Monday 30 September 2019

Quick update and a bit of musing

This is growing nicely now, but I find myself thinking again what a strange thing the improv process is.  

I could have decided to make a Trip around the World, planned it all out and not had to bother with umpteen partial seams.  I could have done it in a matter of days without checking and rechecking to make sure my blue and red diagonals were going to meet up properly.  And yet I know that if I had planned it that way it would never have been made.  

I also know that still finding a way to sneak in my blue pansy rectangles  pleases me, as does that skinny pink strip which is sorting things out when my hand cut squares differ too much in size.  
I like that in one or two places I can use a butterfly block with the dark blue fabric, which just slightly interrupts the perfect diagonals.  And I like that this musing makes me wonder whether I might want to stop counting and just let those diagonals wander off in their own directions.

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Sometimes simpler is better

I'm not a pick fan of unpicking but sometimes there's really no other option.  Well actually you can always get your rotary cutter and slice straight down the offending seam, but that's a bad habit I am trying to break.  

However, going right back to the beginning seems to have worked.  I have jettisoned a couple of fabrics and added in a couple of new ones, including a lovely red bird design. I have also decided to take the dark blue fabric and make it an anchor for everything else, to try and impose some much needed structure.  

Here's my first thought, as it looked laid out on the floor.
I liked that so I kept going.  How about this?
 This is where I got to before I stopped.  
Much simpler than my first attempt but I like it a whole lot more.  I'm not sure whether I'll keep going or let it melt into something else around the edges but I guess I'll see when I get there.

Sunday 22 September 2019

Not there yet

When I am in the room with this quilt I shuffle things about, think I like something and take a picture.  Unfortunately when I get back and look at said picture on my laptop, I am distinctly underwhelmed.  

Here is one such picture.
You will see that I've tentatively added some verticals, which on several occasions have helped me get a project moving but on this occasion I don't think they add anything.  Moreover I start to feel a bit like I'm throwing the kitchen sink at this and don't have much to show for it.

What I like about this picture is (still) those patches of blue violets and the dark blue.  What I don't like is: no definition, visual mush, no sense of structure or rhythm.  I can see that if I just kept sewing I might have something quite pretty, but, frankly, I'm going to get bored way before it gets finished.  

Ironically the look I like best in my garden is ordered chaos, but clearly I need a bit more order and a bit less chaos here.  Right now I am seriously thinking about ripping seams.  

What I think I might need - or at least what I'm going to try next - is to make a better use of the dark blue.  I like how it sits against the other colours but those rectangles are doing nothing special.  I would also like to find an extra way to add contrast, either a really, really light fabric or...I don't know what right now.  I've looked at yellow-y shades, at greens, at bright pink, at a brown but nothing has sat well, except the pink I used for those wee strips, which sadly adds nothing in terms of contrast.    I think it's back to the boxes, to see what else I can find.  Wish me luck!

Monday 16 September 2019

What hasn't worked and what might

I promised (if that's the right word) a succession of photos of stuff I haven't liked, so here you go.
First up flowery blocks alternating with blue blocks
 then with columns offset.
 Next up, a few rectangular blocks mixed in with the squares.
Up to this point there were things I didn't hate but nothing I wanted to make a whole quilt of.  Mostly I just seemed to have been producing inoffensive visual mush.  In the picture above though, I was drawn to those bigger areas of the fabric with the large blue pansy print (and yes, it was a shirt). Somehow they were interesting but restful at the same time and I need some calm amongst all that busyness.

So now I am adding those bits in on purpose, along with some darker blue bits the same shape.  Maybe that will create enough structure to keep me happy and if not, it feels like a start at least. I am also being very strict with my flowery bits and keep them surrounded by blue, rather than letting them run too much together.  Hmmm.  Whatever happens it looks like this quilt is not going to work the way I first expected.
Whatever made me think I could predict that anyway?

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Things are never simple but maybe they ought to be

So much for gathering momentum!  I have good excuses for my failure to blog, though not worth bothering you with, but I have at least been sewing.

Not that the sewing is straightforward.  It seems like a simple enough idea.  Take my existing butterfly blocks, toss in some florals and hey presto...

I even found an amazing shirt.  Can you believe that all these prints were combined in one garment?
I have played around with all sorts of variations on a theme.  I have made blocks that are more rectangular than these, I have made floral four-patches and some that are butterflies in florals.  I have a nice big pile of bits and pieces.

So what's the problem?  Well, in a nutshell, I have to figure out a way to make all those bits into something coherent and so far I haven't.  I have tried all sorts of arrangements but nothing is clicking yet.  Worse, I haven't tried anything yet that pleases me as much as the original blocks did on their own. I find myself wondering if I am just trying to be way too clever and the answer is to stop complicating things. Now there's something to mull over.  
I'm not going to let it beat me, but you might want to prepare for a series of posts detailing my failures!

Sunday 1 September 2019

End of summer catch up

Well that was the summer.  Already here the air smells of the coming winter, but I shall try to enjoy the autumn and not fret too much about the fact that in a month or two it will be unpleasantly cold and dark.

The last few weeks have not been entirely unproductive.  I learned from last year and packed myself a little kit to take on holiday, as a result of which I have another lighthouse ready to be backed.  
I have used a different bird fabric this time and opted for piecing in with other blues rather than using it in bigger chunks.  I like how this looks and it also makes the bird fabrics, of which I have limited stocks, stretch as far as possible.  
Since I came back I have also been trying to press on with the quilt currently in the hoop.  It's a bigger quilt than the last few I've done, so I can quilt and quilt and still not really seem much further on. as a result I'm finding it rather hard going but know there's nothing for it but to carry on. 

I am full of good resolutions about hitting the ground running this month, both with my sewing and blogging.  The last couple of years I have struggled to build momentum after the summer and I don't want to follow that pattern again.  Let's see how that goes!

In the meantime I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.