Sunday, December 8, 2013

More cross stitch

I haven't been quilting recently. I've been hitting the cross stitch pretty hard. I will go back to piecing because I am 3 months behind my Toes in the Sand BOM. I just flipped through old posts and I have posted pictures of my blocks in awhile. I will have to take more pictures. I do like it. It is interesting and I can't wait to finish it out and hand it over to Jenny to quilt. Jenny just finished quilting another Jaybird Quilt pattern that uses the Hex n More ruler and it turned out super well.

Ok, rambling. I posted about my reindeer pillow and I thought I was done, but I found this pattern form Live. Love.Sew

I don't have the shiny floss I used for Rudolph's nose so I have yet to add the stars. I considered using gold, but I wanted continuity between the two pillows. The mitered bordered didn't turn out as well as the last one, but it works. I was going to pick up extra fabric for the back after church, but we got 3 inches of snow today so I am parked for the day. 

I laid the top on the other pillow and I can see the shadow of the deer coming through. Maybe I should combine the two for a third pillow? Too much I think. I like the way these are clean designs.

I've also been doing the '12 Days of Christmas' pattern. I've kept up pretty well in my opinion. I am almost done with week 1 and week 2 came out on Friday. The fabric is very pretty, but it isn't fun to work with. You know how generic crackers sometime tastes better than the brand name? Target brand blue corn chips are like that; they are delicious. This fabric is 'brand name' and it isn't fun to work with. It is hand dyed so it has shrunk. I ordered 16 count, but this 17 count in some places and 18 in others. There is no sizing in it, so it stretches and is soft. It does look pretty though. I am hoping it is worth it in the end.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

While I was not blogging

I have been doing a good amount of cross stitch while I wasn't blogging. I have really enjoyed coming back to cross stitch. I love the rhythm of the craft. Not sure if that makes sense. There has been a revival of cross stitch and I am glad it is cool again. New designers have come up with modern designs and I've discovered a whole new set of tools- needle minders, overdyed floss and hand dyed fabric.

Anyway, here is my Halloween Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I finished the border up at the beginning of September but it took me a full month to finish out the actual pattern. It is done though! I switched out a few things and like how it showed up. The full moon shows the variegated floss the best. In large chunks it really is pretty.

So the next project is the '12 Days of Christmas'. I love the series. I have 12 Waterford flutes that I collected over 6 years. So adding cross stitch to my collection. I am using opalescent fabric. It is sparkly. I really do like it. It is 16 count and I usually work with 14 count. I am hoping it turns out well. There have been a couple sneak peeks that show a good pattern.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Snow. Ice. What else is new?

Last night was the Holiday Swap at the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild. We had our first bad weather event so I bailed out. I made this pillow for the swap, but a tiny part of me is happy that it stayed with me. I LOVE this pillow. I used a pattern I found on Etsy. I liked this pattern so much I bought another one of a pig. I used regular 14 count white aida, but I have since discovered hand dyed fabrics and opalescent fabric. I used Essex Linen for the border and it looks fantastic. It reminds me of denim but works like regular cotton. I picked it up at Stitch, the new fabric/yarn store in the East Village. They have the Essex in Flax and Indigo. The bolts are pretty slim right now though. It has moved fast. I totally understand why. If you go down there, look for a Flax napkin with a red reindeer cross stitched on it. I made that! I am pretty proud of myself. The store really is great. I enjoy just going down there, hanging out and stitching. There is an infinite supply of coffee and a very comfy couch. Tami, Jessica and Madie are very welcoming and if they are willing to let me hang out there, they will welcome anybody. 
I mitered the corners of the border and I am getting better doing that. There was one slight awkward tuck, but it is barely noticeable. The pillow is just very much my style. So Merry Christmas to me! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Never following instructions!

My wreath turned out fantastic! I LOVE IT. It is 90 degrees outside, but fall is on my door.

I used one of those straw wreaths. I took off the plastic. I am not sure if I was supposed to because I now have straw all over my house. I didn't cover the base but I think it works out ok. I guess I could have and that would have kept the straw from scattering. The tutorial called for an 12 inch wreath but when I saw it in the store I knew it would be too small. I went with 18 inches. It is large, but it looks good.

As I keep looking at the picture, I may adjust the ribbon. I like using the ribbon over, but it is smooshing the felt. Hhmm. . . need to think about this.

Friday, September 6, 2013

All the makings of a 'Karen' project

I shared my story with a friend of mine and below is her response. It made me laugh and a little proud.
"As I’m reading your email today, all I am thinking is how this project has turned into a typical Karen project. J And not in a negative way! Just that you always have a plan and good intentions, and then the project gets tweaked along the way and finishes up slightly differently than expected. But maybe that is just crafting in general. We all do it."

If I have a couple minutes to spare while waiting around or if I can't sleep I browse Pinterest. I found a felt wreath I liked and a tutorial to go along with it. You cut circles of felt, fold them in half twice and pin them onto a wreath form. I should put a disclaimer that I only half read instructions. I read just enough to get started. I started cutting Wednesday night. Hancock fabric had 40% off their rotary cutters so I picked up a circular cutter to make my life easier. It was going well. I am still getting used to using the circular cutter but it is still MUCH faster than using scissors. So I was cutting along. Cut about 40 circles and then decided to check the instructions on how  to really use the cutter. On the back it says ‘set at 2 inch for 4 inch circle’. Uh oh. I wanted 3 inch circles but I set it at 3 inches so that is 6 inch circles. I look at the picture of the circles in the tutorial and sure enough mine are HUGE. Well, I cut a 3 inch circle and it was tiny and would take FOREVER to cut so I decided that I am ok with my 6 inch circles. It will be more peony than coxcomb. So I set my cutter for 3 inches (6 inch diameter) and start cutting again. As I was piling I realized these circles are smaller than my previous 6 inch ones. Sure enough they are! The first set are actually 7 inches because my 3 inches was really something else. Who knows what. So now I have divided them up into 4 piles of oversized and correct sized circles. I am going to divide my wreath in quadrants and start pining so one side doesn’t look more peony than the other. I think I will get the rest cut tonight.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two hundredth post!

This is my two hundredth post. I am a bit of an erratic blogger, but I do try to be honest in my posts even if they just say 'I am not doing anything'.

So I talked about the Halloween Sampler cross stitch earlier and working with variegated thread. They suggested working every 'x' individually. I couldn't do that; it would have caused a very messy back. I went with two stiches at a time. I did / / like normal and then went back \ \ going lower right to upper left and then upper left to lower right. Hope that makes sense. I can't do little arrows to make it clearer. It worked out really well and the gradation showed up nicely. I pull each thread from the skein and then put them back together. I had to remember to put the same ends together so that the two threads were the same gradation pattern. The thread itself is nice to work with. I did have to do a fair amount of unpicking because I made a mistake and then my square didn't come together. The sparkle held up pretty well. The fabric is very stiff and the holes are now clogged (for lack of a better word). I don't mind the stiff fabric, but when you make a mistake it is very obvious what areas have been unpicked. I tried taking pictures that show up the sparkle, but I don't think it shows up well. In person it is pretty.

It has been beastly hot here the last couple days, but my roses are doing really well because of it. I do have to spray every couple days because of Japanese beetles. Those things are evil!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Balanced negative space was achieved"

First irritation about that statement- passive voice. Second irritation- who makes a statement like that about a modern quilt?!

Let me back up. The Iowa State Fair had a modern division for the first time. I decided to enter because I figured if there were many entrants then they would keep the division. I had no delusions of winning. I knew that several of the ladies from the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild were entering so there would be some really nice quilts. Well, the division didn't turn out exactly how I expected. There were a couple quilts that I thought were robbed of ribbons, but that's ok; judges' prerogative. What I am irritated about is that they didn't seem to understand the category and went through a checklist of what they thought the category was. Hence the comment, "Balanced negative space achieved".

Anyway, I LOVE this quilt. The pattern is from Modern Quilt Relish and the fabric is Dear Stella. I love the pattern. I love the fabric. I love the colours. Jenny did a fantastic job quilting it and again was able to interpret my chicken scratch on a piece of paper.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Using my time wisely

I work crazy hours during the summer so to keep my sanity I try to keep up with hobbies. I don't really like quilting during the summer because it takes large chunks of time rather than being able to leverage 20-30 minutes here and there. I've been doing cross stitch this summer and pretty much kept up with the Woodland Sampler. My plan is to cut them apart and turn them into garland or Christmas ornaments. Any suggestions on how to do that? Stuff them? Use interfacing and fray the edges, but not have a back?

I've signed up for their Halloween Sampler. It looks cute in the preview. They suggested (and I followed) using Weeks Dye Works floss. I had never heard of it before, but supposedly it is hand dyed floss which gives a variegated effect of sorts. I ordered the floss and was looking forward to using it, but after reading the instructions for the pattern it said I should make each 'x' individually to get the gradation effect. That I am not looking forward to. I like to count once and be done. It is also a waste of floss in my opinion. Need to figure out a way to work around that suggestion. I made my own sparkle aida for the sampler! The picture doesn't really show anything, but in person it looks pretty good. My fabric is gray and I used diamond sparkles. I don't know how much it is going to stay on. I was a little heavy handled with the paint so even if the majority falls off there will still be plenty of sparkle.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Still crafting

I have been busy with work, but still been working on projects. I've been doing a lot of cross stitch because I find that the most relaxing. I finished up the June Woodland Sampler and just started on the July. I am really surprised by how much I am enjoying it.

I also finished up my scarf. It is too hot to take a picture modeling it. I haven't decided if I want to stitch the ends together or use buttons. The colours lend to large wood buttons. I am leaning towards buttons. One of my local yarn stores is hosting a crochet along. A sampler afghan of different stitches. I am going to sign up. This year I have been branching out into different areas and I am enjoying the variety.

For the Toes in the Sand BOM, I've only done one of the two blocks. This month was a Y seam of sorts. It turned out well and I just need to find the time to finish out the next one.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Baa Ram Ewe

I'm in the middle of several small projects. I finished up my two June blocks for the Toes in the Sand BOM. I am really enjoying that. Fabric choice makes such a difference and i feel I am getting my money's worth from both the ruler and the pattern.

I'm in the middle of my June Woodland Sampler cross stitch. I need to take a picture when I get done. It is a firefly this month. It is cute. I have to use the metallic floss again. I'm not looking forward to that; it was a nightmare in the February block.

Saturday I went to the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival. I had so much fun. There were a ton of vendors for yarn, roving, spinning wheels and all sorts of good stuff. There were sheep to look at and pet. They did a great job with signage of the different varieties of sheep. I picked up yarn from Esther Purl again and already crocheted up half of it into a scarf. I didn't get the hank wound into a ball again, but this time I was wiser and watched a youtube video. Supposedly you undo the hank and if you position it over your knees you can unwrap it nicely. It worked pretty slick. The scarf is just treble crochets.I wanted something airy for the fall.

The festival had sheep dog trials which I found very entertaining to watch. I sat through several of them. Some of the dogs were in training so they would get distracted easily, but you could see the ones who had done it a while and knew what they were doing. So on that note, here is a clip from Babe.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Productive weekend

Does anybody else notice that they are now pronouncing the word 'weekend' like Dame Maggie Smith? "What is a weekend?"

I had a very productive Memorial Day weekend. I finished off the two May blocks for Toes in the Sand and 99% of a quilt top. I only have pictures for the BOM blocks. The recommendation is pressing seams open. It is EXHAUSTING and more than once my fingers got a little singed. I am not a fan. The blocks turned out well. I again swapped colours out. There are a lot meeting seams and some of the triangle points are a good bit shy of 1/4". I've thought about ironing on interfacing as a bit of stability and then sewing the blocks with the background. Has anybody done that before? Recommendations?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Another friend of mine found out she has cancer. Two friends in less than a year. Healthy, going about their daily lives, young women. This time I made a pillow instead of a quilt. It is summer and she has to go in for both chemo and radiation. I thought something serviceable would be good.

I like the way it turned out. I used heavy duty top stitching thread to stitch in the ditch. It turned out ok, but it wasn't what I had expected. I lengthened my stitch length, but the effect wasn't what I imagined. I think I was hoping for more a shashiko effect. I want one of those so badly. I wish one of my LQS would rent that out as well like a long arm. The pillow needs to be sat on so it fills out the corners and the back doesn't bulge. I hope with use it all falls into place.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May gnome

I got nothing to say.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Snow in May

Des Moines received 7 inches of snow over two days. Two days in May. This is what I awoke to this morning.

I had picked up a silk and wool blend at the yarn show in March and figured I would get a head start on next winter. Little did I know that I could use what I made with this extended winter. I love my cowl. I turned into a mobius strip so it is all twisty and interesting. I used a pattern from Fiber Flux that is essentially blocks of single, double and treble crochets. It was a good pattern to jump back into crochet. I have enough length to be able to wear it long or wrap it twice so it is tighter around my neck.

So here are a couple pictures my friend Emily took. It was windy and I was cold but they get the point across. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yet another Block of the Month

I still haven't finished the 2011 Block of the Month, but went with the Toes in the Sand block of the month. I signed up through my local quilt shop. I'm switching out some fabrics because it seems too blue. It uses a special ruler which works pretty well. I haven't used a triangle ruler before, so getting the little notches cut was a little weird.

I thought my seams matched up pretty well. This was my bulkiest seam and it came together pretty well for both blocks.

 Let's see if I can keep up with this one!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Slight miscalculation

The first week of the Spring Sampler came out and there were two eggs in a nest. I figured that since they were unhatched eggs, over the next 5 weeks the eggs would hatch. Well, this week's came out and there are no hatching eggs. Oops.

This has kind of messed up my plan, but I am going to go with it. See my plan was to have the egg hatching on the far right and to be the sort of 'anchor' to the rest of the craziness going on. I decided to stitch the other 4 images randomly without the prescribed frames. Well, sorta randomly. I did make sure that I would have enough space. The pattern called for an 11" square so I upgraded to 15". I also divided up the fabric into 5 rows to give a framework. It was a bit weird to just sew wherever and not have set intervals. I sewed little bits of every image so I wouldn't lose my nerve and want to space them out appropriately.

So for week 2, I am going to drop a teapot design and repeat the eggs from week 1. If week 3 doesn't have eggs, then I really am in trouble. The April angry bunny turned out well. I added a couple raindrops over his head where the antlers should have been. I think the Woodland Sampler is shaping up very nicely. February is my favourite.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Angry Bunny judges you!

The April Woodland creature is supposed to be a jackalope (I had to look it up), but there was some peer pressure to change it to just a rabbit.

The antlers didn't show very well anyway, so I ditched them. I had to smooth out its head a little bit. Now it look just like a plain bunny, albeit an angry, judging one. The back story is that he is mad he is out in the rain.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Remember when Kona Ash was all the rage?

That is one thing I don't care for with the blog/instagram/flickr world; there is a bit of herd mentality. We say modern quilting is about being unique, but there should be a statement about following trends.

Now let me show you my following with my 'so 2 years ago' cross cushion :) I stuffed it last night and did a wretched job of whip stitching the opening. I need to go back and fix it after the filling has settled a bit. I have a couch to watch TV, but I end up sitting on the floor with my back against the couch most of the time. I used the cushion watching the Call the Midwife marathon and season 2 premiere. If you haven't watched it you really should.

So my statement about Kona Ash comes from a cross stitch project. I signed up for the Springtime Sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. My Woodland Sampler is going along well even though I refuse to put eyes on things that do not have eyes on them in real life. I decided to branch out and picked up very pretty gray 14 count aida for the Spring Sampler. I thought that the gray would represent the dullness of winter going away with the bright colours of spring. I had forgotten how much of a colour suck gray can be. I need to get some white. The floss colours are very pretty and very spring! I am getting together with church friends to sew tomorrow night so I will blog after that with pictures. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sewing circle

My friends Emily, Amy and I had a fun sewing evening Thursday night. I crocheted with yarn from Fiberpalooza. It is a silk/cormo blend from Esther Purl Fibers. The pattern I am using is from the Fiber Flux Crochet Along. I made a bit  mistake by just starting to crochet from the hank. I didn't know I was supposed to turn it into a ball. I googled and found out after the fact that it is just ridiculous to crochet straight from the hank. I didn't even know what a hank was! I am used to yarn from Hobby Lobby where you just pull from the center. I could kick myself because the Des Moines Knitting Guild was winding for free at Fiberpalooza. I am really not bright sometimes. Anyway, Fiberpalooza was awesome!!! I learned A LOT about how yarn is produced and how blends are made. Emily picked up a drop spindle to learn how to spin. This may lead to alpacas for her.

Emily has made decent progress on her deer. You can now see antlers. The purple-y bit of it's  body is really pretty in person.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Making a demo does work

I made a second baby height chart. This one turned out SO MUCH better than the first. I feel really badly for my friend who received the first one. There are a few wobbles, but it isn't like the last one. I did bias binding and my machine binding corners turned out fantastically. I even put a legit hanger on the back for this one, with corner pockets (not sure if that is the correct word for them). Here are some pictures. SO MUCH BETTER!