Thursday, November 2, 2017

I'm a Loser ... What else can I say?

Man, I'm a loser ... what else can I say? Plenty! It's been since the middle of September that I posted last. It's not like I've been loafing around or anything. Just haven't blogged in a while. So let's catch up starting with the APQ 2017 UFO Challenge.
September's UFO was #7 -- Blueberry Buckle. For the life of me, I can't remember what this one looks like so I couldn't even look for it. It was a Mystery Quilt-a-Long from Rosemary's Quilt Shop but I never found it that month. September was a bust.

My October 2017 UFO Challenge #3 was Life of Plenty. I really, really, REALLY want to hand quilt this one but I don't know where it is. What I do know is that it is finished and just needs to be layered and quilted. But first, I must find it. This one will definitely be on my list for 2018.
Of course I had to see what November project is up for the UFO Challenge ... #9, Kitties for Sarah. This is another one that I really, really, REALLY have been wanting to finish up. I believe I only have the quilting left to do. And another plus -- I think I even know where this one is! When I find it (this weekend, I hope), I'll be sure to take a picture to post. Who knows? I may even get it layered up!!!

That takes care of my UFO Challenges, next up are my Irene Blanck projects. I'm happy to say that I believe my Clam Shells top is complete. I was planning on a narrow border of the dark brown and following it up with a light-ish wider border for a little applique but it feels done to me right now. I might change my mind, trim down the brown, and have at it later. It needs to percolate, I think.
As for the Mosaics project, I am just about finished with all the applique in the center. Whew! That was a lot and did I mention a bit bulky? This center is like 50" square and difficult to work with while turning curves and such. Many times I wished my hands were larger to hold all that wadded up fabric! Anyway, I'm liking this project and already have numerous hexie circles ready for a border unit.

Note the flowers in the middle unit on the right are not 100% done yet. Working on them as well as the mirror-image on the left. Yay! Progress!

I've been working on a couple of quilt-a-longs with a blogger that goes by From My Carolina Home. While following along with Scrap Dance Two-Step, I tried very hard to keep up followed by catch up. I just need to finish up now. I was all in to sewing the queen-sized version and have it quilted with a pantograph pattern so it could grace my guest room bed. While visiting my son & daughter-in-law this past August, Amanda asked me to make a quilt for their bed. I immediately thought of this quilt because it's done in fall colors and my son LOVES Fall! I need to get going so it can be quilted in time for Christmas .... maybe?

From My Carolina Home also had a quilt-a-long titled Autumn Jubilee 2017 and I decided a throw size would be perfect for me! I don't have a fall quilt for my couch and again I thought I'd sew this up in no time! I sure do dream big. In the meantime we took a vacation so once again I'm playing catch up. So glad I already had my 120 HSTs sewn up from a weekend retreat. Just trying to find time to sew up the blocks.
Well, poop! Just noticed in this picture that the star on the left is WRONG!  Thankfully I noticed it now rather than when the whole quilt was pieced! Correction to be made soon! Haha!

As for knitting, I'm trying to complete my Senior Year 1st Semester through Loopy Academy. We were to knit three projects using 250 yds or more of yarn: 1. Entrelac Pattern; 2. Asymmetric Pattern; and 3. Reading Pattern from a Chart. I picked out three sock patterns to fulfill these requirements. Here are my Entrelac Socks:

The sock on the left has been blocked while the one on the right has not. What a difference! You can find the pattern details HERE! Once the 2nd sock is blocked I'll be able to submit this pair for credit.

I'm currently working on Wasabi Socks to fulfill the asymmetric project. I've had this pattern dog-earred in an Interweave Knits Magazine for a long time. It's in the Spring 2010 Issue ... a long time ago! I'm working the instep now on the first sock and then I'll finish the foot and on to sock #2.
So obviously I'm not the slacker you may have thought I was ... just slacking on my blog!

Have a fantastic day!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

FNSI Rocks!

Have I mentioned recently how much I love FNSI? Wendy at Sugarlane Designs hosts this wonderful sew-along every month. It is so much fun to catch up with my international friends each month to see what they're working on. So many beautiful projects. So much inspiration! Thank you, Wendy, for this wonderful opportunity!

So what did I work on this month? My Clam Shells by Irene Blanck! Here's my picture today.

See that red shell with the cute little sheep on it, 5th row, 2nd from the right? That's where I started my FNSI. Those shells needed to be appliqued down and I went straight to it. Since you sew from right to left, I finished that row and then the entire  next row above! So happy with the progress! Actually so happy that I finished all the way to the top on Saturday!

Next step: Figure out what to do with the borders. I'm thinking about putting a touch of applique on the borders. What do you think? I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what to use for the  borders themselves, but I'll figure it out ... eventually!

Also recently finished were my Anthology Socks by Very Busy Monkey over on Ravelry. They turned out beautifully. The yarn is Pagewood Farms and the color is Fabulous Fall. I'm ready for some cooler weather so I can wear these fabulous socks!

One other little thing I managed. Here's the before picture of my cutting table. UGH!

Here's the after:

Look! You can see the mat again! I put all the fabrics away by color and have discovered I need three more bins. One for purple, one for pink, and one for black.I also discovered that I shouldn't ever, ever, EVER have to buy neutrals again! That bin is on "overload"! Anyway, I sure do hate putting away all my "FUN" but it's a necessary evil to allow the inspiration to come through! Haha!

That's what's new here. Now to go raid the stash and figure out borders for my Clam Shells!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Knitting Has Been Taking Up My Time!

Here we are again signing up for FNSI and it occurred to me that I hadn't posted lately. This is actually a good way for me to line up what I plan to work on this week and especially for Friday Night Sew-In. If you'd like to join us, sign-ups are HERE! It's so fun to see what everyone is working on and we come from all over the globe!
I plan on working on my Clam Shells, pattern by Irene Blanck. It's time to make a little more progress on it. In the meantime, I did manage to put a few stitches on my Mosaics (pattern by Irene also).

After returning from our lengthy vacation last month, I was really wanting to play with my sewing machine. I made some good progress on my Scrap Dance Two-Steps quilt top. I've got the entire top webbed and half of that is sewn together. Check it out over there on the right! There is a little piecing for the border and, of course, the borders will have to go on. Then I can declare it a finish!

Speaking of finishes, I did finish my Baby Pennant Blanket. What a fun knit and so easy! After I was more than halfway through, I was kicking myself for not trying to knit it continental style. I have yet to master that technique, which is supposed to be easier on the hands. This would be the perfect project to attempt continental knitting because it's all knit, no purl or anything fancy. Only short row knitting. 

Also finished was this little knitted pumpkin hat. Daughter Sarah has a couple of friends that had babies recently. What first born doesn't need a special hat for October? One done, one in the works. Doesn't it look adorable on Henny Penny

When my brother returned from Colorado earlier this summer, he brought a gift from my sister. This planter is special because it has a tube that sticks out of it for watering from the roots up. It also has a "false bed" for the soil to sit on. Anyway when my sister asked me if I wanted it I said, "Sure!" Here are pictures of my Fall lettuce taken September 1 and September 11. What a difference! We've already harvested some but I expect it will really take off now that the cooler weather has arrived and I've thinned them out some.

My Anthology Socks by Very Busy Monkey are almost done. This was the last picture I took of them after I'd turned the heel. I am currently shaping the toes and then the final blocking. This has been VERY fun. You can find the pattern HERE on Ravelry. There's also a matching shawl that can be knit in two sizes if you do a search on the Ravelry website.

That's it from here. Have a great week and I'll catch you up this weekend on the progress of my projects!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Prize, Eclipse, & Minis

You may recall from my last post that I'd just returned from being out-of-town for 12 days. It was a terrific vacation. My hubby had a 3-day conference in DC which is the vicinity of both our children. The first part of our trip we stayed near my daughter's home in Alexandria VA and she picked up Fred in the mornings because they work in the same place. This left me the car. On one of the days I plugged in my phone and navigated to Great Falls to Jinny Beyer's Studio. It was a much anticipated visit on my end and it did not disappoint. I'll visit again, to be sure.

On Saturday Sarah, Fred, and I had to take a little walk around Old Town Alexandria after a terrific brunch at Chadwicks. The picture to the right is my daughter and me taken after brunch. Chadwicks is a favorite restaurant of mine and we went on my request. Sarah & I started with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes with Bacon Jam & Jalapeno Cream Drizzle. Oh my! Was that ever delicious!
I went knowing what I was going to order -- Eggs Chesapeake. That is an Eggs Benedict with a crab cake substitution for the Canadian bacon. Sarah spied something new, Eggs Nova Scotia. Eggs Benedict with salmon instead of the Canadian bacon? Let's try that too! We swapped out with each other and we both agreed that the Nova Scotia was the very best Benedict we had ever tasted. If you find yourself in the area on a Saturday or Sunday morning, Chadwicks is a must restaurant to visit for brunch. I'm pretty sure that whenever you find yourself there, it will be delicious. Check out their website HERE. You'll find the Brunch Menu and the Lunch/Dinner Menu here.

We also spent a couple of days in Waldorf MD with my son and daughter-in-law. While the two of them and Fred went to a gun range to shoot and play with their toys, I meandered about 20 minutes south to LaPlata to check out a favorite quilt store, Material Girls. I spent almost three hours there because they have so many wonderful samples and because they have so much to offer. Again another fun day and I'd recommend both Material Girls and Jinny Beyer's Studios if you're ever in the DC area and need a fabric fix!

When I got home, it took me a couple of days to get my act together after being gone for so long. When I finally made it through my mail, I found my beautiful prize from Mary-Ann Lammers. These five beautiful stitch markers, handmade by Mary-Ann herself, are almost too pretty to use but use them I will! As a matter of fact you can see the seahorse in use on my Colorful Wedges Baby Blanket. It makes for very easy knitting of short rows because they practically eliminate counting -- just move the markers accordingly.

As an aside, I'm on the very last wedge to this blanket and will post a picture very soon! Yippee! Looks like I'm going to make that August 31st deadline after all!!! Woot! Woot!

As for my Anthology Socks by Very Busy Monkey, here's a picture of my socks through Step 1. Unfortunately I was halfway through Step 2 and discovered I'd drop a stitch. Tossed that project aside until after I finish the Wedge Blanket. The socks don't need to be done until September 30. Thank goodness I've got some time on that!

In the meantime, my daughter has a couple of friends that have had babies very recently. She asked me to knit up a couple of pumpkin beanies for them. I'll have some beautiful orange yarn leftover from the blanket project but I'll have to scrounge around for some appropriate green. Wasabi green is NOT the color of pumpkin stems & leaves!

I did manage to get a little quilt-making  in. These are the last four blocks given in Marvelous Mini Monday by Temecula Quilts. This past Monday was the layout post. While I'm not all that thrilled with the final design, I'm in it enough to figure out how I want to do mine. First of all, let me say that I thought the one week where we were to cut out 180 1-1/8" squares to make five 36-patch blocks was ridiculous (for me anyway)! I figured I'd take my time and use up my charm squares at the end to be sure I'd have a good supply of scrappiness. However, now that I see the finale, I'm going off on my own. Not terribly far off course, just a little bit. I'll keep you posted on that as I progress.

Apparently Polly, my kitty, missed me while I was away on vacation. Every morning after Fred leaves for work, she now waits patiently for me to get my coffee poured, my phone handy, and something to keep my hands busy. Then she crawls into my lap for a leisurely bath and nap. The blanket has gotten too big for both it and Polly to be in my lap so I've been working on a cross-stitch project. I'm getting to where I smell the finish line on this one and I'm loving it! This is called "It's Spring Fever" by Blackbird Designs. Guess you can tell how long ago I started this by the title! Haha! It's the first project in a series and, while I hadn't planned on doing any others, I am considering the third one which was recently released. It's got a kitty on it!

And speaking of kitties, here's a picture of Polly yesterday. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked up and saw her there! Yes, that's right! She's on top of the cabinet over the refrigerator. Bad kitty!

And one last picture to leave you with. I took this one of my mother viewing the eclipse here in Illinois on August 21, 2017. Isn't she adorable?

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

FNSI Welcomes Me Home

After being gone nearly two weeks, I was so happy to sleep in my own bed knowing when I woke up that it was that wonderful day of the month -- Friday Night Sew-In! Thank you, Wendy, for hosting this monthly event and especially this month!
For those of you that joined last night, I am looking forward to seeing what wonderful projects you worked on. For those of you that didn't, I hope to catch up with you next month. And for those of you unfamiliar with FNSI, you only need to visit Sugarlane Designs blog for all the details. You can do that HERE .

So what did I work on? Do you remember this project?

These are the blocks to my Marvelous Mini Monday from Temecula Quilts. That block in the bottom right hand corner, measuring at a sweet 4" unfinished, was a problem to me. The picture is blurry and thank goodness it is! The 1/2" half square triangles are awful. Some of them are WAY off. So I decided to redo it.

Here's a close-up of the original.
And here's the one I made last night. Again it's not perfect but it works better for me! Also it may not look I did much last night but it was a lot of work and it makes me happy. Now to tackle the last 2 weeks worth of blocks I missed while away.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hello, August!

There are no complaints here from me so far with August. Typically one of our hottest months, this year has brought cool temps. I actually turned off the A/C for a day because the high was only 77 degrees! But enough about the weather. It is August which means all sorts of things have kicked off.

First up is the APQ 2017 UFO Challenge. The selected number was 5, which is my flag quilt. I made this quilt through guild with a teacher they had brought in from Tennessee or West Virginia maybe? Can't quite remember since it was back in 2014. Anyway, her name is Sandi Blackwell and her technique was called Square-agonals. It was quite cool the way we sewed up rail fence squares, then cut this way, relaid out the top, and cut and sewed again to made a beautiful rectangular quilt. Here's a picture of my finished quilt top.
Some of my fellow guild members were unsatisfied with the end result because you will notice that the outside edges get cut off. Doesn't bother me but then again, I'm pretty easy to please!

August 1st also brought the start-up of a couple of knit-a-longs for me. I joined them through two different Ravelry groups. The first group is Loopy Groupies from The Loopy Ewe, a yarn shop that started here in St. Louis but several years ago moved to Ft. Collins CO. The KAL is Summer Camp and I've been assigned to the Loopasaurus Camp. The requirements are strict: Must have bought your yarn from The Loopy Ewe no earlier than July 12th; pattern needs to be dated 2015 or later AND use 800+ yards; and you start the project no sooner than August 1 and it must be completed, photographed, and uploaded to the site by August 31. I chose Colorful Wedges Baby Blanket. I figure my Grandma Hope Chest can't get too full! Hahaha! Anyway, I cast on on Aug 1 and here's my progress so far.

Wedges 1 & 2 complete and the third one is coming right along. The bottom wedge is actually a bit redder than the picture portrays. The yarn balls above in green, orange, & purple are the three wedges after the blue. There is always the gray in between. This is such a fun project and I'm loving it!

The 2nd knit-a-long is a Mystery KAL through Very Busy Monkey, a designer that I found on Ravelry. We are all knitting her Anthology pattern. She has a shawl and a sock one and I could choose one or the other or both. I opted on the socks since it was unusual that I didn't have a pair of socks on my needles at the time. I ALWAYS have a pair of socks going! Anyway, not a lot of progress so far.
You can just make out the pattern beginning to develop after the ribbed cuff. See it? only four rows in of the pattern. Need to get going on this!

The clues to this MKAL come out on Tuesdays in August (1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd). We have until September to complete our chosen project and get it photographed and uploaded to her site. I believe prizes may be involved! Speaking of prizes, I was hoping my beautiful stitch markers would arrive in the mail today. Really wanted to replace that generic green one with a fun one! Oh well, next week I suppose ...

Speaking of next week, have a terrific weekend! I'm going to cozy up with stitching or knitting. Not sure yet which one, but you can be sure I'll be working on something! So until next time ....

Monday, July 31, 2017

Rhapsody Shawl, Scrap Dance Two-Step, & Upcoming KALs!

Not exactly where to start but I know I need to post. I've done a lot lately but not finished a lot. I guess this will be a wishy-washy post.

Here's my Rhapsody Shawl which I completed yesterday. It was a knit-a-long that ended today. Whew! Made it just in the knick of time! When I logged into Ravelry to post my finish, I discovered that I had a message from Mary-Ann Lammers, the shawl's designer. She was contacting me to let me know I was the winner of some stitch markers! Yay!! They are beautiful and I'll share a picture when they arrive!

I also had the opportunity to sew at a couple of retreats recently. I signed on to a Mystery Quilt-a-Long on one of the blogs I follow, From My Carolina Home. You can visit Carole HERE . The MQAL was called Scrap Dance Two-Step and it was fun because each month you got a two-part clue. It finished mid-July and I've been scrambling to get my blocks done. Here's a picture of 5 blocks I got done at one of the retreats. My fabrics are mostly Kim Diehl fabrics but I threw in a few "twinklers"!
Since then I've finished up 18 of the alternate blocks and I'm working on getting all 17 of these blocks done. Of course I'm making a queen-size quilt! I'll be sure to post a picture when I'm done.

Apparently I'm a sucker for new projects. I'm anxiously awaiting for August 1. I'll be participating in a mystery socks knit-a-long through Very Busy Monkey on Ravelry. Four clues starting August 1 and published every Tuesday through August 22. Project must be finished and posted by September 30. Doesn't sound like too much, right? But wait! I'm also on board for a knit-a-long with The Loopy Ewe. I've got my yarn and I swatched to be sure everything will size up correctly. I've chosen the pattern Colorful Wedges Baby Blanket. You can check it out HERE . This one also starts August 1st but must be finished & posted by August 31st. Wait until you see my yarn choices ... so pretty and yet gender neutral!

Both of these upcoming knitting projects will keep me busy but they won't keep me away from my sewing! I'm making very good progress on Mosaics but will have to share that another time.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Well, what do you know? I sewed all day Friday at retreat and then came home to make a quick dinner. After cleaning up the kitchen, I sat myself down to sew some more. Couldn't pass up the opportunity to put a few more stitches into my Mosaic project by Irene Blanck. After all it was FNSI!!!
Progress on my Mosaic consisted of 8 more leaves sewn down. Here they are:
Impresssive,  huh? This morning I sent myself right on down to my sewing space and glued the stems in place!

I just  now returned from sewing all day with friends again. I'm on track to  make dinner (after my cocktail, of course!) and then those stems are going down!! Haha!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I'll try to remember to take some pictures of my progress at retreat too!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

FNSI, Retreat, & Garden Delights

I have so much to tell you this time! Before I get into some of my projects, let me just remind you know that this Friday night you can stitch with me & lots of friends. Yessirree! It's Friday Night Sew In! Pop on over to Sugarlane's website HERE to sign up. Then hurry on back! Signed up now? Good job!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going on retreat from Friday through Monday. Four whole days! My BFF Vickie flew in from Cleveland and I had us all packed up for a weekend of fun. And fun we had!!!

I took a few projects, of course. The first day I worked on my French Roses quilt. I had my 40 blocks done but they needed to be sewn together. After that I had to cut out 82 three-and-a-half inch squares for the inner border. I ran out of fabric for the outer border so I'm on the hunt. I visited my favorite LQS but it was a bust. Then I took a 30-minute jaunt to another store that I was so sure would have something I could use. Nope! I'll find it, don't you worry. I do have fabric for my binding set aside so I'll be ready when I can make more progress on it.

Next day I worked on a Mystery Quilt-a-Long called Two-Step that I started with From My Carolina Home. We're getting really close to the finish as far as the release of patterns but I'm terribly behind. Carole is so generous to give you directions for various sizes and no doubt I picked a queen size. Anyway I had plenty to do to start playing catch-up. I'm doing mine in mostly Kim Diehl fabrics that I'd picked out for another sew-along but changed my mind on participating. While I was at my LQS the other day, I picked up several more pieces and got them starched this morning. (Yes, I'm a starcher!) So far all I have sewn for Two-Step fits in a basket. Enjoy this picture! Ha!

The third day I started catching up on Marvelous Mini Mondays brought to us by Temecula Quilt Shop. I follow that blog too and absolutely loved doing 12 Days of Christmas with them a few years ago. I decided I'd give this one a try too. These blocks are only 3-1/2" UNFINISHED! I got myself caught up but I'm not entirely please with the last block and will probably redo it. Check them out! (Sorry about the blurry picture; I'm in a bit of a hurry to get this posted!)

So here's the plan:  Tomorrow I start a retreat where we sew all day for three days but go home at night. It's great because we can leave our sewing stations all set up and not have to break it down each evening. My first project to work on will be to get going on Two-Step. Then I plan on putting together a baby quilt that was a Bonnie Hunter (don't you just love her????) Leader & Ender from a couple of years ago. After that who knows? You can bet your booties, though, that I'll stay busy!

I mentioned that my BFF went to retreat with me. Here's a picture of her quilt before the squares were sewn together. Isn't it gorgeous? There was a bit of laughter when we found out she didn't know the meaning of the quilt title -- Caligula! I'm betting that the designer didn't either! Hahaha! Wikipedia told us all we needed to know! Thank Internet for enlightening us!

Speaking of learning from the Internet, while we were walking back from a meal, I spotted this huge beetle-thing. I sent the picture to my daughter, the bug-lover, and she confessed to Googling it. It is an Easter Hercules Beetle! That's Vickie's foot next to it so you can get the size of this critter!
One last thing I wanted to share with you. It's a gardening thing. The first is my beautiful plumeria tree. It is really getting ready to bloom. Some years I get a few flowers but it looks like this year will be a bumper crop. And oh! the fragrance!! These trees grew in the park behind our quarters when we lived in base housing in Hawaii. This tree just takes me back every time!

The other photo is of a couple of concrete fowl. They are actually pretty big and HEAVY! I had a hard time making up my mind as to which one to get. I ended up with Henny Penny because I already have a terra cotta rooster. I may have to go back and snag the rooster .... or the adorable frog that was there too!

Have a great weekend and I hope to see what you've been up to on FNSI or whenever!