Tuesday, 22 July 2014

More Passacaglia cogs


I have a few more cogs for my Passacaglia Quilt to share with you. This one is my favourite of the two as aqua and pink feel such easy colours to work with. When I make a cog with these colours I have a restful sense of being at home, in an unchallenged, slopping-about-in-my-pyjamas sort of way. Although, the dash of very dark green in the star points did feel like a brave venture to finish with.



By contrast, this apricot and aqua cog felt like more of a challenge, but was perhaps entirely appropriate as it's so sympathetic to the bare plaster which I photographed it on and which was monopolising our days at the time it was being made. 


We've now moved on from plastering to actually getting our hands dirty ourselves! Since Friday, I've spent pretty much the entire time painting the loft and daubing myself in paint. This photo was taken at the start of day 3. I'm such a chaotic painter that the only way to try and contain the mess normally is to also don a shower cap and plastic gloves along with these old summer pyjamas…unfortunately, England's current humidity levels meant that the wish to remain unsplattered by wrapping myself in plastic was overwhelmed by the desire not to actually cook myself, even though I think if I had chosen that route it could have passed as an all-weekend Bikram yoga session, as the combination of heat and the bendiness required to paint sloping walls would almost certainly qualify - they are, unexpectedly, far worse than ceilings with a higher frequency of paint-in-eye.


I have just one wall left to do before we're ready for carpeting tomorrow, shortly followed next week by the arrival of much of the Ikea catalogue. After promising myself several years ago that I would avoid Ikea in the future, I have found myself magnetised by the simple, clean-lined whiteness of it all and how incredibly affordable it is when you find yourself faced with the need to buy several items of furniture at one time.


This photo was taken during the final week of work, when we had six or seven workmen from different trades in everyday - it was incredible quite how much they got done each day. I've never had building work before that didn't involve several days' wait as different trades came and went or those frustrating days where for no apparent reason suddenly no one arrives at all…but somehow the man in charge of our loft seemed to have everything planned like a well-choreographed ballet performance and less than six weeks after it was put up, our scaffolding is gone, along with the men who seem to have broken my fear of heights by imploring me to climb it. This week, I stood on a bar stool to change a light bulb - a task which normally induces vertiginous sickness and requests that the children don't ask me questions incase multi-tasking causes me to fall - and realised afterwards that I'd done it without any sense of panic at all.


This week I will have to delay any more English paper piecing until I've made a roman blind for my daughter's new room. I really dread making any sort of window covering and it's at these times that I temporarily wish I didn't know how to sew so that I'd be able to justify outsourcing the task; I find the maths for roman blinds and getting all the folds to cascade in just the right way to be a real headache, but I'm keeping in mind what a good feeling it is to sometimes put my sewing to such practical use. I've made some before, but it feels curiously like starting afresh - my mind is a blank slate when it comes to remembering how on earth I did it. Luckily, after several hours of staring at paper, YouTube tutorials and feeling disbelief at the numbers I was churning out for the folds, I found The Roman Blind Wizard and used a free credit to let it calculate the measurements needed. There's a brilliant YouTube video which talks you through how to fill in the slightly complicated-looking form and I've decided to trust that the measurements it's come up with are right, on the basis that the woman who did the demonstration video for the calculator had a kind, reassuring voice and spoke as though it would definitely work. I'll report back on whether this was good rationale.

Florence x

14 comments:

  1. I was looking at roman blinds yesterday as I have one that needs new cords. I found a really good tut on making them that explained very clearly how to space the rings http://jenduncan.typepad.com/whats_new/2008/11/roman-blind-tutorial-in-20-pictures-or-less.html Hope this helps :)

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing that - I'll definitely have a look tomorrow.

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  2. I really like the bold colour scheme in the cogs. Can't wait to see the quilt (and loft) all finished!

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    1. The loft is now finished (well, it will be once I have some furniture)…while the quilt may take another three years or so. My daughter and I were laughing about how two men managed to convert our entire loft in just five weeks and in the same time I managed about two small Passacaglia cogs…it's clearly not a fast process!

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  3. Ergh, yes, I am mid-bedroom-curtain right now. It's such simple sewing (all long straight lines) but the sheer quantity of fabric makes it really hard work. In fact I've hung it up and we're using it half-done while I summon up the will to finish it... Great news about the new heights bravery and this cog quilt is going to be amazing. x

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    1. The long straight lines don't make it any easier when there's such a vast amount of fabric to deal with, do they. I must prefer fiddly tiny pieces! I love that you're using it half-done…that sounds like a recipe for completion taking another five years or so! Thank you so much for your lovely email - I'm having a slightly hectic couple of days, but will hopefully reply at the weekend. x

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  4. I love your latest cogs! I'm in the middle of making curtains to go under a 'mid sleeper' bed and the fabric is possessed...I've had to put it in quarantine for fear it will infect my stash!

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    1. That is such a sensible approach to it. I completely agree that it should be put away for its own good.

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  5. Florence, your EPP and fussy cutting are so amazing!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Amy and Becky - I'm really, really enjoying the process!

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  6. Your passacaglia is inspiring me to start my own so thank you! I love your colours.

    Have just been through the renovation business myself. I sew but there was no way I was making 6 metres of curtainage

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  7. Hemming pants is the sewing task I wish I could justify outsourcing. Even though it is actually quite a simple process, I have a terrible fear that I will ruin a perfectly good pair of pants every single time I have to hem something. Your cogs are amazing, and I can't wait to see the full reveal of the new loft.

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  8. Your cogs are absolutely beautiful Florence! I too used to make curtains and blinds for the house, and do all my own alterations, but these days I pass on both of those tasks and hand them on to other people - and a I don't feel guilty about it! The people I pay to do the work are happy to be paid for their sewing skills, so I think it's fine honestly!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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