Sunday 30 September 2018

Chinese Coins: finally finished

Phew!  I though I would still be working on this at Christmas but Chinese Coins is done.
I usually choose the binding when the quilt is finished. This fabric, though,  was in the initial pull and I have kept it floating about in my eye-line rather than tucking it back into a box because I have always been sure I wanted to use it.

There have been (numerous) times while I was working on this that I wondered what I was doing.  This little quilt seemed dull and the freehand cross-hatching seemed like a good idea gone bad and was taking longer than even I could enjoy.   I wondered if I should have ruled all the quilting lines, worried that the variations in the grid would look sloppy, at one point nearly put the whole thing back in the cupboard (something I never do: I start, so I finish).  

But guess what.  Quilted, bound, completed - I just love this quilt.  I love the gentle colours and the shirt fabrics, I love the shapes and the quilting - just love it all.  Mostly I see things I would change at this point, but for whatever reason this one seems just fine exactly as it is.  Just goes to show you can't second-guess these things.
The details

Started 3rd February 2017 as part of the first AHIQ challenge, set by Ann.
Finished piecing 31st March 2017.
Started quilting 17th June 2018.
Completed 27th September 2018.
Finished size 69" x 71".

Made from a big pile of shirts and fabrics from stash.  
Bound with a stripe bought in the Oakshott warehouse sale about 8 years ago.  
Wadding is Sew Simple Supersoft Eco Blend (70/30, all recycled).  
Quilted, using ordinary quilting thread, with a mostly free-hand crosshatch pattern.  

Linking up today with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Thursday 27 September 2018

Remember it's a quilt...

Well I've been all around the houses with this.   None of the fabrics I showed in my last post felt absolutely, definitely, no doubt about it right.  So I went back to my boxes and tried almost everything.  I tried solids, big pattern, small pattern.  I tried variations on blue, yellow and brown again.  Then I tried green, then grey, then pink, purple, red.  I tried pretty much everything.  
This was the one I liked the best.

But when I spread the fabric out and tried it over a bigger area, I liked it less.  Humph.
All the fabric went back in the boxes and I tried to figure out why nothing was working.  In short, I wanted something that would fit effortlessly in with the blocks I had, but I could find it; all my blocks seemed to float above the fabrics I was finding.  I wondered if the answer was to use more than one choice. (As a side note, some of these fabrics may still sneak into the quilt somewhere,just not here.)
Yesterday the boxes came out again.  I considered a dark grey, an old Carolyn Friedlander with gold triangles.  Both had their merits but neither ticked all my boxes.

Then I had a moment of insight (yes, it happens from time to time).  When I started this project my note to self read 'not literal, just a design prompt: lines, shapes, repeats, spaces'. Yet here I was, thinking literally: these spaces needed to be a different fabric because they were 'roads' not 'alleyways' or 'walls'.  But this is a quilt not a map.  So I tried this.
Much better.  Onwards and upwards!

Friday 21 September 2018

Then there were five

It's windy here.  That should have nothing to do with quilting, but I like to work with the back door open as much as possible, so spend some time yesterday just chasing my fabric around the kitchen floor.  Luckily this seemed amusing rather than irritating and I still got my fifth piece done.
This arrangement doesn't signify anything; I tried the blocks lots of different ways but in the end the photo I have used is the one with the least interference from sunlight.

I had said that once I had five blocks I would start to consider how they might be joined, so that is what I did. I had a stack of fabrics that had been in the initial pull but hadn't yet been used, so out they came and this is what they looked like.
Sadly, the one I most wanted to use (top left) is the one I think works least well and the one that I probably like the best (bottom left) is not a full half metre, so there's going to be some compromising somewhere along the line.

I probably should have got further, but for some unaccountable reason I decided that the tail end of a massive storm was the best moment for trimming my horribly overgrown front hedge...

Monday 17 September 2018

Simple shapes and repetition

This is chugging along very nicely at the moment (now that I've said that, watch me grind to a halt!)

I'm not overthinking it, just making little units, then joining them into bigger ones, and so on.  I seem to be using two basic shapes: squares, which I'm sewing into four-patch units, and rectangles, which are just being joined into strips.

So at first it looks like this.
 Then like this.
 And in the end I have this.
Actually, I have four of these chunks now, but the sunlight, visible in the top right hand corner of the photo, pretty much wiped the fourth one completely, so I have cropped it out.  

At the moment I am thinking that I will make one, maybe two, more and then have a play and see what the next steps will be.  

Saturday 15 September 2018

Saturday photos #92

In case any of you wondered, we went to Lundy.  You will notice that a side benefit of this was that there are lighthouses.  The two pictured here are North Light and the Old Light.  There is also South Light, which is pretty much exactly the same as its twin on the northern-most point.

Sea, sky, the granite grey of dry stone walls and a handful of buildings, bracken slowly turning from green to its autumn gold, the yellow of gorse, purple of heather and still some green on the ground. We were a mile and a half out from the tiny village and all other people and that is what we saw from every window, in every direction.  Bliss.

Thursday 13 September 2018

I never said I was consistent

In my last post I wrote about liking routine and looking forward to getting back to mine.  What did I do next?  Abandoned my routine completely and headed off to an island without the internet, in fact without electricity (in our little bit of it at least) for a few days escape with my sister.  Pictures on Saturday.

However, I am showing a bit of discipline now that I am back and this morning completed another map chunk.  Here it is on its own...
 and with the first one.
I'm straightening the sides when I finish each one, but paying no particular heed to their size of shape.  Despite this, these two are almost exactly the same length.  

Thursday 6 September 2018

A happy accident

So, here's a quick run through what I managed to get done yesterday.

I started with just the two wee bits, added one more rectangle to the shorter one, thinking I would sew them together.
I was rotating the lower piece to see which way round I preferred it, got distracted and stopped mid-swivel.
I like this better.  

What next? Fill in that gap.
This is where have the map theme has really helped me work out what to do.  I don't want to be overly literal, but have been thinking about the challenge in terms of breaking my inspiration pictures down into their component parts:squares, rectangles, strips.  If these things matter then in this piece the little plain strips mark the walls between each dwelling, the stripy strips mark the alleys.  I'm hoping that the bluer fabrics in my bundle will represent both the courts (open spaces in the centre where people had access to the communal privies) and the roads.  

I got as far as this.
Works for me.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Off and moving

I have given myself a talking to; no more fussing about the hand quilting - I just need to get on with it.  I've worked hard over the last two days, squeezing in few lines of stitching every time I got a few spare minutes. I'm making good progess but today I felt a strong urge to piece.  I'm up to date with my proper work, so I figured I could justify it.  I cleared a tiny space in the spare room (all that was possible at that moment), slapped a cutting mat down on the floor and my Featherweight in a corner and made a start.

Tomorrow I'll have more time and a better set-up but it was so, so satisfying to do even a tiny amount of cutting and piecing.
The size of my first pieces was determined entirely practically: I just tidied up the smallest piece of dismembered plaid shirt into a rectangle and took it from there.  

I was a bit concerned that I didn't have quite enough in my fabric pull and may still do a quick run to the shop to see if I can find another shirt but in the meantime I have pulled out a bag of scraps in the yellow-gold-ochre colour range and will use those to add a bit of variation.
That's all I achieved, took me as long to clear up the mess as it did to sew, but I finished the afternoon a happy woman.

Sunday 2 September 2018

Of soup pots and quilting

I guess most people will know a version of the story about the old woman and the soup pot that was never empty.  Well, I was coming  to think this quilt was like that, only in reverse.  I quilted and I quilted but it was never done.  

But the end is in side, though still not close.  I have one big piece across a corner and then just the bits around the edge.  So I am pushing on.
I have been looking at it so long I've genuinely got no idea of whether I like it or not.  

Just as I am struggling to get back into the swing of stitching post holidays, I am struggling with blogging, so I am linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching in an attempt to just get on with it.  I'm thinking that checking out what other people are doing might help me to regain some momentum.