Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The fortune cookie lied ~

Okay so last Monday I had Chinese food for lunch and got a fortune cookie that said "Wednesday will be your lucky day" LIED!The following Wednesday I had a appointment for a plumber to come and look at a toilet that was intermittently running and I couldn't figure out why. It was one of those new-fangled toilets with 2 buttons - for different kinds of business. Since it had been running I also noticed that it wasn't doing an effective job and many times required 2 flushes, which wasn't saving any water. Well, it turned out that a new toilet would be an easier and less expensive fix so I went with that.

But that is not my sad story. This is...

there is now a giant hole in my shower that I ended up paying big bucks. In investigating the running toilet the plumber went downstairs to follow the pipes and see how everything was connected. He went into the storage room where my hot water heater is, looked up at the ceiling and said "we have a problem". Yes we did - the shower was leaking into the basement and parts of the ceiling were on top of the hot water heater and on the floor around the hot water heater and wet yuck was hanging out of the ceiling. This problem is waaaaaay more expensive than a new toilet. New building codes require that my 60 year old shower with its two separate handles must be replaced with one of the new non-scalding single handle type.

New tile is not going to match what is in the shower. Last year when I renovated we had the old 1950's salmon pink, turquoise, and brown tile resurfaced with a coating that made it all a nice clean shiny white. If you look real closely you can see a bit of the salmon pink at the top and the turquoise at the bottom of the opening. I figure once the plumbing is put back together I will have to have someone come and resurface the tile again to get it all to match.

I hadn't planned on this expense - but then who does. And then this Wednesday -today- I took my car in for a maintenance check up and needed new brakes and filters - ackkkk!!! More money leaving! Wednesday is NOT my lucky day!  I'm spending next Wednesday under the covers

So that is my tale of woe! Oh I know in the grand scheme of life this is no big deal and I will get it all taken care of - I just want it all done sooner rather than later, and would rather spend my money on fabric and yarn.  I don't drink so I'm off to drown my sorrows in a hot fudge sundae.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Modern Quilt - Fall 2014

I so enjoy seeing all of the entries for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. This time around saw the announcement in plenty of time to mull over my choice for what I wanted to enter....Batik Paint Chips.

Now if you've followed my blog you know that I traversed a range of emotions with this quilt. First I was red hot for the plan of this modern quilt (so not my regular style) done it batiks (so not my regular choice of fabrics). After a few blocks I was trending towards "ummm... not so sure about this"...followed by "oh my goodness this is bad." Now I persevered and assembled all the blocks and got the border on it. About this time I was warming back up to the look of this quilt, but then I needed to quilt it. I'm not sure why I decided I needed to quilt it as I routinely send my tops out to be quilted, but I pin basted this one and off I went. Within the first 20 minutes I remembered why I prefer piecing to machine quilting, but I soldiered on. It ended up taking a lot longer to quilt than I first thought as the more lines of quilting I put in it, the more lines it needed. I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back for finishing this one and hung it in my living room. I was still on the fence whether I liked it or not but the longer it hung there the more it grew on me and now I do LOVE it.

It stretched me to work in this earthy batik palette versus the brights I normally select. I did enjoy doing the improv piecing. The idea for this quilt came from the book Stack, Shuffle and Slide by Karla Alexander - you can see it here.

This is the second top like this that I made from this pattern. The first one was in crayon brights - you can see it here - but I haven't gotten around to quilting it. I do think that this excursion into another style of quilting was good for this old dog and I did learn a new trick or two.

Here are some close-ups of the blocks - I do wish I captured the color better in these first shots.

This one is the best picture with the truest colors.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt and I know you will have a ton of fun seeing all the other entries!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

And now reading issues on WIP Wednesday

So I finally got my math issues under control and made 30 crazy pieced squares for my take on the Moda Love Layer Cake quilt... and then some reading issues cropped up. The pattern which you can view here clearly says that 12 blocks will go into the quilt as squares and 18 blocks need to be make into HST blocks... like these...

except I read it that 12 blocks need to be made into HSTs which I sewed up quickly and squared to 8 1/2". And then I continued and squared up all the rest of the crazy pieced blocks to 8 1/2"...only to realize that I still needed  6 more squares to make 12 more HSTs...arghh!! In my rush to get done the blocks were now too small to make into HSTs. Thank goodness that the Fancy layer cake from Lily Ashbury still had enough squares left for me to make the remaining 6 blocks I needed. If I hadn't made so many errors I would have had 12 or more 10" squares left... enough to do something else. As it is I have 2 squares left - oh well - into the stash they will go.

Ta dah!!!! My crazy quilt version of the Moda Love Layer Cake quilt inspired by Edyta Sitar's quilt.

The star will measure about 64" square when I get all the blocks sewn together. I'm going to add about a 2" float around the outside and then when the yardage of this collection comes to Fabric Shack I will pick a border...probably one of the yellow prints... LOL...I know that totally shocks you!

Here is a close up  of some of the blocks. The background is from the Sewing Box collection by Gina Martin.  I love those tossed snaps... too cute!

I'm hoping to have time today to start assembling the rows. I'm waiting for  a plumber and an appliance delivery.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced... go check out all the cool stuff everyone is working on!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, October 20, 2014

Math issues (again) on Design Wall Monday

So remember that yellow Halloween quilt I had on my design wall the last time I was here...well it is gone with the wind - literally. I was straightening up my sewing studio and I turned on the fan, cause I was working up a sweat don'tcha know, and I wasn't paying attention, and the fan blew the blocks onto the floor - arggh!! I figured this was God's way of telling me that there was no way I was getting this quilt done before Halloween, so I might as well sweep it away and move onto other projects...and I listened...this time.

Onto a NEW project-I was quite productive this weekend making these crazy pieced blocks. The fabric line is a new one by Lily Ashbury called Fancy and it is wonderful! Pretty,bright, saturated colors and interesting prints! I made 28 blocks.

Ahem, there is a little problem... the pattern calls for 30 blocks - 18 plus 12 equals 30. Not 28. Some how I added 18 plus 12 and got 28 - I don't know how I ended up with that number. I even have a calculator on my cutting table... but I didn't use it as that equation is second grade math - sheesh. So after making the 28 blocks I still needed 2 more and it took more time to make 2 than it did to make a stack of 6.

Now I in my defense I don't actually have a complete pattern to follow. I am making the Moda Love Layer Cake Quilt that all the designers made about a month ago - this one. I can't seem to get a picture of the layout to show up here so just click and look at the pdf.

However, I want to make one that is one similar to the one  Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts did. This one...

I think the crazy quilt version is WONDERFUL! I couldn't find any explanation of how Edyta made these blocks but I assumed I could figure it out myself... now let us analyze that statement - I can't add two 2 digit numbers correctly but I'm going to figure the block out myself -oh yeah. Well, I looked closely and saw that each full block had 8 fabrics in it. I assumed that was because a stack of 8 is about all one wants to rotary cut at one time. I'm familiar with the Stack, Shuffle and Slide technique where you stack the fabrics, cut the fabrics and then shuffle the piles so you don't get two of the same fabrics in each block. And off I went...

The first group of blocks were like this - 8 different fabric in each block.

The next group started with 8 fabrics but I only cut the stack into 7 pieces -oh well - it still looks nice just not as scrappy.

At this point I had 16 blocks and I was operating under the premise that I needed 28 blocks so I had 12 more to go. Twelve divided by 2 is 6, see I can do 2nd grade math! So I made 2 more stacks with 6 fabrics in each one.

Ta dah!!! Twenty eight beauyoootiful blocks!! But you need THIRTY - argghh!!! I ended up making the last two with bit and pieces of the squares I still had left. They were scrappy but it involved lots of running back and forth between the sewing machine, cutting table and ironing board. I considered it my cardio for the day and then sat down and had some Ghirardelli chocolates.

So now that I do have 30 blocks, I'm onto making the half square triangle units. Tune back in on Wednesday and see what progress I make. I just found some lovely fabric in my stash for the background - yippee!  Free fabric!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Something unusual for Slow Stitching Sunday

Isn't this a pretty little sampler? It measures a petite 3" x  6".  And what pray tell is so unusual about it? It is FINISHED - LOL!

I haven't finished a piece of cross stitch in eons and it is a great feeling. This sampler is from a new series called the Quaker Bookmark from The Workbasket. This one is for August and I got it as a kit which includes silk floss. I've never used silk floss before and I was quite impressed. Such smooth stitching! Now I did learn that I have to be judicious with the amounts of floss they send in this kit. I got it from The Strawberry Sampler and they do a great job. However I screwed up a section and had to frog it and re-stitch it... and then Big Dude sauntered off with a piece and before you know it I just squeaked it out. There were 2 shades of floss in the kit and I had to change some of the motifs to the darker shade from the lighter shade it was charted, but no one will ever know... except you and I know your lips are sealed.

Anyway the kit also came with a plastic sleeve that you use to make this into a bookmark, but it met an unfortunate demise in the fact that I sat on it... and it got folded in half... and quite mangled. Oh well, I have feeling that each kit will include a plastic sleeve,but I'm not sure that's how I want to finish these. I'm thinking of making it a little cushion filled with sawdust. Could be cute.

I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday.

I think I'll go work on another little sampler and maybe I'll have something to show again next Sunday.

happy stitching-

carol fun

Friday, October 17, 2014

Knitting stuff off the needles

I have some finished projects to share today - a shawl and some socks - I'll be warm head to toes!

This shawl was an easy knit, a beginner pattern, and yet I still messed it up and had to redo the lace trim twice. I found another error as I was working in my loose ends but it is going to stay this way. The pattern is Jimi - and you can see it here on Ravelry.

I used Malabrigo Rios in the Purpuras and Arco Iris. The Purpuras came from Eat, Sleep, Knit - here - and the Arco Iris was in my stash. I bought it a while ago at Lambikins Hideaway.

The mesh lace border really dresses up this simple shawl,and yes this picture is a little blurry - sorry. The picot edge bind off is my addition to the pattern. I LOVE the way a picot edge finishes off a shawl. I don't like that it takes about 4 times as long to do as a regular bind off but it is worth the time when it looks this pretty, dontcha think? I still need to block this but it won't take much work - maybe I can get to it this weekend.

And another pair of plain vanilla stockinette socks joins it brethren in my sock drawer. The yarn is Regia in a colorway called Avenue Passion. I got it through Amazon and saw a couple more skeins here.

Sooooo what to pick up next?  I have another pair of socks started - well truth be told, I always have a least 2 or 3 pairs of socks started - I could work on any one of them. And I have a couple more shawl patterns I'd like to play with. I bought enough yarn to do 2 more of those Jimi shawls. Now I'm not sure I need 2 more but there is plenty of yarn for some other pattern. And some more yarn came home with me from Lambikins last week - hang head in shame!  There are 3 skeins of Noro Silk Garden that are calling loudly. My plan is to make this shawl - Stitch Sampler - a free pattern you can see here. I think this would make a lovely shawl to wear at my older son's wedding next April. I figure if I start now and I don't like how it turns out I still have lots of time to make something else.... but I think I'm going to like this. Now to find my stitch markers and start casting on... 225 stitches... that's a lot of counting... and we all know counting is not my forte - LOL!

happy knitting!

carol fun

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Break in the Clouds

There was a nanosecond break in the clouds yesterday and I was able to get a few pictures of my latest quilt finish. (Ignore that bit of the Halloween quilt peeking out on the right.)

This is my Soho Ziggurat quilt - the fabric is the Soho Chic line from Sandy Gervais which you can see here, and the pattern I used is Windspinner, which you can see here. I love this combination of fabric collection and pattern but what really makes this quilt is the quilting -- swoon!!!

Big Dude checked it out, up close and personal and gave the quilt a big thumbs up - ok if he had opposable thumbs he would definitely have done it!

The quilting was done by Terry Finnerty of The Walking Needle - here is a link to her Facebook page.

She covered every square inch of this quilt with gorgeous designs.

The quilting is so dense and varied that the quilt already has a lovely crinkly texture and I haven't washed it yet. She changed designs in each "step" of the ziggurat shape and that ferny vine in the pea green space is wonderful!

When I put my Halloween decorations away at the end of the month this quilt will be taking up residence on the back of my couch/quilt stand. What a striking display that will be!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, October 13, 2014

Finally, something to show on Design Wall Monday

Knock,knock...anybody home? I didn't plan on disappearing for over a week, sorry, it just happened. My crafty mojo has been lagging lately with a lot of projects started and then frogged because of one issue or another. That doesn't make for good blogging. But I did get in a mini-retreat over the weekend and that proved to be quite productive. I decided to take only one project so I would focus, a skill I'm not real adept at. And yes, maybe I did sneak a second project into the plastic bin... but I didn't touch it. I stayed on task and worked on these BOMs from Bertie's Year which I got as a Christmas present from my sons from Fat Quarter Shop - you can see all of them here.

Here are the first four months...

I decided to do as much of the stitching with my machine as possible. I used my blanket stitch with Sulky rayon thread to sew down the applique shapes and a triple stitch to do stems, and leaf veins, and bird feet and other details.

This is January. I still need to add a hand embroidered border in perle cotton and do some random snowflakes and buttons for berries.

Here 's close up and you can see that I used the triple stitch (#5 on my Janome 6500) to embroider the arm of the snowman. I added french knots for eyes and buttons and made a bow on Bertie's hood.

This is February - I LOVE that spray of bleeding hearts! Ignore that white blotch - it isn't on the block it just showed up in the picture.

This is March - I wanted to get the border of HST on it but I miscounted the fabric I brought with me and was short a couple of triangles.

Here's another close up where you can see that I combined machine stitching with hand embroidered details and I added the stripes on the bee with a pigma pen.

Isn't April cute? Love the hood with the bunny ears and the nest with the Easter eggs. Like all the others, it still needs the decorative stitched border and some buttons.

Now when I took these I thought I'd have them done in no time but boy was I wrong. Even doing things by machine it takes a while to get these done. I have a friend who is doing this project too and she is making hers into a quilt. My plan is to make each of these a removable pillow cover, so I can change it every month and have a seasonal decorative pillow to put on my couch... or maybe my bed. Either way I will enjoy them. I love the little bird in all his get-ups.

This project is all done in flannel. I haven't worked much with flannel before this project but it seems pretty easy.  Each month I get a kit in the mail and FQS is extremely generous with the amount of material they include. I have a ton of fabric leftover each month and I think by the time I'm finished I could do this whole project a second time... I could... but I'm not. I'm happy with the blanket stitch applique and I think I'll do more of this in the future. I'm not a hand applique gal. I love to cross stitch and knit and crochet but hand applique just isn't my thing. I've done it in the past and I do a pretty nice job but I don't enjoy it. Sooooo... I'm going to spend my crafty hours doing what makes me happy, happy, happy!

Hope you have a good week - they are calling for another cloudy rainy week like the last one - yuck! Well, maybe I'll stay inside and get some more crafty stuff done - I can hope!

happy stitching-
carol fun