ScrapHappy July: more for Hopscotch

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.

Here are the latest blocks for Hopscotch. I have 8 done already, so these are blocks 9-10. I’ve decided this is going to be my usual format of 5 x 6 blocks. However, as these blocks are 15 inches square, it’s going to be a fair size for a lap quilt: 75 x 90 inches. I’m currently a third of the way through and I already have another 6 blocks laid out waiting to be sewn, but still the supply of scraps seems endless… Still, I must be making some sort of dent in them, wouldn’t you say?

Now, I do have another scrappy item to show you. These days, with the weather a bit cooler, I’m living in yoga pants. Very comfy, but with one major defect: no pockets. On morning walkies and when I’m sewing, I need pockets: for my phone, for doggie poo bags, for hankies, and so on. You get the idea. So I thought I’d improvise a bit. One pair of the Husband’s work pants has finally given up, and I took the scissors to it. I wanted a belt, a side pocket and a cargo pocket, and these pants offered all three. I cut across the pants leg below the cargo pocket, and up alongside it. A hem around the pocket area, and blanket stitch to finish off the waistband, and it was done!  Oh, and I added a leg strap to stop the whole thing swaying about like a hula girl’s hips. It looks a bit unusual, but the cargo pocket can take a used poo bag till I get to a bin, and is a nice long way from my nose! It’s also comfortable, and I like that it’s recycled from something that would otherwise go in the bin.

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). Noreen has left the group as she’s a bit over-committed with other things, but today we’re welcoming Debbierose; she’s starting a crazy, scrappy patchwork quilt, so do go and check it out.

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Tyger, tyger

A quick snippet of a future project.

The Husband’s younger sister is a footy fan. In Australia, this rarely means soccer, sometimes means Australian Rules Football (AFL) and mostly means rugby, either league or union. She supports a team called Wests Tigers. Well, you know where this is going, don’t you?

Yup, she’s getting a supporter’s quilt in Tigers colours. But I’m blowed if I’m calling this quilts Wests Tigers, so it’s getting called Tyger, after the William Blake poem. Hopefully the quilt will burn as brightly as the tyger in the forests of the night.

The design is going to be more sampler-y than my usual. The blocks will all be in shades of charcoal, orange and white in various layouts. They’ll be arranged around a central tiger image which is a transfer I’ve made and ironed onto white fabric. There will also be a deep checker-board border at the bottom to bring the length up to 5×6 blocks, my usual lap quilt format. This will also have the virtue of using up smaller scraps of the fabrics.

I have some lovely orange fabrics picked out, I have a large piece of the charcoal/black print and the white/cream will be simple tone on tone prints.

This is as far as I’m taking it till Twilight is done. I’m itching to get started on it, but will exercise self control till Twilight is on its way to my niece.

You can find the William Blake poem here if you don’t already know it.

Twilight 5: all bordered out

The top is done.

I didn’t have enough full strip sets to do a continuous border in the same design, but I did have enough to do all round minus the 4 corners. With the scraps and ragtag of what I’d made, I constructed the corner blocks you see, which I’m very happy with. The two colours of shot cotton that you see at top and bottom corners came from small pieces in my stash, since Spotlight no longer sell shot cotton for some totally spurious reason. They used to have a very nice selection, but no more, which I’m very upset about.

I have also bought fabric for the backing, a dark petrol green/blue with a sheen on it. Almost a shot cotton in that the light sits on it differently according to whether you see shine or shadow. I needed 3.5m and bought 4. I hope it’ll also be enough to bind the quilt as well.

I so wish the photos could capture the colours in this quilt more truthfully. It has made the selection and placing process more time consuming, but also more rewarding. It looks… nice… in the photos, but in real life it’s actually quite beautiful, even to a non-purple-lover.

There’s beauty and practicality in a simple design. It looks clean and lets the colours sing, but it’s also finished a lot faster than a quilt with loads of piecing. I’ll be sending a photo to my niece to ask her whether she’d like geometric or organic-style quilting. I’m also debating the colour of quilting thread. I’m quite tempted by magenta, or maybe turquoise… Of course, it won’t show a great deal unless you get up close and personal, but one of the bright jewel colours really appeals.

But that’s a decision for another day.

(In case you’re wondering, there’s no Parterre block this month; I’ve had too much else on. I’ll be back next month with another bright flower.)

Twilight 4: border progress

I did an awful of fiddling about over the past few days.

My original plan was doing a sort of ‘basketweave pinwheel’ effect with strip sets cut into HSTs (half-square triangles). I didn’t like how it looked, and getting things to line up was a total faff. So then I tried a diamond effect. Same. So then I abandoned the HST idea. Now, the border blocks are made up of 4 squares arranged in a basketweave, cut from strip sets graduating from light to dark. A central windmill emerges if you arrange them with the darks in the centre, and this is the version I prefer (and before you ask, yes, I did try it the other way, with the lights in the centre. Not as nice, I think).

At this point, I’m still not totally sure I have enough fabric strips for the 18 blocks I need. If necessary, I’ll create four ‘feature’ corner blocks, doing something fancy with fabrics I still have on hand. Hopefully that’ll be enough. If not, I can also create centre feature blocks for each long side.

I showed my brother (niece’s father) the progress last night during a video call, and he’s thrilled and says she’ll love it. If she doesn’t, he says, he’ll snaffle it for himself! Well, at least it’ll find a home in the family… He feels it goes with her favoured colours and her home décor.

So, onwards, ever onwards with the seemingly never-ending strip sets. Just two more sets to piece and cut to size.

Dull work, but the results are good 🙂

 

Twilight 3: centre blocks done

Sometimes simple is easy, sometimes not…

This is a simple quilt, but getting the colours right is proving to be quite demanding. Laid out flat, those colours look logical and harmonious.

But once you try arranging them, it all changes. Certain colours jump out too much, others recede or change into something that somehow just isn’t quite right. So colours I thought were sure things have come out, and others I eliminated early have made a reappearance. Click on the image below to zoom in.

After lots of placing and stepping back and squinting, this is my (probably) final layout for the central window blocks. The four too-pale ones off at the left may make an appearance on the back, or they may become a couple of cushion covers.

As is my custom, I’m asking for any observations you have. Is something looking off, can you suggest any improvements? I don’t promise to implement your suggestions, but I’ll give all suggestions consideration. Do please bear in mind that the colours in the photo are a little misleading due to them being shot cottons.

Next job is assembling the strip sets from which I’ll be making the blocks that go around the outside. It’s going to need a light touch and attention to detail, so I’ll need a few days to get it done.

So, any thoughts?

Twilight 2: giving it a shot

Yes, my friends, the puns are back!

Shot cottons are gorgeous, but they can be a bit tricky to deal with. I very nearly made a silly mistake. Here’s what I mean.

Two of the cottons, which I laid out with their selected border strips last night, ready to cut and stitch this morning. Under very good LED lighting, but artificial light nonetheless.

And here’s what I saw this morning, with full sunlight shining on them and from an angle. Um… did I put those strips down on the wrong squares? Nope. I’m sure I got it right. Pick the squares up, and as if by magic, the colour changes and the strips are the right ones again. Like I said. Tricky. Both squares are woven from a combination of magenta and turquoise threads, but running in different directions. The lesson to take from this is that for matching purposes you should always view shot cottons straight on rather than from an angle, and choose your light source and stick to it,

Luckily I had my expert assistant to help me resolve the problem. He has pointed out that his blue/yellow vision is just fine and he can see teals, blues and purples, so I should definitely listen to his advice. He believes this quilt will be very nice, particularly if adorned with a light scattering of silky black dog hairs…

I just wish he wouldn’t lie right behind my sewing chair to supervise…

Starting something new: Twilight

No, I’m not talking about the vampire trilogy.

I’m talking about a new quilt. This one’s for my brother’s youngest daughter, the only one of the four who doesn’t yet have her own quilt.

I’ve got the design and the colour scheme sorted out. It’s going to be soft, dark moody shades of greeny blues, indigos, lilacs and purples.

Pre-Covid, I’d bought two packs of beautiful shot cotton 8 inch squares, one in shades of blues and teals and the other in shades of mulberry and purple, plus two packs of batik jelly roll strips in purple and indigo. The centre of the quilt is going to be a selection of the shot cotton squares bordered by jelly roll strips in matching or toning colours, and the centre will be bordered by jelly roll strip HST blocks.

I have more than enough fabric, so there may well also be blocks on the back too.  It’ll be my standard lap quilt size of 5 x 6 blocks of 12 inches each, QAYG, and probably sashed with very dark blue. I haven’t decided on the backing yet, I’ll wait for the quilt to tell me…

So there you have it. Not a lot of variety in the assembly part of the job, but lots of scope for squinting and rearranging until I have the layout just right. And with the spare fabrics I even have the option to add another row if I decide it needs it. For now, I think the spares are too bright, light or dark, but I may change my mind when it’s on the design wall.

Now, I must crack on with assembling the window blocks.

More soon.

 

Floribunda: never again

A sad but unsurprising lesson has been learned.

I will not ever again be submitting a quilt to Mackay Show. We went yesterday morning in the hope of enjoyment and interest. Instead, I came away with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Let me set the scene. There’s a large permanent display pavilion where all the craft displays are set out. This includes needlecrafts, children’s artwork, quilts and baking. Normally, all sit together happily. However, this year, the baking and artwork and needlecrafts all seemed to have their usual allocation of space but the quilts were cramped. It didn’t strike me that there were fewer quilts than usual (although I’m willing to concede the point), but they were certainly differently displayed.

Quite a few of them were squashed into too-small gaps, folded in half or overlaid by others, whilst other quilts were shown at full size and in prime positions – and not just the prize winners. Quilts with errors of construction (points being cut off or seams not aligned, bulging and puckering, for example), were fully displayed, where others without those errors were not. (Floribunda, I’m looking at you…).

Floribunda, folded. This was all you could see of the quilt, which was stuck behind an Emergency Exit door and a table.

Justifications were offered by the display stewards, Covid-spacing being the main one; aisles between display walls now had to be wider, and apparently, “some of the ladies who didn’t win prizes took their quilts home to make space” – I heard this exact phrase from two different stewards.

It surprises me that people whose quilts were going to be improperly displayed were not contacted and offered the opportunity to withdraw and be refunded.

It surprises me that quilts with evident errors and poor construction were given full display space while those which were well made were folded and bunched up.

I’m not sad about not winning a ribbon. I don’t think the judging was wrong – the winners were beautiful quilts. What I’m sad about is that in the way the entries were displayed, excellence was not given priority.

Yes, I’m cynical. But that doesn’t mean I’m not also right.

ScrapHappy June: two more for Hopscotch

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.

With Floribunda safely entered in the Show and my sewing room cleaned up a bit (I’m ignoring the mending for now!), i was able to turn my attention to the pile of prepared and laid out blocks awaiting assembly. Only two done, but still, better than none, wouldn’t you say? It’s nice to get back to straightforward stitching with a regular foot, rather than quilting, assembling and attaching binding 🙂

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).

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti and Edith

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Floribunda: the last one

Here we are, then.

This is the last one, I promise. Front, complete with binding. I’m rather proud that I’ve managed to keep 90% of the points intact around the outside, an object achieved by sewing the binding first to the back, and then hand-stitching it down on the front so I could micro-adjust the line of the edge to stay clear of the points.

This quilt has been a hard one to photograph nicely. In shade, the colours go dull and dingy. In the sun, they tend to bleach out. You need the human eye to successfully appreciate the colours, the contrasts and the subtleties of the fabrics used.

I’ve added corner pockets and a central hanging pocket on the top edge of the back. I may ultimately remove those before I send the quilt to my niece, since I don’t believe she’s planning to hang it, but then again, they’re not in the way. And the corner pockets came in handy for my human quilt display stand during photography.

The label is a bit more prosaic than usual, since the Show required contact information, which I don’t normally need to add. I won’t show it here, as it gives my phone number, and spammers abound.

I doubt there will be any Show ribbons, but you never know. I’ll be sure to let you know in the event there’s anything to brag about!

And now, a short break for mending, and then on with the next thing.