Saturday, July 28, 2012

A New Favorite

My new favorite embroidery book.
Confession time.  Not allowing myself to post pictures of the Round Robin block I am working on until my part is complete is becoming more and more challenging as I go.  I am so excited that it is actually turning out pretty much the way I hoped it would.  (Although, it may be better I am not posting as I go; because, no one - except my family - knows what I have tried and been unhappy with!)

While searching for ideas for this particular block, I did make a wonderful discovery that I decided to share with you all (in hopes it would satisfy my desire to share something about my current work.)  Last week, I went to the library and checked out Embroidery for all Seasons by Diana Lampe.  Since then, I let my husband know I added the book to my Amazon wish list for Christmas this year.  (Poor guy.  He did not even know I have had a wish list on Amazon for the past few years!  Of course, I have always used that as more of a reference for myself, to remind me of items that sparked my interest...  Silly me!)

This book is like a little treasure.  Bonus, it even has left-handed and right-handed directions for making the stitches used within the book.  (I'm not left-handed, but I thought of my friends that are when I saw the directions.) 

It would be safe to assume that I have been using a LOT of ideas from this particular book on Mardeen's Round Robin block.  I was happily surprised that I caught on to most of the stitches right away, though a few were a bit tricky for me. 

Now, I need to get back to work.  I really want to post pictures soon! 

Have a great weekend,

Friday, July 27, 2012

Buildings and Houses Quilt Contest

The Quilting Gallery's Buildings and Houses Contest will begin this morning.  Entries may be submitted through 8 a.m. PST, so I would wait and visit their site a little bit later this morning to see all of the fabulous quilts.  I cease to be amazed by how creative people are.

Unfortunately, I did not finish my UFO quilt.  All of my spare time has gone into the round robin block I am working on... I have certainly challenged myself there, but I am having fun!  I would love to have pictures to post soon, however, I keep changing my mind of different aspects and going in a different direction... Funny how that adds time to a project!  With luck, I may be finished by the beginning of next week (though I am aiming for Sunday.)

Please do not feel the need to vote for my quilt this morning, but I encourage you to stop by and browse through all of the lovely creations and vote for your favorites before 8 a.m. PST on Monday morning.  (It is my favorite way to enjoy my Friday morning cup of coffee!)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekly Goal Updates

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Highlights of the week: It was a wonderful week of summer.  I took the time to actually read a book (well, a book that was not related to crazy quilting or embroidery of any type.)  Of course, that may be part of the reason I did not accomplish some of the goals below.  Oops!

On Friday, we went to Silver Falls again.  This time, my husband was unable to join us – someone has to work (sorry, Honey!)  So, the boys and I met up with the same friends we went to the beach with last week.  They brought their dog, so we were limited to hiking the Rim Trail this time, but that worked out just fine.  We actually passed a wonderful couple that we know while we were on the trail – what a small world!

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Saturday was a family yard work day.  I do not know that I would say it was “fun,” but we accomplished a lot, the backyard looks so much better, and we enjoyed one another’s company.

Sunday, my 15-year-old (Monkey) drove us to watch a movie.  Prior to the show, we stopped for lunch at a favorite restaurant.  Luckily, we gave ourselves about an hour to eat.  The food was great and we enjoyed spending the time together out on the patio.  However, our food took over forty-five minutes to prepare.  The poor waitress arrived asking us if we wanted to scarf our food down or if we wanted to-go boxes.  With only eight minutes to eat, we opted to scarf and requested boxes so we could pack our grub and go, if necessary.  It was a fun family day.

Monday was fabulous because I finally figured out a plan of attack for Mardeen’s block with the CQI Novice Round Robin.  I practiced on my doodle cloth until I convinced myself I would not mess the block up horribly.  And then… I ended up stitching past midnight.  Early this morning, I drug myself out of bed when my husband went downstairs to make coffee before work.  He entered the living room and exclaimed,  “You have got to be kidding me!”  I guess he did not expect me to sit down, sleepy-eyed, to begin stitching away first thing this morning. (Grins.)

Last Week’s Goals (July 17-23):
Running: 3 days – up to 4 miles – Nope.  I managed a 4 hour hike with friends, did a ton of gardening, and managed a couple of runs.  The Warrior Dash is quickly approaching, so I need to kick it in gear!
Sewing: Adhere stems and leaves to quilt top.  Purchase enough green thread to stitch them on.  Nope.  I actually FORGOT to buy the thread (the main reason I went to the fabric store) on Thursday.  So, I finally picked it up on Sunday.
Crazy Quilt: Finish “January” (the word) on the January block.  Nope… yard work, reading, hiking, oh the excuses!
Round Robin: Once I receive the first block (of 4), my goal is to plan my stitching and make sure I have the supplies on hand to complete my planned work.  DONE! 

This Week’s Goals (July 24-30)
Running: 3 days – up to 4 miles and cross train at least 2 days
Sewing: Adhere stems and leaves to quilt top.
Crazy Quilt: Finish “January” (the word) on the January block.
Round Robin: Make as much progress as possible.  I challenged myself with my “plan” and am thrilled it seems to be working out.  I REALLY want to post a progress picture, but am forcing myself to wait until I finish.  It is torture – lol!

I hope you were able to check a few more items off your "To Do List" than I was this week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

My First Round Robin #1

Mardeen's Block
Whoo Hoo!  I received my first block to work on for my very first round robin through the Crazy Quilting International Yahoo Club. 

This lovely block belongs to Mardeen.  I will be the first of 4 ladies to embellish this beauty.  If I have counted correctly, I believe there are 14 blocks and 13 seams; so, I will need to embellish 3-4 blocks and 3-4 seams. 

Actually, I received the block a few days ago.  It feels like it has been ages since my last post - and since I last embroidered! My husband admitted that he has been surprised I have not been working on my crazy quilt lately.  My response?  Life has been crazy!  My backyard is looking better, we've hiked with friends, I have been running with Monkey (my 15-year-old son), and trying to keep up with some chores.  I have also made several trips to the library to check out embroidery and silk ribbon embroidery books to give me some ideas for Mardeen's block.  And then, there is all the time spent looking through said books, hoping to come up with a plan of where to begin and what to stitch.

This morning, I think I finally decided upon my plan for the block.  (My husband made fun of me when he found out I looked up all of the plants to see if it would be realistic for them to be in bloom at the same time!)  Next, I need to spend some serious time with my doodle cloth to see if I can pull this off!  To which, my husband said, "You have been doing great with all this stuff.  You can do anything."  It is nice to have him believe in me so much. 

What is it they say about courage, it is conquering something you are afraid of?  Something like that.  Afraid may be a bit strong, but I am certainly intimidated by my plans here.  Challenges are always good, so here goes!

Wishing you a great week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crazy Quilt Day 29

Beginning "JANUARY"
Yesterday, I did manage to make some progress on this block!  In the past, any applique I had done was with the use of double-sided fusible webbing and stitching over the raw edges.  In this case, I really wanted the letters to look as much like scarves as I could manage.  So, I folded the raw edges underneath and pinned the letters on.  Each letter used a single strip of fabric, manipulated into the desired shape.  I began with a longer strip of fabric than I needed, to make sure I had enough length to make the letter.  Next, I trimmed it, leaving enough at each end to turn the fabric under to cover the raw edges.  This process felt like it took longer than actually stitching the letters on.

My attempt at "scarf letters."
Obviously, my stitches are not evenly spaced (I need to work on that!)  There are more stitches at the ends, where the edges have been tucked under, to keep any fraying threads from escaping.  And, I used fewer stitches on the sections of letters I hope to cover with snowmen.  (I have yet to attempt that!)  I decided to wait to add the fringes to the scarves until after the snowmen have been put in place.

The letters would probably be much easier to manipulate into shape, had I cut the fabric on the bias (diagonally.)  I guess I am a glutton for punishment.  I really wanted the stripes to line up this way for the letters, so a bias cut just was not going to work for me. 

Thanks for checking in!


Weekly Goal Updates

Lincoln City, Oregon

Highlights of the Week:  There were so many! 

Wednesday evening, the boys and I went to a park and watched a fun concert the city organized.   

On Thursday, the boys and I drove to the coast to play at the beach with some friends and escape the heat.  It was a WONDERFUL day!   

Saturday evening, my husband and I joined his parents and their friends for a barbeque and to play cards.  I made one person too many, so I played with my January block and had a great time.   

And, on Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary a couple of days early.  We spent some time at the Portland Saturday Market, which is always a treat for me.  I love seeing all of the crafty items!  Next, we satisfied our curiosity and visited Salvador Molly’s, a restaurant featured on Man vs. Food, for dinner.  (Though we did not attempt their challenge, we did get a small plate of the famous Great Balls of Fire (habanero cheese fritters.)  I managed 2 bites, and even impressed my husband with the large scoop of habanero sauce I took with my second sampling.  By dinner, I could even feel my lips and tongue again!) And we finished our anniversary date with a trip to Powell’s, my favorite bookstore of all time.  I think I could spend a week or more in that city of books!

Last Week’s Goals (July 10-16):
Running: ??? 1-2 days DONE
Sewing: Cut leaves out and begin adhering stems and leaves to quilt top.  Purchase enough green thread to stitch them on. HALF-WAY COMPLETE – I have errands to run later in the week, so opted to wait to make than 40 minute round trip to buy the thread.  Once I have the thread, I will adhere the stems and leaves.
Crazy Quilt: Finish winter!  It has been so tricky that I have been rethinking my font idea for the word “January.”  We shall see… COMPLETE!  And “January” is well on its way – so far, following my original plan.
Round Robin: Mail block to its first crazy quilter!  I cannot believe my first round robin through Crazy Quilting International is about to begin.  DONE!  I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first block for me to stitch.   (And I am equally nervous – I want the block’s owner to be happy with my work, and I REALLY do not want to mess it up!)

This Week’s Goals (July 17-23)
Running: 3 days – up to 4 miles
Sewing: Adhere stems and leaves to quilt top.  Purchase enough green thread to stitch them on. Crazy Quilt: Finish “January” (the word) on the January block.
Round Robin: Once I receive the first (of 4) block, my goal is to plan my stitching and make sure I have the supplies on hand to complete my planned work.  I saw a picture of the block and it is lovely, with some very soft colors.  It should arrive within the next few days!

It should be another fun week!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Crazy Quilt Day 28

Doodle Cloth
Most of my "crazy quilt time" today was spent working on my doodle cloth, trying to figure out how on earth I can bring the Gimp 2 CK Snowman font to life spelling "January" on my block. 

The letters consist of scarves and snowmen.  I considered making bullion stitches side-by-side to make the scarves (tested in the lower-right corner), or using applique.  In the end, I opted to go for the applique using a blue and white striped cloth.  I cut a one-half inch strip of the fabric, so the stripes would be consistent with the stripes in an actual scarf.  Next, I ironed the edges underneath, to avoid fraying edges.  At first, I attempted to use a buttonhole stitch to tack the letter "J" down, but I decided I liked the simplicity of tiny straight stitches much more.  At the bottom of the "J" I used lazy daisy stitches for the tassels.  At the top I tried straight stitches.  The lazy daisy stitches won my vote.

Next, I struggled trying to figure out how to make the letters fit into the space on the block.  The practice "J" above was about 1.25 inches long.  "JANUARY" would not fit on the dark blue strip of fabric, even somewhat staggered, at that size.  So, my goal will be to fit each letter into a three-quarter inch section of the block. 

Preparing to add "JANUARY" to the block.
In this photo, you can see a portion of the font, and the scarf section of the letter "A" pinned onto the block.  I am fairly confident I can make scarf letters to spell out the word.  Adding the snowmen may be a bit trickier.  There is a really good chance my snowmen will not be wearing the cute little top hats, due to the tiny amount of space they will be stuffed into; time shall tell!

If it turns out, it should be really cute!  (My fingers are crossed...)

Thanks again for stopping by!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Crazy Quilt Days 26 & 27

Whoo Hoo!!! Yesterday, I finally managed to complete the satin-stitched word, "winter" on my January block.  I'm not too happy with the "e", but I can read the word, so I will take it!  I told my husband I can definitely tell when I enjoy a stitch and when I do not.  My eagerness to pick up the block and make some progress tells it all.

Last night, we joined my in-laws and several of their friends - a wonderful group of people - to play Pinochle.  They really only needed one of us to play, so I arrived with my block to keep me busy.  There were ooh's and aah's.  My plans were to complete my first crazy quilt by next June so I could enter it in the state fair - just for fun.  My mother-in-law suggested that I think about entering it in a big quilt show they have at the Expo Center in Portland, Oregon every year instead.  That sounds quite intimidating to a beginner like me.  I am looking forward to visiting the quilt show with my mother-in-law and a friend of hers this fall though!

I finished up on "winter" and added a ceramic snowman button and some snowflakes (white glass seed beads size 11/0.)  I purchased several buttons at Acorns and Threads in May, but failed to write down any information about them.  Luckily, I found the snowman button on-line, so I can give you more information.  It was a Debbie Mumm #43022 Snowman 3/4" by 1 1/8" button.

I think I have decided to go through with my original plan for the word, "January" on the block.  I have 2 ideas of how to make it work, so I will be playing with my doodle cloth first.  That is one of the 4 items I have left to complete on this block.  It is nearly done - although I anticipate a few of those items to take a fair amount of time.

January block - with only 4 items to complete!
After the January block, I plan to work on March.  I am a little nervous about that, though!  October was first because I loved the fabrics and thought it would be a fun block to work on.  February was next, because it was the perfect month to try out some of the prettier seam treatments.  January followed, because I had specific ideas in mind.  March will be interesting.  Although there are a few vague ideas tumbling around in my brain, there are no specific plans.  It should be interesting!  March was chosen next so that I will be able to assemble the first row of the crazy quilt, to give me an idea of what it may look like when it is finished.  Fun, fun, fun!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I wish you a wonderful week.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weekly Goal Updates

Yikes!  I have been neglecting my blog, and my stitching.  The beautiful weather has meant yard work and running my boys from point A to point B.  The week has been fun and eventful, but it has not allowed a lot of computer time.

Highlight of the Week:  Spending the 4th of July with great friends.  My husband’s best friend since about 3rd grade married my college roommate, and their children are very close in age to Monkey (15) and Mutt (12).  (Someday, I will have to share about their nicknames.)  We all had a wonderful visit.

Last Week’s Goals (July 3-9):
Writing: 500 words (beginning word count 3387) – Failed.  I think the writing may have to wait for this fall, when the weather is not so nice and I am inside more often!
Running: Run 4 days (3-4 miles) – Failed.  I did run 3 days, from 20 - 48 minutes.  When I put together my running schedule, I actually created two of them - the one I should probably try to follow to ease back into the habit, and the one I wanted to be able to do now.  This week I ended up compromising between the two.  My body made it pretty clear this week that I should stick with 3 days a week for a bit longer.
Sewing: Cut strips for vines on unfinished quilt top – DONE! 
Crazy Quilt: Continue working on January block – DONE! 

This Week’s Goals (July 10-16):
Running: ??? 1-2 days (depends on my leg...)
Sewing: Cut leaves out and begin adhering stems and leaves to quilt top.  Purchase enough green thread to stitch them on.
Crazy Quilt: Finish winter!  As crazy as it sounds in the midst of summer, I told my husband I thought winter was killing me.  The fabric I have been stitching it on is so fluffy that it covers part of the stitches, making them appear very uneven.  It has been so tricky that I have been rethinking my font idea for the word “January.”  We shall see…
Round Robin: Mail block to its first crazy quilter!  I cannot believe my first round robin through Crazy Quilting International is about to begin.  

The word that has slowed me down to a turtle's pace!