Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Woolly Wednesday

As I bid adieu to Soctober I give you my final pair of socks on this Woolly Wednesday... and aren't these electric?

This is another of the Opal sock yarns called Antonia Hand-dyed. There are 3 shades of purple and one shade of orange in this skein. I went down to 60 stitches for this pair to see how it would impact the pooling and the striping. On the first sock (the one on the left) I found that on the leg the colors pooled in an undulating stripe down the leg. Once I turned the heel, the yarn made rings/stripes of color around the foot. Interesting. On the second sock, as I expected I got rings/stripes of color around the leg part and then after I turned the heel I was surprised that I got the undulating striping again. Very curious.

In any case I love these socks! The surprising pattern of the color playing out kept me totally entranced for the entire pair. And here are how they look on my feet -

Sorry for the pathetically pale legs. I tried to crop out as much as possible.  So for the month of Socktober I completed 2 1/2 pairs of socks - 2 complete pair and 1 additional mate-less sock. That's pretty good production for me. So now that November is upon us, I have to consider what I want to knit next. There are several single socks that would like to meet their "sole" mate.... and my son could always use another pair of the big black boring socks....there are several shawls that are calling my name. Tune in later in the week and see what I end up starting. I'll be as surprised as you - LOL!

happy stitching and knitting!
carol fun

Monday, October 29, 2012

More Big Busy Stars on Design Wall Monday

The weekend saw a doubling of the number of Big Busy Stars on my design wall!

These blocks have gotten noticed by both of my sons who had very nice things to say about them. Now both of them are near-sighted and were looking at them from across the room. I figure it is the graphic quality of the blocks they like and perhaps a closer inspection would give them pause. Along with the busy backgrounds I'm using lots of my favorite Debbie Mumm prints like this pretty floral and that light blue with the quilt block designs.

And this one with polka dot chickens and polka dot eggs- oh my goodness how perfect can fabrics be? LOL

Now these fabrics are quite mature-- probably at least 10 years old- and as such, they pre-date my love of polka dot chickens. So isn't it wonderful to find such gems resting on my shelves? A little gift of happiness for me!

I hope to have time this week to work on the other 3 blocks. I do have them cut out. And I want to audition some fabrics for the sashing strips and the shoo fly blocks. It is really coming together and I'm already thinking about other fabric choices for another quilt top -- oh no I've gotten ahead of myself again and boy is it fun!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

PS - HERE is a link to the video from Missouri Star Quilt Co. that shows how to make these blocks if you are interested.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Slow stitching on Sunday

I cross stitched several evenings last week and have a bit more done on my Quaker Diamonds.

See those little birds - I love their top knots - and I got that small diamond motif on the left hand side finished too.

And then a new graph somehow entered my house. I swear that Paypal just orders these things while I'm not looking. Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it -LOL! But I'm glad someone ordered this sweet graph cause I LOVE it!

This is Sarah's Garden from With Thy Needle and Thread. I'm using DMC floss and the linen is a 30 ct Glen Elyn blend I found in my stash. The linen is a soft light olive-y green. Now I did make some substitutions. I made her a red head and gave her blue eyes so she looks more like a certain Carol than maybe a Sarah. I also changed the color of her dress to 926 - my favorite DMC blue. I'm enjoying this stitching. I call it coloring book stitching, since I can outline an area and then go back and fill it in and not have to think at all! Very relaxing.

Well it is going to be a busy week - I'm already booked to be out of the house 2 days and there is Halloween candy to be passed out (if I don't eat it all before Wednesday) and the run of the mill weekly obligations. Hopefully there will be bits and pieces of time to sew and knit.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival- Fall 2012

I didn't have a moment's hesitation in selecting this quilt for my entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. It incorporates everything I love about quilting- bright colors, polka dots, whimsy and chickens!

This are Carol's Crazy Chickens - my way of having chickens in a suburban neighborhood whose homeowner association prohibits poultry. Every chicken is dotty and has personality. The design of this quilt evolved from a Country Threads pattern titled "Chickens in the Cornfield". The border of "fried eggs" is my creation. They are little snowball blocks with yolks - simple and fun.

Each chicken has a name and a personality -- this is Agnes - she's very mellow and laid back.

And this is Bertha - she's a bit skittish but I'm sure she'll be settle in.

And here is Cher - pronounced "chair" - it is short for Chernobyl. I think she may have some issues as I'm not sure how she got that third eye.

No matter I still love her and perhaps she can use that third eye to keep track of this little chick.

Now all the phenomenal quilting on this piece is the work of my local long-arm quilter Cass Plott of Pink Flamingo Quilting. She is incredibly talented and her input really takes this quilt to another level. When I gave her this quilt she asked what ideas I had for the quilting and all I could come up with is "bacon" -- I love bacon with my eggs. She laughed and said no one had ever asked her for bacon quilting.

I like the addition of cutlery with this serving.

And we have toast and jam...

and a cup of coffee to round out this complete breakfast.

This quilt hangs in the hallway of my breakfast nook (which explains the awkward angle of the first picture). It measures 54" X 68" and is easy to see from anywhere in my kitchen. I hope you enjoyed looking at my entry. My philosophy of quilting is that it should be fun and this quilt was fun at every stage.

Now go enjoy more great quilts at the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I'm going to plop myself in my happy chair, fortify myself with a large diet soda and read, read, read.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Winner on Wednesday

Have you been waiting with bated breath? Gosh I hope not since if you had you'd probably be very blue or dead by now -- sorry! Anyway I had 22 entries in my giveaway for the 100 5" Christmas squares.

Drumroll please.... and the winner is Darlene of Quilting Daze! Give her a big round of applause!

Well I hope you week has been more productive than mine so far. I haven't even turned on my sewing machine but hopefully the weekend will have some quality time for sewing.

Happy stitching-

carol fun

Monday, October 22, 2012

Big Busy Stars on Design Wall Monday

Okay I was laying in bed Saturday morning doing some reading on my Kindle. I read the local paper and some blogs and then clicked on Pinterest and there it was.... this video from the Missouri Star Quilt shop.

Edited to add: You can click on the picture below and follow the link or click here to see the video.

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

Oh wow! I love stars and I LOVE big stars even more. I was intrigued by the way she makes half-square triangles I've never done them this way. And before you know it I got my butt out of bed and was down in my sewing room cutting fabric. Here's what I got done....

I spent a ton of time trying to decide what fabrics to use. The video uses a layer cake and I have a bunch of layer cakes but none talked to me. However my Debbie Mumm fabrics were quite chatty and I grabbed some. I decided on a "theme" of using of my busy background fabrics since I have a bunch of these and they aren't always easy to work into other designs. Now these blocks are BIG BIG BIG.... they finish 24".

Can you see the 6" ruler on this block? and how it fills my cutting mat?

Here's another close-up of the fabrics - a busy background paired with other busy fabrics. Its going to be a busy quilt and you know I LOVE busy - LOL! I plan to sash the blocks with other busy backgrounds and use the snowball technique to create shoo-fly blocks in between the stars.

Now this method of making HST is pretty quick but I have a few thoughts on the construction. I am spray starching the squares before I sew and cut them. I used a scant 1/4" seam around the outside of the blocks so I could square them up with my Tucker Trimmer - I love that tool. When you make the HST this way you do have the bias on the outside edges of the units, so I think the starch helps stabilize the bias and you need to handle them gently. That said, it is nice for this old dog to learn new tricks.

I have all the fabrics cut for these blocks (those squares on the design wall are the other backgrounds I'm going to use). I'm hoping to get a little time here and there this week to sew up some more blocks. Hope there is some sewing time in your week!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Slow stitching on Sunday

I was so happy to pick up my Lizzie Kate Autumn Alphabet sampler from Joanns. Bev and Joyce did another great framing job on this one.

I've used this frame a couple of times before and I love the way it looks on all the samplers I've paired it with. Here are a couple of close up of the stitching - I really like these Fall colors.

Bev said she liked how the little squares on the frame echoed the squares of the sampler... I like it too! And I was able to get some quality stitching time in on my Quaker Diamonds sampler.

This one is fun to stitch because often you can follow the pattern without the graph since it has a repeat. And then you can switch to the parts like the letters and the fill in motifs that need a bit more attention. I'm liking taking a picture once a week because I can really see my progress and that it motivating.

And I stumbled upon this link The Needlework Show... click here. Then click on the General Viewing link and you can browse a ton of shops and the myriad of products they offer. I found several pieces I may have to add to my stash. I like how at the bottom of each screen there is a place to click to move onto the next shop - very efficient. I think this show is only online for a short time span so check it out....although I will say I spent a substantial amount of time here.. it was fun!

So as we all start another busy week I hope that life gives you time to stitch, sew, quilt, knit, and indulge in crafty activities...and may your loads of laundry be few!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, October 19, 2012

Off and On the Needles

There was a bit of knitting in my week and I was able to finish the Lorna's Laces In the Wind sock I showed last Friday. Ta dah!

Now this yarn has serious problems in that I can tell now that the second sock is going to look very similar to the first one.... oh the thrill is gone - LOL! Anyway I'll get back to the mate for this one in a week or two or three or whenever.

So my needles were momentarily empty and I grabbed this ball of yarn.

This is another Opal Antonia Hand dyed and is colorway 3175. I purchased it from Simply Socks here. And I LOVE the way this is knitting up! First we have the right facing profile...

and the left facing profile...and yes I do see those stitches I messed up - must fix them!

This has a lovely orange sherbet swath along with three shades of purple. It is turning out more swirly stripe-y than pooling but I'm okay with that. The Antonia yarns are so interesting. I have no idea how this sock or its mate is going to knit up and that keeps my needles clicking row after row.

Well I'm hoping to have a cozy weekend at home knitting, stitching and sewing. Hope yours is cozy too!

carol fun

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Ho Ho Ho and a Giveaway

Boy the week is sure flying by quickly...I swear that yesterday was Monday, even though my phone said Wednesday~ and what has happened to my world phone knows more about what day it is than I do! There was a time when I wore a pretty button bracelet watch every I check my phone for the time. I'm not sure I like how this is going but it sure is going. Anyway where was I, oh yeah, distracted by something shiny.

Last night I was able to get the borders on my Carol's Christmas Cacophony -- oh I love alliteration!

I added a peppermint-y stripe inner border and used cornerstones so I wouldn't have to match anything.

I took this pictures outside and the color isn't quite right. The quilt is a lovely soft yellow interspersed with wild dollops of color - LOL! I'm going to use that peppermint-y stripe for the binding and in fact I already made it -- oh I am so proud of me - LOL!

And this is the fabric I found for the back -- OMG isn't it perfect? I found it at Joanns and it was 50% off and I know I haven't seen it there before yesterday. The clerk said they had gotten some new bolts in just before the sale and this had to one of them. I can't believe I would have passed this by if I had seen it before.

So where does that leave me? I have a lovely Christmas quilt top and I still have a bin of Christmas fabrics that is bursting at the seams. So I think that a giveaway is in order.

Here is a sampling of what I will send you .... 100 5" squares of Christmas-y winter-y fabrics.There will be duplicates but overall there will be about 40 different fabrics. No Big Dude is not included in the giveaway but you may need to know that there is a pet - a LARGE furry cat- that lives in my home and claims my cutting table as a perch most afternoons. In looking more closely at this picture I realize it could be one of those "where's Waldo?" puzzles.... do you see scissors, and a crab, and a train and a big mess? Oh you are observant.

Anyway here's the deal.. leave me a Christmas greeting on this post and I will send one lucky winner 100 5" squares. This giveaway will run from today till next Tuesday - October 23rd at midnight EST - then I'll pick a winner and announce it on Wednesday the 24 - sound good? I hope so!

Okay I'm off to get some dinner - happy stitching!

carol fun

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ho ho ho on Design Wall Monday

Did you know that there are only 71 more days till Christmas?? Neither did I till looked it up! I sew A LOT this weekend and I was determined to get this UFO from about 2 years ago together. One hundred and twenty one 5" squares of Christmasy goodness. I used about 40 different fabrics.

Some of my favorites are this vintage looking Santa who occupies the center square...

and here is another vintage looking print... such sweet little kids playing with a train...

and a kooky looking orange reindeer!

This one is a Nancy Wolff print I just recently found. As far as I can tell she isn't designing fabric anymore and that makes me sad. I love her unique quirky style.

Now I realize that putting sashing on these blocks did nothing to quiet them down, in fact I think it got even busier looking but I'm ok with that. Looking at all those different fabrics makes me smile! I'm planning on a wide border of that yellow sashing fabric and maybe an inside border too. I'll have to see what might work. And I am a bit surprised and pleased that somehow I managed to make yellow Christmas quilt. I LOVE IT!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Slow Stitching on Sunday

Well I have been so slowly stitching on this today that I actually feel asleep....twice. It isn't that it is boring to stitch I'm just tired and the naps were very nice.

This is my start on Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor. It is a beautiful design. This is the first time I've stitched with the Valdani threads but it won't be the last. They are very nice to work with.

I was able to finish my Autumn Alphabet by Lizzie*Kate this week and dropped it off at to Bev at Joanns to be framed. I'll show pictures when it returns.

I did get a lot of sewing done on a UFO quilt top this weekend and there was some fabric shopping too. I'll share that tomorrow, but now I'm sleepy and I'm off to bed.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, October 12, 2012

Off and On the Needles

I have my first complete pair of socks for this Soctoberfest celebration! This is Opal Antonia Hand-dyed yarn -colorway 3173.

I love that puddle of gold on the first sock but by the time I got to the foot I could see that the pooling was disappearing and wide irregular stripes were developing. It continued on the second sock. There was a faint bit of pooling at the toe of the second sock - oh well. It doesn't bother me that the socks don't match. I make all my socks to be fraternal twins and these are definitely similar but different. I have 3 more skeins of this Opal Antonia and I can't wait to see how they knit up. I will say that having this yarn knit up randomly is a great motivator to knit another round and another round and another round... and you get the picture.

So as soon as this pair was finished I was ready to cast on another sock. I was going to stick with Opal yarn but this skein of Lorna's Laces landed on my doorstep (I have no clue how it got here.... I must have "accidentally" hit the buy button... that's my story.) As soon as I opened it up I was intrigued.

Notice how one half is all a brown/black and the other half has a mirror image rainbow effect going on. I had to find out how this was going to knit up. And here it is....

You get row of brown/black in between rows of the rainbow and occasionally you get a spot where that tomato red stacks. I like it! My son called them technicolor socks which is a pretty good description.

As for Moby I wasn't able to get over to my son's house to stake him out yesterday and the weekend doesn't look promising. Hopefully next week I'll have some time to play National Geographic - LOL!

Have a great weekend!

carol fun

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Butterscotch Scrap Jar Stars and an Albino Squirrel

So did the title catch your eye? If so, I'll admit it is a teaser. More info at the end of this post on the albino squirrel. So.....Ta dah!! I got the binding on my Butterscotch Scrap Jar Stars! While there was some sun today I dragged it out in the backyard for a couple of pictures.

The quilt measures about 80" square so it should be a nice fit on a double bed.

Cass again did a great job on the quilting - just look at those adorable pumpkins stitched in a Fall-ish variegated thread. I love them!

And here is the arty shot -- I think the colors are truest in this picture. Now I have about 9 blocks left over from this quilt and plenty of fabric to do some more. I think they may reappear next Fall as a lap quilt but for now they will hibernate in a lovely ziploc bag.

Now about the albino squirrel -- okay after doing some research it may not be a true albino but I'm not sure since I couldn't get a good picture of him. And to be truthful this isn't my picture but I didn't think I could talk about it without one.

I was down in the neighborhood where my son's house is today on two different occasions. As I was leaving his house around noon I almost wrecked my car when I saw an albino-or white- squirrel run across the street in front of my car. After recovering I pulled to the curb and got my phone out and tried to get a picture as he was nonchalantly snacking on a neighbor's landscaping. The picture I took is kinda blurry and he scampered off. I returned to the neighborhood about 2 hours later and told my youngest son who was now with me in the car about the squirrel. He looked at me like I had rocks in my head and then the white squirrel reappeared in the exact same yard!! My son also tried to get a picture without success. Now I'm thinking about taking my camera with me tomorrow and staking out a spot and seeing if I can get a picture of my own white whale I mean squirrel. I think I'll call him Moby - LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, October 8, 2012

Prepping my Picnic on Design Wall Monday

I swear the 48 hours of a weekend tick off lots faster than any other 48 hour period of the week. I got a lot of cross stitching done, a bit of knitting and a tiny bit of sewing. Here are 4 more blocks for my Picnic quilt - the one from the Scrap-Basket Sensations book.

I spent several hours yesterday prepping for Picnic by cutting out more blocks.

I have about 75% of it cut. I just need to do the reds and then sub-cut those beige strips for the background. I thought I would be able to pick fabrics and cut a 2 1/2" strip the WOF and easily sub-cut the pieces. No such luck! Several fabrics I want to use are just irregular hunks that require some finagling to get my pieces. Some fabrics weren't bit enough to get 2 blocks from, so I just cut one block and then rummaged around to find another small chunk for an additional block. The idea of making this a charm quilt (121 different fabrics) briefly crossed my mind but I immediately beat it into submission. It will be a very scrappy quilt but not a charm quilt. I showed that idea whose boss in my head - LOL!

Now I did get 2 more rows of Fallout Stars sewn together - just 3 more to go. I'm still pondering whether to add a border to it. I'll need to try some fabrics out after this quilt is all sewn together and the edges trimmed. And I had a thought of making another quilt with the Hex and More ruler. I would just make big hexagons, perhaps each a different pretty floral and use a tone-on-tone white for the triangle star pieces. I think that would be very pretty. Oh my what am I thinking - I don't need any more quilt ideas I just need more sewing time!

Hope your week is productive!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Some stitching on Sunday

This week has seen some good progress on my Lizzie*Kate Autumn Alphabet.

All I have left to stitch is the little house vignette and attach the embellishments. I spent all day yesterday cross stitching and watching college football. And its a good thing the cross stitch was satisfying because the football results (Purdue and Nebraska) certainly weren't. The day did end on high note after the Cincinnati Reds beat the SF Giants. However I could have done without the near heart attack I had watching Aroldis Chapman pitch the 9th inning. Lets hope tonight is another win!

As part of my Fall decorating I hung this piece in my breakfast nook - Bent Creek's Autumn Row.

I stitched this years ago and one of the main reasons I did this one, was I desperately wanted to use this frame. Isn't it gorgeous?

This one was framed by Bowman's Backdoor Framing in Ft. Thomas, KY. They were the framers used by my favorite cross stitch shop Twisted Threads when they were opened. Oh I miss that shop! Great charts, linen, fibers and staff! One of those shops you always felt at home in.

So this afternoon I hope to get some sewing done. I have 3 more rows of my Fallout Stars to sew together and I have to cut some more Picnic blocks. Those Debbie Mumm fabrics have been extremely vocal - get me off the shelf and cut me! I must obey - LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun