Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Next Quilt

 I mentioned in a (fairly) recent post that one of our nephews is finally getting married and that I had undertaken to make a couch quilt for the happy couple. I had a couple of Scrappy Trip blocks made at that point. Since then I've made more.

I also made a 10" heart to insert into one of the 15" Scrappy Trip blocks.

My patches begin as 3" squares. For the heart I had to cut a few 3.875" half-square triangles. 

When I put the blocks on the design wall I discovered another pair of hearts I hadn't planned on!

Do you see them, stacked one on top of the other? 

I have filled in around the heart with more of the neutral prints. You'll see that when I've finished assembling the top. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Scrap Happy in May

I don't have much to show this time around. This is probably the sum total of my scrap blocks to add to the Parts Department:

A 6" (f.) Hole in the Barn Door block and some stray flying geese. I did manage to piece a back for the latest Parts Department Quilt though. Recently I have been buying yardage for quilt backs as I really struggle to piece a back for some reason. The larger dimensions required throw me for a loop I guess.

The fabrics used have been in my stash for over 10 years, maybe as much as 25 for the central portion. Not scraps in the general sense of the word but they obviously weren't going to be put to use any other way.

James did an open meander to compensate for all the activity on the front of the quilt.

Actually, that red stripe might not be all that old...

The quilt top definitely qualifies for Scrap Happy Day. It all came out of the Parts Dept., which is made up almost entirely of blocks made from scraps. ๐Ÿ˜

The next step is to trim off the excess batting and backing and find something to use for binding. Who knows, that could end up being a scrappy binding! 

Scrap Happy Day is open for anyone utilizing their scrap materials to make something new and useful or beautiful. It originates with Kate and her friend Gun in Australia and Sweden respectively. Participants share their scrappy adventures on the 15th of each month (in their own time zone). It's an inspiring trip around the world to visit every blog!

KateGun, Eva, Lynda, Susan
Birthe, Turid, 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, Viv,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose, Carol

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

What Happened to the End of April?!

It's true: time flies whether you're having fun or not. I have been busy with happy things but the last couple of days have been a challenge. I may have mentioned that Luna has begun having seizures this year. (Or was it the tail end of last year?)


The vet put her on phenobarbital in an effort to keep them under control. It seemed to be working, up to a point. Then suddenly she had five seizures over the last 24 hours and three in the 12 hours prior to that. They are very stressful to witness, to say nothing of the lack of sleep involved and cleaning up afterward. You must know they don't occur during the hours I'm awake and alert. We have increased the dosage and so far have been without another event for over 12 hours. The poor dog is now blind and practically deaf. We have no idea how old she may be because she was a rescue. Fingers crossed we still have a few good years with  her. I won't be getting another pet. I'm just not able to be the responsible pet owner I want to be anymore. 

On a happier note, I have begun a new quilt project. The youngest of my nephews is finally getting married. They won't be getting a bed size quilt, nor will it be ready before the wedding takes place. Nevertheless it sounds like they will be pleased to have a couch quilt in colors the bride suggested. Or as close as I can get given differences in perception. ๐Ÿ˜‰

She originally sent me a picture of a low volume quilt. The next photo she sent featured colors very similar to the starry quilt I just made.

Which apparently I need to get a picture of in its' finished state! Instead of more stars I have decided to do another version of Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips quilt. It's a process I'm comfortable with and can be worked up fairly quickly. I have also decided to have a go at a more low volume palette.

The original palette suggestion was ivory, tans, and sage green. The second photo was more teal and ivory and included shades of cinnamon. The teals in my stash were too bright so I've chosen to tone down the green overall and focus on the cinnamon instead. 

There has been some hand stitching since my last post, and the completion of the secret project (except for binding). In addition, James had the opportunity to do some quilting for a friend of one of my SIL's. 

This liberated log cabin was hand pieced long before liberated patchwork became a trend. Strips were pieced together to get the desired length, bits were added to corners to make it fit to the next block, and blocks were chopped in half. The outer border was sewn on with apparent disregard for any kind of consistent seam allowance. James used a handmade template to help create the fan quilting - all of his quilting is hand guided, not panto or computer generated stitches.

I don't know who made the embroidered label on the lower front corner.

 It will never be a square quilt but I trust it will be cherished for the family history built into it. It's pretty obvious that the fabrics came from a variety of sources. We've identified everything from pajamas to curtains and tablecloths. It's a true time capsule!


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Leaving the Nest

 About a month ago I started a new patchwork venture in hopes it would provide me with the opportunity to do some mindless sewing. It did, until the project took on a life of its' own. That seems to happen frequently!

It began with the blocks I was calling Butterflies.

Which I then surrounded with Flying Geese.

I chose to use more four patch blocks for corner stones.

And decided that was sufficient.

At this point the top will finish at about 48" x 54." It seems small to me but in reality will make a wonderful lap quilt or even a child's quilt. There wasn't much incentive to try to make it any larger anyway. It was about this time that Kate over in Chiconia, Australia posted about the quilty items she was working on to be raffle prizes for a very worthy cause. I contacted her about the possibility of sending her the top to be finished over there and added to the raffle. She was enthusiastic. ๐Ÿ˜

I hesitated to offer up a finished quilt due to the recent increase in shipping costs. Kate was more than willing to do the quilting and binding herself, for which I am grateful. We finally sent the flimsy off today (with some extra fabric for the binding). Let me just say that I'm glad we didn't have the extra weight and bulk of a finished quilt to send overseas. It cost well more than three times what I was accustomed to paying to mail a handful of patchwork blocks over the oceans. Yikes! Even so, I know the money was spent for a good cause and am pleased to be able to contribute. 

On an entirely unrelated note Blogger, in its' finite wisdom, has changed up the formatting for composing blog posts. It now requires seven steps to add a photo to my text. That may not be more than one or two more clicks than was required in the past but it's enough to make the process that much more annoying to my impatient soul. ๐Ÿคจ 

And now I get to come up with another mindless sewing project...

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Back to #12Pages

You may or may not remember that I participated in a challenge of sorts at the tail end of 2020. It was my version of Anne Brooke's sew4thesoul #12pagesofChristmas on her YouTube channel. When Anne finished her pages she decided to go back through and add tags to the backside of most of them. They did look pretty blank given the way we constructed the book. 

The original idea was to make a cover for the book out of a piece of quilt or other textile and then store it in a tin. We'd chosen our tins at the beginning of the challenge. I don't know how many of the books actually fit into their tins after they'd been fully fleshed out. Anne's didn't, nor did mine! 

 My tin had a depth of about an inch and a half.

My book, nearly complete now, measures a generous two inches thick! I hadn't touched it in months. I guess tags just didn't appeal to me the way Anne made hers. But I have recently learned about "clusters" from various mixed media artists on YouTube and have been experimenting with that idea.

I wasn't sure what to do about a cover for my book for the longest time either. The whole concept of textile books and bookbinding is still relatively new to me. One of the things I picked up in a Disabled Artists Foundations auction was a short stack of fabrics from India. I chose one to use to make a wrap for my book and sari strips to secure the wrap.

The book pages not secured within the wrap. That probably won't happen because it doesn't bother me to have them separate. 

I have toyed with the idea of decorating the interior of the wrap. Maybe adding a pocket or something. It occurs to me now that I could write directly on the quilting cotton I used to line the Indian fabric (mystery fiber content). Hmm...

There are a couple of pages that don't have clusters or tags on the back yet. I'll probably add a little something to them eventually. I'm getting the hang of working a little bit at a time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Friday, April 15, 2022

Scrap Happy in April

I'm also happy to report that I've been doing enough sewing lately that I've been able to assemble assorted scrap blocks between seams of major projects. These two lego blocks for starters...

They will finish at 12" when I get around to using them in a quilt. 

I've also made these three 15" Scrappy Trip blocks.

But the main event, for this post at least, is the Parts Department Quilt (PDQ) I've been building. When last you saw it last month it looked like this:

I had to turn it 90* to keep it fitting on my design wall. That's when I added the 8" stars to either short end.

Next I tried some Scrappy Trip blocks.

They were too big, too busy. Overwhelming. That's when the lego blocks came out.

I needed some compensating strips to make them fit however.

I decided to keep to the theme and just use a variety of scrap strips. Then I put on the lego blocks.

At this point the top would finish at about 60" square. That felt big enough, either for a child or a lap quilt for an adult. I stay-stitched the perimeter and will let the binding be the final frame. Still have to come up with a back for it but haven't had that kind of energy yet. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Scrap Happy Day is open to anyone who wants to share how they are using or repurposing scrap materials. Participants span the globe, everyone posting on the 15th of the month in their own time zone. Not everyone posts every month but their blogs are certainly worth a visit any day of the month!

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, 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, Viv,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose, Carol

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Just Because

I've been chasing another squirrel around the studio. 

Susan Taylor Brown is one of the artists I've been watching on YouTube recently. I appreciate her attitude toward creativity. It's often the very boost I need. Or just enough to keep me from sinking further into the dark abyss reactions to toxins can cause.  Recently she has provided a new focus for my slow stitching or embroidery endeavors. She calls them Just Because books. She happens to love texture as much as anything else but the idea behind Just Because books is that you do whatever makes you happy in one. It may seem odd, but this is a real struggle for me, doing something just because I enjoy it. I prefer to have a purpose for my making. 

I have always loved books so the idea of a textile book really appeals. I've wanted to try my hand at one for some time. That first step is always the hardest! I'm dipping my toes in the water by playing along with Susan and her #BW JustBecauseBook challenge. I have mostly white scraps and trims for the pages of my book so far. I suspect my book will be primarily black on white as my eyes have matured to the point where black on black makes it hard to tell where my needle needs to go. I've started two spreads so far:

And I just received an order of yardage that included a print I want very much to include in my book. ๐Ÿ˜

It's a print from Riley Blake's Goose Tales line, Three Blind Mice. I have some skeletal fish somewhere too...

This gives me something to do inbetween rotary cutting and piecing. I still have tendonitis (I'm assuming) in my left elbow but it has improved. Rotary cutting does not help that situation though. The carpal tunnel issue in my right (dominant) hand and forearm has improved as well but still makes its' presence known. So it's slower going these days but at least I'm still going!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

More Mindless Sewing

 I carried on with the Butterfly and 4 Patch blocks to get to this point:

I have more HST's cut, but they are of a different print. If I stretch my palette I could make more 4 Patch blocks too. I was ready for a slight change of pace however. The flimsy would finish 36" wide and 42" long at this stage. I did debate whether to go for 48" in length but oddly enough that just seemed to complicated things. Three by six inch flying geese units accommodate both dimensions if I lay them out on their ends:

Which I quite like! And now I get to use up some of my orange remnants. Plus, the way I make flying geese works very well as leaders and enders, or for sewing between the seams of other projects. I don't go so far back as to use templates, but I do work in what is probably now considered an old fashioned method. I cut 7.25" squares from the geese prints and then cut those on the diagonal in both directions to make quarter-square triangles. For the background or sky patches I cut 3.875" half-square triangles. I have a stack of both near the sewing machine now so I can take this flimsy off the wall and go back to one of the other quilts I have in progress. I want one of those to be a surprise for the recipient so you won't be seeing it here until after it's been gifted. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I'm trying to be good about not doing one type of activity for an extended period of time to avoid aggravating my carpal tunnel and other physical issues. Sure slows the process down! (Not that I was ever as prolific as some folks seem to be.)

Monday, March 21, 2022

A Slight Diversion

I didn't feel like pursuing the medallion top I began for Scrap Happy Day (in the previous post). I needed some mindless sewing to do. The Butterfly blocks and some remnants in my stash came to mind.

 Four patch blocks are nice and simple but will make for a more interesting background than a single print might. 

 I just about have enough parts for nine 12" blocks at this point. That would make a 36" square start for another potential medallion style top. I am beginning to run out of the prints I began with so a decision of some sort will need to be made. I suppose a baby quilt is not out of the question. I do like the challenge of figuring out how to make a little go a long way though. ๐Ÿ˜‰