Friday, November 8, 2019

A-pickin' and a-knittin'

Good morning! 

It's a bright and beautiful start to the day....but cold!!!

I had a very early start to my day, so I had extra time to sit and pick out my swan block for the Animal Album quilt. 

If you remember from last time, I explained that I am changing up the background fabric before going any further. I decided that picking out the applique and re-using the pieces would be less trouble than making up new templates and picking out new fabrics and fussy-cutting again! 

Here is the original block....


.....and here it is now, almost all picked out...it will be worth it in the end!...



I was on a quilting retreat last weekend. It was held at Camp Trillium and was one of the best retreats I've ever attended....a lot of "extras" and I'll definitely go on this one again.

One of the demos we saw was about a site called Savor Every Stitch. If you were to go to that site and click on "patterns", then go to "Haphazard", you will find a super cool way to design your own quilt.

You go through the steps, which lead you to choose your block size (I chose 6"blocks), how many blocks (I chose the 6x6 layout), colours, and the ratio of how many large HST's to small HST's.

You then see a layout of what your quilt will look like. Then the really cool part....if you don't quite like the layout, you just keep pushing the button until you see one that you fancy.

Here is my little quilt...it measures 36" square and I think it will perfect for a lap quilt during my morning slow-stitching!


(Thanks, Stephanie, for introducing us to Savor Every Stitch!)


Back in the day I used to knit socks....a lot. I've wondered recently why I don't knit socks anymore. I realised that I stopped after my days of being a hockey mom ended. Most of my sock knitting was done at the arena...and, in the summertime, at the baseball diamond.

I'm determined to pick up sock-knitting again. We took a drive this week to Needle Emporium in Ancaster. I haven't been in a looong time and felt like going to what is, in essence, a candy store for knitters. 

I came away with three yarns....so this knitting-thing better stick!

 I also bought a circular needle to give "magic loop" knitting a try. I'm not sure what the deal is with magic loop, except for the fact that you can knit two socks at a time (will try that next time), and it's not as easy to lose stitches when carrying your project from place to place. 

I'll keep at it and reserve judgement for now.


This one is a Schoppel yarn called Zauberball Crazy in Colour # 1701, Papagei. I am using my favourite brand of circular needles, Addi.

Here are the yarns that are waiting in the wings...


With the Uneek Sock yarn I will try the two-at-a-time method.

That's all for today! I will be spending time in the car today, which means I can work on the knitting that is kept in the car. 

Today I am linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Confession time

So, I am definitely one to take on too many projects.....anyone who knows me can vouch for that. 

(I also don't believe I am alone in that, am I right?)

I even called a friend yesterday to find someone to commiserate with and hopefully get some inspiration on tackling all the totes and bags full of ufo's. It can be a bit overwhelming at times.

On that note....here's my confession time.....

I have started two new hand-stitching projects....what's wrong with me??? lol

One is a Kim McLean pattern called Animal Album. I love her designs, I think this the third one of hers I am doing.

I began with this block...


....sorry, wrinkly and also a dull day for taking pictures.

Well, after almost two blocks done I can say that the background is definitely not working for me. I made the difficult decision to change my mind.

Actually, not a difficult decision. I'd rather change things up now than continue just because I've already "put so much work into it" already. 

So I've brightened the quilt up with a white print for the background and started a new block this past week...


Such a dull picture, sorry....again it's a dull day. The block is much brighter in person, you'll see!


New project #2.....


That is just one block of Over The Hill by Wendy Williams. I hope to have the prep-work done for it in the next few days so I can take this one along to a quilting retreat next week.

Here is what I have done so far...



I'd like to share an update on my progress with Intermittent Fasting. I started mid-November in 2018. This has been a surprisingly easy process and it's free. 

Here is a picture showing me on the right the week I began, not the best picture but I know that's when I started. The picture on the left is today...


The scale hasn't moved a whole lot. The truth-sayer is my belt, which has moved from the first notch to the fifth....and soon the sixth. I feel like a much younger version of myself.

Lol...I also think this way of life has given me the confidence to embrace my natural hair colour!

People may think that my running is what has instigated the change, but no....I was running two years before starting IF, and while I know that I grew stronger, leaner muscles and vastly improved my cardiovascular health, my fat content hadn't changed. You can't outrun a bad diet.

Today I am linking up with  Confessions of A Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?.

Have a wonderful Autumn day!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Slow stitching....

Some early morning slow stitching going on here this morning...as per usual. 

A little earlier than usual as I have to be on my way soon to Niagara Falls for a race....looks like a beautiful day for it, too!

Here's the best picture I could take yesterday of the Falls when we went down yesterday for my race kit...


....and here's a picture of me yesterday trying to rock a red lipstick....I figured if I could be confident enough to do the red lip, I would be a confident runner today!....


This morning I've been working on my Chapman Coverlet blocks (since I haven't been able to take the time to prep other applique).

I love these little blocks, they are 2.5" unfinished and use up my scraps nicely. I pulled this project back out this month as it is a perfect one to work on during travel. I went to Scotland this month and am happy to say I loved every moment of it. It was everything I'd hoped it would be and I think if I didn't have family ties here I would definitely become a Highland girl.




I know it may look like a hot mess at the moment but it will be glorious when it's done. To me, it will be representative of what a quilt means to me....a cacophony of colour (I love alliteration!).

This week I also managed to put a few quilting stitches into my Shimmer quilt, which had been put aside as it was a bit warm to work on during the Summer...



Here are a couple of highlights from our trip to Scotland...

I love the castles we saw. This is Doune Castle. I wonder if it looks familiar to any of you? As the sign says, it was featured in Game of Thrones, which I've never seen as I don't get the channel, but I'm told I would enjoy it. 

It was also used for Monty Python and the Holy Grail....when I was in the small gift shop as we paid our entrance I asked if there were there any coconuts for sale, lol....and the answer was yes! 

And, for you Outlander fans (like myself), it represented Castle Leoch in the TV show.

The headphones that were available to narrate during touring around the castle actually had Terry Jones (Monty Python) and Sam Heughan (our Jamie) as narrators. 



I'm just posting this picture because I like it so much. It is Urquhart Castle, overlooking Loch Ness...




...and Loch Ness itself, so beautiful...this one taken at the charming town of Fort Augustus...




I did do a 10k race at Loch Ness / Inverness while I was there...so exciting! I admit to a couple of tears at the starting gate as I thought of my Granny emigrating from Scotland 99 years ago...

(best race logo, ever!)...






Well, that's about all I have time for this morning! Have a wonderful Sunday and I hope you can take time for some slow stitching of your own.

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. Check it out to see what others are working on today.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sit back and relax a bit

Today I need to find some time to prep a bit of applique. 

I do have some EPP to do and I did do a bit this morning. My Tula Nova is coming along nicely, but it's getting bigger and a bit more cumbersome to work on.


You can see on the purple-striped section that I am trying something new-to-me. 

There is something called the flat-back stitch for joining EPP pieces, and I've tried it before...unsuccessfully. My attempt looked sloppy and loose. The purpose of this stitch is to actually look neater and not see see stitches from the front, as you can kind of see when doing the whip-stitch.


I tried using painters' tape for this method, but it didn't hold well enough while inserting multiple-pieced segments, like I'm doing now. Then I tried gift-wrapping tape....stickier than the painters' tape but not sticky enough to leave any residue on the fabric.

I have to say, my attempt at the flat-back stitch this time was much more successful...


Hmmm, maybe you can see in the picture above....on the right of the otter is some whip-stitching....to the left of him is the flat-back stitches. 

As you can see, I'm still "old school" and baste my pieces to the foundation paper. I'm not finding it easy to do the newfangled gluing method.....and that's ok, as I even enjoy the thread-basting process.

Thanks to SS for walking me through the flat-back stitch. I really do try to be open to different methods even though I may stumble a bit at first :)


So, today I am fatigued. It feels too busy, physically, lately. I've been doing some painting this week...this morning I'll do the last hour or so needed to finish the job then really take it easy for the rest of the day.

I'd really like to prep the next block on my Kim McLean Animal Album quilt.

Here is the first block, practically done....I just need to prep three more small circles....


I do love very busy quilts!!

The other day I posted a picture of me with my arms full of garlic, you can see that post here.

Yesterday we tackled braiding the garlic. It was fun, and the first attempt without supervision. There is definitely room for improvement, but I'm quite happy with the result...


I think we should have made two smaller braids instead of the one, but once we got going it was hard to stop!

Well, I'd better get to my painting. I've always enjoyed painting, but I'm ready to have it done with.

I'll leave you with a picture of how my Temperature Quilt is coming along. This is it complete from January to the end of July...


I'm loving this one, and may even think of doing another version for 2020!  

Have a lovely day, and hopefully you get a chance to sit back and relax a bit.

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Friday, August 2, 2019

One Monthly Goal - August

August???....already???....

I thought I'd check in and share what is up on the design wall lately at my house. 



First up....my Temperature Quilt, which is across the top of the picture.

Those rows represent May, June, and July....I actually finished the July row this morning so I'm almost up-to-date.

All the rows for January thru' April are sewn together and by the end of August I'd like to have the whole thing all together so I can share it a the next Guild meeting.

I figure it will be nice to show this one in progress so other people who may want to do a Temperature Quilt for 2020 can start looking for ideas for their own quilt. The secret?....keep the block choice simple so as not to get bogged down with it. I only work on mine once a week or so and it's very quick to do.


Next up...a quilt that I haven't shared yet. It's one I came across on Instagram called Shades of Scotland Souvenir Quilt. 

Here are the blocks....



There will be 16 blocks in total. When I go to Scotland in the Fall each block will "photo-bomb" a photo of some Scottish scenery, so when I put the quilt together I'll have a nice memento of my trip!

You can check the idea out at #shadesofscotlandsouvenirquilt on Instagram. You can also follow me on Instagram at @sandra.croley if you'd like to see my version progress when I am in Scotland!

Mine won't be a large quilt....the blocks are supposed to be 6.5"....mine are only 5-7/8" due to a printing problem, which is ok since they will all be consistently that size.


Next up is a BOM I'm falling a bit behind on....Geometric Fun designed by Gosia  at Quilts My Way...



That picture represents blocks 1 and 2....block 5 has just been released, so I have some sewing to do! 

Here is my colouring page for this quilt...




Getting this one up-to-date will be my goal for August.



I've started a new "leader and ender" project this month to use up small scraps. 

The blocks are log cabins, starting with a 1/2" orange centre and 1" logs.



I'm not quite sure if this one will work because there may not be enough contrast between the lights and darks, but I will continue as I have a vision for this quilt and I will trust that vision...for now.


Finally, I'll share some gardening pictures.

My perennial bed is out of control with weeds and such this year, but that is a project for this month. 

I do love this lily, which was a gift four years ago. The lily has always been beautiful, but it's never been this tall!....




.....and I don't know why it gives me so much pleasure to succeed at garlic, but it does...



I know what is on the calendar for this weekend...braiding the garlic :)


I didn't know whether to share this, but what the heck!! lol....

I've recently run a unique 5k....which was held at a nudist campground. During the race the runners had dyed cornstarch thrown us. I'll never do a marathon or a triathalon, but I can now say I've done something that many people haven't!! 

I don't know who had it worse for bouncy bits...the women or the men, bwahahaha!!! Not a great picture, but it's all you're getting!




I am linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?,  Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Fridays, and with Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal - August.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

A little bit of applique and a little bit of handquilting....

I truly didn't think it would be such a long gap between this post and my last one.....the days slip by so quickly sometimes!

Today marks the 7th anniversary of Slow Sunday Stitching hosted by Kathy at Kathy's Quilts. Every week she invites us to share the projects that we are stitching away at. 

Lately I came across the new quilt published by Kim McLean, called Animal Album. I had no interest in starting a new applique project, but I just love Kim's designs and I finally caved in....thinking I'd get the pattern and it would be a new start for 2020.

I've completed two of Kim's patterns and loved both of them. I told myself it's ok to just work on one block...just one! 

Kim McLean's are "a little bit much", as I overheard a woman say once when she was viewing my Stars and Sprigs at the Fair a few years ago...and as I began this block I've realised, once again, that I really do like quilts that are "a little bit much"!


The blocks are 18" and there are still a lot more pieces to go on block #1.

This week I also started hand-quilting a quilt that was part of an online sewalong that just wrapped up, called Shimmer...


I love that I can baste quilts on the longarm. Back in the day I would pin quilts to the wall-to-wall carpeting that I used to have in the living room and spend a few hours crawling around the floor basting them. This is so much quicker and easier, and a service I love to provide for my hand-quilters.


Then I just had to sit down and put those first lovely stitches into the quilt. I wondered which feeling is better....those first few stitches quilted on a quilt....or the last few? I don't think I know the answer, both are pretty good!

My favourite thread and needles....and my new thimble, ready for action...




....and who'd a thunk it....I can't use my beautiful new thimble to quilt with .... it will have to be only used for applique :(

I wrote about my new silver thimble in my last post, which you can find here

I bought it at the quilt show hosted by the Genesee Valley Quilt Club in Rochester, NY. I do have a few more pictures to share with you from this wonderful show.

I always love house quilts. This one was beautiful and you can see in the close-up one of the "pictures" that were quilted into the background...




I like when we can see different quilters' interpretations of the same quilt. Especially nice when the quilt is from one of my favourite designers, like this one designed by Sue Garman...




This one is my favourite...



The following quilt was their raffle quilt...I haven't heard from them so I guess I didn't win. It's probably the most beautiful raffle quilt that I've ever seen at a quilt show. I also love the extra effort they put into the beautiful feature around the edge of the quilt...



I always love a good scrappy quilt. This one really caught my eye, I think the blocks are 3 or 4"....




I'm thinking it would make a good "leaders and enders" block. I made one up to try it out. I cut a 3.5" square, sliced it in half and and inserted a strip...





I seem to remember someone once being hesitant about attempting a scrappy quilt, worrying about how everything would go together. But I also remember hearing how each of the fabrics are usually in your stash because you liked them at some point, so they should be wonderful together in a scrap quilt!

Today I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I hope you have a moment to visit with her to wish her a happy anniversary and maybe visit with other slow-stitchers.

Have a lovely Summer's day!