Monday, December 23, 2013

From a Friend

So sorry to have been absent from blogland for the past few weeks.  The short holiday prep season has kept us busy.  

I was so touched a week or so ago to receive a surprise in the mail from Annette at California Stitcher.  If you don't know Annette, she is such a sweetie and very creative.

When I opened up the package I was seriously tickled to see the tag "Joy" that she made.  Last month, she posted about her and her sister making these.  I fell in love with them. This one is currently residing on my tree and I'll think of Annette every time I see it.

Inside were a bunch of goodies to include a handmade card - again seriously gorgeous!
And a beautiful needlebook that I'm currently using.
I love the little special bits inside!
The patchwork back is simply darling!
Thank you Annette!  I really appreciate and value our friendship!

Here is a rather washed out picture of the placemats I sent my brother.  The colors are much more saturated.  His home is full of earth tones so they'll work for them.  I've already heard from him (I just tied a ribbon around them) and he mentioned that they must have taken a lot of thread.  That tells me that he really did look at them and think about them being made for him.  I quilted straight lines 1/2" apart so they would hold up well to frequent washing.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday!  As 2013 closes, I want to let you all know how much your  visits, your comments, your creativity and your friendship means to me.  I am inspired by you daily.  I never expected to form friendships when I began this little venture.  It's been an unexpected and  very appreciated gift.  Looking forward to 2014! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Last Quilt of the Year and Possibly Starting Over

I've been working to finish a couple of quilting projects this year.  A few weeks ago, I received a quilt back from the quilter so it was time to do some binding.  I have an AccuQuilt Go that I haven't used a whole lot.  So as I've had projects I can use it on, I've been pulling out this book I won from Gene and am getting to know how to use this machine.  This book has been a wonderful resource in getting over my fear of trying something new.
My least favorite part of quilting is cutting out fabric.  For the binding, I used the 2.25" strip die which made short work of cutting the fabric.  I like using this size for binding.  It helps with getting a full binding.
Literally within minutes I had accurately cut all the binding strips at 2.25".  I only had to sub-cut sections to run through the cutter and I didn't need to be accurate.   I also cut off the selvedge before using the cutter.  I was very pleased with the results.   The strips in the photo below were spot on accurate.  They just look a little wonky because they shifted when I took off the cutting mat.  Very little waste as well - maybe a total of 2" which is probably less than I would have wasted cutting with a rotary cutter.
A short while later I had a roll of binding.  Isn't there something cute about binding rolled up?
You may remember this quilt - it took me forever to assemble the top!  It was quilted by Mary at Quilt Hollow.  Mary refers to the quilting as Frosting - which I think is so cute and very appropriate.  She was SUPER fast, easy to work with and extremely reasonable in pricing.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any close ups of the quilting but you can see here that she used a swirly type quilting. I didn't want anything holiday themed or flowers.  I told her I wanted something resembling wind.  She did a great job and I'd certainly use her again!
On the knitting front, I think I'm going to rip out my Monster Cowl and start over.  The light gray yarn I was using is a slightly different weight than the gold and garnet colored yarn.  It's hard to tell in this photo but there is some puckering in this project.  I think because the light gray yarn is a lighter weight.  So I bought the darker gray yarn and knit a few rows.  See how the projects starts to bow out?  I think that confirms my thoughts.  I don't want to have to aggressively block this to get it to lay flat.  Any knitters have any opinions about this?
I did push a few buttons at Eat Sleep Knit on Black Friday.  They have the BEST customer service ever.  With over 1000 online orders on Friday,  they still got my yarn to me Monday.  I definitely want to visit this shop in person and should be able to do so next year.
Bottom row left to right:
Cephalopod Yarns - Beastie - The Hound of Bonacville
Madelinetosh - Tosh DK Yarn - Dirty Panther
Madelinetosh - Tosh DK Yarn - Dove/Subtle (discontinued)
Top row Left to right:
Madelinetosh - Tosh Lace Yarn - Cobalt
SweetGeorgia Yarns - Tough Love Sock - Spruce

There may or may not be some Plucky and Wollmeise on its way to me too.  

In stitching news, I have planned out and received the supplies for two New Years starts.  I took care of that last month.  I figured if I didn't that it would get pushed back to far with the activities surrounding getting ready for the holiday.  Have you planned any new projects for the new year?  

I hope that in the flurry of getting ready for the holiday that each of you have some time to do the things that we love to do.  Thank you for your visits and for the inspiration!

Friday, November 15, 2013

First KAL!

I've joined my first Knit A Long!  It's with the Suburban Stitcher podcast group on Ravelry.  I'm off today so I was able to start first thing this morning.  Having a blast!  Color choices are inspired by the colors of our college team - FSU.  I'm really loving chevrons these days.
Pattern:  Monster Cowl by Julia Allen
Yarn:  MadelineTosh Vintage in Charcoal
Chepalopod Beastie in Grassman (the gold)
Chepalopod Beastie in Chupacabra (the garnet)
Needles:  Addi US 9

This is feeling like a fairly quick knit so I should have no trouble meeting the deadline of December 31.    You all know me and deadlines and how they seem to zap the fun out of it for me.  Let's hope that I can stay inspired and finish this on time.  Because I'd REALLY like to!  It would be great to wear it in January to celebrate a certain game!  :)

What is inspiring you today?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rework It!

Rework seems to be the name of the game for me these days.  This project was a secondary project from my very first quilt out of the Happy Hour book by Atkinson Designs.  Each project had a project that could be made with the scraps.  For this project, the scraps were to be used make a table runner.  I had enough scraps to make three.  I made one in 2009 and the supplies for the remaining two have been languishing in my WIP pile of 19 projects.  The original table runner I gave to my mom and  I didn't really see a need to make two more.  
So I decided to make placemats for my brothers family with them.  I should have just enough to make 4.  Yesterday, I pulled out the box with this project in it and got started.  I thought straight line quilting pretty close together would be a good idea since they'll get a lot of washing.  Super straight lines are not easy especially if your fabric isn't perfectly pieced - first quilt scraps!
I got through almost two of them before I was distracted by something else.  After they're all quilted I'll decide on the finished size.   From what I found on the internet the standard sizes for placemats are 12x18 or 14x20 and I think these will fit in between those measurements.  I'm glad this one will end up being a finish soon.  Reworking can be good!
I was distracted by finishing this stitching project.  It's a Little House Needleworks Ornament from their  2010 Ornament Series.  It's called Pear Tree.   I'm not happy with this finish so I may take it out and do some research.  It's my first pillow finish and I thought it would be similar to the other ornament I've finished myself.  Not so.  I'm finding the pillow finish more difficult.  First off, the size of this ornament probably doesn't lend itself well to a pillow.  It's stitched on the called for fabric which was a 30 count I think.  When filling, it seems the sides draw in and the corners point out.  The channel for the flat finish was more pronounced and therefore easier to apply.  Any tips from the pro pillow finishers out there will be greatly appreciated.  I'm going to visit some pinned tutorial as well.
Another busy week at work is ahead of me and the holiday season is fast approaching.  It's a busy time of the year.  I hoping that as things get crazy that we all get time to do the things that we love and that keep us sane!  May all your stitches be happy ones!

Monday, October 28, 2013


No one is more surprised than me when I say I'm knitting again!  It's been 2 years since I've been so inclined.  A friend says it's the weather but I know better.  It's been too long for it to be a weather thing.  On Thursday I watched the video podcasts of the Suburban Stitcher's trip to Rhinebeck (Part 1 and Part 2).   I have no idea why I watched it, I've not watched or listened to a podcast ever.  Regardless of why, I was inspired to pick up the needles again.  I think it was the fun everyone was having.

This is my current "rustic" project.  It will be a warm and cozy curl up on the couch kind of shawl.
Friday I spent a couple of HOURS pouring over yarn choices on the internet and I the next day I did what any other newly inspired person does, I hit the submit button.  That was Saturday morning and today(Monday), these lovlies from Eat, Sleep, Knit arrived.  Yes, their customer service is that good.  I had a tracking number within 10 minutes of my order.  Three of these are for a specific project and the teal ones were to get free shipping.  Hey, you know you do it too!  :)
Saturday my husband and I went on a picnic on the river.  We usually have at least one picnic when we go on vacation as long as the weather allows.  Why not do it at home when the weather is nice?  It was a beautiful weekend and we enjoyed each others company.  I got a few rows done on the project above.  It was a sweet afternoon!
On Sunday, I just HAD to organize all my needles and project bags, etc.  I found my set of Addi Clicks  which  I was worried about because I hadn't seen them in a while.  For a bit I thought they might be in a "safe" place.   That was my weekend in a nutshell.  Work so far is looking to be manageable this week (last week wasn't).  I know I haven't been blogging a lot this year and I truly appreciate that you still visit and comment!  Wishing you all happy stitches!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

ReWork To Make It Work (or Work a Bit Better)

Today I spent some time on a quilt I talked about here.  It was either the 2nd or 3rd quilt I ever started.  I've got the rows together.  I see I sewed one on in reverse and will need to fix that because there are too many of the same purple fabric in the same area.  I'm glad I pushed through and didn't trash it.  I'll also be quilting this one myself but I'm not sure I'll be doing that real soon.
Next up is to decide if I'm going to border it and if so, which fabric.  Right now it's about 64" square.  What do you think?
Border or no border?
Darker or lighter fabric?
The other fabric will go on the back.
Have a great week and may all your stitches be happy ones!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Family Time!

We had a busy few days with family in town the end of last week and over the weekend.  These two were in from Arizona.  We had a great time - they've grown so much.  Their parents need to move closer!  
No sewing time but I have been stitching!  More work on A Lady's Worke Box by With My Needle.  This is one side of the pincushion. I need to redo the border because I stitched it over 2 stitches instead of following the directions!
I've had a bit of stitching ADD as I've also worked on Long May She Wave and Shores of Hawk Run Hollow in the last 3 days as well.  It's been fun!  Very atypical for me!

I hope you're all having a good week and that your stitches are bringing you happiness!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fancy Work!

Last weekend, my EGA Chapter hosted a class with Jane Timmers of Fancy Work.  The class taken was Shakespeare's Garden Sweet Bag.  It's a delightful bag.  I'd love to show you my project, however, I worked on practice linen during class.  That was a smart move as I learned several techniques and stitches that I haven't used before and really needed to practice the stitches.
Our class was 2 days, the first was focused on the speciality stitches and the stitching of the bag.  The second day was focused on finishing techniques.  I was delighted to learn we would be making tassels!  I'd made cording before so that part of the class was a needed refresher.  We won't discuss the Christmas ornament I've had sitting for 3 years just waiting for cording .  It might now also get a tassel!   Here is my tassel in progress.  It looks a hot mess but it all worked out.
Here are my two finished tassels that are connected to cording!   Isn't that cool?!  I was very enthusiastic about learning this technique.  Thankfully one person in class, Carol, shared my excitement.  We were both tickled pink!  My husband also showed proper interest and respect in this new skill of mine.  He thought it was amazingly awesome (well, he didn't exactly use those words but I know he meant to).   You can read more about the class and see some of Jane's exceedingly beautiful designs at our EGA blog which can be found here.   Lots of pictures over there!  Jane was a fantastic teacher and I love the project.  Win all around!
After coming home, I felt this urge.  This urge to work on the needle book from Ellen Chester's A Lady's Work Boxe.  I've stitched on it all week long.  Every day - which is very unusual for me since I work and many nights just don't have the mental capacity.  I've made good progress for me.  I actually didn't mind the over 1 stitching - let me just say, that shocked me.  I think I might even like it a bit!  And this is 36 count!
I'm absolutely thrilled to be stitching and sewing again.  It feels good and it doesn't feel forced.  Next week is going to be busy as we have family coming in at the end of the week from out west and still need to do some prep work for that visit.  I'll be sure to have the needle in hand a couple of nights though.  I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Spending Time with My Needles!

Things are actually moving along in the world of the needle!  A couple of weeks ago Greg and I went on vacation and I finished another block on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow.  I was happy about that! 
No ironing - otherwise this post would not have happened!

I've also been sewing!  I took out this old WIP (I refuse to call something a UFO for some reason) and have been working on it.  As I previously talked about, I'm making this one work with what I have on hand.  Since I started this early in my quilting "career", it's less than perfect.  I've made some adjustments and it's now smaller at 9 blocks vs. the 12 originally intended.  Would I put these fabrics together today?  Probably not. There are some 30's fabrics in there along with some Kaffe and a Tula Pink plus some other odd fabrics.   The quilt is from Egg Money Quilts by Eleanor Burns.  Excellent step by step instructions.  Some say you don't even need to read the words to understand what to do.
I'm going to try quilting this one myself.  I have some vague ideas of what I'm going to do on most of the blocks but need to figure out the sashing and cornerstones (not shown).  I'm not going to get better if I don't start doing it and I thought this would be a good quilt to start on!

It feels good to spend time with my needles again!  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Finish Finish!

I'd like to share with you my completely finished 2010 $5 Quilt.  I originally shared with you when the top was completed but now it is quilted and bound!  I'm happy to have another finish of a large(ish) quilt this year.   My husband was the only one at home and at 6'2", he wasn't quite tall enough to get a great shot of the full quilt.  You can see a picture of the flimsy here that is a bit better.
Nancy Wines quilted this for me.  She is a local longarm quilter and this is the first time I've used her.    I didn't give her any information other than requesting how the applique blocks were quilted and asking for the borders to be quilted differently.  Since this is a sampler quilt, each pieced block was quilted differently.  
The color is more accurate here but it's a little bit more difficult to see the quilting on this block.
Nancy quilted feathers in the outer border and a geometric pattern in in the inner (burgandy) border.  I think this picture shows both pretty well though the outer border color is off.  I bound this quilt in the same fabric as the outer border.  I didn't want any additional contrast as I like lattice look.
All of the applique was echo quilted.  I really like this!  You can also see the flower like pattern Nancy used in the cornerstones pretty well here.
I've really started thinking more about improving my own quilting techniques to hopefully get to the point where I can do some of my own quilting.   I think echo quilting would be something that would be forgiving.  I need to move from the thinking stage to the action stage!  I do have a project I'm working on that might be a good one to begin with.  It has sashing strips I could do something with and the rest could be echo quilted easily.  More to come!  

Thank you all for your visits and comments and for standing by while I work myself out of my funk.  I appreciate you all and am inspired by you!  Thank you!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dipping My Toe Back In!

As I mentioned in my prior post, I've spent some time in my sewing room!  Trying to get over the sewing dry spell.  I haven't completed a Farmers Wife block in a while and I found myself reaching for the book and working on this block.   It was enjoyable!
Block 21 - Butterfly at the Crossroads
These next two blocks are from the 2nd or 3rd quilt that I started and are also from a quilting class I took (2009).  It was a beginners class but there are y seams and other higher skilled piecing in this class.  So in hindsight, I had no business being in that class.  I've gone back and fixed/improved/repaired as many of them as I can.  They were awful.  Two are beyond redemption. The remaining blocks are still not great but they are better.  One thing I know for sure is that my skills HAVE improved since I took this class.  Today I would work harder to get it right vs. getting it done.  This project is also one of my 19 WIPs that I'm trying to whittle down.  I've decided to not make the quilt as big as originally intended because I didn't want to make any more blocks.  Considering I've not been sewing one would think this would be the last project I'd reach for to work on.   Oddly enough, it was really satisfying!
I've since appliqued the arcs down and replaced the corner triangles on this one. 
Please excuse the poor lighting and scorched pressing mat.
For now, this one is put away for a bit.  I got a quilt back that I put in to be quilted earlier in the year and I'll be working on the binding!  The quilting is amazing and I'm hopeful that I'll be sharing it with you soon!  In the meantime - happy stitches to you all!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm Still Here!

Where did the summer go?  School has started back up and I see posts of fall on blogs.  Thanksgiving is just 3 months away!  I'm looking forward to fall and winter and the cooler temperatures, I actually don't like the heat and humidity.  It is still a bit sad to see summer come to a close.  We'll have the heat here for a long time but I'm sure you know what I mean!

I've been in a complete slump this summer - for even longer if I'm honest.  Not much time being taken with the needle.   I finished this AotH block - the October one - in May and just haven't posted it.  Color wise, it's not my favorite but it was a fun stitch.  I still need to map out my plan for personalizations so there are spots left for that.  I have ideas for the personalization but they need work.
My two nieces visited this summer without their parents!  We had a blast!  It was a busy week, long days, lots of fun.  When we were home, the girls tended to be sure they always had one of the dogs or the cat in their arms.  It's a good thing we have 3 so one could rest from time to time!  My boys who are 24 and 33 were with us every day as well and the girls LOVED that they were. Rock climbing, movies, pedicures, zoo, making Rice Krispie Treats...the list of fun goes on.  I still need to go through the photos but here's one to share with you.  Love these 2!
I've been trying to get myself back into the sewing room.  I've thought about it.  I've missed it.  But actually putting something into action just wasn't happening.  This weekend found me spending some time in there and it was effortless and fun - had a good chat with a friend and I think that helped.   It was a relief to talk about it.   

If you get a chance, do visit our EGA Chapter blog.  We had a wool workshop and a exhibit.  The exhibit post is 2 or 3 posts down - it was a really lovely collection from our very talented members.  

Thank you for sticking with me!  I appreciate your visits, your comments, and your blogs.  You inspire me.  I hope all your stitches are happy ones!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yes, I Did!

I previously blogged about my 19 projects in progress.  Wow, that was in February.  Since then, I've been experiencing something of a slump.  It really doesn't make sense but it is what it is.  I decided it was time to bring one of the 19 to a close.  I had been working on this little project out of HSTs that finish at 1".  Do you ever have one of those projects that you just seem to slog through?  That you really never love?  Well, this was one of those projects for me.  And it clearly showed in my workmanship.  So, guess what I did?

Oh yes I did, I trashed it. 

Now before anyone says I could give it away or use the fabric for something else.  It's ugly.  The fabric waste is very minimal (it was a scrap project).   It finishes at 12" square and would not keep someone warm or something like that.  If you've read my blog for very long, I don't mind making mistakes.  I love to learn.  It's not that I made mistakes.  It would make me feel bad to give it away it's so awful.  I don't want to look at it in my home.  I'm very happy with where it is currently and it will stay there!  

Lesson Learned:  It's perfectly ok to let some projects go!  

Hoping all your stitches (and mine) are happy ones!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Meet Sammy!

In December we welcomed a new member to our family.  My husband was doing a home visit and ran into this stray cat.  He said a few words and this cat just rolled over on his back.  Next thing you know, he's living with us.  Turns out he'd been a stray for over a year - his previous owners moved out of the apartment complex and left him.  We've named him Sammy but he responds best to Kitty Kat.
The pups and he made peace, though I don't think we'll ever find them curled up together.  I've waited 6 months to post about this because we weren't sure we were going to keep him due to my allergies.  Some days are worse than others and the allergies aren't all due to him. I would never describe myself as a "cat person" but this guy has stolen my heart! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hey there!  We've been away at my parent's little cabin in the mountains.  The week before we left and the two weeks after have been really crazy work wise.  Big re-org and now I'm supporting groups in two other states as well as my own.  I also have a new manager who has flown out to meet me and spend a couple of days.  Hopefully the next two or three weeks will be more normal.  I won't say calm - because calm isn't going to happen!  

I did manage to finish block 4 of Shores of Hawk Run Hollow.  It wasn't my favorite block to stitch but I do love it finished.  As you can tell, I didn't iron for this pic.  


Many of you may have known that I was a member of Azalea Sampler Guild for a few years.  You may have also followed our blog.  Unfortunately, the group disbanded quite some time ago.  Many of the members joined our local EGA Chapter.  We've recently started a blog that you might want to check out.  We'll be going in and filling in some of our prior activities and of course, keep up going forward.   If you're local, we'd love to have you visit one of our stitch ins.  If you're not local, I'd invite you to visit your local EGA chapter.  It's fun to meet up in person with other needle arts lovers!

Before I forget, I've added a widget to follow my blog with BlogLovin' as Google Reader will be decommissioned on July 1.  I'm still deciding whether or not I like BlogLovin' or Feedly best but BlogLovin' is winning right now.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'm hoping I'll have needle and thread in hand more over the next few weeks. Hope all your stitches are happy ones!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cotton Club Finis!

Things have been busy around here...for a while I was calling our home "The House of Yuck".  Even one of the pups was sick.  Thankfully, with the exception of a tendonitis issue, it's all behind us and today I can share a quick post about a finish - Cotton Club is done!  All that is left is a run through the washing machine.  Not a great shot below but I only had one quilt handler available and I really needed two.  Photos have been delayed due to rain and I didn't want to put it off any longer.  
Here is a little closer photo of the quilting.  It was quilted by the same longarmer that does all the quilting for Bonnie Blue/Red Crinoline Quilts (Paula Barnes).  They did a nice job. I love the way the braid looks with the triangles.  You probably can't see it here but each block has a different quilting pattern quilted on it.  The border had big feathers quilted on it.
I enjoyed every second of making this quilt.  I learned a lot while making it and it required a lot of precision from me.  It's also the first time I've ever sewn a mitered border.
It feels good to finish something and especially good that the finish is this quilt.  Other than this quilt I've been in a bit of a slump with the needle  Hoping to find a cure for that soon!  Wishing you all happy stitches!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making Progress - One Step at a Time!

I'm making progress with some of my WIPs.  This quilt top is assembled - just tons and tons of threads to cut.  I have no idea why I didn't cut them as I sewed each block but I didn't.  The machine I used at the time didn't have an auto thread cutter, maybe that's why?  So I need to cut threads, iron the top and piece/iron the back and it should be good to drop off at the quilters.   I decided to wait to show the whole quilt until later when it's completely done.  
Lesson Learned:  Take the time to clip threads as you go!

I also won this book from a giveaway Gene was hosting.  Thank you Gene!  I've been working on learning more about how to use my Go Cutter.  I've mastered basic square type shapes (no triangles yet).  I'm really relying on what I'm learning from this book for my next step...
....which is mastering strip cutting.  This one I have the most trepidation about as I'll be cutting on the fold.  I'll practice first but I really want to master cutting strips so I can cut binding strips.  I've already acquired my strip cutter in a 2.25" size.  I've found my bindings tend to be more full using that 1/4" less.  I also use 1 1/8" strips for single fold binding on smaller quilts.  I'll post about my experiences with the strip cutting when I actually get going.  I hope to use it on the quilt above!

Google reader is going away, have you heard?  I have no idea what I'm going to use.  I've been thinking of Blog Lovin' but haven't done much research.  I want to be sure that I can read my blogs in their entirety (unless the owner doesn't permit it) without having to click through unless I want to leave a comment.  Any thoughts or experiences you can share?  

The weekend is approaching and I hope you have a great one!  Thank you for your visits, your comments, your emails and your friendship!