Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cabin Friends and French Braid Update

Work is almost complete on the Cabin Friends central applique. I just have to finish stitching the bird and give him some legs. I had to add some blocks to the side for the little bird to perch on. This part has been lots of fun; I'm almost sorry to be done with it.
And here's the central panel for the French Braid quilt. Design work is so much more taxing than just following a pattern. I second guess every single decision I make. I'm fairly pleased with the shape of the bunny, but now I think it needs some blue plaid accents, or maybe I should stitch it down with a pale blue blanket stitch for contrast, or something... So many decisions!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Curtains up and Farm Mat Progress

The curtain rod arrived yesterday, and we got the valence installed in the kitchen this evening. It looks nice, but the main thing is we won't see so much of our neighbor's junk now. The land goes up just outside the window, and their stuff towers over the fence. They store this stuff, supposedly "hidden away from view"; only we can see it. The valence should obscure it nicely.
I made a little progress on the Farm Play Mat, actually more than it shows since I had to start over. I made a mistake, and it is nearly impossible to recover from mistakes with this stitch. You knit into the back of a stitch on each row, which puts funny twists in the yarn, which fall apart when they come off the needle. It was much simpler to just start over.
I like the pattern though, and the stitch goes fairly rapidly, even though I'm being much more careful now. I think it looks like another plowed field. 8)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Completion of the Year!

My valence is all done and hanging, not in the right place, but hanging just the same. OK, so my compression rod hasn't exactly arrived yet, but I do have this old rod that I had been planning to use originally, so I decided to hang the valence under the cutting table until the compression rod arrives. Hopefully this will let the wrinkles hang out without putting them out of reach for a quick steam. And now for a solemn vow: As God is my witness, I'll never do pinch pleats again! And one of these days, I'll clean up that mess underneath that table too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quilt of Valor back from the Quilter

I sent the Quilt of Valor off to San Antonio to be quilted and it came back just lovely!
Debbie did a terrifc job on it. She stippled on all the white squares in white.
And put waves of multi-blue quilting in the sashing.
The Ohio Stars are going to really pop after it has been washed and dried.
It even looks really cool on the back!
Thanks, Debbie, for a job well done! Now I just have to trim the edges and sew the binding to the back so Virginia can hand sew it to the front. Virginia, you're a life-saver!
Yesterday was English Garden Sampler day, and I did make some progress, but I don't think it will show up much in a picture. Lots of border backstitching just doesn't give that same look of accomplishment that carving out new territory on a blank canvas does. Maybe next week I'll have more to show on it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cabin Friends Update and a Bunny Picture

I got lots of stitching done during the NFC Championship Game (Go Packers!) My little snowman now has a hat and most of a nose. I'll have to put some of the log cabin's blocks together before I can continue past the carrot, because the little bird extends past the green edge out onto the quilt.
I promised myself that I would sit down at the drawing board and come up with a bunny applique for the French Braid quilt. This is my third and best attempt so far. (The first one was a dead ringer for the rabbit in "Donny Darko" lol. NOT the look I was going for!)
My Mom is the artist in the family, not me, but I'm not done yet. I think the legs need to be a little longer, the body a little thinner, and the whole picture is the wrong size (though a Xerox machine will fix that.) It's good to have something on paper, though. I get nervous whenever I'm faced with a blank sheet of paper, and it's hard to force myself to actually make the attempt, so this is a big step forward for me. 8)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Disappearing Nine-Patch Top Complete

Today was supposed to be French Braid update day, but I haven't made any progress on that one because I was putting the finishing touches on this one. I think it turned out nicely. The colors are more vibrant than this picture shows (and Larry is much sweeter than he appears; he's just... concentrating REALLY hard. lol)
The Disappearing Nine-Patch is one of the easiest quilts I have ever made. Simpler even than the "First Steps" quilts, which I could make in my sleep. I would rather be working on the French Braid quilt, but I have to create a bunny applique pattern for the center panel before I can put any more of FB together. It's too bad, but you just can't put together quilts from the borders inward. 8)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Disappearing Nine-Patch Project Day - and Farmville Update

Today was "Disappearing Nine-Patch" project day for the Blanketeers. Here's Sheila with the first quilt top of the day completed. Love that pink and turquoise!
Here we are, all hard at work. Look how fast Rachel's hands are going; they're just a blur! 8) And check out Virginia's cool kitty prints. We all used the same quilt pattern, but they SURE don't look the same!
Here's Dorthy on her trusty old Singer. It's amazing how well the old machines are holding up. I hope my Artista 180 is still plugging along when it's 50.
I didn't quite get my quilt top finished. Too much gabbing and too little sewing, I guess. I didn't notice until I laid out the blocks to take this picture, but the top row is clearly put together wrong. Sigh. I guess there is more "frogging" in my future. You know, "rip it, rip it". 8)
Today was supposed to be Farm Play Mat update day. You can see how much of THAT I actually accomplished. lol It's a start.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Dreaded Pinch Pleats are Complete

The dreaded pinch pleats are complete! Now if I could just get my serger to cooperate, I could finish the edges properly and be done with them.The latest pleats are being "dressed" using Oxo clips. These clips are perfect for encouraging the pleats to stay pleated.
We ordered a 52-90"black tension rod this evening. It should arrive in a few days. We figured a tension rod was by far the easiest way to hang this valence.By this time next week, I hope to have a picture of these curtains hanging at my kitchen window. It will be my first OPAM finish of 2011, and probably the most satisfying (and certainly the oldest) OPAM finish I've ever had!

Monday, January 17, 2011

English Garden Sampler Update - More Border

I did some work on the English Garden Sampler's enormous border. I actually enjoy working on the border because it is so repetitious that it doesn't require much counting. My goal is to complete the entire left border down to the bottom of the whitework before moving on, and I am almost there.

I also located the missing peacock blending filament this week. What a relief! I think I bought this spool last March when I first realized it was gone. I have a vague recollection of taking a lunch hour to go track it down, but I couldn't swear to it. I love counted cross-stitch; this is probably the most enjoyable project I've worked on all week. Next up: Icky old pinch pleats. 8``(

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cabin Friends Update - Thank Heavens for Football

Thank heavens for the NFL playoffs or I never would have gotten so much stitching done! Can you believe there are 84 linear inches of green trim to stitch on this block? The hat brim is just ironed on so far, but the blanket stitching on the snowman and the trim is all done.
The rest of the block shouldn't be nearly so much work or so boring. Wool really is fun to work with, but it's nice to change colors every once in awhile. I think he'll look even cuter once he has his big carrot nose in place. At least this is way more fun that making pinch pleats!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

French Braid Update

I got a bit further on my french braid quilt. Last week I finished all four braids, but they weren't trimmed. This week they are trimmed and also edged in yellow on both edges. I ran so low on the yellow that I don't have enough to trim the ends in yellow the way I wanted to. In fact, one of the edges has five short pieces stitched together to get to the needed length.My plan is to have a big bunny appliqued on a white print center, with several narrow borders, surrounded by the french braids, then a large yellow flowery outer border. I have been auditioning fabrics for the narrow borders all week. I keep changing my mind or I would already be done. 8)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Farmville Revisited - and Then There were Two

I made a second field. Don't these look like freshly plowed little fields? OK, use your imagination. 8) There are 12 fields total in the Farm Play Mat. The best part is that there are only 2 more fields made out of seed stitch. K1, P1 is so slow if you knit Continental like me.

I have a small problem, this farm doesn't have any ponds, streams, lakes or watering troughs, but I have LOTS of blue yarn. I'm thinking perhaps a stream or a pond might be called for. What do you think? Every farm needs water, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I hate Pinch Pleats!

Once upon a time, I thought making pinch pleat valances for my kitchen windows was a good idea. This was before I had actually made any pinch pleats. I finished the valence for the large triple window, but the one for the much smaller kitchen sink window has languished, crumpled in a drawer, for years now.
As you can see, it's almost done, except for the pinch pleats, and there are only five more to do. I've given up trying to make them perfectly even, perfectly spaced and perfectly sewn. Completely. By this time next week, I'm going to have five more slightly askew, somewhat lop-sided and unevenly sewn pinch pleats done, but by all that's holy, they will be done!

Monday, January 10, 2011

English Garden Sampler Update

Remember the list? I think I'm almost done with March of last year. lol I wasn't entirely idle though. The peacock's body is nearly complete and I've gotten lots done on the left border.

Some stitches on the peacock's body require a special blending filament, which I appear to have lost. I'll have to either find where it walked off to, or source it from somewhere else. (This may be what distracted me from this project last year.)

Well, I tried monthly updates last year, and that didn't go so well. Perhaps regular Monday updates will be just the shove I need to keep moving on this behemoth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cabin Friends Update

I just love working blanket stitch on felted wool. I got the snowman and the bird subunits completed, and I'm still working on the green border. After that, I'll attach the head to the background, complete the hat, add the carrot nose, and perch the bird on it. Piece of cake. ;) Then there's the rest of the quilt to do. At least I have the log cabin squares completed. Oh, and there will be Christmas trees in the corner squares, but I haven't even designed those yet. I replaced the very grayish kit fabric provided with a white/blue felted wool. It looks so much better! Whatever you do, don't try to bleach felted wool. My grey fabric turned pee yellow when I soaked it in bleach. Now wouldn't that have made a lovely snowman? :O

I'm going to post an update on "Cabin Friends" every Sunday. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep it or give it to my sister as a birthday present, but I'm going to make every attempt to get it done by May. I'm hoping regular blog updates will keep me on track.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

French Braid Quilt Update

I finished all of the quilts that had somehow taken precedence over the French Braid quilt I started last fall. It's not a difficult technique and I was able to get four braids done quite quickly.

I worked on all four braids at once, one color at a time. This worked well because I could chain stitch the four braids while ensuring I got the braid order correct at the same time. Braids are not at all hard to make, but you have to be very precise with your seam allowances or they'll get all wonky. Mine all turned out to be exactly 32" long and the centers line up nicely, so I guess I was careful enough this time. 8)

I inherited pink, green and blue colorways in similar fabrics that seem destined to be french braid quilts too. I plan to update progress on these quilts each Saturday, or "Quilterday" as my husband keeps calling it - lol. Hopefully that will keep me on track to finish one a month.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Project - Knitted Farm Play Mat

I bought a book in Green Bay over Thanksgiving called Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss. See, I used to knit a lot and I have a LARGE yarn stash. One of my New Year's resolutions is to use some of it up. 8) I started making the "Farm Play Mat", one, because it's really cool, and two, because it uses many yarns I already have. My current plan is to have it ready for the Peppers & Pinatas auction in fall. Here it is with some of my stash:

It's basically a knit play mat with lots of little farm animals. So far I have just one square of the play mat done. You can see it up there at the top of the picture. Part of my resolution is to do a bit each week and report my progress on "Fiber Fridays". Wish me luck!