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Black and Copper

Another friend has a new kitchen so I had an excuse to make some more practice potholders.
The kitchen is far away and the information I got is black appliances and a copper backsplash.  I didn't want to make potholders that looked like Halloween so I asked if turquoise was OK.  I planned on a few small patches but the turquoise took over.

I'm now making the potholders 7 inches square.  The insulated batting is 22 inch wide and this uses the most of it.  I like fabric scraps, but there's not as much you can do with insulated batting scraps.
This limits the patterns that can be used.  I found this pattern in a book and, after 2 blocks, I really like it. 
I pulled out all my black, blackish, orange, coppery and peachy fabric.  I was really tempted to keep making more of these blocks with the same color scheme.  I resisted.  I have a feeling that if would have kept on going I would end up with 4 blocks that would sit around for years before they were finished.



Interesting Scraps and Tea

Here are some scraps from 2 different fabric projects I have going on.  They almost made it into the trash but they looked so good together.  I think they are going to be turned into a potholder.
They need a tan background and I don't have any tan fabric.  White didn't work.  My lights were all too yellow or too blue.  I haven't made it to the fabric store.
So, yesterday I made a batch of strong tea and dyed some muslin.  It's the perfect background color.


These scraps are from a different project.  An unfortunate math error resulted in blocks being an inch too big and I had to trim.  These scraps are also to interesting to toss.
I'm thinking of a modern looking potholder or smaller wall hanging, depending on how they sew up.
These don't look as good on the dyed muslin.  But, white may work.
Stay tuned to see if I actually turn them into something.

More Tulips and SAL

Ah, the joys of an assortment of bulbs.  As soon as one color tulip fades away, another starts blooming.
Right now these red and yellow tulips are blooming and also some lemon yellow ones are just beginning to flower.
For the Spring Garden SAL I've started stitching.  After doing the center motif about 3 times and not liking the result, I switched fabric.  The linen I originally chose isn't suited for blackwork.


This fabric is more even and tightly woven and the stitches don't disappear.  I also changed the colors a bit.  I swapped out the bright red for a more subdued color (which coincidentally are about the same shade as the tulips now blooming).  I've also made a few tweaks to the pattern as I go along.
I'm notorious for not liking hearts (sorry) and there are 2 hearts coming up.  I haven't decided if I'll stitch them or not.  The instructions include graph paper so I have a feeling I'll be doing some doodling before I get to that section.

Blue

I've been dyeing things blue.  A t-shirt that I don't like (after all, I can't make it worse) and some T-shirt yarn that I cut out over a year ago.  I've learned one thing.  It's easier to dye the shirts and then cut the yarn.  The yarn looks much nicer now, but it was a horrible tangled mess for a while.
Since I had plenty of dye I also decided to dye some threads.  To make it easy, I left the thread on the card (no tangles).  When I took the thread off the card I love the way the card took the dye.

The dye seeped underneath the threads leaving behind a wonderful pattern. 
I'm looking forward to making blue things.

Tulips and a SAL

Last year, my birthday present to myself was some wildflower tulips from here.  It was a very dry winter and tough spring, alternating between above average temperatures and below average temperatures.  There would be a few days of warm and sunny weather followed by blizzard conditions for a few days.  This cycle continued for over a month.  I was afraid the bulbs would die.
But, the tulips survived to bloom.  First where some bright magenta ones that defied photography.  Now there are yellow and white ones blooming.
Tulips are on my mind.  So, as I was finishing up my last project a SAL invitation involving tulips arrived that I couldn't resist.  If you'd like to join it's not too late.
All the supplies from the last project are put away so I've been picking out my supplies for the SAL.  With visions of spring colors I started going through my scraps for some suitable bookmark shaped fabric.  The best I could do was some antique linen so I'm going another way.

Ye…

Washed Out First Step

I've finished my second First Step.
The first one was in bright yellow, orange, violet and blue.  I like these colors much better.  I'm more comfortable with them and they are more soothing.
The second time around I didn't need to look at the directions as much so it seemed to go faster (except for all the delays).  On the light round I only ran out of 3811.  You use a lot of floss in the light round.  I finally picked some up yesterday and finished the last two squares yesterday evening.


This time around my 3 different values were more further apart from each other and the light band looks a lot lighter than I thought it would.  Even the pale colors show the textures of the stitches.
My next step is to decide how to finish the two squares.  I with I could go down to the store and buy a square frame right off the shelf.  The square is 4 5/8 inches so it's going to be hard to find anything pre-made.
So, I'm also thinking of maybe a fabric frame or a box of some sor…

Butterfly

It seems like I haven't had time to do much stitching and I haven't finished anything recently.
Well, here's something small.
I got to go through a yarn box from a friend of a friends mother.  The yarn wasn't very exciting but I found a kit to make a suede scissors case.  It was old enough that the instructions were done with a typewriter.  There was no date and the only name was Sandesigns. 
Someone had started the butterfly but I ripped it out and started over since the stitches were not done with an even tension.
Looks like a quick project, doesn't it?  It took me over 3 weeks.  But that's working a little bit every few days (or once a week).


Luckily the finishing was quick and easy:  Just some glue. 
Now, lets see if I can get something else done!

415 and 502

My second First Step is coming along.
In some ways it's going much faster.  I'm familiar with the stitches and color scheme so I don't have to refer to the directions as often.
But, I've been having difficulties in the medium section.  For greens I chose the DMC 500's, which are my favorite green.  I tend to have plenty of floss and lots of spares.  I ran out of 502.
I have spares of every other 500 green, but not the one I needed.  I searched drawers.  I looked for projects I kitted up to see if there was any spare 502.  There wasn't.
I was busy at lunch and couldn't swing by a store.  When I was doing errands I miraculously never went by a store that floss.  Finally, after over a week, I finally managed to find a skein and I'm going again.
Then, I noticed that one of the gray squares didn't look right.  It turns out I had one length of gray floss that was not 415 wrapped around my 415 bobbin.   Grrr.  I didn't notice it when I was stitching w…

Spring Flowers

The pasque flowers are finally peeking out of the ground a little late this year.


The temperature barely made it out of the teens earlier this week and the wind was brutal so some of them appear a little worse off than usual.


But, the important thing is that they are here signally another spring with warmer weather and flowers!


Tetradic First Step

A few months ago I reached into my stash for an new project and picked out First Step by Genny Morrow.
You need a light, medium and dark of four colors.  I was in the middle of a color class so I picked a tetrad of yellow, violet, blue and orange.  This, for me, is unusual - no greens!  But, the colors do illustrate many of the concepts from the color class and it was an interesting exercise.
I especially enjoyed the squares that where the same stitch but with different colorways.  They all look so different.
When I was about  a week into the project I was having fun and happened to be by a needlework store.  So, I bought a second canvas and picked out colors for a second.  This time colors I felt more comfortable with.
By now, I'm ready for something new but am stuck working another one. Note to self:  no matter how much fun you are having, the second one won't be as fun.
This time I used earth tones and my favorite colors: sea, sand, forest and mountains.


Once again, I find…

Purple Potholders

Last month I finally got to tour a friends new kitchen.  She loves color and painted the walls purple.  I assumed a nice muted purple but it was really bright. 
I instantly thought of a fat quarter pack of purple fabrics I won as a door prize a few years ago.  Not being a great fan of purple I put them aside. 
My friend didn't have any potholders to match her new kitchen so my purple fabric came to the rescue.  She likes potholders that are 7 - 8 inches square which elimitates most 9 patch designs.  So, the churn dash block has a larger center.

I even made the backs purple.  My friend was delighted.
While I had the purple fabric out I made some blocks for my next quilt.


I made 3 blocks about 5 years ago and then stopped.  Now I'm up to 9 blocks and am not going to stop until I have a full quilt (final size is still undetermined).  These will be the only purple blocks.  The others will probably be blues, greens and reds.

Wonky Nine Patches

I started this quilt about 2 years ago after reading Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee.  The wonky nine-patches looked like fun - and they were.  I used some animal print obese 8th's that I have had for a while.
In my excitement to start, I forgot everything else I was working on.  After the excitement of getting the blocks cut I went back to my other projects and the cut fabric sat there for an embarrassingly long time.
When I picked them up again over Christmas break 2011 I was faced with a puzzle of putting the pile of mismatched squares into order.  That took an embarrassingly long time.  But, I got the nine-patches assembled and I got started on the sashing.
Then they sat until 2013.  In a marathon session, I got the rest of the sashing applied and the blocks sewn together.  Then it was time for the annual sewing machine cleaning while I basted the quilt.  With a freshly cleaned machine I stipple quilted.


The nine patches were different sizes so I added sashing to two si…

Warming Up

I'm warming up for quilting project and finishing up some quilt blocks that have been unfinished for far too long.  Killing 2 birds with one, stone so to speak.
The first bird is this blue jay.  He's from the book Go Wild with Quilts by Margaret Rolfe.  The book isn't quite 20 years old and this was done early in my quilting career - the most complicated quilting I had ever tried at the time.  No, it wasn't paper pieced.  I cut templates for every piece.  I imagined making most of the quilts in the book.  So far, this is the only one of tried.  But, I leafed through the book again recently and still want to make the quilts in it.  Maybe someday.


This hexagon block is only about 5 years old - the result of an English paper piecing class.  I didn't enjoy the work so at a certain point I gave up with what I had completed.  One small flower hexagon became a potholder and the rest became this lump of hexagons. 


The final block is of Pikes Peak.  It is the logo of a lo…

Quilted Jacket

Last year, in April, I was at a quilt show.  One of the best parts was admiring the quilted jackets that everyone else was wearing.  I wished I had one.
Fast forward to a few months later, at a craft show.  I spied a quilted sweatshirt jacket.  The color wasn't quite right but I tried it on.  The sleeves were to short and the color looked even worse on me.
Fast forward a few more months, while shopping in Target.  I saw a stack of sweatshirts and decided to make my own sweatshirt jacket.  I bought one and dropped it off in my quilt room.  There it sat for a few months while I avoided it.
Finally I picked out scraps and started sewing them to the sweatshirt.  Gradually they all were sewn on and all that was left was the binding.  Since the quilt show is coming around again soon I couldn't ignore it any longer.  I couldn't decided on the binding and finally compromised on a darker gray.  I sewed it on.  Then I washed it.
The result is pretty shaggy.

I've been slowly wor…

Playing with Sashiko

Here is what I made for the Stitchmap Sashiko Challenge.  I think the deadline was back sometime in February so I'm a little late.
The challenge was to try Sashiko and make a needle case.  I already have more needle cases that I can use.  But, I have a new set of unchangeable circular knitting needles in an ugly plastic case.  So, I set out to replace it.
I had some green fabric and vintage linen threads to use.  Traditionally it is done on a blue background, but I don't have a good blue fabric.  Besides, green is my favorite color and I've wanted to use it for a while.

The linen thread was maybe a little to thick for the fabric.  However, it has a different texture from any other threads I've used and it was nice to try something different.  While I like the look of Sashiko, my eyes really didn't enjoy making it.  I found the diagonals especially difficult.  I kept getting to an intersection and being a hole or two off.  So, I probably won't ever try Sashiko …

Only One Bookmark

At the start of this year I set out to make Hardanger bookmarks.  So far, I've done one.
The problem?  I picked the wrong fabric to start with.  Although I love the colors of the threads on black, black was the wrong color and I avoided the project and it dragged on and on.
Now, my zeal for bookmarks has faded and I'm on to other projects.  Hopefully, I'll get back to bookmarks at some point.
This is a variation of this free pattern
I was afraid that the pattern wouldn't fit on my scrap of fabric so I shortened it by changing the main motif from 4 to 3 and adding two smaller ones on the ends.  It totally changes the shape of the whole bookmark.  I also went overboard with eyelets (but, I tend to do that).

Cottage Garden

I picked out the threads for this canvas back in December and have been slowly stitching away.
It contains cotton, silk and wool threads and many french knots.  I found myself digging out old canvas pieces that I could steal stitches from.  The canvas thread count was low so I had to use diagonal stitches which covered the canvas better.  And for the flowers, lots of french knots.
To finish it, I trimmed to 4 threads beyond the stitching and 2 layers of quilt batting and a larger piece of backing fabric behind.  I simply folded the edges around to make a binding.

For a hanger, I added a plastic ring and a ribbon to the back and its now hanging on the wall.


I have many works in progress and they are all getting done at about the same time.  So, more finishes soon.

A late Valentine's Day Card

Good news - I'm ready for Valentine's Day - next year.  I didn't quite get done in time.
For a simple finishing I turned it into a card.
First, I made a fringe by trimming to 3/8 inch from the stitched border and removing all but the last thread.  This can make a mess.

Next, I took a heavy white thread and sewed it down on a piece of card stock. The running stitches between the stitched border and the remaining thread are nearly invisible.


All that's left is to turn it over and sign it.
On to the next project!




Chasing Holidays

That's it.  A valentines day sampler.  I started months ago and haven't made much progress.  The border isn't even complete yet.
But, I wasn't in the mood for red when I started.  Now I'm not going to get it finished in time.  Ugh!  It seems like I'm always chasing one deadline or another.  Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't. 
Well. I've got to go and get stitching.  When I'm done I'd better start something for Halloween otherwise it won't get done on time.

A Touch of Spring

It's cold.  It snowed over the week.  I'm longing for spring.
So, I needle-felted some flowers.


Ah, I feel much better now.  Except for the finger that I jabbed with the needle.

Doing Hardanger

I bought this kit on a whim from Nordic Needle.  It's called "Strawberries and Cream" and it's from Serendipity Designs.
I had so much of fun stitching it.  It's a quick and simple design and finishing it was a no-brainer - I just copied the picture on the package.  But, the colors are very subtle, even more so than in the picture. 
I accidentally sewed the fabric backing facing the wrong way so the back is just as subtle as the front.
But, back to the colors, or lack of colors.  Right now I'm craving brighter colors and was tempted to stitch another one in the wildest colors possible.  Instead, I'm taking scraps and making bookmarks of the wildest colors that I have.  So far I have half of one done and scraps to make many more.
I didn't expect to be doing hardanger again, but I am.

A Tale of Three Finishes

I managed to finish 3 projects by working in the evenings over the last week.  I got to each finish in a slightly different way.
First, I framed my Pine Tree and Acorns sampler.  Every day of my holiday break I stared at the unfinished sampler and wished it was finished.  However, I had no inspirations on how to finish it.  Wall-hanging, no.   Pillow, not really.  Nothing else.  Finally, I thought that if I had a frame I could be done.  I've never had any luck finding square frames.  I ended up going to Nordic Needle and ordering one.  The problem was color.  Black didn't look right.  Neither did green.  Neither did barn red.  I figured I'd have to paint over whichever frame I got (I've done that before) so I picked red because I figured it would cover the easiest.  The frame arrived a few days ago and guess what?  It's more brown then red and the perfect color!  So last night I laced again and again and I think I finally have it centered and straight.  Yay!  Fini…