Saturday, January 16, 2021

Baby Quilt Top and some Slow Stitching

My friend, Christine, and I used to get together once a week to sew, usually at my house.  Due to COVID-19, we now get together on FaceTime once or twice a week to sew or knit.  This week, we were both at our machines, both working on baby quilts.  As I said last week, I signed up for the Colour Block QAL. This week, I made 11 more blocks and put them together into a baby quilt top.  I did not use any of the fabrics more than once.  Many of the fabrics are novelty prints but many other fabrics from the scrap bins made it into my blocks as well. 

This is the "Suitable for Framing" layout that was suggested for January.  I have already made a pieced flannel back for this quilt with flannel chunks from my stash so will be quilting it this coming week.  I have used this project to get my Sew-Jo back after the holidays.  I have a list of other projects to tackle this coming week. 

I managed to add some stitches to the "Love Birds" picture every day this week. I hope to finish the blue flower under the bird this coming week. 

We took our daughter and Finn home last weekend.  She works from home, which Finn thinks is wonderful. She has been doing some embroidery and cross stitching this past week in the evenings. 

She needs Ecru floss to finish off the last two flowers so this one will be put aside until she can acquire the thread.  Here is her cityscape cross stitch, with some more stitches added since last week.

I started a new knitting project this week--this is another baby facecloth. I am building up my stash of baby gifts.  I like the colours in this cotton yarn. 

The orange facecloth is finally done. It's folded in quarters for this picture. 

Finn and my daughter went for a walk yesterday at lunch time yesterday so he would be sleepy for her Zoom meetings in the afternoon.  He still managed to pop his head up during one of the meetings and greet everyone!

Our province started a stricter lockdown this week but I am still allowed to get our and go for a long walk each day.  It was frosty one morning.  This is Queen Anne's lace. 

 I will link up with Kathy tomorrow morning.  Thanks for leaving comments on my blog.  I try to leave comments on your blogs but sometimes they do not publish--not sure why.  If your email is not in your profile, I cannot respond to your comments. Please know that I love reading what you have to say. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

A New Project and Some Slow Stitching

 While on my computer this week, I discovered a Sew Along being hosted by Debby Brown using colour blocks--16 patches using 2.5" squares from the scrap bins.  Since the Rainbow Scrap Challenge  colour of the month is pink, I made my first block using my pink scraps.  I have never been much of a pink person so had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get enough squares for 2 or three blocks. Here is my first block:

To increase the variety of fabrics in my scrap bins and since I intend to make a baby quilt or two in this quilt along, I raided my novelty print collection for squares for this block.  My novelty prints were all stored in two bins so I sorted them all into different piles for each colour. The multi-coloured ones have their own pile.  I spent quite a bit of time this week cutting squares from each colour using fabrics from the scrap bins as well as the novelty print piles. 

The quilt along started in December so I am a bit late to the party.  At that time, everyone was instructed to cut squares and make lots of colour blocks. Each month of 2021, Debby will release a new setting/pattern to use the blocks.  This is a great way to use up scraps and make a few baby quilts as well. I I always like to have a few baby quilts in reserve for baby gifts.  My first quilt will be 9 or 12 blocks and will feature one block in each colour.  

On the hand stitching front, I have been working on "Love Birds", a pattern from Peppermint Purple. This is a fairly large project and will take months to complete. One slow stitch at a time will get me to the finish line. 

My daughter and Finn have been staying with us for the last few weeks. She has been working on her city scape cross stitch--I still don't know what city this is depicting. 

More embroidery stitches were added to this project as well.  The wheat involved lots of colour blending and I think it looks very realistic.  I have always loved the great texture of French knots as well. 

The lines on the fabric were made with a Frixion pen and will disappear when she heats them up with a hair dryer when the stitching is done. 

Finn took his role as "official leg warmer" very seriously this week while I worked on my stitching or read a book. 

I will miss both of them when they go home!

I will link up with Kathy and the Slow Sunday Stitchers tomorrow morning as well as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge folks today. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

A Week of Slow Stitching

 My daughter and I have logged many hours working on our embroidery/cross stitch projects this past week.  We are staying home and enjoying several slow activities including puzzles, board games and reading. Finn, her dog, loves having everyone together in one place and can often be found curled up on someone's lap or beside them on the couch. Sometimes, he decides it is time to play rather than stitch. 

This counted cross stitch picture, "Love Birds",  is a wedding gift for a friend's daughter and her husband.  I hope to have it done in time for their first wedding anniversary in November!  There are two birds in the picture surrounded by a wreath of flowers. I hope to work on this for at least 30 minutes most days.  

While I was cross stitching, my daughter started a new embroidery project.  It is called "Winter Floral" from Lark Rising. She has most of the leaves done now and will move on to the wheat next. The lines coming out of the bottom are the stems of the wheat and the seeds are done freehand. It will be interesting to see how she does this.  I need to take lessons. 

When we watch TV, she works on another cross stitch cityscape.  My husband and I have not guessed the city yet. 

My daughter's bee picture was given to her grandmother for Christmas.  Grandma's father was a bee keeper. The framer was able to have it done in time for Christmas and it is now hanging in a prominent spot in Grandma's living room.  There are some odd colour reflections on the glass in the picture below. 

Books are a popular and much desired Christmas gift at our house.  I took a picture of our stacks of books...the first pile is mine, the second belongs to our daughter and the third one belongs to my husband.  Titles are often shared between the three of us as well.  

Before I can tackle any of my new books, I have a couple of others on the go to finish reading first.  I also have my eye on some of my husband's books...

Finn...he just wants to nap on top of a quilt. 

I will link up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching group in the morning.  I suspect others have made great progress on their projects this past week too since most of us are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Best of 2020

The end of 2020 is fast approaching and it's time to look back to what I have accomplished this year.  Cheryl is hosting her annual "Best of" party and I decided to do a post to link up with her blog. 

Since I spent a lot of time at home this year due to the pandemic, I did a lot of sewing, knitting, cross stitch and embroidery. I looked back over my blog posts to pick out the top 5 I would like to share today.  

1. My blogpost with the most views in 2020 was posted on August 22nd. It featured blocks from a new quilt started this year,  "lupins", pattern by Gudrun Erla. 

Here are my first few blocks:

I have finished all of the lupin blocks I need for a queen sized quilt and this quilt top will be put together soon so that I can take it to the long arm quilters.  It will go into the rotation of quilts for our bed. My husband and I went to Iceland for our 25th wedding anniversary a few years ago and all of the lupins were in bloom while we were there. 

2.  My blogpost with the most comments featured my Snowflake quilt which I made for a friend to celebrate 30 years of friendship.  I used up lots of red and white scraps in this quilt.  My friend was thrilled to receive this surprise gift and it is out on display in her living room for the winter months. It will keep her warm while she reads or knits. The pattern is available from Modern Handcraft


3.  I made several baby quilts this year but my favourite was this one, made as a month by month HST sampler quilt with the London Modern Quilt Guild.  This quilt was given to a baby boy born in the fall.  He and his parents were excited to receive it. 

I love the light blue seagulls in sweaters fabric in each block. 

4.  My favourite finish of 2020 was my Neutral Swap Barn Raising quilt.  The neutral blocks were made over the course of 16 months and swapped with members of the Elgin Piecemakers Guild. 

5. I participate in the weekly Slow Sunday Stitching Link up with Kathy and decided that I would like to add my favourite slow stitching project to my list.  I purchased an embroidery kit at QuiltCon in Nashville in February 2018 and completed the project earlier this year. 

Thanks for visiting. I look forward to finishing many projects and starting a few more in 2021. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Gifts of Christmas

Our daughter has been very busy over the last few months, working on gifts for us and her grandmother. I knew about the bee picture for her grandmother, but had no idea she was making something for us as well.  "Home for the Holidays" was a stitch-along at the Barmy Fox on Instagram.  Each day for 3 1/2 weeks, there were new stitches to learn and add to her picture. It looks great on our mantle with my little gnome. She learned several new stitches including the whipped backstitch, the feather stitch, the open and closed fly stitch, padded satin stitch and the Bayeux stitch which was originally on the Bayeux tapestry.  Wow!  I will have to get her to teach me some of these!

 If that was not enough, she also made us three Christmas ornaments. These patterns were from Thread Folk

Before Christmas, I took a short trip to Stitch it Central in London, Ontario to pick up some thread for a wedding gift cross stitch picture that I will be making over the next few months for a friend's daughter and her husband--they got married at the end of November and we attended the wedding on Zoom.  I offered to make them a cross stitch picture and emailed a couple of pattern possibilities.  They picked one called "Love Birds".  They made a diagram of the colours they wanted me to use and I picked out the matching colours at the store.  I made one substitution for the first colour when I got home.  My daughter had some thread that matched better. The pattern is from Peppermint Purple

I have made a start on the picture this past week. This project will take a while.  The newlyweds are patient and look forward to seeing my progress pictures as I work on their wedding gift. 

A while ago, I showed you a picture of a landscape that my daughter was stitching--it took a back seat while she worked on Christmas gifts but she managed to finish it this past week.  I took a close up picture of her bullion stitches.  I am in awe! The pattern is from Lark Rising

She is going to keep this little landscape picture for herself. 

Since August, I have been knitting a scarf and hat for my husband for Christmas.  I purchased the wool at my local knitting store, The Little Red Mitten. This wool was from Shetland in Scotland and was spun in England.  I had read about both places in the book my husband bought me for Christmas last year about the history of knitting in Britain called "This Golden Fleece".  

I just learned to knit this year so I am not very fast. I picked a relatively easy pattern from Ravelry. With some guidance from my knitting friends, I got started on the scarf. 

I tried to knit two repeats of the pattern as shown above each time I sat down to knit, at least 3 or 4 times a week. It was slow at first until I got the pattern memorized but eventually, it started to grow. 

I had to hide my wool and my knitting in a zippered pouch in my sewing room so my husband would not see it.  The knitting was done while my husband was at work or at a meeting.  I had to have a public project underway at the same time (that's why I kept making dish cloths and facecloths!) so that he would not suspect anything. My friend, Christine and I knitted in my backyard in the warmer weather and then we knitted on FaceTime when it got too cold to knit outside.  

I finished the scarf by the end of I am modelling the finished scarf.  It took two skeins of wool to make the scarf. 

The hat did not start out very smoothly and I had to take it apart 3 times before my friend, Pat, helped me to get it cast on correctly.  (I originally tried to use double pointed needles to cast on and thought I was doing fine until I discovered they were the wrong size...ugh! ) I used round needles to knit the main part of the hat and then changed to double pointed needles when it was time to reduce the number of stitches on the crown of the hat.  I lost a few stitches in the process of doing the crown, but Pat helped to get me back on track. Thank goodness for knitting friends!

Finally finished the ribbing:

I started knitting the patterned part. 


I finally got to the final stitches and finished the hat a few days before Christmas!

Here is the finished hat:

My husband was totally surprised by his knitted gifts.  He told me he did not think I would know how to knit something this complicated since all he had seen me make was dishcloths and facecloths!  He has worn his hat several times already when we went for walks and when we were shovelling the driveway--as you can see, we had a white Christmas! Keeping the pattern going as I did the crown of the hat was a challenge but it looks fine!  

Pat gave me cable needles and some wool for my next project for Christmas.  She will give me a quick, in person, masked, outside lesson in January.  I think I will make a practice piece before starting the actual project I have in mind. We sometimes trouble shoot my knitting questions on video chats as well.  I have seen a couple of videos of how to make cables so I have some inkling of how to do them.  

I made a couple of sewn gifts for my daughter for Christmas.  I ordered one yard of this book fabric from Spoonflower to make a pillow case and zippered pouch for her embroidery projects.  My daughter is an avid reader and this fabric matches the colours in her quilt that I made when she graduated from university a few years ago.  The white and gray fabric on the pillowcase was purchased at QuiltCon in Nashville. 

Here is the zippered pouch--the pattern is from Noodlehead. 

I still have a little bit of the book fabric left for another small project!  She loved both of these gifts, which  made me happy. 

One last little gift...I made a few counted cross stitch patterns to make ornaments earlier in the year and finished one off for Pat for Christmas.  I still have two more ornaments to put together---I think these last two will go on our tree next year. 

I will be linking up with Kathy and the other slow stitchers in the morning. I am sure that everyone will have lots of projects to share --after all, we are makers and we love to make gifts for our friends and families!