ScrapHappy February

Already! Time goes so fast…

Once again, it’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Well, I’ve been working on several other and more urgent projects, so my progress on the Anemone scrappy quilt hasn’t been so very impressive. I’ve been stitching assembled hexie flowers into an ever-increasing piece.

The worst thing is that my lovely camera has decide to go on strike and I simply cannot get it to take a photo with auto focus switched on so that images are crisp. It’ll have to go into hospital tomorrow, where hopefully a nice man will twiddle a couple of switches and tell me “You had the bftrglsgl operating at ISO 3 million and the aperture at 700, and you didn’t stand on one leg while pressing the shutter button in halfway, so of course it wouldn’t focus”. And I shall feel like a fool and accept his scorn and the fix gratefully… because truthfully, I should inform myself better about this camera’s amazing abilities. But all I want it to do is take a decent, in-focus image with minimum fuss. And up to now, it has obliged me.

Here’s where I’ve got to (not too hideous, mostly in-focus photo taken with my phone instead…):

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And this is how it looked before, so progress hasn’t been too shabby. Yes, I do know it’s upside down compared with how I showed it before, but I find I now prefer it this way 🙂  I shall also refrain from making and showing new hexie flowers till all the ones I have are sewn in. It’s getting too confusing trying to work out which ones are new, and which you’ve seen before!

anemone-start-of-assemblyScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into some-thing beautiful 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 shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about 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.

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):

Usually has a scrappy post:

Gun at https://rutigt.wordpress.com (in Swedish and English)

Titti at http://tittisquiltlek.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Heléne at http://quiltochsom.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at bambisyr-evaj.blogspot.com (in Swedish only)

Sue at sewingmagpie.blogspot.com (in English only)

Nanette at http://stitchandsow-homeandgarden.blogspot.com.au (in English only)

Lynn at https://thetialys.wordpress.com (in English only)

Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com (in English only)

Lynda at: https://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com (in English only)

Birthe: http://birthesrom.blogspot.no (in Norwegian only)

Turid: http://densyendehimmel.blogspot.se (in English and Norwegian)

Susan: https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Cathy: http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com (in English only)

Debbierose: https://sewrosey.wordpress.com (in English only)

Tracy: https://itsatsweetsday.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jill: http://nicepieceofwork.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Claire: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jan: http://thesnailofhappiness.com/ (in English only)

Karen: https://mewithptsd.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Deb: https://abearsthimble.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

See you again, same time next month!

 

 

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Big Hexies!

It was time for several ideas to come together.

I needed a new scrappy project. I needed a handwork project. I needed… something different. And here it is. Those who’ve followed me for a while know that I love hexies and the peaceful hand stitching that goes with them. As well as the weeny scraps I chewed up making the Grey Nomad quilt, I’ve got a good range of larger ones. So I dug a bunch of them out, using bright and muted prints in a variety of sizes. I paired all of these with black for the flower centres, and a white with medium black spot for the intervening spaces. A substantial bunch of scraps went on our camping trip with us, and a substantial bunch of hexie flowers came back, but since then, the quantity has exploded because I’m enjoying this new project so much!

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The papers are 2 inches to a side, so the flowers are a good size and the stack is growing fast. I also love that the size of each hexie lets me feature the fabrics beautifully. Each flower takes one piece of black and then a scrap rectangle 10 x 14 inches, cut into 6 equal pieces. In some, I’ve mixed up the fabrics, in others, kept each petal the same. For each hexie, I cut a piece 4.5 x 5 inches, and then simply fold and stitch it around the paper, rather than cutting it to shape. Whether I trim it out afterwards depends on the weight of the fabric. For lawn or voile, I don’t bother. For heavier weights, I will. This process has worked very well for me on all the hexie quilts I’ve done before, and saves a huge amount of time, since I can whack out all the pieces very quickly with a ruler and rotary cutter.

This is just a taster; already I actually have twice the number you see here, but you’ll have to wait for ScrapHappy day on 15th of the month to see more 🙂

On the road again, part 3

It’s sad, but true. We’re homeward bound.

No, I’m not going to inflict another ear worm on you all by adding the Simon & Garfunkel video, it’s bad enough I have the sound track playing in my own head.

Here’s our camp setup, complete with yours truly slobbing about with feet up and laptop in play. You can blame the Husband for this one – I didn’t authorise an official portrait… You can see how dull the weather is compared with the previous couple of days. On the upside, it was much easier to sleep at night!

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As the day was wet and cool, we were trussed up in our wet weather gear most of the time, all hi-vis and reflective bits. And hot! It had rained overnight and there were some distinctly damp patches in the tent, but no disasters. As a result of the poor weather, the things we had planned to do were put aside for another visit – no point going somewhere with a magnificent view if all you can see is thick grey cloud! We did manage to catch up with Ben, a fellow ST1300 owner, who works at Mareeba airfield as an aircraft mechanic.

But for me, the highlight of the day was a visit to Mungalli Creek Dairy, a biodynamic dairy which produces lightly pasteurised, non-homogenised milk, cream and yoghurt, some of which is also lactose free, hurray! They have a café, and as well as serving a mean Devonshire tea and a flourless chocolate cake with massive dollops of Jersey clotted cream, the café has viewing windows into the dairy itself, where you can see cheese and yoghurt being made and packaged. The Jersey herd is grazed on biodynamic pasture, and the cows are treated homeopathically for any problems. All I can say is, the happiness of the herd is quite apparent in the quality of the product… We did also indulge in a bit lots of wiggly-road riding, of course.

So now we’re on our way home. Tonight we won’t be camping, as it’s a one night stop, which means the trailer stays packed and only the bike panniers need to be excavated for a stay in a cabin or motel room. For now, the plan is to stop in Townsville again unless my back holds out well, in which case, we might try to get a bit further on and get home sooner on day 2.

One souvenir of the visit: lots of hexies!  I didn’t even open my Kindle or listen to the radio, so if the world has come to an end while I was away, it’ll have to wait till I get home. But of course, there will always be handwork… These are big hexies, 2 inches to a side, so whatever this is going to be will happen quite quickly. I’m going to make the flowers and then decide how it all needs to be joined together. Maybe more black, with brightly coloured single hexies in the centre.

hexies

Signing off for the rest of the trip. It’s not going to be very interesting to read about, and I hope to have some interesting squishies to investigate and share once I get home; I’ll keep you posted.

See you in 1080km/671 miles.

The other sort of travel kit

In just over 3 weeks, we’ll be hitting the road north.

The Husband and I, Miss Scarlett and her trailer are off on a camping trip. We’re heading first for Townsville for a couple of days and then for Atherton, up on the cool tablelands above Cairns, in Far North Queensland. Into our newly refurbished motorbike trailer will go tent, camp bed, chairs, lamps, basic cooking equipment and food, bedding, water, fuel and other bulky necessities. Clothes and personal kit will go in the bike panniers, top box and tank pack. It’ll be warm, so warm clothes aren’t needed, but we’ll definitely have the waterproofs along, given that it’s spring and we’re coming into the Wet.

Somewhere in that lot, I’m going to need some sewing. What – you thought I could go on holiday without sewing? Some mistake, surely…

Clearly, it will be hand sewing, and given that we’re camping I can’t pack my super-duper LED magnifying lamp, so the embroidery’s out. So yes, you guessed it, time for hexies once more. BIG hexies.

big-hexiekitI have a pack of large hexie papers, and a lot of lovely large pieces of scrap left over from the Hatbox Quilt blocks, and some of these will fit in with what I have in mind. I’ll need lots of 5 inch squares of my floral prints, mid to pale colour palette, and at various scales. The hexie flowers will have a dark centre, either navy or black. Some will have all the same petals, others will vary. At night, when accuracy will be hard, I can assemble hexies. During the day (assuming I get any down time off the bike!) I can stitch the hexies into flowers. I’ll stop short of trying to sew flowers together; I need to keep the kit small and manageable, given how much space is available.

I’ve no idea yet what these will be for, but I’m sure there’s a hexie quilt of some description in my future.

Make do and mend

Something happened to my favourite pair of ripped jeans. 😦

Overnight, they developed pale blotchy brown stains splattered all over the legs. I have no idea what it is. And it won’t wash out, I’ve tried everything. I think it’s something plant-based from out in the back yard, perhaps dating from a rather vigorous pruning session. Rips I live with happily, it’s part of the ‘worn-and-loved-to-death’ look, but these stains just looked, well, dirty.

So instead of throwing out a perfectly good pair of jeans I love, I resolved to patch them. It’s the way I was brought up, by a mother who raised 4 small children, my older siblings, during WWII. ‘Make Do and Mend’ is deeply ingrained in my psyche as a way of life, in all sorts of ways.

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According to the British Museum website: “Make Do and Mend was a pamphlet issued by the British Ministry of Information in the midst of WWII. It was intended to provide housewives with useful tips on how to be both frugal and stylish in times of harsh rationing. With its thrifty design ideas and advice on reusing old clothing, the pamphlet was an indispensable guide for households. Readers were advised to create pretty ‘decorative patches’ to cover holes in warn garments*; unpick old jumpers to re-knit chic alternatives; turn men’s clothes into women’s; as well as darn, alter and protect against the ‘moth menace’. An updated version of the book was recently released to coincide with the economic recession, offering similar frugal advice for 21st century families.” (My italics).
©The British Library

Some of the stains were very small. Others were bigger. I tried ‘pretty decorative patches‘ in nice fabrics. It looked…. meh. And then I thought: Where does it say patches have to be square?

You know what’s coming, don’t you?  What’s my perennial go-to patch(work)?  Yup. The hexie.

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Bye bye, brown blotches. Hello, happy hexies!

I may or may not do a bit of random embroidery on them too. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

I’m Hexcited to announce yet another scrap project completed!

ScrapHappy July

It’s been a busy few days, and I missed yesterday’s deadline by just an hour or so.

As I posted yesterday,  awhile ago, Gun from Rutigt and I agreed that we’d each post a scrappy block on the 15th of the month, the aim to be not only to eat up our scraps, but also to be a regular reminder that scrap-eating had to happen regularly if we are both not to be eventually overwhelmed by our tiny treasures. The block can be any size, shape, colour or design. And here is mine. Finally…

ScrapHappy1

It’s very random, not much of a colour theme happening. I just reached into a box of hexies, grabbed a handful and worked out where they would go. I concede that I’m cheating a little. The individual hexies used in this block have been sitting around a while – since before Worldwide Friends, to be exact. But they are all made from scraps, and making a block from them does use scraps up, so I think you’d have to be a bit of a purist to object!

And as you know by now, I ran out of time – it’s the time of year when I have my annual ‘has the cancer come back?’ checkup, and the amount of sitting around in waiting-rooms I’ve had to do in the last few days is phenomenal. And it’s not over yet, there’s another one next week… So, whole hours I could have spent concocting something lavish have instead been spent reading waiting-room magazines and playing sudoku on my phone. Frustrating… particularly when I realised I hadn’t brought any hand work!

Yesterday’s baking session also went totally pear-shaped. I was melting chocolate in the microwave, carefully, 30 seconds at a time, but still managed to not just burn it, but have it virtually catch alight, cracking the bowl I was using in the process and filling the kitchen with acrid smoke. That was the crowning moment, but the rest of it wasn’t exactly glorious, either.

So, I’ll see you again next month with another scrappy block. If you want to join us, let either me or Gun know, and we’ll link to your blog in ours, as shown below.

ScrapHappy July:
Gun at Rutigt
Kate at talltalesfromchiconia
Sue at From the Magpie’s Nest

Worldwide Friends: Crossing the final frontier

It’s done. Which is good, because I’m so ready for something new.

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The only straight shot that was usable on the windiest day this year!

It’s taken almost exactly seven months (a few days under – I started it on 10th November last year). It began as a piece of busy-work to keep my hands occupied and my mind peaceful when I went into hospital last year for a spot of surgery. It’s grown out of all recognition, well beyond my original idea for the piece, and has taken on a life of its own, becoming virtually common property amongst the worldwide friends who have contributed fabric, poetry, encouragement and vision. The Mackay Show deadline seemed like a good idea at the time, something so far away that it was easily achievable. But as always, time ran away with me and I’ve only just squeaked in, after subjecting myself to the sort of pressure I don’t really enjoy.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.09.00 amDon’t ask me how many hexies it contains, because I don’t know, and I’m not going to count them. In any case, the answer to that question is “enough”. Here’s some detail:

Background
This quilt is the result of a collaboration between myself and blogging friends around the world. The design was triggered by Carla’s gift of an indigo furoshiki, or gift-wrapping cloth from Japan, which featured rabbits, waves and the moon. According to Japanese legend, the figure seen in the full moon is not a man, but a rabbit, who was placed there by a holy man in return for an act of kindness. This beautiful cloth gave the rest of the quilt its Japanese flavour and the name of the quilt is written in Kanji characters across the middle, which translates to Worldwide Friends. On the back are haiku in English about both quilt-making and the rabbit legend, some written by fabric donors, others by non-quilting friends in lieu of fabric. Many of the indigo fabrics are Japanese, others are from Indonesia, India and Africa as well as Europe, the US and Australia.

Techniques used
Front: English Paper Piecing, hand appliqué
Back: Machine piecing, English Paper Piecing, hand appliqué
Hand painted calligraphy on front in gold resist medium
Handwritten calligraphy of haiku on back panels in ink
Lightly hand quilted in ‘big stitch’ quilting to stabilise layers only
The quilt is faced with hexagons on the reverse rather than bound, to retain the hexagon shapes at the edge.
Hanging tabs are integrated into the top seam, as this is a wall hanging
The quilt is effectively double-sided, allowing it to be turned to display the haiku on the reverse.

The Worldwide Friends:
Carla, Australia
Tracey, Australia
Nanette, Australia
Dale, Australia
Rita, Belgium
Jan, Wales
Lynn, France
Viv, France
Gun, Sweden
Cath, USA
Sue, USA
Esther, Netherlands
Emmely, Netherlands
Jule, Germany
Annett, Germany
Carole, UK
Kirsten, UK

This quilt is now, at last, ready for entry into the Mackay Show on 25 June, and I am so ready to start another project!  My first priority is to produce the three blocks I’m making each month as part of the Foot2Freestyle block swap. After that, I have a birthday quilt to make for mid-October, a large bed quilt to make for my niece to celebrate her marriage (already late, but she forgives me), and then, finally, I’m free to choose. The list of candidates is considerable…

But first, a day off… maybe.