Sunday, September 27, 2015

Last Scraps of September

There's been a lot of effort in The Magpie's Nest this week but very little of it has been in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, orange. I did manage to make up these four blocks:

one 12" Ohio Star and two 10" Wrenches

But more time was spent auditioning blocks for another round on the Parts Department medallion top I've been building. You can see its' inception in this blog post. This is what I had on the design wall when last you saw it:

This is what it looked like earlier this week:

(those are 9" Shoo-fly and Ohio Star blocks around the perimeter)

It's 72" square at this point, and technically too big for my design wall anymore. I am determined to make it big enough to use on a double bed however, so it has to get a bit bigger. I have already auditioned and applied six inch Bow Tie blocks to two sides. That was several days ago. Looking at this picture now is making me question whether that was the best choice. I had my doubts at the time but plowed ahead, anxious to get as close to done as possible. Perhaps I need to reconsider my options. Or try to get a photo of the top with the two new borders and see what my reaction is. Or I could just continue on and add the remaining two sides of Bow Tie blocks and see what I think then. I'm not super-glueing the blocks in place after all. If I don't like it I can always take them off again. I'm not afraid to use the seam ripper when necessary!

I'm joining in with the linky party over at SoScrappy (late, as usual).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Perfectly Pleasing Pincushions Update

Remember when I showed this little jar/lid at the end of my Pincushion Parade post?

I did some research online, looking for ideas or tutorials for turning it into the base of a pincushion. The best resources were found by doing a search on make-do pincushions. The tutorial I ended up using can be found on Needletraditions Blog. You should go check out the lovely handmade pincushions on view there. So very pretty!

Using the steps outlined in the tutorial I made this paper pattern,

and then cut a muslin base in that shape. I pieced appropriately themed scraps onto the muslin,

and sewed it into a cone shape.

Then came the question of how to stuff it. I had some wool roving I needle-felted into the tip and then worked more into a rough approximation of the cone shape. I couldn't completely fill the shape out though. Back in the day I'd read that human hair used to be used to fill pincushions. The oils in the hair are supposed to help to keep the needles and pins lubricated while at the same time providing enough abrasion to keep them sharp. My children were still young at the time and my daughter had long locks. When she finally decided to cut off length I saved those curls. I finally remembered those cuttings after a few days of casting about for a way to firmly stuff this pincushion . Yup, that's what I used, and it seems to have worked well!

It also took some time to find a way to secure the stuffed strawberry shape in the glass jar/lid. I didn't want to use an adhesive because of my chemical sensitivity issues. Nor did I want to rely on a husband or son to do the job for me. In the end I found a nearly empty spool of thread - a short spool - that fit inside the jar. A couple of wraps of cotton batting made for a more snug fit. To disguise the batting and gathered end of the strawberry I covered the neck of the jar with a bit of ribbon that just happened to be printed with a zig-zag stitch. Ta daa!

When the Pincushion Parade had come to an end I realized that I'd left out a pincushion I'd been given for my birthday this year. And since completing this make-do pincushion I've received another, from an online friend.

Christina gave me the needlepoint doggie and Annett made the mini with the tiny thimble in the middle. I'll have no excuse to have pins or needles lying around loose now!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September Stars

Those little 16 Patch blocks I made and showed on Tuesday (scroll down to the previous post) have been transformed into these eight inch stars:

The yellow one is my clear favorite. :- )

I've also made a few more 12" Ohio Stars in orange, the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I'm linking up with the rest of the RSC bloggers over on SoScrappy. There's a ton of inspiration to be had over there!

I've been busy building a couple of quilt tops so haven't been online much this past week. I have a lot to share, I just have to get my act together and get the pictures edited for you. :- )

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ScrapHappy Day

I missed the link party on Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge but I haven't quite missed out on Kate's ScrapHappy Day!

I didn't feel like dealing with random crumbs this time around. I actually find it more relaxing to work with precision cut pieces. I keep my shorter 1.5" scrap strips in this box next to my cutting table:

I found this beauty in a thrift shop some years ago. It was meant to hold tissues but I've never used it for that purpose. I love the tole painting all around the box however, so I had to find something to keep in it! It hasn't been closing snugly of late.

I decided to cut 1.5" squares from the shortest of these strips to make 16 patch blocks. After half an hour's cutting this is what I had to work with:

And this is what I made from them:

It may not be today, or anytime in the near future, but my intention is to turn them into 8" Sawtooth or Variable Star blocks eventually. Like this one:

More fodder for the Parts Department!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pincushion Parade Straggler

During my tour of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge bloggers this past weekend I came across a Pincushion Parade hosted by Ida over at My Sister Made Me Do It. I can't resist bringing up the rear with a few pincushions of my own!

First up we have a patchwork cushion I made for myself several years ago, along with the traditional dressmaker's wrist cushion.

These live on my cutting table, very near the design wall so I can grab a pin or two when a flimsy gets too heavy to stick to the flannel on the wall without assistance.

This one lives next to my sewing machine and gets daily use.

It's simply a felted wool ball sitting inside a little bowl one of my children made when they were young. How could it not be a favorite? ;- )

These are my more unique pincushions:

A Victorian style pedestal cushion with a velvet top embellished with buttons, a country cardinal, a black-faced sheep made from another felted wool ball and some pipe cleaner, and a log cabin block hen made by a friend. All but the cardinal get stuck with pins and needles. He's so tall and spindly I worry about stability. I don't often look what I'm doing when I have a pin to dispose of!

In the process of rounding up these pin keepers I came across this small, squat jar without a lid.

Wouldn't it make a cute pincushion? :- )

I'm linking up with the rest of the Parade over here.