Thursday, September 30, 2021

Good Bye September

 Today is the last day of September. I still have stuff on "The List" for this month. It might get done ... it might not get done. I have stepped into my sewing room this week long enough to look around and ponder the mess and the STUFF. How the heck did I ever have time to work and care for children and a husband and move every 3 years ! ? ! ?  I got a lot less done.

Sew ... I haven't been sewing. BUT - I have been fibering ... some knitting, some crochet and some cranking.

I made a newborn baby bonnet - Anker's Bonnet. It's so sweet and so teeny. Are newborn heads really the same size as a sugar bowl? There is a listing for a doll-size. This is for an actual baby. It's headed off to cousins in Denmark, along with a quilt (of course).

Another Christmas gift sweater (2 of 6). This one is going to New York.

When I really should have been doing other things (laundry?) I cranked a couple of tubes and made some JACKs. ok ... you know these are just too cute. Same designer as the bonnet.

And, while down THAT rabbit hole, I just had to make her Emma doll. This took 2 days of fussing with the hat and face and making the hair just right. My kids always said that I wasn't great a bangs.

Here's what the tubes look like before stuffing and other magic tricks are imposed.

To round out the fiberyness of September, I finished a pair of socks and I made a shawl. Sometimes my seasonal crafty-self is on target!

I did finish The Perfect Storm. I do love the colors of this quilt. I keep thinking I will eventually run out of these shades but so far ... the stash keeps coming through for me.

It's a lovely autumnal day here in Florida!

Friday, September 17, 2021

 There are only 4 days left of summer ... and that pretty much means nothing when you live in Florida! Except - that it kinda does. Even thought the temps are still really warm and we're still swimming, you can definitely feel a change in the air. The days are getting a little shorter, mornings are darker and evenings are a bit cooler.

My sweet grandie picked an interesting "prize" when we went shopping a couple of weeks ago. She really wanted a flashlight. This Grammy could not possible say No to that! And Gramps came through with the batteries. 

I found another box of fabric. How can this possibly keep happening? This was in my yarn closet - what the heck? It is now in the sewing room and will someday be cleared out and put into the proper color bins.  But - there's no rush - right?!

I have been sewing/quilting but my evenings have been all about crochet. I've committed to making 5 children's sweaters for Christmas. 2 are done! This is my Mom's original pattern from her company - Practically Aran. I love making these and I'm even using her hooks. It's like she's sitting beside me enjoying a little hooking with me.

What else has been going on? I can't reveal the quilts I've been working on - M&M Sew Charming is doing a special presentation at our 2022 Quilt Show in February. It's called "Best Intentions" and I have a lot of work to do for that. It's been challenging and fun.

I also have to provide a contribution to our "Boutique". The items sold at the quilt show help to off-set cost for the show and other guild programs. I decided to try out some quilted cards. These are photo-insert cards (Amazon). I'm making little quilts to insert. The inside of the card is blank and it comes with an envelope.  I think they'll be well-received.

And the knitting! Yesterday, I received a Halloween Surprise Box. Today, I'm casting on. I just love the multi-colored yarn ...  The only thing missing - Candy Corn! I'm going for a light/airy shawl that I might get to wear in October. The bright green and purple skeins - into the stash they go ... for now. Something will inspire me, I'm sure.

Sew - not too much sewing to show off. I am getting close to finishing a quilt - The Perfect Storm. If you want to sew along with me (us). Check out the M&M Sew Charming Facebook page, the pattern is there. It's not a mystery but we are releasing the instructions slowly. It's not a race ... Hurricane (our storm of choice) Season goes until November.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

And ... It's Still August!

 Taking a quick minute to catch up on some e-mail, print out a pattern (knitted baby socks) and send off a "hot and sunny HELLO from Florida!" blog post.

My pal, Marjorie, and I did a little shop hop last week. I had never been to this darling place. It's little and filled with cuteness. There's a smattering of lots of different things and if 2 people ask for something, the owner tries to get in. I bought some pearl cotton embroidery thread and knitting needles, Marjorie bought a shawl pin and we both resisted the yarn.

After lunch, in a converted gas station (and very yummy), we went a little further south to Vero Beach. I have been in this building once before.  
But now ...
it has a new owner and she is a "knitter who quilts"

Formerly Knitty Gritty, it is now - Stitches in Paradise. It has a lovely selection of yarn, in all weights but there's so much more! She has lots of beads and threads and wool roving. I bought several skeins of yarn but resisted the fabric.

AND ...
fabric, hurray for fabric!

Sew ... my sewing?
Marjorie and I are preparing for a "Bed Turning" that we'll doing at our guild quilt show in February 2022. I quilted a top...or tried to quilt a top. I swear I measured this thing and figured out exactly how much backing I needed (+ extra). I think the problem happened when I loaded it - the backing is directional. I knew this, I had accounted for it. I thought.

I think I switched the left/right with top/bottom. I had quite a bit of extra side fabric. How heartbreaking it is to make that last roll and realize - the backing is too short!!!


I finished quilting right down to the last 3", took it off the frame and trimmed up mostly the 3 sides. I attached the binding along the 3 sides. THEN ... I took a deep breath and finished the border quilting on my sewing machine. 

Is it possible to be situationally dyslectic? 

It came out pretty darn good, if I say so myself. And, I'm the only person who has seen it so my opinion counts!

This morning, I'm headed into the sewing room to finish this (1 of several) and store it away until February. Sorry, no TADA pictures, yet.

Just to make you smile ... here's Amelia playing in puddles near her house after a "big-heavy rain." Yes, her boots light up and that makes everyone smile!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Busy Being DONE!

 Summer around here is usually a busy time with family. I guess LOTS of people are busy with family in the summertime. Kid#2 is a school teacher so she's off in June and July which means the Best Grandie is home from childcare AND Kid#1 and the youngest of her kids - another Best Grandie come and visit.

There's been beach and pool and zoo and walking and cooking and kayaking with grands and great-grands and then a teeny bit of sewing.

By August 2nd ... everything fell back into normal mode and I went back into the sewing room!
Curiosity Quilted the Cat - a BOM from 2018 (maybe 2017?) from Little Red Hen Mysteries.

Boston Uncommon - a bit of a mail-fail but someday there may be a need for a king-size quilt.

365 Challenge - this took longer than a year and I quit after 6 months! Thankful for borders.

Pat Speth (the Nickel Quilt Lady) offered a free pattern on Facebook - North Star. Used up lots of homespun.

M&M Sew Charming design - Solstice Star.

I backed Solstice Star with another M&M Challenge (from last year) - Sun and Moon.

In between ALL of that - there's been knitting, always knitting - it's my go-to for evening TV watching, unless I'm napping. It's now mid-August, I completed 5 languishing quilt projects and feel so accomplished. There are a few more hanging around and I'm getting the urge to start something new. The sewing room is in great shape. There's a wool BOM project that needs some love and I have enough novelty charms for an "I Spy" quilt. 

Life is never boring.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Boston UnCommon

 In the quilt world, there are pattern names and quilt names. Sometimes they're universally accepted and sometimes they are regional - same pattern, different name. Sometimes, as quilters, we think we may have even invented a new design ... which usually turns out not to be the case. 

I saw a picture of quilt called "Boston Common." I've seen different color variations of this quilt many times over the many years of making quilts and looking at quilts.

And ... I wanted to make a quilt in Red, white, and blue.

And ... I wanted it to be fairly simple piecing.

And ... I wanted it to be a decent size.

And ... I wanted it to have a bit of a WOW.

Here's the story of how I did and did NOT achieve my goals ... BOSTON UNCOMMON

Using graph paper, I drew out what I wanted and colored it in with crayons "big WOW". I counted up how many of each color square I would need and pulled lots of (red, white and blue) fabrics.  "Decent size" indicated that I should work with 6.5" squares (1st mistake). I had a small piece of "sort of patriotic" fabric and threw that into the mix.

Working with 6.5" squares and a limited amount of eagle/flag fabric meant I had to piece it. I only needed a few of these but did have to piece 2 squares - no problem, it worked.

My favorite "big WOW" quilt is using the M&M Sew Charming - 96 Charm Challenge. I cut apart and glued together my colored drawing to make sure it was going to work. Then I cut it apart again and glued it together for a sewing map.

Then I sewed the top together.

It was REALLY big and I kept going (mistake #2).

Now it was time to do the cuts. I marked the diagonal lines and stitched "less than 1/4" on each side of the line and cut ON the line.

I laid it back out to double check that the blocks did actually line up according to my colored map - and they did! ... almost.

There was something wrong with the above picture. (mistake #3).

These 2 fabrics should not have been touching.

No problem - take 1 out and replace it with a different neutral.
That's better! Time to sew up the last 2 seams.

Mistake #4 - I should have replaced it with the eagle/flag fabric.

THAT is why I had to piece the 6.5" square of eagle/flag fabric. I did and fixed it and all was right in my world ... maybe.

The quilt is HUGE!
Mistake #5 - my frame will only accommodate an 80" wide quilt.
The quilt measures out 100" x 116".

Thankfully, a dear quilter - Donna Capps - has the equipment and skills to come to my rescue. She reached out and offered, I accepted, we did a couple of drive-by drop-off/pick-ups and in 5 days - I had this beautiful (and BIG) quilt all ready for binding.

Lessons learned ... 
1. I could have (and should have) stuck with my 5" charms that I dearly love. 
2. My colored map worked great - and would have been perfect had I followed it.
3. Using scraps in what isn't actually a scrap quilt can and does work. Note to self - don't try and mix up the scraps, simply keep them in the piles by color.
4. If your gut is telling you something (this is going to be big) LISTEN.
5. Accept help from a friend.

THANK YOU Donna Capps!!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

All The Things

HOLY MOLY ... Seriously - it's July? 

I know, I know ... everyone says it, I've say it myself ALL the time, but still ... where the heck does time go? It seems to just disappear! That calendar is spinning. I'm really not a particularly busy person. Generally speaking, I do to the dentist 2x a year, the doctor 1x, and the Dermatologist 2x. All for routine stuff. I go to Quilt Guild 2x a month. Other than that, I have no regular standing appointments/commitments. AND ... I'm always busy!

We took our littlest grandie to SeaWorld. That's Gramps and her Mom (Kid#2) on the Cookie Monster ride. Amelia wasn't too sure she if like that ride but she LOVED all the others.  Did you know that all teachers in Florida get into SeaWorld for free, any time they want? What a great resource. We love SeaWorld.

I finished a shawl. Still doing lots of knitting during evening TV. This pattern was pretty simple and easy to do and still follow whatever we happen to be watching.  I loved "Atlantic Crossing" on PBS. LOVED "Schitt's Creek" and we just finished the new season of "Bosch."

The June swaps have been rearranged and are ready to go home. 58 swaps! Everyone is receiving 20 different Blue/Teal/Aqua 5" charms. This month, July, is Green/Olive.

Mangos are in abundance right now here in Florida. I love mangos. Our across-the-street neighbor has an overflowing tree in his front yard. We get all the mangos we can eat ... and I can eat a lot!

My friend Carrie (from MD and now AZ) came to visit with her husband Paul. Marjorie, Carrie and I had dinner with our 3 husbands - John, Paul, and Steve (did you think I was going to say Ringo?). We gals talked QUILTING for hours. Our tolerant husbands ate very yummy chicken cacciatore (Marjorie and John are great cooks) and then watched hockey.

I'm sewing and sewing and sewing and not finishing much. Still trying to get my Solstice Star strips sewn. In the meantime, I've started another quilt using 6.5" squares that is WAY bigger than I planned. That will involve it's very own blog post.

AND ... my iron caught on fire! Yes, it did.
It was making a kind of crackle noise and then smoke started pouring out from the tip between the sole plate and the iron body. My dear Cute Husband grabbed it and put it outside.  I have no idea why he thought the middle of the driveway was the safest place ... maybe he thought it was going to blow up? I wanted to plug it back in for a just a second to get a good picture. My dear Cute Husband thinks I should not be left alone with combustible objects.

Not much quilting talk for a quilting blog. I do have several things in the pipeline. Soon!