Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Whit's End...

I just realized I never wrote a wrap up post for Whit's End.  I try to do that for each quilt I finish so years later I can always look back and see what fabric I used or pattern to quilt it.


So the stats for this quilt are:
  • Size:  33" square
  • Fabric: A charm pack of Best.Day.Ever. by April Rosenthal
  • Batting: Warm & White
  • Thread: Aurifil #2024 for piecing and quilting
  • Pattern: Whit by Carrie Nelson (added the outer flying geese border)
  • Quilting: SID, Ribbons in the sashing and Heat Wave in the borders
It's freezing outside right now and the heat is trying hard to keep up in here, but I have this quilt hanging right next to the window and looking at just makes me think of warmer weather (and that just makes me happy!)



Skywalker....

I'm still busy quilting my mom's Winter Wonderland quilt so I don't have much to show there, but I did have a big knitting finish recently.  This is Skywalker.


I'm taking the Craftsy class "Knit this! Mastering Lace Shawls" by Laura Nelkin and this is one of two patterns she offers through it.  It was fun to knit, but I definitely had to pay attention to what I was doing.  I used Classic Elite Yarns Villa in Lavender which is 70% baby alpaca and 30% bamboo so it's incredibly soft.

I wasn't sure how big to make it and I ended up enlarging the pattern.  I knew it would grow once I blocked it, but I just wasn't sure how much.  What a difference blocking made!  This is what it looked like just coming off the needles.  It was small and difficult to see the patterns.


If anyone's curious, I added another Star Stitch section before the border to make mine larger.  That's the top section in the picture.  I think my favorite section though is the elongated stitches just below it.  They're incredibly easy to create, but I like the effect.


She offers two patterns in the class and I've already started on the second one.  I find it very relaxing to knit at night while watching TV.  I used to do my hand applique during this time, but it meant my lap was full of project stuff.  With knitting, there's plenty of room for a cat (or two).  Usually this one...



But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.” 
Romans 13:11 (MSG)


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trip for "2" to Boston (the Scenic Route)...

I'm back from a lovely week of quilting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Eight of us from our quilt bee were able to make it for our fall retreat and as usual there was a lot of laughter, too much food and, in my case, not enough sewing!  The weather even warmed up enough to make walking on the beach quite pleasant.

The Atlantic Ocean from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
I had a hard time trying to figure out what to bring to this retreat.  Most of what I'm doing right now is machine quilting and that doesn't travel well.  I packed up several new projects, but at the last minute I remembered an old UFO and threw that in my bag as well.

Although I managed to get one quilt cut out and make a few blocks on another, the only real progress I made was on this UFO.  Looking back, the last time I worked on it was in March of 2010!  The name of the quilt is "Trip for '2' to Boston" by Prairie Pieces.  It's an interesting pattern because you make it with a friend.  The packet contains 2 copies of the pattern - one for each of you.  You pick 15 fabrics in 2 color families gradating from light to dark.  Working together, you sew (and unsew) strip sets.  I had all my strip sets going to retreat and managed to put the center of the quilt together.


My next step was to cut off the tips of all the triangles along the outside giving me straight edges to add my borders; however, this leaves you with all bias edges so I waited until I got home to do this step.


Even though it was years ago, I can still remember how much work it was for Jan and I to pick out the 15 fabrics that make up the center of this quilt.  But now that it's put together, it was so worth it.  I love this quilt and wish I hadn't waited so long to finish it,


I have a pretty good idea how I want to quilt it and would like to jump right on it, but I have several other quilts I need to finish first.  I really hope this one doesn't sit around for another year waiting it's turn, but I'm not the fastest machine quilter so we'll see.  By the way, my quilt is 67" x 72", but the pattern includes directions from Lap size through Queen.


I've been extremely remiss in posting pictures of my furry babies lately so here's a snapshot of David.  You can tell he wasn't being very cooperative though.  He really wanted me to stop what I was doing and pet him.



Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 
Philippians 4:6 (NLT) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

A little late...

OK, so it was the last day of the month (again) and I hadn't quite finished my quilt for the AYOS parade hosted by Sinta and Sherri.  I spent most of the month working on other quilts and didn't start this one until late.  It was 8:30 that night and I really only needed to sew the outer border on, but instead I decided to skip it and go to bed.  (That's just how I roll around here.)  I missed the parade this month, but finished the top the next day.

The pattern this time was Harvey by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  Although it is still made with charm squares, it's a much larger quilt than most Schnibbles at 72" square.


I love the center of this quilt and the border, but basket quilts aren't really my style so I changed it up a little and made a giant star quilt instead.


I used 4 charm packs of Strawberry Fields by Fig Tree & Co. and Bella Solid Snow for the background.  Fortunately, I happen to have a whole bolt of the red polka dot from this line that will be perfect for the backing.


After last month's quilt with the gazillion 1" x 2" flying geese, these 4" HST felt huge!  It went together pretty quickly though and I have a petty good idea how I would like to quilt it (when I can find the time).  This is another bright cheerful quilt that helps me forget it's below freezing outside right now.

As for the bulk of my quilting time last month, it was spent working on this quilt.  I've finished quilting the center of it and have moved on to the borders, but I'll have to share that in another post.


I'm off on a quilting retreat this week.  Although if you looked at all I've packed, one might think I was moving there instead.  I have yet to master the art of packing light!  My husband will be holding down the fort while I'm gone which means caring for our herd of 4 legged creatures.  They have an unfortunate habit of getting sick on him whenever I go somewhere.  One of them woke us up this morning at 3:30 with a hairball.  His only comment was, "And so it begins."  On the positive side, everyone's always so happy to see me return.  Here's a picture of one of the worst culprits, Jack...



If you want to know what God really wants you to do, ask him ... but if you don’t ask in faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.” 
James 1:5-6 (TLB)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Whit's End..

So I'm back to an end of the month rush to finish a quilt.  That can only mean that Sinta and Sherri have started Another Year of Schnibbles again.  I have so much fun making these little quilts, but I always seem to be working up to the last minute.  This month though I was determined to not only make it, but also get it quilted.  No more Schnibble UFO's!

Sinta and Sherri picked the Little Bite pattern 'Whit' by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. this time.  It's like a Schnibbles quilt except that it uses 2 mini charm packs instead of the regular charm packs.  (For those of you not up on the lingo, a mini charm pack is made up of 2 1/2" squares while a charm pack has 5" squares.)  Unless they're really on sale, I tend not to buy mini charm packs.  Because for about the price of two of them, I can get a regular charm pack and cut it down myself which nets me the equivalent of 4 mini charm packs.  Despite having a drawer full of charm packs I could have used for this  (          bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb            b <- my cat just typed this), I ended up going shopping.  I bought a charm pack of Best Day Ever by April Rosenthal.  She's a new to me designer, but I just love this line of fabric.  So bright and cheerful!

I used a charm pack of Best Day Ever and cut it into 4 mini charm packs.
I had trouble deciding which version of Whit to make, but settled on the top version initially.  After making all those flying geese (that finish at 1" x 2"), the quilt went together very quickly.


Although I like this version, I thought it needed more.  So I added some more flying geese, around 100 or so.


I have to share this candid of Sam I got while trying to photograph the quilt...


I thought I could quilt it fairly quickly.  I was only planning to do some straight line quilting.  But as usual, once I started, I kept adding to it.  Instead of just quilting around each block, I ended up quilting around each of the flying geese.  Then I decided the sashing needed something.  Then the borders needed more, etc, etc...


It's almost impossible to see the quilting in the pictures because of the white background.  It's only slightly more visible on the backing.  However, it shows up really well in person so I'm feeling like it's worth the extra effort.


I came very close to finishing this quilt this month, the only thing remaining is the binding.  I'll get that done in the next day or two.  Although the number of tiny flying geese in this quilt seemed daunting, once they were made, the rest of the quilt went together very quickly.  And now that the weather is turning colder, looking at this cheerful quilt just makes me smile.  My husband says the colors remind him of Christmas.  I completely disagree.  To me, they remind me of spring.  Is it crazy to be so looking forward to spring before winter has even come? 'Cause I really am.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” 
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Multitasking...

Perhaps in an effort to make up for my lack of sewing over the summer, I've suddenly become energized to work on so many different projects.  All at the same time.  And if you ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you I don't like clutter.  I'm a very organized person, maybe even a little too much so. (I'm working on that)  When I redid my sewing room last year, I wanted to make sure everything had a place and the room was very clean and clutter free.  And it's remained that way since then.  However, I'm now working on so many projects simultaneously that almost every surface seems to have something on it.  If I wasn't enjoying the projects so much, it would be driving me crazy.  As it is, it's only bugging me enough that I keep trying to rearrange the piles more neatly.  This is the surface of my cutting table right now.


I have stuff for 3 projects on there right now - the Little Bite quilt Whit, Winter Wonderland and a free motion fillers quilt.  My sewing table is also covered with more of the same...


I'm rotating back and forth between machines depending on which project I'm working on.  One's set up for FMQ and the other for piecing.

I also want to fit in this Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl Designs.  I currently carry my knitting around in a free bag I got in the mail.  It's functional, but not very attractive.  This would be so much nicer.


And finally, there's still the mystery quilt hanging around on the quilt frame waiting for me to quilt it.  Somehow, I predict that one is going to have to wait a little longer before it sees any progress.

It's nice to have so many projects I'm excited to work on, but I admit I'm also eager to finish a couple of them and clear off my workspace.  (And of course it will be nice to have the finished quilts too.)

I could probably finish whatever I'm working on a little bit sooner if I didn't have so much help, but honestly, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)


Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to School...

It's that time of year again.  All across the country, children are going back to school and beginning another year of education.  I'll admit it.  I was always one of those kids who was excited about starting school.  I love learning new things, always have and hopefully always will.

So since learning about Craftsy and taking my first class, Improve Your Knitting with Patty Lyons, I've become something of a junkie.  From that class, I've been trying to learn both Continental (picking) and Western (throwing) knitting.  It's also led me to take other classes and try cables, lace, knitting in the round, learn blocking, short rows and I'm currently trying to make my first pair of socks.  Boy are double pointed needles fiddly!  In the last several months I've made a few prayer shawls and a couple of scarves.  I just finished this cable one the other night, but haven't had a chance to block it yet.


But Craftsy has more than just knitting classes, they also have quilting classes.  They have had a free Block of the Month 'class' available for the last several years.  I've now decided to make the Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 quilt.  Not only because I like the design, but also because Leah Day offers a class showing you how you can free motion quilt it.  I may not quilt mine exactly like she did, but the class offered a lot of great tips and designs.  I was vaguely familiar with Leah Day from the Free Motion Quilting Project that she started several years ago.  She's actually a very good teacher and I ended up taking a couple of her other Free Motion Quilting classes.

Fabrics for the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month
Ok, so it looks like I've been spending a lot of time with my knitting and free motion quilting, but actually I've been spending most of my time cooking.  My husband and I are committed to eating well.  We eat lots of seafood and vegetables and I try hard to keep processed foods out of our diet.  (Having said that, I'll admit my husband is addicted to Golden Oreos.)  I'm a pretty good cook, but an awful baker.  So when I saw a class on Artisan Bread Making I jumped right on it.  Is there anything better than fresh baked bread?  Not only does it taste amazing, but it makes the whole house smell wonderful.  To give you an idea of how much bread I've made, it's been one month since I started the course and I've already used 25 lbs of bread flour.  I've tried white, wheat, focaccia and ciabatta bread.  There are a couple more I'd still like to try though.

Wheat Boule fresh out of the oven
There's also a free class on how to make the Perfect Pizza at Home.  The class covers making the pizza dough, sauce and an amazing herb oil.  We've had the Sicilian style pizza several times in the last few weeks and my husband loves it.  We've been trying so much new food lately that I've been having him rate them all on a scale of 1 to 5 to see if they're worth making again and the pizza is the only one that's received a 5-star rating so far (excluding the bread).

Sicilian Style Deep Dish Pizza
I'm taking several other cooking/baking classes including the perfect pie crust, cooking vegetables and
making Thai food.  To be honest, I hadn't eaten much Thai food before this, but since my husband loves it I was willing to give it a try.  For the most part I'm finding it delicious.  Although I'm still baffled about how something like fish sauce that smells so revolting and is found in almost every dish can make them taste so good.  Go figure!

I realize this entire post must sound like an advertisement for Craftsy, but honestly they have no idea who I am.  I'm just enjoying the classes and a platform where I can continue to learn new things.  And since I can watch them over and over again, I'm able to pick up and practice things I might otherwise miss in a sit down class.  Since I was absent from the blog for a good bit of the summer, this is also just a recap of what's been going on with me.

I'll leave you with this picture of David.  He wouldn't get off of some fabric I was cutting so I tied this extra piece around his neck thinking it would annoy him enough that he would leave.  I was wrong.  He loved it.  He wore it for hours until I saw him dragging it into the litter box and took it off him.  Silly cat!



"Pray for those who insult you." 
Luke 6:28 (GWT)