Sunday, October 17, 2021

A failed Make Nine yarn project

I've had a basket of yarn butterflies, swatches and leftover yarn balls for several years. So, for my Make Nine "Yarn" project, I thought I would empty the basket, repurpose the leftovers and make something useful. How about crocheting a kitty bed for our pack of tuxedo kitties? 

Crocheted cat bed.


The plan for using and mixing the yarns

How to use this diversity of yarn weights, colors, fiber content and textures? If I held multiple strands together, it would equate to a bulky weight yarn. I would make sure I had one on-going yarn strand when a new yarn strand was attached. This would quickly use up many of these odds and ends.

A bulky yarn would also lend itself to a quick project. My size J crochet hook could accommodate multiple strands. And the various yarn textures and colors would merge and blur together to create a colorful, mosaic-like composition. 

Crocheting with multiple yarn stands together.

Starting at the center with a pairing of a boucle and a novelty yarn, the improvisational crochet process began. The miscellaneous little yarn balls began to disappear into the spiral base of the new kitty bed. I'm not sure that the increases (stitches) were equally spaced, but the bottom of the bed was fairly symmetrical and seemed to lay flat—the goal. The textured yarns disguised any inconsistencies. 

Crochet in the round.

Once the center was an ample size for a couple of cats (no measuring here), the next step was figuring out a way to build up the sides. The kitties like to feel protected and cozy in a nest-like structure. With a little trial and error and some strategic decreases, the sides began to take form. 

Finished crocheted cat bed.

Now, this kitty bed is not like the stuffed, store-bought ones that we put the quilts in. The yarn made it warm, but the bed is not very fluffy. I put it beside the other beds and no kitty went into it. 

Kitties in the store-bought beds.

I proceeded to make a quilted "mattress" from an old T-shirt to possibly entice its usage.

Cut from an old, worn T-shirt.

A "mattress" for the new cat bed.

Cat bed with cotton knit mattress.

Still not appealing to the kitties! Even Stan Leigh was sleeping beside the new bed... and dangerously close to falling off the chair!

Stan Leigh sleeping beside the bed... nearly falling off the chair.

A Make Nine Fail

The tuxedo kitties would rather pile up in twos in the other beds than to use this one. I'm not sure if they don't like the synthetic fibers in some of the yarns, if the bed is not cushy enough, or if it's too foreign to them...  no one wants to sit in it. ???  Any ideas? 

Stan Leigh is not interested in the new bed.

I'm happy the yarn leftovers were reduced, and were upcycled rather than thrown away. I enjoyed the crochet process, but the end result was not a functional cat bed nor satisfactory to the kitties.

Nonetheless, the effort was made... and I'm checking off this prompt on my Make Nine list.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Hand sewing the hanging sleeve

This quilt came back from the long-armer at Busy Lady Quilt Shop. It's been trimmed, a flat piped binding attached, and this week's task is to sew down the hanging sleeve (rod pocket).

Quilted top. Fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia and Northcott Fabrics.

The focal fabrics in the patchwork are from a package of 10" squares from M&S Textiles Australia, the appliquéd circles are from a fat quarter package from M&S Textiles and the background is Stonehenge from Northcott Fabrics.  

Appliquéd circles in a contrasting color.

In observance of time, I made a flat piped binding and attached it by machine. I let Jennifer at Busy Lady Quilt Shop choose the quilting pattern and I really like how the red quilting thread (her idea) accents the red piping. I also think the oval, swirly, boomerang-like quilting pattern is a great complement to the fabric prints.

Flat piped binding attached by machine.

The quilt backing is pieced. With the trimmings from squaring up the quilt, I was able to cut a hanging sleeve and align the color blocking with the pieced backing.

A pieced hanging sleeve blends in with the pieced backing.

Now, on to the hand sewing...

Hanging sleeve pinned on the back.


I think one or two TV programs will suffice for this sleeve.


Friday, October 1, 2021

Wrapping up the 100 Days 100 Blocks 2021 project

The 100 Days 100 Blocks Kinship sampler sew-along is approaching the finish line—next Friday, October 8. Over the last three months, I've been piecing the sampler blocks in batches, using fabrics from several of the fabric companies I rep. Here's a look at the journey...

Blocks from the 2021 100 Days 100 Blocks sew-along.
Fabrics from Dashwood Studio and Simply Primitive batiks from Batik Textiles.


Australian Aboriginal designs

In July, I started the 100 Days 100 Blocks program with Australian aboriginal prints from M&S Textiles Australia. The bold colors and aboriginal designs offer a lot of interest and movement. These prints definitely keep the eyes moving across the fabric. Several of the blocks have made it into the center section of a new quilt top.

Progress on the center section of a quilt top.


Felicity Fabrics bridges traditional and modern styles

The next batch of blocks features prints from the Nightfall Floral collection and basics from Felicity Fabrics. The prints from Felicity are ideal for patchwork—smaller scale prints in contemporary color schemes that maintain their presence even when cut into smaller units. The Felicity basics are familiar, tried-and-true designs that support and coordinate with a range of focal prints.

Fabrics from Felicity Fabrics.


A contemporary European flair from Dashwood Studio 

Next up is a batch of blocks made with fabrics from the UK company, Dashwood Studio. These fabrics are relatively new to US quilt shops. The prints have a continental, contemporary feel and the Twist basic line has a random seed pattern that offers subtle movement with an easy flow.

Blocks made with fabric collections by Dashwood Studio.

Aviary, Hedgerow, Habitat and Twist fabric lines from Dashwood Studio.


Mixing in primitive style batiks from Batik Textiles

The last batch of blocks incorporates prints from Dashwood Studio with the Simply Primitive batik collection from Batik Textiles. These unique batiks have a minimalist design style and a dusty, darker color palette—quite unlike what usually comes to mind when people mention "batik." The sparse designs of the batiks provide a contrast with the more detailed cotton print deisgns from Dashwood Studio. The darker colors shift the focus to the brighter prints and offer a richness and sophistication to the patchwork blocks. 

Simply Primitive batiks mixed with prints from Dashwood Studio.

I'm having a particularly good time choosing and coordinating the colors and textures of the batiks with the Dashwood Studio Habitat collection. 

The Habitat collection features animals from all parts of the world.

This is my fourth year participating in the 100 Days 100 Blocks project. It's always a fun project and it keeps one's patchwork skills finely tuned!

Ask your local quilt shop [YLQS] for these fabric lines and start your own sampler block project.



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