Wednesday, July 27, 2022


Well, after weeks and weeks of hand-stitching on my Kantha quilt, I decided another Dropcloth sampler was in order, and this time I chose Compass, the first in a series based on traditional quilt patterns.

I wasn't quite sure of a thread palette as I began, with the design being painted with that bold red background, but it evolved.

Once I was done with the printed design, I decided I wasn't really done....

So I kept on stitching, making it up as I went around the outside of the compass, using three stitches - the running stitch, the backstitch, and the chain stitch. I really love the statement that extra stitching made.

And for those that like to see the back! Can you tell it's not something I worry much about? <grin>

Anyway, this was a fun one, and though I'm busy now with hand-piecing bow tie blocks, I am happy to know there is a new Dropcloth Sampler sewalong coming next week!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

X Blocks

I realized the other day that I'd forgotten to blog about July's Bee Sewcial blocks for Stephanie/@spontaneousthreads. Her prompt was improv X blocks, inspired by the MQG QuiltCon 10 year challenge. We were asked to make two 12.5" blocks with one or many Xs per block. And for a palette - Xs were to be made with cool colors (one color grouping) and the background with warm colors (another color grouping).

The first view below shows my first 12.5" block in the orientation I was building towards as I pieced. But Stephanie asked that we send our blocks untrimmed, so the block has a bit of wiggle room to be oriented differently if she chooses. (shown in second view)

And here is the actually piece that I sent to Stephanie.

Below are similar views of my second block. Gotta say, these were really fun!

Monday, July 25, 2022

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: On the Go

When I saw that the Aurifil Artisan Challenge for July was "On the Go," I immediately thought of the 100 bow tie blocks I had finished - and ultimately stashed away - last August during the 100 Day Summer Sewalong. I had already come up with a layout, so it was easy to pull the project together for portable sewing.

First, I refreshed the ArtBin I'd used with a previous handsewing project. In fact, leftover squares are still there, saved for a possible new project. But for now, I'm ignoring those, and using the other supplies.

It seems to work best for me to mark the sewing lines before stitching any blocks together. So I do that for a row's worth of blocks, then I'm not carrying the entire project with me at any one time.

For piecing, I'm using a spool of 40wt thread that came in my Aurifil Artisan welcome package - #2026 [Chalk]. I'm finding it strong yet fine enough to create the tiny stitches needed as I sew the blocks together.

So I haven't gone too far afield with my project quite yet, but I'm ready! And meanwhile, I'm making good progress. Hoping I can stick with it!

Friday, July 15, 2022

2022 Mid-Year Check-In

At the end of last year, Yvonne/Quilting JETgirl hosted the 2022 Planning Party looking towards the year ahead. So now, she's encouraging us to take stock for a #2022MidYearCheckIn. Sadly, I rarely even remember I made a plan, so I've been as surprised as anyone to see how I've been doing. 

The Quilts
  • More stash-busting and scrap-using is definitely in order. In fact, I'm considering starting 100 Days of Scraps, since I enjoyed my 50 so much this year. AND my scrap basket is truly overflowing. Again. - Actually, I settled on 50 Days of Scraps (see #aqt50daysofscraps2022), and that felt about right. My most obviously scrappy project was a set of colorful potholders, though I've managed several quilts as well. Even though the 50 days are over, it's an ongoing process and goal, to be sure.

  • There are a couple of key WIPs that I'm still working on finishing - my 2021 Summer Sampler quilt, and the hand-pieced bowtie quilt begun in the 100 Day Summer Sewalong. I expect the first to be a priority after the holidays. - Yay for finishing the Summer Sampler right off, though the bowtie quilt blocks are still languishing. I need to revisit them!

  • As usual, I plan to make something with 2022's Pantone color of the year, Very Peri. Once I get an official Pantone swatch, I'll work on figuring out fabrics.- I have the swatch, and fabric even, but have yet to tackle this one, but fully expect to still do that.

  • The goal of at least one finished quilt project a month continues to encourage me along, so I plan to continue with that. I really think I want to continue to go with the flow, though, about what those quilts might be.... whatever brings me joy in the moment would be my preference, and discovering what that might be is a big part of the fun. - This has continued to work well for me, and is an ongoing goal. In fact, I have a new quilt in progres - one with improv X blocks - so hopes are I can finish it by month's end... or then again, make something else.

  • Bee Sewcial, an improv and solid-only bee, is heading into our 8th(!) year together and I'm up again to offer a prompt come April. - yes! My new prompt was "Horizons," and I have blocks from my beemates up on the design wall now, and am mulling over a finishing plan.

  • The blocks aren't quite done yet, but will be early in the new year, so I plan to make a quilt out of my Snowflake Sampler blocks, hand-stitched all through 2021.- Happily, my Chickenscratch quilt is finished too! What a fun project, learning something totally new for me.

  • I definitely want to keep up with the handwork I've been doing this year, and continue to be open to learning new techniques. I'm mulling over what new to explore. - Well, as luck would have it, in April the 2022 Stitch Club Kantha Sew-Along presented itself, and over the new few months, I learned to make a Kantha quilt. Let's just say I loved (pretty much) every minute, and am so pleased with my finished quilt.

The Community
Hope to do more of the same:
  • Regular, frequent posting on the blog here and on Instagram. Don't expect me to try any fancy stuff though. ha. - I'm thankfully able to still post pretty consistently. I'd kind of like to explore making reels, though haven't actively pursued that yet.
  • I'll take The Scrap Basket into its 7th year, and monthly editions seem to make sense for the time being. - Yes, monthly continues to be the routine, usually at month's end.
  • I'm mulling over whether to focus more on entering quilts into shows. I really like that idea, though the process of entering doesn't bring me joy - ha. So we'll see. - I haven't made the effort, though an exciting opportunity did come up that I can share more about soon.
New Directions
  • I've been debating whether to move my blog away from Blogger but need to consider my options. I've also been toying with the idea of adding a shop to my brand for the occasional (most likely small) quilt or other sewn item. Still debating. - No progress on either of those items, though they still are options. I was selected as a 2022 Aurifil Artisan though, so that's a 'new direction' I'm exploring. Also, a short-term project that I hadn't anticipated has been helping plan the 2023 QuiltCon Community Outreach Challenge quilt for Seattle MQG. So far I've just ordered and prepped fabric to support our quilt design by my friend Louise/@imfeelincrafty, so we'll see if I'm needed to help on other aspects of the project.

So I'm feeling pretty good about the year so far. Lately, I've felt a bit stymied, but I know that's just part of the process, so I'm trying to live through it and keep working on things as I feel like it. Without being especially pushy, I just keep encouraging myself in a forward direction while letting the breaks be perfectly ok.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Front Zipper Pocket Tote

Recently when I needed one more handmade gift, I went with the Front Zipper Pocket Tote in Sotak Handmade's book, That Handmade Touch. The recipient loves and uses all the little handmade items I've made her over the years, so it's kind of hard to remember what I've made - or not. Figuring a tote is always handy, I went rummaging through my stash to see what I had to work with.

For the main exterior, I had plenty of the suggested Essex linen in black, which in my humble opinion, goes with just about anything. For the exterior pockets, I had just enough Triangles in Red from Kobayashi. It's a Linen Cotton Canvas, a little heavier than suggested but worked perfectly. What you can't see is a gold zipper under the top flap in the photo above. In the photo below of the tote back, you can see there's a bound slip pocket. And just for the record, after I took these photos, I thought to press the side and bottom corners, which made the bag a lot less slouchy-looking.

The lining was also canvas, though unfortunately unidentified. It's cheery though, and gave the bag some nice structure. The leather handles - a feature that I knew the recipient would love - I actually had on hand from Anna/noodlehead's shop. When I purchased the strap for the recent Hillside Tote, I bought a spare. How serendipitous was that? And the final details - a magnetic snap and some rivets - finished the bag off nicely. It measured 12" wide x 14" tall x 4" deep, which is a really useful medium size. And happily, my friend loved the tote, just as I'd hoped. And with that, I THINK I'm caught up on sharing the small makes of the last few weeks. AND I started a new quilt this week!!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Brookfield Bag + Lisbon Pouch

When I decided I needed a new purse recently, I went with a pattern I was already familiar with - the Brookfield Bag - a free pattern from Sew Sweetness. I'd made my first Brookfield back in 2014, and really enjoyed using it until the fabric started to wear thin. Not having the heart to toss it, though, I'd kept it in my sewing closet, which turned out to be a very good idea, as I was able to repurpose the hardware for my new bag.

For fabric, I used a pair of Carolyn Friedlander prints. The exterior is from her Kept collection; the interior from Gleaned. And the accent is Essex Yarn Dyed in Olive.

I chose to make a pared down version this time, so I went with no corner accents, no piping, a simpler slip pocket AND I used the leather crossbody handle from my most previous bag. I confess I was pretty pleased with my ingenuity overall on this remake. The one bit that gave me grief on the original was the installation of the twist lock. Luckily, since then, Sara had posted a YouTube video on installing one, and once I'd referenced that, it took me about five minutes for me to install mine on the new bag. Yay.

The finished Brookfield measures 11" long by 7" tall and is perfect for what I needed and wanted this summer.

I also recently tried a new-to-me pattern from Sotak Handmade, her Lisbon Pouch. I think I'd purchased the pattern when she first released it, but hadn't tried it yet. I'm sure glad I have now, as it went together like a dream. The pattern comes with three size options, and I chose the largest, at 5.5" x 9.5", since I was making it per a friend's request. With two zippers, it's pretty roomy, and a fun little one to coordinate fabric for. Hopefully my friend finds it useful as she travels this fall.

So it seems the smaller non-quilt projects have been where I've spent my time the last couple of weeks. Unless something else comes up, I think I might actually be ready to start focusing on quilting again, though I DO have a couple more (completed) projects to share, so stay tuned!

Friday, July 8, 2022

June Fabric Usage

Thinking at first that I would lump things together for a Summer Fabric Usage post, I had a pretty decent June, so decided to go ahead and summarize it. For one, I finished two quilts, Pivot, and the mini Wave Gap. (I also finished my Kantha quilt, but no additional fabric was used for that during June.)

For some reason, it was also a month of many small makes, including:

That all added up!

For intake, I only purchased one piece of fabric that was immediately used in the Hillside Tote; though I did receive a small handful of fat quarters from a couple of friends. Ie. overall not too much added to the overall stash.

So here's the rundown on the month's totals. Let's see if I can be as productive in July!

June Fabric Usage

Used up: 14.99 yards
Brought in: 1.5 yards 
Net: -13.49 yards

Net Year to date: -49.042 yards
Total Year to date: -108.292 yards

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Hillside Tote III

It seems I've been doing plenty of sewing lately, just not quilts! Since I finished my Kantha quilt, I've just been sewing other things, one of which was another Hillside Tote, which was made as a gift for my sister-in-law.

I'd actually made this pattern twice before - once for myself, and once for my mom. As she did for the tote I made her, mom chimed in on all the details for this bag. We settled on the regular size, which measures 9.5" wide by 3" deep (measured at base), 9.25" tall, with a width at top opening of 12.5". After struggling to find the waxer canvas we'd hoped to find online, I realized I had enought canvas left from making mom's bag for this bag too. It was a Light Olive 10 oz. Hand Waxed Cotton Canvas Fabric from ALFrancesTextiles on Etsy. It's a tiny bit heavier than the pattern suggests but worked great both times.

For lining, we ordered Kaufman's Big Sur Cotton Canvas in Mustard from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, And then from the pattern designer, Anna of Noodlehead, we picked up a Redwood Tote Hardware Kit which inclued the hardware we needed, as well as a 1" leather handle in 54" length in Rustic, a 12" nylon handbag zipper in Monster Snot, plus some leather zipper pulls. Boy I love when you can get so much of what you need from one shop!

One great (to me) thing about pairing the waxed canvas with the cotton canvas on this bag is that there is no need for fusible interfacing. Honestly, that step seems to take so much time in prepping your materials, that I'm glad when it isn't needed. And having made this bag twice, it went together pretty quickly! I love the design, and know from experience that the bag will be sturdy and handy to use. Mom and I also both love the leather strap which is a snap to make and looks so good. Anyway, the tote is now in the hands of the recipient, and here's hoping she enjoys hers as well as mom and I have ours.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

All the Horizons

So back in April, I announced a new prompt for my Bee Sewcial mates - Horizons. I had just retired, so the connotations of 'new horizons' was ringing pretty true for me. Also, I'd been admiring the work of Grant Haffner in the preceeding months, which in turn, was to be inspiration as they created their own horizons in fabric. The request was to use multiple layered colors in one rectangular block made in a landscape orientation, approximately 8"-10" tall, which would mean about 30"-40" wide, depending on the block's height. All that sounded great at the time, though the unique block size(s) are proving a bit tricky now that I have all the blocks in hand. All but mine - I'm waiting to be inspired by a layout before I stitch up my own block. I think.

Randomly, my husband and I went and purchased one of Grant's prints, and just a few days ago got it back from the framer and hung it in our home. I'm sharing our "Sunset Road" just so you can get a feel for my original vision.

So here are all the blocks I received from my beemates, along with a few words of explanation of what was in their minds' eyes as they created their horizon blocks.

Aren't they wonderful? They are currently on my design wall as I mull over a layout for them.... This may take a while!