Monday, 15 August 2016

SL, SD progress report linky party

Quilty Habit

The "Star Light, Star Dark" QAL is being hosted by Jessica at Quilty Habit. The blocks are really large: the sawtooth stars in the photo below each measure 18.5" square.

When I posted this photo on Friday I got a lot of helpful comments both here and on Facebook. Thank you to all those who gave their advice.

on the design wall: each block measures one quarter of a square yard!

Suggestions ranged from the simple - move the position of dark purple back to between the other two dark blocks (from Jessica) (done immediately, but no photo!) - to the expensive - remake both blocks (hallo!). Gina suggested appliqué on the centre of the stars which would certainly liven up the dark purple, and someone else, (I think in the FB group, but I can't find the comment, sorry) suggested quilting the dark purple with contrasting thread to brighten it, and to pick out the shape of the star.

So Saturday morning: took loads of b/w photos to check the values of the remaining purple fabric; finished the small green stars, and made three purple; added the other green pieces and auditioned purple fabric to complete the blocks.

I won't bore you with all the photos, but this was the best I could manage. You would never believe that in the b/w photos the background to the light stars looked (marginally) lighter than the long "dark" strip. Marginally, it's true, but LIGHTER! That's it! All my other purple pieces are more mauve than purple, or too small for the job!

So off came the purple after much online searching for suitable purple fabric to fill the gaps

And on came the yellow:

I had lots of dark yellow pieces left from Allietare!, the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt last December, so that wasn't a problem, but in light yellow I had less choice. Finally I settled for this:

Really dismal photo late in the afternoon., even with a spotlight!
and by the time you read this I will probably have the yellow blocks sorted!

As for the purple blocks, when I measured the green blocks I realised this is going to finish at almost 50" square as it is here. In this house that's enough for a lap quilt, so the purple blocks could go onto the back. On the other hand when the fabric I ordered arrives, and is what I think it is (!!!) I may be able to finish them and make this full size!

This is still very much Work In Progress.

I'm linking up to:
Quilty Habit
so pop over there to see the amazing quilts other people are making.

Happy sewing


Friday, 12 August 2016

Star Light, Star Dark - large stars pieced

Quilty Habit

I'm quilting along with Jessica at Quilty Habit in making the Star Light, Star Dark quilt. I'm behind schedule as I got distracted by another project a couple of weeks ago!

However, my big stars are pieced, and the small stars are progressing, but no photos of them just yet.

top row: dark, light, dark; bottom row: light, dark, light - I'm not satisfied!
I don't like the way this is going; the dark purple is too dark, and the light purple resembles the other two dark stars in value. This is an exercise in contrast, so I've learnt my lesson! The problem shows up more clearly in the b/w photo:

Why, oh why didn't I see this before I started?

So that's my problem, but how can I remedy it? Does anyone out there have a suggestion?

Happy sewing


Crosscut mini finished

I took part in the Crosscut QAL hosted by Debbie of A Quilter's Table on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. I had actually finished last week, but due to modem problems I couldn't post on my blog.

I really enjoyed making this, so much so that one morning I was already sewing at 06:00hrs!
For more information on the technique and the QAL check Debbie's blog,  or Instagram, @aquilterstable.

Quilt statistics
23" x 23"
Fabric: from stash
Wadding: 100% cotton
Backing: IKEA "Numbers" curtain material (which I wouldn't use for a normal quilt, but this is a wall hanging)
Binding: 605 Dots by the Henley Studio for Makower
Quilted: on domestic machine with Aurifil 40 wt cotton, in off-white/cream (2309) and variegated orange (4657).

The latter didn't work so well as the long stretches of cream thread didn't contrast enough with the fabric or the other thread. Next time I'll check that variegated thread maintains enough contrast with the background fabric.

variegated thread starts orange just above the centre right and then peters out: in the same place twice!
I quilted with the walking foot in a wild irregular zig-zag pattern which is quite lost on this busy background fabric. However I used plain orange thread in the bobbin which is very much in evidence!

Live and learn!

I'm linking up to is more fun than Housework

so pop over there to see more finishes and scrappy fun.

Happy sewing


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Quilty 365 July progress and some improv

I started on 1 January so I should now have 213 appliqué circles for the Quilty 365 project hosted by Audrey at Quilty Folk. "Should have" because the aim is to appliqué a circle each day. July is all present and correct, well, nearly correct:

July: 30 of the 31 circles in chronological order, going down the columns from top left to bottom right
There was only one milestone circle this month: my DH and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. This is the only block with a white background, representing my dress, and a larger orange circle, representing my bouquet of orange lilies - 1970's remember!

Since taking the photo I've finished Saturday's and Sunday's (for the space bottom right) is prepared, but not yet sewn down.

and here's number 31
Unfortunately I haven't caught up with any more of June's blocks. I think that may just be a few lost weeks. I have, on the other hand started joining squares with the same background colour in twos as leaders and enders.

Not the same background fabric, but both red. The one on the right will be a transition block between reds

I don't think that will upset the final layout. If it does, then I see unpicking ahead!

The last few days have been entirely taken up by another project of a totally different order: the Cut Cross QAL to be found on Instagram @crosscutquiltalong (sorry I can't install Instagram on my computer otherwise I'd have made that a link) hosted by Debbie at A Quilter's Table . You can see loads of other projects there on Instagram, and you're not to late to join in.

Chopped Sticks

This is my version of the mini quilt (24"square), as it was a couple to days ago. It's now quilted with the binding almost completely sewn down. It has really been a fun project making a really easy mini quilt with an improv dimension.

Now to the binding and to make a start on August's circles!

I'm linking to:
Quilty Folk
so pop in there to see many more circles (and some non-circular appliqué) 
in various styles and colours.

Happy sewing


Monday, 1 August 2016

An improv WIP and something new


I was working on an improv quilt inspired by Piet Mondriaan's "Composition in Red Yellow and Blue" (of which he painted several). I posted about it here. However, eight weeks ago two grandchildren came to stay over the weekend and, as I sew in the guest bedroom, I had to pack everything away. I wasn't able to sew for a few weeks and only unpacked my sewing gear a couple of weeks ago. The RSC 16 blocks emerged, the Quilty 365 circles came into view, enough other WIPs/ UFOs appeared to make me feel guilty, but where was Mondriaan? Finally I stopped searching because it couldn't have gone far and was bound to turn up sometime, but not until I'd looked absolutely everywhere (I thought!). Then yesterday morning, lo and behold: Mondriaan!

I worked like crazy all morning and got to this:

Mondriaan, waarheen? / Where to Mondriaan?
Family comments went to the tune of: scrap the arrows; make the Mondriaan bit bigger! Groan, groan (from me). I am definitely not going to add more red, yellow and blue blocks to that centre panel, just an off-white frame. I don't want to add any more arrows and I think I'll just add white panels to fill the corners and the rest will be the quilting. (but that could change!) I don't know if the master would have approved of my "Composition in Red, Yellow and Blue".

Trying to recreate the master's painting from memory was so difficult. I absolutely did not want to look at his work again; this should be "inspired by", and not "copied from". Some of you will see how I went wrong, how I missed his point. Working from this inspiration has given me more insight, I think. I have always just seen the colours but now I think it's about balance; the balance between the colours themselves and their balance with all colour (white) and no colour (black). I made it improv, but the more I worked on it the more I came to the conclusion that Piet Mondriaan could well have been inspired by traditional quilts! It would have been much easier to have drawn it all out on graph paper first, and then cut to scale! But that's me: Why do it the easy way if you can do it the hard way?!

Anyway, during a pause from looking for Mr M., I was surfing the internet, and came across a few crosscut quilts in various stages of completion. It turned out that Debbie at A Quilter's Table held an improv QAL last week on Instagram. It looked easy enough, so I'm in! My start, nearly a week late, was delayed further, however, by the reappearance of Mr M.! (as described above)

Up at the crack of dawn this morning I started cutting

9 roughly 9.5" squares and a lot of contrasting 1" strips (day 1, aka this morning, stage 1)
 and stitching,

chain piecing the strips into the blocks (day 1, aka this morning, stage 2)
and trimming

Crosscut blocks trimmed and ready to sew together (day 2, aka this afternoon, stage 1)
and there I stopped, ready to sew the blocks together (day 2, stage 2).

In case you are wondering where the improv is in this, it's the next part! The fun will start tomorrow, or the headaches will! If you can't wait until I finish this tale in a few weeks' time, check out #crosscutquiltalong on Instagram. A lot of participants have already finished, including the binding! But for now I have blocks to sew together.

I'm linking to Kaya for
so nip over there to see more splendid improv quilts.

Happy sewing