Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Block by Block

I guess my favorite thing to do is to piece simple blocks. Here's a friendship block I made recently:

It's for a "Pea Pod" quilt. I can't find the link for it at the moment. It's from McCall's Quilting as I recall.

All the strip cutting I've been doing has created some new scraps and remnants. In addition to the Scrappy Trips blocks I've made a new batch of liberated stars. I especially like this one:

Here are the rest of them. If you double click on the picture you should be able to get a larger version and see the blocks better.

I've been trying out a very simple block to use between my many scrappy Shoofly blocks. You can see a few of them in the column on the right below.

I liked the way they looked so I made more. Here's what I had on my design wall at the end of the day yesterday:

Fun, fun, fun! The only problem is that my Parts Drawer is already overflowing. What am I going to do with more parts?!

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Quilt for All Seasons

Have y'all been to Google's homepage today?

I love the way Edward Gorey's mind worked!

Since my last post I have been cutting strips. Some 2.5" strips for more of the Scrappy Trips blocks but more 3 inch strips for another jelly roll style quilt. In fact, I cut enough of the latter for two quilt tops!

I had the idea some time ago to make a calendar quilt of sorts, featuring the novelty prints I've collected over the years for each holiday. Who knew it would be so easy to cut almost 200 strips?!

Well, maybe not that easy. My thighs are complaining about all the squatting and crouching I've done to paw through my collection and make my choices. I was pleased to be able to use up a few prints. There are still whole stacks for certain holidays though!

My plan was to use 3" raw strips, sewn with straight seams, for a top that would end up about 60 x 80 inches. My starter strip had to be at least 1920 inches long. It ended up being in the neighborhood of 1970 inches. I think. At any rate, I dumped all the strips into a nice big shopping bag, stirred them up, and pulled them out randomly to sew end-to-end. I continued to use the bag to corral the mess during the early stages of construction:

As of this writing I have one top all pieced. The seam allowances need to be pressed and then I can try to get a picture of it for you. We're having a lot of cloud cover and rain currently so an outdoors shot is out of the question. I may be able to pin this to my design wall (with some help) but you'll get a skewed shot that way. The rest of the house has poor lighting. Oh well, I do the best I can with what I have!

I'm thinking of trying to organize the placement of the prints in the second top. I don't know whether that can be done, or how successful it will be, but since I have two nearly identical piles of strips why not try it? First, though, I think I'm going to sew up a few small-ish scrap blocks just for the fun of it. ;- )

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coming Out of the Shadows

I finally felt well enough to do a little blog browsing over the weekend. Among the inspiring things I found was Nifty's Scrappy Trips quilt. That took me to Bonnie's tutorial for the pattern, and the next thing I knew I was combing through my scrap strips to see what I had that would fit the bill. I ended up cutting a few new strips, and before I finished for the day I had produced four 12 inch blocks!

It seems to me that when arranged in straight diagonal rows this pattern is also known as Sunshine & Shadows. So far I haven't verified that yet.

It feels appropriate for me to be working on such a pattern. Right now I'm enjoying a bit of sunshine after days and days of shadows. I've decided to keep making these 12" blocks. In fact, I can't seem to stop!

I'm going to keep a yellow or other light running through the center of my blocks. It remains to be seen how the blocks will be put together in the end. I can pretty well guarantee that my finished quilt will not be as big as Nifty's! ;- )

Meanwhile, there's a baby quilt I promised to make. It's been a struggle to get that project started too but I think I may have come up with a plan. It involves red and a black & white zebra stripe:

That's the backside of the stripe in the photo above. The baby's not due until April so I'm not stressing about getting this done. Not yet anyway!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I haven't recovered my full energies yet. I was completely stuck for almost a week. Then my row-by-row quilt came home to be bound. Even that process has been more challenging than usual for me. But let me show you some of the quilting my son has done!

This has turned out to be quite the sampler quilt for him, with a different quilting pattern in nearly every block.

I wish I could do a better job with the photography but at least you get a feel for what he's done.

He tells me that several times he was inspired by the patterns he found in the prints in the blocks.

I especially like this elongated leaf he put in the outermost border.

I may not be allowed to donate this quilt after all. Son may have to have it available for reference!

I seriously hope I can find/come up with a project that excites me very soon. I do not like being in limbo like this. Unfortunately, so far very little has appealed to me. It may be time to cut some foundations squares for string piecing... or use up scrap strips in another quick strippy. Or maybe I need to ruffle through my stash, just to reacquaint myself with what I have...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hope Flimsy

Hello again friends. I've been away longer than intended this time due to a cold my husband brought home with him from work. I've turned the corner now and am slowly improving, so that's a good thing.

Since last fall there's been a project in the works here in the Magpie's Nest that I have yet to share with you. Not a big deal really, but the time has certainly come to show it to you!

I wanted to have another go with black and white prints but this time I wanted to throw in one additional color. I'd also been wanting to try out another of the block designs in Karla Alexander's book, Stack A New Deck. This was the first batch of blocks I made:

And then a few more...

And then they sat for a long time while I worked on other projects. Those projects are now in the queue for quilting so the black and white prints came back out to play.

I decided at the outset that this would be a personal snuggle quilt, not officially twin size, so when I had a 7 block by 9 block setting I was happy with I started thinking about borders. (The blocks finish at 7 inches.) The green batik inner frame was a pretty easy decision. The outer border proved a bit more challenging however. A debate arose whether to stick with the black and white prints or to use the border to pull in more color.

In the end I decided to stick with my original idea and use the black and white. The quilt top feels so light and fresh!

I wish I could provide you with better pictures of it. I wish you could see it in person! It will be about 61 x 75 when it's quilted and bound. And now, on to the next project!