Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meet Harley...... ten week old miniature daschund. His color is chocolate and tan...with dapple markings. He has the most amazing in color.....and the sweetest personality. He is my little shadow.  :.) He gets along wonderfully with all the other dogs. Yes, I do have other dogs. Three to be precise.  :.) Never thought I would be one to have a houseful of dogs, but I do. The oldest one is a 10 year old miniature schnauzer, Joey, who sees the new addition as a huge relief. It means the other two will leave him alone. He prefers spending his days sleeping with as little activity as possible. He's been sick the last couple of years and we honestly don't know how much longer we will be blessed with him. He will turn 11 in February.

The golden retriever/mix (Rudy) is 8 years old and is fascinated by the new puppy. At first he thought it was this really great toy for him to play with....until he realized that it made noise he really didn't like hearing (whining). Now he simply tolerates it....or at least acts like he does. Heaven forbid if the puppy whines....Rudy will be the first one there to make sure he's okay.  :.)

Then there is Ratt. He's my hubby's dapple miniature daschund. He simply adores Harley, but can't wait until he is bigger so they can really play together. He's the youngest of the three older boys (little over a year and a half old) so he still loves to play. For him, Harley is a very welcomed addition. Now he finally has a playmate.....or at least he will once Harley is a little older and bigger.  :.) At the left is a picture of the two daschunds together. And, yes, Ratt's eyes are what is known as marled (two different colors in each eye) it's not the photo.

Well, enough about the newest four legged addition. Onto some crafty updates. As for spinning.....I have a lovely shetland lamb/baby camel/soy silk blend on the spinning wheel. It's spinning up beautifully! I'm hoping for a fingering weight yarn so I can make some socks from it. The soy silk should give the yarn the strength it needs for socks.

Spent the afternoon dyeing up some superwash roving I had purchased who knows when (it's been that long!). The roving is seconds...meaning the dye didn't take so it is splotchy in color. I don't mind this because I was planning on over-dyeing it anyway. Tried a new (to me) dyeing technique this afternoon. Dip dyeing. Basically, you have three or four different containers of dye set out and you dip parts of your roving in each color....being sure to squeeze out the excess dye before moving onto the next color. I have to admit that I really enjoyed this technique and will defintely do it again. I found this particular roving hard to dye because I simply couldn't get the dye to penetrate the roving all the way. And I would be left with light colored or undyed areas when I tried to hand-paint it. Didn't run into that problem with the dip dyeing. I don't have any photos of the newly dyed roving because it is still outside drying.

Onto knitting:  I finally finished my Karakul rug. Yea!! Thought I would never get this one done. I think it's the largest thing I have knitted to date. The completed rug measures something like 25" x 54". It is backed with a non-skid backing (which I found at Home Depot...and would be great for putting on the bottom of felted slippers) and now resides in front of my sliding glass door where it receives very light wear. One of the smaller dogs may lay on it from time to time....but that's pretty much it. Didn't have a pattern. Just did my own thing for the most part. The yarn is my own hand-spun. I remember picking out the fleece while it was still on the sheep, so this was a sheep-to-rug project.

Of course now that the rug is done I simply had to cast on for a new project.....socks!!!! :.) I have been wanting to make the Oslo socks in Nancy Bush's book "Knitting on the Road". Even had the yarn (hand-spun, of course) set aside and ready to go. I cast on last week. Sock #1 is completely done and I'm working on the leg of sock #2. These are knitting up rather quickly and are very enjoyable to do. I kinda wish my yarn was a bit more consistent, but it's still knitting up rather nicely. I have been making notes of what I would like to do when I knit another pair using this pattern.....which I will.  :.) Love the socks!!  :.)

Onto quilting:  I've actually been quilting up a storm lately. Tried some new-to-me techniques and have been really pleased with the end results. I put some orphan blocks together into a sampler lap quilt and am in the process of machine quilting it. Matching pillows were made with the two blocks that I didn't include in the lap quilt. Tried some new techniques when making the pillows and was pleasantly surprised.  :.) I actually did an over-lapping back on the pillow (first for me) and absolutely love it. Plus I put a binding on the pillow edge so there are no raw edges at all...inside or out. Really pleased with how finished the pillow looks. No pictures though. I will post pictures once the lap quilt is finished.

Started not one, but two new quilts. One is the "Tide Pool" quilt...pattern by Quilt Design Northwest ( I saw the pattern at a local quilt show I went to a couple of weeks ago and just had to have it. It's another new-to-me technique called "continuous line applique". Definitely worth going to the website and checking out. There is even a tutorial on the website on how to do continous line applique. All I can say is that it's easy and tons of fun to do. Oh...I'm doing my Tide Pool quilt all in batiks. The blocks are really pretty.  :.)

The other new quilt I started is an older BOM that I got who knows when. Instead of making each block as it came in, I simply put the kit up thinking I would get to it later. Well, fast forward to......later.....and I have finally pulled it out and am starting to put it together. The BOM is called "Beginning Baltimore" and is a Fig Tree design. I'm using raw edge applique techniques (new to me) for each block instead of hand applique like I had originally planned on doing. Block #1 is done and up on my small design wall. I really like the way it looks and can't wait to make more blocks. One thing at a time though.  :.)

Finally, news on my Pfaff Creative Vision. As you may recall (or not) I was having problems with how the machine stitched out....back in June. Well, I am pleased to say that after  almost 3 months I finally have my machine back. Or should I say my new machine. Yup. That's right. My Pfaff dealer couldn't get my old machine fixed and gave me a new one. My dh picked it up and brought it home yesterday. The Pfaff dealer even made sure it had all of the latest and greatest updates on it. So the new machine is now in my sewing table all ready for me to use....and all I've done so far is turn it on to adjust the sound settings to my liking. I know. I really need to use it and get acquainted with it. I have to confess that at first I was really upset that I was being given a new silly as that sounds. Hey, that was my machine....and it was a bit hard for me to wrap my head around getting a new one. Still is. But I really need to give this one a chance and get to know it. I'm sure it's a wonderful machine and I will have hours upon hours of stitching enjoyment with it. Heck, I even downloaded a pattern just so I can try it out. I'm going to make a dresden plate pillow. Might even put a small embroidery in the plate center....and I will definitely play with a few of those decorative stitches on the plate "blades".

As for the Wickersham quilt....which has been put on hold due to machine troubles.....well, I will continue with that once I'm comfortable with the new machine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

30's Sampler update

Another three blocks have been completed for the 30's sampler BOM I am doing. Only five more blocks left before I can start putting it all together. I can hardly wait!! This has been a very fun BOM to do. I have learned so much....and am really pleased with the end results. It's always a good thing when you have fun and learn something new in the process.

With the umbrella block I got a chance to practice my invisible machine applique techniques. This one went together so much easier and nicer than my previous attempts. I'm still using freezer paper templates (haven't moved onto to the heat resistant template material yet...saving that for a project that has multiples of a single item, like leaves). I'm still placing the freezer paper template down on the wrong side of the fabric with the shiny (or waxy) side of the freezer paper up. I'm still clipping my curves when needed. The only thing I did different on this block was I painted the seam allowance with starch before ironing it over. Made for a much crisper seam without flattening the applique piece. I also learned that smaller seam allowances on curves work so much better. Learned this with the end of the umbrella handle. My seam allowance was way too large. It was closer to the normal 1/4" when it should have been half that least. While I was still able to turn the seam allowance over, it was just very hard to get those nice smooth curves I was looking for. There was just too much bulk and it took a lot of manipulation before I was happy with the end result. Yes, I could have gone back and trimmed, but decided it was best to work with what I had and not take the chance of cutting the seam allowance too much (which I probably would have done, knowing me).
I'm sure there is a name for this block, although I don't know it. The "pattern" simply called it Triangle Squares. This was a fun and easy block to piece. Went together quickly. There's really not much else to say about this one.

The final block I did was the flower block using the english paper piecing technique. This is a fun technique that I found very easy to do. Almost mindless really. Love the way all the pieces fit together.....kinda like a puzzle. The leaves were done using the same technique as I used for the umbrella. With this block and the umbrella block I chose to stich the applique to the background using a small buttonhole stitch and matching thread.

Update on other sewing projects:  I know some of you are following the progress on the digitized version of the Wickersham quilt that I'm doing. For those that are wondering how the project is coming along, here is an update. No, the project hasn't been put on the back burner. There has been an delay that is beyond my control. In other words, the machine has been at the shop since the 28th of June....waiting on the arrival of a part. So when I will see my machine is anyone's guess. I'm hoping by the end of the month. Yesterday I got a call letting me know that the part needed has been taken off of backorder and should be enroute. Exactly what does that mean? "It's in the mail".

On the positive side of things, I did manage to finish a two-year old UFO. Loved the fabrics and the pattern when I started. Ran into a slight glitch when I inadvertantly mis-sewed over 40 units. Frogged everything and tried again only to discover that I sewed them wrong yet again. That's when the whole thing got set aside never to see daylight until two years later. Came across it when I was looking for something else. Decided it was time to finish it. Frogged all those mis-sewn units and actually got them right. Started putting the quilt together only to discover that I really didn't like the way the fabrics were working together. Finished putting the quilt together just to have it done and out of the way. Used up all the leftover fabric for backing so I wouldn't have to worry about what to do with it at a later date. Did a simple 2" grid quilting on it using variegated thread and a serpentine stitch. The quilt is now being enjoyed by my in-laws who absolutely love it. And me.....I'm just glad it's done and out of here.  :>)

Mountain Cottage- front
Mountain Cottage - back