Sunday, October 16, 2016

Some slower pursuits for a Sunday...

First, what happened to my lovely Fall weather??? Those nice days of lower 70's temperatures, sunny skies and a light breeze???  It is 80 degrees right now, with forecasts of 83, 85 and 80 for the next 3 days. Good thing I did get my AC fixed...

I didn't get a lot of stitching done last week, but yesterday was productive...

This is my start on the Blackbird Design chart called Ann's Sewing Tray.  You can see a full pic here. It is from the book titled A Schoolgirl's Work... I've stitched a couple of things from this book and there are a couple more I want to get to.

This is going to be a Christmas gift but the recipient doesn't know they are getting it so I think I'm safe to post my progress. I want to get this knocked out so I can have it framed before the holidays, and I want to get back to the BBD Garden Series. My linen order came last week so I have plenty of 32 count to chose from.

And I spent quite a bit of time on a new to me blog called Everybody Has to Be Somewhere... you can check it out here. The author, BW, takes some fantastic pictures of places he seeks out in Saskatchewan Canada. Now as a geographically challenged American when it comes to Canada I had to turn to Wikipedia to learn more about this province...and if you'd like to learn more you can click here.

Anyway, I got sidetracked there, BW tools around Canada on his motorcycle seeking out pieces of the past... old one room school houses. churches, cemeteries, and houses...along with pictures of the natural beauty of Canada. You can't help but feel the slower pace of life back in the mid-1900's. I enjoy looking at his photography and seeing these structures that are disappearing. and it has me wondering what happened? Why did the people who built these structures leave? Were they happy or sad to leave? And the graves and cemeteries he comes across define the phrase "bury me out on the lone prairie". I'm intrigued by the fact that many old schoolhouses and churches, of which there isn't a single piece left, are remembered by markers that name the structure and the dates it operated. Lots of times when he shows these markers there isn't anything anywhere around for miles and miles.

I've stolen a couple of pictures to give you a taste of this blog...hope you don't mind BW...
Isn't this church interesting?  According to what I've read there was a large Catholic Russian population in this area.

A one room school house... with nothing anywhere around it...

And this church also gives you a sense of the wide open spaces, doesn't it?

BW supplies whatever he knows about these places, including the location. Anyway,  it is a wonderful trip to a place and time that I knew nothing about and would have never seen without the internet! Isn't life wonderful???

Well my dinner is prepped and ready to go, meatballs and spaghetti tonight. My son and his lovely wife are dining with Nick and me. And I have a Dutch apple pie for dessert, compliments of Marie Callendar... she makes a great pie! As usual, I'll link up with Kathy's Quilts today for Slow Stitching Sunday and on Monday I'll link to Super Mom - No Cape.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, October 14, 2016

A few things on my needles....

I haven't linked up with Patchwork Times On the Needles for a couple of weeks but I do have something to show today. Like Judy I'm pretty obsessed with knitting socks. If  I could only knit one  thing it would be socks. It plays to my strength in that they are a short term project... they fit my  gnat-like attention span. They can be easy simple stockinette vanilla socks or more complicated pattern and designs. They are portable and sock yarn is is evidenced by my ever growing stash... it is hard to resist a pretty skein of sock yarn.

Now my current infatuation with scrappy Frankensocks falls somewhere between simple and complicated. Simple in that it is just knit knit knit... a bit of complicated in picking which yarn to use next and wondering how it is going to knit up because you have no memory of the sequence of the self striping yarn.... and it is about as much excitement as I want in my life ...LOL!

First another finished pair of Frankensocks...

These are made from Opal left overs and I love the little dotty bits. It reminds me of a soft worn old scrap quilt.

And with that pair complete of course I cast on another pair. Now I'm not sure if these are extremely ugly or exceedingly quirky... this is not a palette of colors I normally work in....

Lots of purple in this pair and a bit of every other color in the crayon box. And if you enlarge the pic you may see that some of the yarns are sparkly... not sure where I picked that one up.

Right now I'm going with the premise that these are exceedingly quirky and I cast on a second sock...

I figure go big or go home...although I really like being home...LOL!

Also I have a shawl on my needles, which at the moment in a big blob of blah...

but there is a lot of potential prettiness here just waiting to me. The pattern is called One and Done and it is by her patterns. You can see the pattern here.  Check it out and you'll see how pretty this will be. This blob will blossom when I drop the stitches and add the border and the picot bind off... I loves me some picot bind off! The yarn is  Malabrigo sock yarn called Diana... lots of pretty coral/rust/olive and a touch of tan...a nice Fall palette. I have one more pattern repeat to knit ...and it is an easy easy repeat...and then I can drop the stitches and move onto the border.

As always there is soooooo much I want to do....knit. cross stitch, sew, make cards... just aren't enough hours in a day, are there?

Well we are having a lovely spell of Fall weather... even a bit on the cool side which I love. I'm wearing long pants and hand knit comfy. The weather should hold through the weekend and the week is suppose to start with a return to the 80's...huh??? Glad I got my AC fixed this week although at $20 a skein I could have made another 39 pairs of socks for what it cost to fix it...such is life isn't it?

Hope you have a lovely weekend!
happy knitting-
carol fun

Sunday, October 9, 2016

When is the best time to plant a tree????

If you are looking for cross stitch content it is waaaaaay at the bottom.... but first I want to share my house and garden pictures...and oh... for some reason I am quite chatty today... go get yourself a nice cup of tea or a cold drink... just saying....

Question: When is the best time to plant a tree? The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago... and if that doesn't work tomorrow is good... or perhaps last Tuesday.   Well, I've been on a tear this summer having trees added to my yard.  I've had 5 trees planted (2 Sweet Gum Wildfire, 1 Nine Bark Treeform, 1 White Sassafras, and 1 Crimson Sunset Maple)  and one tree moved... I know who moves a tree that has been in the yard for 3 years and is maturing nicely??? I do... I'll explain in a minute, but first I want to share my yard in its Fall finery.

You can click on the pictures and make them bigger and see what's left of my perennials...some asters and some gaura and this and that...

My window boxes are full of mums and pumpkins and sweet potato vine left over from  summer.

And my Halloweiner dog is on display too!

And here is one of the trees I had planted last week... this is a Crimson Sunset Maple ...the leaves are a deep purple that softens to a maroon in the Fall. It should get to be 35 to 40 ft when it is mature and provide some shade to the front of the house.  But wasn't there a tree already in that spot you ask? Yes, yes there was.... and now it is planted over here....

See it there on the left side of the yard?  The reason I had it moved was the spot where the maple is planted has no overhead wires in that location. All the electric in this neighborhood is 1950's overhead style and when you have a tree that grows into the wires the power company (Duke Energy in this case) come and prune them for you... they call it pruning but it is more like butchering. I don't want them touching my trees, so I'm trying to have them planted where this won't be a problem in the future.

Now that flowering plum tree that was moved has been in the yard for 3 years, and the entire time it has been there I've been unhappy with it. The nursery who put it in, planted it crooked. It has always leaned and I've tried to get it straight with no luck. Also one side of it is flat. I swear this is not the tree that I picked out but it is the one they came and planted and until now I didn't think you should or could move it. Turns out you can move it and it should be okay. It was dug up carefully and the root ball came out pretty much intact.  And when it was replanted it was planted straight and the flat side it against the house and waaaay less noticeable. This tree has never looked so good!!!

Also my windows are sporting new shutters!   I love those little raised panels...they mimic the ones on my garage door and I think they add a bit of personality to my house. Previously I've had plain brown louvered shutters and when I replaced them with these I've had several neighbors compliment then and said "oh shutters are a nice addition"... when I tell them there were shutters there before they've all said they never really noticed them... invisible brown boring shutters... so I think these are an improvement.

And here are some of my marigolds... they got enormous... and I love them!  They are planted on both sides of this rose bed. I mixed lots of different varieties so if something didn't do well ( but they all did) I could have filled in a blank space with another variety and it wouldn't have stood out. I will definitely be doing marigolds again next year. I may even plant them on the front side of the house too. The roses are kinda spent. I had a horrible problem with black spot which I've just gotten a little ahead of and the deer are on a feeding frenzy right now and are pruning them every chance they g

Next year I'll treat for black spot before I see it and I'll spray more to keep away the deer. I'm surprised I still have so much blooming in mid - October and I have to say I'm getting a little tired and I'm slacking off of  my gardening tasks.

And now for the cross stitch portion of this post... and what do we have but a tree piece by Blackbird Designs... see I have a theme today!

This is Apple Tree , the Number 2 part of the  Blackbird Design Garden Series... one down....eleven to go!!  Now I ended up changing quite a bit on this one. My fabric is  32 ct but I don't know the manufacturer... it is called French Lace and it is a bit on the light side, but I'm planning on using it for another square or two so it should be okay when I patchwork these together. I changed the greens because my skeins of GA  Endive and  GA Piney Woods did not play well with each other.  My Piney Woods is really more brown than green ... oh the joys of hand dyed floss... drives me nuts!!!! I used GA Forest Glade for the Piney Woods and  GA Shutter Green for the Endive...until I ran out of Shutter Green and then I substituted Crescent Colors Eve's Leaves.   As for the apples I did use the Weathered Barn for the darker shade but the lighter one is GA Hollyberry versus the called for GA Old Red Paint because my skein of Old Red Paint provided little contrast to the Weathered Barn... sheesh... I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with hand dyed floss. It looks so pretty when you get those variations of tones and colors but anymore the skeins I get are only minimally similar to the ones used in the published piece. I need to stitch  a piece using DMC every once in a while to cleanse my palette and make me calmer about floss... just saying.

This piece was a unbelievably quick stitch... one week... and I didn't work on it every day. I have a feeling most of the others won't be so quick. This one seems a bit spare in comparison but I do like it and I don't remember the last time I finished something so quickly.  Not sure which one I'll stitch next. I do have some of the called for linens arriving this week...but I should change over and start my Christmas gift stitching first... duty calls... I'm just not listening well.

Today I'll link up with Kathy's Quilts, and on Monday I'll link up with Super Mom - No Cape. Next week doesn't look as booked up as last week...yeah... AC guy is coming tomorrow to replace the coil...perfect timing as I haven't needed the AC in a week and the forecast doesn't look like I'll need it any time soon. Oh well, it will be ready for next year and I'm enjoying having the windows open... and not paying Duke Energy any more than I have to!!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Things that are driving me nuts....

So, it is already Wednesday and the week has had its ups and downs...I went downstairs to my sewing room and looked again at this quilt top.

I like the fabrics... an assortment of Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler prints... and I like the layout which I saw on Tamarack Shack's blog... but I am very unhappy with the borders. I used the construction method from Missouri Stars Cutting Corners pattern which  gives you bias on all four sides of the HST. The fabric in the border is straight of grain and they do not want to play nice with each other.

I've taken off the borders and shortened them slightly and re-sewn them on... THREE times!!! I stay stitched the edges pf  bias blocks the last time I put the borders on but I'm not sure it helped. Right now my plan is to leave it on the design wall where it is pinned out... take out the seam on the right side below the part that extends into the border and repin it while it is on the wall... then take it to the machine and sew it. And I should also do the same thing to the border on the left starting about  3 rows down.

That's what I should do, but right now I can't make myself do it... so it sits on my design wall taking up valuable space and mocking me. I'm losing patience as I also see this as a "Spring-y" quilt and that is a long way off. Heck, I thought Fall had arrived but they are forecasting 80's and humidity for the rest of the week.

Which leads me to the next thing that is driving me nuts. I had my AC repaired about 3 weeks ago. It was leaking coolant but the guy couldn't pin point where the leak was. He added coolant and things got better... and then they didn't. It blew cool air but the temperature in the house didn't fall. So I called him again and this time he found the leak... in the coil...which can't be repaired ... it has to be replaced...and it isn't cheap. At the moment he is finding the part for me and then it has to be installed.  So far I've been okay having the windows open and running the ceiling fans. The temperatures are suppose to drop dramatically starting this weekend so I will survive... but it is making me crabby.

And in everyday life, I've been helping my son with projects and running around doing errands way too much. I'm definitely not focusing. To make myself feel better and to ignore the AC issue and  quilt on the wall I did the only thing I could do... I started a new quilt!

The pattern is Lanterns by Amy Ellis which you can see here. The fabrics are a Moda Basic Grey collection called  Mon Ami. Now I've had this fabric for a while... I gave myself a FQ bundle of it for my birthday LAST year!   I had started a quilt with it back then but lost interest in it and realized it was never going to be revisited.  Stuff like that happens... but I do like this blocks A LOT!!!  The background is a Grunge I found in my stash... I think the color was called Poplin... but I could be wrong. Now lots of the fabrics in the Mon Ami collection are directional and to keep my OCD at bay I've been very careful to cut the fabrics so they are oriented in the correct direction... the flowers are reaching to the sky... the raindrops are falling ... the cute bicycle is in an upright position!

That makes me happy!!!  Now to find some time to make more blocks...but probably not today...I have a mammogram appointment this afternoon... and Thursday I'm taking a friend to meet Terry the long arm quilter...and Friday I've got a brunch date with the quilty ladies for pumpkin waffles... maybe there will be time this weekend. And maybe by the weekend I'll feel like working on that other quilt and maybe my AC will be fixed too... hope springs eternal!!!

And here's hoping your week is going well!!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Trying to get back on track...

Long time, no post... sorry about that. Nothing monumental happened I just got swept away  in a stream of everyday things that have to be done and the blog got washed away.  And until yesterday I didn't have anything finished that was blogworthy...but today I do!

This is my Sampler Hill by With Thy Needle and Thread...

It is stitched on a unknown 32 count linen from my stash and I did change quite a few of the threads starting with that big house... it is Crescent Colors Queen Bee... LOVE that golden yellow. All the turquoise bits are DMC 860. I substituted Gentle Arts Pomegranate and Faded Rose and Crescent Colors Jakey Brown for the tulips and other flowers.  And I may have stitched the lady's hair in a color similar to my own (thanks to lovely girl who keeps my gray at bay...LOL!)

I thought I would add some chickens to this sampler, in the spaces above the robins where little dogs had been graphed, but I changed my mine. I didn't think they really added anything to the piece and instead I stitched some little geometric motifs in  Crescent Colors Eggshell for tone on tone effect. Kinda hard to see, but it's in there!

I started this in July so it took about 3 months to stitch. Now I didn't stitch every night... there was lots of downtime on this one, but that isn't too bad for a piece that was 197 X 150 stitches... mine finished about 12" wide and 9" high.

Now what to start next???  Guilt says I need to start a Christmas project that is going to be a gift, and I will get to it... but maybe not today. I still want to stitch this....

The ABC Sampler by Jeanette Douglas and I have EVERYTHING I need to stitch this one ...

And I want to start the Blackbird Design Garden Club series...

This is the first picture I've seen of ALL of them completed and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!  Now I had planned on doing all 12 of them on one piece of linen, but seeing them all stitched on different colors of linen patchworked together is really AWESOME!!!! And if I stitched each one individually they would be easier to deal wrestling with a large hunk of linen... I think I've talked myself into doing them one at a time ...   hmmm... I wonder what linen I have in my stash that would work for one of these. I have 11 of the 12 charts... should be getting the last one in the mail this week.

Decisions... decisions.... I do have a afternoon pretty free... not doing dinner with my son and DIL today... my handyman is putting up the last pair of new shutters on my house (I'll take some pictures and show you soon.)  My gardening is pretty caught up... I re-did my window boxes with mums and pumpkins...and the weather is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!!  Fall has finally arrived... cooler humidity...and glorious sunshine today... Fall is my favorite time to year!!!

Oh, I did get my Fall decorating done... that might be a good post.  Most of what I put out is the same as last year but there are a few new additions.

I hope to get back on track with  posting on this blog... so stay tuned. I will link up today with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday and on Monday I'll link to Super Mom - No Cape. Both of these are great link up ... lots of cool stuff to see!

happy stitching!

carol fun

Friday, September 9, 2016

A week that perfectly illustrates why I knit...

It was a short week... it was a hectic week... it was a week that perfectly illustrates why I knit...SO I DON"T KILL PEOPLE!!!  Okay, taking a deep breath here...

Sunday night... discovered my enormous indoor cat, Big Dude, has fleas!! How does an indoor cat get fleas??? According to the vet we could have brought them in on our shoes... a likely scenario, as we take our shoes off right as we come into the house and the Dude does like to sit there on the cool tile. Sunday evening I did something really really stupid... I gave the Dude a bath.  Well, I'm not sure you could really call it a bath... we wrestled while the water ran and I tried to soap and rinse him. The whole process lasted less than 2 minutes.  I wasn't sure who was going to have the first heart attack, him or me. He still hasn't forgiven me for it. I washed every thing in the house that wasn't nailed down... I've sprayed all of the rest of the stuff.  I put Frontline on the Dude. The situation has improved but it isn't totally remedied. I still catch him scratching now and then and when I've wiped him down I've found a dead flea or two...ugh!!!! Oh, I forgot to mention.... I HATE HATE HATE bugs!!!  Just writing this paragraph has made me itchy...

Monday morning... I notice that even though the AC has been running all night the house is no cooler in the morning than when I went to bed.... it is Labor Day... a holiday... not willing to pay extra to get someone out to look at it. Called Tuesday morning and  the guy I've used before came and put 4 lbs. of coolant into the unit. Can't find any leaks. I had the same scenario 3 years ago when I moved in... low coolant, no leak to be found. He did clean out the AC coils and checked out the furnace so I'm good to go if it ever gets cold again.

Tuesday and Wednesday ... the normal running around.

Wednesday night... stomach feeling a little queasy.

Thursday ... didn't sleep all night because of stomach and other digestive problems... had to pass on going to a quilt show in Indiana... darn.

Which brings us to Friday... today is good ... but it is only noon.  It is a week like this that makes me thankful that I know how to knit... it calms the nerves and you have something to show for it...

Another pair of Frankensocks done... these have a nice Fall-ish feel to them. Lots of Opal and bits of Regia and Drops Fabel and other unidentified yarns.

Several of you have left comments regarding having so many ends to weave in... here is a picture of the inside of the last sock ....

My rough count is that I have 25 places where I joined yarns... that leaves 50 ends to weave in. I tried timing myself to see how long it takes to complete this process one time. I start by loosening the knot I had, tightening it up and re-knotting it twice. Then I weave the 2 ends in, in opposite directions. It took less than 50 seconds. So to weave in the ends on a whole sock it should take about 30 minutes. In reality, it will take longer because I will be simultaneously watching TV and looking at my lap top and checking to see if the Dude is scratching... but you get the idea.

By using yarns that are self striping I get a lot more stripey-ness with less ends to weave in. Opal yarns are known for their stripey-ness and their mock Fair Isle patterns. A lot pattern for very little work... I like that ... A LOT!!!

So my hope for today is to finally get my house decorated for Fall. The temps are suppose to come down this weekend as last night it rained cats and dogs. I know it isn't officially Fall but I am so ready for it.

Hope that your week went well and that a lovely weekend is coming your way!

happy knitting-
carol fun

Monday, September 5, 2016

I need another can of spray starch...the saga of a new quilt project...

It is Monday right??? I love 3 day weekends but it always messes me up as to what day of the week it is... tomorrow will seem like Monday again...oh well. I as able to get a bit of sewing done. Now I haven't put together the churn dash blocks I showed a while ago (more on them later) because I got distracted by a shiny new project...this one!

It is only pinned to my design wall so ignore the ripples and crookedness. This isn't the quilt I set out to make but I like this one better!  I stumbled upon this pattern from Missouri Star... Cutting Corners... you can see the tutorial here.  Another easy peasy quilt from Jenny Doan... first I had to decide on what fabric to use. I really liked the collection they used and the jelly roll was still available on their website but I make the shocking decision to USE SOME FABRIC I ALREADY OWN... I know... you had to fan your self a bit over that revelation!  Re- read that last sentence and remember this operative, I had some fat quarters of Amy Butler fabrics I hadn't opened, and some pieces of Anna Maria Horner that played nicely together...and then I saw a new collection from Amy Butler called Eternal Sunshine... you can see it here.  Well I reined myself in and only ordered some fat eighths and then realized I needed a nice background fabric...hmmm... is there anything is the 1000's of yards of fabric in my stash that will work ?  No, no there isn't... (you believe me, don't you? I knew you would!)

A visit to my favorite store Fabric Shack resulted in 3 yards of a lovely dusty teal from the  Robert Kaufmann line  Quilter's Linen the colorway called  Seafoam which you can see here. This is a much better picture of the true color of this fabric than my pictures.  I've used this fabric before in a golden mustard color and I like it a lot... it looks woven but it  is printed. Anyway where was I? So now I was off to the races to put this quilt together... and then I saw this quilt... go look here... I'll wait. Isn't that a gorgeous quilt??? When you have time you need to check out her while blog, Tamarack Shack. She lives in Canada and does beautiful long arm quilting. I'm so glad I saw her layout... much more interesing than just HST, dontcha think?

Here are some close up of the fabrics...

Lots of medium to large scale prints ...many busy ones... I like the busy ones!   When stripped and sliced they meld together and you get the feel of a crazy quilt... at least that's what it puts me in the mind of.  

So where does the spray starch come into play in this saga... well, the technique used to construct these blocks gives you bias on all 4 sides... the secret to keeping them in check is spray starch them...a lot!  I spray starched the strip sets and then I spray starched the background fabric... I used a lot of spray starch. I need another can.  Also I squared up all my blocks with my new Bloc Loc ruler...have you played with these yet?  I'm a sucker for a new ruler and these are quite nice... a little pricey but they make squaring up HST blocks very easy and accurate.

Oh... remember the churn dash blocks I mentioned like an hour ago... here is what they looked like before I took them off my design wall...

I think it is going to be a beautiful quilt when I get it assembled. As you can see all the piece are cut... I do need to make some minor adjustments to the length of the sashing strips but it should go together easily.  Oh, it did make the weather cooler for a day or two and then...bam...right back to 90 degrees...

Hope this shortened week is productive for you...and for me too!

happy stitching-
carol fun