Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Has Come to The Magpie's Nest

It all started with the idea to make pillow cases for the granddaughters as part of their Christmas goodies.

The next thing I knew I was making pillow cases out of Christmas prints to use as gift wrap under the tree this year. Then there were the prints that just made up into lovely pillow cases...

I've made 28 pillow cases so far and I may not be done yet!

However, I feel the need to do some simple piecing again. While I was digging out Christmas fabrics from decades ago I came across this 14" square I'd fussy cut out of a giant Christmas stocking panel.

I also found two sets of Christmas theme blocks from back in the day. One set was part of a sampler swap. They are 12" blocks in cranberry and hunter green. The other set are 9" Churn Dash blocks. I think they may have been from a December block lottery. I started with those:

A candy cane print on blue was the perfect thing to use to bring the panel up to 18" square. Then it was an easy matter to surround it with some of the Churn Dash blocks.

Now I have the 12" blocks to decide whether to use or not (I probably will) and some leftover Churn Dash blocks. My goal is to make this about 60 x 80 inches when it's complete, for a comfort quilt or for a child in Foster Care. The trick will be how to turn this 36" square into a rectangle that size. Stay tuned for further developments!

And in the meantime, I wish my friends in the USA a warm and lovely Thanksgiving. :- )

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quick Baby Quilts

When I read about Debra Spinic's efforts to provide baby quilts for Bambi House I was inspired to dig around in my stash to see what I could whip up and contribute to the cause. Since she is a long arm quilter and was offering to do the quilting all I had to do was make a small quilt top. Great! That's my favorite part!

I found this panel (which I didn't remember even acquiring!):

I was able to cut narrow strips off the length to put on the sides for width. Then I added simple strips of yellow and a blue printed with stars for the outer border. It doesn't get much easier than that! This quilt will be about 40" x 44" when finished.

Since Debra was working with panels featuring teddy bears I paid special attention to the bear prints in my stash. I found some scraps from back in the day and was able to make  enough Four Patch blocks for this top:

Half of these bears are in a library, reading, and the border print is scattered letters. The patches finished at four inches each and the quilt will be 36" x 44" when it's done.

By this time I was thinking of all the other 4.5" patches I've cut from scraps. Sure enough, when I sorted through them there were enough of the juvenile print variety to make another whole baby quilt top. Below you can see fairies and monkeys and bugs.

Here you can see the only polar bear in the quilt and a couple of seasonal prints:

I have teddy bear fairies in one patch here. The border print is the same one I used around the panel in the first top.

And here's the whole thing:

The patches were assembled in Four Patch blocks and then arranged on my design wall. I had the idea to put them up in this rainbow of color and only did a tiny bit of tweaking before sewing the blocks together. It will be 40" square when finished.

This was so much fun, and used up old scraps and yardage that had been around far too long. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to participate. :- )

Monday, November 11, 2013

Flashback to Halloween

I realize that today is Veteran's Day here in the U.S. but I'm going to share a project I worked on just prior to Halloween this year.

My friend C~ purchased a set of Halloween blocks from a nearby guild's white elephant sale. She brought them to me and together we played around with possible layouts. This is the one we liked best:

Here's what one block looks like:

They are essentially a combination of six inch Nine Patch and Bow Tie blocks. Our guess is that this was a set of lottery blocks someone won and then didn't use. I suspect that the guidelines for the lottery were to use an orange print and a black print in specific placements within the 12 inch block. If you look closely, in the block below you'll see that the orange is actually a Christmas print!

It was pretty quick work to get the blocks sewn together. There was one spot in one block that had almost no seam allowance though, so I had DS put some Fray Chek on that area to protect it from raveling out. I added a three inch border all the way around...

And another top was ready to be quilted up for a child in Foster Care. :- )

There were some blocks that didn't make it into the quilt top, the block with the Christmas print being one of them! I took it upon myself to make a set of placemats for my DD and her brood out of the leftover blocks.

I took a couple of them apart and made a few new components to get what I wanted, then added side borders to make six 12" x 18" placemats.

Here's one up close so you can see the text print I used at the very edge. If you double click you should be able to get a nice big image for easier reading.

All it took was black to bind the edges and DD had a fun new set of mats to protect her dining table from the four little ghouls - I mean girls! - who keep her hopping! ;- )

Until next time, here's to those who have served, or are currently serving, on our behalf in various branches of the military. We appreciate your dedication and sacrifice.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again?

Dear friends, I hope it won't be so long between posts from now on. I've had quite a string of migraines of late, interspersed with the usual reactions to toxins that are unavoidable. I'm one who withdraws when I'm not feeling up to par, and blogging is a social activity for me even though it's done in the solitude and privacy of my own home. I appreciate your patience and understanding - those who have not given up on me altogether!

I have been sewing but today I want to share the fruits of other labors. You may remember that my interest in needlepoint has been reawakened this year. To that end I have been buying little kits that are made by the Stitch & Zip company. Most of the ones I have made up have been purchased through Online Stitch Kits.

Here are a coin/credit card case and a reader (specs) case:

Another pair of coin or credit card cases:

Two more coin purses (I've actually stitched up two of the blackbird pattern now):

And one more coin purse, with the same birdhouse case from the previous picture:

This one is a cosmetic bag:

I've also made up a scissor case. I didn't think to get a picture of it for you!

Back in the day I rarely bought kits. I worked from charts or designed my own projects for needlepoint or latch hook or other embroidery techniques. Lately I haven't had the mental capacity to do my own designing. I'm finding the kits a nice brainless activity (for the most part; the stamping of the patterns doesn't always land squarely on the canvas and some compensating needs to be done at times). I am beginning to fear that there will soon be more coin purses in this house than I can ever give away! I'm slightly jealous of those of you who can knit or crochet because that looks like the sort of activity I've been needing lately. You know, the mindless creation of a dish cloth or scarf or what have you. I've never been able to master the sticks or hook however. I'm enjoying these little prefinished cases precisely because they are prefinished and they are small enough to fit comfortably in my small hands.

Hopefully in a day or two I will still feel well enough to share with you some of the other projects I've been working on these past few months. And maybe I can get around to catch up on what y'all have been up to!