Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fractal White Tiger January Progress

This month, I managed to add 1,511 stitches to the Charting Creations cross-stitch "Fractal White Tiger" that is based on artwork by Ricky Barnard.

I decided to try out the continental tent stitch with this project so I could use 2 strands of floss over 1 square. Looking at the project close-up, I am not sure how happy I am with the coverage. Some of the white shows through. I seriously considered starting over with 2 over 2 on 25-count fabric. However, from a distance (as it will be seen hanging on my son's wall someday), the white is not noticeable at all; so, I will continue with the tent stitch. If nothing else, it will be an experience with a new stitching technique. 

I am enjoying working on this chart and cannot wait to see more of the tiger emerge next month.  

This month's progress was also shared at A New Stitchy Start.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Renee

Saturday, January 30, 2016

CQI Winter/Christmas Round Robin Quilt Progress


This year, my Christmas project plans are to:

1: Finally finish my Winter/Christmas crazy quilt so we can display it this December.

2: Finish the crazy quilt Christmas stocking I began working on for my husband.

3: Add my initials and date to the Heaven and Earth Designs Santa and the Mouse Freebie cross-stitch I finished last year and have it framed or make it into a pillow.

4: Make a stocking for my eldest son.

I will be sharing my progress on these projects with my 1 X-mas Item a Month posts each month.


This month I added beads to some of the snowflakes on my Winter/Christmas crazy quilt.

The blocks for this quilt were embellished as part of a Winter/Christmas round robin through Crazy Quilting International that I was in with Kathy B., Donna A., Barbara W., Kathy S., and Melody B. They did gorgeous work and I look forward to displaying their lovely embellishing this Christmas.

Thank you so much for stopping by!
Renee

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TAST 2016 Stitches 25 and 26

Well... there is still an hour left of Wednesday here and I am going to pretend it is Tuesday to share my TAST post.

TAST Stitch 25: Twisted Chain Stitch or Rope Stitch

This is a fun stitch to create vines with! I used size 8 pearl cotton and love the texture. 

It is my understanding that you work the twisted chain stitch tightly to create the rope stitch. That was my goal here. 

I would love to share a more exciting picture, but this is just a sneak peek as this particular project will be a secret for a couple of months. I am sure the rope stitch will be popping up again soon on other crazy quilt blocks, though!

TAST Stitch 26: Arrow or Arrowhead Stitch

I used the arrow stitch to tack down a ribbon with size 12 pearl cotton. Stitching through the little eyelets on this ribbon made spacing my stitches easy work. 

Then, I opted go back through once more, creating a laced up look. It is an easy stitch that I look forward to playing around with more in the future.

TAST stands for Take a Stitch Tuesday. It is a personal stitching challenge offered by Sharon B. on Facebook and on her blog, pintangle.com. You may read more about it hereIf you follow the TAST Facebook group, you know there are some incredibly inspiring examples of these stitches being shared. Anyone may join at any time during the challenge. Thank you, Sharon, for offering TAST!

Thank you for stopping by!
Renee

Monday, January 25, 2016

CQI UTS RR#2 - Mary's Block Completed!

Last week, I completed my work on Mary's block in the Crazy Quilting International (CQI) Round Robin.

This was how the block looked before embellishment.

The fabrics Mary chose for her blocks are just lovely!

In the little booklets we send out with our blocks, Mary mentioned that she loves bling. Nothing says bling like a treasure chest, to me. This chest is filled with gold coins, emeralds, sapphires and a pearl necklace.

The fish was a gift from Barbara Nicki Lee. It seemed perfect for this block!

In our first round robin together, I added a seahorse and embroidered jellies to Mary's block. (You may see that block here.) To make this one a bit different, I added a button jelly. The rick rack was hand dyed as part of the ICQC #102 course I took from Kathy Shaw.

I stepped out of my comfort zone with this block. Trims and laces are challenging to me, but I incorporated several trims Mary included in the goody bag she sent. I also added a beautiful piece of hand dyed lace from Barbara Nicki Lee's Etsy shop, Raviolee Dreams, as coral.

Clusters of buttons and charms are also outside my comfort level. However, I added a small cluster of shells and sea stars at the base of the treasure chest.

This block also has a small seahorse - a charm this time. 

The green vine to the left of the seahorse was inspired by the gorgeous vines Barbara Nicki Lee incorporated into her block. I thought it would help tie the blocks together a bit more. 

I could not resist adding tiny little fish amidst the vegetation.
The turtle was a fun addition. I love the way he is almost hiding within the fun green trim.

Here are all of Mary's embellished blocks together. These were embellished by Annette, Kathy, Barbara Nicki Lee and myself. (Better pictures of these blocks were in my previous post about Mary's Blocks.)

I do hope Mary likes the newest addition to her set. (If you would like to see Mary's work on my block for this round robin, she shared it in this post on her blog.)

These will be mailed out in February and I will receive my last set to work on.

Crazy Quilting International (CQI) is a group that meets on Facebook and on Yahoo! You may see some of the work members have done at the CQI blog.


I am linking up with the Monday Stitchery Link Party at Super Mom - No Cape! I do hope you will visit to see what the free embroidery pattern is this week and to discover what others have been up to. If you have a blog and do any hand stitching, I encourage you to join the party.

Thanks for stopping by!
Renee

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HAED SK Effects of Caffeine Day 4 Update

This morning, I took one of my boys to a routine appointment and took my travel project along to work on while I waited. This is the Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED) "SK Effects of Caffeine" cross-stitch chart based on artwork by Randal Spangler.

In 45 minutes, I managed to add 89 little red stitches to the upper-right corner.

The photo to the left was shared in my last update. The chart is now 3.25% complete. (Not bad for only 4 days work!)

I look forward to my next opportunity to add a few stitches to this one.

*Please note a correction. In my last update, I mentioned the Christmas Raffle at HAED would raise funds for Meals on Wheels. I believe that may have been an error and the funds may have been donated to the Make a Wish Foundation.  My oops.

Thank you for stopping by!
Renee

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TAST Stitch 24

TAST Stitch 24: Interlaced Cable Chain Stitch


My first attempt with the Interlaced Cable Chain Stitch was worked as a seam on a black crazy quilt block that I have been embellishing with pinks, greens, and white.

Because the seam met another seam at an angle, it was a little tricky. However, my biggest problem was working my base cable chain stitches free-hand. They were not as even as I hoped, so the lacing was not as even as I would have liked. 


So, I decided to try the stitch on a piece of 28-count evenweave. I learned that I really need to practice the cable chain stitch a bit more to master even stitches. However, the lacing was fun and I do love the look of the completed seam. (My apologies for the photo. My camera does not want to focus on white much these days...)

TAST stands for Take a Stitch Tuesday. It is a personal stitching challenge offered by Sharon B. on Facebook and on her blog, pintangle.com. You may read more about it hereIf you follow the TAST Facebook group, you know there are some incredibly inspiring examples of these stitches being shared. Anyone may join at any time during the challenge. Thank you, Sharon, for offering TAST!

Thank you for stopping by!
Renee

Monday, January 11, 2016

Twilight Duel Update #5 January 2016

It is already the 2nd Monday of 2016. How time does fly! 

It is already time for my monthly update on the HAED Twilight Duel chart I am working on for my 16-year-old son.  
This photo shows progress from August 30 - December 13, 2015. The chart is based on original artwork bRuth Thompson

On December 26th, I finished page 1! Only 23 to go...

The photo to the left shows my progress from August 30th - December 30th of 2015.

A cross-stitch group I joined last year on Facebook - Cross Stitch and Discuss - began a Heaven and Earth Designs stitch-a-long (SAL) yesterday. It is a year long SAL. The photo to the left shows my starting point for the CSAD HAED SAL. (As you can see, I have a ways to go.)

I look forward to comparing this picture to the project at the end of this year.

This is how it looked after adding a couple hundred stitches yesterday. The second row of page 2 is almost complete. If you look carefully, you can even see the tip of one of the white dragon's wings! (Just in the nick of time to break up some of the blue...)

Total stitches completed: 9,885. (Added 1,983 stitches.)
Page 2 is 24.38% complete.
Chart is 6.70% complete. 

I will share my progress again on February 8, 2016 (the 2nd Monday of the month.) 



I am linking up with the Monday Stitchery Link Party at Super Mom - No Cape! again this week. It is a great place to visit for a free embroidery pattern and to find links to more eye candy. This week's embroidery pattern is fantastic (in my opinion) and I hope to make time to stitch it some day. If you do any hand stitching and have a blog, I encourage you to join the fun!

Thank you for stopping by!
Renee

Sunday, January 10, 2016

CQJP 2016 January Block Seam 4 and Motif 1


As you may have noticed, some of my favorite crazy quilt seams are created with the buttonhole stitch.  


Last night, I looked at Sharon B.'s Crazy Quilt Templates Set 2 to see if there were any that would help me space my buttonhole stitches more evenly. (In the past I used straight pins and a small sewing gauge to measure them out. My thread caught on my pins if I was not careful, but it worked.)


I opted to go with this edge of one of the templates. I traced a straight line down. (Can you see the light pencil mark on the far left?)


I created three tall lines and then three shorter lines.


Before stitching the seam, I wanted to make sure the motif I had planned would not interfere. If you click on the image above, it should enlarge, making it easier to see the quote by Pablo Picaso that says, "The purpose of art is washing away the dust of everyday life off our souls." (I believe this was a Fabric Elements Words fabric that I purchased at JoAnn Fabric.)


While planning this section of the block, I knew I wanted the quote to show, but I needed a motif to cover the section of fabric to the right. A tree seemed like the perfect solution. So, I sketched a couple of trees. My hubby agreed with me. This was our favorite of the three I drew.


It was dark outside, so taping my tree to a window and tracing it on the block was not an option. Instead, I used a trick I learned from Kathy Shaw.


Using a large needle, I punched holes along the lines of the tree. Next, I lined the tree up in the desired location of my block and used a mechanical pencil to mark each of the dots the holes created.


Motif 1: Stem stitched tree using brown (#0381) Anchor size 8 pearl cotton.

Seam threads used: green (#320) DMC size 8 pearl cotton + red (#498) DMC size 8 pearl cotton + white (#B5200) DMC size 8 pearl cotton.

Seam stitches used: uneven buttonhole stitched green stems + straight stitched green leaves + detached chain stitched green leaves  and clusters of 3 red petals + colonial knot white centers on detached chain stitched flowers and red flower buds.

I did learn to be more careful about following my traced lines. The first set of "short" stems in the seam were a little too tall. That being said, I am still having fun playing with Sharon's templates!

My January block for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP) 2016 only has 7 more seams and 11 more motifs to stitch! (Yikes. 12-inch blocks are sounding more than a little intimidating right now. I am determined to finish CQJP this year, though!)

Thanks for stopping by!
Renee

Saturday, January 9, 2016

CQJP 2016 January Block Seam 3


The third seam on my Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP) 2016 was partly inspired by the need to fix an oops and then embellished with a seam inspired by Valerie Bothell's Joyful Embellishment Stitch #161.


I added the trim along the seam because I oopsed when piecing this block. When the seam was sewn together, I did not realize I was too close to the edge of the bottom fabric. When I began stitching, the fabric above the trim pulled out of the seam. So, I hand stitched the fabric down and then sewed this trim down over the full length of the seam. It secured the fabric and dressed up the seam.


No ideas that I liked sprung to mind to further enhance this seam, so I looked through several seams from the Joyful Embellishment group Valerie Bothell set up last year and really liked #161. I did change it slightly by whipping the chain-stitched arches. 

I think my version of this seam would look better if the pistil stitches were a bit longer, but this block will be for a lap quilt I plan to wash and dry, so I am trying to avoid long stitches that may catch on anything in the future.


Sharon B.'s template set #2 came in very handy for this seam. I lined it up along the seam so the arches would not quite meet, leaving space for the pistil stitches in between. One of the only complaints I heard about Sharon's first set of templates was that they could be hard to find in your work station because they are clear plastic. One solution was to place a small sticker on each template, making them easier to spot. I keep mine in a plastic bag and put them back immediately after use, so I have not had that issue. The clear plastic did make it easier to line this seam up the way I wanted it!

Threads used: black Anchor size 8 pearl cotton + red (#00047) Anchor size 8 pearl cotton.

Stitches used: whipped chain stitched = chain stitched black arches whipped with red & red pistil stiches


As some of you may remember, I was kindly sent a set of Sharon B.'s Crazy Quilt Templates Set #2 and agreed to write an honest review of anything I liked or did not like. My biggest hurdle so far has been my hesitation to mark on the front of my blocks. By following Sharon's advice to only mark where my stitches will cover the markings, I have overcome my hesitations. Using the stencils on this block has been great fun! (In fact, my hubby was asking what I might like for my birthday this year and the first set of stencils was my reply.)

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, January 8, 2016

CQI UTS RR #2 - Mary's Blocks Arrived

Mary Beard's beautiful blocks for the Crazy Quilting International (CQI) Under the Sea Round Robin arrived in my mailbox on Halloween. 

Annette received these beauties first. This was her first UTS block. As you can see, she added one of her fantastic mermaid silkies.

Next, the blocks went to Kathy. I love the lace she added, the feather stitching with sequins and the fun vine along the right.

Barbara Nicki Lee Seavey received the blocks next and got right to work - finishing before the end of the month. I just love her pretty laces and lovely stitching.

I had three lovely blocks to choose from, and decided to go with this one. Just looking at it, ideas began springing to mind.

I almost chose this one because I love the curves on the green fabric in the lower-right.

This block is lovely, too. 

CQI round robins do not mail out in December, due to the high volumes of mail that month. Our group also decided to take November off. 

Mary also included a goody bag for each of us, so we would have some fun fibers to work with that are perfect for seaweed on UTS blocks!  I was so excited for an opportunity to use some of them.

It is hard to believe there is only one more rotation after this one and then our blocks will journey home.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Renee


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CQJP 2016 January Block Seam 2

I am still having fun playing with Sharon B.'s Crazy Quilting Templates Set 2

I cannot take credit for anything with this seam other than the color/thread choices, as it is a seam idea Sharon B. created. 

I still need some practice following my trace lines, but I love the way this seam turned out. 

It is unlike any seam treatment I have embroidered in the past. And my brutally honest hubby told me several times how cool it looked.

You may click on any photo for a larger image. 

When tracing this seam, I had to take the adjoining seams into consideration. I opted to begin with a closed oval near the red flower near the first seam on the block, seen on the far right of the photo above. And, I allowed the shapes to extend all the way to the un-embellished seam on the far left.

Threads used: black (#310) DMC size 12 pearl cotton + red (#498) DMC size 8 pearl cotton + cream (#0300) Anchor size 8 pearl cotton.

Stitches used: stem stitched black outline + detached chain stitched red flower petals + cream colonial knots at the base of the petals.

A few notes of interest:

1. The 1 X-mas Item a Month Blog announced accepting new elves. You may follow this link to read the details and leave a comment there if you are interested. 

2. Crazy Quilting International (CQI) just announced a Valentine Fabric Postcard Swap. The postcards need to be crazy quilted, include red fabric and a heart. If you think you might be interested, CQI meets on Facebook and on Yahoo. We would love to have more crazy quilters (beginners and experienced) join the fun!

3. Kathy Shaw's blog post reminded me about the Crazy Quilt Quarterly Calendar Contest. I do hope you will consider making a block to submit. You may read more details on Kathy's blog here

4. TAST will resume next Tuesday. You may join at any time. Details are here on Pintangle and the Facebook group meets here.

Thank you so much for stopping by!
-Renee