Saturday, August 30, 2014

So Long Scrappy Greens - Hello ORANGE!!!

Today is a Sit-back-and-relax Day!

After all the scrambling I've been having to do lately to get all my commitments done on time, it feels wonderful to have a morning to just sit back and relax with my blog buddies!!!  You all really do make me happy :*)  The iPad is one of today's electronic conveniences that I really enjoy too - I couldn't have been outside working on a blog post this easily several years ago!  Even a laptop was big and heavy and clunky back then.

So, let's see..... what can I get into that doesn't require a lot of effort or demands?  Today is Saturday, and for me that usually means I get to think SCRAPPY and play with lots of colorful scraps!  This month the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at  SoScrappy has been featuring LIGHT GREEN scrappy projects, and of course I have none to share because I didn't do any :(  Both of my 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects already have GREEN blocks, so I took the month off and concentrated on those other demanding projects that really needed my attention.  Just in case you've forgotten, here are my 2014 GREEN blocks...

Soul Searching.....

And, Hootie!

Oh, I DO love this GREEN Hootie!!!!

Angela has already announced that September's color will be ORANGE!  I'm sew excited, because that is the last color I need to complete both of these quilts!  And I have lots of fun ORANGE fabrics - I just love the bright pop it gives to quilts.... and also because I'm using it for my Happy Dance blocks :*)  Which also means that they are already WASHED - WOOHOO!!!!

As you may notice, however, these are NOT scraps! I haven't really been digging into the scraps for my RSC projects this year because I wanted to use some of my prettiest fabrics in them.  But for the rest of the year, I will finish washing up the rest of my stash and begin playing with making some more simple, basic blocks with my scraps, maybe some more HST's to add to the ones I made last year?

I also need to reduce these crumbs that are overflowing from my jars, wouldn't you say?  I've been wanting to play with these crumbs all year and haven't touched them yet.  Here's crossing my fingers that I get to do that soon :)

One of the blog events that has me really excited lately is the upcoming Sew Kind of Wonderful Curve It Up Challenge QAL!

Jenny has been putting on a lovely Blog Hop this past week and getting everyone excited about the QAL.  Go HERE to find out how you can play along.  It starts September 1, and I know from experience that it will be fun - here are the blocks I made from her first Curve It Up QAL a few years ago ....

Come join in the fun - you'll love the blocks you can make with this wonderful ruler!!!

So, now I'm going to go find a chocolate chip cookie & a fresh cup of tea ....
Anyone want to join me?

Hugs & Blessings,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything....

While working hard on getting my upcoming classes in order, I've managed to get in a little FUN too ....

I started sewing together the rows for my Blooming Nine Patch this past week using them as Leaders/Enders, and although I was suspicious that this might take awhile, you may be happy to know that I am no longer suspicious - now I know it!  I think there must be a million 3-1/2" blocks in this top!  I started from the middle, planning to do each side separately, joining the two halves at the last to eliminate some of the bulk.

One at a time.....  they sure do make lovely strips though, don't they?  I'm chain-stitching, but carefully, carefully!  I don't want to get these out of order - that would be disaster!

Friday night I took all of these off the Design Wall and bagged them up - carefully marked on each bag and pinned in the correct order! - to take to my Piecemaker's sit-n-sew.  I decided to further break the sewn sections up by the bag.  As usual, we had a lot of fun, but not much sewing happened for me....

Yep, that's all I got done!  ONE BAG, LOL!!!!
But I really enjoyed catching up and having a good chat with some of my friends :*)

In my defense however, I should also let you know that I did take part in a class on English Paper Piecing (EPP) and Hand Piecing taught by Marita Wolf from The Quilter's Path that night which took up about an hour of our time. Coming up in September, TQP will be offering a BOM on the Patchwork of the Crosses by Lucy Boston.  Finally, I have some Slow Stitching to share at Kathy's Quilts!!!

My center crosses - the black is hand pieced; the red is EPP using the templates shown by the arrow.

Marita had these already stamped for us to use the lines - such a great way to hand piece!
(I hope you noticed that the back is as neat as the front!!!)

I worked so hard on these, I bent my needle!!!

I've always loved this quilt block - you can do so much with it by fussy-cutting interesting fabrics :*)  I don't want to show pictures without permission from a blog, but you really should GO SEE THESE examples by 3 Dog Design Company using Jenny Beyer border prints - WOWZA!!!  One of my favorites using this block is the below design by one of my favorite designers, Postcards from Panama, (picture from Pinterest) - OOO-LA-LA!!!!  This girl has an absolute genius for using fabrics to create something gorgeous!!!!

I'm sure this will end up being another WIP, but it will be a fun process, right?

On Thursday, I taught a Raw-Edge Machine Applique class at Music City Guild ....

My little wagon helps me come well prepared 

These were some of my samples for the class - you may recognize some of them....

The blue and cream quilt top, bottom right with the bees on it, served as my example.  It is one of the Calendar Quilts from Kim Schaeffer's wonderful book, and one that I've wanted to make for quite some time.  And since I didn't have time to do the Lime and/or Bright Green blocks for SoScrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month, I enjoyed playing with all scraps for this top!

Ahhh - gotta love those blues!!!
I used the bee section to show how to put together a section separately on an applique sheet and then transfer it to where you want it on the background.

These are the cutest little bees - and they'll show up better when I stitch around the head/antennae with white :)

One of the best perks for doing this class was receiving these AMAZING cards from the oh-so-talented Sylvia Ballard as her way of saying thanks for teaching the class!  OMG!!!!

Sylvia has been making lovely crafty items for a long time, and I treasure each item I have that she's made.  I admit I was absolutely speechless when she gave them to me at the end of the class!!!  Can you see the little scalloped edges?  And the cute tiny buttons?

Each one is a delicate work of art!  I don't think I'll ever be able to mail them to anyone... would you?  Perhaps, for someone really special one day - we'll see :*)

Thank you Sylvia - I can't tell you how blessed I feel to receive these from you :*)  

I also wanted to share with you the talent of another of my friends - Joanne Schlichting.  You've all heard me talk about Joanne, right?  She's a great quilting friend and also is my knitting partner in crime :*)

Isn't this an AMAZING quilt?  Joanne made this quilt for her granddaughter who has a heart to become a missionary in Africa.  Aly left for college last week, and this gorgeous quilt is now hanging on her wall there to remind her of her dream!  She has already visited Katie's kids in Uganda (see the book Kisses from Katie here) and would love to go back someday and help Katie in her work.  My prayers go with you Aly!!!

That's enough for now folks!  I don't want you going cross-eyed trying to read any more LOL!!!  I'll be linking up with the following fun linky parties!

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, August 22, 2014

On the Needles - 8/22/14

First off, allow me to show off my finished Happy Dance Socks!!!

My husband has a problem with the fact that the color bands don't match -
but I actually think I love them more because of it!
And don't even get him started on those little stray dots of color!!!!
They are comfortable ....

They fit perfectly .... 

And these colors just make me HAPPY!!!

Okay, I'll stop screaming at you now LOL!!!  Unless, you didn't quite get my message that I really, really love these socks?  Oh, you got it?  Great!  Then moving on..... *very big grin!*

Next up on my needles for a quick, easy, portable project is actually not a pair of socks.  I know, you're wondering if the world is getting ready to come to an end, right?  No ... well, I suppose it could be, considering everything that is going on in the news right now!  But just sayin' it won't happen because I put something else on my needles LOL!!!

As you know, I am working on my Rocio sweater, but that project takes complete concentration -  not very portable.  And because of that, it has received absolutely NO LOVE this week!  However, a knitting friend of mine let me know that the Haus of Yarn Bus would be in my town last Saturday - and I had to go check it out!!!  (And I got in a lot of trouble for going without Joanne who was at the beach!)

This bus arrives in the parking lot of a business on Main Street - about 5 minutes max from me - every first Saturday of the month.  Yep, real temptation here folks .... now the yarn is coming to me!!!

Haus of Yarn is located all the way on the other side of Nashville so I've never visited there before.  

Photo credit of Haus of Yarn website
But let me tell you, if the bus is any indication, this is one brick-and-mortar shop I need to go visit for real!

Well, not too soon, mind you, because I dropped a pretty penny just visiting the Bus!!!  Look at all these pretties!  So many samples, of just about any project you might want to play with!  And samples are my downfall because once I see with my eyes what my needles can make - not just that hank of yarn, right? - then I am doomed  .... Doomed, I tell you!!!!

I managed to restrain myself somewhat, but I did come home with TWO skeins of yarn for socks.... and the very sweet & friendly Meg offered to wind them into balls for me too!  I went with a specific idea to get some aqua for socks and found it!

Left is Smooshy in Raspberry, and the right is Frolicking Feet in Aquas
 I even splurged on a new pair of Addi needles for the cuffs since I didn't have a long-cord #3 (remember my short cord in the last post HERE?)  Well, these are called "Rocket" Turbo needles and are especially designed for socks and lacework .... and just look at the long, sharp points on these little boogers!!!!

Yes, my friends, these needles slice through a row of stitches like butter .... or something like that ... you know what I mean, right?

My only other purchase was a set of 5 different yarns in a kit that I just couldn't resist!

Aren't these just DELISH????
They have a very slight sheen to them, and so soft!!!
These are small, 1 oz skeins, and I wish I had taken a picture of all the different color options that were available!  I almost came home with a group of bright rainbow colors, but then I decided on these colors for Fall instead.  Meg was making a Diagonal Cowl out of these very colors (yep, I saw it and was doomed!) from her own simple pattern, which she very generously shared with me and a couple of the others who were interested.  It will make just a simple, continuous cowl.... doing a stockinette stitch with increases and decreases at the beginning and end, and working in each color until it is gone.  Here is my start....

Meg cast on 79 stitches, but I only cast on 65 because of my short stature.  I think this will be a very pretty accessory this Fall :)  For now, it will be my portable take-along project instead of a pair of socks.  I'm sure I will be refreshed and excited about starting a new pair of socks when this is done.

This means of course that I now have to add these yarn totals to my Knit the Stash report on the right side of the blog over there....  1,230 yards in and 400 yards used.  So my 2014 totals are now:

Yards stashed:  3,430
Yards used:  1,500
Net Yards stashed:  1,930

So what's On Your Needles???  
Share with us at Judy's Patchwork Times today!
Judy has a beautiful sweater finish she's sharing with us today :)

Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Design Wall Monday - 8/18/14

This week was a week of stepping back and setting some priorities on my projects.  There are a lot of things calling for my attention right now, and some of them are pretty loud and demanding!

In two weeks I will begin the first of several classes for my pattern, Amish Beauties!

This class was accepted at Runaway Quilters Retreat in September this year, and I'll be teaching it to 20 students that week!  How exciting!!!  Locally, The Quilter's Path is also offering a couple of opportunities to take the class and make this quilt - Friday, August 29, and Saturday, August 30.  You can contact Marita at the shop for more details if you are interested.  The best news is that she is putting together KITS for this quilt, and her bright solids are amazing!!!!  Patterns will be available for sale on October 1, but those who are taking classes will of course receive their pattern at the class.

Needless to say, I want to be sure I have all my ducks in a row on this class, so a lot of paperwork is in process and taking up a lot of my time!  But it's a fun time and I'm enjoying it tremendously :)

On my Design Wall this week, I have my Blooming Nine Patch still, and I did mange to carve out some time for the joy of making 9-patches for it.

I finished up Color 8 this week and got halfway through Color 9, which is the Dark Purple and the last color.  These final strips quickly became units for the last of the 9-patches.....

Here are some units cut and ready for the final row of 9-patches, with a strip set all ready to cut more when needed....

I can't say enough about how fun this quilt design is proving to be for me!  I'm almost disappointed to be finishing up the last row of colors!  I've decided not to put a border on it, just finishing up with setting triangles and a binding in the dark purple.  Of course, there's still a lot of sewing on this top because all of those squares have to be sewn together to complete the top.

Then I saw this CUTE little Shark Pencil Case - it's a FREE pattern and tutorial on Patchwork Posse  - and knew immediately that I had to make one for Sara for school this year.  Doesn't every Marine-Biologist-in-Training need one of these???  I've even had a few other family requests for this cute little helper :)

I haven't started on the shark yet.  Of course, I had to wash all my GRAY fabric first :)  That worked great since I didn't have a color to wash for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month.

I even threw a few recent black purchases into the darker grays - isn't this just the cutest little black & white print????

So that's what's going on at A Quilt and A Prayer... how about you?  
What do you have on your Design Wall this week?  
Share with us at Judy's Patchwork Times!

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, August 15, 2014

On The Needles Tip!

This morning I was happily enjoying my coffee on the side porch .... do you like my newest cup from Goodwill :*)

.... and working on my Happy Dance Socks - they are coming along very nicely now that I've unknitted back several inches to correct a mistake and begun again.....

..... and I had just decided that I was ready to begin the ribbed cuff, when I noticed a torn strand of yarn coming up!

Now, I don't know about you, but I am prone to say nasty things when this happens in the middle of a ball of yarn!!!  I must tell you though, (virtuously shining the chip on my shoulder) the air did not turn blue and I kept my lips tightly sealed - but only because I had a trick up my sleeve :)

Several months ago, I had watched a YouTube video by Lorraine L - you can find it HERE if the video doesn't come through on your device - that showed how to do an invisible braided join.  I had tried it out and it worked!  So I was pretty hopeful that it should work nicely here too.  First, I cut the yarn in two in the middle of the break.....

Then I split one of the ends back about 2 inches and laid the unsplit end up against it, securing it with a clip....

Then I tightly braided all three strands in the conventional way until the ends were too short to hold anymore.  Notice that the finished braid is pretty much the same width as the original strand of yarn :)  The braiding is pretty obvious, but I think that is because of the type of yarn I am using.  My earlier experiment was with a woollier thread and it was barely noticeable.

The ends did not unravel when I turned loose because they were pretty tightly braided, but I must admit I really babied them until they were worked in!

I very gently knitted that section into the sock, making sure the little fuzzy ends ended up on the inside of the sock.

The video says to not cut those until the sock has been washed and blocked, but then you can just snip them off - no weaving ends in - whoohoo!!!!  Once I had knitted the repaired strand in, I had to really look to find it - it was only noticeable when closely examined!  Can you find it?  And I'm pretty sure it will be virtually invisible when I wash them :*)

I also decided to change to try changing to a size larger needles for the ribbing to give me extra stretch there....

Like the kitty in the background?  That's my pj's!
Perfect to wear when drinking from my new-to-me cup, wouldn't you say???

.... I didn't have a size 3 circular with a cord longer than 24" - which really wasn't long enough, but I made do by using that trusty clip once again ... you know what they say about necessity being the mother of invention LOL!!!

I couldn't go out and buy a new set of circulars so I made do!  These fun socks will be off my needles probably by tomorrow.  Then I'll have to decide which pair to start next.... oh, the decisions we much make in life, right?

Check out all the fun Needles projects over at Judy's Patchwork Times today :*)

Hugs & Blessings

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