Busy Week

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.

Finished quilt photo from kit

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.

Be Kind.

Changing World stitchery

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.

The one on the top is the Bees Skep

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).

So neat and organized.

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.

Be Kind.

Hey! Look over there…

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.

Be Kind.

Stitching on

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.

Stamped Cross Stitch

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.

Be Kind.

Pain in the Neck

Yesterday upon getting out of bed, I turned my head and something happened to my neck. It was very painful, I went to my chiropractor and she worked on it for a bit. I was able turn my head to the right about 15 degrees by the end of the day. Lots of sitting and icing made time for hand stitching. I finished the Elefantz block I’ve been working on this month, while my Q24 stitched out another two rows of pantographs. I finished the moth and started the border on the NB sampler too.

Then I moved to stitching the Changed World sampler. This new sampler is the one I started on August 1st, as a SAL with Judy at Patchwork Times, Denise at Just Quilting and Jo at Jo’s Country Junction. It’s a loose and stitch when you can sort of SAL. Check ins are Fridays, and this is what I have for the first five days of stitching. Since I am now stitching two samplers, I have decided that I will stitch the Newcastle Bouquet on even numbered days and Changed world on odd numbered days.

Lower border and corner squares

I’m using a hoop for this one, I started out using a Q-snap frame, but it was too heavy. I liked the space it had for stitching and the ease of getting the fabric into it, but it was too much strain on my wrist to hold it. I switched to a little hoop after trying a 10 inch plastic hoop (too heavy) and it seems to be okay. Recently I saw a hoop holder on a floss-tube, made by Lowery. I liked that it was adjustable and metal with a small footprint. It also can hold hoops or frames, my current holder is only for scroll frames. I found one at Love Crafts and with a promotional coupon and a bit of wavering (do I really need it?) I ordered it. I feel like I am at the dentist when I sit in my stitching chair. I have a light over my head, a magnifier and small table on the right, the frame holder on the left and a foot stool in front. My DH wonders why I don’t jump up to get the phone when it rings.

A little more sewing was done on the Washboard road top. I squared up all the blocks and started to web the top. I think I’ll get it done this weekend. Especially because I have two days to myself, my DH is going on a short road trip with friends. Thankfully, my neck is feeling much better today and I’ll be sewing a lot this weekend.

Be Kind.

Washboard Road

Today I am working on getting the Washboard road blocks organized. I have all of the halves made, and since I want to make an ombre/fade pattern with them I figured that it would be easier this way. I spent the last few days making the pieces, and yes, I made half of them facing the wrong way. In my defense, I am using solid color fabrics, so it can easy to flip things around or over to the wrong side. I just feel a bit ashamed (not really, more mad at myself) that I did it 79 times. Chain piecing is a blessing and a burden, at least that’s what I told myself as I was ripping out and resewing those parts. I am using the spare bed in the guest room to lay them out on, not too sure I want to do the bending down thing today.

Last night I started to stitch the moth in the left hand corner of the Newcastle Bouquet piece. This moth is what first attracted me to this sampler, I saw Jo Kramer stitching it last year and wanted to make it too. I also got and kitted up Heaven and Nature (another Teresa Kogut design) because of Jo showing hers. On that sampler, it was a raccoon that attracted me. Sunday, August 1 starts the Changed World SAL hosted by Patchwork Times, Jo’s Country Junction, and Just Quilting’. This will be a departure of my stead fast rule for my cross stitching, ‘only one project at a time’. As I am well aware, it is hard for me to show restraint when it comes to starting new things. I always have a few Quilty things going on, a knitting piece, handwork and a pile of UFOs. When I re-started cross stitching, I told myself I wasn’t going to be taken in by the start-itis I have with all my other hobbies/etc. I have all the excuses (I just wrote excesses there) its a smaller piece, its a SAL, I like the pattern, I’m almost done with the Newcastle… I think I will alternate days I stitch on each, that’s reasonable, lol.

I finally finished the LA quilting on the large Chickadee panel quilt. You probably heard my sigh of relief as those last four locking stitches ended on the last row. I am planning on putting the yellow and navy table runner I made recently on the end of the backing of this quilt. I think there may be enough, but I just wanted to be done, so I left, and enjoyed my sense of accomplishment. This quilt used up about 600 yards of thread, not too bad, there wasn’t a lot of back stitching or retracing of the design (Thankful flowers). It was a complicated design though, so my machine had to slow down a bit for all those curves and bubbles. Each row took about two hours and fifteen minute to stitch out. There was no thread breakage and the only time I had to stop was when I ran out of bobbin thread mid-row. I want to finish the other two tops with the Julie Paschkis fabrics in them, that I made earlier this year. I am thinking of a paw print panto though, as they have cat and animal themed prints.

Be Kind.

A little teal

I recently got a pattern from Highway 10 Designs, called ‘Washboard Road’. I cut all the pieces for the throw size yesterday and started sewing them together. It uses a jelly roll and 3 1/4 yards of background, I had a jelly roll of solid teal shades and enough plain vanilla white to do this. The hard part will be getting the blocks to play nicely together. I am planning on an ombre sort of look, fading from light to dark.

The Newcastle Bouquet cross stitch marathon is continuing. I am not going to finish it before Sunday, but I feel like I have made progress. I am starting the Changed World SAL on August 1, so I will have two projects going at once. I would rather not do this, because I know I’ll end up with a UFO. It is a slippery slope with quilting, and I didn’t want to start back in with the cross stitchery. Changed World is a smaller piece, finished size is 9″ x 14″, while Newcastle is a bit bigger at 17″ x 10″. Also NB is on 40 count linen, while CW is 36 count. I am going to stitch CW in a hoop, so NB will stay on the frame, switching between them won’t be too difficult as I will still need the magnifier to stitch.

I was out shopping last week in a neighboring town/city, and parked in front of their local Goodwill store. Once I got my errand done, I figured I would go in to check out any frames that may work for cross stitch. They had a bunch of framed “art”, and I found one that may work so I went to up to pay for it. While standing in line I noticed a woman ahead of me holding two Omni-grid rulers. I asked her where she found them and she said in the back area, and that there was one left. I went back and looked, and there were two, a 12 ½ inch square and a 21″ x 8″, they were marked 4.99 and 6.99, woohoo! score! I hope the person who donated them knows they went to two people who appreciate them.

Going to try to get another row of quilting done today, small goals. I really like the way this is stitching out on my Chickadee quilt so far. I have enough room on the backing to add this table runner I “whipped up” this past weekend. I want to do some ruler work on it. Another Quick Curve Ruler project called Summer Citrus from the book ‘One Wonderful Curve’.

Off to sew a bunch of tiny X’s.

Be Kind.

Curves Ahead

I got the Posh Snowball top together. I wanted to add an outer border of the dark brown print, but I didn’t have enough left over. So I made another white and small square border, then cut and pressed the binding. I really like how this turned out, I am not sure how I want to quilt it though.

Yesterday I got the two quilts, Small Chickadee and the Bees, squared up and bound (above, right). I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the dark brown binding looked against the black. I was able to put the bigger Chickadee panel quilt on the frame too. I found a panto that has flowers and circles much like those on the fabric. It is called Thankful Flowers, and it takes about two hours to stitch a row. Thank goodness I had the sense to mount this top longways, as there are only 5 rows. Ten plus hours of quilting, it is a good thing I can multitask.

Speaking of, I have been working on this BOM by Elefantz, called Simple Days. I just finished the first blocks embroidery, and downloaded the sixth block of the nine block quilt. I have two more blocks sewn together, but its the embroidery that takes a while.

This is block two

I am contemplating starting something new. I want to explore the curves a bit more, with the Sew Kind of Wonderful quick curve rulers. Maybe a table runner, since I finally received the fabric I ordered 5 weeks ago for one. I like this one, a bit mid-century modern, below.

Lastly, I received the pastel batiks I ordered for the borders of the snails trails baby quilts. Got one done yesterday, hoping to get the peachy one done today. I positioned the blocks differently on each, I can’t decide which one I like better.

Be Kind.

Going in Circles

The blocks for the Posh Snowball quilt are done. There was a whole lot of assembly line sewing going on for the past few days. Each block has thirteen pieces, after each segment is sewn together there is a curve to be cut. Then more sewing cutting and finally squaring up. This quilt is very rich looking, like a box of chocolates. I still need to cut and put together the sashing pieces, they will break up the rich darkness a bit. I did enjoy making these blocks, there is a certain satisfaction to sewing a curve that works.

Still stitching almost daily on the Newcastle Bouquet. I am still getting up the courage to start the border. I bought another batch of DMC and linen yesterday for a free chart, “Set Her Sails” from Susan Ache. I am planning on making it into a small pillow. The finished size is 12 x 11 ish. I want to leave it set up next to the long arm, that way while I am waiting for a row to machine stitch out, I can hand stitch a row or two. I have been resisting having two cross stitch projects going at the same time. But it is a slippery slope, and I really want to finish the Newcastle Bouquet before starting the Changed World SAL.

I’m also starting the third shawl in the Curious Handmade KAL, as soon as the yarn I ordered gets here. I didn’t stitch the second (of six) shawl, because it was another one of garter stitch. Too much garter stitch gets boring, this third shawl is called the Wild Bees Wrap, and it starts with a square center and then gets to be a long rectangle with the addition of side knitting. The pattern called for three colors, Blue, light blue and golden brown, of which only one was available in my stash. I managed to resist buying yarn for three days, but caved to a sale at Knit Picks.

Be Kind.

Summer browns

Here in California, the summer colors are tan and brown. In May, the greens are peaking and by July they are done. The pretty hills are golden with the occasional live oak tree dotting them, and it’s dry. I just got back from visiting the east coast, where I was rained on during tropical storm Elsa. I even got to see a lighting storm, and local street flooding, good to be home now though.

Yesterday I worked on getting the snails trail blocks together to make tops, I decided on two small quilts as the pastel colors are so light I feel that a larger quilt would look more like a color wash. I will add a 4 inch border to these, one pink and the other mint, just waiting for it to get here. I have a large selection of batik fabrics, but it is mostly blues and earth/jewel tones. I also cut up all the scraps from the layer cake pieces I used with the accuquilt die. There were enough HSTs to make a doll quilt with.

I got another row sewn on the two quilts on the long arm as well. I don’t remember if I posted about these two, the bee quilt is from last year, and the chickadee quilt is from the left overs from the larger version. I am doing an Ivy leaf panto on them and just to make it more challenging, I resized it for the bee quilt. It takes a long time to stitch out one row, as there is a lot of back stitching. I like doing two quilts at once, a 108 wide backing and the same thread colors makes it a bit easier.

I am getting more stitching done on the Newcastle Bouquet cross stitch. The last picture I have is from June 30, I stitched a lot on it before I went away, and completed a few more leaves and such in the past two days.

I wonder if I can finish it before August when I start the Changed World SAL. I got my pattern and floss, I had eight of the required colors in my floss collection, Yay! Today I want to serge the edges of the linen, I have a few other pieces of even-weave that could use an edge finish too. The edges don’t seem to be much of a problem with the scroll frame, but once I use the hoop to stitch, there is unraveling. I’m going to do the outer border of Newcastle in the hoop, too many color changes to be flipping the piece over and back.

This week I am starting a new quilt top, using Sew Kind of Wonderful’s Creative Curves ruler. I have a fat quarter bundle and some scraps of a R. Kauffman line called La Scala I want to use in the pattern called Posh Snowball. Test block done, I like it, not too much of a learning curve.

Be Kind.