ScrapHappy January

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’s to a much happier and more hopeful and creative year for all of us. With that in mind, I gave my creative urge a swift boot up the backside, and took out the scrappy table runner I’ve been making forever for a while for Days for Girls to raffle at their fund raiser, together with the quilt (now at the long arm quilter!) and the cushion cover previously shown. I’m just over a third of the way through. Here’s where I’ve got to:

And here’s the next batch, waiting for the black separator hexies and then assembly.

(Sorry about the rather garish background, but I had to find a place where I could get enough light on the subject, and the kitchen floor mat had the best lighting.)

After that there will be a smaller section at the end. To finish the whole thing I think I’ll appliqué it to a rectangular background before sandwiching, quilting and binding. I have a bit of time; this is going in the raffle in mid March, but is needed for photography end of February.

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, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire,
Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette and Ann

Please note that I will be going through this list shortly, removing the names of anyone who hasn’t posted for a year or more. If you know that’s you but you’d still like to be left on the list because you have something coming up, just email me and I’ll leave you in.

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Not so Secret Santa

The whole point was that it should be anonymous.

I’m talking about the Secret Santa gift exchange at my Days for Girls sewing group. We were given a $10 budget to buy a gift for someone else. These things mostly materialise as chocolates, mugs, hand cream, notebooks and pens or home made cookies in pretty storage jars, all the stuff you buy when you don’t know who your giftee is going to be. So I thought I’d do something different, something a little more individual. I made a set of 3 heat pads/place mats.

One was dinner plate size, one was snack size and one was mug size. On one side I used a really pretty print of colourful teapots on a black background. On the other side I used an equally pretty print of squares featuring sewing tools and references, also on a black background. I found a piece of leftover floral binding which was exactly the right size. It was quick, and fun, and unique.

I hadn’t given any thought to the fact that I am the only quilter in the group. So when my giftee opened her parcel, she took one look, and said “thank you, Kate, they’re lovely”. I sat with my mouth open, while everyone else fell about laughing*. Luckily, she gave me an opportunity to take photos of them before she stowed them in her bag. I’d totally forgotten to do it before I wrapped them in festive paper!

So, product success, (secret) producer fail… We all adjourned to a local café bar for our Christmas break-up lunch. This was our last session for the year, and we don’t recommence until the end of January due to school holidays and summer travel plans. So it was great for all 25 of us to get together – now that we’re allowed to once again, hurray – catch up and talk and laugh over a great meal overlooking the sea. I’ll miss the Saturday morning stitching sessions, but they’ll be back, in the New Year.

I wonder if it’ll also be a new world…

*In case you’re wondering, I added the label after she’d opened the parcel…

A cushy number

I scored another bargain on Black Friday.

I purchased approximately $75 worth of fabric and notions, and I paid… $15. Lots of smugness, of course, but it always pays to have a serious rootle in the remnants and offcuts bin at Spotlight. One of my bargains was a pair of 20 inch cushion panels in a pretty pale grey and yellow colour scheme by designer Jocelyn Proust.

I have a deep hatred of inserting zippers on cushion side seams. It’s unnecessarily tricky and can end up looking lumpy. The zippers always seem to eat the surrounding fabric, the cushion pad, the lining, etc. So I’ve got into the habit of putting the zipper on the back, normally covered by a tidy flap. But this was a pre-printed panel, with no spare fabric to make a flap. I had to improvise.

I bound the edges of a slit across the width with a toning grey shot fabric, and covered the ends of a matching grey zipper to get rid of the bulky ends and stopper.

I inserted the zipper, overlocked the binding/facing, opened the zipper a little and sandwiched the front and back panels together. All the internal seams were overlocked; normally I line my cushion covers and bind the outside edge to finish, but having used up most of my ‘spare’ fabric to create a scrappy back for the DfG quilt, I didn’t any left in a suitable size!

The finished effect is neat and tidy, I don’t mind the bound edges round the zipper, and this will make another respectable prize in the fun-raising raffle for Days for Girls early next year.

And now to play with my next fabric score. Watch this space!

Super-scrappy stash-slashing

Definitely not a title to attempt after any kind of alcohol…

And it isn’t even a ScrapHappy Day… Back to the point. I’m talking about the back for my Days Gone By quilt, the one I’ve made from scraps generated by the local Days for Girls sewing chapter. A reminder of what this looks like, hanging on my design wall:

And this is the almost complete back, on the same design wall.

Just two long seams to go and it’s assembled, ready to trim out. The eagle-eyed will have noted that it’s a lot larger than the front. This is because we have located an extremely kind local Long-Arm Lady*, who has agreed to quilt it without charge so that I don’t have to struggle with the beast. Batting has been donated – polyester, not my favourite, but it will make a nice lofty quilt when all is done. However, we still needed a back. Having already donated over a year of work myself, and the group not being in a position to buy the fabric needed because this whole project is designed to raise funds to buy supplies for the DfG kits, I had to improvise.

I went shopping in my stash. I rootled about until I’d brought out all the larger scrap pieces I didn’t love or felt I could spare, or had always wondered What Was I Thinking? I sacrificed a few bits I still liked but could live without. They are all, without exception, scrap fabric, left over from other projects. There is no particular logic to the layout apart from ending up with something that didn’t actually make my eyes bleed to look at it…  It is, after all, the back. The bit you don’t look at if you can help it. Two more long seams, and it’s done and I can forget about it until the New Year, when it has its January appointment with edge-to-edge quilting and a moment of fame in March at a fundraiser.

It would have been easier if I hadn’t had to make the thing 6 inches larger than the front in all directions; a requirement of long-arm quilting to assist with loading it on the rollers. So this monstrosity is W82 inches x H87 inches.

Which is a very good thing, because there’s now 7,134 square inches less of unloved fabric in my stash!

 

* For the non-quilters among you, this is not an unfortunate disability, but the ownership of a long-arm quilting machine, an object often 12ft long, which makes light work of quilting large pieces if you know what you’re doing, and is an enviable piece of kit.

ScrapHappy November

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.

I’ve finished the scrappy Days for Girls cushion cover!  Everything about this is scrappy: the hexie front, the batting (discarded spill kit pad*), the backing (leftover from the Anemone quilt) and binding (leftover from Gonna Teal your Heart Away) quilt.

Do you remember I wanted to tone down the pale yellow and pink hexagons in the centre?  What do you think of my Sharpie solution?  I think it helps them recede and fit in much better. By the way, the DfG table runner is still a work in progress, but maybe next month?

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. This month, we’ve been joined by a new member – welcome, Kym!

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

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

*A spill kit pad is a 16 inch square of thick (nearly ¼ inch), heavy cotton batting, designed to absorb spills of oil and engine fuel safely. They are 100% cotton to minimise fire risk. They also, incidentally, make perfect cushion batting! They are discarded when they start to get a bit battered, at which point I’m standing there with greedy clutching paws, scrounging… 😉

Days Gone By: the gap is closed!

I’ve finished all the border cutting and piecing!

Now I have to stitch the seams joining all the border sections together: the top is done, but I have the side and bottom strips to put together, which is why it still looks a bit wonky. I’m really pleased that paying close attention when I was cutting and stitching has meant there are very few places where the seams don’t line up despite the widely varying fabrics used.

Once that’s done, I have to press the outer edge of the hexie section very well, remove the last of the papers, and pin it down onto the borders. Hand stitching the hexies down will take a fair time and requires a large flat surface to ensure that there’s no bubbling or buckling caused by the stitching.  I’ll also have to make a backing, which will, yes, also be scrappy but will be pulled from several sources, not just the DfG scraps. I need largish pieces or all the seams will make the quilting a bit arduous. I have a basket of pulled fabrics ready to go.

It’s so good to see real progress at last 🙂

A handwork dilemma

Not a very serious one, mind you.

The Days Gone By quilt top is in the home stretch. I have two more square blocks to make and then it’ll be time to assemble the border. A few quick seams and that will be done too. After that, I need to hem the hexies down onto the border, but that will be a large piece of work and needs a table and plenty of space, so it’s not handwork I can take on our travels with me.

We’re off again in two weeks for another couple of weeks in Far North Queensland, so clearly, I’m going to need plenty to do with my hands while I sit in the sun drinking coffee and eating cake!

When we have the raffle for the quilt, it would be nice also to have second and third prizes. So I’ve taken the leftover hexie flowers that were too pastel for the look of the quilt or were duplicates, or just didn’t make it into the mix, and I’ve laid them out into a table runner and a cushion cover. That yellow hexie in the middle really stands out, but I’ll probably do something about it after I’ve assembled the whole thing. Also, the table runner may need lengthening and widening with square borders, like the quilt. I’ll see what it needs once I’ve assembled what I have.

They’re in a couple of project bags, together with printouts of the photos I took of the layouts, ready for me to start assembling them. Handwork sorted, leftovers used up, two more prizes in hand.

Dilemma resolved. That was easy! 🙂

Days gone by…

No, I’m not talking about the holiday.

I’m rather proud of myself. I took the Days Gone By hexie scrap quilt along with me in case I had some free quiet time to just stitch and listen to the birds. I didn’t think I would, but we had some rainy days, and time when the Husband wanted a snooze or to watch a movie and I didn’t.

I set myself a goal of adding another two rows. It seemed a doable quantity, and it would finish the shape off nicely. Sorry about the shot, it’s laid out on my bunk in the caravan.

I got them made! (Laid out on the Husband’s bunk this time, that’s his quilt).

Next job was to add the strip to the existing piece. And I’ve done it. The centre panel is now a decent size and shape.

I’m calling time on the hexies, and will border this quilt with squares, probably arranged as 9-patches. With individual squares at two inches finished it’ll be about right, because most of my scraps will easily produce squares of two and a half inches. Plus it’ll make an interesting contrasting border. The hexie edge will need to be appliquéd onto the 9-patch border, and that will be the last of the hand work.  However, there are still a good few hexie flowers left, but in colours which are too pastel to work well in this piece. I’ll probably turn those into cushion covers, which can either be raffled separately or as a set with the quilt.

It’s the hand stitching that has made this quilt so long winded. It’s time to turn up the dial and get something made that Days for Girls can finally raffle to raise funds. Time to start pulling out Days for Girls scraps to start assembling border blocks.

It’ll be nice to have some decent progress to show, for a change.

Holiday handwork

I can’t do without sewing, even for 10 days.

So I’ve been casting about for a project to take with me. I considered some very simple crochet (which is all I’m capable of), making more dishcloths and face washers, and I may still take some cotton yarn and a hook with me, but I wanted something a bit more, well, creative. I debated taking Anemone, but I need more space for hand quilting than the interior of the caravan allows. My Dahlia tapestry? Nah, not in the mood… Plus I don’t have the right kind of chair in the caravan to work comfortably with the frame.

Where I left it in March…

So, it’s time to pick up where I left off in March. I’ll be taking the Days Gone By hexie quilt I’m make for Days for Girls.  It’s a decent size now, so I’ll make big sections to add to the main one once I’ve done some laying out to make sure there’s no visual clashing. A few photos on my phone will keep things on track, and when I go back to the Saturday sewing sessions on my return, I’ll have some respectable progress to show. It would be nice to have another couple of rows done, at least.

The handy thing is that everything I need fits into a small work basket, so it’ll stow away neatly in the caravan. It’ll be good to get back to hand sewing again. Even after the months of work on the Anemone quilt, I miss the peaceful rhythm of hand stitching.

I won’t even mind if it rains while we’re away…

ScrapHappy March: Progress again

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, it’s all about hexies. I took Days Gone By, my Days for Girls scrappy hexie quilt away with me, and it saw a lot of action! Here’s last time….

And here’s now!

The loose pieces from last time have been sewn in, extras added and a whole new double row at the bottom. I’m very pleased with this now. (Please excuse the photography; I took the shot on holiday, and as it was raining, I took the photo of the piece on my caravan bunk, standing on the ice box/cooler to get enough height). A lot of quiet holiday sewing time has paid off; it’s now almost as large as the piece that was lost. Not only that, but I’ve removed all the papers except those around the outside, so it’s now a lot nicer and softer to work with.

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). We also have a new member: welcome, Kjerstin 🙂 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, Sue L,
Sunny and Kjerstin

I only got back from our trip yesterday, so I’ll have to see what I can do for next time!