Friday 31 March 2023

Ifs and buts

Back to the current piecing.  I have spent a lot of time staring at the floor and shuffling things about but progress is slow and I am not necessarily moving in a straight line.  In fact, sometimes I am going backwards.

I have realised that what both fascinates me and frustrates me about all these circles and ovals that I've been playing with recently is that a circle is a closed shape.  Four quarters makes a whole, but there it ends.  This can be pleasing but it can also make for shapes that feel quite static; the trick is in trying to find a way for them to interact with each other.  If you don't get it right, it feels a bit like a room full of children all glaring at each other from opposite corners but refusing to play.

I tried adding in extra elements: the green strip on the left and the dark piece (actually a black and brown check) with tiny triangles.  
Nearly works but the green just felt a bit off, so I unpicked and tried again.
Better, I think.

I am thinking I might run the ovals diagonally, like this.

Already, given the size of my curves, I am wondering what I might do when I run out of bigger pieces of fabric.  No conclusions as yet and not much actual sewing things together, just a lot of ifs and buts.  

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Brief pause for a finish

It's always nice to step away from tricky piecing for a moment or two and remind yourself why it is that you bothered in the first place.  

This quilt was made in the summer 2021, as my attempt at the AHIQ Symmetry/Asymmetry prompt.  As regular readers may have spotted, I am mostly, if not entirely unsymmetrical in my approach to quilting, so I took up the challenge of working in a way that felt comfortable but still produced something broadly symmetrical. 

Turned out, this wasn't as uncomfortable a process as I anticipated, though I did have to take myself in hand once or twice. The medallion layout helped a lot, I think, and I sneaked a few little twists in to keep myself happy.  
When I finished the piecing I liked this well enough, but it has turned out to be one of those quilts where the quilting makes all the difference, because now I love it.  The colours are maybe a bit prettier and softer than I would normally go for and there's a lot of flowery stuff going on, but the prettiest, softest, floweriest bits are all from shirts and somehow feel just right. The non-shirt contributions come from a very old Oakshott cotton, which I used for the dark teal strips and some dress-making scraps (the glazed cotton right at the top and bottom).

I decided to quilt triangles shapes right along every strip, echoing the pieced geese.  There were moments (see those little skinny blue strips) when I wondered why I ever thought that was a good idea, but I stuck with it and by the end was jolly pleased that I had.  They don't photograph well, but all those outline geese have added a whole extra layer of movement and texture.
I started piecing this in July 2021, though the central section came from this quilt top, made in 2019.  Finished piecing 9th September 2021.  I started quilting in July 2022.  That seems a long time ago, but I have two quilts on the go and this was the back-up quilt for a while rather than my main focus, so I'm okay with that.  
It was quilted with perle no 8 and the wadding is organic cotton.  The binding is from a bundle of organic fabrics my kids gave me - only 1/4 metre cuts, so I used two different prints, but I like how that looks.

Feels good.  But now I have to stop patting myself on the back and get back to puzzling out my current project.

Thursday 16 March 2023

Changing my mind

I don't have a lot to show.  Indeed I don't have much to say for myself, but am still struggling with rhythm, so here I am posting regardless.  I am still playing.  My bits could be tulips.

but I think probably not this time.  So I made this.
But then I unpicked it.  I like these shapes a lot but need to figure out how to use them in a way that feels like me.

Now the teachers are on strike so school is closed and I have a load of work.  Maybe next week will bring clarity.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Still cutting curves

I had a notion that I might be making hourglass units or maybe pinwheels.  Both feel like itches I want to scratch at the moment.  But it turns out I am still cutting curves.  This time they are more like a quarter-oval shape than the loosely quarter circle-y things I did for the last couple of  quilts.  I tend to start by cutting a sleeve off a shirt I am planning to use.  It feels less drastic somehow than chopping straight into a front or back piece: if I change my mind, I still have plenty of fabric left to try in something else.  This time, I opened up a short sleeve and realised that if I cut it in half from shoulder to cuff, I pretty much got this curved piece and that seemed as good a place to start as any.  

I made a few bits.
and I quite liked them, so I kept going.

Now I have a small pile and I am starting to play.  They can make ovals
or, like this, they look like leaves, so maybe I'm making giant flowers.
It's not time for any decisions yet, but these are biggish, for me, so I won't make many more before I start thinking about where I am going.  Nice to have options, though.

Wednesday 1 March 2023

New month, new quilt

 March already!  I feel like there's no time to waste, an almost palpable sense that life is pushing me to quilt.  I guess have extended periods when that has been hard is making want to make the most of quilting time when/while I have it.  So, I have two quilts in hoops: one nearly done, the other not so much.  I also have two more, with backs made, just waiting for basting.  

I also have a new pile of shirts, and a slightly new approach.  I have thought a number of times that I would like to try and start quilts with a bundle of shirts all bought on the same day and in the same place.  I have done this once before (as the result of a happy accident rather than by deliberate choice) and it's a notion that tickles me, so I'm going to give it a go for a while.  I have a couple of suitcases full of shirts, so my theory is that I will find around 5 shirts that work well together in a charity shop, then go home and see what else I have that I think will sit comfortably with them.  I'm not going to overthink the initial stage, but it's amazing how often I see groups that I think have promise, so it should work out alright.  

Here's my first go.  I bought these shirts at the British Heart Foundation shop in Loughborough last Friday.
When I got back I dug out some more shirts, and one length of organic quilting cotton.
This is what they look like together.
This feels like the starting of something to me, so off we go again.