Friday, June 29, 2018

Bee, Myself & I in June

At the end of May I showed the selection of bright botanical prints I'd purchased with the intention of making a version of the Free Spirit pattern Rainbow Blur. I'd cut the largest pieces for my quilt but I don't think I'd cut the smaller patches for the four patch blocks the pattern calls for at that point. My brain must not have been functioning at its' best when I finally did cut those patches. Look what happened when I started laying out the pieces:

Notice the gaps? That's because I made all 22 four patch blocks too small. I was thinking 2.5" patches for 5" four patch blocks. But you have to add the half inch seam allowance before you start cutting! Sigh. At least this sort of thing doesn't happen to me too often (yet).

So I have 22 four patch blocks to use in some future project. Meanwhile, I was able to cut a new set of patches - in the correct size this time - from the leftovers I had on hand. It remains to be seen whether I'll have the variety I was hoping for in the prints. Wouldn't it be tragic if I had to go back to the store to get some more? πŸ˜‰

I've sewn up the new four patch blocks and begun auditioning the pieces according to the quilt plan.

Obviously the four patch blocks haven't made it onto the design wall yet. And no doubt there will be lots of arranging and rearranging before I'm ready to sew this together. With a run of good health I just might have a flimsy to show you at the end of July!

Bee, Myself and I is how Carla at Granny Maud's Girl has organized the sewing she wants to do purely for her own pleasure. Checking in at the end of each month helps me to organize my time and energy too. 😊

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Scrap Happy Follow-up

Refining the way I organize my skinny scrap strips has turned out to be pretty useful. πŸ˜€

For Scrap Happy Day I showed how I'd filled a stackable storage container with 1.5" strips of specific lengths. Since then I've been sewing those strips together between other projects (and some more because I just couldn't stop!).

I'm making these so they will finish 6" square. As you can see, they will come in handy in a variety of ways.

In this picture I've thrown in a freestyle log cabin block and the Hole in the Barn Door my friend C~ gave me for my birthday.

I've fallen victim to found another way to use other scrap patches that accumulate here in The Magpie's Nest. That's what comes of visiting people like Gayle and Sally T. They are embroiled in the process of making Demented quilts, based on a free pattern for a Garden Mosaic quilt from Free Spirit Fabrics. (How could I resist a name like Demented?!) I even have a box that's perfect to store the blocks in until I have enough to do something with them.

The pattern may be called Garden Mosaic but these look like butterflies to me. Once again, I'm not sticking to the directions given in the pattern. I'm using my 2.5" squares and corresponding HST's. I believe the pattern calls for slightly smaller patches. At this point I haven't a clue how many I'm going to make or whether I'll follow the pattern layout at all. They may end up being incorporated into 12" blocks or used as sashing, who  knows? That's one of the things I love about having a Parts Department: it creates so much opportunity to play!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Starting Summer In the Pink

This may be the first day of summer on the calendar but we've already had a taste of summer weather around here. It got so warm we've had to reinstall our portable air conditioning unit. Of course I tried to stick it out with just the windows open for a couple of days before then. That was a mistake. There was something undetectable floating in through the windows that put me out of commission. I'm delighted to be feeling better now. πŸ˜€

In spite of the headaches I managed to finish making the pink Scrappy Trip blocks. Yesterday I sewed them into a flimsy.

This is just 45" x 60." I wasn't thinking ahead when I went to the store for the black print I used in the blocks. If I had been I'd have bought enough to make the binding as well. As it turned out, I didn't have anything appropriate for the back either. No doubt I could piece a back but who wants to go to all that work when the LQS (local quilt shop) is having a sale? And look what I found for the back!

Such a cheerful print. I'll be a good girl and use batting scraps when the time comes. πŸ˜‰

Sunday, June 17, 2018

SAL in June

I have a screaming headache so this is going to be brief.

Currently I'm using our three-week check-ins to keep myself on task with an embroidered block of the month program. I've managed to make good progress on the block for May (which I hadn't begun until June):

You may not be able to tell, but I have yet to stitch the stems and leaves for the flowers. I had James trace off the pattern for me this time. I must say the lines are much easier to see! I think I'll have him use a soft lead pencil next time however. The pink floss just barely covers the brown Pigma ink lines. He used the finest point pen I have on hand. 

There's a whole flock of us using this Stitch Along to keep ourselves on track with an assortment of needlework projects. You can see what everyone else has accomplished by clicking on their names below. If you'd like the motivation of being held accountable (but we're really nice about it πŸ˜‡) stop by Avis' blog and leave a comment. See you on 8 July!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in June

On the 15th of every month Kate and Gun host a blog hop for those trying to use up their scrap fabric (or yarn or other crafting supplies). Anything from pin cushions to quilts are eligible as long as scraps have been used in the making. I appreciate the mini deadline forcing me to think about how to use more of my scraps - especially since I've temporarily dropped out of the weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I routinely use scrap patches to build 6" Shoo-fly or Hole in the Barn Door blocks. I cut the pieces ahead of time and then sew them together between the seams of other projects (i.e. leaders and enders). I make the occasional postage stamp star too. But for Scrap Happy Day this month I returned to my 15" Truly Scrappy Scrappy Trip blocks.

An interesting thing happened on the way to this Scrap Happy Day. I didn't have the variety of prints I wanted for my blocks so I went through several piles of scraps to see what qualified. It was a bit disconcerting to discover how many places scraps have ended up in. When I finished cutting the 3" x 19" strips I needed for these Scrappy Trip blocks the cutting mojo was still strong. I'd also had an idea for using my narrowest scrap strips (1.5").  With that idea in mind I started trimming my narrow strips to specific lengths, something I've avoided doing in the past. I emptied the box they were stored in and went on to another box of larger scraps. I all but emptied that one too! There were more squares and triangles than strips from that second box.

During this cutting marathon I remembered a plastic storage unit I'd bought online a few months ago. It didn't turn out to be useful for the purpose I'd intended. But look how well it corrals my 1.5" strips!

I have 2.5" lengths and 3.5," and 4.5." At the bottom of the picture are 6.5" strips. These three trays stack and clip together. That will make it easy to move them to and from the sewing machine for mindless sewing. The box the strips were originally stored in has been repurposed  for the 6.5" strips. I've been able to fit in a few 2.5" wide strips as well.

There were more 1.5" squares created while all this was going on. They've now outgrown the little gift box I'd been storing them in. Apparently it's time to make more postage stamp stars!

To see more scrappy goodness you can visit the bloggers listed below. They may not participate every month but you won't be sorry you stopped by. 😊

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

In the Pink

I'm not one to wake up in the middle of the night with bright ideas. They tend to come to me just as I'm falling asleep or as I'm waking up. And they tend to come in bunches, not singly. I had such an experience just the other morning, inspired by the set of four batik blocks I showed in my last post.

Regular visitors will probably remember that I've been looking for ways to use up the older prints in my stash. As dawn broke the other morning it dawned on me (pun intended) that I could probably make Scrappy Trip quilts in several color families, effectively using up or at least making a serious dent in some of the stacks in my stash. After jotting down some notes to myself the events of the day took over.

The next time I was able to spend extended time in the studio I went to my collection of pink prints and pulled out those I was tired of seeing and those that were the equivalent of a fat quarter or less. I cut 60 strips at 3" each. Then I had to go down to my LQS to buy enough of a black print to fill in the rest of the design I had in mind. Of all the black fabric in my stash I either didn't have enough of a single print or they weren't appropriate in some other way. Of course. And on this particular occasion I didn't want an assortment of black prints.

The plan is to make twelve pink Scrappy Trip blocks (15" finished) with a single black in the mix.

My hope is that the pinks will blend together reasonably well while the black will stand out in that distinctive diamond pattern the Scrappy Trip blocks can make.

So far I've completed four blocks.

I can't say this photo is an accurate representation of the colors but you can see what I'm shooting for. There's every possibility I'll change my mind about the final arrangement of the blocks but we'll see. My plan is to keep this on the small side, 45" x 60," partly so it can be finished up quickly but also so that I don't get bogged down in this color family. I really have to do something about the stacks of green (and orange... and yellow; we won't even talk about the novelty prints).

On the personal side of things, the cardiologist found 80-90% blockage in one of Hubby's arteries. I assume they cleared that out as much as possible before putting a stent in place. He was aware of what was going on but is fuzzy about the details. I wasn't able to stick around in the hospital to get any information firsthand. There are a couple of follow up appointments to keep so I'm sure there will be more information forthcoming. The important thing is that he already feels better and we expect to have many more years together. 😊

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Another New Start

I seem to be starting a lot of new projects lately. I guess Spring is a good season for such activities. 😊

Now is not the time to share one of the projects I've just started. I'd kind of like to keep this second one under wraps too but I don't think that will be entirely possible. For the time being, suffice to say it's another set of 15" Scrappy Trip blocks.

I'm pondering what I'll do for the upcoming Scrap Happy Day. There's no shortage of scraps or old fabric to put to good use. I could also just make something up out of the Parts Department. Hmm...

On a personal note, Hubby has recently been experiencing episodes of angina. When he finally got in for a stress test (on a treadmill only) he failed spectacularly. He's now on a beta blocker and nitro glycerin pills and unable to do anything more strenuous than watch movies. I'll be taking him in tomorrow for an angiogram. My hope is that they find any blockage and take the opportunity to clear it out while they have him there. It will mean a little longer in the hospital but I'd prefer that to having to go back in the near future for another procedure. Or the other, rather permanent, alternative!

So far as I know Blogger/Google still has not come up with a fix for comments. You can leave them, but the only way I can respond is to leave a reply on my blog. I miss having you come directly to my Inbox. πŸ˜”

Friday, June 1, 2018

Let the Games Begin!

I mentioned in my last post that I find the motivation of a deadline and/or making something for someone else most effective to get me cutting and sewing. So I'm delighted that Kate has taken it upon herself to host the Footsquare Freestyle block swap once again.

We started this together back in 2015 with 12 participants from across the globe. The plan was for each player to choose a color palette for her own eventual quilt, make three blocks for herself when her turn came up, and then sit back and see what everyone else creates for her. The blocks were to finish at 12" square (a square foot, get it?) but could feature any block pattern or technique of the maker's choice (that's the freestyle part). This is the quilt I built out of the blocks I received in that first swap:

My request was for blocks featuring a black and white print and any one bright color. I  made three of the rainbow blocks in the center of the quilt (and the sashing that separates the groups of blocks). It was serendipity that allowed me to arrange the other blocks in groups according to color. πŸ˜€

The second round of F2Freestyle only had nine participants. Kate set up a dedicated blog for us where we could post visual references for our color choices and keep track of whose turn it was each month. As quilts are assembled pictures of the fruits of our labors are also posted. This is what I made out of the blocks I received in round two:

And now we're ready to kick off round three. We have nine participants again so we'll be making blocks for each other for the next nine months. It took me a good while to firm up a decision about my color palette this time. There are so many wonderful possibilities!

This was a strong contender.

But in the end I've decided to simply ask for blocks that reflect a timeless blue and white color scheme.

My name was pulled for the month of July. First up, for June, is Lynn. She has asked for a muted palette of beige or cream, grays, and faded pink.

That will be a fun challenge! 😊