Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good Times!

Last weekend I very anxiously worked on my first pieced block for the 2010 $5 Quilt from one of my LQS. As many of you know, I've been having some "issues" with my pieced blocks coming out the size they are supposed to be. I really took my time with this block. I won't tell you how much time but it was a LOT. I was very careful and measured along the way to ensure that my seams weren't getting too big as they have been (yes, even with Bernina's #57 foot). It paid off and I'm pretty happy with the way this came out. It's just a wee bit off the 12.5 inches but I can easily live with that! I only had to redo one seam. Here's the untrimmed block!
Lesson Learned: Slow down, take your time. Measure along the way.

It's going to be set on point in the quilt. It's amazing how much this changes the look of the block.
While I was sewing, I had some company. Kenzie laid under the table most of the time.
Cody, who hates the camera, laid on the floor directly behind my chair. Not a good picture of him but I couldn't leave him out!
They stayed in the sewing room with me all day and hardly moved except to go to the window to check out the goings on in the neighborhood.
Good Times!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Year Later...

A finish! Yes, it's small but it's a finish nonetheless. One that has been waiting almost a year! This is my first paper piecing project. It's from Carol Doaks Show Me How to Paper Piece and is a wonderful first project. I started this in a class last February and like it often happens, it got pushed aside while I worked on something else. As I finished it up on Sunday, I looked at it and realized my piecing skills have improved since then - which thrilled me. Then as I stitched in the ditch I realized one day I'd look back at this and notice that my stitching in the ditch improved since I worked on this project. I'm looking forward to that day!

I want to hang this in my sewing room as Valentines Day is coming up soon. How do you hang your mini quilts on drywall? I'm not sure I want to be poking a bunch of holes in the walls but how else would I hang it?
Sunday, we went to The Columbia Restaurant in the historic district of St. Augustine. It is one of my favorite places to eat. They have the best flan in the world- I never even liked it before. Here's a glimpse inside.
Jacob, Me and Chris - we're all stuffed by the way!
Happy Stitches to you all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Finally Blocked!

It's been a while since there has been knitting content here.
My Dragon Melody Shawl is blocked after several months of being off the needles!
Pattern: Dragon Melody Shawl (Ravelry Link Here)
Yarn: JoJoLand Melody Superwash
Needle : Size 7 Addi Lace

After the initial problem with the transition into lace, this was a LOT of fun! I definitely see more shawls in my future.
This is my first experience with blocking. I could have done a better job. It's slightly uneven but that can easily be corrected. I hadn't thought of that while I was trying to get this blocked out on my bed. I need to come up with an alternate blocking space. My bed is not big enough and we have wood floors. I'm itching to start something new but my Per Terras needs some attention and I have a pair of socks - plain ones - to finish up. A sweater class is starting the end of next month that I'm taking. I'm hoping I can manage to knit a sweater that actually fits!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A couple of weekends ago, I visited my friend Melody at her rug camp. She attends this local camp/retreat each year and this is the 2nd year I've visited her. They allow visitors on Sunday and it's a fun visit. Everyone is happy to show you what they're working on and talk about their love of traditional wool rug hooking. There is wool, supplies and people everywhere!
They also have another room where the attendees can show the rugs they've completed that year. Everything is so different and fun to look at!

Each of these take countless hours to complete.
Look at the detail of the footprints in the snow!

We spent quite a bit of time talking to this gentleman. His name is Eric and he's a nationally known instructor whose last name just escapes me. See that green curly motif? The one that runs through most of the quilt? He's ripping it all out and replacing it with another color. He was really ok with it. I think I would have left it or had a tantrum kicking and screaming on the floor. Clearly, he's a bit more grown up than I am! In real life the green just didn't seem to have enough contrast. In this photo, however, it doesn't look too bad, does it?
Please visit Melody's recap of the weekend on her blog. She has totally different photos including a couple of pictures of the project she started and received instruction on during the weekend. She is a very talented fiber lover and supporter. One day I'm going to give in and take her up on her offer to start rug hooking....but it won't be any time soon due to work and other interests. But it IS going to happen!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Here!

Today my birthday gift from Greg arrived! My stitching and knitting chair. There is an ottoman too but it's not in the picture. I haven't even had a chance to sit in it yet. It was a busy day but hopefully I'll have time tomorrow. It fits in the space but with the ottoman it's a bit tight. I'll have to move it when I'm not using it. I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to this getting here.
A while back someone asked me what this is that is set up on my cutting table.
It's a yarn swift. You put a hank of yarn on it...
...and wind it into a ball on the ball winder.
It makes a really nice cake of yarn that you pull the yarn from the center.
Lots of yarn comes in hanks and I seem to usually buy yarn this way. It can't be easily used the way it comes. Winding it into a center pull ball is the way to go. I like it this way because it has a flat bottom and it doesn't roll around.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Are you familiar with Goodreads? It's an online community for readers. You can catalog the books you've read, the ones you own, etc. There is a section within Goodreads where you can throw your name into the hat to be selected to review a book that has not come out yet. About 2 weeks ago, I was notified that I was being sent an Advance Readers Copy of a book being released in March by Linwood Barclay. Score! This past week, I received the book and I started reading it today. I'm not very far into it but so far it is better than average and my attention has been captured! I hope it continues to be as captivating. There was no cost to receive the book, I'm only being asked to write a review on Goodreads about it - which I will gladly do!

Edited to add link to Goodreads giveaways where you could win an Advance Reader Copy.
This past weekend, I spent some time getting organized. I really am trying to be a bit tidy since I now have my own space. I'm afraid that I'll buy fabric for one purpose, then use it for another. So I bought these boxes at Michaels to help me keep the project components together. I've labeled a box for my $5 quilt BOM and my Stitchers Garden BOM. I also put together a binder for the Stitchers Garden instructions/pattern as they are quite detailed and another binder for my Bernina Mastery class materials. I've been in an organizing mode since the week after Christmas. It's almost getting scary! :)
I've gathered my background fabric(s) for each BOM and put that in the box. I also threw in my first 2 blocks for my $5 quilt. Since I'm also doing the optional applique block each month this will not technically end up costing $5.
I also purchased this Rowenta travel iron at Joann's this weekend. Have you ever read the fine print on Joann's coupons? Irons are excluded? Don't irons have a bad enough rep? Now we have to pay full price for them too? This iron is still worth every penny. It gets hot, hot, hot and is perfect to sit on my side table so I can iron blocks without getting up. Plus it seriously out performs the iron I have already.
I can't really figure out how to turn the darned thing off though. The on/off button on the illustration in the manual is not the on/off button on the iron itself. I think they had a minor redesign and didn't update the manual.

It's warmed up here quite a bit. Sunday was a beautiful sunny Florida winter day. Perfect! I hope all of you are having a great week. Happy Stitches!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cabinets Are Hung!

The 2 wall cabinets and the shelves that Greg worked on until after 4am on Sunday are up! I love them! My sewing room is small (11x10) and full of things so it's hard to get a good picture. It really makes everything seem less temporary. Sunday I didn't get much time to spend in there and what time I had was spent getting things back in order after Greg moved the sewing tables back into place. Not much in the way of decorations but that will come in time. I'm just getting some curtains and probably will hold off on the other things and get them slowly. I'd also like to make some things to go in there.
I did get a chance to sew a little bit today. I pieced the next block that a group of knitters are working on. As you can tell, I went with the red dot fabric for the center. The pattern called for this layout and I liked the extra dimension it gives. I didn't struggle with the piecing on this one as I had on the others. What a RELIEF! I've been having trouble (lots of trouble) with getting the blocks to come out the correct size. This one came out pretty much right on! Can you see me doing the happy dance?!
And guess what?! My points came out pretty much on target. Here is a picture of one of them!
I also blocked the shawl I finished knitting a couple of months ago. Pictures of that should be coming next weekend. I'll probably be home well after dark every night this week this week which is not good for photographs. I'm working on annual reviews and have a ton of other things to accomplish so there will be some early mornings and late nights. At least it's a short week!

Now I'm off to do laundry....why do I always leave that until the last minute?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Very Late Night

It's just after 3am and Greg is still working on getting the 2 cabinets and shelves up in my sewing room. He got started late today and wanted to only have the room tore up for one sewing day. We're both going to be exhausted tomorrow!
This is his "Please do not take my picture at 3am" look.

Thank you honey!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Which One?

I'm working on another block to practice my precision (snort) piecing. I have this block laid out according to the instructions I found on the Ravelry Quilters Knitting board. As I type this and look at my pictures, I'm realizing that my fabric choices could be better. The brown here isn't photographing well and looks better in real life but I'm not starting over on this one. I love the fabric with the red dot.
I also cut out a center square in the background fabric. I kind of like the way the star pops but then the red dot fabric looks very wrong to me. Does the block lose a bit of dimension too?
I find fabric choice and fabric decisions difficult. Which do you like better?

I've been really looking forward to the upcoming three day weekend. Guess who has a scratchy sore throat and is sneezing? UGH!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Am I Crazy?

Last weekend I attended Meet the Teachers at one of the quilt shops in the area. I signed up for their $5 quilt which is comprised of pieced and applique blocks. I also signed up for Stitchers Garden. It's also a BOM but there is a class for each months block. It's being used as a class that will teach us more about our machine and what it can do. As a new machine owner, I felt it would be a perfect way to stretch within the comfort of a class. I'm taking a beginning fusible applique class beforehand as I've only done a tiny bit of applique. Then someone in the group decided to let the shop owners show her quilt from last years BOM which was applique. Isn't this just gorgeous? One day I'm going to do something like that!
In the meantime, I'm still struggling a bit with the precision part of piecing. I had no problems with my Bargello quilt - it came out the size it was supposed to. But the blocks with a lot of smaller blocks within them are difficult for me to get the required size. This one is the right size (finally!) but is off centered. This is the part where I think I'm crazy for signing up for 2 BOMs. What am I thinking? How am I ever going to put together my Fat Quater Shop BOM that I joined last year and haven't started? No extra fabric if I mess it up!

Any tips, etc would be greatly appreciated. Believe it or not, sometimes blogger tips run through my mind when I'm sewing. It helps a lot!
Many of you asked about the cutting table for my sewing room that I showed a picture of in my prior post. Can you believe it's a kitchen island from Ikea? It height adjusts just a little bit and I'm not having any back problems with cutting fabric anymore! I really wanted it but didn't want to spend the money. Greg, fabulous husband that he is, insisted that I get it because he knew how much I wanted it but would end up with something else. Who could refuse?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where It's At So Far

My sewing room is partially put together but I have move my things into it. The closet storage unit has gotten a couple of scrapbook storage cubes on top of it. Things are not fully organized as yet but here is a peek.
I've moved my books out of my yarn storage cabinet. These may be moved once Greg gets my wall cabinets installed. Right now the drawers in this cabinet have some of my stitching stuff.
My quilting and sewing WIPs are also all in their own little storage box with the fabric and pattern. I am afraid that at some point I wouldn't be able to put my hands on the pattern or the fabric would get cut into for something else.
Here is the sewing area so far. Greg is going to install 2 wall cabinets with some shelves in between in the next few weeks. As you can see, I still have some cleaning and organizing to do.
My big holiday surprise is that Greg bought me a tv for this room. I love it!
Underneath the tv is my cutting table with fabric storage. I think I'm going to get some pretty scrapbook paper to go behind the glass. I'm also planning on keeping my ball winder and swift out so I can use it anytime. It's a pain to keep putting it up and taking it down when I need it. The cutting table is a good height for me and my back isn't hurting when I cut fabric anymore.
It's a small room and it's packed but I love it! I still need to get curtains for the window and some decorations. The curtains will hopefully come soon but the decorations will be something that I'll acquire slowly. I do have a couple of things that I've gotten but the spending of $$$ will be slowing down significantly. Greg did get me a stitching and knitting chair for my birthday that is later in the month and that should be here in a couple of weeks. It would have been here by now but I didn't want to pay $50 delivery for something we could put in our van and bring the 3 miles home.

Greg said this room is going to be like a vortex. I'm going to go into it and never come out! He just might be right!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chart 2 Done!

I went back to work on Monday. I have, however, picked my stitching back up and I am making progress - slow progress but progress nonetheless! I have a New Year start to show you once I get a bit further along. I also finished chart 2 of Quakers and Quilts. The Algerian Eyelet has not been stitched in yet though.
I figured out how to change the font on my sidebar but it changed the font on everything on the sidebar. I just wanted to change the font on the header on each section. So I'll go back to the drawing board at some point on that one. I also want to make my blog fill the entire screen when opened. If anyone has any great (fairly simple) tutorial, etc to help with that, I'd greatly appreciate it!

This winter has been much colder than normal. We've had temperatures here below freezing for the past 6 days. Very unusual for Florida. I'm already ready for it to warm up. Typically our average high in my area is 64 degrees for January. I don't know how those of you in much colder climates handle months of it! Please stay warm!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Visit With an Old Friend

Last Thursday, I visited my friend Julie who I met in 1978 in Mr. Vance's Civics class. We hit it off immediately and have been friends ever since. Even though she lives within 2 hours of where I live, it had been 3 or 4 years since we've seen each other. We went to a yarn shop, a quilt shop, a stitching shop and out to lunch and gabbed every second. Such fun!

The restaurant where we ate is in the same building as the quilt shop. It's an old Coca-Cola building that was built in 1925. The brick walls had quilts on them. The ceiling was wood and was gorgeous. Even a less than friendly waitress did not spoil lunch!
Here's a peek into the part of the building that had the fabric. Loads of fabric!
We also visited an antique store that was nearby that had some gorgeous vintage restored sewing machines but I neglected to get a picture of them. I only got once picture of Julie and it's blurry so I'm not going to post it. She still looks the same and still has her thoughtful but spunky personality. It was fun to spend the day with a good friend, one who understands my hobbies.

One who understands the need to purchase fabric that you don't have a specific purpose for!
Thank you Julie for a fantastic day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thank you and 2010

I'd like to thank everyone for their help with changing my blog to a three column format. I read through each and every tutorial and the comments on every tutorial. I find that the comments offer a lot of insight. The code was just a little bit different in my blog. Eventually one of your links lead me to find this link which did the trick! Evidently my blog template is called Denim. Who knew? Thank you all for sending the things that you did. I learned a lot!

I decided to not set goals for 2010. I have so many deadlines with work and I do "this" for fun. Even though it's a whole year, saying I want to get something done by 2010 IS a deadline. I did want, however, to put something on my blog so that I am conscious about what I have going on. So I've added a list of WIPs. If I find that it's not helping me be in a positive frame of mind, I'll simply delete it. For me, the fun part is the actual process of doing. While I enjoy the finished product, it's the part between the beginning and the end that brings me so much enjoyment. I have to say though that I enjoy following other people meeting their goals!

Yesterday, I got a chance to work on this one block. I still need to improve in the area of points. My 1/4" seam was better but not accurate...the block is still a bit too small.
While I was piddling away in my sewing room, Greg was at the Gator Bowl. There were over 87,000 people there to bid farewell to Bobby Bowden. That's more people attending than were at the Super Bowl. In Florida, college football is king! I glad he got the opportunity to go!
Today is a day of knitting and stitching. I hope you have a day full of stitches too!