Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Boo! Bee, Myself and I in October

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for selfish sewing, instigated by Grannie Maud's Girl. For me that usually means some form of needlework. Although, technically, the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt I've been working on would qualify since it's going to be staying here in The Magpie's Nest. πŸ˜€

However, I have been doing some selfish stitching. Remember Pumpkin Jack?

I think this is what he looked like the last time you saw him. I'd just figured out how I was going to handle the background area. I want to create shadowy corners, at least at the top, with this dark purple from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. There isn't enough of that to cover all the background, plus it would be too dark up against the dark sections of Jack's hat. Now I have two skeins of lighter purples, also from VMSS. I've been using the two, sometimes one alone and sometimes blending strands from both of them.

I really like the random shading I'm getting. In fact, I've decided to include a strand or two of the darker purple as I approach the bottom edge of the background.

This is18 mesh canvas. I'm using four strands of cotton floss in the needle for the background. At the rate I've been stitching lately this may very well be done for the next Bee, Myself and I post at the end of November!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

... And A Flimsy!

So, about a week ago I showed you the start of yet another Halloween-themed quilt. Gotta love how quickly a Disappearing 9 Patch can come together!

I had 20 blocks, made of 5" (raw) patches, similar to this one:

Which I then quartered.

The next step was to sort these units into groups according to where the "cornerstone" landed relative to the focal patch. That helped when it came to putting the units on the design wall.

I was surprised at how easy it was to keep all the directional images right side up. When I was making the 9 Patch blocks I rather randomly turned images so they were sideways in the 9 Patch or not. Now that I've made this pattern a few times I have a better idea how things will turn out in the end. Still, I wasn't being all that careful, and most of the patches are directional. There were just enough patches with overall, nondirectional imagery to compensate for those spots where a focal patch wouldn't work right side up.

I took my time getting the units sewn into blocks and then rows. When the bits were all together I decided this quilt needed a narrow inner border and then a wider outer border to finish it off. It took some doing, but eventually I came across two old prints that worked. A lot of what's in this quilt is from the early days of my stash building so that was appropriate.

That's a homespun plaid for the inner border. It looks like black and gold by itself. The jack o'lantern print is actually a coppery metallic. Oddly enough, they work together beautifully.

This flimsy measures about 61" wide by 74.5" long. The next trick will be to come up with backing and then binding. I have my eye on a couple of more recent purchases for those applications. This won't be a finished quilt for this year's Halloween but it will certainly be ready for next year! 😊

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Three Finishes

Yup, three. πŸ˜€

Of course, they're all smaller quilts. There's this baby/toddler quilt:

It's about 62" square. That bright, wild binding isn't too much after all. 😊

Next up is the Pinwheels baby quilt.

It's about 44" wide and 54" long. It has a flannel back, which I didn't get a picture of. I used the same gray of the background and borders to bind it.

James did swirls in the gray patches to make the print patches stand out.

Both of those quilts have been laundered so they're nice and fluffy. This last one has not been through the washer and dryer yet.

It measures about 48" across by 60" long. (I admit to not taking a tape measure to any of these quilts yet.) This one was bound with the remnants of the backing fabric.

I had James quilt it with large, open feathers. I like to use open quilting so the quilts will be that much fluffier and warmer. The denser the quilting, the flatter the end product and the fewer pockets there are for air to be trapped in to retain heat. I intend my quilts to be used! I plan to donate this one to our local hospice group.

I apply my bindings by machine but still hand sew them down on the backs of the quilts. That provides me with mindless sewing when I need it. Plus, I find it soothing - most of the time anyway. There are those occasions when I prick myself or can't thread the needle or whatever. Nothing in this world is perfect!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

It's That Time Again

Time for a new Halloween quilt!

And it's about time I found a way to use this wonderful print from Alexander Henry. The selvedge had the year 2006 on it. It's kind of a large scale print. I could never figure out how to use it to showcase the witches. Disappearing 9 Patch to the rescue!

Five inch (raw) squares seemed ideal for fussy cutting my ladies. I had some leftover squares from the last Halloween D9P I made (a more juvenile version that I donated to Foster Care) and plenty of other appropriate prints. I cut patches for twenty 9 Patch blocks.

That orange has been around since the early days of my stash. Time to use it up. (Well past time actually.) I figured this project would provide me with some rather mindless sewing. Unfortunately, I sewed a bit too mindlessly during the first sewing session.

This is how the blocks were supposed to be assembled:

But this is what I did:

Used up all the orange patches and most of the focal print patches. Couldn't figure out why there were so many black patches leftover. Checked my math; it was the right number of patches for each facet of the 9 Patch blocks. What did I do wrong?

Eventually I realized my mistake. I'd sewn focal patches where black patches were meant to go. So there was a lengthy bit of reverse sewing before I could continue.

As of this morning I have the 20 blocks assembled. The next step will be to cut them into quarters.

I think it will be a day or two before I tackle that step, just to be on the safe side. πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Scrap Happy in October

The 15th of each month has been designated by friends Kate and Gun as a day to share what we've done with our scrap materials, whatever they may be. I have quite a bit to show this time - more than I expected to anyway. 😊

First, a few blocks that were sewn up as leaders and enders.

There's also this four inch (finished) postage stamp unit that will eventually become another star.

How fun to be able to have all those little critters show up!

Our daughter is currently working with autistic children. Most of the time she's with them in their homes but there's also a clinic setting where she sees them from time to time. She requested a little quilt for the doll's cradle in the clinic. I pulled out some batik scraps and created this:

Just stitched in the ditch along the border seams and around the second row of squares. Those are two inch finished squares. They got me to thinking about other scrap patches I have...

My tin of 3.5" patches is overflowing. I'd cut a bunch of squares a few years ago that didn't get used in the way I'd intended and I've continued to add to the tin since then. There are also 3.5" strips hanging in my closet that I hadn't been able to figure out how to put to good use. Suddenly they have a purpose!

I don't have a specific quilt plan in mind yet. Right now I'm just having a ball playing with color combinations and trying to fit in the odd single patches.

At the moment I have these six blocks assembled and three more in the queue. These will finish at 15" each so I could get away with as few as 20 for a decent size quilt top. No doubt I'll have to make more than that to find a combination that will be pleasing to the eye. I don't think that will be a problem!

Here are the links to others who may have been playing with their scraps. Get ready to be inspired!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Stitching Along in October

It's time for our tri-weekly check-in for this SAL. We each work on our own projects, not all on the same one like many SAL's. A lot of our participants do cross stitch. I tend to vacillate between surface embroidery and needlepoint. I have a little bit of both to share with you today. πŸ˜€

Last time I showed the progress I'd made on the pillow cover that has been my on-again, off-again project. This is how it looked then:

And this is how it looks now:

I freehanded the decoration of the pot (and it looks like it!).

The chevrons were made with stacked fly stitches.

I have a better idea now about how I'm going to work the background of this needlepoint canvas.

I'm content to just fill in the background with basketweave stitching but that might be boring for the eventual viewers. The floss from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe will provide a bit of interest due to the gradual shading inherent in the floss but I didn't think that would be enough. I debated whether to stitch in a spider web or to overstitch it after all the tent stitches are in place. I believe I'm going to do the latter. With a glow-in-the-dark thread. πŸ˜‰

In the meantime I've chosen to stitch the perimeter with a slightly darker purple than I'll use for the bulk of the background.

You can see what the rest of the participants are working on by clicking on the links below. There's a wonderful variety of stitching going on. If you'd like the motivation that checking in every three weeks creates you can leave a note on Avis' blog and join the gang. Our next check-in will be on November 3.

AvisClaireGunCarole, ConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindy
HelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Clare, 
Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnne

Monday, October 7, 2019

Slogging On

It's been kind of quiet here in The Magpie's Nest. There have been no new project starts or major progress. Rather, I'm involved in finishing up quilts. The Pinwheels quilt is on the long arm as I type.

I bought some lovely, cushy flannel for the back. The binding will be the same gray as the background and borders. It should finish at about 54" high x 44" wide.

Meanwhile, I've been sewing down the binding on Space Cadets. I chose a pretty wild stripe for the binding. Nothing else I had on hand seemed to suit.

The stripe has the same blues and greens and yellows that are in the blocks and sashing. James did some freestyle quilting of large circles to mimic the planets and the occasional star.

I don't know how well you'll be able to see the quilting, but this is the back for what it's worth.

I think the discipline of getting these two baby quilts finished in a timely manner is robbing me of inspiration for new projects. Hopefully when I'm done with these some enticing new project will show up and whisk me away. 😊