Tuesday, March 30, 2021


Remember that neutral print scroll I showed you recently?

I sort of got stuck after a while, as you do, and started another scroll. That one is nearly complete - but I'm not going to show it to you yet. One thing at a time! The happy news is that I've picked this one up and started working on it again.

First, I used the technique I just learned for making hexagons out of folded circles to make a few hexies that may or may not go on this scroll. I've done some additional stitching too, only some of which is very visible.

Those triangles are part of the selvedge edge of what may be the last section of this scroll. It hasn't been stitched down yet. That will either be the last piece of this scroll or I will have to add to the batting strip I'm using as a foundation for my stitching. 

On another front, with the return of some sunshine to our part of the world I'm finding myself thinking about making quilts again. I haven't done anything more than just think about it yet but it's a step in the right direction which makes me feel better overall. James has made a quilt though. 😁

He'd come across a couple of map prints he really liked last year but couldn't figure out what to do with them until he decided he needed a new quilt for his bed. Then he looked for a block/quilt pattern he liked and settled on this Storm at Sea design. It's only the second quilt he's made that was primarily pieced. Of course he did his own quilting (which doesn't show up unfortunately but is pretty basic). He used a cotton sheet for the back. The binding was machine applied but sewn down by hand, by him. This came together over the space of about a week once he'd decided what he was going to do. There were some mis-cuts along the way but it sounds like the process went as smoothly as one could expect. You would be right in assuming I'm one proud mama. 😊

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Tags Nine and Ten

 I actually got all caught up with the #52tags project during week ten! If I hurry up and get this week's tag made I'll still be all caught up. 😉

The prompt for week nine was "bits and pieces and a gift." 

I used some strips that seemed to have nowhere else to be, and a  scrap of cheesecloth. Then I tied on the large button. It came out of the gallon bag of vintage buttons my SIL sent to me from her friend's parent's clear-out. The strips of fabric hang free, like fringe. 

Week ten was to include a Suffolk puff (or yo-yo) and a bit of lace. Some folks enjoy making Suffolk puffs and went nuts on their tags. I put one on mine. 

I found a circle of lace I'd made some years ago that worked beautifully under my yo-yo. It's basically a strip of lace sewn up the way a Suffolk puff is. I used beads and sequins to fill the hole in the center of the puff. A few pistil stitches in the corners to hold the layers together and I was done! Sometimes it's best not to over-think things. 😁

I've also been stitching away on my scrolls. There are now four of them in various stages of construction. (There were only three when I wrote my last post!) I wish it were easier for me to photograph them so you could see a whole strip in one picture. Hopefully you'll be able to piece the separate photos together in your mind's eye. These more recent scrolls are only about 24" long; my first ones were longer. Still, 24" is too long to get in one photograph close enough for you to see anything in detail, more's the pity.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Change in Perspective

 Kate mentioned in a comment on my Scrap Happy Day post that she'd been missing the quilt making content that was the focus of this blog for so long. I have to admit I haven't been entirely comfortable with the void either. Except there really hasn't been that big a void, just a change of direction. Miniaturization, if you will. Aside from the ATC's I've been making in conjunction with Anne Brooke's #52tags project I've been starting new stitch wraps/scrolls. I'm not going to show you everything in this post but I will share the most recent start because it has been the catalyst for that change in perspective in the title of this post. 

I've been cutting 2.5" strips of scrap batting into 24 - 30" lengths, then laying my smallest scraps on top and stitching them in place by hand, mostly with size 12 Perle cotton threads and a small roster of embroidery stitches. In the section above I used some of the piecing leftover from the Ugly Fabric challenge (Scrap Happy Day post) in addition to leftover scrap bits. 

I'm learning to embrace raw edges. My new perspective is that this process is basically improvisational hand piecing and hand quilting. It's sort of a modern take on crazy quilting as well since my intention is to gussy up this foundation layer with embellishments later on. 

At the moment I have three of these scrolls started. I have to come up with a way to name them so I can refer to each one individually. So far none have much of a theme established. Well, one does. It's going to be a macabre bell pull. 😉 Do cross stitchers still make bell pulls? It was a popular project back in the day. I'm not sure what will become of these scrolls as I complete them. They won't be useful in the way a quilt is (or can be) but they are serving a definite purpose in my world right now! 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Scrap Happy in March

 I've actually done some scrap piecing! 

Tanya McGuire posted an ugly fabric challenge on her YouTube channel a couple of weeks back. From what I've seen, she primarily works with paper, making journals of various sorts. Somewhere along the way she came across yardage of a navy and white double-knit houndstooth print hat she declared was the ugliest fabric in the world. While I cannot wholeheartedly agree with her on that point - I've seen prints I consider much less attractive - I decided to take her up on the challenge to do something interesting with that ugly fabric. I emptied out one of my bags of smaller scraps and set to work on the 8.5" x 11" piece she sent out, using the back side of the challenge fabric as a foundation for some intuitive piecing. 

My overall plan was to make a book or journal cover. I chose to piece on the back side of the fabric so the challenge print would still be visible when Tanya receives my entry. 

I kept to neutral prints, trying for those that might mimic things that would be found in one of her junk journals. I also worked on the two halves of the cover separately so there would be a back and a front for the eventual book.

That floral strip down the middle is a piece of binding, giving me a finished edge where the two halves came together. I used a variegated thread to topstitch that in place and then zigzag around the perimeter of the cover.

I was reluctant to put a more finished edge on the book cover as I'm not sure how Tanya will end up using it. It did not come out to a standard book size. She may even choose to cut it up and use bits as pockets or embellishments in her work. Speaking of pockets...

I simply folded a couple pieces of leftover muslin and stitched them to the inside of each end to create pockets into which the back and front cover of a journal can be inserted. (Turn the photo horizontally in your mind's eye.)

I'm probably one of the last in this link party to post what I've done with scrap materials this month. Scrap Happy is open to anyone who would like to share how they've used or repurposed leftover materials. Not everyone posts every month but you'll always find something interesting on their blogs. If you'd like to participate just contact Kate or Gun from the links below. Welcome to Bear and Carol this month! Hopefully you'll see me again next month with something new I've made from the abundant scraps in this Magpie's Nest. 😉

KateGun, EvaLynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear and Carol

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Tags Seven and Eight

 I actually got caught up on my ATC's for the #52tagshannemade project this week, week ten. But let me bring you a little further up to date by showing you what I made for weeks seven and eight. 

The prompt for week seven was hexagons made by folding circles of fabric instead of the English Paper Piecing method. If I ever need to make hexies, this is the way I'm going to do it in future! There are at least two tutorials on YouTube demonstrating the method so I'm not going to try to show you how it's done here. I first saw Lauretta make them here. Then Anne showed how to do it when she released the video prompt for that week's tag. This is what I did with the hexies I made:

That's a bit of cheesecloth under the flowers, and rickrack for the stems/leaves. I only secured my hexie centers with the stitches required to sew on the sequins and beads. Might have been smarter to have stitched the folds down in the center first, then decorated them. 

Week eight was all about wrapping thread around the needle to make French knots, pistil stitches, and bullion stitches. I'm okay with French knots and pistil stitches but the bullion stitches were intimidating.  I had more success with them on my practice strip than I had on the ATC I was trying to make. 

Still, it wasn't my idea of fun. And by the time I felt I had conquered bullion stitches my hands hurt. I opted to make straight stitches on my ATC where I would have put the bullions. Then I made up for it by putting a few Colonial knots in the background.

There's plenty of room to have done more on that tag but I chose to leave it the way it is. 

There hasn't been much else going on here in The Magpie's Nest lately. I did manage to get two of my rose bushes pruned. There's one more waiting for its' spring haircut. Today is the best I've felt since I was outside the last time; I'm a bit reluctant to go back outdoors again. I'm wondering what the daffodil fields are looking like now though. It's about time for them to be in bloom. 😊

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Tags Five and Six

 I'm getting caught up! 

The prompt for the fifth tag in Anne Brooke's #52tagshannemade project was "kisses." Anne made a large X on her tag and included some cross stitches, I pretty much followed her lead. 

I also seed stitched the background. I put cross stitches on the red dots though. In the end I wasn't as happy with this tag as I'd hoped. I made a second version on my winter scroll.

Fewer stitches overall but I like the look of it better. 

Tag six was to feature "a bevy of buttons." Once again I ended up making two versions. I wanted to play with various ways to secure buttons to a foundation but I also wanted to showcase some special buttons.  The special buttons went on the ATC version of this tag.

These are all vintage buttons made from a variety of materials. After the fact I wished I hadn't used the green seed beads in the background. They tend to steal attention away from the buttons. This overall project is as much about learning and gaining experience as anything else so it's all good. 

On my scroll the focus was on finding different ways to attach the buttons. 

I really like the square ones dangling from the round button at the bottom. Just above, on the right, I was trying to make a flower. I'd seen others do something similar but they had better results. I haven't quite figured out why that was. Could be I needed bigger holes and/or finer thread to get what I was aiming for. At least I have this one for future reference! 

This morning I completed my ninth tag, putting me ahead of the game for the first time. Hopefully I'll get you all caught up in a few more posts. 😁