Friday 28 May 2021

Here I go again

A week of quiet quilting and I am ready to go again.  I wanted a week of gardening but it has been wet, wet, wet, so instead I quilted.  I currently have two quilts, in two hoops, in two different places.  Neither is far off being finished, so it has been time well spent.  When my hands needed a break I made piles of shirts and shuffled them about.  This is the one I have decided to use now. 

This is just shirts.  My usual practice is to pull some fabrics from stash to go with them, but I don't normally have quite so many shirts in my initial pile.  There are ten here, so I am going to start with just these and see how it goes.  When I get stuck or feel that the quilt needs something else, I can head to my boxes for help.

Interestingly, after all these years of only buying organic quilting fabric, my stash is much smaller than it was.  This hasn't been a deliberate policy, but obviously the choices are much more limited.  My shirt stash, on the other hand is now quite substantial!

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Tulip Mania, done for now

 And just like that, I am calling this one done.  I spent a fruitless but relatively enjoyable morning yesterday shuffling my bits around, trying different placings for my tulips and trying to figure out how to fill the gaps that result from staggering the square blocks. In the end nothing I did had a significant impact so I just got on and sewed my blocks together.  

I am happier with how this has ended up than I expected to be.  One of the things I have learnt from this is that asymmetry definitely pleases me more than symmetry, so I started liking it more as soon as I figured out ways to break the pattern up a bit.  I like that the string centres are not exactly in the middle of their blue surrounds, so that they dance around rather than lining up neatly and I like that the little strips disrupt the lines of blue.  Mind you, I also really like that central block of tulips, so I guess, as always, that it all comes down to balance.  

Thursday 13 May 2021

Old-fashioned progress post

I had a happy moment this week when I discovered I had more tulip blocks than I had realised.  I had been unpicking upstairs because there was someone working on my fireplace downstairs.  When he finished I moved back down but left said tulips behind.  I think they may just be enough to get me over the line on this without having to sew any more blocks.  That would be a bit of a result. 

Here are two versions I have been playing around with.  I have been struggling with the symmetrical nature of this piece and trying to come up with a way to disrupt that a bit.  This photo is me wondering if I could add something - either one fabric or something pieced into the mix.  So far I haven't found anything that would work and if a fabric doesn't present itself this is rather dead end.
In the second picture I am just trying to use the extra tulips to move the eye around.  I think this may work out better.

Either way, I think this is not going to get much larger; I'm not going to keep going just for the sake of it and even if I haven't settled exactly on a final version, it rather feels like there's not far to go now.

Sunday 9 May 2021

Considering my options.

I am considering my options, but thankfully not in that "where's the seam ripper" way; more just not wanting to commit until I'm sure.  There is a temptation for me to be so glad this is working better than the first layout that I just sew it all together to try and get to a finish as fast as possible.  Instead I am taking a deep breath and trying to give my quilting brain space to do its thing.  Also, as so often, I can see that I won't have enough of the very dark blue fabric to just keep going like this, so I need to build that into my ponderings.

First up, the thought came to me as I got out of bed that I could reverse the two blue fabrics, stripe next to the strings, darker one on the outside.  Like this.

I like the variation and on a practical level it is using more of the fabric that I have more of.

Next up, those tulips...hmm.  They look okay sitting on the edge (last pic, previous post), but are they blowing my socks off?  Nope.  In fact they aren't really drawing my eye at all.  So maybe if I mass them together, like this, they will be happier.
This seems more effective but in turn produces things to consider.  For instance, if I offset the next round of blocks, I am going to end up with gaps to fill, so the question is "with what?"  Ann's comment last time has made me aware that I don't need to offset both vertically and horizontally, so next time these blocks are out I am going to have a play with that idea.  In the meantime, this is what it would look like if I just kept going.
The little strips of strings aren't working for me here, but it was an idea worth trying.  I have a few tulips half-made, that I thought wouldn't be needed but I am reconsidering.  It won't take long to complete them and it is starting to look like the more of them I use, the better.  Also, it will help me to counter the shrinking pile of dark blue.

Wednesday 5 May 2021


I am still pretty happy with how my revamped string blocks are going.  Mostly I am occupied with cutting up the originals and adding dark blue edges.  I am doing all this by eye, so the coloured bits are not exactly centred in the blue and no two are exactly the same.  I kind of like that they don't sit in neat lines.   

 I am also taking a bit of time to play around.  I like the blocks offset
I wonder about adding some of the little quarter blocks from my strings...
and maybe a tulip or two.
I need to try this out over a bigger area to see if it really works but at least it feels like I am heading in a more sensible direction now.  

Sunday 2 May 2021

Take 2

I have gone right back, almost to before where I started, if such a thing is possible.  I had in my mind's eye a half-remembered image of tiny bits of colour surrounded by something dark.  I wondered if I could use my string blocks to constitute these little bits of colour.  So, you guessed it, out came the rotary cutter again.  I cut a few little squares (a quarter the size of the original strings).  The original intention was to use each one on its own, but as I played around I wondered about reforming the Os that I had in my first attempt.  Like this.
I have log cabined around these centres, to bring them back up, roughly speaking to 10.5 inches.  The dark blue/black fabric was nearly a pair of trousers about 2 years ago, but the pattern, which had looked fine on paper, was very odd sewn up so they never got finished.  These pieces have been lurking around ever since.  It is very lovely in the flesh, but is, I think, a linen and cotton mix, so slightly unruly to handle.  Never mind.  

I liked these, so I made a few more.
And then a few more.

Very crease-y but otherwise okay.  This isn't a layout, of course, just a bunch of bits arranged for a photo; I will play around once I've got a few more under my belt.  I am getting 4 little bits from each of my original string blocks, so almost nothing is going to waste and hopefully this version will work better than the first, otherwise I will end up working with postage stamp-sized pieces.  ]

Will my tulips work with what I have here?  I have no idea yet and haven't wanted to jump the gun by trying them out.  For now I'm just concentrating on one thing at a time.