Monday, October 31, 2016

Calorie-Free Treats

It's Halloween here in the States. I don't go in for the horror aspect of the holiday but regular visitors to The Magpie's Nest will know that I enjoy the macabre. A couple of years ago when it became apparent that handing out treats at the door wasn't worth the risk involved to my health I chose to make up for that deprivation by leaving my more favorite decorations out all year round. To that end I created this display in a hallway:

I also have this photo of our second granddaughter from when she was about three years old:

No surprise then that we're big fans of Tim Burton's animated movies and Dia de Muertos!

On a quilt-y note, here are some of the blocks I've already sewn up as a result of having cut remnants into patches.

Rather than color (as in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge) I've been focusing on prints that could pass as reproductions of 19th century fabrics, which helped made the decision about block patterns easier. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this palette going but at least it's a place to start. I've moved some things around, emptying boxes that now corral the patches I've cut and haven't used yet. It's all a process, and will continue as long as it's effective!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Planning Ahead

I've had several bad days since my last post. But I've also been thinking about how best to prepare for such days in the future. There are days when I can sew as long as I don't have to think about what I'm doing. So while my brain is functional I've developed a cutting menu. 

Over the last two days I've managed to cut almost a dozen small pieces of yardage into patches! Some have been paired up - focal prints and backgrounds - but others are only the equivalent of  half a block.

I'm thinking now that I'm going to need some sort of container for these pre-cut patches. I'll need to be able to label them so I know what blocks those patches are intended to become! Meanwhile, I've been able to sew up some random blocks I had prepped earlier.

I will be linking up with the RSC on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be feeling well enough then to get around to see what everyone else has been up to. ;- ) 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Barely Stitching Along

There hasn't been a lot of hand work happening here in The Magpie's Nest since the last SAL check in. I put in a small section of stitches on the koi needlepoint canvas. This is how it looked the last time I shared it:

I've filled in a bit more of that section next to the tail since then.

I've also begun work on a new stitch & zip coin/card case.

All I've done so far is some of the white background. Can you even see it?

Others have no doubt made more progress on their stitchery projects You should go and see!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Orange You Scrap Happy?

Today is an opportunity for me to link up with both the RSC and Scrap Happy Day with Kate and Gun. I thought I might have done something with more of the scraps from my liberated medallion effort but that hasn't been the case. I got tired of those dark tones so I pulled out some oranges for the RSC palette this month.

I also pulled out my orange Ohio Stars from last year. I'd started making stepping stone blocks to go with them but I knew I needed more. Before I could think about making anything for this project a new postage stamp star crept in to the mix.

I only made two more stepping stone blocks but what a difference in the overall appearance!

I have to decide how big I want this to get. I'm not enjoying the stepping stone block construction a whole lot. This may very well become the center of a new medallion quilt. Maybe I can get more stepping stones made if I branch out and make other blocks in orange on white...

I'm linking up with both the Rainbow Scrap Challenge bloggers and those playing along with Kate and Gun for Scrap Happy Day.

Now I have to hurry up and write a post for tomorrow's Stitch Along  post. We lost our power yesterday when the first arm of the disintegrating typhoon hit us. The second front is supposed to be even stronger so we 're in Preparation Mode!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

One Step Closer to Finished

Since my last post I've done more cutting than piecing. I've also made three trips to my local quilt shop but only one resulted in fabric actually being purchased. There's a better-than-usual sale going on. There have also been groups sewing in the next door annex. The first time I tried to shop my nose stopped me as soon as I opened the shop door. I had to turn around without even stepping foot inside and go back home. I made it into the store on the second trip but there were so many customers I didn't feel safe sticking around. People don't realize how very fragrant they are between the laundry products in their clothing, scented hair products, deodorants and of course, perfume. 

On my final attempt I was at least able to buy fabric to back two quilt tops. It took more brain power than I was prepared for however. There wasn't quite enough yardage of the ideal print for the back of the Macabre Medallion, and nothing that looked quite right to back my Precious Gems top. Eventually I figured out ways around those issues. I also bought some of this batik to potentially use with my F2F2 blocks:

I have another print that's also a black background with yellow and orange splashed on it that I might use as sashing. The batik would be borders. Here's a quick reminder of the blocks I received:

I haven't yet decided - or even given much thought to - how I'll set these. I always strive to do something unexpected or out of the ordinary though.

The cutting I've been doing has been to trim four quilts in preparation for binding. I don't have detail shots yet of the quilting; I'll try to remember to get those for you. James was busy with our local Shakespeare Festival during the summer months and then had one thing after another go wrong with the third-hand long-arm machine he uses. He had a pile of tops and backs and now I have a pile of quilts to bind! The largest quilt I had to trim was my F2F quilt, which I made to fit our double bed. The other three are donation quilts and are all smaller (thank goodness!).

The trimmings from these four quilts made my scrap pile grow so high it was in danger of toppling over.

Here the scrap pile is leaning up against my sewing machine.

I'm going to have to find somewhere else to store them or something to toss them into! I'm beginning to give some thought to what I might do for next year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Not sure I can wait that long to do something about this pile however. ;- )

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Medallion Scraps

I've added the narrow black borders to my liberated medallion but didn't bother to photograph it for you. Instead I've been trying to cope with the scraps leftover from that project.

I only have about 2" x 8" left of one of the prints I used in the medallion. There's  not much more of another of the prints I used, both of which I lived in fear of running out of before I'd completed the medallion!

Some of the strips that were cut in sizes I use frequently I may just put in my strip stash. I'm going to try to use up as much as I can first however. So far I've made two postage stamp stars and five liberated 4.5" stars.

But then there's this odd bit of liberated piecing I did for the medallion that didn't make it into the final quilt.

I don't know what I'm going to do with that! I thought I might try to assemble a small quilt, maybe another medallion, out of these scraps. The liberated piecing above might end up as the back of a potholder instead. ;- )

Monday, October 3, 2016

Gwennie-Inspired Medallion Reveal

The day we've all been waiting for is finally here! I'm excited to see how everyone else's liberated medallion quilt tops turned out. In the meantime here's my story. (Do you have a fresh cuppa? You might want to go make one before you settle in.)

You may recall that I made liberated log cabin blocks in the first round when we were to be inspired by any aspect of childhood. (You can read about that here if you missed it.) That meant I had a real challenge when the next prompt came and it turned out to be log cabins. Rather than making more blocks I treated the whole medallion as a giant log cabin and only added some framing strips, Courthouse Steps style.

The next design prompt was stars. Seemed easy enough but I got stuck at that point. I had a few ideas, but without knowing what the final prompt would be I was afraid to make a move. That turned out to be a difficult month for me physically too. I fussy cut more images from one of the prints in my palette and randomly made a couple of stars but didn't build a single border.

The final prompt was completely unexpected: add something fishy. Given the nature of my medallion thus far I was driven to find some fish skeletons. And I did! In the right colors and scale to boot! But how to incorporate them in a way that made sense? How would fish skeletons come into the picture? Because cats had eaten the fish of course!

Cats are also fond of mice. The lower half of the quilt became a garden in my mind, the source of the roses in the baskets that started this whole adventure.

Along with the ubiquitous spiders of course. ;- )

I kept the creatures of the air in the upper half of the borders, with the exception of a few skeletons dancing in the star light.

And now, the whole quilt top:

I do have one more design decision to make. I'm debating whether to add final border strips, partly to bring the quilt closer to the size I was shooting for (although it's perfectly acceptable the way it is) and partly to frame the composition.

On the other hand, I don't want it to look like it's waiting for another border. These whole-cloth strips will mimic the strips in the Courthouse Steps round and I wonder if that will be redundant. I'm planning to bind the whole thing - eventually - in black. This shot isn't much to go on but I don't have much room to audition any further either. I'll only be adding 4" overall to the width and somewhere between 2" to 4" to the height if I go with the black border strips. I'll take all suggestions into consideration, thank you very much.

Now, if you haven't already, I highly recommend you to pop over to the link party on Lori's blog so you can see the whole gamut of liberated medallion quilts that have been created during this quilt along! This has been a really fun trip and I'm grateful to all the hostesses for making it so. :- )