Friday, March 18, 2011

More $5 Quilt

I managed to finish my last two pieced blocks for 2010 $5 Quilt from my quilt shop. They need to be pressed. These came together quickly because I'd already had them cut out. I have the four setting triangles for the corners of the quilt to piece and then I'll be done with the blocks and can begin assembly. The pattern calls for the setting triangles to be pieced with background fabrics and they are rather plain. I think I'm going to add some applique to them.

My latest knitting project is probably going to be ripped back to almost the beginning. I have almost 200 yards knit but I don't mind ripping it back. It's a quick knit and I really enjoy the process.

It's supposed to be 86 here tomorrow so I expect our air conditioning will be turned on for a few days. I imagine it won't be long before it's running 24/7. We put in a new a/c unit last fall but I wouldn't mind not using it! It looks like spring is still a short lived season here in Florida.

Thank you all for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Happy Stitches!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Quick One!

Last weekend I finished up the first quilt in this years installment of Jo's Little Women Club Quilts. This is called Lizzy's Little Quilt. It's about 15x18". It's very lightly quilted because I was thinking of putting a candle or something on it at Christmas and didn't want it to be stiff.
Lizzy's Little Quilt
Sometimes you just need those quickie projects!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Finish and an Experiment

I finished this wall hanging last month. Tonight I took it off the wall and went outside to get pictures. Not great but good enough. The applique in the center of this quilt was done by hand by the back basted needle turn applique method. You can find a tutorial here. This is my first hand applique project and I'm not sure if I'm going to be much of a hand applique quilter. I am going to try another project or two in order to get more proficient and see if I learn to like it more. A good tip from our instructor is that when your curves are pointy to take smaller stitches. That helps more than I would have thought. This was a Jo Morton's Little Women Club project and our instructor is Jan Vaine who just had an amazing book released! I've seen the book several times while it was in production and it's a must own if you love applique.
Prairie Basket

Lessons Learned From This Project:
1. Break hand applique projects into smaller time blocks to avoid hand pain.
2. Don't leave things until the last minute (see Lesson Learned #2).
3. When you just want to get it done, it's time to stop!

On Friday, I received this little goodie in the mail from a blogging friend, Karen from Karen's Handiwork. Last year she set a goal of stitching and finishing 3 ornaments a month. I watched in amazement as month after month she posted pictures of her finished ornies. She didn't give up and she met her goal! This year, she changed it up a bit and is stitching one ornament a month for herself and for one of her followers. I was the lucky follower in February.

Isn't this just gorgeous?!
Ornament from Karen
The back is cute too! I've been studying the beaded edge. I want to do this one day. Just beautiful! Karen, thank you. I'll treasure it!
Back of Ornament from Karen

Sunday I was glancing through the Pioneer Woman blog when I came across this series on aperture. I decided to pull out my camera and take my fiddling around with it a bit much further. Her blog posts made it sound simple enough so I decided to give it a try. The ornament photos above are a couple of the resulting pictures and are completely unedited. I like how the hanger is a little fuzzy in the background and how the foreground is really sharp. I've always had difficulty photographing red and the top one is pretty true colored. The background is dingy though. I'll continue to work on it and hopefully learn more. I'm thinking of getting a DSLR camera and I really need to step up my game. If any of you have found any online resources helpful but that are also in simple language, I'd love to know about them!

Oh, and if you don't know who the Pioneer Woman is, you really must check out her blog. Her food is amazing and her story of how she met and married Marlboro Man is wonderful.

I hope each of you had a good start to the week and will have a few moments to spend doing the things that you love. Thank you for your visits and your comments. I appreciate you and continue to be inspired by you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Retreat Wrap Up!

On my last post, I talked about the first day of my retreat and showed you a picture of our room at midnight. Here it is full of quilters with some knitters, stitchers and hookers (the rug kind) thrown in.
On Saturday, Paula Barnes of Bonnie Blue Quilts stopped by for a trunk show.
Bonnie Blue Trunk Show
I think I like her quilts so much because she uses a lot of red. I love red!
Bonnie Blue trunk show
This was a favorite and would look fantastic on my bed. One day!
Bonnie Blue trunk show
Teresa and I spent all of Saturday doing some finishing. First up was the Schoolgirl Linen Sewing Book by Stacy Nash, a class project from our trip to A Primitive Gathering hosted by The Attic Needlework in January. The photo below shows our supplies laid out on craft paper to protect the table and our assembled sewing books waiting to be aged. Knowing my personality, you'd think that this would be the part that I would have the most angst about. In fact, I love this step! It feels so free form reminding me of the abandon with which I approached my projects as a child. Fun!
Here is Teresa working on her sewing book - just painting away with the walnut stain made with walnut crystals and water.
Teresa's finished sewing book is on the left and mine on the right. As you can tell, she likes the aging to be featured more predominantly than I do. The stain on the linen dried a little lighter (these are dry here). Surprisingly, the cotton on the backside didn't lighten up much at all.
Next up, Teresa took me through finishing an ornament step by step. I put this down around 11pm to dry and finished up the cording on Sunday. It's not perfect but for a first attempt I must admit I'm very pleased. It's a testament to Teresa's patience and skills as a teacher. The part that I thought would be the most fiddly - sewing on the cording - was actually the easiest.
First Ornament Finish!
I added this charm to the backing. Isn't it cute? You can find them at Down Sunshine Lane about a third of the way down (great shop if you're looking for one). Next time I'm going to maybe stitch my initials and year on the back. I started finishing another ornament but it's not quite completed yet. Hopefully soon.
Charm on the back of Ornament
My Lessons Learned from my first retreat experience:
1. I don't enjoy finishing 14 hours at a time. I should finish in stages over time.
2. I took too much stuff to work on. I'm going to work on editing and finding that happy place.
3. There is too much food. The meals are too big. Snacks are not necessary.
4. I need to bring very warm slippers. The floors were so cold that my wool socks were not warm enough (I can't sew with a shoe on).
4. Staying up late each night and so we could enjoy every moment was totally worth it!

I came home to find a surprise waiting for me. Patty sent me a beautiful biscornu and some thread. I've never seen a biscornu in real life before. It's stitched and finished beautifully. Thank you Patty! If you haven't visited her blog Hanging on by a Thread please do stop by and see what she is up to. I promise her blog is full of good stuff!
Biscornu from Patty at Hanging on by a Tread blog
Spring has definitely arrived here. The sun is shining, our a/c has been on twice, and there is pollen everywhere. I'm sneezing like crazy! I hope that where ever you are that it's warmed up a bit and you can feel the hint of spring in the air. Enjoy your week and happy stitches!