Thursday, January 31, 2013

Showing my Socks

Today I'm sporting a lovely pair of socks in my favorite color - yellow... a pretty lemon-y yellow. This is to compensate for the gray, cold, gray, windy, gray, snow spitting, kinda rainy, did I mention gray day?

The pattern is Serendipity and you can find it here on Ravelry. If you login to Vogue Knitting/Martingale you can get the pattern for free. I got my pattern from the book Sock Club: Join the Knitting Adventure by Charlene Schurch. You can see it here on Amazon. I used a solid lemony yellow Regia yarn. The pattern was hyped to be a good choice for a more variegated yarn and there are lots of examples of that on Ravelry but I think the pattern showed up better in the solid color.

You can check out the socks that others are wearing today here on the Patchwork Times - another fun link up from Judy L.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whatcha reading?

Judy L of Patchwork Times is starting a new link-up on Tuesdays called Whatcha reading? You can find it here.

Currently I am re-reading one of my favorite books that I can highly recommend to anyone - Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg.

Here is a great summary I copied from Amazon.

Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and side-splitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here?

Life is the strangest thing. One minute, Mrs. Elner Shimfissle is up in her tree, picking figs, and the next thing she knows, she is off on an adventure she never dreamed of, running into people she never in a million years expected to meet. Meanwhile, back home, Elner’s nervous, high-strung niece Norma faints and winds up in bed with a cold rag on her head; Elner’s neighbor Verbena rushes immediately to the Bible; her truck driver friend, Luther Griggs, runs his eighteen-wheeler into a ditch–and the entire town is thrown for a loop and left wondering, “What is life all about, anyway?” Except for Tot Whooten, who owns Tot’s Tell It Like It Is Beauty Shop. Her main concern is that the end of the world might come before she can collect her social security.

In this comedy-mystery, those near and dear to Elner discover something wonderful: Heaven is actually right here, right now, with people you love, neighbors you help, friendships you keep. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is proof once more that Fannie Flagg “was put on this earth to write” (Southern Living), spinning tales as sweet and refreshing as iced tea on a summer day, with a little extra kick thrown in.

I have read all of Fannie Flagg's books starting with Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe to her most recent release, I Still Dream About You and none of them has disappointed. Great characters that you can't help but love and when you read the last page you wish the story would go on. Elner Shimfissle is one of my favorite characters Fannie has created and she has appeared in several of her books - she's totally unforgettable.

Now off to fire up my Kindle and visit Elmwood Springs!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Big Plaid Star quilt

Remember the Big Plaid Star quilt that was on my design wall a couple of weeks ago? Well I had it quilted and was able to give it to my brother for his birthday last Saturday. I am very happy with how it turned out and my brother really seemed to like it. He was cozied up under it the entire evening.

Here's a pic of the front - it is laying on the floor on my family room and yes that is a dish on the floor in the upper right corner. I didn't notice it till I went to crop the picture.

I used a new to me long arm quilter for this one, Terry Finnerty of The Walking Needle in Mason Ohio. I really like this swirly pantograph. The quilt had great texture after I laundered it.

And here is the back - it turned into a 2-sided quilt with my "arty" pieced back. Not bad for just trying to avoid buying any more flannel - LOL! (Oh I just noticed that it looks like those birds are perched on top of the quilt - they are actually sitting on a shelf about 8 ft behind where my son was standing and patiently holding the quilt up for me to take the picture.)

And that swirly pantograph looks great on this side too.

Terry really helped me out of a tight spot by finishing this quilt for me in less than a day. Thank you so much Terry! I was so happy to give this to my brother at his birthday celebration - it made my day and his too!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, January 28, 2013

Slow but steady progress on Design Wall Monday

Life has been a blur since last Thursday. Lots of family activities to attend that were mostly unplanned but lots of fun. However, it left no time to stitch or knit or sew during the weekend. I definitely hope to change that pattern this week.

I did achieve a little progress earlier in the week on my Scrappy Trip quilt - 4 more blocks for a total of 12. If I make 36, I'm 1/3 of the way complete. I know its not much. but I'm looking for some level of achievement here - LOL!

I have to say I am loving it! Now this is the 3rd week I've worked on this and the 3rd different design pattern I've tried. I think 3rd time is the charm. I really like the concentric rings of color. There is a bit of variety because while the yellow, orange and black/white rings stick with different tones the one color family, for the reds I sometimes substituted pink and for the blue I've sometimes used purple and for the greens sometimes I used aqua. This has allowed me to paw through even more of my stash which is a lot of fun.

This week I added scissors and some polka dot chickens...

and some dancing ducks and a funky pig...

and some happy pigs!

Now the duck and pigs are from an old line of fabric from KP Kids by Kari Pearson for SSI Fabrics. Does anyone else remember KP Kids? I love her style - lots of cute animals wearing clothes. I don't know what there is about an animal all dressed up but I can't resist them. I have a couple of pieces that have pigs dressed as farmers and another with ballerina pigs. I recently saw a new collection of KP Kids fabric which featured cute bugs but it is the pigs that really make me smile.

Don't forget to check out Patchwork Times for more great looking design walls.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Show Us Your Socks

Judy L is linking us up again for Show Us Your Socks - check it out here. Thanks for doing this Judy!

Today I'm sporting a pair that is an oldie but goodie...

I love the colors (yellow is my favorite) and I LOVE the pooling and flashing. Now I know some people go out of their way to avoid yarns like this but I will buy them every chance I get. If anyone knows of a line of yarn like this that pools let me know. I think of these kind of yarns as consistently inconsistent. I'm not positive but I think this was Sunshine Yarn.

Anyway here is a pic of the right sock...

and here's the left sock...

Even the pooling and flashing is totally inconsistent. Having knit with yarns like this a bit I have an idea of how to get this effect. It involves making the undyed skein very long and then dyeing short bursts that will end up on top of each other as you knit them. I'm going to try and see if I can make my own pooling/flashing sock yarn. I've got dyes, now I'm waiting for some nicer weather. It probably won't be until this spring that I get a chance to try this. Forecast for tomorrow is 2" of snow... soooooooo... I'm off to get in a little retail therapy and lunch.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

OMG.... I almost missed National Polka Dot Day

Did you know that January 22 is National Polka Dot Day? Neither did I till about a hour ago when I read about it on Barbara Brackman's blog. You can read her post here.

To celebrate this auspicious day I would like to share a quilt I made about 10 years ago. It is called "Somewhere over the Rainbow maybe I'll find Dot"... get it Dot - Dorothy... I crack myself up. LOL!

Every single piece of fabric in this quilt is dotted, even the binding and the back. When I buy into an idea I buy in BIG!

Here are a couple of close ups of some of my favorite blocks. Dots and circles...

and more dots and circles and cherries (they're dots too)...

and more dots and cat circles because chickens aren't round enough, dontcha know.

So it is clear to see that I have been besotted or bedotted with polka dots for a long long long time. I think polka dots are the happiest pattern in the world!

Enjoy what's left of this lovely polka dotty day!

carol fun

I wanted to share some beautiful cross stitch that my friend sent me pictures of. I think you'll enjoy them.

First is the mind blowing fractal piece - WOW are those colors stunning! And that is all solid stitching -- so many color changes!

This piece was a gift and hangs in a place of honor in the recipients' home.

And these same lucky people received this sampler as wedding gift.


Beautiful stitching, soft colors and hardanger work!

I did hardanger years ago... I wonder what I did with that piece.

Seeing these is motivating me to get some work done on my many WIPs. I've been doing more knitting than cross stitch the last couple of weeks but I think that is going to change real soon.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, January 21, 2013

Having fun on Design Wall Monday

I am having a lot of fun with these Scrappy Trip blocks. I have 8 finished and my plan is to do 36 total... so there are 26 to go.

So far every strip is unique. I would have no trouble making every colored strip one of a kind in this quilt. I'm not sure about the black/white I'm using in the center. I love going through my novelties and brights slicing off a 2 1/2" strip.

So far I have monkeys on trapezes...

chickens from the 60's....

and even Charlie Brown and Snoopy among  the blocks.

I plan on adding lots more of these kinds of prints. And even if I do make this quilt totally unique... a total of 216 strips it will hardly make a dent in my stash. But it does make my heart happy to know this is going to be a totally FREE quilt. Do not point out the total fallacy of my logic since I know I paid for every single piece of fabric in my stash... but if I can't remember what I paid for it (and I am getting older and fuzzy of memory) it must be FREE fabric.

Okay, I'm off to indulge in more fabric slicing and wandering around in my stash.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, January 18, 2013

What a difference a week makes

So last week I finished up this pair of almost day-glow socks and this week...

I'm working on the antithesis of that pair.... large dark taupe socks for my son. (Insert big sigh.)

Now I will say these are knitting up quickly. I'm using size 3 needles and the yarn is Knitpicks Stroll. The color is Basalt Heather. You can see it here. It feels nice and squishy and it is machine wash/tumble dry low. And I find happiness in that they aren't black. Taupe is a nice change of pace. I've ordered more of this yarn in Navy and Dark Gray. Those colors and the black encompass all of the colors of suits the boy owns so he should be looking good.

These aren't the most exciting socks to knit but my son really loves the way they fit and feel and that makes it all worthwhile. My reward for finishing these socks is to work on a pair for me. I have several single socks that are waiting for a mate and one of these will get lucky (ewww.... that didn't sound right - LOL).

Do you have plans for the upcoming 3 day weekend?  I'm hoping to get some sewing done and I want to work on organizing my stash of beads and jewelry making supplies. I bought a new storage box and hope to sort, organize and contain it.

Here's hoping you get to do fun things with your holiday!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Showing my Socks

Oh this is fun! Judy at Patchwork Times is hosting a weekly link-up to show your socks. They don't have to be hand knit they just have to be cute. I can't wait to see what others are wearing.

Today I have on one of my favorite pairs of socks!

These are knit with Opal yarn. I got this several years ago and I love how it has thick stripes, thin stripes, speckles, faux fair isle. And I love the mix of colors - lime green, pink, charcoal gray and a touch of orange-y yellow. Opal still makes great striped yarns but I haven't seen any with this much variety of pattern in a while. I assume this is probably because it is more expensive to have multitude of color changes but oh how I wish they would. I would buy a skein or two or three in every colorway!

Judy also did a post here about getting started knitting socks - just do it! I totally agree. Before I learned to knit socks I had only done simple scarves. My friend Cathy and I took a class to learn about socks using double point needles. I loved the sock idea but I never did like using double points so I put the whole project away.... somewhere safe..... where I've never seen it again because I don't know where that place it. Then a little while later I discovered knitting socks using 2 circular needles. I like that much better and my sock knitting got some traction. And then I found out about Magic Loop..... oh my goodness... this was the technique for me. I LOVE IT! and I do all my socks using the Magic Loop method. Now my knitting skills have greatly improved over the years and I could probably deal with double points if a pattern required it. But if you can knit a project using a long circular and the Magic Loop technique that is going to be my first choice.

Go over and check out what others are wearing - click here.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, January 14, 2013

Now this is more like it... on Design Wall Monday

Okay the big brown plaid star quilt I showed last week will be a nice gift but it was NOT making me a happy quilter. Now this is more like it...

my first two Scrappy Trip blocks. Oh I LOVE these! The colors, the dots, the chickens.. they make my heart sing! This kind of sewing is better than Prozac!.

I spent a little time last evening cutting some strips. I know I'll need lots more but this is a nice start.

My plan is to use a black/white print in the center of the block with rings of color. I like the idea of some structure in what is going to be a busy quilt.

Oh and I did get the back together for the plaid star quilt. I used my flannel stash and came up with this.

My oldest son said it looked manly...and since it is for my brother that's a good thing. Now to get it quilted and gifted.

Hope you have a productive week. I'm looking forward to playing with the Scrappy Trip blocks and cutting some novelties for the Wiggly Whimsey SAL.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some slow stitching for Sunday

Not only has the stitching been slow on Sunday, it was pretty slow all week.

I have made some progress on "Snow Day". I've switched back and forth between stitching the snow areas that don't require any counting and the design areas that require attention. Although how much attention I paid is debatable. I spent most of last evening reverse stitching the arching vines and leaves. I swear I have no idea what chart I was following because nothing lined up. I think I'm back on track now.

I still need to graph out an alphabet to add along the bottom, but I hope I can finish this up soon. I'm ready to start something new, and luckily I have a couple of new graphs on their way to my mailbox as we speak.

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

First finished pair of socks for 2013

Ta dah!! These are my first pair of socks for 2013.

The pattern is Carolina. A free pattern on Ravelry that you can find here. The yarn is Crazy Zauberball and the colorway is 1702. I got it here at Simply Sock Yarn. It is really hard to capture how bright these socks are. I took a ton of pictures but none of them are just right. None of these pictures do this yarn justice. The orange is kinda tomato-y. Very in your face. In fact they kinda glow - I love it!

This yarn is totally mesmerizing and I can't see where there is a repeat in the color pattern in either sock.

The top sock is the first one I knit. I knit it cuff down. And you can see that the color from the toe of the first sock continues on the cuff of the second sock, but there is no rhyme or reason to the flow of the colors. To keep the color flow unbroken I knit the heels from another ball of this yarn I had in my stash.

It isn't an exact match but I'm okay with it. I have another Crazy Zauberball in my stash and I can't decide if I want to do another pair of socks with it or maybe a shawl/scarf. I need to think about it.

On Monday I posted a little list of stuff I want to do in January. I was clearly delusional when I came up with this list, because if this week is any indication of my productivity not much is going to happen. As for my brother's quilt - I got the black outer border on it, but the back is still a work in progress. I haven't touched the Marigold quilt top or any other quilt project.

And the term "finished" has lots of meanings for me. As for the Marigold quilt it will be "finished" when it is a top. My brother's quilt will be "finished" when it is quilted and bound. As for the Scrappy Trip and the Wiggly Whimsey projects, if I got a block or two done on either of these I'd be happy. And the pajamas -- oh they still have a long way to go. It has been one of those week when I just wanted to sit in a chair and veg... at least I knitted while I vegged!

Hope you have a great weekend!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, January 7, 2013

A birthday quilt for Design Wall Monday

First -a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by to wish me a Happy New Year. I hope that all of you are off to a productive start for 2013. So, we are one week into the new year and I'm hoping that this week will start a routine I can get in to. My youngest resumes his college classes today, his volunteer job starts back up tomorrow and the rest of the week should fall into place for my chauffeuring duties.

I've bounced about from project to project the last 2 weeks and ended up working on this top.

As you can plainly see these aren't my usual colors, because this quilt will be a birthday present for my brother. All of the fabric is flannel and all the plaids came from a well aged stash I had in the storage room. It has been about 8 years since I cracked open this container and there is a lot of plaid in this box. The star measures about 66 inches square and I need to add a couple of inches of the black flannel to make it a bit bigger.

This is a close up of the 8 plaids I used.

My brother has a large wardrobe of plaid flannel shirts so I think he'll like these fabrics. I have plans to make the back for this quilt out of more of the plaids in the box and maybe give it a two-sided look.

And I've come up with a list of things I'd like to attend to this month.

1. Finish this quilt for my brother by the 25th - his birthday. I'm going to do some very simple quilting to get it done in time.

2. Finish up the Fig Tree Marigolds quilt that is still on my design wall. You can see where I left it here.

3. I really really really want to play with the latest design that is sweeping the blogosphere - the Scrappy Trip block. You can check out the Flickr group here.

4. I want to play along with Terry at Terry's Treasures. She's doing a SAL with the Wiggly Whimsey pattern from Moda Bake Shop. You can see it here. The pattern is done with a charm pack but I plan on fussy cutting some 2 1/2" squares from my novelty stash. And I'm considering using a tone on tone yellow for the background. This should be lots of fun.

5. New pajamas for me!! Last winter I purchased several multi-yardage cuts of fun flannels to make some pj's for me but I never got around to them. With temperatures in the teens at night these were sure come in handy.

Now all of these will probably take longer than I anticipate but I'm hoping that a list will keep me focused since I suffered from a rather severe case so quilter's ADHD.... oh there is something shiny!! LOL

Hope your week is off to a great start ....
happy stitching-
carol fun