Monday, December 26, 2011

Lace, lace, and more lace!!

 December has been a wonderful month for finishing up projects.....especially my lace projects. Pictured is my very first Shetland shawl. It measures 36" square. Not real large, I know. But it was a wonderful beginner shawl. This was made from the pattern that was provided in the online class I took. The one where I wasn't real crazy about the instructor. I'm gaga over the completed shawl though.  :<) Can't seem to quit looking at it....and smiling from ear to ear every time I do!!

A little bit about the shawl. It's knit from a handspun 2-ply sportweight (15 wpi) yarn. Natural color. Compliments of my Shetland ewe, Carrie. The shawl was knit from the inside out. There is no cast-on edge anywhere. I learned how to do a provisional cast on with this project. I also learned how to use my blocking wires and mats.....and was simply amazed at the end results.

There are a few pictures of the shawl. My loving hubby surprised me with a new camera for Christmas....and I can't seem to stop using it. I find that I'm constantly picking it up and taking pictures of this and of that.  So don't be surprised if my posts are more photo intensive than before. This is a really fun camera to use....and there is so much for me to learn. It's allowing me to finally spread my amateur photographer's wings.  :<)

The other lace project I finished this month was an Estonian lace scarf. It was my very first piece of Estonian lace. It took a bit longer to knit up than the shawl did, but was so well worth the effort. Not only did I learn a new technique, but I also learned how to make nupps......and enjoyed making them. A lot!!!

 The scarf is knit from a hand spun 2-ply shetland lamb/kid mohair/soy silk blend.......with a touch of icicle tossed in to give it a bit of sparkle. The yarn is a fine weight yarn (20 wpi).  I had spun this yarn up quite some time ago, but could never find the perfect project for it.....until now.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nature's Beauty

 I normally don't take nature pictures for a couple of reasons.....(1) I'm usually too busy enjoying it and totally forget about taking pictures.......and....(2) when I do think about taking a picture it's usually when I have left my camera behind.  Well, the other night as I was heading in from feeding I happened to notice the beautiful sunset we were having. Being close to the house.....and remembering my camera......I was able to get a few shots. These were taken from the backyard looking out towards the pasture. Lucky sheep!! They get to enjoy views like this quite often......when they don't have their heads in the feeders that is!

These pictures were taken this morning before the sun moved in and burned off all the fog. I just loved how mystical everything looks. The sheep were just wondering when they were going to get their breakfast and could have cared less about how mystical the fog made their pasture look.  :,)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


 .....finished thread basting my Hawaiian quilt and was able to get a picture of it. it is!!! My very first original Hawaiian quilt.  :,) It measures approximately 88" x 109" right now.  After it has been quilted, then I will trim it down so it measures approximately 86" or so square.  The next step is needle-turn applique. I hope to start that just as soon as I finish up the poho poho quilt (otherwise known as my Hawaiian Sampler). Nearly done with the block I'm currently working on and then there is only one more block to do after that.

On Friday the final lesson in my Hawaiian quilt class was posted. Can't help feeling a bit sad. It was a wonderful class and I learned so much. Not to mention it was so much fun to take. The classroom will stay open until the 10th of December, but I really don't anticipate a lot of interaction other than the final good-byes and general wrapping up of the class. It was a wonderful class. The instructor (Nancy Chong)  was very knowledgeable and incredibly helpful. All the notes were well written and easy to follow. If anyone is interested in learning how to make an Hawaiian quilt I would highly recommend taking a class from her....whether it be in person or on line. You won't be disappointed.

Been spending quite a bit of time making Christmas gifts. Had to rethink some of the things I wanted to do simply because it took so long for the thread I had ordered to arrive (over four weeks.....and it was coming from Nevada!)......and  I won't have the time to get them done.....which didn't make me too happy. I had been planning some of the larger gifts for quite some time. Oh well. Happens. You do the best with what you have and continue forward....which I'm doing. Pictured is a sample tote that I did. Since I haven't had a lot of experience (okay none) in embroidery placement, I thought it would be a good idea to stitch up a sample first. Then I could make any changes that might be needed. Well, I really love the way this little tote turned out and will be doing the larger tote  (gift) the same way. The extra time I took in measuring was so worth it.  Now I hope these same techniques will work on placing an embroidery on the front of a shirt....especially since I have two of those to do and have never embroidered a shirt before. Guess I better find a sample one to do.

The other xmas gift I made was a flannel wall hanging. Can't post a picture of it though in case the recipient looks at my blog. Wouldn't want to give the surprise away.  :,)  Still left to do....a couple of embroidered pillows, two framed embroidered pieces, and a few pillowcases. While they are all relatively small things, they are things that can be finished easily and fairly quickly. I don't want to be doing what I've done in the past........frantically working late into the night on Christmas Eve to finish things up.

The scrappy civil war quilt (now named "Sweet Surrender") is finally done. At least the top anyway. Haven't taken a picture of it yet though. I'm waiting for the snow to let up so the quilt top can be hung on the line outside and a picture taken of it. It's a large one.....108" square. Bought a packaged cotton batt for it yesterday at Joanns. I had a 60% off coupon that I was able to use on it. Yea!! Even splurged and took advantage of the sale on Christmas fabrics. I was able to find some really nice ones to add to my small collection. Some will be absolutely perfect for a few of the Christmas gifts I still have left to make.

Onto knitting:  My Estonian lace scarf has been put on hold for a bit. Just until the shawl I'm working on for the Shetland Shawl class I'm taking is finished. Taking this class was impulsive. I saw it being offered and simply couldn't refuse. I've been wanting to make a Shetland shawl for the longest time. Been collecting books on them for years. The class takes a different approach to knitting the shawl. You actually start from the center and work your way out. There is no cast on edge and no wrong or right side. The knitting has been simple. I'm nearly done with the shawl center. Only have a repeat and a half to go before I'm ready to start on the border. I'm using a 2-ply sport weight (15 wpi) handspun  natural color shetland yarn (compliments of Carrie).

The class itself hasn't been the most exciting thing in the world to take. There is no interaction between the instructor and the students. I did post once on the discussion board....and the instructor did reply. But that was pretty much it. Very disappointing especially after the wonderful experience I have had with my Hawaiian quilting class.  When I told my hubby how disappointed I am with this class (and highly doubt I will ever take another class via needlecraft university), he asked me if I have learned anything. Yes, I have. I have learned how to do a provisional cast-on....and how to pick up stitches with it looking the same on both sides. I am also learning how to knit a Shetland shawl from the inside out. Then he said, "well, that makes it worth taking." And he is right. Even though I'm not finding the class to be a wonderful experience (or even a mediocre one at that), I am learning new things....and I will end up with a finished Shetland shawl. So in the end it will have been worth it. Thankfully next week the final lesson goes up and the class will be done. I will be sure to post pictures of my Shetland shawl when it is done.

On that note, I will end this post by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!!

 That's what I've been lately. Busy as a bee quilting up a storm.  Wish I had pictures to share of what I've been working on lately....but I don't. So I thought I would share pictures of Dexter enjoying a knitting project that didn't turn out. When I have knitting projects that don't turn out they usually end up as playthings for the doxies....who then feel as if their mission in life is to de-construct the said item. In this case it was a knitted and fulled teddy bear that just wasn't meant to be. It wasn't a total loss though. I did get to see how the handspun yarn fulled.....and I did make notes on what I want to change the next time I knit this particular pattern up. Plus the doxies got to spend countless hours de-constructing....something they really enjoy doing.   :<) Now for an update on what I've been up to.

My scrappy civil war quilt still isn't finished but I am making progress on it. The fourth quarter of it is up on the design wall and is being sewn together. Yesterday I made great progress and got all the blocks sewn together into pairs and trios. Today I hope to get rows sewn together.

My Hawaiian quilt class is going well. Lesson 3 was posted on Friday. It's on needle-turn applique....which I love. I'm not that far on my quilt though. My design has been laid out and securely pinned to the background. Thread basting it all in place is the next step.....and yet another thing I hope to start on today. It will probably take me a few days to get the entire design thread basted in place. Once that is done then I will get to put it up on the design wall and see my design in its entirety for the very first time. I've only got to see it in bits and pieces so far....or eighths and quarters to be more exact. It's a rather large quilt and the surface I'm using for pinning/basting only accommodates a little under half of the quilt at a time.

Onto the wall hanging that I've been hand quilting. That is actually coming along rather nicely. Only one more sashing piece to hand quilt before I can move onto the border. Not quilt sure what I want to do there yet. I'm thinking maybe feathers of some kind. Up until now I've only done straight line quilting.....mostly grid. So I thought it would be fun to try my hand at a little "fancy quilting" just to see how it is. Who knows. Maybe it is something I will really enjoy and will want to incorporate into future quilts. While I do enjoy looking at quilts with "fancy quilting" in them, I rarely do any of that in my own. It's not that I don't know how. I think it's more of what I'm drawn to personally. While the fancy quilting is pretty to look at , sometimes it can really take away from the quilt itself. I mean, afterall, a lot of time is spent in the piecing and/or appliqueing of a quilt. Why cover all that up with machine and/or hand quilting? To me, quilting is supposed to enhance the piecework and/or needle work...not cover it up or take away from it. In my opinion when you look at a quilt, the first thing you should see is the quilt design....not the quilting in it. I feel that should be secondary. But, then again, this is only my own very humble opinion.  :<)

Pulled out another if there is a shortage of *that* around here! This one is an Hawaiian sampler that I started years ago. It was started as a graduation quilt for my oldest....until she decided she didn't want it and chose another pattern instead. So it got put aside.....and started collecting dust. I decided to pull it out because I thought it would be perfect for trying my hand at thread basting on....which it was. The blocks are 20" in size. Once I got a block thread basted, I thought it would be a great way to freshen up my applique skills....especially since it has been quite some time since I've appliqued anything by hand. Another good call on my part. My needle turn is really rusty. This is the perfect project to get my needle turn back in shape before I tackle my large Hawaiian quilt. Plus I discovered that only two more blocks need to be made (one of which is already in progress) before the top could be put together.

As if I'm not working on enough quilting projects right now, there is my Estonian lace scarf that I try to knit a few rows on each day. It's actually coming along nicely and I hope to be able to take a picture of it sometime soon. Or at least of what I have done so far. My thoughtful and always considerate hubby suggested that I simply focus on one project until it is done then move onto another one. What a sweetheart he is!! Of  course he doesn't quite understand the rationale behind why I must work on several projects at once. I mean, afterall, the Hawaiian sampler is helping me learn new techniques and freshen up old skills that I will need for the large Hawaiian quilt....which is a class project. And I can't simply quit hand quilting the wall hanging because I am so close to finally having it done....and with it being an older UFO, too. As for the scrappy civil war quilt.....well, with all the hand work I've been doing lately it's nice to be able to do some mindless piecing. Being able to finish yet another UFO in the process.....well, that's always an added bonus.  :<) The knitting gives me a nice break from all the quilting....and the spinning is my zen time. Need I say more?    :<)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hawaiian Quilt Class

 I thought I would share how my online quilt class is going. Lesson Two opened on Friday. It's all about putting your applique design down on your background fabric. I'm not quite there yet. I'm still working on Lesson One....the designing part. Good thing it's a work at your own pace type of class.   :<) Some of the other students in the class have already cut their designs out and have it put down on their background fabrics. Wow! There are some really pretty quilts in the making! If I have my design in fabric by the end of the five week class I will be very happy.  :<)

This first picture is of my fabric choice. The dark fabric is for my applique....the lighter for the background. I'm doing a full/double size quilt....or at least that is what I hope to be making if I can ever get through the designing part.

The next picture is of my basic design. It is about a quarter of the size of what the final design will be. Rough cut circles were used instead of the actual flowers. This was done pretty much to see how things looked together and how happy I was with placement. 

The last picture is of my design. This one is about half the size of what the final design will be. The flowers were added....and some changes were made. Again, it was done to see how things looked together...and how I like the placement of the different elements. I really like the way this one looks....although the different elements are just a touch too close together. If I was going to make this I would go back and scale things down a bit so that there was more space between the various elements. Since it is just another "mock up" of sorts there was no need to bother with any of that.

Yesterday afternoon was spent working on the full scale version of my design. Spent some time enlarging and copying so that I ended up with about four different sizes of flowers and buds to work with. Wanted to make sure that my flowers were at a size that looked good in the space they would be in. Since this is a full size pattern I'm only working with one quarter of it...instead of the entire design like I did with the "mock ups" I did earlier. The design is all drawn up and I started working on adding seam allowance. Once all the seam allowance is added I will be able to cut the pattern out and finally put it to fabric. Of course I plan on taking a picture of it first...printing it out four times.....and laying all those together to make sure that I'm truly  happy with the final design. It would be a tragedy to cut out the fabric only to discover that there is something about the design that I'm just not happy with. I would rather spend more time with the eraser.

The class, over all, has been absolutely wonderful!! I have learned so much!! And I have learned exactly what I had always wanted to to *design* my own Hawaiian quilt. The rest of the class will be on applique, layering, basting, quilting, and finishing the quilt. I will follow along but it's not quite as important as this first part was. I mean, I have already made an Hawaiian quilt....a small one.....and I have another one in progress (more of a sampler of Hawaiian quilt blocks) I know the basics. Plus I've been doing needle-turn applique for years. For me the important part of this class was the design part. I won't say that I won't learn anything else from this class because I doubt that will hold true. I've found that there is always something new to learn as long as you have an open mind. It doesn't matter how well you do something or how much you think you know about it. There is always something new to be learned.....even if it's a small thing, like an easier way to thread a needle. So I look forward to the next few weeks of class and wonder what new things I will learn.  :<)

Update on the civil war quilt:  Section three is still up on the design wall waiting to be finished. It kinda got put on hold with the quilt class....which is understandable. There is still time left in the month to have it finished by month's end....the top anyway.  :<)

Spinning update:  Still been squeezing in some spinning time each day even with the pleasant distraction of class.  I've acquired a fascination with spinning lace weight yarn these days. Could have something to do with the Estonian lace piece I am currently knitting.  :<) I finished spinning up a couple of shetland/alpaca batts and was so tickled with how fine the singles were that I decided to pull out some yak down that's been collecting dust in the fiber room. I thought it would be fun to spin that into a lace weight yarn. Not so much. It is coming along. Not as fine as I was hoping for...and not as fun to spin either. The staple length is soooooo short!! I really have to pay attention and inch-worm my way along. Guess I've gotten so used to spinning without really having to think about it that I'm finding this a bit say the least. I ended up walking away from my wheel yesterday when I found myself getting frustrated because I simply could not keep my singles as consistent and as fine as I was wanting to. Now I should probably say that spinning a fine single is not something I can do easily. I really have to focus on it. My comfort weight is a dk or sport weight yarn. So I'm not going for a cobweb lace weight yarn. A nice fingering weight would be lovely. Something about 20 wpi. That's what I'm knitting with right now and while the lace piece I'm working on won't be able to fit through a wedding ring, it is something I will be very happy with when it's done. Besides it would be nice to add a few skeins of finer yarn to my yarn baskets. I have a nice selection of dk, sport, and worsted weight yarns right now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Something To Smile About.....

....and that's exactly what I'm doing....smiling!! Just like Casa.   :<) Why are we both smiling? Well, today I found out that my blog has been featured in the Best of the Web over at . Take a look!!  It's exciting!! My blog is being featured. Yea!! And here I thought all that I was sharing was simply disappearing out in cyber space somewhere. Hard to believe that I have readers.  It is truly a very humbling experience. Thank you, CraftCorners, for featuring my blog on your wonderful site. What wonderful inspiration to keep on going no matter how wrong a project may go.  :<)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fibery Pursuits

 We've had quite a few rainy days lately. Not just rainy days. But those cool, rainy days when there's a chill that only a nice fire in the woodstove will chase away. Those days are absolutely perfect for spinning, knitting, and quilting....which is exactly what I've been doing.

Pictured is a few of my latest creations. The first picture is of a fulled hedgehog. He was knitted using a hand-spun, hand-dyed polypay yarn...and Erda tweed eyelash yarn. He stands 9" tall and is about 22" around at his widest point. He has button eyes and a nose that was needle-felted using chocolate brown Suri Alpaca fiber. When you press his tummy, he plays a lovely little diddy. Wish I knew the name of the tune. Unfortunately when I purchased a group of those musical buttons, there were a few that weren't labeled. And this just happens to be one of those "mystery buttons". Still, it seems to fit him.  :<)  The pattern for this little guy is from FiberTrends. This happens to be one of my favorite patterns to knit. I love all the short row shaping. I find it very relaxing. I have made about a half dozen of these. Most of them were given away as gifts. I kept my very first one. This little guy is available for purchase at my etsy shop. (Was that a shameless plug or what!!)

Another great thing to do on those chilly wet days is to spin....which I've been doing a lot of. Pictured here is a skein of hand-spun, hand-dyed superwash 2-ply yarn.  I have to confess that I wasn't real happy with the way the roving had dyed up. Wasn't real pretty at all. But the yarn...Wow!! The yarn was a very pleasant surprise.

The pink/red skein pictured is also superwash. And, it too, was another rather disappointing dye job. I had pictured the roving coming out with reds and pinks transitioning softly from one shade to the next. Not the case. When the newly dyed roving finally dried it looked like it was a nearly solid red with not the slightest hint of pink anywhere to be seen. Have to admit, my heart dropped when I saw that. All I kept thinking was, "great...another skein of red yarn". Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised when I spun it up. The finished yarn reminds me of those peppermint candies that are popular around the holidays. The kind that starts out a stark red and white....then the pink starts emerging as you suck on it.

I have a soft spot for superwash wool. I think it's because when I first started spinning I had such a hard time spinning it. Could never get enough twist in it. My yarn was always falling apart. Plus I found it to be a rather slippery fiber to spin. Now I can spin superwash without any problems. Actually find it to be rather enjoyable. The only challenging part about it is the dyeing. I have yet to have a superwash roving turn out the way I had thought it would. It seems to take dye a bit differently than normal wool. And that's not always a bad thing. It is kinda nice to be pleasantly surprised when you see the finished yarn.

Onto quilting...another one of my favorite ways to spend a wet, chilly afternoon. Pictured is a quilt in progress. I know it really doesn't look like much right now. This is a UFO that I pulled out. The pattern is fairly simple...but you need to pay attention to the way the pieced blocks are laid out. I don't know how many times I've had to un-sew seams because I got the pieced block in the wrong way. The quilt is a large one (108" square when finished) and won't fit on my design wall. So I'm doing it in sections. The first section is on the left in the picture. The second section (shown in progress in the picture) is on the right. I'm using all civil war reproduction fabrics for it. Sometimes I look at it and think "what a jumbled mess!"....then my hubby will walk in and tell me how pretty it is looking. The quilt pictured in the pattern I'm using is done in blues, grays, and taupes. For some reason I chose to incorporate as many colors, prints, and patterns as I could. Who knows what I was thinking when I originally started this quilt eons ago. The blocks are 6 1/2" in size (unfinished) and there are something like 324 of While the quilt is taking time to make I have a feeling that it will end up being one of my favorites...not to mention my hubby's....who has a passion for large quilts.  :<)

I signed up for my very first online quilt class at Quilt University. Today is the first day of class. Yea!! The class I'm taking is on how to design and make your own Hawaiian quilt. I've had a passion for Hawaiian quilts for y-e-a-r-s!!! So much so that I've spent years collecting books and patterns on it. Even have a couple of dvds on how to make your own Hawaiian quilts. Spent years trying to convince hubby that we really needed to go to Hawaiia just so I could take a class.  :<) He never really bought into that one. Just imagine how happy he was when I discovered this online class. Lesson one covers how to design your own pattern, among other things like fabric choice, yardage, etc. Can't wait for the first lesson to open so I can get started.

Update on civil war quilt: Section two is finished. Section three is on the design wall and partially sewn. Just might have the top together by the end of the month. Yea!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Laveder is an amazing plant. You can use it for so many things from sachets to soaps to cooking. The plant is pretty, the flowers are prettier....and the smell. Well, that is simply heavenly!! I love lavender. Been growing it around the house for years, but never really did anything with it until this year.....when my loving hubby suggested I start a small lavender farm. Yea!!!

So instead of putting my lavender plants in the ground hubby suggested I plant them in galvanized steel tubs and set them at the base of each fence post. This way they can be moved if's easy for him to trim around......they are above the reach of the daschunds.....and it looks pretty. Currently my lavender farm consists of six tubs.....and seven types of lavender. I have two Hidcote Giants plants which have their own pots. They will get to be rather large plants when fully mature. The plant actually looks like a ball with the flowers coming out at all angles on long stems (first plant pictured).
Aromatic Blue Lavender (second picture) and Grosso Lavender (not pictured) share a tub. I have two plants of each variety. They are smaller plants when fully mature....but have a large fragrance!

Buena Vista Lavender shares a tub with Ellagance Purple Lavender (third picture). I only have one plant of each variety. They, too, are fairly small plants when fully mature....but very pretty!!

My Spanish Lavender (fourth picture) has its own tub. It has doubled in size since I purchased it earlier this year. It's flowers are very unique. Instead of tiny blooms on a stalk (like the other lavender plants have), its flowers are in small ball shaped clusters with what looks like a pair of angel wings on top. Very, very pretty!! My only concern about it is how it will winter. It is not zoned for this area. I read that plants winter better in in a container it went. In a few weeks I plan on trimming it back, then covering it with burlap in hopes that it will do well over the winter. I would trim it back now, but I'm hoping it will self-seed. It is such a lovely plant........

In addition to the varieties listed above, I also have Munstead Lavender....which grows in abundance around the house. I started it all from seed years ago and have let it slowly spread around the house. Haven't really done much with it....until now. It has bloomed and gone to seed so I will go out and trim all the plants back....dry the trimmings...and use them over winter. I read that I can put the dried stem and leaves in the wood stove. They will burn emitting a lovely fragrance. What a lovely bonus!! 
I harvested my first bunch of lavender this morning. One of my Hidcote Giants was in full bloom. The other Hidcote Giant is still budding. I thought that the cooler temperatures we've had lately would slow the growth of my lavender down.....but it hasn't. With any luck I will get to harvest a few more bunches before first frost. I plan on using the dried lavender in small felted sheep.

The final picture is of my Sunflowers. The last color of the season. Aren't they pretty?? They have already started going to seed. I hope they self-seed and I get to enjoy their beauty once more next year.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Buggy Barn Show (photo intense)

 Didn't think I would have my quilt done in time for this year's show....but I did. Yea!!! Pictured is my quilt "Bundling Board" as it was displayed on the big barn. The pattern is by Primitive Pieces by Lynda....for those of you who are interested. It's a really fun one to do.

Below are pictures from the show. Just a few. The first two are of quilt designer/author Cheryl Wall. I got to meet her at last year's show....and it was a thrill to see her again this year. I adore her quilts!! She was doing a book signing for her newest book. Of course I ended up falling in love with a couple of her patterns and just had to have them. One is the "When the Cows Come Home" pattern. The finished quilt can be seen draped over the table she is at. Another was this lovely star pattern..."Cabin Fever". The full quilt can be seen in the second photo down. It's the one with the star done with log cabin blocks and all the lovely applique. Looks like a good winter quilt.  :,) It was a beautiful show. Lots more quilts on display than the previous year. Lovely weather, too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My great find..... an 1892 Singer treadle sewing machine. Isn't it beautiful?  :>) I adore this little machine. I've never seen anything like it before. The treadles that I'm used to seeing are the ones that fold down into the table. This one has what is called a "coffin" or "breadbox" lid. It has seen some use....and some wear, but I love it even more. 
I'm not one of those people that stumble upon things like this. I'm the person that is always hearing about how others are stumbling upon such great finds. "I was at a garage sale and picked up a 1920 featherweight in pristine condition for $20." Nope. Not me. Until now.  :>) 

 My hubby and I were driving across town to pick up my sewing machine from its annual cleaning and tune up when I saw a treadle sitting in the middle of a dirt parking lot of a junk store. He turned around so I could look at it. Little did I realize at the time that this machine was meant to come home with me.  So off I go to look at the machine while off he went to haggle about price (isn't that what all guys do?). I knew the machine was meant to be mine when I got a small splinter in my finger from the lid. So while he haggled (which I knew was useless since the seller of the machine was on her mobile device showing him how "cheap" he could get parts for it) I went inside to pay. Came out a few minutes with someone to help load it up into the back of my Outback.

While we were picking up my sewing machine from the dealer, I had one of the technicians come out and take a look at my new treadle. He was really impressed with it. It moves smoothly and easily. The belt did snap, but I purchased a new one before I left. I also got a quick lesson on how to use the shuttle/long bobbin system on the machine. I have never seen anything like it before. There was one plate missing from the bed of the machine. The technician did a bit of digging and came back with half a dozen plates for treadles. We found two that fit mine....which I purchased.

My treadle is missing one castor wheel. I went online and was able to find (and purchase) one to fit it. That is now on its way. I also found a few more long bobbins for it. Those are also on their way. The only thing left is to spend an afternoon with it getting acquainted.....which I am looking forward to.  :>)

Of course that will have to wait until I finish up my Bundling Board quilt. The Buggy Barn outdoor quilt show is this weekend. I so want to have my quilt in it.....but I don't know if that will happen or not. While the top is done.....and I did sandwich it......and machine quilt it.....and bind it......I'm still working on it. Why? Because when I machine quilted it I used a serpentine stitch for an all-over 2" grid pattern. Loved the way it looks, but was not happy with the way the applique was laying. It was flat in some places, buckling in others. So I had this crazy idea of simply hand quilting all the applique using #8 perle cotton and a big stitch. "Shouldn't take all that long." Right? Wrong. It takes me about 8 hours to quilt one block.....and there are four large blocks to do. While I'm not the fastest at hand quilting there are places on the block that really slow me down. Like where I'm quilting through layers of applique and seams. I have managed to get two blocks completely done and am half way through the third block. There is still time for me to finish it completely and have it in the show. The only question is will my quilting finger hold up? I'm hoping it will. It would be such a thrill to see my quilt in this year's show.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


 .....pretty much says it all.  :,) I've been spending quite a bit of time in the sewing room lately quilting. The first picture is of a quilt I call "Serendipity". It's actually the Porch Time pattern from the Quilt in a Day book "All Through the Seasons". The quilt got its name because I simply could not seem to get the block placement per the pattern instructions. I finally gave up and left it as is. Turns out the completed quilt is actually rather pretty.....and is being enjoyed by my "helper", Harley.  :,)  He gets so excited everytime I finish a quilt. It's almost as if the quilt was made just for him. This one got the "happy weenie roll" when he first got on it.

The next picture is of my Sudoku quilt. This was made eons ago when an online group I was on decided that this would be a fun New Year's Eve project. I enjoyed making this one so much that I actually made a second one (which I need to get a picture of). Obviously I need to get a better picture of this one as well. Seems I had two "helpers" who were more than happy to help me arrange the quilt for a picture.  :,) The quilt has been "doxie approved".  :,) They had fun burrowing under it for a while before finally falling asleep.

The last picture is of my latest quilt project, The Bundling Board by Primitive Pieces by Lynda. It's being made from grab bags that I've been collecting from the Buggy Barn. I had to add a bit of green from my stash though because I wasn't able to get a green grab bag this month. A large group of ladies had been to the shop before me and bought all the grab bags. I'm guessing there will be a nice display of "grab bag" quilts at the Buggy Barn show this year. At least I hope there will be. It's always fun seeing what quilters can do with a bag of scraps. I made a lot of scrap quilts when I first started quilting. Really couldn't afford to buy yardage unless it was on sale at JoAnns. So I have a soft spot for scrap quilts, especially scrap quilts with applique.

A little bit on the quilt pattern itself. The quilt consists of four blocks that are 21" square. There is a simple sashing/cornerstone separating the blocks....then two scrappy light, one dark. The completed quilt will measure approximately 60" x 63". The applique is on a pieced background. The designer started off with a 15" square and then added on until the block was the desired size. Since I didn't have any scraps that would yield a 15" square I opted to go a different way. So my pieced background started off with a large 4-patch to which pieces were added to until the desired block size was achieved. The applique is being done using fusible web and a small zig-zag stitch in matching thread. I had started off using a new-to-me fusible web, but will finish it with my old fusible web. The new one didn't quite live up to all the hype I had been hearing/reading. It had some nice features to it, but not enough to where it was worth switching over to. And I'm purposely not mentioning any brand names here because I feel that what brand of fusible web one uses is a personal choice. What works wonderfully for one person, may not be all that to another.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where has the time gone????

 It's hard to believe that it's been well over a month since I have posted to my blog. Guess time really does just fly by when you are in the midst of a creative I have been. Guess it also means lots to share.  :<)

The first photo is of my latest pair of socks. They were knitted from a Shetland/Soy Silk blend. The yarn was hand-spun and hand-dyed by me. The wool is from my sheep, Carrie. I love working with her fiber!! It feels like silk and takes dyes beautifully. Plus she has a bit of black sprinkled throughout her medium gray fleece so that always adds a little something when you dye it. Couldn't be any happier with the way my socks turned out....especially as they are my first attempt at knitting lace socks. Yea!!

Now to change gears and talk about quilting for a bit. Been real busy there. The second picture is of my Beginning Baltimore blocks I have been working on (very old pattern by Fig Tree Quilts....for anyone who may be interested). Pictured are all of the completed blocks. They were all done on the machine using fusible web and a small zig-zag stitch (with matching thread). Again, another first for me. I had played with machine applique years ago, but never to this extent. I absolutely love the way the blocks came out and will definitely use this technique for future applique quilts. The blocks are now in a top and the top is finished....waiting to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound. PIctures of the finished quilt to come soon.....hopefully.  :<)

The last 3 pictures are of more completed blocks for my Sheep in the Willows quilt. I was going to post pictures of all the blocks I have finished so far, but decided to save the rest for when the quilt top is finished. I put the final stitches in block #10 this morning. Only two more blocks left to stitch up before I can finally put them into a top. I really love the way the blocks look....and, yes, I know I say that about every project I do....but it's true.  :<) Besides it's good to love the things you are working on. Means you will really enjoy them when they are done.  :<) I think I will actually be a little sad when I'm done with this quilt. It's become such a wonderful part of my day.

Changing gears again....back to spinning. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to finally be able to visit a particular alpaca farm. I've driven by it enough times and always admire the beautiful animals in the pastures. Finally, the open sign was on and I was able to visit (it's always closed whenever I'm in the area). Definitely not what I expected. You walk into the shop and it's like walking into a high end boutique. There are all these lovely garments everywhere....jackets, scarves, wraps, and such. At first I thought, "oh a weaver!!" and was really impressed by everything......until I started looking at tags and discovered that the garments are all brought in from South America (I believe it was). Of course that didn't make things any less pretty.....just a bit disappointed because I was thinking that the fiber came from all those beautiful suri alpacas out in the pasture. So I walked around looking at things and wondering if there was anything in the shop that came from the suri alpacas outside....until my youngest said, "mom, you gotta see the yarn room!" Yes, that did perk me up a bit. Perked me up even more when I saw a wallful of handspun yarn. Then I turned around....and there it was........suri alpaca roving!! And not just any suri alpaca roving, but suri alpaca cria roving.....AND from animals that were right outside. Yea!!! It was so hard trying to decide on what I wanted, but I did end up walking to the front of the shop with two beautiful bumps of roving....where I met the owner of the shop and of the suri alpacas. She told me the names of the alpaca that my roving came from.....which I can't remember because I was just so darn excited about the roving.  :<)

One bump is a lovely cream color that will be blended with moorit shetland and a bit of soy silk. The other bump was a mix of fiber from 3 different animals. It had a bit of light gray, medium brownish gray, and almost a black in it. Notice the word "had". That particular bump is in the process of being blended with black shetland and soy silk......and spun up. I'm carding it up as I spin it....something I only do when I'm really excited about a fiber. The fiber of both bumps is amazingly soft!! The yarn I'm currently spinning is incredibly soft as well. I'm planning on knitting socks from the finished yarn. Wonder if the finished socks will end up feeling like heaven on earth?  :<)