Thursday, August 15, 2019

Scrap Happy in August

Scrap Happy Day is hosted each month by Kate and Gun, half way across the world from each other. It's open to anyone using their scrap materials, whatever they may be. Mine tend to be fabric scraps from the quilts I make. This time of year, however, it's hard for me to do any patchwork. If I have the windows open to cool the house toxic fumes or particulates drift in and make it hard for me to function. When we close the windows and run our small air conditioning unit the studio doesn't get cool enough to have the iron on for pressing seams. Not comfortably anyway. So I've been doing more needlework of late. They've been primarily new-to-me canvases and linens but not always brand new. On one canvas, which I won't show in full because it will be a gift later this year, I've been able to use some cotton floss leftover from the needlepoint kits I was doing last year.

All the white is scrap floss. The green is what's left of a skein that's been in my stash for decades so it could be counted as well. πŸ˜‰

The pile of scrap patches for 6" Ship blocks had grown considerably before my piecing endeavors were put on hold. I cut backgrounds for them and have managed to get this fleet assembled early in the mornings.

The postage stamp star was partially constructed back when I was still working on the plaid Wrench quilt. Got that finished up too. 😁

Scrap Happy Day is the 15th of each month. To see what others have done with their scrap materials click on the links below.

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stitching Along in August

It's time for our tri-weekly stitch along check-in. In this group we work on our own projects rather than everyone doing the same piece. Last time I showed you the stamped pillowcase I'd begun to embroider. Unfortunately, I'd stitched the back of the pillowcase to the front in the first sitting.

Since then I've removed those stitches and done quite a bit of additional work.

All the stems and leaves have been stitched in back stitch. The flowers have a combination of lazy daisy petals and chain stitched petals with some accent straight stitches. 

Those leaves and stems have been stitched since this photo was taken, I promise you!
I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do in the centers of those big blossoms. I have a color picked out for the little flowers but haven't stitched any of them yet either. 

The other bit of embroidery I've done lately is to finish up the gingerbread house from Joy McDonald's series.

I did rather a lot of improvising with this one. You can see what the original design looks like here.  Most of my changes were to the upper half of the house: the chimney, the two windows, and the floral vine. 

There's only one more house in Joy's gingerbread house quilt project. Since I won't be making that particular quilt I'm thinking I may not do a third house - as much fun as it is to dress them up. 😊 Instead I may combine the two I've made with the Fruits of the Spirit panels from her that I stitched last year. We shall see. 

There's also been rather a lot of needlepoint going on lately here in The Magpie's Nest. I believe I will save that for the Bee, Myself and I post at the end of the month. Our next SAL post will be the first of September... So maybe I'll combine the two posts into one. You'll just have to wait and see. 😁

The others participating in this Stitch Along are all over the globe and will be posting according to their local time zone. You can see what they've got going by clicking on their links below.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, 
Cindy, Helen, LindaHeidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, 
Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny,Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon

Monday, August 5, 2019


And the livin' ain't easy, at least not around here. I open the windows overnight or when I get up in the mornings to bring in as much cool air as possible. Unfortunately, that also brings in toxins I don't always detect until it's too late. So I've been living with the consequences: headaches, irritability, and lethargy. We have a portable air conditioning unit but it doesn't reach to my studio space effectively. I have to say that it does a nice job of cleaning the air of pollutants though. I just don't like running it. It's noisy for one thing. And natural air conditioning is cheaper. Still, I'm lucky to have it.

My two quilts have come back from the quilt show and been turned in to the county fair. No ribbons from the quilt show, and I don't expect any from the fair. I'm very pleased with them though, and wanted to give them as much exposure as possible. πŸ˜‰

I've been doing a lot of needlework this past week. Most of it would qualify for the next SAL or a Bee, Myself and I post so I'm reluctant to share it with you until then. Once this spate of embroidery passes I may not do any more for quite some time!

You might remember I was waiting for a frame on which to mount my sugar skull cat canvas.

Since it arrived I've done quite a bit of work on her:

It's just the mindless sort of stitching I need at times like this. Of course I'll be using Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe flosses, aside from the DMC black. I've only chosen the orange for the cat's head so far. One thing at a time. 😊

I know quilters and stitchers alike enjoy audiobooks while they work. I prefer to have my little television set to the classic movie channel, TCM. I can generally follow the story without getting so involved that I stop stitching - which would likely happen with an audiobook. I think I've mentioned that I recently discovered a couple of podcasts I also enjoy, Fiber Talk and Stitchery Stories. Stitchery Stories is out of England and recently celebrated her 2nd anniversary. Fiber Talk has provided listeners with the perfect excuse for the purchases they end up making as a result of their podcasts: #fibertalkmademedoit. If I were on Instagram I would totally be using that hashtag!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Bee, Myself & I in July

Bee, Myself & I is intended for projects we do for our own pleasure, not for a gift or to a deadline. Mine have taken the form of needlework of one sort or another and have been kind of sporadic of late. With the completion of the plaid Wrenches quilt top (see previous post) I seem to be in the mood for hand work again. Not a lot has been accomplished on either of my needlepoint canvases however. I only removed a short stack of the background on the horses canvas. Not enough to bother taking a picture for you. I've only put in a few stitches in the Pumpkin Head canvas too, just enough to fill in the rest of the background around the bats on Jack's hat.

That leaves the white spots at the tip of the hat and most of Jack's head. It will be tedious to fill in those spots on the tip as I'll want to run my needle under the black stitches between the dots on the backside. I was having difficulty seeing the color changes on Jacks' face so I gave that up for the time being. The edges of his hat will pose a challenge too. I'll want it to be as symmetrical as possible, which may involve putting in some single stitches of color once I get the background established. So instead of plowing ahead with this canvas when the time was right I chose to begin yet another canvas. πŸ˜‰

Not that I could get very far. I mounted Jack on the only frame I had available. Because it's another small image I originally thought I would just stitch this next canvas in hand. After having put in the first stitches I decided to get another set of bars, currently on order.

I haven't pulled all the colors for this one yet either. It was easy to begin with the black spider web design on this sugar skull cat.

Now I'm anxious for the bars to arrive so I can do more of the black stitches! I doubt I will be following the color placements exactly. I'm not a fan of metallic threads for one thing. I don't even like metallic highlights on my quilting cottons. Just a personal peculiarity. I'll be stitching this, like Jack and the horses, with cotton floss. They are all 18 count canvases.

I'm in good shape for our next Stitch Along check-in too. I fully expect to have that pillowcase I stitched shut finished by then. 😊

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Plaid Wrenches

Not to be confused with wenches wearing plaid.

All other projects fell by the wayside this week as I felt compelled to work on the plaid wrench block quilt top. In my last post I teased you with a shot of part of one of the scrappy alternate columns. (I knew I couldn't do a completely controlled, organized quilt!) Here's the whole layout:

This one is going to be an official twin size quilt though. It should finish at about 63" x 87." Here's a shot from the side so you can see what's hidden by my cutting table.

That's the best I can do in these tight quarters.

I didn't entirely use up my brown plaids but I also didn't have enough left of anything appropriate for the whole cloth border I wanted to put on. That's where friends with stashes come in handy. 😊My friend C~ has more brown in her stash than I and was able to provide yardage sufficient for not only the 2.5" (finished) border all the way around but also enough to make the binding that will eventually complete this quilt.

It's a nice dark chocolate brown. In this case I'm happy the binding will disappear visually.

I don't have a back for this yet, nor batting, so it may be a while before I can show it as a finished product. Still, it's pretty handsome, isn't it? 😁Just what I had in mind for a young man on the threshold of his adult life.

There are still some plaids to return to my inventory but I feel I've made a respectable dent at least. Now I can turn my attention back to the more colorful baby/toddler quilt I also have in the works. And maybe get some stitching done for the upcoming Bee, Myself and I post!