Friday, October 31, 2014

On the Needles - 10/31/14

My needles have been a little quiet lately as I've been focusing on using my TV time for catching up on my Bertie blocks.  However, I have to share what I got in the mail this week.....

Aren't they just darling?????  

This will be a Christmas present for our oldest granddaughter (19 in December - wow time flies!!!).  She loves hedgehogs, so I couldn't resist this pattern when I saw it on Ravelry.  I ordered the pattern, yarn and accessories in a kit from Morehouse.....  Emma is going to love these!  And I think they will be fun to knit as well :)

I've also found time here and there to put a few rows on my current socks - Smooshy Raspberry.....

They're a strange shape at this stage, aren't they?  I just finished the gusset section and ready to start turning the heel.  I really love working heels!

Can you believe these are from the same skein of yarn?  One is definitely lighter than the other.  The sales clerk at my LYS wound the skein into a ball for me when I bought it.  Then when I got home, I split it into two balls by winding the outer thread into a ball until I had two balls that weighed approximately the same.  So basically, one is knit from one end of the skein, while the other is knit from the other end.  It's a good thing I don't mind my socks having personality, right?

And speaking of socks and personality....  How do you like my new shoes???

These are Alegria shoes in the Paloma design.  
Yes, they are wild and crazy - and I love them!!!!   

Michelle told me about these shoes at Red Rooster and said they were the most comfortable shoes she owns.  They are made similar in design to Birkenstocks, which I wear almost exclusively nowadays.  Wonderful arch support and wide toes area.  She said they no longer make this design, so if I wanted a pair I'd better get out there and find them quick.  So I did!  (on eBay)

And the socks are my House of Targaryen socks - love the two together!

So what's on your needles?  
Share with us at Judy's Patchwork Times!!!

Also linking up with Small Things Yarn Along!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Scraptastic Tuesday - Whittling Down the Crumbs!

I've been seeing some GREAT scrap quilt ideas out there in Blogland lately!

As a part of Scraptastic Tuesday, I really want to start emptying out these crumb jars and making something beautiful out of them.  (I know - I've been saying that all year!!!)

Well, it's time to start doing something about it!  Let's see....... I've found some great ideas on Pinterest!  Check out all of the ones I have pinned to my Scrappy Love! board HERE.  What about this GORGEOUS quilt called Shattered Rainbow from My Quilt Infatuation?  Wouldn't something like this be fun???

Quilt by My Quilt Infatuation
Photo courtesy of My Quilt

Or this one - the Omigosh! quilt by Sue Garman - YIKES!!!!

Quilt designed & made by Sue Garman

A few friends have made this quilt and it is gorgeous, but Oh My Gosh - all those tiny little pieces!!!  Several blog buddies are now making it - Kathy's Quilts and Sharon Vrooman to name a few - so I am very very tempted to start one too - it's the perfect leader/ender project to use up all my crumbs... and then some! .....

I also love the idea of a scrappy Chevron quilt..... these quilts are all the rage right now - and I love the idea of no triangles :*)

Photo courtesy of  Dream Patch blog
Free Tutorial for this block on her blog HERE!
It could be done very scrappy, just using all blues for one row, with the background next, then all pinks, etc.  But perhaps this one would be more for the larger scraps?  Hmmmm..... maybe a good idea for next year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

I'm also looking through my books and have found a few that I definitely want to try!  For instance.....  I LOVE this Bowdacious pattern from the Scrap Queen herself, Bonnie Hunter.  The picture here is not great, but I've seen this quilt in person and it positively SPARKLES!!!  Mostly little 4-patches and one-sided snowball blocks.

This is a book by Jan Mullen that I have had for AGES!!!!  I love the idea of making my own fabric out of scraps - can't you just see me making this cute little kitty?  I know you can!!! So can I =^..^=

I was thrilled when I found Gwen Marston's book for $5 in the book sale section at the AQS in Chattanooga!  Gwen makes quilting fun!!!  I really want to try making a few of her funky blocks....

Sew... I think that's enough inspiration to get me started.... what about you?
Come back next week to see if I have actually started any of these LOL!!!  

Join in the Scraptastic Fun over at She Can Quilt and Mrs. Sew and Sow !  
Today is the last day to get in on this month's Linky Party HERE - there are prizes!!!!

Also linking up with Vrooman's Quilts 
for Sharon's wonderful Let's Book It challenge!


Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM - Block #1!!!

It's finally here!!!!
The Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM starts today!!!

 Are you as excited as I am?  I hope so!  
I love a BOM, and I especially love one that is fun and simple to make - 
and Jacquelynne has made sure these blocks are all of that!
(Our first hint is the word "Simplicity" in the name LOL!)

(If you're new, you can go HERE to find out all about the BOM )

Here is my Block #1

Since Jacquelynne used her lovely Cottage Charm fabrics to make her blocks (go HERE if you'd like to see her Block #1), I decided I would go with something totally different.  One of her suggested examples showed a black background and lots of bright solids to give it an Amish look - and you know I loved that!  I pulled all my solids out - I even bought a few more!

I had really been on the fence about how I was going to handle the center snowball in each block.... applique? ..... embroidery? ..... leave it blank and do some fancy quilting in there? .....

But then ..... I stumbled across this gorgeous Laurel Burch cats panel while digging for potential Patchwork of the Crosses fabrics - and inspiration struck!

What if I put a cat in the center of each one?!?

And then surround it with black, then lots of bright colors?.......
Not solids of course, but fun prints to emphasize the cats......

All my pieces cut out and ready to stitch.... the center panel already has it's black border and cut down to the required 6-1/2" square size.

Although I am totally in love with this idea, it is proving to be a little tricky because those center snowballs are only 6-1/2" square, and most of these cat blocks are going to be very close to that, leaving little space for a black border around them.  I may have to get very creative!!!

I love the way Jacquelynne makes her Flying Geese units!  I had never done them that way before.  I found it to be a very easy method, and my units were perfect!  Look at those points!  *polishing shoulder LOL!!!*

I have to admit, I just had to save the corners that were cut off - they made the cutest little 1-1/4" half-square triangles!  I simply sewed again a little less than 1/2" away from the first stitching and cut them off.  No messing with bias seams for me!

This is a little trick I learned from Bonnie Hunter, although she actually measures where she sews that second seam so she doesn't even have to square up the resulting hst unit!  That Bonnie is one smart cookie!!!!

For my half-square triangle units, I used a silver metallic gel pen to mark the diagonal center of my black squares.  This mark didn't matter because we don't sew on it; we sew a scan 1/4" inch away on both sides, then cut on that marked line.  But for my colored squares I knew I would actually be sewing on that line and it may show later, so I used a Frixion iron-away pen for them.....

I played with leaving the snowball corners out and making the center a square since the black was so narrow around the cat, but I just didn't like the orange star points just jutting out there all by themselves.....

I decided I would have to sacrifice some of the black border and make the snowball corners in orange so the star would connect all the way around.  I think it was the right decision :)

Sew..... are you sewing along?
If you're signed up, your email with the pattern is waiting for you now!  
What fabrics are you using?  
And what are you planning for the center blocks?
Yes - I want to know everything!!!!
Share photos of your blocks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 
using the hashtag #SewSweetSimplicity.


Also linking up with:
Patchwork Times - Design Wall Monday
Freemotion by the River - Tuesday Linky Party
What a Hoot - BOM's Away!
Cat Patches - October NewFO Challenge

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Slow Stitching ... Finally!

Traveling and retreats are always pretty busy times for me, even though I'm supposed to be "resting" at retreat - right!!!  Although I really did rest a good bit at Red Rooster, my ambitions for doing some hand stitching came to naught.  My passion right now of course is to be making those delicious Patchwork of the Crosses blocks!  But I've decided to put them on the back burner for a week or so until I get the Bertie blocks caught up - I didn't realize that I was FIVE blocks behind on these - yikes!!!!

At the Rooster, my first order of business was to finish stitching together all the rows for my Blooming Nine Patch .....

Because this quilt goes together on point, I had to make all of the blocks before I could start putting it together.  Here it was on the floor as I assembled it ....

and I finished up just before the lunch bell on the second day.

Wow!  Does it ever BLOOM!!!!

I'm very happy with it and can't wait to get it quilted and bound :)

Then after lunch, I pulled out the Bertie blocks and began the machine stitching on all five blocks.  I had already fused everything down, so it was a very relaxing and fun project!

I then made the half-square triangle borders for October and November so I could finish them up and enjoy them on the wall this year.

November Bertie with its border, before hand stitch embellishments
I'll probably leave October up for a couple weeks, then put November up mid-month. Unfortunately, the July, August and September Berties will have to wait until next year for their time to shine on the wall :(

This little pumpkin actually smiled when he got his eyes :*)

Since I got home, the past few nights have found me in my chair, slowly stitching the embellishments to my October Bertie.  I actually finished the stitching this afternoon while watching football, but then I decided I like this gold in the upper left corner for the border stitching rather than the green, so it looks like I will be doing some frogging :( ....

Very washed out picture - I'm not happy with my camera lately!

And just so I can justify my rant of last week, I took a picture of some real-life candy corn that was in the candy dish at the Rooster next to the Kit "candy corn" fabric (right) and my substitutions (left)....

..... Will the REAL candy corn fabric please stand up???  
Yep, I feel justified *VBG* 

I want to thank all of you who commented and encouraged me to speak up about the quality of the fabrics I've been receiving in the BOM.  Several of you noted that you are also doing the BOM and were disappointed as well.  So as much as I hate to do it, I've decided that I will send a note letting them know of my dissatisfaction.  I'll keep you posted.

The greatly revamped November Bertie, using mostly my own lovely bright fall wools, has also been enjoying the addition of some embellishment since I thought I was done with October.  I love this variegated fall-colored spool by Valdani for these blocks!

Note the machine stitching around her kerchief to give it shape and clarity - I thought that turned out well considering I had no idea what I was doing LOL!!!!

This one is well on it's way to being done, with only the border ring of chained feather stitching to be done before quilting.

These stitched borders take quite a while to accomplish, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to complete it tonight or not.  My intention is to keep my nose to the grindstone until all of these are done - keeping the POTC blocks out there as my "carrot" will encourage me to keep going when I start getting bored with them!

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday - come on over & enjoy!!!!


Before I leave, let me remind you.........

Tomorrow is the first day of the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM!!!!

Be sure to come by to see my Block #1 - I'm SEW EXCITED about how it turned out and can't wait to show you all!!!!  Are you ready to start your first block?  I had a ball with this wonderful design, and everything went together like a charm!  I can't wait to see your blocks and the fun fabrics you choose to make yours with!

And I bet you want to know who won the giveaway Pattern Bundle from Jacquelynne too, don't you?  Well, Mr. Random Generator must have been in a really great mood, because he chose #33 - which is one of my good friends!

I am signed up and I like Jacqueline's colors for the block of the month.

Anyone who knows Joanne, knows that she is luckiest person alive!  She always wins!!!!  I've sent her an email, and she'll be receiving that happy bundle of PDF patterns from Jacquelynne soon.  Don't be discouraged though - there are SEVERAL MORE GIVEAWAYS coming up during the BOM - so stay tuned and join in the fun!!! :*)

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow - my post goes live about noon.  

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wondering What Bertie's Been Up To?

Before the stitching and embellishments .....

I'm not a Fall person.  Many of my closest friends and loved ones revel in Fall - they adore it!!!  And I don't really have anything against the season itself - it's nice to have a little crispness in the air instead of all that stifling heat.  It's just that to me Fall means the imminent onset of Winter, and I am definitely not a winter person!  Of course, one thing I do like about Fall is the COLOR!!!

Picture taken on my trip to the Blue Ridge Mtns a couple weeks ago

It's as if God knows that the only way to keep some of us from dreading Fall is to embellish our world with an irresistible abundance of COLOR!!!  With happy abandon, He tosses out bright splashes of paint in those deep rich oranges, reds, yellows and golds  - everywhere you look!  Our sun-blinded eyes just soak it all up like a parched sponge.  And don't get me wrong - I do love that!

Bertie certainly has certainly gotten into the Fall mode!  The first picture above is my October Bertie's Year BOM block, currently in progress - such a FUN block design!  And here's my November block ..... all those wonderful leaf colors!  These are not the fabrics that came in my kit however ... serious rant coming up shortly!

I am so far behind on this BOM!  I was doing great until about July - getting each one done in time to hang and enjoy it each month.  But now I have FIVE of them in the basket that need to be done!  So I thought it would be a good idea to take them to retreat with me next week and just crank them out.  Here are July though November, all fused down and ready for hand-stitch embroidery embellishments :)

However, instead of just taking an hour or so to pop out the laser cuts and fuse them to the background, I had to spend HOURS in preparation for several of these blocks.  Why?  Because once again, I had to hunt down and substitute stash fabrics for the ones that were supplied with the kit..... and I hate to whine, but I'm not happy about that :(  And of course, using my stash fabrics means that I have to do all the prep work too, like drawing, cutting, etc....  I thought that was why I paid more for the laser cut kit, right?

Bonnie Sullivan has done such a wonderful job designing this series!  I love each and every block!!!  Her original blocks in the pictures on the pattern are always so colorful and have such fun bright fabrics - fabrics that are not included in my kit!  (Please Note - Bonnie Sullivan does not supply the kit)  What I get in my kit is positively DULL!!!  See the difference here with the October kit?  The top fabric is a dull brown they supplied for the pumpkin - yuk!!!  The bottom wool is from my stash.....

Candy corn substitutions.....

Now which one of these says "candy corn" to you?  Definitely not that ugly brown & gold on the right!!!!  Seriously???  They gave us THAT for candy corn????  And do these look anything like the colors in the sample picture above?  No, of course not!  Bonnie's candy corn looks like candy corn!!!!  Of course the bright wools on the left are what I substituted from my stash.

This dull, boring green at the top of this picture is the same green we've gotten in every single kit all year long.. ugh!!!  I decided to use the more interesting green wool at the bottom for October and November - the COLOmonths .....

And then here's the fabrics they sent for November - next to Bonnie's sample picture - sheesh!!!!

See how bright and colorful her fabrics are in the sample picture?  Are those the fabrics we got in the kit?  NO!!!  Not even close!!!!  Look at these dull browns .... not a bright orange or gold in the lot of them!   Notice the fun polka dot in the corners of Bonnie's block - of course that fabric is not included in my kit either.

And that leaf - seriously????  It is the definition of boring!!!  And nothing like the bright, interesting orange in the sample..... and certainly nothing like the true beauty of Fall leaves!!!!

So enough of the rant!  Substitutions were made - the blocks will be fine - and I'll get over it.... but don't look for me to buy another kit anytime soon.

On a much happier note, while I was playing in my stash last night, I came across this fun Laurel Burch Cats panel print ....

..... and inspiration struck..... What if I????

Yep, I totally changed my mind about how I'm going to make my Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM blocks!  Instead of the applique or embroidery in the center, I'm going to put these cat blocks in the center and construct Jacquelynne's sampler blocks around them using lots of those fun, bright colors!  Stay tuned.....and don't forget, there's still time to get in on this fun BOM HERE - my GIVEAWAY is HERE!!!!!

I'm also playing with lots of gorgeous fabrics for more Patchwork of the Crosses blocks.  Look for a lot more of these to come!

This set of design mirrors really helps me get an idea of how to fussy cut to get great fun designs....

So, what are you relaxing and playing with today?

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching

Hugs & Blessings!

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