Sunday, December 30, 2018

Goodbye 2018

No, I'm not doing a recap of all my creative endeavors for 2018! I'm neither that organized nor that ambitious. Just wanted to get in one last post before the new year is upon us. I'm also learning my way around a MacBook. Not a brand new machine but one that will hopefully prove dependable and more comfortable to use than the PC I've been using. Already I'm missing certain keys that were on the previous laptop. I'm sure we've all learned by now that nothing is perfect. 

While there has been very little in the way of sewing or stitching going on, what with Christmas and all, I have managed to get the binding on two lap quilts and get one of them all sewn down. This one I'm calling In the Pink.

It's a version of Scrappy Trips I made in an effort to use up remnants of various pink prints (duh!). It's about 45" x 60" before being laundered. The plan is to donate it to a patient in Hospice care. I was inspired by Kat's efforts to give quilts to patients at the end of their lives in her part of the world. Rather than (or maybe in addition to) making and mailing blocks to her for the quilts she and her friends assemble I thought maybe I could find a way to do something similar in my own neck of the woods. There's a second lap quilt ready to be bound; once I have them both ready we'll see about delivering them.

This quilt gave me an opportunity to try out one of the new labels I ordered from the Dutch Label Shop.  I saw a promotional offer (expired now) over on Confessions of a Fabric Addict and took advantage of it. The possibilities for label designs are nearly endless. I chose to offset the text on my labels thinking I might be able to sew them in as I put the binding on the quilt. That plan didn't work out quite the way I envisioned but I made it work.

 I haven't yet given much thought to what I might strive for or undertake in the coming year. Mostly I expect to just keep on keeping on. 😊

Here's to a new year full of every good thing!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Last SAL of 2018

It seems to me the last three weeks have passed both slowly and quickly. I wondered how I would fill three weeks after the last Stitch Along check-in and then suddenly it's time to show you what I've accomplished! It's more than I expected to report, that's for sure.

First of all I decided to personalize an apron for one of the granddaughters by embroidering on the bib of an apron I purchased. She's currently into elephants, so when I saw this design I had to use it. 😊

Miss Elephant's apron is trimmed with a row of cross stitches in the original design; I chose to do a bit of feather stitching instead. The apron is a pinafore style with ruffles on the shoulder straps and along the hem. Very cute.

When that was finished I finally picked up the last block in the block of the month series I've been slowly working on and stitched it up.

I'm happier with the tiny ladybug on this flower than the one I did earlier in the series.

Pulling all those blocks together into a quilt top will be a project for next year. 😉

Inbetween Christmas shopping (online), decorating, and gift wrapping I've managed to complete the second piggy bank coin purse and make good progress on a third one!

I have to confess that all the stitching you see on the third case has been done in the last two days. If I continue at this pace I'll have that third pig done in no time!

This Stitch Along has been a great excuse for playing with the handwork techniques and materials I enjoy the most. If you'd like a similar prod just leave on note on Avis' blog. She's first in line on the list of the others who are part of this group:

Unless I miss my guess we'll be checking in again on the 13th of January. For the time being, let me wish you happy holidays, whichever ones you choose to celebrate.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Scrap Happy Day in December

Just a quick post to prove I've been sewing scraps together behind the scenes. Of course there were a couple of my go-to blocks.

But I also sewed 2" scrap strips together to make 12" Lego blocks and 1.5" strips to make 6" stacked logs.

One lonely postage stamp star made it into the mix too. 😊 These will all will go into my Parts Department until I have enough to do something with them or I get inspired to be creative. You can see what I did with the 6" Bow Tie blocks I made out of scraps in my previous post.

Kate and Gun host this opportunity show something we've made out of scraps. Pop over to Tall Tales from Chiconia or Rutigt to see who else is playing along - and maybe to get some great ideas of your own!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Scrappy Finish

I've had a pretty good run of health and energy lately. Gotta say I'm very grateful for that! Unfortunately, I've had to battle an almost-migraine the last couple of days. {sigh} Will this never end?!

I don't have a lot to show for all the good days I've had. There's been more Christmas-related activity than sewing. Although a little bit of stitching has gone into a Christmas gift. You'll see that in our next Stitch Along check in on the 23rd of this month (if not sooner). I have managed to prune and bind a 60" x 80" quilt though. 😊 I don't have a full photo of the finished quilt but this is the top:

You may remember it from a previous Scrap Happy Day post. It was made from nearly all the 6" Bow Tie blocks I'd made over time out of scraps. I'm calling it Magic Circles now. James did the quilting for me of course, all free hand.

I found the print I'd used for the top and bottom borders in another colorway in my stash. It looked like there would be enough to make it all the way around the quilt...

But not quite. Happily I found a short bit of leftover binding from another quilt that worked well to fill in the gap.

Luna has been testing the finished quilt for snuggability.

I think it passes the test. 😉 Never fear, it will be laundered before it leaves our house!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

From the Seas to the Heavens

The title of this post could easily refer to the passing of the 41st President of the United States but that was not my intention. I do mourn his passing as we have lost one of those thousand points of light he once encouraged us to be. I cannot help but contrast George H. W. Bush's life and service with that of the man currently residing in (and disgracing, in my opinion) the White House. Talk about polar opposites! But enough of that.

Let Your Dreams Set Sail is now in the queue for quilting.

To keep from falling into that limbo that so often occurs for me between projects I pulled out some of the postage stamp stars I'd made in my Rainbow Scrap Challenge days, I also got out some novelty prints I thought I would try to put to good use. I put the stars on the design wall and started fussy cutting.

There are some 2.5" squares, a column of 6.5" squares, and then the 4.5" patches that go in the middle of 8" sawtooth stars. The prints I chose to cut up featured Buzz Lightyear, some whimsical aliens on rocket ships, and lady astronauts reminiscent of the Jetsons cartoon.

I wanted to make as gender neutral a quilt as possible so I avoided cutting out the lady astronauts as much as possible. Mostly they were too big anyway.

After a couple of days of pondering and auditioning companion or background prints I finally ditched the postage stamp stars altogether. There was almost a yard of yet another whimsical celestial print in my stash. I cut that up for sashing strips and more focal patches. I also sewed the 2.5" patches into 4Patch units. My plan now is to make a whole new set of stars specifically for this quilt, which will be another that finishes about 48" x 60." This is how I plan to lay out the blocks:

This will give me something easy and fun to do inbetween Christmas preparations. I really must get some decorations out. You'd never know it was the holiday season in our house!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Stitch and Moan

Of course you know what I really mean: stitch and that word that rhymes with it. If you don't want to wade through the moan I suggest you zip down to the pretty picture to see the progress I've made on the second piggy bank coin purse. 😉

I'm generally the last to post for the Stitch Along check in every three weeks. Mostly that's because I'm in the latest time zone. There's also the occasion - frequently - when I intend to write the blog post ahead of time and schedule it to be published on the morning of the SAL so it doesn't appear quite so late in the day. Missed that goal again this time around. But that's not the moan exactly.

Let me preface my moan with a little personal information. I seem to be the only 'day' person in my family. Left to his own devices I believe my husband would be a night owl. All three of our children seem to be night owls. Our grandchildren are natural night owls. I'm not one to get up in the very early morning hours but nor am I any good beyond about 9 p.m., never have been. So yesterday our SIL cam by in the early evening to collect James to spend some time with his sister and her family. Fine. But then they came crashing back into the house at 11:30 for some reason. Well, crashing might be a bit strong, but I was dead asleep until they arrived. My first thought was that we were being burgled. Luna was barking, good watchdog that she is. Very soon I identified voices I recognized, thank goodness. At least one of the granddaughters had accompanied the boys back into the house. Oldest granddaughter owns a teacup Yorkie called George. He must have been with them also for this morning what did I step in, in my bare feet, but a cold wet spot in the carpet. {sigh} Does anyone know of a urine-proof floor covering that won't off-gas toxic fumes? I'm sure we're walking on builder quality (i.e. poor) carpet that is original to this 30 year old house. I'd love a hard surface floor covering that's easy to clean/wipe up.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. The only stitching I've done since our last SAL check in has been on the second piggy bank needlepoint case. This is what it looked like the last time:

And this is where I'm at now:

I tried hard to pay attention to what I was doing but I managed to put purple stitches in where two little black stitches are meant to go for the piggie's hooves. Maybe he won't notice as he is still blind. As you well know, I love the floss from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. Nancy has started her 12 days of give-aways so you might want to pop over there and put your name in the hat so to speak. 😊

I'm sure everyone else has posted their progress by now. Our next SAL check in will be on 23 December for those of us who remember to do a post that close to Christmas!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Ready for the Voyage

Thank you all for your input on the little blue and white quilt I'm building. You'll be happy to see that I've included the pirate ship. 😊 Although I did tuck it away at the bottom, lurking in a bay between "land masses." 

Here's the whole quilt top:

Many of the blocks were made by members of the Footsquare Freestyle group. I made a couple more blocks to fill in gaps. This Wheel of Fortune for example. 

I made it thinking it could represent a ship's wheel. I also fussy cut a buoy and a lighthouse from a nautical print I've had forever. Had to get some birds in there too!

The flying geese units were meant to represent ocean waves (I hope that's obvious!). 

And then I found a perfect print in the clearance section of my LQS for the back.

I picked this print up for the binding while I was there.

I don't think I could be more pleased with the way this turned out. James already has ideas for quilting it so hopefully we can get it finished off before the year comes to a close. I'm going to have to give my elbow a rest before I tackle cutting strips for binding. All things considered, it's really not feeling too bad. 😀

Monday, November 26, 2018

Setting Sail

I haven't talked much about the Footsquare Freestyle block swap this time around. Suffice to say that I asked for blocks in blues and white. You can see the blocks that were made for me and who made them over on the Footsquare blog. (My month was July, you'll need to scroll down just a little way to see them.) As per usual it's a lovely assortment of styles and techniques, and all well done. 😊

What with the hurricanes and wildfires here in the States recently I fully expect there to be a variety of quilt drives to benefit the victims on both coasts. One quilt drive I know of already is asking for bed size quilts, queen and king size. I can't help with that in spite of having a long arm quilter in house. But I can make individual blocks and I can make quilts for kids or for use on a couch! To that end I've pulled out my Footsquare Freestyle blocks to play with.

A little while after my blocks came rolling in I found yardage of beach-themed panels in blue and white. Of course I didn't think to take a picture of the fabric before I cut it up. However, one of the panels has been the catalyst for this new project.

I'm thinking of a kid's quilt. This was also an excuse to use at least a few of the many Ship blocks I've made out of scraps. Plus that Tall Ship I made for myself as part of F2F3!

I'll be shooting for a quilt in the range of 48" x 60." Those little ships will likely become alternate blocks between the 12" blocks to stretch 36" into 48." I haven't sorted out the length yet. Four rows of 12" each plus some sashing no doubt.

Today I made some additional boats to reinforce the sailing theme.

Of course I couldn't resist including a pirate ship!

Whether it ends up in the quilt remains to be seen. 😉

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pigs and Leaves

I'm still trying to avoid aggravating my elbow so I've continued to work on small needlepoint projects. I've begun a second piggy bank coin purse. I figure I'll probably make one for each of our four granddaughters.

I'll try to use different background colors for each case. I may go crazy and make pigs of another color. 😉

When we were out and about recently I was so inspired by the colors of the leaves I got out of the car to collect a few. Then I tried them out on a blank cosmetic size Stitch & Zip case.

This may be a bit more challenging to stitch with my bum elbow but I couldn't resist the opportunity to use some of the gorgeous reds and oranges I've acquired from Nancy's dye pot.

I simply traced around the leaves with a quilter's marking pencil once I had an arrangement I was happy with.

I haven't begun work on this larger case yet. The intensity of the headaches lately have made following an established pattern with few colors the way to go.

Folks here in the USA are gearing up for our Thanksgiving holiday. Lots of families traveling to be together to share a feast and (hopefully) good times. Ours will be a quiet holiday with salmon instead of the traditional turkey as the main course and only one of our children at the table with us. Many families watch football games on TV over the holiday weekend. Those that are not out shopping! We will be watching some of our favorite holiday movies when we're not shopping online. 😉 If you're celebrating Thanksgiving I hope your meal is delicious and the memories you make warm and wonderful.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in November - for a Good Cause

It's time to share something we've done with scraps. After last month's post I made up a couple of postage stamp stars. Then the other day I sewed up one more 4" postage stamp block.

What really got me rolling was the call for blocks for a quilt drive for those whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Florence.

I've been avoiding patchwork in an effort to give my left elbow a chance to heal. Precut scrap patches to the rescue! I was able to make up four of the prescribed 12" blocks out of my scrap tins.

Then I had some fun rearranging the four blocks...

This is one versatile block!

While I was working on these four blocks I sewed scrap strips together between seams. Then I just kept going...

 I also sewed up some other scrap blocks I'd prepared last month.

Next thing I knew one of the gals from my local guild asked for a 12" crazy patch block for her friendship quilt. Perfect for scraps!

So in spite of not sewing for about three weeks I got a lot done in a few days!

Scrap Happy Day is hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. To see what others are doing/have done with their scraps you can hop over to either of their blogs. There will be a lot to see, I promise you!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

SAL in November

It's time for our Stitch Along's tri-weekly check in. I've been doing a lot of needlepoint lately but I have managed to finish up the embroidered block in the series I've been slowly working on this year.

As it turns out, there's one more block left to stitch. It's ready to go but I haven't begun it yet. This is roughly how I plan to lay out the quilt when I finally get to that point.

The blocks will be trimmed down before I then frame them up again. I'm going to try for a variety of sizes and shapes, squares vs rectangles. Still don't know what prints(s) I may use to turn these into a quilt though!

There's quite a bunch of us participating in this stitch along. I only made it about halfway through the list the last time. Hope to do better this time around, even if it takes a couple of days. 😊 There's a wide variety of needlework being done in this group. If you're interested in having this kind of motivation to keep your needlework moving along contact Avis via her blog. Our next check in will be on 2 December.


I don't want to let this momentous day pass without honoring those who sacrificed all for liberty and democracy. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Retail Therapy

While my elbow is being so tender it's been easier to refrain from buying new fabric. Although that's a sad thing to have to say. That hasn't kept me from indulging in a little retail therapy however! First I bought one of Nancy's gift boxes called Return to Sleepy Hollow.

This is over and above the monthly installment I receive in the limited edition floss club. So far the shipment for November hasn't arrived yet. I only receive six skeins in my monthly installments; twelve in a box feels like a real splurge. I have to say that I am sorely tempted to just buy one of her Kindred Spirits gift boxes too, rather than keeping my fingers crossed to win a box through her current give away

The other temptation to which I have succumbed is a bundle of patterns and floss from Sublime Stitching. 

I have far more embroidery patterns than I will probably ever actually use but there are some things I can't seem to resist. You've probably already guessed I'm a sucker for color in threads and fabric. "It's my one weakness" as Dorcas Lane would say (Lark Rise to Candleford). 😉

You may have guessed that my spirits have perked up (finally, thank Goodness!). Now the trick will be not to do too much to aggravate my elbow. There's at least one quilt I had hoped to get done before Christmas so it could be shipped in time to be a gift of the season. Hard to say whether that will happen now. I am not good about pacing myself. When I begin a project I like to keep at it until it's complete (within reason). I will have to learn to work in small bites rather than gorging myself with patchwork and/or binding. {sigh} It's always something, ain't it?!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Here, Piggy Piggy!

I've been a subscriber to Country Living magazine for decades. For the last couple of years one of their staff members has created a series of designs for cross stitch. They have always appealed to me but I choose not to cross stitch. Fortunately the graphed patterns can be applied to other forms of needlework. When I was looking for something to stitch on my small Stitch & Zip cases that wouldn't require much brain power I came to the web site for those patterns. One design in particular fit my criteria very nicely, although I did have to tweak the dimensions a bit.

This simple design gave me large areas in which to showcase the variegations in the hand dyed flosses I've been acquiring from Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. It also made it possible for me to do a lot of the basketweave stitch I most enjoy. I did make an effort on occasion to moderate the diagonal lines that stitch creates but mostly the changes in shading came through the nature of the strands of floss. 

This little guy was fun to stitch and suited my needs perfectly. I may even do another version of him, in other colors! 

In the meantime, Nancy has a couple of give aways going on over on her blog. You could win a whole box of her wonderful floss if your name is drawn, and she's willing to ship internationally so don't let that stop you. 😊