Showing posts from 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 l…


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.  …

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 …

Friday Finish

Actually, a Sunday finish of Bent Creek's Spooky Row.  This is what I accomplished last week during the retreat with the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild at the Lankford Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.  The weather was great--well, almost too hot, but the view from the porch was wonderful as always.

Retreat is a lot of fun with great friends, good food, and entertaining conversations.  Not to mention the opportunity for stash enhancement at Salty Yarns (no affiliation).  I acquired a new chart or two and added this needleminder to my collection.  Perfect for the season and to help me with my Inchies project!

Slow and Steady

I'm making some progress on the Scottish Band Sampler (Scarlett Letter).  The Hungarian flame stitch eats up a lot of thread and a lot of time.  I'm liking the secondary pattern that is emerging.  I'm hoping to finish this one entirely before I go to my sampler guild's retreat next weekend, but I would settle for a finish of the eyelets and flame stitch. 

Speaking of the sampler guilder, one of its members who shall remain nameless (she knows who she is) committed a tremendous act of enabling.  She brought in a needlepoint piece she had obtained through the Shining Needle Society, a Yahoo group.  Of course, I had to check it out and now I, too, am taking a class through the society.  Here's my progress on Inchies, a wonderful design by Kathy Rees of Needle Delights Originals.  I have self-imposed a limit of one "inchie" a day because these are like potato chips--you can't stitch just one!  And if you are interested in needlepoint, don't say I did…

This and That

Two friends came over on Thursday for a day of sewing.  I've learned to select projects that don't involve too much concentration when we get together so I worked on a few different things.

First, I made a few of these blocks.  I picked up the flannel prints in the center at a guild meeting to make into a charity quilt.  I've looked at the assortment and played around with a couple of different ways to make a block and finally came up with this to put into a rail fence pattern.
Then, I put together 23 half-square triangles that will go into a quilt for my son who is at Louisiana State University.  Although the colors in this picture look a little different, the HSTs are purple and gold. I ended our time together by making flying geese units to put in the border of my Designer Mystery Block of the Month from 2009 (or was it 2010?).  I blogged about some of the blocks here and here.  Now I just have to sew one row of blocks to the center, add this border of blue and attach …

Scottish Band Sampler

Progress continues on the Scottish Band Sampler (Scarlett Letter).  I had set a goal of finishing this by the end of August-ha!  As predicted in the instructions, the flame stitch is "quite challenging."  For me, it was not the actual execution of the stitch, but the placement.  What I have done follows the chart, but doesn't look like the picture of the finished piece.  After frogging and restitching twice, I'm going with what I have now.  I'm sure it will be OK and as long as I don't display the picture from the chart next to my completed sampler, no one will be the wiser. 

Since I last posted, we  made a trip to retrieve our daughter from her summer internship on the coast of Maine.  She stayed with her boyfriend's family who very graciously showed us around the area during the weekend we were there, and treated us to a fabulous meal of lobster.   Our daughter was home for three days and then we packed up the car and moved her into a house (occupied …

Out and About

I was feeling that my husband and I were already settling into a little bit too much of a routine now that we're both retired.  It's great to spend a leisurely hour or two each morning reading the papers and then moving on to a few chores followed by lunch, more reading and some stitching.  But I also felt we needed to have a little more adventure, so one day this week, I told him he needed to be ready to leave the house at 9:45.  Not until we were on the train into Philadelphia did I tell him the plan for the day.

Our first stop was the Philadelphia Art Alliance to see the Sunshine and Shadows exhibit I had read about.  The pieces were created from film strips deaccessioned by the Fashion Institute of Technology.  The artist cut the film strips apart, bleached or painted them and then stitched them back together into quilt patterns.  There are only five pieces in the exhibit, but it was interesting, as was the exhibit of Lithuanian textiles on the upper floor.  I was particul…

Making Progress

In the past few weeks, I've settled into a bit more of a routine and I'm accomplishing quite a bit on the home front.  I don't know about your house, but ours seems to accumulate piles of papers.  In between lunching with friends (most of whom will, sadly, have to return to work at the end of August), I've managed to put a lot of that paper in the recycling bin or file it away.  So our house is looking somewhat less cluttered.

I've also settled into a bit of a stitching routine and am usually able to work on quilting for a hour or two each afternoon, and stitching for around two hours in the evening.  I have a quilt almost assembled so I'll so I hope to show that in my next post.  But the star of today's post is my progress on the Scottish Band Sampler (Scarlet Letter).  I'm nearly done with all those letters and the double running stitch around them. 

The scalloped section below the letters is charted for eyelets.  I'm not much of a fan of the e…

I'm Back!

Thanks for your encouraging comments about my retirement!  I finished work on June 14 and barely had time to breathe before we left for a two-week trip to Alaska and British Columbia.  Before we left, I had a dream that I had 25 minutes to take a shower and pack my suitcase before it was time to go to the airport.  Do you think I had a little bit of anxiety about getting everything done?!  Despite the packing angst, we have a terrific time on a cruise through the inside passage in Alaska and touring Victoria and Vancouver.  We were with my sister and her husband which was fun.  The weather was amazing as we only had one day of drizzle when we arrived in Seattle and then one brief rainstorm in Juneau.  In fact, the weather was so warm that I had to stop in the Hudson Bay department store and purchase a couple of short-sleeve tops because I had packed for 60 degree temperatures, not 80 degrees.  We have lots of great memories, including Sawyer Glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord
the beautifu…

Nearly Done

The end is in sight for Quaker Christmas. (Looks like I have some ironing in my future!)  I'm hoping to finish this up over the weekend as my evenings this week are too busy for any stitching time. 

Speaking of being nearly done, I'm writing this post at 7:30am when I would normally be at work and busily preparing my lessons for the day, getting ready to run off to an 8:00 meeting or catching up on paperwork.  But in my last week as a working woman, I've set the alarm for an half hour later than normal,  had a  leisurely breakfast and wandered into work around 8:30.  What's more, I've actually left at 4:00 instead of 5:00.  All preparation for my upcoming life of leisure.  I think I'll be able to handle it.

Counting the Hours

By my calculation, I have 37.5 more hours left in my working life.  That's right--five days from now I will be retired.  I've been quite surprised by the range of emotions that have arisen during the final months of my career.  I love being a speech therapist and that's been a huge part of my identity forthe past 34 years.  So, as much as I'm looking forward to having time to read, quilt and stitch (not to mention getting my house much cleaner and decluttered), I find that I'm sad as well.  I will definitely miss the students but I'm happy that the meetings and paperwork will be a thing of the past. 

Blog posts have gone by the wayside the last two months as I've been preparing for this transition by spending long hours on the aforementioned paperwork  and meetings.  I managed to finish 40 hourglass blocks like these
 that will be sewn to sashing like this

to make a quilt for my daughter.  She goes to a college whose colors are red, white and blue, but I w…

Making the Move

I'm finally getting around to moving my blogs to a new reader now that Google Reader is almost gone.  Not sure where I'm going yet, but you can follow me on Bloglovin'.

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Quilting Again

The first three months of 2013 have passed in a blur.  I've been handling a very busy caseload at work (up to 78 students as of last Friday) and that means I've had to bring a lot of work home.  Throw in doing the taxes, a commitment at church and lots of travel and you can see that there has been no time for the sewing machine.  The last time the machine saw any action was when I took a class on sewing zippers at the end of February.  So it was high time that I got back into sewing.  My quilt guild had a workshop on Friday night that I had signed up for before my life got so busy, and although I thought about skipping it, I managed to choose fabrics, load the machine into my car and go.  I'm so glad I did as it felt good to be piecing again.  The class used Bonnie Hunter's Pineapple Blossom pattern which looks challenging but is super-simple to put together.  Go check it out at (scroll down on the right hand side for the free pattern).

Here are my f…


If I have to spend time in an airport, one of my favorite things to do is browse the bookstore.  On my latest trip, I spotted a book about choosing a word to guide your life for a year.  If I had to choose one word right now as it applys to my stitching life, it would certainly be "indulge" as that's what I've been doing during the last month.

It all started with a trip to Jacksonville to take a class from Ellen Chester.  The Lady's Worke Box is a lovely piece and I have made some progress on the needlebook beyond what we did in class.  What a fun weekend it was!  The setting at the Riverdale Inn in the historic district of Jacksonville was beautiful.  The weather was fantastic and I enjoyed a morning walk with views of the St. John's River.  Pansies were blooming!  In February!  Best of all, I got to meet people who I have known on-line for many years.  Melody  did a fabulous job organizing everything and the day of the class went so smoothly.  She's a g…

EGA Challenge Part 2

When last I left you (can it really be almost a month ago?), I was listing the projects that I hope to complete for the duClay EGA Chapter's challenge.  Here are three more.  That egg on the top is part of a series of twelve that were kits of the month a long while back at Fireside Stitchery, one of my LNSs.  I, of course, have all the kits, but what you see above is all that is stitched on any of them.  I got intimidated by the amount of compensation I need to do for the background stitches and put it aside.  I pick it up now and then, but find I spend so much time looking at where I left off that I don't get anything done.  So I just need to dedicate myself to working on this, and perhaps going out to Fireside (no affiliation) for some assistance.

Harvest Time is a Laura J. Perin design that she offered as a three-part class online in the fall.  I have read all the instructions from the class, but just haven't executed them.  It went pretty quickly when I did stitch…

EGA Challenge, Part 1

I'm now a member of the duClay Chapter of the EGA in Jacksonville, Florida, since I'm going to be joining them for an Ellen Chester class in February.  I can't tell you how excited I am about that!  I feel as if I already know some of the members from their blogs or postings on bulletin boards and can't wait to meet them in person.  If you know me well in real life, you would know that going to Jacksonville for a weekend is somewhat out of character for me.  I tend to dither about how guilty I feel spending the money and leaving my husband home alone.  But as I near 60 and retirement, I seem to be adopting a new attitude and when this opportunity came up, I decided to just go for it.  I'm sure it will be a fantastic experience. The deClay EGA seems to be an active chapter and although I can't attend their meetings, I can participate in this year's challenge.  Participants may choose up to 10 projects and assign a value of $1-5 to them depending upon the si…

A New Start

You probably didn't notice (or maybe you all are just too polite to say anything), but I didn't stitch much this fall.  It was a combination of things including being very busy at work with my new assignment, incorporating more exercise into my schedule, and a persistent problem with my right shoulder.  Not to mention that I tend to fall asleep as soon as I sit down to stitch!  So most nights, I was putting one to two strands into my piece before I had to call it quits.  Not conducive to progress and therefore, not too much to show on this blog. 

The shoulder problem is mostly resolved, thanks to physical therapy.  However, I was still feeling some twinges when I was stitching.  I thought that using a stand would help by changing the motion of stitching slightly and/or allowing me to keep my right arm still if I could learn to stitch with my left hand on top of the piece and my right hand under.  I'm happy to say that the new stand that was under the Christmas tree for m…