Saturday, August 6, 2022

#JustBecause Book

How has it been a whole week since my last post?! Time really does fly when you're having fun. Or at least when you're engrossed in a good book. 😉

 I've been working a bit at a time on a fabric book for some time now. During the last week it became a finished product. I began with some rough cut pieces of yarn-dyed plaids I won in one of the Disabled Artists Foundation auctions. About the same time I was learning about art journals from YouTube videos. I also came across Susan Taylor Brown's videos and began tuning in to her live streams. She encourages us to make art "just because." This sounded like an ideal antidote for my perfectionist tendencies. I decided to have a go at turning those pieces of cotton fabric into pages and a cover for a book. Most significantly, I was determined to do it without straightening any edges or making everything the same size and shape!

I began with some slow stitching on single pieces of the fabric bundle. 

I played around with layers of textiles. I created a couple of pockets, and then made a pair of tiny tags to live in them.

Even a feather from one of my canaries got stitched down!

 There are beads and buttons strewn throughout.

A lot of the laces also came from dAFi (Disabled Artists Foundation, Inc.) auctions.

 But of course there are treasures from my own hoard included, like labels from men's neckties and quilter's cotton prints.

 Assembling the pages into signatures and then assembling the book as a whole was the scariest part. I hadn't thought out the process in the beginning and that complicated matters a bit. I'm happy with the end results though. 😊

The front cover.

The back of the book.

And that's the end of the story!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Weighing Anchor

 My scrappy ships are all fitted out, ready to set sail. 

For their maiden voyage I've decided they will sail the south Pacific, heading for the islands.

That means they will be sailing over assorted marine life (including mermaids!).

Given the nature of the scrappy ships I took the opportunity to use up various ocean-theme prints to piece the quilt back.

There are rows of hermit crabs and then shells at the bottom. That's actually where I began, with the largest pieces of fabric from my stash that fit together color-wise. Many of these fabrics were bought on spec. Like the proverbial butterfly, I am attracted to bright colors. That means I sometimes end up buying prints that can be difficult to use. My style of quilt making has evolved over the years too, so that what I bought ten years ago doesn't work as well for the way I make quilts these days. I established with width I needed for this quilt back, then worked my way up in rows until I had the length I needed. This came together more easily than I expected. I usually struggle to piece quilt backs. Even though these are larger pieces than I use to make quilt blocks I guess they were small enough for me to wrap my head around to get the job done. 😉 I do still have some small bits of these prints laying around. It will be interesting to see where they end up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Setting Course

 I rigged up 70 of the 113 ships with sashing, seven columns of ten ships each. 

 Then it was time to make the long sashing strips to go between the columns. All the sashing strips are 2" finished. The question was, was there enough of the batik print left to do the job?

Barely. The final vertical length was made up of the off-cuts from previous strips. Several were about 5" long but I also had to piece in a 1.5" bit. This is all I have left of that batik:

A strip 1.5" wide and a 2.5" square.

But the quilt was not as wide as I had figured or wanted it to be. I'd miscalculated somewhere along the way. And those long sides looked pretty unfinished to me. Of course more of that print was not available (at least, not where I looked for it). I started shopping around for some other batik to use, this time for borders and binding. I found a couple of possible options online but that's always a risky venture. I had another look through my stash and came up with yardage I'd discarded for sashing. It now seems perfect for those outer borders and binding. 😁

It has nearly the same colors in it and provides a finishing touch without being distracting. There's even enough to make the borders 3" wide so the quilt top will finish at about 60" wide and 80" long. (Binding only will finish the top and bottom edges.) Once I get those border strips in place it will be time to figure out what to do about a back...⛵️

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Rigging Up

It only took a little figuring to realize I had enough (more than enough!) Ship blocks to create a new quilt top. Given that my ships are made out of scrap patches they include every color of the rainbow. I didn't want to use more white around the blocks because this quilt may end up with a young person. White is not easy to keep clean, I don't care how careful you are. 

The Ships are only 6" square (finished). I thought about combining them with other blocks from the Parts Department. My first thought was a horizontal row quilt with different blocks in alternate rows. Or possibly a medallion style design. Both seemed too complicated for my capabilities at the moment. 

I have discovered that I can build columns of blocks with sashing and stagger the blocks for a more interesting setting than the traditional grid format. The challenge with these scrappy ships was to find something that would work with the wide range of colors and print styles. There didn't seem to be anything of sufficient quantity among my regular cotton prints to do the job. However, I found a couple of batiks to audition. I've avoided combining batiks and quilting cottons in my quilts in the past - that's just my version of OCD at work. This project will give me the opportunity to free myself from that particular chain. 

I think this black overlaid with pinks and oranges and yellows will provide good contrast to the majority of my ship hulls. It's lively without being too distracting or pulling too much attention to itself. And I have enough ships to be able to leave out any that don't work for one reason or another. I may yet use some 8" stars for side borders but will leave that decision for later. For now I'll content myself with rigging up my fleet for future sailing. 😊

Friday, July 15, 2022

Scrap Happy in July

 The 15th of each month is the day my friends Kate and Gun invite us to show something we've made out of scrap materials. This month I've only increased the inventory in my Parts Department (scrappy blocks waiting to be put to good use). However, it looks like time to start work on a new quilt top out of the Parts Department!

I've made these Bear Paws out of 4.5" squares and HST's that finish at 2". They are 6" (finished) each. Whether or not I choose to set them in the traditional Bear's Paws block remains to be seen. I like to use them as individual paws to create borders.

You can see that a couple of Ships sailed into the Magpie's Nest this month too. Of course there are more 6" Hole in the Barn Door blocks as well. 😁 I counted up the Ships I have in dry dock. There are 110. You'd think that would be enough to do something with!

I've also made some 8" star blocks. Most of them have whole-cloth center patches.

However, I also managed to make up more postage stamp units to go into stars in the future:

So maybe you'll see those next month. 😉 I have to get borders on the Doves quilt and make a back for it before I can get heavily involved in another quilt project. In the meantime, please visit the links below. Not everyone is a quilt maker but they all have scraps they might have used to make something interesting or useful or fun. And thanks to Kate and Gun for hosting this link party every month!

KateGun, Eva, Lynda, Susan Birthe, Turid, Cathy,  

Tracy, Jill,  Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, 

Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen, 

Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, 

Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Viv

Preeti, Edith, Debbierose, Carol