Catching Up Again

I don’t know where the time goes, but I find myself behind again. Here is a cuddle quilt I started at the February meeting of Chattanooga Quilt Guild.  I didn’t get it finished that day, but managed to turn it in at the March meeting.

2013-02-26 cuddle quilt

 

For no reason at all, my sister sent us this beautiful wall sculpture of ginkgo leaves. I have always loved ginkgos because the leaves are so unusual.  Doesn’t it look great above the TV?  I have the best sister in the world!

2013-03-05 ginko

 

I finished another pair of socks early this month — the fifteenth pair since I learned how to knit them. I think this is the fifth pair that is mostly pink. Hmmm, do I detect a trend?

2013-03-05 pink socks

 

I got another block done on Pushing Up Spring:

2013-03-05 pushing up spring 1-11

This is block  #11; only five more to go! This is going to be such a bright happy quilt.

2013-03-05 pushing up spring 11

 

Here are some pictures of a sewing caddy especially for applique projects. My friend, Vicky K., came up with the design and was kind enough to explain how she did it so I could make one of my own. It is very a very handy way to carry a project with you and have everything you need at hand.  Here it is all ready to go:

2013-03-07 applique caddy 1

Here it is out of the container and ready to stitch. There are pegs to hold eight spools of thread, a pin cushion to hold needles, and special spots to hold scissors and a needle threader so you don’t have to dig around to find them. I also like that I can put any scraps of thread or  fabric in the bottom of the container to dispose of at home so I won’t leave any mess behind. There is even room to store the folded up block inside the container either under or on top of the caddy.  I love this. Thanks Vicky!

2013-03-07 applique caddy 3

 

Here are my pizza box blocks for March. The red one is the practice one and the other one is for Denise H.  The requirement for this block was to have a four patch.

2013-03-08 pizza box blocks denise h

 

Here are Sandi S. and Sharon G.  at my house a couple weeks ago. We had a great visit as usual and shared a ton of ideas. I love having quilting friends over. This is actually the second time Sharon and Sandi came over since the studio moved downstairs, but I didn’t think to take a picture before now.  Vicky K. came over once too and we had a lovely time.

2013-03-12 Sandi & Sharon

 

In honor of the Irish holiday this month, I made some quilted mats to go on our TV trays. I used some of the crumb blocks that I made a while back and just sewed them together till they were the right size. Then I did a little straight line quilting and finished the edges.  My plan is to have different mats for the different seasons and holidays. The fabric on the back of these two is a snowy woodland scene that will be great for the winter months. For February, I used our Valentine place mats, but they are smaller that the tray tops. I like this size much better.

2013-03-12 scrappy table mats

 

More knitting ahead: After I finished the beige tweedy socks that I tried as an experiment with knitting worsted weight yarn, Raymond expressed an interest in having a pair like them. I searched around and found a pattern that I though might work on Ravelry.com called ‘sasquatch slipper socks.” They are made using two strands of worsted weight yarn together so you can imagine how thick and warm they are.  Since the yarn is so much bigger, these socks knitted up a lot faster, and Raymond is happy with the result. I took a picture of mine and his together so you can get an idea of the difference in size.

2013-03-14 big socks

 

Are you still with me?  What a long post this has become. Well, hang in for a little longer and I promise not to take up too much more of your time.

 

My chosen UFO to have finished for the March guild meeting is one I started several years ago and set aside and forgot.  I got the idea from Scraps by Judy Martin.  The quilt she made is called Newport Beach and is with lots of bright fabrics on a white background with a darker fabric that give the impression of dimension.  I decided to use up some of my brown fabrics. The basic blocks start with a three-inch square of brown fabric that look like this:

2013-03-17 shadow squares

In Judy’s quilt the different colors are scattered around randomly and my original idea was to do that too.  When I dug out the blocks to start working on them for the UFO finish, I decided that I might like it better if the same fabrics were set together, and decided to make nine patches of the smaller blocks with a narrow sashing between to emphasize the shadow. I got a lot of blocks done but not in time for the March meeting.  Since then though I have assembled twenty-five blocks. Here they are all together:

2013-03-21 shadow squares

Each shade of brown with its nine sections ends up around 14″ square. I haven’t sewn the larger blocks together yet. Pretty cool, eh?  The next idea I have is to separate the blocks with a 2″ sashing. Today, I made a few just to see how they look. I think the space between will add a nice contrast to the busy blocks.  Raymond likes them all scrunched together better, so I am giving some more thought to it before I decide which way to go.  My plan is to make this big enough for the master bed which is king sized, and I want us both to like it. Which do you prefer?

2013-03-25 shadow squares

I don’t think I will have this done in time for the April meeting either.

 

The other day, I dug out this map of the world panel and made a quick quilt out of it for Project Linus. I probably should have added borders, but then it would have been too  big for the bit of batting I had for it and I would have had to wait to get to the store for more.  It is big enough for a kid as it is, and ‘finished is better than perfect.’

2013-03-23 Linus quilt

 

Finally, I though I should show you the latest addition to my fancy desk. We added two shelves to the center part that provide a lot more space to store this and that.  I have still been sorting and re-arranging things, but this is the only new thing.

2013-03-25 desk

That’s all for now. Happy Day!

Weekly Update

As you might imagine, this week has been filled with more sorting and arranging than creating, although I managed to get a few things done and have a few pictures to share. I love my new studio space.  Here is a picture of the little shelves Raymond made for me to hold ribbons. I am not sure what will go on the shelves, but put up some miscellaneous boxes to get them out of the way.

2013-01-31 ribbon shelves

At Chattanooga Quilters Guild this year we are having a pizza box block of the month.  In January, everyone who wanted to (about 15 members, I think) brought a pizza box  with six one-yard pieces of coordinating fabric. We each took home someone else’s box and have to make a block out of the fabrics in the box in time for the next meeting. Then we will exchange again each month for the rest of the year. At the December meeting, everyone get’s their box back with a year’s worth of blocks made for them.

I decided to make a practice block from my own fabrics to make sure I didn’t mess up anyone else’s fabrics, and since I have more of the fabrics I sent in my pizza box, I plan to use that so that by the end of the year .  I made both blocks last week, but I can’t show them to you at least until after the meeting next week.

Here is a picture of the snow we got on Saturday out the studio window. It is still pretty cold, but the snow is gone already.

2013-02 snow 1

Here is the new little design wall we put together over the weekend. I used grey flannel instead of white like the big one. This one is almost six feet wide and almost as tall as the ceiling. After we got this one set up on the three PVC pipes it was a little saggy at the bottom. I thought maybe a fourth pipe on the bottom would help hold it taut. As luck would have it, Raymond had a long enough piece and a couple elbows in the garage, so we added it and it did the trick.  It just leans against the wall like the big one so it can be easily disassembled and moved if needed.

2013-02-02 little design wall  2

I have a lot of fabric with fruit and vegetables on it. I decided to use some of it to make new pot holders for the kitchen. Here are the first four.  This is a simple pattern that I found on the internet a few years ago to make coasters. I just increased the size to make them into pot holders and added little loops. I love the brightness of the citrus fabrics. I am working on some lemon and lime fabrics next.  Looks like I will be making more than I need if my plan is to use up this fabric.

2013-02-02 orange pot holders

The last thing I got done this week is to finish stitching on the last applique block for Birds of a Feather, the block of the month project at Sew Bee It quilt shop last year. I got way behind in finishing the blocks and decided to make a smaller quilt with what I had done.  Yesterday, I sewed all the blocks and filler blocks into a solid piece. Here it is:

2013-02-03 birds of a feather 5

It is about 28″ by 64″ right now, but needs some kind of borders.  I am so happy with it and especially that it is this close to being done.  This is about half of the blocks in the original quilt. I plan on hanging it in the guest room on the wall opposite ‘Remember Me” that I posted a while back when I finished it.

That’s it for now.  Have a creative week.

 

August Roundup

 

I finished these socks. I think I started them last January or February! No, it’s worse than that — I finished the pair before this one last October! So it has taken ten months to finish these. I love the feel of the yarn, it is fuzzy and warm, but I don’t like the way the colors are arranged in big clumps. It makes the socks look so unbalanced. They feel great on my feet though.

 

The only quilt finish this month was this little cutie.  In Crazy Quilter’s guild this year we were challenged to make a quilt using the technique in  Fast Quilts From Fast Quarters by Barbara Chainey.  What you do is cut a bunch of fat quarters into several different sizes of squares, rectangles and triangles and then put them together to make blocks. The book had a ton of different blocks that can be made from the different cuts. It was a lot of fun, although I don’t think I gave it enough attention due to working on other projects.

I will have to give this method another try when I have more time.

Last thing to show you is not knit or quilt related . Raymond got his school pictures and I think he looks great.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Here is my contribution to romantic bliss:

So, how romantic are place mats? Well they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I don’t know if that is true, but I think these will look nice on the table.

I used the red strips from an abandoned bargello project and added the candy box heart design I used on last year’s  valentine wall hanging. If I knew how to add a link to it here I would, but you can probably click on the category cloud for valentine or hearts or something and get to the older post.  I used a little glue to hold the heart shapes on and then free-motion quilted around their pinked edges for a raw edge effect that will show up when they get washed. Then I echo quilted the hearts till it was all done. Sewed the binding on and they are all done.

Raymond has probably seen all the bits of fabric hanging around the studio for the last few weeks without realizing I was making anything valentinish, so he will be a little surprised. I love it when I manage to surprise him with something like this.

Hope your day is filled with surprises and love.

September in Review

Well, doesn’t it seem like this has turned into a once a month blog? No doubt that will change, but it works for now. Here is what I have been working on this month.

I put together a couple cuddle quilts for Choo Choo Quilters. Some of us members got together one Saturday and stitched like crazy.  Here are a couple I pieced from kits put together from blocks we all made as homework. I like the contrasting values.

More of the same blocks, different layout. What a dramatic difference. Both of these quilts are sandwiched and ready to quilt.

This one is also from blocks we made as homework. I made all these and got to put them together at the cuddle quilt workshop. I love all the browns and how the wild animal print goes perfectly as sashing and border. This one is quilted and turned in. I hope the kid who gets it likes wild animals.

This is the last of my puppy panel fabric. I had just enough to make a quilt for each of my three guilds. This one went to Choo Choo.

This is a little block I made for Raymond for his birthday this month. It is a moon over the mountain block, but I used a brick like fabric and shaded it with crayon to make it look more like a pyramid. He hasn’t decided where to hang it yet, but I think he liked it. It is about 16 or 18″ square.

This is a little bag I made to carry at the East Cobb County Quilt Show this month. It was a wonderful show. I wanted a small bag that would just hold my essentials: keys, money, phone and camera. The pattern is sometimes called origami bag or sometimes called folded pocket purse. I learned how to make it via Seaside Stitchers in Florida. I made the strap long enough to go over my shoulder across my body so I could have my hands free. I used the latest fabric I bought at Sew Bee It. It has cute little buttons and stitching comments on it.  It worked perfectly.

I finally finished these socks. Seems like I have been working on them all summer. They will be nice and warm. I like the tweedy yarn, although it did seem kind of boring without any stripes. Maybe that is why it took so long to finish them.

In this picture one looks larger, but I think it is just because I had been trying it on more than the other so it is a little stretched out. It will go back to shape once it is washed.

I used a different technique on these socks. I saw a tutorial on Melody Johnson’s blog called  an “afterthought heel’ and decided to give it a try.  What you do is knit all the sock top to toe as a tube. Where the heel is supposed to go, you stitch in a couple of rows of waste yarn, and after the sock is done, you take out the waste yarn and put those stitches back on needles and knit a heel kind of like knitting the toe section. I will put Melody’s blog on my list of links and you can go search up afterthought heel and see what I mean. It was pretty easy, but I think I will stick with the regular way for now.

So, I finished those socks because I wanted to get working on my next pair. I got this beautiful yarn last time I was at Sew Bee It and wanted to see how the different colors would stitch out. I did this much in a day. Wow that was a lot of knitting. Then I noticed that I had too many stitches on and decided to take it out and start over.

I also decided to try knitting a simple pattern into the leg portion of the sock – a basket-weave pattern where you knit 4, purl 4 for four rows then purl 4, knit 4 for four rows.  I had thought that would look good in the previous pair of socks. Since they look kind of like a solid, I thought the pattern would make them more interesting, but I didn’t want to unstitch as much as I had done at the time of the idea.

When the new sock had gotten to the point that I noticed my error in the number of stitches on the needles (how I managed not to notice that for so long is a mystery), and I knew I had to unstitch it and start over anyway, I had seen enough of the stockinette pattern to know it would look good with the basket-weave. So, I decided to give it a try. And I am very happy with the result.

See the difference? I really like it. And I got so carried away with the pattern, that I finished one whole sock in about 4 days!  The rows of color are very interesting.  I have about 1/2″ of the cuff done for sock #2, too!

The bands of color are so wide though, that I don’t know if I can get them the same on both socks. I pulled out enough yarn to start with the bright pink at the top of the second one, but I don’t know if it will shade into that dark blue or go to the purple next.  Or, it may do something else entirely too.  I guess they will be fine however they come out.  They will be fun to wear, that’s for sure.

Here is a 10 minute block quilt I am working on for Chattanooga Quilters charity, Ronald McDonald House. It needs a back and quilted.

And Finally, although not quilt related, we saw Alton Brown at the Chattanooga Market last weekend. He was hosting a cook-off between local chefs. This is before the contest when he was signing autographs. We didn’t get one – the line was a hundred people long, and we didn’t stay for the cook-off, but it was fun to get a glimpse of him. He seems to have as much energy as he does on his TV show.

September is a wrap. I wonder what will show up here in October. I guess we will both have to check back to find out.

Goodbye July

I got a few more pictures to finish up the month.

I bet this one look familiar. This is the second one from this fabric. I have enough fabric for one mare after this.  I quilted this one last week at the Crazy Quilters sew-in for Project Linus. The third one will be for Choo Choo guild’s cuddle quilt program. It is just like the other one: same backing fabric, same puzzle quilting.

Not quilt related, but I just had to share. Raymond installed a beehive in the spring, and here he is with one of the honey-filled sections. His bees were so productive that was able to harvest some honey this year! Is that cool or what!

Here are some more cuddle quilt blocks.  These are a fun wonky nine patch. I made a mistake in the construction process, but I think they look good anyway. I cut some sashing strips from a wild animal print. I had enough of the animal print to make outer borders too. I think this will turn out to be a very nice quilt for some boy or girl.  I bagged up all the pieces to take to the Choo Choo cuddle quilt sew-in later this month.

I finished the last block for this little quilt. Once the blocks are sewn together there are a couple more little pieces to applique on the inside corners, then come the borders and quilting. This has been a fun little project so far.

I also managed a bit of knitting on my current pair of socks, but still have a long way to go on them so no pictures so far. So that wraps up another month. I wonder what next month will bring.

Valentine’s Day

Towards the end of January, I had this big idea about Valentine’s day. Some people go wild over Christmas, some get totally crazy about Halloween, and some love the patriotic holidays best.  I have never had a favorite one, but enjoyed them all. Now though, I think maybe Valentine’s day is the best holiday.

So I decided to invent my own tradition and celebrate the 12 days of Valentines like they have the 12 days of Christmas. Next year I think I will simplify it and go for 14 days.

So, every day for the first few days I gave Raymond a little homemade valentine card. I stuck them in his lunch, or by his pillow or computer. Then for a few days, I gave him little boxes of chocolate covered cherries (his favorites) for him. He was surprised every time.

I had so much fun planning and making all the little valentines. On the big Valentine’s day, I wrapped up this little wall hanging that I made for him. Of course I finished it at the last minute. Here is a picture:

And here is what I got for Valentine’s Day:

I love this! He actually gave me two of them because I love the heart shaped tin so much. I think they would be great for carrying stitching tools or perhaps a hand-work project. I also loved the Dove truffle chocolates inside.

He gave me the first tin a few days after he started getting valentines. This was perfect as I was trying to figure out how to make the two entwined hearts on the wall hanging and not having any luck with symetrical hearts. I actually traced the tin to get the first shape and reversed it for the second. They go together perfectly and create the third heart, which is a wonderful representation of our love.

I think we are going to like this new favorite holiday, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that Valentine’s day comes along more often than once a year.  I hope it was a good day for you too!