Sunday, July 31, 2011

A sampler for Sunday

Today's offering is a little sampler that I just got back from the framers this week. This is "Wash Day" by Carriage House Samplings.

Next to houses, birds are my favorite motif on samplers and this one has a a whole flock of them! I stitched this using GA Sampler Threads with floss from my stash.

I'm really happy with this frame in more ways than one. First I like how the black coordinates with the birds. Second I like the red highlights in the frame pick up the rosy tones. And third I LOVE the price I paid for this framing --only $7.14! Yep, you read that correctly seven dollars and fourteen cents. I had this framed at Joann's and I used the 50% off plus $20 coupon - this is the best coupon for a small piece. Now I really lucked out because this was a very inexpensive frame so the total before discounts was only $54 - less 50% off (minus $27) minus another $20. The clerk who wrote up my order couldn't get over what a deal I was getting. Of course it helps that I don't get any matting or glass. I originally went down this road because I like to be able to see the texture of the stitching (so no glass) and I didn't want a bunch of different colored mats. Sticking with wood frames allows me to mix and match and regroup my samplers and they all play well together.

Hope you have a great week with lots of stitching time!
carol fun

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where I Sew

Well there has been a cosmic convergence of events -first, I cleaned up my sewing area and second Pink Chalk Studio is hosting s "Where I Sew" online tour. Now my sewing area isn't perfect but at least my photos won't land me on an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive". Although that could be a future possibility, I'll think about that tomorrow. (thanks Scarlett)

My sewing area is in the basement of my home and it as a lovely space. When we bought this house 18 years ago the space (or as the realtor referred to it "the finished lower level" )was completely done. The walls were were dry walled, there was Berber carpet on the floor and can lights were in place all around the perimeter of the space. I know I am blessed to have such a large space. This is my view when I come into my space.

That table that my sewing machines are set up on is a conference room table that is about 90" long and 45"wide. My Juki sits on one long side and my Janome sits on the shorter side. My husband purchased this table with the idea that it could be used for meetings - huh?? Through the years is has been used as the base for a giant Thomas the Tank Engine layout, a buffet table and mostly the receptacle for lots of stuff I bring in and can't decide where to put it. I haven't seen this much open space on this table for months! This is my view from my sewing chair across the room. The entire basement area is 30' X 30' - very spacious.

Now if I'm sitting in my chair at my Juki and look to my left I have my laptop and a view to the wall where I always display a large quilt. The bookcases on the side hold some of my fabric stash and books and assorted other stuff. Big Dude is sitting on my cutting table - oops! I just woke him up.

To the right of my sewing chair is the bulk of my stash. These bookcases are about 6 1/2 ft tall, 30 inches wide and 16 inches deep. I blame these bookcases for the size of my stash, honestly if they were smaller I wouldn't have been able to assemble this much fabric, right? (Shake your head up and down, up and down. - LOL) At the top you see part of my collection of tins. I love pretty tins and lots of knickknacks.

You know those photos that show rooms where everything is clean and sleek and there are minimal accents? -- yeah, my space is the antithesis of that. I love stuff! My philosophy is that you can have more stuff if you find a way to organize it or display it. It is justification enough for me!

This group of grid shelves my son helped me reconfigure last week. It includes my Moda precuts, some patterns and a current yarn projects. The clear bins have the quilt projects I'm working on now- my Farmer's Wife fabrics and the Hugs & Kisses Jaybird quilt and the Sugar Dish quilt. This way I can switch back and forth between projects and I hope this system will keep things a bit neater. (Hope springs eternal, doesn't it?)

This is my new clean design wall. My younger son helped me re-do this and it looks so good! It was the motivation I needed to kick start the rest of the cleaning up. (Check back on Monday to see where that block in the middle is going.)

And here is my cutting table. This is right behind my sewing chair, so I can swing around and cut and then sew. There is a lot of stuff toward the back of the table since I really can't reach across it (I have little short arms, dontcha know) and then the space is made even smaller when Big Dude surveys his kingdom from this perch. Oh well, he is good company.

I know I'm lucky to have all this space but I'm already entertaining thoughts as to what I'll do when I downsize. I think there will be a massive garage sale - LOL! So this is where I sew, my favorite spot in my home!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pretty things I didn't make...

I have been the happy recipient of several pretty things that I want to share with you. First is this pretty wallet made by Myra of Gr8dame's Place. I love the fabric and that button stack -- thank you Myra!

I won this in a "guess what Part 3 of the ">Mystery Sampler will include". Actually my "guess" was more of a wish for a house, and there is a house along with 2 sheep. Very pretty - now I just have to figure out to add a chicken in there somewhere. Oh check out Myra's modification of the sampler. She turned the bluebirds into cardinals. I think I'll be borrowing this idea too.

And then my friend Vicki made this adorable notebook for me. Isn't that polka dot chicken fabric just perfect?

Inside is a place for a pencil and a little pocket to slide notes in. Vicki is so clever. She's always coming up with great purses, quilts and gift items. Thank you Vicki!

And then there is this wonderful quilt top that I did not make. My friend Laurey(no blog) did this one.

Aren't these wonky baskets and her choice of fabrics great?

I love how she made one with bits and pieces of the other fabrics.

Today isn't turning to be as productive as yesterday. I ended up spending waaaay too much time trying to untangle a skein of yarn. It is a good thing it was pretty yarn or I'd have had to throw it across the room. Now I'm off to knit a bit.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, July 25, 2011

A design wall for Monday or what I found when I was cleaning!

Last week I spent some time cleaning up, sorting out and organizing my yarn and fabric and to my surprise I found stuff I'd forgotten I had.Obviously this means that having a poor memory is a good thing because this quilt top was new all over again!

This is a Thimble Blossoms pattern called "A Piece of Cake" by Camille Roskelley and the fabric is by the same designer. It is an older collection called Simple Abundance.

All of the blocks were already sewn to each other. All I needed to do was add the borders and the fabric was for them was in the same ziploc bag. Why hadn't I finished this quilt top? I got no clue, but today I did finish it and I even sewed together fabric for the back.

See that pretty paisley? I had plenty of it to make the back. Now it is all ready to be sent off to my long arm quilter at next Monday's guild meeting. Oh I feel so happy that I'm ready ahead of time. That almost never happens. My normal situation is to be sewing on the borders and slapping the back together just 20 minutes before I have to leave for the meeting.

Well it has been a very productive Monday. I hope this trend continues since I have several projects calling my name. I do wish they'd be better behaved and not yell at me -LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A sampler for a steamy Sunday

It is like 90 bajillion degrees outside and it just rained and it is so hot you can see the steam rising off of the streets and the roofs of the houses. So I am hunkered down in the basement family room with the AC and a fan running. I did go out on the screen porch long enough to take some pics of a sampler for today. I haven't the faintest clue what the name or the designer of this one it. And the date I stitched in is 1989 - a loooooonnnnggg time ago.

As I'm typing this a name popped into my little pea brain - Lynn Waters Busa - she was a quite prolific designer back in the 80's and 90's and this may be a design of hers. Whoa- it is scary what is tucked away in the dusty corners of my brain. Anyway I loved this sampler because of all the decorative stitches it used.

The alphabet is done is 4 sided stitch and eyelet stitches and that little tulip-y flower was done in queen's stitch. Between each section the dividers are also done in decorative stitches - long-arm cross stitch.

I love this sentiment and those flowers made with blocks of satin stitch and then overstitched. And it included my requisite house at the bottom. All in all a very pretty band sampler to my eye. And now that I think a bit more I'm not sure this was Lynn Waters Busa -- oh well, it will remain a mystery.

I've had some quality stitching time this week and I finished up 2 small pieces. One I took to Joann's to be framed and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the other one - maybe a pin keeep cushion. So because I finshed 2 pieces I rewarded myself by starting somtething new (let's not bring up the other pieces I already have started -ok?) This is how far I've gotten.

This is called Quaker Sampler and it is a BBD piece. It is in the book

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mid- week stuff

Yeah I know it's not a scintillating title but I'm tired. I spent the day making gigantic messes and then trying to clean them up. I was semi-successful in corralling and organizing my yarn, but my fabric area looks like my studio's has been ransacked. I was building some shelves with wire grids and connectors (shelving stuff left over from my son's college days) and I am short a number of the connectors. I think that several were lost during my son's many moves, and I am going to have scavenge some from his room. I'll do it tomorrow after he goes to work, he'll never notice that I've rearranged his piles.

It was a good day to stay inside with the AC cranked up. It was 95 with a heat index of 105 - hot hot hot! So I will share with you my latest knitting project, my Cladonia shawl.

I love how it turned out. I used Fiber Optics Kashmir yarn and it is soooo soft.It isn't as big as the pattern suggested since I used smaller needles but that's okay since I wanted a shawlette size.

This lace was very easy to knit. You can put a marker at the beginning and end of each repeat so staying on track was a cinch. Now that picot edging took hours but it was worth it.

Okay off to sit and veg a while and then back to the cleaning tomorrow. After I get my shelves put together I want to take down my dusty dirty design wall and put up some nice clean and fresh batting.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, July 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday and some progress

I got some time to sew and these blocks for my Sugar Dish quilt went together quickly. (Excuse my incredibly dusty design wall. I plan to change it this week. And looking at my layout some of those blocks are definitely going to be moved.)

I'm making a quilt big enough for a double size bed so I figure I need it to be 10 blocks wide and 9 rows long. Since the blocks are rectangles this will result in a nice square quilt, just the way I like it. I need 80 blocks and I have made about 75 blocks so I only need to cut out a couple more and work on the dresden plate blocks. Hopefully I'll have time for that tomorrow.

Last week I had a brush with celebrity over this quilt. Allison of Cluck, Cluck, Sew left a comment on my blocks! How cool is that? I love her patterns and will be definitely be stitching up a couple more. Right now I have my eye on her Kaleidoscope and Shortcake. So many pretty quilts to make, so little time!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A sampler for Sunday and where did last week go???

Remember last Monday when I said it was a busy day, I lied. It was an easy day compared to the rest of the week. Tuesday was crazy running around trying to get my car back from repairs, Wednesday I was out of the house all day with a trip to Columbus for a clinic visit to OSU for my brother, Thursday I did a ton of errands that didn't get done earlier in the week, Friday, heck I don't remember what happened Friday, and Saturday, after I dragged my sleepy butt to sock club in the morning I came home and took a looooooong afternoon nap. Notice no where in that week was there any productive craftiness - sigh -- so sad. ( I know your heart goes out to me - LOL! As if your lives aren't even busier!) But I do have a sampler to show for Sunday.

I know this is another Ewe & Eye & Friend but I haven't a clue what it is called. Sometimes I can go to this site, Twisted Threads, and figure out what the name of the piece is by the verse but this one doesn't have one. I do remember that this chart and flosses was a Mother's Day present one year from my boys.
I also remember that while it looks symmetrical it isn't and I had to do a bunch of frogging to put things right. The alphabet on this one is so pretty.

See how the capital letters are all done in giant smyrna cross stitches? Great texture and I love the soft gold color. Any shade of yellow makes me happy! I have had a bunch of comments and emails about how I get a sampler done every week and the answer is "I don't". If you look at lots of my samplers you'll see dates that stretch back to the 1980's. I have been cross stitching since 1985 when my first son was born and from the beginning I was entranced with samplers. I think I have been lucky that I've chosen to stitch pieces that have held up style-wise and don't look too dated. I do know that they still make me happy when I look at them and I have them ALL over my home.

Also, back when I was stitching A LOT, during the years my boys were in school, I frequented a great cross stitch shop called Twisted Threads which was owned by Ruth Sparrow. I would visit almost every week and they always had the latest graphs, fabrics and flosses and they had framing samples right in the shop. You could bring in your finished piece, select a frame and whatever else you wanted and they would have it picked up and taken to the framers and it would return in about a week. Back then I don't remember framing being as pricey as it is today. Now I take my pieces to my local Joann's which had a framer who's done needlework for years and I always use a coupon. However I do think framing prices have gotten out of hand.

Well here's hoping that this coming week I will have less running around and more time at home to be crafty. Happy stitching!

carol fun

Monday, July 11, 2011

A design wall for a busy Monday

I'm trying to post this early (for me) since I have lots of running around to do today. Well as you can see my design wall doesn't look anything like it did last Monday. Fear not the Hugs & Kisses blocks are still being worked on but I needed a little change of pace.

These blocks are from a great pattern by Cluck,Cluck,Sew called Sugar Dish.

The fabrics are a totally different palette from last week and that is what I love about quilting - so many fabrics to choose from. These fabrics are by Urban Chiks and are a couple of years old. The collections were from Moda and one is called Swell and the other was called Sweet. I think they have been properly aged and are ready to be stitched up in these fun blocks. I even did one of the adorable Dresden Plate blocks that the pattern calls for.

Those little blades are only 2 1/2" tall! I stitched them down with the blanket stitch on my Janome - I love that stitch! I know that some of my fabrics don't have a lot of contrast with the Kona Snow but I'm fine with it. I'm hoping that the finished quilt will have a soft, well-loved, well worn look.

I'm off - happy stitching!
carol fun

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A sampler for a lazy Sunday

Oh I have been a slug this weekend. I didn't have big plans to do anything in particular and I haven't done much of anything. I've spent time reading a couple of books by Fannie Flagg - Welcome to the World Baby Girl and Standing in the Rainbow - I love Fannie Flagg's writing. I stitched a little on the Mystery Sampler (I'm still on Part 1) and I did finish knitting my Cladonia shawl. I need to block it and then I'll show it off. But you can tell that all of these activities just had me with my butt in a chair expending as little energy as possible - perfectly sluglike!

I did get out of the chair long enough to take some pictures of my sampler offering for this Sunday. This is another Ewe & Eye entitled Let Virtue Reside. Notice another sampler with a big yellow house! Imagine that!

This is a fairly big sampler - about 14" square- and includes lots of decorative stitches. The leaves of this weeping willow are a single strand of floss.

And there are some spider web roses - I love them - and a heart done in eyelet stitch.

I like the brickwork on the house and the tree to the left has eyelet stitches here and there that kinda makes it look polka dotted.

And my sons initials are stitched within the grass. All in all a lovely arrangement enclosed in a pretty floral border.

Hopefully this week will find me more energetic. I do have a bunch of appointments but that isn't going to help my productivity on the creative front. Oh well maybe next weekend I'll have more to show for my time.

Have a great week - hope you have lots of energy and lots of time to be creative!

carol fun

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL restart

Okay, I'm easy carried away by the lure of a shiny new quilt project and the Farmer's Wife QAL is no exception. However, you know how patterns always tell you to read ALL the instructions before you start? Well, I didn't,...and normally I don't get burned too bad by it but this time I've goofed up. These are the 12 blocks I've completed - revel in their cuteness!

I'm having a great time using my American Jane collections and the boxer shorts. So what is wrong with these blocks? They are ALL 1/2 inch too small!! Arggghhh!!!! I love this one called Honeycomb -

the bee fabric from the American Jane collection, Le Petit Poulet, was a perfect choice. And I got to use some of my boxer shorts fabrics in this block called Birds in the Air.

Those little HST finished at an inch! But the overall block is 1/2" too small. How did this happen? Well I think I have figured it out. I printed out the templates from the CD and I assumed (oh yeah, that's exactly where I went wrong) they printed out the correct size. I was in such a hurry to start sewing them up I assumed that the blocks were suppose to be 6" unfinished, not finished since that is the size my first block turned out to be. And since they gave templates and not measurements I assumed it was because the blocks couldn't be rotary cut. WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! A lot of these blocks can be rotary cut and why the author/editor/publisher didn't include this information I do not know.

So I did some searching online and found this discussion board, and if you scroll down a little ways you will find that a wonderful quilter by the name of lizquiltz figured out how to get multiple templates on one piece of paper (another shortcoming - why only one template per page in the book?) and she tells you that Template one is a 2 1/2" cut/2" finished square - marvelous! Now after I downloaded it and printed out the first sheet I realized that again my templates were a bit small so I had to go into the Page Setup menu, make my margins smaller and make sure that is was not "shrinking to fit" the page. As I remember it said something about "no scaling" - sorry I'm not very tech smart. Anyway I then printed out all the templates, which is 15 sheets, on cardstock which will make nice templates for the odd shaped pieces but there are plenty I can rotary cut.

So what to do with the dozen blocks I've already stitched? I think I'll make a little wall hanging out of them and I'm going to restart my FW blocks. Oh I should have known that it was too good to be true for me to be up to date on a QAL. I always get distracted by other shiny quilt patterns and veer off in another direction and then eventually circle back around. At least the FW QAL is flexible - they try to do 2 blocks a week but you can work at your own pace. Sooooo..... I'm going to redo these little cuties and move on. No use crying over fabric that has already been cut. This is a scrappy quilt and it will be fine.

Hope that someone else may benefit from my error - my enthusiasm gets me in trouble from time to time but it isn't going to change me.

Happy stitching-

carol fun

Monday, July 4, 2011

Design Wall for 4th of July Monday

Okay it isn't red white and blue, but it is as bright as fireworks, don't you think?

These are the blocks I'm adapting from the Jaybird pattern, Hugs and Kisses. I made a template for the diamond window and I really like the way it looks. The fabric is a sky one with the silhouette of birds but from a distance it looks a bit like water. Either way is fine with me.

Going through my strips I love rediscovering fabrics I've forgotten I had. This one cracks me up -

it is an old KP Kids fabric - pigs all dressed up! I have a rather abnormal love of fabrics that have animals in clothes. I blame it on my Catholic upbringing which gave me an exaggerated sense of modesty - LOL!

I hope to spend the rest of my afternoon knitting and stitching and watching a marathon of the BBC program Top Gear - so funny!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Patriotic Sampler for Sunday

Well the framer got this sampler back to me in the nick of time for the 4th of July -a patriotic piece of stitching.

This sampler is called My Hearth & Home and is designed by Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle & Thread. I love the pretty golden yellow house and the little flags in the flower pot. And those huge tulips and that bird with the glandular problem, make my heart sing - such a happy sampler!

I personalized it by stitching the first initial of my boys, C & N, in a contrasting thread. Here is a picture of my patriotic display in my foyer -

I used my newly finished George Schnibble and made a little vignette with my flag Longaberger basket and my newest creation, a patriotic chicken - and doesn't a patriotic chicken tell you just how much I love the USA -- I really really do!

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend - God bless the USA!

carol fun

Friday, July 1, 2011

What did I do this week?

When I was young my grandmother told me that time moves faster the older you get, so I must be quickly aging because I swear it was just Wednesday. I've worked on several projects this week and most are still WIP but I have a couple of pics.

Here is the Cladonia shawl. I started knitting on this last Friday.

I have about 8 more rows of 225 stitches before I can start the lace portion. This yarn is yummy- Fiber Optics Kashmir.

And I've been stitching on the With Thy Needle & Thread Mystery Sampler.

This is so pretty. The colors are rich and those tulips are lovely.

As you can tell I haven't finished Part I yet and while I have the chart for Part II I haven't opened it. I might skip to Part II once I've established that my border meets. Part II has two big bluebirds sitting in a tree - very cute.

Yesterday I got totally sidetracked with these guys -

chicken pincushions! You can see that 2 are dotty and one is very patriotic.

And they have cute little prairie point tail feathers. Now this is an old idea. Originally the chickens were made from little log cabin blocks but when they popped into my head, I did a Google search and off I went. I used felt for the combs and the beaks. I had some little googly eyes left over from the owl and chicken felt pincushions I made earlier this year, and I still have plenty of crushed walnut shells. Honestly who knew that 10 quarts was soooooo much??? (Obviously I should have paid more attention in 4th grade math.) It is nice to have at least one finished project a week. It makes me feel productive in a way that laundry doesn't. At least when I finish a crafty project it stays done and doesn't need to be repeated incessantly - wash, dry, fold, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.......

Hope you all have great plans for the 4th of July holiday. Mine include taking things easy and doing some knitting, cross stitching and sewing -- the perfect life!

Happy stitching-
carol fun