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 Then I pulled out my now out of date Kona colour card and tried to figure out some colour gradients.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!!!!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Pigeon House

Last August I agreed to take part in the MQG's Riley Blake Challenge. Participants got 6 fat eighths of fabrics from Riley Blake's basics collection, we could make anything once it was quilted and could add any solid or any Riley Blake printed fabric. The deadline was sometime in February. I missed it. Understatement. Though most of the work, including the quilting, was done the few days right before the deadline. I semi-lie, most of the quilting was done the night before the deadline. Then I got to the buildings, realised how much I like sleeping, and how crazy sewing black thread on dark grey at night was, and gave up.

I'm glad I caved. I'm also glad I busted ass for the deadline. Without the challenge I may have never made anything like this ever. Tiny pieces, inspired by the real world, crazy dense quilting, self-drafted paper-piecing, starting and stopping quilting in the middle of the quilt, burying threads - I'd never done any of those things before this.

I also learned tonnes. For instance, I should have starched before I even started cutting for this project. I probably should have used interfacing for piecing the top section. The base has two different greys in it, because my ability to paper piece, think in mirror image, and work out triangles flipping over, are all limited. This required an eleventh hour trip to my local Hancocks when I still thought that I could finish on time if I busted ass till like 3am.

It is so far from perfect. And after spending the last 4 months putting it down and picking it up to bury what felt like a million black threads into the black backing and cursing myself for the zillionth time, I see all the imperfections. However, I'm proud that I finished it. That it isn't still languishing on the corner of the sofa. Getting the stink-eye thrown at it intermittently. I'm proud that one small piece of work can hold quite so many pieces of information, and maybe by putting it in my regular line of sight I won't forget those lessons when it comes to the next project. Mostly I'm glad it's done.

You'll notice it's also not flat or square - the wall or pins are hiding
that for now!

The other nice thing about it is that it's a tiny little non-cliché piece of home. It's not green, there are no leprechauns, and definitely no diddly-aye fiddles playing. That is dawn from behind a power generating station in Dublin. I struggled with the colours and prints that the Riley Blake fabrics came in for a couple of months, and then decided to just think about the broad colours and see what I could interpret them as. As I was busy racking my brain for all kinds of inspiration, I came across this photo taken by @botsbushman of Poolbeg Generating Station (or Pigeon House, as we've always called it).

Picture's a link to this instagram pic!

Dublin is not a very high-rise city so the chimneys at Pigeon House can be seen from a lot of places, and are a well known landmark. I've also spent a lot of time travelling up and down to Dublin along the coast by train watching the sunrise, so this seemed like the perfect inspiration. And still a challenge to get those fabrics to work.

Seriously stumping, though the resulting Challenge Quilts were stunning!
Linking up with Pretty Bobbins' I Quilt linky hosted over at Blossom Heart Quilts this week!