Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So, What Have I Been Doing?

I came home from my retreat a week ago last Sunday, with the start of a cold coming on. By Tuesday it had become a raging bronchitis, and I started antibiotics. Then I apparently became allergic to that antibiotic -- Saturday evening I started breaking out in hives. I kept getting new eruptions, all the way until yesterday, in spite of the fact that I stopped taking that antibiotic as soon as I realized what was happening. It hasn't been a lot of fun to be me for the last 10 days.

Today, though, was full of goodness. I don't really have any itching to speak of, and my Knit Picks order arrived. I had to order more needles so I can cast on some more socks -- for waiting room and other "away-from-home" knitting times, I need to have socks that are in a straightaway, so I don't have to refer to a pattern. So I need to get some more toes done, so I have more mindless knitting ready to go.

One of the other things in my order was this sock blocker keychain:

Isn't it cute? I was supposed to go to Knit Night this evening, but the weather was too foul to go out anywhere. So instead, I made a sock for it:

Now it's properly dressed:

I've also been making some progress on some other knitting projects. I don't have any other finishes, but I'm moving some things along a bit.

I think by tomorrow I'll feel like doing a bit of sewing. I have to make a trip to Ohio this weekend, but I'll be back Sunday or Monday, depending on whether I go on Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, I think I'll go back to my knitting.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again any time.

Quilter's Accountability Report for 5/25/2011

I've been sick all week! Here's my list from last week:

1. Continue to work on Mom's jacket, and finish it if possible. Nope, never touched it. Not even once.

2. Quilt Oak Leaves and Reel. (This has been loaded on the HQ16 for quite some time now, and just needs to be done!) Nope, never touched it.

3. Quilt Sugar and Spice. Ditto.

4. Quilt Thimbleberries Goose in the Pond. Ditto.

5. Add borders to Wolf Quilt. More of the same.

6. Add borders to As Time Goes By Quilt. And still MORE of the same.

I came home from my retreat with a cold, which turned into bronchitis, and just as that was clearing up, I started reacting to the antibiotics, and I still am dealing with the hives. So my list for this upcoming week will be the same as my list for last week ;-) Hopefully, I'll have more time for sewing, and feel more inclined to do some than this past week.

Stop by Bari's blog, and see how other folks did with their lists. Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quilter's Accountability Report for 5/18/2011

It's been a busy week! Here was my list of intentions I posted last week, and how I did:

1. Finish piecing Max & Miss Kitty top. Done! I decided that I didn't want an inner border after all, because I didn't want to go shopping, and I wanted to get the top together. Seeing it, I'm sure I made the right choice there.

2. Add borders to blue and green quilt top. Done! AND I made the binding for it, as well.

3. Add borders to red and brown quilt top. Done! AND I made the binding for it, as well.

4. Work on Mom's jacket, and finish it if possible. I worked on this a bit at retreat Saturday night, got the rest of the fabrics chosen and applied to the sweatshirt that is the base for the jacket, and got the shapes zigzagged around on both sleeves, and started to zigzag around shapes on the front. Good progress, though it's not yet finished. It will stay on the list for next week. Pictures when it's closer to finished.

5. Quilt and bind Crazy Stained Glass. Done!

6. Quilt and bind Diadem. Done!

A good, productive week, quilt-wise. I'm thrilled with what I've gotten done, and hope to continue the trend. Here's what I intend to get done in the upcoming week:

1. Continue to work on Mom's jacket, and finish it if possible.

2. Quilt Oak Leaves and Reel. (This has been loaded on the HQ16 for quite some time now, and just needs to be done!)

3. Quilt Sugar and Spice.

4. Quilt Thimbleberries Goose in the Pond.

5. Add borders to Wolf Quilt.

6. Add borders to As Time Goes By Quilt.

That ought to keep me plenty busy! Stop by Bari's blog, and see how others did with their lists.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Retreat Wrap-Up/Design Wall Monday

I'm home now from retreat, and I was thinking about just how much I got done. Frankly, I'm impressed! I've already shown some of the pictures, and some will be in my Quilter's Accountability (QA) Report post on Wednesday, but here's what I accomplished:

1. Made two hobo bags. pictures are in this post

2. Assembled two quilt tops, added borders, and made the bindings for them. pictures will be in Wednesday's upcoming QA Report post

3. Added the last two border strips to a quilt top I was donating, made bindings for it and another top (already completed) I was also donating, and handed them both off to someone who will take them to the person who's collecting these donated tops. They'll be quilted, and will be for a fundraising event in late Fall. Silly me, I forgot to take pictures of these tops before I handed them off!

4. Assembled a quilt top from four stitchery blocks, which have been done for several years at least. pictures will be in Wednesday's upcoming QA Report post

5. Made three sock knitting project bags. pictures are in this post

6. Quilted, bound, and added hanging sleeves to two wall quilts. pictures will be in Wednesday's upcoming QA Report post

7. Made 12 fan blocks, though I still have to applique the fans down to the background blocks. I have border fabrics for these, but I'm thinking about saving them to use as the basis for a new jacket for next winter, so for now I'm going to "live with them" for a while, and see what they say they want to be, quilt or jacket.

8. Finished applying the fabrics to the sweatshirt base for my mother's jacket, zigzagged around the pieces on both sleeves, and started the zigzagging on the jacket front. pictures when it's closer to finished, as right now it doesn't really look like much

9. Squared up a set of 16 stitchery blocks, and started thinking about the design of the quilt they'll become. picture of the blocks, and the fabrics for the quilt, are in this post

If I hadn't had to leave retreat, and essentially lost 2 days of sewing time, I'd probably have finished the fan blocks, gotten them set into a top (if that's what I'd decided to do with them), started setting together the stitchery blocks, and finished my mother's jacket. Who knows what else I might have done, as well? It was a fun and relaxing time, and also productive. I can hardly wait for the next one!

Check out Judy's blog, and see what's on other folks' design walls. Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sock Project Bags

Last night I was playing around a bit with some of my decorator fabric samples I was given a while back. If you didn't see that post, you can read it here. I've wanted to use some of them to make some project bags for carrying around a pair of socks in progress. I had some muslin around that I used to line it, and bought the cording at Hancock Fabrics when it was on sale, so I'm out of pocket very little for this, and it's already being put to use, as you can see. This was the first one I made:

And here is the second one, with a few differences in how it went together:

And the third one, from a different sized fabric piece, so the bag turned out a different size:

That pair of socks in progress just had to get into the act, and model with each bag in turn. I have lots of sock projects on the needles, and I have lots more fabric samples to play with, so I'm quite sure that there will be more of these little bags in my future! It sure looks better and is a lot more fun to carry than the gallon ziploc bags I've been using. I still need to fine-tune the design some more, and I really should have added one or two pockets to the inside of these. So as I figure out more of what I'd like in a project bag, I'll make more prototypes. Eventually, I'll no doubt come up with the perfect project bag design. Well, perfect for me, at least. Now I'm going back to my quilting for the rest of retreat.

Thanks for coming by to play. Come back again any time.

A Nice Surprise to Come Back To

When I got back to retreat late on Wednesday evening, I found a present waiting for me. It was tied up with a narrow strip of fabric, but I didn't think to take a picture until I'd used that strip to put the Purple Thang around my neck, and it got a bit shreddy. Anyhow, it's a stack of lovely assorted fabrics that everyone contributed, a Purple Thang (which I was needing and hadn't remembered to bring with me), and a nice card that everyone signed.

Then, one of the ladies there was making a sewing machine cover, but didn't have any batting with her. I had a piece along with me that was trimmed off from quilting a larger quilt, which was plenty for what she needed. I gave it to her so she could finish her project. She offered to pay me for it, but I told her not to be silly, that I wouldn't know how much she should pay me, and it was just trimmed off a project of mine, to just use it. As a thank you, she left me this:

I hated that I missed several days of retreating, but coming back to these nice surprises softened the blow a little bit. I really, really needed to come back to retreat, in order to get my spirit settled down after the trauma of the early part of the week.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Retreat Progress, Not All of it Mine

Retreat this time hasn't been at all typical. Too many things from "real life" intruded in the first part of the week, and now I've been feeling a bit like I'm playing catch-up. Still, it's always good to have a break and get away, and when there's sewing involved it's even better.

So what have I been working on? I'm so glad you asked! So far, I've quilted two tops (Diadem, and Crazy Stained Glass, both of which I've shown before, and I'll show again when they're bound and completely finished), added borders to two tops (the blue and green one, and the Cider Mill Road Disappearing 9 Patch, which I'll show in next week's Quilter's Accountability Report on Wednesday), and squared up a set of redwork (well, brownwork I suppose, since they're stitched in brown) blocks. Today I'm planning to bind the two I've quilted, and work on making those stitchery blocks into a top.

The other night, we heard a lot of frogs trilling out in the pond outside our windows. A few of them even came up to the building we're in, and several of them were actually ON the glass of our windows, checking out what we were doing. One handsome little fellow was peeking in the side window next to the door:

when I grabbed my camera, he beat a retreat to the outside of the door frame. But since I'm a human with opposable thumbs ;-) I can go through doors -- so I went ouside and got this shot of him:

Look at how long those legs are!

Janet was making a great flannel quilt for her grandson to take to college:

And Bonnie got this top together, which she'd been working on (off and on) for a lot of years. She had a number of frustrations with it, but now that it's together, I'd say it was worth it:

I'm hopeful that the next two days will be really productive. I'll check in again tomorrow with an update.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quilter's Accountability Report

Well, this week really hasn't gone as I'd intended, nor as I'd have liked. Here's my list from last week:

1. Quilt and bind Oak Leaves & Reel Nope, not done -- started to quilt it several times, and kept having to stop and rip. Hopefully will get it quilted soon.

2. Quilt and bind Sugar and Spice
Nope, not done. Never touched it at all.

3. Quilt and bind Thimbleberries Goose in the Pond
Nope, not done. Never touched this one, either.

4. work on mom's jacket
Nope, didn't do this either.

I did do a few things while I was at retreat on Sunday night and Monday, before my harrowing trip home. I needed to do something quick and easy, so I made two bags from kits I got on clearance at Hancock Fabrics:

I'll use these as knitting project bags.

I got this top pieced, and brought it home to "shop" in my stash for a border:

I got this center pieced, and brought it home to "shop" in my stash for an inner border, before the triangles of that same kitten toile as the alternate squares. It turns out I don't have anything in my stash the right shade and character -- I had one fabric that was absolutely the right color, but it was a homespun plaid, which didn't seem the thing with toile. Darn, I'll have to go to an actual quilt shop for this one ;-)

And I got this center pieced, but had left the border fabrics for it at home. This picture is just the blocks laid out, because the top's not where I can get a picture right now.

So for next week, here's my list of intentions:

1. Finish piecing Max & Miss Kitty top.

2. Add borders to blue and green quilt top.

3. Add borders to red and brown quilt top.

4. Work on Mom's jacket, and finish it if possible.

5. Quilt and bind Crazy Stained Glass.

6. Quilt and bind Diadem.

I'm planning to head back to my retreat today, as soon as the dealer has the new tire on the remanufactured rim, and I can be on the road. I will be there until Sunday after lunch, so I hope to make some good progress on this list. Wish me luck! Check out Bari's blog, to see how others have done with their lists.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again any time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not My Best Day...

Yesterday wasn't a day I'd care to repeat any time soon. We have a cat who's lost some weight, and seems to not be doing quite right. Pretty nonspecific symptoms, but really noticeable weight loss. Sunday, as I mentioned, I went to a week-long retreat. I was intending to come back this evening, in order to go somewhere in the morning with my DH. However, yesterday afternoon I got a call from the vet's office with the results of some blood work she had done on Saturday, and it wasn't good news. So DH and I decided I'd come home last night, for various reasons. I'll still go back to retreat tomorrow after we do our thing in the morning. Or I hope so.

On the way home last night, I blew out a tire. I was in the middle of nowhere about halfway home, after 10 at night, and not completely sure where I was. I didn't have my AAA card with me (which was completely stupid, and completely my own fault!), and couldn't raise DH either on the home phone OR his cell phone. It was dark and isolated, and there were a lot of semis whizzing past, but few other vehicles, and no one showed the slightest inclination to stop. I also was having spotty cell service, which was a bit unnerving too. I called a friend, just so someone would know (roughly) where I was and what was going on -- and he had the presence of mind to suggest that I try calling 911. I did that, and two wonderful Missouri Highway Patrol officers came out and found me and changed my tire for me. Not a small undertaking, as it turned out -- finding the jack, getting the seat back to move forward in order to get to it, then getting the jack to work properly, all were harder than they should have been, and no help at all in the Owner's Manual :-( But they perservered, and got it changed. They were very nice and friendly, and I wish I knew their names, or where they were dispatched from, or anything. But anyhow, they were wonderful, and I'm very thankful for their help.

It's hard to see black tire against black bedliner, but here's what's left of my tire:

Goodness knows why I didn't lose control and end up in the ditch, but I'm grateful beyond measure that I didn't. We're waiting to hear back from the dealer now as to whether they can get a remanufactured rim in today, or if it will be tomorrow before we can get it taken care of. For now, I'm just glad it worked out as well as it did, since it could have been worse in so many ways.

Thanks for coming by to play. Sorry if this wasn't a very "playful" post. Come back again any time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Heading to Retreat...

I'm off for a week-long quilting retreat. I'll have my laptop with me, and I hope to post some progress pictures as I work on things.

As I always do, I'm packing way too much to work on. But I never know just how productive I'll be, nor what I'll feel like working on. I'm taking a number of UFOs with me, but also a few new things to work on, in case I need that "spark" of starting something new.

At the moment I don't have any quilty pictures to share, but here's a picture of Max, sleeping on the arm of my recliner the other evening. Well, on a blanket that was tossed on the arm of the recliner. Pay no attention to the clutter on the end table beyond the kitty ;-) Max is my shy boy -- if anyone besides DH and I is in the house, he makes himself scarce. So this is likely as close as anyone will ever come to meeting him.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

More Beading....

Since I got my beading stuff out some time back to fix a couple pairs of earrings that had come off their fishhook wires, I've been wanting to do some more beading. I did a bit the other day, when I made those watches, but I was still wanting to play in the beads some more. The night before last, I was up much later than I should be, and started going through some beads looking for something. I can't recall now what I was looking for, but I never did find it. I did, however, make some new stuff.

First, here's a pair of earrings from these fun, sort of stained-glass tropical fish charms:

More fish, but these are enamel on sterling:

Hugs and kisses for my ears:

A variation on the theme, hearts but no hugs or kisses ;-)

And finally, this pair, which needed nothing but these amazing glass beads. I just love these:

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just For Fun Sewing

This is a pattern/kit I've had for a few years now. I know I got it from a Brother sewing machine dealer at a show I was at -- probably the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, and probably in Cleveland, Ohio, but I'm not positive as to the location, and have no idea about the year. I'm thinking it may have been as long ago as 2005, since the copyright on the pattern (from Quiltmaker magazine) is 2004. Anyhow, they were giving out these kits, which contained the pattern, fabric, Insul-Bright and Warm & Natural batting, and even a small spool of thread, at this machine dealer's booth. I thought that was really generous, and I've always intended to make it up, but hadn't gotten there. So I finally did it. They intended you to back and bind with the blue background fabric, too, but I figured if I put plain muslin on the back (and bound one with something else), I could make two potholders! One for me, and maybe one for a giftie. I still need to add rings or binding loops to them for hanging.

Then, I've been playing around with some small pieces of some hand-dyed fabrics that I was given way back some time in the mid to late 1990s. I never knew what to do with them, and then recently saw a tutorial on someone's blog (and I'm so sorry that I can't remember whose) for mug mats. She made hers somewhat large, they were 9 or 10 inches square, which was a bit big for me, so I decreased the sizes of the pieces and included fewer squares. I just wanted it as more of a coaster, not a snack mat. Anyhow, I started playing around, and this is what I've ended up with. A fun little thing to play with, when I wanted to sew but didn't want to think too much. These are for our house, but I've also made and already gifted several others.

And as a variation on the theme, I made this slightly larger one, which is about 9" square. Larger than the (about 6" square) mug mats, but smaller than a placemat. I'm planning to use this one when I have a bowl of soup or a small plate with a sandwich or salad that I'm eating at the computer. I just love the teal fabric in the background of this one.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again any time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quilter's Accountability Report

One QA report gets posted on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday, and my brain gets reset! I was thinking this was due tomorrow, until I got the e-mail with Bari's post in it. I haven't posted a report for several weeks, because I was with my parents while my mother had surgery and recovered a bit. But I did have some sewing with me, and I DID get a few things accomplished.

Let's see how I did. Here's the list I posted, along with the status of each project:

1. Piece Max & Miss Kitty top. I forgot to take this one with me ;-(

2. Piece Diadem top. Done

3. Finish piecing Improvisational quilt. Done -- not only pieced, but totally done -- quilted and bound.
4. Quilt and bind Strippy Mini. Done.

5. Quilt and bind Mini Bow Ties. Done.
6. Quilt and bind Colorwash TATW wallhanging, and add a sleeve. Leave with mom for Mother's Day. Done, but I didn't leave it there. I realized that they have nowhere to hang it, since my dad paints. He's got lots of paintings they have no room for, so they don't need wall quilts.

7. Finish mom's jacket, and leave it with her. Never got to it at all, but I'm taking it on retreat with me. I leave on Sunday for a week.

I'm delighted with what I got done, given that I was also going back and forth to the hospital, keeping out-of-town family in the loop, and (a few nights) cooking dinner for my father. I got some knitting done, too. It was a productive time for me.

Next week I'll be on retreat from Sunday evening through the following Sunday afternoon. I still want to quilt one or two large quilts, and take them with me to bind. I also plan to take a few smaller things that I can quilt on the regular machine, to finish up while I'm there. Here's my list for next week:

1. Quilt and bind Oak Leaves & Reel

2. Quilt and bind Sugar and Spice

3. Quilt and bind Thimbleberries Goose in the Pond

4. work on mom's jacket

That's enough for the first part of the week -- the next list will have some of the smaller things on it. Check out Bari's blog, to see how others did on their lists.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again any time.

Finished socks

Sunday afternoon, I finished this pair of socks. DH wore them to work on Sunday night. He says they fit great, and he's really happy to have them.

The yarn is Sockaholic from Knitters Brewing Company, and the colorway is called "Dirty Martini." It's a nice colorway, and I like the sort of spiral-y, stripey effect I got.

I've recently cast on about four more pairs of socks, so I have lots of mindless knitting available for waiting room time, and all those other sitting-around times. That's so much more portable than quilting, since I do all my quilting stuff by machine.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again any time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More Beading

Today I made these three beaded watches.

They were kits that I got as a set from somewhere, quite some time ago. I think they may have come from the Mary Maxim catalog, but don't quote me on that. Anyway, I wanted to do something crafty this afternoon, and I didn't have a lot of time. In about 2 hours, I made these three from start-to-finish. Although now that they're done, I'm thinking I may want to redo them on elastic cord, instead of having them on wire with a toggle clasp. But that can wait for another time. For now, they're done and usable. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, and it was a fun way to spend part of an afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again any time.