Monday, January 26, 2009

All thumbs....

Well, it really hurt to tear out my "gauge" on the sock yarn. It was a 4" x 4" gauge and with only #2 size needles, ....that's a lot of knitting to have to tear out. I know it is a good thing, but it still hurt.

Now I have to tell you that I haven't made socks in eons. In fact it has probaby been 30 years since I made Santa stockings for my kids. I've never done any for myself to "wear"!

So, I am feeling like I am all thumbs here.

Have it under a little more control here.

Starting to look like something here, but still feeling a little like I am all thumbs. Hopefully it will get better the longer the sock gets. Can't wait to see how this turns out. Hope I like it enough to make the other sock!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The weekend is not a total bust....

At least in the craft sense. Life sure gets in the way of fun stuff sometimes, but I didn't want the weekend to pass me by without accomplishing one thing quilt-wise. I finished my sixth Hearts and Hands block. I think this is the last one I had pre-made freezer paper patterns made up for, so I am going to have to get busy and cut out some more so I don't have to stop and do that the next time I feel like sitting down and putting in a few stitches.
Sure hope life settles down soon so that I can start pumping out the projects like I usually do.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Running out of things to do?....

Heaven's no! But....that didn't stop me from going to a yarn shop today. I had intended on only buying the needles that I needed to get my socks started, but going into a yarn shop is almost as bad as going into a quilt shop. There are all the colors to drool over, then you have to feel all the nubby textures and feel all the soft yarns.

I did buy my needles for the socks and I just did my "gauge" which is pretty right on, but gee whiz, I could have had half the first sock done by now with as many rows as I had to make for the gauge. Well, at least now I know I am ready to get at them.

Of course, the problem today was that I could not walk out of this adorable yarn shop without taking something beautiful home. I ended up finding a fairly simple pattern for a short sleeved sweater in the magazine called Knitscene. I bought four skeins of this luscious 100% superfine Australian merino wool in the color called "beach fog". I made up my gauge in that, too, tonight and I can see that it is going to make up really pretty.

Well, it's kinda late to get started on the "real" projects tonight, but I think I will pick up the next Hearts and Hands block that I have prepped and get busy on that. So you can see, I am NOT running out of things to do. If anything, instead of getting anything "done", I just keep adding to the list. I guess it's time to get busy and just maybe I will have something to post that is 100% finished. Soon....I hope!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Page 96......

Well, here is what has become the next step in winning the Grand Prize for the 3rd annual Online Quilt Contest for AQS (American Quilter's Society). My quilt is in the March edition of the American Quilter. It's on page 96. The subtitle in the magazine is incorrect, but that's ok....I've won grand prize and I have that prize sitting in my sewing room calling my name to get busy and use it. I've named her "Ellie Faye" and she is an Elna.

I wrote about a great group of ladies that encouraged me to submit my quilt for this contest. I can't remember the year, but it was a few years ago that several people were on a message board (MB) on TV personality/quilter, Alex Anderson's site. When that site shut down, one of our own and her dear hubbie, daughter and son-in-law started up another message board where many of us still come together to share projects, family, happiness, sadness and whatever pops into our heads. Several gals from this group meet once a year somewhere in the middle of the United States for a big quilt fest what we call RIM (retreat in the middle). We quilt, chat, eat, shop, etc. until we drop....almost. But best of all, we get to meet face to face the people that we have made "friends" with AND we do some great charity work, too, for one of the local hospitals making what we call "love covers" for preemies and incubator covers amongst other charitable acts. It's the best time and we all love each other a bunch.

Also, offered up to me is a free, multi-day pass for the BIG quilt show in Paducah, KY this April and I am going to do all that I can to get off work so that I can attend and see my quilt hung up there with 100s of other beautiful quilts.

Well, I hear my name being called by Ellie Faye. So, I will keep you updated on all the latest as it happens. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Felted purse almost done....

Here is where I finally got the handles on. Never tried this I-cord with plastic tubing in it, so thought this would be interesting.

Then I stitched up the bottom of the purse with a whip stitch and wove in all the loose ends. The purse started out at 18" wide x 13 " in height. Then I went through the felting process in the washer with "hot" water.
Six minutes later it was 20" wide and 11" in height. (That seems so wrong as it is supposed to be getting small, but for some reason, mine was getting wider)
Five minutes later it was 19 x10.
Five minutes after that it was 18 x 9.
Then five minutes after that it was 17 x 9.
It finally got to the point that I liked the look of the felting and I was having a little trouble with the ruffle getting a little wonky, so I didn't want to go any further. Also, to top it off, the plastic tubing had broken free from the I-cord, so I thought I better quit while I was ahead. The tweed yarn wasn't shrinking as fast as the ruffle, so now I have a tighter opening to the purse with a wider bottom which is not the way the picture shows, but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out (other than the problem with the handles which I am sure is fixable).
So here it is stuffed with newspaper until it dries. Once it is totally dry, I will fuss with the handles to see what I can do to fix them and then I am going to run to a local decorator fabric store and buy something amazing to line it with. I will have to crochet a loop and add a button to the top of the purse for the closure.
After all this waiting around at the washer, I decided to do some hand applique, so here is the Hearts and Hands block I had prepped yesterday.

That's it for now. On to something else until the felted purse is all dried out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Making "some" headway....

Just thought I would update you on this frigid Saturday and let you know that I am finding just a little time to work on my projects. I had to go out and buy plastic tubing for my soon-to-be felted purse for the handles. I now have one handle with the tubing inserted. Who would have thought you could do this! I can't wait to see how it felts on this.

Also, I have been waiting patiently (or should I say impatiently) to post a picture of the service banner that I made for a friend's Christmas present. I know, I is the middle of January and I am still waiting to give it to her, but work, life and vacations have kept us apart and now that she will be coming home from her vacation this weekend, I am hoping to give it to her this coming week. It is for her to let the world know that her daughter, Megan, who has joined the Coast Guard. They are very proud of her (although somewhat worried). I, too, am proud to know someone that has joined in our troubled times. By the way, the plastic sleeves are still on the tassels so they don't muss up until she gets it home and hung in her window.

Also, on my "headway" list, I have another Hearts and Hands block prepped, made the backing for a 60" sampler quilt, started piecing another backing for the Strawberries and Lemonade quilt, cut batting for a shop hop quilt that has been done for some time and needs to get off to the quilter and am now planning a baby quilt that needs to be done for a shower next month. Also, started playing with "Ellie Faye", my new Elna. Ooooh....she sews like a dream!

Keep warm and happy quilting, knitting or whatever you are working on.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Grand Prize has arrived.....

This is the Grand Prize for the AQS online quilt contest that I just recently won. I told my husband that I wanted progressive pictures when it did arrive, but he wasn't sure that the UPS guy would wait around for him to find the camera. Didn't have to worry about that since they left it on my snowy front porch. It was left outside freezing its little electrodes off.

Hubby did get some pictures of it sitting outside.

It's making its way into the house so it can wait for me to come home.

Once home I got to open up the box. The poor thing was so cold from being outside that I haven't even turned it on. I thought it would be wise to wait for it to warm up in the house. So, I took off for my guild meeting (it was hard leaving it so soon).

Well packed.

Snug as a bug!

Here it is! The Elna 8600 Xplore. Isn't she beautiful!

Well, looks like she will have to wait until tomorrow for me to give her a try. I know this is driving DH crazy as he has been reading me the owners manual while I have been trying to post , but I want to have plenty of time to play and tomorrow night after work will be the day.

Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009's cold out there!!!!

We had several inches of snow fall most of yesterday and last night and the weatherman says we can expect temperatures only in the teens all this week. So glad that I got my fingerless gloves done last night. I will most likely be using them this week. This was a super simple pattern that I got from my friend, Sharon.

If you are interested in the pattern, it was #7 needles, cast on 38 stitches, K2, P2 in row 1 and P2, K2 in row 2 and continue for 7". Cast off and then stitch together top 1" and bottom 3" and that's it. I think I will try something a little more difficult next time (did I say next time?... good thing I don't have any yarn for "next time" right now); but for now I need to finish my felted purse and get busy on those darn socks.

Well if you live anywhere in the Michigan area....keep warm this week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not enough to do......right!!!

It's not like I don't have enough to do around here without starting something new, but I just had to. I have been itching to try the fingerless gloves as my friend, Sharon, has been pumping them out. It always feels good to get a project done, even if it is just a quick project. So here is the start of my fingerless gloves...a simple pattern; and I thought I would throw in the Hearts and Hand block that I finished this morning, too.

Gotta get started on the knitted socks that I want to try my hand at soon, too. Before long, it will be too warm to wear those kind of socks. Oh heck....that's just wishful thinking. Here in Michigan, it feels like it is going to be cold forever!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

3 down, 114 to go.....

Oh, I shouldn't have put it that way! At this rate this quilt is going to take me until 2020 to complete; but I thought I would share the next couple blocks that I have completed. Of course, they will have to be cut into circles, but for now and for their protection, I am leaving them square. This is going to be my "caf'e au lait" quilt....creams, browns and blacks.

Ha! Just looked at the pattern and noticed I made one of my blocks wrong. That's what I get for not referring to the pattern. Oh well, I guess you can call it a "design decision", because I am not going to change it now!

Also, thought I would show you the progress on my felted purse (actually, to be felted). The ruffle is on and the next step is the cocoa colored handles. I have to purchase some tubing that will make the handles firm, so hope to do that this weekend.

Hey...I seem to have a cream and brown thing going here! Hmmmm......

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is this A.D.H.D.?

I have applique blocks going for the Hearts and Hands quilt. I just received an order in the mail for fabric for the borders for my Strawberries and Lemonade ...Merry Go Round quilt AND backing. Also, in the mail was backing fabric for a sampler top that is ready to be sandwiched. (Of course, this doesn't even include the numerous UFO's that are piled up in my sewing room. )Then...what do I do?, but spend my Christmas money on yarn.

I had started this felted wool purse with yarn that I purchased at a Sheep and Wool festival a year ago. The yarn was made from their sheep. I believe this particular wool was from a "Jacob" and it is a tweed. I am using the circle needles that I inherited from my mother, but of course, they only go up to #15, so I needed to buy #17 to make the ruffle. For the ruffle, I bought some ivory Cascade that will be knitted together with Kidsilk. Then I had to buy Sheperd's wool for the handle in a rich brown.

But if that wasn't enough, I have been wanting to try my hand at socks, so I found this free pattern by Regia and bought a couple skeins of Kaffe Fassett yarn that will make up like the sock on the left. Isn't it wonderful that he designs material for quilting and yarn for knitting, too?!!

Also, rolling around in my head is that I want to make fingerless gloves. My friend, Sharon, gave me hand written instructions on how to do this, but I forgot the weight of yarn that I needed otherwise, I would have bought that, too.

Oh well, with the way my week has gone, I may not get to any of these.

Hope you are all getting to the projects that are rolling around in your heads for the new year. By the way....Happy New Year!

I said I wouldn't......

I meant it when I said it. But I failed and ended up doing it. I picked up the knitting needles instead of getting back to my pile o...