Saturday, August 27, 2016

Outdoor Princess Progress

I've been slowly working on more stars for the outdoor Princess on a Pea panel.

In the beginning I just made stars featuring fussy cut squares for the star centers with assorted green prints for star points and purple backgrounds.

It got to the point where I thought I'd run out of appropriate prints to put in the stars. I even resorted to a piece of the bats print I bought for my Macabre Medallion. I figured they could be flying in the night sky over our sleeping princess. ;- )

I left the top row for last because I couldn't make it fit on the design wall without shifting everything else down. Once I'd finally done that I had to rearrange the stars some more.

There was one star I wasn't happy with, no matter where I put it. I made it over again with different background and star point prints. It wasn't much of an improvement. By that time I really couldn't find another critter to feature in a new star so I declared the layout as good as it gets and sewed all the loose bits together.

Now I'm going to put it away while I try to move the Macabre Medallion forward. I wanted this to be a twin size quilt. It's only 44" x 68" at this stage. Hopefully when I pull it back out again I'll know what to do to make it grow. And in the meantime, it's almost time for the next prompt in the liberated medallion quilt along and I haven't done anything to my medallion since the announcement of the last prompt. {sigh} I don't like being behind the times but at least I'll be fully informed when I finally begin working again!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Medallion Madness

We're finally experiencing summer temperatures up here in my corner of the world. Consequently we've had the windows open, with the result that I've been slowed down by toxins floating in. My body is ridiculously sensitive. We've begun using a portable air conditioning unit during the day to keep the house cooler. It's not necessary at night because our temps usually drop significantly.
So far the air quality has been better this summer than in recent years. There will always be toxins, I suspect, but there are degrees of toxicity. I feel fortunate that it's been so low thus far.

Let me say again how much I appreciate the comments you leave. I'm sorry I haven't been up to responding to them personally. Nor have I been around to see what y'all have been up to. One of these days I'll get caught up! In the meantime, I've slowly begun work on a new project. This one wasn't planned in any sense of the word. I saw the panel and had to have it.

It's a "Princess on the Pea" by Denyse Klette for Elizabeth's Studio. My excuse for buying it was that it would be appropriate for any (or all) of my granddaughters. ;- )

As I've been working on it my husband has made the comment that he finds it very relaxing to look at and wouldn't mind having it for himself!

After I trimmed the raw edges I added narrow strips down the sides to achieve dimensions that would be easier to work with. The next step was to create some flying geese:

At that point I sort of got stuck. I wanted it wider, that much I was sure of. I really didn't want to make that many more geese. Then I remembered a vine print in my stash. I cut strips for all four sides but only sewed them to the left and right.

When I realized the top and bottom would need to be pieced I took the opportunity to slip in some surprises. My whole intention as I work on this is to enhance the sense of being outside, perhaps camping (which my granddaughters love to do). To that end I pulled out all the novelty prints I could find that feature creatures you might encounter outdoors. Sawtooth stars were the obvious choice for showcasing those prints.

Ants and snails and ducks...

Butterflies, dragonflies, and the pet cat. :- )
I have more stars to make, and then I'll have to figure out how and where to set them within the borders.

What I really need to be working on is my liberated medallion for the quilt along. The next design prompt will be announced in only ten days or so and I haven't touched my Macabre Medallion since the current challenge was announced. {sigh} Oh well, I sort of know what I want to do with it. One of these days my energy will return. Maybe when this rare spate of sunshine is chased away by the cloud cover we're more accustomed to it will be easier to get back into the spirit of that project.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Scrap Happy in August

Today is the day Kate and Gun host their monthly Scrap Happy Day link party. Click on over to one of their blogs to see the full list of participants. In the meantime, here's what I've been able to accomplish...

If you are a regular visitor to The Magpie's Nest you'll remember that I've been building yet another small quilt top out of parts and patches from my Parts Department (and you probably don't need to read the rest of this paragraph!). I'd been making double four patch blocks inspired by my local guild's block of the month lotto. Then I started putting some of the postage stamp stars I've been making in conjunction with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge inbetween the four patch blocks.

At my last reporting I had all the blocks in place but wasn't completely satisfied with one or two of the stars. On a whim I started another postage stamp star. When it was complete I substituted it for the orange star I was most concerned about.

It just didn't work. So I've now sewn the blocks together as I had them previously and the top looks like this:

I'm leaving it this way, no borders or anything more than binding. It should finish at about 48" x 56" and be suitable for either a child or an adult who is young at heart. ;- )

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Stitching Along

It's been three weeks since our last SAL check-in. Already! It's been a tough period of time for me so I've been doing needlepoint again instead of embroidery. The last time you saw my little bluebird canvas it looked like this:

I had my son paint over the designer's mark and part of the color swatches with acrylic paint. It worked very well. Wish I'd thought to have him do that before I reached and covered the circular frame around the bird!

Now the canvas is complete. It could stand a little blocking, but it's basically ready to be turned into a pocket on a tote bag or something.

As far as I'm concerned, this counts as a finish for me. :- )

I've also started a new little coin/card case:

Once again I will be changing up some of the colors as I proceed. I've already done so in fact.

I don't have a 'before' picture to show you but progress has also been made on this pillow canvas:

This one is worked in wool instead of cotton floss. I'm finding I prefer to work with the cotton threads over wool yarn. Consequently this piece will be much longer in process. That's okay; I don't relish the finishing processes anyway. It's all about the mindless stitching for me.

If you'd like to see some impressive needlework being done around the world check out the links below for the other members of this SAL. If you'd like to play along leave Avis a comment on her blog.

Avis at
Claire at
Gun at
Carole at
Wendy at
LucyAnn at
Jess at
Constanze at
DebbieRose at
Christina at
Susan at
Kathy at
Kate at

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Quick Check-In

Last week was one of those I think of as "lost." Our internet connection was restored and has been strong since then. Unfortunately, my body took over and kept me from functioning properly. We will be having visitors this week so I may be incapacitated again for a couple of days. Before that happens I wanted to show you the progress I have managed to make.

Remember how I started making double four patch blocks and then discovered how much I liked the postage stamp stars I've been making for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge with them?

That's a row of my Diary Quilt down the right side
of the design wall, not a prospective border.
I made more of the double four patch blocks, one or two at a time, until I had enough for a small quilt. Then it was time to audition the stars. 

I filled in all the gaps and then spent a couple of days tweaking placements. I think this will be the final arrangement:

That orange star sort of grabs the eye but I haven't found anything I like better in that spot.These are all 8" blocks. Right now I'm not planning a border of any kind. This isn't the time for a big, involved project. Hopefully my internal systems will stabilize in the near future so I can turn my attention to my liberated medallion and a couple of new quilts for family members. I'd also like to get around to see what everyone else has been up to. It may be the end of the week before that happens however. I hope you're all having more fun than I have been! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Great Minds Thinking Alike

The next prompt for the Liberated Medallion Quilt Along has been announced. The most recent prompt was to use log cabins as inspiration. It didn't have to be actual log cabin blocks (or variants thereof) but could be a riff on any of the names of quilt designs made with log cabin blocks. I'd already used liberated log cabins for the first round...

So I wasn't sure what to do next. The best idea I had was to make some stars, perhaps half light and half dark in the way traditional log cabin blocks are. My stash of dark prints is getting a bit low however. I went online and found more of the bats that surround the baskets. Winter Creek Cloth also had that print in a purple I thought would work so I bought some of that too.

By this time it was nearly the end of July. I was torn between trying to make up some stars and adding them to my medallion or just waiting for the next prompt to see what would come next. Guess what Katy chose for the next prompt? Stars!

So for my log cabin inspired round all I did was frame up my medallion with four strips added in Courthouse Steps fashion:

It now has dimensions that should be easier to work with (i.e. nice round numbers) and I can make stars any old way I want. ;- )

You can see what the other liberated medallions are looking like by checking out the links over on Lori's blog, Humble Quilts.