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! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Scrap Happy in July

 It's been too hot to do any patchwork. The excessive heat has passed - for the time being - but it's still too warm for me in my studio space most of the time. I have determined a plan for making a back for the scrappy Ships quilt in the previous post at least. Until it cools off a bit further however, patchwork is on hold. Instead I have turned to working with needle and thread in hand. 

You may remember that I've shown some of the ATC's I've made in response to the #52tagshannemade project on IG. There are more I haven't shown here yet. And most of the participants are following Anne's lead, mounting their creations on kraft tags. I'm happy with my ATC format for that project so I'm sticking with it. But I've been watching paper crafters on YouTube a lot lately and they are having an influence. I finally decided to try some little textile collages that would fit onto manila shipping tags I happen to have in my stash. And by little I mean 2" wide by 4" long. So the scraps that I stitch onto my cotton batting to make up the foundation are pretty small! This is the first one I made:

And a couple of close-up shots:

I made that one with someone in mind and sent it away so I did my best to make another one along similar lines. It really isn't anything like the first one! I find it impossible to make the exact same thing twice.

Today I completed this tag:


I have a feeling there will be more of these. 😁

Scrap Happy Day is hosted by Kate and Gun on the 15th of each month. Anyone is welcome to participate, using any scrap material they choose. (Granted, my charms are not scraps but they have been in my stash quite a while and need to be put to some kind of use!) We're welcoming Debbierose to the circle this month. Not everyone in the list will necessarily have a scrappy post to share but their blogs are worth visiting at any time. 😊

KateGun, Eva, 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

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Almost Out of Dry Dock

 Apologies to those of my readers who must now search me out because I couldn't bring myself to transfer you over to another feed relay. I suspect I will be the one who suffers the most actually, with a drop in readership. Not that it was all that large to begin with! 

Our temperatures have come down roughly twenty degrees from the excessive heat we had a week or so ago. They're still high enough to sap my energy in the late afternoons and evenings. Thank goodness for air conditioning! And we've been blessed to have a consistent supply of electricity, which is crucial for any level of my well being. Our neighbors put on a larger fireworks display this year than the last two years. The air con helps to filter out the particulates leftover from all those explosions as well as keeping us cooler. 

I've managed to make some progress on my fleet of scrappy ships in spite of everything. I didn't want to set the ships in a straightforward grid but it did take some mental gymnastics to figure my way around it. 

Of course I didn't think to take many pictures along the way. I cut some 2" wide strips and some 2.5" wide, and made more flying geese units and then messed around to see what would develop. Most of it went together smoothly but there are a couple of spots that are not up to my regular construction standards. Not that the recipient will notice (hopefully!).

I've just surrounded the whole thing with two additional inches of the blue paisley print. 

This will now finish at about 50" wide x 61" high. I'm hoping I have enough of the blue to make the binding as well. Not quite sure what I will do about a back at this point. As far as I know there's no particular hurry to get this done so I may try to piece up some older yardage for that purpose. I will be glad to return to brighter colors one way or another. It has been a struggle to keep working on this project. I find all those grayed tones a bit depressing.

One of these days I need to bring you up to date on my ATC's for the #52tagshannemade project. I've stayed current with the exception of the week needle tatting was the prompt. I have every intention of learning that technique, I just have to wait for the right time according to my body's needs. 😏

Monday, June 28, 2021

It's Not the Heat, It's the Toxicity

 Although the heat is definitely a factor. According to my phone app we're going to hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit today. I'm suspicious of that number as we tend to run a few degrees cooler than Seattle, which is where I believe the predictions originate. Yesterday, for example, it was predicted we would hit 100. To the best of my knowledge we only made it to 97. Don't get me wrong, that's bad enough! Our poor little portable a/c unit had all it could do to keep us twenty degrees cooler inside than out. And that is only in the room in which it sits. My studio space is on the west side of the house and around a corner from the flow of cool air. Needless to say, I haven't been very productive the last couple of days. In perfect honesty however, I believe it was poking my nose outdoors that set me back the most. Air that registers as moderately unhealthy for most people is decidedly unhealthy for me. Or so it would appear from recent experience. I have been fighting a near-migraine for the last 24 hours. If it's not one thing, it's another! 

The tropical Shoo-fly quilt has been bound, laundered, labelled, and sent on its' way.

 The pink binding was the perfect final touch. I don't know how well you'll be able to see it, but James quilted with a variegated thread in an overall swirly design.

 I don't think I could be any happier with this quilt. 😁

Before the heat came on I'd pulled out the parts of a potential quilt I believe I began last summer, thinking I would try to get that built into a lap quilt. 

Kate, at least, will recognize the ship blocks. 😉 I haven't played around with them a lot since then but this is what I hope will be the next completed quilt top. In the meantime, if you are not already aware, those of you who may be receiving notifications of my new posts via Feedburner will have to adapt to the fact that that service is being discontinued. I have added a widget for, although I don't know how user friendly it may be. Frankly, I haven't had the mental wherewithal to look at all the options for replacing Feedburner. I don't think my readership is high; I only hope those who do visit regularly will find a way to keep in touch. 💜

Monday, June 21, 2021

Scrap Happy Follow-up

 I had so much fun working with the scrappy batik blocks last week that I just kept going. Before I knew it I had a flimsy of 42 blocks on the wall.

There was much tweaking of block placements but eventually I got them all sewn together. Then I learned that a young friend of mine might be leaving the country soon to fulfill a mission for our church. She has expressed appreciation for the quilts I'd made that she's seen, and even went so far as to exclaim, "I want a quilt!" I don't think she meant to say it loud enough for me to hear but I did hear her. 😉 That meant the quilt top needed to be made bigger.

It took me a couple of days to wrap my head around how to add length to this flimsy. Many of those batik prints had been used up or there wasn't much left. I was reluctant to introduce many new prints or make more blocks. Finally I pulled out Window blocks that had been made about the same time as all the Shoo-fly blocks and built a pair of borders. I had to be flexible with the sashing between those blocks as there wasn't enough of the print I'd used to frame the flimsy, nor did they fit precisely within the width I had created.

 You can see that I used another batik for an outer border. It was also from my stash, not recently purchased. I was surprised that it worked so well to frame the quilt when it was such a stark contrast to what was going on in the middle.

 The photo doesn't do it justice. It really sings in person. I love this quilt! Well, quilt-to-be. We went out today and purchased yardage to back this 60"x 80" top. James has a variegated thread he thinks will work for the interior, which will probably be done in an allover pattern. Not quite sure how the border will be handled. I also bought a bit of yardage for binding. I'll get that made while he's doing the quilting. Hopefully I'll be able to manage getting the binding applied and sewn down before my friend leaves the area. I'd like her to be able to take it with her when she leaves our summer weather for winter in the southern hemisphere. 😁

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Scrap Happy in June

 I knew this day was coming. I even dug out some blocks from my Parts Department in preparation. Then I got so wrapped up in the new quilt project those blocks inspired that I nearly forgot to stop and write this post!

When last we met I'd pulled out my batik friendship blocks in an attempt to finally get them built into a quilt top. So far not much has happened on that front. But that was what led to the idea to create something out of other scrappy batik blocks from the Parts Department. Here you can see the Hole in the Barn Door blocks (Window blocks!) between the columns of friendship blocks:

Not sure that will be the plan I go with for that quilt however. For Scrap Happy Day I pulled out the bag of scrappy batik Shoo-fly blocks. There weren't quite enough to do anything substantial in the bag but I was well aware that there are remnants of batiks in my stash that could be cut up. Frankly, they need to be used somehow. The plan I came up with was to add 2" finished strips to two sides of each shoo-fly block to create 8" blocks.

This is only the beginning. I've begun cutting more strips and patches from those remnants. My current goal is to create a total of 42 blocks for a flimsy that will measure about 48" x 56." I may choose to go bigger one way or another further down the road. We shall see. For now I'm enjoying these bright tropical colors. It's highly unlikely I will go with the setting option you see above. Already I prefer this one:

Or something along those lines. There are many scraps to cut up before we get to that decision point! 

Not everyone in this link party hosted by Kate and Gun will be playing with fabric scraps. You can take the full tour by clicking on the links below. 😁

KateGun, Eva, 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, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Eleven Days Later

That was an unexpected, unplanned break from blogging I just had. I'm happy to report that I've been busy while I've been silent though, not merely ill. There were bad days to be sure, but the past several days have been very productive. 😁 Just yesterday I finished up the binding on this baby quilt:

Everything in the body of the quilt was from my stash, some of it old enough to be considered vintage. But the border and binding print is brand spanking new. It's from the current Anne of Green Gables line. Of all the prints in that line this particular floral is my absolute favorite. I couldn't say just why, although that lovely deep eggplant color is one reason. This quilt is about 50" x 60."

The blocks are quilted in large swirls, with the half feather in the borders.

I've also completed the binding on this baby quilt that I think you may have seen as a flimsy recently.

It's about 48" x 56." James did some custom quilting on this one.

The star blocks have a large, simple swirl through them.

The scrappy Hole in the Barn Doors quilt has also been quilted and bound.

I wasn't thrilled with the paisley print that I used for the sashing, borders, and binding but I really love the way the quilt turned out overall. I'm going to be sad to part with this one! 

James created a stencil so he could quilt this in a Baptist fan type pattern. It shows up best on the back.

There are some fun novelty prints in this quilt.

It's about 62" x 84" so it will work on a bed for a teen or young adult.

 And now, inspired by how much I like those Barn Door blocks (really, can't we just call them Window blocks in this century? One of my favorite things to do is to put a fussy cut patch in the middle of those blocks, as if you're looking out of or into a window!) I have pulled out my friendship quilt columns from 2017 to see if I can finally turn them into a quilt. Here's the only picture I can find of what I'd done with those blocks at that point:

I remember that at the time I was aiming for a vertical format strip quilt, alternating columns of the friendship blocks and these batiks:

The problem is that my notes are not clear, much less specific, about what I had planned for those alternate columns. So I have gone into the Parts Dept. to see what I might have that I could use. There are batik Window blocks (as well as others), some of which used the same fabrics that are in the friendship blocks. The first columns will finish at 6" wide. If I make four more columns also 6" wide I will have 54" altogether. A simple three inch border all the way around will give me the 60 x 80" dimensions I find so useful.

I do remember working to arrange the lighter/brighter blocks toward the center of the columns and the darker ones to the perimeters so I will probably carry on with that plan as I fill in with the scrappy Window blocks. I may or may not stagger the placement of the Window blocks relative to the friendship blocks but that's where I'm starting. All I need now is to sustain my energy and well being so I can carry on! 


Monday, May 24, 2021

Another Case for the Books

 Some time ago I picked up a Stitch & Zip kit that's a duplicate of one I'd stitched previously.

Ha! I see that even back then I didn't follow the design as indicated. In fact, I might have handled parts of it better that time than I did in this newer version.

Which makes me wonder if I've ever stitched this the way it was designed! I used hand dyed floss this time around. It's possible I did that the last time too but the variations in the floss are more pronounced in this version. I'm pretty sure I had more trouble stitching the black lines this time than two or three years ago when I made the first case. I had to put a sketchbook open to a blank page on my lap to highlight the unstitched areas to finish this one up. 

Now I am left with two blank-faced cases to stitch. One is this smaller size, perfect for credit cards, business cards, and coins. The larger case is the size of a typical cosmetic bag. That's the one I've been fussing over what design to use. I won't be able to avoid making that decision very much longer!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Three Little Quilts All in a Row

 The first of the three baby quilts I've committed to making is off the long-arm and ready to be bound. 

This is was taken when it was in the flimsy state.

I've just added borders and made the back for the second baby quilt:

I was finally able to utilize a few prints I'd had in my stash since my daughter was little in the crazy blocks. The border is a brand new print from the Anne of Green Gables line. I didn't know those prints existed until I went looking for something to use for this border treatment. The colors blend better with the colors in the body of the quilt top in person than it shows in the photograph. I have fallen completely in love with this particular print in this colorway and have tracked down additional yardage to use in future. How, I don't yet know. All I knew was that I had to have more of it! 

The third baby quilt will be built around this panel:

 The panel will be trimmed only slightly. No doubt it will still be a bit off-kilter. That's the way of panels most of the time. Hopefully I'll be able to manipulate it into shape down the road. It's also much larger than I realized it would be (it was an online purchase). Right now the plan is to make sawtooth or variable star blocks to surround the panel. That will bring it up to the 48" x 60" range all three of these quilts fall within. I already have a flannel to use for the back in an allover Mickey Mouse print. Just need to get busy making stars!