Monday, May 30, 2016

Blocks or border?

Need input.

I've been mindlessly making these and am not sure what I want to do with them?

Table runner, assembling as shown? Separate out the greenish blue blocks?

Save them to use in a border?
Put in alternating white squares?
Build out another ring of triangles around each block so its a square in a square in a square?
 Other ideas-leave a comment!

For now, I'll just keep making them, because I don't have the oomph to do anything more complicated!

Been busy


Life is still a little hectic here, but I am crafting in between everything else.

Finished a tatted bookmark this morning. This is probably the last skill-builder I will do in single shuttle before I do more tatting off the ball.

I have an altoids tin full of tatting mistakes or mis-shaped motifs. I call it my tatting graveyard. Can't throw them away, but can't figure out how to use them. Well, at a quilting group, I pawed through a bag of someone else's cast off scraps and orphan blocks, and came home with this block, which I have tried to embellish in a crazy quilt way, incorporating a few bits from the graveyard tin.

I used machine embroidery, tatted pieces, ribbon embroidery and hand embroidery and spent an afternoon relaxing with this. A couple of notes for the future:

  1. The ribbon embroidery will look better if I add that earlier in the process. There was a backing foundation fabric on the block when I got it, and I added batting and second backing. It really tortured the ribbon when I pulled it through all those layers.
  2. While the crazy quilt idea was a good use for the tatted mistakes, I think it would work better with fabrics that are less busy than these thirties prints, so I will make up some squares like that next.  
  3. I really need to recover my former skill level with hand embroidery at least, and improve it from there. 
So many crafts, so little time, huh?

If you haven't tried tatting, it is a great take-along project. I can fit a small plastic shuttle, a small ball of tatting cotton, the tatted work, and very small scissors into a large tic-tac container like this one.
Image result for Tic tac large

When tatting off the ball, I put the ball in the container, close the lid, and it is much less fiddly for me than wrapping thread through all my fingers. I can maintain tension on the working thread better, and with a fine thread, it slides through the closure on the container without much effort or any damage to the thread. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Therapeutic Piecing Continues

As life slowly returns to normal, I'm still low on energy for major projects, so I am spending my sewing time churning out small scrappy blocks.

Today's progress, more Wild and Goosey segments:

And assembling some 3.5" string blocks into 6.5" units

What these two piles will become in the end is a mystery at this point, but seeing the stacks of little blocks grow makes me feel like I am accomplishing something.

I made it around my full walking route today. Did not get a shot of the only deer who peeked at us from what is now a very green underbrush in the woods, but saw a bunny and two owls. Sorry for the fuzzy phone photos.
This first owl is on that same branch every morning, and has been there for at least the last two springs, so he is an old friend.
Further down the trail, we saw this one, whose feathers were darker brown, so I don't know if they are male/female colorings, or two different owl species. I know we have several types of owls around here, because when we first moved in, we went to a few nighttime owl walks at the nature center, and learned about them. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Serenity Now!

I chugged out four more goosey blocks today, and three more totally scrappy string blocks.  But I really needed a dose of calm, so I proof of concept tested 3.5" square in square blocks, in soothing blue and white.

  1. Cut the center squares 2 5/8"
  2. For the triangles cut two squares anywhere from 2 3/8 to 2 5/8" and slice once on the diagonal.
  3. Finger press creases down the center of the white squares and line up the points of your triangles with the creases. sew and flip.

To trim them to 3.5":

  1. Line up the 1 3/4" line of your ruler from corner to corner on the white square. Trim one side and rotate 180 degrees.
  2. Trim the opposite side after lining up the 1 3/4" line point to point again. Your 3.5" line should line up on the edge you just cut.
  3. Rotate your block 90 degrees and repeat the trimming process. 
You should now have a 3.5" square block with quarter inch seam allowances. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Scrappy rules?

Made more mini blocks from the scrapsplosion yesterday, will do more of the same this afternoon. Here is yesterday's progress.
And this made me laugh, reminded me of when my kids complained about the Canadian Geese droppings all over the middle school playing fields. I call this my "goose droppings" from the wild and goosey blocks:

Because I needed some mindless fun, I did the totally scrappy, no rules approach. But I am ready to admit that I have a problem. Most of my older scraps are colors and prints that I call murky. Burgundy, gold, navy, those dusty blues and pinks from the eighties (UGH) and a lot of neutrals with a decidedly tea-stained look to them. I can deal with this to some extent by pepping them up with bright yellow, orange and purple, but it's not sitting well with me.

So, I may switch off and do something else where it's "themed scrappy" such as all blues, all greens, or all purples with the contrast of a different color peppered in here and there. I did scrappy green in this quilt, and I was really happy with how it looked.

If I had to summarize the rules, it would be like this:

Main color with a value spread from light to dark, and a range of hues. If it's a secondary color, you can vary towards both of the primaries that make it up. In this quilt, for example, the greens included both blue greens and yellow greens.

Color splashes can be the complementary color, or not, and it still seemed to work. In this quilt, the color splashes were within the individual fabrics used for piecing.

How about you, if you are a scrap quilter? Are you a no rules scrapper, or do you prefer to be a limited palette scrapper?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Back on track!

Well, they weren't in the little blue basket, but in one of my trusty take-out trays. Back in the working days, when conference calls ran late and ruined any chance of a decent dinner, there was a lot of chinese take-out going on around here. We always re-purposed
the containers, because they stack well and can be used in drawers, on shelves etc. So, there were my foundation papers, in the bottom tray of one of the stacks I had overlooked earlier. Now they are all together and back in......the little blue plastic basket. Found so much other stuff while putting the quiltorium partially back in order. I love finding stuff I forgot I even had, how about you?

A Wild Goose Chase, and then some progress

Today was the first day in weeks that I actually accomplished even a few things on my various task lists. First a long walk where we saw the lame doe and the little lame deer. They always seem to be together. We wonder if they are mother and child or just companions who can't quite keep up with the rest of the herd. It is amazing to see how fast they can move when they need to, though.

Then a few household chores actually were completed.  After lunch I fired up the serger and converted a dress whose bodice I don't like into a skirt. I liked the fabric too much to just toss the dress in the donation pile. I still need to downsize the clutter in my closet and get rid of things I haven't worn in years. I also quickly serged the edge of a piece of flannel to donate as a receiving blanket when I finish up the stuff for Bella's Babies.

Then, I tried to figure out something to sit and sew that wouldn't be too taxing. I wanted to make some wild and goosey blocks. I made eight of them pre-retirement, and made them into a tablerunner, seen here by my TV watching chair.

It's a good project for when I'm tired, because I can setup my small cutting/pressing mat and my travel iron right next to my machine, open a bin of scraps and not have to get up to go to the ironing board or cutting table. Each piece that is added requires pressing and trimming, so I suppose a day of piecing these would really rack up the fitbit steps if I didn't do it all at one workstation.

BIG PROBLEM: I knew I had a stack of the foundation papers for this block printed out and cut, ready to sew......someplace. Could not find them on any of my shelves in the quiltorium. Searched on my desk, and the shelves above my desk. Nope. That was my wild goose chase. I finally broke down and printed some more. I looked in my folder of paper piecing projects, they are not there. I can even picture them in my mind, in a little blue plastic basket....but I just can't find them.

I also pieced some mini string blocks, from strips and strings that I had not yet stashed in the individual string color bins.

So, here's what I accomplished before dinner. I have an interesting idea brewing for the string blocks, maybe.....sort of a weird miniature version of the old schlep bag pattern, which is very similar in shape to the Mondo bags that are so popular.
Well, I"m off to try to find those foundation papers, or maybe piece some more blocks.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My most embarrassing UFO

I'm shaming myself here. I actually got this far on a Dear Jane quilt and it's been abandoned in a bin for many years. I was able to find a photo of the center out on the internet, because the original picture was taken several laptops and digital cameras ago, before cloud storage accounts!
The triangles defeated me, but I really think I'm going to have to make time to focus and finish this one. At one point, I bought a nice border fabric for it, thinking I would do it without the triangles. But doing that scalloped border on Allietare this winter made me think I should just buckle down.

That's not to say I will use all of Jane Stickle's patterns for the triangles....I may draft a few of my own.

But first, I need life to calm down and to finish off a few other things. Not allowing myself to start anything new for a while. 

So, true confessions time, do you have any ufo that can surpass my embarrassment with this one?

Monday, May 09, 2016

Stop the Insanity!

First, a note of apology for my blogging hiatus. My elderly mom is in the hospital about 2 hours away from me so it's been a lot of worry and trips back and forth. She seems to be on the mend though.

When I have been actually composed enough to tend to my crafty adventures I am feeling a bit stuck.  I believe that I have given free rein to my dabbling and wandering attention span for too long recently, and it's turned out to be a bad thing. I am too distracted, and everything is so jumbled up I can't seem to make adequate progress on anything.

My chairside table looks like this:
I managed to slay some of the clutter in the sewing room this weekend. Being a mostly scrappy kind of quilter makes it easy for me to bury all work surfaces under a scrapsplosion of strips, FQs, crumbs and whatnot.

I focused in on something relatively small and made a few swap blocks for a retreat I hope to attend this summer.

These are 12" blocks. In general, I think ultrascrappy color schemes please me better on smaller blocks. So if I make more, I will try to limit the palette a bit.

It's time to exert some discipline. Happy to say I moved things forward a bit just by making a mini-list of goals.

I thought it best to pick a few do-able goals and resist my urge to go into spreadsheet tracking mode--because I might get overwhelmed at the magnitude of the list.

I'd like to finish up and mail off my donations to Bella's Babies this week, since I have a good shot at getting that done.  Not sure that I will get near my serger to finish up the fleece blanket edges though. I should push on that.

I'm trying to finish off my larger hexie project, at least to finish piecing it this week. I think I only have a few hours left.  It's not working out to be a great TV project because my eyes won't focus on close work and see the TV at the same time. That's why you see a profusion of little crochet items on my chairside table, above.

Well, enough of that, I need to get moving today.