Thursday, January 23, 2020

Two Christmas Quilts

I'm still trying to learn how to get the best pictures with the camera feature of my new phone. I've turned off the flash. Things are still looking pretty yellow. Of course, in this case it could be due to the light print I used in the blocks. It's a sand color, with a yellow undertone.

This will finish at about 64" wide and 80" high.
The blue border is more of the holly print that was the central patch in the individual blocks. I felt there needed to be a bit of blue to frame the nativity panel too so I made a flat piping of the other blue print I used in the blocks.

I've even made a back for this top already. πŸ˜€ It's another holly print but in traditional green and red on black. Another print that's been in my stash for years. I did not think to take a picture of it.

The other quilt for Christmas is the one that began with this panel:

I added the candy cane stripe and the red print to the original panel. I decided this one was going to have a horizontal format. All the blocks I make will go on either side of this central panel. I had to establish the height I wanted so I would know how many blocks would be needed for each side. That took a couple of days to get sorted. In the end I found a large-ish scale print that just made me smile when I held it up to the bottom of the panel.

Puppies in presents! 

So now this center section looks like this:

I have these stars so far:

I'm trying to use up my old yuletide prints (and a few new purchases). Turning some of the yardage into Swiss cheese by fussy cutting makes it easier to cut what's left over into scrap patches. πŸ˜‰ I need a few more stars, and then I think I'm going to choose another block to fill out the width I'm shooting for. They will continue the red on white color scheme though.

Friday, January 17, 2020

More Scraps

After I posted for this month's Scrap Happy Day (previous post) I realized I hadn't shared the miscellaneous scrap blocks I've made since Scrap Happy Day in December. A couple of them were Ship blocks that I put to use in this new Parts Department Quilt project.

But I'd also assembled two Lego blocks, more Ships, and a few Hole in the Barn Door blocks.

You may be able to tell from the photograph that I have a screaming headache this morning. And that's after I straightened it in my editing program! These are some of the first pictures from my new smartphone too. My old digital camera has taken to eating batteries. That was one of the factors that prompted the purchase of a smartphone finally. I find it interesting that the photos are coming out much more yellow than those from the camera. And that's after editing. I haven't yet found a way to whiten them up. Oh well. It's a small thing that probably doesn't matter in the long run.

Speaking of white, we've had a couple of snow days this week. The kind that keep the smart people off the streets and close schools.

Something about that snow day caused me to do this:

More of those tiny  2" Broken Dishes blocks. But look:

I have "just a few" more half-square triangles to play with. I may end up sewing a bunch more today if this headache doesn't back off soon. I need a mindless activity to help me cope. Everything else I have in the works requires decisions to be made before I can move it forward. Maybe having a headache won't be such a bad thing after all... πŸ˜‰

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Scrap Happy in January

It's a new year in which to play with scraps. πŸ˜€

For several years now many folks have selected a word or phrase to focus on or to guide their artistic practices. I've done so rather informally for the most part. Thought I'd make a more formal stab at it this year and publicly declare my word for 2020 to be Nourish.

In the process of considering possible words for 2020 I was reminded that what I enjoy most is making blocks out of leftover bits of fabric and then figuring out how to assemble those disparate blocks into a cohesive, pleasing quilt top. I'd been working on the Nativity quilt (see previous post) when I had this insight. Since I had to buy a bit more fabric to complete that top I took the opportunity to take a break from it and try to reduce the number of half-square triangles that had accumulated.

These piles of triangles became twenty, four inch Broken Dishes blocks.

16" wide x 20" high
That little one off to the right side will finish at two inches square. I decided to work with slightly larger triangles after making that block. πŸ˜‰ I'll have to do something with the rest of the 1.875" triangles I've been saving from the trash bin however!

At first I thought I'd just turn this little flimsy into a doll quilt or even a wall hanging to remind me to nourish my spirit by doing that which gives me joy. But then I remembered all the other scrap blocks in my Parts Department. For example, 6" Ships...

Sailing on a turbulent sea.

Talk about the tip of an iceberg! They needed a bit of water on which to float though. And then I thought stars to steer by would be a good idea.

Now this measures 36" wide and 32" high. My thinking is to continue building vertically for a few more rows and then run some 8" stars down either side. Maybe I'll have a complete top to show you for Scrap Happy Day in February. 😊

Scrap Happy Day is hosted by Kate and Gun, on opposite sides of the globe, on the 15th of each month (local time). Others who are participating are linked up below. Not everyone is working with fabric either!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Advent Challenge Project

Last month/last year I decided to participate in Susan's Advent Challenge for the first time ever. The goal was to make a block for the quilt of your choice each day of December leading up to Christmas and then to assemble the blocks into a top between Christmas and New Year's Day. I chose a simple block in only two colors (two blue prints and the ecru background) with the idea to use them around a Nativity panel I'd had in my stash nearly forever. 

I did not make a block a day but I did manage to make six blocks per week. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, however, I don't think any sewing of any kind took place. We had the grands over for our gift exchange on Boxing Day and then I watched the Rose Parade on New Year's Day before we began our annual movie marathon. Those are my only two official excuses. There must have been other extenuating circumstances, I just can't remember what they were. πŸ˜‰

I finally got my act together the other day and put the blocks back up on the design wall with the panel. I really wasn't sure what the final layout would be. Kate left a comment when I first showed this project that caused me to put the panel up in the corner of the prospective quilt top rather than centering it as I would normally have done. 

I knew I would need to come up with compensating blocks or some other method for filling in the gap (wherever it ended up being in the layout). Nothing I've thought about for an alternate layout has taken hold. I want to make partial blocks to fill in that empty space you see on the wall but I'd run out of two of the prints featured in the blocks. Fortunately my LQS still has it in stock so that purchase has been made. All I have to do now is get those small cuts washed and pressed, cut some squares, and we'll be good to go. You may not be able to see it in the photos but that's a medium scale blue holly print in the center of the blocks. I'm planning to use four inch strips of that to border the whole top to make it a bit bigger. I think it's going to finish around 60" x 72" in the end. 

While it feels good to finally be doing something with this panel I've been reminded that controlled palettes are not my thing. It was fine to have mindless sewing to do in the run-up to Christmas but now I'm having to push myself to keep this from becoming a UFO. I'd much rather be building a scrappy quilt. I cut a bunch of background patches for scrappy Ships to sew up between seams as I assemble this top. That will help. I also have a couple of other piecing projects I've begun that I will have to share in the days to come. The trick will be to not let them take over before this top is complete! 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

First SAL of 2020

Now that the holidays have come and gone I can show you another of the secret projects I'd been working on behind the scenes. I've saved this one for a Stitch Along post because it's needlepoint.

This small canvas was probably meant to be an ornament, or possibly a coaster. The painted area was about 5" across. That was too big, in my opinion, for an ornament to hang on the tree. Plus it would have been relatively heavy. Given the subject matter I decided to just frame it so it could be hung on the wall. πŸ˜‰

Daughter and SIL have been using the elf on the shelf for several years now. They actually have two elves, and have been quite creative in setting them up for their daughters to discover in various activities throughout December. What could be more appropriate?! The shiny candy-apple-red metal frame was perfect to give the piece the look of an ornament. The inner mat is a deep green, not black, echoing the green in the stitching. I was very happy with the way it turned out.

And I have a post-holiday finish to share today too! You've been seeing this pillow cover for several months now. I thought I had it done at this stage...

But those empty hearts bothered me. The crescent moons felt like they needed beefing up too. I didn't want to satin stitch them however. That would have been too much. So this is what I did:

Little colonial knots to polka dot the hearts and simple straight stitches to fill in the moons.

This is the lower section of the cover, turned upside down.
In this close up you can also see how I dealt with the daisies. They were too big for lazy daisy stitches so I back stitched them and then used an alternate shade of purple to whip them. Half of the petals were stitched with a dark purple and whipped with a lighter shade, the other half were done exactly the opposite way.

At this point this project finally feels complete to me. All I need now is the right size pillow form to put in it!

I haven't chosen my next project for this stitch along yet. This group works on their own projects, often UFO's, in whatever needlework technique suits them. We're welcoming a new member this time around, AJ. Welcome AJ! If you'd like to join us just leave a comment with Avis. Here's to a fun and productive 2020! πŸ˜€

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, 
Linda, Heidi, JackieSunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, 
Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, DaisyAnne, Connie, AJ