Sunday, January 28, 2024

January Round Up

I completed the scrappy Remixed Geese quilt top I began for Scrap Happy Day. You can see that post here. In the end I chose to keep working until I had the full set of geese called for in the original pattern. I didn't have to make very many more geese to get to 54" wide and 66" long.

 A few of the short seams between geese had to be taken out to simplify assembly of the top. I don't mind reverse sewing in cases like that. The next step will be to make a back for this one. 

On the slow stitching front I have kept up with Kathryn's weekly stitching prompts. So far, so good! You can see week one here and week two here. For week 3 the prompt was "diversity." Kathryn made tiny samples of kantha stitching, boro stitching, darning, and quilting. All over the world the same simple running stitch is used to create or preserve textiles. I chose to cut scraps from fabrics from around the world instead and secure them in place with that same simple stitch. I was delighted to find fabrics in my stash that represented textiles from all around the globe.  

Working from the upper left corner clockwise I have Australia, the UK and/or the USA, Africa, India, the Polynesian islands, Japan or China, and Guatemala. I sewed around a button (which I then removed) to get a circle started. The circles began concentric but evolved into a spiral. 

Kathryn presented week four as an exercise in randomness. It was also a way to use up narrow strips of fabric and leftover threads. A selection of strips went into a container from which we could pull blindly. The first strip was sewn on with large running stitches, essentially basting stitches. Then another strip was sewn on, pulled at random from the bag. We even tried to choose the threads from our ort piles at random. Once I had all my strips in place my square looked unfinished to me. I carried on using up leftover thread ends to cover my piece with stitches.

And for the Color Inspiration project... You can see what I made for the initial prompt in this post. I included subsequent prompts onto a single "page" for my little fabric book. First we were to use a complimentary color to the color we originally worked with and also add black and white. Then Annie tasked us with including a shape as well. I chose a triangle for my shape and cut them from a black and white print. At that point I couldn't see how to include a complimentary color. The black and white was all it appeared to need for contrast.

Finally Annie encouraged us to add texture to our work. I outlined the triangles with a black yarn couched in place. While I was digging through my small stash of yarns I came across a kinky purple yarn intended for doll hair. That purple was just about perfect as a compliment to the yellows I'd used. I dug out some beads in the same shade and couched the yarn in place with them. 

You probably can't see the beads in the photo, not very well at least. I stuck to smaller sizes to avoid adding extra bulk to my page. I also stitched triangles in the background areas with more yellow thread. 

And that pretty much wraps up January here in The Magpie's Nest. I do have a new quilt project underway but I'll save that for a post of its' own. 😊

Monday, January 15, 2024

Scrap Happy in January '24

 When I realized Scrap Happy Day was coming up I also realized I hadn't done any patchwork to speak of for a month or more. That's shocking in a way. Well, surprising at the very least. There's always plenty to work with around here though. The first thing that came to hand was a pile of scrappy flying geese. I'd been sewing them up between seams of other projects and just setting them aside. Up on the design wall they went, just to see if I had enough to do anything useful. 

Not enough - to my way of thinking anyway. But I knew there was also a pile of triangles cut ready to become geese. They just needed background triangles cut and sewn into place. The next day I had enough to really play with. I tried out a few traditional layouts and then remembered the Remixed Geese design.

I didn't have enough geese to follow the pattern exactly. The original design makes up into a 54" x 66" quilt top. I was short by more than a dozen flights of geese. I still had some triangles I could make up into geese...

After I make and insert one more flight of geese (to go into that lower left corner) the quilt top would finish at 54" x 60."  I may choose to stop it there. I understand that quilts for folks in wheelchairs prefer quilts on the smaller side. Even that may be too big to keep from getting caught in wheels or dragging on the floor. Heaven knows I have plenty of scraps I could cut up into more geese! Now that I've been motivated to sit at the sewing machine again maybe this will finish at the size indicated by the original pattern. 😁 I won't wait until the next Scrap Happy Day to finish it up though. One way or another, this quilt top will be completed soon. 

Scrap Happy Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. Participants span the globe, posting according to their own time zones. If you'd like some motivation for using up scrap materials hanging around in your nest leave a comment on either of their blogs. Theirs are the first two links in the list below. And then be inspired by what's being done to recycle, repurpose, or otherwise keep things out of landfills around the world. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Second Week of January '24

 So far, so good! I've managed to stay on schedule with the weekly prompts I've undertaken for the year. One may not be weekly, but has been so far. 

The second week of Kathryn's Weekly Slowstitch 2024 was a depiction of balance between light and dark.  A strip of a light fabric and one of dark overlaid with a circle cut from a third fabric. Then seed stitching and some couching. I didn't follow Kathryn's lead exactly. She used some twined cloth to create a light and dark frame around her circle. I chose to couch a black yarn with white embroidery floss.

Kathryn also did a double running stitch with a black thread and then a white one around the perimeter of her square. I don't especially enjoy running stitch so I simply blanket stitched the perimeter to hold the layers together more securely.

The other current weekly project is Annie Claxton's Color Inspiration project. I thought I would be making a case for my Iphone for the first prompt. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the dimensions. The phone wouldn't fit in what I ended up with. Now I'm planning to use the piece I made as a cover for a fabric book. I'm hoping I can respond to future prompts on fabric and have them become the pages in the book. 

The first prompt was to explore one color in any or all media of your choice. I chose yellow.

First I laid down various yellow prints and stitched over them with assorted shades of yellow threads. I was a little surprised that I gravitated to orange-yellows more than the lighter lemon yellow. On such a small project there wasn't room to include the full range of yellow I have in my stash. (I began with a strip of batting 4" x 14." You're only seeing half of that strip in the photo above.)

This project gave me an opportunity to use some items I've had in The Nest for some time. Things I didn't have a clue how or when I would use them but couldn't bear to part with. Like the plastic feather you see on what has become the cover for this eventual book. 😊

The label is from a man's silk tie I took apart years ago. I used running stitches, back stitch, and cross stitch on this side. Oh yes, there are two lines of herringbone on either side of the beaded trim too. 

More running stitches and cross stitches on the back along with some fly stitches around the pink polka dots. Managed to include some beads on this side too. 😁 

The next step for the Color Inspiration project is to create with a complimentary color scheme, include black and white and one shape. This should be interesting!

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Introduction to 2024

 I have to preface this post with the fact that my new year did not begin auspiciously. Subsequent days have been much better, thank goodness, so now I feel a bit better about the whole thing. πŸ˜‰

Faithful visitors may be surprised to learn that I have not been working on a quilt of any kind lately. Instead there's been more of the hand stitching that you've seen occasionally here. It's looking very much like there will continue to be more of that sort of thing. I've never been one for resolutions. New projects, group projects, stitch alongs, that sort of thing has more appeal for me. And there's no shortage of such things to be found on YouTube and elsewhere. (I confess, I've been spending a lot of time on YouTube.) I have a list of ladies who stitch that I'm following, and several of them have instigated projects I find tempting. I suspect that I will be picking and choosing from among their various prompts rather than adhering to one particular path or another. 

Having said that, there is one stitch along that I hope to participate in throughout the coming year. It's hosted by Tori at KoolKookyKreatures. It is not a demanding project, just one 4" x 6" textile postcard per month. She has created a prompt for each month already so I have a good idea what's coming up. I've already stitched my postcard for January:

The theme was "Cozy It Up." I chose to use flannel scraps and a couple of other fabrics that have the same velvety feel to make a replica of a cozy crazy quilt. A couple of books and a furry companion complete my scene. The orange and black plaid puts me in mind of a fire. The button is wooden, standing in for the log in a fireplace. 

Several of the stitchers I follow are planning to do some kind of slow stitching every week this year. This is where I expect to be picking and choosing among the opportunities presented. To begin the year I have done some fabric weaving per Kathryn's example. 

Once the weaving was done there had to be stitching and embellishing of course! 

And because of my chemical sensitivities I do not go into stores or most other public places anymore. Which means I spend a couple of hours a week sitting in the car while someone else does the shopping, etc. Sometimes I will have a book to read or some other diversion but often I use that time to do some random stitching. I've learned that I'm most comfortable stitching on small pieces held in my hands rather than on a hoop. I make sure I have a square of about 4" in a cute bag with my assortment of Sulky 12wt threads, a tiny needle book, and scissors when I know I'm going to be in the car for a time. 

Mostly I use the neurographic approach on these squares. I take my needle for a walk across the square and then fill in the areas with whatever feels good in the moment. 

On this piece I wanted to play with the pastel threads I've collected. I also put a scrap of batting under the purple fabric just to see how it would feel. I do like the squish you get with batting but in this case it made the chain stitches harder to accomplish in one movement, From now on I will probably stick to just two layers of cotton. In fact, I started a new square today:

This one will likely be all blanket stitches. Or nearly all anyway. This was inspired by Jo of peaceofpie studio

There will be patchwork in 2024, I'm sure, but for the time being I'm enjoying the gentle, quiet activity of pulling thread through fabric.