Tracyhttps://touchogrey.wordpress.comI'm starting my second half of life. I have been cutting fabric apart and reassembling the pieces for as long as I can remember. I also ride my horse, knit and garden in the Bay Area, CA.
Last week I ordered a frame and backing board for the Changed World cross stitch piece. I have ordered from Custom Frame Solutions before, and I am happy with their service and products. When the UPS dropped off my new frame I noticed that it was in a long thin box, not the 11″ x 14″ box I was expecting. Its okay though, as the frame came with nifty fasteners and it is simple enough to knock them in with a rubber mallet. The backing board isn’t here yet, so I am no further on this finish.
I finished all the parts for the S&F (spider and the fly) quilt and got all of the block Bs together. I used the webbing method, doing five blocks at a time. I am going to get to the A blocks today. I just realized how appropriate it is that I am doing webbing with these blocks.
I started the punch needle piece. It took me about an hour to figure it out, no YouTube videos were watched either. I figured that it was easy enough, as I had an idea of how it was done. I started out with three strands of floss, too much, and bumped it down to two. Threading the needle gave me a bit of a pause, and how long to make the needle. The length of the needle determines how big of a loop you get. The loop thing, ha, I feel a little foolish about that. I couldn’t figure out how to get the loops to form on the top side of the design. An “aha” moment: you stitch on the back side where the printed lines are, the loops are on the front/other side. Once I got going I was punching away. I am using 1 yard long pieces of floss, and they get used up pretty fast. The light green leaf has three yards of floss in it. I may re-do one of the white flowers, as it looks more like a dandelion.
When I see the word “smalls”, I think of the 1993 movie ‘The Sandlot’. There’s a line “You’re killing me Smalls”, Smalls being a character in the movie, not a small cross stitch project. Here’s the Google explanation:
Where does the phrase you’re killing me Smalls come from?
You’re killing me, Smalls originates in the 1993 baseball movie The Sandlot. The movie revolves around a boy named Scotty Smalls who moves into new neighborhood and is taken under the wing of the local boys and taught to play baseball.
I have been seeing a lot of them in YouTube videos, smalls in dough bowls, baskets, just hanging out on a sideboard, mounted on wooden shapes, or in little frames. In my cross stitch stitching resurgence (started in July 2020) I have been mostly working on large pieces. I started with finishing the cat head, the floral circle and then it was on to Pet all the Dogs, Strawberry fields, Newcastle Bouquet, and Changed World. Fifteen months of stitching little X’s and a bit of stash enhancement, I haven’t really stitched anything small. Sort of like making lots of bed quilts and no baby quilts. Like I said, I’m beginning to think about a dough bowl smalls collection of my own. It would be satisfying to me in that I would be able to start and finish a cross stitch project in a few weeks, and have the thrill of a new start and finish in a short period of time. Right now, there are so many cute Halloween smalls available. Changing the “smalls bowl” out seasonally would be fun for me. The only hard part, besides choosing which one to make, would be explaining the concept to my DH, he doesn’t really get decorative art displays.
I have been slowly quilting on the Reflected Harmony quilt. I finished the Hungry Animals book quilt with a blue checkered binding. Today’s goal is to finish the block pieces for the Spider and the fly quilt. I need 38 more three stripe parts made, and then I can sew the 49 blocks together. This quilt is putting a dent in my Halloween Figs scrap pile. I ordered a few more yards each of the orange, black and white prints to do the borders of this quilt. The fabric line, All Hallows Eve, is getting harder to find. I started out with the BOM quilt scraps, and I have made a dent in that pile, but there are three solid borders on the S&F quilt, and I needed a bit of yardage. I was supposed to get the Halloween Figs quilt done/quilted this year, but I looks like it’ll be for October 2022. I did hang up my Baltimore Halloween quilt yesterday.
I had a surprise package delivered last week. The first part of the BOM, Reunion, arrived. I actually had to look up the finished quilt, because I had forgotten all about it. I remember that I signed up for the BOM, A Ribbon Runs Through it, but that one starts in January ~ October 2022. It’ll probably be a surprise when it starts /arrives too.
When I started this project I thought maybe we would be further along on the road to Covid recovery, by the time I finished it. Well, I think the truck has pulled over to the shoulder and is taking a rest. Perhaps I should have stitched more slowly? This piece was done as a stitch-a-long with Judy at Patchwork Times, Denise at Just Quilting and Jo at Jo’s Country Junction. I started stitching on August first and finished September twenty-eighth. Just shy of nine weeks, 59 days. At first I didn’t stitch on it everyday, I was alternating every other day with the Newcastle Bouquet piece. Then I added another cross stitch project, a small free chart I found on the Aurifil site. These last two weeks I have been working exclusively on CW, and now I can concentrate on NB a bit more. I got the flower finished yesterday and a few letters started, who knows, maybe by Christmas that one will be done.
The Purple Pineapple is a top, again. I had to take the errant block apart in order to make it right, not just a simple rip/flip/resew job. The center part of it was turned, it was unlike any of the others, poor thing, I kinda felt bad taking away its individuality. The quality control manager in me is smiling though. Still needs borders, I have plenty of lavender to use for them.
I started quilting the Reflected Harmony quilt. I was all set to do a pretty rose pantograph on it. I had gotten a 108″ wide piece of pink and white floral for the backing, but it clashed terribly. Then I remembered the Strawberry Thief print 108″ backing I got on sale, it works. I am using all the roller bars for this quilt, I usually float my tops. Floating is when you baste the quilt top to the backing and batting at the upper edge, and let the quilt top hang over the front of the frame. As one quilts closer to the bottom edge, some securing is necessary to maintain smoothness. I usually pin at this point or I have large pink fabric clamps. Once I got the quilt on the frame. I realized that I couldn’t do an all over design, because there is a half inch red fabric flange that separates the center from the borders. After a bit of searching through my collection of designs, I remembered seeing a Rose set on Wasatch quilting, it was a bit pricey, but I had some points saved up and I get 25% off being a club member. I bought it, downloaded it and had it stitching out in no time.
Speaking of downloading, I got the final block and finishing instructions for the Elefantz Simple days quilt. I have seven blocks made, two embroidered (finished) and two to start/make. I think I want to do something with the sashings or borders, maybe some piecing. I thought I would use up my stash of reproduction/ 1930s fabrics, but I ended up adding to it. This isn’t a very large quilt, but I think is more of a wall quilt than a lap quilt. So some interesting sashings might be just what it needs or not.
I got the four extra blocks made, and put the top together. I just noticed an errant block in this the photo, will fix later. I think I’m going to add a border, it needs something to corral all of its pineapple-y goodness. I’m still not sure if I want to make any more of the larger blocks, I have enough left over fabric to make at least three more. If I put four together it would be about 40 inches square, six blocks would be 60″ x 40″ probably a better lap quilt size.
Progress has been made on my Changed World cross stitch piece. I finished the trees and the border above them. Those little red flowers are a pain, because they are 4 green stitches and four red stitches. A lot of flipping back and forth to get the ends tucked in. I also did a few more inches of the side border flowers, I am running the thread between them, as it is a short distance and it doesn’t show through. I’m working on this exclusively for now, I really want to finish it before the end of the month. I have two pieces I want to do for Christmas gifts and I would like to finish the Newcastle Bouquet before the end of the year.
I got the chart and fabric I ordered for the punch needle “tangential craft”. I am not sure I will open it and start it yet. I do have the beginner one all set to start, it has a preprinted cloth and all the threads. I thought this little Teresa Kogut Tuxedo Halloween pattern was cute. But I will show restraint.
I did start the Spider and The Fly quilt pattern yesterday. I need a bunch of 1/4 triangle squares, some black and gray, some black and white. It should keep me busy for a while.
I was thinking of the title “The Future’s Uncertain”, but it seemed too ominous. I was thinking of the lyric from the Doors song “Roadhouse Blues” which is “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near”. How does it relate to quilting, well, in a loose way, I am not always sure how a pattern or idea is going to turn out. But, barring abandonment or disinterest (UFO status) the finish is always near-ish. To make this more convoluted, I was thinking of how I have been working on my Changed World cross stitch project, which is nearing completion. It is all I want to work on lately. It might be because of the impasse I have come to with the purple pineapple quilt. I have reached the top third of the CW piece, and I am almost done with the tree border. I haven’t stitched on the Newcastle Bouquet in a few weeks, but I can see it while I stitch everyday.
What I really want to start is a new quilt pattern from Bonnie Hunter called Spider and The Fly. I downloaded the pattern when it went on sale last week. I have a whole pile of left over scraps from the Halloween Figs sampler quilt, plus a jelly roll and some extra yardage I bought when it was on sale. I would like to get that quilt top quilted, I made it for me, it’s seasonal, and this Wednesday is the autumnal equinox. Summer is over, fall is in the future. I would like it to rain soon, it seems the weather has finally cooled down a bit here. The Halloween Sno-cone quilt is done, as is the Pretty-Ugly quilt. I started on the smaller hungry animals quilt, I had a piece of light aqua bumpy minky hanging around that I used for its backing. I have seven quilts that I want to get photographed and up on Etsy. Today might just be the day for that, the light outside is good at this time of the year.
Other projects I have been contemplating include a sewing room re-org. That’s a big one, I would like to regain some lost floor space and cull out some stuff I don’t need or won’t use. My stumbling block has been (lately) the purple pineapple fabrics that are spread out on my work table. I don’t want to put them away, because then I know I won’t take them out again. Better for me to have them out and ready to finish up. They are taking up a good amount of real estate on the worktable, which precludes any sorting of other things on top of them. I have decided that I will make four more of the smaller pineapple blocks and make a lap quilt out of them. Once this is done, I can see what is left over, and make a few more of the larger pineapple blocks.
With the cooler weather, I have been knitting a bit at night. I have been working on the Wild Bees shawl. I’m almost finished with the center square, about ten more rows to go. This shawl is a rectangle made of three squares. The Bee motifs are showing up nicely, and I really like the colors together.
I recently succumbed to a fabric sale at Fabric.com and got a kit and some yardage for a quilt called Cotton Couture. I like the colors and antique look of the sewing themed designs, and the price was good. I am hoping that it will combine with the Tim Holtz fabric collection I have in my stash, so I can use the scraps for a different quilt.
I was trying to think of a title for this post, and when the above popped up, I thought of the scene in Charlottes Web (by EB White) where the spider spins the words “Some Pig”in her web. All the farm folk are excited more about the pig than a cognizant spider, but sometimes that’s the way life is. My last post, 8/28, doesn’t seem that long ago to me, not 17 days ago. I think I am slowing down bit now that summer is winding down. I am feeling the shortened days and longer nights. The weather here hasn’t cooled down much, still 80 degrees during the day. I just want it to rain, a good rainy day, I want to smell petrichor.
I have been working on the purple pineapple quilt. I hit a bit of a snag, I made an alternate block, in this pattern there are five alternate blocks and four pineapple blocks. Although I would have to say that they are all pineapple blocks, they are two different kinds. Block A consists of four smaller pineapple blocks and it is 20 ½ inches square. Block B turned out to be an inch too big. I’m not really sure how I can make it smaller without it looking like I cut it wrong (which I did). I am trying to decide if I want to use all the A blocks in their own quilt, or alter them to make them fit with the larger b blocks. I could add some narrow sashing to them, which may look okay. I could also make four more blocks and make a decent sized throw out of it. Then I would have the single B block to do something with.
I have tested the long arm and it seems I have got it back together correctly. It is functioning well, although there is a squeak every once in a while. I quilted the coffee quilt (giant coffee beans)and the halloween Sno-cone quilt (pumpkins leaves and stars). Plus put bindings on the two snails trail quilts. I put the “pretty ugly” quilt on the frame, but haven’t started it yet.
I have been making headway on the Changed World cross stitch. I am nearing the end of the houses, and stitching the church. I have not worked on the Newcastle Bouquet in a while, since today is an even day, I should devote some time to it. But the little buildings on CW are so much fun. I recently bought a punch needle pattern called Tuxedo pumpkin from Teresa Kogut. I tried to take a beginning class on punch needle about 5 years ago. Something came up and I had to leave early, but I got the kit. Everything I need to complete it is in the bag. I would like to start it, but I know it will be another rabbit hole to travel down. Maybe a fork in the cross stitch rabbit hole, but still, I am willing myself to finish CW first(at least) and then do something new. Only so many hours in the day.
This morning I had a little time to stitch so I sat down to do so. My DH happened by and commented that I was “at it already”. I told him yes, that’s because I have been up since two thirty, so this is like mid day for me. He wasn’t impressed.
A lot has been happening since my last post. My two sons came to visit for a week, its the first time they have been home since 12/2019. They live on the east coast, Boston and NY, and see each other quite often. The dogs were excited to see them too, it was a grand reunion.
I started a new quilt, a pineapple block quilt. I bought it as a kit from Craftsy, a few years ago and figured it had sat long enough on the shelf. It is purple, pink and off-white, I think I have a picture of it. There are 16 regular pineapple blocks and 5 large ones, I think the blocks finish at 24 inches or so. After reading through the directions, I quickly came to the conclusion that there was an easier and more accurate way to make them.
The pattern has you cutting all kinds of strips and width and cutting squares in half. Makes for too much bias edge sewing and wonky blocks. Creative Grids Pineapple ruler to the rescue. All the strips are the same width and only vary be length when using the ruler. Also it is much easier to chainstitch the blocks after cutting all the pieces for the round. After stitching and then ironing the 16 blocks, I square them up with the CG ruler. My blocks are a bit smaller than those of the pattern, but I am sure I will have enough fabric, and my version will be square and true.
Since my sons were here, I took advantage of the “free” labor and moved the long arm yesterday. It took all day, with a few breaks in between, to partially disassemble the frame and move it into its new location, the former TV room/ den. I was able to reassemble the frame, but left the computer and automation stuff for today. I may get some new lighting, or maybe just brighter bulbs in the ceiling cans will do. There is a bit of furniture re-arranging left to do too. I am also contemplating whether or not to move the sewing room to the adjacent bedroom. I would be nice to be able to have everything within sight/hearing range. I would like to be able to sew and have the longarm working at the same time. In its former location I could do hand work while it was stitching, but all my cross stitch is in another room in my sewing corner. I just moved the sewing room last year too, it might be too soon, the thought of going through all my stuff again, no, not yet.
I have had a bit more progress on the Newcastle Bouquet and Changed World stitcheries. I was watching a floss tube yesterday and Craftie Emily was showing her progress on her many lovely projects. She was also talking about a challenge that she was doing, and keeping track of how many stitches per day she was sewing. I think she was aiming for 1000 a day, not much for a sewing machine, but a good chunk of little X’s. The brown box at the bottom of Changed World has about 4500 stitches in it (yikes) and I’m about 1/3 way done. Its pretty mindless stitching, especially since I have the border box done. I worked on the wording last night and filled in a little too. With the Newcastle Bouquet, I made a few more leaves and a white flower, I have been resisting the border for a few weeks now, but I am going to try a bit this coming week. I got the scroll frame holder for my Lowery frame a few days ago. This makes the Edmunds wooden frame go into retirement, as now I can stitch on both pieces with a simple switch. I would like to get a few pieces of moleskin to put on the metal holders, as they leave a bit of residue on the linen.
I have been watching a few Floss Tubes on the Needlework Expo (that starts today) new releases. I haven’t added anything to my queue yet, but I have seen lots of interesting prospects. Just not enough time in the day to do all the ones I have/want.
We are having a bit of an Air Quality Alert in our area, due to the wild fires and changing wind patterns. Our AQI this morning is around 165, unhealthy for prolonged exposure. Looks like it’ll be a stay in and sew weekend for me.
My two cross stitch projects are coming along, I have been alternating days on which I stitch them.
Changing World is at the point of the large black square with the wording. It is pretty mindless at times, 101 stitches across. I changed the DMC color from black (310) to a very dark brown (3371). It seems a little less harsh on the eye. I think it also makes the other black stitches stand out a bit more. Like the accents in the red flowers on either side and the zigzags.
The Newcastle Bouquet is also progressing, a got a few more inches of the brown border lines done, another flower petal and some leaves and stems. Since I got the Lowery stand, I am liking the Edmunds stand less. I do like stitching in the scroll frame though. The only thing left to do was to get the adapters for the Lowery stand that hold a scroll, hope they get here soon.
I saw a Lori Holt floss tube this morning, that was on Jo’s Country Junction. Lori was featuring three finishes, and one of them was a Blackbird design called The Bee’s Skep. Had to have it, after tracking it down, I finally found one in a store in MA. It is a small piece, and I didn’t get fabric or threads, so I am not planning on starting it soon. The booklet will go in the basket of cross stitch projects.
Recently I saw on Patchwork Times, a good floss organizing idea. Previously I had all my DMC and flosses in plastic bags inside an ArtBin case. It was okay, until I needed to find a certain number floss. Then I would have to look through all the bags and at each number, a bit of a trial, especially if I don’t know the shade or color to start. For lack of any other system it has been this way for a few years. Judy found that a different ArtBin case, one for photos, works quite well. I was able to get one onsite at my local craft store on sale and with a coupon for about $14.00. I like a deal, what can I say? When I brought the box home, my DH was helping me unload the car and I held the box up (by the handle) to show him and brag a little about the great deal. The handle twisted with the weight of the box and “dis-engaged” itself, the box and all 16 of its inner boxes fell to the concrete. Of course it landed on a corner and cracked it. I was sad, but, since I won’t be carting it around anywhere, a bit of duck tape held things together again. I was able to get all my floss in here, separated by number and there were a few spots left for special sparkle floss and Anchor brand. The over dyed flosses have the old art bin, as I don’t have a lot of those (yet).
Off to stitch a little, we have to stay indoors today, as the air quality is unhealthy, due to smoke from the fires north of here.
I started to name this post ‘Sidetracked’, but that’s a story of my life, and it’s long, or short, or just many chaptered.
I finished putting the Washboard Road quilt top together and stepped back to look at it. Something wasn’t right. As in it didn’t resemble the picture on the cover.
If you notice the pattern shows the colored strips meeting on the edges of the blocks, mine don’t. The pattern calls for making two different blocks, one the mirror image of the other. I started out with making A and B, blocks, there are 72 of each. Then for some reason I over-thought it and changed all the B’s into A’s. Not only did I mess up the pattern, but I had to rip and resew 72 blocks to do it. It was a little frustrating, I put the top on the sideboard for a few days. Then thought, well maybe if I rotated every other block it would work. Nope, I only had to unsew one corner to see that the only way to make it like the pattern, was to flip every other block to its backside. I actually thought about resewing them together like that, with the wrong sides up every other block. I’m so creative LOL. No, it wouldn’t work for me, and I didn’t want to unsew all the extra blocks and resew them correctly into B blocks. So I put the corner back on and will apply border and call it done. I achieved the ombre fade that I was looking for though, so not a total fail. I am thinking of calling it ‘teal lightening’ because that’s what it reminds me of.
I started a new quilt yesterday, it is from the Schnibbles book by Carrie Nelson, called Roundabout. I had two charm packs and a bit of yardage of coffee themed fabric. I got it on sale at Nancy’s Notions last year, and it was time to use it. This pattern is made for 5″ charms, and it has a partial seam involved but it goes together pretty quickly. There are 25 blocks in the one in the book, but since I had two packs, I decided to make 36 blocks. Got everything cut and the chisel parts sewn together yesterday. I made two blocks just to see how they turn out. I will make more today, I am trying to work out an assembly line process. Sewing each part 34 times, I won’t be able to chain stitch the first step, because of the partial seam, but after that it’ll be smooth sailing.
In cross stitch land, the X’s are happening. I have made a bit of progress on Changed world, a small amount on Newcastle Bouquet (a flower petal) and I have another new start. I started this free project from Aurifil, designed by Susan Ache called She Set her Sails. I want to make it into a little pillow as a gift, its done on 18 count Aida, and pretty simple. I’m using DMC, not Aurifil floss, because that’s what I have. I have it set up by the longarm, as a side project while the computer stitches. Speaking of that, I finished the quilting on the Catkin Panel quilt Sunday. I was thinking I would quilt it by the block, putting one of two designs on each block. I talked myself out of that, and went with an all over meandering paw print. The binding will go on that this weekend I think.
My neck is feeling better, about 75%, still can’t look to the right all the way. But I have been soldiering through, stitching on Newcastle and Changing World. I finished the black border on CW, somehow I was one stitch off. It was easy to fix, just added one more stitch to the chevron. I looked and looked to see where the error was, but everything lines up, and all my chevrons are the correct number of Xs. I have made a bit of progress on the border of NB, most of the lower border lines are stitched and part of the right side. I have been sticking to my alternate days of stitching each project, and I’m happy with it.
I took last night off from cross stitching and knitted a section of the Wild Bees shawl. This shawl has been next to the stitching chair for the past few weeks, but gathering dust not stitches. The next shawl installment from Curious Handmade comes out Monday, I don’t think I’ll be done with it by then. I still want to work on the Bees for now, I really like the pattern and can see the “bees” in the pattern. The pattern is four sided which, for me, seems to make it easier not to loose my place. The way the pattern is written out, line by line, is helping, as I can do one repeat per side and know its counted/stitched correctly. Crescent shawls I have trouble with when I get the end and have extra/not enough stitches. Marker help, but when its an increase row, the markers move and well, I get mixed up and mis-stitches happen.
In a whirl of cleaning I tackled a cabinet the other night. It is a cabinet in my former sewing room, when it was down stairs. I hadn’t needed anything out of it and I figured, after four years, anything that was in there wasn’t useful. I grabbed a trash bag and started emptying it. It was mostly cut off pieces of battings, I will make some franken- battings out of those. There was some dried up glue and painting supplies, and some Christmas ribbons. A whole pile of children’s drawings and school projects from twenty years ago, I tried not to get lost in that nostalgia, and left it there. It’s safe and will get filed another time, I have three pretty boxes that I save my kids stuff in. I may or may not present it to them someday, but those little pieces of life still “mean” a lot to me.
I also found this sampler that I stitched in the 1970’s, that makes it vintage. I remember stitching this so vividly, how I enjoyed its simple colors and motifs. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time, I was into needlework then, especially crewel and embroidery. I didn’t know about counted cross stitch until the mid 80’s. I was thinking of cleaning it, but then I started thinking about the threads and how they may run. I think I will frame it “as-is” and enjoy the natural antique-y ness of the linen.