A Scrappy Milestone

I know, I know, this is the wrong day.

But I’ve been hammering away hard at finishing up the blocks for the Hopscotch quilt and it’s done. All blocks are now complete.

I confess to a sense of relief. Oceans of 3 inch squares can be, well, dull, no matter how brightly coloured they are. 20 was enough, or 22 if you count the ones I used to make the recent book bag.

I don’t have a photo of every single individual block, since by the end I was moving them around a fair bit to get a layout I could live with. But here are the last 4. If you’re reaching for your sunglasses, I don’t blame you!

ScrapHappy Day will feature other scrappy projects for a while. I need to take a break from this before I start the task of sandwiching and quilting the blocks, and then joining them all together and binding it all. I have several ideas in the pipeline, so you won’t go short of colourful scrappiness.

And in other domestic news, I am happy to announce the hatching of Baby Sunbird(s?).🥂🐣

Mrs Sunbird is no longer sitting; she and Mr Sunbird are now business shooting to and fro with beakfuls of hatchling-fodder, mostly of the wriggling insect variety. Since this is a sensitive time, I’m respecting their privacy and restricting access to that area for both man and dog. Which is why this photo was taking through both glass and the screen door. You are seeing Mrs Sunbird moments after stuffing something leggy into a gaping baby beak. It must be a relief to stretch her wings after all that relentless sitting.

I’ll try and keep you posted. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to capture the next life-stage for your entertainment!

Time to go and look at something fabricky that isn’t a 3″ square.

ScrapHappy April

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. But first, a bit of news: the result of the raffle of the Days Gone By quilt, table runner and cushion cover which I made for the benefit of Days for Girls, is a now-confirmed total of AU$3,080, which is an amazing result for scraps of fabric rescued from potential landfill.

The next Days for Girls quilt, Hopscotch, is coming along. Last time I showed you the first block. Here’s where I’m up to now – Hopscotch blocks 2, 3, 4 and 5:

Note that these are not shown in the order they will eventually be placed, just as I’ve made them. I also have a load more squares cut. These blocks are 15 x 15 inches, and the quilt will be 5 x 5 blocks, or 75 inches square. I said it should come together a lot faster than the last one! I also have a bunch of other prize ideas for the next raffle, including a book bag/man’s tote, reversible laundry bag, totes, placemats, sets of pot holders, oven mitts tea cosy and coffee cup cosies. We’ll see how many of them I can crank out before the next cent sale/raffle next year.

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). This month, we are once again welcoming new members to the group: say hello to Edith and Preeti!

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

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

 

 

 

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 🙂

Opal #4: hanging about

It has taken for-evvvveeerrrr, but it’s done.

The blasted eye is so blurry that I could only work for half an hour at a time, in good light. Half an hour at a time was enough in the end, though. It’s up and I think it looks great. I bought a length of 16mm dowel from Bunnings, together with a pack of jumbo CommandÂŽ hooks. The pieces are not heavy, so the hooks were sufficient and I didn’t need to drill into the wall.

So that’s another one ticked off the list. Now I can crack on with my big project.

Once the eye is sorted out, of course.

90° thinking…

I’ve been a bit unsettled in my mind the last couple of days.

Not without reason, I’d stipulate. Losing months of work is one cause. The dog behaving as if I’d started maltreating him because I had to take him to the vet for his annual shots is another. Thinking out a big forthcoming project is a third.

So I slowly started assembling the Opal scrappy quilt. It looks lovely. The lilacy-blue sashing works particularly well. The top half is almost done, one seam to go. I was just sitting there a bit vacantly staring at it, when the whole thing just rotated 90° in my head, the two halves side by side. Like this:

And there it was, a potential solution. Let me explain.

Ever since we moved into this house, I’ve been looking for the perfect thing, or things, to hang on the wall above our bed. There is one obstacle, which is a wall light bang slap in the middle of the space, or I’d have whipped a quilt up there pronto. There is also – now – a solution.

I will finish Opal in two halves, and hang the two quilts on the wall above the bed, one on either side of the wall light. The height from the top of the bedhead to the ceiling is almost exactly right, and they will stick out a little on either side, which I don’t mind. They will look great with my hexie quilt on the bed, and against the very soft pale green of the wall. What do you think? I love the idea!

I feel much better now.

I’ve started sewing together a new piece for Days Gone By. The dog can just get over it: he’s had a cheesy treat and two bones, and that’s all that he’s going to blackmail out of me with the mournful, reproachful looks. And I have just had a brainwave about dealing with the Big Project I have coming up.

Things are looking up!

By the way, there has been no news, no calls and no joy at the police station about the missing DGB hexie quilt. So I’ve said goodbye to it, and am moving on. If it turns up, I’ll be stunned and overjoyed, but I don’t expect it. Thanks to all of you for your good ideas, suggestions and great support.

Opal 2: framing

So, here’s where I’m up to.

In my stash there were oddments of grey and white Christmas fabrics. Now, I never use seasonal fabrics as a rule, but I bought them as a stack of eight FQs, having only seen the top spotty one clearly and the other patterns as little snippets on the edge of each folded fat quarter. At the time, I had visions of starting a grey and white quilt, but realising what the designs looked like, I abandoned it, using only bits and pieces where the cutting made the designs disappear. To me, those remainders are scraps, since I’ll never make anything from them, but they’re useful…

I think they work pretty well as the frames for the pastel scrappy blocks of Opal. The busy randomness of the scrappy blocks distracts from the Christmasy themes, and that particular shade of warm grey is muted enough not to distract too much from all the lovely colour.

Sandwiching each block and then quilting comes next. So, wiggly lines or cross-hatching? Wiggly lines make the quilt a bit stiffer, because the quilting’s denser. On the other hand, while cross-hatching is softer and less dense, it does need to be marked, but wiggly lines can be done freehand. Oh, the decisions. Still, there’s time.

Sandwiching will take a couple of days for cutting the backing and batting and then putting everything together. Must check I have enough 505 basting spray. How terrible to have to visit my LQS…

And for the joining strips/sashing, I’ll be using a black, dark grey and white splashy floral print left over from making the Lime & Soda porch curtain. It’s not a design I’ll want to use in a quilt, I think, but it will make a great narrow sashing for this quilt, or that’s what I’m thinking right now.

I may change my mind later!

 

Blue three

In case you fondly imagined I was taking a rest from the Blue quilt…

All blocks are now completed, I’ve finalised the layout, and eight blocks in the top two rows are quilted. The cross hatching is on a 3 inch square grid, which after some testing I found was the perfect balance between the need to secure the layers and keeping the feel of the block flexible and soft after quilting. It’s also a nice easy thing to mark up and I have a good production line going 🙂

I still haven’t absolutely finalised the colour of the front sashing for this quilt, but I have time to think about that. I’m quite liking the idea of a pale beige/cream, but am also debating using one of the brighter pale blues, as I don’t want the blocks to blend into the sashing too much.

This is going to be a nice easy quilt to assemble: three rows with a 6-square and 4-square panel in each, so only two medium-long seams and no very long ones.

Right, time to go and cut more backing squares.

Blue two

More blocks, the light ones this time…

I’m happy with how this is turning out, and best of all, the Husband approves also. Not too girly, not too boring (and if we’re strictly honest, quite pleased that I didn’t need to buy a whole load of fabric for it!). Because it’s scrap-dense, these simple blocks can be quite time-consuming to put together, but I’m really enjoying the discipline imposed by this colour scheme. The blues are all at the cool end of the range, and the white, grey, sand and taupe are beautifully fresh. I have to resist the temptation to include fabrics I love which are simply the wrong colour, and actually, I really love the outcome!

4 more blocks to go and the piecing will be done. Quilting’s going to be simple and not too dense. It’s a bunk quilt and needs to be fairly supple, so dense quilting would stiffen it too much. I’m still considering what would be best. It needs to complement the simplicity of the design, hold the layers together and be quick to achieve (I’m impatient to start my own bunk quilt!).

Once the blocks are done, I’ll sandwich a few blocks and have a think…

 

 

Grey Nomad Quilt: all together now

Yup, I’ve got it fully assembled.

grey-nomad-still-needs-bindingIt’s taken a while, what with all the other pots I have on the boil, but my biggest and bestest scrappy project is in the home stretch. I’m scratching my head a bit about what to start for my next ScrapHappy project; I hope I’m sure something will come to me before the 15th of this month!

I’ve spent a while auditioning various colours for the binding, but there’s no real question about what’s needed. It’s going to be be scrappy, of course! I’ve had a lovely rootle in all my scrap boxes for assorted lengths of 2½ inch strips I can join together.  I love binding, so I’m looking forward to this next stage 🙂

I’m confident I’ll be able to show the finished quilt for my ScrapHappy post…. 🙂

Simple perfection

I ♥ Pinterest.

And the other day, this love and the hours I spend trawling for inspiration were fully, fully justified when I discovered there a tutorial which has been a total game-changer for me.

My quilts are more known for being colourful or an interesting concept or design than for the perfection of my piecing. I freely admit that my favourite mantra is “Finished is better than perfect”. This lack of skill (or perhaps my stubborn refusal to unpick something just a bit wonky when I’m on a roll) has put out of reach my long-time ambition to create a postage-stamp scrappy double quilt. Can you imagine the escalation of non-matching corners across a full size quilt? It didn’t bear thinking about, and knowing myself thoroughly, I sadly put the idea on a very distant back burner.

But look at this baby!  Check out those corners!  See how crisp and perfect and lovely it is!

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 12.30.33 pm

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 12.30.50 pmOK, I’ll stop taking the credit now, and give it where it’s due. I used Elizabeth Hartman’s postage stamp block tutorial. It’s beautifully explained and photographed, all laid out with the kind of detail and clarity any moron or person in an extreme hurry can understand, and it uses no special tools, only things that any average sewist will have on hand. You need only the smallest amount of patience at the start, and after that, it goes astonishingly quickly

It’s so wonderfully simple: cut your squares a tiny, tiny bit smaller than a 2″ grid marked on a square of lightweight iron-on interfacing. Arrange all your squares with edges touching. Press. Crease the interfacing along the gridlines and stitch along the creases. Gently slit the interfacing to open the seam allowance and press open. Do the verticals, then the horizontals. Result: Perfect squares that line up exactly.

I did one thing differently from how she suggests you proceed; instead of making a fabric grid to place under the interfacing, I drew my grid directly on the back of the interfacing with a fine tip biro, and placed the whole shebang on a white cloth so the lines showed through. Oh, and I made mine much smaller, on the assumption that as I could easily stuff it up, there was no point spoiling lots of interfacing. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried! I may eventually make her white fabric grid, because it’ll save ruling lines on every block, but for now, it’s quick and easy to do it my way. I’ve already made this cutie’s big sister, and have another big pile of colourful scraps pressed and lined up on the cutting mat. Obsessive, moi?

The upshot of all this unseemly glee and self-congratulation is that I have now added the postage stamp quilt to my To Do list. Best of all, because I can make it one scrappy block at a time, I can do it almost by stealth, and as part of the monthly ScrapHappy block post that Gun and I do on the 15th of each month. Watch this space. One of these days, I’ll be doing a “Tah-daaaah!” post, and there will be a beautiful postage stamp scrappy quilt to show off.

And a whole lot less scraps to store, not that I’ll ever stop creating them….