Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Just because I wanted to...

I'm stalled on my APQ's Go 4 It QAL...and from my sewing machine I can see two tops that only need the borders put on... and another two tops that just need the rows sewn together... and a bajillion other projects in various states of incompleteness... so what should I do? Start a new quilt! Just because I wanted to!

I found this pattern online over the weekend. A Sunday Charmer  by Sweet Jane's and you can find it here. It only takes two charm packs...oooohh I have lots of those...and about 3/4 of a yard of background fabric. I think I can come up with that  (she said facetiously).



I grabbed two packs of Stephanie Ryan's Fleurologie collection which you can see here and off I went. Ta dah!!!


I know the picture is a bit wonky. I had to lay the top out on the floor as my design wall is still full of the Go 4 It blocks. Now I still need to get the borders on but it sure is a pretty spring-y little throw. I think I'll toss it over the sofa in my living room like they do in all the fancy decorating magazines - LOL!



Here's a better picture of some of the blocks. Certainly not my usual palette but very pretty and not so in your face.

I'm very proud of myself for not making this larger. I was so tempted to find more of this fabric and make it bigger, but then I realized that not every quilt I make has to be queen size or bigger. Little is nice too... very nice... and it gets done lots quicker...imagine that! I like Sweet Jane's patterns, here is her Etsy shop and I think I may do a few more. A couple of charm pack and some background and it is almost instant gratification... I like that... A LOT!

Hope you are having a good week. Things are still stressful here but this little quilt puts a smile on my face!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stalled...on Design Wall Monday

So yesterday I mentioned I have been at loose ends the last few weeks and as a result I'm kinda stalled on my 4 patch quilt from APQ's Go 4 It QAL. Here's where I am...


I definitely like this arrangement with the 4 patches running diagonally. I'm good with this size... there will be nine 9" blocks in a row and 9 rows in total. I am  a bit more than half way there with these 5 rows. I am planning on adding a scrappy border around all 4 sides to have it finish somewhere in the area of 85  inches.

Now I know I dithered about the fact that some of my text fabrics were ending up sideways and upside down. My plan was to correct their improper orientation when I sewed the rows together... but then I thought about it ... and realized that was going to take a lot of  time to do... and since this will be a square quilt there isn't any definitive right way to put in on the bed. Sooooo if the text fabrics go in multiple directions some of them will always be facing right side up...genius - LOL!

Are you scratching your head? Wasn't I adamant that they had to be right side up? Yes, yes I was... and that was the OCD talking. And what is louder than OCD?  I'll tell you what is louder... LAZINESS!  I am just too lazy to take apart and re-sew blocks.  I know I'll love this quilt when it is finished, but right now it just needs to get done and off my design wall.

You can see how text fabrics and flowers with a definite up and down go in several different directions in this picture. They are going to stay that way.



On Saturday I had the time to finish making all the 4 patches I will need... there are about 200 little blocks in these trays.


By the time I got to the last couple of blocks in each colorway I was sewing whatever I could get my hands on. As long as the two brights were in the same color family I sewed them together. I couldn't bear to cut any more 2" squares and only I have a handful of squares left over. I sure hope my math is correct and this is all the 4 patches I need to make. I don't want this top to end up being a UFO, but my interest is waning fast.

I hope that whatever you are working on this week, makes you happy!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 22, 2015

At loose ends...

Whoa... times does fly by! I didn't mean to stay away so long but, I've been at loose ends the last week or two. I flit from project to project and don't seem to make a lot of progress. As my sainted father use to say, "you bounce around like a BB is a box car!" A very apt description of my behavior since I've been a child.

I have been plugging away on my Cross Stitch It Calendar Band Sampler. I've only got one more row for March to do and I hope to start it today.



I'm really liking how this is going and I've even staked out a spot where I want to hang it...directly in eyesight of my stitching chair. I figure when I finish this I will want to bask in its glory for quite a while...LOL!

I did do a bit of reverse stitching on this part.


I looked ahead and realized that the only alphabets in the piece are in this upper section. I decided to jazz up my initials C and F on the first alphabet...I used one strand of CC Queen Bee and did little smyrna crosses. In the alphabet below I re-stitched the C and the N for my sons' initials in a darker floss.

I've been waiting not too patiently for my goodies to come from the Spring TNNA show. I got several pieces featuring birds and I'm itching to stitch them.

Spring has sprung a bit here and yesterday I saw my first daffodil bloom!


This is part of my side yard and I planted daffodils all around the house. Ignore the leaves...they all come off a tree across the street and it still has leaves that need to drop.  The front yard doesn't get as much sun but they are starting to show a bit of yellow and the tulips I put in my flower box are up about 2 inches... yeah! I'm ready to do some planting although it is waaaaay too soon. I'm planning a new flower bed with some rose bushes and more perennials.

And when I get a bit discouraged... which has happened the past two weeks I look at this and realize you just have to keep pushing on.


I can assure you that I didn't plant any daffodils under this stone... but there is it...and it is determined to bloom where it is planted.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, March 13, 2015

Stress knitting...

As most of you know weddings can be stressful... lots of details, lots of decisions and at least one guest behaving badly.  This week it has been a guest issue that really has me crazy, so I stress knit. A mindless, stockinette, vanilla sock... in pretty yarn!




This sock was only started on Tuesday evening. The yarn is Blue Moon Socks That Rock Lightweight and colorway is Chickabiddy.  I got it here at Simply Sock Yarn last summer. I don't see it in stock right now. Blue Moon dyes different colorways at different times so they come and they go. You can see other colorways here. I chose this sock to work on as the one I had sitting by my chair was a black yarn and my mood was even blacker - needed something a bit more perky.

I've said before how much I love Blue Moon yarn - love the roundy-ness of the yarn, love how the colors spiral, stripe and sometimes pool - I LOVE when they pool. However, this is not a sock I would give as a gift. It really needs babying. The colors fade quickly (although somewhere I read an article on how to set the colors and I need to look that up again).  The socks also shrink and felt. I have about 8 pairs of Blue Moon socks in my drawer in various stages of felting. I'm ok with it. I wear them till I can no longer get them on my feet and then I toss them. It takes several years to get to that  point and then I knit some more. I know not everyone would be okay with that, so I want to be honest about this yarn's shortcomings. It isn't an Opal or a Regia or a Paton that you can knit and wash and dry without a care.  For me the roundy-ness (I know that's a made up word but it is the best one I can think of to describe the yarn) and the colors and the crazy names are enough for me.

EDITED TO ADD - if you  hand wash this yarn it probably won't shrink and felt but I am LAZY and all my socks (except for a cashmere pair) go into the washer and the dryer!

Also speaking of the wedding I've been trying to knit a shawl to wear. I found this awesome yarn at a new yarn shop in town  - Fiber Optics in Milford, OH.  The yarn is the Neon colorway of Kimber Baldwin's Fiber Optic Yarn - Foot Notes  Paint Box Gradient. Go look at her selection. Don't be put off by the "out of stock". If you contact her I think you'll find it is available. I saw them in her shop but her website doesn't seem to be updated. Anyway, after a first unsuccessful run at another pattern, my friend Cathy suggested this pattern - Reverse Psychology - you can see it here on Ravelry. I think this is the perfect match of yarn and pattern.



Now the colors in real life aren't as strong as this picture is showing. The gradation is very smooth... starting with a coral pink and working into much much softer orange than is showing here.  It is a gray rainy day here and this was the best I could do. Anyway the gradient packages come with 15 little hanks of yarn. I've used about 5 so far and I have one more wound and ready to go. Here is the rest of the package.


Again  the colors aren't this in your face. It is a very subtle movement of color. Kimber has a ton of different gradient packages, some with cashmere...ooooohhhh.  I have also purchased a package in a purple colorway and I think more will find their way to my house.

Here is a link to the  store information. It is a wonderful shop. Kimber just carries her hand dyed yarn and fiber but OH WOW there is a lot of it.  All weights of yarns, lots of different colors, beads, roving and she carries spinning wheels too. She has remodeled a building and she even has a fireplace in the corner of the shop. Such lovely atmosphere.

Oh back to the pattern - I LOVE it!   Every single row is written out and there is a stitch count for every row.  I know some people prefer graphs but I like the instructions written out. The pattern is about 10 pages to print out because of all the written instruction, just to let you know. I think the $5 price was a steal!  I can see myself making this pattern more than once. I'm adding lots of beads...you have a choice to bead or not to bead... that is the question! LOL! I like the bit of sparkle and since a lot of the beads are on the ends it adds a bit of weight which should keep the edge from curling.  And I forgot to tell you that the shawl is reversible - get it Reverse Psychology??  When you put it on it will look great from either side. Anyway I need to get this knit. I put is aside for a couple of days when I was stewing over the wedding issue and switched to the sock, but last night I picked it up again and did  about 10 rows. I'm hoping tonight will be a good knitting night too.


happy knitting!
carol fun

Monday, March 9, 2015

Design Wall Monday... I made a block!

Well, I had some time to sew this weekend and I made one single solitary block. Here it is...


This block is the result of this fat quarter bundle I got here at Stash Fabrics.


These are prints from Anna Marie Horner and I've never bought any of her designs before; but this fabric talked to me and put words into my head like bohemian and gypsy and hippie and Woodstock and... well you get the idea, I'm was having a 70's flashback.  I HAD to have these fabrics. (And  yes I do remember the 70's - LOL!)   I thought about how to use them and figured a simple block would be the best way to show them off.  Oh, I also added some additional AMH fabrics from Fabric. com as  more is always better. You can see them here. 

Now,  don't feel sorry for me that I only got one block sewn this weekend because it was one GREAT BIG BLOCK!


This block is from the tutorial for the Giant Vintage Star quilt by  Jeni Baker of In Color Order and you can find all the info to make one here.  Mine measures around 66" at this point. I want to add some more of that ochre fabric to float the star and then maybe add a randomly pieced border so it will fit on my bed.

I am particularly happy with how well my points came together in the middle. Sewing with 17" cut blocks can be fiddly. I pressed all my seams open and I think that helped a lot. Also my fabric hasn't been washed so it is stiffer. If I was using pre-washed fabrics I would spray starch the blocks.


These are some of my favorite pieces... I LOVE that giant echinacea. May have to buy more of that. I got it at Fabric.com.


And that large scale floral in the bottom triangle puts me in the mind of lilies of the valley.


Now if you make one of these Giant Vintage Stars I have a couple of suggestions. First buy more than 2 yards of background.  I just had enough  and my yardage was 2" over 2 yards. If your fabric is cut wonky at one end you are going to have a hard time. Second, if you are using 16 fabrics and only need a HST of each print I found it was easier to cut using a freezer paper template. Here I have it ironed to a fat quarter and then I took it too my cutting table and used my 24" long ruler to cut it out.


Using a freezer paper template is helpful when you have a fabric with a stripe or a large pattern that you want to keep fairly straight. You can reuse the template over and over, just be careful when you are cutting that you don't shave off the edges.  You do have the back up that you will be trimming the blocks  before assembly, so if you are a little off you still have another chance to get it square.

I also realized this is the third time I've made this quilt.  The first time I made it was in 2012 and I used fabrics that reminded me of vintage sheets.




The second time I made it was in 2013 and I used flannels. It was a birthday present for my brother.


 And while the third time is said to be a charm, somehow I don't think this will be the last time I will make this pattern.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Now here is something novel...

I actually have some crafty content for my blog... how novel is that? LOL! I've been working on my BAP for 2015, the Band Sampler from Cross Stitch It... you can see it here in its entirety. So far I've received the charts for January, February and March... and this is January and February.



Okay technically February isn't complete yet as I still have another alphabet to stitch between that big A and Z.  My strategy for this one is to add a letter here and there when I have a bit of thread left over after doing another motif. That alphabet is charted for 12 different colors of thread, and I like that variety but I didn't want to think that hard and come up with 12 choices all at once. This way I can add lots of colors as I go.

So far I've used 20 different colors in this piece... all from my stash... aren't I virtuous? I think as this progress I will have to buy some flosses as there are several wide bands that use only one color and I don't want to run out. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

I do love that giant A and Z... I stitched them in one of my favorite flosses... Gentle Arts Queen Bee... and I did big smyrna crosses. Love that bump!


What I've stitched so far measures a tiny bit over 6" deep and I figure I've got about 34" to go. Like I said it is a BAP. I'm already scoping out places in my house where I can hang this.  And yes I am being totally unrealistic in thinking I'll get this done by the end of the year... but one can always dream!

Another Spring-y day here... I saw my grass... it is brown... but it s grass... and that is good. This is my least favorite weekend of the year, the Spring forward time change. I HATE IT!!!  Just pick one and leave it alone.  I did see this on the internet...



Absolutely, this was my plan! LOL!

I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday... you can check it out here.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, March 6, 2015

Found: One lost blogger who has brought Spring inside the house... kicking and screaming!!!

I didn't mean to be away so long but I lost my way...my blogging way... and my crafty way... for a little while. Once I got the wedding invitations in the mail I couldn't seem to focus on anything... and I didn't... I just wandered from project to project to project and couldn't get anything done. I'd like to blame it on the weather, which is no where near as bad here in Ohio as it is throughout the US. However, all those gray days with snow just make me a weary unmotivated lump of lard.

So to snap out of my funk I decided it was time to re-decorate. Out with the snowmen, I banished the beady eyed guys to a bin in the basement, and in with the Easter stuff, bunnies and fake forsythia and quilts with tulips. And,  I re-arranged the furniture too.  Obviously it was the right move as the sun has returned, and I saw forecasted temperatures of 40 and even  50 for next week...yippee!!! Maybe Spring is lurking round the corner.

This is what my living room looks like now... as you come through the front door you see this...



I love that little yellow cabinet it came from Target and you can see it here. It comes in lots of different colors. I've got a little vignette with bunnies and I've tucked two Spring-y quilts into the shelves behind the glass doors. That cross stitch piece is my Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart. Love that piece! (You can click on the pictures and make them bigger so you can see some of the details.)

Here's a close up of the top... I just finished the table runner today. Those blocks were left over from the quilt you see on the other wall.


And this is the room arrangement now...



I moved the TV cabinet from the long wall and moved it in front of the window. I never use that window as it opens out onto the front porch and very little light makes it in. I'm using the back of the couch as a quilt rack for my Pansy quilt - it is one of my top ten FAVORITE quilts I've ever made.  I relocated my wall quilt display and added some more samplers.


I don't remember the names of these samplers but the top one is from Chessie & Me, the middle one is from Ewe & Eye & Friends and it was designed in honor of Polly Klaas, and the bottom one is also Ewe & Eye & Friends. I was so sad when they stopped designing cross stitch. They had so many wonderful samplers with houses.

And this is my view from my stitching chair... that TV cabinet is stuffed with quilts and there is room for some seasonal decorating on the shelves.



Across the room is this great shelving unit and I've got some lovely Spring-y items displayed...  the Lizzie Kate Spring Alphabet sampler, my mercury glass yellow duck and some assorted dishes with flower motifs. On the wall is another Blackbird piece, a Loose Feathers Mystery Sampler from issues 31 through 34,  and the quilt on the bottom is a 4 patch Stack N Whack using Bradon Mably's Brassica fabric.



 Oh that little door at the bottom, that's my mail slot. The mailman puts it in the slot outside and it slides down and right into the house. Very nice, you don't have to go outside to get the mail but oh it does let a lot of cold air in the house. It was a great idea in 1953 when energy costs were a pittance, not so much of a good idea now but I love the charm of it.

So I'm surrounded by Spring-y things that make me happy and let me forget that there is still a hefty layer of snow on the ground. I can close the blinds and pretend that the grass is green and my daffodils are ready to bloom... ignorance can be bliss - LOL!

happy stitching-
carol fun