Thursday, February 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in February

My loosely defined goal for 2018 is to bust some stash. Specifically the older yardage. For the last couple of years it has been about the smaller scraps. This year - so far anyway - it's about the bigger pieces.

After the rapid success I had with some of my Halloween prints I looked at my other stacks of novelty prints with the Disappearing 9 Patch pattern in mind. It didn't take long to see that there were enough food prints for whole quilt.

Not quite soup to nuts, but definitely veggies to desert!

There are cheeses in the upper left of this block and mice nibbling on cheese in the lower right. Of course, once I quartered the blocks it didn't really matter anymore.

I cut pairs of most of the prints and four each of a handful of them. The biggest challenge in laying them out on the design wall was keeping distance between the more frequent prints. Very little tweaking was involved when all was said and done.

Next up was the border. I thought this would be fun...

Pink sprinkles for a narrow inner border and then the large-scale deserts. That gave the quilt top a distinctly feminine look however. Since this will be donated for a child in foster care I wanted to keep it as gender neutral as possible. I opted for a print with a black background and red lips scattered all over it instead. I really like the way it ties all the other blacks together.

I still have some food prints leftover but there's definitely been a dent made in the stack. If I keep this up I figure eventually there will be a Disappearing 9 Patch with a wide variety of novelty print patches. 😀

Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia has a list of other bloggers who are using scraps in fun ways. Hop on over for a bucketful of inspiration!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

SAL in February

It's been three weeks since our last stitch along check-in. I have no trouble believing that, I just wish I had more to show! I've been distracted with quilt projects and didn't even get started on the latest caravan for my Sketchbook Project until yesterday.

I've been wanting to use this particular silhouette ever since the beginning but I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Last month Kate made some suggestions for future trailers; one of them was a perfect fit. First though, I had to reduce the design from the original, more than once.

The larger image on the bottom is the original. The little guy at the top is the one I traced off. I'm having to keep these stitcheries within a 4" x 6" format. Here's what I have so far:

Can you guess what it's going to be? The colors in the photo are not quite right - of course. The foundation fabric is a light green, the outline so far is a combination of two different gray-purple hand dyed flosses, and the window and door will eventually be that warm yellow. There may not be room for a lot of detail on this caravan but we'll see. 😉

The stitchers in this group span the globe. Most will probably have updated their blogs by the time mine goes live. There's all sorts of needlework taking place in this SAL. I hope to take the whole tour this time; last month I was too ill to pull it off. We're welcoming a new member this month, Sunny, so be sure to stop by her blog!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Year in Stitches Update

We have a stitch along (SAL) check in coming up on Sunday, 11 Feb. I need to begin a new travel trailer for my Sketchbook Project between now and then so I have something to show. 😉 In the meantime, I thought I'd share my progress on my Year in Stitches sampler project.

The Year in Stitches is a group on Facebook. You're free to embroider anything you want. It was begun over a year ago with the intention of encouraging participants to stitch every day (or every other day or every couple of days in my case). Some of the participants are in their second year, others of us have only just joined. I thought it would be a perfect way to try out new-to-me stitches and for indulging in the hand dyed flosses I've been buying from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.

Isn't this a delicious box of color?!
My year in stitches sampler is going to be a series of "pages" that I hope to assemble into a book format eventually. The pages will be about 6" square when finished. I started the first one on a length of muslin that I'd already used for practice stitching. I'm hoping I'll be able to separate it cleanly when the time comes.

You can see that I divided that 6" block into nine little 2" squares. For the next page I drew a 4" square and surrounded it with a one inch frame.

Can you see the faint pencil lines? I've started to outline of the overall square with leftover pieces of floss. That's why you see partial lines along the left side and bottom.

One way or another I plan to number each page. Obviously I went for a simple treatment this time! I wish you could see the variation in the colors. The number two and the embellishments in the herringbone border are actually two different hues. They look the same to me in the photos though.

There's lovely variation in some of the strands of floss too. That green under the butterfly turns to rust in places. Just yummy!

On the quilting front, the Halloween Disappearing 9 Patch (see previous post) has a back now. We're just waiting for batting. I've begun another D9P, and have a third one in the wings. I've never been a big fan of nine patch blocks but I'm sure getting mileage out of this particular variation!

Friday, February 2, 2018

First Flimsy of the New Year!

I had no idea my Halloween Disappearing 9 Patch would come together so quickly. No wonder it was such a popular design to make a few years ago. (That's me, always late to the party!)

I started out with the 9 Patch blocks I'd made with 5" squares.

Those blocks were cut into quarters, once vertically and once horizontally right through the center. That turns the center patches (black, in this case) into smaller squares and the light alternate patches into the equivalent of sashing (at least to my eyes).

The quarters were arranged on the design wall - which didn't require as much tweaking as I thought it might. I did swap out one focal patch for a different print though.

There were a couple of options for an outer border, both directional prints. That meant I had to have enough yardage to make cuts across the width of the fabric and also along the length. I liked the orange pumpkin patch the best. 😊

In an ideal world I would have included a narrow frame or flat piping of black before sewing on the pumpkin border print.

My world is far from ideal however, and the goal was to use up fabric, not make a show quilt! All I have to do now is come up with a back for this little item (it's about 60" x 73") and then hand it over for quilting. The long arm has been out of commission for a couple of months but has now been serviced and is ready to get back to work. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Bee, Myself & I in January

I've been missing the little bead embroidered pieces I used to do each month for the Bead Journal Project. For my Bee, Myself & I projects in 2018 I've decided to resurrect that effort. Bee, Myself and I is a forum for selfish sewing: anything that is purely for pleasure, not for a cause or charity, and with no other end point than what I determine. Carla over at Granny Maud's Girl was the inspired maker who started the effort. 😊

The focus of the BJP was to use beads in an intuitive way. I want to return to using my beads (and sequins and charms!) but I want to expand the parameters of these little projects - the operative word being 'little'.

We were encouraged to choose a size and format to stick to throughout the duration of each year of the BJP. One year I used a diamond shape...

And another year I made ATC's:

I've decided that this year I will allow myself to use whatever shape or size feels right at the time. To that end, one day this month I pulled out the empty holiday popcorn tin where I toss my small batik scraps and just started piecing.

This is what I ended up with:

The heart shape was the one that spoke to me the loudest.

I did the feather stitching first, using some of Nancy's hand dyed flosses (of course). Then I seed stitched the yellow patch, and then added the beads and sequins.


The green patch in the upper right has had a couple different treatments, both of which have since been removed because I wasn't happy with them. I may end up facing and turning this before I make a final decision about how to handle that. As it is, I'm probably going to have some trouble with that process. I wasn't thinking about seam allowances when I began embellishing. I've toyed with the idea of appliqueing the heart to some other foundation, which might alleviate the seam allowance issue, but haven't entirely made up my mind yet. I'm giving myself permission to leave it as it is for the time being. As far as I'm concerned, I've fulfilled the parameters of my Bee sewing even if I don't have a finished product. Besides, I got distracted by Halloween prints! 😉