Friday, September 29, 2017

Bee, Myself and I

When I began my Bee, Myself and I project I envisioned an end product similar to this quilt.

I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to work only with yellows, much as I love the range of colors available in that family. I wanted to work with my more favorite batiks and it turned out I didn't have that many yellows, nor were there many more in my local quilt shop. Being a card carrying Gemini I require variety in my work. So I started making orange blocks and pink blocks.

I planned on 20 blocks overall, for a 60" x 75" quilt. As I approached 20 and played with the layout for the blocks I was unsatisfied with what I was getting. That led to the creation of yet more blocks. However, instead of monochromatic blocks I started including more yellow within the blocks.

I also cut back on the pink as it didn't seem to be working.  I don't think I had quite the right shades.

I've been making anywhere from two to four blocks each month as my Bee, Myself, and I project. Granny Maud's Girl was the instigator of this effort, intending it to be an excuse to make something strictly for our own pleasure.

After making a few more blocks recently I decided to have another go at laying out the blocks. I began with what I think of as the traditional Many Trips Around the World setting. That didn't work. I didn't even try a chevron setting as I knew that wouldn't give me the look I wanted. But by judiciously turning certain blocks I came up with this:

Which I quite liked! I like the impression of sunlight filtering downward diagonally.

I made an effort to keep the darker blocks on the perimeter of the quilt top. I'm not sure how we'll quilt this but I wouldn't mind accenting that drift of yellow somehow. I've made the back out of this batik yardage;

So technically this Bee, Myself and I project is done. Yes, I'll have to bind it but that's just finishing details in my opinion. I suspect I will  be taking a break from selfish sewing for the immediate future. I have my needlework projects to fulfill that aspect of my studio time and I do have some charity quilts I'd like to get finished up soon. :- )

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Making Tracks

There must be turkeys running amok in my studio. They've left all sorts of tracks behind.

First there were a dozen, mostly in whimsical yellow prints:

The next day five more showed up.

Oh, and the piggies made a 10" Wrench block for my collection when the turkeys weren't looking.

Now today there are 20 Turkey Track blocks!

For the time being I'm just pulling bright, happy prints that may have been hard to use or inappropriate for other projects. For example, I have the print on the right below in two colorways. Both were fat quarter cuts and neither had been cut into yet.

I often indulge in fat quarters of prints that take my eye and then can't figure out what to do with them. Maybe these blocks will be part of the solution to that problem. They are also helping me to use up more of other favorite prints.

Of course I haven't a clue what I might end up doing with these. I may have another quilt top before I know it!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Orange Magic

I only have a few scrappy blocks in orange for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to show you this weekend.

Have I already shared these?

That might be my output for the RSC this month.

But let me tell you a little story about some other orange blocks...

I have a pile of batik blocks for my Bee, Myself & I quilt sitting on the ironing board. They happen to be orange and yellow and pink. On top of them are the scrappy Lego blocks I've been making of late, which I've been thinking I might as well turn into a quilt top at the next opportunity. (We won't even bring up how many quilts I could make out of the boxes of blocks I have in my Parts Department. Or the partially constructed quilts hanging in the closet.) When the temperatures dropped here and the rain moved in I was motivated to fulfill a couple of recent friendship block requests from local guild members. That was all well and good... until I made this one:

9" Cross and Crown or Turkey Tracks or Goose Tracks
I love this block. It was a wee bit fiddly but in the end totally worth it. I want to make more. The problem is, I can see it in so many different color ways that I don't even know where to begin. I kept myself awake way past my bedtime one night, envisioning all the different color palettes it would be fun to apply to that block. Then it dawned on me that it's the same size as the orange Ohio stars and stepping stones I made last year (or possibly probably the year before). I wondered whether I could make some of these and combine them with the Ohio stars and stepping stones in a quilt top. Eventually I fell asleep.

When I got out the orange stars and stones I counted them up and discovered there were already 25 made. That's enough for a 5 x 5 setting. I put them up on the wall pretty much as they came to hand and lo and behold, they looked good just the way they went up! So I sewed them together before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.

Then they cried out for a framing border.

The background of the piggy print is a little on the red side but I liked the pigs so on they went. This made the top 48" square. Another 12" would make it 60," a more generally useful size to my way of thinking. I considered trying to pull blocks from the Parts Dept. to create the border. I briefly considered making blocks (but only very briefly!). After a good rummage through the stash and eliminating half a dozen options, I found the leftovers of a quilt back I'd made. Miraculously, there was more than enough for the 6.5" wide border strips I wanted. I give you Piggies in the Garden:

All I have to do now is come up with a back for this top and hand it over to James for quilting. Every once in a while a quilt comes together like magic. :- )

Meanwhile, I've made up another Turkey Track block out of the remnants of the piggy print.

I'm still not sure what will come of this. I have a strong feeling that there will at least be rainbow turkey track blocks next year though! (You can find the pattern this block came from over here.)

Linking up with the RSC over at So Scrappy.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Stitch Along in September

I almost missed it! After several mostly good days I fell victim to a series of low level toxins. Fortunately I have now recovered and can share with you the needlework I've been doing.

I'll begin by stating that I have finished the secret project but have not yet bestowed it on the intended recipient. Hopefully you'll get to see it in my next SAL post on 8 October. In the meantime I have begun yet another needlepoint case. This one is the size of a cosmetic bag, about 4.5" x 7."

I've also done a bit more embroidery on the set of pillowcases I started in August.

In all their wrinkled glory!

The next step with these is to decide what colors to use for the flowers. Well, once I've completed the scroll work.

I used Nancy's hand dyed floss for the scroll work. It's a warm dark green from her Spooky Hollow II collection. The last batch of floss in the limited edition floss club I joined were mostly pale shades. I prefer the more vibrant tones. I'm very tempted to purchase the current collection of autumn colors (like I need more floss!). But there are probably skeins I could use already in my possession.

I've also made progress on the next caravan I'm embroidering for The Sketchbook Project. I don't know how many there will be in the end. This is the fourth in my series.

I'm doing it with an eye to making a steampunk trailer. So mostly metallic colors: bronze, pewter, etc. - but not metallic thread. I don't want the shine or sparkle that would give.

I'm not entirely happy with the widow in the door but I doubt I'll do anything about it. I thought I'd use colonial or French knots to indicate bolts around the porthole windows; they turned out to be too bulky. The simple running stitch did the job very well as it turned out. This has been set aside for a while; I need to get back to it so I don't lag too far behind.

There's quite a group of us in this stitch along now. All sorts of needlework is being done among us. I invite you to take the tour by clicking on the names below. We have some new members this time around and we welcome them. If you'd like to join us leave a comment on Avis's blog. :- )

Friday, September 15, 2017

Scrap Happy Day in September

No way we're already half way through the month! Guess that's what happens when you've got your head down in your scrap basket. ;- )

I took a break from the Truly Scrappy scrappy trip blocks this time around. Instead I made 12" (finished) Lego blocks out of my 2" scrap strips.

Each block is made up of eight rows of bits sewn end to end. I started with just three blocks. Before I knew it I had six. Then this happened:

Another set of six blocks! When I added them to the handful I had in the Parts Department I discovered I had 18 altogether. That meant I only needed two more to make 20 for a 4 x 5 setting. Yup, I went ahead and made them up too. I don't have a picture of them though, not yet. I haven't really had time to play with the blocks on the wall either. I'm thinking I might surround the 20 blocks with a 2" frame and then a 4" wide border. That would give me a 60" x 72" quilt, a nice size for a child or an adult's lap quilt. The first step is to get the blocks arranged in a pleasing manner. Give me a few days... Oh, and while you're waiting you can hop on over to Kate or Gun's blogs where they have links to others who are playing with their scraps for Scrap Happy Day. :- )

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wild Times

I've been pretty distracted for the past week, keeping up with news coming out of Texas and then Florida. My husband basically grew up in Houston and I lived in the Houston area for eleven years (most of them with him after we were married). We still have family and friends living where Harvey first dumped buckets of rain. Fortunately they are all well and accounted for but there are those who have a lot of work ahead of them. At this writing it remains to be seen how much damage Irma will end up causing.

Meanwhile, the wildfires here in the western states are still not under control.We had a couple of days of smoky air. I tried to take a picture the morning I got up to a hazy yellow-orange sky but it didn't look like anything so I won't bother to share it.  The fires aren't all that close to us, it was just the direction of air flow on those days. Since then the weather has changed again and we're enjoying temperatures that are closer to normal for us at this time of the year. We've also had the first real rain in something like two and a half months. You may have faintly heard the joy and rejoicing that took place in this corner of the nation. ;- )

In the studio I have been working on a variety of projects. I finally finished the binding on this quilt for Covered in Love:

60" x 75"
This picture was taken after it had been through the washer and dryer. I love the texture; it's so lovely and cuddly!

There's a block drive for more Covered in Love quilts so I made up a pair of them to send along with the quilt.

I also had some Bear Paw units set up, ready to assemble, for the August Nights quilt. They made for great mindless sewing when I needed it.

I'm a little concerned that they may not have enough contrast to them.

I'll deal with that the next time I have a burst of creative energy. My hope is that once the necessary sashing is in place the paws will show up a little better. On the other hand it may not make a difference at all. We shall see.

I also made up some blocks I'll show on our next Scrap Happy Day at the end of this week (the 15th). We have another Stitch Along check in on the 17th too.

With the drop in outdoor temperatures and the kids heading back to school it felt like time to swap out the quilts on my bed. Off came the lighter, brighter, white-based quilts and in their place I put my Footsquare Freestyle 2 and Macabre Medallion on the bed, one on top of the other.

I don't need two quilts to sleep under yet but I do enjoy being able to see both quilts regularly. I'm one of those freaks who actually enjoys making the bed. Or maybe I should say, I enjoy having the bed made up!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

All Over the Map

First, before the weekend gets away from me altogether, let me show you the last of the light neutral blocks I've made out of my scrap patches in conjunction with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. There have been two sets of blocks I don't think I've shared yet. These were made over a week ago:

And these I whipped up on the last day of the month:

I don't know if I've said it before but I was surprised at how soothing I find these blocks to be visually. While I was assembling them the voices in my head were going on about the lack of contrast and how awful they were going to look. Take that, Miss Pessimist! Next we get to play in our orange scraps. I've already put away the neutrals and brought out the oranges. What a pitiful pile it is! I believe I'm going to have to create some new orange scraps... what a pity. ;- )

I'm linking up with the other RSC bloggers late though it may be.

On another note, Claire over at Knitnqwilt reblogged a post by Melanie McNeil that is very timely and wise regarding the donation of quilts and other goods to victims of major disasters. Let me do my part to spread the word by suggesting you hop on over to Catbird Quilt Studio to read it for yourself.

For those friends who have left comments on recent posts of mine let me just say that I've been taking full advantage of slightly cooler weather and healthier hours to accomplish things other than responding to comments or reading blogs. Apparently we're looking at a week's worth of hot weather with possibly smoke tainted air so you may not hear from me in the immediate future. I don't believe I've ever been so anxious for cool, gloomy days to return!