Friday, February 28, 2014

Off the Needles & Giveaway Goodies

finished socksI have finished my 6th pair of socks.  These are significant because they are the first pair of toe up socks AND they are the first pair done at the same time AND they are the first pair where the stripes match!  And I had a great time doing them.  The only problem I had was that I got the bind off a little tight and need to spend some time learning a better bind off that will give me some more stretch. 

I still have my gray socks on the needles and have just begun the heel.  The only reason there is no picture is that it would look just like the last one.  I will take a picture again when the heel has more definition.  Meanwhile, I am hoping to begin casting on a sweater.  This will be the first sweater I have tried so who knows how that will go.  I figure I might have it ready for next Fall, if I am lucky and really work on it.

clean owlsI have begun some Spring Cleaning (around here that means furniture moving) and cleaning dust catchers.  It has been a while since I showed any of my collection of glass owls but recently I had to remove a small selection from a baker’s rack so I could move it.  This group found it’s way into the dishwasher this week and I was so pleased with how they sparkled after they came out.  There are a lot more but these looked so pretty sitting on the kitchen counter I just had to share them.  Now they are off to the bedroom where they reside.

Uncommonly_Corduroy_Cover B1271(2)And now, as promised, I must share my goodies from Stephanie at Loft Creations.  I won a giveaway of fabric scraps, leftovers from the patterns done for her new book.  AND she included a signed copy of her book, also.  Well, this was quite a wonderful gift.

cordory stripsThere are strips of all colors and prints.  Bunches of strips.  I love all the bright colors along with the neutrals that I never think to buy.

bigger stripsThen there are bigger strips.  And look at that wonderful owl fabric.  I think I may have that in quilter’s cotton also. 

fabric piecesAnd even some large pieces of fabric.  Doesn’t you mind just get whirling with ideas?  Mine has.

completed topBut the first thing I found when I opened the box was this completed to, just like on the cover of the book but without the dresden plate.  Nothing like having a jump-start on a quilt, huh?

I haven’t had time to start even planning what I am going to do with these but believe you me I will be at it next month.

I have spent most of Feb trying to either get caught up or keep up with my BOMs.  Usually I do 3-4 a year and do pretty well keeping up which gives me 3-4 half completed tops as the new year begins.  But with people doing BOMs with 2 and 3 blocks per month, I was falling dreadfully behind.  I eliminated one BOM from my plan for the year and another from last year is coming to a close and for that I will be grateful.  As of now I am up to date with the owls, Alphabet, Knitter’s Gifts, and only 2 months behind on the fish.  Maybe I can do better next month and even get back to making quilts.

Happy PappyI looked over at DH last evening and this is what I saw.  I call this picture “Happy Pappy” because there is a really big smile behind all that pile of dogs.  There really is nothing like a room full of unconditional love.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  We will be driving to Prattville, AL Sunday to see a quilt show.  I am very lucky that DH enjoys these shows and asks enough questions to make me sound knowledgeable as I answer.  Winking smile  Stay warm!!  Gari

Sunday, February 23, 2014

BOMs & Mug Rugs

Blocks 1So here is the beginning of the last of the BOMs for this year (I hope).  This one, like one other I am doing, has more than one block for the month.  These two blocks are “block 1” and are 18 x 24” each.  Since this is an all applique quilt I am going to try to use only scraps or fat quarters except for the backgrounds.  That fabric is white on white with snowflakes, perfect for hats, scarfs, and mittens, don’t you think?  I hope to get them appliqued this week but since this is the first “block” I may let them sit for a while.

Blocks 2 b & cI did get the last two letters of the Alphabet BOM’s second block (s) attached to the background fabric and then began working on the patchwork parts.

Blocks 2bThis is the patchwork the will be going with the letter “C”.  Doesn’t it look great?  And it is except that I didn’t read the instruction to size down the HSTs and thus it is 8” rather than 6 1/2”.  I have already cut the pieces for a new square and this one will become a mug rug.  Meanwhile, I just must learn to read ALL of the instructions.

Blocks 2cThat said, I have cut the fabric for the D’s patchwork.  And it is all waiting at the sewing machine for me to return.  And you better believe that I will read and reread the directions before I sew it all together.  Embarrassed smile

079On Friday I put 4 mug rugs on the frame but I haven’t gotten back in there to begin the quilting.  I hope to have them done this week, also.  Wish me luck,  Gari

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mid-Week Accomplishments

It has been a great week around here so far.    Hat 2
I finished DH’s new hat just in time for the temps to rise to the lower 70s.  Confused smile

Hat 2bHowever it will be going down to below freezing by the end of the week so this hat will be put to good use. 

BOM hatsAnd I got a little further along with the new BOM, From Heat to Toe.  These are all six of the hats that go on the first two blocks.  Now I really do need to figure out the background fabric.

On Friday I am going to the first of four “Spring” quilt shows.  I look forward to the inspiration I know I will find there.  And I will have a reason to look for fabric from the vendors.  The really cool thing is that one of my favorite fabric stores is on the way home from the show so I am sure to come home prepared to get these blocks done.

And in between all of this creativity we were able to sneak in a lunch with our daughter.  With three of our four children living in other states, we are so lucky to have her close by.

I won a giveaway from Stephanie of Loft Creations and the box arrived yesterday.  I am still checking it all out and will report on it Sunday night.  Isn’t it exciting to win “stuff” from a great designer?


Monday, February 17, 2014

Almost No Sewing

I/we were on the road a lot last week.  I spent a lot of Monday with the dishwasher repair men (no it is not working) and Tuesday was away looking for matching vinyl to repair the new furniture (see Sherlock’s story below).  I can’t seem to remember what all kept me from the studio Wed – Fri except that I have spent a great deal of time at the sink.  I had forgotten how much I don’t like washing dishes and have completely forgotten the “dish washing rules” my mother pounded into my head.  Saturday DH and I went looking for a footstool that would allow our doxies to get up and down from the couch without taking that great giant leap (bad for doxie backs).  We spent all day and decided on this one:  new footstool
DH found it but we thought it was a little expensive until we trekked through many other stores and saw lots of stools and all for more money.  So, back to Hobby Lobby and home she came.  Doesn’t se fit in with our eclectic quilts motif?

quilt pictureSunday afternoon I finally got into the studio and started on this, my last BOM for the year.  It is from Denise who seems to have high expectations for us. 

Denise Blocks 1This is the layout for this block.  Please note that it takes 6 sheets of paper.  That’s because it is an 18” block!  Not only that but she expects us to make two of them by March 15th.  The making is not the hard part, it is the drawing, choosing all those different fabrics, and figuring out the best background fabric for the whole quilt.  Of course I could have done some of that before she released Block(s) 1 on Saturday but I didn’t.

fusible piecesSo this is how far I got.  Doesn’t look like much, does it?  Well, it isn’t but mostly that is because I didn’t read the directions and only drew and cut fusible for one of the two blocks.  So today I get to do it all over again.  The good part is that I made a mistake and didn’t realize that one of the hats is reversed so when I do the second set of hats I can do two reversed ones and all will be right.  Then it is on to the fabric hunt.

Shurlocks calendarWhile we were in Pensacola we did our usual stop at the book store where they had 2014 calendars for $3.  We found this one that was perfect for Sherlock.  He has eaten into clothes, both old and new, two quilts and a throw, and the new furniture that we had not had for even 24 hours.  He now is not left out with the other dogs when we go away, even to the studio, but must be crated.  I have never crated a dog but this has become a necessity.  And it is hard for us because he is a very loving dog.

Sherlock RudolphHowever, he does not really like being left in the cage and has been able to push the door open to escape.  So DH put a cement block against the door and look what happened.  We now have Sherlock/Rudolph the Red Nosed Doxie.  Needless to say we will be putting something with a smoother surface against the door next time.  Flirt male

AL winterIt appears that our winter weather has finally returned to normal and we may even be seeing the beginnings of spring.  This is our front yard with leafless trees and the sun just beginning to make it’s way in.  This week I need to cut back the gardenia bush that was hit hard by the ice but I think is still living.  This will be the second time Winter has tried to kill that bush but it will live to bloom another day.

We have family in NH and MD that are still getting snow but everywhere else things appear to be improving.  I hope that winter is beginning to break where you are living and that you have a great week.  Gari 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lots of Knitting Going On

0150d1d67c934eedfaa07c875c9a2dc7c64ee34f83I am so excited about these socks.  These are my 2 toe up socks and I have just finished the heels.  I was a little nervous since this is a first and I figured that since I was doing something backwards it would be difficult.  Well, it was so much easier than the cuff down heel.  Now I just have to go up the leg to the cuff and these will be done.  My other socks are almost ready for the heels and I am not worried at all.  Smile

dog meets hatOn Christmas Eve I finished this hat as a gift for DH.  All through this very cold winter it has been on his head …… until recently.  This is the result of the hat hitting the floor and being found by our most recent doxie acquisition, Sherlock.  DH was very unhappy as he had been enjoying the comfort of his head staying warm.

new Valentine hatSo I have started his new hat, his Valentine’s gift.  I am making the brim a little wider as he likes to turn it up and I like to see his ears covered.  The brim is completed and I am on my way up: I hope to have this done tonight.

tough knittiingOne small problem is that the doxies have decided that even though we have a couch and loveseat, my lap is the only place they want to be.

other helpEven Sherlock, the reason I am knitting a new hat, is demanding that he be front and center on my lap.  But you can see that they make me laugh so it’s not all bad.

Valentine flowersAnd to keep me inspired, these are the flowers DH surprised me with.  He had to leave very early this morning so these were waiting for me when I got up.  They sit right in front of my living room chair so I get to see them whenever we are sitting there, watching TV and working on the computer.

And now I need to get off this computer and get back to hat knitting.  Nothing like creating a deadline for yourself.  Confused smile

Ta,  Gari

Sunday, February 9, 2014

BOMs in the Spotlight

dwMy design wall shows that I am currently working on BOMs.  I have all the appliqueing done on all of the completed blocks, not an easy feat.  The blocks, again, went on the wall so that I can check out what fabrics I have used and then I can choose what I will use for the new ones, again 3 on a limb. 

lettersI began working on my BOMs with the new letters.  I have to tell you that all those little curlicues were not easy to cut out but here they are, ready to go when the rest of the blocks are done.

in pieces So I got busy on the B is for basket.  I have to admit that I have never made a basket block so I had to really read the directions carefully.

handleBut I had no problem with the handle: I can do applique easy peasy.

ready for appliqueAnd here we are, the basket is ready for applique.  But that will have to wait until tomorrow. 

ready to quiltI have been working on mug rugs recently.  This is a free block from FatCatPatterns and an easy one for this purpose.  He is done and ready for quilting. 

no coffeeAnd I got the applique done on the “no more coffee” mug rug.  I think this is the look I have when I go to the pot and find that DH has taken the last of the coffee and didn’t refill the pot.

moreI even have two more coffee MGs ready to do the applique and I have drawn two more.  These are going to be my “need to do some stitching” items.  And they make me laugh every time I look at them so they are relaxing to work on.

Here, in the Deep South, we have finally gotten some nice weather.  Today I was able to sit on the deck, with the sun shining and the temp at 72F, and knit.  And we are supposed to have 60 – 70F weather for at least the next week and I am cheering!

I hope everyone who reads this has a great week.  My plan is to sew, knit, sew, knit, and sew some more.  Gari

Friday, February 7, 2014

Knitting Fun

started on heel increasesI am currently knitting two sets of toe up socks but these are the only ones I am showing.  I am currently two rows into the heel increases and they are going well.  Everyday I am amazed at how much I am enjoying knitting and learning new things.

class sampleThis, however, is not me learning but it is going to be “me” teaching.  I have been asked to substitute teach the third of three lessons on “How to Knit Socks.”  This is the class that I took in July-August that got me into this sock marathon.  So what you see here is a little bit of the foot and most of the toe of a sock.  I am supposed to show how to decrease the toe and then do the Kitchener closing.  I sat in on some of the first two lessons, just to see how the two students have been doing, and I don’t think they will be far enough along to actually begin knitting the toe so I thought I would come with a visual aid along with a handout of my own making.  The class is tomorrow morning and I am both excited and really nervous.  It isn’t easy to teach something you have so recently learned but I am going to give it a go.

I will be starting a new hat this week.  I have to make a new one for DH because the one I gave him for Christmas seems to have gotten to Sherlock, our sweet but destructive doxie, and that was that.  I wouldn’t hustle to get a new one made but it has been really cold and he is bald so he needs a hat.  And it has pleased me to see it on his head, I have to admit.

And now I will get off this computer, pick up my needles and knit a while.   Gari

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Keeping Warm by Keeping Busy

snow dayDropping in to say hello.  Along with everyone in the East, we had snow days almost all last week.  Actually, we had freezing rain and sleet.

drivewayOr, as DH put it, I had him 24/7 for 6 days, expectantly.  We were ice bound for 4 days and had no water for 2 days but we had heat and food, TV and sewing, so all was well.

new shoesDuring the forced confinement DH and I put the TreadClimber together.  Above you see the new shoes I bought just for this.  My plan was to begin slowly, only 10 min a day for the first week and then work my way up to 30 min three days a week.  Monday I began my new exercise experiment.  Funny thing: the first time I got on the TC I only walked on it for 2 1/2 min.  Tuesday I was up to 4 1/2 min and this morning I got all the way up to 5 1/2 min.  This may not seem like much but remember I am 71 and way out of shape so I reviewed my plan and decided to begin at 2 1/2 min and work my way up to 10.  So far the plan is working.  Flirt male

selfieI wanted to show the knitted hat I made last month and seemed unable to remember to get a picture of it.  I didn’t use a pattern but loved the yarn I had bought in MD in Sept and needed to see it made into something.

blue hadAnd with all the cold and ice and everything, this little had has sure come in handy.  I am thinking that maybe I will be making one of those slouch hats I have been seeing online.

owl appliqueMy studio does not have central heat so I directed my space heaters to the sewing area and spent a lot of time appliqueing owls.  I had really gotten behind that part of this BOM.  This is the last of the owls that I had completed and it got me caught up.  However, on Feb 1 a new block came out it it, again, has 3 owls on it.  I hope to get to it later this week.

puppy couchesSaturday I suggested to DH that we start looking at a sectional to replace our two recliners that were literally falling apart.  I thought a sectional would be better in that it would provide puppy space so we would all be comfortable.  Interestingly DH was on board and we began our search.  While looking we decided that instead of a sectional we could use a couch and loveseat and accomplish the same thing.  We found this set that has 4 loungers and they are electric, no more pulling on a lever.  This picture shows all four dogs fast asleep (one is under the brown log cabin quilt).  And there is still room for the 2 humans.  It has really made evening TV viewing and computering much more comfortable.

Tomorrow in mug rug day with the hope of BOMs on Friday.  Gotta keep moving or I will fall behind, again.  Winking smile  Besides, I keep warmer when I am moving.  And this winter I have needed to move as much as I can.

Have a great week,    Gari