Thursday, January 26, 2023

Three Quilts and a Flimsy

 I've been having issues with Blogger the past few days. You'd have been seeing these results sooner otherwise! 

You've seen all of these quilts previously but they have now been bound and laundered and are ready to head out of The Nest. First up, a quilt begun for a Scrap Happy Day effort, Scrappy Strips:

This was quilted by James with a neon green thread in a meandering path. It finished at 58" x 76 inches.

Next up is the yellow and black quilt. It finished at roughly 60" square.

James quilted with a large, open scroll in yellow thread.

The third quilt also finished at just under 60" square.

This one gave James the opportunity to do some outline quilting in the panels. That made for a nice change of pace for him. 😊

Can you even tell he outlined the birds on a branch?

 And the flimsy? It's the quilt I started for Scrap Happy Day this month. You may recall that I'd built seven rows from my Parts Department and just needed to sash them. That turned out to be a bit more challenging than I expected but I got there in the end. 

I was determined to use more scraps for the sashing. There were plenty, it was just the math that threw me off at times. (I tried to calculate strip lengths ahead of time. Turns out that didn't work so well.) There are top and bottom borders too, so the finished quilt will be about 60 by 80 inches. 

The completed quilts will eventually head to Europe to be distributed among refugees from Ukraine. The Parts Dept. Quilt will probably stay local, for a youth in foster care. ❤️

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Scrap Happy in January - Inventory Reduction Season

Perhaps under the influence of all the clearance sales offered by retailers at this time of the year (or, more likely, the fact that I could no longer close the Parts Dept. drawer without effort) I decided it was time to build another PDQ, a Parts Department Quilt. This time I was determined to avoid the square medallion format that recent quilts have developed. Just for a change of pace. A row-by-row quilt allows for a wide variety of block sizes to be included.

I like to begin with the biggest blocks in the Parts Dept. There actually wasn't much left to work with in the 12" block section. So I sewed together some 6" Bear Paw units into 12" blocks. With a few sashing strips and compensating strips at the ends I was able to get to a 60" width pretty easily. If you've been around here for long you know that I don't typically go any wider than 60" nor longer than about 80." I find 60" a very flexible dimension to work within. The next two rows were assembled from 8" Variable/Sawtooth star blocks, again with compensating strips at the ends. 

The next block size I tackled was ten inches. I couldn't keep to one block type for the whole row but I'm happy with the way the Wrench centers the Basket blocks that I made last month. There's only one Basket block left in inventory currently. There are more Wrenches, but they have a more rustic look to them.

 Next up were the 9" blocks. I was surprised at how many Sho-fly blocks I had in this size. These two rows made a good dent in that collection. 

I really felt like I wanted/needed a seventh row to balance things out over the body of the quilt top. This last row was probably the most challenging to create. Six inch blocks take up the most room in the Parts Dept. but it was a struggle to find the right ones for this project. Eventually I came across some crazy patch or liberated blocks I'd made a few years back. Oddly enough, they worked out really well. And now there aren't any left in inventory! 😊

I've already made that row taller by adding scrappy 1.5" strips along the top and bottom edges. So now it's also 9" overall. The seven rows together add up to 65" in length. But there needs to be sashing to separate the rows. According to my calculations I can use more scrappy 2" strips (1.5" finished) to go between the rows and then cap off the top and bottom with 3" strips to get to 80 inches.

At the moment this last step seems a bit daunting. I have plenty of scrap strips waiting to be used, but I need an organized way to approach this step. While I figure that out I invite you to visit these other bloggers who regularly find creative ways to use up scrap materials. Thanks to Kate and Gun for hosting this blog hop. ❤️

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
Jill, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, NΓ³ilin and Viv




Monday, January 9, 2023

Yellow & Black

It seems a long time coming, but I've finally brought the yellow and black quilt top to a completed state. 

I began with 12" blocks I'd made some years ago. I surrounded them with 8" blocks from the Parts Dept. that fit the color scheme.

Then I set out to make additional blocks to bring the top up to a more useful size. You can read about that in this post. Once I had enough blocks to go the distance it was holiday season. Too many distractions to get much done then! I finally had the time and energy to audition block placements to create border sections the other day. Taa daa!

Those 10" blocks bring the top up to finish at about 60" square. The next step will be to create a back. 😊

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Folowing a MAP to My Happy Place

Mid-November I mentioned that I was setting up a new stitchery project for 2023. I'm calling it my Monthly Art Project: MAP. I know that hand stitching calms me, soothes my soul, but I don't do enough of it in the normal course of events. I surprised myself by doing the first installment during December. I chose the red spiral out of my collection of focal elements, thinking the color was appropriate for the season.

 I thought it would be the focal point of a stand-alone piece. Things don't always go as planned! The foundation I created for it turned out to be too busy. Around that time I also ripped a 3.5" strip (width of fabric) off of a yard of a Tim Holtz print with the intention of starting a new scroll. The red spiral found a home at the beginning of that scroll.

I did simple running stitches and back stitches to secure the fabric to a strip of scrap batting. I do like the feel of the cloth and batting in my hands. Generally the batting is pretty easy to stitch through as well. Not as nice as wool perhaps, but nice enough. 

The little text print square is a pocket, and so is the green patch.

I carried on stitching and embellishing well into December. Of course, the holidays eventually got in the way. And to keep the foundation print from repeating too frequently I ripped an additional strip the width of the fabric, cut off the end of the first strip, and then added the second.

Sorry, what a terrible picture!

The scroll is now longer than I will probably want it to be in the end. I'm leaving that decision for later in any case. It's time now to choose the focal element for January. I'm thinking I will choose something else that will be appropriate to add to this scroll. I had a lot of fun working on it before the holidays set in, and I could really use something to rejuvenate my creative flame right now. 


Hmm, what will I choose?




 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Definitely Not Red and Green!

 The project I've been working on this December is anything but seasonal. (Honestly, I thought I'd already posted about this but maybe not.)

 I've long been intrigued with the idea of making a yellow and black quilt. I had a small assortment of blocks in that color scheme in the Parts Department so I pulled them out last month to see what there was. There were only five 12" Ohio Stars, a couple of 9" Ohio Stars, these 8" postage stamp stars and the two blocks I know as Crosses and Losses. There were a few 6" blocks as well but I quickly discarded them from the mix. The fifth 12" Ohio Star and the 9" versions didn't make the cut either. When I realized I could use the 8" blocks to surround a medallion made up of the 12" blocks I knew what to do. 

However, once I had this 40" square flimsy constructed I hit a wall. Leave it a square? Make it a rectangle and closer to 60" x 80"? Either way it needed to be at least a little bit larger. I added 3" wide whole cloth strips to the top and bottom edges thinking I would try to make it longer and then wider. The flimsy sat on the design wall, mute. In retrospect I think the print I used for the potential sashing was too busy for one thing. This was also about the time I had the meltdown about my sewing machine

I've used the new Janome Skyline 5 once since we brought it home. I think I'll be happy with it once it off-gasses more fully. There were oil or grease fumes coming off of it when I tried it out. That set me back for a couple of days. Once I'd made the decision to bring this project up to a 60" square it didn't take long to find a block to use for that purpose. In my block book it's called Butterfly at the Crossroads. It looks like a bunch of tulips to me. They finish at 10" each, which makes the math easy. Twenty of them will go around the medallion I have perfectly.

While I still really like this color palette, I have become slightly bored with it. And my variety of yellow prints is actually running low! I have one more block to create and then I can audition them for placement around the central medallion.

Black binding will finish it off. I don't have any specific plans for what quilt to tackle next. Whatever it turns out to be, it will be multi-color and multi-print. 😁 In the meantime,  

Happy Holidays Everyone!