Friday, May 30, 2014

A little knitting and a little stash enhancement

I only knit a little this week. I've been more in the mood to cross stitch, but I did put a few more rows in on my Carolina socks - the free pattern is here. This is a Kaffe Fassett yarn by Regia.

And as I was knitting ,I vaguely remembered knitting another pair of socks with this yarn a couple of years ago. Look how different the pattern makes the same yarn appear.

Now the brown color in the vanilla sock appears a bit different, but it may have faded. The vanilla socks have been machined washed and dried numerous times.  Love Regia for its ease of care and durability.

About a week ago I found a group on Facebook called Addicted to Sock Knitting - you can see their page here. Well I haven't posted anything to the page but boy have I been impressed with what I've seen. Lots of newbie sock knitters and I love that, and lots of wonderful yarns that have called my name. This has resulted in unplanned stash enhancement... LOL as if stash enhancement were ever really planned. Now in my defense I purchased these skeins with my cashback option on my credit card, so to my little pea brain this is FREE yarn!

First their was this yarn - Fluormania - another Regia yarn. It looks like an entire package of highlighters leaked all over it. Can't wait to cast it on.

And then there was this Regia - it is an older one, and as far as I can tell, out of production.

When I opened the package I was so enamoured with it I went right to my laptop and ordered another 2 skeins.  I have no idea what I'll knit with it but when I did a search online there wasn't much of it out there, so I figured I better get it while I can. I've found that it isn't the yarn, fabric, thread, etc. that I buy that haunts me, it is the stuff that got away that I regret. And after this stash enhancement I was still feeling virtuous as this was FREE yarn and I patted myself on the back that  I didn't succumb to purchasing any of the new  Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock on Simply Socks website... at least I haven't succumbed yet - stay tuned, I'll probably cave, cause the one called Cockamamie is  calling my name!

Hope you have a great weekend!
Happy knitting!
carol fun

Monday, May 26, 2014

UFOs are important to have on Design Wall Monday

First on this Memorial Day,  I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to all those brave men and women who  made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy. Thank you doesn't seem adequate, but I'm coupling it with prayers too.

Second, this doesn't seem like Monday, I woke up thinking it was Sunday and all week long I'll be off a day.

Third, to the point of this post, we all have UFOs (and if you don't I don't want to know). I think it is very important to have UFOs. Why, you ask. Because if you have a UFO and you put it away for a while to age and season and mature, and then you go back and pull it out and start again you already have a partially done quilt top -- slightly pre-assembled - a jump start on a finished project - satisfaction that you have already accomplished something!   I don't feel guilt, I feel joy! This is my current UFO redux... a strippy quilt done with little kiss blocks using some old old collections of Urban Chiks fabric called Swell and Sweet.

According to the scrawled note I left myself, I plan to make 40 blocks.  I have enough of that lovely yellow fabric with the big red roses and polka dots to do strips for 6 vertical rows . If I want to put a border across the top and bottom I'm either going to have to piece it or use another fabric as this is all I have of this fabric and as far as I can tell, there ain't no more available anywhere.

I cut  all the squares I need for the 40 blocks yesterday, so now it is just lovely mindless sewing. Hope to get a few more done today as I have most of my dinner prep done - grilling out tonight, made a couple of salads and we're having strawberry shortcake - yum!

Hope you are having a wonderful day!
Happy stitching!
carol fun

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer time peeking in on Slow Stitching Sunday

I am enjoying stitching up the BBD SAL for Her Sampler. I'm happy with the changes I've made to floss colors and stitches, and I made a big change today

After finishing the big alphabet using Smyrna crosses instead of eyelets (try it... it goes sooooo much faster) I decided the row with the numbers didn't do anything for me. I started paging through this book, Sampler Workbook by Caroline Vincent, you can see it here.

And I found this...honeysuckle... I love the smell of honeysuckle and it reminds me of my sainted Grandma who gave me some Avon honeysuckle cologne when I was about 12. A sweet memory in so many ways!

Now seeing the picture I realize I've left off a stitch at the top of each of the petals on first two motifs - gotta fix that. Under this band I have plans for another  personal band and I think that will finish it up. I'm not concerned about the border as the original pattern has 4 different corners and so will mine, maybe ever different from the four BBD came up with. This has been a fun stitch. I'm envisioning a pretty gold frame, something kinda frilly and feminine. Have to see what's available at Joanns. I know Bev will do a great job as always.

Here are a couple of close ups of what I've done so far.  LOVE the big bump of the Smyrna cross.

Like the look of the four sided stitch but don't like stitching it. Oh just noticed that alphabet should have a small row of four sided stitch in between. Need to think about that. Maybe I can come up with a substitution I like stitching.

Hope you are having a great weekend. So far mine has been lovely, great weather and time to sew.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, May 23, 2014

One sock leads to another and another

Edited to fix bad link for pattern -- thanks for letting me know Mary Ann!

Have I ever told you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE knitting socks? Well I do! There is something so satisfying and soothing about knit knit knit. It makes me HAPPY! So last week I finished this pair. This is Opal sock yarn Schafpate 5 in the color Heidi. In real life they are more coral rose than orange. I couldn't get the color right in the picture.

And a completed pair of socks leads to starting a new pair of socks. This is Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock lightweight in the Lemonellow colorway. You can see it here. A lovely lemony shade with fleck of aqua and a greeny gray.

I used a pattern I've done before call Carolina, Last Queen of Naples. It is a free pattern and you can see it here. It is a simple to remember 4 row repeat. The only change I made is instead of the knit 3 together (K3tog) in the first row, I do slip one purlwise, knit 2 together and then pass the slipped stitch over. Much easier. I love the zig zag and that purl ridge row.

And as I was finishing up this sock I had a thought (almost always a dangerous moment - LOL) that I hadn't ever done this pattern with a striped yarn. Sooooooo... I went downstairs and rummaged through my ever so nicely organized yarn stash sealed in their very own plastic storage containers and found 2 skeins of this Kaffe Fassett yarn by Regia. Oooooohhhh... I like this a lot!

So far the stripes seem to be changing colors at the purl row but I think that will change as some of the stripe sections in the yarn are longer than others. It will definitely keep my attention.

And I curbed my urge to cast on another pair. I found this pattern, Show-off Stranded Socks. You can see it here and it is also free - dontcha just love free patterns? Me too! This looks great in lots of the Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock yarns and I have several all wound in cakes and ready to go. And I have 2 new sets of Hiya Hiya needles. I LOVE these needles. I picked them up a couple of weeks ago at Lambikins Hideaway. I've used Knitpicks needles since I began knitting but wanted to upgrade as I've had some problems with cables that have come loose. The Hiya Hiya have very flexible cables, and nice long pointy points and I swear they coated with something that makes them ever so smooth. The yarn just slips so easily off the needles. Effortless knitting.

So do you have lots of plans for the 3 day weekend? We are going to the local food festival, Taste of Cincinnati, on Saturday morning and I have plans to grill out on Memorial day but other than that I think there is going to be some quality and quantity time to knit, cross stitch and sew.

Hope you have a great weekend! Say a prayer for those who sacrificed so much for our freedom. It is the least we can do.

Happy knittng and stitching!

carol fun

Monday, May 19, 2014

And you picked...... on Design Wall Monday

So I put on my best Monty Hall plaid sport coat and you  picked.... Door #2!!!! Applause, applause! Now when I posted the poll last Thursday I was certain that no matter what the outcome I would sew it together in the Door #1 mode. But the more I read your comments and the more I looked at it Door #2, I could see it was a winner.

All the rows are sewn together and I really like the look of the black and white prints with the Kaffe fabric. Thanks for inspiration Melinda!

There was a comment that the black and white prints are low volume. I hadn't thought of them that way, but if they are the are hanging with the wrong crowd cause the Kaffe fabrics are the heavy metal guys in the room - LOL!

I found this fabric last week at Joanns for the back. Now to get this one packed off to my long arm quilter.

Like any week I have high hopes for lots of sewing time, tempered with the knowledge that there are lots of other things I am committed to do. Painting woodwork at my older son's house, chauffeuring duties for my younger son, appointments with contractors... its going to be a busy week. But the upcoming weekend is Memorial Day and that off day  next Monday is looking pretty sweet.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Enjoying some slow stitching on Sunday

Hello there -- hope today is a good day for you. The weather here is warming up and I do appreciate it after the last cold rainy days we've had. I really thought Spring was here but you couldn't have proved it by last night's temperatures. I was outside in my polka dot pajamas (did you really think I would have any other kind? LOL) and my son's polar fleece jacket hauling in my hanging baskets of petunias, and some dahlias I hadn't gotten in the ground into my garage as they were warning we could have frost -- FROST!!! It is almost the end of May, talk about endless winter. Sheesh!

Anyway the last couple of evenings and this afternoon have provided some quality stitching time and I've made a lot of progress on the Blackbird Design SAL Sampler.

As you can see I've changed the colors and some of the stitches too.  Hmmm... the border and 4 sided stitch look grey here when in fact they are GA Dried Thyme - a green.   I got started on the alphabet with the 4 sided stitch and remembered why it isn't one of my favorites -- it just takes too long to get anywhere! I had determined before I threaded up my first needles on this piece that I would NOT do those eyelet stitches. I dislike them for the same reason - they take too much time. So I went with Smyrna crosses over 4 threads. Quick, easy and I love the big bump they make.

Now these pictures show a lot more contrast between the thread color of the Smyrna crosses and the linen than in real life. I'm going for the low contrast look - subtle. Which is kinda funny since I don't often do subtle, but this just seems like a sweet little sampler.

I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching on Sunday. Check out what everyone else is doing.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blogger Quilt Festival - Spring 2014.

It is that wonderful time of the year when lots of new fabrics and patterns and tools are unveiled at the Spring Quilt Market and Amy's Creative Side sponsors the FABULOUS Blogger's Quilt Festival. I have such a good time looking at all the spectacular creations that are posted  and I hope you enjoy my offering .

I call this quilt the GIANT Pinwheel quilt. A rather mundane name for a really colorful quilt - seems like all my creativity went into picking the fabrics, not the name.  It's officially the Ballerina pattern from Jaybird Quilts. You can see it here. This is HUGE -almost but not quite king size - the largest quilt I have ever made and that is saying a lot since my quilts always seem to grow as I'm stitching them up.  (I once started a block for a potholder  and it ended up being a twin size quilt - I have issues - LOL!)

I call it the GIANT Pinwheel quilt, instead of the Ballerina quilt as I made it for my 29 year old son and somehow I don't think he'd appreciate the reference to  a delicate little dancer. My son is the antithesis of a delicate little dancer -if you know what I mean and I think you do. He is a BIG boy, but sweet as he can be.

I selected the most masculine batik prints from my stash. The background triangles include 3 different deep blue batiks as I didn't have enough of any one fabric. I love how that made it even scrappier.

This quilt was quilted by Terry Finnerty of The Running Needle. You can see more of her work

I think this large scale swirly pantograph really enhances the quilt and gives it great texture.

Now go and look at all the other WONDERFUL quilts on the Blogger's Quilt Festival. You are going to have a great time. Thanks for stopping by!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3

So I got all 8 rows of my Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt together and then I played around with different layouts. Which one do you like best?

Should I choose Door #1...

or Door #2...

or Door #3?

Give me your two cents - I'd love to know which you like best.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Working on Wednesday

Well Monday I posted a laundry list of projects I wanted to work on and this one was no where on that list. But then last night I realized I had told a friend who recently purchased this BOM that I'd work on it with her today. Yikes! Last minute prepping was required, and completed in the nick of time.

This will be the first month of Bertie's Year. I love this project and my sons gave the whole shebang to me as a Christmas present.

Now I was dragging my feet to start it as each month arrives in the middle of the month, and since I knew I couldn't finish before the end of the month, I didn't start. Does that make sense? Not great logic, but my logic. So I decided I would wait till I had several months and then I'd start and when January rolls around next year I would ready ahead of time. Lets see if it works out that way.

Anyway I put a couple of stitches in last night and I'm taking it to the UFO group this morning so we can collaborate. My friend plans to set her blocks all together as a quilt, while I plan to keep them as separate little quilts.

So while the first project wasn't on my list, this project was. These are prototype blocks for a signature quilt for my son's wedding.

The colors in this picture are a bit  off. The wedding colors are turquoise and orange and in real life these fabrics are very pretty together. I will be adding to the variety of the turquoise and orange fabrics so I can reduce the chances of two of the same fabrics ending up next to each other. My thought was that by putting the pieces around the signature area people would confine their message to this space and I wouldn't have to deal with good wishes that disappeared into the seam allowance. I'm showing these to my son's fiancee - a wonderful girl - to get her take on it before I make more.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced again this week. Make sure you go over and check out all the awesomeness there.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, May 12, 2014

The end is in sight on Design Wall Monday

Only one more row to assemble and then sew the rows to each other! Yippee!!!

I'm very happy with how my Scrappy Mountains Majesties is coming together. You can see Bonnie Hunter's pattern for this quilt here. Once I have all 8 rows together I'm passing this one off to my long arm quilter.

Not sure what I will work on next. My American Jane Alpha Bits & Pieces is still on my design wall and I've got 9 blocks done for that Disappearing Four Patch and I want to stitch up some prototype blocks for a wedding quilt and table runners for my older son and his fiancee and I saw a pattern from Cotton Way (you can see it here) that would be perfect for an older line of Basic Grey fabric I've been ageing and there are 2 different alphabet quilts I want to make and I'd like a new table runner for my dining table and well, there needs to be more hours in a day and more days in a week to get to all I want to do!

The reality is this week will be busy. My youngest has a summer class that will require chauffeuring and tutoring on my part, a mini group I belong to meets this week and I've got dinner plans with friends another evening and I'm going to help paint at my son's house. Oh well, I'm happy to be busy. I can't imagine just sitting around with nothing to do.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stitching on Mother's Day

I hope everyone is having a lovely Mother's Day. I am awaiting the arrival of my dinner. My oldest son and his fiance are picking it up at Carraba's - yum!

In the meantime I'm indulging myself with watching the baseball game -- a good one today and doing a bit of cross stitching. First up I have my finished BBD Rosy Morning.

I went with Weeks Dirt Road for the alphabet instead of the pink it called for. I think this choice puts the spotlight on the house and the urn and those mutant birds.

And I am relaxing with my own personal Mother's Day tradition - starting a NEW project no matter how many I already have in progress. My choice this year is the new Blackbird Design SAL - you can see it here. Now I thought I had read that it would start today May 12.... see the mistake?? Today is May 11 - oops! I started this last evening after the stroke of midnight. I thought I was following the guidelines but I muddled that up - oh well.

I decided that this project would come from my stash. The linen is 28ct. R&R Old Parchment. It has a definite yellow-y tone.

My choice of linen dictated a change in floss colors. My palette is going to be GA Dried Thyme, Crescent Colors Honeycomb, Tennessee Red Clay, and Jakey Brown, Weeks Honeysuckle and a couple of other colors to be determined at a later date. It is going to be a very sweet sampler, in fact I'm going to call it my Honey sampler as two of the flosses have honey in their names and the whole thing will have a golden tone to it. Aren't I clever? LOL Anyway I started with the border in Dried Thyme. I like that there is a pattern but all four corners have a different turn. That means if I mess up it isn't going to show. When I put in that first line of stitching after the border I got the bright idea to do it as a decorative stitch.

I chose a long arm cross variation. The sampler calls for a 4 sided stitch and eyelet stitches so I thought adding another decorative stitch would be interesting. Years ago I actually taught classes about these kinds of decorative stitches at local needlepoint and cross stitch shops. When I lived in California I had a chance to take a class with Eileen Bennett of The Sampler House. She had lots of band samplers with beautiful decorative stitches. You can check her stuff out here.

Happy Mother's Day!

carol fun


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Curiousity gets me in trouble on WIP Wednesday

Oh, it starts out so innocently. A couple of blocks on someone else's blog (I'm talking about you Kathy - you can see her blocks here.) And then there is a pack of charm squares conveniently perched on the corner of your cutting table and your curiosity kicks in and before you know it BAM!!! You've started another project. Honestly it wasn't planned, I just had to see how that disappearing 4 patch would look!

Now this is an old line of fabric called Modern Workshop by Oliver + S. I'd say it was released about 3 years ago (hey that is old in fabric years - LOL!) Anyway I picked up a couple of charm packs of this super cheap a week or so ago. I wish I had paid more attention to this line when it first came out. I like it a lot. This is going to be a small quilt since I only have 2 full charm packs and a part of another pack. Doing these 9 blocks showed be the importance of picking 2 fabrics that have good contrast.

See how the two yellow blocks aren't as crisp as the other two? I went matchy matchy when I picked the squares. The colors are pretty but it makes a better block IMHO when there is more contrast.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday. You can see it here - go check out all the awesome projects other are working on.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mixing it Up on Design Wall Monday

So back on Wednesday, I got what I believed to be a great idea for my Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt. And no I wasn't drinking at the time, I was in my car running errands sitting a a stop light.

You can see Bonnie Hunter's pattern here. It was already pretty busy with the combination of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and black on white novelties I selected, but I thought of a way to make it even busier! Shuffle the individual pieces of each row so no two pieces that had the same combination of fabrics touched each other.

To accomplish this I had to go back and unsew the blocks in the three rows I had already assembled. It took me an entire baseball game of  "watching", and a few hours more to do but I think it was worth it. Here is my new mixed up arrangement.

You can click on the picture and see it's busy-ness in all of its glory in the full screen mode.

And here are some close ups where you can pick out hearts and stars and bicycles and cutlery...

and purses and peace symbols and scissors and ants...

and sudoku and chicken foot prints and mustaches and directions on how to iron a shirt...

along with 32 different Kaffe Fassett prints.

Now I had a thought on Saturday that I could get this entire top sewn together before the guild meeting tonight but I was delusional. I'm not sure where my leisurely, sewing time filled weekend went to but I think most of it was sucked up into food shopping, and meal prep, and cooking, and clean up on Saturday and Sunday. Now I enjoyed having my family over and they certainly chowed down but it reminds me why I love quilting so. If you spend hours working on a meal it is gone in 60 seconds - okay maybe a bit longer than that but that's what it seems like. When you spend hours working on a quilt it last for years and years and years and years. Oh well...such is life.

This week is already filling up fast. Guild meeting tonight, doctor's appointment and trip for a x-ray for my younger son, meeting with a lawyer about some property, lunch plans with friends - you get the idea.

Hope your week and mine does have some quality sewing time on the agenda!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stitching on Sunday

Lots of baseball games this week resulted in lots of stitching time and BBD Rosy Morning is almost done.

This is a great design in the Abecedarian series. All I have left to do is the alphabet and the only thing holding me up is "what color to stitch it in?" I'm not liking the pink - Weeks Red Pear - it is just too too pink for my taste. I may use the Weeks Baked Apple or Gentle Arts Toasted Barley. I'll mull that over.

Isn't this fellow a handsome bird? That color is Gentle Arts Otter Creek - a kinda turquoise-y green. I'm not going to do much personalization on this sampler. I'll do my son's initials in a different color and add 2014 somewhere but that will be it. Since I didn't have a date to put on that big urn I decided a bit of a pattern would be a good idea. Otherwise it would have been a very LARGE brown pot.

Well the game so far today is just okay - the Brewers are up one run -but last night's game was a great one. The Reds one and the pitcher Johnny Cueto was superb. I really like to watch him pitch. Side story - before I moved to my little yellow house I lived in a much larger house in the suburbs and Johnny Cueto bought the house catty-corner from mine in the cul de sac. Now he is only there during the baseball season as he has a much grander place in Miami for the off season. On TV interviews he only speaks Spanish. Probably a good move on his part as it cuts down on the number of interviews you are called on to do. However in the neighborhood he seems to more than hold his own in English.(He didn't fall for the fast talking guy trying to give him a "deal" on the load of mulch he had left over... and neither did I). He seems like a nice kid. I call him a kid as he is the same age as my older son - 28 years old. The talk in the neighborhood is he bought the house so his mom would stay with him and cook. And I see her taking care of several adorable little kids who I assume are his. No baby mommy in residence. During the time I lived in the house, there were several times when I looked out in my cul de sac and saw Johnny and four to five other Reds players out there racing radio controlled cars. Boys and their toys. If he stays healthy he will go far in the big leagues. He's already making big money - something like $10 million for this season - and he takes good care of his mom. I like that in a man.

I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching on Sunday. Go check it out here.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, May 2, 2014

What's on and off the needles

Last evening while I watched my beloved Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers I knit the last picot of the bind off for my latest Cladonia shawl. (You can see the pattern here).

It isn't blocked yet but I think you can see the lace pattern.

I love shawls that have 2 or 3 or more colors and this is the third shawl I've knit from this pattern and there may be another one or two or more in my future. I LOVE this pattern. All this yarn came from my stash so this is a free shawl, right?? LOL! Now that green trim and picot edge may be a bit bright but I like it. The whole shawl has a summer-y citrus-y feel for me.

And I got a vanilla stockinette sock done. This is Opal Schafpate 5 yarn and the colorway is called Heidi. You can see it here. The second sock is started so  hopefully someday soon, it will be a pair.

Now onto my next big project. I found both of these yarns in my stash. The one on the left is Araucania and the one on the right is Dream in Color Smooshy. Both are sock weight. I'm going to be using my new Hiya Hiya needles. Nice long sharp points.

This is going to be "It a Mystery" Shawl  by Romi Hill. You can see the it here. If you go to the project page where people posted their shawls don't be put off  by the fact that each project is showing the Mystery picture. Click on the part where is says the number of photos and you can see the color combinations they came up with.

Hope you have a great weekend!
Happy knitting!

carol fun