Sunday, August 31, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday and August UFO

Looking forward to my extra day off tomorrow. We've got a few projects that we need to get taken care of around the house but I'm hoping they won't take too long.

My August UFO is my Kona Solids Sunset Quilt. I have 1/6 of the blocks made for this quilt and there are too many possible layouts to choose one. I suppose I will have to keep making the blocks and decide when I get them all done. However, I am having fun playing with my options.

And of course, some cross stitch updates.

Penguin Family - about 66% done.

Look, you can see the little itty bitty baby penguin head start to crop up. Still not too happy with the white blending on the left pengiun, I'm hoping the further I get, the better it will look.

 The Fairy Spell - about 0.3% done.

Oh my goodness, so much confetti in these first few squares! There are at least 10 colors already on the canvas. I'm loving the way it is looking though.

I did get my floor frame ordered (yay for birthday presents!) but it will still be a couple of weeks until it ships. The frame I choose is handmade to order, and it is supposed to hold just about any size scroll frame, hoop, or q-snap. I'm excited!

My September Project 144 will be another short sleeved shirt for Jack. He keeps telling me how much he likes the one I finished last week. The next one will be out of black linen.

Linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday and August UFO.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Quilt I Didn't Intend to Make

I made a new friend in the Blogosphere this past week. Lara over at BuzzinBumble and I connected and traded comments on our respective blogs - and I found this quilt that she made based on a Kaffe Fassett pattern.

I was thinking that my stack of Kona Solids would look great as a quilt in that pattern.

When I got them out of the box and sorted, I ended up with lights, mediums, and darks, instead of lights and darks.

Well what can you do with three tones instead of two? Hexagons. Duh.

At this point, I really have no idea where this quilt is going, except that it looks nothing like I intended it to look. However, I can most definitely say it was inspired by Lara's quilt.

This is as far as I got last night. I'll keep making the triangles out of the three different tones and maybe mix up the order of colors a bit and see where it leads. By the way, talk about finicky. I'm using 1.5 inch strips for these. My first set finished just a skosh too large and the second set after slightly adjusting my seam allowance was a smidge too small. Ugh.

For the first time this month, I worked on Maggie the Messmaker during my lunch breaks.

As of August 1
As of August 28
I won't be able to work on her tomorrow since we are closing early due to Labor Day Holiday (Yay!). Plenty of time to work on my projects at home then!

Linking up to Mop Monday@Tweety Loves Quilting and Lets Bee Social@Sew Fresh Quilts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Fairy Spell Beginnings

My birthday was a little over a week ago and as a birthday present to myself, I decided to allow myself to start one of the HAED designs I had purchased. So I spent most of last week putting together the kit. I used 28 count evenweave and set my floss on the bobbins, printed my pattern, found the size 28 needles, ordered a QSnap Frame, and put everything in a binder for safe keeping.

I decided to work with The Fairy Spell

And after several hours of stitching, I had this to show - a complete disaster. the stitches are uneven and bulky (I was working two strands over one) and it was neatly impossible to put the stitches where they belonged.

At this point, had it turned out that it would be this difficult throughout, I would have forgone this project all together - or at least purchased an EXTREMELY large pieces of 18 count aida to work with. Not to be defeated by a couple hundred lousy stitches, I parked myself in front of my computer and begged advice from seasoned HAED stitchers - who came through with tons of encouragement and good advice, the number one consensus being stitch one strand over one. I was using two strands because that is what the pattern recommended for 25 count and I wasn't confident that one strand would cover well. At this point, I probably wouldn't use two strands on anything smaller than 22 count. Many of the HAED stitchers posted pictures of their work on 1 over 1 and it looked just beautiful.

Just to be on the safe side, I tested a 1 over 1 and am mostly happy with it. It is much easier that the 2 over 1 and the stitches are much neater. You can see I also played around with an erasable marking pen for gridding but I didn't like the results. Too much bleeding into adjacent rows. I will stick with my red plastic thread, time consuming though it is.

I cut off the offending piece of stitchery, regridded the fabric, and started over from square one - literally!

And that is as far as I have gotten to this point.

Let me just say that working on fabric this small is a little tedious. I find myself switching back and forth between this project and easier ones. I'm hoping some of this will be relieved when my standing floor frame arrives and I can clamp my magnifying lamp to the frame.

Happy Stitching all!

Monday, August 25, 2014

August Project 144

Last month for Project 144, I wanted to make water bottle holders but I was having issues getting a hold of the hardware. I ordered some online and they came in a couple weeks ago, but are so flimsy I don't think I'll be using them. So those are on hold until I can make a trip to Tandy Leather for some sturdier pieces.

For August, I decided to finish Jack's short sleeve tunic. This would be the Fourth and Finally Successful attempt at a  short sleeve tunic. I'll tell you my secret - I used a pattern from Patterns In Time. We finally found a pattern that looks good when finished!

It is actually Akron Red but for some reason the pictures kept coming out pink. I think I need better lighting. I will try to get some better photos when Jack wears this to practice.

By the way, I've now used two different patterns made by Patterns in Time and I am very happy with both. They are not for beginners and they can be a little confusing to figure out but I'm happy with my end results.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Poor Penguins - IHSW

This weekend was mine and Jack's fifth wedding anniversary, so we abandoned all social obligation and got out of town for the weekend. We drove up to Frankenmuth and stayed a couple of nights. It was also International Hermit and Stitch Weekend, and I did a lot of cross stitching on the drive.

Before this weekend

I worked on the Penguin Family, but when I got home I was quite devastated to discover that somehow the DMC white had changed drastically between now and the last time I bought the floss.

Who would have thought that white could be so varied? I made a trip to JoAnn's today to see if there was a different white. I was contemplating tearing out several hundred stitches if only I could find one that matched the original white but to no avail. The color difference seems even more obvious to me from further away.

I am now forlornly trying to decide whether to even finish this project. I am more than halfway through this 15,000 stitch pattern and can't count the hours I've put in. Maybe no one will notice? Ah such a false hope - if it wasn't a big deal, Jack would have told me not to worry about it instead of suggesting I look for matching thread.

As of 08/19/2014

While we were in Frankenmuth we stopped at Hobby Lobby and I found some 25 count white linen. I now have some evenweave and linen both so I can figure out which one I like better. Now I just have to pick two HAED projects, one for each type of fabric.

When I got home, there was a nice surprise from my mom - she had sent us an anniversary card and birthday card for me. My mom does rubber stamping, so every card she sends is handmade by either her or a friend.

Aren't they pretty? I stuck them up on my mantle.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Final Scroll Frame Cover

I wasn't going to post this until tomorrow, but since the pouring rain derailed all my plans to do yard work (aww, what a shame) I thought I'd show you my last scroll frame cover.

I started with about twelve of these:

then poof!

Yes, I know it looks funny. It looks better on the frame, see?

Mr. Samurai is now well protected, in addition to making excellent progress over the last week or so.

About a week ago
As of 08/10/2014
Now I just need matching tote bags for all the materials instead of the ziploc bags I am currently using.

Tonight is rainy and cranky and wet and cold and grumpy, so I think Jack and I are taking a TV night. I'm going to find my flannel pajama pants and fluffy fuzzy extra warm bath robe. I expect I'll get a lot of work done on Mr. Samurai or the Penguin Family tonight.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Swirls and Log Cabins

Check this out!

You may be asking yourself why I am showing a picture of an empty shoe box. The answer is, an empty shoe box means a completed project!

All of my projects, whether WIPs, UFOs, or just at the fabric and pattern stage, go into shoe boxes. When the quilt top is complete, the remnants (unused blocks, leftover fabrics, etc) live in the shoe box until I figure out what to do with them.

This particular box held the leftovers from Anemone. I was debating making a tote bag with them, because after all you can never have too many tote bags. However, this morning I decided to make another scroll frame cover.

This is the pile of leftover blocks. I also had about 2/3 yard of the blue and 2/3 yard of the swirl.

From which I made this:

And backed it with the swirl fabric.

And voila, another scroll frame cover, to protect my Fall Fairy project.

This used up just about everything except the blue fabric, so that will be going back into my stash for a future project.

I still need to make one more cover, so I pulled out my old log cabin triangles:

I have enough materials to make thirty more of these and they are about a third done so I think I'll finish them up and make a cover and maybe a matching tote bag. You know, to tote the project around it. *smirk*

I also worked on my Project 144 from July a little bit. Hoping to get it done in the next week.

Now that I have an empty shoe box, I think I should put something in it, don't you?

Linking up to MOP Monday and Anything Goes 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spiral Block!

Part of not starting any new projects involves working on old ones.

Here is a spiral block I made this week to border my Kaleidoscope quilt (a UFO from a couple of years ago) It became a UFO because I couldn't decide how to finish the quilt.

I'm going to need a couple dozen of these to border my quilt.

Tomorrow is Friday guys, the weekend is almost here!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cross Stitch Update

So I was feeling kind of bad about all the WIP's and UFO's for cross stitching that I have. As a way of explaining, this is again one of those hobbies that I somehow managed to drop for a few years. I think the blame lies with (a) graduating (b) getting married (c) working full time (a, b, and c all happened in the same summer)(d) moving three times in three years and (e) hating my full time job.

Now we own a home and aren't planning on moving and I work a job that doesn't send me home screaming every night, so lately I've found that I have more time for crafty things. I still don't keep up with the housework, but I'm okay with that because I'm doing things I enjoy instead.

As it would turn out, I no longer have any guilt over those postponed projects because today I came across an ambitious cross stitcher who has more than fifty WIPs and was brave enough to lay them all out on her blog. I am not alone in the Lost in UFO's Universe!

And so now, it is time for a Cross-stitch update.

Maggie the Messmaker:
One week ago
As of Friday, August 1.
Mr. Samurai

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Friday Finish!

For once, I actually finished something on schedule. Okay, true, I already had the quilt top done. But the baby shower is this afternoon and the quilt is ready to go except for wrapping it up.

Can I just say first that binding a quilt is probably my least favorite task? If we had to put the binding on at the beginning of a quilt, I never would have gotten past my first quilt. I've yet to bind a quilt with one properly mitered corner and I always have to tear some of it out and restitch. This quilt would have been completed on Tuesday if I hadn't been dragging my feet on the binding. And then, because I hadn't tortured myself enough, I put the remaining binding around the label.

Anyhow, here goes:

My first attempt at framing a label. It could have come out better, but it could have come out worse. Also, this was my first attempt at using permanent fabric markers for a label and they washed and dried just fine. I did wash this quilt with Synthropol and Retayne in the hopes of permanently setting all the colors.

Stitching detail:

And a couple of artsy shots just because that is what we do with quilts:

It has been raining on and off here all week and the backyard is a mess. It is also cloudy and cranky today, so I had to take the pictures indoors. It is about time to pack this up and get it in the car.