Sunday, October 25, 2020

Still Stitching in October (SAL #2)

 Every so often we fit two stitch along posts in a month. This is just such a month. 😊

Last time I mentioned that I might pick up my pumpkin head needlepoint canvas and see if I could complete it for the upcoming holiday. Almost, but not quite.

There's still time, and not much left to do so I might still make it, just not for this posting. When I picked it up again it looked like this:

So, good progress. I started with one skein of a hand dyed floss. As I approached the top and bottom edges I realized I wasn't going to have enough of that particular dye lot. I chose to use a darker shade of purple (from the same dyer), thinking it would look like shadowing. Not quite sure that's the case but it is what it is. I've been blending the two dye lots in my needle, using more of the darker shade as I got closer to the perimeter. When it's finished this will measure 5" x 7." When that's accomplished my plan is to simply pop it into an appropriate frame. 

If you aren't a regular visitor here you might want to scroll down to the previous post. I've begun embroidering a soft book for our newest granddaughter. Hopefully a relatively quick project. πŸ˜‰The rest of the stitchers in the group will, no doubt, have fun things to share. You can click on the links below to see what they've been working on.




Wednesday, October 21, 2020


I was humming right along on my Return of the Swans quilt top. Got all the blocks sewn into a flimsy:

There were enough flying geese units for an additional half row along the bottom, making it 60" wide x 78" long. I bought another lime green batik to use for borders so this could be an official twin size quilt. That's when the distractions occurred. First it was a couple of days of a near-migraine, some of it caused by toxins encountered when I went shopping. So this quilt top is still waiting for its' borders. 

The other distraction is much happier. 😁Our newest granddaughter was born after her mother waited an extra week and had to be induced. Son sent a newborn photo and we've had a video call already, which thoroughly warmed this grandmother's heart. And then I started right in on an unplanned gift for the new addition. I've been watching Anne Brooke make her Sew4thesoulbook on YouTube but hadn't been motivated to join in. Suddenly after the baby was born I decided to make a little soft book for her using Anne's bookmaking technique.

Three layers of scrap batting about 4" high and 8.5" wide. I cut a pale yellow quilting cotton to cover the batting and pulled size 8 perle cottons to stitch simple shapes. The three layers were stitched down the center on the sewing machine but I intend to do everything else by hand.

The plan is to echo the shape on each page as much as I can but restrict the colors to one per page. I'll probably use at least a couple of shades of each color to add interest though. I started with the circle and the triangle in the photo above. The next two pages will be a square and an octagon. I meant for the octagon to be a hexagon but got carried away making my template. πŸ˜‰

I wanted purple perle cotton for the octagon but didn't have any in my stash. The thread I started to use in it's place wasn't working out well so I took it out, as you may be able to tell. Since then I've ordered  new thread from an online vendor. The last two pages will feature a heart in red and some kind of inscription from me. I have no idea what I'll do for the cover yet. 

This is what I've stitched so far. Some chain stitches, some blanket stitches, a mess of Colonial knots, straight stitches to create the little triangles, and some outline stitching. I want texture as well as color. 

I wish my blanket stitch circle was a little rounder but I'm not taking anything out. I figure a perfect circle is a rare thing and the sooner she learns that the better off she'll be. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Scrap Happy in October

 The 50 Shades of Brown quilt along project was inspirational. Ever since I finished my version of the project it's been on my mind to try it in other colors. First up was blue. I had a stack of 1.5" squares on hand, about all I had to do was find the 2.5" patches I needed to go between them (which wasn't hard!).

I didn't feel the need to add flying geese units this time around. 

I'm thinking this one will become another mat for my dog's bowls. With the 2" borders the dimensions of the original project are just about perfect for that purpose. 

All I need to do now is find something to use on the back. I have plenty of batting scraps available to go in between. πŸ˜‰

I've been steadily sewing short lengths of 2" strips together as leaders and enders for scrappy Lego blocks. Turns out I had enough to make three 12" blocks this month!

That gives me a current total of 24 blocks. I could either make more strips and blocks (although that scrap basket is getting pretty low) or figure out a way to combine the Lego blocks I have with other blocks from the Parts Department. I feel the need to make a twin size quilt if I can, to donate for victims of the wildfires the western states in the US have had this year. 

Here are the links for everyone who joins Scrap Happy Day from time to time (they may not post every time but their blogs are still worth looking at). 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

50 Shades of Brown QAL

 Lori over at Humble Quilts has given out the final step in this little quilt along. Before she shared directions for the last step she mentioned that the quilt that inspired this quilt along features four different directional prints in the border. I didn't expect that to mean the borders would be whole cloth! Funny how we each have our own interpretation of things. Nor did I expect such a small quilt in the end. Her version finishes at 14" x 18." You can see it here.

Mine looked like this at the last stage:

I auditioned leftover prints for borders...

But still wanted to make a slightly larger quilt. I also had a hankering to make some flying geese for this project. (I really seem to be stuck on geese at the moment.) So I did this:

That upper 4 Patch block seemed a bit heavy. I tried a few variations... 

And finally ended up with this, borders included. 

I'm really pleased with the way this turned out. Makes me want to do another scrappy, liberated quilt! I've layered it up and handed it over to James for quilting. It will probably take him longer to load it and decide what to do than to actually do the quilting as this is only 20" x 26." 😁

Sunday, October 4, 2020

First October SAL - Happy Dancing!

Warning: this is a picture heavy post!

I haven't shared progress on this needlepoint case my friend asked me to stitch for her in quite some time. After I'd done the easy stitching, the large sections of a single color, I got stalled. The last time you saw it, it probably looked like this:

I've been feeling better the last couple of days, able to face the detail stitching that needed to be done. This began life as a kit. I don't think all the colors were included by the time my friend found it in a thrift shop, nor did I have a photograph of the finished project to go by. So once the background was in it required more mental effort than I had to give it. 

I'm delighted to report that I've finally completed the stitching and the case now looks like this.

Yup, still happy dancing a couple of days after the stitching was finished. 😁

I've also added some to my visual journal scroll since our last check in three weeks ago. It's now about 57" long (3.5" high).

Here are a series of close-up shots beginning at the left side. (You may be able to get the images even bigger by double clicking on them.)

In addition to the rain cloud (my hope for rain to wash away the smoke from the wildfires) I put some detail stitches on a few other sections.

I may get out one of my Halloween canvases (needlepoint) to work on for the next stitch along check-in. That will be right before Halloween, on 25 October. I may also cover the completion of this scroll in a Bee, Myself & I post at the end of October. In the meantime, here are the links to the other members of this SAL so you can see what they've been up to lately. 😊




Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bee, Myself & I in September

 It's time again for a bit of selfish sewing - something just for the fun of it, not to a deadline or to fulfill any commitment. 😊

A week or so ago Lori over at Humble Quilts introduced a little quilt along she's calling 50 Shades of Brown. I don't think I've ever had 50 shades of brown but I thought it might be fun to see if I could use up some of my brown scraps. The first step was to make 17 little four patch blocks, each to finish at two inches square.

Lori really likes primitive and antique quilts and prints that speak of the pioneer era. I have a small collection of those type of prints but not enough for this specific project so my quilt is going to look somewhat different from hers (and her followers). She added a couple of patches of the cotton candy pink of that era and a couple of what I think of as cadet blue. I've used very light tans and ecru instead.

The second step was to cut 18 brown squares, 2.5" each, to distribute between the 4Patches.

I played around with placement and ended up with this flimsy:

The next step will be a border of some sort. Lori says the inspiration quilt features four different directional prints. Not sure I can do that all in brown but we'll see! 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Honest to Pete!

I've been working on my final block for Edith's turn in the Footsquare Freestyle block swap, organized by the efficient Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia. I've sewn every other seam to the wrong piece or turned the pieces the wrong way around. Sheesh. Some days there's no winning for losing. πŸ˜’

On another front, I've made two more Tall Ships. I had trouble with one of those too actually. This just has not been the week for piecing.

Looks like they're sailing downhill! You can see I've been sewing some flying geese units too, with the intention of having them replicate waves.

I still have to figure out how to handle those blank spots - assuming I stick with this type of layout.

Right now I think it's time to turn my attention elsewhere. Some hand work, maybe, instead of the electric needle and hot iron. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

After the Rain

 We finally had some rain overnight. It has cleared the air of wildfire smoke to the extent that we have progressed from the Unhealthy category yesterday (Very Unhealthy the day before that) back into the Good category. My body seems to need more time to recover however. Of course, even when the air is safe for most folks it's not safe for me. 

To commemorate this week of smokey air in my Time Flies diary quilt I made these geese:

I've been keeping to a light value for the background patches - until now. It would appear I bought that variable gray/brown print 15 years ago just so I'd have it for this set of geese. It's a quarter yard cut that hadn't been touched since it was laundered and put in the stash. At the time I was making house blocks and probably thought I'd be able to use this print for landscaping or a roof top or something. I don't buy quarter yards anymore. Fat quarters, yes, but most often half yard or maybe third yard cuts if I don't anticipate needing a great deal of that color or print.  

Scrap Happy Day inspired me to pull out some of my smaller scrappy Ship blocks to see how they might play with the Tall Ship blocks I'd made.

There are definite possibilities here! As soon as I get some energy back I'll have to see what else I can do with them. πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Scrap Happy in September

 We've had a little bit of rain! Hurray! Hopefully there will be more over the next day or two. I doubt it will make the air quality safe for me but it will make it safer. My roses will be happier too.

It has been hard to generate the energy to do much of anything with the amount of smoke in the air. Before the air got so bad I pieced up another little quilt top to turn into a quilt for a cat in our local animal shelter. I started with some scrappy Hourglass blocks I'd made some time ago that finish at 3 inches square.

Then I found scraps of an old floral stripe and used it for borders.

Those colors aren't quite true. I've got a large scale print of cats cut for the back. Just have to dig out a batting scrap to finish this off. 😁(You can see the first two quilts I made in this post.)

I've pieced up a few new scrap blocks for the Parts Department...

And used scraps to make two 12" Tall Ship blocks.

Now I'm trying to figure out a way to combine the Tall Ships with some of my 6" ship blocks for a donation quilt. Probably I'll want to make another Tall Ship or two as well! 

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). We have two new members this month, Del and Nanette – Welcome, ladies!

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEvaLynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Del and Nanette

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Stitching Through the Smoke - September SAL

 We don't have any wildfires near us at the moment - thank Goodness - but we have been privileged to be blanketed by the smoke from the fires south of us in Oregon and California. I have never seen higher numbers for our air quality index. Officially we are in the Very Unhealthy category as I write this. Needless to say, I'm staying strictly indoors with all the windows closed tight. And praying for rain to come as soon as possible. In spite of our precautions we're feeling the effects of the heavy smoke cover: headaches, lethargy, itchy eyes and throats, a general feeling of malaise. Two of us are predisposed to asthma. I've had a constricted feeling in my chest off and on. The light outside (and inside, actually) is eerie. Like fog, but brown with an orange cast instead of the gray we're accustomed to. At least the blanket has kept the sun from warming us up to uncomfortably high temperatures like we had recently. If it's not one thing it's another! 

I've been playing with tiny bits of fabric and a variety of size 12 perle cotton threads on my stitch wrap. I think you saw this bit in our last SAL check in although I added a few more straight stitches around the word 'HOT!'. 

This is the next section, with some kantha stitching. 

I added some embroidery to the strip of tea-dyed cotton batting most recently.

I've also added another section or panel since the last SAL check in...

Which is where most of the work has been done this time around.   

It's not done yet but I'm not sure just what else will happen to it. I used a few clear seed beads to secure the lace to the wool felt on the left in the picture. Not that you can see them! That's a button with a hand painted bird on it in the upper right corner. Technically the bird is sitting on a twig painted on the button and I tried to place it such that the twig could be coming off the branch I've outlined with backstitches. In addition to the back stitches I've used feather stitches, blanket stitches, French knots, and straight stitches. Fly stitches secure the 'Hope' label in place.

Avis is the organizer for this Stitch Along. Participants span the globe so our posts go up at different times of the day every three weeks. There's a variety of needlework to be seen, all of it inspiring. 😊