Monday, January 31, 2011

Ta da... ta done!

I am finished with my Crazy Mom QAL that also qualifies for Patchwork Times monochromatic quilt challenge since it is yellow. Lots of yellows!

Three hundred and sixty two different yellows - no repeats. There are novelty fabrics

not only chickens but

a sock monkey too! And there are tone-on-tones and dots - lots of dots. My 25 years of collecting yellows has served me well. This is a BIG quilt - it is 96" square - yikes! (that's why I took the picture outside so I could get far enough back to get it all in the picture)I know I wanted it to be a generous size but I may have gotten carried away. I will be taking this to my long arm quilter next Monday night at guild meeting. I'm envisioning an all over floral pattern done in a variegated yellow thread. I know she'll be using cotton batting, probably Mountain Mist White Rose and it washes up wonderfully. Nice and squishy and you get great texture. I can't wait to see her work her magic.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A sampler for Sunday.....

and this one is a bit of a primitive.

I wish I remembered the name and the designer of this piece but I don't have a clue. I love the sentiment "Good things come to those that stitch". Who of us would argue with that? Whether it is cross stitch or embroidery or quilting I love all the crafty pursuits that employ a needle and thread or fiber. I stitched this on a lovely piece of pumpkiny linen. Such a great color. Here's close up of the house on this piece...

so it satisfied my self-imposed rule that the sampler had to have both an alphabet and a house. I'm glad I've gotten past that now since I have found several samplers lately that don't have both elements but they are so pretty and I can't wait to stitch them up.

I have been pretty productive this weekend and I've finished up a couple of projects. I will take some pictures tomorrow so I can show you the Crazy Mom QAL that I got all the borders on and I got my Shaelyn shawlette blocked and the ends woven in too. And I made some pretty thank you cards last week and now that they've arrived at their destinations I'll show you some pictures of those too. I haven't played with my stamping/card making toys for a while and I really enjoyed myself. Nowadays when I make cards they tend to use lots of different crafty techniques like stitching on the cards and buttons and felt and other goodies.

I have big plans for my upcoming week - lots of things I want to get accomplished around the house and of course several crafty things too. Hope your week is productive too -

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, January 27, 2011

They are calling me.....

can you hear them? Okay this has been up on my design wall for several days.

It is an well-aged Stack-n-Whack that I had forgotten about.(oh this pic looks better than on my design wall. I just figured out how to crop my pictures and I eliminated all the yuccky parts of my design wall. How cool is that? Yes I am totally blown away by my own ineptitude - LOL) Anyway, in looking at the blocks I still like them and there were plenty - 98 totally finished blocks. Why did I stop on this? I got no clue. All the blocks are cut from this fabric

which was taken from the illustrations in the book The Quiltmaker's Gift that has a 2000 copyright date. So that means this fabric was probably produced in 2001 or 2002 and has been languishing in a giant ziploc bag for the past 9 or 10 years. It still looks great. Maybe ziploc bags have rejuvenation properties? Hmmmm... here's a closer look at some of the blocks. They have a cool milleflori (can't find the right spelling) look - like a glass paperweight.

The blue and red I'm using resembles a sun print and it is of the same vintage as the focus fabric.I always am captivated by fabric that looks like a crazy quilt and they make great Stack-n-Whacks. I've moved some of the blocks around since I took these pictures and I think I have the final arrangement. Sewing them together will be mindless and that's right up my alley.

Last night I was trying to finish my Crazy Mom QAL.(See my post of 1/6/2011) I'm on the last plain borders. I got one side sewn on and then in attempting the second one, I realized I cut it too long (no wonder I couldn't ease in that extra 2 inches) and then I ran out of bobbin thread(grrrr) and then I lost my concentration (I have the attention span of a fruit fly) and went from stitching a 1/4" seam allowance to a 3/8" seam allowance and had to pick it out. So I decided it was time to call it a night - hey you don't have to tell me 10 times, although it did take 3 "issues" for me to catch on that I should quit. Oh well -

So I need to do the last 2 borders on the yellow Crazy Mom QAL, then I want to sew these blocks together. This SNW will make a nice size lap quilt and then there is that Hoopla fabric I bought a couple of weeks ago. It is talking too. It is nice bright colors - kinda like a brand new box of Crayola crayons. I loved a new box of crayons when I was a kid. I think you could get a box for a dime or a quarter -- yeah back long ago and far away, a misty water-colored memory (sorry for all the old song lyrics -my mind just works that way)

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, January 24, 2011

I am going to have fun.....

with this book!

Oh my goodness the quilts in this book are wonderful. I thought Kim Brackett's first book, Scrap-Basket Surprises was great but this one has me over the moon. I like how there is a mix of quilts some done with a Moda jelly roll line or a Bali Pop and others just done with the quilter's scraps. There is also a mix of pattern styles from traditional to more contemporary styles.

Here are a few of my favorites so far....

Summer Daze stitched by Darlene Johannis

Flower Boxes stitched by Karen Williamson

Bali Breeze stitched by Kim Brackett

There are 18 quilt patterns in the book and I don't know which one to pick first. I also love the Tipsy Baskets done in lots of Kaffee Fasset prints and the cover quilt, Picnic. I see lots of Moda fabrics in this quilt from different fabric lines and they all look great together.

Ok - this is not a paid endorsement- I just really really like this book. I just got the book today and I've picked it up to page through over a dozen times. I've been quilting for over 25 years and it isn't often that I get this jazzed about a book. I think this would be a great addition to any quilter's library whether you are a seasoned quilter or a beginner.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The little sampler that taught me .....

a big lesson!

This Sampler Sunday offering is from Ewe & Eye & Friends and again I don't remember the title. I think it had something to do with Napa Valley or Sonoma since that was what had been charted rather than Modesto. I stitched this up after we had transferred by my husband's employer from Modesto back to Ohio. We spent 3 years in California and it was an interesting time. Modesto was a nice Californian town to live in but I truly missed the change of seasons and my grandmother back in the Midwest. I was very happy to come back to Ohio.

Now to the lesson this sampler taught me.... hand-dyed floss can bleed - A LOT!!! Since I don't stitch in a hoop or a frame my pieces need to be ironed when I'm finished and I like to use steam. Well when I ironed this piece the mulberry bleed horribly. I tried rinsing but it only helped minimally and in the end I took a q-tip dipped in bleach to remove the mulberry stains from the linen and from some of the berries and stitching.

I know I know -- not the greatest idea but it worked and I am okay with this not being a piece for the ages.

From then on I have pre-treated my hand-dyed fibers. First, I rinse them in warm water and swish them around in a clear glass dish - some colors you think would run don't and others are a complete surprise with how much dye is released. I have also seen that more hand-dyed fibers are sporting colorfast labels. I like that a lot. After rinsing, I lay them out on paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. Since I'm usually doing a bunch of floss at one time they sit for a while and even when you think all the excess dye is released you see tell tale stains on the paper towels. Okay after I've done the first rinse and set them aside for a minute I rinse them again in a bowl with a capful of Retayne - a dye fixative. I return them to paper towels and take them to the ironing board where I steam iron them dry. Yes this is a lot of work but I haven't had any problems with hand-dyed floss bleeding when I do this and I can stitch confident that I won't have problems when the piece is finished and I iron it for the final time. Does anyone else pre-treat your hand-dyed fibers? I'd love to know your technique.

Well I did get a little sewing done this weekend and I'm almost finished with my Crazy Mom QAL top and I put up an old UFO Stack-N-Whack piece on my design wall. I'll show some pics this week and maybe I'll have some progress on that front too.

Hope your week will have some quality crafty time.
Happy stitching -
carol fu

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today I am .....

Home Sweet Home -just like the quilt says!

We are experiencing the White Death here in southwest Ohio. I figure I shoveled about 3 inches off the driveway already and they are predicting another 3 to 5 inches before the day is over. My husband and oldest son had no trouble getting to work but the evening commute may be another story. Now my husband's commute is tiny - he's 3 stoplights from home. From our kitchen table to his desk takes about 5 minutes on a regular day. My son's commute is another story - plenty of expressway driving and hills, lots of hills, up and down - not going to be a good time.

Last night I finally got all of my winter quilts hung thanks to my oldest son - boy having a child with height is sooo much easier than dragging a stepladder around the room. I ended up doing all Debbie Mumm quilts in my family room. I think the Home Sweet Home quilt was a DM pattern. I don't actually remember, but I do remember that adding the words was my idea. That big open blue sky just needed something. And then there is my DM snowflake quilt...

This one hangs next to the mantle with all the snowguys. Every block is a different combo of off white/white and blue DM fabric. And I had forgotten about this one....

This was a Thimbleberries pattern - I think a BOM. I only used DM fabrics and you can see I had plenty to chose from. This is my favorite block...

sunflowers and the background has a spider web and a little spider on it. It is nice to think about sunflowers on a snowy day like today.

Okay - I think I'll sew a little and then go out for another round of shoveling. I consider it my aerobic exercise for the day. Hope you are snug and warm wherever you are!

Happy stitching -
carol fun

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Snowman Sampler for Sunday

Remember how I said I believe there is no such things as too much snowman decor, well here is another example. My Sunday Sampler this week is the Snowman Row by Bent Creek.

I stitched this on a lovely minty green linen and I framed this one myself. I found the frame in my storage room and it was plain white so I sponged it with some green alcohol inks and I like the way it turned out.

Even though this isn't a big frame I thought there was too much open space in the upper portion so I sewed on the snowflake buttons with a silver cord. I wish the frame was a bit wider and I might re-do this piece but not this season.

This is my foyer in its snowman finery. The sampler, my tablerunner and lots of other special handmade accents. I call this my ode to Amy arrangement, in honor of my dear friend from Nebraska who made several of these items.

That great tree is handmade from one of my favorite collections of Basic Grey papers - Amy made it for me and it sits in a little silver flower pot.

And this wonderful little framed snowman is another of her creations. It is perfect for this display in its brown and aqua colors. The little scalloped circle says "The chill of winter is warmed by friendship".

To the right of the table is my snowman tree - all the ornaments are snowmen - the overflow crowd from the mantle display. Here are a couple of my favorites.....

All in all I think it makes a nice entryway display. Now if I could just paint those blah beige walls another color I'd be sooooo happy, but since this is one of those tall 2 story foyers and I have a healthy fear of falling off a ladder (it has happened on several occasions in my life) no paint will be applied here for a while. It was painted about 10 years ago and my husband painted it and used his outdoor aluminum extension ladder to reach the top. Too scary for me. I figure nowadays if I fell off a ladder and hit tile floor in this foyer I'd end up breaking multiple bones so I'll live with the beige.

Happy stitching -
carol fun

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just believe.....

that there is no such thing as too much snowman "decor".....I know I'm a believer! (another gratuitous vintage song reference) Anyway I have unpacked my snowman and placed them here and there throughout my house.

First, is this little arrangement. I love the giant platter, but I'm not sure exactly what I'm suppose to believe.... that spring will come again?, that being cooped up inside will make you crazy?, that around 100 snowmen is about the right amount one person should possess? I shall have to ponder this further. Meanwhile...

I also love these Jim Shore snow people and here are the special snowman that combine sewing and snow -- ohhhh... how perfect is that? Next, lets move to the mantle...

ummm... its a snowman flash mob! Or the undeniable proof that I am slightly (but only slightly) crazy about snowmen. My oldest son tells me that all these guys give him the creeps because they are staring at him with their little beady black eyes. I've told him that crazy doesn't fall far from the crazy tree and he has half of my DNA so he should keep these comments to himself (it doesn't happen - oh well). Let look closely at some of my favorites, shall we.....

I call his guy a pot head - get it? He's wearing a pot (actually measuring cups) on his head. And how about the disembodied giant snowman head? I have several of these. Is that strange? (no need to answer, I already know).

And this guy is another favorite- love the polka dot scarf and the slightly 50's retro look - reminds me of my childhood - and yes it was in the 50's.

And you can see there are lots and lots of little snow guys - mostly from Hallmark. There were a bunch called the Mitford snowmen (remember that book series by Jan Karon? I need to go back and reread them - I loved them). I have all of them. And do you see a chicken? I see a chicken -- he's stuffed into the snowman head mug - poor guy - he's definitely wandered into a strange crowd.

Well that will do it for my delusional rambling for today. I haven't had a chance to sew this week like I thought I would, but there is always hope for the 3 day weekend. I did get some more stitching done on my BBD AotH and I started another little shawlette - I am such a good starter, its the finishing part that eludes me.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowman mania.....

ok, remember how I said I had a thing for gingerbread men? Well, I'm fickle. I also have a thing for snowmen too - hey love the one you're with (if you got that reference you are definitely as old as me - LOL!) Anyway today I started getting out my snowman decor. I like the word "decor" - it sounds classier than collection of crap that lives in the storage room. First I got out this quilt...

its called Three Wise Snow Guys and was a Debbie Mumm pattern from a long time ago. It was a little wall quilt and I enlarged it - A LOT- like 5 times the original size. Right now it is hanging in the hallway in the kitchen where the gingerbread guy quilt was. I liked the 3 dimensional accents like the red bird and the scarves and the noses.

Over the years the noses have gotten more and more realistic and now they resemble carrots that are in my vegetable bin - kinda withered and wrinkled! And I found my snowman table runner I made last year.

I had this cute snowman fabric in non-traditonal colors and sewed it up using the Disappearing 9 Patch pattern. It was quick and easy and I quilted it with my favorite big wavy line pattern.

You just start at one side and lazily swing back and forth. Then turn the piece 90 degrees and do it again. You get a big wavy grid that kinda resembles a fishing net - no marking needed. This is going on the table in the foyer - I'll show more "decor" tomorrow.

Now hopefully this admission will make someone else out there feel better - I still have Christmas stuff up! Yep, I didn't start putting the Christmas "decor" away till this afternoon and I still have the tree to dismantle. What can I say, I'm a slug and my oldest son always makes me feel guilty for putting the Christmas stuff away. He loves Christmas and tries to get me to promise to leave it up till his birthday which is the middle of January. When I try to convince him that the holidays are over he then starts referring to the Christmas tree as a MLK tree - Martin Luther King - and insists it has to stay up till that holiday. I figure that this week is close enough and I'm ready to see it put away.

Hope your week is going well. We had some snow today, but it wasn't the white death they predicted - a couple of inches and it got cleaned up pretty well today.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Sampler for Sunday.....

Okay, I'm trying to get back into some semblance of a routine. My youngest son is back in class and my husband is back to work (someone has waaaaaayyyy too much vacation time, if you know what I mean, and you do). I like having the house to myself for a bit of time each day. So nice and peaceful. Well my productivity of the beginning of the week has tapered off. There was no way I could keep up that breakneck pace - LOL! It a good thing that I still have lots of samplers that are already stitched so I have blog material. Here is my sampler for Sunday.....

I know this is a Ewe & Eye piece but I don't have a clue what the name of it is. It is a small sampler, the actual stitching is only 4" square. I love the incongruity of the GIANT woman next to the house. She's one BIG gal - I can identify with that!

Here is a close up - hmmmm... I wonder why I didn't make her hair more red (my ahem "natural" color - not!) And I love those spiderweb roses - they use a ton of thread but I love the dimension they add to a piece.

I spend some quality time this weekend stitching on my BBD AotH. And I spent some time thumbing through my cross stitch stash. There are certainly lots of cool graphs to chose from right in my own "personal" cross stitch store. I'm still very fond of the BBD pieces and there are 4 older ones from the "Remember Me" series that I visualize hanging together - When this you see, My Missouri Home, I Thee Wed, Mildred's Garden House. I think I need to kit up one of these and keep it close by when the mood hits me.

I also took some time and looked at another basket that is filled with giant ziploc bags each containing a UFO. I know I've told you how much I love Stack-N-White, well I found not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE S-N-W UFOs. OMG - I should hang my head in shame but I'm not guilted that easily. One of the bags talked pretty loudly to me. (Oh come on, you know the fabric can talk. I swear some fabrics would be telemarketers if they could.) Again, it appears that all the blocks are made, they are hexagons. It just needs to be assembled. I think I want to play with this one later in the week. Somehow it doesn't seem wrong to cheat on the current project (Crazy Mom QAL) which was a UFO with another UFO. Yeah, I have serious logic issues here but I'm not even gonna try to figure it out. Onward and stitchward - more projects = more fun. And I'm all about the fun - LOL!

Happy stitching -
carol fun

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Memory issues.....

So I unearthed the giant ziploc bag that held my Crazy Mom QAL project hostage and liberated the pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had already sewn each and every yellow square to a white background square. This is gonna save time, and it is discoveries like these that make me happy I forget - LOL!

So here it is on my design wall. The top and bottom of the 4th round have been sewn together and stitched to the center. The side rows need to be sewn. I find as this gets bigger and bigger I stress less and less about what is next to what which speeds up the process immensely. Each yellow square is a different yellow fabric. Yes I have A LOT of yellows. It is my favorite color and I've been collecting for over 25 years.

These are a couple of my favorites from this round.

Another chicken - you can't have too many.

And this guy - isn't he cute in a 50's retro way? I have a scribbled diagram sheet that I made when I started this and I have all kinds of notes scrawled every where. I think I am going to use 362 different yellows each cut 3 1/4". Yeah, I know that is an odd measurement but I wanted it to be a generous queen size and if I can make out my handwriting this should finish about 93 inches square. Oh remember when I said I was going to quilt this myself - insert slapping me up side the head- that ain't gonna happen. It is already a pain to wrestle under the presser foot and it doesn't include batting or backing. This baby is going off to the long arm quilter for her to work her magic.

Last night I pulled out my BBD Anniversaries of the Heart to stitch on. Now I thought I was further along (darn there is that memory thing again) but I do like what I have done. I started another section and I like the color of that urn on the left. I think I'll park myself in front of the tv tonight and watch the local college basketball rivalry - University of Cincinnati versus Xavier University. It is called the Crosstown Shootout since both of these colleges are really only about 10 minutes distance from each other. UC is the public one, Xavier is a private Jesuit college. My oldest son has tickets to go the game. He's rooting for UC since he got his law degree there. My team is gonna win no matter how it turns out since I have an undergrad degree from UC and a MBA from Xavier. It should be fun to watch.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My first quilting finish for 2011.....

Last night was the quilt guild meeting and that deadline is my motivation to get a quilt top done so I can take it to my long arm quilter. I sewed the borders on my Kitchen Sink quilt on Sunday afternoon.

This is all Debbie Mumm fabric. There are LOTS of different fabrics here, probably over 150. Some more recent and others that are truly oldies but goodies. Of course, my version of this quilt got waaaaaay bigger than the one in Scrapbasket Surprises. There are 121 individual little paddlewheel blocks and it measures about 87" square.

For the inner border I used this wood grain piece and that outer border is little buttons. Not polka dots but close, real close. I was so pleased with myself for making this quilt out of fabric I already own -- free fabric, right??? I was going to go and buy a seamless big back for this quilt but I looked at my stash - my very large stash - and knew I could make a back out of something on those shelves. I grabbed 2 prints that I had about 3 to 3 1/2 yards of and sewed it up in no time. So the back was free too -- oh aren't I the thrifty one? (don't hurt yourself laughing at this statement - I am delusional and I like it that way - LOL).

So in the first week of 2011 I have finished a cross stitch project, a knitting project and a quilt project - I'm on fire! I don't know how long I can keep this up but I'm gonna try. Tomorrow I should have some time to work on my yellow Crazy Mom QAL top. I think I'd like to do the machine quilting on this myself since I envision just a diagonal grid done in a nice variegated yellow Sulky thread. Simple. I can do simple.

Hope you are having a nice productive week too!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A sampler for Sunday and other finishes to start the year...

Well, yesterday I talked about my quilting goals and it was pointed out that I left out time spent on cooking, cleaning,chauffeuring, errand running, personal hygiene, stuff like that. Ummm, yeah, I will work diligently to do as little of those tasks as possible, except personal hygiene, I think my friends would preferred me to be clean and fresh and have my roots touched up every month - I know I would - LOL! Anyway I have been pretty productive so far this year. What is that about 44 hours? Hey, I'm on a roll. Anyway here is my first cross stitch finish of the year, the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler.

This is on 32 count Roasted Crown, a lovely golden color and I used DMC threads. It finished about 17" X 19". Here is a close up of the personalized motifs - my initials and my sons initials.

And I didn't notice this until last night when I was stitching it. There is a bee! I love bee motifs.

I started this last year sometime between Christmas and New Years so it has been a year long project which is the time frame I had set for myself so this is a big success. So for 2011 cross stitching wise I want to finish my Blackbird Designs Anniversaries in Time. This is my current progress.

Pattern #10 is due out this month and they still have to release the last 2 sections and the bonus section, so I have time on this. I perused my lovely stash of cross stitch patterns and saw several that are calling my name. Some are even kitted up and ready to go. There will definitely be more BBD in the next year - I'm thinking Willow House, Flea Market Souvenir (I'm only using one background fabric) and Summer Garden.

Knitting will bring more socks and more shawlettes. I love the portability and short finish time of these kinds of projects and I have ample sock yarn to select from -not that more purchases won't be made - like this week -LOL! And I have a finish in the knitting area to start the year. Here is my Shaelyn shawlette.

I used a Araucania Multi colorway #309. I love all the shades of golden yellow, peach and a bit of dusty lavender. I will be making this one again. I think I'll use a more semi-solid and I'll go up a size or two for the needles. Oh, aren't you glad there is no pic of my flabby white arms? I remembered I have a dressmaker dummy and its perfect for shots like this.

So armed with the glassy eyed enthusiasm of a fresh start I shall march forward and try to do as many fun projects as I can -- the heck with cleaning and cooking - no one on their death bed said they wished they'd spent more time in the office or cleaned more toilets.

Happy stitching everyone!
carol fun