Saturday, April 30, 2016

Selfishly Stitched in April

Sort of like an eclipse, a check-in point for two unrelated groups I play with have fallen on basically the same day. The work I do for these two groups overlap although the check-in days usually don't. One is a stitch along in which most of the participants are working on cross stitch projects. The other is Carla's Bee, Myself and I for selfish sewing. My selfish sewing is the handwork I enjoy doing but that tends to be neglected. This month there hasn't been anything wildly creative. I'm still working on filling in the background on my little bluebird needlepoint canvas.

This is where is was when you last saw it:

And this is where it is now:

I've got the highlight stitches in place. I'm going well beyond the indicated outline for the design so the finished canvas can be used as a small tote bag front or the pocket on a tote. As you can see, I haven't yet addressed the issue of the black paint shadowing through. I may try for a decorative stitch or some kind of embellishment to disguise the circular frame around the main image. What to do about the designer's signature in the lower left corner is another matter. Paint may be the only option. Someone else will have to do that for me. My body won't tolerate paint fumes. However, this project may go on the back burner between now and the next check-in day(s). The urge to do something with beads has cropped up again. ;- )

 I invite you to have a look at what the others have been working on with their needle and threads:
AvisClaireGun, Carole, Wendy, LucyAnn, Kate, Cathy, Jess, and Constanze.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Filling in the Gaps

I hit upon a scheme for the fourth spot in the set of poly-chromatic or rainbow F2F blocks. A tried and true approach:

 Put the 6" star in the hole in a barn door! So now the central four-block unit in my F2F quilt top will look like this:

Remember, I'm setting these four-block units in a nine patch setting. To make this quilt big enough for my double bed I'm using 6" sashes between the four-block units. I considered a single print for the sashes. In the end I decided to make sashing from my collection of white with black prints. I'm using the stack, cut, and shuffle technique to make 6.5" blocks that I'll sew together for the 24.5" lengths I need.

And four of my scrap shoo-fly blocks will function as cornerstones!

I'm using four prints in each stack of 7" x 8" rectangles so I get four 6.5" blocks out of each stack. (I can do a brief tutorial post if you'd like.) What I have on the wall at the moment are the blocks as I made them. Once I have the rest of the blocks made I'll mix them up for greater variety in the sashing strips.

I should be able to assemble this top in sections without too much difficulty. (Famous last words.) I have no plans for a border, I believe I'll just bind the whole thing with a black fabric. Now that I'm over the hump I'm really excited to see this done!

Monday, April 25, 2016

F2F Update

So after that burst of energy things stalled a bit last week. I've sewn my Foot Square Freestyle (F2F) blocks into four-block units -- except for the rainbow blocks. I showed you the yellow, blue, orange and green blocks in this post. At that point I hadn't sorted out the blocks featuring pink. This is how they've been arranged:


Last up were the rainbow blocks.

I'm not keen on having both color wheel blocks in that set. I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do instead however. I have a 6" star, rainbow hues on black, that might replace the second color wheel. 

Most of the last week was spent coping with migraines. As a result there are new postage stamp stars and ships.

There's something about the focus required to make the postage stamp units that makes the headaches fade into the background. Most of the time.

The ships are just fun. :- )

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Everything's Coming Up Oranges

Inbetween sewing my F2F blocks into four patch units I've been making up assorted blocks in orange. For example, the stepping stone blocks I've decided to use to set the 9" Ohio stars I made last year.

This may eventually become a baby quilt. Or it might be the beginning of something bigger!

Have I shown you these blocks in the darker range of orange?

Here's a little better look at the 6" ships:

This might be my favorite block this week though. ;- )

If you want more orange eye candy you can go over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link party and pig out (literally - if you make sure to visit Gayle and a few others!).

Friday, April 15, 2016

ScrapHappy in April

I've only made one potholder so far this month. My goal was two per month, out of scraps or blocks that weren't finding new homes otherwise. Oh well, one is better than none!

These were all single HST's. Generally I find four the most useful number to have. I can turn them into Shoo-fly or Churn Dash blocks pretty much without thinking anymore. The method I use most often for making HST's creates pairs so having single ones is an anomaly. This 8" potholder top nearly eliminated the short stack that had accumulated.

I've also been adding to my scrappy armada.

Did you notice my prison ship? ;- )

I'm indulging in the colors I like the most with these ships too, not just trying to use up scraps that have been around forever.

Wow, that orange doesn't glow like that in real life!

Although some of them have been around forever! The hull and sails of this boat are what's left of an early Patrick Lose print.

I've always loved his whimsical spin on quilting prints.

There are more scrappy projects to see over at Tall Tales from Chiconia. Go have a look!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Where I Write

Celi over at The Kitchens Garden invited her readers to share the spaces where they sit to write. I learned of this invitation via Kate at Tall Tales from Chiconia. The one caveat was that we are not to tidy up before taking pictures. Gird your loins dear readers!

This is the view directly in front of me as I sit with the laptop on my lap, which is where I do most of my writing anymore. If I look up and a little to the right I can see the small television set with the news or whatever movie I happen to have on for company. If I look further to the right I have a limited view out the studio window. (Limited by the hedge that has grown too tall and desperately needs to be trimmed.) By the way, that's a dog bed on the floor in front of the open closet door.

Looking to the left is my work space.

You can see that a little beyond that is the design wall. When I'm sewing or writing by hand (you know, those old fashion things called letters) I'm facing the design wall. And when I'm sewing the laptop has taken up residence on the end of my ironing board lately.

Now, for the very brave among you, a shot of where I no longer write:

I bet you can guess why! The laptop was meant to live on that little table, and the wing chair is delightful to sit in for reading or writing... when it isn't piled high with quilts or access obstructed by that box of stuff that needs a new home. Yes, this is my bedroom. You can also see the stack of books I'm currently reading or have recently finished. (There are not enough bookshelves in this house either. Actually, I'm not sure there could be enough bookshelves in this little bungalow!)

So there you have it, warts and all. Are you brave enough to take up the challenge?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I've had my complete set of FootSquareFreestyle blocks for months now. At first I was busy on other quilt projects so didn't have time or energy to play with them. Then poor health took over for a while. I've felt more like myself again recently (whew! thank goodness!). I was laying in bed the other night, waiting for sleep to come, when suddenly an idea for setting those blocks popped into my head.

I completely dropped the ball in terms of keeping my own blog updated with the pictures of the various blocks everyone was making for this international block swap. Fortunately the originator of this swap, Kate from the wonderful land of Chiconia, has been far more diligent than I. She has a whole gallery page over on her blog where you can see not only the blocks I received but all the other blocks that have been made and sent so far too. (Poor Kate is the last one to receive her blocks. She has to wait until next month for hers!)

Suffice to say that my request was one bright, intense hue with black and white. It was an innocent enough request, or so I thought. I found I just couldn't bring myself to set the blocks together side by side or even with sashing. So they sat, waiting patiently for that eureka moment. But would that idea work?

There are 36 blocks in the set. I want a quilt big enough for my double bed. I've learned over the years that a square quilt works really well on that bed. It doesn't provide equal drop on all three sides but since I have a foot board that doesn't matter. I also like being able to turn the quilt one quarter turn periodically to even out the wear or fading that might occur.

I hadn't really assessed the color distribution among the 33 blocks I was sent. That night I couldn't even remember what the blocks I'd made for myself looked like! I wondered whether I would be able to group the blocks by their featured color. And if so, would I be able to make groups of four blocks? If so, I could create what would amount to a giant nine patch format. Nine sets of four blocks equals 36 blocks, the total number this swap was to produce. (I'd received an extra block from one participant, and I could easily make any blocks I might lack for the desired result.)

So the next morning I got out the blocks and started sorting...

Four yellow blocks:

Eight green blocks, which I divided into two groups:

Four blue blocks:

And four predominantly orange blocks:

So far, so good!

There are 12 blocks in various shades of pink, and some that feature a rainbow of color. To keep this post from getting ridiculously long I'll show you in another post what I end up doing with those.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Stitching Along in April

When I finished the flamingo needlepoint case (which you can see here) I had to make a decision about what to pick up next to stitch. I have a couple of blank prefinished cases to fill in with needlepoint. I just haven't had the brain power to figure out how I want to decorate either of them.

Back on April 1 (no foolin'!) I showed the bluebird needlepoint canvas I'd begun because it required the least amount of brain power. I believe it was at this stage when you last saw it:

There's been a lot of time in the last ten days to work on this piece. I stitch when I'm waiting in the car while someone else is doing the shopping for me (most stores are too toxic for my extremely sensitive system). I also stitch when I'm not capable of sewing. Sad to say there's been a lot of that lately. But at the same time that means there's been lots of progress on this little canvas!

I think the light blue background is going to work. I had some concerns about that.

I also made the decision to stitch beyond the circular frame indicated by the designer. My goal is to make the stitched area six or 6.5 inches square. However, it's looking like I may have to go over the painted line that frames the bird with a couple more strands of floss. I've only been using six strands, partly because it's just the easiest thing to do. The six strands just barely covers the canvas mesh and obviously doesn't quite cut the mustard where that dark paint is. It may not cover the color swatches down the right side either. We shall see. I have to remember to go back and put in the single stitch highlights too!

I invite you to see what everyone else is making by clicking on their names:
AvisClaire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, LucyAnn, Kate, Cathy, Jess, and Constanze.
Just so you know, this is a world-wide group so time zones have an impact on when posts show up.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Brightly Bewildered

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color palette for April is that of a monarch butterfly: orange with touches of dark brown or black. I was very excited when I learned this. I started off by making a few blocks out of scraps at the rusty/coral end of the orange spectrum that were right at hand.

As you can see, I'm still making the occasional Ohio Star. These are nine inch stars, not the 12" blocks I made most of last year. My focus now is 8" postage stamp stars. I'm discovering that I don't have much in the way of actual scraps this year however. I did a pretty thorough job of using them up apparently! I also find I'm reluctant to cut up my more precious prints without a plan for the resultant blocks. And the orange prints are some of my favorites. ;- )

Nevertheless, I cut tiny strips off some of my orange prints this week to make a couple more blocks. I also decided to try them with black backgrounds instead of white.

Now I'm not sure I want to continue with the 9" orange and white Ohio stars I started making last year!

There's a link party over at SoScrappy where you can see what everyone else is making. But be careful, there are a lot of enticing ideas out there!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bee, Myself, and A Bluebird

Once again the last several days have been physically difficult for me. It's such a tiresome cycle. I've made a couple more ships; I'll show them to you another time. When I've been more than a vegetable I've been doing more needlepoint. That's what I do for selfish sewing. As I was approaching the end of the flamingo card case I knew I would need something new to work on. I found a vendor on Etsy who had some small needlepoint kits for sale. I bought three. Two are of birds, the third is a floral arrangement. I chose to begin with this bluebird canvas.

I made subtle changes in the color palette. The most dramatic change is in the background. White was included for that purpose. I just couldn't go there. I'm thinking I will square off this composition and have my friend C~ use this as the front panel of a sewing tote or maybe a small bag for one of my granddaughters. White wouldn't last long in that application! I debated over pale green, yellow, or blue. I'm hoping the pale blue I chose will contrast enough with the blue of the bird's head to be effective.  

See what other selfish sewing is happening around the world over at Granny Maud's Girl!