Saturday 31 December 2022

Still going...

And still in the early stages where I'm making little units and shuffling about but without a clear path in mind.  It's kind of fun though, and these bits have been making me feel decidedly festive.

I've added in some points here and there, just because I can
and am starting to get a feel for how these fabrics are working together.
These units are much smaller than the ones I started with in my previous quilt, maybe the smallest pieces are around 5 or 6 inches.  I'm hoping that this help me to go curvy without so many headaches getting the pieces I want out of my shirts.  Fingers crossed.
2022 has been my least productive year ever, both in blogging and quilting terms.  I have a quilt just finished that I will photograph when I get a chance, but that brings my grand total to 3.  I am hoping 2023 will be better, though I guess I'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, a very happy New Year to one and all.

Saturday 24 December 2022

I said I wasn't stopping and I meant it.

Normally things would stop for a bit over Christmas but this time I am still going.  I have pulled a new group of shirts
and gone back to the beginning.  I tried several different combinations before I chose this pile.  One or two were tempting but I didn't think I had quite enough shirts; a couple more were really just about me wanting to use something particular and so trying to force a grouping that wasn't going to work.  This combination of blue, red and ochre seemed a bit muted but I kept coming back to it. 

Despite my complaints during the previous make about the problems curved piecing can create, I clearly don't feel I'm quite done with the curves because this is what happened when I started cutting.
I've made a good few of these now and am starting to shuffle them about.  It's still very early days so the shuffling is more by way of settling in than formulating a plan, but it's all progress.

Monday 19 December 2022

Done for now

The last column down the right-hand side has gone on and this one is done.  Now it gets to join the waiting-for-quilting pile.   
Sadly it has been alternately way too cold and then way too wet for me to try an outside, washing line photo, so the floor will have to do. Never mind, I think this shot pretty much does the job.  I was right down to my last scraps of dark blue by the time I finished piecing.  I do still have or two checked bits still and could have found a way to use those if I had needed them, but I was pleased I didn't have to go back to figuring out.  Using all the scraps left from cutting curves has made this a slightly fiddly piece to work on, but the hourglasses felt like an elegant solution and, happily they sit well with the rest of the quilt.   The finished piece is (approx) 70 inches long, 60-something inches wide.

I'm off now to the next project.  No stopping for Christmas, since I've only just got properly started again, but I guess the piecing will be happening in fits and starts for the next couple of weeks. If you are taking a break, I hope it is a happy, peaceful time for you.

NB This was made in response to the AHIQ prompt set by Ann in July

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Wider and wider

Well now.  I finished making my square corners into something more curvy, except for that top left one.  That has a dark blue piece that I was trying out sitting on top of it, but in the end I decided to leave it be.
I worked my way down that left-hand side and then made another set of mis-matched circles to run down the right-hand side.

Hold on just a minute.  I realised I was making my quilt wider and wider, knowing all the time I wouldn't have enough fabric to add anything like the same amount to the length.  I'm sure a really short, fat quilt would have a use, but it's not really what I aim for.  The solution was easy enough: I turned the whole thing through 90 degrees so now those sides are the top and bottom.  Then all I had to do was figure out a slimmed down panel to go on the sides.  
I used a single row of quarter circle blocks and went back to that little piece with the hourglass that I was playing around with earlier.  Of course I didn't have enough of the dark blue/black floral so used what I had left of the other dark blues as well.

I'm pretty pleased with this solution so now all I need to do is piece a run down the other side and bob's your uncle.

Tuesday 6 December 2022

A post for Mean Jean

Jean, who is a no reply commenter, left a comment on the subject of trying a free-style wedding ring quilt that I thought I would answer with a post.

In general terms, I would say go for it.  I have thought a couple of times that I would try something similar, but my quilts seem to have minds of their own and that isn't where I have ended up.  If it doesn't quite come off, then take what you have and figure out how to get something you like - this can be fun too.

My big central blocks are much bigger than I would normally work and come in at around 12" square.  The smaller quarter circles are only about 6" or 7" (and some of them are more rectangular than square).  Their size was dictated mostly by the size of the bigger scraps I created cutting the largest curves. I reckon you could get two, maybe three large curves from a shirt, but there wouldn't be much left.   

I think it would be entirely feasible to make a wedding ring/pickle dish style quilt with shirts.  Here are some of the ways that I get around having limited amounts of each fabric.

1) Use every last scrap.  I piece the smallest pieces back together as often as is feasible.  I have also been known to unpick cuffs, to include button plackets, even, on occasion to salvage tiny pieces from the collars.  Some of these are easier to do than others, but it's surprising how far you can stretch a shirt. 

2) If I have two similar shirts, I will patch them together and then cut into them again.  Sometimes I even do this with two wildly different fabrics.  If there are tiny pieces that don't match, I don't think of that as a bad thing, though I will try to repeat a combination if I can.

3) If I want to cut big pieces, I sometimes ignore things like side seams or pockets.  I get away with this because I hand quilt though; I'm not sure how it would work for a machine quilter.

4) Sometimes I can find something in what is left of my stash of quilting cottons that works as an acceptable substitute

5) Occasionally I head back out to the charity shops (goodwill) and search for an extra shirt.  I don't take swatches or try to match, just scan the racks until something jumps out at me.  It won't be perfect, but most of the time I end up with something that fits in just fine.

6) This isn't for everyone but I have been known to use a garment that one of us has been wearing (this is a secret I haven't shared with my family and they haven't noticed yet)

7) Keep going until you run out of something and then stop.

In a nutshell, then, what I'm saying is that there is always a solution to a shortage of fabric and figuring it out can be an oddly enjoyable part of the creative process.