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?    :<)