Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whatever Wednesday

I don't have a good reason why I haven't gotten my act together until so late this Wednesday, I just been feeling blaaaahhh... no energy. I'd like to blame it on the heat but I spent most of the day inside with the AC going full blast. I do have a couple of things I want to share though.

First this is where my BBD Mystery Sampler stands.

I'm working on the last 2 sections at the same time since I discovered that I made a counting error somewhere along the line and there is NO WAY I'm going back and frogging anything. I'm off 2 stitches on the top to the bottom borders. I'm soooo glad that this piece isn't symmetrical. I'm going to have to shorten a flower stalk here or there or leave out a little motif but I doubt anyone will notice it. I am very happy with this piece and can't wait to see it finished and framed. There is another BBD graph that should arrive tomorrow that I want to start,and getting one piece finished is the best motivation I know of.

And isn't this a great quilt?

Unfortuately, it isn't mine. My friend Laurey made this and it is a gift for her future DIL. The flowers are done in wool on a cotton background. She appliqued this with her Janome. Don't you love the button centers? This is such a happy quilt.

And then there is this cutie --

My niece, Angela, crocheted this adorable polka dot chicken potholder. I love it and I can assure you that I will never tempt fate by actually using it. I intend to hang it on the fridge so I can admire it. It makes me smile!

Hope your week has been more productive than mine. The most I have to show for the week is clean laundry and I doubt that any of you need to see that!

Happy stitching,
carol fun

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sampler Sunday

Sunday, its already Sunday again? I can't believe another week has flown by. My dear grandma use to say that the older you get the faster the time goes - ackk!!! by that standard I'm aging fast!

This week I have a sampler to share that doesn't have a house on it! OMG -you're shocked aren't you? Well I do have a couple that are house-less, but not many. I'm not sure what the name of this piece is. It was on the cover of Just Cross Stitch magazine eons ago. It is a big piece, about 18" square and hangs in my foyer. I loved the flowers on this sampler particularly the tulip. Tulips are my favorite flower and this one is also in my favorite color-- any shade of yellow! I stitched this piece back in 1997 and it is on linen and it used DMC floss - roses, soft turquoise and golds. I like the classic looks of this piece.

On another front - have you noticed the crazy high prices that OOP Blackbird Designs charts are going for on ebay? Last week I put a bid in on a chart that I want to stitch. I was willing to go $20 for this, which is about double what it originally retailed for. Well after a couple of days I was outbid. I checked back on it and the final price was $51!!!! WOW!!! I love BBD but that is too rich for my blood. Now I did find the chart I wanted from another stitcher who generously worked a swap with me. I have a couple of OOP charts in my collection and I'm thinking about how I can work a swap with another like minded stitcher. I know how hard it is to find some of these graphs and I have been very fortunate to snag the ones I wanted for reasonable prices (by reasonable I mean I haven't paid more than twice the original retail price for the OOP chart.) I have one chart that I have seen on ebay kitted up with floss and linen and the asking price is over $100! I understand economics and whatever the market will bear but it is hard to justify these astronomical prices. Ok - that's my rant for now. I hope that you can find the charts you want for reasonable prices!

Happy stitching -

carol fun

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sensible Activity for Sweltering Day?

I pretty sure that like most of the US your weather has been as hot and steamy as it is in Ohio. Temps in the upper 90's - Humidity in a 3 digit reading - Air you can cut with a knife. So what would be your choice for an activity on a sweltering hot day? Sit in the shade with a frosty beverage? Stay indoors and crank up the AC? Oh, what if we go outside and dye wool sock yarn? Oh, that didn't come to mind? Silly me! Well that's what I did the other day. (I know I'm certifiably, you don't have to tell me.)

So I have these skeins of bare sock yarn that have been calling to me to be dyed. This is about 300 grams here in 25 gram mini hanks.

And when I got done......
.....they looked like this.ooooooohhhhh.....aaaaahhhhh!

And then I did some big hanks (100 grams each).......

From right to left.... pinky,purply goodness, black with some purple undertones, and pumpkiny golden smooshiness!

In addition I overdyed a skein I dyed last summer adding shades of green and touches of brown to a hank that was originally orange and yellow. I couldn't wait to knit with this and started this sock.

The pattern is Embossed Leaves. (You can see some great examples of this on Ravelry, but be forewarned. I find that Ravelry and can suck hours and hours out of my day looking at all the wonderful knitty stuff.)

By the time I finished this project I was drenched in sweat and my hair closely resembled a frizzy auburn brillo pad.....oooooh sooo attractive - LOL! But I do like the results of my efforts. I want to use the mini skeins to do some striped socks and some stranded colorwork, if I can figure out how to do it. (This is where friends get involved as I make Cathy teach me how to do this.... such nice friends I have!)

So I hope that you are staying cool. I would highly recommend the activities that involve cold frosty beverages and AC cranked up to the Antartic setting!

Happy stitching --
carol fun

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whatever Wednesday

First thing before I forget, and I will, I had several comments and emails asking where I got my bargains last weekend. The local store that is closing out its quilting inventory is Lambikins Hideaway in Hamilton, Ohio. The store carries a wonderful collection of yarns and was going to expand into quilting, but the owner has had life deal her a change of plans, so she is only going to concentrate on yarn. She has some wonderful fabrics and is offering great discounts, and there is a special deal everyday. Check her blog to see what is going on. Now she only has a little of the cross stitch supplies. At one point she thought she'd carry these lines but it didn't fully materialize. The WDW flosses are older colors but I don't care since I often change colors in my pieces and I go with what I like.

Well as per my normal modus operandi, my productive weekend has been followed by a couple of rather nothing days. I've only spent a little time behind my sewing machine,and I've gotten about 1/3 of my son's quilt done. I'd like to finish up the quilting on this real soon. When I'm finished I'll show a picture. It isn't my usual style, but it is my son's choice- all black and white and red with a bit of flame fabric. He likes it and that is all that matters, isn't it?

I did have some noticeable progress on my BBD Mystery Sampler.

I am soooooo glad to have that middle section finished. There was so much stitching in this section and this section is almost 20 stitches wider than the 2 sections that flank it. I think it is quite feasible for this sampler to be done by mid-August at the latest, which would please me no end, so I can start something new!

And I did get another pair of socks knitted!

This pair is for Stephie. We dyed the sock yarn last summer, but Stephie likes dyeing it more than she likes knitting it. They are plain stockinette but I think the yarn striped in a very cool fashion. I do better at finishing when I knit for someone else. In my own stash I have at least 7 or 8 single socks that are longingly waiting for a mate to appear, and they are probably going to be waiting a while longer. Like all my other projects, starting a new pair of socks is just so much more fun than knitting up a mate.

Hope you are having a great week. Thanks for all the nice comments and emails, I really appreciate you taking the time to leave them!

Happy stitching!
carol fun

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sampler Sunday and a Charming Between Friends Finish

This week's sampler was stitched back in 1997. It is a pattern from City Stitcher and is called The Weeping Tree Sampler. I love how the letters of the alphabet are hidden among the leaves of the tree and weeping willow trees are one of my favorite trees.

Among the other great details of this piece are the hands in the lower right corner. This is another big sampler about 12 1/2 inches square.

And today I finished my Between Friends QAL from the Charming Chatter gals. I love how the quilting really made this little quilt come to life.

I started by doing some continous curves around the blocks. Then I moved onto some straight line quilting inside the blocks. I used one of the decorative stitches on my machine over the edges of the little inside borders. The thread is a variegated Sulky in shades of gold, light green and a lavender. I like how the colors dance across the top. Quilting this little quilt has made me want to start a larger version of this quilt. I think the quilting would work well on a full size quilt too. I have a nice selection of fat quarters that have been seasoning and are ripe for the sewing.

Happy stitching,

carol fun

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Not much sewing, but.....

a whole lotta shopping has been going on. Well I always have the best intentions to get things done (and yes I know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions)but I've only gotten a couple of things sewn. However I have had much success in the field of competitive shopping, an area in which I have lots of expertise. Practice makes perfect you know. A local shop is closing out its inventory due to life changes for the owner and it has had some tremendous daily bargains. Yesterday I snagged this......

an entire spool of wide rickrack! I love wide rickrack but often I find myself dyeing it myself to get the colors I want, so the white is good choice for me. There are 65 1/2 yds here. How do I know that? Well I had to unroll it and reroll it, a good upper body workout too! I was able to get this for 70% off - a mere 38 cents a yard. Now who could pass up that bargain? And there were these lovely skeins of Weeks hand dyed flosses....

only $1 each. Along with the flosses I was able to get 5 1/2 yds of linen and evenweave for under $13. I also got almost 12 yds of Moda fabric --collections from Sandy Gervais and Camille of Cotton Blossoms for less than $4 a yard. And my mailmen brought a lovely group of cross stitch graphs.....

do we see a theme? Yep, they are all fowl - birds and chickens. I can't wait to play with these and since they are small they should stitch up quickly. I did finally get finished with the middle section of my BBD. This has taken soooo long. I am very happy to move onto the next section. I'll show an update pic later in the week. And drumroll please! I finished one of the items on my list of goals for Jul/Aug.

This pillowcase is for my son. I have no idea why I put this off for so long since it really was a very simple project. I want to make some pillowcases for me now and use some of my new wide rickrack.

Well I need to go and get my little Between Charming Friends quilt top basted. I really want to finish this. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

Happy stitching,
carol fun

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July/August goals for Charming Chatter

I've been following the Charming Chatter blog for a while and in celebration of their 1st year anniversary the girls are inviting others to join them - and I'm doing it! Now I've been running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off (appropriate dontcha think?) and I believe that compiling a short list of things I want to accomplish might be the kick in the rear I need to get them done. You know the public shame thing and all -- LOL! So here is my list of goals I'd like to achieve before the end of August.(Oh I really like that is it a 2 month time span since this will let me attempt to cram everything into the last couple of days -hey, I know me!)

July/August Goals
1. Make pillowcase for my son
2. Finishing quilting and binding of quilt for same son
3. Organize my knitting patterns - socks, shawls, scarves, etc.
4. Organize (and somehow compress) all of my yarn
5. Start on Christmas gifts for friends (I actually have an idea for this one but
it has to stay a secret since they read my blog -thanks guys!)
6. Finish quilt top for Crazy Mama Sews QAL
7. Finish BBD Mystery Sampler (this is doable if I don't start any new cross stitch projects - wish me luck since I always want to start a new project)
8. Sort and reorganize one bookcase of fabric (this could take some major time)
9. Start walking again - 3 times a week - and find my pedometer.
10. START A NEW QUILT TOP. -- this is a slamdunk!

(Ignore space between 8 and 9 I can't figure out how to get rid of it)

I think this is a good number to start with. I will be very happy to accomplish these goals and I have more I could do, but we won't talk about the 3 bags of SNW blocks I found the other day. How could I forget 3 whole bags of blocks, we're talking enough blocks to make a queen size quilt (since you know I'm gentically program only to do BIG ones). I think it is time to consider going back and finishing up a UFO or two now and then. Or there is the other alternative -- give them away! Last night at the quilt guild meeting they announced a program where you could exchange your UFO for someone else's. However, my group of friends is of the mindset "could we just drop off our UFO's and run?" Not a bad idea - LOL!

Happy stitching,
carol fun

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sampler Sunday

Here is an oldie but goodie. According to the dates I stitched into this piece I worked on this sampler from 1992 through 1996. That would mean that I started this while we were living in Modesto and finished it up after we returned to Ohio. This is the Plantation Sampler and it is OOP. Edgar over at Blacksheep's Bit of the Web showed his recently acquired chart of this piece. I remember that the first time I saw this sampler was in the living room of the quilter Cathy Hoover in Modesto. As I recall the guild was at her home for a Christmas party and she had this sampler stitched and prominently framed in her living room. I distinctly remember it had a wide mat made of linen which was gorgeous. I went home that evening coveting this sampler and I was able purchase the chart and the linen at R. Lily Stem quilt shop (I heard that the shop has closed since I lived there, but I loved this place.) As this is a rather large piece (about 18" square) it took me a while to finish and at the time I had 2 small boys (one with major medical issues) and we moved twice. This sampler has a prominent place in my family room. I still love all the animals and that curvy outer border. Notice there are fowl in this piece too, geese and a rooster!

I had a hard time getting good pics of this piece, so if you can't read the verse it says: To those who came before me, This work I dedicate, For simple pleasures they did seek, And with their hands did make.

(You can make the pics bigger by right clicking and opening them in a new window if double clicking doesn't work. Hope that makes them clearer.)

And a sincere thank you for all the nice comments and emails! They make my day!
Happy stitching,

carol fun

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chosen in the 3rd round....

I spent today sewing on my quilt for the Crazy Mama Quilts QAL and this little cutie was chosen in the 3rd round. I'm having a great time with this project although I have rechecked my math a dozen times. It seems like I have too many blocks cut but I've checked and rechecked and rechecked and it should come out ok. I know that rounds 4 and 5 will take a lot of blocks. I'm trying to space out the novelty prints and the brighter ones but as I sew I sometimes just grab a block and add it. When I look at the top with my glasses off (I'm very very nearsighted) it blurs the whole thing and it appears that the colors are scattered nicely.

Now I should be working on several other projects. I have a quilt for my youngest son that is all sewn and pin basted and it has been sitting in a basket for weeks. And I promised him a new pillowcase too with some cool dragon fabric I found at Waynesville. I need to put this QAL on hold and switch over and finish his quilt. I even have the binding all made and ready to go and it is going to be an all machine stitched project. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be a better mother and work on his quilt. It really shouldn't take too long.

I spent last evening cross stitching on the BBD Mystery sampler and realized that while I had "finished" sections 4 and 5 there were quite a few stitches missing here and there. You know a stitch for one bird eye here and a flower center there. I'm trying to pick them up and truly finish these sections.

Happy stitching!

carol fun

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Whatever Wednesday

Mid-week already? Time flys whether or not you're having fun, doesn't it? But I have had some fun. I've gotten all 362 different yellow squares cut for the Crazy Mom Quilts project. I can't wait to start sewing them together with the background fabric. I'm planning on rechecking to be sure that each one is a unique piece of fabric by sorting them into categories before I start sewing - dots, stripes, tone on tone, flowers, novelties. And I have to decide just which square will be right smack in the center. I'm leaning toward the little red polka dot chicken, but that
doesn't surprise you does it? LOL

And I finished my Between Charming Friends little quilt.I did a different border because I wasn't convinced I had enough fabrics to do the piano key border. I cut some squares wrong and I discarded some and I didn't feel like going back to get another charm pack. I like this border because it shows off the little squares and that golden dotty circle fabric. I'm thinking that an all over stipple in a pretty variegated thread would be a nice quilting design. I gotta finish this one before the week is over.

No new pic of the BBD Mystery Sampler since I have put very few stitches in it. There weren't any evening baseball games last week and that is my prime cross stitching time. However, I did want to share this picture I took the other day. Since I've started this blog chickens seem to be appearing in the strangest places. I saw this guy in front of an fruit market on SR73. Isn't he something? He'd look great in my garden, wouldn't he? A giant mutant chicken. Gotta cut back on the fertilizer.

Happy stitching,
carol fun

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot Cherry Salsa

Oh it is sooooo hot today and the rest of the week isn't going to be any cooler. Thank goodness for AC. Yesterday I hunkered down in my basement studio and finished my Cherry Salsa quilt top. Isn't it hot and sunny looking with all its reds and yellow? I used 55 differnt reds so I got a nice variety.

Of course it got BIG. Somehow my quilts usually do. This finished about 95" square (I know it doesn't look square in the pic but this is the best angle I could get when I was standing on the table - my version of living dangerously, LOL)

And you must take a closer look at the block right smack in the center. Do you see it?? Yes, it is s polka dot chicken. This was a fat quarter I picked up at Joanns and I didn't even see the chicken until I was piecing the 9 patches. I picked up a square and there it was right in the middle. I think this is serendipity and it makes me smile.

So after I finished up this quilt top I did exactly what any quilter would do.... I started a new quilt top. I decided to start the QAL that Crazy Mama Quilts is doing. Now mine is going to be a charm quilt and of course I'm making it bigger. Was there any doubt? I sketched it out on graph paper and decided that I need to cut my squares 3 1/4" so that my finished quilt will be around 94" squares. A nice generous quilt. Well that means I need 362 different yellow squares. Now I know for some of you that would be a stretch but my yellow stash is quite large and so far I haven't run out of fabrics. I've been collecting yellow fabrics for 25 years, it is my favorite color and the biggest portion of my stash. I rarely make a quilt that doesn't include yellow or shades of yellow. I'm having a blast going through my fabrics. I have lots and lots of dotty yellow fabrics and I'm fussy cutting some novelties on yellow backgrounds. Here's what my design wall looks like at the moment.

There are 242 squares up there... I need another 120. Hopefully I'll get the rest of them cut tonight while I listen to the baseball game. I picked up some white Kona today and I can't wait to start sewing these squares together. This is going to be such a fun quilt. Here are some of the novelty prints -- take special notice of the polka dot chicken. (Come on you know I LOVE a theme!)

And lots and lots of dots!

Stay cool and happy stitching!
carol fun

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sampler and Shopping and Salads

Happy 4th of July! Hope your day is filled with lot food, fun and fireworks. As for me there hasn't been a whole lot of sewing going on the past couple of days so what I have to share concerns a sampler, shopping and salads. I'll explain.

Here is my Sampler Sunday offering and it has a patriotic theme. This sampler's name is My Hearth & Home by Brenda Gervais of With thy Needle & Thread. Like the sampler I showed 2 weeks ago this has a wonderful "quilty" border (love those half square triangles) a cute house and some humongous flowers. (Do we see a theme?? - hey if I like something I REALLY like it)

Anyway this is only temporarily framed since I can't decide if I want to overdye the piece and antique it up or just leave it alone. I'm still mulling this over. I have a little stash of samplers that feature flags and I'd like to get more of these stitched up. You know how it is... so much stitching little time.

One of the reasons there was so little production the last couple of days was that there was some substantial shopping going on. There was a trip to Waynesville for more charm packs. I got "Tweet" but they don't have any yardage yet. I'll show this when I get my background and border. This collection features adorable birds. I like birds as well as chickens. I'm an equal opportunity devotee of fowl. I've even got a pattern in mind for this project.

Saturday was a great shopping adventure. My dear friend Stephie accompanied me to a shop we'd been to last September on the Tri-State Shop Hop. The shop is called Sulphur Grove Quilt Shop and it is in Huber Heights. I have been pining over a bolt of fabric I saw there 10 months ago. It was a wild and crazy fabric called Hippie Chick and I knew it would make a fantastic Stack-N-Whack quilt. (Sidenote - I haven't revealed my obsession with Stack-N-Whack before. I LOVE SNW - off the top of my head and because I'm too lazy to get my butt out of the chair and actually find them all - I believe I have made at least 9 SNW quilts. There are also several UFO SNW's too. One week I'll take pics of all my SNW's and give you a mini quilt show of my obsession.) Meanwhile back at the ranch....Stephie and I went to Sulphur Grove and if a good time is measured by how much you spent we had a very very very good time. First they still had the fabric ---- omg!!! I still LOVE it!!

Hippie Chick by Marcus Brothers Michelle D'Amore designer.

This is a HUGE repeat - 24"- so I will be making BIG blocks. I bought enough for a block with 8 repeats so I could do big Lemoyne Stars. It is probably my favorite block for SNW. But wait there was more ......

This is a layer cake and additional yardage from the Tranquility collection by Sandy Gervais. This collection is several years old and somehow it escaped me when it first came out.

And I already had this panel with these great birds in my stash.

Which of course leads me to want to do a quilt with these birds. I was sooooo happy to find this layer cake (and it was marked down - yippee) and the yardage for a border and sashing (also marked down). I also got an old American Jane piece and an older Blackbird Design piece featuring samplers. Oh I love a fabric that embraces several aspects of craftiness. The shop had lovely samples and several patterns also went home with Stephie and me. It was a lovely day!

As for salads, I spent the morning preparing goodies for dinner tonight. Pasta salad, tabouleh, marinated tomatoes and chilled strawberries and watermelon. All I need is someone to put the steaks on the grill while I fix the corn on the cob an baked beans and we will have a feast. I figured you didn't need to see pics of them sitting in their little knock-off tupperware containment units, so use your imagination.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! I plan to celebrate the rest of the day by relaxing and sewing. While I have all the blocks done for the Cherry Salsa quilt I still don't have the rows sewn together. Gotta get it done, so I can start something new.

Happy stitching.

carol fun