Friday, July 28, 2017

It's My Own Fault

Today's headache I mean. No sooner did I recover from the last one (brought on by another hour in the vet clinic with Luna. She's finally beginning to act more like her old self, thank goodness.) than I braved the sale at my local quilt shop in order to get some more appropriate fabric for backgrounds for my embroidery project.

Of course I couldn't resist a couple of other pieces, just because. ;- ) Turns out I already have some of the light orange batik, fourth down from the top. Guess I really like that print and color!

It's been deliciously cool in the mornings this week. I ventured out one day to find the first bloom on one of my new David Austin rose bushes.

This is the Queen of Sweden. Judging from the spots on the leaves some bug is also enjoying my new plant.

Here it is the next day, before I brought it into the house. There's at least one other bud on this bush. I found two buds on the Charlotte rose bush. They will bloom yellow. Looking forward to that!

I've been pondering which caravan to embroider next, and what theme to give it. That's partly why I went out for fabric. I thought a broader choice of backgrounds might help move things along. Most of what's in my stash is too busy or too loud to stay in the background. In the meantime I sewed up some more blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Managed to get in a few other scrappy blocks as well.

So in spite of the headaches and recovery periods this week I've been relatively productive. You couldn't tell by the number of blue scraps and remnants laying around. I'll link up with the other Rainbow bloggers on Saturday. We should be getting a new color prompt soon now that I think about it!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rollin' Along

It's been another rough week over here. It's warm enough to warrant having the windows open to keep the house comfortable but those open windows allow toxins to drift in, most of the time so subtly that I'm unaware of what's happening until it's too late. So, lots of headaches and less productivity than I would like. In spite of all that I have a finish to share!

The decision to do embroidered sketches to fill my book for The Sketchbook Project was a great motivator. First I had to reduce the applique pattern I embroidered in response to a friendship block request (see previous post) so a second version would fit in the sketchbook provided by TSP.

Several of the images out of the camper coloring book will need to be reduced as well, but not quite as drastically.

My original thought was to nearly duplicate the friendship block I'd stitched, just smaller. Very quickly it became apparent this would be a different trailer altogether.

Try as I might, I couldn't get the right side of that decorative strip to behave. Oh well, the window over it isn't straight either. This is my Quirky Victorian. (I've just christened it. I'll break a bottle over the hitch later.) Ta-daa:

A few detail shots:

The widow's walk/luggage carrier.

I went for an awning over the double window this time around. The window is just too small to put anything on the table though.

I used lazy daisy stitches for the hubcap instead of the wrapped rose . Part of the fun of doing a series of these for The Sketchbook Project will be experimenting with different stitches in different applications. I'm working intuitively too, not planning anything out very far in advance, mixing commercial flosses with Nancy's hand dyed lovelies. The decoration along the roofline of this caravan would be larger in scale if I'd left it for later in the process. I won't be putting any of the embroideries in the sketchbook until they're all done so I can pick and choose if I end up doing more than will fit in the book (the books have to be kept under an inch thick). There's always the chance I'll take out the first attempt and do it over again before then too. For now though, I'm contemplating the next caravan... ;- )

I'm linking up with others taking stitches by hand for the pure pleasure of it over at Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

SAL in July

Needles have been flying here since the last Stitch Along check in. There's nothing like new materials to inspire new work! The hand dyed floss from The Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe has been a joy to work with in my embroidery and needlepoint projects.

If you haven't visited since the last SAL you probably didn't see the friendship block I did in embroidery instead of applique, partly because I don't do applique but also because it was a good excuse to play with the new floss! For those who have been here to see that block take shape you'll note I added flower tips to the roof of the caravan. I think they fill in that gap nicely.

I've also completed the little needlepoint case you saw in my last SAL post. The focal "patches" are a commercially available floss (but not DMC). The background is done in one of Nancy's hand dyed flosses. It has a subtle variegation to it that reflects the more obvious variegation of the brighter colors.

I'm really pleased with the way this turned out. I was concerned there would be too much background relative to the triangles. The variegation in the purple floss creates just enough interest to keep that from being an issue I think. And now I need a new project...

That caravan/travel trailer block was so much fun to stitch that I was sad to have it come to an end. Several ideas for variations on the theme come to me while I was working on it too. In a bit of serendipity look what showed up in my mailbox in the last few days:

I'd forgotten that I'd signed up for The Sketchbook Project for 2018. I don't paint or draw but I'm always looking for a way to introduce folks to the idea of needle and thread as a way to express themselves. Mash these two things together and my new project for the SAL has come into being!

The Sketchbook Project's blank pages are 5" x 7" and have to remain that size. The original caravan block was a bit too big but it was a fairly simple matter to shrink it down some. I wanted to find some other trailer silhouettes I could use though, especially since I'm reluctant to draw my own. It didn't take long to find this on

Most of them are just the right size to fit into this Sketchbook, which makes me very happy.  I'm planning to stitch on cotton as usual and then sew the embroideries onto the paper pages of the sketchbook. The books aren't supposed to be any thicker than an inch when filled so I probably won't use all of the pages. Nevertheless, this ought to keep me occupied for a while. :- )

There are many other wonderful things being created with needle and thread in this group. To take the tour, click on!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Scrap Happy Day and RSC Twofer

Not exactly a once-in-a-blue-moon event but occasionally Scrap Happy Day hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden falls on the same day as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge link party. So you'll get to see more scraps than ever if you choose to follow all the links. :- ) I actually have some blocks that fall into both categories to share. That's also become something of a rarity! 

The color prompt for July for the RSC is blue. That worked out well for me as I was just finishing up my patriotic Welcome Blanket Project quilt. So my first blocks are in darker blues and patriotic prints.

As it turns out, I have lots of blue scraps. They are about evenly divided between these darker hues and lighter, brighter blues.

Hmm, I seem to have photographed the some of the blocks twice!

So far there are only the two 16 patch blocks. I bet there are enough patches sitting on my sewing table for at least two more. And of course there's more fabric that could be cut into patches. ;- ) I don't have specific goals or plans for any of these blocks yet, I'm just making them and adding them to my Parts Department for the time being.

The stars will finish at 8," the other blocks will be 6" finished.

I've even made up a couple of blocks out of batik scraps.

These are all 6" blocks.

Those that have no blue in them I'm counting as my Scrap Happy Day effort for this month. I've been making Scrappy Trip blocks each month up 'til now but just wasn't in the mood this time around. 

You can check in with the RSC every Saturday. Scrap Happy Day is the 15th of each month. You're welcome to join us if you're not already playing along. :- ) 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ready to Roll

My little travel trailer is all fitted out and ready to go to her new home. :- )

I felt I needed something to justify the yellow trim around the door. That's why the huge flowers were "painted" on the roof. Now that I see it from this distance I may put a third blossom between the other two.

My idea for French knot bobbles on one or the other of the window treatments didn't work out. Instead we have chain stitched shades in the long window...

I still have to acquire the skill for getting good clear detail shots.

And then a tiny vase or Mason jar for flowers on a table top in the other window.

The vase/jar is all of 1/4" tall.
It shows up better in person, trust me. I used as many of the hand dyed flosses as I could, including that little vase. It's actually a subtly variegated pink-yellow color. So delicate and pretty!

I don't know if  I will jump right into another caravan embroidery. I've set up a new needlepoint project that will use more of this lovely floss. You probably won't be seeing it here until after the recipient has received the end product however. At the rate I'm going you won't have to wait long! I seem to be in needlework mode instead of quilt making or piecing. Summer's heat may be partly responsible. This sort of work doesn't involve having the iron on until the very end. :- )

I hope you will forgive my shameless promotion of the floss from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. Nancy is celebrating Christmas in July with a new give-away almost every day so far. The more I spread the word, the better my chances are of having my name drawn for one of them!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Not Going Anywhere...

But I'm building a travel trailer for imaginary trips!

One of the ladies in our local quilt guild handed out a pattern for an applique block. I don't do applique - it's just not fun or satisfying enough for me. I could have passed on making the block but it occurred to me I might be able to render it in embroidery.

Keep in mind that I'm still fairly new and inexperienced at transferring designs for embroidery. I simply taped this pattern and my fabric to a window and traced it off with a lead pencil. Then I layered it with a piece of muslin and started stitching. I didn't plan much of anything out beforehand. I just wanted to see what would happen.

I took the opportunity to use some of the new floss I've purchased from Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. I'm also experimenting with embroidery stitches.

I couldn't quite figure out how to manage the whole wheel so I just dropped the side panel of the trailer over the tire. Hope they never have to change it! It was fun to do the woven stitches for the hubcap. The tire itself is two passes of herringbone stitches.

The vertical stripes were created by stacking two passes of blanket stitches.

My original thought was to decorate the exterior of this caravan as if it had been painted by hippies in the 1960's. It's looking just a bit more traditional now. I might still try to do something wild on the upper section. ;- )  I'm accustomed to fussy-cutting images for details when I make quilt blocks. The windows have me a bit stymied at the moment for that reason. What I'd really like to do is use French knots to create bobble fringe on at least one set of curtains. Just have to decide what type of curtains to put in my trailer!

Of course, the further along I get with this the more ideas I have for variations of the pattern. If you know me well you won't be surprised to learn that I'm thinking that door could easily be shaped like the top of a coffin. It might be fun to embroider this in a light monochromatic scheme on a dark fabric... :D

Saturday, July 1, 2017

End of Yellow, Beginning of Blue

Since this is the first day of July it's also the first day for the new color in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It just so happens that the color for July is blue. The quilt I made for the Welcome Blanket Project was made almost entirely from scraps and is predominantly blue so I'm sharing it one more time. :- )

If you'd like to see how this quilt came to be you can read about it here and here.

I made a few more yellow blocks before the end of June too:

Now it's time to put the remaining yellow patches away and get out the blue ones! If you'd like to see what others are doing with their rainbow scraps you can click over to Angela's blog for the link party. In the meantime, I hope all my friends in the USA have a safe and happy Independence Day celebration!