Monday, July 15, 2024

Scrap Happy in July

 I'm going to take this opportunity to share the stitchery squares I made for the third round of the Great Big Little Stitchery Swap. This swap was instigated by Annie Claxton on her YouTube channel last year. It's been fun to make 4" stitched squares and trade them with ladies around the world. Most of my squares stayed in the United States this time around. Only one went overseas, to New Zealand. All were made with some of my smallest scraps, various embroidery threads and embellishments.


I purposely kept them as flat and lightweight as possible so they could travel in a card at regular first class postage rates. The next round of swaps is scheduled to begin in October of this year. I'll have to do a follow-up post to show you the squares I received from my partners! 

Scrap Happy Day is hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. Everyone in the list below may not have something to share every month but there's bound to be inspiration to be had in all of them. 😊

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Tracy, Jan
Moira, SandraChrisAlys,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, 
 Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
NΓ³ilinViv, Karrin, Amo, Alissa,
Lynn, Tierney, Hannah and Maggie

Monday, July 1, 2024

Huswif Book of Treasures

 Historically a huswif - or hussif or housewife - would take the form of a long narrow rectangle that could be rolled up and secured with a tie or button closure. It was essentially a portable sewing kit. There would be one or more pockets, a place for needles and pins and scissors to be stored, and possibly a pin cushion. During WWI soldiers were required to have one in their pack to keep their uniforms in good repair. 

A more familiar item might be a needle book. I've recently been inspired by a fairly new YouTube creator, Bec at sewbecurated. She has expanded the concept of a needle book to include vintage textiles as a place to store or preserve them. I have combined the utility of a huswif with Bec's approach to needle books in my version of a huswif. 

This is the cover of my book. I've stitched on a few of my favorite mother of pearl buttons, strips of vintage lace, and a square of needlepoint I stitched in the 1970's. I've used a hand dyed seam binding to tie the book closed.

I think the crochet trim I've used at the bottom of my huswif probably came off a pillowcase.

This is the back of my book. More laces, vintage buttons and a corner from a handkerchief. I've seed stitched the covers with tiny cross stitches in a variegated perle cotton (size 12).

The inside front cover has a pocket and a stamped image. I was very purposeful about using things I've been collecting for the last year or more. The stamped image and the rose fabric both came from Tilly at Tilly Rose Vintage in the UK.

Next is a sheer little doily.

Under that is a page made from fabric I pulled out of my mother's rag bag as a newly married woman.

The little square of white with the rosebud and butterfly is a feed sack scrap. 

Next is another purchase from Tilly. I've trimmed the linen panel with more strips of vintage trims I've collected. The panel is a reproduction of a French label. It felt too fragile to make into a pocket so it's stitched down on all four sides.

Under the wide lace is this denim page embellished with a couple of vintage appliques and another bit of crochet. The heart was cut from a quilt by Lauretta at Sparrowhawker Designs.

Turning the page you come to the utility spread of my huswif. 

On the left side are two pieces of felted wool for needles. Below that is more wool, lightly stuffed to be a pin cushion. On the right I put a doily from my grandmother's household over the pink felt that backs the denim. On top of the doily I have the triangular pocket for my embroidery scissors. They have to be tied in place or they will fall out if I transport the book anywhere. 

Next is a stamped image from Pamela the Hippie Gypsy and a collar piece I bought from one of Dawn Stephan's sales.

Flipping over the lace reveals the bottom of a vintage appliqued tea towel. Just so pretty!

This is the inside of the back cover. At the bottom is another small pocket. It started out as a corner from an embroidered linen Rachel Roxburgh included in a packet I purchased from her. I've added the eyelet down one side and more vintage lace across the top. At the top of the page I stitched on a piece of crocheted doily. 

Opposite the inside back cover we have Jack Skellington.

He's been hanging on my bulletin board for I don't know how many years. I was thrilled to discover that he would fit perfectly in my huswif. I added a braid down the left edge - this screen print was done on something that ravels fairly easily. The best part is that I was able to make him into a pocket that opens on that side with the braid.

While this was a slow growing project it has been a lot of fun. I'm already thinking about making something similar. This one has turned out to be a bit too large for me to use daily. Most of my tools are on my work table right at hand anyway. The idea of showcasing treasured textiles in book form really appeals to me. Maybe this will be a way for me to pass bits of family history treasures down to our children and grandchildren. 😊

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

June Wrap Up

It's not quite the end of June as I write this but I have finished a few things and want to share before I forget. 

I'm very pleased with the postcard I made in response to the #kookypostcardsal2024 hosted by Tori Chatfield at KoolKookyKreatures on YouTube. The prompt was Yellow Brick Road. I confess that I struggled with this prompt, obvious though it was. Finally, as I was waiting for sleep to come a few nights ago it occurred to me to piece 1.5" bricks of yellow to create the road. That didn't seem like enough however. Eventually I hit upon the idea to put Toto, Dorothy's dog, on the yellow brick road. My attempts to create a template for Toto failed miserably - no surprise there as I never have been able to draw a recognizable shape without the benefit of graph paper. Hubby located an image from the original illustrations in the book and print it out for me in several sizes. This is the end result:

I added the sequins for a bit of the magic of Oz. 

The first week in the stitch journal project was an opportunity to play with blanket stitch. This was more challenging than I expected. I've become comfortable with doing the blanket stitch over straight lines and edges. This approach was more like working backwards to my mind. It certainly gives a cool result though.

The instigator of this stitch journal project, Kathryn at k3n.clothtales, celebrated her birthday early in June. My birthday happens to fall in the middle of June. To celebrate still being crazy after all these years Kathryn had us crazy piece a block one week and then embellish it the next week. I've dabbled with crazy quilting in the past but for some reason this block did not come easily for me. 

It was time to dig up the fabric booklets/bundles we'd buried at the spring equinox during the week of the summer solstice (here in the Northern Hemisphere). I'd put this scrap of crochet on the cover of my booklet...

And stitched this phrase inside.

I wrapped this up with bits of a pinecone, onion skin, and a sprig off our arbor vitae and then bound it with twine. The bundle went into the ground under the arbor vitae. This is what I was left with after carefully unwrapping the bundle and rinsing it well.

The crochet seemed to have disappeared entirely. The onion skin and the pinecone have left color behind. The twine was very fragile and in pieces. My stitching, done with plant dyed threads, is mostly intact but very faded.

To add this to my journal I carefully stitched it to a scrap of vintage hankie. Kathryn encouraged us to just respond to our cloth with stitches in whatever way felt right. Mostly I just tacked down raw edges. In a couple of places I stitched over tears with herringbone stitches or cross stitches. There's one small patch of needle weaving. I couched bits of the twine in place as well. This was a pretty cool experiment. 

Finally, in this last week of June Kathryn gave us the opportunity to make a single large hexagon (relatively speaking) for a quilt as you go project. The idea was to bind the edges of the hexie by folding over the backing piece of fabric. Then you have a smooth back with no stitches evident and you can whip stitch the hexies together to create whatever you choose. She was also inspired by Jeri Bellini who is doing a dot a day with stitch. I knew that binding would be too fiddly for me so I have blanket stitched the perimeter of my hexagon. 

While I admire the look of hexagons and what can be done with them I do not enjoy the process involved in making and using them. 

I have also assembled the huswif/treasure book I've been working on for a couple of months. I will do a separate post about that so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Scrap Happy in June

 June is half over already??!! How did that happen? Fortunately, I started a new quilt top toward the end of May that totally qualifies for Scrap Happy Day this month. 😁

You may remember that I've been making cat blocks out of my larger scraps. At last count I had 126 cats. And I had no idea what I would do with them. One day I realized I could make six rows of nine cats and end up with a flimsy 45" wide and 54" long. I thought that was a good place to start for a quilt for a child so I started putting them up on the design wall.

Not bad, but what if I made the quilt so that either end could be right side up?

Nope. Makes me seasick just to look at it.

I sewed this collection of 54 blocks together as they were originally laid out on the design wall. But then it called out for a border treatment of some sort. That took some time to sort out. First, they needed some breathing room. I put a white frame around them. Finding the right fabric to use for a final border - already in the stash - took several attempts. In the end I used a tone-on-tone batik in deep blue. This brought the flimsy up to about 53" x 62."

That made the quilt top look a lot more elegant in my eyes. Consequently, I have decided that when this quilt is finished it will go to our local humane society to use for fund raising. Quilting it has posed a challenge. We have discussed a pattern of mice in the blue border but so far an all-over pattern for the interior remains a mystery. While we mull our options you may want to see how others have utilized their scraps this month. 

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. Not everyone in the list participates every month but there's sure to be something wonderful to see in each blog. If you'd like to play along just leave a comment on Kate or Gun's blogs. 😊

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Tracy, Jan
Moira, SandraChrisAlys,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, 
 Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
NΓ³ilinViv, Karrin, Amo, Alissa,
Lynn, Tierney, Hannah and Maggie

Friday, May 31, 2024

Stitch Journal Entries for May

 The first week of May Kathryn introduced us to a new book called The Pocket, A Hidden History of Women's Lives by Barbara Burman and Arianne Fennetaux. Women's dresses didn't have pockets in previous centuries - and don't often have them even now. To remedy that they made pockets that could be tied on, most often under their skirts. There were slits in the skirts that allowed access to the pocket but were hidden in the folds of the fabric.  Kathryn's reading inspired her to prompt us to make pockets of our own. A few ladies have made full size versions but most of us made little ones to fit into our journals.

There was some concern that women could spread revolutionary pamphlets without detection by secreting them in their pockets.

The following week Kathryn took inspiration from the Japanese practice of kintsugi. Cracks in pottery are repaired with lacquer dusted with gold or silver or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

On week three Kathryn gave us the opportunity to take a ride on her magic carpet to whatever secluded place would best rest our souls. Food and other comforts would be provided magically but we could only take 8 items with which to stitch and they had to fit into a theoretical pouch no bigger than about 6" x 6."

This was particularly fun for me. I even had fabric scraps  (and thread) leftover at the end of my stay.

The next week was meant to be a boro inspired entry in our journals, another Japanese technique. I couldn't bring myself to do the challenge as presented. Mine turned out to be a way to preserve some precious scraps of feed sack fabrics.

This week I felt a bit more brave and created another piece, much more in line with Kathryn's goals for week 21 of the stitch journal project. The idea was to sew small scraps together to create a new piece of cloth. This technique is used to preserve jackets and other textiles to give them longer usefulness.

Both sides of the worked piece can be presentable. I don't consider this work finished; there's room for more stitching.


And finally, for the last week of May we were to make "comfort cloth" inspired by the blankies little children often carry around. Kathryn was able to use a piece of one of her father's handkerchiefs and a bit from a pair of his pajamas over a piece of wool suiting. I used flannel and a piece of one of the hankies leftover from the bag I made last month. I did a bit of needle weaving and then freestyle blanket stitches. Blanket stitches for a replica of a blanket, get it? 

There have been other slow stitch projects that I've just realized I haven't yet shared here. I must do something about that...

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Scrap Happy in May

 I received a request for some new potholders recently. I wasn't sure what I would do for this Scrap Happy Day until I realized I could make those potholders out of scraps, nothing but scraps. 😁

They're not fancy but they should be functional. I began by using scrap 1.5" wide strips (which I routinely cut as I'm processing scrap fabrics) to work Courthouse Steps style around a 2.5" square.

The blue and yellow color scheme was suggested by the future recipients. I tend to take things pretty literally as you can see. 

I used batting scraps inside the potholders, two layers in each one. Even the backing for the four potholders came from a single remnant of fabric - an obvious remnant purchased somewhere along the way and never put to use until now. 

So that's my entry for Scrap Happy Day this month. Short and sweet!

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. Any type of scrap qualifies. It's a great way to repurpose things that might otherwise be tossed into overflowing landfills or to keep mounting scraps under control. If you'd like to play along you can leave a comment on either Kate or Gun's blogs. 

KateGun, Eva, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Tracy, Jan
Moira, SandraChrisAlys,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, 
 Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
NΓ³ilinViv, Karrin, Amo, Alissa,
Lynn, Tierney and Hannah


Friday, May 3, 2024

April Entries in My Stitch Journal

We began April in the weekly stitch journal project with Kathryn of k3n.clothtales using multiple layers of cloth to honor the moon. Kathryn cut a primitive wolf shape to use as a silhouette for the final layer on her moon. I couldn't resist using a large-ish charm I had on hand. πŸ˜‰

The following week was the week of the solar eclipse. Even though k3n is in France and the eclipse occurred over the United States she suggested this representation of the event.

 I understand that some folks who were in the path of the eclipse but not in the zone of totality created a representation of their partial eclipse. This piece was also an opportunity to practice stacked running stitches and split stitch. 

Having done the stars (last month), the moon, and the sun Kathryn figured it was time to honor the planet on which we live. This prompt occurred just prior to Earth Day too, making it that much more appropriate.

The brown and green strips represent the roughly 30% of the globe that has land mass and the blue strips convey the 70% covered by oceans. I added a bit of crinkled seam binding for the foam of the waves on the beach and rick rack to help indicate the movement of the waves through the water. 

Kathryn threw us a plot twist for the last week of April. We were to pick a printed fabric that we could embellish or enhance with thread and stitches...

And then mount it in our journals with the back of the work showing instead of the front. 😁

One of her goals is to help us break free from the idea that the back of our work needs to be as neat as the front, thus causing extra stress and less enjoyment of the process.

Kathryn and others made journals in which to mount their work each week. I was reluctant to make something that might end up being too small before the end of the year so I purchased an 8" x 6" sketchbook similar to this one:


We're only a third of the way through the year and I had to remove the coil binding. I chose to replace it with 3" binder rings. 

I figure they should give me enough room for the rest of the year. I can do something prettier in the end if I feel the need. The rings make it a bit awkward to lay flat on a desk top at the moment but I can remove one page to stitch my piece onto if I want and then put it back in the book. I may very well end up using a box to store this in rather than trying to put it on a shelf like a regular book!

Monday, April 15, 2024

Something a Little Different for Scrap Happy Day in April

Instead of patchwork blocks or even the beginning of a new quilt top out of the Parts Department I've repurposed a vintage handkerchief. I didn't think to take a picture before I embarked on this project but I can show you what I've done with it. 😁

I've been following the #roxysjournalofstitchery projects on YouTube ever since volume one. They are currently in volume five. This time around there's a different project for each month. The first prompt this year was to make a trifold pouch. I haven't been making with them but the idea has stayed with me. And then an actual use for such a thing cropped up in my life. 

I sifted through the vintage hankies I've been collecting to see what might work for a small pouch. I determined that I wanted something about 6" wide and 4" high when it was completed. I found one white hankie that had been embellished with a spray of embroidered blue flowers in one corner. Then I turned up a blue hankie that had raggedy edges and a couple of tiny holes. That was all I needed to get started.

 Here you can see how I used the corner of the white handkerchief and what's left of the blue one. I knew I wanted a pointed flap on my pouch so I arranged the floral spray to accent that triangle. You can also see that I used snippets of lace to fill in the plain blue areas. All of these components came to me second hand from various sources. 


 I used a number 12 perle cotton to seed stitch the blue areas that were left exposed after I'd applied the lace bits. There's no stitching in the printed areas of the hankie, except where I had to piece two halves together to get the length I wanted for my finished pouch. I used a variegated perle cotton to blanket stitch the floral spray in place. 


 And voila, my finished pouch! I used a button from my mother's button box and bit of braid I'd acquired somewhere along the way to wrap around the shank of the button to keep my pouch closed. 

I lined the pouch with a print I've had in my stash for heaven only knows how long. It felt like it could have been a design from the 1950's, which is my guess as to the age of the blue hankie. Plus, the colors worked. πŸ˜‰

 This is what my pouch looks like on the back now. I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out. It even came out to the size I intended.

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden, giving us an opportunity to share how we've used scrap materials (not just fabric) or repurposed something. You can see what everyone else has done by clicking on their names in the list below.

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