Work-in-Progress Girl


Modern Scrappy Bits Swap Received!

I’ve talked about the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap quite a few times now – probably 4 times for things sent away and this will be the fourth time for things received. But for anyone who doesn’t know and wants to or should know… it’s a swap run on Flickr right here, where we get the name/address and some information about our recipient and then we make something small for that person (out of scraps!), send them some kind of notion or other, a postcard from wherever we’re from, and a fat quarter’s worth of scraps. The whole thing has been a lot of fun and I think I’ve gotten better at figuring out what to make for people (my first two were… meh, my last two I’ve been pretty happy about). Anyway, last week I got my package in the mail, which came over from Balu51 who lives in Switzerland.

MSBSwap Received

She sent me a really fantastic collection of scraps in yellows, oranges, reds, low volume, text prints… all sorts of good things. Up top in the picture is a stack of blue strips that she sent for doing a string quilt, since someday I would like to do a string quilt with my scraps. (I always say that, I never get around to it… One day!) I was talking to Balu51 via FlickrMail and she sent me a link to a really neat idea for doing a string quilt, a Stripey Lonestar Quilt block. (I find that website kind of hit and miss as to whether or not it will work – hopefully it’ll load for you if you’re curious! If you Google the name, the picture of it will come up in any case.) So now I’ve got THAT idea in my head instead of the standard style that looks like boxes on point.

She also sent me two skeins of what I think is perle cotton (the label is in German! but I recall that ‘baumwolle’ means cotton so at a minimum, it’s a cotton thread) in very lovely Griffindor colours (though I don’t suppose that was her intent! I just have Harry Potter on the brain for some reason right now).

MSBSwap Received

Also, Balu51 made me this pretty mug rug, which is now hanging in my sewing room. I can’t remember what I’d said in my sign-up form, but it was probably something wishy-washy about kind of liking everything and being happy with whatever got made for me because I’m always so happy to get mail and especially hand-made mail. Which is always true, but also probably the most ANNOYING thing to read when you’re trying to figure out what to make for someone you don’t really know 😀 Anyway, this mug rug is beautiful. The blues sort of match my bedroom walls and I find it sort of soothing and lovely to look at. I love the hexagons and the fabrics and the satin ribbon binding (which looks amazing!). I had admired this mug rug when the photos appeared in the Flickr group, and I’m lucky to have it come home with me. This is my first bit of art that I’ve hung up in my sewing room (which has my brother-in-law’s hockey related artwork and memorabilia on the walls – it’s actually his office, I just wanted more space, so I pay a little more rent so that I could have it and his desk has been stuffed into their over-crowded bedroom) and it’s great to have something so nice to hang up in there.

I keep thinking I should sit out a round and get to work on some of MY projects instead of always finishing the things that will be sent away, but I LOVE participating in this swap. There’s always something beautiful to look at and long for in the photostream.



Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug
(Artwork by Liese Chavez.)

I’ve talked about this one a few times and shown a few pictures, but here are my final pictures of this finish before it gets sent away.

This mug rug was made for my partner at the Flickr swap group Modern Scrappy Bits. This is the fourth round and the fourth time I’ve participated. (There’s some discussion going on already about the fifth round, so if you’re interested in joining a swap where you make something small – from a list of 2 or 3 types of projects – for someone to send away with about a fat quarter’s worth of scraps of modern fabric, go join the group and keep an eye on the discussions! It’ll likely be a couple months before the next round starts, usually there are 2 or 3 between.)

My partner and I have some fairly dissimilar tastes in fabric, which left me a little undecided about what to make – I didn’t have the right types of prints, so instead I decided to use mostly solids in her favourite colours (with a few colour additions of my own just to round it out and some bits of prints for some interest) and I used the triangles because it’s something she had a few photos of in her Flickr favourites. She’s left some nice comments on the previous photos at the Flickr group, so I really do hope the blending of her tastes and mine will work out for her. (It works out for me! I’d love to make a bigger quilt using these same colours – teal, sky blue, lime, and a very minimal scattering of pale pink, yellow, and grey. Much larger triangles… could be fun!)

This wasn’t my first time working with triangles – that was Deanna‘s triangle block! (See here for the one I made and here for the finished, amazing, top) – which is probably a good thing since that previous experience helped me work out what to do with the seams on the back so I didn’t end up with a ginormous wad of fabric at any of the join points. I also kind of took from that experience the attempt to keep from making patterns with my colours – I struggled to keep from making a star on the inside or having hexagons that stand out too much

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The fabrics are a real mish-mash of different things – the green is a Kona cotton, but the rest of the solids are some combination of Moda Bella, Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, and Art Gallery’s Pure Elements solids. (I’m pretty sure the purple is Art Gallery, but it might be Cotton Couture – they have a similar feel. The others I’m pretty sure are Moda Bella, but I could be wrong.) Of the prints, the pink triangle is a Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet and the two roundish lime bits in an otherwise blue triangle are from an Amy Butler print. I think the blue dots are a Kei honeycomb print. The two teal blue prints are maybe from Art Gallery (certainly the one beside the yellow triangle is – it’s from the Nature Elements collection). I don’t know what either of the text prints are – someone told me a little while ago what the yellow one is, but I’ve gone and forgotten. The grey one looks a bit like some Benartex ones that I’ve got in different colours. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. It’s scrap happy.

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The back is a little different. I used some of the spare triangles I’d cut to make a strip and then used some scraps of a print from the Cloud 9 line Across the Pond to fill in the rest of the back. The little (ugly) bits of ribbon you see there are for hanging, if the new owner would like to hang this rather than leave it flat. I think the back would be prettier without it, but I couldn’t find anything in a more appropriate colour (and really didn’t want to make little hanging tabs of my own). They’d be pretty easy to cut out, anyway, if she wants to get rid of them.

The quilting was done by hand (obviously) using 3 strands of DMC Satin floss. (I don’t know the colour number – I lost the sleeve for it. It’s a whitish-silver, anyway.) When you look at the quilting on the back, you can see that I lined up the strip of triangles on the back with one of the strips on the front. I don’t know why that felt important to do, but it did and so there it is!

So yeah, that’s that. It’s about 8.5 inches across from point to point (or about 7.5 across from side to side). Just big enough for a mug and a snack (which, why? does anyone actually use mug rugs for that?).

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

(That cupcake? Delicious. Lemon sugar on top of lemon icing on top of lemon cake stuffed with lemon filling. Yum.) (That mug? Empty. I don’t really like hot drinks.)


Weekend Works

I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot, and then suddenly it’s past my bedtime and now’s my last chance to get this up before tomorrow’s big Whovian post. Anyway… I haven’t been talking about work, but my department head quit about a month ago and since there was no one else trained, I’ve been working 6 days a week (plus additional overtime) since whilst trying to train people who’ve never previously spent a day in my department. Which is not the easiest way to spend a month, certainly. (And I’m not even being paid for it yet! They still haven’t updated my pay scale! A month! They’ll have to back pay me, but still! We get paid weekly, which is why I find it shocking they haven’t updated it yet.) Anyway, I decided this week to chance leaving one of my new ladies alone for a day, and that day was Sunday this week. My first proper day off in a month!

I had goals for my first proper day off in a month. And those goals didn’t involve deep cleaning my house or shopping or lazing around in the sun or… whatever. They involved crafting.

1. Get at least the coloured part of my next Doctor Who stitch finished
2. Cut, package, and prepare to mail away fabric for my month in the Simply Solids flickr bee
3. Sew up another Churn Dash block to be certain I was sending the right amount of fabric to my bee-mates
4. Finish my Mug Rug for my Modern Scrappy Bits Swap

I hate sports metaphors, but I hit it out of the park!

1. Stitchy stitch?

I didn’t just get the coloured part done, I got about 90% of the blue part done as well. Sweet! And I had to start right from the beginning – the fabric wasn’t even cut out! So there was pressing, cutting, pattern printing, pattern transferring, and then stitching after all of that. I watched old episodes of Happy Endings and Party Down for about the third time (each!) while doing it and I know the rhythm of those shows so well now, I really just had to listen to them while I stitched. It worked out great!

2. No photo, but done! They’re in the mail as of yesterday, and I managed to package all but three of them into envelopes small enough it didn’t cost me eleventy billion dollars to send. (I ran out of small envelopes though, so a couple people will get 4 strips of fabric that weigh under 100 grams in biggish kraft envelopes made of and padded with old newspapers. Kind of ridiculous, but I didn’t want to go buy more small envelopes just to finish up. And it was only about 80 cents more expensive to mail.)

3. Churn Dashes

I finished the Churn Dash and did cut the right amounts to send away! The new one that I made is the blue and pale green one top right. I made the two grey/green ones several months ago (and I’m sure I talked about them, though I don’t really remember). The others are all blocks I’ve received from the swap group at the Livejournal Birthday Blocks community. The two blocks with orange came from Aalia, the yellow and purple block is from Suri, and the newest (just arrived this week!) is the yellow/blue one in the centre, which came from Kiss Mary. (She also sent me a fantastic tomato red fat quarter – in exchange for some fabric I sent her – and I think I’m going to make at least one more Churn Dash that’ll use that red because it’s fantastic!)

4. Mug Rug

I’ll talk more about this later, and post more pictures, but this was for the Modern Scrappy Bits swap – I just had to finish the binding, which I managed! I used bias binding (which I thought might help with those weird angles, though in retrospect, I don’t think I needed to use bias binding) and it was a bit hit and miss as to how it worked, but generally speaking I’m pretty happy with it. I love the colours on this one and can only hope my partner will like it half as much as I do!

And now, I really should sleep. More training tomorrow, which is scary because I’m throwing my new gal off the deep end and I wouldn’t normally do that until I was absolutely certain she could swim. (One solo Sunday is not enough time to be sure about that!)

I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


RIP My Favourite Needle

For the last year, every single embroidery project I’ve worked on has been stitched with the same needle, a Bohin No 5 Crewel needle.

Molly Mutante, finished last year in July… The Running Stitch on a Pouch… My Crewel Embroidery Needlebook… My Unfinished ABC Sampler… Every one of my Doctor Who patterns…
Molly Mutante (close) Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic) Needle-book with Crewel Embroidery Flower Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

Anything I’ve stitched on linen or linen-cotton blend fabric or even quilting cotton if I used interfacing to stiffen it, it’s been stitched with that same No. 5 needle. It turned me into a Bohin needle apologist. I’ve got packets and packets of them in all kinds of sizes, I gave one away to someone in a swap who was looking for a good needle, I don’t ever want to use another brand of needle again, but that particular No 5 was my favourite. It felt good in my fingers and was as sharp and perfect as the day I first pulled it out of its packet, so I just kept on using it, until yesterday when it died.

Bent Needle

So that one’s gone to the little needlebook in the sky, but hey! I’ve got a whole packet of them, so I guess it’s all right if that one is gone. I bent it doing some hand-quilting on a mug rug/mini-quilt wall-hanging for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap:

Hand Quilting

I finished up all the stitching with that bent needle, but it was kind of difficult getting it through where I wanted it to be, considering the general kink in the straightness of the thing. I suppose I pushed it too hard – multiple layers of fabric (front and back, with a lot of wadded up bits where the triangles all meet – the front is all triangles), a layer of batting and a layer of medium weight interfacing (I wanted to keep it fairly stiff so that it can be hung without the sides drooping). That needle treated me well, anyway, and it’s a shame to see it go to the little metal tin of bent pins and needles, but it was its time to go I guess.

Anyway, in other fairly ridiculous news (as regards that particular mini), I managed to feature the word BUTT right on the front of it. Or BUTTO, if you want to get technical, but it’s the BUTT that stands out so much to me:


That’s what I get for not paying too much attention to fabric placement when I stitched all those bits together. Oh well, I think my swap partner will like it regardless of the BUTT in the middle of it.


Hedgie Fabric Basket

Well, I talked last week about what I got in the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr, so I guess it’s time I talked about what I sent away. I didn’t take pictures of everything that went into the package, but honestly the thing I made was far and away more interesting than the rest of it. (Fabric scraps, some embroidery stuff, and some crocheted bits and bobs.)

Hedgie Fabric Basket

Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? The hedgehog pattern was created by Sonja Callaghan, and can be found at her website Artisania. I’ve made this one before (as a postcard) and I just love it ridiculously.

My swap partner had a lot of things made using Sonja’s patterns favourited on her Flickr and also a lot of hedgehog things, but strangely none of Sonja’s hedgehogs, so I thought it would be a great direction to go in for her. (The package hasn’t arrived yet, but she did comment enthusiastically on the one picture I put up on Flickr, so I’m glad to know she likes it!) She had requested a fabric basket, so I made use of Ayumi’s fabric basket tutorial, though obviously I didn’t do it patchwork style and I used the larger sizes recommended at the bottom of the post.

Hedgie Fabric Basket

I somehow managed to take no really good pictures of the hedgehog, but here’s the best I’ve got. The fabrics for Hedgie are both from Art Gallery fabrics – such beautifully soft fabric to work with! I had loosely planned to make a sky blue background (using some Kaffe Fassett crossweave fabric that I’d ordered), but I wound up using some Essex Linen instead, which I really like the look and feel of, but which holds a wrinkle like nobody’s business. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I wish I’d done more quilting on this part of the basket, since it would have given it a bit more body so that it’d stand up a little stiffer, and maybe it’d have disguised some of the wrinkled bits, at least a bit.

Hedgie Fabric Basket - embroidery

Hedgie wasn’t any too big, so I added some button flowers to fill in some space, but somehow left a big gaping blank area beside that – it started to bother me when I took my first round of pictures, and so I had to add – after it was completely constructed and lined – the other embroidery flowers to fill in some of that empty space. It’s all super simple, straight stitches and lazy daisy leaves and French knots in the centres of the flowers. (One of them, alas, is falling apart – it was HARD doing a French knot when I couldn’t stab all the way through the fabric. I don’t recommend it.) Anyway, not a half-bad way to fill in some space, although I’d have loved to have done something more complicated, rather than something so simple. I really need to learn to think things through before finishing them and then going back to fix them afterwards!

Hedgie Fabric Basket (back view)

The back of the basket is more simple and plain, just a bit of a forest scene. I freehand drew out the fabric tree and then paper-pieced it, and after that, just kind of winged it as far as the rest of the trees went. I had loose plans to add a bird to the tree on the right, but couldn’t seem to figure out the scale, so I scrapped that idea. It is pretty plain and feels like it could use some colour, but I still like this side anyway. It’s sort of quiet and restrained. It’s all back-stitching and lazy daises (for the leaves, again), though this side was done using crewel wool rather than embroidery floss (which is what I used for the flowers).

Hopefully it’ll arrive soon and hopefully my recipient will love it!

Although I’d used some scrap fabrics for the hedgie basket, I didn’t feel like I’d used enough, so I also made a second fabric basket (same tutorial, smaller size), but I didn’t wind up sending it. It would have fit in the envelope, but it would have almost doubled the mailing price (WTF Canada Post, WTF), and I couldn’t swing it right then. Sigh. Anyway, here is that second basket, which right now is home to the cutting utensils on my sewing desk. Someday I may mail it away to someone, but I couldn’t say who or when or if at all. Maybe I’ll just decide to keep it.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket (back)

This one is just a plain scrappy basket, using colours that approximately matched the fabric I used on the base of the basket.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket (front)

I did quite a lot of quilting on this basket, and it stands up much better than the larger one. It probably helps that it is so small though too.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket


Banner Mail Week

I had a kind of banner mail week last week, but I had a week where every thing seemed to take all the time ever and I didn’t manage to accomplish much of anything like, say, posting about my brilliant mail or taking photos. For instance, I recorded a video about it, but didn’t get any further than transferring the file to my computer. Hopefully I’ll get it edited in time for next Tuesday.

Anyway, a little while back I won a giveaway for pot-holders made by Michelle of Factotum of Arts. I got to choose between two different sets and I picked these fantastic green ones with a brilliant chicken print in the centre.

Chicken Pot Holders

LOVE! I haven’t used them, but I’d hate to get them dirty, so I don’t know if I ever will! I LOVE the chicken print on these, but also the linen (?) on the back and the dot print is pretty fantastic as well. Thanks so much, Michelle!

The other package I received was from my Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on flickr. I haven’t got pictures of all the fabric that Deanna of Little D and Me because I filtered it all into my scrap bins before thinking to take a picture, but to be honest I was so in love with the hand-made portion of the swap that I barely paid attention to the fabric scraps.

She made me a Doctor Who fabric basket.

Bigger on the Inside

How absolutely brilliant is that? When I saw this basket show up in the group flickr photostream, I’d really hoped it would be for me – I’d mentioned a love of DW – but I didn’t want to hope too much because I didn’t want the disappointment if it had turned out to be for someone else.


I’m rather irritated to discover that I left the notecard in the other room because I’d love to tell you about Deanna’s reasons for choosing the fabrics inside the basket – I recall that the dots were because travelling through time and space would leave her seeing spots and I think the swirls were to represent the dizziness of doing so, and then the starry print near the bottom is to represent space itself. She also said that the text prints were gibberish, but that she translated them for me, to read Bigger on the Inside.

So awesome. I was so very pleased to get that in the mail, I can’t even begin to say 😀 Thank you, thank you Deanna!


Modern Scrappy Bits Swap

First a quick (okay, not at all quick) note: I mentioned in one of my last couple entries that shipping prices from the US are going way, way up – here’s a handy chart from Sew Mama Sew if any of you are Canadian like me and want to know just exactly how bad it is. One pattern, one fat quarter, itty bitty amounts of things, basically? SIX DOLLARS FIFTY CENTS. If you go up to the larger size, the flat rate envelope (previously about $13) holds (according to SMS) up to ten yards (though I’ve seen other sites say about 7 yds),.. so let’s just say I were to buy a full ten yards of non-organic print fabric from SMS (sorry to pick on them, they just happen to be the site with the up to date shipping chart), it would be approximately 10 (yds) x 10 (approx non-sale price per yard) = 100 + 20 (shipping) = $120. If I were to buy 10 yds of non-organic print fabric from Mad About Patchwork (chosen because it’s the Canadian store I most often shop at), it would be about 10 x 11 = 110 + 6 = 116. It’s not a massive difference, and if anything were on sale in the US or were some of the cheaper fabrics (because A LOT but not all fabrics are in the $10 range, especially if you buy solids) then it might still be more economical to buy in the US. (And I assume shipping prices in Canada are going up this weekend too, so Mad About Patchwork may have to re-evaluate their shipping prices. Don’t quote me on any part of that, just speculating based on the fact that shipping prices go up EVERY year.) So, okay, then it comes down to some other factors: I usually don’t, but might get charged customs or duties (esp if buying a large amount) if I order from the US, it takes 2 weeks pretty much always, if you don’t spread the $20 shipping cost over a full 10 yards fabric your shipping costs (per unit) shoot up (6yds x 10 = 60 + 20 = 80 vs. 6 x 11 = 66 + 6 = 72).

All of which by way of saying that Canadian shopping is looking better and better and better. (Though I assume this means it will become more expensive still for a Canadian shop to bring in fabric, so that base price of approximately $11 may have to go up to 12 or 13 so that shops can still make SOME money off what they’re bringing in.)

Here’s a couple other things I foresee happening:
1. More bees will disallow Canadian/International participants. (Because never mind that when one of us participates we have to spend higher shipping on EVERY non-Canadian bee member where most American bee members might only have to spend higher amounts on one or two people. Yes, I get a bug up my ass about American people who don’t want to play outside their own sandbox because it’s more expensive shipping to the two or three of us on the other side of the fence.) Alternately, more bees might be run with geographic groupings, so that the Americans will play with the Americans, the Canadians with the Canadians, the Europeans with the Europeans, etc. Which may mean I’ll get to know my fellow Canadian sewists a lot better, but narrows the pool significantly.
2. Giveaways will become almost exclusively limited to country of origin. (Meaning Sew Mama Sew’s giveaway day will be by and large a for US participants only phenomenon. Again, not to pick on SMS, they just happen to host the largest giveaway party.) Non-Americans are already excluded from a lot of giveaways and I predict it’s going to become a whole lot worse. (Which, I hate to harp on, because people giving things away for free are still giving things away for free, and that’s a nice thing, even if it’s given away in a limited way.)

Anyway, nothing to be done about it. Except to shop Canadian and get to know my fellow Canadian potential-bee-partners, right?

Moving along…
So I’ve talked in the past about the things I’ve received from my partners in the Scrappy Bits swap on flickr (sign-ups for Round 3 are currently open, if you’re interested in joining in! Join the group if you’re not already a member, and then go to the Sticky Post section of the discussions where you’ll find a sticky post with a link to the sign-up form – you NEED to have a flickr account to join), but I’ve never quite got around to talking about the things I’ve sent away.

I’ve participated in both the previous swaps, so I’ve got two sets of things to show you here. I don’t remember a whole lot about that original swap, though it seems to me that we were able to talk about our likes and dislikes or something to that effect. My swap partner, CraktPot had requested a pouch, if I remember right, and hoped for something in an aqua/red/black colour scheme. Then again, I might be imagining all that. I knew from her Flickr account that she was a fan of Tula Pink, and originally I’d started trying to stitch one of Tula Pink’s clock-work birds in shades of aqua/teal on black Essex linen, which I was going to turn into a pouch. But, holy time consuming! And I didn’t have any of the Tula Pink fabric, so I was basing my pattern on a much-blown up image off the internet, which wasn’t very clear and wasn’t working very well. I’m pretty sure that project is still in a hoop somewhere, and I’ll salvage what I can of the linen someday because I don’t think the bird will happen…

Anyway, I had to re-evaluate, and I made up two different pouches using that colour scheme before deciding which one to send away. I still have this first pouch, which actually makes a pretty good pencil case and has been doing just that for the last few months:

Scrappy Bits pouch #1 (Mosaic)

This pouch, called the Elise Pouch from IThinkSew, is kind of shaped like a computer mouse. It’s a very interesting one to put together, though I found the directions a bit weird and maybe more difficult than they needed to be. I found it kind of fun putting together the outside of the pouch – it’s essentially just a circle, with a bridge connecting the sides (and a zipper through the middle of the bridge), so I made up a big square and then cut slashes through it to insert all the stripes of colour before trimming it down to a circle. (I’ve been contemplating making another with wedges, like a Dresden plate.) After it was done I pretty much immediately wished I hadn’t made the bridge piece in red – it just didn’t seem to fit and that’s ultimately why I didn’t send it away.

The one I did send away is this pouch, made with the open wide pouch tutorial from Noodlehead:

Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic)

I made the outside of the pouch the same way as I did for the Elise pouch (slashes of blue through the black), but this time I added a little stitching alongside some of the slashes of colour (which turned out to be largely pointless – so much of it got cut away when I boxed the corners! Ought to have thought about that…). The black in this pouch is Essex Linen, which is a cotton-linen blend that’s pretty nice to work with.

I really like this tutorial (which is free, the Elise pattern is a for-purchase pattern) and definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get into the pouch-making game. It’s fun and pretty easy, if you’re as scared of putting zippers into things as I am. (And on the zipper note, I can’t recommend the zippers from ZipIt enough. They’ve got a billion colours in a lot of sizes and the customer service is great.)

All that said, the point of the swap really is to give away part of your scrap stash and to receive back a pile of someone else’s scraps. I always have plans for things to do with my scraps, though I never seem to do something with any of those plans, but the way I see it… the more variety the better. If I get back into paper-piecing again, I might get bits and pieces that’d work out in ways my own scraps might not. Officially we send away the equivalent of one fat quarter’s worth of scraps, but I’m not very good at restricting myself like that, so I sent away a fair bit more than that.

Modern Scrappy Bits

I also sent along a little Elypoo notebook (it’s a book of paper made in a way that involves elephant poo, though I don’t really recall too much more about it) and some DMC rayon thread, which I picked out because it was so very, very shiny:

Modern Scrappy Bits

For the second round I made another Noodlehead pouch, though this time I modified the size (and shouldn’t have, since it threw off the proportions of the pouch) and machine appliquéd it with stars.


To be honest, I really wasn’t happy with this one. I had this idea in my head, which started with the idea of constellations and I don’t know where the thought came from, but I wanted to make a constellation with the fabric and stars, but then I couldn’t find a small enough paper-pieced pattern for a star and, oh, I don’t know, just the general metamorphosis that happens going from thought A to B to C to reality and somehow it just wasn’t working, so I thought, well, I’ll machine appliqué the stars randomly and fuzz the edges so it’s kind of twinkly around the edges and… ugh. I wasn’t happy. But I was late! I spent so much time dithering over what to do – my recipient, Prsd4tim2, has this lovely blog full of things she’s made, but so very much of it was things she’d made for other people and I couldn’t decide if the things on her site were things she made because she loved them or because she thought someone else would love them, so I didn’t feel I had a real handle on her tastes and what sort of thing she’d really like to have. (If I’d been a wiser woman, I’d have looked at her flickr profile because she’s got a great big list right there in front of your eyes and mine that I could have used to narrow things down!) So dithering lead to the due date lead to me rushing through the project. And being a little more unhappy than happy with the final project. I don’t think it’s TERRIBLE, it’s just not what I wanted, you know? And then I also think it looks more suitable for a child than an adult, which is… frustrating, because she’s not an 8 year old with a collection of multi-coloured gel pens, you know? Anyway, despite my general frustration and slight dislike of the project, happily my recipient seems pleased AND likely to make use of it.

Anyway, I also sent along this collection of fabric scraps:


In deference to the Christmas season, I mostly chose fabrics from the red and green parts of my scrap bag (with some aquas thrown in likely because they weren’t sorted by colour but were sitting in a heap on TOP of all the sorted stuff)

Awesome. Okay, I’m writing this in the bathtub, with my laptop propped on the toilet while I awkwardly lean over the edge of the bath to type, and I just managed to pull down my shower curtain rod. Thank DOG it didn’t crack me in the skull or my laptop in the screen. But just for good measure: UGH. Also, note to self: there’s a reason we don’t typically write blog posts in the bath. If I had a camera in here I’d take a picture. Of the shower curtain.

ANYWAY, in deference to the Christmas season, I mostly chose fabrics from the red and green parts of my scrap bag (with some aquas thrown in likely because they weren’t sorted by colour but were sitting in a heap on TOP of all the sorted stuff). That said, I very, very intentionally choose red and green fabrics that WEREN’T actually Christmas prints. (I don’t have any, anyway. Gave them all away.) I wanted the recipient to be able to use them any which way she pleased without being locked into a full-on Christmas project.

Modern Scrappy Bits swap package

I also sent along (one by one the last few attached shower curtain hooks are sliding down the rod, disconnecting, and giving me a little jolt of shock every time one of them slips and clanks down) some crewel wool in two shades of orange, because I know she does some embroidery and also I thought crewel wool might actually be a nice addition to a quilted project, even if you don’t actually do crewel embroidery and also just barely visible (hooked through that bitty square of fabric with the bird on it) a number 5 Bohin embroidery needle. Prsd4tim2 had mentioned on her blog her quest for a great needle, and I LOVE my #5 Bohins. They’re fantastic to work with (though a little large for more delicate embroidery), beautifully made, and just FEEL good in the fingers. They’re the only Bohin needles I’ve used, but I’m in love. (So in love I bought 4 packets of Bohin needles for an upcoming project of mine – they’re all different sizes/types ranging from beading needles to assorted embroidery sizes to tapestry to millners and sharps.)

Anyway, just wanted to remind anyone who is interested that the sign-ups for Round Three of the Modern Scrappy Bits swap are open now. I don’t see a date when sign-ups close, so sign up now not later!


Modern Scrappy Bits Winter Swap 2012

So yesterday I received my swap package from my flickr swap group, Modern Scrappy Bits. I’m not sure when/if another swap will start up in the group, but it’s something I’d definitely be happy to participate in again. Both rounds I’ve received really great packages of fabric and handmade goodies. I’ve never gotten around to writing about EITHER of the packages I’ve sent away, but I suppose I really should do that one of these days. In any case, here is the entry for the package I received the first time around.

This go around I received fabric/goodies from SouthernlySweet, who, so far as I can tell, doesn’t have a blog. She made for me the most fantastic thing, which is a long weighted pincushion with an attached thread catcher bag and a kind of apron for holding small tools.

Swap Package Received

This photo doesn’t show it at its absolute best, since it’s looking down on it from above, but in my next photo, I’d not got the thread catcher bag attached and it’s kind of upside down. Anyway, never mind that. From this photo above, you can see that there is a strip of felt sewn in for storing needles, and then space on either side for pins. I put that pink ribbon in the bag just to show you basically how it works – you chuck all your little cut-off bits of thread and what have you into the bin, and then you can detach it to empty it. (If you leave it on a table-top, it’s completely reversible as well. I’m not sure where the lining is sewn into it, but it’s completely hidden and looks perfect at any angle really.)

Mod Scrappy Bits Swap Pkg received

Before I worked out how to attach the basket, I took this photo, with my scissors and some other tools in the little apron part. (This is the photo where it’s kind of upside down.) I think it would probably be pretty easy to add a loop for holding scissors (which would actually be a pretty fantastic idea, if you wanted to mess around with the basic formula. Though I suppose you’d have to still be careful about adding too much weight to the hanging portion. You can find the tutorial for it here, created and written by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! fame.)

I’m pretty much in love with the handmade part of my swap package, so I’ve not paid as much attention to the rest of the package as it probably deserves! But here’s a shot with the rest of the goodies:

Mod Scrappy Bits Swap Pkg received

A pretty bundle of fabric, some lovely blue threads, and a few notecards. The embroidery floss are in a very lovely selection of colours, and if I ever get around to making these in-my-mind’s eye snowflake wall-hangings, they will be perfect colours for the snowflakes. (I have the fabric set aside, and the canvas that the fabric will be stretched over. I just haven’t quite started translating the thought to reality.)

Mod Scrappy Bits Swap Pkg received

Opened up, the fabric is mostly a collection of purpley-blues and greens and some bits of Kokka linen-blend fabric. They’re all new-to-me scraps, so they’ll be great additions to that someday string quilt (or log-cabin) that I keep intending to make with the bazillion scraps I’ve got!

Thanks so much to Kiwanier for the fantastic swap package! I really love it a lot and can’t wait to put the pin-cushion to use on my sewing table.