Monday, 1 September 2014

Unable to Settle

I had a reminder to back-up my laptop the other day, and it also prompted me to organise my photos into folders, sorted by month. I needed this more than I knew, I had been writing myself and this year off as unproductive but it turns out I was wrong. Up to a point. And that point was late June. Yep, I fell off the productivity/sewing mojo/whatever you want to call it bandwagon at Midsummer.

Stash pull for bed runner.

Since then I've covered every available surface, the corner of the sofa, our rarely used for the actual purpose dining table, sewing table, sideboard, etc... with must start projects. I've started each of them. None of them are finished. Few of them have been picked back up beyond the first week of starting. Honestly, I've never felt like this. I don't know what I'm doing. I do know I can't force myself to finish them all, I'll end up like a toddler or teenager rebelling against the overbearing strictures of my own self. Which is too much internal strife to bother with.

Some are more important to me than others. For instance, my dad does need a hat. His hair really is falling out, he's distracting the other bridge players and it was 5°C/41°F when he got up to walk the dog last weekend. So even though I barely ever knit, I'm the world's slowest (two Christmases passed before Paul got the scarf I promised), I've never knitted in the round before (but the newly bald shouldn't have to deal with seams), and I have real trouble paying attention to which stitch I'm on, this project is a definite priority.

I've had a 5 month hiatus from the Farmer's Wife quilt. I miss it, this block is not the most fun colours of the ten I've prepped. And that was my mistake. I meant to only prep 5 at a time from now on. But the colours distracted me and I selected for ten before I knew it, and then felt compelled to cut them all out. It went swimmingly till I reached the templates. They took me two months, and stared at me accusingly from the dining table all the while (yes, we eat on our laps).

I also knocked into it scattering the nicely laid out pieces...

I still love my colourful Death Star idea. When I started I got intrigued by trying to make my stitches less noticeable, so I tried some stuff. I got some good results, but finding a new stitch and then getting a rhythm with it is not easy. So I put this down again. Now I'm in two minds. Do I continue trying to make my stitches invisible, noble sure, I guess, but super time-consuming? Or do I go back to my FWQ regular whipstitch which I can bust out like nobody's business? I'll enjoy the process of the latter more, but will I feel annoyed with myself at the result, or once I'm more than a foot from the quilt will I even see the stitches if they're in a grey or matching thread? Ugh, these are the questions that have left this project sitting on a tray on couch, neglected for more than a month.

The others are all little projects, a giant cushion cover from leftover hourglass blocks, an elongated quilted cushion in Echino as a draught excluder, and a stash pulled bundle to make a simple bed runner just like the ones I made as wedding gifts.

One final thing, I've recently taken up and have found surprisingly meditative is free motion quilting. The #dailyfmq tag appeared on instagram, set in motion by the Crafty Planner. I've only spent like 3 ten-minute chunks at it, but I've enjoyed each of them, learned something each time, and discovered it's possible to slip into a nice peaceful state while you're at it, until you get too peaceful, make a mistake and then it all goes to hell! But everyone at the hastag is so lovely and helpful, I've definitely been encouraged to keep going. Which is amazing, because I swore right off FMQ the last time I tried (February) until I had a better machine (still the same machine).

Rio Grande Valley Turtle, pattern by Melissa of My Fabric Relish

So, I do have three big quilts in the works, one approaching top completion, one approaching block completion, and one with half the top fabrics washed (not my normal game but these fabrics apparently require it - more to come!). You've already seen Texas, so no more till I have something actually finished. The other two I'll blabber about in the next few weeks as I get a chance to take photos and get them in order in my head, more than anything else.

It's going to be interesting to see what I do manage to settle to in the rest of 2014. This year has been a test for me in very many ways, and I'm eager to see how I fare coming out of it. I think I might be growing up.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

An Unfinish Saturday

But lots of other people finished their Deep in the Heart of Texas Roadtrip quilts and you should totally go check them out at Cristina's or Melissa's blogs, because they're gorgeous and who doesn't love a bit of weekend eye candy!

Northeast Texas, including Fort Worth, Dallas, and Tyler

I didn't finish mine, even with the linky extension that the ladies laid on this week. I think 2014 is shaping up to be my year of almosts, not quites, and where on earth did my motivation/productivity/day/week/month go. However, I have been enjoying myself making this quilt and that's a first in a little while and so I'm very grateful. This week I've taken my time laying out my squares, choosing colours, lining up seams (not that it's always obvious in the finish...), and even unpicking! Normally, I just say "it'll do!" and steam on. It's been lovely, very zen, I don't know where it's come from and so I'm not going to rush it out the door. Instead I'm relishing it a little, without frightening it away.

Northwest Texas, including Amarillo and Lubbock

I have the two northern quadrants completed. And most of the two southern ones on my make-shift design wall, it's not quite big enough to fit all of south Texas. Hardly surprising, it's a big state!

Western 2/3s of Southern Texas

I only have three of the 10 city blocks from the south made, El Paso, San Antonio, and Beaumont. The city bocks have been a revelation. Such a diverse array of techniques, some I'd never tried before. I'll admit to putting off starting a few out of fear, but I'd forgotten how amazing it feels to accomplish something new! It's been really great, though it hasn't reduced the amount of build up time I seem to need before I'll tackle a new technique. There's a lot of talking myself into things.

L-R: Beaumont, San Antonio, and El Paso

I'm loving how the two finished quadrants look beside each other, and I've decided that this quilt will live in our car and be our picnic blanket from here on out. Lori Whitlock's Lazy Day is just such a happy fabric collection, I'm really glad I used it here.

Northern Texas

I know it's been a while, the one quilt I've finished this summer is currently winging it's way over the Atlantic so hopefully I can post about it soon. And otherwise I've been starting lots of small projects, but completing none. My plan is to be back next week with a little round up of all the fabric bits that have been distracting me, then we can see what sticks over the next few months. And whether the last few months of 2014 will see me in a more finishing mood than up till now!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Crazy Thoughts

Melinda of quirkygranolagirl made, and then drew up a pattern for a patchwork Death Star earlier this year. It totally stole my attention as soon as I saw it. It utterly terrified me as well, especially once I saw the ones people were making under the #patchworkdeathstar hashtag on instagram. Totally amazing, making patterned fabrics interplay with colour and shading to get a 3D effect on the Death Star. Daunting. But I was so smitten, I totally wanted to dive in, but my stash of greys are sorely lacking and I couldn't figure out what we'd do with one 12" block - hot pad maybe?? Except we almost never use them, and our kitchen doesn't have that much space...

Well, late one night, long after I should have been in bed, I had a crazy thought. The Death Star's iconic right. What if instead of one Death Star I had a grid of 9? Just like the Andy Warhol prints of iconic stars and soup tins!? What if I used those colours? I didn't go to bed for another three hours.

Colour pairings and choices were made after googling a lot about Andy Warhol, reading from his foundation website, Wikipedia, and just plain old google image search. Then I pulled out my now out of date Kona colour card and tried to figure out some colour gradients. I'm still not sure how well this bit is going. There's always some variety between what's in your card and what comes off the particular bolt you buy from. Plus, asking for a second opinion, even one in the same room, lighting conditions, etc... as you can get different results. Paul and I never agree on colours between green and blue.

I've also discovered that despite knowing my grey stash is dismal, and thinking my solids stash was ok that I actually require to buy a bit of every colour to make each Death Star. So far I can make green and pink. I'll slowly add the other colours in dribs and drabs. I did splash out and buy all the backgrounds though, in case they sold out. They're the only patterned fabric in this quilt - Dear Stella Confetti Dot, dots as a starfield do you feel it?? I'm not sold on using the Peony as the pink background and might go back and buy one of the other pinks to see if they fit better. But we'll see.

The whole thing is planned to finish at around 45" square. Baby quilt size, though with the amount of effort it's taken so far, and I actually found the cutting fabric and wrapping the pieces (even with glue) to be tedious, this is not going to be seeing any babies. I'm thinking it's definitely going on a wall. Which is crazy for whole other reasons I won't go into here.

Anyway, this is a project that has at once trapped me in its thrall, is scaring me into picking it up and putting it down but I never actually walk away, just circle, considering it, until I go back and pick it up again and think well you can always start over. I think it has the possibility to look great, I also think I have the possibility to balls it up royally. I'm still not sure which side of that we're going to fall more on. It's certainly not going to be speedy.

But if it scares me I'm growing, right. Right?

PS yay for having internet back after almost a week!!!!