Saturday, December 23, 2023

Merry Christmas!

 The little hearts I've been making are the only gifts I've made this year. 

I've also been making little stitcheries for an international swap I'm involved in. I'll show you what I've made and what I've received next year. No handmade gifts for family members this year though! That was a gift from me to me. πŸ˜‰ 

In honor of the holiday...

This quilt began as a row-by-row round robin in my local quilt guild. I added the sampler blocks down the sides to widen the original product. It was finished in 2008. It spends the holidays on our living room couch. 

During a secret Santa gift exchange in the same guild I received this little embroidered pillow.

I absolutely love it. (It's not as yellow in real life.) 

And with that, let me wish all my friends and readers the happiest of Christmases or whatever you celebrate at this time of year. 😊

Friday, December 15, 2023

Scrap Happy in December

 When I'm cutting scraps into patches for future use there are inevitably tiny scraps that are too small for the piecing I do but are too big to be thrown away as far as I'm concerned. So they get tossed into one of three lunch-size paper bags.

Warm colors in one bag, neutrals in another, and cool colors in the third. 

Slow stitching has finally justified hanging onto these little bits. For the past couple of weeks I've been digging into these bags to create the foundations for some embellished hearts.

 Each of these hearts are about 4" high and 3.5" wide. I use an eight inch length of ribbon for the hanging loops. The scrap fabrics are sewn to a scrap piece of batting and another scrap of batting goes between the stitched front and the felt I use for the back of the hearts.

The laces, appliques, and buttons are all salvaged from one source or another. I'm using only ribbons from my stash and the embroidery threads I have on hand.

The only elements that are new would be the occasional charm. However, they were not purchased specifically for this project.

Scrap Happy Day is hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. We post things we've been able to make out of scrap or recycled materials on the 15th of each month in our respective time zones. Current participants span the globe. If you'd like to join in next year just leave a comment with Kate or Gun. In the meantime, have a safe and happy holiday season!

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, 
Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
NΓ³ilinVivKarrin, Amo, Alissa
Lynn, Tierney and Hannah

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Just the Beginning

Last month I shared the palette I'd pulled for a new project.

 I made up a handful of blocks right away. The first was this Four Corners block (all of these blocks will finish at 12").

Then I tried it out in blues.

Next I pieced four quarters that can be arranged in a variety of configurations. Each variant has its' own name of course. I don't have the brain power at the moment to recall which is which. 

I know one design is called Crowns.

Another might be Lost Ships.

There's probably another name but it escapes me at the moment. 

Care to take a guess which arrangement I decided to go with? 

Ta daa:

I may still make up another version, perhaps in blues again. Or even more than one! 

The last block I made is a variation of Aunt Sukey's Choice.

I'm planning to do at least one more of this one also. It's fun to play around with color and value placements to see how different the block looks from one to another. 

There are no specific plans at this point for how many blocks to make or how they will be set or anything like that. For now I'm just going to have fun trying out block designs and/or making some of my more favorite blocks. Well, I say for now but in reality it will probably be the new year before I return to this particular project. 😊

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Scrap Happy Day in November

 I needed something relative simple to sew recently. That led me to my collection of 3" wide strips. The strips are one of the things I cut from scraps and leftovers for blocks that go into my Parts Department. I use them to make 15" (finished) Scrappy Trips blocks. Once I got started I couldn't seem to stop!

I knew there were Scrappy Trips blocks in the Parts Dept. but I didn't think there were enough for a decent size quilt top. When I finally stopped and counted the new blocks and the old blocks I discovered I had enough to TWO quilt tops! 

My go-to size for a personal quilt is 60" x 80." That only requires twenty of these large blocks. But, it also leaves me at 75" in length. So I decided to add two more rows of scrap blocks to the first quilt top.

It was a bit of a struggle but I think I managed to keep the general pattern going. Doubtful anyone but a quilter would notice if I haven't succeeded. πŸ˜‰

For the second top I opted for a much easier solution to adding that extra five inches:

A whole cloth strip at both the bottom and the top edges. 😁

Now there are no more Scrappy Trips blocks in the Parts Dept. and I put a neglected leftover piece of fabric to good use. 

Scrap Happy Day is open to anyone who wants to recycle or upcycle or otherwise make something new out of scrap materials. We post on the 15th of each month in our various time zones. If you'd like to participate you can leave a comment on Kate or Gun's blogs. They are at the top of the link list and always worth a visit. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Moving Forward and Going Back in Time

It's time for a new quilt project. Something not made from the Parts Department or mere scraps. 

I have been collecting historical reproduction prints of late. Prints and colors that put me in mind of the last part of the 19th century and maybe into the beginning of the 20th. 

The three piles in the foreground are the most likely candidates for what I have in mind. Of course, it remains to be seen what actually works and what doesn't. I do like flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to this sort of thing. 

The next consideration is what to do with these fabrics. Which block or blocks? What type of setting, which will determine how many blocks I will need. I like to work intuitively, but a certain degree of planning is useful. 

At the beginning of October I put one of my Footsquare Freestyle (F2F) quilts on my bed for rather obvious reasons (if you live in the northern hemisphere). 

Under its' influence I have decided to make an assortment of 12" blocks. It may or may not turn out to be a typical sampler quilt with each block different from its' neighbor, but it will probably be sashed in the traditional way. Unless I get a brighter idea when the blocks are made. 

I'm going to avoid declaring a goal for regular output of blocks for this new quilt or any kind of deadline. I may make one a month or I may get started and not be able to stop! 

On another note, the second round of the Great Big Little Stitchery Swap has begun. I've committed to making and swapping eight 4" squares, putting them in the mail by 31 December. I made eleven squares in the first round. I may be able to make and swap a few more before the end of December but I didn't want to put pressure on myself what with the holidays and all. Hmm, I don't think I've shown you the squares I received in the first round of the swap. That's something to add to my To Do list. πŸ˜‰

Monday, October 30, 2023

Inspired by Halloween

I have finished a slow work in progress in time for Halloween and the Days of the Dead. I'm really pleased to have it finished and on display. It's hard to photograph because it's long and narrow, but here's the whole thing:

It's three inches wide and about 27 inches long (or tall). Here's a series of detail shots, working from the top to the bottom:

A spider charm and fly stitches above and feather stitching and some seed stitches below.

The skeleton is printed on ribbon. The cat is a charm, as is the ghost below.

I do enjoy feather stitching. And the fly stitches look like bats on the wing to me. 😁 

The undertaker print is from a Tim Holtz fabric.

There's a surprise hidden underneath that bit of wide lace. πŸ˜‰

I went over the major lines of the spider web with 12 wt Sulky thread to give it a bit more definition. There's more seed stitching in the background. 

You can't really tell in the photograph, but I put a tiny roll of batting underneath the skeletal hand to make it stand out a bit from the surface. 

The poison print is another from a Tim Holtz fabric. Not sure which line the scorpion came from.

I have another slow stitch Halloween project in the works but it's far from finished at this point. Maybe next year! πŸŽƒ

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Scrap Happy in October

 I feel like I should have something seasonal to share for Scrap Happy Day but, I don't. Instead I have another quilt top created from the Parts Department. Frankly, my sewing mojo has been pretty weak of late. Parts Department to the rescue! 

I pulled these 48 postage stamp stars out to see what I could do with them. 

I spent some time arranging and rearranging to try to get an even distribution of colors and such. I knew I didn't want to mash them all together the way they are on the design wall in this picture, although that was an option. While there are tiny pieces of whimsical or juvenile prints in the stars this seemed more like an adult's quilt in the making. Choosing a single color to use as sashing was a challenge. Then I remembered a paisley print I'd been given specifically to be used in donation quilts. Oddly enough, even though it looked like a busy print, it worked!

The paisley has a dark blue background, and the other colors in the print can be found in quite a few of the stars.

Most of the stars have 16 patch centers. Three of them have these Broken Dishes in the middle of the star. They were created from half-square triangles that finish at one inch. I don't think I'll be doing much of that in the future. There are an awful lot of seams in the center of that block. James will probably end up quilting around the center, but it does make for a bulkier block than even the 16 patch centers. 

I "pre-sashed" the blocks by adding a 2" strip (finished) to one side and the bottom of each block. That brought the blocks up from 8" to ten inches each. Once I had the blocks sewn into rows and the rows sewn to each other all I had to do was add a 2" strip to the top and one side of the flimsy for a finished quilt top. 

It could use another, wider, border but I'm going to stop it here and finish it with a dark binding, probably dark blue. It will be about 50" wide and 60" long when it's completed. To me that seems a good size for the destination I have in mind for this quilt. 

Scrap Happy Day is a blog hop hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. They are at the top of the link list below. The idea is to make something new out of recycled materials or the scraps left over from a previous project and then share your creation on the 15th of each month. If you'd like to join in leave a comment on either Kate's or Gun's blog. 😊

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Stitchin' Through Stress

I've had some new-to-me items come into my space recently. I try to only acquire second hand textiles that can be laundered and made safe for me. Sadly, there are laundry products out there that are designed to hold onto the chemicals that create fragrance. One such item seems to have come into my hands, a vintage hankie. Even after going through the wash cycle I could tell it still wasn't safe. I soaked it in warm water with a heavy dose of baking soda, then rinsed it in vinegar. I put it outside in the sun to dry. Frankly, I haven't had the courage to get close enough to it since then to see how safe it may or may not be. Hopefully I'll be able to use and enjoy it one day. Not as a hankie, but for a project I have in mind. 

In an effort to cope with the effects of the toxic materials I started another strip or scroll. Something to keep my hands busy while my brain was unable to function. I began with a 2.5" x 44" strip of a white-on-white print. On top of that I've been laying scrap pieces from assorted fabrics and securing them with simple embroidery stitches. 

This first section was some piecing that didn't work in the junk journal quilt I made a little while ago. The yellow next to it is a bit of damask. The purple strip is actually prefabricated bias tape.

After the damask I put down a piece of red and white ticking stripe, then a scrap from a man's silk tie. The ticking has since been covered with a couple of yo-yo's (aka Suffolk Puffs) and they are surrounded by chain stitches. My thread of choice is size 12 perle cotton usually. I've also been using a slightly lighter weight cotton thread and stranded floss on occasion. You can't tell, but I used a silk floss for the "petals" of the stylized flower on the silk tie. The blanket stitches were done with perle cotton.

This section was cut from a sample of fabric from India. I have no idea what the fiber content may be. It doesn't feel natural, that's for sure. 

These are the last two pieces I'm planning to put on this particular scroll. The plaid is a flannel and the floral might be a linen. I haven't decided yet how I'm going to embellish these two pieces. Probably more vine effect and leaves on the floral. 

This is only half of the width of the strip covered. My plan is to fold the remainder of the strip back on itself to cover the back of the work. So it will be shorter than other scrolls I've made. But it will also have a clean back on it where the others are still rather a mess. πŸ˜‰ I have no idea what may become of it after that. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Farm Fresh Flimsy

 I've had a hankering lately to do a quarter-square log cabin quilt, sometimes known as a chevron log cabin. I figured the easier way to do it, rather than totally scrappy - which can involve much decision making on my part - would be to establish a theme at the outset. And I 'd been buying new prints that look to me a lot like the type of prints you'd see on old feed and sugar sacks. I had to justify those purchases somehow, right? So I pulled out those prints and some others that looked like they could have been of the era, so to speak. Then I went through my aging stash of novelty prints and pulled out anything that remotely related to farm life. 

Cows and tractors and chickens

I started with focal squares that finish at four inches and used two inch (finished) strips for the "logs." This makes for ten inch blocks. 

Pigs and chickens, barn cats and a mare and her foal, and another cow in the cornfield.

I was able to cut pairs from most of the novelty prints. I succeeded in using up a fair number of those older fabrics too. 

Gardening tools, more horses, the farmhouse, and the kitchen cat.

I made 48 blocks in total. Only sewed a log to the wrong side of a block once too! 😁

Chickens, a goose, the mare and foal again, and the orchard out back.

 It was an effort to keep the same print from showing up too close to itself, and I didn't always succeed, but I'm very pleased with the results. Overall the quilt will finish at 60" x 80."

 I already have backing fabric in house. This will probably go to a child in Foster Care in our area. Now, what to tackle next? 

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, NΓ³ilinVivKarrin,
Amo, AlissaLynn, Tierney and Hannah