Sunday, January 30, 2011

My January Challenge

You may recall this post in which I decided my personal challenge this year would be to work on WIP for 15 days in January. I am happy to say that I successfully completed the challenge and can show you my work on Jane Longstreth.* This sampler is in the Vassar Collection, but was done by a girl who lived in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I was drawn to this sampler because of the colors in the flowers in the border, but also because I live very close to Chester County.

Jane has been a WIP for (ahem) some time. The chart called for 28 count linen, but I decided to do it on 36 count. Not usually a problem, except that I didn't account for the over-one parts of the chart. The lettering is not so bad, but the stitched in those flowers are tiny! The stems will eventuallyhave leaves on them, but the directions say to trace the leaves on the chart and fill them in with stem stitch. I'll have to re-size the leaves to fit the higher count fabric and that is what has left Jane languishing in my sewing basket for so long. I decided to take a deep breath and plunge in once again to get this finished. I'll be putting in another 15 days on Jane in February and find that I'm looking forward to it.
*I apologize for not taking this off the scroll rods to show you a better picture.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Machine Down!

When my nephew and his wife announced that they were expecting a baby, I, of course, decided to make a quilt for the new little one. The Schnibbles quilts seemed to be about the right size and I chose "Scratch" from Schnibbles Times Two. All it required was a charm pack or two, some background fabric and backing. I chose Barnyard Buddies for the charm pack and a very cute fabric with cows and pigs for the backing. My nephew is originally from Iowa, so the quilt was named "A Little Bit of Iowa." Aren't all those farmyard animals cute?


Well, I found out that those Schnibbles patterns are a little more challenging that they look. I had never done setting triangles but soon mastered them (in my opinion). My biggest problem was with the coin rows. They were supposed to measure 30 1/2" (which miraculously the 4-patch rows did), but mine kept coming out 31 1/2 or 32". After some fiddling, I got them to measure correctly and am pretty pleased with the pieced top.

Since this is a small quilt, I didn't want to send it out to be quilted and thought I would do it myself. Just a simple stitch in the ditch or maybe a quarter inch around the four patches. But first I wanted to practice. I pulled out a top that I had pieced during my guild's comfort quilt workshop last February and put it together with batting and backing. All was going well until I tried to sew over a safety pin. I truly thought that I had removed all of them after sewing between the rows. So my machine has been in for servicing since Monday and I find that I miss it. Especially since I have a snow day and I haven't been able to make any sewing progress. Will just have to content myself with organizing the sewing area and thinking about my next project or two. I think I see a list in the making!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In Progress

I spent Friday night working on "Snow Garden" (not Snow House as I said in my earlier post). It's the first in Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart Series. I'm stitching all twelve of these on one large piece of fabric. This was my New Year's start and the plan is to finish one chart per month so the sampler will be done by the end of the year. That's the plan, anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

It's that time again! Head on over to Heidi's blog to sign up. I'll be working on Snow House from the Anniversaries of the Heart series by Blackbird Designs.

We had another snow fall in the Philadelphia area last night and have a 2-hour delayed opening for school. Our second one this week. I'm getting a bit too used to these leisurely mornings, but not to shoveling the snow--better pack my lunch and get out the door! Look for a picture of my FNSI progress tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Coming out of Hibernation


I had grand plans of making more frequent posts this year, but then we entered the first week of January. I returned to work and my husband flew off on a four day business trip but two of my children remained at home on winter break, causing our household to enter a sort of limbo . They stayed up half the night and slept most of the day away while I maintained a more normal schedule. And what was up when my daughter announced that her friend was coming over on a Wednesday night and they commandeered the family room just as I was going to get settled in there with my stitching and the DVR? That never happened on a week night when she was in high school!

Then there was my feeble attempt at imitating Michelle Kwan . We had a small snow storm the first Friday in January. Our driveway was mostly clear by the time I came home from work and walked out to get the mail. Unfortunately, I stepped on the one and only patch of ice and my foot flew out from under me. Next thing I knew I was flat on my back on the cold blacktop screaming so loudly I'm sure I was heard in two counties (not such an exaggeration--the house at the end of our street is in a different county). When I realized that my son was in the basement playing a video game and would never hear me and that my daughter was out with the car and could potentially swing into the drive and run over me, I was motivated to sit up and assess the damages. Nothing broken, but I had a heck of a bump on the back of my head and the mother of all headaches. My doctor, who sends me for tests for every other little thing, advised me to ice my head and take Tylenol. Thank goodness she was right, but the episode slowed me down quite a bit. When I complained about my lack of energy the next day, my husband took the opportunity to remind me that I'm in my late fifties and I shouldn't expect to recover quickly. Talk about adding insult!

But now the children have been shipped off to their colleges and my husband and I are beginning to resume life as we began to know and love it when we first became empty nesters. It was particularly wonderful this morning to not have to worry about getting any one else out the door when school openings were delayed by two hours.

I'll leave you with a photo of the quilt I made for my older son. It's a Terry Atkinson pattern called Urban Cabin and is made with some Kansas Troubles fabrics. Hope it's making him warm and cozy on these cold nights.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Last Finishes of 2010

Sometime between Christmas and New Year's, I finished the September Bauble (SamSarah Designs) that had been in my traveling bag during the fall. This will be finished into a cube with the October Bauble on the opposite side. Of course, I still have to stitch the October Bauble, but there's lot of time between now and next fall, right? Finishing this project meant that I completed all but one of the new crossstitch starts I had during the year. The only remaining one is "Home is Where My Heart Blooms", a Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers.

My other finish was to complete the sewing on three ornaments. These were the ones I stitched to give to my children for Christmas. . .2008 (or maybe 2007?). What's worse is that they were hidden under the ornaments I stitched for last Christmas, so they've been on my work table for two whole years. I even had the backing cut out and all I had to do was make a twisted cord hanger and sew them together. Oh well, at least they got into the stockings on Christmas Eve which is more than I can say for the ornaments for 2010. Those aren't even stitched yet. Clearly there's no point in rushing these things when I can just dip into the stash of completed projects.



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Like a Box of Chocolates

I finished Rainforest Crunch on Christmas Eve. Every square was such fun and I loved using the Watercolours. It's such an easy thread to work with and the color variations really worked on this piece. I am totally sold on doing counted needlepoint and have another project I hope to start this year. But at the moment, I'm sticking to my 15 days of stitching on an older WIP, Jane Longstreth. Pictures will follow later this week.

I'll be having this framed as it is intended to hang on the wall in our guest room (just have to keep working on having its current "occupant"--my oldest child--move his things out!)

So far, 2011 has gone well. I saw a reference on someone else's blog about this being a prime year. Let's hope that it is in every way. I'll be enjoying my last day of winter break by straightening up around the house, reading the paper, getting the haircut I never got around to during the entire week I was off and finally finishing my Christmas cards. It's rare that I don't have them sent out before the holiday, but this year I was having too much fun binding quilts and finishing Rainforest Crunch.

Wishing you all a very relaxing day!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions


I have been following this blog that I found while reading Marcia's blog. As I looked around my house, I realized that a lot of my clutter is reading related. Specifically the pile of newspapers on the chair in the kitchen. My husband and I are definitely dinosaurs since we still have home delivery of the newspaper every day. But I don't always take the time to read it and thus the pile of papers. So my New Year's resolution for 2011 is to read the paper daily.
That's it, just one resolution. Although I tend to make a longer list in August (my birthday month) of things I want/need to accomplish during the coming year I have found that one very specific resolution on New Year's Day works better for me. Last year I resolved not to talk on the phone while driving. Not that I was ever on the phone much while in the car, but I wanted to make a conscious effort to be a safer driver for myself and everyone else on the road. I kept that resolution for the most part (I can only think of two times when I didn't) and will continue to keep it in 2011. So here's to a better informed, more clutter free me in 2011!