Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Did It!

I can't believe it - I actually created a mosaic! I'm totally thrilled. It took about 10 minutes - I am NOT kidding 10 minutes - using this tutorial from Diary of a Flutter.Kat. It's not perfect because my hornbook in block 10 is cut off but not bad!
2011 Finishes

Lesson Learned: Sometimes things are not as hard as you think they might be!

These are my 2011 finishes. I'm counting the flimsy in block 5 as a finish. My most recent knitting finish isn't featured here because it's not been blocked or photographed. I'm still calling that one done because it's a HUGE project and it's on my goal list for the year. It's off the needles and that's a finish in my book.

Speaking of my 2011 Goals - here is my list as I wrote on Dec 31, 2010 in the black font and progress notes in red font were added today:

1. Grid and Grommet Bag - currently about half done Goal: finish it or ditch it
I went to throw this in the trash yesterday and just couldn't do it. I was very surprised by that.
2. $5 Quilt - currently 50% complete. Lots of applique left. Goal: progress
Finished the flimsy - see block #5 in my Flickr Mosaic above
3. Stitchers Garden Quilt - currently 75% complete Goal: finish the top
Progress made but no finish. I actually thought my goal for this one was progress.
4. Quakers and Quilts - currently 80% complete Goal: progress
I don't think I've touched this all year! I don't feel bad about it either!
5. Jenny Bean Halloween - currently 50% complete Goal: progress
Finished and framed. Block #9 above
6. Knit to Fit Sweater - currently 70% complete Goal: progress
Another one I haven't touched and feeling guilt free about it.
7. Per Terras (a/k/a the Albatross) - currently 80% complete Goal: finish it
Done - this is the one that needs to be blocked! Maybe then I'll quit calling it the Albatross.
8. Scarf for Chris - currently 60% complete Goal: finish it in February
Done. Flickr block #12. I blogged about it in January so I met the timeline.
9. Jo Morton's Prairie Basket - currently 50% complete Goal: finish
Done - Flickr block #2. This is the first/only experience with hand applique.
10. Jo Morton's Log Cabin Table Topper - currently 90% complete Goal: finish this week?
Done - Flickr block #1. Blogged about January 2 so I met the timeline.
11. Stacy Nash Peacock Pinkeep Drum and Linen School Girl Sewing Book - neither currently started as I'm waiting on my pre-stitching kit. Since I'm taking a class on this my hope is to finish these both in class with Stacy this month. Not sure that is realistic.
Both are finished! Flickr block #6 and #8
12. Scarf for Mom - not started but have yarn and pattern Goal: Progress
Done BUT I keep forgetting to give it to her. Flickr block #13 or #14 - her choice!
13. Try to do the finishing on an ornament. Goal: Learn a new skill
Done - Flickr block #7

I've surprised that I finished so much - much more than I did in 2010. I've always poopoo'd goal lists. Let's face it, I have more than enough deadlines at work. Perchance said goal list kept me a bit more focused normal? Hmmmm

I'd like to take a moment to thank Teresa who blogs at GirlWithNeedles for walking me through finishing my stitching projects. New things don't come easily to me and she held my hand though it all. It would be very remiss of me to not thank all of YOU for reading my little blog, for your comments, for your support and most of all for your friendship and inspiration! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Thank You and a Block Finish

Last week, I received a wonderful package in the mail from Becky. If you've never visited her blog, please do so. She is an amazing stitcher who finishes all her own projects. She has finished 500 smalls! Not only is she very talented with the needle but she's also very generous. Recently she decided to stitch and gift some of her favorite projects. I was fortunate to receive The Gathering Basket in the mail this past week. It's bigger than I thought it would be but I love that about it. I generally use my pincushions for pins and needles so the larger size really works. It makes me smile every time I look at it. Thank you Becky!
From Becky SC
Yesterday, I finished up Block 5 of AotH - with the exception of the personalization which is why the roof isn't completely stitched. When I started this block, I didn't think I'd like the colors together. Was I wrong! The coloring isn't quite right here but I really like the Avocado color that looked so garish on it's own. I'm really enjoying this project!
AotH Block 6
The next block is on hold because I'm missing the thread for the borders. I don't think that much any stitching, knitting or quilting will be completed in the next week as I still have holiday prep to do. Wrapping, cooking, and maybe even a wee bit of shopping yet to do. Let's not forget work and possibly a business dinner next week. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dreary Weekend

It's been a dreary gray weekend and I've had a cold. I missed 3 events I had scheduled - all of which I was looking forward to attending. No Christmas shopping which may be a bit of a stressor later. I've made peace about not sending Christmas cards this year. That was easy.

Some people can sit and knit, stitch or sew when they're ill - I'm just not one of those people. So most of the weekend has been spent sleeping and in my pjs. I managed to get my 4 Cotton Club blocks done late this afternoon by working a few minutes at a time.
Another horrible picture but it was dark. I'm loving these blocks as they come together but they do take a bit of time. I'm getting a bit better at piecing and making things work. And while my blocks will most likely never come out perfectly square - I'm getting a bit better at that too.

This week will be spent scrambling to get the shopping done I need to get done to put packages in the mail. I also need to come up with a label for something I started in September. Nothing like last minute! You know, I always say that I'm going to have a less hectic holiday season. It never happens. What has changed though is that each year I'm a bit less freaked out about what has to be accomplished. It always manages to get done! In the meantime, I'm going to pick up a book and the box of Kleenex and spend some time in front of the tv.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Raindrops on Raspberries

This is a finish I've been meaning to show you for a while. I just kept putting off getting it blocked because it's not my most favorite thing to do. If you're a knitter, do you like blocking?
Raindrops on Roses (Ravelry Link here)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Sock
Colorway: Raspberry
Needles Size: 6 (I think)

Blocking the points didn't come out as well as I thought it would. Why, you ask?
Raindrops on Roses by IrishGirlieKnits
Because I have a too tight bind off. I was running out of yarn...
I think I had 3 inches left!
Next time I block this project - which won't be any time soon, I'll go for a curvy look instead of trying to make points where there can't be any. Isn't the yarn delicious? I love this kind of semi-solid colorway. I love the pattern too and it's all thanks to JooLee (Ravelry link) who gifted me the pattern. A knitter I've never met by the way. The pattern is part of a sock kit club that won't be available to knitters outside the club until March 2012. I wasn't in the club and JooLee was. Thank you JooLee!

You may have noticed that I turned off any kind of comment moderation about six weeks ago. I did so after reading this post from Jody at Pleasant Home. I've had spam in the past - more than I would have expected - but I'm happy to report that I haven't had any problems since turning off comment moderation.

The year is coming to an end and I'm looking at my goal list for 2011 and thinking of 2012. I'll do a wrap up the year kind of post at the end of the year. I'm happy with what I accomplished on the list and won't feel a bit guilty at what I didn't. I'm hoping to get some things done yet too - one project to finish and one project to throw in the trash. Yep - trash! My stitches aren't all happy ones!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Off the Design Wall..

This quilt came off my design wall this weekend. It's been there since September. Friday was Elf Day at my LQS and I decided to make this my focus project for the day. It's all been sewn into rows and then I attached pairs of rows together. It's in 4 pieces so I've made major progress this weekend. I'm not going to say that it'll be finished this month but I'm hoping for a finish early next year. I've had to label each row to make sure I assemble it correctly.
I've got to find a better way to manage threads. When do you clip threads?

We've been busy with holiday preparations. Tree has been put up and some shopping accomplished. Lots more to do. It's going to be a crazy few weeks! Hoping you all have time for some happy stitches this week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Farmers Wife

Here are the five Farmers Wife blocks I made this weekend. One of these blocks took significantly longer than the others to sew. I decided to paper piece for accuracy.

Guess which one it was?
This is the offender.
Notice anything?
That center needs to be reworked.
It took like 3 hours.
I may just live with it.
Lesson Learned:
Trust your piecing skills! You/I can do it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Stitching Hodge Podge

In my last post, I left you with a quilting finish. That same evening I picked up my stitching and got to work. Here is my WIP at the point where I did a counting check. Sorry for the bad pics.
And here is my stitching at the end of the evening. Yep, I went to the frog pond. I was off by one stitch in the length of the border. I would have fudged it but I'm stitching each month of Anniversaries of the Heart on one piece of linen and they need to line up. I got caught up late last night so I'm back on track. It hurt at the time though.
Lesson Learned: Count Often. And Then Count Again.

While on vacation, I was able to finish the April block. No personalizations as yet but I do have a good idea what I'll be doing on this one.

A couple of weekends ago, my EGA chapter welcomed Ellen Chester of With My Needle for her Long May She Wave workshop (scroll down). It was my first formal workshop and I loved every second. Visit Ellen's blog for her retrospective . Ellen is just delightful and I would encourage you to take one of her workshops. The quality of the materials and instruction (both Ellen's during the workshop and the written instructions) are superb!

I have only 3 pictures because my camera battery died right off the back. The three photos are of show and tell items.

Carol's Stitched Project Bag - Front
I didn't get specifics on the project.
Stitched Project Bag - Back
Carol's Petit Carnet d'Ouvrages (Designer With My Needle)
Her group of stitching friends each stitched one page making this even more special.
It's tiny and oh so precious!
My project at the end of the workshop is pictured below. Not much progress as yet but I'm LOVING this! I'm thinking of finishing it with the slight alteration that Ellen suggested.
It's been a busy work week and I'm looking forward to prepping for Thanksgiving and getting a little stitching, knitting, and quilting done over the weekend. Enjoy the rest of your week and may all your stitches be happy ones!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time Away and a Happy Dance!

Greg and I spent the last week in a cabin nestled in the Smoky Mountains. We stayed in the same place we did last year. Here is the view from the back deck, taken in the morning. I promptly put my camera away for the rest of the week so nothing else to show.
View from our Cabin in Pigeon Forge
We got home Friday night later than we'd planned. I purposely stayed home on Saturday and finished up my 2010 $5 BOM from one of my LQSs. This picture isn't the greatest, the quilt needs to be ironed, threads trimmed and it was really windy today. BUT I didn't want to wait until next weekend to take a picture. I'm SO excited to have this done!
2010 $5 Quilt Finish
I've learned a lot since beginning this quilt. I kind of like that it shows my growth as a quilter.

I've been thinking a lot about what kind of quilter I want to be. I like modern quilts and I like traditional quilts. I've decided I don't have to pick one or the other - I can be both! There aren't any rules. Isn't that great?

This is also a stitching and knitting blog and I assure you that I'm still doing both. I promise I'll be showing those in the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow is Monday so back to work I go. I'm in such a peaceful place that I'm finding it hard to think about the fast pace at work and the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holidays. I can't stop time so I'll be jumping back into all of it with both feet.

But that's not until tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy these last few moments of vacation. And look at my completed quilt top! :)

Wishing you all happy stitches!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Generosity of Bloggers

I only made one Farmers Wife block this week. I'm not happy with my fabric selection so I'll probably make it again. I need to get some more solids in my stash - I'll hopefully work on that in the next couple of weeks.
Farmers Wife QAL - BatWing
Bat Wing

My last two Cotton Club blocks have been made too. They are not wonky in real life - I went back and checked! Twice!
Month 2 - Cotton Club
A couple of weeks ago, I saw this lovely fabric in a couple of places within blog land and fell in love with it. I left a comment at Blue Elephant Stitches and Jolene ended up gifting me a yard. What a sweetie she is! Do stop by her blog and say hello - she is a beautiful modern quilter.
Then I won a give away from Mary Catharine at Warmth in the North who had just returned from Sewing Summit.
And included was......a Kona Color Card! I've been really wanting one of these! Thank you Mary-Catharine!
As you can see, it was a good mail week!

I still haven't blocked my shawl and I'll probably have a wrap finish within the month of November. I'm working on the next Anniversaries of the Heart block and took a stitching class but my camera battery was dead. I was very disappointed about that. I hope to get a beanie knit up for Jake soon too. What are you working on?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Few Blocks and Some Family Time

It's been a busy weekend but not much completed in the quilting/knitting/stitching arena. I did get two Farmer's Wife blocks done. A lot of quilters aren't making the basket blocks (there are two variations in this quilt). I've never made one so decided to give it a go. I'm glad I left it in and will probably do the other one as well.
Farmer's Wife Block # 3 Basket
#3 Basket
The color placement is off within one of the smaller blocks that make up the block below. Since the red is more saturated than the other fabric colors, it's really not noticeable so I'm leaving it in. I didn't think it was worth ripping.
Farmer's Wife Block # 4 Basket Weave
#4 Basket Weave
I also got two of the Cotton Club BOM blocks done for the 2nd month. There are a total of 4 for this month. These finish at 5" - smaller than the Farmer's Wife blocks.
Cotton Club Block, 2 of the 4 blocks for month 2
Last weekend my brother and his family were visiting my parents. It's been a while since I've seen my nieces - I sure wish they lived closer! Saturday my husband and I along with and Chris and Jake went down and then Sunday Greg and I drove down alone.
Here are both of them sitting on my oldest sons back while Chris was doing push ups. He could only do about 4 with good form but they thought it was a good time. Lots of girl squeals!
Alex's birthday is the end of the month so we had a little gift giving. My brother and his wife gave her their big gift early - tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. She was so excited that she started crying. I'd love to go with her and her friends but that's one of the big drawbacks of living so far apart. It was SO good to see them!
November and December will be busy months and typically my quilting/stitching/knitting take a back seat to other activities. I have scheduled two days off in early December and I hope I'll be able to go to my LQS for at least one of those days to quilt.

In the meantime, I'm going to get some fun things in while I can! For those of you who sew, knit, or stitch after a long day at work, how do you do it? I'm usually so mentally wiped out.

May all your stitches be happy ones!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Joining In...

...on the Farmers Wife! I've been reading blog posts about this, have seen pictures pop up on Flickr and can no longer resist. My first two blocks are below:
Farmers Wife - the beginning
I'm using Ruby along with some Bliss. Both are by Bonnie and Camille. Throwing in a couple of solids (that bright blue is coming out) and other bits and pieces as I go along.
Fabric for the Farmers Wife
This quilt will be a loooong term project. Stayed tuned for more and wishing you happy stitches!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Bad Choice

I honestly expected to be showing you a completed quilt top today - my 2010 $5 Quilt. It's been laying over the chair in front of my design wall for a bit. It just needed borders. Today I ironed and trimmed it up. Greg helped me measure the width and length in 3 places. I measured and cut the inner border and sewed it to one side. And realized I had made a horrible fabric color choice. I need to use a fabric the same color as the sashing pieces - not the cornerstones like I had planned - to frame the quilt. Greg tried to convince me that it would be "fine". Well, we all know that to a woman "fine" it's generally anything BUT fine. I laid out the leftover sashing fabric next to the top and the difference was dramatic. I found the fabric I needed online and it should be here soon and I ripped that border off!

Here's the quilt where I left it. Right on my ironing board that needs a facelift. I can't believe I'm showing that ugly thing to you. I still have threads to clip but I just didn't have it in me.
$5 Quilt 2010 progress
I finished up the 4th block of Anniversaries of the Heart. Personalizations to come as with the rest of the blocks. This isn't a block that I think I'll have anyone to commemorate as we have a small family. I think I may stitch my maiden name in the lower right corner and the year completed in the upper left. I used the called for fibers except for the windows. There just wasn't enough contrast.
Anniversaries of the Heart
I'd like to wish my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving and all of you happy stitches!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cheddar Anyone?

I have another Jo Morton's Little Women Club finish to share with you today. This is the first time I've used a cheddar colored fabric and I like it. I don't know the exact measurement of the finished quilt but if I remember correctly, the blocks in the center finish at 3". I've had the top assembled for a bit but just got around to the quilting.
Amy's Choice
Amy's Choice
Jo Morton's Little Women Club Project
My LQS isn't renewing this club on their schedule. Our instructor, Jan Vaine, is teaching Prairie Women Sewing Circle at another LQS and I'll be joining them. I hope I'll enjoy this group as much as I did the Jo's group. I've learned so much from Jan and we're so fortunate to have a published author as our instructor.

We're experiencing fall like weather this week in Florida. Our temperatures will be in the low 80's this week and there has been a break in the humidity. The weatherman said that this morning we're experiencing December weather. I'll take it! We even had the windows open for a few hours yesterday. It's hard to believe it's October already and that the holiday season is quickly approaching.

I have a knitting finish but the project isn't blocked yet and I hope to have a AotH block finish soon. I've picked a BIG knitting project back up again and I might have that finished in the next month or so. It's going to be a bear to block it's so large. I'll hopefully have pictures of the shawl for you in the next couple of weeks - there are a lot of activities over the next few weekends for me. Thankfully, next weekend is a 3 day one for me due to Columbus Day. I hope each of you have a great week and I hope your stitches be happy ones!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Surprise and Progress

Yesterday, I was able to get a chance to stitch for a few hours, knit for a few hours, and quilt for a few hours. I don't quite have any knitting or stitching to show you but I do have some quilting. I was able to finish my last 8 Harvest blocks and play a bit with the arrangement. My design wall isn't crooked, the blocks are on there wonky As you can tell, my design wall is almost completely full.


And at the very bottom are the first 5 blocks for the Cotton Club BOM. These came together really quickly and easily. The instructions are fabulous! All the blocks will be set on point. I'd like to do the one on the far right in more modern fabrics one day and as a larger block. I think it would make a great modern quilt.


I received a wonderful surprise in the mail last week from Catherine. She sent me this cute stitched pillow as a thank you for a chart I'd sent her. It's my first fall stitched small.


Here's a closeup of the stitching. I love the thread! Thank you Catherine!


Wishing you all a good week and happy stitches!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cotton Club Beginning

Happy Tuesday! Over the weekend, I started the Cotton Club BOM by Bonnie Blue through a LQS. I had hoped to have the first 5 blocks completed (this months installment) to show you but that didn't happen. There has been a flurry of closet cleaning instead. As I mentioned in a prior post, I'm using a Harriet Hargrave tip to get my 1/4" seam more accurate. While not perfect, it's much improved. These blocks finish at 5" and will be set on point. As you can see, it starts simple!
Cotton Club Block 1
I've been playing around at drafting blocks - the tutorials by Lori Holt really captured my attention. I checked out the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and 5500 Quilt Block Designs from my library to see if I could draft a block in a size I wanted. I'm having some success! Both of these books will be purchased as the possibilities are endless!

Question for you all - Do you know how to convert a block sketch/layout to a paper pieced pattern? I'd love to learn to do that as well.
Playing Around at Drafting Blocks
I've also become very enamored of all the Farmers Wife blocks I've seen in blog land. I think I'm slowly losing that battle!

I hope you all are having a great week. Thank you so much for your visits and your comments! I appreciate you and continue to be inspired by you!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trying Something New

Before I get to the something new that I'm trying, here is my progress on my Harvest Quilt. I placed the blocks on my design wall without much thought so some rearranging is in the cards. In the meantime, I ran out of fabric. I need to check my scraps to be sure.
Now on to the something new that I'm trying. It's no secret that I've struggled with my 1/4" seam. It's not that I want to be perfect, but I do want to be close. The ladies that own my LQS shared what Harriet Hargrave told them she does when she was here last year for a class. It's all detailed in her book Quilters Academy Freshman Year. Page 23. I'd picked this book up earlier this year. I had gotten up until page 21 when I put it down. Go figure.

Anyways, it involves this notion called the Perkins Ruler. A $5 notion!
It has a hole right at the scant 1/4" place. I put my needle down through this hole.
I then put my seam guide through the hole in the back of my #13 foot placing the seam guide tightly against the ruler.
I screwed it down tight so the seam guide does not move.
Here's what it looks like:
This would work with any machine as long as the foot being used has the setup for a seam guide. A Bernina is not required. I still have some work to do but I must say that my piecing has definitely improved. I'm getting pretty close! I've not had any luck with other feet that have seam guides on it. I couldn't understand why I couldn't get it right and was frustrated. I think it's because those feet allow the fabric to slip underneath and this setup doesn't.

Lesson Learned: What works for one person, might not work for another. Keep looking for a solution! One size does not fit all.

Wishing you a week of Happy Stitches!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unpacking and Tidying

Today I'm unpacking all my sewing stuff from retreat last weekend and doing a bit of tidying. My portable Rowenta that I love and use all the time was bit by a power surge I think. I didn't have it plugged into the surge protector while at retreat. I'm going to get another one, I love it so much. It gets HOT and it's small - perfect for ironing blocks. My only complaint is that it gets so hot it takes a while to cool down.

I decided to throw the blocks I finished at retreat on my design wall. After all, that is what it's for, right? So in no particular order, here is where I'm at on Harvest. I'm using Christmas fabrics instead of the featured autumn colors. The rest of the pieces have been chained pieced and assembly should be quick once time is found. These blocks still need sashing (white) and cornerstones (black with red dots) but you get the general idea.
You can also see a peek at two other projects I'm working on here and there. One is my 2010 $5 quilt with the border fabrics laid over it and the other is very small glimpse of a Jo Morton project. Sadly my quilt shop has discontinued Jo's Little Women. In September, I'm going to join the Pioneer Women Sewing Circle led by the same instructor Jan Vaine but hosted at another shop. I've learned so much from her and enjoy these small (but not quick) projects.

I picked up Anniversary of the Hearts yesterday. Other than the hornbook I did last weekend, I have not stitched a stitch in 6 weeks. It felt good to be back to it and I stayed up late stitching. I have about 2/3 of the house for March completed.

I hope that everyone has a great week and that your stitches are happy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Retreat Weekend!

My retreat was last weekend. It was a BLAST! You'll just have to trust me because my camera battery was dead when I took it out to take the very first picture. I'm signed up for the next one in January. You can read about my previous one here. This time the General brought his wife with him and a 2 star General and his wife. They spent quite a bit of time with us. There were 27 Quilts of Valor that were donated to the base.

I haven't unpacked so I can't show you the blocks I made....and honestly there aren't a lot of them. There might have been a bit of socializing. I did all my chain piecing and trimming and all that stuff so I'm pretty ready to go on the quilt I'm making with Christmas fabrics.

I did have one stitching start and one stitching finish and it's the same project. Quick and easy to assemble!
Primer Hornbook
Primer Hornbook
40 Count Lakeside Linen Vintage Pearl Barley
Thread: Gloriana, Florimel, and Belle Soie

I'm still catching up on blog posts. I hope your stitches have been happy ones this week!