Friday, March 31, 2017

Bee, Myself and I in March

As usual, I found myself at something of a loss upon completion of the wedding quilt top and back. I'm generally unable to move directly from one major project to another. It's times like this when friendship blocks or other random blocks to make come in handy. Fortunately I have my Bee, Myself and I blocks to make!

You may or may not recall that I've been making Scrappy Trip blocks in my favorite colors in batiks. This is what I had last month:

I made three new blocks, one yellow and two orange.

Then I decided I wanted another yellow block. So this is what I have now:

After I took this picture I moved that darkest pink block over to the right. I think I also rotated it 90 degrees. It looked better there but I didn't bother to take a new picture. My end goal is 20 blocks. That puts me at the halfway point but I fully expect to make more than I need, just so I have design options.

Kate and Tialys have been making lovely hat boxes each month for their selfish sewing projects. Poor Kate in Australia has been preoccupied with preparing for, enduring, and now cleaning up after Cyclone Debbie's unwanted visit so she doesn't have new blocks to show this month. Tialys is in France and added three boxes to her collection. If you're a fan of Kaffe Fasset's quilts you might want to pop over and have a look at the growing collection of pretty boxes (too bad there are no hats to go in them!).

Monday, March 27, 2017

I Hope You Appreciate This!

I went to a lot of trouble this morning to rig up a way to photograph my larger quilt tops. Mostly because I want you to be able to see more completely what I've created. So in the end it was an entirely selfish move. ;- )

I had a set of four wooden clip sort-of things for a long time that were made specifically  to display quilts. I finally decided to try to put them to good use. That entailed taking down some of my elegant (cough cough) decor over the design wall. Whether it gets returned to place remains to be seen. I've hung the flimsy mostly over a door in order to move it from behind the cabinet that I use as a cutting table. There were some other bits of debris that had to be moved out of the way as well. It's a case of making things worse in order to make them better. I'm not a fan of that process. I've got the quilt top hung but now I have to find new places for all the stuff I moved out of the way - at least I do if I want to hang another flimsy more easily in the future!

But enough whining. Ta-daa, the wedding quilt!

Okay, so ignore the ruler I didn't realize would be in the picture. This will finish at about 60"' x 80," my favorite size for a couch or comfort quilt. The vertical orientation might not be the best for a cuddle quilt but it'll have to do. (Do I have an attitude this morning or what?!) At least the backing print will run horizontally. I think I found the perfect print for this couple who love forests.

The embroidery I worked on so diligently did not make it into the final composition. It was just too black. Everything else that was dark was in tones of blue and brown. Fortunately I found a bit of an old fabric I'd been given probably 20 years ago that was an almost perfect substitution in terms of color and theme.

Just another example of why I refer to my studio as the Magpie's Nest: I collect and hang onto everything that has potential! (Sounds better than the Pack Rat's Hole doesn't it?)

I was able to spell out the surname of the newlyweds from a panel of decorative letters. That was sheer providence.

The letters are very pale. I'm trusting James to successfully highlight them with his quilting. By the way, he's running a discount on his services from now until Easter. You can reach him through his Facebook page or send me an email (suebrown360(at)comcast(dot)net). Our eldest granddaughter will be receiving her new quilt today, built my me and quilted by her uncle.

One of those pinks had the nerve to bleed. I generally throw in a dye catcher when I first launder my new quilts (plus I've pre-washed all my fabric) but I wonder if I neglected that this time around. I avoid using them as often as I can because they are yet another item that sets off my chemical sensitivities. {sigh} I'm prepared for reds and maybe purples to bleed but pink?

I might also be cranky because I have this pile of quilts that need to be bound:

I don't mind sewing the bindings down but I do not enjoy wrangling the quilts to get the binding applied. I only have binding prepared for the one on top, which happens to be the smallest. Before I even try to find appropriate fabric to bind the others I think I'm going to have to go do something fun!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Time Out for Red

So while I've been working on the wedding quilt for my niece and her fiance I've also been sewing my red scrap patches into various blocks as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This is what I've accomplished on that front this month:

Even I am surprised at how many there are. More surprising (or maybe not) is how many red patches I still have to play with!

You can't see depth very well in this shot but trust me, there's plenty there!

I've made significant progress on the wedding quilt but don't have pictures ready yet. I want to get the final borders on and the back made today so James can quilt it next week. Stay tuned! Oh, and hop on over to So Scrappy to see what others have done with their red scraps. :- )

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Head Down, Nose to the Grindstone

I haven't dropped out of Blogland altogether. I'm just using my healthy times and energies to move the wedding quilt along. Progress has been made but I don't think I'm going to have it finished in time for the day of the wedding. That has been a fantasy from the beginning because the wedding day is so close to the time I learned of the engagement. Now I'm being forced to admit probable defeat. Oh well. It will get there when it gets there and hopefully the newlyweds will enjoy my efforts. It's going to be a one-of-a-kind quilt, that much is certain. A Magpie Sue Original without question!

I began by making stars to go around the top half of a digital print:

This is by no means where the stars will end up. I'm just turning fussy-cut 4" patches into 8" sawtooth stars and sticking them on the design wall.

Then there will be this embroidery:

I haven't quite figured out how to incorporate it. There's a whole section through the middle of the quilt that hasn't been resolved in my mind yet.

I have a bottom row nearly complete but there's no point trying to show it because it's in such light tones I don't think I can do it justice in a photograph.

Most recently I've been making these log cabin blocks around smaller fussy-cut patches.

The idea was to balance the castle panel with the log cabin blocks. I didn't realize how much I had to build up the panel to make it fit. I'm going to have to come up with multiple framing strips or something instead of simply bordering the panel with one or two prints as I originally thought.

All of the fussy cut patches are intended to reflect the various interests or experiences of the bride and groom. Part of the fun has been in collecting appropriate prints. When I saw the discrepancy between the log cabin blocks and the castle panel (meant to represent Hogwarts, the school for wizards from the Harry Potter novels) I sort of got stuck. The best remedy for that kind of obstacle? More fabric of course!

Hopefully these will help me figure out how to proceed. Once I get the individual sections assembled building the quilt top should be a piece of cake. Just don't expect to see me anywhere else in Blogland for a while!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Scrap Happy in March

First of all, I haven't had a chance to get around to see all the needlework that's been taking place over the last three weeks (previous post). I trust the artists will forgive me. Aside from the embroidery I've been doing there hasn't been a lot of activity here in The Magpie's Nest. I spent about four solid days in the world of fiction (The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and a couple of Puzzle Lady mysteries by Parnell Hall). That's about as close to a vacation as I get these days. Consequently I've only made three Scrap Happy blocks, and those only in the last 24 hours! That's okay though, there's no rush for these blocks.

The sailboats and bear's paw were bonus blocks assembled between seams (i.e. leaders and enders). Not just while I sewed up the scrappy trip blocks; I have also begun to make blocks for the wedding quilt (finally!). I won't show you those yet, but this is what has been on the design wall:

The scrappy trip blocks are what I'm making for the monthly ScrapHappyDay link up with Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden and whoever else wants to play along. There will no doubt be lots of fun scrappy projects to see, I invite you to pop over and have a look. :- )

Saturday, March 11, 2017

SAL in March

So apparently after that burst of productivity at the end of February I needed a break! There hasn't been a lot of piecing yet but I have made significant progress on the Loving Moonlight embroidery.

Of course you always have to begin at the beginning.

This design is composed of nearly all straight stitches. At this stage you can see I put in a few French knots, probably because I had enough thread in the needle to do the job at the time. ;- )

Eventually I got all the leaves on the trees and the couple sitting on the bench.

Now all that remains are some flower stems and heads and a handful of additional stars. I might have to add a bit more to that smaller tree on the left hand side since I'm planning to use this as a 6" square in the wedding quilt and not frame it in an embroidery hoop as shown on the pattern package. It might look odd left the way it is. I think I can leave the trunk implied, not completed, on the right hand side.

This is just about all I've worked on since the last SAL post. Literally. I hope to get to work on the blocks for the wedding quilt very soon. Time is running out if I want to get the quilt to the bridal couple for the wedding reception!

To see what everyone else has been working on for the last three weeks you should be able to simply click on their names below. We'll be back again on 2 April. :- )