Sunday, January 23, 2011

The year of finishing...and starting!

One of my New Year's resolutions was to FINISH many of my projects sitting in boxes in various stages of completion.  The first on that list was my Farmer's Wife Quilt, which I already posted about.  Now just because I made this resolution to finish, doesn't mean that I can't start something new! 

Enter the Dream Catchers Baby Blanket by Susan B. Anderson, which was published on the Spud and Chloe Blog that Susan writes.   I have had my eye on this afghan for quite some time because I thought it was a great portable project to take along.  The blocks are all knitted separately and then sewn together.  It sort of combined my love of knitting AND quilting! 

Here is a picture of the pattern that I downloaded.  Did I mention that this was a FREE pattern?  If you check out both Susan B. Anderson and Spud and Chloe, you will find some fabulous free patterns, as well as some you can purchase!  Susan writes her patterns in such an easy to follow way.  I re-discovered my love of knitting by making baby hats out of her book called Itty Bitty Hats.  She has gone on to write several other books and has a new one that is available for pre-order.  You can't go wrong with her stuff!

 I wish I was using Spud and Chloe yarn on this afghan because I know I would have liked it better and if I do another one, it will be out of Spud!!!  But until then, I think this is turning out very pretty.  I love the different patterns for each block.  The yarn was very inexpensive.  It's a non-pilling worsted by Deborah Norville that I got at Joann Fabrics.  It has a nice feel to it for the price.

I'm not thrilled about having to sew the blocks together but Susan has made a fabulous tutorial on how she sewed them together.  That will certainly help.  I made these 5 blocks in just a couple days off and on so they go really quickly.  They each measure about 6" each. 

So do you think I will finish this before I start a new project?  I'm thinking not!  I've got a sewing machine calling my name from upstairs!  I think I may need to visit her!  And besides, I started this with the intention of it being something I can do while sitting and watching TV.   It has a great home next to my Lazy Boy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

One BIG reason to get organized!

I did something last night...something REALLY big!  I couldn't believe I actually did it and when I woke up this morning I thought that maybe I dreamt it.  But's real!  I'm the new President of my quilting guild!

I do have somewhat of a long history with this guild.  It started out many years ago when my youngest son was a year old.  My next door neighbor and good friend Sandy and I decided to take a quilting class at our local quilt shop.  From that moment we were both hooked!  Within a few years we decided to visit Pride of the Prairie Quilt Guild in Plainfield and immediately became members.  We attended meetings, workshops, quilt shows and events for many, many years as our kids were growing up.  We even held office several times. 

But then in 2002 I decided to work on my degree at DePaul and substituted guild meetings and activities for homework.  After receiving my degree I was offered a marketing job at my company and got totally wrapped up in my new job, which at times required travel both in and out of the country.  In 2009 my working world was pulled out from under me when my position was eliminated.  In hindsight it was the BEST thing that could have happened to me.  I was missing many things I truly enjoyed and also had a granddaughter and a new grandson on the way that I wanted to be able to spend time with. 

These past two years have been fabulous.  I have been able to do things that for quite some time I hadn't been able to do.  I look outside on this below zero day and am glad that I don't have to leave the house.  I have rekindled old friendships.  I have been able to spend lots of time doing things with my family.  I have begun quilting again.  I pulled out my old knitting needles and started knitting again.  I have met some amazing friends through my online knitting community, and I am able to serve as an officer in a guild that has been good to me for many years!

Here's to a successful term!  I know it will be great.....but WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!  :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Addie's "In Threes" Cardigan

I am a HUGE fan of Ravelry and love going online and looking at all the different patterns that you can either purchase or get for free.  There are literally thousands of choices for anything you would ever want to knit or crochet.  One pattern that I fell in love with was a pattern written by a woman expecting her third girl...hence the name of her sweater "In Threes:  A Baby Cardigan."  This is the second one I have made.  Addie wore a red one for Christmas.  It is the easiest knit ever.  I did this in just a couple days and it turned out adorable.  I covered my own buttons with a cute pink, blue and white check fabric.  I may still add a crocheted flower to it but haven't crocheted it yet.  It is the prettiest bubble gum pink color and will look adorable with a pair of jeans.  I may even make her a little ruffled skirt to go with it.   

Here is a close-up of the little checked buttons!  I love how they look on it.

The back hangs very nicely with the yoked top.  I wouldn't mind one in an adult size.  Unfortunately it would take much longer than a couple days to do!!!!

Now that it's done and blocked I need to go on Ravelry and pick my next project!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

On and Off the Long Arm!

One of my New Years Resolutions was to FINISH some of the projects that I started last year (and before)!!  One in particular that was worthy of finishing was my Farmer's Wife Quilt.  As I said in my previous post, I did not want a king size quilt so I only did half of the 100+ blocks that were in the book.  They were way too much work and way too beautiful to leave in a plastic storage bin on my sewing room shelf.   So my goal was to get the top finished and get it on my long arm machine before I lost interest in it!

Here she is all ready to quilt!!!

Once you get it quilted, it has to be trimmed down to size.  I actually got a little nervous while quilting this because I didn't think I allowed for enough batting.  But once I got to the end, I was okay!  Whew!

Here she is in a prominent place on my railing.  I'm still trying to figure out where I can actually hang it in my house because it's way too pretty to use!!!  And folding it on a chair doesn't do it justice because of all the different blocks in the quilt!  I am so proud of this quilt!!!

So, until I figure out which unfinished project I want to work on next, I decided to start Addie another sweater!  This is something I can do while sitting and watching TV and don't have to be in my sewing room to do it.  This is a pattern I purchased off of Ravelry called "In Threes."  It was designed by a woman expecting her third girl.  It is a super easy knit.  I already made one for Addie in red to wear at Christmas so I thought it would be fun to make her a pretty pink one for spring.  I may even make her a dress or a little ruffled skirt to wear with it.  I'm thinking a cute little crocheted flower would be nice as well as some fabric covered buttons in a fabric to match the dress or skirt I make to go with it!

Okay, wasn't I supposed to be finishing projects instead of starting more?  That's the fun of crafting!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What did you do on this snowy day?

No, no, I'm not that fast of a sewer.  The blocks were done (except for 6) but it took me an entire day (and I mean ENTIRE day) to put the top together.  The pattern is called "Farmer's Wife" and it was a monthly class I took at my local quilt shop.  We met once a month and the assignment was to have 10 blocks made for the next class.  The book has 110 block patterns in it.  By doing 10 a month, you would have a complete quilt done at the end of the year.  I didn't want a king size quilt nor did I want to make that many blocks so I opted for the Lap Size, which is perfect.  I only had to do 50 blocks but that was plenty.  The blocks are 6 1/2" so it makes for some difficult piecing.  There was no room for sloppy piecing in this quilt.  And those that were less than perfect fought me when I tried to match them up to a lattice.  But overall, I was very happy with the end result.  If you are in for a challenge, I would suggest you buy this book and give it a whirl!  Or better yet, you can use my book because I won't be making another one soon!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Lucked Out!!!!

Last night was my "after" Christmas Guild Party and we had our Christmas block exchange.  I always worry when I participate in these for fear that the blocks I get in return won't be nice.  Now I don't mean that my fellow quilters don't do a good job, but I mean that they may not be to my taste in blocks.  Well......I have to admit, I got fabulous blocks last night.  I actually took two to exchange and got two great ones back.  But then my sewing friend Sandy made me a Snowflake block just because I said I liked it when she was sewing hers at our sewing bee day!  I love it!!!  So now I have three blocks to start a Christmas sampler.  I think I may have a few other Christmas blocks in my closet so I may have to wait a few years and keep collecting them before I make a quilt out of them!  But this is a great start!

This is the Snowflake block that my friend Sandy made.  Wouldn't a quilt with all snowflakes be a fabulous quilt?  Love it!

And here's the three of them together.  With a pretty lattice strip between them, they will be awesome!!

So now that everything Christmas is behind me, it's time to start focusing on NEXT Christmas.  Yes, that was my resolution that I plan to keep this year!  Work on gifts NOW so I don't find myself under the gun at the last minute!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I might just have to keep these!

Well, block #2 is done for my guild exchange on Sunday.  I love how this block looks but it kicked my butt!  First, as you can see from the colors, I used a different green on the center block.  Why do you ask?????  Well, because I screwed up the cutting on the other fabric and had none left to work with.  This green came out of the same fabric line but in this picture it looks awful!!  In person, it really isn't that bad.  But still....not that happy with it.  I also made a note in the book to cut that piece larger than what they say and trim it down (Di, I will explain!).  My daughter-in-law (I can't call her a DIL, as per her request) made this same block and didn't have good luck with it.  Now I see why!  It has tons of matching points on it that makes being precise in your sewing a necessity.  No fudging on this one!

But I have to admit that together these blocks are beautiful.  I almost hate to trade them away in my exchange.  And for the work involved in these two blocks I sometimes have the luck of getting a very simple block in return with not so current fabric.  But hey, in the spirit of Christmas, whatever I get I will be happy with.  There is always alot of talk around the sewing table about exchanges and the thing is that for the work involved in these blocks, I should just not participate in the exchange and make blocks that all match and are done in the same shades and colors and keep them!  But I guess the fun is being surprised by what you get back!

I'm SCARED!!! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One perty Christmas Block

My quilt guild has their annual Christmas Party every year AFTER Christmas due to the craziness of everyone's schedule in December.  But I kind of like it that way because it's much more relaxed and I really look forward to it.  We always do a Christmas block exchange.  You put them in a paper bag and everyone gets to pick one.  The more you bring, the more you get in return.  I pulled this block out of a great book by Judy Hopkins called 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks and it is fabulous!  It gives you cutting instructions for 501 blocks in various sizes ranging from 6-12 inches.  This particular block is called Flying Cloud.  Our exchange was for a 12" block so I had to make it in the largest size but really loved how it turned out!  I'm thinking of making a second one using a block my DIL just made for her quilt called Around the Corner.  That will be on the list to do tomorrow!

And since this is my first post of 2011, I decided that I needed to document a New Year's resolution that I have on the top of my list EVERY year and never do.  I WILL start on Christmas gifts for next year now so that I don't get to November and wish I had made things that I couldn't possibly get done in a month!  Di, are ya with me???  I have already started writing down those gifts and REALLY want to stick to it.  The only problem is that I won't be able to post about them because my family would read about them and then know.  But I guess that shouldn't be a problem because I can't keep a secret anyway!!!

Wish me luck on my resolution!!!!