Leo’s Mane Sew Along

Monday 30 December 2013

Design Wall Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

Once again, I don't have anything new on my wall. But I have plans...... oh boy, do I have plans. I've finally decided on the project that I'm going to celebrate the New Year by starting. In fact, I might start it tomorrow, and celebrate the end of the old and the beginning of the new with a new quilt.
 This is the project, It's in a book by.... can you guess....
Judy Martin, and the book is called Scraps. I have tons of 1 1/2 inch strips left over from various projects that will work in this quilt. I'll be using Kona Ash as the background, which is what these strips below are draped over.
This should get me well on the way to using up some of the overflowing bins of scraps I have hanging around here. The picture of the quilt shown here is only 52 by 52. I will, of course, be doing a bigger version, probably the queen sized. This might end up belonging to Matt and Becca, since they painted their bedroom grey not long ago, and have dark grey curtains in there, as well.
But as for the rest of today, this darling little boy is visiting us. He's down for a nap right now, which is why I have the time to write this. But once he wakes up, we'll be heading out to an indoor play place.
I'm hoping, by this time next week, there will actually be something to show on one very neglected design wall.
I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday

Sunday 29 December 2013

Stash report, week 52, 2013

The last stash report of the year. A time for reflection and comparisons on years past, and plans for the year to come. That sounded rather profound, didn't it?

Used this week:                         .8 yards
Used this year:                       125.95 yards
Added this week:                     0 yards
Added this year:                    180.55 yards
Balance:                                   54.6 more yards in than out.

I've been keeping track of the stash for 3 full years now, and it is kinda fun to compare from year to year.

                           2011                                            2012                                       2013
Used                  154 yards                                  130.8 yards                           125.95 yards
Added               162.5 yards                                164.75 yards                        180.55 yards
Balance          + 8.5 yards                                  +33.95 yards                        +54.6 yards

So, it would seem that my usage numbers are going down, while my added numbers are going up. However, the overall goal for the next year, is to use what I have. The exception to that will be, if I need background fabric for a specific quilt that can't be done with amounts I have on hand. The other exception will be for sales that are too good to pass up in order to refresh elements of the stash. I'm not going to make a firm no other buying commitment, because quilting is something I love, and I don't want to take any of the joy or fun from it by putting unrealistic expectations on it. But, I do know that, since both my husband and I are retired, the amount of cash I have for fabric has gone down, so I will have to be very careful and thoughtful about what I do buy. All of the quilts that I have listed in my side bar for wanting to do this year, can mostly be done from stash. And, I have so far resisted all of the very tempting year end sales of fabric. So, that means, I'll start off the New Year with a negative balance.
And now, I'm going to link this up to Judy's Stash Report, and then I have stuff for Avery for Christmas that I have to finish. And, considering they are coming today.... yippee!..... I had better get a move on.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Year end Summary

So, here it is, the time to look back and see what exactly got accomplished this year. The first thing I noticed on looking back, was my disregard for proper post labels. I didn't put "finish 2013" labels on my finishes. So I had to go through my label list and find the things I finished this year. Sadly, there weren't all that many complete finishes. But, I guess with the move, and all the chaos attending that, it was amazing that I got anything finished. I started lots of things, but only finished five.

Orca Bay, from a Bonnie Hunter mystery a couple of years ago 
Road to Brenham, a free pattern quilt along from Patchwork Times.
My Dresden Plate, from a quilt along from several years ago.

Disappearing Nine Patch
Endless Chain, a pattern by Emilie Richards.

My plan for the coming year, is to have a year of finishes. I'm going to make a couple of lists for the right hand side bar of the blog. One will be for quilt top UFO's that need to be finished. The other will be for quilt tops that are waiting for quilting. Maybe with these lists staring at me, and reminding me, I'll be able to get them done. I'm also going to join in on the 2014 Lovely Year of Finishes sponsored by the blog Sew BitterSweet Designs. I found that, in the years before when I've joined in a UFO finish challenge, I've done much better in getting things done. The other thing I think I'll do, is schedule my own quilts in with the customer quilts, maybe one a month, or every other month, so that they can get done. So, that's it. Now, to get those side bar lists done.

Friday 27 December 2013

On the Needles, Dec. 27, 2013

I've made good progress on my Cowlie project this past week. I had all kinds of plans for getting things accomplished yesterday. I was going to lay out and then cut the pattern pieces out for Avery's pajamas, but my back had other things in mind. The muscles in between my shoulder blades decided to spasm, they've done this before, so the first part of the day was spent with a heating pad on my upper back, and the rest of the day was spent relaxing, and doing some knitting, since that didn't pull on those muscles. They're better today. I'm looking forward to getting this Cowlie done, since one of the things I want to do in the New Year, is start getting out walking again for some exercise, and I'll need this warm snugly head covering to do that.
There is a special treatment that goes around the front edge, and I'm not sure how much yarn that's going to take, so I think I'll start on it next, since that ball of yarn in the left of the picture is all I have left. If I have any left after doing the front edge, I'll do more on the bottom ribbing section and then bind that off.  The front edge actually folds back, so it doesn't end up as big as it looks here. If I continue with this today, I just might be able to finish it.
I've been thinking about next years' projects, both quilting and knitting, and I think I'll start doing the same thing with knitting as I do with quilting. As a project is started and blogged about, I'll label it with the name of the project, and the date so it shows up on the blog and I can track what I've started and finished for the year. I think in the past year I did six pairs of socks, plus the Dreambird Shawl, three hats and one scarf and a baby sweater and Avery's Truck sweater and the Bunny Balaclava for Avery. But, if I'd labeled them here on the blog, I'd know for sure exactly what was started and finished.
I'm linking up to Judy's On the Needles

Monday 23 December 2013

Design Wall Monday, Dec. 23, 2013

 Another Monday, another week without anything new on the design wall. :( But, I have been working on a project, and long overdue, badly needed project. A place to centralize and organize all of my circular and double pointed knitting needles. I spent a lot of time yesterday browsing pinterest pages for organization idea for these things. I really dislike the roll up things. I wanted something where they could be out where I could see them, and get at them, but out of the way at the same time. Up until now, my needles have been scattered all over the place, in various bags and drawers, resulting in my not knowing what sizes I had or didn't have, and that would end up in me buying more, since I had no idea what I had and where they were, if I did have them. That problem only got worse after we moved. After we moved, since I couldn't find most of my needles, I've slowly been replacing them with the bamboo wood ones when I order more. I like how light weight they are, and the fact that they don't slide out of the working stitches. And for some reason, they seem to be easier on the hands and fingers to work with, as well.
So, here they all are, the ones I have found so far, at least, in their labelled spots, with the circulars hanging from labelled insert things. While I was at it, I went through all the projects that were in various stages, and discovered that there really aren't that many of them. I have a baby sweater that I found that just needs a sleeve finished, a pair of socks that need the toes grafted, and the rest of the projects are all current ones. So, this needle holder contraption is going to live on the side of the shelving unit, right beside my chair. And, hopefully, I will never have to go searching for the right sized needle again.
I'm linking up to Judy's Design wall Monday.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Stash Report, week 51, 2013

Wow, is it ever hard to believe that there is only one more stash report for this year! This week's is easy.... nothing in and nothing out. Lots of time spent finishing deadline quilts for customers, and then lots of baking and lots of shopping and lots of finishing up other gifts, none of which can be shown. Doesn't make for a very interesting blog post, though. The best thing that has happened in the last couple of days is that our son Noel is home for Christmas. Yippee!!! He picked a good time to travel, yesterday morning, in between two winter storms of freezing rain in our area of the country. Thankfully, we actually didn't get much of the freezing stuff where we are, just plain rain.
I've been thinking a little bit lately, about plans for next year. I am going to continue with the stash reports, but am going to concentrate more on using what I have, whenever possible. I want to concentrate on using up the boxes and bins and heaps of scraps and stings and crumbs that I have hanging around here, taking up space. I'm starting to feel really overwhelmed by all the stuff I have, so it's time to use some of it up. So, I think that will be my focus for the next year, and I'll mostly use that focus for deciding what projects to start.
This is my poor little cutting table. It's gotten to the point where there is no table top left to cut on. I have got to set aside some time in the next while to do something about this, or I won't be doing anything. That pile on the back left hand side of the table is all scraps that need to be sorted and either put into their appropriate sized bins, or cut into sizes to go into those bins.So, as I go forward, I'm going to be thinking about the projects that I want to do, in order to decide what sizes to cut. In the meantime, here are the numbers, unchanged from last week.

Used this week:                                 0 yards
Used this year:                               125.15 yards
Added this week:                                 0 yards
Added this year:                              180.55 yards
Balance:                                                 55.4 more yards in than out.
So, from here on, the search for next years' scrap busting projects begins. Pinterest, here I come. I'm linking up to Judy's Stash Report.

Saturday 21 December 2013

On the Needles, Dec. 21, 2013

I've done it again, and here it is Saturday, And I'm doing Friday's knitting post. But there's something about this time of year that makes my already bad procrastinating habit even worse. I finished up all the customer quilts that needed to be done before Christmas on this past Wednesday.
Since then, there have been lots of grocery shopping trips, optometrist appointments, stocking stuffer shopping trips, and pajama pattern tracing, then pajama cutting out and pajama sewing. One pair is completely finished. I did manage during all the driving around, to get some knitting done, and am making good progress on my Cowlie. There is a treatment for the front of this piece once all the rest of it is done, and I really hope it does something about folding the front part back a bit, because right now it is really long and hangs over my face. It's the right gauge, so I'll just have to wait and see what developes from here. I've started the ribbing shaping for the transition from going horizontal to vertical. After that is done, it gets joined at the front, and then knit in the round to form the cowl neck part. It's a pretty fast and easy knit. And I learned something new doing it, the magic loop  cast on. I like learning new stuff.

The rest of the time yesterday was spent baking. My wonderful husband has been expressing a desire lately to learn how to make pie crust. Yesterday was the day. He made 4 dozen mincemeat tarts. By the time he got to the second batch of tarts, he was getting there. By the last dozen, he had it nailed. While he was doing that, I was baking up some Soft gingersnap cookies, and some no bake cookies the we around here call Mud Pie cookies. I also made up another batch of dough for more of the soft gingersnaps, since they need to be refrigerated over night, and they are soooooooo good. I can see the first batch being gone in no time at all.
And best of all today, our son Noel is coming home today, and he'll be here for 5 weeks. That's not great for his pocket book, but it's wonderful for this mom to have him around for a bit. So, I'm going to link up to Judy's On the Needles, and then get back to the baking. More ginger snaps without the snap, some coconut macaroons, and maybe some chocolate chip cookies too. I'll see how the day goes.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Stash Report, week 50, 2013

I used a little bit this week, doing the place mat for the guild that were given to Meals on wheels. I did up 2 place mats, one for the colour challenge, and then another out of an orphan block. I forgot to take a picture of the second one, but here's the first one, for the colour challenge.
It used more fabric than it should have, due to errors in judgement for the size of the pieces required for the paper piecing. I ended up just using over sized strips of fabric to do the piecing, which caused quite a bit of waste. And I have to add in the remains of a bolt of Kona cotton I ordered. Some of the bolt went to other people, but 15 yards of it has remained here.

Used this week:                                       1.1 yards
Used this year:                                     125.15 yards
Added this week:                                     15 yards                    
Added this year:                                    180.55 yards
Balance:                                                    55.4 more yards in than out.

But, the good side is, I have plans for that Kona cotton. It is Kona Ash, and will work as a background for a couple of quilts I want to do in the near future. I'm linking up to Judy's Stash Report, then I think I'll knit for a while, after I read the other reports that are posted there.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Real Studio Tour

Vicki Welsh, over at Field Trips in fiber is doing a Real Studio Tour. Last week, we showed non sewing tools that we use for sewing. This week we are showing our storage solutions. I have a couple of different ones. When we moved last spring, the worst part of it had to be figuring out what to do with all the fabric. My studio went from being all in one room, to now being in 2 rooms. My sewing area is down in our apartment. I had to figure out some way of at least semi-organizing the fabrics so I could see them, but that wouldn't look too messy. I saw an idea, originally using comic book boards to wrap fabric around, so that the fabric would stand up on the shelf. Now, if this were a show room studio, or a magazine studio, these shelves would be pristine, and tidy, all lined up even with the edges, without power cords from the light box hanging down from the shelf on top.
But it's not a magazine studio, so there is a cord hanging down, and the shelves are a bit of a mess. I didn't have access to comic book boards, so I just used acid free foam core boards, which I cut down to size. Any amounts less than 3 yards got folded in half length wise, and then wrapped onto boards that are 8 inches wide by 10 inches tall. And fabric amounts greater than 3 yards got wrapped onto boards that are 8 inches wide by 20 inches tall. As new fabric comes in, the theory is that it gets wrapped onto the appropriate sized board......
My other storage solution involves my unquilted tops, and any customer tops that are waiting to be done. We took some 2x4's and attached them to the end wall in my long arm studio, taking care to find the studs in the wall to attach them to so they could bear some weight. Then, we got some ordinary coat hooks and attached them to the 2x4's some wood dowels complete the system, for the quilts to drape over, and hang as they wait their turn. Almost all of the quilts hanging in this picture are mine, waiting to be quilted.
I'm linking up to Vicki's blog for this week's studio showing.

Finish it Friday on Saturday

I have a couple of finishes. The place mat for the colour challenge was handed in at the guild meeting on Thursday, so I can now show that project.  I used a Mariner's compass pattern out of Electric quilt, but I told the program to make it 14x20. Then I left off the background areas that would have made this into the rectangle, and left it in the oval shape. This is going to the Meals on Wheels people in our city, who will use this as a decoration for someone who will receive their Christmas dinner from Meals on Wheels this year.                                                  And I can also now show Road to Brenham. I'm going to attempt a picture out in the snow. It still has to be washed and dried before it goes to its forever home at the wedding the weekend, so if it gets damp or a little wet, it won't matter.
I started writing this post, yesterday, which was Friday, expecting to go to the wedding today. Well, it is winter, and plans get changed along with the weather. There is a snow storm today both here, and in the city where the wedding is happening. The roads are awful, with lots of cars in lots of ditches. So, we're not going to be able to make it. :(  We'll stay at home and wish them well from here.
I'm going to link up to Finish it Friday even if it is Saturday.

Friday 13 December 2013

On the needles, Dec. 13, 2013

 I'm still working on that pair of socks. The first is finished, and I finally took the time to research how to do the toe grafting stitch properly. I had to follow along on the video and do it as she was doing it. And I'll have to do the same thing for the next one, too, because the instructions sure didn't stick in my head. I'm really enjoying working with this wool, it is so very soft and petable. And I really like the way the colours are spiraling around the foot and the leg of the sock. Later on today, I'm planning on tackling the Magic Loop provisional cast on For this Cowlie project. I've never done it before, so it will be something else new to learn. We
 have a wedding to go to tomorrow, a 2 or 3 hour drive away, so I'll work on this in the car, providing the winter storm that is predicted doesn't prevent us from going.
I'll be using this yarn for the cowlie. It's a worsted weight superwash from Berroco, but I threw away the labels when I wound it into the balls, so I don't know exactly what yarn it is. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.
I'm linking up to On the Needles. It's always fun, and sometimes dangerous, to see what others are working on. My favourites list of patterns just keeps getting longer and longer. But it sure is fun.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Stash Report, week 49, 2013

Not much in the used department this week, but none coming in, either, so I suppose that's good news?!? I exercised mega restraint and deleted all ads that came into my email pretty much as soon as they appeared. Now, I know I can always go to the web site and look at the sales that I know are there. But, somehow, it's more tempting to do it from the emails.
I'm working on my colour challenge for the guild. I've been working on it all afternoon and am only1/4 done, and seriously questioning my sanity. What I thought would be a good idea several months ago, now has me asking myself what was I thinking? Especially since it's for a placemat for Meals on Wheels, so it's going to be given away. That tool that I blogged about here has been getting a lot of exercise. Ah well, all for a good cause, and it is going to be very nice when it is done.

Used this week:                                     .5 yards
Used this year:                                 124.05 yards
Added this week:                                    0 yards
Added this year:                            165.55 yards
Balance.                                           41.5 more yards in than out.
I'm linking up to Judy's Stash Report and then it just might be time to find something to eat before I see if I can get to 1/2 done for the colour challenge. Oh, did I mention it's due this coming Thursday?

Saturday 7 December 2013

Real Studio Tour, Day One

Vicki Welsh, who blogs at Field Trips in Fiber has issued a challenge for us to show our real studios. Not the fancy magazine style ones, that nobody would ever dare to use and mess up, but our real ones, no clean up allowed. She's going to do it in easy stages over 3 weeks, talking about various aspects of studios and our work spaces. Today's assignment is to talk about a non sewing related,
re- purposed sewing tool.Well, actually, it was yesterday's assignment, but I'm late, as usual.
I didn't even have to think about this one. It is something I have beside me all the time when I am sewing just in case of oopsies.
This is my super dooper, handy dandy, battery powered seam ripper. Also known by its more mundane name of mustache trimmer by Conair, found at Walmart for the whopping price of about $10.00. It might be more than that now. I've had this one for a large number of years. It uses one AA battery, and is the best money I ever spent for a seam ripper.

It's quite simple to use. Simply gently pull the pieces that need to be ripped apart open so that the seam threads are visible. Then just lightly touch the blade end of the trimmer to the threads that you want to cut. If you use the tool to go along the seam and nudge it open with the blade, it is literally done in seconds. The actual moving cutting parts are set far enough back that it will cut the threads, much like it would cut hair, but it won't cut the fabric. It is so much easier than the old version that requires the insertion of a sharp point into a seam to cut the individual thread one at a time. There are quite a few more non-traditional tools to be found at Vicki's.

Friday 6 December 2013

On the Needles....

                                                                 Today has been such a busy day, that I'm just thinking
of writing this now, at 10:48 pm. First thing this morning, well, first thing for me, at least, which is everyone else's end of the morning. Anyway, first thing, we went out shopping. We had some stuff we wanted to pick up for all the grand kids, and we did well, and found most of what we were looking for without having to drive all over the place. One store did it, actually. The driving around all over the place occurred when I said that I wanted to go to the sewing machine store to get some replacement needles for my sewing machine. The store is on the other side of the city, but we're really close to the highway here, so it's a fairly quick trip over there, unless, of course, the person who is driving, not me, takes the wrong exit and ends up going in the wrong direction. It meant I got a lot more done on the sock that's showing here, but I never did get those needles.
When we got home, it was time to mix up some ginger bread cookie dough, roll it out and make some ginger bread men cookies. We're all going to decorate them tomorrow, and put them on the Christmas tree, which I think we are doing tomorrow, as well.
Then, I got the Road to Brenham quilt bound. I do it all by machine, so it only took a couple of hours, The binding was already made.  And after that, I got all of the colour challenge stuff for the guild organized and my project started. Considering the colour challenge project is due on Thursday, and that I want to take the quilt to the guild meeting for show and tell, it was way past time to get these things done.
In the midst of all this, I've been knitting. That is the third hat I've gotten out of this yarn. I originally ordered it to make Noel, our son, a hat and a scarf, and maybe some gloves, but I didn't really know how much of the yarn to order. Obviously, I ended up with way more than I needed, so I think the other guys in the family might be getting hats, too. I tried the gloves a couple of times, and couldn't get them to work. And then I started to think that maybe gloves made out of alpaca yarn that have to do things like  clean off cars might not be such a good plan. So the gloves idea got scrapped.  And then, just because I felt like it, and I needed something portable for car trips, and stuff, I started another pair of socks. This is Alpaca Sox yarn from Classic Elite Yarns. It has got to be some of the softest yarn I have ever felt. It's 60% alpaca, 20% merino wool and 20% nylon. I bought 2 skeins of this yellow and turquoise colour, and 2 skeins of a light blue, as well. These are going to feel so good on the feet. I'm finding that the more of these socks I do, the faster I'm getting at it, too. I just started these 3 days ago, and just pick them up whenever I have a minute or two, or when going out in the car. I even took them out to work on in the restaurant the other day, while we were waiting for our lunch.
So, this was our day, very long, and busy, and wonderful. I'm linking up with Judy's On the Needles. Then I need to take my medications, and maybe knit a bit more before bed.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Five Ordinary Things

I was reading in my devotional that comes into my email every morning, and a challenge it gave caught my eye and my heart. I was just going to pass it by, and go onto something else, so much else that I have to do, especially at this time of year. But then, it caught me again, and said to me, do it, don't just briefly think about it and then forget it. Do it!

"Take some time to write down five ordinary things that you appreciate. Then, list reasons why these ordinary things are actually special blessings from the Lord."

I'm sitting here in my recliner, looking out the window, and the first"ordinary" thing I see is trees. Trees that give us shade in the summer. Trees that give us food and so many creatures shelter. Trees that create the forests where I love to spend time in the spring and summer and fall. Trees, and the sound of the wind in their branches and the sound of rain on the leaves. Trees, that even in the winter, have beauty, as their bare dark branches provide patterns across the sky.

The next "ordinary" thing I see and think of is this home. It's a home made of bricks and mortar and wood, but it is so much more. It is a home full of the people I love, each giving to each other. It is a home full of the love of God being worked out in all our lives. How glorious is that!

Fabric, another "ordinary" thing, and yet it is full of colour and possibilities. Fabric fuels my creativity, which is surely God given. Fabric clothes us, keeps us warm, and is an outlet to express the love to others that I feel inside, but sometimes have such a hard time expressing.

And then I look at our coat rack, and the "ordinary" garments hanging there. I count six or seven different coats and sweaters hanging there. and then I think of the closet, full of our clothing. It's not fancy, it's not the latest style or trend, and yet without all of it, we would not be able to live. We would freeze in the winter. And yet God graciously provides all our needs, like the lilies of the field.

And the other "ordinary" thing that has such a prominent place in what I can see from where I am sitting is books. Books that  are just ordinary fiction, read for entertainment and escape. Books full of God's word. Books, written by men and women, who wish to glorify God through their writing, who wish to dig deeply into God's word, and bring it to life, to take a passage of scripture and dig deeply into it for all that God has to say and teach His people.

Five "ordinary" things, that are such great gifts from the Lord our provider. Thank you Lord!

Monday 2 December 2013

Design Wall Monday Dec. 2, 2013

My design wall looks exactly the same as it did last week.
I had hoped to have a lot more done on this by now, but other things, like the pre-Christmas quilting rush, both my own and other peoples' has kinda taken priority. Maybe by the end of the year. it will get done. This is a pattern named Thanksgiving, from Judy Martin's book Patchwork Among Friends, which I just noticed is on sale for $9.95, by the way, if you are at all interested in her designs. I don't have any affiliation, other than a very satisfied customer. This is the third quilt I've made from this book. It was well worth it at full price, so this is a steal.
As far as the rest of my time goes, I've been making lists. Things that I need to get done now, and in the next few weeks. And then I've been thinking about next year, and what I'd like to get accomplished. I have listed some of my UFO's, the ones that came immediately to mind, and there are 10 of them. I'm sure there are more buried somewhere, but I have 10 I'd like to work on. And then there are some new projects that I'd like to start next year. At some point, I'll be updating some lists in my right side bar, showing these lists I'm making.
In the meantime, I'm going to link up to Design wall Monday, and then see if I can't get more things on my list crossed off.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Stash Report, week 48, 2013

I used up a bit more fabric this week making a couple of pillow cases to go with the Road to Brenham quilt I did this past summer. Past that, nothing else has been used. I'm still working on finishes, so no new usage is happening. I guess that's the down side to counting stash used as it's cut, rather than waiting until the project is finished. However, if I waited to count until something is finished, some things would never get counted. Although, maybe that would be incentive to actually start and finish a project, before starting something else........... nah, not gonna happen in my world. Although, I think I'm doing really well considering, other than the scrappy Saturday challenge, I haven't started a new project in months, since Road to Brenham, I think. That is going to change, though. I am planning on celebrating the starting of the New Year on January 1st, by starting a new project. I just decided that now. I think I'll go through my books, and find a project that I love, and start it then. New year, new project, I think I like that. Anybody else want to join me on that? I haven't bought any new fabric in 6 weeks, and haven't any plans on buying any before the end of the year, budget constraints are dictating that. It's time to start dipping into those fabric retirement savings I built up over the last few years. So if I start a new project at the beginning of the year, I'll start the year with a fabric out balance, rather than the other way around.

Used this week:                                  2.3 yards
Used this year:                                 123.55 yards
Added this week:                               0 yards
Added this year:                                165.55 yards
Balance:                                                42 more yards in than out.

Back when I was participating in a UFO challenge, where we would list them by numbers, and choose a different one to work on each month, I used to work on current projects for the first part of the month, and the UFO project for the last half of the month. I might go back to doing that. I really like the feeling of getting something finished, but I miss the excitement of starting something new. I'll have to think about that some more.
I'm linking up to Judy's Stash Report, and then I think I'll sew some more leaves for the Thanksgiving quilt, which hasn't seen a whole lot of progress in the last week.

Saturday 30 November 2013

On and off the Needles

As usual, lately, I'm one day late with this. But I have an excuse, really I do. This is a long armers' busiest season, getting gifts ready for people for Christmas, and that's what I've been spending a lot of my time doing. The rest of the time seems to be spent sitting and either sewing or knitting to get my own Christmas list done. I have some knitting finishes.
 This little baby boy sweater is finished, except for sewing in the ends. I don't seem to be able to find my large needle that I use for this task, so it will have to wait until I can get out to a store. But since I need to get buttons for this, and also fabric for making pajamas, I can do it all at once. But not today. There is no way I am going near any stores or malls today, it's way too insane out there. Much better to stay at home, get lots done, hopefully, and have a jammies day.

The alpaca hat and scarf for Noel is done. I really hope he doesn't turn out allergic to this, since he is allergic to wool.

And I have enough of the alpaca yarn to do another hat up, so that is what  is currently on the needles.
The ribbing section is done, and I'm just starting on the main part of the hat. It's really bulky yarn, so it should finish up in the next day or two. I've used this Dad's Work Hat for the pattern for both hats. The first one knitted up a bit large, so I've cast on less stitches for the second one, and am doing the ribbing as knit one purl one, rather than the knit two purl two as given in the pattern.The scarf was a basic stockinette stitch, with a garter stitch border.
Today's task is to start working down my list of things I have to get done in the next couple of weeks, starting with making some pillow cases to go with the Road to Brenham quilt. Binding that quilt is also on that list. And I have to get a start on the colour challenge project for the guild that is due in less than 2 weeks. So, after I link up with Judy's On the Needles, I'm going to start on those pillow cases. The fabric has been washed, but needs to be ironed, and then I'm good to go.

Monday 25 November 2013

Design wall Monday Nov. 25, 2013

We had a sew in day for the guild on Saturday. It started at 9 am and went to about 8:15 pm. Although, I must confess that I didn't get there until about 9:45 am.  I worked on this quilt all day. It's coming really close to being finished. I had hoped to get a couple more borders done yesterday. I have about half of the components for the 60 more leaf blocks that I need finished. I still need to make 60 more leaf blades and about 40 more stem units. I did a lot of sewing yesterday, during our snowed in day, but by the time 6pm came around, I stalled out. So, I put a movie in the computer, since the TV was occupied with football all day, and spent the rest of the day knitting. I'm making a cute little baby boy sweater as a Christmas gift, and got the yoke section completely done. I'm currently taking a break from working on a customer quilt, and having a can of Ensure to drink, since I can't be bothered taking the time to make lunch..... I know, that's the ultimate in laziness....
However, I'd best get back to work. I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday. 
I should mention the pattern source for this quilt. It is from a book by Judy Martin called Patchwork Among Friends. This is the third quilt I've made from this book, and there are several more in it that I'd love to do.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Stash Report week 47, 2013

This was the view from our door when we got up this morning. Winter has arrived. We had a guild sew-in day yesterday, and those of us who stayed to the very end had to drive home in this. There was a snow squall warning issued, but those warning so often come to nothing, that we ignored it. Surprise... this one actually had some punch to it. I sure hope everyone made it safely home. It was a very scary drive in mostly white out conditions, and that was in the city. I made a lot of progress on my Thanksgiving Leaves project, a pattern from Judy Martin's book Patchwork Among Friends. Unfortunately, all the fabric for that quilt has already been counted, so my stash report remains unchanged. Only 3 more pieced borders left to go. I have to figure out a new picture taking spot. My old one from the side of the deck has been filled in with snow. Maybe I'll have to talk to Matt and Becca about using their front hall floor.

Used this week:                              0 yards
Used this year:                            121.25 yards
Added this week:                            0 yards
Added this year:                           165.55 yards
Balance:                                            44.3 more yards in than out.

I have a placemat to make for the colour challenge for the guild that needs to be finished before the next meeting. I might start on that this week, so that will add a little out. But with my focus on finishing quilts, rather than starting any more, I'm not sure whether those numbers are going to change much more before the end of the year.
I'm linking up to Judy's Stash Report, and then I think the rest of the day is going to be spent in front of the TV and the sewing machine. Maybe I can get the last of those borders finished.

Monday 18 November 2013

Design Wall Monday, Nov. 18, 2013

I now have ten leaf blocks done. I put them up on the wall, and added the sashes and cornerstones to get a more complete idea of what it is going to look like. I think I am going to swap out the blue sash and the blue cornerstones for neutral ones. The blues are dragging my eye right to them, and I want to focus to be completely on the leaf squares. I like the little bit if blue that is in the squares, but not any more. I have a lot more of the leaf parts ready to be sewn up, so that is what I will be doing this evening.
I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday

Sunday 17 November 2013

Stash Report Nov.17, 2013

I've been sewing and quilting like a mad fool for the past couple of weeks. I missed posting a stash report last week, so I'll combine them today. I'd think, for all the sewing I've been doing, I'd have larger numbers to show for it, but all the stuff was cut at the beginning of the quilt, so it's already been counted. I have the borders for Lazy Sunday that I can count, and the fabric for this weeks scrappy browns, and that's pretty much it.

Used this past 2 weeks:                          1 yard
Used this year:                                          121.25 yards
Added this past 2 weeks:                         0 yards
Added this year:                                     165.55 yards
Balance:                                                    44.3 more yards in than out.

I'm linking up to Judy's Stash Report, and then I'm going to do some more work on my Thanksgiving leaves project, and wait for a Skype call with Avery later on this afternoon. He is so cute! Whenever I answer the computer, that sounds rather weird, saying that rather than answer the phone, but anyway, when I answer, the very first thing he says is "Where's Grampy?". Scott and I both talk to him, and it may only be for a very short time, depending on Avery's mood and attention span, but it is always wonderful to see him. Have I said recently - it must have been at least a couple of weeks - I Love technology!

Saturday 16 November 2013

Scrappy Saturday

 Another Saturday, and another week of playing with brown scraps. I'm planning to do eight of these blocks from every posted colour. These three complete my eight blocks, and there's another saturday left yet to the month. I'm actually ahead of the game on this one. There is a sew-in day for the guild next Saturday, from 9am to 9pm, so I wanted to have the day clear for finishing at least one other project, hopefully the Thanksgiving Leaves.

I missed posting on the knitting post for yesterday, so I thought I'd do that today, as well. I started this hat yesterday evening. It is a really bulky fiber, 100% alpaca. It is so very soft and cuddly. I'm doing this hat, and a scarf for our son for Christmas. Considering he lives in northern Ontario, and is allergic to wool, these should be perfect.
I'm linking up to On the Needles and Scrappy Saturday .

Monday 11 November 2013

Design Wall Monday, Nov. 11, 2013

 I have my next UFO project up on the wall today. It's a pattern called Thanksgiving from a book by Judy Martin called Patchwork Among Friends. I have 8 blocks done, and 8 more to do. Then there are the border units. It actually goes rather quickly, once I set my mind to it, and work at it steadily. I'm not going to set myself a time limit on this, but at the same time, it would be nice to have this one done by the end of the year.
And now, I'm, looking for some opinions. I've had my Grandmother's Diamond Ring down off the racks where my quilt tops are stored, and I'm trying to come up with a design for the quilting. I've got something laid on top of the quilt in this picture to the left. What do you think... is it too much for this quilt? Do you like it or do you have any other ideas? There would be continuous curves in the piecing. I'm not sure about the borders, yet.
I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday

Saturday 9 November 2013

Scrappy Saturday, browns continue

I managed to get 2 more brown scrappy triple four patches made last night.
I've been using my recliner chair as the setting for most of my pictures that only need a small area. It has the Ott light behind it, so I get the most accurate colour representation there. But that's why there has been that burgundy fabric in the background of some of my pictures lately. I have a portable one that I should dig up, and then I wouldn't have to use the chair, I could spread out on the floor, or something. But anyway, this works, for now. With the shorter days, daylight pictures are harder to come by.
I'm hoping to go over to Gail's for a couple of hours sewing this afternoon. I now have Lazy Sunday completely finished, although no picture yet, I'm waiting for the wind to die down so I can get one outside. If not, I'll take it and pin it up on my design wall later this morning. But, with that one done, I am now moving on to Thanksgiving Leaves. I pulled it out of it's box last night, and found that I have 6 blocks done, and a seventh started. I need either 12 or 16, depending on the size I decide to go with. So, that is next in my line up of attempts to finish without starting anything new. This scrappy challenge is a new start, but it barely counts because it's such small amounts each week. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I'm linking up with Soscrappy. There are more fun brown scrappy things to see there.

Friday 8 November 2013

On the needles

Wow, two posts in one day! I'm just a writing machine today, on top of being a finishing machine. LOL! I had hopes of showing a new knitting project today that I had started yesterday. However, the tension was all wrong, so I ended up ripping it all out, and ordering the appropriate sized needles. I got a bit confused, since the pattern specified one size needles to get the right size, and the yarn specified another. I made the mistake of going with the pattern recommendation, and ended up with the stitches being way too small. Note to self, when using very expensive alpaca yarn, do a gauge swatch first. However, all this means that I will be finishing Avery's truck sweater instead of starting something new.

I'm almost at the neck and shoulder decrease stage. I simplified the truck considerably, and changed it from a tow truck to a white pick up truck. His daddy has a white pick up truck, so I thought it was a good choice. I'm linking this post up to Judy's On the Needles

Orca Bay is finished

 I have another finish! I'm turning into a lean, mean finishing machine, well, maybe not lean, and certainly not mean. The binding went onto Orca Bay yesterday. It was pouring down rain yesterday, though, so I couldn't get any pictures until this afternoon. I wanted this quilt to be a bit bigger than the original instructions, so I added a couple more borders to it.

                                                                                    There is so much going on in this quilt that I
decided to use a very basic design for the quilting. I've been using this one more often lately, Square Spiral by Keryn Emmersen. I like the way it follows the strong diagonal lines in the piecing. I used one of the diagonal stripe fabric I keep in my stash for doing bindings, and again used a faux piping technique to sew the binding on completely by machine. For some people, doing the final part of stitching the binding by hand is one of their favourite parts of doing the quilt. I'm not of that mind. By the time I get to putting the binding on a quilt, I am usually more than ready to have it done, and don't want to take the additional time to hand stitch it down. There's a short tutorial on how to do this kind of binding here. Unless I have an irregular edge on a quilt, or piecing where the points would end up cut off, this is my go to binding .  I'm linking up to Finish it up Friday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop in order to celebrate this finish.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Customer Quilts.

 I've had three customer quilts go home this past week. Two for Charlene and one for Amalia.
This first one here is Charlene's. It's a pattern by Edyta Sitar, and is done completely with 1 1/2 inch strip scraps. Charlene never lets anything get away from her.
 I used a very simple Square Spiral pattern by Keryn Emmersen for this quilt. The diagonal lines complement all the horizontal and vertical lines in the piecing, with some gradual curves as well. I love the texture the quilting adds to all the fun fabrics in this piece.
 And, as I said I would try to do more often, here's a glimpse of the back.
 This quilt is Charlene's as well. It's a complete departure from the scrappy one above. This one is calm and toned down, and reminds me of a good cup of coffee. I found a really fun new pattern on the Digitech Designs website called Modern Bricks by Krista Withers. I think it fits the modern design of this quilt perfectly.
 Here's a close up of the front.
 And the back. I off set the pattern by one quarter for each row. I love all the movement in this design.
 This quilt is Amalia's, a string pieced Lemoyne Star. A couple of weeks ago I was reading Vicki's blog post here, and she was talking about doing a quilting design where she could do the border at the same time as the rest of the quilt. A bell went off in my head, and I thought, I have got to try this. And when Amalia's quilt came up, it was a perfect opportunity to try this technique.
 I did continuous curves in the star points and the background squares. While browsing through one of Darlene Epp's resource books, I came across a design she called iron fence. When I saw that one, it was a perfect choice to adapt for this technique, since the point of the border design meets up with the pint of the piecing. My original plan for the quilting did not include the swirl in the background squares, but when I saw the swirl in the border design, it was a natural progression to put one in the background squares.
This one was a lot of fun to do, and I learned something new in the process. Have I mentioned lately, that I love what I do? Thanks ladies.

Monday 4 November 2013

Design Wall Monday, Nov. 4, 2013

Great Granny is finally finished and off the wall. All her borders are on, and, after I took this picture of her draped over the long arm machine, she went to hang up with the rest of my quilts waiting their turn on the machine.
 So, now I have the Bonnie Hunter mystery that ran in Quiltmaker magazine last summer called Lazy Sunday, up on the wall. But It's only there briefly. I'm going to be working on this as a get it finished project, in my quest to, if not cure my startitis, at least cut down on it a bit. I'm currently working on getting the last 2 of the green triangle borders put together, so they can go on. I really like the yellow border in this. It makes it happy and sunny, just like what a lazy summer Sunday should be.
I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday.