Monday, January 27, 2014

Design Wall and On the Needles

design wallI am pretending to be Judy today and stating that nothing has changed on my design wall since my last post.  I have all the first three blocks for the Alphabet BOM completed and am ready to sew the sashing on.  This will be done before the next blocks come out on Feb 1. 

new fishAnd just to show that I have started on to catch up on the old BOMs, here is a new fish.  I was kind of surprised that the face fabric makes her look like she is smiling.  Since I am getting to the end of this FatCatPatterns BOM, I am beginning to think of how I want to set them and even a little about the quilting. 

embroidered fabricI wanted to show a close-up of the orange fabric.  It is embroidered batik and I think it adds a lot to the texture of the fins.  I am going to put fray-check on the cut-off areas of the embroidery because I think it will ravel with washing.  I used a similar fabric on a quilted jacket and it has worn well so I was pleased to find a use for at least a little part of this fabric, too.

unraveledThis is how far I had gotten on my first toe-up socks when I decided that I had been so busy trying to learn the M1L and M1R increase that I didn’t pay attention to the pattern about how many stitches I needed on each needle.  I love this yarn but the socks are going to be too small.  So I took the advice of several knitters and unraveled them.  I will be restarting them later this week.

new toe up socksMeanwhile I had sent for a selection of new needles and wanted to try them so I decided to start a new pair of toe-up socks.  This time I paid close attention to not only the increase technique, which was much easier now, but how many stitches I had.

matching stripesI also worked very hard to have the yarn coming out of each yarn ball with the same colors.  Look, so far the stripes match.  I don’t really care if they are perfectly matched but I would like them to be close.  The toes are finished so now it is on to the instep and then I get to learn a new heel.  The fun never stops here.

Speaking of fun, our granddaughter and her son moved from AL to NC this weekend.  The family here is struggling to begin the adjustment of having the 5 year old, who has been the center of attention his whole life, living 700 miles away.  But we are also hoping that this is a beginning to a wonderful new life for them.

And now it is time for me to get ready to hunker down for the snow and ice that is about to descend on us tomorrow.  I am doing laundry today as well as getting a little sewing room setup in the house so I don’t have to go outside for anything except to provide relief for the dogs.

Hope everyone has a great, and warm, week.  See ya later:  Gari

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Finishes are Fun

Pretty SadieAll quilted and bound.  This quilt is ready to go to it’s new owners.    That is if Sadie will let us have it back.

binding going onI am always surprised at how big a quilt seems when I am pitting the binding on.  I thought I would never get all the way around it.

quilting errorAnd then, while I was doing the binding, I found an area with terrible quilting.  So I drew, with my blue pen, around the bad stitches and then pulled them out.

back on frame I put the finished quilt back on the frame using the giant magnets.

on frame with magnetsThis is a first for me (and I would like it to be the last) but I was very happy with the way it all turned out.  All I had to do was quilt/trace the blue marking and everything looks great.

quilting 1I am very happy with how the quilting turned out, especially after it had a soak and time in the dryer.

quilting 2I love how the quilt crinkles a little and becomes softer.

quilting 3I think I am going to miss this quilt when it leaves.
Rolling on the floor laughing

testing threadI finished all the pieced blocks for the Alphabet BOM #1 and then began planning for the applique.  I thought I would use a black and white variegated thread but when I tested it it looked like the bobbin thread was pulled to the top rather than a pretty variation of the thread color.  So I decided to blanket stitch the letters in white.

Blanket stitchIt is hard to see it here but with the thread being polyester, it really stands out and looks great.

Bloc 1 doneSo I have Block #1 done and even before the end of the month.  Now I just need to catch up with my other BOMs.

Hope everyone is keeping warm.  Gari

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A New BOM Starts

Alphabet beginningEarlier this week I was agonizing over what fabric to use for the Alphabet BOM letters.  I looked at colored solids, thinking I could use different colors for each letter or I could just make them all black like the original.  Then, while sewing the binding on my current quilt, I looked up at the fabric shelf that houses my black fabric stash and saw this black on white dotted fabric.  I think it is perfect, don’t you.  And it allows me to use any and all colors in the patchwork blocks that go with them.  I have two more patch blocks to make and then I will cut the background pieces so I can have the first block done.  Whew!

clipped for bindingI did get the binding sewn onto my Carol Doak BOM, pressed it out and have clipped it to the back, ready to finish the sewing. 

LabelI even got a label done for it.     I haven’t used my embroidery machine for almost a year, after it messed up the last label I was making.  This time all went well …… until the third row was almost done.  At that point the stitching slowed to a crawl and then stopped.  And there was a odor that I took to be the motor overheating.  Well, I stopped and shut everything down.  I let it sit overnight and then started it up again this morning.  It finished my lettering but it hesitated at the beginning of each letter.  Yes, I was excited when it was completed but this baby will be going to the sewing machine hospital this week.

new sock yarnWhen I was taking breaks I knitted on my twin socks and got ready to start another pair.  It is really funny how much fun I am having knitting a pair of socks at the same time.  I also have almost completed my cowl.  I hope to have it to show soon.

This week I hope to complete the Alphabet block and then work on owl and fish blocks so I can be ready for the two new BOMs that start next month.  Nothing but excitement around here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Having Fun in the Studio

off the frameThis has been a great week.  Both Sadie and I are feeling great and I completed the quilting on this Carol Doak BOM quilt.

just off the frameIt is 78 x 78 and will make a great throw.

ending rowI had a couple of people ask me how to mark for the ending of a panto.

marking end rowHere are my markings.  Can you see the arrow where I am skipping an area because it is off the quilt top.  I drew all the way across so I could have a continuous line of stitching and still keep in the pattern. 

not badI have to say, I am very happy with how this quilt has turned out.

biding readyI got it all trimmed and the binding made so it should be completely completed this weekend.

mug rugs comingWhile I was cleaning off the cutting table I found this pattern that Rhonda sent me some time ago.  She made a mug rug and gave it away, not to me ( Crying face) but shared the pattern so I am going to make a couple to give away.  I have three drawn out and will begin searching for the fabrics next week.

Alphabet #1I also drew out the letters for the three components of Block #1 of the Quilt Show’s BOM for this year.  For each of the letters there are also patchwork blocks.  I have not chosen the fabrics for that part yet and even need to find the right fabric for the letters.  I guess I still have a lot of prep work to do here.  Embarrassed smile

instep-foot almost doneLast but certainly not least, look at how I am doing with my toe up, two at a time socks.  I have to say that so far this has really been easy.  I am almost ready to begin the gusset and heel and I figure that I will have to pay special attention since I will be doing these backward to how I have been knitting them.  I know that once I completely understand the pattern it will be OK but, oh how I hate that learning curve.

However, there will be no learning, knitting, sewing or quilting on Friday.  DH and I will be quietly celebrating our 53rd anniversary.  We had planned to see The Hobbit but the 3D version is not showing around here anymore and since we will soon be able to rent the 3D version to see at home we have decided to see Frozen.  Besides, who needs all that “war” stuff while we are celebrating the longevity of our love ?

So while we are having fun, you have a great weekend …… Gari

Sunday, January 12, 2014

After the Design Wall

But first:
sadie & meThis is me, sitting on the floor with Sadie, at the vet’s office.  We were really concerned when she started wheezing, yelping, and then not jumping on the furniture.  Fortunately the vet doesn’t think it is anything serious and gave her an anti-inflammatory shot and follow-up pills.  She was MUCH better after the shot but after that wore out she is more gradually getting better. 

It could be she is experiencing sympathy pain for me.  I, too, am better but my recovery from the furniture moving episode is taking more time than I would like.  Sadie and I are walking a little more slowly but are still moving.

004I did finally finish these socks.  All I had left to do was stitch the toes shut so I got busy and stitched them up.  In fact I am wearing them as I write this.  I love my hand knit socks.

007I did get my Carol Doak BOM on the frame and began the quilting.  I had thought to do custom feathering but after trying to come up with a plan I realized that this is going to be a gift to people who are not quilt people and will appreciate it without custom quilting. 

pantoI chose this panto from Urban Elementz because it is all feathers and curly cues, contrasting with the very geometric blocks.  (Sorry I don’t know the name as I cut that part off and can’t find it.)

backThis is the pieced backing.  I had bought the outer fabric but it was not quite enough to back the quilt so I found this complimentary fabric in my stash to go with it.  I like pieced backs but I really hate piecing them.  Confused smile

quiltingI love the color of this thread, an off brand, as it tends to fade into both the cream and the colored fabrics. 

quilting 2For some reason my stitch regulator is not working so I am having to be really careful of my speed to try to keep the the stitches as even as possible.  I am almost half way though so I should have it quilted by Friday.

I won’t be able to quilt on Friday as that is our anniversary (53 years) and we will be out celebrating, AGAIN.

toes coming alongThen after all that celebrating, I will probably rest and work some more on my toe up two at a time socks.  As you can see I have gotten a little more done.  I finished all the increases on the toes and am now knitting the foot.  I am not doing anything special, just plain socks, as I figure that is enough as I learn to remember to not twist the yarn or knit the same ball of yarn on both socks.  See, I don’t need a computer program to challenge my brain, I have all this other stuff going on.

Well, I guess that’s all I have to share.  I will be working on my BOMs this week and hope to get more sewn on Celtic Solstice so I can have something new on the design wall next week. 

Have a great week:  Gari

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Aging Rapidly

If you have been reading my blog for the last couple of months you know that I turned 71 on Thanksgiving.  I was very proud of the fact that I am pretty spry and get around as well as most people a lot younger than I am. 

Well, spry is not what I am today.
bed areaAll day Tuesday I moved furniture.  You know, move this piece to be able to move this other piece and then move this piece again because it is in the way of another piece that has to move, too.  In the afternoon DH came home and he helped me for about 3 hours, moving the larger pieces.  Then I spent the evening setting up this half of the room.

other side of roomThis is the other side of the room where the tread climber will go, along with the Pilates machine.  I still need to clean the carpet but first I have to recover: extreme back pain.  When I get up, after sitting for even a short while, I can’t straighten up.  Now I look like I am 100, walking all bent over and taking short steps.  I really look quite funny but fortunately it only lasts for a short while and then I am going again.

009Today I finally got enough heat into the studio to get a little work done.  I pieced the backing for this quilt and loaded it on the frame.

008This is the Carol Doak Mystery BOM from last year. 

I have the batting and top draped over the frame and hope to get them loaded tomorrow.

017Now I just need to figure out how to quilt each of the blocks and the open space I created.

011It would be very easy to use a pantograph but I think I want to feather the open spaces.  Anyway, I am going to play with a drawing program this evening so I can be ready to begin either tomorrow or Saturday.

I have been knitting but have nothing to show for it.  I can’t seem to remember the M1L and M1R.  So I keep practicing on waste yarn.  I plan to get back to my little sock toes and grow them next week, I really want to be able to make two socks at a time.

I hope everyone is getting warmer and can have a great weekend.   Gari

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celtic Solstice and a Little More

OK, so the plan was to just make a few blocks and use them as a table runner and maybe a couple of placemats.  Well, that is not going to happen, we will be making a quilt.  I still haven’t decided if it will be the smaller or larger one but I do love what I am seeing so far.  CS in processNow, none of these blocks are actually sewn together so I will be moving units around, probably for months.  I am not going to hurry this process: I am going to cut a little fabric and make a few units, then cut a little more.  Maybe by Spring I will have a new quilt ………… maybe.

backing makingI am about to put this Carol Doak mystery from last year on the frame.  But first I have to make a back for it.  The backing fabric I bought is just a smidge too small so I will be cutting it down the middle and adding a stripe of a different fabric.  I am not sure how I am going to quilt it but planning that will be on the agenda this week.

toe tipsAnd here is my new knitting project.  I am trying to learn how to knit toe up socks and to knit two socks at a time.  So here are the tips of the two toes: that’s all the further I have gotten.  I learned the figure 8 cast-on and am working on the M1L and M1R (increasing).  We are going to have really cold weather here on Tuesday and Wednesday so I will be in the house, knitting.

Well, that’s not all I will be doing.  I have decided to change most of the furniture around in my bedroom.  I figure that since I won’t be able to be in the studio for a couple of days (no central heat) I will have plenty of time to push and pull stuff.  When I was younger I moved furniture all the time (poor DH fell over stuff from time to time) but not so much lately.  However, I am considering getting a tread climber or treadmill and need to see if it will fit in there.  Bet I stay warm with all that physical work.  Smile

I see that we are going to be part of the artic blast that is coming out of Canada.  What will be making it down here will not be as bad as up north but for we thin skinned southerners it will be difficult.  I have dug out my sweat pants and heavy sweaters but mostly I plan to stay inside and keep warm.

So, keep busy and warm and have a great week.    Gari