Friday, January 31, 2014

January 2014 NewFO Challenge Project

My NewFO for January is Rose Medallion and it comes from this book, which I have had now for well over a year....maybe even two, I can't remember.

I've been in love with this quilt since I first saw a picture of it on Pinterest.....

I'll be using that scrumptious, shiny black sateen cotton as my background for the design - which will be done all in Orientals - YUM!!!

One thing I didn't realize, though, is that this quilt is 54 inches square!!!  Road Bump!!!  I'd been thinking from the picture that it's maybe 18 inches or even 24 inches ... but nope, tricked again!!!  I never dreamed this thing was that huge!  Of course, my first thought was to just reduce the templates and make it smaller. But then..... I thought, what an impact that size quilt would make, in that design and those fabrics - wow!!!  (Are you beginning to see where "thinking" gets me in trouble often?)

So, of course, I just had to do it :*)

But then ...... I read these instructions....

Seriously?????  Major Road Bump!!!  I had to consult with the engineer in the house immediately - start talking to me about math, geometry, radii, 18 degree segments, protractors.... and my eyes begin to glaze over!  But this guy - he's able to handle these things with ease!

And by the way, he informed me the other day that he really HATES being called "Hubby" on my blog, and asked that I please come up with something else :)  After a very in-depth discussion with my sewing buddies - involving much silliness and laughter I must confess! - the following are possibilities that I will present for his approval: "Daddy-O" (we LOVED that one!); "Honey"; "Mr AQAP"; or simply "My Guy".  The last one comes from the TV show, How I Met Your Mother - Barney has "Guys" who make things happen for him.  I have to admit it, that show is totally raunchy and inappropriate, but it makes me laugh every time!

Until he gets his vote, I'll call the cute engineer who lives with me and makes things happen for me "My Guy" in this post :*) So....  My Guy went to work, and he quickly cobbled together a method for marking the circles and sections on that huge black square.  First we had to stabilize the fabric so it wouldn't move, which involved rolling back the rug on our great-room floor and then t-pinning the square to the carpet.

He devised this super-scientific, totally perfect ruler-thingy tool to make the circles....and it was in our price range too :*D

Since the center will be covered with applique, I was not concerned about tape residue or a potential hole where the t-pin was placed.  My Guy drilled three holes in the ruler to insert the Clover disappearing white ink pen (my favorite tool EVER!) for marking the three required circles....

My job was super important and very technical...............

It worked perfectly - Yay!!!!

Yes, I'm a little concerned about the puckering where I had to piece this!
I'm trusting that applique and quilting will take care of it.....

And then My Guy used a lot more math and calculations - eyes glazing over again here! - and figured out how to mark the 18 degree sections.  Something to do with circumference = diameter x 3.14 (Pi), divided by 20 ..... yep, you understood all that, right?  Me neither!!!

We were doing this at night, so it was impossible to get the black to look black in the pictures
That was a JOB!!!  

Many, many thanks to My Guy, because I'm telling you folks, this would NEVER HAVE HAPPENED if left to my own devices!  In other words, when it comes to math, I have no devices LOL!!!!

The rug is all rolled back now - don't you just love the "quilty" design?

Believe it or not, we bought that rug the year BEFORE I started quilting :*D

I've decided this quilt deserves more than fusible raw-edge applique, but the thought of having to hand-stitch all these pieces was daunting.  I'd really like to finish it someday, you know what I mean?  And I already have two hand-applique projects in process.  So I'm going to compromise and do this as machine-stitched applique which has the appearance of hand work.  All the pieces will be prepared with turned-under edges using these freezer-paper templates and starch, but then they will be stitched on by a tiny machine stitch that will be barely visible - I hope!  I'll keep you posted!!!

I'm also linking this NewFO project up with Sharon Vrooman's (Vrooman's Quilts) Let's Book It in 2014!  You can click HERE to read more about this fun monthly event!  Sharon says she has lots of books on her shelf that have never been used - amazingly, I do too!!!  She decided to choose one book a month and make something from it.  Great idea, right???

Since I want to keep with my focus on keeping things as SIMPLE as possible, I'm going to work this together with my NewFO project when possible.  I may not be able to make something all 12 months from my unused books, but even if I get six of them in action that will be a good thing, right?

Did you start something new in January?  Join in the linky party HERE at Cat Patches - it's fun to see all the great new projects, and you might just win a prize!!!

I'll leave you with this picture from my upstairs window...

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rainbows, Books and Cats.... Brrrrrrr!

Remember this pile of yummy fabrics I shared last week ????

Well, I promised to show you why I was playing with them, didn't I?

Soul Searching
Block One - BLUES

This is ONE HUGE BLOCK!!!  Unfinished it measures 24-1/2" x 27-1/2" - Yikes!!!

You may notice some grays in the background fabrics in the first picture... I decided I really didn't like them in there, so I pulled them out and stuck with the light blacks-on-white.  I chose from my washed fabrics first, then I dove into my fat quarter drawer for more.  Although I am not using only scraps for this one, I do want to use up the smallest size fabrics first when I can :)  Many of these had not been washed, so I had a "wash" day last week....

All freshly washed and ready to quilt!!!!

I'm making nine blocks for this quilt, each one a different color, much like the original which can be found in the book, Making Quilts by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession.  So, of course, it works perfectly as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt!  (Right now, it is only $9.99 on Kindle.  Go HERE to find it at if you are interested.)

May I go out on a little rabbit trail here?  Have you purchased a quilt book on Kindle?  This is my first Kindle edition quilt book.  I really hesitated before hitting the "purchase now" button, but then I decided to give it a try to see how I like it.  Do I really like Kindle as the best way to view and use a quilt book?  No, not really.  But the negatives are not deal-breakers, and I think the positives make it worthwhile.  Such as - with the iPad, I still get beautiful pictures and easy-to-read pages flopping closed on me as I'm trying to hold a block and read the instructions at the same time :)

In addition, sending it to my Kindle Paperwhite means I can take the book with me anywhere I go - to sit-n-sew, to classes - without the bulk and weight of a real book!

And at half the price of a print edition, no shipping costs, 
no addition to the clutter on my book shelves ...... 
I feel like I am really working that SIMPLIFY mojo - right???

Still, this was not an easy decision for me.  I LOVE BOOKS!!!  I love having the real thing in my hands - the feel, the smell, flipping through the pages and stopping where my eye pleases .... well, you get the idea :)  But let's be honest here - I have a million books on my shelves!  I'll be doing a post soon to show you some of my book shelves ... and book clutter!  And the quilt book section is growing way faster than I can make quilts.  Am I preaching to myself here, or are you shaking your head, "Yes, me too!"?  Sharon at VroomansQuilts has started her Let's Book It  linky party this year to encourage us all to take those books down and actually start using them to make a quilt - what a "novel" idea!  (Just couldn't resist that pun hehehe!!!)  I quickly made up my mind to join in of course :*)

Anyway - after trying it out and weighing the positives & negatives, I'm pretty happy with the Kindle edition for this book, and I love that it is neatly out of sight on my Kindle "shelf".  It will be handy to have the directions on my Kindle when I go to retreats or sit-n-sews.  But will I start buying all of my quilt books that way - NO WAY!!!  [we have reached the end of that particular rabbit trail :)]

So back to the lovely Soul Searching.....I must admit that I have been inspired to make this quilt by several of the bloggers I follow - Kevin the Quilter and Exuberant Color to name a couple :)  It has that look I love - Traditional meets Modern!  And I felt it was simple enough to add to my agenda this year without adding a major project.  I hope you enjoy seeing these blocks come together each month :)  I've already cut all the background pieces for all nine blocks - lotsa cutting going on today!!!  But with that done, now all I have to do each month is pull my 24 different fabrics of the designated color, cut and sew.

It looks a little like a wedding cake, doesn't it?  LOL!!!

I'm already looking forward to seeing what next month's color will be, aren't you???

To close, I thought I would share a cute picture of our usually sweet Gypsy - sitting right smack dab in the middle of all my washed fabrics!!!  Little minx!!!!  Can you read her lips?  I can!!!  "Girlfriend.... don't you even think about making me move!!!  I'm finally comfortable - do you know how hard it is to get comfortable at my age???  Do you????  And you know you don't want me mad at you!  I may be old, but I haven't lost my mind, and I still know perfectly well how to get even!!!"

Oh yes she does!!!!  I say "usually sweet" because this little girl has some spice to her LOL!!!  She's always been a bit feisty, but as she has become elderly, she's gotten downright cranky!  She's always had a tendency to nip lightly at your fingers if you stop petting before she's ready for you to stop, but this past week she actually broke the skin on my finger!  Poor little girl is just about skin and bones, and my heart aches every time I look at her and realize that her trip to the Rainbow Bridge is not very far away.  So of course, I forgive her for her crankiness and snuggle her every chance I can get!

And speaking of snuggling .... well, there's a WHOLE LOT of that going on around here!!!  It's no wonder Gypsy is taking refuge in warm mounds of fabric!  Am I allowed to whine about the cold yet?  No?  Well, look at this....

That's right!  SIX degrees - in NASHVILLE folks!!!!  
I may have to move .....

Linking up today with:
Sarah Did It! - Feline Friday
Patchwork Times - Design Wall Monday
Freemotion by the River - Linky Tuesday

Hugs & Blessings!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On the Needles - 1/24/14

I managed to sneak in a little needle time during my evenings this week, which always makes me a happy girl! :*)

I started the Swing Cowl!!!!

Last week, Denise really encouraged me to go ahead and start this project because "it is so much fun!"  Of course, I couldn't resist that, so I sat down that night and started it.  If you've seen her gorgeous Swing Cowl (go HERE), then I'm sure you understand why I was so anxious to start one too!  And she's right, this one is a lot of fun and holds my interest easily :)

Here is another picture of where I am so far.... even though this is a night pic and not so great, it will give you an idea of how far I've gotten and the lovely movement in the design!  The colors appear much darker here than they really are....

This is the yarn I am using, so there will be many lovely variations of color transitions - YUM!!!

I did my first provisional cast-on for this - I love learning new things!!!

By the way - pay no attention to those fingernails which are in desperate need of a manicure!!!  
I think I need to hire a fingernail stunt double -- Anyone interested?  
The pay is lousy, but you'd get to play with lots of lovely yarns & fabrics! :*D

I also managed to show some love to my red House Targaryen socks......

This one is just about ready to start working on the heel - yippee!!!  I really enjoy working on socks.... I sure do hope this pair fits me :)

And last but not least is confession time..... I bought yarn!!!  Although I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to do that, and I really want to knit from my stash, I caved in to the pressure of a pattern I want to make and a SALE!!!  Okay, I admit it, I'm a sucker for a sale!  Knit Picks had this lovely deep royal blue fingering yarn on sale last week...........

.....  so I bought enough to make a Rocio Sweater - see it HERE on Ravelry.....

Of course, the color is not quite right, even taken in broad daylight :(
So that will add 2,200 yards to my stash report on the side banner.  I'm hoping to finish up Wingspan soon which will counterbalance that number soon :*)

Used this week:  0 yds
Used this year:  0 yds
Stashed this week:  2,200 yds
Stashed this year:  2,200 yds
Net Stash:  2,200 yds stashed

So what's on your needles?  
Please share with us at Judy's Patchwork Times linky party!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Killing 3 Link-ups with 1 Post!

I've been SO busy this weekend!  We had lots on our agenda around the house, plus I had a lot I wanted to accomplish in the sewing studio too.  Why are the weekends never long enough???

First up, I finally managed to find time to dig into my BLUE fabrics and get this TOTALLY CUTE little Hootie owl ready for buttonhole stitching.....

I took everyone's advice and put the BLUE owl on the moon so I could use lots of bright, bold blues and still have them show up considering the background :)  If you didn't catch my last post on Hootie, you can see my planned layout HERE.

Close-up of the fabrics used

Since these cute owls will be sitting on a tree branch in the final layout, I'll have to leave the bottom of each owl unfused so the feet can be inserted and sit on the branch instead of the background.

I also had to measure to be sure there was 1/4" between the edge and the bottom of the owl to make room for the branch, which will basically be a brown sashing strip :)

When I got that done, I really couldn't resist pulling out some fabrics for another block I want to make for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I won't use scraps for this one, but I will follow the colors each month as posted by Angela at SoScrappy and make 9 blocks for the quilt.  I'll show you more about that when I have at least one block made :)

Auditioning BLUES and background fabrics for another RSC project.....
I'm linking these projects up with



Next up, my #2 priority was to finish up the January Bertie's Year BOM block....and I finally got that done while watching the NFL Playoffs today - Yippee Skippee!!!!

Sorry, this picture was taken at night in my studio, so there's a lot of glare!  But I'm SO darn tickled with this cute little wall hanging!  I promised to share a little about the finishing called for in the pattern too...

First, you sew 1" strips all around the finished piece.... 
(yes, it's crooked!  I never pretended to be a photographer LOL!!!)

Then you sew it right sides together with batting between like an envelope, 
leaving a slot at the bottom to pull it right sides out, 
and whip stitch the hole closed by hand.....

With the next Bertie, I will leave this hole at the middle of the backing.  
They have you seam the backing anyway, why not leave the hole there 
and not have to get all those edges perfect???

Then you sew all around it on the seam line of the 1" strips, as shown here....
Voila!  An amazing fake binding effect!!!

I love the Stitch-in-the-Ditch walking foot on my Janome 6600!!!
Here's a final close-up of January Bertie and her good friend, Snow Ghost :*)

I'm almost finished with February Bertie too!!!!

I'm really not fond of my embroidery stitching around the seams ..... 
But it's going to have to do!
It's a definite learning curve.....

PS - that's a leaf stalk sticking out of Mr. Bertie's butt...
Just in case you were wondering.... ;*D

February's Bertie has MUCH less hand work to be done, which makes me a happy girl!  
I thought I would never be finished with the January project.  
I gave a little yell of Hooray when the last snowflake was stitched!!!

I'll be linking these projects up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching!

Slow Sunday Stitching


And 3rd - well, it's time for Design Wall Monday, 
so I'll be linking this post up to
Judy's Patchwork Times!

Patchwork Times

I'm also linking up with Connie at her Tuesday Linky Party HERE!
And Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop HERE!

Hope you all have a lovely week!!!!
I'm buried in EQ7 right now, so I'll be back as soon as I can :*)

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, January 17, 2014

On the Needles - 1/17/14

Not a lot happening On the Needles for me this week.

I made a little progress on my first bright red House Targaryen sock.....

Wow - you can tell I haven't worked with those DPNs in a while!  My tension is wacky in a few places there  on the cuff - LOL!!!  I tend to have some problems with purl stitches from one DPN to the next.  Hopefully that will repair in the blocking process :)

I haven't started the Swing Cowl yet because I want to be able to give it my full attention until I get comfortable with it, and there just hasn't been an evening this week where I could do that.  I really want to start this one soon though, before the cold weather is over.  UPDATE:  Denise has finished hers and shows a picture in today's post - YUMMY!!!!!

This was one of those weeks where I had somewhere else to be other than at home almost every day.  Fun stuff usually - sit-n-sews, bookclub, etc. - but it does cut my days up and leaves me feeling like I'm running behind in the evenings.  And instead of peacefully knitting as usual, I spent most of my evenings preparing quilting projects for the next day.  I've also been spending some quality time with my new EQ7 software, learning how to use it - yikes!!!  Talk about a learning curve!!!  But it's beginning to come together :)

And speaking of evenings, was anyone else devastated by the events in this week's episode of Downton Abbey?????  I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but if you haven't, be warned - it's very emotional!  There was quite a lively discussion among friends on FB this week!  I had real difficulty getting to sleep that night......

On a brighter note, I'd love to share a photo of one of my grandkitties that I took while visiting with family during the holidays.  This is Willow.....

Isn't she beautiful?  And the sweetest little creature on earth!!!  Willow belongs to Hudson and his mom, and she has a cat-brother and a dog-sister.  She couldn't be a better pet for a little two-year-old!  I was truly impressed with her patience with Hudson; she never lashes out when he gets too rough.  She and I became great friends during the visit :*)

Now, I'm off to play with the EQ7 some more and then maybe jump into my blue scraps for the January Rainbow Scrap Challenge .... I'm hoping to share a BLUE Owl tomorrow :*)

Do you have anything On The Needles to share?  Check out Patchwork Times today!
And if you have a wonderful kitty you'd love to share, go to Sarah Did It for Feline Friday!

Hugs & Blessings!

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