Wednesday, 3 March 2021

I love a tulip

Hmm.  I have been itching to start  Ann's AHIQ quiltalong.  As regular readers of this blog may remember there are few things I love as much as a good tulip, so a tulip-y quilt felt right up my street. It is especially welcome since I have moved house since last spring.  I have already put some tulips into the new garden, but nowhere near enough.    

However, this has already presented me with a few challenges.  Not a bad thing, but maybe this wont' be quite the simple sew I thought.  First up, I wanted to use scraps, since the only properly scrap-based quilts I have made were both lego quilts (and much as I admire Julie's many variations on this theme, I'm not inclined to go there again).  Turns out my current way of quilting doesn't generate masses of scrap.  This is my entire collection

and there are quite a few bits in that box that are big enough for me to consider including them in a top, so they are not really scraps for this purpose.

Second up, I can't quite relinquish all control, so wanted some sort of limited palette to play around with.  Hmm again.

I almost put the scrap box away and started again.  In fact I pulled a lovely assortment of blue and purple shirts that would make an excellent starting point for a quilt.  Maybe they still will, but in the end I stuck with the scraps.

This is where I got to at the end of the first session. You can see that I have already had to start pushing at the edges of my limited colour range but they seem to hang together alright.  

Now for a few days of nice, straightforward sewing before I have to start mithering away again.

Friday, 26 February 2021

A finish

This feels a bit like cheating - posting a finished quilt without having shown any of the work that went into it, but that's the way it goes sometimes.  I started this some time last spring (again, no blogging means I don't have a proper record of dates), worked on it on and off, through homeschooling and house moving. Now it is done, and has gone off to its home so I can share.
I  started with the moons and a colour palette (rich greens and blues and a little bit of mustard yellow/gold) and the rest followed from that start.  There are several shirts and a big piece of dressmaking remnant in amongst the fabrics, some (I think) easier to spot than others.   In several cases I have used both sides of a fabric in different places; those are not so hard to find, on the whole. 
I had been mulling over various ideas for tops using very pointy little triangles for quite a long time, originally inspired by a CD cover that I liked  a lot, and it made me very happy when I realised that they would be a great match for the moons in this.  They are fiddly to make but I love the way they look.  In this quilt they look a bit like trees or mountains, I think, so that the whole thing has a feeling of landscape about it.  That wasn't something I planned, but it happened as I went along, which for me is how all the best stuff happens.
I used organic cotton wadding, which is my current preferred option, and quilted it with perle no. 8, in a variety of shades, mostly ones I already had.  The quilting comes out in concentric circles from each moon. 
The back is a combination of left-overs from the front and bits from stash.
It is bound with what I believe to be an Alison Glass sunprint, from stash, with a couple of little inserts that came from the quilt scraps.
This is my second finish of the year so I'm already ahead of the game.  Let's see if I can keep it up!

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Done circling for now

This one is done for now.  I added one last row and then one tiny column up the right-hand side.  It looks slightly lopsided in the photos because the child holding up the left hand side is taller than the one on the right, but the quilt itself is a little more regular.
I am really very happy with how this has turned out, so feel I have ticked the Positive Thinking box very nicely.  

I have also finished the unblogged quilt, which will be packed up and posted in a day or two, so hooray for finishes all round.  A brief pause, then on to the next one.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Not one, but two

One row, one column and so close to an end I can smell the finish line.  Only now it's half term, so we'll have to see how it goes next week.

I knew I wanted triangles across the top, so that bit was easy, but the strip that is with them was one I had already made specially for the bottom left corner.  I'll have to rethink that, I guess.

Then, although I don't need more width, I had to come back down the side.  I know, I know, it is my quilt and I could abandon the medallion at this point and just add across the bottom.  Only I've come this far...

so I've added just a wee narrow piece to get me back down to the bottom again.  Most of it is the same fabric that I used in the wee houses.  I'm very happy with how it looks; I much prefer it to finishing with the sharp yellow on the edge.  

I'm also nearing an end with my current quilting project.  It's not one I've blogged, which always feels odd, but I'm no more than a week off a total finish, with just a couple of days of quilting and then binding to go.  Like buses, my finishes are all coming at once.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

You name it, I tried it

 And up the right hand side I went.

This column took flipping ages.  I had houses at the top, birds at the bottom;houses at the top, birds in the middle; birds at the top, no houses; no birds and no houses; you name it, I tried it. This is what I settled for in the end.

Of course the irony is that any one of the other solutions would quite probably have looked fine if I had persisted with them.  I wonder what would happen if I just stuck with my first decision every time and didn't do all this tinkering.  Would it make much difference?  Maybe not, but tinkering is what I shall continue to do.

This is probably wide enough now, though not long enough yet, so I only have to add more columns if I fancy it.  More tinkering ahead, I guess.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Not rushing - or not much

Slow going now.  Lots of interruptions and more than a little downright indecisiveness. I am trying to stay with this quilt and not rush it just because I want to start something new.  And yes, I could start the next thing before this is done, but I have learned my lesson the hard way and will not be trying any multi-tasking.

Anyhow, I have added the bottom strip and have started trying to figure out the right hand side: one more column and then this will be at a width I'm happy with.  At least, for once, I am in no danger of running out of fabric.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Never say never again

Just when I was sure there would be no more birds, this happened.
I tried various other options but nothing was doing it for me, so I peddled back a bit and dug out the birds.  Since I have only a handful of them left but wanted this strip to be a good length, I have added in squares of the other pale fabric, which does pretty much the same job. 

I have a rough idea of where I need to go to finish this now, though you may well note that every round of this is providing a new challenge. Good exercise for the brain/creative muscles (that's what I am telling myself).  So much so that I might try another medallion some times soon.  For now, though I want to finish this and start making string blocks.  If you haven't already checked out the latest AHIQ challenge, do have a look, either by following the link or by visiting Ann's blog.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

What was that I said?

Did I say less fiddling than usual?  Ha! That'll teach me.  It's taken me several false starts and a whole week to do one little strip across the top of this that I am satisfied with.  

The first part - the mucky green with yellow inserts - came together in a pleasing, straightforward way but then I hit a bump in the quilty road.  My logical brain wanted to use a particular fabric.  It made sense.  I hadn't used it up at the top, it should have provided a neat contract with what went before.  Only it didn't.  In fact it didn't work at all.

Undeterred I made another strip using the same pale fabric but with a different partner.  That was no better.  So I had to admit I was wrong and go back to the drawing board.  

Eventually I came up with something better.

And yes, I know it's upside down here. Sometimes I find it helps me to look at something from a different angle.  

Here, for the sake of thoroughness, is what it looks like the other way round.
The foreshortening that I get from photographing work on the floor means this looks longer and skinnier than in real life, though it is emphatically a rectangle.  I think maybe one more round and it may be done. If I keep up the same pace that will take me to the end of February!

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Less fiddling than usual

I have realised that working in a medallion is a a slightly slower way of working than my usual approach, because you can't make a nice stack of bits and then fiddle about with them until they look pleasing.  Instead, it's much more one step at a time.  I'm not complaining, just making the observation.  

In this instance, I got all the way to the top of the right-hand side with literally no idea what I thought was going to work next across the top.  I stick bits of fabrics up there while I'm sewing and try to get a feel for which ones might look good, but that's an inexact approach, I can tell you! 

I think I will only need to go round a couple more times to get this to a good size, so I'm feeling pretty good at this point and definitely back in the swing of it.  Oh yes, and this quilt is now officially called Circling the Block - thanks for the suggestion, Paulette.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Circling the block

In the end I didn't add the strip of triangles I was considering last time at the bottom.  Instead I used the yellow/cream strip.  For some reason that I can't quite fathom, it is not pleasing my eye when I let too many of the Coins strips build up next to each other.  In previous, much more Coin-y quilts, this sort of juxtaposition has pleased me considerably, but now, not so much.  So I go with the flow and use a little bit of something plainer to break thinks up.
After that, I went all the way up the right hand side with just that little spotty brown strip.

Then across the top, where Coins looked okay...

and then another skinny strip down the left.  These very thin strips are my way of keeping to the spirit of the medallion without ending up with a square quilt.

I also considered going square until I achieved a good width and then adding an extra section across the bottom.  Maybe that's a plan for another time.

And then those triangles came back in. I like them much better now.

Around the edges you can see some of the options I am considering for the next columns/rows.  I'm not thinking very far ahead, because if I cut things I don't use it's a waste of fabric, though I'm not likely to run out on this one.  But working one step ahead of myself doesn't feel too much of a stretch most of the time.  The thing I am spending most of my time puzzling over is whether I want any more of the chunks with the birds and that sharp yellow-green colour.  In theory, I think I do, but so far it hasn't looked right when I've tried it.  This is definitely a case of trying to listen to the quilt and hoping it knows better than me.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Let's go round again

 I'm still ticking over.  The sewing, for various practical reasons, isn't proving too hard to fit in, though my laptop is in use for school almost all day, so the blogging is more of a challenge.  But look, I'm here and blogging so it's all good.

Actually I have spent more of my time in the last week reading the New York Times and the Washington Post than sewing, but that's another kettle of fish entirely.  Back here in the rural backwaters of the UK, I have indulged in a couple of partial seams, and added one vertical column on the left, one horizontal strip across the bottom.

Since I want this to be rectangular rather than square I am going to go again across the bottom before I head up the right-hand side.  Probably these triangles, though I'm not firmly decided yet. 

As an aside, I have also pieced a back and dug out enough wadding to start quilting the next top.  I'm just waiting for some threads.  Usually I work with what I have, but since I don't have any pastel shades I have had to order. Once they're there, I'm good to go.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Oops, we're locked down again...

No sooner do I get started than life conspires to make things tricky again. We are locked down and home schooling again.  I shall try very hard not to get derailed this time, though I guess, realistically, this will slow me down somewhat.  On the bright side, today I concentrated on quilting, since it is easy to pick up and put down repeatedly.  Also, I can talk/help with lessons and quilt at the same time.  Maybe this will be the year I finish all my WIPS.  Or even just a couple. That would be a pretty good outcome, I think.

I'm not giving up on the piecing just yet though.  On Monday, when it was still considered 'absolutely safe' for my kids to be at school, I added one column on the right hand side.

I have a pile of little houses, which I thought might go across the top, but I don't like them as much next to each other as I do in vertical strips, so now I'm playing with other options.

If I still like this next time, I'll sew the bits together.  

I'm also starting to ponder my scraps, in preparation for Ann's AHIQ QAL.  I have never (no, never) participated in one of these before, since doing what I am told isn't really my quilty thing. But I do love a nice string block and I know it will be okay to veer off piste if that's what I want, so I'm looking forward to it.

Even if I can't find opportunities to piece, I can definitely sneak in a moment or two to root around in the scrap boxes.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Starting as I mean to go on

I sneaked this out of the box for just a couple of hours, but long enough to add a column down the left-hand side and a wee strip across the bottom.