Saturday, March 26, 2016

Scrap Armada

Turns out I don't have that much in the way of purple scraps anymore. I have made a couple more postage stamp stars per this month's color palette for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge however.

Mostly I've been making more ships. My fleet has grown from this...

to this:

And yes, I broke away from the RSC palette to make a few other postage stamp stars. ;- )

What are the chances pink will be part of next month's scrap palette?

This block and these tulips...

say Happy Easter! to me. And Happy Easter to you too!

You can check out how others are using their purple scraps over at SoScrappy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Danger Will Robinson!

As usually happens, things started innocently enough with an assortment of blocks out of the scrap piles. (Yes, piles. They are organized, but piles nevertheless.)

I broke out of the color palette for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge with the two little ships (6" each).

Next thing I knew this is what was on the design wall:

And then this:

I think things have gotten a little out of control!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Stitching Along in March

As you're probably aware, I need to do some handwork from time to time. I can't keep up with a weekly post to share what I'm currently stitching but I found a group who post every three weeks  to show the progress they're making. And I get to play along!

I actually have a few things I've made that have never been featured on this blog. Hopefully this will give me the motivation to make sure you get to see those goodies in addition to whatever I happen to be working on at the moment. For now let me just show you my current hand project. 

I'm a big fan of the Stitch & Zip kits. Basically they are prefinished needlepoint projects. I like the little coin purse/credit card cases because they fit nicely in my small hands. And I like using them for my business and credit cards! I did that e-reader case for my friend C~  recently, and even that turned out well in the end. (By which I mean it didn't require heavy blocking like a pillow canvas would.) 

As winter was drawing to a close around here I felt the need for something cheerful and tropical. I chose this card case kit:

It was already halfway done when this picture was taken. I changed out one color from what was provided in the kit. The flamingo was supposed to be outlined/highlighted in red. I swapped that out for a dark pink instead.

Back in the day I experimented with all sorts of fancy needlepoint stitches. Now I find peace and relaxation by filling in swathes of color with simple basketweave stitching. I also like the way it looks on the back of the work.

And now it's all done. Ta-daa!

Color me happy. :- )

Now to go 'round the world to see what everyone else has been up to! You can click on the links below to see for yourself.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sailing Off in a New Direction

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016 I was planning to continue making the postage stamp stars I stumbled into late last year. As I said in the previous post, I've been a bit distracted since the beginning of the year. Consequently I've made very few stars per the colors suggested for each month's challenge, at least in comparison to last year's Ohio stars! These stars were made in blues with a touch of purple for January, brown with a touch of pink for February, and now purple with a touch of yellow:

I haven't been around Blogland much either lately. But one visit in particular made a lasting impact. Gayle is such a bad influence. Go check out her tee-tiny boats in this post. I'll wait here.

Are they cute or what?! But no way am I making three inch blocks. At least not right now (never say never after all). I couldn't get them out of my head though, and finally ended up making this:

Another postage stamp star in purple and yellow, and a little green ship. Twice as big as Gayle's though. ;- )

Before I knew it I'd started my own fleet.

So far they only feature the main color of the RSC for each month. However, I've discovered that I can get sails for my ships out of pairs of 2.5" scrap patches that I can't make work in shoo-fly or churn dash blocks. I'm thrilled with this discovery because it has led to a whole new long-range plan for putting all those shoo-fly blocks to good use. Woohoo!

I'm linking up with the other Rainbow scrappers this weekend. Who knows, maybe I'll even get around to see what they've been up to!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ScrapHappy in March

Kate and Gun have been hosting a ScrapHappy Day on the 15th of each month for a while now. I've participated a few times but it's been sort of hit and miss. Last year I watched Sheila make at least one potholder every month as part of her Rainbow Scrap Challenge efforts. That seemed like a do-able goal so I thought I'd give it a try this year.

Famous last words.

I was preoccupied at the beginning of the year with the F2F quilt for the ovarian cancer quilt project. Then it was the brown puzzle quilt last month. One quarter of the way into the new year and I'm finally getting on board! I pulled some of the extra 2.5" patches I routinely cut from scraps and made up an 8" 16 patch block.

I backed it with an 8" block from the Parts Department that I didn't think would ever work in a quilt. (No, you don't get to see it!) Then I thought about other blocks in the Parts Department that might be turned into potholders and came up with this:

I've also been working with the leftovers from the brown puzzle quilt.

But now I have my mind set on more cheerful colors!

If you go over to Kate's blog you'll find a complete list of those participating in ScrapHappy Day this month. It's an international group of talented people. You can take a trip around the world without ever leaving home. ;- )

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Happy Ending

I've continued to work on the brown puzzle quilt since my last post. I have a very hard time taking a project down off the design wall once it's begun. I had a couple of better health days this week too. That always helps. ;- )

First of all I combed through my collection of smaller blocks in the Parts Department. That helped to fill in some of the white space between the nine and 12 inch blocks. I made a flock or two of geese too.

Then I had to figure out how to fill in the remaining background areas. Everything I'd done so far was based on a 3" grid so I started cutting 3" squares (3.5" in their raw state).

I played with value placements over the course of a couple of days and then finally decided it wasn't going to get any better. I started at the bottom of the quilt, sewing the loose squares together first and working my way up to the larger blocks. I discovered I could assemble the lower part of the quilt in two halves. Once that was done I could move the upper section down the design wall for easier access to those top rows.

I had to make a few more geese to flesh out that upper left corner. Then it was a matter of figuring out how to divide up and assemble that upper section.

With the puzzle complete the flimsy measured 51" wide and 63" long. At this point I was feeling a lot better about this project. However, I wanted a bit more width and length since this is going to be given to an adult male.

The simple solution was to add a frame and border treatment. The prints I thought I would use for that purpose didn't look as good as I'd expected. Fortunately the leftover strips from the back of our F2F quilt for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project turned out to be perfect for the frame. And I had enough of the warm brown print I'd used in some of the geese to do the outer border.

After whining about this project in the last post, I now love this quilt top. This will be my contribution to Covered in Love as part of the Hands2Help quilt drive sponsored by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I'm delighted to have the top done already. I can now relax, confident that it will be quilted and bound well before the deadline for mailing this year. :- )

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday Pondering

I've just been visiting Esther over at ipatchandquilt. She has been working with donated blocks (and fabric) for charity quilts. Some of the prints that were donated date from the 1990's. They are high quality fabrics but not what Esther would choose for herself or her home. She's doing wonderful things with them. However, her comments and another group effort called Bee, myself and I, have me thinking about what I'm currently working on versus what I enjoy looking at or living with.

I have not yet felt the need to participate in the selfish sewing bee. I pretty much get to do what I want here in The Magpie's Nest, which feels selfish to begin with. It also pleases me to be able to make and donate quilts to people in need or worthy causes. So what need have I for selfish sewing?

Events yesterday have given me cause to ponder. The way things do in this life, one thing led to another and I am currently building another donation quilt. It began with blocks from my Parts Department, and since the intended recipient is a man I chose those blocks I thought were more manly in appearance.

The problem is that they are, for the most part, brown. And because this will be what I refer to as a puzzle quilt I need to make more blocks in brown to fill in the gaps.

Brown is not my favorite color. In fact, it is probably one of my least favorite colors. I prefer a more tropical palette, like these friendship blocks from my local quilt guild:

What made it so bad yesterday is that it's suddenly spring here. I worked on building this brown quilt, then had to run an errand out in the sunshine where I could see the flowering trees and the daffodils in beds and boxes around town. All that wonderful color and I had to come back to my little barren yard and deck and back to that brown project. {sigh}

If I had another design wall I could put those friendship blocks back up and play with them some more; take a break from the browns. But I don't, so I believe I will have to content myself with some needlepoint in happy colors. In other words, selfish sewing. ;- )

And just in case you haven't had a response from me to a comment you may have left on a previous post please know that I've read them and appreciate your kind words. Toxins and migraines have kept me from being more social again. (They've also kept me from putting even a few flowering annuals in the pots lining my back deck. Maybe I can do that tomorrow.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

His First Quilt

First of all, let me beg your pardon for gloating over my youngest son's recent accomplishment. James has been long arm quilting other people's quilts for over three years now. He just put the finishing touches on the first quilt he made from start to finish. He designed it, pieced it, appliqued parts of it, did the quilting, and put on the binding with a flat piping to add interest. I give you his interpretation of Majora's Mask from the Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda, Majora's Mask:

Naturally the colors don't read true to life in the photograph. The head is more purple in person. It's actually a blue and pinky-purple batik. The eyeballs were fussy cut and appliqued onto the black background. The horns are appliqued as well. Everything else is pieced.

The quilting disappears on most of the front but really stands out on the back:

Looks a little scary in fact!

The most noticeable quilting on the front are details or outlines. When you look closely though, the border treatment is impressive.

And is easier to see on the back:

I've added a link to his business page on Facebook in my sidebar. Just look for the hearts he quilted on my yellow block from Grandma's Box of Crayons. I'd be happy to put you in touch with him via email if you're not on Facebook. :- )