Saturday, March 28, 2015

For the Love of Yellow

Today is the last Scrappy Saturday for yellow this year. I'm linking up with So Scrappy and all the other RSC players for this post.

First, a couple of my favorite yellows:

The daffodils are pretty obvious, but do you see Mr. Bingley in the background? I've been making strips of newspaper available to him to play with since I figure it's nesting season for canaries as well as the birds outside. (My poor bachelor is probably awfully frustrated, poor thing.)

I haven't seen anything resembling nest building but he does enjoy fiddling with the paper strips and carrying them from place to place in his cage.

Since I missed posting my yellow blocks last Saturday I've got a double dose for you today.

Yellow and black 12" Ohio Stars and a couple of 6" Barn Door blocks.

A couple more 12" Ohio Stars, some 6" Shoofly blocks, and one more Barn Door.

Three more Ohio Stars, a couple of 10" Wrench blocks, and assorted other scrap blocks (all 6" finished).

I have come up with a plan for using maybe one tenth of the 6" blocks in my Parts Department. Probably I'll do no more than use the equivalent number of blocks that will be made and put into the Parts Dept. in the same amount of time it takes me to make the quilt top but at least the drawer won't explode! Stay tuned for future developments. :- )

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tulip Banner

I've been having difficult days again. I can show you the table runner I recently completed though!

This was the commission I spoke of in this post. It ended up being about 16" high and 78" long. Figuring out how to handle the dark side was a struggle but the white side was fun to create. Here's most of the that side:

The star block is dead center in the length of the banner. In the detail shot below you can see the quilting my son did on the Handi Quliter Avante long arm machine at the shop.

He took his cue from the white-on-white leaf print I used for the background. He used a metallic green thread in both the bobbin and for his top thread. The quilting shows well on the white side and the metallic thread sparkles on the dark side.

I'm glad to have this done. The owner of Angelsong Retreat Center was pleased with it too, which makes me feel even better. :- )

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hands 2 Help

When I was visiting over at Layers of Hope, Quilting 911 recently I learned that her efforts had been chosen as one that the Hands 2 Help challenge will focus on this year. For one reason or another I've not yet been a part of the H2H program. This year the timing was right and one of the quilt drives is one I'm familiar with so I'm jumping on board. You can read all about Hands 2 Help here.

You may or may not have seen my post about the African Stars I started making. They are 12" Ohio Stars made with African prints I collected back in the late '90's when I had the opportunity to go to a doll maker's conference in Oakland, CA. That was a blast. It's taken me this long to acquire the experience and courage to use those precious prints! My goal now is to mash up the traditional pattern and piecing methods of my heritage with the prints, colors, and design aesthetics of the people of Africa. Insofar as that's possible anyway.

For those of you who may have missed them, here are some of the first blocks I made:

And this is what I have on the wall now:

I've made 24 blocks in all. They've been waiting while I debated whether to make more blocks or figure out a way to sash these to make a personal size quilt for an adult. I'm facing the challenge of my design wall being too small once again. This is what it really looks like in my studio!

That bottom row of blocks is pinned to the insulation board that extends below the flannel that covers the rest of the insulation board. Because of the nap of the flannel I rarely have to pin things to my design wall. Unfortunately I can't pin over the wall heater unit.

At the moment I'm thinking I will put 4" finished vertical sashes between these columns.That will give me 60" in width. Then I'll put 4" borders along the top and bottom only. That will make the quilt top 60" x 80" overall. In my family that's plenty big enough for one person to nap under. I hope it's big enough for those who are bigger than we are!

This quilt will be one of the two that I have planned for Layers of Hope in conjunction with Hands2Help. It's not too late for you to sign up too. One of the charity efforts is based in Canada, which makes it easier (and cheaper) for our Canadian friends to participate. The other is Em's Scrapbag's chemo quilt drive. Just click on the link at the top of this post or on the big ole button at the top of my sidebar to get all the details and add your name to the list. :- )

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

F2F: Let the Games Begin!

 What is F2F? It's the Foot Square Freestyle block swap, organized by Kate Chiconi and myself (Magpie Sue). You can read our original proposal in this blog post.

I'm delighted to announce that we have our 12 players for this first F2F. Yippee! My good husband was kind enough to lend us the use of his hat...

and his skills in drawing slips of paper out of it to randomly assign each of us the month in which we will be the recipient of the blocks.

the first slip out was labelled for June, the second for July, etc.

...and these are the names for each of those months!
To recap:

June: Esther at 
July: Annett at
August: Susan at
September, ME!
October: Lynn at
November: Avis at
December: my good friend Christina who does not have a blog
January: Emmely at
February: Kim, also blog-less
March: Nanette at
April: Kate at
May: Pat at

And now we're choosing the colors we want for our blocks. So far...

Esther has chosen white/light gray/cream for background areas and mustard, coral and/or jadeite or a minty blue-ish green for her focal colors.

Annett has chosen white for her backgrounds, and orange, turquoise and green focal colors.

Susan is asking for white with red and/or blue in her blocks.

I want black and white backgrounds with the bright, intense color of the maker's choice for my blocks (think hot pink, lime green, orange, strong yellow, electric blue, etc.)

Lynn has chosen dark gray for her backgrounds and pale gray, white, and turquoise/teal blue (little bits of coral acceptable) for the focal areas of her blocks.

Avis would like bright blues and purples.

Christina has chosen gray and turquoise, the scrappier the better.

Emmely has simply chosen green.

Kim would like off-white or cream backgrounds with turquoise.

Nanette would like soft shades of mauve, lavender, and purple (but not dark or bright purples) with gray.

Kate is looking for blocks with off-white or pale gray backgrounds and black, iron-gray, and/or lime green focal colors.

We haven't heard from Pat yet but as she's at the end of the list we won't pressure her for her choices!

Our three blocks for Esther will be in the mail to her by 30 June. Then by the end of July we'll have sent three blocks to Annett, and so on until finally Pat will have her 36 blocks in June of next year. It will be a long wait for her unfortunately, but hopefully she'll think it was worth it!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Another Scrappy Sunday

Because I just didn't have it in me yesterday! I'll be linking up with the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants so you can go see what everyone else has been doing when you leave here.

It felt like I made more blocks than these this week but I only have these three completely yellow blocks to share:

Two 12" Ohio Stars and one 10" Wrench.

I did, however, also make these four 12" blocks for the quilts for my twin granddaughters:

And I have a pretty cool friendship block I made for a member of my local guild:

She identified this block as Maple Star.

There were other small scrappy blocks assembled as well but you'll see them another time. :- )

We have all the players we need for the Foot Square Freestyle block swap to take place now. Woohoo! Soon we'll announce the order in which blocks will be made and sent. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Surprise Finish & Swap Status

Having to expand my Parts Department has had me thinking about how to use up some of those 6" blocks that went into the Annex. So far I haven't come up with anything that will make much of a dent. For those of you new to The Magpie's Nest, this is what I did with an earlier collection of 6" scrap blocks.

 Souvenirs, 66" x 78"

I have both Hole in the Barn Door and Shoofly blocks in the Annex drawer. Today I got out both sets of blocks. Here are the Shoofly blocks only, stacked up in front of my 6" x 12" ruler.

You probably can't see the measurement lines well. Here's a close up:

Yup, that's eight inches of raw blocks. I did not take the time to count them. 

How did that inspire me? Well, I made this today...

It's my very first mug mat. It measures 6" high x 8" wide, using only one of my scrap blocks.


Still, it's something! I quite like it too. :- )

So far we have ten confirmed participants for the Foot Square Freestyle block swap. We only need two more to complete one group. If we get another 12 we can have two sets of players! 

Judy need to email Kate or I 
if you still want to participate. 
You are a no-reply blogger and 
I can't reach you unless you contact me first!
(You send me an email from my profile page.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Daffy Saturday

While most of the USA is suffering from extreme cold, snow, and ice, we are enjoying an early spring here in the Pacific Northwest. The fields of daffodils are already in bloom which means the tulips won't be far behind. In fact, organizers have had to move the start of our annual Tulip Festival up from the first of April into the last weeks of March.

I bought a bunch of field grown daffs to have in the studio this week. They are so cheerful! They inspired me to dig into the yellows in my stash and make a few blocks in the RSC color of the month.

It's a bit challenging to get good pictures of this light, bright color.

The blocks I've been making have been stacking up (on Ruby Blue actually):

I've bemoaned the fact that my Parts Drawer is full to overflowing...

So I finally looked around and found another drawer nearby that didn't take much effort to empty out. It has become the Parts Dept. Annex, holding my 6" Shoofly and Hole in the Barn Door blocks.

There's even a bit of room for growth (but not much!). Now I can at least get the larger drawer open and closed more easily. My 12" blocks are still stacked on top of Ruby Blue but the tower is shorter now, less likely to topple over in a stiff breeze.

I'm linking up with SoScrappy for this first Saturday of yellow. :- )

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Freestyle Block Swap

Foot²Freestyle is a new scrap-busting block swap party for 12 people. It has been developed by Kate Chiconi of Tall Tales From Chiconia and Sue Brown (me!) of From the Magpie's NestWe hope you'll want to join the party – everyone who does will end up with 36 foot-square blocks, the makings of a decent sized quilt.

Here's how it's going to work. First come, first served, but we will retain the next few names as well in case anyone has to drop out and a replacement would like to step in. To make it work, we need enough people to make enough blocks for a decent-size quilt, and 12 is the practical minimum. If we get a lot of response, we can run two parallel block swap parties, which would be very exciting. If the participants enjoy it enough, we may do the whole thing again but have more people and make the blocks smaller – Four²Freestyle, for example – or simply make fewer blocks each.

Each month, one of the 12 names is picked out of a hat at random. That person is notified by both by email and on the F²F page we will set up on our blogs, and chooses a color theme for their blocks. This color choice will be advised to all participants on the F²F page. Each of the F²F swappers makes three, foot-square (12 inches square) blocks each month, and we all send our 3 blocks to the same selected person, who gets to choose color, but that's all. You get to choose the design, layout, fabric, etc. That’s why it’s called Freestyle…

Your foot-square block must feature the selected color, but can be any design, any style, any layout, so long as it’s a foot (12 inches) square plus a quarter inch seam allowance all round. Please make sure you measure and trim your blocks before you send them out.

At the end of the year, we all end up with 36 blocks, which is enough make a 72” square quilt top. At that point, we celebrate and have an online exhibition! We are each responsible for assembling, quilting and binding our own quilts. You can, if you prefer, make something else out of your blocks – for example, if you’d like to make baby quilts, a twin size, or multiple pillows, etc. Your blocks, your choice. Freestyle, remember?

Foot²Freestyle will be administered by Kate Chiconi of Tall Tales from Chiconia and Sue Brown of From the Magpie's Nest. Once we know how many (or if any!) people are interested and if it will go ahead, we will make the image above available as a button for you to grab for your blogs. Insufficient interest will result in failure to launch... Contact us in the Comments section of this post if you’d like to participate. Please also send emails to us at the addresses shown on our blogs, so we have your email for future notifications (it doesn't matter which of us you send to). Entry is strictly on a first come, first served basis. The selected participant each month is chosen by random draw from the remaining names and cannot be changed, to keep things simple and administration to a minimum.

The swap party begins in June, which should give you time to work out if you have time to join us.  We'll send an update closer to the time. Hope to see you there!

Kate & Sue