ScrapHappy July: back to Days Gone By

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.

Because it’s for a good cause, I’ve gone back to Days Gone By, the scrappy hexie quilt I’m making for Days for Girls. It was fun spending some quality time with Anemone, but as that’s one’s for me, it would be self-indulgent to spend too much scrappy time with it. So, here we are again.

The five hexie flowers at bottom left were only placed before. Now they’re all sewn in. In my defence, although this doesn’t look like much, I have spent the last 12 days feeling horrible with all the fun symptoms of a bad dose of flu… I’ve also spent absolutely hours pulling out the basting and removing the papers from all the flowers except those around the edge, which has made this piece more supple and a lot easier to work with. The papers that are still in good condition will go back into the making process, the ones that are too battered or holey will be recycled.

I’ve also selected the next two rows of hexie flowers to be added, so that should keep me out of trouble for a while… They all need to have their black hexies attached, and then I can start the job of adding them to the whole thing, which will bring it up to almost square.

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 🙂

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

See you again, same time next month


Scinteallate #10: first line quilted

I’m back on the case, at last.

I’ve lost nearly 2 weeks through being sick with the flu, so it was time to get cracking. I’d originally planned something a little bit more elaborate for the quilting, but having lost the extra time it would have taken, I’ve reverted to my old favourite, Wavy Lines. It does draw up the block a little, but as I’m quilting them all in the same direction, the drawing up will be proportional across the board. The quilt may be a tiny bit off square (a little taller than it’s wide) but not in a bad way.

And I believe I’ve finalised the layout. I’m happy with the way it looks, it feels balanced.

Now I just have to wait until Monday to carry on quilting 😦 I’ve run out of my favourite basting spray, and the shop’s that’s open today doesn’t stock it. And I’m a little bit weary and wobbly still, so perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.

So, 20% done. Give me till the end of the month…

Feel like death, but still alive…

Yes, it’s that time of year.

And yes, we both had the flu shot. And no, it didn’t stop either of us catching flu.

The usual line up of symptoms, but I’ll spare you the detail. We’re tottering around the house in flannel pyjamas, shakily assembling tea, toast and doses of various remedies to hold the worst of it at bay. At some stage we’ll need to venture out to replenish stocks, but for now it’s lowering our aching bodies gratefully into soft beds, tempering the worst of the fever with hot showers, and hitting the cough mixture bottles with perhaps a little too much enthusiasm…

See you on the other side.


Scinteallate #9: the stars are aligned

The last 4 blocks arrived this morning.

And what beauties they are!  Two from Nanette – I love how the little bird has been framed:

And two from Lynda, who has given us the Dog Star, from the constellation Canis Major. Which just goes to show that I’m not the only one who can pun in fabric. The dog is embroidered in sparkly silver thread, with tiny glittering beads to show the stars of the constellation. Gorgeous!

Half an hour’s intense rearranging of blocks and squinting gives us this, which I think may be the final layout.

Imagine this with a narrow sashing in teal with silvery sparkles on it. I think it’s going to look great! As always, comments please – you may spot something that looks out of place that I haven’t noticed or a substitution that works better. And again as always, I reserve the right to go with my own final decision 🙂

So, everything’s lined up and ready for me to cut backing and backing and then start quilting. We’re on track, my friends, this gorgeous quilt is going to be ready by the deadline, failing any major disasters.

I’ll be back with the first quilting to show you.

BM&I #38: Parterre Blocks 2 and 3

And after a short break from BM&I, I’m back.

I’ve missed the end-of-monthly sessions showing my current Slow Quilting project, ever since I quilted the last Hatbox block. That one just needs assembly, which isn’t the kind of gentle, pleasurable, personal sewing I associate with Bee, Myself and I. A new project was called for, and with the successful but definitely slow assembly of the first Parterre block, I knew I’d found it.

I had to check that it wasn’t a fluke, and so here’s Block 2:

… Closely followed by Block 3.

I’ve learned a couple of new things with these new blocks, the main one being not to make the stitch width too narrow on the blanket stitch, or the chambray (which is very loosely woven) will pull out at the drop of a hat. The other thing is that there’s no need to worry about straight grain on the leaf shapes, because there isn’t a straight line on them, and all the edges are on the bias! Lots of starch prior to cutting takes care of any tendency to stretch, so long as you handle them gently.

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.

More next month!

Parterre 2: the how-to, and the first block

With everything ready, I had no excuse.

Et voilà! This is Block 1 of dunnamany, but at least 36.

So, on the offchance that you might want to know how to make it, here’s a few words and pictures.

Cut a piece of tear-away stabiliser a bit larger than the finished block, and lay it on top. You should be able to see the layout through it fairly easily. If not, thicken the lines with a black marker. Mark the corners of the block on the stabiliser.

Cut all the templates out of your chosen fabrics. In an ideal world, you should starch the fabrics first, as this makes it much easier to cut the shapes out. Note: I wanted two cream fabrics in each background so I’ve created a template for only half of the background. You can make it all in one piece if you lay the edge on a fold. I use a fine lead mechanical pencil on the right side of the fabric in most cases, and then cut very accurately on the line with scissors.

Once you have everything cut out, you’re good to go. I’m using yoyos I already have, but to make them in the correct size, you need to use the 4 inch template I’ve drawn. It’s also quick and easy to make them using a yoyo maker: this is the one I like, by Clover.

Start in the middle with the two background pieces (or one large piece if that’s what you’re going with). Lay them in place and pin to stop them sliding around. Then lay over the leaves, overlapping the seam allowances at the bottom, folding the top one under. Finally, add the two corners. Pin everything in place, flip the stabiliser over and check the back to ensure the seam allowances are even and fully overlapped.

If all is well, baste down the leaf and inner edge of the corner pieces and remove the pins. Leave the pins in the background and at the bottom of the corner pieces.

Blanket stitch down the basted edges and remove the basting. Lay down the length of ribbon and lightly dab glue stick on the back. Stick down on the centre line of the background, bottom edge flush with the seam allowance. The top edge will be concealed by the flower. Top this with the 3 inch flower circle. Baste the flower circle in place and blanket stitch both this and the ribbon stem down.

Lay down the last two corners and baste in place, turning under the seam allowances on the arms to give a finished edge. Blanket stitch, and remove basting.

Turn the block over, tear away the stabiliser and trim out the seam allowances and excess fabric behind the flower head. Finally, apply glue stick to the back of the yoyo, stick it down in the centre of the flower and blanket stitch around the outside. In case you’re wondering, that yoyo is dark blue, not black.

And you’re done!


Wikipedia: “A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level substrate, consisting of plant beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, which are separated and connected by paths. The borders of the plant beds may be formed with stone or tightly pruned hedging, and their interiors may be planted with flowers…”

I have been dithering and procrastinating about this one for far too long. So it’s a relief that I finally have the templates drawn and cut for my next Bee, Myself and I project, which will be known as Parterre.

I first had the idea a couple of months ago, in the middle of doing something else. At the time, I could only scribble down a quick sketch and some notes. It’s times like this when I miss the fabulous multi-coloured ballpoint pen I had as a child, with six different inks in it. Does anyone else remember those? But I digress. This has been nagging at my brain for weeks and weeks, like a tiny stone in the shoe, and finally it got too much.

Today, I sat down and made the templates, drawn out first on quilter’s graph paper, then transferred as individual pieces onto plain paper and spray-mounted onto firm card to make templates to draw around, with seam allowance included. Like the previous BM&I project (the Hatbox quilt), it’ll be raw edge appliqué, blanket stitched onto the background and trimmed out behind to reduce bulk. I won’t use fusible or glue, as you can’t then remove the excess fabric at the back. As before, I’ll add a layer of tear-away stabiliser at the back, layer all the pieces, pin and then baste by hand before stitching everything down. Labour intensive yes, but the result is a supple block with a tidy back, and no ugly channelling of the stitching. The blocks will finish at 10 inches square, and I haven’t yet decided how many to make! That decision can wait until I discover how tricky the block is…

I’ve done a pull of fabrics from my stash of FQs and larger scraps. The circular ‘frame’ around each block will be a slate grey chambray-effect glazed cotton. The backgrounds will be cream on cream prints, for visual interest with minimal interference with the prints. I have two reels of half inch jacquard woven ribbons (originally bought for gift wrapping) to form the stem of each flower, and dozens of yoyos left over from The Cloths of Heaven quilt, which will be the centres of the flowers. The leaves and flowers will be in contrasting or even clashing prints. This baby is going to be bright! I’m also considering putting a small button in the centre of each yoyo, and am still debating what colour to use for the blanket stitch; the red worked well on the Hatbox blocks, but I don’t want to cover the same ground. I’m pretty sure I won’t need to buy anything except perhaps backing material when the time comes to start the hand quilting.

I’m hoping I’ll get the first block done in time for Bee, Myself and I at the end of the month.