It’s Been a While. Again.

So, life has a way of happening.  I now have four children.  Baby Four was born recently.  The pregnancy was rough (though normal).  Having an infant is actually easier in a lot of ways.

I just got my “sewjo” back and signed up for Monday Open Sew at the local quilting shop.  I figured that I wouldn’t stay for the whole thing, but I wanted to talk to adults other than my husband, and I really wanted to produce something again (other than a baby).  I hadn’t worked on anything in a year and really didn’t want to schlep my sewing machine and/or rulers and cutting mats along with the baby, so I just brought a box of fabric scraps and EPP supplies.

The fabric I’ve been putting off using for years is a 8″x8″ test swatch of tiny molting grackles by meduzy on Spoonflower.  I decided to just use some 2″ and 4″ square papers and just cut into the thing already.  The photo above is most of what I got done at the Open Sew.

I don’t know where I’m going with it.  It might end up being a little wall hanging or a pillow or part of something bigger.  I wish the designer on Spoonflower had more animals in the same style and color scheme, but she really doesn’t, aside from a mouse.  I’d rather leave it at just the grackle.

Framed Five Inch Block HP


When I got home and got Baby Four (we’ll call her “Qua”) to nap, I cut out some more papers and ended up with the scheme above, which is a five-inch block.  The center square is 1/2″ on a side.  I plan to have not many that small.  I was actually trying for bigger pieces, but I guess that’s hard for me.  Part of it was dictated by the fabric, though.

Grackles Layout Tentative HP

The layout above is very, very tentative.  I ordered more of the grackle fabric and I’ll see what I can do when it gets here.  I’m trying to only add bigger pieces than what I have here.  1/2″ is too small for a rectangle, though it’s not bad for hexes.  The top 2″ grackle rectangles are framed out to 4″.  I’m not sure how it’ll all fit together yet.  I’m calling it “Molting Grackles” for now.

Grackles Fabric Pull HP jpg

Feast your eyes on the fabric I pulled for this project.  It’s mostly scraps, with a few fat quarters for good measure.  We’ll see if I end up using it all and/or if I have to add to it.  Both seem likely.  It’s looking very red/cream/blue muted oldstyle.  I truly thought I was more modern than that.  Maybe not when I’m EPPing.

Modern Medallion Inspiration Links

Even though I went in a totally different direction with my “Modern Medallion” quilt from Rachel at Stitched in Color’s Handstitched Class, I wanted to share some of the very inspirational posts that I saw while I was still thinking about completing it as presented.

First, Happy Go Lizzie’s flimsy is gorgeous in its constrained, muted color palette, except for those pops of yellow in dark grey.  I also really liked her diagonal quilting in the random squares part of the quilt.

Another detail of diagonal quilting in a fall palette from Ginette.

A flimsy full of brights, fussy cutting, and leaves from Kellyfairy, displayed like stained glass.

Amanda from My Sewical Hour discusses her slow stitching, decision making, and inability to complete someone else’s pattern.  This one really spoke to me, because it turns out I have the same problem.  (It doesn’t help that this is/was one of my first real quilt projects–I think I just wanted such a big project and finish to be MINE.)

A happy, bold, FINISHED Modern Medallion by Emily.  It can be done!  Someone finished it and the hand quilting is wonderful.

Another muted, constrained palette for the flimsy which stuck with me.  This one’s by HNoelMauri.

And, since months have passed, Kelly Kruzner’s flimsy in seaglass blues.  I LOVE it.

I didn’t go in any of these directions, but they all added something to my process.  I love that people share their work, especially when it’s so beautiful.

It’s Been a While.

Title says it all.  Life got busy, as it does.

I was still working on things, though I rage-quit Midnight Garden for a while.  I have a backlog of half-finished posts, so I’ll get through those, then to the new stuff, of which there is…some.

Stay tuned.

Midnight Garden Rectangular Medallion

Is a rectangular medallion still a medallion?  I dunno, but that’s what I’m calling it.

MG Rectangular Medallion HPYes, I’m still piecing it all by hand over paper.  Why?  I really don’t know (ie, same reasons as before).  The four small flowers are EPPed, then hand-appliqued to the white background fabric.  The fabric looks dull because it’s sitting on a dark surface, which shows through the white.

Believe it or not, but this layout took much agonizing.  Yes, really.  But I’m almost entirely happy with it.  I think I should have done light flowers on a black background.  I still might, I dunno.  If I do, I’ll save these for a later round.

I’m also not thrilled with the curved edges of the flowers–they’re not smooth.  I think I need one of those teeny craft irons, but I don’t think I’m going to make this a habit, since I found the applique fiddly and annoying.  My stitches are nowhere near invisible, either.  I prefer to EPP a whole block.  Or, someday, machine applique the motif down.

I have decided on my next round, at least.  I’m going to do full Storm at Sea blocks in the corners and midway down each long edge (for a total of six–I ordered the papers well before Rachel said that one package does six small blocks, so I have WAY too many Storm at Sea papers) and the same sort of 2″ checkerboard that Rachel has as her next Modern Medallion round, but mine will be one block wider, and I’m going to do a pattern in the checkerboard instead of making it random.  I’m thinking more Drunkard’s Path blocks to actually make a path.  I have a sketch of it, which I’ll post at some point along with more progress photos.

This post was just a quickie for the Handstitched class people, but I might link up with Sunday Slow Stitching at Kathy’s Quilts, since that’s clearly what I’m doing with this project.

Five Flowers for Eleni

Flowers for Eleni HPI decided to also do yellow and white flowers.  They’re wrinkly because the papers are still in.

Flowers for Eleni Back HP

I’m really happy with how they came out (I think I did a pretty good job of choosing hues in each color that worked well with one another), and I hope they fit well into the quilt(s) that Jodi from Tales of Cloth and her helpers make for Rachel and her family.  Here’s the latest from Rachel.  I wish the auction hadn’t been Instagram-only.

Even though I’ve been doing EPP for months now, this is the first project where I actually removed the basting and papers.

Flowers for Eleni Removing Papers HPIt was a little scary at first, and I didn’t realize just how much thread went into the basting stitches until I was cutting them at every corner, but just feeling the fabric drape like fabric again was wonderful.

Flower for Eleni Papers Out HPYou can see that I used a thin light grey thread on the colored parts (Aurifil 50 wt, which I am in LOVE with), and a thicker dark grey thread on the parts connecting with the black.  You can see both sets of stitches a little on the front, but it’s HANDwork, so I like to see it.

I was worried that the seam allowances weren’t behaving, but I put all five flat into a padded mailer, smooshed between pieces of paper, and I think they’ll get to Jodi in Australia better than they left here.

Some people were appliqueing their flowers onto background fabric, per Jodi’s assembly plan, but I just don’t have a deep enough stash to have made that viable.  Also, since I had two light flowers, I wanted her to have some leeway on how she backed them (inverse for those?  Light flowers and dark background?  Or not).

I also didn’t trust myself to do the machine applique and I had no time at all for hand applique.  I hope she can use them and that they play well with other people’s flowers.  This was my first attempt at contributing blocks to a quilt.

I can’t wait to see what she and her helpers do with them and I hope that Rachel’s family can take comfort from them.

Flowers for Eleni

Rachel from Stitched in Color, who teaches the Handstitched class that I’m taking, delivered her baby over the weekend.  Things did not go as expected.  I wanted to offer my support, but I couldn’t comment on her blog post with just my name and I didn’t want to email her my sympathies.

A classmate let us know about Jodi from Tales of Cloth’s Flowers for Eleni 1″ hexagon flowers project.  It’s a very small way that I can come together with our community and let her know that she and her daughter and husband and other children are in our thoughts.

Flowers for Eleni 1 HPI dropped what was on my hand-sewing agenda (aka Midnight Garden) and basted up some 1″ hexagons.  (I made that sound easy, but I agonized, as usual, over the fabrics in each bunch–do they go together, are they balanced, etc.  I want to send her my best and not mess up what everyone else is doing.  I checked the Instagram hashtag and I think what I’m doing will fit in.)

Depending on how fast I can sew these together, I’ll get them mailed on Saturday to Australia(!).  If not, I’ll make a couple more and mail them next weekend.  A yellow would be nice.  Maybe a white-on-white.  For the centers, I used my silver-speckled black fabric, which I love and which I think makes very nice flower centers.

I hope doctors can soon find a diagnosis for Eleni, and I hope it’s one with a good prognosis.

The Pink that Wasn’t

Pink was February’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge color.  At the beginning of the month, I went through my eBay scraps and dug out all of the pinks.

Pink Fabrics HP

Look how bright and cheery.  I was super-excited.  I guess pink didn’t feel as personal to me as blue, so I was less worried about messing it up.  Also, there are fewer variations in pink, so what I had seemed to work together better than the blues did.

I cut into about half of the scraps for 1/2″ and 1″ hexagons and I started basting.

Pink Hexagons Cut HP

And that was it.  Cute, but not many.  The Handstitched class and my quilt Midnight Garden took over (not to mention all of the snow days and school vacations and sickness) and that was all for the pinks.  I looked at them all month, but I didn’t get anything else done.

I doubt I’ll even pull fabrics for March’s RSC color, because I have a LOT to do for Midnight Garden, but I’m sure I’ll still enjoy seeing what other people are doing.  I linked up with the RSC at soscrappy this week, even though I don’t have much to show.

Ugly Headband

I’ve been working my rear off on Midnight Garden, my quilt for the Handstitched class (I’ve almost got the center all sewn together!), but I’m only loosely following Rachel’s instructions for the Modern Medallion quilt.  This means that I’m way, way behind.  If I want the souvenir from the class (and I do), I need to make something from each week of the class.

Week 3 was embroidery.  I chose to EPP my “jewels” round of the quilt, so I made this headband instead:

Ugly Headband HP

I made it using materials I had on hand, and I did half-ass it, but it’s done.  (Yes, I used a paper towel as the backdrop.  Wanna fight?)  If I had to make a gift for a long-haired child I REALLY liked, I might make this without cutting any corners.  It was relatively quick to make and if I’d put more time and care into it (ie, measuring), it would have come out very nice.

Now, back to working on Midnight Garden.

Midnight Garden Medallion Progress

Quick picture for my Handstitched class camp people:

Midnight Garden Medallion Progress HP

It’s not all sewn together yet (though it looks like it’ll fit–especially after pressing and when the papers are out).  Yes, it’s all hand-sewn.  Yes, all over papers, EPP style.  Why?  I could not tell you, except that I was afraid of losing points on the medallion and I don’t trust my machine-sewing skills (or my machine) yet enough to risk it.  It’s taking FOREVER and I’m rushing, so it’s not fun.

On the plus side, I’m really liking it.  I don’t think it’ll end up square, though.  Maybe twin-sized, so they can lay it over me when I’m old, on my cot in the nursing home.  It might actually get done by then, too.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to do some of the smaller projects (from weeks 2 and 5) so I can have something done from every week and get my tchotchke from Rachel.  But, on the plus side, if I’m taking my time, I’ll be able to like it again.  Yay.

Charm Pack – Pepe in Paris

I went back and finally finished the gluing and cutting and basting of this charm pack that Prim LOVED.  Picture time:

CP Pepe in Paris HPYou’ll see that I didn’t learn anything from last time: This “black” construction paper is a terrible background, so none of the colors are true.  It’s worse in the 1/2″ hexagon picture:

CP Pepe in Paris Small HPMy favorite has to be that tree in the upper right, which is unfortunately upside down in the picture.  My least favorite is the guy’s torso in the middle of the shot.  These prints didn’t work at all well for the 1/2″ hexagons, both since the patterns were too big and because they had too many colors in them to work with my I’m Not a Machine project.  Ah, well.  Live and learn.  Prim LOVES them.

Not pictured are the leftover 5″ x (mostly) 2.5″ strips which will eventually go into a scrappy coin quilt.  This charm pack was tied with a ribbon which went missing well before I had everything basted, let alone ready for their photos.

Did I mention that Prim LOVES this Pepe in Paris fabric?  (Yes, you did, HP, a bunch of times now.)  Well,  I got a yard each of the main print in pink and blue (I couldn’t find the white–my “local retailer” was all sold out, ages ago) for pillowcases.  He’s very excited about the idea.  I like this tutorial at Film in the Fridge for making fancy pillowcases with cuffs and NO RAW SEAMS!

I want to get started on them, but I need to finish a few other projects first, so they’ll have to wait a bit.