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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

Here's wishing everyone a most wonderful new year, the best yet in 2009!!!


It's yet another new start, before the end of the year. What in the world am I doing? Enjoying my hobby, that's what. :)

When I received the Cross Stitch & Needlework Magazine that had the Halloween Fairy (Trick or Treat) several months ago, I browsed through it, checking out the other designs. Not many appealed to me, but one definitely did. In my reorganization project, I was about to file the magazine away when something made me decide to thumb through it again. I saw the design once again and decided that it MUST be done. Here is a little pic of the model and a pic of my start for Autumn Mosaic Pillow, a hardanger project which uses DMC Variations floss and #5 perle (I didn't even know the Variations came in perle!). Of course, I love variegated or hand-dyed perle floss, so I was anxious to get some in my hands. The colors are, of course, so ME.

I'm also working on Avatar, but I've moved him into the craft room where my magnifier lives. How did 32 ct (over 2) suddenly seem to get SO SMALL????

Monday, December 29, 2008

Aurora progress

As promised, here is the progress that I've made in the last few days on Aurora. I finished the top part of the border (filling in the middle section), the owl, and I also worked on her dress a little bit more. Although the fabric can be a little nit-picky (it's 28 ct. lugana, and the threads of the fabric separate sometimes, causing me to have to frog occasionally), I love the colors and enjoy working on her.

Next up is Avatar!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Awakened from hibernation

As may have been apparent from the dearth of updates on cross stitch projects in 2008, my desire to cross stitch has been hibernating in favor of other things (mainly quilting). Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that it now appears to be out of hibernation.

It started slowly, with more of a kick in the rear to finish a couple of projects that have been very near completion for a over a year (Fantasy Sampler and Unicorn Mystique).

And I visited with my friend Melanie and several other stitchers earlier in December for a get-together / stitch day. On that day I added some of Melanie's former stash (primarily her floss, specialty fibers and beads collections) to my own. Combining the two collections led to my current organizing project because we organized them a little differently. I'm moving my entire Mill Hill bead collection out of their little packages into tubes (like I use for my other seed beads). My floss will stay in three separate types of storage because I have so many skeins in almost equal amounts in each of the types (in loose skeins in hardware containers that have drawers, wound on bobbins in floss boxes, and on Stitchbows in their master floss collection containers). I haven't decided whether I prefer the floss boxes or the Stitchbows, each having their pros and cons. I do like the Stitchbows because I don't have to kill my wrists wrapping all of the bobbins. But sometimes I like the storage convenience of the bobbins better. So for now I'll keep two collections, especially because it's easier to blend on bobbins (Teresa Wentzler projects primarily come to mind).

All of this organization led me to neatening up my WIPs storage area (one thing leads to another - crafter's ADD). And that led to my handling the WIPs quite a bit. I picked up Arabian Woman, as I mentioned in a previous post, and gave her some attention. Then I picked up Aurora. She's been getting some attention from me this week, and I'll probably take a progress photo soon. Avatar is already starting to grumble that he hasn't seen me in over a year and it is his turn. For some reason, going down the list alphabetically just seems to be the logical thing to do. It's hard to believe that a few of the projects have not seen any action in over 2 years. Time really does fly when one's desire for a particular hobby is hibernating.

I'm also starting to rectify one of the negative aspects of this particular hobby. I have finished quite a few projects which have been just hanging in my closet since they were finished. Occasionally I would pull them out and look at them, but then I'd just put them back because (of course) it costs money to frame them, money which I've been spending on other hobbies for the past year+. C and I had already discussed it a little, and we had agreed that I would go ahead and spend some of the money we have saved for framing Fantasy Sampler and Unicorn Mystique. Then my LNS sent a post card with a framing sale notice - 75% off their in-house frames if I have them do the framing (I can do it myself which is generally cheaper, or I can have them do it which is generally easier on me). I decided to take along a few extra smaller projects (Vintage Stitches, Halloween, Pumpkin Kitty, and Blackberry Jam), in case we had some money left over to do those also (two of those are from 2005!). The most excellent news is that, with the sale, not only did we have enough to frame all 6 projects, but we also have enough left over to frame one or maybe two more (Maidens of the Seasons, maybe Midsummer Night's Fairy).

Of course, I have no idea yet where I'm going to hang them, but I'll deal with that when I get them home. :) I'm just happy to be enjoying my stitching again. I find it funny that it's Winter here, when most people would be quilting more than stitching, and I'm doing the opposite - and I was quilting in the summer. I am SO backwards sometimes! :)

SSS 2008 quilt top complete

I finished it before the end of the year, hooray!

That's about all I've done quilting-wise this vacation so far. I've gotten completely caught up in an organizing project and cross stitching (topic for another post).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Vacation!

I'm off for the rest of the year, hooray! And other than a few doctor's appointments, I plan to take it easy and just play with fabric or yarn, or read, or put together jigsaw puzzles. :)

I finally finished my SSS 2008 block of the month for December, an Ohio Star Variation.

Now the block has sashing attached, and I plan to get the top stitched up by the end of the year (maybe tomorrow, if I can get in gear).

A few days ago I was looking at my cross stitch WIPs, and decided on a whim to pull out Arabian Woman and work on her. C looked at the pattern and said he couldn't remember me ever stitching on her. That's a little surprising because he's very attentive to my projects. Of course, it has been almost two years since she's seen any stitching, so maybe it shouldn't be a surprise. Here is my progress on her now.

Funny, it seemed like a lot more progress while I was working on her... maybe she won't have to wait another two years before we visit again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cherry Blossom Waterfall started

This project will be solidly stitched on 18 ct. beige aida (stitch count is 297x215 for a total of 63855 stitches!). Here's a little picture of the model and my first teensy bit of progress.

I think it's safe to say it's gonna take a while. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fantasy (Wedding) Sampler

Nearly 7 years in the making, my Fantasy Sampler is now complete! I didn't want to do the alphabet in the middle, and so I decided to make it a wedding sampler for C and myself.

I went ahead and started Cherry Blossom Waterfall - huge project, it'll probably take 20 years to finish, lol. :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Knit socks finally a pair

I finished my second sock last night, so here's the pair of them, hooray!

I spent part of the day today merging two collections of DMC floss and Kreinik metallics. Melanie was getting rid of her cross stitch supplies, charts, and some WIPs and finished projects yesterday, so I decided to buy a few supplies (you can't have too much DMC, imho).

I find myself wanting to start one of my kitted BAPs, Cherry Blossom Waterfall. The colors are really serene and calming. Of course, I'm afraid of adding yet another huge project to my list. And I want to finish Fantasy Sampler before I begin any new cross stitch projects. We'll see how I feel after that...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Advantages to quilting

If you keep a couple for yourself, you can pile them on your bed and have a wonderful warm weight on you all night long. I didn't want to crawl out from under the covers this morning.

But I eventually did. I'm heading over to Melanie's today for a visit, to stitch, and see some stitching buddies that I haven't seen in a while.

I forgot to post a picture of some of the quilting I've been doing on the T-shirt quilt. I have 9 of 20 blocks quilted so far. Still a little ways to go. I doubt that I'll be able to finish it by Christmas, but he should still get some use out of it before Winter is over.

Oops, and I nearly forgot, I worked on the sashing for the black and white block of the month quilt top

I am nearly finished with the second sock of my third pair (one more round of the 4-row pattern repeat, then I can begin decreasing the toe). I also decided to try knitting two socks at one time on two circular needles. I have finished the 1½ inch cuffs, and I've started on the legs. So far it's not too bad, but I'm waiting to get to the heel, turning, gusset, etc. They are going a little bit faster because I'm working with a bit thicker yarn than I have used for the other socks I've knitted. I think I'm going to invest in some smaller circulars also, with the metal tips - I like them much better than the bamboo / wood ones. One of my bamboo dpns has developed a splinter, and I accidentally jammed it into my finger one day while knitting. Can't do that with metal ones.

I'm still working on Fantasy Sampler too. I would LOVE to finish it by the end of the year. I'll try to take a new progress pic tonight after I get back from Melanie's.

Thanks everyone for your comments on the unicorn and beads. They are definitely more uniform, and they give a nice dimension to the piece, I'm really liking the effect (for now it's just hanging where I put it to take a picture).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another finish a long time coming

Last week I decided to take a look at a couple of my cross stitch projects which I knew were closest to being finished. One of the barriers to finishing one of them, Unicorn Mystique, was the french knots in the sky. I just dreaded the idea of doing a white french knot here, dragging the white floss across the back, then doing another french knot over there, having to end the white floss, then start a light blue floss and doing a random french knot and dragging the light blue floss across the back to do another one. My solution: no light floss at all - I chose a floss to match the fabric, picked out a couple of bead colors on hand, and then set to it. It took several days to finish the sky. Then, after that was finished, I still needed to stitch the lower right section of rocks and trees (and don't forget all the backstitching).

And finally this morning, I signed my initials and the year. Nearly 6 years from when I started it, Unicorn Mystique is finished!!!

That brings me to 13 cross stitch WIPs, and I'm currently working on the next-most-finished, Fantasy Sampler. I'm also working on knitting up some Christmas gifts (and I'll likely do a few more preemie hats before the end of the year), so I'm not sure if I'll finish FS also, but that would be an excellent goal, don't you think?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A quilt/knit weekend

I finished up another preemie hat yesterday, they're just so cute and quick.

Once I finished it up, I started working on the third set of wrist warmers that will be another Christmas gift. I wasn't paying attention, and so I ended up ripping it out and starting over. The first of the set is half-finished.

Today I finally got back in the sewing room and finished up the blocks for Noel's Gone Fishing quilt. I haven't started cutting out the batting yet, but that's next to do for his quilt. I also started working on the sashing for the SSS 2008 quilt (aka CC's 3rd blankie). It reminds me of racing.

Totally off-topic: I was watching several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation while piecing in the sewing room today. For those of you who watch Prison Break, I have a small piece of trivia for you. The guy who plays Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell was in an episode of ST: TNG called Haven (first season). He (Robert Knepper) was quite the pretty boy back then.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Magnificent Wizard, still without the wizard

Well, I haven't quite made it all the way to the edge of the upper right corner, but I thought I'd take a photo anyway and show you my progress. The tower of the castle is taking shape.

I went to my quilt guild's monthly Sit n Stitch for the first time yesterday and had a great time. They planned several activities from which to choose (or you could do your own thing, as several did), and I chose to learn how to make the knitted preemie hats that we give to local hospitals. I finished two while we were there (they really are teeny, tiny things), and then brought a third home to finish yesterday afternoon. I started on my fourth one today (they gave us extra yarn left over, and being so small, they really don't take much to do in the first place). It also spurred me on last night to work on my second Retro Rib sock. I finished the heel, so now I just need to knit the pattern down and then work the toe. So much for not having second sock syndrome - it's been months since I worked on it! Anyway, here is the little preemie hat - isn't it just too precious? :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It has been a busy weekend here, though I haven't gone anywhere. I've been working on a project I started well over a year ago (one which, not surprisingly, just got shelved for a while), recording my music from cassette tapes and vinyl to electronic format so that I can listen on my iPod. I have actually only been working on the cassette tapes this weekend, but I've finally managed to whittle my stack down from 100+ (most were mix tapes that I created from as far back as 20+ years ago) to 6 left to go. Once I get through those, I'll move on to my vinyl, which is a much smaller collection. I found several copies of songs which were just terrible quality (no surprise), so I've also purchased quite a few from iTunes.

When I wasn't doing that, I was either working on Noel's Gone Fishing quilt blocks or [gasp!] my Magnificent Wizard cross stitch. I finished listening to Eragon, and am eager to start Eldest. While I was listening, it just seemed natural to be working on a wizard/dragon project. I'm trying to get to the upper right corner, and I'll have a new progress photo to share as soon as I've done that.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Autumn Leaves finished

I finished it up just yesterday, and I haven't yet decided which cross stitch project I want to work on next. So tonight I might knit or quilt.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

SSS 2008 November block

There has been almost no quilting or other crafty-ness going on in my house this week. I have spent most of my time either installing programs and transferring files to my "new" computer (a used one, but newer and more powerful than my old one) or rearranging furniture or reading.

But we did manage to go pick up my block of the month this morning, and I actually went into my craft room this afternoon and put it together! Here is the Dolly Madison block for November.

While I was at the Quilter's Attic, I chose next year's color/fabric scheme for the SSS 2009 quilt. Probably twenty years ago I would have chosen the brightly-colored batiks option, which I am sure will be pretty, but I opted for the chocolate and cream version instead. The block they had made up as an example was this really yummy combination of fabrics, and I couldn't resist it.

This afternoon I also worked a little more on Noel's Gone Fishing quilt while I listened to Eragon (my current audiobook). Tonight I finished reading Dewey, and I laughed and cried my way through this book. It's not just about Dewey, it's also about his mom (the librarian) and about his town (Spencer). But it was a good book. I even read some of the passages out loud to C because they were so similar to some of our own kitty experiences.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

I went ahead, took the plunge and downloaded Dewey. Yes, I'll probably have moist eyes frequently while reading it, but that's okay.

It was another gorgeous day here, and we'll probably have a few more before another cold front blows in. I haven't been stitching or quilting much (other than the Autumn Leaves, which I'll probably finish in another day or two while watching tv). But Quilt Guild is tomorrow, and I'm sure I'll be inspired to do some more quilting when I see what everyone else is working on.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Just a quick update

I had the experience today that I've read about when reading a Kindle book. I was getting to the bottom of the page, and I started to reach up to turn the page. It's official, I consider it no different than reading a paper book now.

Last night it was so nice to be able to lie on the couch, Rudy Poo on my chest, and the Kindle in hand. It's so light that I have no trouble reading it anywhere. I'm considering reading Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat That Touched the World. Has anyone else read that book? I've read the first chapter, and being the sensitive-sort I am, I've already cried because the sweet, tiny, pitiful, close-to-death kitten was saved by the good librarians (could I make it through the book???).

And it's a wonderful Saturday here in Nashville. The sun is shining, the temperature is perfect, and we now have storm doors with screens on both the front and back of the house, thanks to my dad (along with my brother's help). A really nice breeze is flowing through the house, and everyone seems to be enjoying it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Super Fast Super Saver Shipping

So I've already mentioned that I ordered my Kindle Monday night. When I got my confirmation, it was estimated to ship on November 3. Already I was kicking myself for choosing that method because I'd have to wait so long for it. But Wednesday night I got a shipping notice. The tracking status was "billing info received" so I assumed that it would hopefully ship on Thursday and I might receive it by November 3.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I checked my tracking status Thursday morning and found that it was Out for Delivery! I checked throughout the day, but that was still the status when I left work for the day. As I was pulling up to the house, I saw the cute little box with the Amazon smile sitting on my front porch.

As for wrapping it and saving for christmas - out the door. I get to enjoy it NOW, and C is perfectly fine with that. After all, I had to make certain that everything is okay and it's registered and all that. :)

Here is my Kindle, all snugged up in its little holder (the one that comes with it standard). Now I've read all of the opinions about this holder and was prepared to dislike it, but I don't. It's actually a better quality than I expected, and my Kindle snapped into it and doesn't feel like it's going to fall out like a lot of people have mentioned. This may be just a fluke, or maybe they have improved them just a bit, I don't know, but unless it loosens up over time, I think I'll be fine with it.

It comes in this neat white box that opens like a book. I read through the getting started guide that comes up as soon as you turn it on, and tried out everything. It didn't take long before I got to the registering your Kindle and shopping online part. I hit a slight snag here, because even though I had 2-4 bars of connectivity, I kept getting an error that I couldn't connect to the network. I kept trying for about 45 minutes, and finally gave in and called customer service. As I sat on hold, I continued to try to connect. Wouldn't you know, when my call finally got picked up, the Kindle connected and registered and downloaded my 3 books I had ordered the night before (extremely fast), so I told the CSR (a little sheepishly) that my problem was resolved and I didn't need their help after all. I suppose I should have just been a teensy bit more patient. :)

I browsed the store from the Kindle a bit, but I couldn't decide what else to buy next, so I just got a couple of books' sample first chapters (for free). There are so many things I want to read, but I'm going to try to be judicious and buy only what I plan to read next. Of course, I've been making a list that seems like a mile long.

To save battery life I turned off the wireless then and I started reading my first book, one which I haven't read before (I purchased 2 other books which will be re-reads because I enjoyed them so much), To Ride Pegasus by Anne McCaffrey. It works just like they described - the Kindle disappears and you are in the story, just the way a paper book disappears when you are reading it. I think that was one of my biggest concerns when I initially read about the Kindle nearly a year ago. I know that reading on a computer screen or a PDA just isn't fun, at least for me. I do it because I have to. When I found out why that is (the backlighting of the screen causes eyestrain), and that the Kindle is not backlit, I was more encouraged.

When I decided to purchase, I was excited. As it got closer, I got more excited. Now that I've actually used it, I'm thrilled! It is easier to read in bed (yes, I tried it last night - fortunately C sleeps with his eyes closed so the light from my lamp doesn't bother him). It is lighter than even most paperback books. It remembers where I left off, even if I go out of the book and into another book or online shopping.

Someone on the Kindle discussion board on Amazon's site described it as her "precious" like Gollum. I've got to admit, that description fits mine pretty well right now. :)

And one final picture that has nothing to do with a Kindle - an update on Autumn Leaves, upper right square finished:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A little Christmas present online ordering

I did it. I went ahead and ordered my Christmas present for this year. When it comes in I have to wrap it up so I can unwrap it Christmas Day. The wait will likely be excruciating, but it will be worth it. What is it? An Amazon Kindle! Ooh, I am SO looking forward to it! I've been getting closer and closer to the edge for a while, and with Annette's enthusiastic response to it plus the $50 OPRAHWINFREY discount (through Nov. 1), I went right over that edge and bought it. The technology looks really cool, and I love to read, just haven't done as much lately (though I still listen to audiobooks at a pace of about 1 a month - just downloaded Eragon and started listening in the car on the way to work this morning). If I want I can also listen to them on the Kindle. And several books I like reading over and over are really cheap (like, $1.25 each) and won't take up anywhere near as much space in my house.

Here is a progress pic of Autumn Leaves from Sunday. I have been working on the upper right corner since then and it's nearly half-finished now!

I also cleaned off my cutting/work table in the craft room this weekend, so I can actually use it when I need to. It feels much better when I go in there now. I worked a little more on Noel's Gone Fishing quilt (I'm slowly getting those log cabin strips pieced for side 2). Of course, I can't work on it tonight because it's Game Night and both he and Hollywood will be over for that. Not sure what I'll work on, maybe I'll read! ;-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Just in time for Halloween, Nora Corbett's Halloween Fairy (aka Trick or Treat Fairy, though she seems to have no wings) is finished!

And after I finished her, I ran back to the craft room and picked up a chart I've been wanting to start ever since I bought it. It doesn't have many colors and is fairly small: Autumn Leaves by The Prairie Schooler (which is actually 2 charts). I'm stitching the little one on the right that has a design in each of 4 squares - owl, blackbird, deer/fawn, and pumpkin. I picked a piece of 25 ct. pearl linen from my stash. I just think it's cute, different from my recent stitching, and it seems appropriate for this time of year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Appliqué project started

My felted wool order arrived in the mail last Tuesday, and I immediately got to work making my pattern pieces (I had to go get some freezer paper). Then I got started ironing and cutting. The Dream a Little Dream project does have a little bit of piecing, so I had already gotten that part ready to cut into the pattern shapes. Since then I've worked a little on it, cutting all of the wool felt pieces and some of the regular cotton pieces. You should see my craft room, it looks as if a storm has blown through. Well, here, I'll just show you.

On the table: upper left, felted wool for this quilt sitting atop fabric strips for Noel's Gone Fishing 2nd set of blocks; upper middle, fabrics for Tori's Hexagon Beads in the plastic container, which is covered by rulers, freezer paper, and appliqué instructions; upper right, spray starch, then a pile of completed blocks for Noel's Gone Fishing quilt, covered up by a quilting "toolbox", more rulers, more freezer paper; lower right, the appliqué pattern for this quilt; lower middle, some of this project's fabric pieces almost ready to appliqué, along with some additional fabric to be cut; lower left, more fabric pieces to be cut for the upper left area of this project. I really do need to be better about not mixing supplies for all of the projects that are in-progress!

I've also pieced together the block of the month for October, the Ohio Star. Just two more months to go on it. It's hard to believe we are so close to the end of the year. I know I shouldn't be surprised, because it started turning cooler here this week. It just seems to sneak up on me sooner and sooner each year.

I've also been working on some Christmas gifts - some more of those fingerless gloves. I've finished one set and am halfway finished with a second set. I can finish a set in about two days, so they don't take a huge commitment of my time.

And I'm getting closer to finishing Trick or Treat Fairy, but [probably because I haven't devoted much time to her this month] she's taking much longer than I anticipated. I've spent several days just working on the little pumpkins down near her feet (and they're still not finished yet). I still think that I can finish her before Halloween though.

Alas, I don't have as much time to devote to all my projects this week because it's back-to-work (last week was a short week because of our staycation Monday and Tuesday). I'm ready for the next one!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Well, it took two whole days...

... but I've finished the backsack! I would have finished it a little earlier today, but I had problems interpreting the instructions, which could either be the instructions or me. I had to read them over several times at each step, and a couple of different times, I ended up ripping out stitches (quite a few, and quite irritating).

Anyhoo, I like how it turned out. I LOVE the fabrics. I'll probably make some more, perhaps for the nieces and nephews.

More pictures available on My Backsack page.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Machine Quilting and Trapunto with Paula Reid

Yesterday I attended an all day workshop with Paula Reid. She was fabulous, and I learned a technique to do trapunto without all the cutting, stuffing, and re-stitching that you have to do in the original method. I've got my piece half-finished, and it really pops out when you do all the tiny stippling around it.

I got to practice a lot of free motion machine quilting on a Bernina with the Stitch Regulator (BSR), and I have to say that I don't like it, which makes my wallet really happy. Maybe it's because I started out doing the free motion on a machine without it, so I've started developing a rhythm with the foot pedal and my hand movement. I couldn't even work it at first because I didn't understand that when you turn the BSR on, the foot pedal becomes basically an on-off button with no speed control attached to it. The speed comes from how fast you move the fabric with your hands. I know that a lot of people love it, but I've decided it's definitely not for me, because even though it puts the control in my hands, it seems to take do the opposite. The one thing that I did like about the Bernina was the knee lift for the presser foot. I know my mother has really enjoyed that feature on her machine, and I can see how one could get used to that convenience quickly.

The store that hosted the workshop (and lecture and trunk show with Paula that evening) offered us a generous 25% discount on just about everything in the store, and though they didn't have a lot of fabric, I managed to find some that I think will be perfect for my "Easy Breezy Backsack" pattern from Lizzie B Cre8ive. Wasn't it fortunate I had looked at the pattern requirements before I drove over for the class?

I've just started working on that backsack this morning, and plan to work on it some more this afternoon after I get back from picking up my block of the month. I usually go get it on Saturday, but since the Castle Heights Homecoming begins Saturday morning, I'd rather not have to rush around before heading to that. I also need to pick up some grosgrain ribbon for my backsack, so I'll try to get that on my way back home. These are the fabrics I chose.

I'm so glad to be on vacation!

Friday, October 03, 2008


The new flannels I ordered for Noel's Gone Fishing came in and are definitely different shades, especially the charcoal. But I think this will work just fine, and I've already finished sewing the charcoal strips to the blocks. I'm cutting out the light khaki now. Once I finish those I'll begin piecing the blocks for the reverse side.

My order from Superior Threads came in (one spool of King Tut I plan to use on my Cotton Theory quilt which is kitted but not started yet, two spools of Rainbows just because they are so pretty, and the Vanish water soluble thread needed for my workshop on Wednesday).

And my order from LizzieB Cre8tive arrived yesterday. I didn't realize that the pattern calls for pieces of felted wool, but now I can see that that is part of what drew me to the design, so I'll have to get some (I have no wool whatsoever in my stash - something else to add, eh?). The pattern is Dream a Little Dream. I think it really is cute, and I'm looking forward to getting started on it. I've recently wanted to try some appliqué, and this pattern really appealed to me in that sense too. I think it's big enough to give me a good feel for appliqué, but it's not so big that I can't finish it if I find that appliqué is not for me after all.

I worked some on the T-shirt quilt this week. I've been working on hand-quilting the sashing strips to stabilize the quilt blocks, and on Tuesday I decided to attempt to machine quilt one of the stabilized blocks. It worked! And I am very pleased with how it looks, which is fantastic compared to the machine quilting I had attempted before in one of the sashing strips (and which I had to rip out). I changed my bobbin tension a little in addition to using Paula Reid's "Fluff & Stuff" method for machine quilting. I also decided on the quilting pattern that I will use in many of the blocks, a modified rectangular meandering. Here are a couple of photos showing that, front and back.

I also finished my thread sampler from the workshop with Sue Nickels. I decided to hang it on the wall above my sewing machine. In the center of each circle, I wrote down the thread that was used so the reference is really useful.

Mom stopped by after work this afternoon and brought me some yummy brown sugar and cinnamon bread, so I'm going to go toast a piece and browse through the Autumn Keepsake Quilting catalog. We have finally figured out how to get me a copy - my mom had it sent to HER at HER house. Then, after she read it front to back and back to front, she brought it to me. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My newest addiction - podcasts

In particular, podcasts about quilting. And that can be dangerous, because I find out about designers or techniques or products of which I was previously unaware and, of course, have to try! :)

I've recently subscribed to Alex Anderson's podcast, and have been listening to them in order, so it will take me a while to catch up to her latest one. In the one I just listened to, Alex interviewed the owners of Superior Threads, and it went along nicely with the Sue Nickels machine quilting with different threads workshop I took at AQS Nashville in August.

I've also subscribed to a video podcast by Bonnie McCaffery, one by the designers known as Lizzie B Cre8tive, Annie Smith's Quilting Stash, and I just finished listening to Driven To Quilt (which, unfortunately, she no longer does - it was a pretty good podcast, in my opinion).

This week I've been working on Noel's Gone Fishing quilt, and I got to the flannel round of the blue block and realized that I do not have enough flannel for all of the blocks. A little calculation mistake on my part. FORTUNATELY, I checked the web site where I originally got this particular flannel ( - quilter's suede-look flannel), and they still carry all four colors I need. If the dye lots are different (and maybe even if they don't appear to be), I will use the old lot on half of the blocks and the new lot on the other half.

I've also been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden while we watch television. I've nearly completed two more columns of hexagons, which is quite a lot of work! :)

I'm not particularly fond of the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow. I've been having way too much fun at home this weekend. Oh well, I guess I have to pay for the fabric somehow... :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Saturday

Just a couple of quick updates - I've been working on Noel's blue fish blocks, and here is my progress so far

These are some of the fabrics I've cut out for Tori's Hexagon Beads - all of the hexagons are cut out, and one set of diamonds so far

And here is my latest progress on the Halloween Fairy (Trick or Treat)

I just finished up a new book (juvenile, science fiction / mystery) that I read about on Orson Scott Card's web site. Found (book 1 of The Missing) by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I really liked it, and I'm looking forward to seeing where she goes with the next book. I borrowed another book of hers from the library, and I plan to read it next. I may have found another excellent author to read (and I've just gotten so finicky lately).

Oh, and I'm so excited! I'm registered to take a workshop in October with Paula Reid - Free Motion Boot Camp with Trapunto Training. I had just ordered her Machine Quilting DVD (Fluff and Stuff, which came in the mail today), and Friday I found out that she's going to be teaching an all day workshop here in October. I can't wait! If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that taking classes can be really wonderful and helpful. I hadn't really considered taking any until this year, thanks to a conversation with a fellow quilter at work, and now a new world has opened up for me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

SUPER Second Saturday

This was indeed a Super Second Saturday of September. We started out the morning by doing some planned shopping at Joann's. I had pretty much decided the quilt I'm going to make for our friend Noel. Most people know that he, like me, is a huge Steeler fan. That would have been the obvious choice, and I don't always go for the obvious. I also know that in his free time he loves to fish. So that was my inspiration - I found two fish fabrics that I thought would look nice, and I found some homespun plaid fabrics to coordinate with them. When I got home and looked at my pattern, I realized that I would need to include some additional fabric from my stash to get it to the size I wanted it to be.

I plan on doing a modified Cotton Theory - not all of the pieces will be attached in the CT method - only the blocks will. I plan to quilt the blocks and then put them together with CT seams. I haven't tried it out yet, it's only in my head (and figures are on paper, where I've tried to ensure that pieces are cut the right size for this), but I think it will work (fingers crossed!). Here are the fabrics - the quilt will be reversible - the blue and tan on one side, red and green on the other. I created images from EQ5 where I designed the quilt.

After Joann's, we went over to the Sally Cheney Superstore where my mom was taking a class on her serger. I figured we'd save a little gas by taking their Double Wedding Ring quilt and putting it in her car while we were in the same area of town (btw, they love the quilt).

Once that errand was complete, we drove over to the quilt shop and picked up the September block of the month. I also picked up a couple of fabics I thought would coordinate with some fabrics I've been collecting for a quilt of unknown pattern and recipient (though it might be me, because I love the colors). It started out as just a collection of Bleeker Street fabrics (2005) - dusty greens and turquoises, and I've added a few to it. I've noticed that quilts made entirely from one line of coordinating fabrics, with no other fabrics introduced, are either boring or have very little definition. As much as I love the Bleeker Street line of fabrics that I purchased, any quilt I might make with only those fabrics would be rather uninspiring. But when I add a few other fabrics (there are 4 Fairy Frosts in there, plus some new Modas I bought today), they start to sparkle (no pun intended).

Once I got through playing around with my new fabrics this afternoon, I went ahead and stitched up Rising Star. It is similar to last month's block, but this one has a small version of the outer star in the center.

And in the mail today, I finally received the Kreinik braid and cross stitch chart that were on backorder. The braid is for the Trick or Treat fairy, and the chart is for me to start after ToT is finished. It's called "My Security Blanket" by Patricia Allison, and it looks just like Stilts. I'm surprised I've been able to find patterns that look so much like each of our cats. Hopefully it won't take very long to stitch and then frame and hang on the "Cat Wall". :)

Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew

And so, instead of machine quilting the t-shirt quilt, I am hand quilting it. I did just fine on my practice piece of machine quilting with the threads and pattern I had chosen for the sashing (which I am quilting first to stabilize it). However, I didn't take into account that this quilt is bigger than Delaney's Snow Puzzle, and actually heavier because of all the t-shirts backed with interfacing. Way too big and way too heavy for me to successfully machine quilt at this time. I even tried moving my machine onto a bigger table, but that just didn't work either.

So I spent some time this morning picking out the machine quilting that I had tried yesterday, and then I marked a hand quilting pattern on one column of sashing. I'm about 1/3 done with that column and it's much less frustrating (although it will take much longer).

I don't know what I'm going to do for the quilting in the t-shirt squares. They will need something, because I'm using 100% cotton batting. I just haven't thought of what yet. I may do some sort of simple grid. Oh well, I'll have some time to think about it...

And I'll work on practicing my machine quilting with smaller projects for now. :)

A pot of chili's on the stove, store-bought cookies have just finished baking in the oven, and my Steelers won today. Even with the machine quilting snag, I'd say it's a pretty good day!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Delaney's Snow Puzzle

Stilts just about refused to let me take a picture of the finished quilt without her, so here they are together. And the second picture is a closeup of the grid quilting. One Christmas present down... :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Boogie Oogie Oogie

Yes, indeed, that means what you think it means! I am happy dancing this weekend, with not just one quilt finish, but TWO! I don't have a picture yet of Delaney's Snow Puzzle, but I just finished putting the binding on it and it's in the wash right now.

I DO have a couple of pictures of my most complicated quilt to date, the Double Wedding Ring quilt for my mom & dad. The first photo shows the entire quilt finished, the second shows a bit of the backing, and the third shows a little closer view of the curved and pointed bias binding.

I'll post a photo of Delaney's quilt after it's dry. Meanwhile, here is another photo for those of you who think I might not be cross-stitching at all. :) Trick or Treat!