Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Flight Over the Rainbow Bridge

It's been a challenging week here in The Magpie's Nest. Most significantly, my little canary passed away. His health had been sort of up and down the couple of months. I've only had him for 4.5 years but he must have been at least a year older than that because male canaries don't sing until they're a year old. Seems like a pretty short lifespan, even for a canary. I'm hoping the next one will stick around longer. I keep glancing at the empty cage, expecting to see that bright bit of yellow.

It was a struggle but I managed to get the two sets of blocks sewn into flimsies for the twins (see previous post). All week long I had trouble getting seams to line up properly! The tops still need borders before I can call them finished. I just didn't have the heart or the brain power to work on that. I made up some friendship blocks for members of my local guild and puttered around with more postage stamp stars.

Gayle, please note the yellow Grandmother's Choice block in the middle of the bottom row. It will be all of five inches square when finished. ;- )

My favorites of this bunch are these two 8" stars:

This morning I've made up a couple of Ohio Stars out of leftovers.

9" Ohio Star

12" Variable Star
The center patch of this star features a cut of the Gettysburg Address.

I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrap bloggers and looking forward to learning what Angela has planned for next year. :- )

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Altogether Scrappy

In terms of progress on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge efforts this year I have two quilt tops ready to assemble, one for each of my twin granddaughters. I made about a dozen blocks specifically for each girl and then used my rainbow Ohio Stars to fill out the quilt tops.

Quilt #1:

And quilt #2:

So far they are still just loose blocks. I'll get the tops assembled one of these days. ;- )

After hearing the tragic news out of France I turned to piecing little squares (1.5") to maintain my sanity.

These stars will all finish at eight inches square.

The points of the star above were cut from a strip of fabric generously given to me by a member of the F2F swap.

It felt good to use up my odd black square patches.

These postage stamp stars are one of the options I'm considering for my RSC next year. The only thing that's certain at this point is that I'll be working with smaller scraps than I did this year. In the meantime, I'm linking up with the other RSC bloggers over at SoScrappy.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Needlebook Finish

Over the last couple of days this...

Became this:

And this is the finished product:



I broke up the large patch on the back with a line of beading. Once I'd done that it became easier to fill in with beads and charms, my favorite way to decorate textiles. I avoided the whole spider issue with a riff on Kate's butterfly suggestion. Look closely and you'll see that I've sprinkled the background of nearly all the patches with clear seed beads, just to add a bit more sparkle.

Here's the inside:

The colors look better in person, trust me!

The cover itself is lined, and then I add two flaps that create pockets when the wool felt pages are sewn in place. The pockets will accommodate small scissors, bobbins of thread, a needle threader, what-have-you. You could even tuck a credit card in there! You know, in case you have to shop online while you're stitching. ;- )

Now to decide whether to break this one in myself or keep it in its virgin state for future gifting...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Time for Some Slow Stitching

I've been building pretty good size quilt tops of late. Yesterday I felt the need of something smaller, more intimate. Didn't have it in me to begin a brand new project so after some rummaging around I came up with a needlebook cover I'd started many months ago: 

This was what the front looked like when I abandoned it. The first thing I did yesterday was to remove about 50% of the embellishments. I changed out the yellow flower beads for purple ones and did some lazy daisy stitches down either side of that panel in perle cotton (size 5 I think).

The stitches are a bit dorky looking to me but I pressed on, inspired by this bit of metal I found in a local bead shop recently.

This is how the whole cover looks today:

I used seed stitches in a variegated embroidery floss in that central panel. That's where the cover will fold so I wanted to avoid three dimensional embellishments in that area. 

Here's a closer look at the upper left corner:

The owl and the branch on which he's sitting are two separate bits of brass. There are still two rather large areas I have to figure out how to decorate but I'm pleased to have made this much progress, especially when this project stalled so early in the process originally. 

For those who are new to The Magpie's Nest, this is the first needlebook I made, the one in which I keep my hand sewing needles:

It's made of printed corduroy scraps. I wanted one that was a little less bulky and maybe more summer-like in color. Now I'm not sure I'll be keeping this one for myself. I hesitate to put a spider web and resident on a piece when someone else might be creeped out by it!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Starry Flimsy

Between other events happening around The Nest this week I managed to get all my sawtooth stars sewn together.

But I wanted it just a bit wider. It's only 56" (finished) wide at this point. Once this is quilted and laundered it won't even be that wide. So I decided to add two inches all the way around. I didn't have enough of the dark brown batik that surrounds the outer stars to do that but I did find another brown batik in my stash.

So now the top will finish 60" wide by 76" long. Wonderful! Now all I need is a name for this quilt. Well, and a backing (and batting and binding!). I'm considering some delicious hand dyed yardage that I've been hoarding for years for the back. They are single-yard cuts, and don't really go together, but I can't bring myself to cut them up. I knew from the beginning that I would keep this quilt for myself so I may as well put some cherished fabric on the back, right? ;- )

And now for the really big news:

Our son has purchased one of the long-arm quilting machines that were in the shop in which he was working and is going into business for himself!

We've been moving furniture and things around to make room for Freddy, as this particular machine is known (christened by it's first owner), in what was James' bedroom. There's fine tuning to be done but we expect things to be up and running within the week. Woohoo!

I'm linking up with the other RSC bloggers.