Stitches and Rain

We’ve had rain Friday and Sunday, today is windy and cold and the rest of the week is rainy. Translating to days of sewing and getting things done.

My first finish was this floral cross stitch. It was a UFO from 1995, and I started it again in July last year, to finish it in the beginning of December. Lots of little X’s, which led to another UFO the Cat head (Bright eyes) from 1995 also. I finished it this past week too. The whiskers were a bit of a pain, but they add a lot to the piece. Also, Mary Hickmont designs are nice in that there are no half stitches and usually no outlining. I still have to give this a soak and press, but the Cat is out of the hoop. I found the wooden round frame on Etsy at ACMS Frame Shop . It arrived unfinished, I dug up some black milk paint and put one coat on. The stitchery looked very flat in the frame, so I grabbed a few batting scraps and cut them into circles. I covered them with a piece of muslin and then lay the cross stitch on top. The frame wasn’t holding the fabrics tight enough to the backing on its own, using some rusty upholstery skills, I stitched across the back to pull the fabric around the backing circle. The circle is 14 inches in diameter, a lot of strong thread was used to make it come out evenly. I’m pleased with the results, although I probably could have gone with a 12 inch circle frame, done is done. I was happy to start the Pet All the Dogs sampler, now that those UFOs were done. As I got everything out to start I realized I didn’t have the two skeins of DMC called for. I had ordered the Weeks floss, but I guess I thought I could grab the DMC at the local Joann’s or Michaels. I searched through the bin of floss I have, but no luck. I ended up ordering them from Amazon prime, with my luck and the shortage of stitching supplies, neither store would have it when I got there to shop. It should get here Wednesday, and I can start my project that I’ve been putting off since last summer.

On the quilt side of the studio, I put a binding on the Hungry Animal quilt, extra credit for doing a bias binding – the gingham print looks so cute. I got the quilting on the Jungle Postcard quilt done too. I am thinking a brown binding should hold it all together, or maybe purple. I pieced the table runner that I had promised my DS for his new apartment. The pattern was for paper piecing, but I cut the pieces to size and chain pieced the 12 sub-units for each of the four blocks (only two are shown, it’s folded in half). The thought of ripping paper off the blocks wasn’t that appealing after all the string pieced blocks I did for Grassy Creek.

I started on a Tee shirt quilt for a friend, cutting up the shirts for the logos and such. That will keep me busy this week, but I really want to think up a design for the Mia Charro Forest Friends fabrics I collected earlier this year. They are so cheerful, just what I need to get through a rainy week.

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960 pieces

I got it done Monday. My alternate border for the Bonnie Hunter Grassy Creek mystery quilt that is. Nine hundred and sixty pieces, I was thinking about it and I probably ended up making more work for myself than if I had stayed with the string blocks of the pattern. 960 is only about a yard and an half of fabric, so not much of a dent in the scrap pile from this border. Oh well, I like it though.

I have a couple of other finished projects to post about too. The hydrangea quilt is quilted and bound, the circle table top cover is cut and bound, the Hungry Animal quilt is quilted and the Jungle Postcard is on the frame.

The circular quilt is made with a digital Hoffman print, it starts as a big square. After I quilted it, the person for whom I am making it, asked for me to cut it to fit a 45″ table top. I serged the edges and machine washed/dried it, I thought if I did the cutting and binding first and then washed it, that 8 to 10 % shrinkage would be noticeable once it was on the table. To cut it, I put it on the carpet floor and stuck a sturdy pin through the center. Then I positioned my tape measure at the 22 ½ mark aligned with the pin, using a disappearing marker made a small mark. I did this every 3 or four inches around the circumference of the circle. Then I remeasured across the diameter making sure the marks were 45 inches apart. Took a deep breath and slowly cut from mark to mark curving around the circle. Phew. I am trying to remember if I have made any other circular quilts, a Christmas tree skirt, but that was a pre-printed panel. There was the Weeks-Ringle quilt that had large circular appliqués on it, but that pattern came with templates. Of course the binding had to be cut on the bias, so that was more “fun” than my regular binding. I had enough backing left over to cut long bias strips. I cut my (with the grain) double fold bindings 2 1/4 inches wide, fold/iron them in half widthwise and sew them to the back of the quilt. Then pull the binding to the front, and machine stitch it down with a straight stitch about 1/8 inch from the folded edge. I think the bias binding, with its stretching, turned out a bit narrower, as when I flipped the top to sew it to the front it was too narrow to cover the stitches holding it on to the back. There was no way I was going to hand sew 140 inches around the circumference of it. I had an idea, when I pulled the binding over it created a small corded edge from the batting and fabric in there. I do have a cording foot, so I replaced the 1/4 inch foot, and moved the needle position over to catch the edge of the binding. It worked out nicely, as long as I went fairly slowly, there were no skipped or missed stitches and it is a nice neat edge ( first picture above).

So Close to Done

I am almost done with the Cat stitchery. I may finish it today, I really want to be done with it and all those single stitches. I like the resulting shading and definition it gives, but what a pita. Looking forward to starting “Pet All the Dogs” by Teresa Kogut. simple one color sections where the hand dyed floss does all the work.

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On The Border

This week I worked to put Grassy Creek together. It took about four sessions of sewing to get all the blocks and sashings together. There was a little fudging and smudging, to get the sashing string blocks to fit. In hind sight I should have squared those pieces up before using them. Some of them were ½ inch too long, which was easy enough to fix with the addition of an extra wide seam. This quilt has a lot going on. I decided not to do string borders, but 1 ½ inch mixed squares. As I was putting away the left over fabrics from the top, I cut a 2 inch wide strip from each. I probably need more neutrals, but it’s a start. I have a piece of left over backing fabric that is the perfect green for the inner border too. Also I “found” the perfect backing at Joann’s yesterday. They had a sale with a 20% off coupon, 3 yards of 108 ” wide fabric for $28.00. I did curbside pick-up for the win.

I’m down to the last row of the Hydrangea quilt. I should finish it today, and bind it this weekend. I want to get a few more baby/crib quilts done to post on Etsy. The quilt that has been getting the most hits lately, is a simple blue and white double Irish Chain baby quilt. Etsy has a way that vendors can send coupons to people who have/leave an item in their carts, to spur them into buying it. Sometimes I wonder if people leave it in their carts intentionally to get such a discount. I don’t give any additional discounts, as I feel my prices are low enough, and I offer free shipping. It is a good thing that I don’t have to support myself on the Etsy income. I’m lucky that it pays for itself.

I have the Halloween figs month 8 to do, and I am getting so close to finishing the Cat, the Holiday Snow Village block kit should be here next week too. I need to get the appliqué done on the first block though. The weather has been so nice the past few days, I planted some Pansy plants in my fence planters, no flowers yet though.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict AND Denise at Put Your Foot Down for their Linky parties today.

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January 11

One, One, One, Twenty, Twenty-One. Its a Monday, my DH says every day has been like a Monday, Ground Hog day (the movie) like. I like Mondays, it is my “free” day. It used to be because the kids would go back to school, DH went to work, and the barn was closed. Nothing to do but sew, maybe some house work, but stuff I wanted to do uninterrupted. Now some of the kids are across the country doing their thing, DH is working from home, and the barn is closed (as usual). Not much has changed, I don’t have to chauffeur to and from schools though, so that gives me a few more hours in the day. I guess a bit of the parenting/care giving has lessened and DH finally figured out that I am not going to make him three meals a day. So yeah, it’s my favorite day of the week.

I’ve been diligently working on the Grassy Creek mystery quilt. It isn’t a mystery anymore, the reveal was last Friday. I kinda like it, but something about the gray predominance bugs me. I think there is not enough balance, there should be more green/red/gold/orange. The little pieces of color get swallowed up by the gray. This is my opinion though, I think the design and setting of the blocks is visually pleasing, I like the geometry of it. I think I may change the outer border, change the strings to 1″ finished squares of all the colors. I’ll finish it though and it’ll look nice on the guest room bed.

I do have a finish this week, I finally got the neck line done on the Neive sweater I have been working (or not) on all this year. I got the yarn, a silk cotton blend, last year at the Stitches West knitting show, along with the pattern. Its a Coco knits pattern, she has some very versatile sweater/wrap patterns that I like. Sweaters that are usually made in one piece, or out of a “different” fiber (not wool). I have made a few for gifts, but this is the first one I made for me. I haven’t tried it on yet, but it looks pretty good on the floor ;). No stitches show this year, I will have to start a project I bought last year. There is a Debra Gerhard sweater pattern I got called “When Twilight Falls”. It is made with a variegated yarn and a solid, I think I bought the same ones pictured in the sample. I’ll have to find it, after I finish the hat, oh, and start working on the wedding shawl again.

I made a little progress on the scratchy hat, the puppy stole the project and ran around the house with it. The cake of yarn was a jumbled mess as you can imagine. It took me about an hour to un-knot/nest it, luckily for the puppy, the knitting was untouched. He’s at the tween stage of his life, everything is a game of keep away, and he is not to be trusted out of sight. There was counter surfing this weekend too.

I feel like I’m in the home stretch of the Cat Head project. I am on the second page, the neck is a bit easier with longer runs of X’s and small blocks of color. The Face was making me crazy with all the confetti stitches. I am really looking forward to starting the Pet All the Dogs sampler. Letting the variegated floss do all the shading work, will be a welcome change.

I didn’t get much quilting done, I stitched another row of Hydrangeas and was starting the third row, when I turned my back on the machine. The cup foot got stuck under the edge and stitched in place for a bit and then the tension of the working robotics popped the clamp that holds the machine to the cable. I looked over at it and stopped it, ugh, it took about twenty minutes to remove the stitches. I just shut everything down at that point, and left it. There may be a small hole, but it’s on the edge of the border, so fixable. Maybe I’ll look at it later today.

Linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for design Wall Monday today.

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Starting off

First Monday in 2021. I had a productive weekend, I don’t know if it was because the weather was rainy and cold, or I was actually inspired to sew and finish stuff. Not that I haven’t been sewing stuff lately, maybe because I had a few things that could be finished. I made the string blocks for the Grassy Creek clue. I made a foray into deep stash and found lots of grays, too bad my neutral stash isn’t that deep anymore. I am starting to think that this quilt will be mostly grays with pops of the other colors. Looking back at the yardage requirements, 5 Yards of grays, yeah, I think I should have read that more closely. But, I have more gray than I thought and the only gray based quilts I have made are Gravity and the Meeting of the Geese. I have to adjust my mental picture of this quilt.

I got the Thicket 3 quilt quilted and bound. I think it took longer to get it on the frame and the digital design set up than it took to actually quilt it. The design is called modern rounded diamonds, it probably could be a little more dense, but I wanted the quilt to be drape-y and soft. The Santa hat quilt is also bound and waiting for a photo shoot. I want to stage it in front of the tree, and if I’m feeling especially, um photographically inspired, I’ll dig out the other Christmas quilts and refresh their listings too.

Other starts this weekend were a hat and a puzzle. I gifted myself two puzzles this year, a 2000 piece Thomas Kinkade one called ‘Santa’s – something’ and the ‘Festival of Quilts’ one with 7 Bonnie Hunter quilts featured. The Santa puzzle is really difficult, Kinkade may say he’s a painter of light, but I think this means he actually makes everything else in his paintings dark. I have to work on this with two overhead lights and natural sunlight. I got the border done, and I am working on the cottage and center. I think I may have to sort the rest of the pieces by color, especially the sky and snow areas. The hat yarn and pattern was an impulse purchase from Bare Naked Wools. I am on their mailing list, and the do have nice patterns, mostly to show off their yarns, which are solids of natural colors with some dyed reds, greens, and blues. The yarn is called Stone Soup, I think because it contains a bunch of different fibers:

DESCRIPTION

Stone Soup DK Stone soup is a unique blend of rambouillet, columbia, lincoln, navajo-churro, alpaca, silk, bamboo, tencel, bison, and llama, which offers exotic color, tweedy texture, and crisp stitch definition. This fiber blend is 95% produced and entirely spun in America. 

Sounds good, right? And it is really soft and bouncy and a pretty oatmeal color. My issue is the plethora of tiny sticks, seed hulls and grassy bits in it. It makes it almost itchy, I definitely would not want cowl or close to the body sweater out of it. When I fist started the hat, I was picking the bits out, but they just keep popping up. I’m going to finish the hat, wash it and see how it goes from there. I wanted to gift it to a friend at the end of the month, but who would want to wear a hat that was so scratchy?

I made a little progress on the Cat cross stitch, I am trying to catch all the missing stitches, the random one stitches. They take a while to stitch, threading, anchoring, stitching, anchoring and clipping. But I confess to changing a few, to similar colors, as they were close enough to jump too. Looking forward to finishing this. I had to buy some interfacing at Joanns yesterday, so I perused the stitchery category and found a clip on magnifier for the hoop. I would eventually like to get one that clips on to the Ott light I have, but I haven’t seen any that would work. I could get a new Ott light, but mine is still working well after 20 years, I ordered a new bulb for it too.

My job(s) for today are to get another row quilted on the Hydrangea quilt and get the top pieced for the Jungle fabric quilt. First I have to go to the dentist for a consultation, my first time out and about since last year.

One last thing, I am making a mental effort not to make lists of UFOs, fabric and yarn purchases, stash busting or yarn use for this coming year. I think I’m going to do something easier like “loose weight” for a New Year resolution 😏

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Controlled scrappy

I bought this jungle animal print early last year thinking would be a good feature fabric for a baby quilt. I started to pull solid scraps that matched it from my solid stash. Then I remembered a quilt idea had seen recently at See Kim Sew , she calls it a Low Volume Baby Quilt. Its pretty, with grays and a splash of color that coordinates with the print on the backing. I thought about replicating it, but then I remembered my gray stash fabrics are in a holding pattern for Grassy Creek. I decided to just do a “Postcards from Sweden” front – assorted bright HSTs and the print on the backing. I used the accuquilt to cut all the triangles, I needed about 300, and chain pieced them together. Now they are covering the design wall, waiting for shuffling and balancing.

I got the Holiday Square BOM block done. It was a little fiddly, I really had to pay attention to the wood graining on the fabric. I don’t like the way the embellishments that came with the block look. They are inkjet printed, and just look flat, a bit blurry. I’m also not a big fan of raw edge appliqué with wonder-under. It reminds me of the raw edge that we used to do in the 80’s, when it was held on to the background with puffy paint (shudder). I am going to add my own embellishments with embroidery and turned edge appliqué. I also have a whole bunch of snow flake buttons that I bought for a different quilt project and didn’t use. I did finish the Halloween figs block the other night too.

I recently watched a few Floss Tube videos about total coverage Cross stitching. I am fascinated by this technique of working on the diagonal and “parking” the threads while using a different color. I have spent some time looking at Heaven and Earth Designs a lot of time, dreaming about making one of their designs. But in real life, I doubt I would finish one of their beautiful masterpieces. I have to finish the Cat first, and then the Teresa Kogut sampler is next. The ‘Pet all the Dogs’ sampler that started the resurgence of the cross stitching around here.

The 6th Clue for Grassy Creek was released today, lots of gray and neutrals, sigh. I am caught up with the clues though, so maybe these will be the last of the gray. We finished using the gold, and a lot of green and red, we shall see. I’m thinking one or two more clues, maybe some more sub-blocks. I need to dig through the stash to find some more variety for the string blocks.

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More finishing

The borders are done on the Farm Charm #1 quilt top. The fabric was delivered on Saturday, and sewn on Sunday. I also completed clue 4 of the Grassy Creek Mystery quilt. I am having some trouble with the gray and neutral combo. It is dull, and this time of the year I am craving color, warm colors, bright colors. Maybe that’s why it seems like more work. I finished the hungry animal alphabet quilt today, it is bright and cheerful. I think I have a tossed alphabet letters pantograph that would work to quilt it with.

This week I also want to get the Holiday Snow village BOM done. The new/next one will be here in two weeks, so I want to get moving on that one. I did get a bit more appliqué done on the Halloween Figs quilt block. As I get more of the cross stitch done on Bright eyes, I take a break and appliqué another petal – only seven more to go. The cat head pattern is pretty intense at times, it is hard to get any bit of rhythm going. Too much start, stop, change color, loose place, find place and make a stitch. I am working with a post it note and multiple markers, but still get lost. I have even tried leaving needles threaded and picking the threads up as I go, but some of the stitches are too far apart, or the threads get tangled (annoying). I have loosened my personal “neat backside stitching rules” a bit for this project. I will take up to a 1/4 inch jump stitch, if it’ll save me from tying off and re-starting a thread. I am making progress though.

Yesterday I buckled down and made the little nine patches for clue 5 of Grassy Creek. I ended up cutting too many strips, but I did get a lot of variety, wouldn’t you know it though, one set of matching pieces. I still have to make the flying geese and the red pieces, but its only Wednesday, so there is time.

I was reading a few blogs today and started following a blog hop about New Years Stitching Resolutions. Carla at Creatin’ in the Sticks got it together. Lots of good intentions and ideas for the new year to be read about. Me, I think I am going to keep on keeping on. I may come up with a “word” for 2021, but long term goals aren’t my thing, I am more of a day by day minded person.

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Borders

Yesterday was border day. I finished the final borders on the BOM Botanica. They were relatively easy, because I had made the pieced blocks in the corners at the beginning of the BOM. In fact I had forgotten about them, and when the pattern read “use the blocks made in month 3” I admit I had a small panic attack. But they were there, in the bin of all the things Botanica. I have a small pile of scraps left from this top, they will join the scraps that live in the 365 block project bin (2017 UFO).

I got the borders on the Savannah quilt, simple enough at 6 inch wide. I like how it frames the quilt top, keeping it soft looking. The Zebra print binding will look cute too.

Next up was Farm Charm top #1. I had four of the animal prints left from the panel, and I wanted to use them in the border. They were two horizontal and two vertical prints, 5 x 7 -ish in size. I used a scrap of paper (old school) to figure out how to use them and with a few rechecks, a bit of pinning and partial seeming, I got it to work. The Farm Charm #2 top has to wait until Monday for its borders, as the fabric isn’t here yet. I am planning on a red inner border and the same print as #1 for the outer border. That top needed something to separate the whiteness of the blocks and the white background of the border. I am hoping I have enough to use for a binding too.

Also, I got the December Halloween figs BOMs done. I still have to finish the appliqué one from November, but lately my hand stitching is cross stitching. I have been making headway on the Cat Head. The real name of the pattern is “bright eyes”, but Cat Head is more descriptive for now.

Today is Christmas Eve. I have all my gifts made, wrapped, given/sent/received. I didn’t send any cards this year. Kinda lost faith in the PO to deliver, and got a bit lazy, finally rationalized that I was helping the PO by not giving them any more stuff to deliver this month. I am seeing year end tallies on blogs I read and I’m starting to do an inventory of my own. I updated my master Quilt list and I am up to 265 lifetime quilts, give or take a few. I learned how to quilt in 1984, hand sewing, using cardboard templates, I made a pillow out of my patchwork. In 1991 I took my first modern quilting class and made an Irish chain baby quilt using a rotary cutter and ruler. I know my mom still has the quilt, not sure what happened to the pillow though.

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And now…

For something completely different. Yesterday I made a pajama shirt with the L890. It was fun and easy. I used the serger to seam the seams, and then switched the threads and needles to hem it with the coverstitch. No swear words were uttered, really. This was a pretty simple pattern, raglan sleeves and a V neck collar. I’m not too happy with the design of the collar, it probably would have looked better with a ribbing. I may even make the pants to match later this week.

I also hemmed not one, but two pairs of jeans for myself. On my 790, as the denim was thick, and it needed a simple straight stitch. I found I was out of the golden jeans stitch thread, and my blues were too bright, black was to dark. Then I saw a bobbin that was just right, except that it was embroidery thread. I went with it, after all it was 100% polyester and a 40 weight. I think it’ll be fine. I have another pair of pants that I hemmed using rayon embroidery thread a few years ago, and that thread is holding up well. I’m happy I have two new pairs of jeans to wear too. I am blessed with a 28″ inseam, so every pair of pants I buy needs shortening by an inch or two.

I finished the center of the Savannah quilt top last Friday. I ordered a yard of the aqua colored print for an outer border and a ½ yard of the Zebra stripe for the binding. Who knows when that will get here. The mail is running so slowly. I sent my mom a package on November 30th, “knowing” it would definitely get there in time for Christmas. According to the tracking, it should be delivered tomorrow, the 22nd. Sigh. This quilt used up the entire charm pack, and a bit of the Thicket quilt scraps. I still have a half panel of the animal print left, so it didn’t make much of a dent in the stash. This week I want to finish the Botanica quilt top, as the fabric for that quilt is in the house. Also, have to finish the appliqué blocks from last months Halloween figs BOM. Oh, and the Holiday snow village BOM block. And clue four of the Grassy Creek mystery, which I haven’t even pulled fabric for. I still want to make a batch of biscotti for Christmas too. Busy week ahead.

oops, sorry upside down.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday today. She has a pretty needlepoint angel tree topper to share.

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More Panels

I started cutting out the squares from this panel, The Hungry Animal Alphabet sampler, to make a throw quilt. I saw the free pattern on Just Let Me Quilt, back in November and I really liked the character of the animals pictured, so I bought a panel. Then some yardage fell into my cart from this Riley Blake line, and the rest is history.

The panel squares are all the same size, the pattern calls for cutting them to 7 ½ inches square, but I want to use as much of them as possible, so I cut them to 8 inches square. Look how cute the S block is, Sheep, suitcases, sunflowers, snow, saddle shoes etc.

I got all the green sashing cut, but I am waiting on the yellow for the corner stones. It should be here next week. I put everything in a bag and pulled out the panel of Savannah animals, the charm pack that goes with it and the pattern I thought I was going to use. Well, the pattern seems to go with a different panel from this line, as the main animal blocks are not the same size as those in the pattern. To make it more fun, the giraffe is a tall rectangle. I decided to do some improv piecing and practice my partial seams. Its working out pretty well.

This Cat head cross stitch was in the same bin as the floral one I completed in November. I have been stitching on it everyday. I wish I had a before picture, but when I restarted it, there was only one eye, no nose and very little fill of the left ear. It’s also a piece done on linen, lots of shading, even colors with two different strands of floss. It reminds me of my cat, Sharkie, who has been gone for a long time now. I think I started this piece in 1995, as that’s when the magazine is dated from. It’s a Mary Hickmont pattern, she used to publish a magazine called New Stitches. She is on Facebook now, and the magazine ended with issue 261. This cat is from issue 51. She is still making and selling her cross stitch designs on Etsy at MaryHickmottDesigns She has really lovely designs, also Black work and Hardinger. I have a bunch of old magazines that I saved. I should go through them and re-find the ones I like.

I got the Farm charm top together, I’m just waiting for a yard of the strawberry color to come in, and I’ll add borders. The other Farm Charm quilt top needs a border too. Speaking of borders, I got the final installment of the Botanica BOM quilt yesterday. I also got the first installment of the Holiday square BOM, and notification that the Halloween figs December block has been shipped (I still have one block left from November to do). I went from a clear plate to overflowing. Let’s not forget clue 4 for the Bonnie Hunter Grassy Creek quilt is out tomorrow.

Just Keep Sewing, just keep sewing.

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