Thursday, December 29, 2022

Folowing a MAP to My Happy Place

Mid-November I mentioned that I was setting up a new stitchery project for 2023. I'm calling it my Monthly Art Project: MAP. I know that hand stitching calms me, soothes my soul, but I don't do enough of it in the normal course of events. I surprised myself by doing the first installment during December. I chose the red spiral out of my collection of focal elements, thinking the color was appropriate for the season.

 I thought it would be the focal point of a stand-alone piece. Things don't always go as planned! The foundation I created for it turned out to be too busy. Around that time I also ripped a 3.5" strip (width of fabric) off of a yard of a Tim Holtz print with the intention of starting a new scroll. The red spiral found a home at the beginning of that scroll.

I did simple running stitches and back stitches to secure the fabric to a strip of scrap batting. I do like the feel of the cloth and batting in my hands. Generally the batting is pretty easy to stitch through as well. Not as nice as wool perhaps, but nice enough. 

The little text print square is a pocket, and so is the green patch.

I carried on stitching and embellishing well into December. Of course, the holidays eventually got in the way. And to keep the foundation print from repeating too frequently I ripped an additional strip the width of the fabric, cut off the end of the first strip, and then added the second.

Sorry, what a terrible picture!

The scroll is now longer than I will probably want it to be in the end. I'm leaving that decision for later in any case. It's time now to choose the focal element for January. I'm thinking I will choose something else that will be appropriate to add to this scroll. I had a lot of fun working on it before the holidays set in, and I could really use something to rejuvenate my creative flame right now. 

Hmm, what will I choose?


Friday, December 23, 2022

Definitely Not Red and Green!

 The project I've been working on this December is anything but seasonal. (Honestly, I thought I'd already posted about this but maybe not.)

 I've long been intrigued with the idea of making a yellow and black quilt. I had a small assortment of blocks in that color scheme in the Parts Department so I pulled them out last month to see what there was. There were only five 12" Ohio Stars, a couple of 9" Ohio Stars, these 8" postage stamp stars and the two blocks I know as Crosses and Losses. There were a few 6" blocks as well but I quickly discarded them from the mix. The fifth 12" Ohio Star and the 9" versions didn't make the cut either. When I realized I could use the 8" blocks to surround a medallion made up of the 12" blocks I knew what to do. 

However, once I had this 40" square flimsy constructed I hit a wall. Leave it a square? Make it a rectangle and closer to 60" x 80"? Either way it needed to be at least a little bit larger. I added 3" wide whole cloth strips to the top and bottom edges thinking I would try to make it longer and then wider. The flimsy sat on the design wall, mute. In retrospect I think the print I used for the potential sashing was too busy for one thing. This was also about the time I had the meltdown about my sewing machine

I've used the new Janome Skyline 5 once since we brought it home. I think I'll be happy with it once it off-gasses more fully. There were oil or grease fumes coming off of it when I tried it out. That set me back for a couple of days. Once I'd made the decision to bring this project up to a 60" square it didn't take long to find a block to use for that purpose. In my block book it's called Butterfly at the Crossroads. It looks like a bunch of tulips to me. They finish at 10" each, which makes the math easy. Twenty of them will go around the medallion I have perfectly.

While I still really like this color palette, I have become slightly bored with it. And my variety of yellow prints is actually running low! I have one more block to create and then I can audition them for placement around the central medallion.

Black binding will finish it off. I don't have any specific plans for what quilt to tackle next. Whatever it turns out to be, it will be multi-color and multi-print. ๐Ÿ˜ In the meantime,  

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Scrap Happy in December

 On the 15th of each month we are invited by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden to share something we've made - or are working on - entirely out of scraps. I showed some of the scrappy quilt blocks I'd been making in my last post. I haven't done much sewing since then, for a variety of reasons. There were other scrap blocks that didn't make it into that post however, so I'll share them with you now. ๐Ÿ˜Š

These stars will finish at 8 inches each. You may notice that the bottom row features stars utilizing a fraction of the 1" half-square triangles that I sewed into 2" Broken Dishes blocks some time ago. 

I also came across the parts for these blocks and decided to finally get them sewn up.

There's one Cake Stand and four Flower Baskets. They will finish at ten inches each. At the moment I have no specific plans for any of these blocks. Rest assured that they will eventually make an appearance in a Parts Department Quilt.

Regular participants in this blog hop span the globe. We each post in our own time zone on the 15th, although occasionally it may be the day before or after. Enjoy the journey!

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

Monday, December 5, 2022

Crisis Averted

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been happily sewing up scrappy blocks lately. 

 Friday I got up to press seams and when I returned to my sewing machine the screen was black. It didn't respond when I toggled the on/off switch. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Still nothing. I'd recently replaced the power strip I have it plugged into so I was confident power was flowing. All the room lights were on after all, and the iron seemed to be functioning just fine. Nearly in a panic I called my trusted sewing machine service man, Bill. It was close to closing time for him so there was no point in trying to take the machine in to him but he did spend time with me on the phone, offering what advice and counsel he could. It appeared I would need to replace my beloved Phoebe (Pfaff tiptronic 2040). Many tears were shed. 

Bill told me about the machines he carries, the Janome line. I've heard good things about them over the years. Given his four decades of servicing sewing machines I place a lot of confidence in his opinions. I'm not in a position to go to other vendors to try out other brands either. He recommended a model he had in stock and we made the commitment to purchase. I packed up my little Phoeobe and mourned her passing. 

I haven't unpacked the new sewing machine yet. My sweet husband took time out from his busy schedule to go pick it up for me but I just couldn't face learning a new machine at that point. Is anyone else unnaturally attached to their sewing machine like I am?! 

When I had finally calmed down somewhat I was impressed to check the power strip Phoebe had been plugged into. Because it's new to me I am less familiar with its' layout and operation. It's also black and gray, which has become harder for me to see unless I'm right on top of it. (The previous strip was white and had fewer outlets available.) I thought it odd that there was no little indicator light glowing. Sure enough, the power strip had been turned off. The on/off switch on that model is on an end. Apparently I'd kicked it, turning it off, in passing from the ironing board back to my sewing chair. When I turned it back on and plugged Phoebe back in she worked just fine, and has since. I can't describe the relief! Euphoria might do it. ๐Ÿ˜

I've been using Phoebe for some 20 years. The question now is, do I keep the new Janome against the time Phoebe finally does kick the bucket or shall I return it? I do have my other Pfaff, Ruby Blue. She's a newer machine but I have never been as comfortable using her as with Phoebe. It may be time to send her on to a new home and hang onto the Janome...