Friday, February 28, 2014

Oh Snap! My Schnibble is done!

I rarely do two posts in the same day but I needed to show this before the parade of Schnibbles. I haven't done a Schnibble in a while and I was excited to hear that this month was sew one of your choice, as long as it wasn't one you had shown before. I started with the new line from Gina Martin called Sewing Box. I love this collection - all my favorite colors and stuff!!

And then I decided that the right pattern would be Gentle Arts...spool blocks!

Combine the two and ooohhhhh this makes me happy!

Now I was leery that I would end up chopping off the points on some of the blocks when I sewed them together, but I totally surprised myself. I sewed all 25 blocks together and got the intersections to look great on my first try. I didn't have to re-sew or fudge a single one. The sewing gods were definitely shining down on me. Now I did pin very carefully and I'm sure that helped but I don't remember the last time I sewed this many points together with no adjustments.

I want to get a yard of the fabric with the sewing implements on the white background for the back and then I'll quilt it. It is going to look so cute in my sewing studio.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

This and that on and off the needles

My knitting this week bounced from project to many yarns tempting me.

First I finished my Opal Ambiente socks.

Now I knit these on 3.25mm needles, 56 stitches and they felt a bit loose when I wore them. So I washed them... in the washer... and dried them in the dryer...for a long time. I hoped they'd shrink a bit and when I wore them the second time they were a bit snugger at first but as the day wore on they were still not as snug as I would like. Why is it if you want something to shrink nothing happens, and if you don't want it to shrink you end with it micro sized? Anyway this is superwash merino yarn, it shouldn't shrink and it didn't. Also, it isn't recommended that you machine launder this kind of yarn if you want it to last a long time but I haven't had a lot of problems with that. I haven't had many socks that shrank but I have experienced some color fading with other yarns so I'll wait and see.

Armed with the knowledge that it doesn't appear I can shrink this yarn I decided the next pair of socks should have less stitches. so I went down to 52 stitches.

When I grabbed this ball of yarn I thought it was the one with the turquoise in it but I was wrong. This is an old gold/olive mix. Reminds me of Fall and my school colors when I was in high school - green and gold. Along with the first pair of socks being on the big side I wasn't happy with how the cuff got stretched out as the day went on. Now starting with less stitches would probably help but I decided to go one step further and knit the cuff with an Elastic Yarn Thread. It is from Clover and comes in white and black. I got it here at Webs,

 You use this along with your yarn. It does show a bit here and there but isn't really noticeable.The cuff does seem snugger with this thread knit along with the yarn. I'll report back after I wear and wash these.

And then this yarn was calling my name and I could NOT resist. My BFF Stephie gave me this yarn last Thursday night. It is the Regatta colorway of that Lion Brand Amazing yarn.

I think I cast this on Sunday or Monday and I had it all knit by Wednesday night. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors in this one. Somehow it makes me want to use fancy descriptions like terra cotta, and stone, and moss, and sea glass and cadet blue and well you get the idea. Thanks for the gorgeous yarn Stephie! Oh it is that same Urban Lace Infinity pattern -you can see it here.

So another good week for knitting. On one hand I can't wait to wear my new cowl, on the other hand I'd be happy to break out some capris and sandals. However, Mother Nature isn't done with winter yet (forecast for the weekend includes snow, freezing rain and low temps) so I think I'll have plenty of opportunities to sport my new woolen wares.

Happy knitting -
carol fun

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I got really Skinny...

Edited - look at the end of the post for some observations on how I stuffed my skinny pincushion.

No I didn't drop a ton of weight... I got lots of Skinny pincushions!

Did you see the Skinny pincushion swap over on Amy's blog - Amy Made That.? She has a link to the pattern and she masterfully arranged for lots of great gals to swap skinny pincushions.

Yesterday I got a wonderful package in the mail with not one but TWO Skinny pincushions all the way from New Zealand! Now that is pretty exotic for an old gal from Ohio. Karen at Baa's Amazing Adventures sent me all these goodies!

Two adorable Skinny pincushions - so bright and cheerful! And there was yummy yummy candy (was is the correct verb... it went fast LOL!) And cute fabric that is unlike anything in my stash and isn't the little flip flop adorable -- its a magnet. Thank you Karen for such lovely gifts. I truly appreciate your work and thoughtfulness.

And I ended up making more than one when I got into this project, cause they are like potato chips - you can't eat or make just one! I added a button to each of the ones I made. I ran across a stash of ceramic buttons that I figure are close to 20 years old -- oh my goodness, I do horde stuff - LOL - but it is good stuff and it has aged well, don't you think?

The one at the bottom is the one I sent to Kelly at Pinkadot Quilts. She requested bright and vintage and to me that means something from the designer Sandy Klop's American Jane fabric collections. I  gifted the brown one to another friend and kept other two for me - -yeah I'm kind selfish where chickens are concerned. I have pincushions in several places in my sewing room - by both of my machines, on my cutting table, on my ironing board and next to my stitching chairs both upstairs and down. Now in some cases these pincushions are only about 5 feet apart but when I want a pin I want it at my finger tips and I don't want to have to fetch it, even if it is only a few steps -- boy I'm getting lazy in my old age. But it's an arrangement that works for me.

Thanks again to Amy and Karen and Kelly - the whole event was great fun!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thoughts on stuffing the pincushion -- I like crushed walnut shells in a pincushion. You can get a good size bag of this stuff at a pet store. They use it for lizard litter - just ask. Anyway I made a tube of muslin based on the width and length of the pincushion about a 1/4" smaller. I filled this with walnut shells and sewed it shut with my machine. I pushed a bit of poly fiberfill into the ends of the pincushion, wiggled the tube filled with walnut shells into the pretty outside covering and hand sewed the opening up. I like the heft you get with walnut shells. You can use it as a weight to hold fabric or a paper pattern in place as well as it being a pincushion.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Doing Deadlines on Design Wall Monday

There was some quality time spent with my sewing machine over the weekend. I got the borders on the quilt that was on my design wall last week and sent it off to the long arm quilter. Then I turned my attention to this project.


This quilt is the free pattern from FatQuarterShop called Layer Cake Lemonade. You can find it here. It makes a nice lap size quilt - 48" X 61" using just one layer cake. The fabric is the new collection from Zen Chic called Sphere. You can see it here. This is going to be a gift and the recipient is fond of turquoise so I thought this line was perfect. Now the collection does have some great yellow accent pieces which I adore but it wasn't right for this person. She likes orange as a accent so I substituted an orange from the Zen Chic Comma line.

I'm going to do some simple wavy line quilting on this so I have it finished for the birthday deadline that is looming.

And I really wanted to do a Schnibble this month and the deadline for that is coming up fast.  I haven't participated for several months and this month was your choice of patterns. There are so many cute Schnibbles I'd love to make and this charm pack was already sitting on my table and it was talking.... loudly.

I love the fabrics and colors in this collection -- hot pink, turquoise, orange, purple, lime green and all those adorable sewing items - buttons, thread, scissors,zippers,pins,tape measures and snaps. I love those snaps! You can see all the fabrics here.

Well I thought about which Schnibble would be best for this line and it hit me like a ton of bricks -- Gentle Arts... it is spool blocks! I've got all 25 cut out and I got 9 sewn together.

Isn't this snap fabric cute cute cute? I bought yardage since I know I'm going to want to use it on another quilt some day.

Now I'm a little leery of how all those points are going to come together. I'm trying to be very accurate but it still has me concerned. I figure I'm going to sew it all together the best I can and if the points don't make me happy I can always sew buttons at the intersections. Cute buttons can cover a multitude of problems.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Something Spring-y on Slow Stitching Sunday

Olympic viewing every night this last week has given me lots of time to stitch and I am very happy with my progress on my Lizzie Kate Spring Alphabet Sampler.

As you can see I was filling in every little block as I went along until I got to the letter G and it hit me. If I stitched all the blocks on the perimeter of the piece I could take it to my framer Bev at Joanns, pick out a frame, and by the time it arrives I should have the rest of the sampler done. Perfect -- Bev will get it popped into the frame lickety split once I return with the finished stitching, making my wait time as short as possible. I am sooooo determined to have my house looking Spring-y by the first or second week of March and this should help.

We had a brief warm spell this weekend  -temperatures in the 50's and it melted almost all of the snow. I can see the grass. Now it is kinda brown grass but I'm okay with that. However, it is way too early to truly be Spring and next week we go back into the deep freeze - big sigh!

My favorite square so far on this piece is this one...

what a cute shamrock. Love those greens.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, February 21, 2014

A sock and a half on the needles

Another one of those weeks that just flew by. I've have gotten a little knitting done but it isn't quite a pair yet.

This is the Opal Ambiente yarn. You and see it here. I went up to 3.25mm needles and only did 56 stitches. It is still a little big but on the plus side I was able to get the entire sock out of the one ball. I had about 6 feet of yarn left so it was close. I love the saturated colors and that I didn't get a repeat of pattern in the entire sock. For the second sock I rewound the ball and while I can see a repeat of pattern from sock to sock it is coming off the ball in reverse so I will get two similar but different sock -- fraternal twins - just what I wanted.

Last evening my friend Stephie gifted me another skein of that Lion Brand Amazing yarn in a colorway I've never seen - Regatta - it is beautiful. Heather-y and pastel with a pop of yellow. I can't wait to cast it on and make another one of those Urban Lace Infinity cowls. So much pretty yarn, so little time!

Happy knitting-
carol fun

Monday, February 17, 2014

Third Time Could be a Charm on Design Wall Monday

This is at least the third time I've excavated these blocks from their plastic storage bin and this time a few of them are going to become a quilt!

In my quest to make it look like Spring has arrived inside my house, even though Mother Nature is not being cooperative outside my house, I determined that I need a nice quilt to hang on my living room wall. The quilt I have hung in the past in my other house is too big for the space. I rooted around among my vault of storage containers (ok it isn't exactly a vault, it's really a fruit cellar - I'll have to take some pics of it) and I found these blocks.

The fabric is an old line by Kate Spain called Verna. I love the Easter egg colors - light pink, raspberry, peach,soft yellow,apple green and pale blue.

And that yellow border fabric with the tulips, well you know that makes me happy happy happy!

I've used 18 blocks in this quilt, each one a different fabric from this line.

My plan for the border is to do large cornerstone blocks in that raspberry fabric I used in the little cornerstones and inside border. I want to get this finished and off to my long arm gal this week. My target date for bringing Spring inside is the first week of March. If Mother Nature would like to mirror my decor outside I won't be offended.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dreaming of a 1976 AMC Pacer on Slow Stitching Sunday

I've told you before that my mind works in crazy ways and here is a pretty good example. On Friday I HAD to start stitching something Spring-y to keep my sanity. So I went through my stash and found my Lizzie Kate Spring Alphabet chart. Perfect!

Then is started to snow...AGAIN...coming down heavy and fast...and somehow a trip to JoAnns for floss didn't seem like a drive I should make. I had a nice piece of aqua-y blue 32 count linen and started to root through my stash of DMC. I was surprised that with all the bags of floss I have, I didn't have many of the colors the chart called for so I started making substitutions. I was pretty happy with most of my choices and here is what the first row looked like. Ignore the fuzzy stitches. I snapped this right before I frogged that blue.

That blue just wasn't doing it for me. Too dark. So today I made it to JoAnns even though it snowed...AGAIN...lets not talk of it. I found a great purply blue - DMC 3838 - and I love this blue. Ignore the D... it still needs to be frogged.

Now what does this have to do with a 1976 AMC Pacer...well to me it is the exact shade of the car I coveted in back then.

I know it is a crazy looking little car, but the cars of my dreams are all crazy little cars. I also love the Nash Metropolitan. My dad had one just like this one!

And I owned Fiat Spider similar to this one in my early 30's.. Mine was deep blue with a tan convertible top and tan leather interior.

I had that car until I was pregnant with my first child. I had a dream one night where I went over a very tall cliff in that car. Scared the carp out of me. I blame it on hormones, but I sold it before I gave birth and ended up with a used Volvo station wagon. Very safe but not anywhere near as much fun.

So from snow to cross stitch to floss to fun little cars... it is just a short crazy trip in my head - LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The return of the flapping polka dot chicken who is late again!

Hello there -- first I want to thank each and every one of you who came and visited my blog during the Grow Your Blog event put together by 2 Bags Full. I had lots of great comments on the blog from some readers and a bunch of emails from those without blogs. I appreciate each and every one of them. All total I had 48 entries for my giveaway of a $25 gift certificate to the crafty shop of your choice. I numbered all the entries as they came in and put the figure into one of the random number generator thingies and drum roll please.....

the winner is LUCKY NUMBER 5....Stephanie N. Stephanie doesn't have a blog but I have sent her an email notifying her. Congratulations!

I hope that all of you that visited as part of the Grow Your Blog event will be back from time to time to see what I've been up to.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, February 14, 2014

I am a very fickle knitter

So last Friday I said I would be working on my Ma Belle Amie scarf as I watched the Olympics. You can see the free pattern for it here.

And I did work on it a bit. I'm into the third section of stripes. Love that orange!

But on Saturday afternoon this yarn ended up on my front porch. (We aren't going to discuss how it got there since there was some crazy declaration earlier this year on this blog that I was going to knit from my stash. What was I thinking???)

It insisted that it had to be cast on right NOW and once I did that I couldn't put it down. Oh what wonderful color and squishtastic smooshiness (those are technical terms don'tcha know - LOL).

This yarn is Schoppel Wolle Ambiente, colorway 2208, and oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVE this yarn! You can find it here on Webs. The colors are mouth watering, the yarn is nice and round and in the entire sock there is NO repeat of pattern. My idea of an absolutely PERFECT striping sock yarn. Now there is one negative aspect of this yarn. There is only 170 yds. in a ball. I did this sock with my usual vanilla stockinette pattern - 64 stitches and 2.75mm needles- and I don't have enough yarn to do the toe. I wear a size 7 1/2 to 8 shoe so my feet aren't huge but that little tail of black and white is all I have left. I can do the toe in a solid black. I'm okay with that, but overall this pair of socks is a bit thick and I think I may have to frog it and start again.

But before I did that I thought I'd see if larger needles - 3.25mm - and less stitches-56- would make a thinner sock. So to find that out I had to cast on another another colorway... did you really think that first ball of yarn arrived on my doorstep alone? Ha ha ... not a chance!

This is colorway 2184.

And it is making a very lovely sock. It is a bit thinner but it seems plenty large enough. Hopefully I'll have enough for the toe.

This yarn seems to just fly off my needles. The excitement of seeing what color is going to show up next has me totally enthralled and I wonder if this colorway will have any repeat of pattern. I won't find that out until I knit the entire sock - it is so addicting - and I have NO willpower as evidenced by the package that was on my porch this afternoon.

Colorways 1860, 2183, and 2205... and the stash keeps growing... but oh it is sooooo pretty!

Happy knitting-
carol fun

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Working away on Wednesday

I had a bit of time to sew and decided to work on some more of the blocks for Lori Holt's Quilty Fun QAL. Now I am still missing a couple of weeks but I'm not as far behind as I was.

Looking at all these blocks together is showing me that somehow I made this a very busy quilt. I'm pretty sure it is that background that is contributing to this vibe. I hadn't planned on making a busy quilt, but then I never do, and yet somehow almost all of mine are a bit on the crazy side.

Here is my version of Lori's tulips.

The trees are growing nicely -- isn't that green lovely? Makes me think of Spring.

And these are the chubby chevrons. I was able to work in a bit of fussy cutting with that teddy bear.

I have a twist I want to add to this quilt but I'm not that far yet. I'm thinking this quilt will look great in my living room this summer. I'm hoping to switch out the slipcovers on the sofa and my comfy chair and use several quilts made with ,more of my American Jane fabrics to decorate the room. But before I get to the summer decorating I need to spend time on my Spring decorating ideas. I am determined that the beginning of March will find Spring inside my home even if it isn't outside.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, February 10, 2014

Everything's coming up.... on Design Wall Monday

Hit Ethel... everything's coming up tulips??? Yes it is! (and apologies to Miss Merman.)

I have made about 38 tulip blocks - each a unique pairing of a polka dot flower and green leaves. They are not all in this picture... I sewed some into my first two rows shown here.

Now figuring out how many tulips and how many rectangles I need for this quilt is taxing my little pea brain. I'm making it larger than Lori Holt did in her book Quilty Fun. I want this to grace my bed very soon as they may be the only tulips I'm going to see for a while.

I guesstimated that I need at least 36 tulips and somewhere in the neighborhood of 240 rectangles. Don't ask how I came to that conclusion. I don't think these figures can be replicated. So I decided that I would be using 5 different colors in the rectangles - red, orange, pink, yellow and green. Just like the tulips. I cut 12 different fabrics in each of those colorways and cut 3 to 5 rectangles from each fabric. So I figure there are about 100 different fabrics in this quilt.

Here are some close up of that first two rows and you can see some of the fabrics I've chosen. All this fabric comes from my stash.

Nice bright happy colors for a gray cold week. Hopefully I'll find time to squeeze in a little sewing time. It is one of those weeks where I have an someplace I need to be out of the house every day.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another Snowy Slow Stitching Sunday

Just like in the movie Groundhog Day, the weather is a repeat performance of snow and cold - yuck! So I'm hunkered down with my needle and thread and have a little something to show for my time.

First I finished my BBD Stitcher's Companion. I'm not sure yet how I'm finishing this one. Maybe a little frame, maybe a little cushion.

As I was putting the last stitches into this the name of the linen popped into my head. It is called Alma cloth and I remember purchasing it at a little cross stitch show on the west side of Cincinnati probably close to 20 years ago. Now how come I can remember this but I can stand in the kitchen and can't remember which drawer I put the potholders in? Sheesh..

And this is the bit of progress I've made on my BBD Bittersweet September. It is coming along. Those oval spots are sunlight...glorious sunlight...the only sun I will probably see today. If you want to see a pretty version of this piece check out Catherine's blog, Bramblewood Stitches. Just click here.

Since I did get out and about yesterday, in comparison to today where I'm in and staying put, I picked my finished BBD piece from the Maria Selby Humphrey 1831 book. I am very happy with this frame. I like how that darker part is carved. It is part of the wider frame, not a separate filet.

Here's a bit of a close up.

I'm going to add this to my wall of yellow house samplers on the left side of the stairway into my sewing room. I'll try to get a picture of the grouping but it is hard as you can't get back real far to take the photos.

So I have a roast ready to pop into the oven. Side dishes have been prepared. Just need to bake the rolls before my son comes over and we'll have a lovely Sunday dinner. Since I've been in this house we have had dinner together almost every Sunday. It is a tradition I hope to continue for a long long time.

So stay warm and happy stitching-
carol fun