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. 😊

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Welcome November?

I declare, I thought things would get better when the smoke from the wildfires cleared. That hasn't been the case. There have been a few days of good air quality but every time I step outside it seems to be toxic. Our mailbox is just across the street with half a dozen others. I can't even go get the mail - with my mask on - without being negatively affected. The physical reactions are not as severe as they used to be, at least not usually, but they are still disabling. The worst part of it now seems to be the emotional toll. When I have two good days and then a string of four or more bad days it gets depressing. On top of that I'm having to curtail my quilt making activities in order to facilitate healing in my left elbow. There's been progress on that front but it's not enough that I feel I can start back up again yet. {sigh} The last thing I worked on was auditioning focal elements for the Queens of 'Ween quilt-to-be.

This was the first potential layout I tried. There are others but I'll share them in a dedicated post. I haven't been in the mood to play with any of the blocks I've already made. That would require emotional/creative energy I just don't have at the moment.

Fortunately there was a small needlepoint case I started some time ago I was able to pick up and work on. It's a duplicate of a kit I stitched up last year. Well, nearly. I changed the colors to better fit the taste of the intended recipient.

This is the original:

This is a teal fox on a gray background. I really didn't want to stitch another gray background. And I wanted to use some of the hand dyed flosses I've been collecting. I chose a purple for the fox, lavender and a neon green for the plaid and chevron stripes. I stitched quite a bit of those colors before turning my attention to the background. Not a smart decision as it turned out.

Every color I tried for the background was either too dark and would blend into the fox's head or too close in value to the lavender floss and become visually mushy. I was concerned that the lighter value hues would blend in with the fox's white whiskers. This light orange seemed to be the best choice from what I had available to me. I'm not happy with it but I wasn't prepared to take out all the lavender stitches to try another shade. It is what it is. Now the question is, what next? (I ask that question a lot!) Holding these small cases with my left hand doesn't seem to aggravate the elbow, as long as I don't stitch for too long a stretch at a time. I have a couple more blank cases on hand, I just have to come up with a pattern and then the color palette. It's these decisions I struggle with when I'm not feeling up to snuff.

Another aspect of the emotional toll of chemical sensitivities is that I don't have the energy to visit other blogs. I have to be careful not to get overwhelmed by the activities and energy that other creatives appear to have. That would only serve to deepen any depression I might be experiencing. The one lesson I'm learning from this affliction is the art of self preservation!