Thursday, August 6, 2020

What A Relief

We've been having true summer heat lately. I used to tolerate it much better than I seem to do now. Plus we now have a neighbor who apparently likes to cook outdoors. That has made the air quality too poor for me to open the windows to relieve the heat in the house. We've had to run our portable air conditioner earlier and longer than in previous years. Husband is looking into more efficient ways to cool our home. It's also been a while since we've had any appreciable precipitation. But this morning we woke up to rain and cooler temperatures. Hurray! On top of that, I felt better physically today than I have in days. There'd be no better opportunity to put bindings on quilts so that's what I did today. 😁

The red and white quilt in the middle of the stack did not get its' binding today but the other two did. Here's a detail shot of the quilting on the quilt at the bottom of the stack. 
I tried to get a shot of the quilting on the Halloween quilt too but I'm afraid it's pretty hard to discern. That's a Disappearing 9 Patch quilt. I had James quilt the "sashing" so the novelty prints would stand out. It will be interesting to see how it looks after it's been laundered. 
As you can see, I figured out how to get pictures to load again. Turns out all I needed to do was clear my computer's cache. Next up will be to figure out how to get the pictures where I want them in the blog post more easily. πŸ˜’


Sunday, August 2, 2020

First Stitch Along of August

It hardly seems possible that July has come and gone so quickly and that it's time for another check in for our stitch along group. I've done more embroidery on my visual journal stitch wrap. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to load the pictures I've taken. Which makes this post pretty useless really.

I'll keep trying to figure out how to get my pictures out of my phone and onto this blog. In the meantime, here are the links to the other stitchers in the group. Hopefully they've been able to show their work, which is always fabulous. Maybe in another three weeks I'll have figured out how to get Blogger to show my work.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Bee, Myself and I in July

This post celebrates a finish for probably my oldest UFO. πŸ˜€

I'm pretty sure it was within a year after our move to Washington that I took a class with a fellow guild member. She called it Crazy Log Cabins. She demonstrated the process and we made a few blocks during class time. It was simple enough so that we could continue on our own. Well, our three children were still in elementary school back then and my sewing "room" was on a wall of our bedroom. There wasn't a lot of time or energy for making more blocks until several years later.

I don't remember when I made the rest of the blocks for this small quilt or when I finally decided what to do about borders and finishing. There may be notes in one of my old sketchbooks but I doubt I could find them without spending a lot of time looking. 

Suffice to say that close to 25 years have elapsed between the beginning of this quilt and it's completion. Ta daa!

The finished quilt measures roughly 48" wide by 60" long. I've thought several times about donating this or even giving it to a grandchild but I've decided I'm keeping it for myself. Thus, Bee, Myself and I (which you can read about over on Carla's blog, Granny Maud's Girl). 😊

It's so cheerful it may not even be restricted to couch duty only in the springtime!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Pastiche (7/2020)

There's been quite a bit of work going on here in The Magpie's Nest of late. We're getting summer heat now though, so I may be slacking off for a while. I didn't show the work as it happened because of other, scheduled, posts.

When I finished the top for Sunset Stars I moved right into building another lap quilt. I'd asked for Chinese Coins blocks from my local quilt guild members the last time it was my turn for a friendship block request. There seemed to be two distinct types of blocks in the abundance I received. Half were darker, muted colors while the other half were brighter and tended toward whimsical. After sorting through them I started building columns with the darker Chinese Coins. Originally I was going to insert an occasional Shoofly block from my extensive collection among the Coins but very quickly I realized that wouldn't be necessary to achieve the length I was after. Instead I chose to make alternate columns that incorporated a few Shoofly blocks.

For visual interest and also to get the width I wanted I searched for larger blocks to use in the middle column of the quilt top. There weren't any 12" blocks in the Parts Dept. that would work but I did find 6" Bear Paw units that became 14" blocks.

And then there were a couple of 10" blocks in the right colors that I framed up to 14 inches.

I think it turned out to be quite a handsome quilt top. Before quilting it measures 51" wide by 61" long. I struggled to find a name or title for it, if only for my own reference. I think I must have come across the word 'pastiche' on someone else's blog (Quitldivajulie perhaps?). When it came to mind I looked it up and sure enough, it's perfect for this and all the other scrap quilts I tend to make that offer up no specific name for themselves. So I'm going to use it for any future quilt out of the Parts Dept. along with the date the top was completed - unless the quilt tells me otherwise of course! πŸ˜‰

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Diamonds and Squares

I finally figured out what to do with the scrappy mystery quilt top I began with Joy McDonald's mystery project. I considered several border options once I had the blocks sewn together per Joy's instructions. It helped to have the blog post Joy published with photos of some of the other flimsies made during the mystery series. In a way it also didn't help as it proffered up options I hadn't previously considered. πŸ˜‰

While the mystery quilt was percolating in the back of my brain I had the opportunity to create some additional scraps. That was the pendulum that helped me decide to go for a scrappier border than I thought I could pull off originally. So, here's the flimsy before the border was added:

And this is how it looks now:

This didn't qualify for Scrap Happy Day because I'd purchased the light yellow background fabric specifically for this project. The squares and diamonds created by those light patches made it pretty simple to christen this quilt Diamonds and Squares. I will very likely put a scrappy binding on it when the time comes. It should finish at about 46" wide by 60" long. All it needs now is a back!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Little Bit Scrap Happy in July

As I was pondering what to put in this post I realized that in spite of all the scraps I've been playing with lately, none of the projects actually qualify for Scrap Happy Day. They've had to have new yardage purchased for their completion. However, I did manage to get a few blocks made out of just scraps along the way. They'll go into my Parts Department for future use.

Then yesterday I finally had the energy to put the binding on a truly scrappy quilt and am now in the process of sewing it down by hand.

This one was made of scrap strips and yardage that had in the stash for far too long.

I'm calling it Sweet Dreams because of the prints I used on the back. 
James did the quilting for me as usual. πŸ˜€

You can read about the construction of this quilt in my Scrap Happy Day post from back in April.

To see how others have put their scrap materials to good use, click on the links below. Kate and Gun are our hostesses for this link party. Not everyone in the list will have something to share this time around but it's well worth a look at their blogs anyway. 😊

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Stitching Along in July

I shared the dish towel I'd finished in my SAL post three weeks ago. I also showed the start of a new project inspired by both Tilly Rose and Anne Brooke. It's a stitch wrap - or will be when I find the spool or bobbin to wrap it around! It is also functioning as a textile visual journal of this episode of life. I shared further progress on this stitch wrap in my June Bee, Myself & I post. Since then I've added even more to it. It's addictive to work on but waits patiently when other projects take precedence. 😊

My base fabric is about 3.5" high by about 40" long. I've added the heart and fly stitched foliage since the BM&I post. I also took out the light green star stitch and replaced it with the brighter pink, plus added the other two.

The next panel is the William Morris flower on the deep blue background. It remains untouched. I added the pistil stitches along the seam line where it joins with the orange patch with 3 strands of cotton floss.

Then I did pistil stitch starbursts in a size 12 perle cotton. Sometime after that I used 2 strands of cotton floss to make the fly stitch triangles to give texture to the background area.

 I used another variegated cotton floss to do the feather stitching that crosses over into the next patch.

My sister-in-law just sent me this gallon bag full of buttons from the collections of her friend's parents.

They were pretty dusty. I've rinsed them thoroughly in tepid water and laid them out on two dish towels to pat them dry. That gave me a good chance to see what treasures may have been hiding in the dirt. And as far as I'm concerned there were treasures! Two of them are the star buttons I've utilized on the red silk patch of my stitch wrap.

I used seed beads to create a fireworks effect in honor of our Independence Day celebrations. The scrap of printed fabric is secured with two more buttons from the bag and the row of cross stitches done in cotton floss.

Our next SAL check in will be 2 August. I wonder how much more I'll have filled in on this by then?

Here are the links to the other needlewomen in this group. There have been recent happy dances over the completion of long term projects and subsequently new starts to see. 😊


Monday, July 6, 2020

Dipping Into the Parts Department (Again)

I've made a consistent effort over the last few years to use up the oldest fabrics in my stash. There's a set of rusty color prints whose time had come. However, when I pulled the stack off the shelf I discovered there were actually two different hues of rust waiting to be used. I left the more orange-y prints for another day. That decision was helped along by a couple of postage stamp stars I already had in the Parts Department. They had appropriate backgrounds even though the stars weren't the color I had chosen. A couple featured dark blues and one is actually black.

Poor James has little opportunity to do interesting things on the quilts I make when he quilts them up for me. Back in the day I avoided quilts with large open spaces that called for fancy quilting. Technically I'm not a quilter, I'm a piecer, a patchworker. Now that I have him to take care of that part of the job I figured it was time to give him a place to stretch his wings a bit. Plus, alternate squares automatically left me with fewer blocks to make!

Turns out I didn't have enough of the print I was planning to use for all of the alternate squares I needed. That meant a couple of additional prints had to be introduced to achieve the size I was after (just a lap quilt, about 48" x 56"). Toward the end of the process I had to improvise within the stars as well.

All I need now is a back and some batting!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Sailing Into July

I've just been visiting over at Sally's (The Objects of Design). She mentioned the Postage Stamp Pandemic of 2020 and some other viruses making the rounds of the quilt world. I've had a version of the PSP for some little while, not just in 2020. Mine manifests as stars.

Sally seems to be concerned that yet another mutation of this quilter's virus may be developing in the form of ships featuring prints and solids. This is not surprising as I am already suffering from this virus, although solid fabrics don't present in my case. I keep them in dry dock in a pizza box:

Unfortunately, my design wall is not large enough to accommodate all the ships that are ready to set sail.

This is a picture of 78 (6") ships. There are another 30 in dry dock. I am comforted by the fact that so far I have been able to avoid the dreaded zipper virus. πŸ˜‰

Monday, June 29, 2020

Bee, Myself & I in June

I don't know if I've shared this project here previously. I've shown bits in a Facebook group but that doesn't mean it's been here as well. πŸ˜‰

This is going to be a stitch wrap, a long piece of various textiles sewn together and embellished in whatever way the spirit moves me. Eventually the strip of textile art will be wrapped around a spool or bobbin of some kind. I haven't worked that part out yet. Some folks hand sew their scraps of fabric onto a base of muslin or batting. I chose to machine piece a few choice scraps together first, then use embroidery to secure them to a muslin strip. My strip is about 3.5" high by the width of the muslin.

Depending on how this progresses I may add more muslin so I can add more scraps and embroidery.

One of my goals was to feature at least a couple of the William Morris prints I was given at Christmas.

It's also a place where I can practice and play around with embroidery threads and stitches. To begin with I put the start date on one end, just freehand. The blanket stitch rainbow was also done freestyle. The rainbow and the paw prints are my nod to the covid pandemic.

I used fly stitches to secure the Wm. Morris charm square to the foundation. The two colors of pistil stitches on the extreme left came from one length of hand dyed floss. The daisies were stitched with a variegated silk thread from Treenway Silks.

For the time being my strawberry thief is simply outlined with a gold color cotton floss.

I've done a bit of mandala stitching recently too.

More fly stitches, some chain stitches, an attempt at herringbone, and a star in the middle. It's about 2.5" across. No purpose, just play. 😊 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Scrappy Mystery Quilt Progress

I've kept up really well with Joy's mystery quilt project - at least, up until this week. I was perking right along until something toxic smacked me upside the head. It's gotten so I often don't detect toxic fumes anymore until it's too late. Oh well. I'm pleased to say I'm beginning to feel more like myself again finally. And I've caught up so that I'm ready for the last step, to be revealed on Monday.

We began with twelve 9 Patch blocks made from 2.5" squares. Then we sewed up rows of more 2.5" squares and added background triangles to half of them.

We framed up the 9 Patch blocks with background strips and then sewed the rows of scrappy squares all around.

(I had a photo to insert here but can't seem to make it happen.)

Today I played around with the resultant blocks until I felt I had duplicate patches pretty evenly distributed and sewed them together to make this flimsy:

My background fabric is the palest of yellows in case you were wondering. This is only about 42" x 56" at this stage. I had thought about making more blocks but may simply add a border treatment and leave it lap quilt size. 

It has taken me two days to compose this post. Can't say that I'm pleased with the changes Blogger has forced on us but I suppose I will adjust over time. In theory these changes are meant to make blog posts more compatible with smart phone usage. Since I don't compose my posts on my phone this has only served to make my life more difficult. Inserting photos for this post was a real struggle. If it keeps up this way I may finally quit blogging. What's a quilting or needlework blog without pictures? And while I'm ranting, not all of us function well with hieroglyphs as opposed to words. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Stitching Along in June

It's already been three weeks since our last SAL check in date. I always feel bad on those occasions when I'm unable, for one reason or another, to go see what all the others have been working on. Such was the case for our last check in. I'll bet there have been finishes and/or new starts since then. Hopefully I'll be able to make the rounds this time.

I finally brought the dish towel I'd been working on to an end. There really wasn't that much left to do, which is probably why I left it alone for so long. All I had to do was complete the vines with stem stitches and put in a few French knots for flower centers. Well, and draw in some missing lines from the transfer sheet.

And the whole width of the towel:

Just to refresh your memory, this is one of a set of three pre-stamped towels from Mary Corbet's website. Each towel has one design on it but they increase in complexity or detail. This is the image that was on this towel:

Then I reproduced it in the opposite corner but stitched it in a different set of threads.

Now it's time for a new project! I started the second towel in the series at some point. Right now, however, I'm working on a slow stitch/embroidered stitch wrap inspired by the work of Tilly Rose and Anne Brooke. This is sort of a practice piece. Eventually I want to use some of the vintage linens I've inherited to make a family history wrap. My main goal with this one was to utilize a couple of pieces of William Morris prints I've been given at Christmas and just to get a handle on the process.

I machine stitched most of the foundation pieces together but it's the embroidery (and some nearly invisible hand sewing) that secures the colorful bits to the muslin lining. I really like to have that second layer to give me a place to knot my threads.

This will be partly a visual diary as well as a practice piece, thus the date at one end. I've done a blanket stitch rainbow too, to commemorate the covid pandemic.

And here's one of the William Morris charm squares:

I used fly stitches to secure it in place. I'd show you more but the photos don't seem to be available at the moment. I would blame Blogger but I think it's my computer at fault this time. Anyway, there will be more for you to see when we check in again in three weeks. This project seems to have taken over my needlework time. πŸ˜‰ 

Here are the links to the others who have been busy stitching since last time. Enjoy!