Saturday, January 31, 2015

Two Finishes in One Day!

The first finish was the baby quilt for the shower next week - completed one whole week ahead of schedule. I put the binding on this morning, stuck it in the washer, and went to Dagorhir practice. The only thing missing now is a label.

I even pieced the backing from leftover quilt fabrics and some pink that I didn't think I'd use for anything else.

Here are some closeups of the quilting!

The second finish was the Penguin Family cross stitch project. I had to get my brakes fixed a couple days ago and got most of the remainder done while waiting for my car. The rest was easy to knock out this evening.

Oh boy, now I really want a new start but I think I'm going to be good and try to pull out one of my UFOs that I haven't worked on in a while. If I pick the right one, it will almost be like a new start.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I got RAK'd!

Wow, what a surprise this morning when I woke up and found an email from HAED - someone set me a RAK! I'm so excited, I wish I could start it RIGHT NOW!

I was sent The Dreaming Tree by Aimee Stewart. This beauty is a little bit less than 2 ft by 3 ft when done. 81 pages of stitchy goodness!

I posted a thank you in the Facebook HAED feed, and I hope that whoever sent it sees my thank you. It was anonymous, so I wasn't able to thank them directly.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fairy Tales and Penguins

I found a new cross stitch kit I desperately want! It would go so nicely with my fall fairy and woodland enchantress kits.

Fairy Tale by Dimensions Gold Collection
I stuck it in my amazon wish list. I am NOT going to buy it. This would burn my entire Stitch from Stash budget for February and all the leftover from January. What I would really love to do is save up that money and be able to purchase a material pack for one of my HAED or Tilton Craft projects.

The baby quilt I'm working on is about half quilted. Whew! It is going a little slow because I have trouble focusing on the quilting aspect. That may be because it is hard to move even such a small quilt around the sewing machine bed. I've decided to pick up a pair of Machinger's quilting gloves to see if they help with the fatigue and grip problems. They won't arrive until after I've finished this quilt but I'm optimistic that they will be in time to work on the next.

There have been several good suggestions for names, so thank you everyone! I may draw a name out of a hat or use a combination of the suggestions.

Finally, here is an update on my penguins. I'm so anxious to get this done now that it is only about 600 stitches away from a finish. Only two colors left, the white and the dark cream color.



This project is more than six months old, so I get to count my progress as additional SFS funds. Based on the guidelines on SFS rules, each 100 stitches is worth approximately $0.21, so if I finish, I'll be able to add $3.78 to my budget for next month, which actually may be enough to buy a material pack for one of my mini HAEDs!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finally, A Quilt Sandwich

I haven't done any cross stitching since Tuesday. Instead, I've been devoting my free time to trying to get the baby quilt done. I did finally get the quilt top completely put together yesterday morning.

I also pieced a backing, sandwiched, and started quilting! I'm outlining each square and putting a heart in each corner using my free motion quilting foot. It means my lines are crooked, but I'm never going to get better at FMQ if I just straight stitch everything.

This quilt needs a name. It looks like blueberries to me, purple and blues, but that seems like a silly name. I am accepting name suggestions!

The other project I worked on this week was garb. I picked up a celtic knot dragon to stitch on the neckline of Jack's t-tunics. Its a little small, but until I buy some software (which, FYI, is way more expensive that I was expecting, so it will be a while) I'll make it work.

I had no idea how it would stitch out because I have no software for my embroidery machine, hence, no image previewing. The designer's website had click protection so I could not save a copy of the photo.

To get around this, I took a page out of the book of my Serger Craftsy class and started making a stitch book. I printed out the details of the embroidery design, embroidered the design on some scrap cloth, added some personal notes, stapled it all together, and stuck it in a page protector in a binder.

I did watch the second episode of my embroidery machine class. I have not attempted the technique yet, but it may come in handy when I do actually start stitching on the shirt. I've decided it would be best to finish the shoulders and neckline before I embroider, so I've set it aside for a week or two until I have time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Stitch From Stash 2015

It is time for my very first ever Stitch from Stash Report!

Month: January
Spent: $13.58
Earned: $0
Carryover into Next Month: $11.42

What did I buy? Well, on January 3, 2015, a cross stitch kit that I had been eyeing for a while went on sale for 75% off. 

I honestly have no intentions of starting this anytime soon, so it is truly a stash item. 

Now a few thoughts about New Years Resolutions. Every year for a while I've made a huge long list of goals and resolutions for the new year and like probably everybody else, I fail miserably and end up giving up. My goals are too lofty. 

So this year, I kept it simple: Create Better Habits. I will choose a habit I want to change and slowly work on it.

Habit #1 was "Drink More Water." I started this about halfway through December and am happy to say that its coming along quite well. I'm drinking a couple liters a day or more. I soon got tired of toting 3-4 water bottles to work every day and picked up a couple Brita bottles with filters. Results on those are mixed: they are supposed to last through 300 bottles of water (or twelve cases of bottled water) before you have to change the filter but my first filter broke after about 20 bottles (about one case of bottled water).

 The little thin plastic ring that holds it in the bottle snapped. The goal is to save money and be a little more environmentally conscious, so I'm tracking how many times I fill my bottle on a little calendar. This also allows me to know when to change the filter. Thus far, I've spent about $25 on bottles and filters and only saved somewhere around $4, so I've a long way to go before this is a break even proposition. However, I like these better than the Bobble brand bottles. The plastic is softer and it is easier to pull the water through the filter.

Habit #2 was "Stop Drinking Pop." Oh boy do I love my sugar but really, this had to go. This one took effect the Saturday after New Years. Now I'm certainly still eating a fair amount of sugar but that is a habit to change some other month. I've been very good for the last couple of weeks. I allow myself a cheat day on Saturdays if I want a pop and have not cheated on any other day. And to be honest, last Saturday I had a Pepsi with lunch and didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. 

Habit #3 is "Change my Crafty Spending Habits" which brings us back around to Stitch from Stash. Now that I have a predefined spending limit, it really makes me question every impulse to buy. And the facts are plain and simple: I really don't need more stacks of fat quarters or cross stitch patterns. At least not until I use up some of the ones I have. So for cross stitching, I'm sticking to the Stitch from Stash rules outlined here: SFS2015A@ Epic Stitching. And for quilting, I duplicated the rules & budget, more or less, with the exceptions of things I need to use my stash. Examples would be background or backing fabric and batting, which are things I do not typically keep in excess. Spray glue is another, without which my quilts would never get completed. Please note that the official SFS2015 only includes needlework projects.

My Quilting Stitch from Stash ( for personal record only) for January 2015 is:

Spent: $12.99
Earned: $0 (No completed projects)
Carryover into Next Month: $12.01

I will be allowing myself an additional $5 reward budget for every quilt completed from stash.

I picked up a book to help me get creative with my stash and some stabilizer for my AoTH quilt blocks. 

Just for kicks, I'm also tracking how much I spend on non-stash items, like stabilizer and spray glue. Its good to know where you start. 

And because this post has been rather text heavy and needs a picture to spice things up, here is a sneak peek of the borders I'm working on for the Baby Quilt, which is so far 100% from stash!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's Back!

The clamp for my floor stand came home yesterday! I dropped all quilty ideas and dove straight back into A Light In the Dark, which has been sitting neglected for nearly three weeks as I waited impatiently for the repaired part to arrive. Due to Jack being out of the house at a Wings game (we won!) I was able to stitch all night and did close to 500 stitches. I think that is a record high for me in one evening.
At Last Update - A blobby brown smear
See? A bigger blobby brown smear
I'm about to rotate out Butterfly Profusion. I brought it with me to work today and didn't touch it on my lunch break, so I think its time for a change. I will probably pull out the Penguins next and hope to get them done before I need another change.

 I am kind of anxious to finish the butterflies because I want to hang them up. Our house is painted mostly in neutral tones (but not a single white wall in the house!) and the living room and hallway are a soft gray. I really think the butterfly project will just glow if I can get it finished and hung up. However, I know if I force myself to work on it when I'm not interested, I'll just end up hating the project. So back into the WIP pile it will go.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Baby Quilt in the Making

I really put on a push to get this top together this weekend. I only have three weeks before the baby shower and would, perhaps unrealistically, like to finish this quilt by the end of the week so I can get back to other things. Deadlines and I don't get along too well. I find them stressful and that I lose a lot of the enjoyment for the project.

This quilt just needs borders and quilting. I plan on a white border all the way around and a scrappy border made with the leftovers from the quilt. So far, this project has been 100% stash, although I do believe that I will need to purchase backing fabric this week. 

All things considered, it was a pretty easy pattern once I figured out a system for pressing seams in a uniform direction. The lattice wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be to get lined up, the critical factors being a consistent seam allowance and pressing. 

Once I set up my machine for quilting, I'm going to try to quilt two or three flimsies all in a row and get a couple finishes for 2015. 

 Hugs and kisses needs a thin white border on top and bottom and then it is ready to quilt. I already have batting and backing ready.

Hugs and Kisses Quilt
 Slate Rock is ready to quilt - this one will be borderless.

Slate Rock
 And although I don't have a more recent picture, Train DP9 just needs a couple borders and it will also be ready to quilt.

So realistically, with my DaGMT participation, I might be able to have all four of these done by the end February. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My New and Improved Ranger Hood

I started my Craftsy class on embroidering large designs with a small hoop size. The first lesson was about making small motifs, cutting them out, and gluing or stitching them onto an object. Talk about an eye opener. The first lesson and that particular idea was brand new to me. Therefore, based solely on the first lesson, I'm going to officially recommend Big Embroidery with a Small Hoop by Lisa Shaw. 

The example project for lesson one was a bright pink purse with neon flowers. Which I would only make if my niece or youngest cousin begged me because they couldn't live without it.

But fear not, I was able to utilize the technique quite handedly to work on my Dagorhir garb. Now, Ms. Shaw recommend using organza or tulle for this and wash-away stabilizer, none of which I had on hand. Silly me, those scraps from my wedding were one of the things I put in the donate box about six months ago. Not to be stopped by such trivial matters, I dug into the specialty fabrics bin and came up with some pale gold fabric.

After uploading my motif (yay, another first!) and setting up my hoop with regular stabilizer, I let it stitch away, only to have the thread break about 3/4 of the way through. I rethreaded it and set Kaylee back to stitching. She did pretty good, except now I have a gap from where the thread broke.

By the way, did I mention that it is nice that it lets me know when the thread breaks? Amazing.

It turns out that my embroidery machine has a stitch by stitch advance, so all I had to do was fast forward to the gap and just stitch that section. It did not turn out quite as nice as if it had worked the first time but it really is barely noticeable.

After fixing that problem, I made a few more elm leaves.

After cutting them out and laying them on the border of my hood, I decided they were far too bright and made a few on the dark green that the hood is made from and tried a few arrangements.

Interesting, but a little subtle.

I like the random arrangement better but something is missing.

Hmm, not bad, but looks too organized.

Bingo! Now I've got something going. I think I would like about 2 green ones for every gold one. According to my calculations, I need exactly LOTS more to put a border on my hood. My little embroidery machine will be working overtime for a while to make all of them.

The nice thing is that I can tell it to stitch and work on something else as long as I remember to drop back in every few minutes and start the next one.

Oh and by the way, I had to take the hood off the capelet. Again. I sewed it on backwards. Sigh. I'm going to finish the border before I put it back together.

Friday, January 16, 2015

DaGMT 2015

Its that time of year again - February is the annual Drop and Give Me Twenty event hosted by Beth @ EvaPaige Quilt Design.

I had a good time with this last year and even managed to document my 20 minute a day progress. I also won a prize last year! So here we are again, and I figured, why not? Its not like I'm running low on projects or anything. And again like last year, I will post my daily work. Check out that little "DaGMT 2015" tab at the top of the page, isn't it adorable?

 As part of such frivolity, we are asked to post a pledge.

"I, Kaelyn Angelfoot, brilliant quilter, unrivaled cross-stitcher, and master garb-maker, am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's fourth annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt or sew garb for at least twenty minutes a day whether or not the housework is done (it never is anyway), or there is a Red Wings hockey game on TV (they have period breaks!), every day of the month of February, 2015, especially on those awful snowy cold days that make me want to pack up my car and drive south on I-75 until I can go no further (Hello, Key West. I've missed you.) In doing so I hope to  finish a baby quilt BEFORE the baby shower, keep up with my Affairs of the Heart Quilt schedule, and get a good start on all the garb we need to replace before Ragnarok 30. And I think Beth Helfter is a Creative Goddess of Eternal Brilliance and Beauty for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join."

There we go - all set! Stay tuned for more DaGMT updates coming in only two short weeks. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Some Stabilization Required

I *mostly* finished another AotH quilt block but I'm none too happy with it. Silly me, I went against all the recommended procedures and did not use a stabilizer for the satin stitching. Now I have puckers and whatnot and am debating remaking the block at some point.

The appropriate stabilizer has been ordered and will come out of my quilt SFS budget. Thus, this quilt is on hold until the stabilizer is received.

I have rotated out Magnificent Wizard as of Sunday evening.

At last update
As of 01/11/2015
And rotated in Butterfly Profusion

At Last Update
As of 01/14/2015
I also found a website that sells the fractal patterns I've been admiring on Amazon for a while. However, I simply bookmarked them for future reference and moved on. I really wanted to pick them up, but things look a little different when you are keeping to a budget. (Thank you Stitch From Stash!) I may need a new start to soothe startitis I can feel cropping up but the good news is that I have plenty of those available.

Lastly, I have made a little headway on the quilt for the new baby in the family. I have only about three more weeks before this needs to get done. This is the little tiny corner of the quilt.

I happily discovered that I have enough blocks to make this bigger than I originally thought, so we're looking at something between a crib size and lap size when I'm done. A "lib" size, I suppose, since I don't want to call it a "crap" size. ;)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Turtle Trot and YOTA - January Edition

It just so happens that the Turtle Trot and YOTA fall on the same day this month, so this post will suffice for both. For Turtle Trot @ BAP Attack, I am supposed to select ten projects to work on during the year, with the general idea to work slow and enjoy. No pressure to finish. YOTA @ Pull the Other Thread is much the same, only it is just post progress on one UFO for the month. For Turtle Trot, I will post a month's worth of progress, but on the TT tab at the top you will be able to see my the starting point from the beginning of the year and the most recent photo. In the future for YOTA, I will post progress on whatever project is current in my rotation.

1. A Light in the Dark by Matt Stewart (HAED) - New Start - about 1000 stitches done.

2. World Travel Bookshelf by Aimee Stewart (HAED) - New Start - about 20 stitches done

3. Penguin Family - Approximately 3000 stitches remaining. - Approximately 1700 stitches remaining.

4. The Castle by Teresa Wentzler No Progress to date

5. Affairs of the Heart Quilt by Aie Rossman (New Start) - Completed two blocks, third in progress.

This is the most recent finished block, See my tab at the top of the page for all finished blocks.

6. Jack's Medieval Medallion Quilt by Me! (New Start) - Not yet started

7. Butterfly Profusion by Dimensions - No Progress to date

8. Hope Returns by Matt Stewart - No Progress to date

9. The Mighty Samurai by DimensionsNo Progress to date

10. Fall Fairy by DimensionsNo Progress to date

11. Magnificent Wizard by Dimensions - Good Progress

12. Maggie the Messmaker by Dimensions - A little progress! 

So to date, I have worked on half of my selected projects in the last month! Go me!