Sunday, January 31, 2016

Here we are at the last day of January.  Time is speeding by which only tells you that I'm old.  I had my 68th brithday on the 21st and now speeding toward 69.  I'm just not sure how I got this old as I don't feel that old, at least most days.   I skipped a week of blogging as I didn't have much to report on, but now I do so I'm linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching.

I finally got my Midnight Mystery quilt pin basted by using a new method I saw on Pinterest and it worked really well for me since I don't have much space living full-time in a 5th wheel.  Here is a picture of the beginning of the basting process.  I purchased pipe insulation and I pinned my backing, batting, and flimsy on separate insulation tubes and then rolled them up.  As you can see in the picture the backing was laid down first, then the batting on top of that and finally the flimsy on that.  I was able to pin baste it (72" x 72") sitting down and it only took a half hour from start to finish.  I will definitely be using this process again.

I also worked on my La Passacaglia quilt which is done with the English Paper Piecing (EPP) process and is a lot of slow stitching.  If you've never tried EPP, you should as it is fun and enjoyable.  This is the second rosette out of 35 that I need to make.  Not all are as big as this one will be.  The round that I just finished will have pentagons that are intertwined with the next round so be sure to check back to see what it will look like when I'm finished with this rosette.

I finished the snow around the animals on the cross-stitched stocking that I've been working on and got the deer and wolf are back stitched.  Goal for this week will be to work on the three trees.  I don't believe I'll get them all done by next week, but I'll give it my best shot.

I started a new project that I've been anxious to do and something that will give me a bread from my EPP and cross-stitch projects.  It is one of Jenny of Elefantz' designs from her stitchery club.  As you can tell, this one is January and there are 11 others.

The day before my birthday, we went with some friends to the China Ranch Date Farm, in Tecopa, California and a wonderful place to visit.  They have a unique gift shop as well as delicious goodies.  We always come home with date nut bread, chocolate chip and date cookies, a date muffin and this time I came home with a cute little tin that I'll but putting a wool applique piece in.  Here is a picture of my other half and me at the farm as well as a picture of that cute little tin.

After a hike at the date farm, we went into Shoshone, CA for lunch and ate at the Crow Bar.  If you are ever in the neighborhood (Death Valley National Park), be sure to stop there and have a bite to eat as it offers excellent food.

I thought I would share with you a picture of our home while it was parked at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge where we volunteered last winter and is only about 35 miles from where we are now.  Our 5th wheel is 38' long and 8' wide not counting the 3 slide outs.  The slide out you see on the left is where our dining table is as well as my quilting table which took over the space where the couch was.  It is very comfortable and a wonderful home for us. 

Happy stitching,

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I haven't been particularly busy this week, but have accomplished a few things.  Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Yesterday I decided to give Stella a workout.  Who's Stella?  She is my Singer Featherweight 221, born 8/19/47 and came to live with me late last year.  I took her in for a servicing and got her back last week.  I wanted to take a short break from my handwork so looked, and looked for a quick and easy project.  Thanks to my blog friend Marsha at Quilter in Motion, I found the perfect project, a little bag that she had posted about in her Friday Finds last week.   You can find the pattern here at One Lucky Day.  It is small, but I purchased several trial size personal items and will take it to my quilt guild tomorrow and from there it will be given to a homeless girl that will be able to take it with her to school where she is able to get a shower.  It only takes 2 fat quarters and an yard and a half of twill tape AND it only took an hour to make on Stella, who did a spectacular job.

I made a little progress on the counted cross-stich Christmas stocking.  I had to work a little on the wolf so that I could work on the back stitching on the bear (not yet done).  I also got the snow around the bear finished.  Next will be the back stitching. 

As far as my La Passacaglia EPP project goes, it doesn't.  I'm having trouble deciding on the fabric for the next round and I only need to choose for those little pentagons and the large diamond shapes.  I can't begin to tell you how many fabrics I've auditions for them.  Tonight I will make a final decision as I want to get some more done.

I've also joined in on the Splendid Sampler being hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.  You can check it out here.  There is also a Facebook group for it.  As I understand it a few thousand from all over the world are taking part and 82 designers have contributed to the 100, 6 inch blocks.  They will be pieced, appliqued, EPP, foundation paper pieced, embroidered, etc.  I'm going to use my stash for this as that is what I committed to and besides that my pocketbook and space limitations are not conducive to more fabric at this time.

Another project around the corner is one created by Jenny of Elefantz.  I joined here stitchery club and have some beautiful embroidery designs, one for each month of the year so I want to work on these before I get too far behind.  Here is a sample of her beautiful work.

There was also some happy mail from a modern low volume charm swap that I participated in on Instagram.  Those charms arrived in the mail yesterday.  WooHoo, they will be used in the Splendid Sampler.

That's it for now as we are off the visit the China Ranch Date Farm.

Happy Stitching.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I'm a little late to the party today, that is the Slow Sunday Stitching party, but I was slowly stitching away on the Christmas stocking for my granddaughter and finished the deer.  The weird blank spot in the middle of the deer is where the wolf will be.  The next step is to get the snow around the bear done, back stitch the bear, and then stitch the wolf.  Those will be my goals for this week, along with a few others that I'll mention further done in the post.  Let me tell you that changing floss color every few stitches makes for very slow stitching. 

I also did some English paper piecing this week working on my La Passacaglia.  I finished Rosette 1 and have started on the next rosette, probably number 3 as it is joined to Rosette 1.  The top picture is the completed one and the next picture is my WIP (work in progress).  More slow stitching as it is all hand stitched.  Goal two will be to try and finished this WIP, but probably won't happen as it is very time consuming and this one has 8 rounds.

Now something that is fairly new to me is color value.  Marsha over at Quilter in Motion told me about taking a black and white picture of her work and seeing the color value of the fabrics.  In doing this you can see whether the fabric is dark, medium, or light in value.  She also sent me the link to Leslie's blog, The Seasoned Homemaker, that tells about her experience with color value.  Now this got me interested as to what I might be doing wrong in my fabric choices.  So I did a search on color value in quilting and found the following:

Ho Hum to Dazzling: How Color Value Affects Your Quilt - this article shows the same quilt, Storm at Sea, in three different black and white photos.  The first photo shows the wave movement due to the placement of the dark and medium fabrics.  The second photo is totally different and the waves are gone and the third photo the movement isn't as noticeable.  Who knew?  Probably all you experienced quilters out there, but I'm sort of a newbie as I've only been quilting for a couple years now with most of my learning by trial and error (mostly error). 

Another interesting article, Value and Value Tools from Karen Combs Studio.  Click here to read that article.   

You may not be totally confused by the issue of value, but I sure am.  Well, maybe not totally confused as I can distinguish between the light, medium, and dark values, but now I'm confused as to when and where to use them in a quilt.  I'll keep working on this and if you have any articles or thoughts on the subject, please share them.

Here is a picture of my EPP WIP that I converted to black and white.  You can certainly see which fabrics have the dark, medium, and light values.

Happy stitching.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I'm trying to post more often now that it's the new year and I'm finally feeling better after being sick for two weeks.  Today I'm linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday link-up.

I have been doing a lot of handwork so my works in progress are progressing very slowly, but I do have some things to share since posting on Sunday.

I'm back working on my La Passacaglia by Willyne Hammmerstein in her book Millefiori Quilts which can be hard to find.  I was able to get my copy from inklingo.  The going is quite slow, but I am moving forward with Rosette 1.  I only need to make about eight more of those little stars and then I'll be working on Rosette 2 which is a lot bigger than this one.  Not sure which fabrics I'll be using for it.  If you are interested there is also a closed Facebook group you can join by clicking here.  I must warn you though that English paper piecing is very addicting.  It is also a great way to use up some of your stash.

Another project I've been working on is a counted cross-stitch Christmas stocking for my granddaughter, now 20.  Her mom talked me into making two this year.  The other is for my soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law as my grandson will be getting married on August 27, 2016.  This stocking is "Peace on Earth" and has a moose (done), bear (done), a deer (WIP), a wolf, an eagle, and three trees.  I need to have this finished in June so I can start on the next one.  No clue what pattern I'll use for that one, but then I have plenty of time to figure it out.

I set some January goals and one of those goals was to complete 3 of the redwork blocks for the #210 Holiday Redwork Hand Embroidery quilt.  I have finished three, but may just work on another before February.

Speaking of goals, Heidi over at Red Letter Quilts has started OMG (One Monthly Goal).  You can read all about it here.  I didn't learn about it until this week so I wasn't able to join in for January, but will be joining in for February.  This is perfect for those of you that don't like those year long goals. 

Another thing to look forward to that my blog friend, Marsha, over at Quilter in Motion, blogged about is the Westering Women.  If you enjoy history and quilting this is for you.  The first free block pattern will be posted on January 27, 2016 and then the last Wednesday of each month for the remainder of 2016.  Hope you'll be joining in on this history-filled Block of the Month.  I don't have any reproduction fabrics, but I do have two homespun bundles so that is what I'll be using.  I believe the colors will work.  What do you think?

Another work in progress is finishing up my Midnight Mystery quilt which is now all pieced as well as a backing for it.  I just need to fuse two pieces of batting, sandwich it, quilt it and then bind it.  It is going to be donated to Quilts of Valor through my local quilt guild.  WooHoo anther goal for 2016 will be completed.

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Once again, I'm linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching.  Be sure to stop in and check out all the wonderful projects people are working on. 

It has been another slow week for me, not just in stitching, but in attempting to get well.  I'm still on pills, inhalers, and cough syrup, but finally starting to feel better.

I came across a glitch in my redwork project as I pulled out the directions to read through them again and realized I had been using 4 strands of floss rather than 3.  You only use 4 when stitching the words.  So, the almost completed snowman was history as I wasn't about to rip out all those stitches.  I did stitch a Christmas tree and an angel so two blocks done.  My goal for January was to get three blocks completed and I'm 2/3 of the way there.  I think I'm ready to start over on the snowman as he is the cutest one, at least I think so.

We had a lot of rain over several days this past week and the mountains surrounding our valley got covered in snow.  It was so nice to look out and see all that pretty white stuff.  I know the skiers and snowboarders are glad to see it too.

I participated in a fat quarter swap over on Instragram and my package of goodies arrived yesterday and here is a picture of all that I received.  Lots of fat quarters along with some pins, a magnifier, which will come in handy for my cross-stitching, and some small sewing projects.  It was quite a lot since all that was required to be sent was 4 fat quarters.  My swap partner went way above and beyond on this swap.  Thank you Marty.

Yesterday I pulled out my Midnight Mystery quilt blocks and pieced them together and I love it.  I also pulled out the red, white, and blue fabrics that I had and have pieced a lot of them into rows and today I'll be stitching the rows together for the backing of the quilt.  I also have a lot of large batting pieces that I'll join together and then I'll see about getting it all sandwiched together and maybe even quilted this next week.  I'll be donating this to Quilts of Valor through my local quilt guild.  It will be given to a local (Nye County) veteran.

And last, but by far not the least, I finished to bear on the Christmas stocking for my granddaughter.  I think I'll work on the deer next.  I still need to do some of back stitching as I do not want to leave it all until the end.

We still haven't even thought about leaving on our travels since we've both been sick and still in recovery mode.  Also, my husband had to go through a sleep study this past week and it is now going to be two to three weeks before we find out what the results are and whether he'll need to sleep with one of those noisy machines.  I sure hope not.

My plans for this coming week are to complete another redwork block, get the deer stitched on the Christmas stocking, quilt the Quilt of Valor quilt, and pull out my English paper piecing projects to work on.  That should keep me busy for sure.

Happy stitching.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Today is the first Slow Stitcching Sunday link up for the new year.  Stop on by Kathy's Quilt Scrap and join in the fun.  There are a lot of wonderful ideas to be found from those linking up.

It has really been a very slow week for me as we ended up coming home from Christmas with the family sick.  No fun for sure.  Here is what I ended up with after finally visiting our local Urgent Care facility yesterday.

Now that I've cleared the sick room out of the way, I received the Millefiori Quilts book by Willyne Hammerstein in the mail this week and I know how to create all the rosettes that I've been seeing on Facebook.  There is a closed group that you can join if you are interested.  Millefiori/La Passacaglia English Paper Piecing.  I had started the first rosette by looking at pictures posted there, but having the book is so much better.

The book is in English and French.
I had gotten this whimsical fabric so thought it would
be fun to do some fussy cutting using it for the first rosette.
Now I'm auditioning for the next round.
One of my other projects is the redwork one and it is so fun to work on and to see this cute snowman come to life.  His nose is supposed to be filled in with the satin stitch, but I haven't decided if I want to do that or not.  Time will tell.

The part I'm working on is his scarf.

Another project is the cross-stitched Christmas stocking for my granddaughter.  I had forgotten how long cross-stitch takes especially if you use the wrong color in an area and have to rip, rip, rip it out.  The moose is starting to look a bit like he is actually a moose.  I may work on the bear next, but need to get the moose finished first.

I had also made a cover for my Quilter's Planner which I posted a picture of on December 20th.  Here is a picture of the inside cover where I added a pocket for a pen and pencil.  I also had added a flap that I still need to find my Velcro so I'll be able to close it and not have anything loose fall out.  I want to get some of the plastic envelopes you can find in the scrapbook section of the craft stores to add to the monthly dividers to keep things in such as appointment cards, etc.  My planner is still a work in progress as is my 2016 planning.

A closing thought is to join up with Jenn over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge and her "The Year of the Stash 2016".  Did I pique your interest just a little?  I know I need to shop from my stash and not from the stores/Massdrop for a long, long time.

Happy Quilting/Stitching!