Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Years Eve Mystery Fabrics

Here are my main fabric choices for the New Years Eve Mystery quilt-a-long at Quiltville.com. I have white on white lights and a gold to add. Everything but the blue is from stash.
QAL Fabrics
Other than that, I have been reorganizing craft stuff to bring some fabric to the storage unit. It will be nice one day to have all my fabric in one place, preferably where it is warm! On the plus side, all this reorganization has yielded all the train fabrics. Since I have come up with a basic design (square in a diamond in a square), I'll be able to start on that as well. Unfortunately, I haven't had any internet access in days due to a failure on our line, so got to get going to work on other stuff.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mystery Quilting and Desperate Blankets

I'm haven't done a quilting mystery in several years, so decided to join Bonnie's Mystery on New Years Eve Day (www.quiltville.com). I've seen her recent mysteries, and it is totally my style. The biggest challenge is deciding on colors because I would prefer to use as much as I can from stash. She is using civil war colors, which I don't have, but I'm not even sure if I have pinks that work with brown, which is currently popular. I could go with a non-Christmas red and green palate. We'll see and I'll update when I have my colors chosen. This is my first mystery with Quiltville, so I don't know how she organizes it. My other mystery source (www.quiltaholics.com) does most mysteries over a 2 day weekend.

The most I've done with knitting in the past few days is to trade some of my older knitting books with another Ravelry member. I was set to start a sock and Polly ran off with the yarn and stashed it somewhere. My fault. I know I need to keep this stuff in Ziplocks or she just takes it.

I bought the yarn for this simple afghan 4 years ago and decided to start it last week. Yes, I know, that is 3 afghans at once (what IS wrong with me?). My local Hancocks had this completed sample in their store and I just loved the texture of the stitches and the completed afghan was wonderfully light in Woolease. After I requested the pattern from the company, Lion put the pattern up again. I am calling this my Desperate Housewives afghan because I'm crocheting it while watching DVDs of DH from Netflix. I'm on Season 2. I think it will be done by the time I finish Season 5 easily. This is totally brainless crochet, so perfect for TV watching. I'm doing it in Woolease Blue Mist and Wheat. The pattern at the Lion site is entitled Two Color Striped Afghan and is free to download after registering. I'm 2 rows into the first large white stripe.
Planned Afghan
Photo from Lionbrand.com site

Friday, December 26, 2008

After Christmas Sale & Other Pits of Peril

This post is totally about fabric as none of the local yarn shops are having after Christmas sales.

Today, all my local quilt stores are having sales. My favorite store is having 30% off yardage and a major Fat Quarter sale between now and Sunday. Nothing I need but backgrounds, so I'm trying to plan what I will be doing over the next couple of months to decide what I really need. My fabric fund has taken quite the beating in the last couple of months. None of it went to thread, however. I haven't bought any thread in more than a year and can finally fit all my thread into the thread box. Ok.. I can't close the thread box, but that is progress.

Brother's Quilt: Not much of a stashbusting quilt. It's only twin sized. The background is from mistakenly purchased white TOT for a swap, while the border fabric came from Mill End Textiles ($2 a yard due to sale coupon). We have decided that his quilt will feature 4 patch stars using brights from fat quarters already in my stash. The backing is a flannel, also specifically purchased for this project. I'm going to also try my hand at a rainbow binding, which is so appropriate for this quilt and which will use 4 fat quarters.

Halloween Quilts: Current plans include a double wedding ring quilt, a spider web quilt, a Lucky Star quilt (Atkinson designs) and a windmill-type quilt. Anything left over will go into some blocks to make a random block quilt and/or wallhanging. If I still have leftovers, I will try to trade it for background fabric for another quilt. Right now, I have about 90 yards of Halloween fabric (includes flannel backs for 3) and not all of it fits into a 20 gallon Roughneck.

Swaps: I need more pastels for the Garden Swap which will be done over the next couple of months. Have to decide on what blocks I'm going to make so that I can get appropriate yardage or FQs.

I'm debating between doing My Blue Heaven (QATW Design) or going straight to doing a log cabin or Mountain Majesties using blues that didn't work for the Winter Fun swap. Some blues looked true blue at the store, but in the light-of-day had green or purple tinges so were rejected. The log cabin is already halfway cut (strips miscut at a quiltshop). Since I won't be swapping, I don't have the same restriction for My Blue Heaven and I certainly have more than enough blue and light blue for it now.

Christmas Quilts: I have tons of Christmas fabric. I use some of it to make practice blocks before using the intended fabric for a swap or new pattern. I also have plans for 3 quilts. One is an alternating snowball-9 patch quilt to use up some landscape winter fabric, one pattern is featured on the cover of Merry Christmas Quilts (That Patchwork Place) and one is for the 2007 BOM at QATW (which I had stopped working on). Mountain Majesties is another option for using up christmas fabric. I'm sure I could make a couple of small wallhangings as well. I do want to try to use up all the christmas fabric in 2009. At this point, except for cream or white TOT, I need NO more fabric for these quilts.

Mountain Majesties pattern
4 patch star pattern
A 9 patch star done by another quilter in the same vein as what I plan for bro's quilt
Link to Amazon page for Merry Christmas Quilts
Bonnie's Snowball/9-Patch Quilt pattern

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Currently, there is a lot of discussion about bloggers and knitters making resolutions to read more in 2009. I am among them. I mostly read cookbooks and craft books because I CAN read them. I missed novels terribly, but few came in large type. However, since discovering podcasts and torrents in the past couple of months, I have enough reading material for years in either audio or ebooks. The ebooks all come as pdf files and I wish I could change some of them to an easier font to read, but hey, beggers can't be chooses. At least I can enlarge the type!

So, I've joined a challenge group to read 52 books/novels in 2009. For someone who is out of the habit of reading, I think that will work well. I also joined 2 online book clubs, not so much to discuss the book as to get ideas of books to read in different genres. At one time, I joined 2 different book clubs locally. They were very sci-fi/fantasy unfriendly. Most of their book choices were high brow and boring - more like an attempt to impress each other than enjoy a good read.

Currently reading: The Alchemist by Paul Coelho.

No quilting tomorrow! Totally devoted to knitting a sock (oh, and a great meal).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting Caught Up On Swaps

This weekend has been snowy and cold, so I spent the time catching up on quilting swaps. First swap is just purple fat quarters. The second was the Winter Fun swap. My assigned blocks were pinwheels and rail fences. The goal was to use true blues and those actually turned out somewhat hard to find! Everything has a tinge of green or purple in it.

Swap Blocks for Winter Fun

The third swap is a Puss In the Corner swap in warm tans & cremes, browns and earthy reds. Here are my finished examples. I thought I would be done with them today, but miscut the last piece by 1/4 inch. Of course, I have no more fabric, having just bought enough to make the swap blocks plus 2 for myself. So, off to the quilt shop tomorrow to get more.

Puss in the Corner swap blocks

I bought a quilting book, sight unseen, that arrived a couple of days ago. It happened to have a pattern that will be perfect for some scrap strips I had been given 4 or 5 years ago. There were not enough of these miscut strips to make the light half for enough log cabin blocks needed to make a full-sized quilt. However, this pattern uses 10 inch HSTs as alternate blocks and that is just perfect! Now, of course, the challenge is to find a good tiny-print-black-on-white, given that it has faded from popularity! I remember seeing something over at Mill End Textiles a couple of weeks ago that would work well. Can't go until after Christmas though. Not enough time. The 'blue' half will be a combo of blues and purples that I already have. The book is The Simple Joys of Quilting: 30 Timeless Quilt Projects by Joan Hanson. Really nice book of traditional patterns. While the colorways are new, most of the patterns are easily found on the internet. It's the adaptations and color choices of some of them that made this worth my while.
Scrap Plans

On the knitting front, I plan to not do ANY quilting on Christmas Day and instead, start a pair of socks. My sock class (knitting 2 socks on 2 circs), originally slated for tomorrow, was canceled. I am still signed up for a class but it will either happen in Janary or February and I need to start some socks now or I won't even get a chance to wear any this winter!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ladybug Afghan Progress

I am trying Webshots for posting progress photos as my Photobucket is full. I'm not sure I like webshots, but it is popular.

I've completed 12 backgrounds squares for the ladybug afghan and have started doing the body, wings and dots of an example ladybug. Then I'll have to do an example flower that goes in other squares. I should have that to post soon.
Ladybug Afghan Progress

I have finished the background for the Santa Sleigh a couple of days ago. Polly is helping me sort through stuff, so I don't make much progress. Here is Polly helping me with the Santa Sleigh project. She doesn't consider it nearly as interesting as the yarn projects. In any case, I've been sorting through stuff looking for something and haven't made ANY quilty progress today.
Polly Helping

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Cold Out There!

I looked at the temperature gauge a few minutes ago and it is minus 6 F! (-6F). I don't think we've had such early below zero temperatures in the last 10 years.

I have to bring my Dad to a medical appointment this afternoon, so I'll be getting more squares done on the crocheted Ladybug Afghan, the current take-a-long project. At last week's appointment, I managed to sew in ends for 13 squares and now can do the green trim. I'm running out of room in my project bag, so have to finish these off.

I've been working on partial projects and reorganizing since I finished the log cabin (not to mention way too many stash enhancement trips). I finished the background for the Santa Sleigh wallhanging, knitted a little bear, and planned out a star quilt to begin for my brother. I have my swap stuff almost done. My swap pieces should have been done by now. They aren't. So, I need to get them done today so that I can mail tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Log Cabin Quilt Finished!

I finished the Log Cabin quilt on Sunday. Washed and dried it yesterday, so it's a done deal! It's even been cat tested and approved.

The fabric for the blocks was from a 10 in. square swap at About.com in 2003. Some of the greens were forest, some were marine and I found that the black sashing helped them to play together better as well as give a sophisticated look. This is a queen sized quilt, 81x99 inches with a flannel background. I used Joanne's Soft and Crafty High Loft batting and tied it using Cascade 220 wool. My LQS recommended a chenille needle and that worked great! I did need to use a needle holder a lot more (I often refer to it as a hemostat). I used the Quilting From the Heartland Log Cabin templates for this project. A log cabin is done much faster using the strip piece method popularized by Quilt-In-A-Day, but if you are trying to use scraps that don't lend themselves to strip piecing, I highly recommend these templates.

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Here's a closeup that shows the flannel backing.
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If you want your own brand new set of templates, here's a link. Omnigrid is also licensed to sell QITH templates and sell them through Joann Fabrics.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend and Accomplishments

I spent a pretty good Thanksgiving weekend eating, shopping and quilting. Bought a bunch of flannel for quilt backs at Joanne's ($1.49/yrd) as well as some needed high loft batting. Finished the Log Cabin quilt yesterday (Sunday). The kitties are testing it. I hope to get to the laundromat today so that I can wash, dry and photograph it given that we have a nice clear day. Also have been working hard on finishing swap blocks AND watching my latest Netflix series (Desperate Housewives - I'm on disk 1 season 1). It's interesting, but clearly, not something I would dedicate a night every week to watch. Once the swap blocks are done and I've repaired some clothing, I need to take my machine in to find out if the fix-it guy can fix the machine foot or if I need to buy a new one. I decided not to buy my mini-stereo in case I need to buy the new foot pedal (typically, they are around $90).

After this week, I'll be focusing on knitting, crocheting and cross-stitching.