Saturday, 19 August 2017

Neutral basket in the making


Neutral is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for August. I didn't think I had enough neutral fabric for a basket, and I didn't! Not strictly neutral, at any rate. Some of these look decidedly brown, but are a mix of beige and grey, and some are ecru and grey.


I deliberately avoided any other colours, even though I have a lot of "neutral" with some other colours left from making Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts. By her definition "neutral fabric" can have other colours in it, as long as they amount to less than 50%. This does give a more dynamic effect than solid white as here below where the neutral features orange hens, brown sewing notions, red lines, multi coloured polka dots and ecru buttons.

Allietare!
So my neutral bag will have some other darker shades in it, I could say for effect, but in fact without them I wouldn't have a neutral bag at all!

I'm linking up to 
SoScrappy

so hop over there and see more neutral projects.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Catching up with green and yellow

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) Angela at Soscrappy sets a different colour every month and for several years I've tried to make something in each month's colour. May's colour was green and June's was yellow. Here are my green and yellow scraps. Very late!

scrap baskets: pattern by Fiona at BubzRugz
When my laptop packed up in April this year salvaging what I could from it took a lot of time; time that otherwise would have been spent sewing. Instead of interesting sewing I was moving files to an extension drive or to the recycle bin. How boring! One thing that initially couldn't be salvaged was my camera software; officially it has to be reinstalled from the CD. An impossible task if your laptop doesn't have a CD drive! Fortunately my husband found a way of extracting the software from the old computer, but that was the last he did before wiping the laptop clean towards the end of July. So now I'm able to post my rainbow progress, such as it is.

Now I am no longer struggling with software and data I have time for sewing again and am now only two months behind with the RSC colours! I have no more Jacob's Ladder blocks to show, and no more wonky stars; to be honest I've been using scraps faster than generating them. I think those will have to wait until I've made more projects, but first I have more quilting to do

On Saturday I'm linking up to
grab button for SoScrappy

and on Sunday to
Quilting is more fun than Housework

Click on the buttons to visit there and see lots more beautiful scrappiness.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Allietare! finished, at last



I have a second finish to report this week. This one was really a UFO, as it was the Quiltville mystery from December 2015 of which I finished the piecing well over a year ago. It took me another six months to get the borders done.



After my frustration while quilting Star Light, Star Dark I decided on simple all-over "circles-on-a-string" in the centre section which was so easy (but still with the odd pointed bit in a circle here or there!) and on a vine with leaves and bunches of grapes in the corners (a nod to Chianti here) for the outer border.



I could have used any colour thread on the border but because my quilting often has those erratic hooks in it I decided to match the thread to the border fabric. Have you ever tried sewing black on black? Well mistakes certainly wouldn't have been noticeable; when I finished the first leaf I couldn't see where it had begun. When you sew white on white the stitches have shadows; you can't see the shadows on black. It's a shame about the Chianti but it was not to be! More unpicking, and then I quilted "tramlines" with the walking foot - easy and .... boring!

Tramlines! Alas no Chianti!
I was really happy to have this finished and ready to be used this winter.

Fabric: assorted from stash, mostly scraps
Thread: Aurifil light grey (
Wadding: cotton from my LQS
Size 1.75m x 1.75m

I'm linking up to
https://kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.nl/2017/08/tgiff-august-4th.html?showComment=1501868172935#c6122758149277913040 
So pop over there and see what else has been finished this week.

Happy sewing

Marly.



Star Light, Star Dark finished





This is my variation of Star Light, Star Dark from the QAL at Quilty Habit last summer.  The challenge was to use only three colours, six or seven fabrics in light tones and six or seven in dark.
I finished the piecing quite quickly, but when I got to that point I still hadn't decided on the quilting designs. The only thing I was clear about was that it needed doing in two halves to be joined later. (On 1 October last year I showed this in more detail)

I started with the dark half and tried to use a different quilting motif in each section. Each section has six or seven different fabrics and I wanted to use a different motif on each.

The centre star (yellow) was done with the walking foot, and having only half a quilt to turn the whole time was a Godsend.
square stippling in the big star; dot-to-dot from Angels Walters surrounding it; orange peel shapes in the centre of the friendship star; stippling surrounding it; baptist fan centre right; vine with leaves top left
The green section went OK too, though admittedly with a few wobbles. Then I tried doing feathers in the large dark purple star. What a disaster! I just can't backtrack, so there was such a build up of thread along the spine of the feathers I thought, "this bird would never get off the ground!"

Then I decided that there was only one thing for it - unpicking all the feathers - which took me every evening for a week. Then I tried swirls, after all I would only have to follow the motif of the print. No! What a mess! Fortunately this time I decided after just a couple of minutes that it had to go. Out it all came! Totally disheartened by my failures in the dark half of the quilt I moved onto the light section until I got distracted by Bonnie Hunter's Mystery quilt. That was in November! That was how it stayed for more than half a year.

Matrix rays from Leah Day in the big star; dot to dot from Angela Walters surrounding it; McTavishing top left
Until two weeks ago when I thought of Leah Day and all her online FMQ videos. That dark purple fabric wouldn't stand another unpicking session so I needed something simple and foolproof. I chose Matrix Rays, and the quilting was finished in no time. All that remained was to join the two halves and then a lot of hand sewing to cover the join on the back, and to sew down the binding.

Square Flower from Lori Kennedy in the centre of the dark purple friendship star
I was pleased with how this square flower turned out. I quilted square flowers in all three purple Friendship Stars, but this one turned out best. In the green F.Stars I quilted orange peels, and in the yellow spirals.


McTavishing in the big star; fantasy leaves surrounding it; more McTavishing in the freehand drawn heart (!!); string of beads bottom left (from Pinterest: origin unknown)
In the light purple block I used more McTavishing;  I used this quilting style three times in this quilt. So much for using a different motif on each fabric. I really found it hard to come up with enough quilting motifs.

Fabric: assorted fat quarters and scraps
Thread: Aurifil 40 wt. in matching colours
Wadding: cotton as supplied at my LQS
Size: 1.75m x 1.27m (69" x 50")
Finally one more photo to show why all the photos were taken indoors this afternoon.


I draped it artistically over the bench, took two steps back and took a photo just as the wind caught it. As I live on the ninth floor I didn't want the wind carrying it away altogether: I'd never catch up with it!

I'm linking up to

https://kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.nl/2017/08/tgiff-august-4th.html
so go over there and see more of this week's finishes.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Improv floating squares: some progress


I'm still improvising on Score 1 in The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood.
I've set my limits to:
  • only use solids
  • only use two colours plus the filler fabric
  • use one of the two colours from one section in the neighbouring section, and try to avoid squared off sections - this last one is tricky!
  • cut the squares in two sizes in each section, although I seem to have introduced a third size in most of them at some point. ..... Hmm!
It took me some time to understand how I wanted it to be. In the first two sections (on the left) I used much more filler fabric, where I could have been using squares. I find the other four sections much more satisfactory. Once I'd worked out a strategy for sewing the squares together the sections came together really quickly. The arrangement is still random. I'm enjoying working from this book where ideas are given and suggestions made rather than pattern instructions to achieve a known result. It is a learning experience, but I still have to trust my own judgement completely. Somewhere in the book Sherri writes that you can make a quilt top in 2 hours! Why have I been staring at this on my design wall for the last three months without setting a stitch?



I've been doing it off and on for ages; the last three months I didn't sew much at all. This weekend, however, I went crazy and made the pink and green section and then the green and blue section, changed the orange and brown section, and added some filler pieces in an effort to get the sections to fit together. 

The AHIQ invitation for this last quarter was to combine two blocks in a piece. I thought about it! I thought about a lot of things recently without getting much done. But life's like that sometimes. I'll leave you with a quote from the nineteenth century Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson:
"What is this life if full of care, 
We have no time to stand and stare."
That just about justifies my lack of progress in the past three months.

I'm linking to 
AHIQ 
Pop over there to see a wonderful display of improvised piecing,
especially those designs using two blocks.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Improv Chinese Coins: a finish: "Season of mists ..."



The AHIQ  invitation for the first quarter was to use Chinese coins as the basis of a quilt. They could be developed in any way we wanted as long as Chinese Coins were the starting point.


Ann gave links to some examples, which I found inspiring and which led to some left-over batik jelly roll strips being sewn together, without any definite plan. I then cut free-hand through  the whole thing intending to rotate one piece and then sew them together again. 

As there was an odd number of strips, after rotation the middle one stayed in the middle which didn't look good to me so I turned the pieces back to the original position to insert another strip of batik. Firstly I cut through the panels to make a branching structure. Sewing the inserts in the side panels was tricky: bias strips would have worked better, but I was using 2.5" jelly roll strips, so cutting on the bias was not an option. The vertical insert naturally went in much more easily. 

This was beginning to resemble a tree, or magma rising through the Earth's crust. I settled on a tree,


 with leaves:


The leaves in the photo above are double-sided and I sewed them down with a zig-zag stitch along the central nerve of the leaf. Others are single fabric and machine appliquéd directly onto the background with blanket stitch.

The 3-D effect of the leaves is clearer in this photo


  



Material: 
Top: assorted batik scraps
Wadding: pieced scraps of cotton wadding
Backing: pieced scraps
Thread: background Aurifil 40 wt.; leaves Aurifil 50 wt in colours matching the leaves.
Dimensions: 19" x 16.5"
I'm linking up to
AHIQ
Click on the button to see more improvised Chinese Coins.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

From 9-patches to Wonky Stars

Each month Angela at soscrappy gives a colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and this month's colour could be the rainbow itself. It's multi-coloured scraps of fabric in this month's challenge. I've passed on this one, as I have very few multi-coloured fabrics, and they don't qualify as scraps.

Instead I've been trying to catch up on the previous months with purple:



and red:



wonky star blocks.

These started with the nine patches I made in February and March, to which I added more coloured squares and the white wonky stars. My plan is to continue using the colour of the month to make eight more 14" blocks this year. I hope to keep repetition of fabrics within the block to a minimum, but supplies are limited - 48 different fabrics in one colour is asking a lot!

Right after my last post I finished the red scrap basket, which now contains my red scraps.







Pattern from Fiona at Bubz Rugz.
Measurements:
height:  7.75"
base:     7"x 8"


Talking of scraps, which we do every Saturday in the RSC link-up, on 8 April I attended a lecture and a workshop by Jen Kingwell. Yes really, the Australian diva of scraps visited my home town in the little old Netherlands to intoduce a group of some 20 interested ladies from all over The Netherlands to her way of working, and especially to her pattern "Utah".

Most of Jen's quilts are sewn entirely by hand, and the Utah units are no exception: within the units all seams are curves which I've decided are easier done by hand, but I shall be joining the resulting 4" squares by machine!
Jen Kingwell pointing out the details of her quilt "Halo"

The lecture included a guided tour round her quilts which were on display in the exhibition area. Hearing first-hand what the inspiration was and how they all came together was truly inspiring. I am writing a post on the exhibition and my progress with the "Utah" blocks (of which this is an extract) and will publish it in a few days.

I'm linking to

SoScrappy   and   Quilting is more fun than Housework

so pop in there to see more delightful scraps.

Happy sewing

Marly.