ScrapHappy December

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.

It’s been a very busy month, and my output of hexie flowers from the scraps generated by Days for Girls hasn’t been terribly impressive. I tell myself it’s the use of scraps, not how much you do that’s the key thing. This lot is the output, and six of those were made by someone on the DfG team.

Here’s the line up:

We now have quite a few hexie flowers, and I’ve made a bunch of black hexies to go between them, so I think for the foreseeable future I need to concentrate on joining them, or I’ll end up with buckets of flowers and a monumental task! Just to remind you, it’s a memory quilt, composed of fragments of the fabrics the sewing team has turned into the Days for Girls kits.

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 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).

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen and Connie

See you again, same time next month!

Update:

Here’s a lovely scrappy contribution from Margaret, who doesn’t have a blog so I’m featuring her work here. She’s made the most beautiful file cover – I’m quite envious. Click on the image to see a larger version.

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‘Tis the season…

…. to get blowy.

And sure enough, here comes Severe Tropical Cyclone Owen. He’s not as big or as slow as TC Debbie, but he’s a bad boy, and just for a change, he’s projected to take an unusual path from west to east rather than the more normal east to west.

Currently he’s crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria, heading for Far North Queensland’s west coast. Once over land, he’s forecast to track south west over land, down the east coast of the state, hitting Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton, losing power as he goes.

We’re watching things very carefully, to see what actually happens. Things can change quickly, and while heavy rain and strong, destructive winds are inevitable in some form, it can all pivot on a direction change of just a few degrees. We have a plan of escape if things start getting nasty, stuff on the lower levels of the house is stored on shelves or in plastic tubs, and at the end of the day, we have insurance.

Meanwhile, I’m spending some quality time with the sewing machine, to see if I can get Go Teal it on the Mountain finished. It stops me compulsively flicking through the TV weather forecasts and constantly checking the Bureau of Meteorology updates online.

…. deck the halls with dripping rainwear, falalalala lalala

In the Arms of the Angels

A new and very different Ovarian Cancer quilt

This quilt has been in the pipeline for a couple of months. Originally, the delivery date was in April, which was tight, but not ridiculous. I have now been given an insanely short deadline for this quilt. It must be ready to photograph by 22nd March 2019, in order to feature in the program for the Twilight Dinner which is to launch the Trudy Crowley Foundation, and to be available for auction at that event on 30th March. This design has been approved and I cannot now go back and redesign it into something simpler. Even if I could, I wouldn’t want to; this is my tribute and farewell to Trudy Crowley, a magnificent woman and wonderful human being.

Between now and then, I have to finish Go Teal it on the Mountain, I have other sewing commitments (F2F, etc), I have a 5-day trip to Melbourne in early February, there’s Christmas, and we’re moving house at the end of February. However, I really want to achieve this in order to do justice to the amazing work Trudy started and which the Foundation has been created to continue. My original plan was to make this quilt myself, but that is very clearly impossible now. So, I am reaching out for help from the quilting community, and I know you will not fail me.

Here’s the design, and below it, a list of what is needed.

Note: the cross in each block indicates whether it’s a square or rectangle, it’s not a design for the block

Background: 3 squares across x 4 squares high = 12 x 12½” blocks

  • All fabrics very pale pastel shades of teal, turquoise, sky blue, cream, stone
  • Blocks can be simple chequerboards, 9-patch, HSTs, etc, but any design or pattern is not to jump out or have any strong contrast – this is the ‘wall of heaven’, and is background only.
  • The background needs to be quilted and assembled before the rest of the quilt is built around it. Blocks will be stitched together directly, and the whole panel will be sandwiched and quilted as one piece. Other elements will then be appliquéd to it, and the borders added last by joining strips.
  • NOTE: some of the squares will be covered or partially covered by the wings. Until I have all the background blocks, I will not know what is going where. If your blocks are covered this is not a sign that I don’t like what you’ve made, it’s simply how the background came together to achieve the best overall effect.

Border: 5 blocks across x 5 blocks high, as follows: 6 x 12½” blocks, 6 x 10½” cornerstones, 4 x 12½” x 18½” rectangular blocks

  • Of these, 14 are plain and 6 are cornerstones: shoe, shell, glass, heart, ribbon, logo.
  • Border squares are to be dark shades of teal, greenish blue, bluish green, etc.
  • Cornerstone blocks are to be finished at 10½” square; a border will be added when they are joined to other blocks.
  • Border blocks can be simple squares, HSTs, etc, but the pattern is not to jump out, it is to be a ‘mosaic’ frame around our view through the window into heaven.
  • The cornerstones should be executed in shades of teal, greenish blue, bluish green, etc, on backgrounds of warm cream, stone, caramel, etc, either plain or small prints that read as gentle texture.
  • This border needs to be quilted and assembled in sections before being attached to the rest of the quilt.
  • Cornerstones will be sandwiched and quilted separately, and then attached to the other parts. The long strips will then be added to the completed centre panel, top and bottom first, and then the long side panels with the integrated cornerstones.

Wings:

  • These will be partially appliquéd and partially 3D off the background.
  • They will be executed in warm cream, stone and caramel with accents of teal, greenish blue and gold.
  • They will be created and quilted separately before application to the background.

Other elements:

  • There is a ‘peg’, an L plate, and a lettered banner. The peg is appliquéd, the L plate is pieced and 3D
  • The banner ideally needs machine embroidery, but may end up being hand lettered if I can’t get this organised (unless I can get the Committee to cough up for it…) Once lettered, it will be a 3D piece appliquéd to the background.

A big thank you to all those who have offered their help. Below, please see a list of names and the work I have tentatively assigned to you, based on my knowledge of your strengths.

Kate Chiconi: logo cornerstone, wings, banner, quilting, assembly
Lynn Hutton: Shoe & Glass paper pieced cornerstones (patterns will be supplied)
Robin Murphy: background/border
Margaret Creek: Scallop shell appliqué cornerstone/background/ border
Tracy Pursley: Ribbon appliqué cornerstone/background/border (TBC)
Sue Brown: Scrappy Heart pieced cornerstone/background/border

Update:
Jenny Ladbrooke: background/border

Please let me know if you cannot do what I am suggesting, if you feel able to take on some more, or if you’re not on the list but would like to be. The more help we have, the better our chances of getting it completed in time.

The impossible we can achieve tomorrow. Miracles take a little longer….

 

 

Go Teal it on the Mountain #20: quilting done

It was pouring with rain today.

That meant I had a clear run at getting the quilting finished, and it’s done. I really like this chevron effect, which is so right with the pointy mountain peaks, plus it feels lovely and ripply under my hand without being at all stiff.

It’s not totally in focus, but to get the whole thing in shot I was balancing on one leg while leaning across my sewing table…

I’ve also had a couple of goes at arriving at a final layout. I like how this is looking, but I’m almost too close to it now, so if anyone feels there’s something out of place or which jumps out at their eye, please let me know. As always, I’m grateful for your comments but may not act on them if I don’t quite agree…

I have to put this aside for a few days now, as I have F²F³ blocks to work on and get out well before Christmas. I’ll probably trim the blocks out first, though. Next time you see it, I hope to have made a start on joining them up.

It’s gloomy, wet and windy out there, so the Husband has set out to forage for pizza!

Effort and reward

Yesterday, we got a Tardis pothole.

By this, I mean it looked small and innocuous but was e.n.o.r.m.o.u.s underneath. The visible hole was about the size of my head. The erosion underneath was the size of a big truck tyre. The cause was erosion from below, where water flow over time had eaten away the rocks and road base surrounding the two huge concrete pipes that form the span of the causeway bridge over the flood drain at the front of our property. Suffice to say that we needed quick-set concrete, chicken wire reinforcement, rocks and crushed concrete roadbase to fix it. There was grovelling on our stomachs in the dirt, and digging, and getting wet and muddy, and shovelling rocks, and yes, you guessed it, a sore back. It was urgent, though, as the causeway bridge is our only way in and out of the property. We’re due a big blow and very wet weather tonight and tomorrow thanks to the former Tropical Cyclone Owen weather system, so we couldn’t leave it or we might have lost the whole bridge from more erosion as the drain fills and flows faster. But we got it done this morning, and we’ve made a good job of it.

And then after that, there was quilting another row of blocks on Go Teal it on the Mountain. I’m really loving how the quilting looks on all those beautiful mountain blocks. Once I’ve sandwiched the front, batting and backing together, I just put my 60° triangular ruler onto the block, apex at the centre top, and draw a single line bottom left to centre top and down again to bottom right. I quilt that in, and then all subsequent lines are done by running the edge of the walking foot 3/8 inch from the previous line. No measuring, no marking. Quick and easy.

And our reward for all this effort?

Steak for dinner, and these babies. Not my most elegant baking result, but the taste is what matters, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m going to get a lot of satisfaction driving over our bridge in future, knowing it’s full of rocks and concrete we put there ourselves, and is nice and solid 🙂

Go Teal it on the Mountain #19: peaceful and dreaming…

I’m making progress, even if it’s a bit invisible.

The top 15 blocks are all quilted. One more still to make…

Behind the scenes, while I show you the blocks that come in or the blocks I make for this quilt, I’m busily quilting. One of the joys and benefits of the QAYG (quilt as you go) method is that I don’t have to wait till I have all the blocks, then sew them together, assemble the quilt sandwich, laboriously quilt the huge thing and finally bind it all. This way, I can quilt each block individually and in no particular order, and wait till the last moment to quilt the last block and decide on the layout. I’m half done already! The blocks are not arranged in their final layout, but I do like all the moon/mountain blocks running down the centre, so that may stay.

Today I received the last two blocks on their way to me. This one is by Jenny of The Lilac Cat, and is a beautiful, peaceful scene of mountains rolling into the distance. I love the fabrics she’s used: the big circles in the sky, like clouds, and the scattering of tiny flowers on the ‘grass’ in the foreground. Just lovely!

And this one is Nanette’s third contribution, which she says “calls itself River Dreaming”. In the note that came with it, she says “I wanted to portray the mountain and river being connected and interdependent…. I wanted the look of a silhouette; at certain times of day, the mountain looks like a cardboard cutout against the sky…”. Beautiful work once again, Nanette. If you click on the link, it’ll take you to her blog post about making all three of her mountain blocks, and some of the photos will blow you away!

I must still make the teal ribbon block for the centre of the bottom row. It’s one I make every time, for every quilt, and I have my template and the process down pat. I was going to try something different this time, but I think I’ll leave that for another time, when I have time for more experimental construction. There’s still a fair bit to do; just the cutting of the joining strips can take hours, and the assembly is no picnic, but once all the blocks are in and quilted, the layout will click into place and I can just plug along methodically.

Soon, I’ll be in a position to tell you about the next project. It’s not one of our scheduled Ovarian Cancer jobs, but I need to get it ready in a big hurry for an event where they’re going to auction it. Originally I was going to do this one myself, but I’m going to need your help. There’s basic piecing, there’s fairly tricky paper piecing, there could be some appliqué, and there’s a central section I’ll be working on myself. Oh, and if anyone has a sewing machine that can do embroidered letters, and you’re willing to help, can you let me know? I need a small fabric banner with some lettering on it for the quilt design and if I can’t source some help for the embroidery, I’ll have to do it by hand, which will take time I don’t have 😦

Time to sandwich some more of your blocks. I enjoy this bit, even if it does give me sticky fingers!

Go Teal it on the Mountain #18: the saw-tooth mountain

This is Montserrat, in Catalunya, north of Spain.

Between 1985 and 2004, I flew over this mountain every time I went to visit my father. My mother died in 1984 and after her death my father went to live in Catalunya, northern Spain, an area now striving for independence from Spain. The rest of the world knows it as Catalonia, but the locals call it Catalunya, and as a near-local, so do I. My father returned to the UK this year aged 95, no longer able to be independent, but for 23 years, that mountain was the gateway to my father’s home, and seeing it from the plane was the signal that I was nearly there.

It’s an unusual formation, and without making a much larger block it’s hard to do the mountain justice, but if you’re interested, take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about it.

Montserrat means ‘saw-tooth mountain’ in Català (Catalan), and the name suits it. I’m a little sad that I’ll never see it again in real life; Pa no longer lives there and I’m no longer able to make the long flight back to Europe because of my back. This is the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to it.

Adéu, muntanya  🙂