Monday, April 27, 2020

Irish Memories

As I've said before, while doing the big room change, I've been confronted with how many unfinished projects I have.  Don't get me wrong, most quilters would think nothing of having 10 or so UFOs lying around.  I don't either really, but I kind of think of myself as a finisher.  Not to mention having to downsize.

Something that I started right before the room change was this crazy quilt tribute to my Ireland trip.  The blocks are small, 6" and there's only 5, so I figured it would be a quick and easy project.  A lot of it was already in my head but now that I've done them, I'm struggling for a few more ideas.  I don't love the multi colored sequin flowers on this block.  But, I love the beaded Celtic symbol and I thought the swirly lace screamed Celtic as well.  Someone pointed out to me that the charm of Ireland is backwards.  Love my beaded triangle symbol.  I'm sure it has a name...
I'm going to have to redo the satin stitching of the heart, it looks terrible.  But, the cottage is adorable!  I got the little bird charm for Christmas from one of my Crazy pals.  Perfect.
I love the sheep and his pal.  Actually, I like most of this block.  I bought the shamrock thinking it was a button.  Nope.  Luckily it had the grooves between the leaves so I could tack it down with something.
I've had that swan broach for a couple of years just waiting for the right moment.  The Celtic braided seam is a favorite.  As is the spoon and tea cup.  One of my absolute favorite memories of Ireland is the flowers there.  They're huge and EVERYWHERE!
And, here's where all the ideas ran out.  I was trying to go off of my personal experiences there rather than random Irish stuff but I may have to adjust my thinking.  I should add some Heather.  I wonder if I could find a ferry charm to remind me of the ride out to Inisheer, or the dog we met while we were there.  I'd like to find a cute little fairy.  Not that I actually saw one on the trip.  I did look, but no luck.
This is rather embarrassing.  I'm not sure how many years ago, but I got 2 Comfort Quilt kits from the guild to finish for donation.  I must have "put them away" and forgot all about them.  These blocks were already made and the borders were pre-cut for me.  Literally just had to assemble and quilt.  
They are both absolutely adorable and whomever made the kits did an amazing job.  This was a panel and it was as square as I've ever seen!  They had to have sized it before cutting.  Her cutting was spot on.  Seriously, I was amazed.  They each took a day to make.  So quick and simple.
I've been doing other things as well, so I'll be back soon with another update.  Stay healthy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Rollie Pollies or Alien Pods, You Be The Judge

Hello friends, I hope you're all healthy and happy.  I know social distancing is probably hard for a lot of you.  Not so much for me.  It's me, being me, only a little more hard core than usual.  I've been laid off now for 3 full weeks and have kept myself very, very busy.  
One thing that I've been having fun with is Sue Spargo's stitch along.  You can find it on her FB group Sue Spargo Folk Art Quilts.  They are doing her Toned-Down Sampler.  It consists of 1" circles in wool.  Every day they are posting a new design with instructions.  So, basically, 90 days of stitching.  Is this snail, not the cutest!?
I don't know if this whole lay off thing is going to last the full 90 days but hopefully, it's something I will continue even when life goes back to normal.
I'm up to 16 now, and have learned a few new stitches.  The frame around my daisy circle is the Crested Chain Stitch.  Had never heard of it before.
I think I'd done a Double Cast On Stitch before but I needed a refresher.  Tete de Bouf was a new one for me as well.  Basically, a fly stitch that ends in a chain.  My Double Cast On Stitches look like little bugs trying to crawl off my circle.
I used what ever scraps of wool I had left over from previous projects.  Then, I decided I would use whatever color was next, chronologically.  So, the Easter Basket arrived on a red circle... I should have made an exception.  The ones done on light wool were so much cuter than mine.  I think I'd done an Open Button Hole for the basket weave before but needed the tutorial for this one as well.
They love a Bullion Stitch.  These are all fabulous to do while you're solving crimes with NCIS and Miss Marple.
And, Cast On Stitches.
Needed a refresher on the Pekenese Stitch.
I thought this was so sweet.  One of the first circles on the list.  It was good to start off simple.  I might not have kept going otherwise.
Rosette Chain was new for me.  I struggle with the Double Cast On.  I think it looks like a Rollie Pollie bug or Silver Fish and I'm not comfortable with it at all.  Maybe if I changed the color?
I'd done a Palestrina Knot before but didn't remember it being so simple.

This one is very sweet, but I feel a very alien pod vibe from the Double Cast On flowers.  Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the pod thing that Ego was growing on Earth.  Just saying...
Some of the designs are more abstract than my usual taste.  This is a seed pod.  The non-symmetrical design has me a bit twitchy.   It's good to stretch my interests now and then.  
During the Great Room Swap of 2020, I've had to make some heavy decisions.  I'm not good at letting go of my things.  As quilters go, I am in NO WAY considered a hoarder.  I have a stash but I know many, many quilters with TONS more stuff than I have.   That being said, my stuff now dwarfs my space in some uncomfortable ways.  I have some really cool things and I don't want to get rid of any of it.  The struggle is real.

Solving that problem has taken up 80% of the last 3 weeks of my life.  That's a lot, right?  One solution is to finish my UFOs.  Generally speaking, I only have a few projects going at once.  This won't solve all my problems but it will help.  So, I finished the top to Bonny Hunter's Provence.  No idea why I thought doing this would be a good idea for me.  I am NOT a great piecer.  The long armer that I send this to for quilting is going to be cussing me 6 ways to Sunday.
This has been sitting for a few years.  At one point, I had the main blocks made.  I miss laid them and then forgot they existed.  So, I started making more HST, thinking I must have skipped a step.  Then, it sat some more and I found the missing blocks.  These are all my "extras".
Then, I finally get it all pieced, putting on the last pieced border...only to discover I was missing 2 of the 4 square cream blocks.  There was NO WAY in Heaven or Hell that I was making more blocks for this darn thing, so I added some random HSTs to the corner and told myself I was creating a mystery for future generations.  You know, when the ladies are all gathered around my quilt, 100 years from now, they'll be all "WTH?"
One of the first things I finished was this Broderie Perse wall hanging.  Which, I spell differently every time.  My apologies to anyone I've freaked out over that.  I'll save you the whole sob story on this one.  I think I went through it all in a previous post.  The important thing is that it's done and hanging on Melissa's wall.  She's happy with it, so I guess I will be too.  I do love the colors.  I'll have to remember them in the future.

We've painted my room.  I've put up tons of shelves.  I dare say, my new set up might end up better than the old.  Smaller, but I'm trying for a better use of space.  More on that later.

Stay safe my lovelies.  I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Definitely Not a Natural

My poor, long suffering husband.  Part of the deal when we decided to swap rooms was that I got new paint in the bedroom and bathroom.  Well, that led to replacing some damaged drywall.  Since we're at it, why not add another vent fan... and then you end up with a man who wonders why he ever met you.
Rich doesn't want me near house paint.  One time, back in CA, I was shaking a can of paint that slipped out of my hands... it was the perfect spot for a hallway rug, anyways...  Then there was the time that we painted the living room and I got paint all over the carpet and a recliner.  In my defense, the carpet was being replaced in a week and the new recliner was already on order.  He's never forgiven me, though.  So, imagine his horror when I announced my new hobby would be painting.

He doesn't appreciate abstract art, either.  Thinks I need to work on my blending techniques.  He's not wrong, but still.  This was another tutorial from Elle Byers on YouTube.
I did this Still Life following a Will Kemper Art School tutorial.  My best by far.
I think this was a Pinterest picture that I copied.  I bought a set of acrylic paints from Hobby Lobby that has a really high gloss to it.  I'm not a fan, I'll be going forward with something else when these are gone.
I also broke out the Donna Dewberry One Stroke books.  I used to be much better at that.
Here's a landscape that I did during a Hobby Lobby class.  That's not a waterfall in the distance... it's mist.  Rich is like, "why do you suppose you're so bad at that?"  "You're definitely not a natural."   Thanks, babe.  Wouldn't want to get a big head or anything.
Another YouTube tutorial.  We were working on blending the sky.  Again with the super glossy paint.  Eh.
Last, but certainly not least, my terrible lily pad.  I was liking the water, I even liked the pad.  I could live with the flower but then I put the leaves on the lily and it was suddenly transformed into a child's art project.
But, it's fun.  So I continue on.  Maybe, in a year, a won't be so bad.  Besides, we already need new carpet.

Stay safe my lovelies!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Several months ago I was struggling with what to do next.  I finished 2 really complicated projects over the holidays and nothing was appealing to me.  Also, the pain thing.  So, I opted for something really simple.
These are Martha Washington (?) Days of the Week iron on patterns, minus the week day.
I have a bunch of them stashed away because they are so darned cute.
I used crayon to color in the mice.  There's a fusible interfacing on the back to stabilize but I added that before I colored.  Now my mice have that dotted texture... 
We're going to pretend it's a design feature.  Gives it more ... movement....?
Anyways, I'm bound to have a grand baby some day.  I'll be ready.

I also have pigs.  They're going to be adorable.
A couple of years ago, my Applique Society group bought this book and had templates made.  A bunch of us were going to work on it and share our progress as we went.   I think 2 out of maybe, 10 of us actually started it.  It's Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery by Linda Franz.  Jane Austen made 1 quilt (that we know of) in her life time.  This pattern was an interpretation of Jane's quilt.
Mine has been a disaster since day 1.  We had templates made but we were supposed to add .25" seam allowances to the template size.  Well, of course I didn't remember that 2 years after they were made.  My center block was made the correct size but none of the other pieces were.

The pieces were already cut and the broiderie purse blocks were all appliqued when I realized my mistake.  What's a girl to do?!  I patched and added as I went, you'll notice the center block has an extra border on 2 sides.  It also went from quilt to wall hanging.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.  it's a shame though, I'm really digging the color palette.  
Melissa loves it.  She asked me to make it longer so she can use it in her room as a "tapestry".  I guess that's better than the garbage heap.  My current goal is to finish it by the end of this week.  Looks like I've got plenty of time to get it done...

Stay safe, my lovelies!