Winter is Done

I finished stitching the “Silent Night” (I have been calling it Winter) cross stitch piece I started late last month. I am going to start “Heaven and Nature” a Teresa Kogut pattern. I am pretty sure I have all the flosses and linen together with the pattern. I feel like I should work a bit on The Pilgrim, as I really want to finish it soon. Perhaps I should alternate daily, but start-i-tis is is motivating me this day.

I made an apron this week. My mom was asking for one, and since her Bday is approaching, I thought I would fill that request. I ordered some pretty pinstriped canvas from Michigan last weekend, but it didn’t get here yet. I needed to go to the Spa and hot tub store to get a special filter last Monday, and wouldn’t you know, there was a Joann’s on the same street. I shopped a bit and found this cute coffee print canvas and got a few yards. There are hundreds of free apron patterns on-line, I choose this one, Two-Tone Light Weight Canvas Apron from Sew4Home. I made a few alterations, I didn’t use the decorative stitches, and used quilters weight cotton for the accent pieces and ties. I also reinforced the cotton with fusible interfacing. I want to make another different style one out of the pinstripe, using this pattern, Cross Back Apron from Purl Soho. I like that it is easy to put on and remove, I may even make one for myself out of some extra Essex Linen I have.

Another new start is a knitted Cardigan for my oldest son. I made him a dark green one a few years ago, and he asked me for a dark blue one. I am working on it during daylight hours, as it is hard to see the dark yarn stitches a night. Maybe I should eat more carrots… I am getting the rhythm of the pattern down, cables and honeycombs.

There was an interesting Essay/Opinion piece about knitting in the NYT today. “The Revolutionary Power of a Skein of Yarn” by Peggy Orenstein. She is also the author of “Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool and Making the World’s Ugliest Sweater.” I can’t link it here, as one has to subscribe to read it. I thought her comments were poignant, particularly this part.

Not long ago, Michelle Obama posted a black-and-white photo of herself on Instagram, cozy in an armchair, a nearby side table displaying an adorable baby pic of Malia and Sasha. She is barefoot, dressed in wide-legged jeans and a satin shirt, smiling widely as she looks down … at her knitting. “Every time I tell people how much I love to knit,” she writes in the caption, “They seem so surprised!”

And I thought, why?

I suspect it’s because knitters, unlike Mrs. Obama, are presumed to be aging ungracefully: prim, elderly (probably white) ladies rocking away on the porch in cultural irrelevance. Before I refute that — yarn lovers come in all ages, genders, sexualities and races — I want to ask, even if it were true, so what? The dismissal, the reflexive derision of women from midlife onward — especially if we stop chasing social media standards of beauty — is a nasty form of ageist sexism. ~ Peggy Orenstein

I worked a bit on more HST’s for the Poinsettia flower that is blooming on my design wall. I cut a bunch more, treated myself to a new blade in my cutter too. Why do I wait so long in between changing it out? I keep thinking that this would be easier to design on EQ8, maybe this weekend I’ll try, so many HSTs to rotate.

Be Kind.

Rain = Finishes

I feel very productive today, because it has been a productive week, so far.

I finished the Chilhowie mystery quilt top. WhooHoo! I ended up changing the sewing rectangles a bit. I added a strip of purple to the ends. This makes the four patches join together, and forms a secondary block. When I was laying the blocks out on the floor, I realized that there was too much white. I had used a bunch of white on white prints for the sashing and it was too stark. It made the main blocks look small and uninteresting, they were receding and making the quilt uninteresting. One would think that purple, orange, and turquoise would be in your face interesting – lol. All that piecing not to be seen? No, not for this quilt. I dug through the stash and found some prints on white and recut most of the sash rectangles and added the stripe. I like it much better now. I noticed that a few fellow mystery makers added triangles to the ends of their rectangles, to make a star around the four patch. I wish I had seen that before my version, but I like mine as well.

I worked on the Simple pleasures BOM, I started this in February 2021. I have all the blocks sewn and marked for embroidery and appliqué. This is the third finished of nine, lots of stitching to go.

My other BOM, the Message in a Bottle wall hanging, saw the light of day this week too. I thought I was on block/month three, but sadly, only two. I just got the sixth part a few days ago, got some catching up to do with this too.

With the rain falling, there is nothing I like better than to sit in my sewing chair with an audio book, a cup of hot tea and a project. I have been making lots of X’s on the Winter piece, and thinking about my next “start” for 2023 – “Heaven and Nature”. This photo makes it look very dark, but it’s not.

About half way through this month and I have reached my goals for it. To have the three quilt tops done seemed like a lot, but when there’s really nothing else to do when it’s raining, things get done.

Be Kind.

A couple of hundred HSTs

After finishing the flying geese border for the Forest Whimsy quilt, I felt like I needed to use up the rest of the red scraps. The Accuquilt die cuts the goose part out of a 3 3/4 inch rectangle, so the scraps can easily be cut down into 2 ½ inch triangles. I had a little over 200 red ones, I cut all the white ones with another die that cuts 12 hsts at a time. I thought about doing a hst sampler, or something, then remembered the SuperNova quilt tutorial that Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has. I laid out all the triangles and added an additional three rows to finish it off. Now it is an odd size, I’m thinking of adding some green hsts to it, because I think it looks a little like a poinsettia flower. I’m going to leave it up on the wall for a bit longer and think on it.

Yesterday I started cutting the sashing and inner border pieces for my Chilhowie quilt. I got the big pieces done, and today I am hoping that I will get to the aqua and flying geese section. I also need to lay it out to do the sashings, which will be on the floor in the guest room. I can close the door to this room, which is a plus when ones has large dogs about.

My “Winter” cross stitch is progressing, I am almost finished with the house. Probably should work the border a bit more.

We lost power early this morning, our generator is doing its job. The electric company is saying we may not get our power back until Thursday. This is due to them being stretched a bit thin during these relentless storms. I’m surprised that it had stayed on this long, as many trees have fallen, and the wind has been fierce at times.

Be Kind.

First Week of 52/23

The first week of 2023 went very well. I managed to keep damage to my home and property from the first major storm system to a minimum. Filling and placing sandbags is not a job I would like to do regularly. We lost a tree, thankfully it didn’t crush anything as it slowly uprooted and lay down next to my house. Mostly what I did was stay inside stitching and putting tops together, laundry and eating chocolate. I put the borders on The Reunion quilt top for a finish, you may remember that I had to give it a time out after wrestling with turned blocks and such. The borders were simple solid ones which after cutting and measuring went together with no issues. The next finish was the Ribbon Runs Through It BOM. This one required sashing and careful placement too, not to the extent of Reunion though. RRTit is set on point with half log cabin setting triangles, I started in the upper left hand corner and worked to the middle, longest row. Then started on the lower right hand corner and worked to the center. Then I put the two halves together, one thing I was thankful for was that the sashing pieces had one inch borders on them. These straight of grain strips definitely helped to keep the stretching on the bias in check. Otherwise this quilt top could have turned into a hot mess quickly. This top also had two plain borders, thank fully the instructions included a way to cut it to make the flowers stay in the same orientation for each side. This is something that I often notice after the fact when constructing other tops, by which time it is either too late to fix or there isn’t enough fabric.

Getting those two tops done was a good feeling. I started to look around and figure out what I wanted to do next. Then I looked at the Forest top, it just didn’t look finished to me. I think that after the two other finishes with their sashing and borders, changed the way I was looking at it. This top was too simple, and it was asking for some borders to keep those trees together. I thought about doing a simple white one and having a green binding, nah. Then I thought about all the red Christmas print batik strips I still had. I have been toying with the idea to make a red and white batik quilt with them. Red and white flying geese around the trees, yes, that could work. Even better I have an Accuquilt die to cut all of them to the correct size. I got a bunch of them put together yesterday, I think I need about 96.

The final reveal for the Chilhowie mystery quilt was reveled this morning. More sashing work, but thankfully the main block construction was last week. Also one of the early clues had us make all the pieces for the outer border, so no ducking out on that. I like the layout, but I think I want to be a bit more careful with the neutrals in the sashings, trying not to use any fabrics that will look too dense. Keeping them crisp looking, seems to work better for my vision of this quilt. The below photo is from her web site. She will keep the mystery up for a few more weeks, so if you want the pattern PDF, download it soon.

My cross stitch start from last week is progressing, I got the reindeer done last night. This is turning into a a fun project, maybe I’ll finish by the end of winter.

Today I am linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for “Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?” It’s been a while since I have linked to any linky parties, but I still click through lots of them. I may even make it a habit for 2023.

Be Kind.

2022 Wrap up

I’m going to start by looking at last years wrap up. This Post, is from January 1, 2022, it ends with this list.

List of UFO’s to finish in the next 365 days: 

  • Simple things 1930’s embroidery/appliqué 
  • Teal, black and white maze quilt
  • Love Entwined Quilt – appliqué 
  • 365 Batik block quilt 270 blocks to go
  • Dragon quilt finish quilting embellishing etc (oldest circa late 1900’s)
  • Holiday Snow Village 2021 BOM
  • Needing quilting/binding Berties year, Growing up odd, Misses Miller, Christmas Figs, Halloween Figs, Botanica Park, Washboard, Red and white quilt, Paper pieced ice quilt, Autumn leaves, Quick curve quilt.

Hmm, I did work on the first one, Simple things, the next five, um no, didn’t see the light of day. The last, the TBQ list, I got 7 quilted, Berties year is on the frame, but I still haven’t started it yet. I did get a lot done this past year. The book of finished quilts is down stairs, and I’m feeling a bit lazy, I’ll go get it in a bit. I don’t know if I have written about this note book, I started it late in 2018. It is a typical composition book, black and white cover, wide ruled, this kind of note book you may have had in elementary school. The one with the pages that don’t rip out easily. I write up all my long arming projects in it, which are really my finished quilts. I keep track of size, batting used, panto, thread, and backing used. As well as the technical stuff, like needle size, stitches per inch, tension adjustments, problems with the quilt and the date started. All very organized, I am a little proud of it too. Although, I don’t think it would help anyone else understand my process/work stream. I found I was struggling with organizing my long arm work, I would start a quilt and then it would sit a few days and I would forget what I had done, and it would take a while to remember, back tracking and rolling the quilt back and forth. Not a fun time, especially when I only had a few hours to quilt, I didn’t want to spend it “remembering”. My DH has been keeping a similar book for his beer making for many years, in fact I used one of his unused note books. There is also a document on my laptop called Quilt List, which has every quilt I have made on it. I need to up-date it too, I last added to it in November, I had just topped 300 lifetime quilts.

Three things I want to get finished this first month of 2023 are:

  1. BOM A Ribbon runs Through it
  2. BOM Reunion
  3. Chilhowie the 2022/3 Bonnie Hunter Mystery

My UFO list:

  • Simple Things
  • Holiday Snow Village 2021 BOM
  • Message in a bottle 2022 BOM – catch up
  • Three from 2021 list
  • Long arm UFOs Bertie, Ice Quilt, Growing up Odd and Washboard.
  • Botanica Park, I did add on to the backing and fix the errant HSTs, just need to finish quilting/binding.

Finished 2022 List:

Knitting:

  • 5 Hats
  • Half of a cotton shopping bag

Quilting

  • 35 Finished Quilts
  • Sold 26 Quilts
  • 2 Tops in the TBQ stack

Cross Stitch

  • 5 Finished/framed
  • 1 done stitching
  • Working on Pilgrim started 1/26/22, about 75% done

That about sums it up for the crafty pursuits of 2022. I am contemplating keeping a running inventory of fabric purchases for 2023. Do I really want to know that total? Maybe, but then ignorance can lead to bliss in my case.

Be Kind.

A Forest

There are thirty trees in this pile. I would like to get them into a top today, it will be a forest then. This pattern was well written and easy enough to do, but there is one sentence that I don’t really agree with “Pull out your favorite holiday jelly roll to make this cute quilt in no time”. Even with using the accuquilt cutter, stacking 4 layers to cut, chain piecing, and pedal to the metal sewing, it took a looong time. This quilt was also a sew a long at the shop I bought the pattern at, they must have only sewn a few blocks together as a group and finished (hopefully) at home.

I spent a few hours getting part four of the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt “Chilhowie” done. I used the accuquilt cutter for the128 HSTs too. I had to cut the QSTs with a ruler, but there were only 64 of them. Next clue is tomorrow, I have a feeling some rectangles will be involved as it has been all squares up to now.

I spent a few evenings working on the Pilgrim, the crow is 2/3rds done. I pulled the threads for the Winter pattern, I had seven of the nine colors in stock/stash, that’s good. I think I can wait on getting them until mid January, when the stores calm down again. I am not going to go shop for two skeins of dmc and wait in line for longer than it takes to get to the store. Although, my local Michaels has self check out registers now. They’re very easy to use, and I can use the app on my phone to get coupons and discounts. I am hoping that my shopping trip to the local market yesterday was my last for the week. I may go to the local farmers market today though. There is a bakery there that has much deliciousness, I think I can gain a pound just walking by their stand.

I did get the tree decorated and the few presents wrapped up. I decided not to wrap up a few that are for me, from my family. The mailing packages are okay, the ones from LL Bean look festive with their green bags. It’s not that I don’t like wrapping, its just that I don’t have much paper left, and it seems like a waste to me.

Be Kind.

Turkey Bay

I almost wrote Turkey Day. I stayed up late last night to finish this. Truthfully though, I had taken a nap earlier in the day because I had been awake since 4:30am, I wasn’t tired enough to go to sleep for the night. I checked back, and I started this about a month ago, I thought I would have it done by Thanksgiving. All those little flowers take time, switching threads, starting/ending threads, ripping out mistakes etc. I want to start the newest chart I have, Silent Night, by Stitches Through the Years. It is all set to sew using my eReader, however, I don’t have any of the flosses pulled. There are nine colors, what are the chances I have any of them? I do have the linen though, that nice piece of blue 36 count I bought for TB, but didn’t use. I am thinking that this will be my Winter Solstice start, I will be working on The Pilgrim as well, really.

I haven’t started quilting Berties Year yet, but I think I have found a good design to use in the plain brown flannel (the whole quilt is flannel) borders. I started by looking at the sites I buy designs from, and when I find one I like, I try to add it to my cart. If the site tells me I already own it, I then go and find the file on my computer. This “system” isn’t the greatest, lol, but until I do the big re-org of my digital pantos, it works.

I am thinking that I can incorporate this fan motif into the rest of the quilt. It will look simple enough, and add a bit of texture to the flannel, but still be noticeable. Other than that, it’s as far as I have gotten on Bertie. I am working on a plan for it, before I start, this is mature of me, no?

My Christmas tree still isn’t decorated, I did bring in the ornament boxes. I made three batches of cookies earlier this week. Like you do for two people, one of whom doesn’t really eat cookies, at the holidays. In my defense, I was supposed to go to a friends house and make them as a holiday activity. I made a batch of sugar cookie dough to chill the night before. That way we can start right in with he baking and decorating while mixing up other batches. We were thinking of gingerbread, a short bread and maybe a chocolate type. Unfortunately my friend wasn’t feeling well the day of, so we will get together after the holidays. I’ll have finished eating these cookies by then anyway.

The Wooded Whimsy quilt is coming along, I finished all the parts for the blocks. Now to sew them into mostly random looking mixes. I think I have enough variety that there won’t be two of the same fabrics touching, there may be a few similar trees, since there are thirty of them. I also want to do the fourth clue for the Chilhowie Mystery, it calls for another 16 sets of matching half square triangles. I hope I have enough orange colored fabrics to keep it interesting. The introduction to the pattern says 2 yards of orange, hopefully this is the last clue to use orange, it seems like it. Needs more purple!

It is all in here.

Waiting.

Also this weekend, I would like to attempt finishing the Reunion BOM quilt. I think my brain has had enough of a rest from the struggle of getting the top together correctly. That will make a clear spot in the sewing room. The deadline I am self imposing for the completion of this top is 12/31/22. There, it is in writing, now to make it so. But what about the other BOM, A Ribbon Runs Through it? Ohh..sigh, maybe next year.

Be Kind.

December Doing

December is turning into a very productive month in the sewing and crafting category, not so much in the house cleaning and gardening ones. We have had lots of rainy days, better than snow, but good times to stay in and sew/knit/craft. I finished all my gift sending last week, which also meant gift creating too. I made five people hats, one dog hat, and framed a cross stitch piece. I didn’t get to the embroidery machine projects that I had intended to, but those were just gift card holders and soft ornaments. There is still time to do those, as they are “local” gifts. I also want to make two small zipper purses, but again these are for local gifts, I have a few more days to do those. On the house cleaning, meh. It is hard to get enthused about floor cleaning when the dogs track in mud and leaves every time they go outside. Oh, my tree still doesn’t have ornamentation, it’s a good thing it is pre-lit, otherwise it would be a sad tree. I like decorating it, I just don’t like taking it all down afterwards.

The quilted baby milestone mat I made for a friends baby shower was a big hit. Everyone OO-ed and Ah-ed, and thought I spent hours on it. Probably only three, but I still can’t seem to take credit for my work in a public setting. I really have to remember that not everyone does what I do, and it is a specialty. Yeah, its easy to slap two pieces of fabric together, quilt it and bind it, but not everyone has that ability. Or maybe I just feel they haven’t found it within themselves yet. I’m a crafter, it is what I do.

I have been keeping up with the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt “Chilhowie”. I finished clue three on Friday afternoon, when I saw that she had posted an addendum to the clue. There needed to be 16 sets of 8, not 4, back to the cutting board. Luckily, I had cut a few extra strips and it wasn’t long until I was speed chaining them through the machine and pressing them into 128 quarter triangle squares. I am keeping them in plastic bags this year after dropping my soda flat box that I usually use, behind a stack of bins.

I am also making headway on the batik Christmas tree quilt, Wooded Whimsy. There are a lot of pieces to this one too. Thirty blocks with about 40 pieces in each. Thankfully, I completed the stars last month, each one of them had 19 pieces. I decided to keep all my trees green, I think that the red was too distracting, if I had a few red and green prints to break it up, like the pattern shows, it would’ve worked. I am thinking of adding some red and white pin wheels to this quilt, or maybe just using the red and white for another quilt all together. I have the Morning Star accuquilt Block on Board die, which could make cutting it out easier. I did utilize my 2 ½ inch wide strip cutting die for the trees, easier to cut those too.

The only (lol) project I didn’t touch is the quilt, Berties Year, which is on the frame. I did get it batted and basted down, it is ready to go. Maybe later today. I also have batch of sugar cookie dough chilling in the fridge. I was supposed to have a cookie making day with a friend, but she had to cancel. Okay, todays agenda will include a Christmas tree decorating hour, a long arm visitation, some block piecing and a ride on my horse, as the rain seems to be on hold for the next few days.

Be Kind.

Rainy Monday

This morning started with me awakening to a noise, it took me a bit to realize it was rain. I turned over and went back to sleep for a bit more. It’s been rainy off and on since Thursday, not much going on outside the house, even the dogs want to stay in. This weekend was productive in the sewing and knitting department, not so much in the house cleaning or decorating ones, and that’s okay! I got the hats done, the first three only took a few hours each, but the last one, mmm, days of K1 and P1 -ing. It turned out pretty cute though, the recipient will like it 🙂

On the frame, I finished the quilting on the Irish Chain bears. I decided not to block them out from the all over quilting pattern of sleeping bears. It is a process using the quilting software, that I haven’t really perfected yet. Since the minky backing isn’t really forgiving to removing stitches errantly placed, I made the designers decision not to. When it was quilting, I looked back on the first version I had made of this, and I noticed that the bears had black thread eyes, this ones had brown. A bit of outline stitch made them a little more noticeable. All bound up and ready to go out in the mail today. I had originally wanted to use a thick poly batting for this quilt, but decided against it, as the minky was stretchy, and I thought the tension would be a nightmare to figure out. I had steamed it and it was nice and flat, ready for something else. Then I thought of the two Baby Months milestone panels I had gotten earlier this year. I loaded up a backing that was 60 x 108 and stitched out two panels in a few hours. The machine had no problems going through the thick batting and since it is a mat to be used for photos, I think the cushion will be nice. The floral one has regular Hobbs 80/20. I still have to bind these, coincidentally I have been invited to a baby shower next week, so one of these will be given away. Next up on the frame, I should have put the “You are Loved” top on, but, I have been itching to do some free hand and ruler work. The Berties Year quilt top has been finished for a few years, and there was even backing for it. I lost a bit of momentum and still need to cut a batting for it, maybe today.

I made a few more flowers for the Turkey bay cross stitch, I was stitching in the day time, which is a bit different for me, as I usually stitch at night. I bought a few new charts, because they were on sale, not because I needed them or anything practical. Although, this one, “Silent Night” from Needle Case Goodies will work nicely on the beautiful blue piece of linen I had bought for Turkey Bay and didn’t use.

The other two I got are a booklet and a Halloween pamphlet, both have next year projects in them, back of the queue.

My tree is up, but not decorated, it has lights on it though, so it’s festive. I have also put up a few Christmas quilts, the Snowmen are in the stairwell this year, as I have the Baltimore Christmas on the new wall in my room. Maybe I’ll get some more holiday decor out today. My poinsettias from last year are starting to get their red bracts, they seem to like this east facing window.

Be Kind.

Hats and Iris

I have been knitting again. I decided that this year, the immediate family is getting a hat and cash for Christmas. This is the first year “we” will be just me and DH. I think I’m okay with it, as we had a bunch of people for Thanksgiving, and I am looking forward to a mellow and un-taxing December. However, I kinda forgot about gift giving for the month of November. I have a goal to get all the hats out the door by 12/10. For the niblings (nieces and nephews) I usually do candy and cash, so that will have to be done soon too. I’d rather knit than shop, even online shopping is a chore lately.

The Iris in the title is for Chilhowie, I started this years Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt. She was inspired by the colors of Iris and her local in Virginia. Iris are my favorite flower, I have many different colors and varieties in my gardens, but I especially like the repeat blooming ones. This blue one has three more flower stems going, hoping for flowers by the Solstice. Ah, the beauty of living in a zone 9 planting area. I am busily making nine patches and four patches. The colors this year are orange, purple, and aqua, with neutral white.

Since we had company last week, I didn’t start on time, but I am hoping to be finished with these before Fridays #2 clue release. I am using mostly stash, although I did order some more aqua and orange fabric during the (month long) Black Friday sales. Three of the last BH quilts I made, Grand illusion, Ringo Lake and Frolic, made a big dent in the aqua drawer of scraps. Likewise, Grassy Creek, Appalachian Autumn, and Spider and the Fly, used up most of the oranges. Purples and whites I am good on though.

I did manage a little bit of stitching on Turkey Bay, There is most of a pilgrim and the boat/barge is done. Two years ago, I got to visit the actual Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. My DH was disenchanted by the experience, as it is a rock that someone marked 120 years or so after the landing of the Mayflower. Also it was moved to shore, and had a portico erected over it, people used to chip off pieces for souvenirs too. Who knows if it is the actual rock or not?

Be Kind.