Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Bee, Myself & I in January

I've been missing the little bead embroidered pieces I used to do each month for the Bead Journal Project. For my Bee, Myself & I projects in 2018 I've decided to resurrect that effort. Bee, Myself and I is a forum for selfish sewing: anything that is purely for pleasure, not for a cause or charity, and with no other end point than what I determine. Carla over at Granny Maud's Girl was the inspired maker who started the effort. 😊

The focus of the BJP was to use beads in an intuitive way. I want to return to using my beads (and sequins and charms!) but I want to expand the parameters of these little projects - the operative word being 'little'.

We were encouraged to choose a size and format to stick to throughout the duration of each year of the BJP. One year I used a diamond shape...

And another year I made ATC's:

I've decided that this year I will allow myself to use whatever shape or size feels right at the time. To that end, one day this month I pulled out the empty holiday popcorn tin where I toss my small batik scraps and just started piecing.

This is what I ended up with:

The heart shape was the one that spoke to me the loudest.

I did the feather stitching first, using some of Nancy's hand dyed flosses (of course). Then I seed stitched the yellow patch, and then added the beads and sequins.


The green patch in the upper right has had a couple different treatments, both of which have since been removed because I wasn't happy with them. I may end up facing and turning this before I make a final decision about how to handle that. As it is, I'm probably going to have some trouble with that process. I wasn't thinking about seam allowances when I began embellishing. I've toyed with the idea of appliqueing the heart to some other foundation, which might alleviate the seam allowance issue, but haven't entirely made up my mind yet. I'm giving myself permission to leave it as it is for the time being. As far as I'm concerned, I've fulfilled the parameters of my Bee sewing even if I don't have a finished product. Besides, I got distracted by Halloween prints! 😉

Thursday, January 25, 2018

First New Quilt of the New Year

I completely lost my quilt-making mojo as we approached the holiday season. Slowly, slowly it's returning. I haven't been able to commit to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2018. There don't seem to be enough scraps to bother with at the moment. Must be time to make new scraps! (We won't talk about all the blocks I've made in previous years that could be built into quilts!)

I still have yardage (or at least pieces of yardage) that has been around longer than I'd like. Figured I might as well begin with one of my overflowing categories of novelty prints... Halloween.

This isn't even a third of what could be called Halloween in my stash!

I've also had the Disappearing 9 Patch pattern/process in mind lately. It looks to me to be useful for eating up miscellaneous prints while at the same time not requiring a lot of creative energy. I'm sure I could have confirmed that with some online research but I haven't been up to surfing the web this week.

I started by cutting 5" squares from the more juvenile Halloween prints in my collection. Most of them could be considered fussy cuts. My plan was to keep them in the corners of the nine patch blocks so they can be feature elements of the quilt. The math is a little different for the D9P; it took me a few days to figure out how many blocks I'd want for a kid's quilt. Finally I decided on twenty. Of course I didn't have enough of any one print appropriate for what I'm calling the background patches but I did manage to find a couple others to supplement my original choice.

I'm hoping this will help to produce a random, scrappy look in the end product. I find it challenging to be truly random even when I'm working with actual scraps.

I now have all 20 blocks assembled.

Six of the 20 blocks.

The next step is to cut each block into quarters, then scramble the parts and reassemble them into the final block format, which is a four patch block.

A handful of the prints I used to make these blocks were reduced to scraps. It's a small victory, given the amount of yardage that remains, but a victory nevertheless. 😊

Sunday, January 21, 2018

SAL in January

This is our first Stitch Along check-in for 2018 and I have a new caravan to share with you. 😊

It all began with this little 1947 Teardrop trailer.

I altered the silhouette a bit and decorated it to create...

 An intergalactic caravan! 

When it first arrived it appeared to be functioning under a cloaking device.

It didn't even show up as well in person as it does in this photo. The floss I used (some of Nancy's hand dyed loveliness of course) was the same value as the blue background and had enough blue in it for it to blend right in. The funny thing was, I didn't notice until I'd finished the outline. I switched out both the background fabric and the floss on my second attempt.

I sort of had the 1950's infatuation with space travel in mind as I fleshed out the details on this travel trailer.

I'm thinking there will be one more caravan in the collection before I try to reassemble the sketchbook. I have to keep the book under one inch thick. I haven't measured the stack of completed embroideries yet but I'm pretty sure there will be room for one more. The question is, what sort of caravan will it be?

I've been stitching these travel trailers for The Sketchbook Project and using this Stitch Along, hosted by Avis, to keep me on track. We check in every three weeks and each work on the needlework project of our choice. There's lots of good work to see, with stitchers who span the globe. Enjoy the tour!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in January

I wasn't sure I would have anything to share for this first Scrap Happy Day of the new year. I've already shown you the first of the string blocks I made for the current block drive for Covered in Love. 

I made another set of four since then:

Do you think there's a noticeable difference in the number of strips and strings I have laying about? Yeah, I didn't think so. 😉 Regular readers know better than that. It seems no matter how many scraps you use, there are still more than you began with somehow.

To make matters worse, when I pruned these blocks to the required size (10.5") there were some trimmings big enough to cut into tiny triangles. I have a ruler called the Scrap Saver from That Patchwork Place that makes it easier to cut half-square triangles from odd pieces of fabric. So of course I had to cut as many 1⅞" triangles as I could from the leftovers. I'm compulsive that way. It would be so much easier to just toss them in the trash but I couldn't do it. I ended up with 101 half-square triangles from the first six string blocks and another 31 from the more recent batch of four blocks.

As you can see, I haven't pressed the most recent triangles yet.

I was happy to find this 4½"  tin in which to store the pressed units until I figure out what to do with them. There are several options swirling about in my head. Whatever they end up in will be a truly scrappy product! To see more scrap projects in the works hop on over to Tall Tales from Chiconia. Kate co-hosts a gathering of scrappy endeavors with Gun every month on the 15th. She has the complete list of participants on her blog. Be careful - you might get inspired to do something with your own scraps!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Wallowing in Color

The floss I hoped to get for Christmas was finally delivered the other day. 😁 Because there was so much in the shipment I've had to let it off-gas longer than my usual shipments of a measly six skeins. Not only did I get the 1,000 yard package I wanted for Christmas, I won a free floss club shipment in Nancy's 12 Days of Give-aways. That's over 50 skeins of floss in one box! I've played with them enough to have mixed the current floss club shipment in with the others to the point where I don't know which is which anymore.

I do enjoy trying to arrange them according to color families...

There always seems to be a wide variety of greens coming out of Nancy's dye pot.

I was especially pleased to add more reds to my collection. There's one card in this bunch that has 27 yards on it of an especially wonderful red. Color me happy!

I've been adding to my Year in Stitches sampler every other day or so. Needless to say, as soon as I could safely use some of this new floss I did so. The last time you saw this sampler I think it looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

The spiral square in the lower left has been stitched with the leftover bits of color I've used elsewhere. Same goes for the little circles at the other side of that bottom row. The big daisies or chrysanthemums above that were fleshed out with a bit of the newest floss. I'm going to have to set up a new page soon.

I declared this sampler as my selfish stitching for Bee, Myself and I last month. I think I'm going to go in a different direction now. I'll keep working on this sampler but for my selfish stitching I think I'm going to set up a new project. It's still in the planning stages at this point so you'll have to check back to see whether it comes into being or not. 😉

And if you're still with me, and a regular reader/commenter, let me offer my apologies for not responding to your latest comments. This is just a difficult time of year for me I guess. I'm lucky to be doing any stitching or piecing, much less dealing with the written word.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Scrappy New Year

Are we really one week into the New Year already???!! Time sure got away from me since my SAL post! Partly that's due to the down time necessary to recover from chemical reactions. Needlework has taken place but I want to save that reveal for the next SAL. Like most everyone else I've been considering goals and options for my studio time this year. Nothing big has come of it yet. For now I'm just happy to have the studio cleaned up enough from Christmas to cut and sew in relative comfort. That's not to say that it's any better organized than it was before the holidays. 😉

I found the ideal project to ease back into quilt making activities in the new block drive for Covered in Love. Kat is asking for scrappy 10.5" string blocks, pieced on a fabric foundation. One thing that has been niggling at me in the back of my brain are the truly old prints still in my stash. I pulled one out today that is labeled from 1992 for crying out loud! These are not scraps like I would use for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge but larger pieces, almost yardage. (I rarely bought anything bigger than half a yard back in my early quilting career.) I decided to focus on those prints that have been languishing for years, figuring that I wouldn't miss them since I hadn't found a way to use them in all the time I've kept them. They became the fodder for my foundation squares. Here's one example:

I pieced the strips to the wrong side of the foundation fabric to diminish any shadowing through of the colors from the foundation. The first four blocks were made with precision cut strips. I typically cut 1.5," 2," 2.5," and 3" strips when I'm demolishing a piece of fabric. I cut other shapes too but right now we're just talking about strips.

While the strips were precision cut, I placed the various widths randomly on the foundations. After these four I turned to the box where I toss my random strips. These are the off-cuts of the backs of quilts or the trimmings at the end of a cutting session. Some in that box could be precision cut or even cut into squares or triangles but I didn't want to take the time. A lot of them are one width at one end  and then taper down to something less than 1.5" at the other end. I made two blocks with strips from that box...

And then went on to make four more!

I could keep on making these without any fear of running out of strips. There's no way I'm going to even try to empty the box however. I'll probably make a few more blocks and maybe by then I'll be ready to tackle one of the UFO's or block collections that are waiting to be turned into quilts or, who knows, even a brand new project!