Finished! The past two days of keeping my sick Bisou company paid off in lots of time to do handwork while she napped. So the scissors keeper I started on Friday is finished now, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. :) I think it will be fun to use, though I'm a little worried about poking holes in the fabric when sliding the scissors in.
With various things happening around here, I almost forgot to post the photos of a finished quilt! This is Cosmic Happenings, parts of which I posted during the construction. Now it's finished and all ready to be given to its recipients. :)
Each of the four blocks is 14" square, and the "rays" are dimensional so as to be manipulated according to Jennie Rayment's instructions.
I quilted straight lines between the blocks and around the borders and then did some free motion quilting around the pieced motifs and inner border. I did a simple swirl pattern in the outer border -- no complicated quilting this time, as the piecing is the main focus of the piece.
I bought a pattern at our local quilt show last week, and today I decided to begin work on it. After all, I don't feel like going anywhere, since my adorable little QI (quilt inspector) is feeling very under the weather today. Actually, I'd planned to give her a clipping, but I just don't have the heart for it when she's already feeling so bad. She's seen the vet, and she should be feeling better in a couple of days, but I need to keep an eye on her.
So handwork seems perfect for the day. The pattern is for a scissors keeper, designed by a very talented local quilter. I didn't have much choice of colors at my local "big box" fabric store, but this sort of mauve is rather pretty and fits in with the Victorian theme of the scissors keeper. :) Here's a photo of what will be the front. I've attached the lacy appliqué that's the "base" for the ribbon flowers.
Biscornu is the name of a specific type of pin cushion, and it really intrigued me when I saw the instructions. It starts out as two squares of fabric, but it ends up having eight sides! The more traditional ones have counted cross stitch as the squares, but they can really be made of almost anything. I had some charm squares left over from a previous project, so I chose two of those to use. I then dug out my circular embroidery attachment for my Bernina and did a circular motif on each square to sort of "jazz them up" before beginning the stitching. Once the construction was finished -- and that didn't take long -- all I had to do was stuff it with crushed walnut shells (they're available in the bird section of the pet shop, and they really work well in pin cushions), close up the opening and attach a button to the top and bottom. This is the result, and I like it a lot!
If you'd like to make one, here's the link I used.
I've finally found time to baste my quilt sandwich, so last night I began the quilting by doing the stitching in the ditch to stabilize things. Does anyone really like stitching in the ditch? The process, I mean. I like the effect, of course; but I really dislike actually doing it -- probably because it's really hard to stay in that ditch. But I finished the little bit of that I needed to do, and today I began the free motion part, which is the part I enjoy. :)
My local group is swapping signature blocks, and I thought it might be fun to show how simple they are to make. There are lots of different patterns around, but this is the one we're using -- and it could have been paper pieced, if you'd prefer.
1. For a 4" finished block, start with a 4.5" square of a light-colored fabric. (You'll need a light color so the signature will show!) Also cut two 3.5" squares of your contrasting fabric.
2. Mark a line diagonally from corner to corner on the wrong side of each of your smaller squares. By this time, looking at my rotary cutter above and the way I have my ruler and marker set up, you may have noticed that I'm left-handed. No problem -- if you're right-handed, simply do it your way!
3. Now line up one of your marked squares on a background square, right sides together, making sure that your drawn line does not point into a corner of a background square. Stitch along your marked line.
4. Now line up the 1/4" mark of your ruler on the stitched line and trim off the corner triangles.
5. Press the seam toward the new corner ...
6. ... which gives you this:
7. Now repeat the sewing process with the second smaller square, placing it on the background diagonally across from the first one.
8. Repeat the cutting ...
9. ... and the pressing.
10. Now you're ready to sign your block! :)
In no time at all, you'll have a nice pile of signature blocks, especially if you do some chain piecing!
In all of my excitement about Jennie Rayment's class and lecture, I almost forgot that our guild challenge took place on the same night as her lecture. I'd made this miniature (3" blocks) using the two required fabrics, one of which was yellow dots on red and the other green dots on purple -- that made for a wild combination. ;) I used a block pattern from Wilma Karels' site; she has some wonderful designs, all available in either PDF or EQ format. The whole thing is 15" square, and it came in second in the competition! :D I was really pleased, as you might imagine.
The top is finished! :) I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, though it's really difficult to tell that I have some metallic fabrics in the center of each "star" -- they tend to have glare, even when I don't use a flash to take the photo. I'm going to look for a backing soon and then tackle the machine quilting, though I don't think the quilting will be as intricate as some of my other pieces; the stars need to be the main focus in this one.
So far, every step of this top has been done by machine, though the "twiddling" could have been done by hand if I'd chosen to do it that way. The quilt may very well end up as a gift, so I'm also considering trying my hand at a miniature variation, since it's such fun to make these blocks. We'll see. ;)
Remember those blocks I posted from the Jennie Rayment class? I've finished four of them now and the pieced border and am doing the machine stitching to curve the pieces of that border. You can see the curves on some of the pieces and the straight edges on some of the ones I haven't yet done.
I'm pretty pleased with the way it's turning out! This quilt, once finished, may find a home with someone special, if DH finds out what colors he likes. ;) Of course, the quilting and binding are still in the future, too.
I'm a retired high school French teacher from Arizona, now living in the Las Vegas area. I loved teaching French, but I love retirement even more! I'm a quilter, and most of what you see here will be about quilting.
Please visit my blog at http://www.sandymike.net/blog.