Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Quilting

Now that my family has received their Christmas gifts, I can post the two quilts I made.

Five years ago (wow) I gave my brother and sister-in-law a set of monthly seasonal wall hangings -- minus the November and December that I didn't get finished on time. I figured I had 10 months to finish those two, so no sweat.

Life intervened, and it took about 4 (?) years to give them the November. I wasn't wild about the December pattern, so I finally redesigned it this year and got it to them by mid-December. Yea! Complete set!

The triumph is somewhat dampened by the fact that I still have the December and January wall hangings to complete for myself.

I made a quilt for my mom for Christmas. I really loved how it turned out. I embroidered the center blocks, then used them for a class I took at the local quilt shop some years ago.  I then let them 'marinate' for the appropriate amount of time before setting them in the coordinating fabric I had managed to not cut into and finished it in the summer - hallelujah! - well before Christmas, so that hand-made gift was stress-free.

Handsome quilt holder!

Mom is still debating on whether she will hang the quilt or continue to snuggle under it. I'm glad she likes it!!!

Lola definitely had the Christmas spirit:
Patrick won't let her wear the sweater outside because he thinks she'll get picked on by the neighborhood dogs.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Belated Christmas Posting

I finished this ornament before the holidays, but didn't get a chance to post it. I really loved how it turned out. I found the pattern free online somewhere. My daughter started it sometime earlier this year and I finished stitching it up and finished it with some felted wool and chenille trim.

Ta Da moment

Right before the holidays I finished "Give Me A Home" by The Sunflower Seed. 

It's stitched on my hand dyed cotton  using either the specified GAST or DMC threads. If there was just a spot or so of color, I used the DMC.

Our photographer at work turned me onto a new framer in town, so I'm going to give it a whirl and frame my 'Kansas' and my 'Texas' samplers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I'm Working on Wednesday

I had the chance to sew a little bit this weekend and worked on putting the red triangles onto my 2" square units for the classic strippy Bonnie Hunter quilt I'm working on.

I've only got about 10 more to go.....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My first ornaments

I've been getting a lot of craft time in during the mornings when my son and I hang out and watch the news for about 30 minutes. I actually got to cross stitch something Christmasy during the season and I got them finished up this weekend.

I love these two decorations. I made them all with leftover stuff I had hanging around.

The little pillow is from Blackbird Designs Joyeux Noel book. I backed it with a recycled sweater I felted and filled it with crushed walnut shells. The tiny squirrel is from the 2011 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament magazine. It's also backed with felted recycled wool, but it's a flat ornament.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Secret Santa Scarf

We drew names for a Secret Santa exchange at work. We are an office of all women except for the student workers we have, so I knew I'd be able to make something that would be very well received.

I decided to make a crochet ribbed scarf, and I bought some lovely bamboo blend yarn when we were out of town. I started stitching the base row in the car and I guess I didn't really get a good measure of how long it was getting. It turned out super long, and the woman I made it for is pretty petite.

Ellen, who's 5'8" is modeling. Oops!

But it's so soft and squishy, the recipient loved it anyway. She doubled and quadrupled it around her neck and wore it all day!

Here it is before blocking:

The texture is so wonderful after blocking.
I will definitely make this pattern again. I want some super soft bamboo yarn of my own!

Lola thinks Finnegan is softer than a bamboo scarf:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday scarf

There is a blog I read and enjoy called, Confessions of a Serial Starter, and if that name hadn't already been appropriated, I would reserve it for my daughter, for sure. She has such enthusiasm for projects that you can't help get caught up in it with her, but then other parts of her teenage life take priority and the cross stitch she began to commemorate her driver's ed or the string quilt blocks or the Christmas yarn scarf get put on the back burner.

Since I had found that easy lace crochet scarf pattern, I told her that if she could locate her yarn, I would make a scarf for her. I pulled out all two rows of another pattern she had begun and made this for her:

It was my first time to make fringe on a scarf and she loved it.

And as you can see, it looks good on just about anybody:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I'm working on Wednesday

I had the chance to visit a fabric/craft store when I went out of town over the weekend and I picked up some new yarn. I was able to whip out this scarf for myself using this pattern. I think it turned out really great, especially for how easy it is. I'm thinking about making a wider shawl out of it using some lighter weight yarn.

I'm also still plugging along on my Kansas cross stitch. I've got a lot of backstitch ahead of me on the cabin.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


After figuring out how the pattern worked, I took some measurements from one of Ellen's shirts and made her a blouse out of some fabric she picked out. She loved it! And it fit!

So then I proceeded to make the blouse out of the velvet that had inspired it all...

I loved it! And it fit!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I'm Working on Wednesday

The ripple blanket continues to grow in spite of my haphazard approach. I began with the plan to crochet it with interlocking color strips as Attic24 did. However, my tiny little stash of 9 or so balls of yarn was not going to go far. Especially when a couple of them are really too dull for the mix. I get about 3 stripes from each ball, and the interlocking stripes call for 4 rows for each repeat. FAIL.
So now I'm back to approaching this as I did my other crochet blanket and almost every quilt I've made. Hmmm... almost out of this color, let me go get another smidge of it. Oh look, I'm out again.... let's see if I can get something that kinda matches..... and on and on. It's admittedly a pain, but keeps up the suspense I guess.
I've also made quite a bit of progress on my Kansas sampler. I've found if I devote too much time to either project, my wrist will really start to ache. But if I alternate cross stitching and crochet, I seem to be fine. So I cross stitch in the morning as my son and I have our 20 minutes of watching-the-morning-news time, and then I crochet in the evenings in front of the TV when my brain is tired and I don't have enough concentration to follow a cross stitch pattern.

I'm linking to the Wednesday link party at:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Aye Matey!

So last weekend I found myself with most of the weekend to myself - an unbelievable treat. I decided that I would spend the weekend making a blouse.
I had fallen in love with this from the Sundance catalog:
And since it looked fairly simple and I'd love to have it in a million fabrics, I scoured the internet for a pattern. I finally found one called "Easy Peasant Shirt/Chemise Pattern." It looked simple enough and it was through so I felt good about ordering it online even though I didn't know the actual vendor.
You know that thing on Amazon when you order something and afterward you get that page that says "People who ordered 'Easy Peasant Shirt/Chemise Pattern' also ordered: ...."  So people who ordered my pattern also ordered: A pirate hat. An eye patch. A pirate lady corset. Huh.... Well, I did order it October 20th, so it's probably just people ordering all kinds of Halloween stuff, right?
Then the pattern comes in and hey, look at that. This is the illustration I saw online:
Easy Peasant Shirt/Chemise Pattern
But now on the cover of the pattern the man and women in the "Easy Peasant Shirt/Chemise" are standing in front of a ship's mast. Huh.
Ok, maybe it's a little piratey, but it won't be with the fabric I ordered. Instead of starting with a heavy and slippery velvet, I ordered a really pretty aqua and purple paisley sheer silk chiffon to practice. I was super careful to line up the paisley pattern so it would be centered down the middle of both the front and the back. I folded it nicely so the sleeves would have a pretty part of the pattern showing. I had ordered 4 yards of fabric, and it sure was eating it up as I cut it out, but I figured it was because I had so much waste from centering the fabric.
So I try it on. It's huge.
And I text my daughter: I think I just accidentally made a pirate maternity top.
Ellen's reply: What?
Me: Never mind
Well. There is a continuous seam up the side and down the sleeve, so I put the shirt on inside out and pin it. I take it in FIVE INCHES from both sides.
Wow. Still huge. But hey, I can take the strips I cut off and gather them and make a ruffle around the bottom. No harm. No Foul.
I know. I'll put in some ribbon and elastic just under the bust to make a trendy empire waist. Still big.
How about a matching elastic/ribbon in the back? Big, but better?
Some cute trim on around the neck.... 3 yards of it. Ummmm, not so cute. Tear out 3 yards being soooo careful not to rip the fragile silk. Sew on some more demure trim. Cute.
When Ellen came home I tried it on for her. She said, "It's cute. Except I don't really like the sheer fabric. And it's really big. And it's too long. And it looks kind of like a maternity top. And I'm not sure if I like the ruffle on the bottom." What was it that she liked about it?
I'm letting it sit for a bit before I revisit it. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I'm Working On Wednesday

I bought this pattern a while ago because it's designed right in the town I grew up in, Topeka, Kansas, It reminds me of the Little House on the Prarie books I would read over and over and over.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Attic24 has lured me in again. I could not resist the colorful ripple blanket she is making. And since I've sort of forgotton what I bought 9 different colors of yarn for:

I started it late last night when I was too mentally tired to keep up with cross stitching, but wasn't ready to nod off yet. I "measured" how wide I wanted it by throwing the chain across us on the bed to make sure it would cover two people comfortably. Then I started the long, long journey back down that chain to make the first row.

When I got up in the morning, I wondered what I was thinking. Thank goodness I didn't finish that first row (I probably still wouldn't be finished) as it draped way over the sides of the bed and would have taken 14,000 skeins of yarn to complete. I figured out how to un-crochet from the end at which I began and took out several inches. It's still really, really wide, but now I do have a chance of finishing it in this lifetime.

I'm planning to use the same interlocking stripes Attic24 is using. Looking forward to the color changes seems to make it go faster. I am only on color #2 and I am loving watching it grow.


Ellen and Patrick went to the city's Dog-O-Rama over the weekend and Lola was a huge hit. She got second place in the kissing contest, although Patrick and Ellen said she was definitely the crowd favorite.

Ellen did a wonderful job on the costume. The book doesn't have any patterns to trace or cut around, just some diagrams.

The final product:

Finnegan is not amused.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Block Talk help

I am soooo excited. Gerry of "Block Talk" fame evaulated the crazy quilt block I did for the HGTV Message Boards Crazy CQ Summer Challenge. See the great advice she gave me here:

Nuts About You

Patrick and I celebrated our second anniversary earlier this month. He loves things that are "nutty" and make him laugh, so when I saw this on Etsy, I knew I had to suprise him with it!

I stitched it on my hand dyed cotton, and cotton happens to be the traditional second anniversary gift. Happy coincidence! Er, I mean, Happy Anniversary Honey!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Parrot Finish

I finished my green parrot cross stitch into a little pillow. This was the first time I had made cording. I thought that if it were a little smaller, it might look better with the scale of the photo, but then I would have killed myself trying to sew it in, so I decided this was not bad for a first attempt.

The backing is the same fabric as the cording. It's a pretty blue and green paisley.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Smocking finish

After seeing this I had to try out smocking. I have a friend who kept telling me how easy I would find smocking. I'm not sure I agree with her yet, but I definitely want to try it out some more.

I made just enough to make this little pouch, which is also lined with gingham.

I backed it with some recycled wool herringbone from my huge vat of wool.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not everything is bigger in Texas

As Patrick and I were enjoying the gorgous South Texas October weather this evening* he found the tiniest acorns on our patio table.

Then we played a little with my new photo editing app.

Countdown to Halloween

Patrick and Ellen have been talking about Lola's Halloween costume for months now. We found a book called "Dress your Dog" and tonight Ellen went through her fabrics to see what she had. Based on her materials, they decided on this:

Their first no-sew version was this:

Then out came more supplies and a photo shoot commenced. These are the best we could get from a very wiggly dog.

Ellen has now cut out and begun sewing all the pieces for the real costume, so stay tuned. She's hoping to finish it for the city's "Dog-o-Rama" this weekend.