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Showing posts from April, 2010

Fabric Wrangling

My quilt is slowly coming together.  The pieces are now so big that they drape over the ironing board.  They are so big that I call what I'm doing "fabric wrangling".
Row by row the strips of blocks are being sewn together.

I tediously and carefully pin the seams together in hopes that they will line up perfectly.  While transporting the rows to the sewing machine or ironing board I wear them draped around my neck like a boa.

Then the double rows are sewn together to become quadruple rows and I wear them like capes.  I have to be careful to not trip myself while moving between the sewing machine and ironing board.
My thoughts at the sewing machine: Will these seams line up? Yeah, they lined up! Darn, missed. 
I've also discovered that not breathing makes the tricky parts go better.  Luckily there haven't been too many tricky parts to this quilt.
If my calculations are correct I only have 6 more long seams to go and then I'll be on to the next phase of quilt constructi…

What I'm thinking about when I Cross-Stitch

Many people think cross-stitching is a mindless activity done while watching TV.  For me, it's not.  I either end up abandoning my stitching to watch a show or I end up tuning it out and missing the ending.
My mind is constantly thinking about what I'm creating.  Here's an example from when I was stitching my Coneflower Biscornu:

This is the first side.  The border is made up of many quilt blocks.  I stitched all the pink and yellow first.
I like this border.  It would be fun to use this as a frame for something else.  When I was designing I was using whole blocks and didn't see this possibility.  Is the pink too light?  What will it look like when I add the green?  How will the yellow look when the green is added?

Now the green has been added.
It looks totally different now.  The pink is definitely not too light.  The look of the "frame" has changed and is totally different.  It would be hard to pick which frame style I like best.  What would it look like if the …

April Snowstorm

The weather can change quickly here.  Thunderstorms on Thursday and a blizzard on Friday (continuing into Saturday).
I woke up to discover the world covered snow.

It was beautiful on the fences.

But not so good on trees.

Or the power lines.
Luckily the plants that are adapted to this area can deal with snow.  Years ago I would have worried about all the plants that have started to sprout.  They always seem to bounce back.  The melting snow should guarantee some good wildflowers in a few months.

Early Spring Flower Identification

It was a beautiful day last Sunday and I got to spend a few hours cleaning out last years dead flowers from the garden and removing layers of pine needles.  It feels strange writing this as we got some surprise snow overnight (almost a foot and still coming down but more on that tomorrow - like the local weather forecaster I'm better the past then the future.)
As I was re-familiarizing myself with the space I made an embarassing discovery.  The picture I posted last time of coneflowers, wasn't coneflowers.  I was looking through thumbnails of flowers and was fooled by the color.  The coneflowers aren't in that part of the garden.  Forgive me.
Many of the flowers have started to sprout so I'm trying to guess what they are.

Flower: Iris Certainty: 100%  Iris have very distictive leaves and I spent many hours last summer digging them up and replanting them along the driveway.  It was very dry afterwards and I was afraid they wouldn't come back.  But they did.  Now, will a…

Coneflower Biscornu

It seems like I've been working on this for months and it is finally done!
This biscornu was a complete accident.  I was trying to design something else and the end result looked more like a coneflower than what I was trying to design, especially when I changed the color to bright pink.

I love coneflowers and you can probably tell that based on the picture which is currently at the top of this blog.  Every year I scatter more seed and a few more coneflowers grow in my garden.
As often happens, in this design I combine my love of flowers with my love of quilts.
I've just finished going through my copy of "1000 Great Quilt Blocks" and didn't see this one.  If I pieced it, it would be a Log Cabin or a Cornerstone variation.  Like Log Cabin, the blocks can be arranged in many different patterns (and I had fun experimenting).

One side of the biscornu has the quilt blocks in the center and the coneflowers on the outside.  On the flip side, the coneflowers are in the center …

Reusable Bag Contest - Vote for Me

I'm a great fan of reusable bags.  This is my oldest.  I haven't lived anywhere near a Smith's since 1994 so this bag has been in use for a long time.  It really annoys the cashiers because they don't stand up like the new bags but I keep using them because they work so great.
Speaking of new bags, I found an on-line contest sponsered by the Kroger's chain (King Soopers around here).
They give you all the tools to design your own bag and vote on bags designed by others.
I thought, how fun would it be to have a bag with a sampler on it so I made up a quick design and submitted it.

I had fun making some more bag designs.  Besides this I've imported pictures of the snowflake flowers and put them on bags.  I've also played around wth some of their drawing tools.  All my bags are in a group called "emcstitches" if you would like to check them out and vote.  I'll try to stick a vote for me icon on the blog for your convenience.
If you don't want to v…

The allure of Kits

I'm sewing quilt blocks into rows for my guest bedroom quilt and I've started thinking about backing fabric.  Unexpectedly an email arrived with details of a tax day sale at the Local Quilt Store.  Pefect timing!
Of course, I wasn't the only one there.  As I stood in one of 4 lines to have my fabric cut (I picked the line that looked like it was having the most fun and I was quickly at the top of the line) I found myself looking at quilt kits ... stacks of coordinated fabric cutely packaged just call out to be purchased.  I resisted.  It will take me long enough to get this quilt finished. However, at the EGA White Elephant Sale last weekend I didn't resist.  I purchased mostly supplies - perforated paper, linen, Medici wools - and books.  But, I ended up with a few kits too. 

Normally, I'm not a kit kind of person.  I don't want to end up with something like in the picture. I want to change things around and use different materials.  But there is something about…

Sweater Bunny

Here's my latest Thursday afternoon craft.  This little bunny was once a sweater (actually he was part of a sleeve of a sweater - I've got more wool left to play with).
The design came from the book "Felt It! Stitch It! Fabulous!  Creative Wearables from Flea Market Finds" by Katheryn Tidwell Bieber.
As advertised he took under an hour to put together.  The proportions of the head and legs are slightly off (but the next one will be better proportioned) but he's still cute.  It looks like he's been working on upper body strength in the gym.
This book is full of ideas of things to make with sweaters.  I'm planning on making more stuff from that sweater.
Bunny's are in the air.  I got a pattern today for a knitted bunny that I'll have to try out too.  So many projects, so little time ...

Prairie Crocus

Another name for the pasque flower is prairie crocus.  When they first start blooming they definitely remind me of crocus.

I was in town running errands earlier and the grass is turning green and daffodils are blooming.  Higher up where I live only the ponderosa pine and kinnikinnik are green.  But we have the pasque flowers.  Now that they are starting to flower they seem to be everywhere.

As they start to open they are purple and fuzzy.

And then they open and turn white and yellow barely resembling the flower of a few hours earlier.  Even the bee's have to check them out.
As time passes the flowers will change dramatically a few more times.  Stay tuned.

UFO Finished - Ann Clair's Pinks

I have a new finished sampler.  I purchased the kit many years ago at a White Elephant Sale.
Someone had started stitching it and then gave up.  I discovered some of the flowers were in the wrong spot but didn't worry about it.  My goal was to get it stitched and I did.  Then I just let it sit in a drawer for years.  I wasn't sure what to do with it.  Then I came across a frame that it fit into so it can finally be enjoyed. 
I would never have picked this frame from a selection of frames.  It seems to be too close to the linen color.  But since I had it anyway I used it.  Now that it is hanging on the wall, I really like the way it fits in the frame and can't imagine another frame.
The pattern came from Ellen Nell - Needlework Desgin Source and is called Ann Clair's Pinks Element Sampler.  It was adapted from a Sampler by Ann Clair Tinges dated 1798.  According to the documentation Ann was 8 years old when she stitched her sampler.  In the real sampler, the flowers form …

First flower of 2010

The first pasque flower is now blooming.  That means spring is officially here:  only a few more months of sleet, rain and snow before summer is here!

I've been Framed!

A few months ago I was given a box of frames which I'm ashamed to admit that I've ignored.  Not anymore!  I've dusted off the spiderwebs and have inspected them all.
Some are purchased and made of plastic or unfinished wood and are of a standard size.  However, many of them are handmade in strange sizes.

Here are some of my favorites.  Now instead of designing something and then deciding on how to finish or frame it I can now turn the process upside-down and try to design something for the frames.
But first, I went to the drawer where I keep stitched items that have been completed but not framed or finished.  Some of these I've been meaning to finish for years.  The bad news is that none of the frames fit the two older, bigger samplers I did the longest time ago.  The good news is that I know what sized frames to search for in the future. 
One frame does suit a piece I completed a few years ago.  It was purchased, previously started and forgotten, from a White Elephant sa…