Friday, October 15, 2021

Not So Scrap Happy Day

 I have been in the land of fiction most of this week, even though I knew Scrap Happy Day was looming. I wanted to sew, I just couldn't make myself do anything. The lingering effects of exposure to toxins. I did get a few scrap blocks made up for the Parts Department since my last blog post.

This morning I finally felt like sewing again and started two log cabin style blocks intended to end up as potholders.

All but the final two strips along the top and bottom to complete the blocks. At this point Luna had a seizure. She's been on an anti-seizure medication for not quite a month. Apparently it's not a high enough dose. She will be seeing the vet this very day to look into that. Meanwhile, I've had to stop to clean up the carpet and see to her recovery. Things will get better one of these days. In the meantime, here's the link list for others who are putting their scraps to good purpose or just have interesting blogs for you to peruse.

KateGun, Eva, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Esther

Friday, October 1, 2021

New Month, New Blocks

Scraps are a good place to dip one's toe back in the water of patchwork. Familiar blocks don't require a lot of mental energy either. While we've had rain to clear the air, folks have begun to use their fireplaces and wood stoves again thus polluting the air once more. Makes it hard for me to go out at all and maintain any ability to be creative. I have been cutting some scraps into strips and patches and piecing more of the simple blocks that make up such a large part of my Parts Department.

Most of these are 6" or 8" finished. There's one 9" Shoo-fly block in the set. I began with these two other 9" Shoo-fly blocks:

 Then I pieced up little 4" postage stamp blocks from patches already on hand.

Some of them have become stars.

I don't have any plans for a specific project in which to use these (or any other!) blocks. There are a lot more scraps to be dealt with, to say nothing of the other fabric in my stash. Guess I'll just keep on making blocks until health and inspiration can work in tandem once again. 😊

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

End of the Drought?

 It's the first official day of Autumn here. We've had sporadic days of cooler temperatures and a few days of rain over the last  couple of weeks. There have also been days of summer sunshine and heat. We may still get some pretty autumnal days that don't require jackets or rain gear but it feels like we've finally turned the corner. I also feel like I've turned a corner - for the time being at least. At the moment I feel like myself again, not affected by heat or toxins or hormone imbalance. I've come to cherish times like this. Perhaps because I finally feel so good I have felt like doing some patchwork again. The sewing drought might be at an end. I hesitate to go out too far on that limb but welcome the enthusiasm that is seeping back in. It has been very uncomfortable to be so disinterested in sewing for future quilt making. 

These are little 4" blocks made from 1.5" scrap patches. I don't know yet what I might do with them. They could become stars or part of any number of other larger blocks. For now I'm happy just to have made them. I have a pile of batik scrap patches waiting to be assembled into Shoo-fly and/or Barn Door blocks but I'm holding myself back from sewing them up so they will be available to use between seams later on. I have one major project I could start work on... prototype blocks for it anyway. I've offered to make a quilt for a young lady but her color choices are in direct opposition to my personal preferences and the bulk of my stash. That may not be the best way to come back from the drought.

For what it's worth, I've been engaged in what's being referred to as slow stitching of late. This is separate from the weekly prompts for the #52tags project but of a similar nature.

As I understand it, slow stitching began as a form of relaxation or meditation process. Just running stitches on fabric. Now it seems to encompass basic embroidery stitches as well. Hand sewing for pleasure and creativity but not necessarily to a pattern or for an end product. I don't especially enjoy doing the running stitch, I suspect because of my perfectionist tendencies. I'd rather do back stitch. I've been using 4" squares of leftover batting and odd scraps of fabric to practice and play with stitches and composition. It's also an exercise in overcoming those perfectionist tendencies. The fabrics are all raw edge, sometimes butted up against each other, sometimes overlapping. It feels to me like a remedial course in hand sewing. Some of us have to grow downwards I guess. 😉 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Scrap Happy in September

We have another opportunity to share what we've done with our scrap materials courtesy of Kate and Gun (links at the bottom of this post). My scraps are still fabric but not everyone in the link list plays with fabric scraps. We have a new participant this month too, Jule. Welcome! 

I found a handful of quilt blocks I made out of scraps months ago. There hasn't been much in the way of quilt making going on since then but let me at least share those with you:

I've carried on using my tiniest scraps since our last Scrap Happy meet up, making textile tags that finish at about 2" wide and 4" long. This first one began with a whole piece of the word search print. Under the button are scraps of another print and sari ribbon.

Essentially I'm doing raw edge applique when I'm sewing my scraps of fabric down onto a bit of cotton batting. Sometimes embroidery stitching is enough to secure the raw edges, sometimes I feel moved to cover them with a strip of rick rack or lace.

I was feeling good and went nuts with the embellishments on this tag. It was fun! It took a couple of days to audition various bits and pieces but I'm very happy with the results. 

Below is a tag I made for a swap. There were three prompts for the swap: to use layers, include a trim of some kind, and a butterfly. I cut the corner off a vintage tray cloth (thus recycling something that wasn't being used for it's original purpose) to use as a layer and a pocket. I think the trim and the butterfly are obvious.

 I created a tiny tag to go into the pocket. It also helps to make the pocket stand out visually.

 These itty bitty slow stitch projects seem to be just the thing for me lately. I like the small size, the use of otherwise seemingly useless scraps, and being able to work intuitively. It feels like quilt making will be taking a back seat for a while yet. What do you have lying around that you could turn into something pretty or useful? 😁

and Jule!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Checking In

 Just so you know I haven't checked out altogether. We're about a week away from Scrap Happy Day (on the 15th) and my last post was for Scrap Happy Day last month. I have done almost nothing in terms of quilt making since then. Completed the binding on the quilt I'm calling Sticks and Stumps...

But I haven't laundered or photographed it yet. (I just bound it with more of the sashing/border print.) 

I have been doing a little bit of needlework, keeping up with the #52tagshannemade project. Without going back to where I left off with that project, these are the most recent ATC's I've made in response to the weekly prompts.

Week 32, lazy daisy stitch

Our area was thirsty for rain during week 32 so I stitched my hope for the heavens to water the flowers.

The originator of #52tagshanndmade is Anne Brooke. She lives in the UK where I gather they are fond of stringing bunting on various occasions. The prompt for week 33 was "flags."

Week 33, flags

I tried to stitch a windy background for my flags. The flags are loose on the vertical string. There's not really an official casing but the stitching I did on the flags creates the same effect.

Most folks are fond of a cup of tea or coffee (or two or three!) during the course of a day so for week 34 Anne had us make ourselves a cup or mug. She used raw edge applique. I chose to simply stitch around an image I found in a print I had on hand and add some embellishments.

Week 34, a cup or mug

 An awful lot of us textile people tend to hoard fabrics and things we love and are reluctant to cut into or use. The challenge for last week was to cut into a precious fabric for our tag and decorate it with three buttons.

Week 35, a precious fabric and 3 buttons

It took me a surprisingly long time to identify a precious fabric. I have silks and velvets that others would consider precious but I couldn't face messing with them. In the end I pulled out a hand dyed cotton from long, long ago and cut a 2.5" x 3.5" rectangle from it. Then I also cut the corner off of a vintage tea tray cloth and layered that on top of the cotton. Cutting up vintage linens is a brave new step for me, it was hard to do. I used some of the painted perle cotton thread I'm so in love with to tack the sheer tray cloth in place. I did not stitch on the cotton except to secure the perimeter. I chose three of my favorite antique mother of pearl buttons to showcase on this ATC. 

It's been a difficult month for me what with all the setbacks caused by poor air quality, heat, and disturbed sleep. Luna, our little dog, has been suffering from seizures this year. I strongly suspect the flea treatment we had her on as the cause. She is getting older too. They were happening about every 21 days until recently. For some reason she had two within ten days. They come on suddenly, so there's no preparing for them ahead of time really. Inevitably I have a mess to clean up afterward as she loses control of her bladder. When she recovers it's like she's had a hit of adrenaline. At four in the morning I'm in no mood to cater to her increased energy. I keep hoping the effects of the flea treatment will wear off but I'm afraid this has become the status quo. She seems to have lost her hearing to a great extent, and some vision as well. She has not lost track of her meal and treat schedule though! 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Scrap Happy in August

It's been a struggle to get anything done around here lately, scrappy or otherwise. However, I found that sewing my tiny waste triangles into Half-Square Triangles and then sewing those into tiny Broken Dishes blocks was a good way to cope.

I would sew one day and then press the seams the next morning while it was still relatively cool in the house. There are 40 little blocks in that picture, each of which would finish at two inches square. I found a bag in my Parts Department that held another 130 such units. Who knew?! 

The next step was to figure out what to do with all those little blocks. Or how to use at least some of them! I played around with possible arrangements, setting the units side by side. I like the look of a star four of them together can create:

It helps when the colors/values in the units are the same. When you're working with scraps that's not always possible. By the end of day yesterday I had this on my design wall:

I'd also had my fill of trying to get points to match to an acceptable standard. (You notice I did not strive for perfection.) Most of them turned out pretty well. The effort kept me focused on the work and not on how poorly I was feeling. 

But now what? I had 19 of those little stars. I was not in the mood to sew more of them to each other so I took that first pair and surrounded them with scrap strips that finish at 2" each. My goal was to create a top for a cat mat for the animal shelter. 

It will be about 20" x 26" when complete. It was fun to include strips of a dog print (the dark brown strip at the top in the photo) and this print down one short side:

I will back it with something that's been in the stash for too long and use scrap batting between the layers. I'll probably quilt it myself on my domestic machine, just stitching in the ditch. Or maybe I'll get brave and do some diagonal lines. Only time will tell. Our temperatures are supposed to return to what's closer to normal for us at this time of the year. We might even get some much needed rain. That will help considerably. 

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. To see what others have been doing with their scraps you can click through the link list below. Not everyone plays with fabric! 

Kate, Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose


Monday, August 9, 2021

Coping With the Heat

 We've been enjoying a brief respite from the unusual heat and dry weather in our corner of the world. The temperatures have been closer to what's normal for July (even though it's now August) and we had about three days of sporadic rain showers. It was heaven, and my roses have responded with a new flush of loveliness.

Unfortunately, the rain has ceased and the temperatures are predicted to climb back above what's normal and comfortable. I really ought to be using the iron while it's still cooler but at the moment I don't have the energy. During my radio silence of the last week I've been searching for something to use between the Crown blocks. I found this in my stash and quite liked the way it looked with the blocks:

It wasn't until I'd cut sashing strips to go between the blocks (not the long horizontal strips I'll need) and had three-quarters of them sewn in place that I realized I didn't have enough of that fabric to go the distance. It's an older batik - of course - and I couldn't find anything in my local quilt shop or online that resembled it in the least. When I gave up on that hunt I went back over the same ground looking for an alternative. This is what I bought, with my fingers crossed that it would work:

A quick audition makes me think it will work for sashing and possibly an outer border as well. We shall see. While I waited for this new yardage to be delivered I reverse sewed the 18 seams I'd sewn with the white and blue print. I've done a bit of reorganizing of my embroidery supplies in the interim too. I have a feeling there's going to be a good bit of needle play over the next several days as it will be too warm to exert myself for much else!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Crowns of Summer

 Back in 2012 I tried my hand at a traditional block that was new to me. It's called Four Crowns in my block guide. Probably there are other names for the pattern. There are more pictures and information about it in this blog post.

 I don't even remember when I decided to have another go at this pattern. I suspect at the time I was trying to use up some batik remnants. Just playing around, making blocks for the Parts Department.

This time that straight set didn't work as well, at least not in my eyes. So I tried out other arrangements and decided to do something along these lines:

There weren't enough blocks for a quilt of any size so I've been making more. Rummaged through the batik scraps to see what might be left over from the first session. I found a few but had to introduce new prints along the way. Now I have enough 6" units to make sixteen 12" blocks.

With some sashing - probably finishing at 2" - and a border all the way around I could have a nice lap quilt about 60" square. I haven't a clue what that border and sashing might be at this point. It's been fun to make the 6" blocks (most of the time; I have to be careful about how those half-square triangles get placed!). Who knows, maybe I'll just keep making more. 😉

Friday, July 23, 2021

That Was the Week That Wasn't

 Life has a way of getting in the way of your plans, doesn't it? I wanted to write this blog post on Monday and here it is Friday. I know this sort of thing happens to everyone at some time or other, I just wish it didn't occur so frequently in my own life! 

I completed the scrappy Ships quilt top over two weeks ago. (see post here) I was given yards of a lighthouse print for the back. The lighthouses are directional so, being who I am, I looked for a way to keep them right side up on the back of the quilt. There were a couple of prints in my stash I'd had a hard time implementing in previous projects. This provided a great opportunity to put them to good use.

This project has since been quilted and is simply waiting for the binding to be applied. I have not been idle since it left my hands however. I pulled out the collection of 12" (finished) Lego blocks I've been making with 2" scrap strips, just to see how many there were and whether I could do anything with them.

 I started out thinking about using them as a central medallion. Nope, not this time. I put those away and got out my 6" (finished) Sticks blocks. I use six 1.5" scrap strips to make the 6" blocks. Both the Lego and the Sticks blocks are made from the scrap strips I sew between seams like leaders and enders. Turned out I had enough to make fifteen 12" (finished) blocks out of them. Putting them in three columns gave me 60" in length and 36" in width to begin a new quilt.

If you know me at all you know I then turned to my scrappy Shoo-fly blocks to audition between the columns. A couple days later I'd made my selections and found some leftover 2.5" strips to use for sashes between the blocks.

 Unfortunately, my math was a bit off.

I lacked two inches in each of those alternate columns. Time to go through the 1.5" scrap strips...

One above the center Shoo-fly block in each column, and one below, and problem solved. 😁

I was delighted to discover that I had enough of the leftover 2.5" strips to piece together for side borders. I called it quits at that point, figuring a dark binding will do the job of giving the quilt a finished look.

 This will be about 52" x 60" when it's done. It looks awfully busy to me now but I enjoyed it while I was working on it. On to the next one!