Friday, March 22, 2013

What's on the needles this week

I've been doing a bit of sock knitting the last couple of weeks on lots of different socks (I wasn't kidding on Tuesday, I really do have about 7 different socks started)  but I actually a matching pair to show today.

Ta-dah! A complete pair of socks!

This yarn is from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and is called Supercolourfragilistic. I really like this yarn. It great to knit with and the colors are so vivid. I've made several pairs using Blue Moon yarn. I love their color combinations and the creative names they give to their yarns. I was hoping for less striping and more pooling, but you get what you get.

However, on the pooling yarn scene I do have this sock...

Front of sock

which is looking good, if I say so myself, and I do!  This is Opal's Antonia Hand Dyes that I showed on Tuesday. I got mine from Simply Socks Yarn Company several months ago. It was on sale, but I don't see anymore on their site. However, I did find some colorways here on Webs.

Back of sock

This is going quickly. I'm doing 62 stitches on 2.75 mm needles. I love the colors in this skein. There are a couple of shades of turquoise. purple and a taupe-y chartreuse-y gold. Very interesting. I hope the pooling continues after I turn the heel and start the foot. My experience has been that sometimes the skein starts out very promising but then it reverts to just striping. Which is nice, but pooling is waaaaaay better!!

I had planned to work on a Spring-y shawl until Judy at Patchwork Times issued her pooling sock yarn challenge. Oh well, the weather here in Ohio is still more Winter than Spring. The forecast is for accumulating snow on Sunday into Monday which means more wool sock wearing days in my future.

Happy stitching and knitting -

carol fun

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pooling Sock Yarn Challenge

Judy L over at Patchwork Times has put together a fun knitting challenge that I CAN NOT resist - pooling sock yarn! You can check out all the particulars here.

So last night I went rummaging through my stash and came up with these 3 candidates. (And as I sit here and type this I can think of 2 more skeins still buried in the storage room - oh well.)

The cake in the front with the needles stuck in it and the skein in the back are Opal Hand Dye from the Antonia line. I got them here at Webs. The one on the left is Schoppel Cat Print Hand Dye Collection. There are 2 separate disks which are suppose to give you matching pooling socks. I love the pooling part but will not make them matching when I knit this up. Decisions, decisions... which one to knit first???

And the winner is... this skein of Opal Antonia Hand Dye colorway 3172... why?? Because it is already wound in a cake and I think the purple and yellow in this one look Spring-y!

Per Judy's request I have photographed my choice in front of a calendar - my favorite Mary Engelbreit calender. I don't know if you can read what it says but the quote today is "I'm not confused, I'm just well mixed."  It is attributed to Robert Frost - who knew?  Anyway I'm going to cast these on tonight... and we will not dwell on the one, no two, no three, four, oh wait, there's another one, five, okay at least six single solitary socks that are awaiting the creation of a mate.

Happy stitching and knitting!

carol fun

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Happy Scrappy Trips

This was the best weekend sewing time I've had in ages and I really feel I used it wisely. On Saturday I cut all the strips I still needed to finish my Happy Happy Scrappy Trip blocks. And on Sunday I got all 16 blocks made - yippee!!!

I am so HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY with this Happy Happy Scrappy Trip quilt. It should measure about 80" squares when it is all sewn together. There was a bit of method to this madness. Each block is an 8 X 8 arrangement and each strip was cut 3" to finish 2 1/2". I used one strip from each of these colorways: yellow, orange, pink, blue, green, aqua, and purple. I tried to keep the order random from block to block so there is a lot of movement in the colors.  I ended up using 113 different fabrics in this quilt, and while some are more recent additions to my stash, others are approaching vintage. Some of these fabrics are almost 15 years old and in a couple of instances I used  every thread I have of them. (insert shedding  a tear or two - LOL!)

Now on one hand I am glad to be using my stash. But on the other hand I'm going to miss these oldies but goodies. I can identify fabrics from Jan Mullen, Mary Lou Weidman and Kari Pearson. They all designed great graphic bright fabrics, that I love. I was shopping at Fabric Shack the other week and was specifically on the hunt for bright plaids or multi-colored prints and I didn't find many. There are certainly a lot of dots available right now and of course that makes me a very happy polka dot chicken. I feel I absolutely MUST replenish my stash with some new dots while I can get them. Who knows when they may go out of fashion? See the perfect justification for retail therapy - LOL!

Here are a few close ups of some of the fabrics I've used.

So I need to sew these 16 blocks together and this baby is done. No border needed. Off it goes to the long arm quilter.  And then what do I sew next??? I've been intrigued by some of the low-volume quilts I've seen on the web. These are definitely a different palette than I normally work with. And I'm itching to do a quilt from the new Scrap-Basket Beauties book. The one on the cover is calling my name. And even though I've done two of these Scrappy Trip quilts I still want to do one with my Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Notice I have totally ignored any of the many UFO's I have languishing in ziploc bags. I'm afraid I may have smothered their little voices - so sorry - I need to check back in on them someday soon...maybe...perhaps...oh we'll just see what happens.

Hope you have a great week.
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Some slow stitching of epic proportions on Sunday

It is cold, gray, damp and dreary. A perfect day to stay inside and stitch. I pulled out this sampler the other evening and have been getting my Blackbird Designs fix - I love BBD!

This is my Anniversaries of the Heart stitched on one GIANT piece of 32 count evenweave - a dove gray color. My oldest son looked this one over and pronounced it an "epic sampler". I like that - LOL! And in finding out that it will be personalized with names and birthdays, he mentioned that he would love to hang it in his house - WHOA.... knock me over with a feather. He has never expressed an interest in having my cross stitch in his home. I know he loves the quilts I've scattered about his place (just 3 so far but more to come) but this is a new viewpoint. I will say that it has re-energized me to work on this one, but I'm not sure if I want it to hang in his house or mine. Perhaps we can work out a time-share arrangement.

Anyway it has been a while since I've shown this and I do think this is one of the best series BBD has done. Which is saying a lot since I have almost all of the Loose Feathers series charts and have paid big bucks for some of the OOP ones. Oh well, they make me happy. Here's a couple of close ups of the individual months.

Swan Lake  - July

I'm thinking of adding a mother of pearl heart shaped button to this one since I don't have any family events for July.

Clara Ellen - August 

Sorry this one is a bit blurry. I just couldn't get a good picture. I'm adding both my Grandma's and my Mom's birthdays to this one.

Happy Birthday - June

And this is the one I started last night while watching Skyfall on Netflix - great movie- but hard to keep track of your counting when you are caught up in things being blown to smithereens - just saying - LOL!

So I realize I still need a couple of skeins of over dyed floss for this and the next couple of charts - off to engage in a little retail therapy.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A bit of Show and Tell

Last Monday evening was my guild meeting and I took two quilts for Show and Tell. I made the tops last year, but they didn't get quilted or bound till this year, so I'm counting them as my first finishes of 2013. You saw these previously in their design wall state, but oh does quilting really make them shine - in my humble opinion. And a quick apology for the lighting of these pictures. The weather has not cooperated to take them outside so I guilted my sons into holding them for a quick snap.

First is the one I call Big Stars for Nick. It is now gracing his new bed and he loves it.

This is the Missouri Star quilt pattern that I found online and you can see the video here. This block goes together quickly and it is BIG.

Cass used a variegated black and red thread with a loopy star pattern. Nick likes it because it isn't "girly" and observation both of my boys have about most of my quilts.

And here is my quilt from that same Missouri Star Quilt Company video - Big Debbie Stars

I used a total of 91 different Debbie Mumm fabrics in this one. If you want to see some close ups of the fabrics click on this post- here. Now Cass totally surprised me with the quilting on this one. I submitted my standard request for her to pick a nice overall pattern and use a variegated thread. I didn't quite see the pattern until I looked on the back..... oh my goodness!!! CHICKENS!!!

Aren't they just the best quilting pattern ever? LOL!

Cass said when she saw this pantograph she knew she had to use it on a quilt for me and had been waiting for the right one and this certainly is it. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

So that is my bit of Show and Tell. As I finished up taking pictures of the quilts I asked my sons if I could take a photo or two of them. Nick declined but Chris acquiesced.... sort of....

this is the shot I got. He is there under the quilt - a sort of padded witness protection program. Oh well - they are both great kids and I am very proud of them.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Scrappy Trips on Design Wall Monday

Yesterday gave me some quality sewing time and I finished 4 more blocks on my Happy Scrappy Trips 2.0 version.  I am having such fun with this block. Thank you Bonnie Hunter!

More dots and plaids and brights - lots more - LOL!

Big dots and little dots...

Wavy lines and scribbles...

Plaids and dots with more dots...

This quilt should finish at about 80 inches square, and will look great on my bed. In this version I am making the block 8 X 8 and the squares finish 2 1/2".

 On Friday I showed two friends how to put together this Scrappy Trips block and the fabrics they are using are tempting me to do a third and fourth version - oh no!!!! One was using yummy batiks and the other had Kaffe Fassett fabrics - I don't think I can resist. I have plenty of these fabrics in my stash to do both versions. I just need more time to sew!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Some slow chicken stitching on Sunday

So on Thursday I said I'd be back on Friday and now it Sunday afternoon. My weekend disappeared faster than that hour we lost to Daylight Savings Time - which is one of the biggest pains in the butt I know of ... more ranting later. Anyway I have had a bit of time to stitch and this is what I'm working on...

This design is by Tra la la and is called Duo de Printemps. How could I resist this one? First, that chicken has a polka dot wing, then there are those giant tulips (my favorite flower) and it includes an alphabet. The trifecta of cross stitching wonderfulness in my world. I did change the colors to suit me and this little bit of gingham linen I had in my stash.

I started this last Wednesday when we had a snow day and was determined to use stuff I already had. So, I changed the red tulips to yellow (I don't have to tell you yellow is my favorite color, now do I - LOL). I used a Cosmos Seasons floss, 8027, which is a Japanese company. It has a variegated look to it that I love. The green leaves are color 8016 and the outer border and the alphabet are 8025. This skein is marvelous - it has two shades of blue - similar to DMC 931 and then two shades of taupe-y brown and two shades of a forest green. I selectively cut lengths of the colors I wanted to use. I stitched the outer border in the blue shades. I used the taupes and greens for the alphabet. Lots of variety of color from one single skein of floss - love that. The red is DMC 4210, one of the new color variation skeins.

This finished about 4 1/4" wide and 5" tall. I'm not sure if I'm going to frame it or finish it as a little pillow. Oh looking at the picture I realize I'm not totally done. There is another heart and some little motifs to finish. Oh well I'll get to that later.

And now for my rant on Daylight Savings Time - the short version - I intensely dislike it. I can't see a single reason to have it. We don't save any power with this and it messes up people's sleep cycles and has been related to an increase in accidents when it changes. I know the battery companies use this occasion to remind you to change the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors, but I'm sure they could tie this reminder to Easter and Halloween and still make their point in a timely fashion. So now that I'm up on this soap box I found this site - you can click - it is a petition to eliminate the bi-annual change. It is on the White House page where petitions are posted. It needs to get 100,000 signatures for the government to look at this issue. I would love them to change this instead of my health care and taxes - just saying. So if you are on the same side of this issue as I am, go over and sign. Climbing down off the the soap box now...

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Showing my socks on another snowy day

The snow is still on the ground and the temperature is a chilly 32 degrees so socks, warm socks are required for today.

These are a pair I made back in October or Socktober as it was referred to. And in keeping with a theme - and I LOVE a theme- I was knitting along with the Patchwork Times blog and only using Opal yarn. Now this it not your typical Opal yarn. It was called Antonia Hand Dyed and it has a picture of some young gal on the band. I assume she is some star in Europe but I haven't a clue. Anyway this yarn comes in a skein not a ball like the all the rest of the Opal I have, but it is definitely the same quality and it totally machine wash and dry. I snagged about 4 skeins of this when it was on sale at Simply Socks for about $10 a skein. What a bargain! I did a little search of the web and it appears this yarn is pretty much gone. Darn it! (ha-ha bad knitting pun) I did see a skein or two on WEBS site but I have both of those colorways.

I was pleasantly surprised by the flashing and pooling of this yarn. It is the antithesis of Opal's regularly patterned stripes - which I like too. This is another skein I'll keep in mind when I get around to dyeing yarn this Spring.

And speaking of socks, check back tomorrow to see what's on my needles. I realized that I have been knitting nothing but socks for the last month or two and now have another lovely collection of single solitary socks. Gotta buckle down and finish a second sock for a least one pair - right? Probably not - LOL! I'm too crafty ADD. They will sit for a while and age and when I discover them again the yarn will seem new and then I'll finish them up.... I hope.

Stay warm - happy stitching!
carol fun

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow day

Looking out my kitchen window 

Well, we got about 5 inches of the white stuff and it cancelled my youngest son's college classes and freed me from my chauffeuring duties for the entire day - yippee! I've cross stitched a bit, and I've knit a little and I made another block for my latest Scrappy Trips quilt. And I've spent time leisurely reading blogs which had lead me to two interesting videos. First, click HERE to a link for a wonderful video about Kaffe Fassett from Creativebug. I adore his fabrics and I love that he appreciates the crafty as well as the arty forms of expression.

And then I was on Quilt Swissy's blog - you can get to it by clicking here - and she had a link to a video interview of Dominique Ehrmann by Bonnie McCafferry and her innovative quilts. The video is about 14 minutes long and it is fascinating. You can see it HERE. I would love to see her quilts in person.

Also last Thursday Judy at Patchwork Times said that would be her last link up of  Show Us Your Socks till Fall since it was getting too warm in Texas to wear socks.  However, refer back to the picture at the top of this post.... I will still be wearing wool socks for a while and I plan to Show My Socks until it is warm enough for sandals... probably in June. LOL! I hope that others will continue to show their socks too.

Now back to enjoying my snow day... the sewing machine is calling my name!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, March 4, 2013

Scrappy Trips 2.0 on Design Wall Monday

As with many quilts I do I had no intention of immediately starting a second Scrappy Trip just hours after finishing my first one. But I came across this quilt  - go here and check it out - on the Flickr feed and I was a goner. As I was putting the blocks together from my first Scrappy Trips I has contemplated making a double bed size quilt with this technique and this quilt gave me a game plan. First I would make the blocks 8 X 8 like she had and by increasing the size of my blocks to a finished 2 1/2" square, I could make an 80" X 80" quilt from 16 blocks.

So I immediately started pulling fabrics. The white I'm using is a tone on tone with a variety of different sized dots. My first thought was to keep this quilt "quieter" - use fabrics with low contrast and that's what I did for the first 2 blocks. If you look back at my first picture they are the blocks in the upper left and the lower right. However while the "quiet" choices are nice they don't make my heart sing the way the "noisy" choices too. To my way of thinking "noisy" fabrics are the party animals, the happy campers and I LOVE them!

noisy choices
quiet choices

quiet choices

noisy choices

So the original two "quiet" blocks may or may not find a place in the finished top. I may put them around the edges or maybe on the back. It is too soon to tell.

Now the other day someone asked me where my color sense came from since the quilts I made 20 years ago are by no means as bright as what I make now. I have to say that this book

totally changed my quilting style. This book was published in 1999 and I had never seen quilts with such a variety of  saturated color and  busy pattern. Freddy considers red to be a neutral and I've developed my own palette where yellow is my neutral. Freddy loves polka dots and well, you know I adore them. Freddy's quilts are some of the happiest quilts I've ever seen. I've made a couple of quilts from this book. I will take some pictures and show you my version of one of her house quilts.

So to wrap this up today, I leave you with a picture of Big Dude giving my Scrappy Trips 3 Ring Circus a final inspection before I take it to the guild meeting tonight to drop it off to my long arm quilter.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Slow stitching on Sunday

So here is something you haven't seen for a while on this blog.... cross stitching! Yes, I have actually picked up my needle and completed a little sampler. This is True Love Sampler by Stacy Nash.

As you can tell from the photo of the chart below I totally changed the colors on this one.

It all started when I chose that evenweave. It is 32 ct. and I hand-dyed it myself a while ago. I love that mottled rosy hue. As for the flosses they are all Anchor ones that were in my stash. Years ago I was quite fond of Anchor flosses. I used them a lot on Ewe & Eye & Friend pieces. I'm going to take this one to the framer this week.

And I released my Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor from its ziploc bag. Oh it was fun to stitch on this for a change.

I am about 1/3 of the way finished on this. This little cartouche has space to add the year the sampler is complete. I'm not going to tempt fate by putting in 2013, but I's sure like to.

And did you see this latest release from Rosewood Manor?

winter quaker rosewood manor

I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

So I'm hoping to get a bit more stitched done today and some sewing too. The quilt guild meeting is tomorrow night and I want to get the binding on my latest quilt for Show & Tell.

Hope you have a great week...happy stitching!
carol fun