Friday, September 15, 2023

Scrap Happy in September - Great Grandma's Scraps

 I've done some of my usual scrap cutting and subsequent block making for the Parts Department since our last Scrap Happy Day.

But more exciting than that, my great grandmother's Lady of the Lake quilt top has finally been quilted! 

It's made entirely out of scraps, aside from the border fabrics I assume. It would seem I come by my love for scrappy quilts honestly. 😁

This great gramdmother passed away in 1945. She and her husband lived and worked on a farm on the western side of the lower peninsula of Michigan until 1942. At that point their health was failing and they went to live with my grandmother (their daughter)  and her family until they passed. Sometime between 1942 and 1945 Grandma Eva spread out the quilts and quilt tops she'd made and had her grandchildren, my mother among them, choose the quilt they wanted. There was a completed crazy quilt, another crazy top, a hand quilted Irish Chain quilt made by her mother-in-law, and a Double Wedding ring top. If there were others - there were 6 children in that family - I haven't learned about them and don't know what might have happened to them. I have all of the ones mentioned in my possession currently. 

This quilt top measured roughly 75" x 90." I was given a queen size cotton and wool batt some time ago through the generosity of my friend C~; this seemed a good time to use it. Unfortunately, it was much thinner than even the Warm & Natural I generally use in the quilts I make. Too thin in fact. So we paired it up with another low loft batt. 

I'm glad we did. The quilt is wonderfully cushy even before laundering. Not that I plan to launder it right away. There are tiny, tiny holes in a few places. Mostly I want to preserve it from further deterioration and have it on display.

I love all the colors and prints that went into this quilt. Well, except maybe the red and green for the borders. That has never been my favorite color combination. And the application of the borders was a bit wonky. But I figure this was made toward the end of my great grandmother's life. As I approach the same state of being I can appreciate that her skills may not have been what they once were. Overall I'm thrilled to finally have this top  quilted up. I just need to figure out what to do about the binding. It's not like I'm going to be able to match that green! I might stand a better chance with the red, but even then I'm not confident. I may end up using some other dark value pulled from the body of the quilt. It will be a job to get the excess batting and backing cut away too. I may have to find a place for that task that's more spacious than my usual cutting table. 

Here are a few detail shots:

See how the 9 Patch corner block sort of droops?
That will be a challenge to cope with when I prune the quilt prior to binding. 

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. You will find their links at the top of the list of others who strive to turn their scrap materials into something beautiful and/or useful. I've had some technical issues prior to getting this posted so I'm a bit late this time around. If ever you are in need of inspiration just check out all the links below!

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti, NóilinVivKarrin,
Amo, AlissaLynn, Tierney and Hannah

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Just Because in Denim

I've debated whether to save this for Scrap Happy Day - which is right around the corner - but wanted to share before I forget to do it at all. 

Suddenly we've had a rash of worn out blue jeans. We are not of the generation who thinks it's a fashion statement to go out in public in ripped jeans. However, there's still a lot of good denim remaining. And I have come to love a frayed edge. So I ripped some strips off one leg of a pair of jeans, starting at the rip that was already there. I kept the strips at a width I find comfortable to hold in my hands for slow stitching/embroidery. (Really, the term slow stitching pretty well covers what I tend to do with thread and embellishments on fabric. I'm not one for the complex embroidery stitches or fine technique anymore. I prefer simple, straightforward stitches and adding charms and beads and things to complete whatever picture or story I'm trying to convey. The Perfectionist dwelling within can just go sit in the back of the room and keep quiet.) This is what I ended up with. You can see the hem from the bottom of the pant leg on this cover of my denim book.

The first page I chose to decorate is actually the last page of the book. I watched videos from Emma Freeman on YouTube in which she shared her use of seed stitches to create patterns that give the impression of text. I was really taken with that and wanted to have a go myself. This was the place to do it. I used some cotton crochet thread I'd picked up secondhand. Next time I will use a stouter thread if I do more on denim.

I also added a strip of vintage lace and an old button I believe is Mother of Pearl (MOP). So this page definitely qualifies for Scrap Happy Day! 

I've been buying pieces of crochet as well as laces lately. Someone else has sourced the original work and cut it up specifically for those of us who enjoy using these salvaged bits in our art work. One such piece was a perfect fit on the cover of my book.

I may end up doing some further embellishment of the cover but for now I'm content to showcase this lovely piece of crochet (a skill I haven't been able to master). 

One of my recent acquisitions was a wide strip of vintage lace. A small section of that made for a little pocket on another page of my book.

Then I felt compelled to make a little journal to go into the pocket. I used a discarded library return card for the cover and some scraps of various papers for the signature inside. I chose to use a small piece of a handmade paper (again, someone else's cast-off) to alter the front cover of the little book. I've finally found a paste I can use in place of the glues my body finds so toxic.

The sunflowers are a vellum sticker.


One of the pages in my denim book came from the original hole in the jeans. That edge created a natural thumb notch for a pocket. I stitched along that edge to help strengthen the fibers. There was further weakness in that section of denim so I did some weaving with floss over that area, then added a couple of tiny buttons for visual interest. It looks like a large flower pot or urn to me.

By the time this page was finished I had created a flower bed complete with visiting snail!

I sewed this page to the one behind it (which is the first page I showed you) to turn them into a larger pocket. I'm not sure yet what may end up living in that pocket. For the purposes of demonstration I have slipped a piece of paper into the pocket in the photo below.

There will eventually be four pages between the covers of this book. I have one and a half finished at this point. I love the way this feels in my hands. It's so soft and tactile. I want to continue to use little treasures I've acquired along the way, things that are special to me. It's time - past time! - for these little things to be given a home where they can be enjoyed and not merely stored away out of sight. 😊

Monday, August 28, 2023

Junk Journal Quilt

Whew! Our temperatures have dropped again to a more normal level for this part of the world at this time of year. We might even get some much needed rain in the next few days. 

I've been nibbling away at the sashing for the junk journal quilt I introduced in this post (toward the bottom of the post). Once the top was assembled according to plan I handed it off to our son for the quilting step. Because the top is so busy we decided a simple meander would do the trick. Plus, to my mind it replicates the line of glue used to stick various papers in place in a junk journal. 😁 Here's the finished quilt:

There's just a narrow brown binding around the perimeter. 

Some detail shots:

There are very few actual traditional quilt blocks. And if I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job of blending the 12" blocks I built and the sashes. Overall this was a fun quilt to make even if it was taxing at times. 

I wasn't sure what I would use for the back of the quilt. I prefer to have my backs relate to the front rather than using any old print or color. Of course I didn't have anything in house that would go the distance or be appropriate. When I saw this print online, and only four yards available, I snapped it up. Four yards is what I needed for this 60" x 72" quilt.

It may not relate directly to the theme of a junk journal but the colors were perfect. I think it adds a nice vintage touch too.

This quilt will be going to the Disabled Artists Foundation, Inc. to be used for fund raising purposes. And now I have a pile of leftovers to put back into the stash. Very likely the smaller pieces will turn up in a future Scrap Happy Day post. 😊

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Scrap Happy in August

Up here in the Pacific Northwest our temperatures are generally more mild than elsewhere in the country. We are currently having a little (I hope!) heat wave. Nothing like the temperatures being experienced in our southern states I'm happy to say. In spite of our portable air conditioning unit and personal fans the heat is taking a toll on our energy levels. I haven't been able to bring myself to do any scrappy patchwork. I completed the Journal Quilt top a few days ago. This morning I was able to piece two cuts of new yardage into a back for that quilt. I've done little else since then. 

However, I have two quilts that have been recently finished and laundered. They are just waiting to have their labels inked before I pack them up to send off to Wrap the World with Quilts. They are both scrappy endeavors. You've seen the tops previously if you're a regular visitor but I'll share the finished products with you now anyway. 

I'm calling this first one Happy Patches. It was built entirely of nine patch blocks made out of my tin of scrap 2.5" squares.

Well, except for the border. 😉 That was a print I've had in my stash for heaven only knows how long. I could never figure out how or where to use it. Apparently it was waiting for this little quilt!

The next quilt was created more recently. I made the six inch Shoo-fly blocks and then turned them into stars, using up many of the shorter pieces of old prints from my stash. 

Both of these quilts were quilted by my son James in the same swirling pattern.

And both of them are roughly 60 inches square. 

Here's the link list for others around the globe who regularly participate in Scrap Happy Day. Not everyone is a quilt maker, but we're all trying to put our scrap materials to good use or to repurpose something that might otherwise end up in the trash. We share our efforts on the 15th of each month, hosted by Kate and Gun at the top of the list below. 😊

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
Amo, AlissaLynn, Tierney and Hannah

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Peaceful Sunday Morning

I went across the street to our mailbox yesterday to discover that the birds had planted a blackberry bush nearby. It was laden with fruit ready for the picking. I went back to the house, got a small bowl - because I'm probably the only one in the house who will eat these berries - and returned to the bush. It was more extensive than I realized at first. I filled my bowl but could easily have picked more. So, when the air quality and the temperature were at delightfully low levels again this morning I went back and picked another bowlful of blackberries!

 There are still more berries on the bush. Some are not quite ready for picking, some are out of reach. That blackberry bush has thorns that are more vicious than the ones on my roses! Speaking of which, the Charlotte rose has been producing abundantly this year.

This is a very minimal view of what Charlotte has on display.


 Which is not to imply that the Queen of Sweden has been a slacker. She's just not as abundant at the moment. And what there is is hard to photograph. 

I'm going to take full advantage of this day of rest to take a breather from the quilt I've been building. This will be my interpretation of a junk journal. It began with some panels from a line of fabric that is called Art Journal.

 I've been collecting text prints for years now. This has been the project to bring them out to play.

 My plan has been to build up the panels and then other bits and pieces into blocks that will finish at twelve inches square. Four of those across and five down would create a quilt 48" wide and 60" long. I wanted something a bit larger than that but didn't want to make more 12" blocks. I've suffered a series of minor toxic exposures while this has been underway and that makes thinking difficult to impossible. So, during a lucid moment, I figured I could make 4" wide sashing strips to go between the blocks in rows and then 3" sashing to go between the rows. That will give me a top that measures about 60" wide and 72" long. 

This is where I am at the moment:

There are a few more 4" sashes to make, and then the 3" rows. I'm on a September deadline. The quilting won't take long as I imagine a simple meander will be all it needs or wants to hold it together. I just need a few more days of good air quality and energy to get it done!

Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Great Big Little Stitchery Swap Continued

 I began this worldwide stitchery swap with six partners. If I've counted correctly I'm now up to eleven. The first squares have been sent and received, and squares are beginning to arrive in my mailbox. This is fun! 

This was the first square to be delivered here. It was made by SF in Arizona.

Remember, these squares are only around four inches in either direction. Aren't those hexagons wonderful?

The next one to arrive came from CG in Pennsylvania. Look at those tiny, tiny stitches!

She included a few extra goodies in the envelope, fabric swatches I can use in future stitcheries. 

My third swap square also came from Arizona, from MA. 

It's another amazing piece of art, with beads and sequins and organza flowers. Not to mention the lace frame. 

And most recently this square from LS was delivered from Oklahoma.

Absolutely charming! She stitched on denim, and those flower heads are loose, not stitched through the denim. Tatting? Detached buttonhole stitches? I don't know how she made them. 

In the meantime I've been making additional squares and sending them off. I haven't always remembered to take photos before putting my squares in the mail however. Nor do I remember which squares were sent where.


I know I've sent squares to each of the ladies I've received these squares from. I've sent a couple to England and at least one to Australia. As of this writing I have one more square to make, for a new partner in Canada. Annie has promised us there will be another swap in another few months for those who may have missed out this time around. And those of us who want to do it again!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Scrap Happy in July

I have a pile of quilt blocks made out of scraps as you are accustomed to seeing here in The Magpie's Nest for Scrap Happy Day. What I do not have is a photo of them. And since the design wall is currently covered with pieces for a project in progress I don't have an easy way to get such a photograph for you. So this month I will share with you more of the slow stitching/embroidery efforts I've been working on. 

 First off is this needle book. You've seen the cover in process previously. I finally put on the finishing touches of embroidery and sewed in felt pages. 

3.5" high x 9" long

This is the extent of the cover. Scrap strips secured with embroidery to a strip of scrap batting.

Folded in half, this is the half I decided would be the front. (Originally it was to be the back.)

Which makes this half the back cover.

I went so far as to hand sew in the felt pages too. Okay, the felt may not qualify as scrap materials, but I didn't use anything I didn't already have in my stash. And most of it has been there for a good long time!

I have also made two more 4" squares for the Great Big Little Stitchery Swap.

Both of these began with 2.5" squares of William Morris reproduction prints I was given almost three years ago. (Or was it longer?)

Again, the merest scraps of lace and thread were used in the creation of these squares. 😁

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. It's an opportunity for us to share things we've made entirely out of scrap or repurposed materials. Participants live all over the world. If you'd like some motivation for reducing the scraps in your work space you can add your name to the list by leaving a comment on Kate or Gun's blogs. In the meantime, happy scrapping!

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
Amo, AlissaLynn, Tierney and Hannah