowers and foliage of all shapes and colours, but look how neatly they have blended in.

Thursday 28 June 2018

What to do when you run short of fabric...

So, I decided to go with a border in the blue fabric, which has been in the original pull for this quilt but hadn't made it into the string blocks.  Of course there wasn't quite enough, as you can see below.
I cut up everything I had and ended up with enough for three out of four sides.  I did consider not adding the border all the way round, but decided to eke things out by adding some bits of the blue shirt fabric that's already in the quilt.

And then started making more string blocks.
I think I need another 22.  Not sure whether I can get there - you'll see I've started making some much smaller bits and then sewing them together to make 6" squares.  This is not so much playing with scale as trying to use every last bit of fabric.  If I run out, then I'll worry about what I do instead.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

AHIQ: new beginnings

This is the 4th Tuesday, which would usually be AHIQ link up  day.  If you are here looking for AHIQ, it now has a blog of its own here.  If you would like to join in, let me know and I'll send you an invitation.  If you have a post you would like to share, but don't want to be a contributor, you can email me and I'll happily add a link for you. If you post on instagram and don't blog, then again, I am happy to add your links.

Monday 25 June 2018

Breaking my own rule

Some progress I think.  I spend ages fiddling around, as stated in the previous post and couldn't get things how I wanted.  My inclination was to have the brown squares spread around, and the larger blue diagonals in the bottom right corner and that wasn't feasible, since there was a brown square sewn onto the blue.   This is a good example though, of why you should question the rules you set yourself.  I always tend to look at the spread of things (shapes/colours) but what worked best for me in this case was to plonk one big brown bit right next to another one.  This is where it got me.
This is about 60" long but not quite 40" wide.  I have enough blocks already made to add one more column, which I will get on and do  Then I am wondering about some borders. And maybe one more round of squares.  Or something else entirely.

Friday 22 June 2018

Shuffling and tinkering

Halfway there, I think.  I had this chunk you see all sewn together by the end of my last session and had laid out the left hand column.  I still liked it this morning, so have sewn it on (making one change which you can see in the second photo).
I'm still making blocks, but slowly now, trying to keep an eye on how many I will actually need.  And there's a lot of tinkering going on.  This is one version, though I can see lots on the right hand side I don't like.  So I continue shuffling things around, trying to balance out all the different elements in a pleasing way.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

AHIQ update: a new group blog

Today sees the launch of  our new AHIQ group blog.  Do check out Ann's first post, and also what she has to say on her own blog  here.  If you would like to be able to add posts just get in touch with one of us and we'll send you an invitation.  As with the linky party, we are relaxed about our definitions and happy for you to make whatever sort of contributions you like: you can link to posts on your personal blogs, share general thoughts, reviews of books/exhibitions, reflections on the technical side of things - the more the merrier!


Sunday 17 June 2018

Next quilt in the hoop

Having just made an entire quilt, from first cut to last stitch on the binding, in a matter of months, I'm back to quilting something that's been waiting a year.  I'm hoping to keep myself motivated with my quilting: it had definitely slipped a bit but I'm much happier when I keep things ticking over nicely so I shall try not to be so easily distracted.  My Chinese Coins, made for the first AHIQ challenge, was top of the pile, sticking to chronological order, so that's what's in my hoop now.
I don't remember the last time I did this, but I am using actual, proper, quilting thread rather than perle or wool or variegated Sulky 30.  I had picked up a reel of a Gutermann thread in a rather lovely brown-y shade - don't remember when or why - but it seems to sit nicely with the rather muted colours of the top, so I figured, why not? 
I'm marking the pattern freehand, so it's a kind of wonky grid. The lines are mostly relatively straight,  but the size of the boxes they make varies quite a bit.  It seems to go with all the different sizes of stripe.

Linking up with Kathy, just to show that I am still Slow Sunday Stitching.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

I don't know if this is really a progress post: I am still making bits and playing around with them on the floor, sewing together long 4 patches and 9 patch sets of squares, but very few firm decisions have been made. There are lots of combinations I like, like this one.
 And this one.
On that basis, I could just not bother to post until I have something clearer to share, but a thought occurred to me that seems worth writing down.

For me, a bit part of the improv process is about looking for the rhythm of a quilt.  This is largely about repetitions of shape and colour and how you can use them both to move the eye around the quilt and to provide stopping points or pauses in that movement.  So the notes I mentioned last time were really about the elements that I thought needed to be repeated more often in order to help build that rhythm.  What I particularly noticed yesterday and want to mention is that  it also helps to pay attention to what is happening that is incidental or accidental. In this case, I laid out several versions where the brown striped fabrics ended up making wonky windmill shapes.  In all the ones you can see in the photos above, these shapes  are made from a combination of rectangular pieces and squares, so they blur the lines between those two different blocks (if that makes sense).  I didn't do this on purpose, it's just how things fell, but I like them and now that I've noticed I will make an effort to look for pieces that let me add them deliberately.

This is what I mean when I talk about a quilt having a mind of its own.  

Monday 11 June 2018

A bit more progress

There's not much to say about this.  Looking at last week's photos I found myself jotting down a few notes - a new habit for me, but it's an improvement on thinking stuff and then completely forgetting.  "More brown strips", "more leaves on green", "couple of brown squares", that sort of thing.  Today, I obeyed my own prompts and made some more blocks with a brown strip, some more leaves, though not all on a green get the picture.
There are four chunks sewn together: two rectangular and two nine patches.  Next I want to make more rectangles and sew more chunks - I don't want to end up with loads of little blocks I have no home for.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Comes a time

There comes a time when you have to stop making bits, stop arranging and rearranging and commit to something, otherwise you just drive yourself nuts.  I had added and taken away, laid things out this way and that way and no lightning bolt of inspiration had struck yet, so I decided to give it a bit of a shove.

Not a big shove, more of a nudge, actually, but I did sew a couple of bits together.  To be precise, I  sewed 9 bits together.
This  barely made a dent in the pile of string blocks scattered over the kitchen floor, but I felt better for it.
Then I sewed together 4 more.  The 9 blocks on the right are just laid out, so you can see I went back to playing after that, but I think more of those rectangular bits are the order of the day.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Mixing things up a bit

Going slowly on this one.  I've made a few more leaf-ish shapes.  I like how they look but have been sewing like a dunce, so I'm not enjoying the making.  And I do mean like a dunce; not the occasionally little pucker that I needed to unpick, but sewing on entire extra piece I'd picked up by mistake, or sewing the two sides of the leaf together.  Nevertheless I persisted, though you can see I was so fed up that there wasn't a lot of pressing going on.  It was more a case of sewing then chucking it on the floor!
I've also made 2 new versions of the string block; one using a whole page of the phone book.  The other uses the 6x5 bit that's left after I take a 6x6 square.  I'm adding a strip to make it up to the 6x6 size.
This starts to feel like something I could work with, though it's not quite there yet.

Saturday 2 June 2018

Done and dusted: The Birds of Findhorn Bay

I had been aiming to finish this by the end of May, but 1st of June is good enough. It turns out I didn't mind moving straight from quilting to piecing and there is definitely satisfaction to be had from finishing something in the same year as it was started, which doesn't happen all that often round here.

Inspiration taken from images of Findhorn Bay and the list of bird names recited by my friend Sue as she was describing it to me. 
Flying geese, the rays of the sun, the spread of a bird's wing.

A close-up carefully selected to include one of my grey hairs!
I have to say, I am very, very happy with how this has turned out.  I love the shapes and the colours and generally feel jolly pleased with it.

41" square - small for me, I know, but just this once, for special people...
Started piecing 20th March, finished 4th May 2018.
Started quilting 5th May, finished on 1st June 2018. 

Made using a selection of shirts, plus fabrics from stash and the scrap box.  The purple is an Oakshott cotton and the gold is Cloud 9.  The binding is made with leftovers from one of the shirts.

Hand quilted using Aurifil and Madeira lana threads, and the wadding is So Simple SuperSoft Eco Blend.