The Ultimate Scrap Quilt

For some time now, I’ve been sewing together small bits of leftover fabric that I collect in zip-lock bags, and turning them into pillow covers and occasionally a quilt top.

Some of the pieces are quite small — two inches square, or even smaller. It’s a wonder that I keep them. But it’s so easy to just toss them into a plastic bag.

This month, I went a step further.

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I had previously made a heart quilt where the background was pieced from leftover bits of all the same fabric, and the heart was made of random strips sewn together.

This time around, the whole thing was crazy pieced.

Very few design decisions go into this sort of construction. Here, the background fabrics are primarily tints of blue and pink, with some lavender and yellow or beige thrown in.

The corner squares are made from the triangles trimmed away from the star-point rectangles. I sewed together two triangles, added some strips to bring them up to size (12-1/2″ unfinished) and then a triangle in one corner to anchor it.

Below is a picture of the outer side rectangles before the star points were added.

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Unintentionally, the focal point turned out to be the yellow square in the center star.

Someday, I think it will make a fine baby quilt.

 

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Not So Ugly After All

For the last few months, I’ve been engaged in an ongoing project where I am making a series of blocks using fabrics from my bin of batik fabrics paired with the same background fabric.

There is this one fabric that, whenever I have come across it, I have always looked at it and thought to myself, “This is kind of ugly, and I don’t know what I will ever do with it.” And then I put it back on the stack.

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Well, I finally did something with it, and  to my surprise, it looks pretty good!

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So Many Projects, So Little Blogging

Between this pillow, that sweater, some quilting over there, and trying my hand at English paper piecing — not to mention enjoying a couple months of summer in Seattle — posting to this blog has definitely been relegated to the proverbial back burner.

I will make a concerted effort this month to write a bit about everything I’ve been turning my hand to lately.

Today, I will feature my latest Craftsy project, “Stained Glass Squares,” which I (finally) finished (hand) quilting a couple weeks ago.

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Yes, yes, if I’d gotten it machine quilted, it wouldn’t have taken so long. But I like to hand quilt, and this way I was able to feature a different motif in each square and rectangle.

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Back to the Studio

Since we got back from Europe, I’ve been so focused on blogging about our trip that I haven’t posted anything about my crafting.

I’ve been working on a variety of projects: I finished a pair of socks, I’m in the process of (hand) quilting my next Craftsy project, I have a hand pillow in process as well as more stuffed kitties.

A few weeks ago, I came up with an idea for another Craftsy project. I planned it out, purchased some fabric for it a few days ago, and this afternoon went out to the studio and sewed together this little block.

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It’s 3″ x 3″ finished. The little green triangle are 3/8″ finished. It was foundation pieced (of course). No way to do it otherwise, without losing my mind.

 

 

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Our European Vacation: Odds and Ends

It’s taken me two months to cover what we saw and did in Europe. Here are some various images that didn’t make it into any of the other posts.

Looking through a window at the Rodin Museum.

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A fun poster in Paris.

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Public art at the Lilles train station, on our way to Calais. (Tulips of Shangri-Law by Yayoi Kusama)

 

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Public art at Gare du Nord train station, Paris. (Angel Bear by Richard Texier)

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Two European birds. The one on the left I have tentatively identified as an African blue tit. However, its range does not appear to include France. But the bird picture here resembles the African species (with its black head) more than the Eurasian species, which has a blue crown. The bird of the left is an Egyptian goose, which is not native to Europe. According to Wikipedia, “Because of their popularity chiefly as ornamental bird, escapes are common and small feral populations have become established in Western Europe.”

 

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Our European Vacation: What Genuine “Bike Culture” Looks Like

Seattle likes to tout itself as being “bike-friendly.”

I’ll admit that it’s better than it used to be. When my husband and I bought our house in North Seattle back in 2009, I wouldn’t have been caught dead riding my bike around here, because, well, I was worried that I would, in fact, be caught dead.

In the last 7 years, though, I feel that the ambience has improved a bit. There are more dedicated bike lanes. I think car drivers are more watchful (though I ride defensively and yield to cars until I’m sure the driver sees me) and willing to share the road.

But Seattle’s hilly geography does not encourage casual bike riding, by normal-looking people wearing normal-looking clothes.

Not so with Amsterdam.

Everywhere, people on bikes. Mostly one-speeds, some pretty beat-up-looking. No racing bikes with curved handlebars and hunched-over riders. No spandex. And no helmets. But when you’re only going about 5 miles an hour and there are more of you than there are cars and you have your own dedicated lanes and traffic signals, what’s the big deal?

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All ages.

Even your dog.

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And everywhere, bikes chained up on racks and fences and railings.

And they always seemed to be there. It was like their people never came and got them and took them home. Kind of weird.

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Our European Vacation: Amsterdam Museums

Like Paris, Amsterdam is crammed with museums. Of course, we went to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, but we also toured Het Scheepvaartmuseum (the National Maritime Museum), the Amsterdam Historical Museum, and the Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance museum), and saw some other landmarks from the outside.

I didn’t take any photos at the Van Gogh museum. As at pretty much at any art museum, flash is not allowed and it is too dark to get anything good without a tripod. I took a few at the Rijksmuseum, but its website has a really good section devoted to exploring its holdings.

Reviewing my notes from our stay in Amsterdam (I jotted a few things down each evening for later reference), the Van Gogh museum did not have a version of “Starry Night.”

At the Rijksmuseum, in addition to many works by Rembrandt, I saw Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid.” I had not been surprised at the size of the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre, because I had already heard that it was smaller than you might think. However, I *was* surprised that “The Milkmaid” was as small as it is — 41 cm wide by 45.5 cm tall (approx. 16-1/4″ x 18″). Having seen it reproduced in posters that are bigger than that, and seeing the detail included in the piece, I was a bit taken aback to see its true size.

As at the other art museums we went to, it was a thrill to see many of the paintings that my art history course back in 2013 had covered. Among them,”The Night Watch” and this portrait by Frans Hals.

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I especially was taken by how he painted the man’s lace collar.

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I also liked this painting, “Young Woman with a Fan” by Simon Maris (1873-1935). I found it interesting that her face and hands were rendered with finer brushwork  than the rest of the painting, which has a more sketchy, Impressionistic look to it.

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The Maritime Museum, in addition to a exhibits of maps, ship’s figureheads and metalwork had a fairly extensive collection of paintings of ships.

I liked the sea monster hiding in the corner of this one.

The styles and subject matter ranged from old and traditional to new and modern.

 

 

 

 

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