Wednesday, 29 March 2017

March OMG Achieved!

After some serious procrastination, and lots of progress on other projects, I finally finished sewing down the binding and adding the labels to my table runners yesterday achieving my March One Monthly Goal. That was three days before the deadline, which is pretty good for me.  The smaller one I finished earlier in March. Here is the longer one in place.

And covered with all the stuff including our younger son's youth league bowling trophies for this year

Just to show I did actually get the labels done too!

Thank you to Elm Street Quilts for the virtual kick up the pants to get at least one thing done each month!  These two projects were also on my UFO list, so I have crossed TWO projects off of that this month - woo hoo!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Post retreat report

Our spring In-Town Retreat is over and for me it was productive.

As I wrote in my previous entry I finished a quilt top and made my RSC red crumb blocks for March.  I also went through a combined package of swap blocks from two swaps in 2003 & 2007, photographed each set of blocks with the labels showing who made them so I now have a pictorial catalogue of the participants and their blocks. They are now back in their envelope together with the sashing and cornerstone pieces.  Perhaps I'll get them all put together at our fall retreat?

These are the blocks that I made way back in the mists of time.

After that I worked on a foundation paper pieced New York Beauty pattern that I started in April 2016 at the annual Stitch Your Art Out Retreat. The pattern is from Stone Valley Quilting and goes together very easily with excellent, easy to follow, instructions.  Of course I am not doing mine at 48" square as per the pattern but have decided to make it at least big enough for a double (full sized) bed, so I need to make 48 or 64 quadrants.  At the SYAO retreat I made two  complete quadrants.

This week I have made another 19 paper pieced arcs.  I am using a mixture of batik and hand dyed fabrics in a wide variety of colours.  The backgrounds are the hand dyed fabrics and the points are mostly small scale batiks.  I shall use larger scale batik fabrics for the inner and outer parts of each block.  My aim is for lots of colour and contrast. So far I have worked from my stash including the last scraps of some of those fabrics. I am sad to have used up those pieces but pleased with the results.

After all that sewing I went back to knitting and on Saturday was instructed in how to turn the heel on my new socks and I am now happily working up the leg on the first one.

There is one knitting finish to report this week too - I finally completed sewing up a sweater for my elder son, now I need to send it back across the pond to him.

This week I need to work on sewing the binding down on my second table runner and make and sew on labels on both in order to achieve my March OMG.

Today I am linking up with:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

FLOF and In-Town Retreat

FLOF? what is FLOF? I hear you mutter. FLOF stands for For the Love Of Fiber (Fibre?) which is an annual event that the Centre Knitters Guild run each year at the American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte, PA.  After I added it to our electronic calendar this year my husband asked the same question and I replied "It is an event that turns your money into yarn!"  I'm not sure he appreciated the sentiment.  Once again this year there were many luscious yarns and somehow 3 skeins of sock yarn, a full pound of roving (for felting), a project bag and a neat little gizmo for keeping my stitches on my dpns as I carry my projects around came home with me.  The vendors I supported were:

Unplanned Peacock Studio
Shirsty Cat Designs
Gurdy Run Woolen Mill
Sunshine Lily Crafts

Don't expect to see any completed projects from my new yarns any time soon as I am still fondling the two beautiful skeins that I purchased last year!

From Tuesday to Friday this week we have our in-town retreat and the first day has already been productive.

I finished the top for Christa's Colors, having decided to go with the black sashing.  This will be about 54" x 74" once it is quilted and bound.  It isn't off the UFO list yet, but at least has moved onto the flimsy list from the piecing list.

I also made my red crumb blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so I am all caught up on that too.

Friday, 17 March 2017

A busy week

Usually I try to post something covering my weekend quilting/knitting/gardening activity, but this week has been somewhat hectic for me.  Over the weekend I worked on a baby quilt for one of my husband's colleagues and finished the quilt top. This stage is also known as a "flimsy".  I kept careful note of all my cutting, piecing and pressing time on this so I can come up with a suitable selling price for similar items in my "real-soon-now" etsy shop.  All the coloured pieces came from scraps and charms so this is a great way to use small pieces in a larger contrast background.

A couple of weeks ago my little plastic card authorizing me to work arrived from the US government and since then my SSN has also arrived.  It is so good to feel like a "real" person! With these in hand I was invited to give some training this week on the equipment that I helped build, test and worked with for 20 years.  Those days coincided with the winter storm that brought 8" (20cm) of snow overnight Monday/Tuesday and school closures Tuesday & Wednesday as the temperatures and wind chill remained somewhat low.  To top it off yesterday the battery in the family car gave every impression of quitting, but after messing me about and having been given a good charging played nicely this morning for my husband!  All of this took priority over my quilting time so there isn't much to show from during the week until today.

The snow is melting, but somebody still isn't impressed...
On the yarn front there has been more progress as last Saturday I took a class on knitting socks from the toe upwards, using this pattern entitled Toe-Up Socks.  I'm sure I could have figured out the pattern on my own, but the class gave me confidence and it was fun knitting along with other people. Over the next two classes we will learn to turn the heel and finally cast off (bind off) the top edge.  I had done a little knitting in the round both with a circular needle and double pointed needles (DPNS) on previous projects, but this was certainly more challenging and has added to my knitting skill set.

Today I cleared and cleaned the lounge floor (Design Floor Friday again!) and tried out a couple of layouts for Christa's Colors. What do you think? Rows together or with some black between? Squiggly black or mottled black?

I am going to let these options rattle in my mind for a few days and then take it all to my in-town retreat next week. The quilting group I belong to hires a meeting room at a local motel for 4 days twice a year. We all take our machines and project with us an can sew from 8 in the morning till 10 at night each day but still go home and sleep in our own beds. Any regular commitments can still be made but we can sew for all of the rest of the time. I think it is a wonderful idea and I love it.  Room hire cost per quilter is about $10 for the week!

Today I am linking up with:

Friday, 10 March 2017

Make scraps, use scraps, make scraps...

I am not sure whether I have used more scraps or made more scraps with Christa's Colors (that still looks odd without a u in it).  I did dig into my strip boxes and use fabric from those, but I also trimmed off lots of pieces that got dropped into the scrap bag.  Those odd shaped bits will get used in crumb blocks as and when I get around to them.  All my blocks for this quilt are now made so now I can play with the layout, after all it is Design Floor Friday :)

I love working in the diffuse light on a snowy day

There will be a black or other dark border around the outside and I am toying with the idea of a narrow black/dark strip between each row.  I shall offer that idea up once the blocks are joined into rows.

In other news, I have made progress towards my OMG - the smaller table runner is no longer a UFO and now in its new home just awaiting a label.  The larger one still needs to have the binding hand stitched to the back and have a label made and attached.

Tested and approved!

So far this week we have had rain (put the tender herbs out to get some moisture), sunshine (also good for the plants) and on Thursday night we were back to snow and the plants need to come back in... It certainly felt like all four seasons in one week!

Today I am linking up with:

Monday, 6 March 2017

Red in my Rainbow

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for March is RED! So I pulled out my red scraps and crumbs ready for more Dresden plates and crumb blocks. I already have one red crumb block, so I aim to make another seven of those together with these 3 Dresden plates.

I made some OMG progess too, the quilting of the table runner is all done and I have machine sewn the bindings to the front of both the large and small table runners.  These will now go with me to my Tuesday quilting group where I will work towards getting the bindings hand sewn to the backs.

Quilting in process
Bindings ready for hand sewing

Late on Sunday I pulled out another UFO from last year's SYAO quilt retreat.  This one is called Christa's Colors and back last April I decided that my version needed more blocks to make it a more generous thrwo sized quilt.  I now have all the purple/yellow blocks completed and have moved on to red/teal and red/purple.  This will help replenish the purple and teal scraps and add to the red ones ready for my crumb blocks later in the month.  Then I'll be onto the teal/lime and the yellow/green/purple combinations!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Hot Peppers!

It is the beginning of a new month and therefore time to set myself a new One Monthly Goal. After the fairly mammoth task of completing my En Provence quilt top in February my goal for March is more modest.  At the Stitch Your Art Out quilt retreat last April the mystery quilt clues led to an attractive 5 block table runner. 
After getting home, on mature reflection, I realised that this was bigger than I needed so I split it into a two block table topper and a three block runner, after adding borders they were just the right size for my coffee table and sideboard.  I quilted the smaller one and have started quilting the larger one, but they have been stalled since, at a guess, last October. 

My goal for March is to finish these completely - quilt, bind and label.