Leo’s Mane Sew Along

Friday 27 November 2015

On my Needles

I’m working on a blanket for our grand daughter who is due to arrive in January. It’s a new technique to me, double knitting, which ends up with a reversible finished product. It’s really quite amazing how it works. It’s from a pattern called Baby Love
The biggest challenge in it, besides learning how to do it, has been figuring out the most efficient way to hold the yarn so that I’m not constantly having to drop one colour from my hand and then have to pick up the next. I’ve finally gotten the hang of it, so it should go faster from here on in. There’s 260 stitches, and it’s knit one purl one all the way across. The knit is one colour and the purl is the other colour, hence the difficulty with how to hold the yarns. And then, of course, there was the problem of figuring out how to fix a mistake where there was a red stitch right in the middle of the white heart. But that one got figured out too. I love the challenge of learning new things. And there are so many resources available either on youtube for watching, or written out depending on learning styles. I tried watching a video for doing this technique, but had to go to a written one before I truly understood what was happening. I’m two rows away from the first colour change. This project is going to take a while to get finished.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Wednesday workings

I like alliterations, words beginning with the same letters in sentences are always such fun. Doesn’t take much to amuse me, does it? Monday's musings or how about Thursday thinking...  Anyway.....
I started writing this post on Monday, using my iPad and blogsy. For some reason I couldn’t get  the blogsy app in my iPad to load the pictures, and then someone came to drop off some quilts, and before I knew it the day was over and the post didn’t get written. Then, I meant to get back to it and write it yesterday, obviously unsuccessfully. So that takes me up to today just a few minutes ago and I decided that I would do it, only to be unable to find my camera that I used on Monday to take the pictures. I’ve looked in the most obvious places, and moved a few piles to look under things, without success. So I went back upstairs armed with my iPad to take the pictures, then came back downstairs to use the computer to write the post.
I’ve been working on my Northern Tree Line quilt a little bit at a time when I get a few minutes, using the pieces as leader/ender between other projects. I really really like the way this is looking! I’ve also been doing little bits on the sampler that I’m writing up for our guild’s blog. It’s free and anyone interested can go to the link at the London Friendship Quilters Guild and play along. I’m trying to get as far ahead on this as possible before our grand daughter arrives in January. The top row has been published, so far.
The main thing I’ve been working on though is customer quilts. This one was fun. It’s for a little boy who’s a baseball fan. The quilting design is called “Batter Up”. It has baseballs and bats and caps and gloves. The other thing I’ve been working on is learning a new technique for knitting called Double Knitting. It’s challenging and slow going, but I’m getting the hang of it. I’m hoping to have enough of the project done by Friday for an On the Needles report. In the meantime, I’ll publish this and get back to the knitting.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Sunday Stash and Stitching Reports

I’m finally back to stitching on La Passacaglia again. I’ve been stalled on this one for the last couple of weeks, mostly because of so many other things demanding my attention. But today I picked it back up again. First I stitched on the green rosette with blue stars on the bottom right. And then I started the very long process that is going to be the sewing of white filler pieces around the whole thing. I’ve started on the right hand side of the bottom section. Once all the white filler pieces are on, I’ll sew the three sections that it’s currently in together, and then stitch the whole thing down onto a white border. Still lots of hours left on this project. But it’s getting much closer to a finish. I really want to get this finished, because there are hexagon projects that I want to do. We had a workshop at the guild a little over a week ago, taught by Karen from Faeries and Fibres. I blogged about it here on the guild’s blog. It was a fabulous workshop, one of the best I’ve ever attended, and I’m itching to get at working on the project. But I know for certain that if I start working on that, then this project will quickly turn into a UFO, and I don’t want that. So my hexagon pieces will remain in their container until this is done.

As far as stash usage goes, there was a little bit out for the Disappearing Four Patch swap that I’m doing with Jannette, and the white that was cut for the filler pieces. Nothing new in, which is good news, even if it isn’t very much fun.

Used this week:                                   1.4 yards
Used this year:                                  81.5 yards
Added this week:                                   0 yards
Added this year:                                110.7 yards
Net stash added:                                    29.2 yards

I’m linking up to Kathy’s Slow Sunday Stitching and Judy’s Stash Report. And then I’m going back to watching Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth version, and stitching on more white filler pieces.

Friday 20 November 2015

The quilt that didn’t want to get made

Or at least that’s the way it’s seemed. It should have been a fast and easy one, and maybe that’s been the problem. Because I thought it was fast and easy, I haven’t been giving it my full attention while working on it. When I quit a week or two ago, I’d made the mistake of cutting too big, so four of the Disappearing Four Patches that I made didn’t fit with the rest. So I decided that today I would start to work on this again and get it finished. I started by recutting al the pieces and sewing up all the four patches. So far so good. I did the cuts through the four patches, the correct size this time..... yippee! I laid them all out on the wall, checked to make sure that they were orientated right, and then began to sew. Somewhere along the line, I got the blocks turned the wrong way, not once but twice. This picture is of the second time. The first time I got the blocks going off to the left turned wrong. There’s been a lot of ripping done! Finally all done and all sewn together. Whew, what a marathon! Now I can start on my large scale floral swap blocks for the last two months of the year. Let’s hope they go easier.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Jacqui's quilt

I loaded and started this quilt today. Since I just took a picture of it and sent it off to Jacqui to let her know it's started, I thought I'd take a minute and post it here too. It's a One Block Wonder. Those triangles in the blocks...they're only two inches big! That's a lot of triangles.

I'm using a pantograph called Ribbon Spirals. Time to get back at it.

Thursday catch up

It doesn’t seem like I’m doing too terribly well at posting short posts about what I’m up to, does it. There simply aren’t enough hours in each day. Of course, the fact that my days don’t start until around 10 am and that it takes a good hour for the effects of the bed time meds to wear off so that my brain is at least semi-functional, doesn’t help in the least. At the most, I have 13 useable hours in the day. I’m trying to figure out a way to use them more effectively, so that all of the things I want to do can get done. So far, I’m not having much success in that area. But, I will try again, with assigning the different things that I’ve determined as a priority of stuff I want to get done a time and day to do them, since sitting around thinking about it will not really accomplish much, except to stress me out and end up feeling like I’m spinning my wheels. This is what I’ve come up with.
Sundays will stay the same as a hand stitching day, first to finish off La Passacaglia and then move on to other hand stitching projects that are rattling around in my brain, itching to be done. Last Sunday didn’t get anything done on any hand stitching. Becca and I went out yarn shopping for things that are on top of the list for making for her coming baby. We prioritized the list by the things that would be needed first. We picked up the cutest softest yarn ever, from Bernat called Pip Squeak. It’s a bulky weight yarn, which makes stuff knit up really fast. At this point, I like really fast. It’s being used for the pattern Baby Bear Set. I have the hat
and the overalls finished to the stage of needing buttons and ties. The bear body is done, but needs sewing and stuffing and the arms and ears to be made. That might get done tonight. That was what I did Sunday, rather than hand stitching, just because it was new and exciting and I wanted to see what it would look like.
Mondays, I want to focus on sewing up whatever clothing I have decided to make, whether it’s for the baby, for Becca or for myself.
Tuesdays will be for working on the long arm, and the evenings for knitting. This past Tuesday, that plan was interrupted by machine difficulties. I kept getting skipped stitches and the thread kept snagging and breaking. I was soooooooo frustrated I was ready to throw the machine out the window, assuming of course that I could lift it and that it would fit though the window, neither of which are the case. The next stage of the frustration was to think “that’s it, I quit, I’m calling all these people and returning their quilts and not doing this any more”. For anyone reading this who has quilts here with me, that stage didn’t last long, and I won’t be doing that. I finally calmed myself down and decided to see if I could fix the problem. I re-set the timing, a very time consuming job. I also found that there was a burr on the needle plate that might be snagging the thread, so I filed that down and declared it a day.  That took me to yesterday,
Wednesday, also will be a long arm day. The fixes seemed to work, since I had no further issues with skipped stitches or the thread snagging.
Thursdays will also be long arm days, which I will do as soon as I finish this post. And then the evening will again be spent with my knitting needles.
Fridays will be quilt days, piecing on various projects.
Saturdays I think will be free days, to do whatever needs/wants doing. We’ve also been attending church on Saturday evenings at 5 pm, which works wonderfully well for this very morning challenged person.
So, that’s my thinking. Whether it will work remains to be seen. I’m hoping that if my brain isn’t occupying itself spinning in circles trying to figure out how to do all that I want to do, there will be pockets of time during the days where I can do up a short blog post or two or three. Even if it’s to say, yes it’s working, or no it’s not. Stay tuned.........

Tuesday 10 November 2015

How did it get to be Tuesday already?

I missed Sunday’s stash and stitching report, but I have a good excuse, really I do. Our son Noel is going away for his birthday this coming weekend....... he turns 36 on Friday.... so we had him over for dinner on Sunday. I did a little bit of hand stitching on La Passacaglia but not enough to show a difference from the last picture I showed. I have one more small rosette to stitch in place around the bigger one, and then I can start adding the filler pieces around the edging. I’ll get a picture of it next week. I did however, get a quilt cut out on the weekend. That one that I showed here, the one that I was silly enough to ask whether I’d start cutting it or not...... well I did. I used the Go Cutter, and cut out the whole thing. Enough to make 100 eight inch blocks. Not only that, but I’ve sewn up eight of them already, only 92 to go.
 I have learned however, that I have to be very careful which way the triangle squares are facing before I sew the wing triangles on and I also have to be careful about which way the wing triangles are facing. Lets just say that there has been some ripping involved and I’m glad I didn’t sew a whole lot of them assembly line style. So far the large green corner squares aren’t showing up as true greens, but they will as more get added in. I found 58 greens in my stash, of all shades and values and tints, and I cut large and small triangles from all of them. I’m mostly just grabbing at random right now, trying not to have too many of the same ones too close together. But I suspect it won’t matter much once I really get going on this. They don’t really take all that long to do, providing I pay attention, and don’t have to rip any more.
My design wall has a bad case of quilter’s A.D.D. In addition to the blocks above, it also has 12 blocks from the LFQG Blog Sampler.
Once I get the instructions for the four I’ve recently finished written up, this will take us to about the end of February. And, as is visible in the left hand bottom corner of the above picture, the Disappearing Four Patch that I’m making for the soon to be grand daughter is also up on the wall. Somehow I don’t think it’s the design wall that has the bad case of quilter’s A.D.D. Oh, and those shorter posts that I was going to write more often, rather than long ones many days apart...... that doesn’t seem to be happening. Oh well......
For the record for this week, my stash numbers are:

Used last week:                    9 yards
Used this year:                    80.1 yards
Added last week:                   0 yards
Added this year:                 110.7 yards
Net stash added:                   30.6 yards

And now, I have to go find that to-do list so that I can remember what it is I have left to do. I think I need to start using the Notes or Lists features of my computer gadgets so that I don’t keep losing the lists. My gadgets all sync with each other, and while I often lose track of where my phone is, I don’t usually lose track of the tablet or the computer. So if I find the list, maybe I’ll transfer it to the computer. Sounds like a plan..........

Friday 6 November 2015

On My Needles......

Or in this case, on my crochet hook. It has been years since I’ve done any crochet, and when I first picked this up, I remembered why. I was trying to use a basic metal crochet hook. It was slippery, I couldn’t seem to get a firm hold on it, and when I did, the hook wouldn’t hook the yarn. My fingers were getting cramped from holding the hook, and my mood was getting really bad since I was getting so frustrated. Fast forward one day and a visit to my local yarn shop, and the problem was solved. They sell ergonomic crochet hooks these days. Way too expensive, but oh so worth it, as long as I do lots of crocheting with this particular hook. The whole reason I was so set on getting back to doing crochet was these adorable booties. They are from a pattern called Crocodile Stitch Booties
They are not for the faint of heart, and probably weren’t the best choice for starting back at this. However, I have never been known to do things by half measure, and if I’m going to start doing something, I’ve been known to jump in all the way, with both feet, and sometimes nearly drown. It has taken three or four evenings of working at these to get this far. They’ve been ripped out several times, and figuring out the instructions has been a challenge. These are the newborn size. I think there will also be a pair in the larger size, since they are just so cute!! I’m linking this up to Judy’s On the Needles.
In between doing these, I’ve been working on other projects. I have a customer quilt on the machine that is getting feathers around the borders. I love doing feathers, but my head has to be in a certain space before I can get them to come out evenly. I wasn’t in that space yesterday, so I decided to start making a sleeper for our grand baby-to-be instead. Turns out my head wasn’t in the space it needed to be for doing that either. I cut out two pieces backwards, and had to re-cut them, wasting precious, expensive and cute little baby girl knit fabric in the process. Yesterday was redeemed though, by dinner out with friends and a Cheryl Arkinson trunk show. One of her emphasis points last evening was to just take your fabrics and give yourself time to play. Earlier this afternoon I sort of took that advice, but I inserted a step into it, being get out my EQ7 program and play, before cutting into fabrics.
Last summer during all our travels throughout Ontario, I was struck by green, all the various shades and values of green, all hanging out together and getting along quite nicely up against the background of the sky. So, during our visits to various quilt shops on our travels, I picked up green fat quarters, with plans for making a quilt using greens and the various shades of grey and blue for the sky. This is what I’ve come up with. It’s an 8 inch finished block and uses 6 inch and 2 inch triangles. I have both those sizes of dies for my Go Cutter. I just might start pulling out fabrics and start cutting this evening. I’m thinking of calling it Northern Tree Line. This is one of the photos I took during one of our hikes that kinda inspired the colour pairing. So, stay tuned..... will she or won’t she start this in the next few days?

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Blooming Nine Patch

I have another finish for one of my own quilts, finally. The Blooming Nine Patch that I started in Aug. 2014, is now finished. This was a self induced challenge, to try and do this design using only fabrics that I had in my stash. When I started it, I wasn’t really sure how it was going to turn out and what the blend of colours would look like. I must say that it surpassed my wildest hopes for it. I love it.
Here’s a close up of the fabrics and quilting in the middle section. I did a circular swirl in all of the outside section blocks. The fabrics there are so busy that nothing would have really shown up. But in the centre section, I did a fun wavy back and forth type thing, almost like if the kittens in the one fabric were chasing some of the wool that is wrapped around them. I did my usual faux-piped binding, using my usual diagonally printed stripe. There are some cute critters to be found in the fabric around the outside, to go along with the kittens. I am so very happy with the way this one turned out! I’m going to link up to Connie’s Links Tuesday to celebrate and share this finish.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Sunday Stash and Stitching report

What a glorious day it has been today. One of those autumn days where the temperatures are comfortable, the sky is a gorgeous deep blue, and the coloured leaves are scattered in front of the background blues. The sound of the wind blowing the leaves around finished the beauty of the day. It wasn’t actually warm enough to be outside stitching, so I’m continuing to work on La Passacaglia as my hand stitching project while sitting in my recliner, which is right beside the window. It doesn’t really look like anything has been done to it. But there has been, really there has. I’m in the process of sewing the sections together. The bottom is completely together, although I don’t have a picture of that for this post. The top left corner is now all sewn together and today I’m working on sewing together the top right corner. The top green one is on, and the orange one below it is halfway on. A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to decide whether to start sewing it together, or to make the last couple of rosettes. Obviously, sewing it together won. It’s a big, long, and not very artistically exciting job, sewing it all together, so I thought I’d do that and get it over with. Once it’s all into the bigger sections, and the last two rosettes are finished and in place, it will be time to start adding on all the white edging. I just might start that before the last two rosettes as well, since it will also be a long and not too terribly inspiring job. But it will mean that this project will be nearing the finish line. I think I’ll leave sewing the whole thing together until after all the edging pieces are on, just to cut down on the weight and bulk of what I’m working on.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of sewing on things other than La Passacaglia, which is mostly just my Sunday stitching project now, so there is a little progress on the stash reduction front. Doing a stash report every other week makes it seem like I’m making better progress, since the used numbers are bigger for two weeks than for one. I need every psychological boost I can get. ;-)

Used last 2 weeks:                              4.1 yards
Used this year:                                   71.1 yards
Added last 2 weeks:                             0 yards
Added this year:                                 110.7 yards
Net stash added:                                   39.6 yards
I’m linking up to Judy’s Stash report and Kathy’s Slow Sunday Stitching. Then it’s back to my audiobook and more hand stitching.