ScrapHappy September: Days Gone By – border progress

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Last time, I’d just begun creating the border blocks to go around the hexie centre.

Cutting, arranging and stitching these 12 inch blocks gets addictive. Cutting and arranging I can do at my Saturday morning Days for Girls sewing group, and it’s an opportunity to collect yet more DfG scraps to be incorporated (as if I needed any more, what with the 80L (20 gallon) storage tub of them I already have).


I got a bit carried away with the stitching bit the past few weeks, and here’s where I am now:

Two sides of the border completed, another under way, and you can see now how I intend to use it against the hexies. I need to finish the right hand side, and start the bottom border. The zig zag edge of the hexie panel will be hand stitched down onto the border squares and I’ll finally be able to release the last papers from the hexie edge. As always, you can click to enlarge the image.

Mouse has also been the delighted recipient of a scrappy project this week. On a recent fabric shopping trip, I picked up a very long skinny remainder of polar fleece, about 60cm wide by 2 metres long (24×80 inches). I had been trying to find him a Cuddlepillar, but without success. Due to the obsession greyhounds have with these plush toys, it’s virtually impossible to buy one. So I decided I’d make him some-thing he could play with in the same way. Success!  He spends hours ‘killing’ it, shaking it, dragging it about, and when he has finally vanquished it, lying on it! It’s just the long piece of polar fleece sewn into a tube and stuffed with two tragic flat old bed pillows which had been on the point of going in the dustbin, rolled into sausages. The fact that the fleece is printed with cats is purely incidental….

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date. We have two new members this month, Del and Nanette – Welcome, ladies!

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Del and Nanette

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Say hello to Corinna

She’s a bubbly blonde.

OK, she’s a sourdough starter, but she’s definitely got personality. She’s also the second of that name, Corinna #1 having been stored as dehydrated flakes too long before being reconstituted. I started Corinna #2 a week ago, with rye flour and filtered water in carefully measured proportions and left her to get to work in a cloth-covered glass jar. Why rye? Wholemeal, rye, spelt or other whole grain flours give your starter a better, well, start. After that initial boost, you feed her with ordinary plain/all-purpose flour (not bread flour) until she’s double her original size, very bubbly and ready to get to work.

Why Corinna you ask? (And even if you don’t, you’re going to be told, so there). I am a huge fan of Kerry Greenwood’s Earthly Delights series of books, about Corinna Chapman, bread baker extraordinaire and occasional sleuth, based in Melbourne. She is a woman of creative talent, dedication, compassion and comfortable build, and keeps a bucket of ‘mother of bread’ starter in her bakery, and I hope my (much blonder) Corinna is worthy of her example.

There are endless blogs out there on sourdough and how to make it, so that’s not happening here. Others have vastly more experience, better written posts and gorgeous photography. Here’s my favourite: Celia of Fig Jam & Lime Cordial has made the most amazing bread-baking resource available to us lesser mortals, and has enabled me to bypass some of the more common problems by taking her advice and following her recipes. She is a sourdough goddess!

Look what Corinna and I made today:

It’s leftover starter, flour, water, honey and salt. Alchemy! Or focaccia, as the rest of you know it, baked into a pizza base. I wanted to test how lively the starter was, and focaccia is quick and simple. And clearly, Corinna is more than ready for duty; the dough texture was perfect, and it was yummy and chewy except for the crispy outer crust, which was perfect and didn’t lacerate your mouth. There’s enough for dinner for us both, and lunch for us both tomorrow. Next step is a nice basic white loaf…

Now, out of my way! Fresh hot pizza calling!

“I like to cut”

Yup. So do I. But not that way.

Let me explain that very ambiguous introduction. Today, I went back to see the oncology surgeon, to tell him what I’ve decided to do about the pre-cancer lurking on the left side of my chest. We’re going to watch and wait, I told him. Okaaayyyy, he said. Hmmm, I thought. So I asked him if I had made the wrong decision. He told me I was asking the wrong person. “I’m a surgeon”, he said, “I like to cut”. He went on: at this stage of the Little Bugger’s development, it didn’t really matter either way. We were going to nip it in the bud now… or later. I was OK to wait. We’ll do another MRI in 6 months, and then again every year. I have a history of ‘invisible’ tumours, and it needs to be an MRI or it might not show up till too late. I went away as happy as a person can be with a very gently ticking potential bombshell on her person.

I laughed about his “I like to cut” all the way home. His candour tickled me as much as his expectation that I would get the joke. And seriously, I like to cut too. I’m a quilter, it’s all about the cutting. But it made me think about my cutting collection.

This is just a selection. (The one on the right, with a scabbard, is a handmade and signed blade.) I also have pinking shears and an extremely hi-tech pair of secateurs, plus all my ‘bad’ scissors, the ones I allow the Husband to use. Then there’s the kitchen knives. It’s probably best not to let me get started on those. I keep the number of an excellent mobile sharpening service in my phone – he comes to you and you bring out your blunt, burred, nicked and notched, and the lovely Dave restores them to shiny vorpalness. You see? I am a cutting tragic. I’m sure there are others out there who have more, but for a stout, middle-aged quilter there’s quite a lot of unnecessary redundancy there…

I have never minded the initial stage of a quilt, where you stand at your cutting table and with a new blade in your cutter and freshly pressed fabric, you turn meterage into magic. Measure twice, cut once?  No, no, no! Measure twice, and cut and cut and cut… crisp, tidy shapes that come together to create something more than the sum of its parts.

Yes, I like to cut 🙂

It’s mostly good

To all of you out there who’ve been so supportive this past week.

I got my MRI results yesterday after 8 days of extremely anxious waiting. It’s mostly good. I have DCIS: precancerous areas that need careful and regular watching because of my previous history, but the bad stuff is not back, nothing is too urgent and I can breathe again. I was offered surgery for peace of mind, but I think I’m probably going to turn it down.

I have to weigh the significant risks of autologous reconstructive surgery against the risk of monitoring and only acting in response to a change of status. I’d rather save the risks for when I need to act, rather than acting before it’s absolutely necessary. DCIS is in itself not particularly dangerous, it sits there quietly just being ‘changed cells’ until one day it tips over into something else and becomes invasive. If we’re watching for it, we’ll see it start to grow and that’s when I’ll pounce! I’ll have to have that surgery one day. Just not yet. And that level of uncertainty is one I can live with, versus the level I’ve been enduring the last 8 days, which was not knowing if what they’d found was already invasive and probably metastatic, in which case my long-term chances were not nearly so good, and much more aggressive treatment would be needed.

I see the surgeon again on Monday to give him my decision, and then it’s 6-monthly MRIs for some time while we see if the thing decides to kick off and start growing.

I can live with that. It’s mostly good.

Sugar sprinkles 3: finished pillows

All this waiting has been very good for my To Do pile….

I have reached the worktable surface! These two Sugar Sprinkles pillow cases were at the bottom, waiting for the backs to be attached and the binding sewn on.

And here they are. The Husband’s (left) has blue floral back and binding, and mine (right) has pink floral back and binding. It’s the same print, just different colourways.

They are housewife-style pillowcases, which I’ve made with a very deep tuck-over panel inside to ensure the pillow filling doesn’t creep out when it’s compressed.

So that’s it for Sugar Sprinkles until such time as I actually receive all my F2F blocks, which will form the two individual quilts I want for our armchairs. It could be months, so I thought getting these two ready was a way of keeping this project alive.

Until then, Sugar Sprinkles is some pretty eye-candy 🙂

F2F5: August round-up

And here we are, it’s September again.

Down Under, tomorrow is the first day of Spring. For the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter, the nights longer and winter is once again on the horizon.

In the gallery, we have most of this month’s blocks on show, with two sets still to come. As always, once I have them, I’ll add them to the gallery as they come in.

August was my month! I asked for blocks pale to mid grey, white, and a bright or mixture of a free choice brights except not yellow. If you’re interested, you can see my colour references if you go to the Members & Their Colours page on the F²F blog, together with the block photos received to date in the gallery – they’re gorgeous!

September is Edith’s month. Again, you can see her colour references on the Members & Their Colours page (link above). She’s asked for tonals and prints in black and white, with primary and jewel colours, no pastels. I’m pretty sure I still have plenty of colour to work with from my own month, but I’ll need to shop for black & white, I think…

If you’re new to this blog and don’t know anything about F²F, do head over to the dedicated F²F blog and read all about it. The first ever session can be found on this blog, but for subsequent years I set F²F up with its own blog due to the image-heavy nature of the work. You’ll find a rich, varied and vibrant source of inspiration in all the blocks shown in the galleries for the various years. Enjoy!

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I am potentially facing some health challenges in the coming months. I trust and hope these will not interfere with the smooth running of F²F, but in the event that I need a time out, I may ask one of the F²F members to take over monitoring progress and rounding up the month’s work. Either way, I do not propose that my issues should be allowed interfere with anyone else’s enjoyment of this block swap.

I’m looking forward to seeing the vivid blocks that Edith’s choices will produce.

BM&I #48: Parterre block 15

Finally, Block 15, after missing Bee, Myself and I completely last month.

Blues, for a change. It’s quite a striking block, combining as it does not one but two high-impact prints. The one on the left is from a quilt I made at least 12 years ago, and may be the last significant piece of that fabric I have left. No scraps left behind in this household…

Here’s Block 15 of the Parterre quilt:

 Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

Until next time…

Verité #3

Last one, I think.

I felt that a quieter block was also needed, and that I already had sufficient hot bright colours. This pale green, white and grey with just a bit of orange and blue seemed to fit the bill, and incidentally, the colours all came from scraps. I don’t know the ‘proper’ name for the block, as I drew it up from something I saw somewhere a while ago. If anyone knows, do let me know.

That’s six blocks for my F2F collection, and if they don’t provide enough direction for what I’m hoping for from the other F2F participants, I don’t know what will!

I’ll be putting all of them up in the gallery now. Today has been a bit trying and I’m going to give myself a day off sewing tomorrow. Time to have a mental health day, give the dog a long walk, read a new book, eat some more chocolate and encourage the hours to pass a little faster than they have just recently.

What do you to do make time pass quickly?

Verité #2

And here’s the next one.

This is the Arkansas Traveller block. I made the diamond centres first, and then used them as a single piece when I paper pieced the rest. I love how it turned out 🙂

Don’t you love how it looks like juicy orange segments? I think there may be one more, and then I’ll stop till it’s finally time for the whole F2F group to send out their blocks. Verité will sleep peacefully till then…

Meanwhile, I have other things on my mind. And chocolate to eat.

Wish me luck for tomorrow’s gadolinium injection and MRI 😦


I have a name now for this quilt-to-be.

“Le gris est la couleur de la Vérité(Grey is the colour of Truth): Andre Gide

For me, it’s also the colour of order, good sense and moderation. It complements and controls all that lavish colour. There’s a lot of grey in the world, but thankfully for those of us addicted to colour, there’s also a lot of that. Both are necessary, just as sadness is necessary to show what joy looks like.

Today’s block is Circle of Geese, but I have turned it into a spinning windmill by using a different shade of grey in the centre. It’s one of my very favourite blocks, and is a perfect example of why I love foundation paper piecing!

Tomorrow, I hope to have my Arkansas Traveller block ready.