Sunday, September 30, 2012

Slow Stitching Sunday

So I'm taking a different approach to talking about my cross stitch. Instead of showing a sampler every week, I'm going to update what I've been stitching along with showing samplers I get finished. As I mentioned last week, I only have a few cross stitch pieces in my home that I haven't shown. When I started 2 years ago my collection of over 75 samplers seemed quite extensive but a new sampler every Sunday for more than 100 Sundays has been a long run.

Also I've been re-evaluating my stitching goals and I see that I have a couple few several oh heck a WHOLE lot of large samplers I've started and I'd like to finish them. I hope that showing what I'm working on will keep me motivated to finish up some from this list that is woefully incomplete -- (you can click on title to see what the completed piece would look like.... someday)

And They Sinned by Exampler Dames
The Houses of Hawk Run Hallow by Carriage House Samplings
Anniversaries of the Heart by Blackbird Designs
Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor
The Four Seasons by Marjolein Bastion

So with that said here is Autumn Alphabet by Lizzie Kate.

I'm past the halfway mark and I'm hoping to pick up steam this week.

I do like that little turkey - ain't he cute?

And along with this updated attitude on cross stitch I'm linking up to Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching. I really like her take on working on projects that make you happy. I want to follow that path and slow down a bit. I often find myself racing to finish a project to post on this blog. In the future you are going to see more "in progress" work, I hope you'll be okay with this slower pace, I think I'm going to like it a lot.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, September 28, 2012

A little more decor

Okay the Spiced Pumpkin candle motivated me to get the rest of my Fall decor out. This little arrangement sits on the bookcase right next to my stitching chair.

Did you notice that it is all sitting on my finished Speck quilt? This is in the perfect spot for me to admire for the whole Fall season. The large white container is a warmer that holds the Pumpkin Spice candle and the pumpkin house has a little battery tea light inside that flickers in the dark. (yes that is a tiny chicken in the doorway -LOL)

Here's picture of Speck in all its glory.

I just did a wavy line grid for the quilting and used a variegated thread. Quick and simple!

And my motivation held for me to decorate the top of the tv cabinet with my collection of mercury glass pumpkins - I LOVE mercury glass.

And this is the fireplace mantle. I've never done this asymmetrical arrangement before. I'm still not sure of it but I'll leave it like this for a day or two. The pumpkin quilt is a Sandy Gervais panel that I quilted. I love the polka dots on the pumpkin.

Now all that is left is to get some taller help (my sons) to hang my Fall quilts. I should be able to guilt them into it tomorrow or Sunday.

Have a great weekend!
carol fun

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A little Fall in the foyer

I finally got some Fall decor put out in my house and I started in the foyer. This year I was able to use 4 different cross stitch samplers that include those Fall colors I love. (you can click on this pictures to make them bigger)

Have you used those Command hooks to hang pictures? I love them because you don't have to put any holes in the wall, so I can use a different arrangement whenever I want. I anchored this display with a table runner I stitched up a couple of years ago.

The "Give Thanks" pumpkin is a end of season bargain I got a while ago and those adorable little white pumpkins came from the flea market last weekend. The lady I bought them from said that white one with the orange stripes is called "Hooligan".... what a fun name!

And on the other end of the table I have some of my many ceramic acorns and the squirrel is half of a salt-n-pepper set from Target. The amber hurricane glass is filled with candy corn.... a yummy variety that is caramel-y. The candle is one of those battery operated kind that flickers in the dark. It has a timer where it is on for 5 hours and off for 19 hours, so I don't have to disassemble this arrangement each evening to turn it on. It is very pretty in the dark and give the foyer a nice glow.

Now to get the downstairs family room decorated. I do have a lovely Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle burning there that smells heavenly which will hopefully motivate me to action.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Speck and Some Stars for Design Wall Monday

I had a very productive weekend and it was wonderful! I enjoyed every minute I spent with my sewing machine and I was able to get a Speck top together.

Now these aren't the Speck blocks I showed about 2 weeks ago. Those blocks just weren't making me happy so I started again with a charm pack of Sandy Gervais Phenomenal Fall. Now these colors are beautiful. I decided to make my version square and went with 16 blocks.

I found a cute little polka dot fabric for the background and I LOVE that border fabric. I bought a yard so I have plenty left for another project. I'm planning on binding this with the multi-color houndstooth plaid I used on the inner border. Hopefully I'll get this done before the week is out. I'm chomping at the bit to put out Fall decorations.

And I was able to make some more progress on my Fallout Stars. In fact I got all of the blocks done - yippee!

I tried to not over think arranging them and I think they are fine just the way they are. Now onto sewing the rows together. I'm not planning on any borders at this moment, so it should measure about 72" X 54" - a nice lap size.

And some more stash diving retrieved another vintage Hoffman chicken print! I'll bet this has been on my shelves for at least 15 years, so it has been appropriately aged and it ready for its close up - LOL!

Well there is lots for me to work on this week. I hope I can get this top all sewn together along with quilting Speck. I'm thinking of quilting Fallout Stars myself since it isn't ginormous and I have a plan that would let me use my walking foot and not drop my feed dogs. I'm not good at free motion and I'd prefer to leave the fancy stuff to Cass, my long arm quilter. Wish me luck!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Meaningful Sampler for Sunday

It has been awhile since I've had a new sampler to show for Sampler Sunday and I must say that this one make me very happy! I love all the motifs and the colors!

This is Willow House by Blackbird Designs. I stitched this on a yummy pumpkiny colored linen and I changed the house color to a lovely buttery yellow! That certainly makes it the house of my dreams. I loved how this sampler includes the symbolism of the different motifs too.

According to Barb and Alma, the red tulips are a symbol of love, sweet memories and charity. The basket symbolizes bounty.

The house is a symbol of family and community. The willow tree is found in many mourning samplers but willow bark is used medicinally to relieve pain and suffering. I love the two birds (they make me think of my sons) and the stars remind me of quilt blocks. I tucked my initials in under the tree.

I was happy to be able to highlight the "C" and the "N" in the alphabet as these are my sons' initials.

I hope to get some more pieces finished and framed soon. I've found a couple more partially stitched pieces in my stash and I'm in the mood to get them done. Hope your weekend has been fun. We've had a blast of Fall weather and I am loving it! I've worn some handknit socks the last 2 days and they make me happy!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, September 21, 2012

On and off the needles

So along with all the fiber that came into the house this week there was a little knitting too. The number 1 project is still the BIG BLACK socks for my son.

I need to borrow his size 13 feet for a minute to determine if I can start the toe. Hopefully they will be around some time tomorrow.

So even though that sock didn't get finished I did finish a sock for me. These are my EasyGoing Alice socks. The color in the second pic is truer - the yarn is a creamy white with bits of black, blue, pink and yellow.

The pattern is EasyGoing - you can see it here on Ravelry. It is a free pattern. I love the cable down the side and the way she wrote the pattern. Instead of this cable being at the ends of your needles as you knit down the leg, she positions the cable in the center of the needles and then you shift the pattern when you start the heel turn. Very clever and no problems with dropped stitches at the beginning or end of a round.

The yarn is from Three Irish Girls. It is the Cashmerino Fingering and has 10% cashmere and it feel soooooooo good!! I think I got this from Loopy Ewe but I don't see this color there now. However there are a couple other colors that are calling my name like Strawberry Fields Forever and Mairin.

I LOVE sock yarn and last night I came across this new online magazine - The Sock Report - check it out here. You can buy the patterns individually for $6.50 or all of the patterns for $16. Since there are at least 3 patterns I love I'll be buying the whole package.

Well here's hoping that you have a lovely weekend. I'm planning to stay home and sew and knit and cross stitch. There wasn't enough of those activities in my week so far.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Adding more fiber to my life....

not oatmeal..... wool!! LOL Last week quite a bit of new fiber came into my life.

Isn't is colorful? First there was this ball of Kauni deep pink, purple and green on the outside, aqua deep inside. And from my friend Lois is Nebraska, a gorgeous skein of Klose Knit Boutique Fiber Fetish. I love the colors in this skein! Thanks Lois!

...and then two more balls of Opal. I LOVE Opal sock yarn. I picked up these two at a local yarn shop. I want to play with them next month in Socktoberfest. Judy L. has a post here about using Opal yarn since opal is the birthstone of October. While this logic may seem a bit fuzzy to some, it makes perfect sense to me so I was on the hunt for some new Opal yarn. (Never mind that this hunt could have been staged in my storage room, as there are about 8 or 10 or 12 more balls of Opal in there somewhere.)

... and then there are these 3 skeins of Opal Antonia Hand-dyes. You can see them here in the sale section of Simply Socks -look on pages 3 and 4.

I've never knit this type of Opal before but I'm hoping that the colors will pool. While other knitters complain when that happens with hand-dyed yarns, I love that effect! These were a steal at $10 a skein (that the story I'm telling myself - more fuzzy logic - LOL!)

So with all the gorgeous colorful fiber sitting in my house what is on my needles?? Well this....

another pair of plain black socks for my son. The first pair took way longer to finish than I anticipated as every time I needed to try them on his foot he wasn't available. He's worn that first pair several times and loves them - so I am now a victim of my own success. I knit the first pair with some inexpensive yarn from Joanns. I'm not sure how it will hold up to repeated washings and wearings. So this pair I'm using Cascade Heritage. I have to set goals for myself to knit these. I gave myself a couple of days to do the 2 X 2 ribbed leg, and then I committed to doing the heel flap one evening while watching baseball (go Cincinnati Reds!) and then last night I did the heel turn, the gusset and I'm working on the foot. Yippee!! I want to finish this sock before the end of the week and then I'll reward myself with knitting something colorful. (Yes even more fuzzy logic.)

Happy stitching!
carol fun

Monday, September 17, 2012

Something for you.....

Awww.... isn't he the cutest little guy? But why is he here? Because I have absolutely nothing crafty to show you that's why, and a post without a picture just doesn't seem complete.

Anyway, while I don't have any crafty content I do have a little something else for you my sweet readers. I have a gift to give and here is how it works.

I just went back and added up all the lovely comments that have been left on my blog for the last month. There were 155. I put this number into a random number generator and it came up with the number 143 which would make it this comment from Barb of the blog Bejeweled Quilts.

Happy Birthday to you!!!!! What a fabulous gift... on Queen for a Day

I have contacted Barb and I will send her a $25 gift certificate to the crafty store of her choosing - my way of thanking all of you for leaving such wonderful comments on my blog. I did this last year for my birthday and I think I'll do it again from time to time. Hopefully you too will enjoy getting a little gift out of the blue.

Now here's hoping that the next couple of days will have some time in them for needle, thread, yarn, and fabric. I haven't had a chance to turn on my sewing machine for days and I truly miss it. I did do a little shopping and I'll show you some of my goodies tomorrow. It is late and I am tired - too much laundry and non-fun errands today.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, September 14, 2012

Queen for a Day

Today is my special day, my birthday! And while I have absolutely no idea how I got to be this old (greater than 58, less than 60) I am very happy that I'm still ticking! I'm having a very low key day, which I enjoy and we'll celebrate with dinner and cupcakes on Sunday.

I want to thank all my dear friends who've sent cards and email greetings today - you make me feel very special! And my boys got me a very thoughtful gift -- a new stitching throne I mean chair - LOL!

Okay the color is a bit off here - but trust me it is a lovely deep blue velour-y fabric. The chair is Ektorp from IKEA and I have been admiring it for quite a while. The blue fabric is a slipcover and I'll be able to change it seasonally. I already know I want the beige linen one for summer and if it goes on sale I'm getting the green one for Christmas.

I am particularly fond of having the ottoman. My old stitching chair has been broken for quite a while and you couldn't use the footrest. This is sooooo much more comfortable. And an additional bonus is that the ottoman has a storage feature.

The top cushion lifts up easily with the handles on the sides. I've stashed some cross stitching projects in there for the moment but there is a ton more room.

So I plan to plant my butt firmly in my new chair and stitch and knit and relax. I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fallout Stars on Design Wall Monday

Oh I had a lovely weekend that included the trifecta of crafty pursuits - I did a little cross stitch, a lot of knitting and I got my mojo back for my Fallout Hexagons!

My original plan languished on my design wall for several weeks, and while I love the fabrics and the hexagons (even though they remind me of the Fallout Shelter logo)- it just wasn't right. I realized that the only way to assemble it hexagon to hexagon was going to require some fussy sewing, and anymore I just don't want to do that kind of work. So I got out some quilt books and looked through them and it hit me.....stars! I LOVE star blocks and this setting will be waaaaay easier to sew together.

I like having the full hexagons interspersed with the pieced ones and I LOVE that gold fabric in the star points. I had this in my stash. It is a Nancy Halvorsen Christmas fabric from the collection called "Tidings". It has circles that are composed of dots and it reminds me of looking at candlelight through a window with raindrops on it.

Most of the dark fabrics in this quilt are from a jelly roll from Sentimental Studios called Shades of Fall. It was also in my stash. I've added some tone-on-tone greens and some beige fabrics - again all stash fabrics! Aren't I being the virtuous quilter? LOL!

My plan at the moment is to slice the hexagons on the ends in half and finish this up without a border. I just want a pretty Fall throw to toss over my stitching chair. Well there are lots of things to do this week - my youngest son has classes MWF - I have a mammogram on Wednesday - I want to get the primer on some furniture at my oldest son's house - and I have tickets to see Three Dog Night this weekend! Hopefully I can squeeze in some sewing time too!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, September 7, 2012

On the Needles - 9/7/2012

I have been totally enthralled with a skein of Noro Taiyo sock yarn this week! I'm knitting another Shaelyn shawl and I LOVE the way the colors flow with this yarn.

This is the 3rd time I've knitted this pattern - it is a great beginner lace project. You have bands of stockinette alternating with the lace and the lace is a simple repeat. I really only have to pay attention to 3 rows out of 10 and I use markers to define the repeats - easy to keep track of.

Here is a close-up. I have lucked out in that several times the colors changed just as I started a new section. I have been feverishly knitting away because I wanted to get to the point where the colors repeated and I just got there this afternoon.

I've already knitted it further than the pattern calls for but I'm going to continue and see how big I can get it. In the past the Shaelyns I've knitted have been on the small side - more like little kerchiefs and this time I want it to be a full-grown shawl. I got this yarn from Simply Socks - you can see it here. I'm using color 27 and I purchased another skein in color 23. Can't wait to see what it looks like knit up!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. I'm hoping for time with my sewing machine, my cross stitch and my knitting - my idea of heaven!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WIP for Wednesday

In my continuing saga to play with all crafts of the Autumn persuasion,and to totally ignore the fact that it is still in the upper 80's here with 90% humidity, I started this sampler by Lizzie*Kate - appropriately titled "Autumn Alphabet".

I've been making good progress and I'm enjoying stitching this one just like I did the Winter version. The fabric is out of my stash and barely big enough for this sampler but I loved the mottled golden color. When Bev goes to frame this she will probably say bad words - I apologize now. Mea culpa!

I love that they included little charms like the squirrel and the moon and the teeny tiny buttons for the owls eyes - too cute! Now a heads up to anyone else who stitches this sampler - the symbol for the frame around the letter F is incorrect. According to the chart, it should be stitched in lavender - which is the color of the frame right above it for the letter B. If you look at the picture of the sampler....

you can see that the frame should be the dark brown. I'm glad I checked the picture. And my little pea brain has another issue with this chart, in that they use a very similar symbol for two different flosses -- the forward backslash "/" is 3041(lavender), and the other backslash "\" is 898 (brown). There are only 12 colors of floss in this piece and it seems you could have replaced one of those backslashes with a dot or a circle as neither of those two symbols appear. I keep threading up with the wrong colors with these two as I forget which is the forward facing one and which isn't as I flip back and forth between the graph on the inside and the floss key on the outside of the chart. I know, I know I'm being a cranky. Also if you stitch these samplers pay attention to the frames. Several of the appear to be symmetrical and they aren't- ask me how I know? I after messing up a couple of times I'm getting better at remembering this. And even with all that said, I do love this sampler!

Well I'm off to wait for the delivery guys to bring my son's new furniture this afternoon. And I may do a little touch up on the paint.... or I may just sit and stitch.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Speck of Fall on Design Wall Monday

Now where was I.... oh yeah I had a change of plans for what quilt to make my son and then I had another change of plans when I just vegged out most of Friday and Saturday because I didn't feel well. So. when Sunday dawned (at least I assume it did but I don't think I've ever willingly witnessed the event) I had new plans. I wanted to make a small quilt - just the top - for a Sunday project. Again, life stepped in and changed that plan. I did decide on a pattern, one of Carrie's newest Little Bites, Speck. Go check it out here. Isn't it adorable?

I rummaged through all my charm packs, and decided that I just couldn't cut into any of them, since they were all pairs and someday I might want both to make a Schnibble. However, a pile of Fall fabrics was still sitting on my cutting table from my Butterscotch Scrap Jar Stars, and I am still longing for Fall to begin, so I cut some 2 1/4" squares from the selection on hand.

Ta dah!!!

I got 4 cute cute cute little blocks made. They each measure 4" and they are all sitting on one of my little design mats that measures 10" square. Now I do have plans for bunch more of these but life intruded again yesterday, and changed my plans to the point that I only had a tiny bit of time to sew. But even 4 little blocks is better than nothing.

I do have plans today for more sewing but considering how poorly my recent plans have worked out I probably should plan not to sew at all - reverse psychology - do you think it works on life?? Yeah I didn't think so either.

Hope you having a lovely Labor Day that only involves labor you want to do!
Happy stitching-
carol fun