Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bee, Myself and I in August

The Bee, Myself and I effort was an idea Granny Maud's Girl came up with to help her accomplish the projects she wanted to do for herself but kept putting off. I haven't done anything with my selfish sewing project for the last couple of months. To be honest, the embroideries I've been doing have felt pretty self-serving. But it's also been too warm to sew comfortably this summer. We've been blessed with a couple of cooler days this week so I dug out my batiks and made up a few more blocks in my more favorite colors:

Then I had to get out the other blocks I've made to see where I am with this project.

There are only three spots left to fill out the 4 x 5 setting I'd planned. However, there's some blending that needs to be done. I like the transition from yellow to orange in the upper row. I need to eliminate that distinct line between yellow and orange on the right side, three blocks down. And then there are the pink blocks. I love pink and orange together, along with yellow, but if I can't blend them in better this may end up being strictly a yellow and orange quilt.

I'm not entirely happy with the yellow block in the second row down, second block from the right. It looks a bit gold in the photo above. That's because about half the strips in that block feature red and yellow prints. That one may have to be removed from the mix. Taking it out will give me a bit more leeway for the blending I'd like to attempt.

Getting these blocks out again has inspired some new ideas for color manipulation that could be fun to try some day. Or maybe I'll change my plans for these blocks! We're due for some more hot weather (relatively speaking) in the days ahead so it may be the end of September before I do anything more. ;- )

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Stitching Along Some More in August

It doesn't feel like I've done all that much since our first check in with the Stitch Along but maybe I've accomplished more than I realize. The secret project is nearly complete. Unfortunately, I've been using one of Nancy's hand dyed flosses and don't have quite enough left to finish the project. The DMC equivalent isn't close enough to suit me, at least not by the color number Nancy gave. There might be another shade in the DMC line that would work better; I haven't had a chance to look. I'm hoping Nancy has another skein left from that dye batch. Otherwise I'm not sure what I'll do!

The mid-century modern trailer for The Sketchbook Project is finished:

There are some anomalies that prove this was handmade (as if there could be any doubt). I didn't realize the door wasn't quite straight until it was too late to fix it. Nevertheless, I'm content with the end product. I'm not sure the backstitched lines really read as louvers in the windows but I'm happy with the "screening" I put in the little window in the upper bunk area. I added the whitewall to the tire at the very end. 

I also left a bit of myself on the back of my work:

That sort of thing is a good reason to line your embroidery when you can. While the lining is blood stained, it doesn't show on the front at all. Whew!

This isn't a great picture, but here are the three caravans I've completed so far:

And here's the next one:

I suspect I'm going to have to move the position of one or two of the three windows. I don't think there's room for the embroidery I have planned the way they sit now. 

There are people doing all sorts of needlework in this stitch along group. To see what everyone is up to click on their name below. If you'd like the motivation that comes from a group like this contact Avis through her blog. But be warned: you may find yourself picking up your needles more often and leaving other activities untouched!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Post-Eclipse Post

I have no pictures to share with you of our experience with the recent solar eclipse. We did not make the effort to pick up the appropriate viewing glasses. Frankly, I wasn't all that interested in the beginning. We generally have so much cloud cover around here that I didn't think we'd get to see anything in the end. If you don't get your hopes up you can't be disappointed, right? But our skies were as clear as they could be on the day. Hubby set up the tripod for his cameras then discovered he had no film for the 4x5 view camera and a low battery in the digital camera. He has a welding helmet and shield though so he doubled them up and watched the eclipse. I went outside to experience the long shadows of afternoon created by the moon crossing in front of the sun in the morning hours and the subsequent drop in temperature. I had a look at the display on the digital camera when the sun was a skinny crescent, then I watched the rest of the eclipse on television. Relatives in Idaho had a magnificent viewing experience, and they didn't even have to leave home!

I couldn't keep myself from beginning to embroider one of the new pillowcases I showed in my last post.

Some folks suffer from Quilter's Attention Deficit Disorder, I seem to suffer from a variant of that disorder. My sewing station is a complete mess at the moment. Excavating from the top down we have embroidery threads and skeins, packets of needles, and scissors down at the bottom somewhere. There are three different embroidery projects and a needlepoint case in progress on the table. My scrap patches have been shoved off to one side along with the usual assortment of notebooks and writing tools. I really will have to have a clean-up session soon!

In spite of the mess I was able to frame up four star blocks from my Parts Department for the current block drive for Covered in Love.

Kat said this morning that she thinks she may be able to make six quilts out of the blocks she's already received. I was glad to be able to contribute a few blocks since I have yet to get the binding on the quilt I have earmarked for Covered in Love.

We have a Stitch Along check-in on Sunday (27 Aug.) so I'll hold off showing you any more of what I've stitched until then. Well, except maybe for this:  ;- )

Friday, August 18, 2017

Moving Right Along

I haven't quite decided whether I'm finished with the witch's caravan.

I provided a boulder to support the front end of her trailer and put colonial knot gravel underneath. The debate is whether to extend a few of those brambles up a little higher on the side of the trailer. And then there's the matter of her familiar. A cat? A raven? Do I really have room to include this element?

While I'm considering these options I've chosen to move forward on another caravan. I think this one will be pretty simple and quick to execute.

I'll probably just stick to the basic design lines and not try to embellish it further. Well, not much anyway. ;- )

I had to go out to find just the right shade of pink for this trailer though. Not only did that result in yet another toxic headache (blech) but it yielded up a pair of pillowcases to stitch when my brain isn't functioning well. Like now, after the trip to the store.

I got this on super clearance. I like the design, just not the colors they chose or the suggested method for stitching the flowers. So when I'm feeling a bit better I can settle on a color palette for these and then pick them up the next time I want to stitch without having to think too hard. I wish I could pick out colors willy-nilly and just start stitching! I will probably try to use the hand dyed floss I've been acquiring from Nancy's Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. Although there was a lovely soft melon color in the DMC display at the store, a color I don't believe I have in my stash already. Unfortunately, to get some would entail another trip to the store and the consequences thereof. Better to use what's already on hand!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Scrap Happy in August

I've sort of been stash busting this year by cutting 3" strips to make truly scrappy Scrappy Trip blocks for Scrap Happy Day hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. This month I made four blocks.

Twenty of these 15" blocks make a nice comfort quilt. With a little stretching I can get a twin size quilt top. I actually have more blocks than I need at this point but I've been having trouble coming up with a setting I'm happy with. I thought the more blocks I had to choose from the easier it would be.

Not so much.

I can't seem to live with complete randomness right now. I have to have some element of organization. To that end I decided to try creating rows that feature a central diagonal line from one color family.

With 2.5" sashes between five rows and a narrow border I'll have a twin size quilt top. And I might be able to use up more of my stash!

Some of the rows work better than others. I may yet try ramming them together and putting on a wider border. (There's always a need for larger quilts for the teens in foster care. Otherwise I would just make a couple of smaller quilts.) I'm not in the best place to make these design decisions at this point. The weather has cooled down a bit and I believe the air is cleaner but I'm still gun-shy about having the windows open and I have too big a headache to think clearly.

I invite you to hop over to Kate's blog for the complete list of those participating in these monthly efforts to put our scraps to good use. There's bound to be something inspiring. :- )

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Heckedy Peg on Vacation

We had more haze than smoke around here this past week. It was still smoky haze though. That meant poor air quality, which meant I didn't get a lot done during the week. At least not until yesterday. But let's start at the beginning...

I think I was influenced by the orange tint to the haze when I picked the next caravan to embroider. I had a pretty good idea of who I wanted to make it for though.

I began with the drawing of the vintage Shasta trailer. I had to lay low for a couple of days after I'd outlined it and put in the first details. That also gave me time to decide to ignore the line of the lightning bolt.

I've used feather stitches for the brambles, split stitch for the bristles of the broom, and stem stitch for the handle of the broomstick and the planking of the door. Most of the wheel is done in buttonhole stitches.

I made the handle on the door with two french knots and then short loop of wrapped floss. 

I free-styled the cobweb. Haven't decided yet whether to try to put in a spider. That window is only an inch wide and .75" high.

I need to add the trailer hitch and some shadowing under the caravan. Not sure there will be much more than that to do! Fortunately I've got ideas forming for another of the caravans. :- )

The wind is picking up even as I write this. That means the air should begin to clear out. The temperatures are predicted to be more normal in the coming week too. We might even get some rain tomorrow. That will help a lot. Here's to better days ahead!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

SAL - First August Check-in

Miraculously, we seem to be the beneficiaries of our more normal on-shore air currents now. The temperature outside has dropped and the humidity has gone up. That makes life much more comfortable around here!

Most of the needlework I've done since our last stitch along check-in has been on a project that will be a gift. I don't want to spoil the surprise so it won't appear here until it's been given. You're going to have to be content with the little bit I've done elsewhere. ;- )

Likely you remember the little fox needlepoint case I finished up recently. I've started another of the same design but in different colors. Well, different color placement anyway.

The last one had a purple background, this one will have a purple fox. I haven't decided what color I'll use for the background yet. It won't be gray!

I've wanted to get another caravan embroidery started but got sort of hung up on that front. Some of the images in the coloring book I ordered had to be reduced in size to fit the format of The Sketchbook Project's sketchbook. I won't be using all of them by any means but I wanted to be able to pick and choose amongst my more favorite shapes.

The August shipment of Nancy's limited edition floss club was delivered the other day.

That helped motivate me to trace off a couple of the trailers.

I only traced off the most significant design lines so I can customize the trailers to my heart's content. The pencil showed up well enough on this yellow background but is harder to see on the orange.

In fact, I may have to darken the lines for my own benefit before I begin stitching!

There's quite a group of us in this SAL now.  We check in every three weeks to keep us on task with our various needlework endeavors. If you'd like to join us just drop Avis an email or leave a comment on her blog. We're welcoming two new members this month, Heidi and Connie!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Heat and Smoke

The cool, damp Pacific Northwest has been suffering from an unusual heat wave this week. We are not accustomed, in this area, to temperatures over 80 (F). We may reach 80 at the peak of summer - which we are in - but anything above that is record breaking. We broke records this week. We've also been the recipients of the smoke from wildfires burning to the north of us in British Columbia, Canada. Needless to say, I've had a tough week. Even the dog didn't want to go outside yesterday. I don't think it was the heat that bothered her, it was the smoke in the air. We don't have cloud cover right now, we have haze. Thank goodness for the portable air conditioning unit my husband purchased last year (or was it the year before?). We've needed it to clean the air as much as for cooling. It looks like we might be in for another full week of this kind of weather too. Yikes. No rain in sight. I've been out to water my flowers (with my mask on of course) but we may have to invest in some soaker hose to keep the hedges on two sides of the house from drying out.

David Austin rose "Charlotte"
When it gets this warm I'm reluctant to use the iron, and I use the iron frequently when I piece quilt blocks. Consequently I have a pile of piecing on the ironing board, waiting to be pressed.

The RSC color for August was announced as light neutrals. I quickly pieced up three 4.5" postage stamp units and a 16 patch block (8" finished). On the board we also have a couple of 6" scrappy Barn Door blocks and a pile of HST's for bear paw units. Earlier in the week I pulled out this work in progress...

... and I'm thinking I'll use the bear paws in a border treatment. I may repeat the flying geese too, we'll see. I started this project last year in August and haven't been inspired to work on it since I put it away last fall. I've been referring to this as Camping Princess in my mind but now I'm thinking I should call it August Nights! 

I plan to link up with the other RSC bloggers Saturday morning. My apologies to those of you who have come to visit, been so kind to leave a comment, and have not heard back from me. Blame it on my weakened endocrine system.