Friday, November 15, 2019

Scrap Happy in November

On the 15th of each month Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden invite us to show what we've done with our scrap materials, whether they're fabric or paper or something else altogether. My scraps are nearly always fabric. I turn them into patchwork blocks which then increase the inventory of my Parts Department. Every once in a while I delve into the Parts Dept. and produce a quilt. Since last month I've only added to the Parts Department.

I don't know how many of these mini Trip Around the World blocks I've made since last month but here are the newest six:


I need one more in order to make a 60" square quilt. I may not stop there though. Maybe I'll make 20 blocks for a 60" x 75" quilt. As there's no specific destination or purpose for this project yet we'll just have to wait and see. πŸ˜‰

One day last week I went through the box I keep near the cutting table into which I put offcuts and remnant pieces. I managed to cut quite a few scrap patches that day. So far I've made these blocks from that cutting session:


These have been built between the seams of other projects I've worked on:


Those flying geese units have not been sewn together, they're just loose 3" x 6" (finished) units at this point.

The Eve quilt (see previous post) has been set aside for the time being as I work on one of those secret projects that come up at this time of the year. It's a pretty controlled quilt, which is making me want very much to break out and make a wild and crazy scrap quilt. Maybe for Scrap Happy Day in December I'll have put together a quilt top out of the Parts Department. πŸ˜€

Here are links to others who may or may not have a blog post up featuring their use of scrap materials. If you'd like to participate just leave a comment on Kate or Gun's blog.

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, 
JanMoira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerry
ClaireJeanJoanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwenConnie
BekkiPauline and Sue L


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Eve and Her Fabric

This panel was given to me years ago by one of my sweet sisters-in-law. It's 12" square.


I have tried multiple times to do something with it. Long time readers may remember one or two of those efforts. Like this most recent one:


I always wanted to do something scrappy with/around it. The arrangement of my scrappy Shoo-fly blocks in the photo above didn't satisfy me enough to continue with that plan. All the other attempts failed too. So it got put away - again.

Lately I've been itching to do something with flying geese. I have geese for a version of the Remixed Geese pattern that are waiting to be assembled into a quilt top but I'm not ready for that struggle yet. I don't exactly remember the thought process that occurred but when I pulled out the Eve panel this time this is what happened:


Black flying geese laid horizontally highlighted the panel nicely. Then it seemed to need a dark frame.


That's just about all that's left of a print Quiltdivajulie shared with me. It's actually straighter than it looks in the picture.

The obvious next step was more geese.


I even got in a few scrappy Shoo-fly blocks. 😊And after that, another frame of black.


And thus it stands at the moment. It's only about 42" square though. I want it to be at least 60" in every direction. Guess it's time to make more geese!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Stitch at Home Challenge

I learned about the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (what a mouthful!) a couple of months ago via the Fiber Talk podcasts. I was especially intrigued by their Stitch at Home Challenges because, obviously, stitching at home is what I do most - as opposed to taking classes in public or traveling or anything much outside of my home. I couldn't pull anything together for the challenge that was in place when I first learned about the School although I did have an idea I would have liked to have brought into existence. The new challenge, however, is right up my alley. The theme is Healing and Reflection.

At first I found this theme a bit overwhelming. There are so many possibilities, so many facets to this topic (which is why it makes such a good theme I suppose). But it wasn't long before I was rescued by something I've done nearly every day for the past 18 years: Morning Pages.

If you've read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron you'll know what I'm talking about. Her book is basically a self-help manual for stuck artists or those who don't think of themselves as artists but are besieged by creative urges. A friend of mine introduced me to the book and suggested we get together with a couple of other like-minded friends to work our way through the book. This was back before my MCS diagnosis. We were a small group, only four of us consistently as I recall. It was very helpful to have the group though. Without the accountability they provided I would never have done some of the exercises suggested at the end of the chapters. But by far the most valuable thing I took away from my time with Julia and her book was Morning Pages. 

Essentially Morning Pages is 30 to 40 minutes spent writing, by hand, first thing in the morning. Before there's been any input from the outside world to influence your thoughts or feelings. It can be a difficult practice to establish but I've come to rely on it for a variety of reasons. I write three pages a day in a cheap, 10.5" x 8" spiral-bound notebook. I vent anger or frustration, I come up with ideas for new projects or solutions for current efforts, I confess my fears and anxieties. There are days when it's hard to come up with anything to say and days when my pages are full of gratitude. Not only have Morning Pages and the Artist's Way helped me to feel more confident in myself as an artist, it's helped me to come to terms with my circumstances. In short, I dump or dream on the page and am healed in so doing. But how to represent that with fabric and thread?

I decided to make a textile book, a sort of replica of the notebooks I have filled over the years. There may not be a lot of needlework on the pages but this is one place where I don't feel the pressure to do more than is necessary. I have selected text prints from my stash to create the pages for my book.


Each print is symbolic of one way Morning Pages have helped me to heal. My intention is to use embroidery to clarify or label the pages.


Obviously I've used some ribbon and trims too. Most of the decorative needlework will be on the cover, I think. Right now I'm not sure what the cover is going to look like. That will come in time. Probably when I've finished with the pages. πŸ˜‰

Sunday, November 3, 2019

First SAL of November

This Stitch Along group checks in every three weeks. That means there will be two opportunities this month to see what our fellow stitchers are up to. We each work on our own projects, and we're all in different time zones. It's fun to see what needle artists are doing all across the globe. And to see how much we have in common. 😊

The last time we got together I'd been working on the foxes pillow cover.


I haven't touched it since. But what I have done is another sprig of embroidery on a dish towel.

This is the first corner I stitched - which has been shown previously.


And this is the opposite corner:


It's the same pattern, just reversed. I used stitches in different places as well as different colors. It's all done in hand dyed floss from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. That purple was hard to get a clear photo of so I'm afraid there are no detail shots for you. Those petals were done in the fishbone stitch. There are some fly stitches between the petals and the French knots in the middle of the flower. The pink flowers were made with a buttonhole ring and then straight stitch fillers. There's stem stitch in places, and wrapped back stitches, some fern stitching and more French knots. Now the decision is whether to move on to the next pre-stamped dish towel (from Mary Corbet) with a little more intricate design or whether to figure out something to put in the middle of this towel along the lower edge to tie the two sprigs together visually. Or I could return to the foxes. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and on another note, my name was drawn to receive a free month in Nancy's floss club! Woohoo! Happy dancing of a different variety. πŸ˜€ I really can't resist her floss for some reason. We don't have a local needlework shop anymore so there's no temptation in that regard. I didn't have the chance to get hooked on another line of threads before I took needlework back up again after some 40 years away from it either.

Oh, and on yet another note, if you're interested in my current needlepoint obsession check out this post.

To see what the others have been working on for the past three weeks just click on their names below. If you'd like to join us you can leave a note on Avis' blog. Welcome back Connie!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, 
Heidi, Jackie, SunnyHayley, Megan, Deborah, 
Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Boo! Bee, Myself and I in October

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for selfish sewing, instigated by Grannie Maud's Girl. For me that usually means some form of needlework. Although, technically, the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt I've been working on would qualify since it's going to be staying here in The Magpie's Nest. πŸ˜€


However, I have been doing some selfish stitching. Remember Pumpkin Jack?


I think this is what he looked like the last time you saw him. I'd just figured out how I was going to handle the background area. I want to create shadowy corners, at least at the top, with this dark purple from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. There isn't enough of that to cover all the background, plus it would be too dark up against the dark sections of Jack's hat. Now I have two skeins of lighter purples, also from VMSS. I've been using the two, sometimes one alone and sometimes blending strands from both of them.


I really like the random shading I'm getting. In fact, I've decided to include a strand or two of the darker purple as I approach the bottom edge of the background.


This is18 mesh canvas. I'm using four strands of cotton floss in the needle for the background. At the rate I've been stitching lately this may very well be done for the next Bee, Myself and I post at the end of November!