Sunday, August 30, 2020

Bee, Myself & I in August

 I've been sewing down bindings on gift quilts so haven't had much to share this week. Bee, Myself and I is a forum for "selfish sewing," anything which is purely for pleasure and not for anyone else or to meet a deadline. Granny Maud's Girl came up with the idea originally. I tend to use these posts for the needlework I like to do. This time, however, I have an update on a quilt top that will have meaning only to me I suspect. 

I made a diary quilt a couple of years ago and enjoyed the process so much that I wanted to do it again. Last time I chose a 2.5" x 8.5" strip for each day of the year. 

Apparently I don't have - or just can't find - a picture of the finished quilt. One of these days... πŸ˜’

This time I've been sewing up "families" of flying geese units for each week of the year. I began at the end of October so only have about eight more weeks to do. The math works out to a personal size quilt, 60" in one direction and at least 72" in the other. I've not entirely decided how I will orient the geese yet. The first time I laid them out on the design wall I placed them all in one direction, vertically. 

Today I tried out a horizontal orientation.

The latest set of geese are in the upper right, and the first down on the bottom. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind right from the start to keep a physical diary describing what the geese are meant to represent. It would be very easy to get them out of order! I had to refer to it a couple of times today just to be sure I hadn't mixed them up.

That layout didn't really do anything for me so I had another go at columns rather than rows. 

This time I started with the oldest set of geese in the upper left corner and worked my way down and then up. So the week at the bottom of the first column is followed by the next week's geese at the bottom of the second column. I like this layout much better. I suspect this is the way the blocks will be put together in the end. 

Families of flying geese units have turned out to be great leaders and enders. I'm going to have to come up with another project in which to use them, and pretty soon too! 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

More Stitching in August - SAL Two

Hopefully I can show you pictures of the needlework I've been doing this time around. 😏

A lot of the stitchers in this Stitch Along do cross stitch. I've shared my needlepoint in the past. I've certainly got needlepoint canvases I could use for this SAL, checking in on progress every three weeks. But lately I've been working on a stitch wrap, a long narrow piece of muslin I'm covering with various pieces of fabric, embroidery, and miscellaneous embellishments as a sort of visual journal. This was the very beginning, back in June:

I might have shown you this section in July...

In August I added some leaves to the flowers I'd put in earlier. The flowers were made with multi-strand flosses in cotton and silk. The leaves were done with a size 12 perle cotton. I found a vendor on Etsy who sells hand painted threads and I have fallen in love with the #12 perle cottons.

I think that patch may be complete now that I've added the sari silk tassel, a bit of tea-dyed ribbon from the Moda charm pack, and more "foliage." 

I also purchased a packet of lovelies from Tilly Rose specifically to use in this slow stitching project. Among them were snippets of Indian kantha cloth. One was exactly the right size to add to my wrap. 

I used more of the perle cotton to secure the kantha patch to my foundation, and then a bit from another colorway to document the weather we've had recently.

I turned a scrap from Tilly into a tiny pocket.

I was coming to the end of my foundation but wasn't ready to end the project so I added another strip of muslin.

Now I can't take a picture of the whole thing in one shot! (Not that I ever could.) The plan is to wrap this around a spool eventually, although that won't necessarily help with the photography. Here's a shot of the back. Sunny has proved that showing the back of our work sometimes makes it easier to see how much progress has been made! 

Here's the link list for the other participants in this SAL. Everyone is working on their own project. As long as my health holds up I'll be catching up on what they've been doing for the last six weeks!




Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Two Quilts for the Cat House

Our local animal shelter just put out a request for fabric and/or blankets they could use for cat bedding. I saw the request on Facebook, it was pretty general in nature. Obviously not written by a textile person or a quilt maker. I had to have more details so I called and spoke with one of the few staff members. That was very enlightening. I learned that the bigger dogs they tend to get in our rural shelter usually tear up any stuffed bedding during the nighttime hours. The cats and kittens are another story however. Anyone who has read more than three different quilting blogs knows that cats love quilts. Since about all I've been doing lately has been sewing down binding on human being size quilts I was ready for a change of pace. 

In the end I didn't piece any blocks, just a quilt top and a back. And I started with the back of all things. I had some flannel strips leftover from baby quilts that were nearly the exact length necessary. 

Then I rummaged in the Parts Department and came up with twelve 6" blocks I could sew together just the way they were. Another narrow strip all the way around (I didn't think I had any of that print left!) and the top was the largest size the shelter asked for (20" x 26"). 

It's not this white/bright in person.

I finished it the same way I'd done the doggie bowl placemat: just stacking the three layers, stitching around them, turning and topstitching. I quilted this one myself - which I haven't done in a very long time. Simple stitching in the ditch. I'm hoping the quilt will look better after it's been laundered. It's rather uneven and wavy at the moment. The important thing is it will be soft and cozy for a feline waiting for a new home.

The second quilt for the shelter is one I'd made a while back. I thought at the time it would be a doll's quilt. Regular visitors may recognize it. Turns out it's almost exactly the same size as today's project. 

Again, the picture is whiter/brighter than real life.

Those Broken Dishes blocks are 2.5" each, comprised of the off-cut triangles from making corner triangles out of squares. The piecing is so dense I wasn't sure what to do about quilting. I toyed with the idea of tying it. In the end I left it with James. He was using it as a sewing machine cover for his domestic machine. Then something inspired him to put it on the long-arm today and do large, simple swirls. 😁

It will be interesting to see whether any additional cat quilts come out of the Parts Dept. in the next few days. For the time being though, it's back to the binding...

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Dog Days of Summer - Scrap Happy In August

We've had a brief reprieve from the heat but are headed for a couple of truly hot days according to the forecast. I was pleased to be able to use the cooler days to get more binding sewn down and whip up a project for Scrap Happy Day this month.  I started cutting patches for the blocks I intend to make for Kate's turn in the F2F too. Then I realized I'd cut the wrong sizes. {sigh} Oh well, more scrap patches that will be used somewhere down the road. 😁Once the heat returns I'll probably resort to needlework or reading.

I think I mentioned that there were strips leftover from my recent Chinese Coins style quilt. 

I figured I'd see if I couldn't put a few more of them to good use. I've nearly always used a folded kitchen towel under the dog bowls to corral any drips or mess. This week I decided to make an official placemat for the dog bowls, using some of those leftover strips and a piece off the towering pile of batting scraps. I began with one of the scrappier Shoo-fly blocks from my Parts Department.

I used the sew-and-flip method to secure the block and the strips to the batting. 

When the batting was well covered I trimmed it to size and found a larger remnant for the back.

I put the backing, right sides together, on top of the front, sewed almost all the way around, trimmed the corners, and turned it all right side out through the opening I'd left. A careful pressing meant I could topstitch the perimeter without even hand sewing the opening closed. I stitched as close to the edge as I could and then again about an eighth of an inch inside that line of stitching. 

And done! It's a lot more distracting on the floor than the solid color towel was. I may have to turn it over and have the backside up. πŸ˜‰

Scrap Happy Day is hosted by Kate and Gun on the 15th of each month. Not everyone in the link list below will have a fresh post up but their blogs are worth perusing in any case. We aren't all strictly textile artists either so you never know what ingenious way you might find someone has put their scrap materials to good use! 

Kate 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

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Two Finishes and a Couple of Questions

 The temperatures have been more reasonable since my last post. We've still had to run the AC late in the day. I must look pretty odd sewing down binding by hand, a 60" s 75" quilt in my lap and the fan on the floor blowing directly on me! 

I completed the baby quilt first. I'll share a detail shot because I don't really think the intended recipients ever visit here but I don't want to take a chance on spoiling the surprise in case they do. James had the opportunity to do some outline quilting in the central panel. That was done with a matte finish lavender thread. To make the flying geese that surround the panel stand out he used a variegated trilobal polyester around them. 

It looks great on the black!

In the beginning the second quilt was going to be a gift or donation. Very soon however, I decided I would be keeping it for myself. Some of my favorite Halloween prints went into the blocks that make up the body of the quilt top. 

In the detail shot above there are patches from fabric I've had since the beginning of my quilt making career and a couple of the latest prints I've collected. Here's the whole quilt: 

It hasn't been through the washer and dryer yet but the novelty prints already pop more than they did before quilting. Because the witches in the quilt are some of my more favorite images I'm calling this one BeWitched. 

I very often feel much like this particular witch, more than slightly grumpy.

And now for the questions. Do you read this blog on your desk or laptop computer or do you use your phone or other smaller device? Would it be a benefit to you if I were to make the text larger? Do I need to make the pictures larger too? Your input via comments [or email: sewingmagpie(at)gmail(dot)com] is appreciated. 😊

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.