Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring has Sprung...

Although it's rather a cold rainy day today, Spring is officially here and I am so grateful.  My neighbor's Bradford Pear trees are already in bloom and they are gorgeous!  While nature's hard at work, I've been continuing to work on the blocks for my Cheerio quilt.  The pattern calls for 42 blocks set in a 6 x 7 layout.  I cut out all of the pieces for this quilt late last year, so I was a little confused when I finished sewing and discovered I only had 36 blocks.

Boy was there a lot of head scratching going on!  I had started with a fat eighth bundle of Scrumptious and it took me a while to figure out that the bundle only came with 40 pieces of fabric and I couldn't use 4 of them because they didn't have enough contrast.  Hence the 36 blocks.  I could have put it together in 6 rows of 6 blocks, but decided I really didn't want a square quilt.  Although this line of fabric is a little bit older, you can find almost anything on the internet nowadays.  Between Etsy and my local quilt shop I found enough of it to make the remaining 6 blocks I needed.

These are such simple blocks to sew, it didn't take long to finish the rest of them.

Now I need to lay them out and then sew them together.  However, I've had to put it aside for a little bit while I work on costumes for the Easter play at my church.

Some number of years ago, I used to do a weekly stash report because I was still buying a good bit of fabric.  Times have changed and I rarely buy any now.  However, the last couple of weeks has seen a plethora of packages arriving at my house and it reminded me of those days.  I would have dreaded having to add it all up!  The backing and binding for 4 different quilts arrived as well as a FQ bundle of Miss Kate that will be used for an upcoming charity project.

Now I have to find the time to complete all those projects!  Hmm, I think I could use some more snow days...

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 
Micah 6:8 (NLT)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winter Wonderland Pictures...

Here are all of the pictures of the quilting I did on my mom's Winter Wonderland quilt.  I'm posting them here because I had such trouble coming up with ideas for quilting this and I hope they might help someone else.

It's a Winter Wonderland...

It's somehow fitting that as I've finally finished quilting a winter themed quilt, spring looks like it might be making an appearance.  Yeah!  I have never spent as much time quilting a quilt as I did this one.  I started it last August (although I truthfully I didn't get that much quilting done during the holidays).  Please ignore the photo bombing cat in any pictures.  She was being a pest that day.

My mom hand embroidered all of the snowmen blocks and pieced the top.  The pattern is Winter Wonderland by Crabapple Hill Studio.  I offered to quilt it for her a couple of years ago but only just got around to it.  One of the reasons I waited so long was because I wasn't quite sure how to quilt the embroidered blocks.  Kathy from Troublesome Creek Quilts was nice enough to share some links where she had seen the the same quilt quilted, including a great one by the Quilted Pineapple.  I took some inspiration from her in quilting mine.

I started by outlining all of the embroidery with silk thread.  Obviously that took a while.  Then for each embroidered block, I drew my quilting design on Golden Threads quilting paper and quilted it.  I did the same thing for the large snowflakes in the solid blocks in the border.  Everything else, I freehanded.

Deciding how to quilt something can be the hardest part for me.  I look on the internet and in books for inspiration.  And because I had such a difficult time with this one, I'm going to share pictures of all of my quilting for anyone else who makes this quilt.  (Also, I made this exact same quilt for myself and would like to remember how I quilted it when I finally get around to quilting mine!)  However, there are a ton of pictures so I'm going to put it in a separate post.  If you're not interested, you can skip right past it.

I was so happy to finish quilting this and give it to my mom.  I love how it turned out.  And although she put absolutely no pressure on me to get it done, it's nice to have it off my list and be able to move on to something else.

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. 
Psalm 39:7 (NLT)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Happily Sewing Again...

I've been meaning to post for several weeks now.  I finally finished a big quilting project and plan on sharing it.  But there are quite a few pictures and it takes a big chunk of time to edit them and write a post.  Rather than wait on it, I thought I'd share what I've been doing since then.

I had every intention of pulling out another quilt top to machine quilt.  I have so many waiting in the wings and several I'm actually excited about quilting.  However, I just really felt the need to sew some pieces of fabric together.  So I went with it.  I pulled out a project that I cut out at my last quilt retreat.  The pattern is Cheerio by Camille Roskelley.  Initially the pattern was only available in the UK magazine Love Patchwork & Quilting (which is how I got it); however, now Camille is selling it as a separate pattern (for much less than the magazine!)

I had a fat eighth bundle of Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille lying around that is perfect for this quilt.  The quilt on the cover was made using a mix of this fabric and April Showers, so my version will have a similar feel to it.

I've mentioned it before, but I haven't really felt like sewing over the last several months.  But working on this quilt has been SO. MUCH. FUN.  We've been hammered with crazy cold weather lately (just like everyone else), but I've been hiding out in my sewing room happily sewing away with these bright cheerful fabrics.

I'm having such a great time that it almost makes me wish for more days like this so I'm forced to stay at home and can spend the entire day sewing guilt free.

Never stop praying.” 
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Better Late Than Never...

Here it is, February already, and I've just now delivered my last Christmas gift!  I decided at the beginning of December to knit my sister a scarf to go with some earrings I was giving her.  I saw a sample in my local yarn store that only took 1 skein of yarn.  I downloaded the pattern from Ravelry and started in plenty of time.  However, by the time I got to the end of the yarn, I realized it just wasn't going to be long enough.  When I went back to the store, they didn't have any more of that color.  So on December 13th, I ordered the yarn and even paid for expedited shipping.  Unfortunately, it didn't arrive until December 26th.  (I've never ordered from this yarn company before and I definitely won't again.)  I finished the scarf in the next week or so, but because of scheduling, I haven't been able to get it to my sister until now.

This is the Feather and Fan scarf by Linda Castles.  I used Madelinetosh Tosh Sock yarn in Envy.  It took just over 1 skein to make, but it's a nice long scarf.  (Now I have to figure out what to make with the rest of the yarn?)

The funny thing is, when I went back to the store to look for more yarn, I asked them why it was taking me more than their sample.  It turns out I was using the wrong pattern.  They have a different pattern with the same name.  It looks similar to this, but isn't quite as wide and doesn't have the alternating rows of stockinette.  They gave me a copy of their pattern.  It's just as pretty and I can see making another of these scarves sometime in the future.  Live and learn!

Anyway, for now I've put aside my knitting and finally gotten back to my hand applique.  I'm determined to finish the last 2 ship blocks for my husband's quilt.  (I'm in denial about how much work the borders will be.)  I'm also getting close(r) to finishing my mom's Winter Wonderland quilt.  This is one of the blocks I'm working on right now...

I caught these two napping end to end the other day.  Jack and Moses don't care for each other much and they're always fighting over the same sleeping spot at night, so I was surprised to see them getting along so well.  If only they'd do that all the time!

You probably noticed that I spent most of last winter complaining how cold I was.  (I didn't feel like my feet thawed out until summer.)  Late last fall, my husband and I replaced out heating system with one that uses natural gas.  They'd only just installed the lines in our neighborhood earlier in the year.  Since then, I have been toasty warm!  Well, as long as long as I stay inside...

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is!” 
Romans 1:19 (MSG)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Crossover Sewing...

Not a lot of sewing going on over here.  I thought I'd get back into it after the holidays, but somewhere along the way I seem to have misplaced my sewing mojo.  If anyone finds it, please send it back this way!

I did motivate myself enough to finish up one small project, a new knitting bag.  This is the Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl Designs.

This is the first of their patterns that I've used and I have to say their directions are very clear and easy to follow.  Lots of pictures as well.  The most time consuming part of making the bag was quilting the panels.  I quilted the main body of the bag with Diane-shiko and I outlined all the flowers in the bottom panels.

The bag has lots of pockets inside and you can customize them to the size you want.  I measured all my different knitting paraphernalia ahead of time to make sure it would all fit.

It's plenty big enough to hold everything.  I'm in between knitting projects, so there's not much in there right now.  However, it easily holds a 10 lb cat with room to spare...

I also made an Across the Pond Pouch from Cabbages & Roses to hold all my notions.  (There's a free pdf of the pattern if you're interested.)  It went together in an hour or two.

I did buy one of the acrylic bottoms to go in the bottom of the bag.  I found it gives the bag a lot more support.  Lazy Girl Designs sells them, but you can usually find them at craft shows as well.  I also used a magnetic snap closure instead of velcro.  However, if I ever make this bag again, I think I would use a slightly heavier stabilizer for the body.  Overall though, it's a vast improvement over the little plastic tote I've been using for my knitting.

Moses has been finding all kinds of hiding spots lately.  She's spending a lot more time in my sewing room than usual and she's definitely keeping herself amused!

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” 
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT, 2nd edition)