Archive for December, 2012

Still sewing

Not much to show as I’m still piecing string blocks and backings during our HeartStrings sew-along so I’ll share this photo of the kids. Rae was baptized yesterday in Philadelphia (or maybe New Jersey) and the kids arrived safely back in GA today.


Go Vikings!

In between watching the games, I continued sewing along with HeartStrings.

Can you believe my string bin looks worse than when I started?? I don’t think I’ll ever get these under control.


HS sew along update

I started my blocks and while I was VERY tempted to do color coordinated blocks ESPECIALLY after seeing the one Jackie posted (yes, she pieced the blocks, assembled and has it already tied!) I took another look at my large string bin and decided I’ll stick with my kitchen sink version.


A reminder for those joining in — don’t forget to press! I make 8-10 blocks at a time and always press the previous string before adding another one. If you’re making more than one block like I do, you can add two strings to each block on either side of the center before having to get up to press.


In addition to making the block look nice and neat, it gives you the opportunity to check that you don’t have any gaps in your seams and to pick out those stray strings that get caught up in the seams. For those of us who quilt the HeartStrings tops this is SO important. Getting our hopping foot caught in a strip that isn’t completely sewn down is time consuming as is having to stop and repair the quilt AND to pick out stray strings.

I square my blocks up from the back and a 9.5 inch ruler and rotating mat make it easy.


My first blocks are finished but I’ve got a ways to go to finish the set of 48 that I need for my HeartStrings quilt. Remember, to participate you don’t have to make a full set. You can send in as many blocks as you want for group quilts.


HeartStrings Sew Along

For the 4 day New Year’s weekend, HeartStrings is having a sew along. We’re making purple centered blocks for donation quilts using our standard block guidelines EXCEPT we’re substituting purple for the Blue or Red we usually use. We will be busting some stash piecing backs too.

I’m getting an early start since I’m having trouble sleeping …

I pulled my blues off the shelves, chose a group of them and pieced a scrappy back.


After pressing well, I squared up the back. An important step especially to those of us using the backs on our longarms.


If you’ve never squared up a back, it’s not hard. Fold the backing in half, and then in half again. You’ll have folds on two sides and you will be trimming the other two ‘open’ sides. Use the lines on your ruler and the edges of the backing to make sure you’re square.


Also important — make sure you remove selvages – do not sew them into a seam; press all seams after piecing, and take into account that the backing is oversized and don’t place seams too close to the sides. You don’t want them to be at the edges of the quilt after trimming.

I also cut my foundations and pulled a pretty purple and cut it into 2 inch strips for my block centers. While I could make my centers scrappy and use a number of different purples for this quilt I will be using just one and I’ll bind the quilt in the same fabric.


Obsessed with hats

Super cute pattern but I don’t like the recommended yarn – too stiff which is disappointing because I went out and bought several skeins of it. I’ve just been playing around with these in yarns from Joann’s but I think I will order some Knit Picks yarn.


I didn’t put the beak on and can’t decide whether it needs it or not. I have a yellow or a brown yarn but not a gold one.

Bound and labeled


That was UFO #12 for the year and it will be the last one finished.

Still knitting hats

I might have to get one of those heads to model these …. It’s hard to get a good photo of a hat that’s not on someone.

I got this idea from several hats I saw on Ralvery but I didn’t really like any of the patterns. I used the Child’s hat in Knitting for Peace (just a basic roll brim hat) and then crocheted and attached the spots. The antenna is an icord.


I also forgot to share the recipe I used for Sugar Cookies this year. Usually I make several different types of cookies but it was just the two of us and we didn’t get home until late on the 23rd. I was nervous about using a new recipe for our only cookies but we both loved them. Not too sweet, not too buttery and easy to make. They’ll be the only sugar cookies I make from now on.


I thought it appropriate to finish up this leftover quilt during the holidays. It is a UFO but wasn’t one on the list to finish this year – it’s # 12 so I will still meet my goal of finishing 12 UFO’s although I did substitute a couple during the year.

I’ve blogged before about leftover quilts – when I’m cutting for a scrap quilt I will cut more than I need for variety and make another quilt from the strips or pieces left over. This one was made from leftovers from my Diamonds and Rails quilt which is back on the website now.


The pantograph is Jilly by Keryn Emmerson


Merry Christmas

A quiet day for us. We don’t give gifts (except a donation to Habitat) but Chesty did get a reindeer sweater.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!


I’m easily distracted

In between cooking, eating, and spending time with Keith I managed to knit one small hat and crochet another. While I had lots of quilting I could do, these were perfect for working on while I watched the kitchen timer and kept Keith company.
EDIT: this hat was modified from this pattern


Not the best photo but I don’t have a model here. You can find this one here.


It’s Christmas Eve

We arrived home last night and after being gone, Keith’s first task was to run out and get groceries for our holiday meals … Only the battery in the car was dead. Luckily a neighbor gave him a jump and after going to replace it, he’ll get the grocery shopping done.


Bound, labeled, and delivered


Lots of quality time with my little Rae today and it was nice to deliver the quilt in person rather than having to ship it.


Look who arrived early

This is our last day here and I plan to spend it cuddling Rae.


You know how the commercial goes

$$ spent at Michael’s for yarn; time spent crocheting with Mom ~ PRICELESS!


What a treasure these times are for us!

Reading list

Some people publish a list of their favorite books during the year but choosing favorite books requires too much effort on my part. I love to read, mostly mysteries and pictured below are some of the books I’ve read this year … But mostly it’s a list of many of my favorite authors – a much easier list for me to make!

I love reading books that have the same characters running through them. Even better is discovering a new author and reading a series from start to finish. I did that earlier this year for the Laurie R King books and am in the process of reading the books by Donna Leon. The site Stop You’re Killing Me is very helpful and lists books in the order they’ve been written and published. When I start a new series like the Donna Leon books – I copy the list onto my iPad and order the Kindle books a couple at a time. Occasionally I’ll find one or two that aren’t available in an ebook and I’ll order the paperback from Amazon. The Donna Leon books have been especially fun because we visited Venice earlier this year.


A little hat or two

Or more! Mom and I aren’t quilting but we decided to try to crochet and knit some little hats today. Neither of us have done much crochet in years so we picked an easy first hat and finished each of our edges differently. I convinced mom to weave in my ends while I started a little knitted one. We’re enjoying our visit.


On my design wall

Not much progress this week but the circles have all been appliquéd and I’ve begun assembling the top. Don’t you love how the chisel border frames the center?


She’s growing fast!

Luckily I’ll see her next weekend!


Last minute quilting

The panto is Jilly by Keryn Emmerson.


More knitting

Football and knitting today. I finished the red cowl but rather than weave the ends in, I started another project. It’s cold here so I’m in the mood for bulky – first the cowl and now a bulky scarf.


I’m traveling again this week so it will be a good project to take along.