Wednesday, March 5, 2014

California Dreamin'

Working on these blocks from Jaybird Quilts' Toes in the Sand is helping me move on from the winter doldrums.  Each block is named for a California beach, and I can only dream about what it would be like to be on one of them right now.  Since the pattern calls for making two of each block, this will be a large quilt.  It's intended to be a wedding gift, but more on that later!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Long Winter's Nap

As you can see, we've been up to our chairs in snow this winter.  This photo was taken after the great ice storm of  '14 when we lost power for 44 hours.  Fortunately, we have a gas fireplace that kept us toasty for the duration, but I discovered that I get quite cranky when I've been without coffee for 72 hours. Not much on an inconvenience, really, when we knew people who were without power for five days.

We've had snow on the ground since December which is quite unusual for us in the Philadelphia area.  As a result, my morale and motivation have taken quite a hit the last month.  I've hardly been at the sewing machine despite needing to keep going on the paper piecing class I'm taking.  I've been working away at those bottles of beer (stitching only--I hardly ever drink the stuff!!) and am up to 62 (of 99) completed.  I didn't make the deadline for the Smalls SAL in February.  In other words, very little to show for my time.  I did, however, watch all the episodes of House of Cards Season 2.

And I didn't even mention the technology h*ll that went on around here for a week or so.  All prompted by my husband wanting a keyboard for his iPad.  Great gadget, except that it wouldn't make the Bluetooth connection in our house.  I took it back to the store and the connection was made in seconds.  Then, I dropped my beloved classic Nook (or as the B&N saleswoman said, the one from 2009) and cracked the screen. I decided to get a Nook Glowlight since I already have a tablet and I really like the e-ink display.  But it was not love at first use with this new e-reader and less so when I couldn't get it to connect to the internet in the house.  Again, it connected in seconds when I used the free wi-fi at the library.  (Yeah, I know, ironic that I took my e-reader to the library to get it to work).  All of which forced me to come to grips with the fact that our wireless router is really outdated and inadequate.  I already knew that since I couldn't get my printer to function wirelessly.   And because when all the kids are home running their laptops and smartphones, somebody (usually me) is always getting kicked off the internet connection.   So another trip was made to the big box electronics store, a purchase was made and now all is right in our little wireless network.  Now, if I can just get my husband to stop asking me questions about how to use the new iPhone he got last week, I should have a lot more time to stitch.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What I Do For Love

Last March, my husband accompanied me to the needlework show at Woodlawn and was very patient while I closely inspected the entries.  Afterward, we went to a nearby needlework store where he spied a stitched model of Ink Circles "99 Bottles" on the wall.  While I would have glanced at it and wandered away, he was quite taken with the design.  As you can see, the chart came home with us.  I put a few stitches in and went back to other projects.  Soon, there were questions about when the bottles were going to be finished, and soon after that, pointed questions about how many bottles were done.  So I am currently stitching one bottle a day with the goal of being finished by the end of March.  This is actually turning out to be quite colorful and it's fun to have a little finish every day.

(And aren't you glad I didn't title this post, 99 Bottles, so you don't have that song stuck in your head?)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Checking In

I'm just under the wire to check in for the Smalls SAL and Wipocalypse 2014.  I finished this small piece this afternoon.  It's by Melissa Nichols and was a project for my sampler guild a few years ago.  The finishing is supposed to be a pin, but I think I'll make it into a scissors fob.
It's stitched in tent stitch over one with AVAS.  The top two bands are double running stitch which turned out to be surprisingly easy over one. I realized this afternoon that the house was supposed to be pink and the roof was to be red--oh, well.

It's been a busy month for me and I have lots to post about, but that will have to wait as we are meeting friends for dinner this evening and I need to get ready.  Hope everyone is getting lots of stitching done!

Monday, December 30, 2013

This Was Unexpected

We have had a house full of kids (our own  three plus one of my daughter's housemates) since December 20.  We had a wonderful Christmas together with some very special memories.  I've also had a lot of meal preparation, washing dishes and laundry, and very little sewing time.  This morning, though, I had to take my daughter to an early appointment and when we got home, she fell asleep on the couch.  No one else was up, so I took a cup of coffee with me into the sewing room and spent some time straightening up and putting the threads from a finished project away while I listened to a podcast.  When I emerged, my husband and one of my sons were on their way out the door for some "guy" time (our other son went back to New York yesterday).  The girls were still asleep so I headed back down to the sewing room to start the block-of-the-month for my quilt guild. 

We're using Barbara Brackman's Civil War Sampler this year and I decided to make 8" blocks.  The leaders have chosen three blocks per month, one each for beginner, intermediate and advanced quilters.  I settled on  Ohio Star, an "intermediate" block from this month's choices and finished it before anyone was stirring.
These are the rest of the fabrics I'm pulling from for these blocks.  I found the print on the bottom on sale earlier this month and think it will be perfect for a border.

As an added bonus, the girls headed to the mall after a quick lunch and the guys were still gone, so I had some quiet time to stitch.  Totally unexpected, but a very pleasant way to spend my day!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


My Scarlet Letter sampler, Scottish Band, is finished!  In my mind, it's a major accomplishment as I had to deal with a dye lot issue that caused me to frog the left half of the medium blue flame stitches as well as an issue with the chart.  For the life of me, I couldn't get the placement of the flame stitches on the chart to look like the picture of the sampler.  After I've lived with my finish for a week or two, I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out.  And I've almost forgotten what a pain it is to do the backstitches around the letters.

My Amazing Christmas Stars quilt is also done and in use.  This was a Designer Block of the Month from Fat Quarter Shop for 2009 or 2010.  It was hard to get a picture of the entire quilt inside my house, so the top two pictures are the left and right sides.  The bottom photo is a closer picture of the center of the quilt and the third one is of my favorite block.  My longarm quilter did feathers in an all-over pattern.  The "amazing" part of this quilt's title comes from the fact that I could actually make this!  It was the most complicated design I have attempted so far, and I really concentrated on accurate cutting and piecing.  Some of the blocks were sewn several times to get them correctly sized, but the effort paid off.  As a bonus, the Fat Quarter Shop was generous in its packaging of fabrics for each blocks and I have enough left over to make another small quilt. 

And I have to brag about a finish of a different sort.  We made a trip to Baton Rouge last week to see my son run in a marathon and were rewarded by seeing him finish 6th overall and 1st in his age group! 

For those of you who, like me, have to complete a few Christmas gifts, I wish you successful finishes. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What I've Been Up To

My apologies for neglecting my blog during the last month.  I was having all kinds of crafting fun making things for the bazaar at my church last weekend.  I made tablerunners from the 10-Minute Tablerunner pattern that you can find by doing a google search for it.  They do take a bit more than ten minutes, but are super-easy and turned out to be a good seller.

I also had lots of fun making these zippered bags from a pattern from Atkinson Designs.  I also made travel pouches for pierced earrings to match each bag.  If I were doing the 101 scrap projects that Amanda Jean is doing over at Crazy Mom Quilts, the brown bag and blue bag would be scrap projects #1 and #2. 

The big hit was these wine gift bags that I made from a pattern called "All Corked Up," but I would guess that you can find a similar pattern on the internet.

This was the first year we ran the bazaar and I would call it a medium success.  For those of us who donated items, it was a lot of work, but I was happy that many of my things sold.  We haven't yet decided if we are going to do it again next year, but if we do, I hope I have more than two months' notice so that I can pace myself a little bit more in making things.  It was pretty much a production line in the sewing room for about six weeks!  In spite of that, I finished the LSU quilt for my son and it is now with the longarmer.  I got my block of the month quilt back from her and will show that in a separate post as I have lots of pictures.  The Scottish Band Sampler is also nearly done despite some setbacks with dye lots and much gnashing of teeth about substitutes for one of the silks.  Can't wait to finish it and show it to all of you!