Friday, November 27, 2015

Beginning a Quilt Diary

So as I was touring the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blogs a couple of weeks ago I started noticing buttons for Quilty 365. I followed the links and learned about the circle project Kathy over at Quilty Folk has begun.

I like the concept of a daily record in fabric for a year of life but circles and applique are not for me at the moment. I spent several days stewing over ways to adapt this project to my own style and taste. I came up with a couple of ideas I thought were workable but finally decided to just cut a 2.5" x 6.5" strip each day. I considered assembling the strips into blocks but decided on columns for an eventual strippy format quilt. I'm not sure exactly how many strips will go into each column or how many columns there will be in the end but I can work that out next November. ;- )

Obviously the first strip had to represent all the figuring I'd done before the project even got underway.

The next day was wet and stormy, blowing the spider webs in the hedges all over the place. The yellow strip is for Mr. Bingley. That was the day he passed away. I may yet ink his name and dates on the strip, I haven't decided. The bottom strip in the photo above was to celebrate the fact that I'd actually done some sewing that day.

I've chosen to use white prints for Sundays. I plan to either ink or embroider a scripture reference on those strips. I felt truly ill on that Monday but much better on Tuesday. My son who played the tympani in orchestra had his birthday on Wednesday. I found the perfect vintage print for Thanksgiving!

So far it's been fairly easy to choose an appropriate print for each day. I have a sinking feeling that may already be at an end. I'll have to come up with a back-up plan for those days that have no stand-out experiences I guess. Maybe just a strip of whatever fabric I used that day.

I've been making more sawtooth stars this week.

I'm pretty sure I'll be making them next year as part of my participation in the RSC16. I may actually make the blocks that Angela has chosen for the year too. There are going to be more Ohio Stars, primarily in orange I think. And there will always be six inch Shoo-fly and Hole in the Barn Door (or Churn Dash) blocks!

I'm linking up with the other rainbow bloggers over at SoScrappy.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Flight Over the Rainbow Bridge

It's been a challenging week here in The Magpie's Nest. Most significantly, my little canary passed away. His health had been sort of up and down the couple of months. I've only had him for 4.5 years but he must have been at least a year older than that because male canaries don't sing until they're a year old. Seems like a pretty short lifespan, even for a canary. I'm hoping the next one will stick around longer. I keep glancing at the empty cage, expecting to see that bright bit of yellow.

It was a struggle but I managed to get the two sets of blocks sewn into flimsies for the twins (see previous post). All week long I had trouble getting seams to line up properly! The tops still need borders before I can call them finished. I just didn't have the heart or the brain power to work on that. I made up some friendship blocks for members of my local guild and puttered around with more postage stamp stars.

Gayle, please note the yellow Grandmother's Choice block in the middle of the bottom row. It will be all of five inches square when finished. ;- )

My favorites of this bunch are these two 8" stars:

This morning I've made up a couple of Ohio Stars out of leftovers.

9" Ohio Star

12" Variable Star
The center patch of this star features a cut of the Gettysburg Address.

I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrap bloggers and looking forward to learning what Angela has planned for next year. :- )

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Altogether Scrappy

In terms of progress on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge efforts this year I have two quilt tops ready to assemble, one for each of my twin granddaughters. I made about a dozen blocks specifically for each girl and then used my rainbow Ohio Stars to fill out the quilt tops.

Quilt #1:

And quilt #2:

So far they are still just loose blocks. I'll get the tops assembled one of these days. ;- )

After hearing the tragic news out of France I turned to piecing little squares (1.5") to maintain my sanity.

These stars will all finish at eight inches square.

The points of the star above were cut from a strip of fabric generously given to me by a member of the F2F swap.

It felt good to use up my odd black square patches.

These postage stamp stars are one of the options I'm considering for my RSC next year. The only thing that's certain at this point is that I'll be working with smaller scraps than I did this year. In the meantime, I'm linking up with the other RSC bloggers over at SoScrappy.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Needlebook Finish

Over the last couple of days this...

Became this:

And this is the finished product:



I broke up the large patch on the back with a line of beading. Once I'd done that it became easier to fill in with beads and charms, my favorite way to decorate textiles. I avoided the whole spider issue with a riff on Kate's butterfly suggestion. Look closely and you'll see that I've sprinkled the background of nearly all the patches with clear seed beads, just to add a bit more sparkle.

Here's the inside:

The colors look better in person, trust me!

The cover itself is lined, and then I add two flaps that create pockets when the wool felt pages are sewn in place. The pockets will accommodate small scissors, bobbins of thread, a needle threader, what-have-you. You could even tuck a credit card in there! You know, in case you have to shop online while you're stitching. ;- )

Now to decide whether to break this one in myself or keep it in its virgin state for future gifting...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Time for Some Slow Stitching

I've been building pretty good size quilt tops of late. Yesterday I felt the need of something smaller, more intimate. Didn't have it in me to begin a brand new project so after some rummaging around I came up with a needlebook cover I'd started many months ago: 

This was what the front looked like when I abandoned it. The first thing I did yesterday was to remove about 50% of the embellishments. I changed out the yellow flower beads for purple ones and did some lazy daisy stitches down either side of that panel in perle cotton (size 5 I think).

The stitches are a bit dorky looking to me but I pressed on, inspired by this bit of metal I found in a local bead shop recently.

This is how the whole cover looks today:

I used seed stitches in a variegated embroidery floss in that central panel. That's where the cover will fold so I wanted to avoid three dimensional embellishments in that area. 

Here's a closer look at the upper left corner:

The owl and the branch on which he's sitting are two separate bits of brass. There are still two rather large areas I have to figure out how to decorate but I'm pleased to have made this much progress, especially when this project stalled so early in the process originally. 

For those who are new to The Magpie's Nest, this is the first needlebook I made, the one in which I keep my hand sewing needles:

It's made of printed corduroy scraps. I wanted one that was a little less bulky and maybe more summer-like in color. Now I'm not sure I'll be keeping this one for myself. I hesitate to put a spider web and resident on a piece when someone else might be creeped out by it!