Thursday, February 25, 2010

My $5 Quilt BOM has accessory blocks that are appliqued. I've just learned this technique and these pieces are much smaller than the applique on my Stitchers Garden BOM. I decided to try a practice run with red thread to show where I need to improve. I started out really wobbly but soon got a bit better at manipulating those smaller pieces with my hands.
Here's my finished block on a pieced background. I really enjoyed this but it took loads of time. Loads. It gives me a much bigger appreciation for those quilts that are full of applique. I do see more of this in my future.
I'm in the mortgage business. It's the month end in a short month. Let's just say it's been complete chaos. Far worse that I've had in a long time. But I'm making it and that's all that matters. It's not killing me either. I hope you're having a great week. Happy Stitches!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I've been knitting 2 years and I do believe this is my very first swatch. I've checked gauge before (and only once) but the project was already started. Saturday I start a Knit to Fit Sweater class. A swatch is required - washed and dried no less. Here is my swatch in the yarn I'm going to be using. The ridges separate the different needle sizes. I used sizes 6, 7, and 8 for the swatch. I generally like a pretty tight fabric. The 6's are too tight and I feel the 8's are too loose.
Those of you who know me, won't be surprised by my yarn color. I love black. The photo above is actually lighter than the actual color but the stitches show up better in this picture. It's really about 2 shades lighter than black. Hey, I figure if I'm only going to knit one sweater, it probably should be one I can wear often. Right?

Last week my blog friend, Linda, sent me 4 knitting magazines she found while organizing her home and she sent them on to me. I had no idea that Fons and Porter had put out a knitting magazine. Linda, thank you, I'm enjoying these a lot! Check out Linda's blog, she's had over 5 feet of snow this winter and her husband is still smiling while shoveling snow. She is also a fantastic quilter!

Happy Stitches!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recognize This?

This is sunshine and an open window! Fresh air was served up today!
And a pair of plain socks finished and off the needles!
Plain Vanilla Sock
Yarn: Happy Feet
Colorway #4
Needle Size: US 2

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The week has been spend with a heavy work load (but fit into 8 hour days) and a bit of stitching and knitting. I completed chart 3 of Quakers and Quilts. I really haven't felt like starting another stitching project. I wonder if I'm going to be a monogamous stitcher? Somehow I think I probably won't be!
No knitting pictures to show. I'm knitting a project that is just going on forever. It's lace and black so it doesn't lend itself to much in the way of in progress photos. I am taking a sweater class at the end of the month (top down raglan based on my generous measurements) and I hope it fits!

Happy Stitches!

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Real Applique!

Saturday I attended my first Stitchers Garden BOM classs at one of my LQS. I elected to take this class because I've never done applique before and the class is designed to get your to learn about the features and decorative stitches on your machine. The pre-class assignment was sewing the grid on the background. At the end of class, I was just beyond this point and had pressed on the applique pieces to the background.
When I came home, I thought I'd better practice just a bit before I started actually working on my block.
I have never used blanket stitch before. The 2 other machines I own do not have it. Those inside corners are pesky. As you can see, I got one right and one is way wrong.
Then I took a deep breath and loaded up my block and started veeery slowly.
I have found that for me it's better to slow it down.
Not perfect (see the stray stitch on the leaf corner?) but better than I originally anticipated! I was supposed to use a decorative stitch on the leaves but I forgot. This block has framing to be sewn around it too so it's not yet completely done.
Close up on one of the flowers.
Now I feel somewhat confident to try the applique block on my $5 quilt! I have the pieced background ready to go and will probably work on it this week. I can't say how much I enjoy taking classes. Not only does it take the uncertainty and frustration out of learning something new but I am getting to know other quilters. Tons of fun!

Today is Presidents Day here in the US. As I work for a bank, I have the day off and hope to spend some time doing the things I love to do in between a hair cut, laundry, etc. We're also seeing some sunshine today!!! I'm not sure it could get any better!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Triangle Explosion

Triangle Explosion is something my LQS is doing. You purchase these little packets - they call them cinnamon sticks - for $2.50 each. I bought 5.
Inside are 2 pieces of fabric and one of these long pieces of paper that has lines on it. I ironed and starched the fabric and ironed the paper. With right sides of the fabric together, I pinned the paper on top.

You sew on the dotted lines with a shortened stitch length (I used 2.0 on my Bernina). It's easy, you just start at the arrow and follow the dotted lines!
When you're all done, you cut on the solid lines. As you can see from my picture below, easier said than done! I guess I'm still learning some of those kindergarten skills!
Pull the paper off, press open, trim the hangnails from the corners.
And you end up with 28 half square triangles! In my case I ended up with 28x5 of them! Yes, I'm too tired to do the math!
I'll take these in to the LQS in the next couple of weeks. They'll make note of how many I made. A month or so later, I'll get that same amount of squares back but they'll all be made of different fabrics and color combos! How easy is that? Then I'll have some fun figuring out what I can do with them. The ladies at the quilt shop have been making up samples using a differing number of squares and they've come up with some wonderful ideas.

This really is a quick easy way to make a lot of half square triangles. Typically my favorite method is drawing a line down the center of the back of a piece of fabric and then sewing 1/4" on each side and cutting them in half. It tends to feel a bit fiddly and labor intensive to me. Using the paper like I did here seems like much less work. I did all these in just one sitting and I can't imagine I could/would get that many done any other way. The down side is that you get 28 of just one color combo. The exchange at the LQS eliminates that from being a problem. I hope there are some reds in there! I might pick up a couple more cinnamon sticks this weekend.

Did I just start another project?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Monday!

My work week started out kind of weird. I get to work and go to get out of the car. Something made me look down at my feet. It's a good thing I did!
Pulled back out of my good parking space and went home to get a shoe that matched one I was actually wearing. Thankfully, I wasn't that late for work!

I did get a chance this weekend to sew a bit. I worked on the latest installment of the Ravelry Quilters Knitting block of the month. This was an easy one and quick!
Here are all the blocks together on my cutting table.
I also had some time to knit and stitch this weekend. I'm finding that now that I have a sewing room and a chair in there that I'm spending a bit of time in there most evenings. It's been nice and a good stress reliever. I'm spending a little less time on the computer but that's not a bad thing. Greg came in and sat for a while yesterday while I was sewing.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to make sure I have matching shoes on before I leave the house! Thankfully, that was the worst part of the day and everything else went smoothly.

Happy Stitches!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Not Much...

...going on here this week.

For the $5 quilt I'm just starting there is an accessory applique block each month. This month's has a pieced background and I did get it done this week. The points aren't as good as I'd like them to be but let's face it, applique is going to go over it so I'm not going to redo anything. I was thrilled, however, that it came out the right size! And I have room to trim it up later on. You all know how I've been struggling with that! The instructions on the applique placement are non-existent so I'm holding off until I get more direction at this months meeting.
Chris has been working on refinishing 2 end tables we gave him. He's using them as nightstands. They were the typical oak color but he wants them a dark coffee brown to match the big mirror we gave him at Christmas. This is the first time he's done anything like this and the first one came out nice.
Not much else has been going on. I'm stitching and/or knitting a bit each evening. My Per Terras shawl is back to being worked on again. It was a good week at work too!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is This Going To Work?

Sunday afternoon I spent some time organizing my purchases from the 2 Tote Bag Sales I went to on Saturday. I've been thinking about how to organize pending projects. I decided to make kits with the pattern and fabrics together. First up, Lincoln - a Schnibbles pattern. It's my first of these patterns. It's all here. Binding, backing, and 2 charm packs. I labeled the containers too.
Next is the cover pattern from Simply Charming. I thought this would be a good quilt to give to one of my nieces, Ava. Her favorite color is Pink!
But then I got to thinking that there are other patterns in that book that I might want to make and I might not be able to find the book. So I copied the pattern and that's what I'm storing in the kit. The pattern book is going back on the shelf so I can find it easily.
My last project is another Go Green Shopper. I won this turnover at our last Moda Maniacs meeting. I already had the pattern as I've made one before. So all I needed was a bit of binding and fabric to line the tote. For this one, the lining and binding will be made out of the same fabric.
I can see how it would just be easier in the moment to throw things in the closet or stack the fabric up and move on. It would also take less time. On Sunday, by the time I put things away and straightened up a couple of other things an hour had quickly passed. I could have been doing something fun!

I'm trying to organize in a manner that counterbalances my misplacing things and forgetting what things are for. In my professional life, it's rare that I forget anything. I'm on time, organized and prepared for meetings. I get things done early. Sometimes I use lists, sometimes not. At home, I HAVE to have a list. I forget where I put things or what I need to buy. I misplace the cable remote regularly. I have visions of finding a pile of fabric that is obviously for a project and having absolutely no recollection what pattern it was intended for. So we'll see if this type of organizing works for me. I sure hope it does. I'm trying it with stitching projects too. Though with stitching I'm afraid that I'm going to end up with 20 skeins of one color floss. I'll need to work on curbing my instincts to just throw everything in the closet or a drawer! That's going to be a real challenge!

How do you organize your projects? What have you found works for you or does not work for you? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tote Bag Sale

This weekend both of my Local Quilt Shops had Tote Bag Sales. Everything you could stuff into the bag was either 30% or 25% off depending on which store you were in. EVERYTHING! I loaded up. I probably should have purchased some sewing machine feet but never made it over to the rack.
The fabric in the middle is my favorite. I bought a little bit extra but I probably should have gone for a LOT extra! It's going to be a backing fabric and the polka dot will be a binding fabric.
The L'Amour fabrics will go into a quilt for one of my nieces. I also bought a lot of background fabrics in cream and white. You can never have too much of those, right?
As you can tell, I also stocked up on some thread and Best Press. My current favorite thing to use is Mary Ellen's Best Press. I've always used it on my pieced quilts to smooth them out but now I'm using it before cutting and along every step of the way. It helps keep my fabric from getting wonky, my cuts are crisper and it's easier to match up points. I really think it's an undervalued tool.

It's yet another gray day here. I hope where ever you are that you're finding a ray of sunshine here and there....even if it's not from the sun! :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm halfway through the 3rd page of the chart on Quakers and Quilts.
I'm still enjoying every second of this project!

Saturday our Stitching Guild spent the afternoon together and then went out to dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant that I had not been to before. Delicious!

I spent some time in my sewing room yesterday but what I was working on wasn't interesting enough to post pictures. I worked on the backgrounds for 2 blocks. One background is cross hatched with a light batting behind it and the other is pieced. Applique will got on top of both of them. In January I had a quilting/LQS event every Saturday. In February that will slow down a bit and I'm looking forward to going back to my Saturday knitting.

We're supposed to have rain all this week. UGH! I hate getting wet on the way to work.

Happy Stitches!