Monday, December 14, 2009
She loves dogs and and I've always loved this vintage design. I used twist up Crayola crayons to color the design before I embroidered it all. I really like how it turned out and I hope she does too.
We're off now to our Garden Club Pot Luck Holiday Dinner. If you'd like to see what I made to take, check out my other blog - there's a link to Lulu's Girl on the side here.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
I believe I've mentioned before that I belong to a little stitching group that meets once a week. We split off from our large monthly group that is still very active. It started during one summer when someone was on vacation from her school job and wanted to devote a morning to stitching so she could use her time off efficiently and get something accomplished during her time off.
Along the way we picked up another member and we are now 5! This year is the first time we will have our own little Christmas luncheon/party. We are going to the local golf course restaurant and then back to one of the members homes for dessert.
We discussed doing a baggie swap for each member and I asked if I could be a little different and try something I read about on the CQI list. I didn't join in the CQI swap, but I thought this might be fun to do for this group since I'd only have to make 4 and not so many as I would for the large monthly group.
I'm assuming here that you know about the Christmas Cracker tradition. You can still buy pre-made ones at Costco World Market last time I looked. They are a lot smaller than my version and usually contain a bit of candy or a toy like Cracker Jack boxes do. When I was a small girl we had these on the table for Christmas dinner and they made a loud pop when you opened them! I think my Canadian Father might have grown up with them and that's why we had them.
For each of these special Crackers I cut a 7 inch length of a paper towel cardboard tube. Then I pieced an 8" block for each of my friends. I handpieced a simple block similar to what I did for the Take It Further Challenge that Sharon Boggen had last year. Just 5 pieces and the center piece of each block was chosen according to the interest of the person it is for.
Then I pulled embellishments appropriate for each block, put them in a 3" by 5" ziplock bag and stuffed it in the tube. After that I rolled the block around the tube and tucked the ends in.
Then I cut a piece of a faux crazyquilt Christmas print about 8" x 13" and just hemmed it with machine basting and applied lace to the short sies. That way, if they want, they can salvage the fabric to use for another project.
For the tags I printed off some gift card packets, put them together with double stick tape and inserted an angel faux cigarette silk that I printed for each of them.
I sure hope they like what I've done. A couple of the blocks may very well be a real color challenge for the new owner, but we're always talking about expanding our color horizons, so I hope they are not disappointed.
Come this Tuesday I'll surely find out! Stay Tuned!
I've done this pattern before back in January for a black & grey scarf I made for one of my daughters. Once you get the hang of the pattern rows, it's quite easy. However, as usual I did my fair share of UNknitting because I get easily distracted.
My next knitting project will be some fingerless mittens or maybe I should call them handwarmers. At any rate, they look like they would be great for driving.
Also in the works is a Taggie for our new grandnephew, a set of redwork IKEA dishtowels, another pillow, some doll clothing, a wallhanging, some fuzzy fabric scarves and maybe a totebag or two. My deadline for most of these things is the 18th of December when SOME will have to be mailed.
Wish me luck!
Merry Christmas and stay tuned. I'm catching up on projects and will be back soon!
Friday, November 27, 2009
The evening before Thanksgiving I had finished this skirt that was a promised birthday gift for my eldest daughter. I had given her the pattern, fabric, thread and zipper in a gift box at her birthday celebration. I wanted her to approve of it before I went ahead and made a skirt for her. She had been complaining that she couldn't find a "pencil skirt" for work similar to what I appeared to be wearing in a lot of her old baby pictures. Back then we just called these "straight skirts" and even the skirts on most of my dresses were cut straight.
Do you know how LONG it's been since I made any clothing? It has been 15 years at least I think because that's when I stopped making clothes for my 2 eldest granddaughters who are now almost 19 and 21. While I can't recall what I had for lunch yesterday, it appears I haven't forgotten how to sew clothes. The hardest thing was remembering to use 5/8" seams and not 1/4 inch! I do have to admit to leaving the pattern pinned on the fabric for a day or so, just in case I would discover I had messed it up somehow.
The fabric is a polyblend from JoAnn Fabrics and it raveled something fierce, so I had to machine zigzag over all the seam allowance to make sure the skirt wouldn't ravel away! I liked the pattern (McCall's 3830) because there was no waistband to deal with, just a facing. And I put in a zipper! I'm so proud of myself.
However, I feel very dumb for not getting a picture taken of her in the skirt after we determined the hem was okay. Duh......
But she said she loved it and it looked cute on her!
I'm almost done with all my "promised projects". I just have one more pillow to put together and then I can get busy on Christmas gift things. The grands like to get gift cards, but this year I am trying to make them each some little thing to go along with the gift card.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
When offered the choice, she chose a pillow and it's taken me some time to get it finished.
I used this design for her older sister, my #1 grandchild, and I plan to do one for each of the remaining 5 grands as their graduations approach. I will try to use the appropriate school colors as I have with the first two. I have 3 years I think before I need to do another one.
So, now I'm off to work on a skirt I promised I'd make for our eldest daughter - where we are going for Turkey Day.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Walking around the yard though on this chilly day, I discovered that my paperwhite bulbs are blooming! I suspect in colder areas of the US, these don't bloom until early Spring, but here in California they are a late Fall treat.
SOME people pot these bulbs and give them as gifts at the Holidays and they are a nice fragrant surprise when they bloom in January. Someone gave me a pot of them years ago and I enjoyed them so much during gloomy winter days when the skies were gray for days on end.
Well, now I must get back to finding that box, sewing on my daughter's skirt and I also have two pillows to assemble.
Hope your weekend has gone well......
Friday, November 20, 2009
However, I CAN knit and so I returned to an unfinished pair of scarves I abandoned last February when I made a mistake that I couldn't figure out how to correct. I was knitting two scarves at once - different colors - same pattern on one set of long needles. A couple weeks ago I pulled them out of the hassock they were stored in and gave them another look.
I pulled one off the needles and pulled the knitting out until I was below the error I made. But then I couldn't figure out where in the pattern that row was. I lost patience and frog-stitched (ripped out) the whole 14" of scarf I had originally done.
I began it again and very shortly began making the same stupid mistakes. So - more frog-stitching and a little internet surfing and I found this reversible scarf pattern. I'm not saying I didn't have to do anymore reverse knitting, but I have managed to finish my first Christmas gift!
I'm taking a chance (pretty good) that my granddaughter's don't read my blog and won't see this scarf. However, I am NOT saying which grand it is for, but I love how it came out. It's not in the least bit frilly, which I think she will like. It is rather sporty and will be warm!
If you are interested in this pattern, you can find it at: http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/scarves/nancyswooleasescarf.htm
She used Wool Ease yarn for her scarf, but I used Red Heart Collage in color Crimson Maple. I added 3 Knit stitches on both edges to make a bit of a border and I slipped the first stitch of each row. I just kept repeating the easy reversible pattern until it was 50 inches long. It took about one and a half skeins.
If you decide to try it, have FUN! I sure did! It knit up really fast! Fast is good!
It has the neatest picot type edge built into the pattern, so there's no finishing except for tucking and blocking. I wasn't able to get it blocked into an exact square, but the gal whose blog I found the pattern on said " i hope you understand that this blanket was not intended to be square in shape, so if you are blocking it to maintain a square shape, it may naturally take on a more elongated diamond with use - i would encourage you to simply let the shape be what it wants to be, as baby blankets tend to be folded and wrapped all the time anyway.
Also, depending on the yarn/wool you chose to work with will impact the outcome of the finished piece."
So, I'm ok with it's slightly wonky shape. I think it would be nice to cover a baby in a carrier or carseat. Even maybe it would work nicely in a bassinet. She told me that one she gave to a friend's baby has been laundered many times and is still looking great.
If anyone is interested, the pattern can be found at JC's website which is here. When you get there, click on "Knitting patterns" and then scroll down to find the Bias Blanket knitting pattern. Oh, and I didn't use the yarn she recommended in the pattern. I used Caron's Simply Soft in color "Baby Bright Ombre". It's very soft.
If you give this pattern, I think you will find it..... Fun!
Monday, November 09, 2009
See those little spiderwebs in the center? I just LOVE this lace. I think maybe I will have a big problem actually using this lace. LOL....there were two hanks for sale and I think I might just have to go back and buy the other one if it's still there.
This lace really intrigues me and I'm sure it was machine made. I've crocheted some pretty complicated patterns in thread but something like this I would not begin to attempt!
So lucky I found it!
P.S......my newer camera would NOT take a fine detailed picture of this lace - I am really upset. I had to use my old Sony camera that takes floppy disks only! Doesn't it do a great job on closeups?
Sunday, November 08, 2009
I finished the owl and frog block on the evening of November 2nd as I was watching television. I have to say that I was a bit surprised at the design of the last block, but we must remember that these designs are from the 1930's (I think) and reflect farm life in that era. I loved doing the eyes of the from using buttonhole stitch!
I'll be setting this blockset aside until after the first of next year before I try to put my Farm Quilt together. However, I thought you might like to see the fabric that I will be using for the alternate blocks of my quilt.
I had the Farm Quilt design set for some time when, one day quite unexpectedly, I finally found the perfect fabric to use with the designs. I immediately used the fabric to match up with a DMC floss color (355). When I got home, I bundled the fabric, thread and designs together and put them in a 12" x 12" portfolio until such time as I felt the urge to start the embroidery.
Surprisingly, I found this fabric in the craft department of our local Wal-Mart. It is very nice quality with a nice tight weave. It is called "Pleasant Valley" designed for "Exclusively Quilters" from Classiccottons.com.
I will be re-visiting this quilt in January, but now it's time to get on with finishing up some promised projects for family. I've a pillow to finish for one grandchild that is long overdue. Then I promised my eldest daughter I would make her a pencil skirt. Then it will be on to projects I have planned for family Christmas gifts. And, right now I also continue to knit scarves!
I also have a make-do pincushion to get done before our local CQ stitcher's Christmas luncheon. I'm the one who posted the challenge to the group last January or February and I'll bet that I'm the last one to get done with my pincushion. My delay is in part to the fact that I knew what I wanted to use as my base, but I spent months looking for it. I finally gave up because I think I may have sold it in the 4 garage sales we had when we were planning the move that didn't happen. It was a pewter cream pitcher from my Mum's (Lulu-see my other blog) pitcher collection. I know I downsized that collection some back in 2007, but I cannot believe that I actually sold that pitcher which was a piece of passenger railroad serviceware.
So, I must get stitching - not to mention both the cat AND G are asking me what's for dinner!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
I'm still not sure what project I'll move on to doing in place of these blocks once they are all finished. However, I DO know that I won't be putting them together until after the first of 2010. I've got too many things going here. I'm playing catch up on a couple gifts that I promised and then I need to begin on Christmas gifts. I'm hoping to make a few tote bags for gifts this year and I want them to be unique to the individual, so I think I'll be doing some more embroidery quite soon!
Last week I began knitting a scarf for one of my granddaughters for Christmas and I am about 1/2 finished with it. I only work on it when I'm watching tv in what we call our "lounge" for lack of a better name. It's a new to me pattern with only 3 pattern rows that repeat. You'd think that would be simple enough, but I have to stop and count about every 6 rows in case I make a mistake. Good thing it's only 36 stitches wide! I've also had to pick up 2 dropped stitches so far. Knitting with older hands is challenging!
Our small Tuesday crazy quilt group had this weeks meeting at my house today and it was a good one as is usually the case. I need to do a bit more stitching and then beads on the parts of the heart shaped box that Beth will then construct for me. I love the colors in my bedroom (eggplant, teal & gold), and this box will be a welcome addition when it takes it's place on our bookcase headboard!
I've a plan now for the 2nd block I'm doing for Kate's Africa project, so I can begin stitching & embellishing those two blocks and get them off in the mail to Kate.
Back to Stitching!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Gosh, only two more blocks to go and I'll be done with this design set. I already started knitting Christmas gift scarves when I'm sitting in another area of the house. I'll need to find something else to work on while I watch tv with G.
Not that there's a shortage of projects here, believe me. The other day I found the red tablecloth that I used to put on our table for Christmas dinner. The last few years I used it I had everyone sign their names on it. I'd like to get those names embroidered so that, if we are here for Christmas this year, I can use it on the table.
And then there's more blocks that I have traced for my Life Quilt. And the Redwork Circus Quilt designs that I've had planned for years. there's about 10 other projects in 12" x 12" envelopes on my "to-do" shelf.
Stay Tuned; you never know what will strike my fancy next!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Blowing "dandelions" was a favorite activity of mine when I was a child. When the wind was right, the fluff would make a swirly cloud that danced away.
I had no clue as to the grief I caused local gardeners! LOL
Preview of block to come = the crow's nemesis!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The next day I thoroughly looked this piece over and must tell you that was VERY well done by whoever stitched it. The edges are turned under about 1/4 inch and on one of them is printed "No 207 - Pure Linen Sampler Made in USA by Vogart."
The stitching is very nice and even the back is quite neat and tidy. The blue corner flowers and the bluebird are neatly satin stitched. There were some age-related stains on the lower half of the piece, but they are all gone now after a 10 minute soak in some warm water with Dawn dishwasher soap added. I rinsed it a couple times and dried it outside in the sunshine. No bleeding of the threads and it is looking almost new.
I'm not sure I will frame this piece or use it in the center of a quilted piece....time will tell. I need to find a couple other samplers that I know are somewhere here. At least one was done by my Canadian grandmother and was found by my dad when she passed away.
Back to downsizing!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Only 5 more designs to go! I can't believe how speedy I've been with these blocks. Part of the credit belongs to my doctor and a new arthritis medication. My hands are SO much better. Not swollen and sore like they had been for quite some time.
Crazyquilt stitching and flat out embroidery has become SO much easier! And, after 7 weeks, I can't say that I notice any bad side effects either.
Well, today is G and my 42nd wedding anniversary and we are about to leave to go out to an early dinner. We can't believe it's been 42 years because, looking back, it just seems like yesterday. Loads of memories, 3 daughters and 7 grandkids.......imagine that!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Below I have put a picture of the 2nd one I pieced. These are 6" blocks and I can't wait to get stitching on them!
This is the very first CQ block that I've done that doesn't include beading, patch motifs or a spider and web! Following the guidelines for this project was really hard.
I still don't feel like the block is done!
If you would like to see more, click on the picture and you will be taken to my Flickr site where you can see 4 closeups of the block.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The 12th block of the Ruby McKim Farm Quilt set is a cat which I very quickly did Friday night while watching t.v. I just love that program "Numbers" on Friday evenings. It brings back the time in college when I was a real math geek.
Next up is the rooster and then a hen. Mr. Rooster is quite complicated with all this feathers. I worked on it yesterday during our Delta Crazy Stitcher's monthly meeting. I have it all done except now I must move to 1 strand of floss to do his face and feet.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Well, I finished block #11 last evening while watching tv. Here we have the farm dog - a collie I would guess. I managed to get 6 more designs transfered yesterday, so I have 5 left now, which should keep me busy for a few evenings.
This morning I put some finishing touches on the Making Memories crazy quilt block. Here below are 3 of the seams - just a little preview of the block whick I should be able to share tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I love the portability of Redwork embroidery and I've done almost all of these blocks while watching evening television with G. Must prep some more blocks this afternoon so that I'll be all set for tonight.
After that I have got to put the finishing touches on the Making Memories block. No beads are allowed this go-round and I am having a lot of trouble finishing this block since I don't consider a crazyquilt block or project is not truly finished until I bead it!
But finish it I WILL......
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Today while continuing to re-organize and try to eliminate some of the boxes still sitting around my fabric room and studio, I was able to consolidate everything in 1 portable drawers and one box into a better storage container. That left me with a portable drawer that I could use for something else.
I wasn't sure what I wanted to put in it; actually there were many choices I was considering. That is until I uncovered a box behind my cutting station in the fabric room that I had totally forgotten.
I met Linda Stimson first in Omaha at the Crazy Quilt Conference and we quickly found out that we lived quite near to each other. We followed that with another Omaha Conference and 2 local gatherings of crazyquilters held in the east bay area where we had tons of fun learning together and getting to know everyone. The group consisted of many crazyquilters from No. California and at least 2 who flew in from So. California as well. The attraction? Well, we all shared in the expense of flying Betty Pillsbury to the West Coast for 2 and a half days of valuable "Betty knowledge"! Those 2 weekends were some of the best times I have had since beginning my Crazy Journey. We would also meet up at various quilt shows around the Bay Area - sometimes accidently and sometimes on purpose.
For those wonderful weekend gatherings, Linda lived nearby and was able to go home for the night every time. She didn't have to sleep in my friend's motorhome (1st weekend) or arrange patio cushions on the living room floor under her sleeping bag like I did for the 2nd weekend!
I believe it was in 2003 when Linda was diagnosed with cancer and her friends thought for sure she could beat it. It was a long journey for her and she passed away on December 28, 2005. She spend 2005 doing things she loved. She even traveled to the Orient late in that last year. Before she left she sent our local CQ group a box of her stash. She had been dividing up her stash that last year and we were lucky to be included in her sharing. I remember volunteering to go to her place to pick it up, but she wanted to mail it because she was leaving on her trip the next day.
When the box arrived I was blown away at the size of it and the wonderfulness it contained! At the next meeting of our local group I took it to share with our members. Looking back I recall they didn't make much of a dent in the volume of goodies. I brought the box home and stuck it in my sewing room closet.
When we cleared out the house in order to try to sell it, that box went to storage along with all the rest of my fabrics. Never unpacked, it was stacked behind the cutting center that G built for me in the fabric storage room - formerly his den.
The above is a picture of what's in the box and now will move to the extra portable drawer. The box is full of amazing and gorgeous fabrics which I treasure and they bring back such wonderful memories of Linda. If you did not know Linda, you can see some of her work at this link:
Friday, October 02, 2009
I finished this mule last evening. It's the 8th block in the Ruby McKim Farm Quilt design set. In fact, I even started the next block which is the Piggies block.
I did the mule block all with 2 strands of floss, but for the little chick at the bottom right I only used 1 strand and did the back stitch instead of the outline stitch.
I've a long way to go on this project; there are 25 designs. A long time ago I found the fabric for alternate blocks and/or sashing and I've wanted to do this set ever since. It's a farm landscape print and the dmc thread color I'm using matches the print. It's color #355.
Well, now back to working on the block for the Breast Cancer Project! Oh, and I have to do the bills for the month too. Such Fun!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Then I pulled out of the light box and traced off the next 3 blocks. Keeping ahead on the tracing should now be easier since I don't have to cut AND trace when I finish the last traced block.
Watching tv at night lately I have been going through the multitude of magazines I have here. I'm finding there's not much I need to copy, especially in the pile of Australian Embroidery ones because they are mostly about silk ribbon embroidery. I only do SRE every so often - it's not really my thing. Vintage looking layering seam stitching and spiders are "my thing".....
That said, my latest stitching is on a block for a breast cancer project being coordinated on the CrazyQuilt International list. I'm running a little late and the deadline is actually today, so I hope to show you all shortly what I did with the block that Leslie pieced for me to embellish. I've tried to contact someone to see if I can get a time extension, but haven't heard back. SO I'll just go merrily along my way and assume they will be able to use the block in some way.
For now I have to go see how to rescue a casserole I found in the freezer. On it I found a taped note that said "too dry; needs more moisture"........wish me luck!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Is it a bull or a cow? Look at those horns? But it's got udders? Well, in the 25 blocks set of this Ruby McKim pattern, this is the only "cattle" design, so perhaps we will never know!
While we were at the beach last month I finished this, the 6th block for my Ruby McKim Farm Quilt. I think I'm beginning to like putting a 2nd piece of fabric behind the stitching, although in this picture, you can see that when you press the block well, the knots kind of show through.
I think I can live with that because at least the red thread doesn't show through the front as it would with just one layer of fabric. I'm still being careful of making jumps too far and hiding my thread tails. Old habits are hard to break.
I've had to take a small break from these Farm Quilt blocks so that I can embellish a block for the next Making Memories Breast Cancer Quilt Project. The last time I participated in one of their projects, 3 quilts were made from the donated blocks. I believe I heard too that those 3 quilts will be on display this year at the big Houston quilt show.
This time around the theme is Dragonflies & Butterflies and the all-white blocks are to be embellished with jewel tones. I chose Amber & Purple to use on mine. I'm actually finding it rather difficult to work in these colors on a white blocks, but I'm sure when I finish the block will be great. If there is one thing I've learned after 9+ years of crazyquilt stitching, it is to not to make judgements about a piece until it's finished. This also will be a tough one for me because I usually stitch on lots of beads after all the seam stitching is done and they don't want ANY beads on these blocks........I won't feel as if the block is done!
Next block in the Farm Quilt set is the Sheep, not the Piggies, as I first said...........stay tuned!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Surprise, Surprise. It's been a long summer during which stitching and blogging has been put on the back burner her at Hydrangea House. Please forgive. I won't bore you with the details, but we've been dealing with doctors & family and it's all been keeping me very busy
Every year I still think of Jane Beatty, daughter, wife and mother and Raymond Metz III, husband and super dad to his girlies. They are the two 911 victims that I made quilt blocks for in the 911 project. I came to know much about my adopted friends and I made a promise to NEVER forget them. This year because of the nature of what I was involved in today, was another year I haven't worn the shirt I made with their pictures on it. The shirt itself was brought back from NYC just after 911 by a student of my husband who was in NYC to receive a film award. He went to the World Trade Center site and brought both G and I a shirt that showed the towers pre-911. On the back I put Jane and Ray's picture.