Friday, April 21, 2017

String Mismanagement

basket of fabric strings for quilting

When I began quilting in earnest a few years ago I had lots of long strips of leftover fabric -- strings.  I dumped them into a half-bushel basket, adding to the basket as more strings came along.  What was I thinking? 

This week I searched through every possible source of neutral scraps for my scrap squares, including that string basket.  What a mess!  I found a bunch of light strings but they were so crumpled I had to iron them.  They look much better.  They look usable, in fact.

fabric strings for quilting

And I've used some of those strings to make more 4" squares.


There are enough squares here to make 22 blocks (with 4 squares each) though they're not all from those strings.


Laid out in stacks of four, they look like this.


One of these days I'll have enough to make a quilt.  Right now they are leaders/enders for each other.  I match fabric pieces, pin, and lay a stack by the sewing machine.  It's easy to whip right through them.  Stitch, press, match, repeat.  And the stack grows.

Sometime in the last year or two I changed the way I manage strings.  I lay them flat, one on top of another, so I don't have to iron them before using them.  Of course, there's still that half-bushel basket of strings that need to be ironed.... 

How do you store strings?  If they are wrinkled, do you iron them before sewing them?  Just curious.

I haven't had much sewing time these past few weeks.  I've been helping organize a women's conference at church -- scheduled for tomorrow!  We're having 17 presenters and 20 workshops and there could be as many as 200 women attend.  My part has been contacting the presenters to get the titles and blurbs for their presentations, find out what their needs will be (copies, AV equipment, etc.), letting them know their rooms and presentation times, etc.  The organizer commented that every time she asked one of the women to present she felt like she was asking them to marry her.  I chuckled at that.  Then I began my part in the process and I felt like they'd all said yes -- to me!  I've sent and responded to countless emails.  I'm looking forward to clearing out my inbox in the next few days! 

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Friday Night Sew-In at Sugarlane Designs
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

High and Holy Hymning:  He Is Risen!



          He is risen! He is risen!
          Tell it out with joyful voice.
          He has burst his three days' prison;
          Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
          Death is conquered; man is free.
          Christ has won the victory.

          Come with high and holy hymning;
          Chant our Lord's triumphant lay.
          Not one darksome cloud is dimming
          Yonder glorious morning ray,
          Breaking o'er the purple east,
          Symbol of our Easter feast.

          He is risen! He is risen!
          He hath opened heaven's gate.
          We are free from sin's dark prison,
          Risen to a holier state.
          And a brighter Easter beam
          On our longing eyes shall stream.

I wish you the blessings of a joyful Easter!

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Will Happen Next?

upcycled men's plaid shirt

Last September I cut out six or seven of these little plaid baskets and stitched the edges under, but couldn't decide on backgrounds, or even the next step for them.

upcycled men's plaid shirt

They are a little over 8" high and almost as wide.  I love them.  But they've been languishing, waiting for the next step.

upcycled men's plaid shirt

I finally began stitching them to backgrounds last week.  I keep having to remind myself that truly, choosing backgrounds for these baskets is not rocket science.  It's no big deal.  It's a little decision that is of little consequence.

As I've been stitching on these I keep wondering what will happen to them next.  As if some other entity will act on them and choose their outcome.  The wind will blow and suddenly the baskets will land on their perfect backgrounds.  As if I'm not the one choosing the next steps for these baskets, choosing the colors, the backgrounds, the contents of the baskets, how they will be added to and finished.  I think it's because I don't begin with a finish in mind.  I make a decision and take the first step, and then have to decide what next, and what next after that.  What will become of them, indeed!  I don't know but I know inspiration will strike, an idea will come, and then I'll know what will happen next.

I have leftover pieces from Cheri's Baskets of Plenty blocks.  I'm just playing for now, but maybe some of this is what will happen to these blocks next.  Or maybe something else.

upcycled men's plaid shirt
If you're creating your own pattern for a quilt do you begin a quilt with an end in mind or do you decide as you go along?

I'm linking this post to
> WOW (WIPs on Wednesday) at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #172 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #66 at Quilt Fabrication
> Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Friday, April 7, 2017

A Finish, Compared To....

This is my finished version of Block 3 of Cheri Payne's Baskets of Plenty sew-along.

Cheri Payne pattern Baskets of Plenty Block 3

I like it a lot and was feeling pretty pleased about it until I happened upon this photo of Block 3 in progress....


I really shouldn't do that -- shouldn't look back at the other options and compare.  But I did and except for that big pink flower, I think I like this bird and his narrow perch better than in the finished basket.

Thank goodness I have more fabric and can remake this block if I choose.  Thank goodness it's not a whole quilt and just one block.  But then again, maybe I'll use the one I've already finished.  I like it, just maybe not quite so much.

I've been enjoying and feeling challenged by Cheri's Baskets of Plenty sew-along.  I notice that my blocks are much simpler than Cheri's -- she uses more pieces and I use less and sometimes simplify them.  She uses wool for her applique and I use cotton.  She has lots of experience, I have much less.  We all start somewhere and go from there, from simple and easy to proficient and on to advanced and complex (if we choose).  In the end, the most important thing is that I enjoyed the process (even if I may have felt challenged and/or frustrated sometimes) and I like what I've created.  For you, too?

Have you ever changed your mind after you've finished a block and remade it?

I'm linking this post to
> Finshed or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
> TGIFF at The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Back to Scrap Squares

I'm really making an effort to finish some in-progress quilts this year.  I pulled out these blocks thinking I was good to go with laying out, arranging, and putting them together.


These are 4" square, the cut-out centers from behind a different applique quilt.

Each square is sewn with three others squares into a block like the ones below.  These blocks will finish at 7".  It's an odd size, I know, but it's the largest block I could get from the cutouts.


Of course there weren't enough of the cut-out centers for a quilt of any size, so I pulled together a basket of smallish neutral scraps and sewed and sewed and sewed.  I thought I had a good stack.  Without counting, I laid all the blocks out on the floor.  Too few, too small.  So I sewed more scraps into 4" squares.


And then the blocks looked like this.  My husband commented that he really likes it because it looks so calm and soothing.  I was just a little surprised that it looks so bland.  It looked a little stronger when I had a few blocks on the wall.


Anyway, I have more blocks to stitch together but I don't have many more neutral scraps to sew into 4" squares.  So the decision becomes whether to use all the blocks I have and can make from the rest of the 4" squares and let it be a small quilt or wait till I accumulate more neutral scraps and make more squares.

This is truly a decide-as-you-go kind of quilt.  Will it get sashing?  Will it get one or more borders?  Or maybe some applique?  Perhaps some would call it improv piecing?  I don't know what this quilt will look like when it's finished but I'm trusting some good ideas will come my way.

I'm linking this post to
> Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
> Moving it Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

--Nancy.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Quilt Patterns in Printed Fabric

I see quilt patterns in so many places.  These bits of fabric reminded me of quilt patterns, too.  Some of these pieces are really small.  For instance, this first one is about 1½" square.  The others are a little larger.










Do you see quilt patterns in your fabric?

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Flower Play and a Mess of a Work Space

This is one of my first ideas for this basket block.  Well, maybe my second or third idea.  The bird's moved several times.  And so have the flowers in the photo plus several others that aren't in the photo.  I'm still deciding what to do about leaves and other elements -- deciding what to do about all of it except the basket, which is already sewn.

Baskets of Plenty Cheri Payne pattern

I cut out a bunch of flowers, just to see how they might look.  Only three of these will make the final cut.  I tend toward realism but not this time with these flowers.


This is a rare look (well, rare for you; I see it every day) into the mess of my work space when making an applique block.  As you scroll through the photos imagine looking at an ironing board from left to right.








When this block is finished I'll pick up everything and put it all away, only to pull out the cigar box (on the left in the first ironing board photo) with some already cut pieces and begin again when I start the next block.

When you're in the midst of work on a block or quilt, does your work space stay neat and tidy or do you spread out as you play with fabric and make decisions?

I'm linking this quilt to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #170 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #65 at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baskets of Plenty Block 2, Choosing for Block 3

Baskets of Plenty block 2 Cheri Payne
I call this a finished block knowing I will change the embroidery around the star and may add some detail to the stems and leaves.  Those chunky stems give me a chuckle every time I look at them.  No drooping flowers in this basket!

applique star in circle on basket for Cheri Payne basket

I think the star needs something around the edge to help it stand out a little from the red behind but I'm not pleased with the dashed line in this photo.  In fact I've already removed it in anticipation of doing something else.  I think my embroidery skills are not up to snuff.   (It's been many long, long years since I embroidered as a child.)

Choosing the colors for the circle and star was fun.  When I've finished with a block I always question whether a different choice would have been better.  (My motto should be, "Never look back.")  I tried more than a dozen other options, some of which are below.

Baskets of Plenty block 2 Cheri Payne

Primitive is a new style to me. I recognize primitive when I see it but find it difficult to pinpoint in my mind exactly what makes something look primitive? Does it depend on colors, or the pattern, or both, or something else?

I made this as part of Cheri Payne's Basket of Plenty sew-along on her facebook group.  She posts pdfs of the patterns, then we print them and choose which pieces we want to use for our blocks.

It's been both fun and challenging.   It seems I usually change a pattern in one way or another to make it my own.  Many other participants are using wool for the applique but I want a quilt that can be washed and dried so I'm using only cotton.  Some of Cheri's shapes are hard for me to make accurately with turned-edged applique so I've chosen the shapes I can manage and simplified some of the ones that I couldn't.

I'm behind with these blocks since the pattern for the third basket is already available.  I've cut out the pattern pieces and just started playing with colors.


I have two brown baskets.  Do I want a tan/grey basket or a red basket or some other color?  And maybe that pink doesn't work as primitive?

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #169 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #64 at Quilt Fabrication
> Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

Thanks stopping by.  Happy day to you.

Nancy.
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