Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Bee, Myself & I Finish

Bee, Myself and I is a concept Granny Maud's Girl came up with to give herself an opportunity each month to piece quilt blocks just for her own pleasure. Last fall I started making a few 15" Scrappy Trip blocks each month using my more favorite colors in batiks: yellow, orange, and pink.

At 20 blocks it was time to figure out how I wanted to arrange them.

 That turned out to be more of a challenge than I'd expected.

And once I had the blocks the way I wanted them the long arm became cantankerous. I had to wait for it to be serviced before it could be quilted. Finally it was done, and now I have the binding on and all sewn down!

60" x 75"
I can't seem to get a decent photo of the quilting. Maybe after it's been laundered it will show up better. Suffice to say James created little sunbursts every once in a while in the upper corner which then morphed into leaves further down. I've christened this quilt "Sunrise," for obvious reasons. πŸ˜‰ I can't tell you how happy it has made me during the rainy days we've had recently!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Last Caravan

I managed to complete the Hobbit caravan before all work came to an abrupt halt. Taadaa!

This makes number eight. Here they are again, not necessarily in the order in which they were made or in the order in which they will go into my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project.

I had planned to at least attempt mounting them in the sketchbook this past week. That was before I took that undignified fall in the middle of our street (see previous post). Because of their shapes my sketchbook will have a horizontal orientation when I finally manage to get it together.

At this point I'm just planning to use my machine to straight stitch the panels to the pages of the book (which I have disassembled to make that process easier to accomplish). 

In the beginning I'd thought I would dress up the perimeters of the embroideries with rick rack or ribbon trims. I see now there really isn't room, nor do I want to fuss with that anymore. I just want to get this puppy done and on it's way to the Brooklyn Art Library! My body has to heal a bit more before that can happen unfortunately.

Here's another look at the embroideries, probably the last time you'll see them.

Again, I'm not sure they will go into the book in this order. This is just how they ended up on my design wall to have their pictures taken.

I've been using the the three-week stitch along hosted by Avis to keep me on task with these travel trailers. I'm going to have to come up with something new for next time! (That won't be a problem, trust me.) There are a whole host of stitchers participating in this SAL, all over the world. We've had a couple new folks join us this month too. Everyone is working on their own needlework project, although two members are currently at work on the same cross stitch kit. Welcome to the new members, and if you'd like some motivation for making progress on your stitchery visit Avis to get on the list. 😊

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Full Stop

I shouldn't have gloated in my last post. It was so pretty around here yesterday I went out to retrieve our mail, which is stashed in our box in a stand of boxes across the street. There's a pine tree nearby, constantly shedding needles and cones. I'd slipped into my clogs instead of putting on my sneakers. I mean, it's only out and back and out of my shoes again so why lace up?

I bet you can guess where this is going.

The clogs have more of a heel on them than my sneakers. On the way back to the house I was looking through the mail instead of at my feet. I half stepped on a pine cone and lost my balance. As I fell the possibility of broken bones and broken spectacles flashed through my mind. I even heard my glasses hit the asphalt when they bounced off my face. I'm happy to report there are no broken bones and my glasses only suffered minimal damage. (I can't live without my glasses. I could embroider or read for a little while perhaps, but nothing else.) I was fortunate that Hubby was working from home for the day. He was able to bend the frames back into shape for me and tend to the worst of the scrapes. Both palms have road rash. My right knee even got scraped a bit through my jeans - though the jeans don't seem to be damaged somehow. It feels like I have a deep bruise on the top of my left foot. That's what's keeping me from standing and walking unnecessarily. It also feels like I have sprained the base of my right thumb. Pinching my thumb and forefinger together is currently painful. Other body parts ache. So all the progress I was hoping to make over the next few days is not going to happen. And just for the record, I really don't need the headache that's trying to develop.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Squealing Finish

I'm gradually finishing up quilts that were begun last year. Remember this? The framing strips feature little pigs on the go.

Then it became this...

Now it looks like this!

I christened it Piggies in the Garden. It's about 60" square.

Can you see the quilting? James did a tight meander around the stars and large swirls/spirals in the outer border. It's going to be deliciously cuddly after it's laundered. 😊

My first thought was to use another orange for the binding. I'm so glad I auditioned the blue and had enough to go all the way around!

I'm hoping to be able to show you a couple more finishes in the next week or so. I love it when I feel good and can get things done!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in March

Goodness, I didn't mean to let a whole week pass without a new post! We have been a little distracted around here, making arrangements to have a new roof put on our house in addition to the reupholstering of my wing back chair. Naturally there have been toxic exposures to recover from as well.

You may recall my Halloween Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top. It's now a completed quilt:

60" x 72"
It would count for Scrap Happy Day because it was made entirely of scraps of Halloween prints or yardage that's been around for a while (a good long while in most cases!).

James did a simple meander in orange thread to keep the Halloween prints the focus of the quilt top. It's a very fun quilt. Did I tell you I started another D9P featuring food prints? That top is complete and next in line to be quilted. Meanwhile, the project I've been saving up for this Scrap Happy Day is another version of the Disappearing 9 Patch. Only this time instead of using large squares of fabric in the corners of the original 9 patch blocks I used the very scrappy Broken Dishes blocks I've been making with the off-cut triangles from various flying geese units.

The tiny print turned out to be a pretty good foil for any color or print that showed up in the scrappy broken dishes blocks. And it gave me a perfect excuse to use some of my overflowing orange prints in the centers of the large 9 patch blocks.

I ended up making 24 of the 9 Patch blocks. That gives me 96 quarters to work with to build my quilt top. I may not use them all. πŸ˜‰

Before the weather turned so cold around here I laid out the quarters all in the same orientation. As I was building the 9 Patch blocks I didn't necessarily keep the Broken Dishes all facing the same direction. It wasn't always possible, given their scrappy nature. But in laying out the quarters of the 9 Patches I kept the small orange squares in the lower right hand corner.

That gave me a grid pattern with a sashing-and-cornerstone look. But what happens if I arrange the quarters the way I did in the Halloween D9P?

Eeeww, no. (It's looks worse in person than it does in this photo.) So let's try another option...

This way I have large blocks of the broken dishes blocks and four little orange squares coming  together to form a larger square. It's less chaotic, but I think I like the first option the best.

It was at this point that I had to take down my design wall extensions so the wall heater could function properly. I haven't been able to put them back up just yet but hopefully it won't be long now.

Kate and Gun are the hostesses for Scrap Happy Day on the 15th of each month. Below is a list of other participants, hopefully with hyperlinks to their blogs. If  you need some inspiration for using up your scraps this is a good place to start!

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEvaNanette, Lynn,  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlys and Claire

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Unexpected Progress

I recovered enough from whatever the latest toxic exposure was to finally do some work on my Hobbit travel trailer for The Sketchbook Project. You'll recall it looked like this last Sunday for our Stitch Along check-in (see previous post):

Now it looks like this: 😊

The only problem is that all that work on the roof has caused some trouble with my left wrist and hand. Hopefully a few days of other activities will allow for whatever healing needs to take place.

Last year I was making 8" sawtooth stars and 16 Patch blocks in conjunction with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. There were some leftover scraps and patches from that effort which made it fairly easy to start piecing again.

Mind you, I didn't do all this in one day! I actually started with the ships last week and have been adding stars and 16 Patch blocks gradually since then. One of these days I'm going to have to start creating one or more quilt tops from these blocks. Our outdoor temperatures are beginning to rise so I may be able to put my design wall extensions back in place soon to allow for larger work to take place. We've even had a couple of days of sunshine that make it feel more like spring might just show up afterall!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Stitch Along in March

I couldn't do it. I just couldn't bring myself to work on the Hobbit caravan since teasing you with it during our last check-in.

Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I did finish using that strand of yellow to reinforce the outline of what will be the front door of the trailer. But no more, even though I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do. In my defense, we had a new sliding glass door installed this week. I think the fumes from the sealant affected me more than we expected it to. Plus there were recovery times from the  shopping I did for upholstery fabric (see previous post).

While I wasn't able to face the Hobbit travel trailer I did manage to do some other stitching. Specifically, I started a new set of pillowcases and embroidered a bit more on the set I already had in progress. This is the new set:

And here's one of the pair I've had on the go for a couple of months now.

I'm not convinced my treatment of the center of the daisy was the best choice but I'm not about to take it out, at least not yet. I did buttonhole stitch in the centers of the flowers in the newer pillowcase and quite like the way they look. The middle of the daisy is significantly larger however, so I was reluctant to use buttonhole there. I may yet remove the threads I've laid and replace them. The buttonhole stitches on some of the leaves were my own idea too. I enjoy tweaking mass produced designs to make them my own. 😊

I've also spent time and energy looking for a better way to keep my embroidery projects clean and organized. I seem to be perfectly comfortable with storing patchwork blocks in various plastic bags but when it came to the growing number of embroidery projects I found I wanted something more substantial for them. (I'm beginning to think I suffer from Stitcher's ADD more than I ever have the quilter's version!) So far this is what I've come up with:

The tool box in the foreground is not ideal but it's acceptable. I ordered it online with another set of plastic boxes that stack and snap together. They turned out to be too small for my purposes. Currently the tool box holds my various sampler projects. The other two boxes each contain one set of pillowcases in progress. I found those at Office Depot here in town. The pillowcases have to be folded up pretty small to fit but they do fit, and since they will be laundered when they're finished I figure any creases will relax then. They are poly-cotton blends so they shouldn't hang onto creases or wrinkles the way pure cotton would anyway.

I have a couple of other, larger, plastic boxes or totes for bulkier projects and raw materials (blank dish towels and the like). My hand-dyed flosses are currently in a lovely scrapbooking box with a carry handle. It's big enough to hold 12" quilt blocks should I ever decide to move the floss out. I found a way to keep the various transfer patterns all in one place too. I may not be a neat freak but I do like to have things organized! πŸ˜‰

In case you haven't been around to see what all the other stitchers in this group are working on (I think I'm the last in the world-wide time zones) you can click on their names below and be taken to their blogs. I promise you some great eye candy and maybe even a little inspiration!