Monday, June 28, 2010

Some thoughts - mine and others

So, no quilting or sewing today, but I wanted to share a link to a blog entry I read recently over on Sandra's blog - it is about, in part, not feeling guilty for the time taken to create and/or do other things for yourself, though it covers more than simply that. It's a lovely, thought-provoking read, and I do recommend it.

As those who know me either in person or through reading my blog will know, I am a big proponent of carving out some space to fulfil your own artistic needs, and doing so without guilt, so a lot of what Sandra had to say rang true with me, despite differences in background and life experience.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Too much fabric

I have come to the conclusion that I have too much fabric. Or rather, not precisely that, as it's not the total amount of fabric I have that bothers me, but that I have too many bits and pieces of fabric which are unlikely ever to be used.

Where did these come from? I have considered the possibility that they simply breed in my stash boxes, but actually, most of them I remember acquiring - a few have been gifts, a few are leftovers from things purchased for a specific project, a few are FQs acquired as part of a set of FQs where most of them fit in nicely to my stash but a few, not so much (I have in the past belonged to several FQ clubs - and there have been months where you get 7 FQs you like and one where you wonder what the designer was thinking...)

Some came from my early days of purchasing quilting fabric, when I bought a lot of the kind of thing I'm not likely to use now - not so much because my taste has changed (though it has a bit) but because even in the 10 years since I've been a serious quilter, fabrics have changed a lot and a lot more non-traditional fabrics are available. But also, when you are a new quilter, you don't always know what kind of fabric will work best in your stash... And, I confess, a few are just cases of "why on earth did I buy THAT?"

I'm not proposing to de-stash - not at all - a lot of things I have which I might not use as the feature fabric for a project are actually very useful for block lotto, small projects, swaps, round robins, challenges, etc. But there are some I just know I'm not going to make good use of, so I've decided I'm going to make half a dozen (or so) easy-pieced quilt tops over the next year (or so) and try to get rid of a few of these fabrics which annoy me when I am going through my colour boxes, looking for stuff for projects. I will then donate these tops to charity, so I'll get to feel good on two counts. :) I'll probably offer them up through my blog, so if you make quilts for your favourite charity - watch this space.

Anyway, today's work (well, the part I can show - I did some block lotto blocks as well, but they are for the July sneak peek, so I can't show them until Thursday (ack - it's July on Thursday - does this freak other people out as well, or just me?)) was to make up a set of these blocks. I started with two fabrics I knew I'd be unlikely to use for things - the pink (which is almost red and very strong, and hard to use) and the purple (like it in principle, just been hard to find a use for) and found a few other things to go with them - a strip of yellow flamingos and palm trees (but not enough, so added another yellow as well) and a green tonal, which I'm sure I could have used elsewhere as well, but which went. Made some 4 patches, then framed them with the offcuts of two neutrals, both of which are leftover from quilt backings and hey presto - 12 x 11" blocks, which I will sew together soon's a quilt top.

It's a bit dark in the photo, but actually, the blocks look quite nice and the framing keeps them from being too overpowering, despite several strong fabrics. And even if it doesn't make much of a dent in the stash, at least it will make me feel better not to see the questionable fabrics in my colour boxes every time I look through them!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Having now finished all my committments on other people's round robin quilts, I have had a good long look at mine, and it's great. I am very happy with everyone's choices for this quilt and I think it accomplishes the main aim of a round robin well - to have something which I like (because I got to choose the style of the starter) without being like what I'd make if I were doing it all myself - for instance, I probably wouldn't have chosen to add a cat because I tend not to think of cats (but it suits it beautifully); I'm not great at hand applique, so I wouldn't have put a gorgeous flower like that on; I certainly wouldn't have hand quilted it because again, not my strength! though it's a lovely choice for this quilt.

My starting block was the paper pieced flower in the top left, and looking back, I think it was a really good choice of fabrics, as the addition of black and white fabrics has carried on through the quilt and kept it from being too bright for my taste. Overall, it's a nice mix of colours and fabrics and I'm very pleased.

For those of you interested in my Stay-at-home Robin, I'll be posting the first month's instruction next week - we are starting in July! It won't be a big piece (something like 4x4", though I can't remember off the top of my head what I decided to start with) but of course, you can still make it quite complicated, if you like - the joy of this is, it's all up to you...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Winter Round Robin

Here's another of the little round robins - I think this is my favourite so far - of course, it's all in my kind of winter colours...

This came to me as a completed top, onto which I was to embroider words and/or add another applique. I did both -I appliqued the little silver snowflakes on dark blue backgrounds and embroidered a quote, which reads:

"his soul swooned slowly... he heard the snow...

...falling faintly through the universe...

...and faintly falling..."

This is from James Joyce's Dubliners - it's the last line of the last story (The Dead) and is one of my favourite closing/opening lines in literature. The line finishes (which seemed less appropriate for this quilt) " the descent of their last end, upon the living and the dead." In fact, the whole last paragraph is lovely. [Here's a place online with the last few paragraphs of the story...] Indeed, the whole story - if you never read any other James Joyce (which I can understand happening), this one is still well worth it. Or watch the John Huston film.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Storm at Sea Round Robin

Here's another finished Round Robin - this is Swooze's, and she'd had a bit of a stormy year, so she chose to have her quilt portray that - with the piecing representing the storminess and the embellishing, applique, etc representing coming out the other side and things improving. I think it's a lovely quilt, one of my favourites so far (though there's at least one more I've seen I like even better - a winter one). I had this one quite near the end - all of the piecing was done and the large butterfly was appliqued on. My task was to embroider something, so I added a quote and some snowflakes and flowers.

The quote is from Albert Camus and reads "In the midst of winter, I found within me an invincible summer."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Around the world quilting bee

Here's another block for the ATWQB - this quilt started with a block with teapot themed fabric, so a teacup is a natural addition. I sort of wish, in retrospect, that I'd done this block the other way around with the light fabric for the cup and blue for the border, but still, it's not bad and it will go nicely with all the other blocks already made for this quilt...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Round Robin

This one is Margaret's piece - she chose - obviously - a patriotic theme, and made the pieced flag as her starting block. I don't have a lot of patriotic fabrics (or any), so I made the red, white and blue flying geese.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Scrappy Baskets

Here are two baskets for the Block Lotto for June - both do actually have yellow backgrounds, but the left is a quite dark goldy yellow and the right is much paler. The baskets are free-form and require only the yellow backgrounds, red handles and bases and a scrappy central main basket part. They are good fun and I am hoping to make some more before the end of the month, but who knows - it's going to be a busy next few weeks, so I might not get around to it...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Brown triangle ATCs

Some ATCs today - mixed media - background is paper & fabric (the brown), then added sequins, charms, paper flowers, self-adhesive jewels, and stitching (though not in that order). Now I just need to get some of these off in the post to the June birthday girls in the ATC swap...

Friday, June 11, 2010

What I can show...

is this lovely package of goodies I got the other day from Lisa, as a thank you for some things I sent her. Moda charm packs, here I come! Actually I have too much stuff to work on to do anything with them for the time being, but perhaps someday.

What I can't show is the work I did today, which wasn't a huge amount, but is something which I don't want to show before it's acheived its purpose (ALQS4 work) - once the swap is over, I'll show for sure!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More bloggy robins

Here's a few more of the blogger round robins - this is the applique I did on Julie's oriental quilt - and here's the finished quilt...

This paper pieced boat and lighthouse is what I did for Toni's quilt - this is a 4x5" rectangle, and it was only the second thing on the quilt - the first being the flip flops - so this was one of the ones I was most interested to see the progress on. And didn't it turn out nicely?

And this one is Amy's piece - I don't seem to have a photo of my contribution, which is the paper-pieced duck at the top and the squares next to it. The cute baby is hers, of course, and was the starting piece.

I've had lots of potential interest in the stay at home robin idea - which is great. I think it will be a lot of fun, and I'm glad there will be other people working on projects which I can watch the progress on! I've worked out instructions for two different sizes - 15x15" and 16x18" - haven't decided which one I'm going to do yet, but either way around, it shouldn't be too much work over the course of a year!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Stay-at-home Robin

I've had a couple of comments about my idea for doing a stay-at-home round robin, so I thought I'd post with my idea in a little more detail.

Here's what I plan to do: I am going to use the idea of the small-size wallhanging round robin that I've participated in over the last 15 months to do a add-a-bit project which will be like a round robin in some ways (you add a specified size piece in each round once a month or so) and not like a round robin in others (you keep your piece at home and only you work on it).

However, I'm not going to use the precise size from this round robin which I've done because a)it's not my original idea, b)I want to make a slightly different sized piece anyway and c) I'd like to fit it into a 12 month timeframe, rather than 15.

So, what I'm going to do is draw up the stages to fit my new size and timelength, and then start with July as the first month. I will publish the "instructions" for each month when I get to the month in question, and anyone who wants to follow along at home on their own is more than welcome to - I'll link back to anyone I know is following - but it's not official - it's totally up to you if you want to play or not. I'll probably devote a tab at the top of my blog page to the project.

If you want to play along, great. Barbara asked about collecting fabrics - the size I am envisaging is somewhere under 20 inches square, so I'm not sure how much collecting will be necessary, but I'm certainly not the type of girl to discourage anyone from buying fabric!

Anyway. Those are my ideas and I think it will be fun - even if no one else wants to join in I still plan to carry through and have a nice quilt at the end, with hopefuly, not much stress.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Bloggy Round Robins

During the past year and a half, I've been taking part in a round robin of quilting bloggers - just a small wallhanging size project, and each month, it arrives and you have to add a specific size piece or complete a step like "applique something". I've not been able to show them, though, as they've been being kept secret. Well, now they are beginning to filter their way home, so as the finished photos come through, I can share them (and of course, what work I did on them).

This piece above was the starting block for Debbie's quilt - the piece she made.

This is how the piece looked when it left me - I added the bottom row - a pieced pineapple type block and an unpieced piece of gridded batik fabric (not all additions needed to be pieced, as there would be applique and other embellishments added later).

And here is the finished piece. See how it got turned upside down at some point? Doesn't matter, though, it still works!

This piece, which is Jan's, I only have the photo of the finished item - can't find a photo of my step of it (computer died between then and now, so it might be lost because of that - or I might simply have forgotten to take one!). However, what I did was add what is now the top row - not sure if it was at the time or not - the three nine-patch blocks and the unpieced piece of floral fabric at top left.

And this piece, which is Nancy's (which she is going to bind herself, but hasn't yet done), came to me quite each on in the process - what I added was only the third step - and is the three shoo-fly blocks which are sort of in the middle row. When I got the piece it was only the monkey wrench block and the cool retro fabric square with the brown background. It's so interesting to see how these have changed along the way. I'll be sharing more as they come home to their owners.

The ladies involved have decided not to do another round of this round robin, which is fair enough, but I think I might carry on with it as an independent project myself once these are all finished - the steps are very small, even at the end, when you get somewhat larger ones like "quilt the top" - as the whole piece is only 13x18. I might not start until September, as I will be away for all of August - then again, I might start in July, as the August step would only be a 4x5 block. If I do, perhaps some of you would like to follow along at home as well - I think it would be a fairly painless way to make a nice wallhanging...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Lots of log cabins...

Worked today on some more log cabin blocks for that swap, which will be later this year - I now have 20 blocks, so however many people sign up for the swap, I should have enough to send - and enough to keep so that when I get mine back I can (in theory) make up a top more or less straight away. I have actually depleted my selection of hand-dye scraps fairly thoroughly, which is great. The only ones left are quite small scraps, which I'm sure I can use for something, someday...

I also made this sort-of log cabin block to go with Maria's blocks for the Around the World Quilt Bee - I haven't had a mailing of this in a while, as there had been a few hold-ups along the line, but finally got two in the post last week, and have now made a block for one of them. The other will come next week - it has a teapot/teacup/teatime theme, so I know more or less what I want to do for it, but I thought it would take longer, so I've done this one first.

...and here are all of the blocks for Maria's quilt together - there are a lot of stars in the recent months, but I went back to the earlier blocks for inspiration - anyway, I was in log cabin mode...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Beach Huts

I mentioned a few days ago that I had started a new cross-stitch - here it is - some very summery beach huts. Not making bad progress, really - we'll see how it goes. Perhaps I'll manage to get it finished sometime in summer.

I did lots of other sewing today - worked on the wonky log cabin blocks - but I haven't taken a photo yet, as I will probably work on them again tomorrow. I also have two blocks to do for the Around the World Quilt Bee - I haven't had a mailing in ages, but did finally get one and will do my best to get at least one block done within the next few days, and mailed along. I had intended to do it today, but as my entire workspace was covered in the scraps and blocks for the wonky log cabins, I thought I'd try to get those finished up and out of the way first. But as I have some time in the mornings next week, I should be able to get to it soon, regardless.