Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sock it to me!

Time to relax with some slow Sunday stitching.

I'm actually looking forward to some extra stitching time for the next couple of weeks, as I have one more client quilt to do on the longarm and I'll be starting my Christmas break....woohoo!!!....right on schedule!

As long as I've been a longarmer, I've taken the last two weeks of the year off, so as to enjoy everything about the season...the baking, the wrapping, etc.

As a longarm quilter, this time of year is busy with every quilt being one that is needed as a Christmas present...and you just don't want to let anyone down. There's always a fear of getting the flu, hurting a foot...anything that may impede fulfilling one's commitments. So, it always feels like such a relief to get to this point. 

I hope to get back to my applique soon...I need to get some prep-work done.

This morning I finished the last two sides of facing on my Haphazard quilt. For a quilt that came along so quickly it's sure taken a long time to finish the last little bit!

It's difficult to see the facing in the picture...but I just had to show my backing fabric...I've had it a long time, and it's so nice to see it used...

And, of course, when I laid the quilt out for a photo, I had volunteers right away test out how cozy it is...

Hmm, it doesn't look very big in the picture....and it's not very big, just 36" square....perfect size to use on my lap during my early morning stitching!

Something else I've been working on....knitting socks.

I was quite the avid sock-knitter in the past....the whole family had them and I had quite a few pair. I've wondered what ever happened that I stopped. Well, knitting socks was a thing that I did as a hockey/baseball mom back in the day. I would always have socks on the go during practices and waiting for the games to start.

So I'm determined to take knitting up again. I've had a shawl on the go that I leave in my husband's stays there for when we are driving out and about, especially when our outings take us on the highway. I'm not a good traveler, so having my knitting to do distracts me. 

Here is the beginning of sock #1...

I'm trying something new to me...knitting the socks from the toe up. 

I think I'll like doing this, as when I've knit socks in the past I find I make the sock shorter because I'm afraid of running out of yarn. This way I can just keep knitting until the ball of yarn is used up!

This pattern called for me to learn Turkish casting on....thank goodness for YouTube! Also, thanks to YouTube for teaching me a different way to turn the heel, using a "wrap and turn" method. I quite like the results using this technique. 

Here's where I'm at today...

Maybe another 2" and I'll start the ribbing for the cuff.

On another note....I will say, like I've probably said in the past, I do love making mystery quilts. 

That love is now going to cross over to a knitting project, lol...Here is a kit I have for a knitted shawl...

You start with the 4 skeins of yarn. Through the course of the project you draw a card from the deck of cards, which will instruct you which yarn to use and which pattern of stitches. So, I really won't know what my shawl will look like until it's done. 

I know that mystery projects aren't for every one, but I love the concept! This one may have to wait until the new year...but I'm looking forward to starting. 

Now that I'm almost on my holiday break, I am able to start getting the house in order. Minnie just loves it...

Not great picture quality....but it's been a rather miserable weekend weather-wise, so quite dim for taking pictures.

Hopefully you can spend time with some slow stitching today. I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I hope you can join her to see what others are stitching on today. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Queen's Garden...almost a real quilt!

This week it seemed like all I did stitching-wise was miles and miles of binding!....and I'm not one to especially like to do it like some of you are. I just regard it as something that needs doing in order to have a completed quilt.

I don't have show-and-tell for all of my labours as they were not my own quilts....but it was especially nice to help an old friend by doing this for her.

Now...back to my Queen's Garden quilt. 

I was ready to get all the components sewn together when I realised that I hadn't finished the embroidery. Well, that is now completed.

So happy... I can now get it together and get the borders on. 

But, hold on a minute...nothing is ever that easy, is it?

On the original pattern, the designer had appliqued small circles where the orange peels meet. I had decided early on not to do the circles as the fabric that I am working with is fairly thick.

Most of my orange peels "kiss" nicely, but then there are a few like the one above that I just don't think I can live with. 

Sometimes you just have to make the decision to fix things. What does it for me is the thought that so much work has gone into this quilt I really want to cheap out just because it will take a little longer to do it right? That makes the decision so much easier.

I auditioned a couple of different sizes of circles, using my Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Circles. By doing this, I can see that it will be the right choice to add the circles....

Here are a few circles sewn on. I think it's a lot more pleasing now...

I guess the designer knew what she was doing! Although, I did have the thought that the circles were added to maybe cover her own orange peels not meeting properly??? lol...maybe!

Now I'll share my current Leaders and Enders project. I had hesitated to show anyone yet as there is not a lot of contrast in the blocks and it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm starting to love it so here goes!

I am making little log cabins out of 1" strips, with 1-1/2" orange centres.

Here are the containers I keep by my sewing machine, full of "logs" ready to sew...

....and here is a pile of log cabins in various states of construction...

I am keeping the scraps somewhat bright and modern.

Here are a few up on the design wall...

They aren't all sewn together yet, but I'm getting a feeling on how it will look. 

For me, it will be true quilt in every sense of what a quilt is meant to be...something that uses up every scrap...a riot of colour....and, as a bonus, it will be made of what could be argued as the most traditional of blocks, the Log Cabin. 

I only hope it keeps my interest long enough to grown into a full-sized quilt!!

As always on Sundays, I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching to see what other slow stitchers are working on today.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Neutral is beautiful, but I think I prefer colour!

Early morning still...but I've been up for a long while now. That just means I've been able to get a bit of extra slow-stitching done, right? 

This week I hung my Queen's Garden up on the design wall. I am overwhelmed lately at the number of UFO's that I have, so I'm determined to have a "finish" by the end of the year.  Then plan is to get this one sewn together and quilt it over my Christmas break.

I hadn't realised that I still had some embroidery to complete on this quilt :(

I may have left it, but there was just too much still to do so I will finish that up this week....starting this morning...

These Japanese taupe fabrics are sometimes difficult to draw a line on with my regular marking tools....but the Hera marker does a brilliant job!....

I really like working with the Perle cotton.

Earlier this week I hung my Temperature Quilt on the wall to get a look at how it's coming along.

That is it complete from January 1 to the end of October. I wish I'd had more contrast in my "hot" colours...lesson learned for next time! I won't do one next year, but I most likely will in 2021 since I'm enjoying this so much.

I'm almost finished my Haphazard quilt. 

I love the texture of the quilting...

....and I love that I'm using a fabric from my stash for the backing...

This is just a small quilt...36" square, but it will be the perfect size for my lap when I'm sitting in the morning with my coffee and hand-stitching!

I've decided to apply a facing on the quilt instead of a binding. I actually thought I'd be doing the hand-stitching on the facing today but it's not quite ready.

A great tutorial on facing a quilt can be found HERE at the blog of The Silly BooDilly.  I reference her tutorial any time that I do a facing.

I guess I'd better get on with my day....we are going on a day-trip since it looks like such a beautiful day for it. 

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. Hopefully you have time to visit with her and check out what other slow-stitchers are working on today!

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 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 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 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'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 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 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 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


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

First 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.