Saturday, January 31, 2015

Second Pair of Blocks for Quilt Along 2015


With February's blocks finished, the top and bottom sections of this little wall hanging are now complete! I'm really excited about these new blocks. 

I've moved the hearts and butterflies around again. Who knows where they'll end up.
I love this stage where experiments with placement can still lead to surprises.    

I fell in love with these adorable little blue and yellow birds.  I wonder if he's singing to her or if he's singing just because he's happy. 

These little guys completely captured my imagination. In fact, I couldn't let them go. I had to play with the idea one more time. The result was the "Sun's Up" mug rug pair that I posted earlier this week. 

After making the birds I began work on the spade. I definitely wanted a spade in this spot, but, my goodness, it was plain! Downright bland and boring. What could I add to liven it up? 

I started digging through my scrap basket and my eyes landed on the polka dot fabric. There was my splash of color. Problem solved. 

Here's the truth. Much as I love the birds, it's the itty-bitty gloves that have completely stolen my heart. 

The background fabric for the quilt is white, and the background of the polka dots is also white. With my old eyes, I knew I'd run into problems when I was trying to see exactly where to place my needle for the blanket stitching. So, I pulled out my favorite marker and drew a line all around the edge of the gloves. It really made a difference. The Frixion ink disappears with the touch of an iron, so I didn't have to worry about permanent marks.

All stitched! I used a triple stitch (jean's stitch) to define the fingers and the thumb.

If I were to do this again, I would make one change. I'd use a slightly wider blanket stitch on the gloves. If I had any plans to launder this wall hanging, I'd make this block over. As it is, though, when I've finished the quilting I will likely use a bit of fray stop along that edge just to be sure nothing pulls away from the stitches. 

Now, I need to go to work on the March block. I'm debating choices. Flower pot or wheelbarrow? It will be one or the other for sure and it will most definitely be colorful!

Have a super February! 

 And, please save some of those chocolates for me!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Pair of Mug Rugs to Greet the Sun and a Milestone

"Sun's up, everyone! Forget sleeping in. It's a new day!"

Well, that's what the rooster is loudly crowing.

But what about the hen? Just look at that face! What on earth is she thinking?

This little poultry pair had me giggling from the time I began sketching until they were completely finished. A proud, loud rooster and a hard working hen. There was a story to tell, but I think everyone has to come up with their own interpretation.

It all began with a small block for the 2015 quilt along when I made a pair of whimsical little birds. There was just something about them that inspired a different story, the tale of a pair of barnyard fowl with a more complex relationship.

I had intended to put both the hen and the rooster on a single mug rug. That didn't work at all! The chickens are much more detailed than the bluebirds on the wall hanging, so if the size of fabric pieces was to be manageable, the birds had to grow in size. They finished as two mug rugs, 7 1/2" x 10" each,  just a bit larger than most, but still usable as such. They were also a great size to hang on a narrow bit of wall in my kitchen.

The light in this corner of the kitchen is really poor,
but you may be able to see that this piece of wall needed a bit of color. 

I'm afraid that I take the names for my mug rugs very seriously. Every now and then, a perfect name totally eludes me, and this was one of those times. Everyone saw something different in the pair.

My husband thought the hen was disgusted with the rooster for crowing so proudly when he really hadn't done any of the work involved in laying those eggs. But, "What are you crowing about when I've done all the work?" was just a bit too long for a pattern name.

A friend suggested something that was hilarious, but just a touch crude. We all roared with laughter, but it didn't quite fit my grandmotherly, former school teacher image very well.

I thought that folks should be able to make up their own minds about the story of these two. Some people might just see chickens doing their thing. Some might see something else.

So a call went out to friends on Facebook and a number of clever folks in my sewing group. I used the promise of a free pattern to the winter as an enticement to take part in the naming process. The entries covered everything imaginable:  a king and a princess, a proud pair of parents, a hen ready to trade places, a mother concerned about the rooster's racket waking the chicks, a simple "Good Morning", and more.

My hubby made the final choice. He settled on the simple, "Sun's Up!". It didn't come from my Facebook buddies, but there were a couple of runner's up, so free patterns will be going out.

As I finished this blog and publishing my pattern I realized that this is pattern my 100th Craftsy pattern! Wow! I don't know how that happened, but I guess it's something worth crowing about!

Wishing you many, many happy sunshiny days!!