ScrapHappy October

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.

This month, I’ve been short of sewing time and low on energy to do it, thanks to a short, sharp kidney infection. After a third antibiotic was added to my daily cocktail, I’m on the mend. One thing I did find energy for was gentle hand stitching, something I could do even when feeling unwell and in pain.

A little background: As most of you know, I’m now sewing for Days for Girls. Last time I joined a group sewing session, I noticed they were throwing away perfectly good pieces of irregularly-shaped fabric about 3 x 2½ inches. Gasp! The pieces were too small for anything needed for the DfG kits, but they shouted ‘hexies!’ at me. One of the ladies took away a shoebox of them, and brought it back full of neat and tidy square-ish pieces.

I supplied hexie papers – I have about 2,000 of them stashed away in a drawer, all used many times before but still perfectly OK. And this is the result of my labours, and actually, only the start. These will be turned into a quilt top. I hope someone else will step up to machine quilt it, I don’t think I have it in me to hand quilt another one for the time being. It’ll get auctioned to raise funds for DfG, to buy more fabric, help with training materials and education and so on. Now that’s what I call a proper use of scraps.

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!


Colours of Happiness #10

Another cornerstone completed.

This is the one for Family. Of course, all the other components are the same as the previous one, but the hand lettering is different. I’ve tried to incorporate the shapes and curves of the Bengali lettering into the English word. I think this one works better than the previous one. Shame the lighting’s so washed out, but that’s what happens when you don’t have good daylight.

I’ll do another long side panel next, before I proceed to the other two cornerstones. They’re beautifully mindless once I’ve done all the marking up, I can just sit and stitch and think about other things – or indeed, nothing at all – as I work.

And some mindless work may be called for. The minor infection I had last week has risen up, gnashed its teeth and turned into a bit of a monster. I now have a very tiring and painful kidney infection which is not responding to treatment nearly as fast as I’d like. I’m on my second round of antibiotics and this second lot is strong and the tablets are huge, like horse pills, over 2cm (almost an inch) long. So, a little non-taxing distraction is called for.

Next time, I’ll show you what I’ve been distracting my miserable and rather grumpy self with

Colours of Happiness #9

I’ve been working away on this behind the scenes.

I now have two long side panels and one corner panel hand quilted. I’m pretty pleased with the fish-scale overall design. The quilting design for the corner panel took me a long time to decide on, but I think it works. The leaf-points in the green strips under each flower also work well. I’ve done minimal quilting on the Dresden Plate flowers, and I’ve hand lettered one of my four ‘corner-stones’ into the orange strips in washable gold paint. It’s not shiny bright gold, more of an ‘old-gold’ look, and the metallic sheen isn’t very obvious, but it’s nice when it catches the light. The cornerstones are Family, Love, Prosperity, Peace, and the lettering shows them in English and Bengali. On the outer edge, it seemed to call for triangles, so that’s what I’ve done, only not the same as in the centre panel.

Two more long sides and three more cornerstones to go, and then I’ll be onto the centre panel. I really haven’t thought much about what to do there, because I think it’ll tell me what it wants when I get there. I hope I can live up to the quilt’s expectations… 😉

Back to assembling quilt sandwiches. Not quite the chore it is for a whole quilt, much easier in smaller sections…

Go Teal it on the Mountain #6

And another couple of beauties in for this quilt.

Squishy season is definitely upon us. There’s a couple more en route, and rather than go out to the mailbox only every couple of days (I get very little mail otherwise), I’m now excitedly checking it every day.

These two are from Lynda in the US, who’s made a couple of really distinctive and beautiful blocks. You can’t see it so well in the photo, but the moon in block 2 has shadowy ‘craters’ in the fabric design – such a clever choice!

We now have 9 blocks on the design wall. Still a good few required, but we’re almost 30% done!

Bee, Myself and I #31

I managed another two blocks again in September.

The first one (No. 23), the hydrangea print, was a little harder to quilt than usual, as the fabric is a polished cotton and the glazed surface is hard to get the needle through, but I think it was worth it!

The other one (No. 24) is the one I’m calling my Bonwit Teller hatbox. For those not of the correct age or nationality, Bonwit Teller was a high-end US department store which featured a stylised posy of violets scattered on its packaging, branded merchandise, and of course, hat boxes. It is sadly no more, but is fondly remembered, and with good reason from what I’ve read.

Six more to go. At this rate, I might actually have them all done by the end of the  year!

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.

Till next time.


F²F³: September round-up

September was Nanette’s month in F²F³.

Nanette’s colour palette of any shade of blue paired with blush pink presented an unexpected challenge for some of us. Nanette didn’t want white for her blocks, and it’s surprisingly hard to find blue prints without at least moderate amounts of white. I think we’ve managed OK though, and Nanette has some of the appliqué and basket blocks she specifically requested. All blocks bar one set are on their way already; the missing set are AWOL because their maker has pneumonia and needs to rest, and quite right too.

October is Moira’s month, and she has chosen a soft and neutral palette: she would like blocks featuring various shades of browns – assorted tans, golden browns and dark browns. She’s hoping to match a fabric print featuring beautiful barred feathers, with eggs in a light grey blue as her accent colour in the blocks. Background is to be cream, and she’d like a variety of cream tonal fabrics if possible. I shall go and have a rummage, and if I can’t find what I need, I’ll simply have to go shopping. Oh dear, what a hardship…

If you want to see the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here, and if you want to check out the colour palettes, go to the Members/ Colours page here. F²F reference and finished block images are now maintained on a separate blog due to their image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous session is also stored there.

Time to dive into my fabric cupboard for a spot of cream with my coffee and chocolate…

Colours of Happiness 8

Let the quilting begin!

Sorry the pictures have such a yellowish cast: they were taken late at night under artificial light, but you get the idea…

I’ve sandwiched two of the long side panels and marked one of them up for quilting, using the ‘fish scale’ template I made. (You can just see it at the top of the picture above.) It’s 4 inches wide x 4 inches high, which will produce a nice soft quilted effect, puffing up between the stitching without making the quilt stiff. I much prefer light quilting, as I find close quilting tends to stiffen the drape of the quilt, even if it does look amazing.

You could actually quilt this design by machine, using a walking foot. If you click on the image, you can see that the template repeat produces a gently wiggly line running diagonally, something a walking foot is quite capable of negotiating if you sew fairly slowly.

I really love the bright pink thread: it’s the Gütermann hand quilting weight, in colour 2955. It looks brilliant against the orange backing fabric 🙂

It shouldn’t take too long to work each panel. They’re not too large, and the job is broken down into manageable chunks, so I’m confident of getting the sides and corners done by the end of October.

Then I just have to worry about what I’m doing for the centre…