Monday, March 31, 2014

March NewFO Challenge

I finally had the pleasure of starting a new project this past week.  It's a cute little spring pattern called Cottontail by Jeri Kelly....

This is a tabletop pattern to fit in the Ackfield stand frame, about 14" square.  I bought the pattern last spring with every intention of doing it right away, and ..... ah well .... *sigh* ..... didn't happen!  So I decided that this year I would have this little gem finished so I can enjoy his cute little bunny cheer this Spring!

I have all the pieces fused and began stitching them down last night....

I absolutely LOVE this green - doesn't it just scream of Spring????  I decided to just do a straight stitch on these narrow stems, and of course I got a little close on some of the edges :*)  But it's just a hanging tabletopper and it will look a lot better after I trim off all the little stick-out threads on the edges.  Of course, it doesn't look bad at all unless you're looking at it magnified like this picture LOL!!!  I can't decide whether to do that or a buttonhole stitch on the blooms.... what do you think?  Maybe even a free-motion edge around them?  I'm hoping to try some interesting FMQ on the background of this one when it's time for quilting! :*)

I'm linking this project up with the NewFO Challenge for March over at Cat Patches here!

I also wanted to share my progress on a UFO from two years ago with you......

My Piecemakers guild enjoys year-long mystery quilt projects, and I used these pretty batik fabrics for our mystery in 2012 called Baubles and Beads.  I did pretty well keeping up with the clues each month for about six months and then got sidetracked - you know how that goes, don't you???  I picked it up occasionally and finished off most of the clues, but I still had to finish the last step in the alternate blocks and then assembling all the blocks together, which I accomplished at Quiltfest earlier this month.

It looks pretty sad just hanging there like that, doesn't it?  Poor thing really needs it's borders and a much better photographer!!!  Not to mention a nice spa visit with the iron and some Best Press LOL!!!

What are you working on today?  
Check out all the neat projects being shared at Patchwork Times today!!!
Also sharing at Connie's Tuesday Linky Party!!!!

Have a glorious week my friends!
I hope your weather is as beautiful as ours is today - YUM!!!!
Yes, I think Spring may finally be smiling on us :*)

Hugs & Blessings!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hootie and Slow Stitching :)

With so little time at home this month, I haven't had much time to play in my AQUA scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  But I did want to be sure to get my Hootie owl block fused down and ready for stitching ....

Ain't he cute????

And here he is with his two siblings so far....

Hootie - Designed by Shayla Wolf
in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 7

I'm having fun positioning the eyes for each to be looking in different directions :*) These are just such fun, quick little blocks!

And since it's been a month since I showed it, here is my AQUA Soul Searching block once again ....

I'll be sorry to see my favorite color AQUA go, but it's always fun getting a new color from Angela on the first of each month.... wonder what our color will be for April???

One thing I did get to do a lot of while traveling was hand stitching!

I really got behind this month, so I took my Bertie's Year BOM blocks for March and April with me to retreat and sttiched on them while we watched Downton Abbey in the evenings.  Can you think of a better way to spend an evening?  Me neither!!!!  The March block got very little love early in the month, so the poor thing won't get to be displayed at all this year because it will be April before it is completely done.  But I did finally get it all stitched with the hand-stitching embellishments, and it is ready to be layered & quilted.

As always, I'm in love with the whimsical nature of these blocks!  Here Bertie is up to her curious ways again, making friends with her fellow creatures :*)  I wonder if she realizes that cute little bee is not as sweet and harmless as it looks LOL!!!

And I finished the stitching on April's Bertie block too!

Working the embellishments on these eggs was a lot of fun :*)  
And I love the bunny ears on Miss Bertie!!!

Each month, the blocks have a "border" stitch that frames the stitchery in the center.  This block called for a really fun stitch and I just love the playful look of it in the block - perfect mood for Spring!!!

I also finished up the latest Winter Wonderland stitchery block, but taking pictures of that at night is a lost cause.  I'll try to get one tomorrow if the sun comes out :*)

I'm linking up with SoScrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge 
and Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday 
Come on over and see what all the fuss is about :*)

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Red Socks!!!

I finished up my red House Targaryen socks while I was at Mom's!

Aren't they JUST TOO COOL???

This was a really fun pattern to work, and I just love the effect!  I had a lot of the yarn left over, and once again I wish I had made the leg section longer.  Will I never learn???  Also, because I made them with dpn's, the top edge of the cuff was the cast-on row, so it is tighter than I really like.  I didn't think of that or I would have researched a more stretchy cast on for it.  I figured with the ribbing it would be fine.  I can wear them, but they'd fit a lot better if I lost about 20 pounds LOL!!!

They have a very pretty lacy look :*) 

Anyway, my focus now is going to be on finishing up the Swing Cowl which is over halfway done and looking marvelous!  And I'm hoping to start giving Rocio some love as well now that I'm home again :*)

I like to have at least one pair of socks on the needles at all times, so I've cast on a new pair out of this yarn....

I have already made one pair out of this beautiful yarn, but I gave those to my sweet daughter for Christmas, so I need to make a pair for me now :)  They will be just plain jane socks, and I'm using my favorite Toe-up, Two-at-a-time, Magic Loop pattern.  I'm off to a great start....

Stash Report:  I'm adding 300 yards of yarn to my "Stash Used" column for the red socks, which leaves me at 1,500 yards stashed for this year so far.

I'm linking these fun knitty projects up with On The Needles at Patchwork Times!

Just a few more things to share before I go.....

Jacquelynne Steves of The Art of Home is putting the final touches on the next issue of her free e-newsletter!  You won't want to miss it, so if you are not already receiving it, visit her blog HERE to sign up.  Remember - its FREE :*)  I love Jacquelynne's artwork, so whimsical and happy.  She'll be coming out with a new fabric line too very soon!  She has an Etsy shop HERE that sells her lovely artwork in various products - my favorites are the adorable notecards....

And I really want to say a huge THANKS to a few generous friends!  

I won these gifts in a giveaway from Clover & Violet just before I left for my mountain break.  Jennie and Clara are a mother-daughter team that design the most adorable things and share lots of fun tutorials.  I love their blog :*)  Wow - I was SO excited!!!  Both of these are very handy tools to have around when free-motion quilting.  I'll be sure to let you know how they work out for me :*)

And my friend Carla gave me this totally CUTE needle-keeper that she made.  Isn't this the most beautiful fabric - YUM!!!  She sure knows my colors, doesn't she :*)

When you lift the flap, it opens up into a very roomy needle keeper!  I can actually organize my needles by size or type!  The beaded necklace is for "reading" glasses, but I think I'm going to adapt it to hold my guild name tag.  That way I'll think of her and remember her kindness every month :*)
      Thanks again Carla!!!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!  
I think our weather is supposed to warm up a little....
 - will Spring ever get here???

Hugs &  Blessings!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Break is Over!!!

I've had a wonderful two weeks away!  I spent a few days with my mom at her home in the North Carolina mountains - just me and her - what a treat!!!  She took me to her little "home" town of Waynesville, and I was totally charmed!  Just look at that view!

There were quilt blocks everywhere on the buildings.  I especially liked this unusual one on the Police Station building .....

Mom was excited to take me to a few quilt shops in town.  One turned out to be one of those mountain shops that sells cheap, ready-made quilts :(  That was rather disappointing, but then we checked out Quilters Quarters.....

This is a really nice shop, with lots of fabric and loads of tools and notions!!!  I was impressed :)

Tons of black-and-whites!!!

Lots of colorful moderns and an amazing array of Stonehenge & other mixers!!!

And BATIKS!!!!
Lots and lots of them, in all colors and patterns - Ooo-la-la!!!!

They had quilt blocks displayed outside on both sides...... no quilter would miss this building!!!

Here is my mom sitting on the little bench beneath a small quilt block at the entrance :)
Hi Mom!!!  
Miss you already =^..^=

After my relaxing and oh-so-enjoyable visit with my mom, I hopped in the car and headed back west, but only a little ways.  I turned off the Interstate at exit 407 and headed to Pigeon Forge to spend a week at the Mountain Quiltfest quilt show!  Yippee!!!!  I know a lot of you were there, too :)

For the past couple of years, I've joined up with five of my bestest friends to rent a cabin for the week of Quiltfest. This was our view from the porch of our felt like we were on top of the world!!!

We stay for a full week and just enjoy retreating from the busyness of our daily lives.  Our cabin had no wifi, so no blogging for me!!!  That was difficult at first, but after a few days, it felt nice to just let it go for a while.
First we move all the furniture around and set up our sewing stations, and then we go shopping for groceries - gotta have fuel for all that fun you know :*)   There's so much to do - shopping at local quilt shops, viewing the Quilt Show, taking classes from national teachers, checking out the goodies from all the show vendors .....

This year, we had the added treat of Mona assigning herself as the Entertainment Director - she brought the first 3 seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD and we watched them all!!!  

Photo courtesy of
Some of us (like me!) have seen every episode since it began, but others had never seen any of them.  It didn't matter - we were all glued to the TV from first episode to last!  And it was really fun seeing it through the eyes of newbies :)  I didn't get as much sewing done as I usually would because I kept stopping to hear what they were saying or to relive a favorite part, but it was worth it.  This series is just spectacular!!!  Thanks again Mona =^..^=

I took two classes this year - "Quilting as the Third Design" by Hollis Chatelain, and "Pieced Borders" by Marsha McCloskey.  I purposely chose classes that did not involve me starting a new project and bringing home another UFO - 'Been there, Done that' too many times to count!  You too?  Yeh, I thought so :*)

Hollis is an amazing artist and shared some very valuable lessons on color and how to choose the most impactful thread colors for quilting.  She emphasized using the color wheel to choose quilting thread colors that will pop or disappear, depending on your desired effect.  It was pretty fascinating!  Then each of us shared a quilt with the class for creative ideas about how to quilt it.  Already I am definitely thinking differently about how I want to quilt some of my quilts-in-waiting!  Hollis did not allow any pictures in her class, but you can check her out at her website HERE if you are interested in learning more about her and her quilt art.  Be sure to check out the gallery of her quilts - AMAZING!!!!!

My last class was on Saturday with Marsha McCloskey.  She is famous for her Feathered Star designs...

We learned how to draft designs for borders that will fit and enhance our quilts....

This is another class that left me thinking differently and more creatively about how to finish my quilts.  Isn't it fun to learn new things and grow in our art?  I love it!!!

I wasn't able to take as many photos at the quilt show as I would have liked because my phone battery was low, but I'll leave you with a few that I loved.....

Gorgeous Storm at Sea design!!!!

Three shots of "Poppies" - look at that quilting detail !!!

Loved the block and layout choices of this gorgeous Oriental!

What a creative way to use panels and large prints!
This quilter definitely has a fine sense of color usage for the most impact

This picture doesn't do justice to the awesome colors in this Niemeyer Bali Wedding Star quilt!

Diamonds are Forever with a lovely floral border!
And a really fun and funky camel :*)

And last, but not least (except maybe in size).... some Miniatures!!!

Tiny, tiny pineapples :*)
(I was thinking of YOU Janet O!)

And this one was simply amazing.......

See how tiny those little Lone Star sections are?  Unbelievable!!!!

I had such a wonderful time!  But of course, it is always nice to be home again.  It has taken me a few days just to rest up LOL!!!  I'll be checking back in tomorrow with a knitting finish and some odds and ends - home to see you then!

Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Rest of the Story - DWM 3/10/14

Are you ready to hear the rest of the story about Scheherazade?  If you're new to the blog, you can read my earlier post HERE where I began the story of my plans for this really old Dinosaur UFO.

So.......Once Upon a Time.......

Well, okay, this is a long story and you may not want to read it all (LOL!!!), so let me begin at the end ..... here is Scheherazade, all finished!

It's straight - I promise!

I have to say I'm fairly happy with it, but not thrilled like I hoped to be.  It's certainly better than just slapping on a few plain borders.  But I'm pretty disappointed because my plans for this quilt's border design were an epic FAIL :(

I had all kinds of ideas flowing about ways to dress up this quilt, and spent hours drawing possible designs that fit in with the Arabian Nights theme.

I worked in EQ7 for hours trying to figure out how to make custom borders - still haven't figured that one out!  But I do have a few books on the way to help me in the future - LOL!!!

My main thought was to try to soften all those sharp edges in the Buzzsaw design in the center, and I wanted to pull that wonderful print into the outer border somehow.  But I had to figure out a way to get good separation of the pieces.  So, I pulled out Susan Cleveland's book, Piping Hot Curves......

I'll link this book and project up with Sharon Vrooman's Let's Book It party!!!

Susan came to our Guild in 2009 and taught several classes.  She is an amazing quilter and such a nice person - we all loved her!  The class I took was about inserting piping in the seams of curves to dress up a quilt design.

I loved the class and totally LOVED the effect of the piping to give that extra little ZING!  I even got a little button to "officially" state that I am a Piping Hottie LOL!!!

Blocks made in class in 2009

I got busy working on a corner design using the piping technique to give the pieces definition, and I have to say I was very happy with the design itself and how it turned out.

But I was totally disappointed in the way it looked on the quilt.  Here it is just pinned on to test it out.....

It just seems to make the quilt too fussy.  Too much going on.  And I ended up liking it better without all the fussy corners.  I'm sure glad I only made up the one!  I'm happy with the stepped side borders design that I ended up with, and I'm sure I'll be happy with this quilt for many years.  But I'm also pretty sure I'll always look at it and think about what could have been if I had been a little more seasoned as a designer!


As for the rest of my design wall, I saw Lesley, the Cuddle Quilter, making some really cool hexie braids on her blog HERE and was immediately smitten - actually I think most of the blog world was just as smitten!  But when I checked out the price of that ruler I decided it would have to wait a while :O

Then I got a bright idea!  I have several sets of Marti Michell templates, and the Large and Small Hexagons have been sitting in my templates box for ages - never used.  I thought, why not try it?  So I pulled out some of my 2-1/2" strips, lined them up with the largest hexagon template, cut, sewed..... and quick as a wink I had Scrappy Braids!!!!

Aren't these cool???  Super, super easy!!!
And I didn't have to buy anything - I love it!!!

I think these will make a wonderful Leader/Ender project for a scrappy quilt, so I've cut up a bunch of them and set them by my machine.  This also means I can mark off my NewFO Challenge project for March - yoohoo!!!!

And the April Bertie BOM package arrived Saturday!

Don't you just LOVE those cute little bunny ears on Bertie?  
Bless her heart, she really does get into the holidays, doesn't she?   

I got totally sidetracked from the March Bertie and hadn't touched it in quite a while, so I thought it might be just as easy to work on them both together.

Yesterday I finished up the buttonhole stitching on both, and got the HSTs ready for applying to the borders.   The hand stitched embellishments are going to be fun on both of these :*)

So what's on your Design Wall?  
Share with us at Judy's Patchwork Times!
Also linking up with Freemotion's Tuesday Linky Party!
Have a lovely week!!!!

Hugs & Blessings!
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