Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Eleventh Hour Finish

Hooray, I've finished my February WISP! I finished the top of this little quilt ages ago, and every spring I told myself I'd finish it so I could display it for Easter, and then it would sit another year. Not this year!

When my kids were young and we lived in Maryland, my mother-in-law lived about two hours away, and we used to visit about once a month. On Easter, Jennie would hide those plastic eggs around her yard for all the grandkids. Some eggs had candy in them, but some also had pennies in them. My kids used to love the ones with the money in them, so I found some fabric that featured coins and used it in the broken egg in the bottom right corner of the wallhanging.

I do love batiks and love using them, but no one uses batiks better than Wanda at Exuberant Color. Visit her blog sometime, you'll love it.

Credit where credit is due: I'm sorry I am unable to credit this one. I saw a photograph in a catalog or something years ago and simply traced a real egg to create the pattern. The idea and pattern for the broken egg is mine.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Knitters Are Good Bloggers Too

It's been a while since I've posted to my blog. My days have been pretty hectic lately; and even though I only work four days a week, I haven't actually spent a whole day at home in over a week. Life happens, right?

I even missed the Sunday Stash Report, but nothing was added or gained so it didn't seem so important to do one. I don't know if anyone besides me gives a hoot anyway. It amuses me to keep track of my stash, so I've continued doing it.

Life is never boring though, and I'm never, ever bored or idle. Within the last week I finished Master Damien's little socks, finished a dishcloth, and started another. Tonight is Knitting Night, and we are beginning a new project, a baby sweater. It's a month-long class, and I'm sure it will keep me busy for a month.

I've also made a little more than half the blocks for the ribbon border in the Star BOM quilt. It is a foundation pieced border, and I'll share the method I'm using to make these another day.

Now that I've discovered knitting, I spent quite a lot of time trying to hunt down some good knitting blogs. I started by clicking on "knitting" in the Interests category from my profile in Blogger, and I wasted several hours just trying to find a blog that was actually current. Many of these blogs were abandoned one or more years ago, and I concluded that only quilters are good bloggers. This morning however, I hit the jackpot when I found a site called Knitting Pattern Central. They offer piles of free knitting patterns, and I discovered that each of the links goes to some other site, many of which are blogs. You could surf the web for days by following the links, and I succeeded in finding some blogs I thought I'd enjoy.

The problem now, however, is that I already have 104 blogs listed in my Bloglines; and I can't even keep up with all of those, much less leave comments. I could conceivably double that number if I added knitting blogs, so I don't even know what I'm thinking. I know I'm not the only one who has so many blogs they like to follow, and I wonder all the time how much time other bloggers spend online blogging, and how they manage to get through reading all their favorite blogs everyday. An hour? Two? Half a day? All evening? I could easily spend all day on the computer, but gosh, do I really want to spend that much time doing it?

I've considered whether or not to set up a separate blog for my knitting. Do quilters mind reading knitting or other crafting content on a quilting blog? Would they rather read only quilting dialog? I even thought of a name for my new knitting blog. But what am I thinking? I'd like to post at least a few times a week on my quilting blog, and some weeks that doesn't get done either.

All good questions.

We had a big snowfall last week, about a foot. The pile of snow at the end of my driveway where the road and driveway have been plowed now nearly exceeds my height. It was a wet, heavy snow that clung to everything. Beautiful, but treacherous if you were driving. And any road surfaces or sidewalks that weren't completely cleared of snow the next day now have a layer of ice underneath packed snow.

Tomorrow we are expecting more precipitation, possibly in the form of rain. Since there's nowhere for the rain to go, it could be an interesting weather event.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

The Star BOM is coming right along. All the blocks and sashing strips have now been sewn into rows, but I haven't sewn the rows together yet. This week my goal is to get the first couple of borders on and start on Border 3, the ribbon border. It's foundation pieced, something I like to do very much and don't spend enough time doing.

My husband and I had a conversation about this quilt the other day. He said it reminded him of Easter. All I can think about when I'm working with these colors is spring flowers--crocus, hyacinths, tulips. My son said it made him think of spring time, which seemed like a good name for the quilt--Springtime Stars.

When I cut for the sashing strips, I also cut all the border pieces as well and busted almost 7 yards from my stash. Yeah!

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 6-3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 15-7/8 yards
Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric added year to date: 4-1/2 yards
Net used year to date: 11-3/8 yards

Friday, February 13, 2009

On The Quilting Front

I started piecing the sashing units for the Star BOM this week, and I really like how it's coming together. My cornerstones, which may be different from the original, will finish at 2-1/2 inches square. The center square in that small unit, which you can hardly see in the photo, finishes to 1/2 inch. It's a bit like piecing blocks for a miniature quilt.

None of the blocks and sashing units have been sewn together yet, but I hope to finish them by next week.

My quilt chapter is having an X-Block workshop in a couple of weeks. I'd never heard of x-blocks before, but I thought I'd try it because it's something different and because I can use up some scraps. There are x-block rulers available in several different sizes, and I started playing around with one of the mini rulers to see if I liked it. These blocks will finish to 3-3/4". An odd measurement, because this size is actually intended to fit in the center square of a 7-1/2" x-block. There is also a ruler for a 4" size, which I would have preferred, but it wasn't available locally, so I made due.

These blocks start out life as nine patches, and then you use the ruler to trim them to the shape shown in the photograph. Easy enough to make nine patches right? Patricia Pepe, creator of the concept and the ruler, has a website here, if you're interested.

On the Knitting Front

I finished this ridged dishcloth this week, and it was a good exercise in increasing and decreasing. Don't ask me what happened in the lower right corner, I couldn't tell you. I thought I followed the pattern but wound up with a big knot. Maybe it'll be better next time.

This dishcloth has a butterfly in it, but you can't see it very well because I used this variegated yarn. Another learning evolution. The odd shaped piece below the dishcloth will be sewn together to create a round potscrubber, but I missed the class on how to do it Thursday night due to a bad cold, so it will wait until next Thursday.

After finishing the two pieces above, I still had some yarn left over from the ball, so I started a woven potscrubber. I'll need 4 rectangular shaped pieces, and this is the first. My teacher Donna suggested knitting some nylon net into it to add some scrubbing power--a novel idea, I thought. So I bought a half yard of nylon net and cut it with a rotary cutter into half inch strips. Then I tied them together and knitted them in with the yarn. It was easier than I thought, and no reason to weave the ends from tying the pieces together, won't hurt a thing for them to be sticking out.

This is the mate to the sock I finished a couple of weeks ago. I've turned the heel, finished the gusset, and am now working on the foot. One of the books I bought last week was for baby socks, and I woke up thinking about it this morning. I missed work today because I felt terrible, so I sat at the kitchen table and started this little bitty sock for one of my son's friends. It took me about 4 hours to get the leg done, turn the heel, and finish the gusset. I might have finished it today except I have no idea how long to make the foot. My son is supposed to be getting one of D's socks for me to use as a guide.

I am having such a good time knitting!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

I had a whole list of things I planned to do in my sewing room this past week and didn't do one blessed thing, except to cut and sew 45 half square triangle units for our chapter's raffle quilt. I took all of those pieces out of my growing collection of scraps, but I'm not even going to bother to figure out what I used. I did spend several hours this evening figuring out the exact dimensions I wanted for the sashing in the Star BOM quilt, and I'm going to start cutting and piecing that this week.

The only stash I added this week was 1-1/2 yards from a Keepsake medley, and I'm still about 4-1/2 yards to the good for this year.

I did knit up a storm this week. The sock class is over and we've begun Kitchen Accessories. I've finished one dishcloth, started another, and almost finished a potscrubber. Dishcloths are perfect for learning a few new skills because they're not a big investment of time and money, and even if you mess up they're still useful. I am excited for the other classes Donna is teaching this year. The next one is baby sweaters, then summer socks, and knitting with beads; and in the fall, I'll learn hats, mittens, more socks, and Christmas ornaments which will be miniature hats and mittens, I think.

I bought a couple of knitting books today and a few more skeins of yarn. BethF wasn't kidding when she commented that pretty soon I'd have to do a stash report for yarn. I've been knitting for a month, and I already have 21 balls of yarn in my bin! And I've got 4 projects on needles. Argghh, I don't need more UFOs! Do you suppose this is the beginning of a new addiction?

Sunday, February 1, 2009


A couple of people asked about the thread I used for my Watercolor Bars quilt. It's called Invisafil, and it's a very fine, 100- weight, polyester thread that creates a fine quilting line and blends pretty well into the fabric. I thought it was a wonderful alternative to monofilament. I'm sure it would work very well for applique too, either hand or machine applique.

If you google it, you may find some different places that sell it; but I got mine from Sharla Hicks' website here. I've shopped at her site before. She has quite a wide range of different products, and she ships pretty quickly. More than once I've found things at her site that I wasn't able to locate elsewhere. I think her prices are pretty good too. No affiliation.

Tote Finished

I finished my tote late this evening, and I really like how it turned out. These lined totes are turned through an opening in the bottom of the lining and the last time I made one, I had some trouble sewing the opening closed and making it look nice. Yes, I know no one will see it, but I am a firm believer in making the inside look as nice as the outside, a concept that was drilled into me years ago when I learned garment construction.

Anyway, I used some 1/4" wide fusible tape along one edge, then folded the opposite edge 1/4" under, placed the turned edge over the other, and fused them together. It worked like a charm, and then I appliqued the seam to make sure it doesn't come apart. A very nice, clean finish.

Credit where credit is due:
Camille's Bag by Penny Sturges,

Sunday Stash Report

I actually have something reportable this week as far as stashbusting goes, but just a couple of yards. It feels good to slow down a little this year with my quilting and do some other things.

We started this tote bag at quilt group this past Monday. It's a cute bag, with pleats at the top of the bag, easy to make and something a little different. I hope to have it finished within the next few days and then get back to the Star BOM.

Here's the Stash Manager's Report for this week:

Fabric used this week: 2-1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date: 9-1/8 yards
Fabric added this week: 1-1/2 yards
Fabric added year to date: 3 yards
Net year to date: 6-1/8 yards