Monday, April 14, 2014

Why You Don't Knit When You are Tired

I have made significant process on my One Ball Gradient Shawlette by Karen Vradelis.

In fact I hope to finish it tonight.  Our weather has been warm (the 80's most of the weekend) and we have a cool front (hard to call it a cold front when we will still be in the 60's) headed our way this week.  I would like one chance to wear this before it is packed away until late fall.

I would have finished it sooner but some how I managed to knit the wrong way in the middle of a row.

So instead of stockinette I ended up with a half of a row of garter stitch! This is why you don't knit when you are tired.

We had a few visitors to the backyard recently - 

You can only see six in the picture - but there were eight in total.  They were doing a great job of trimming behind the fence.  Unfortunately they often trim inside the fence as well - so my gardening is contained in pots, which were moved from under the house to the porch this weekend (a major undertaking).

I am working on several quilting projects - a mystery quilt for my guild, a charity quilt from blocks I won, and several projects for classes - none of which are very photogenic at this point.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Little Knitting

I am sort of taking a short break from quilting - I have several classes going on at the moment and most of my sewing is related to samples for those classes.  Not the most exciting photos - especially since I use old and mismatch fabric to do my class samples.  Helps to keep me from drowning in the stuff.

I am working on a very easy, quick knitting project using yarn I purchased at the frayed knot (a great little store) in Savannah, Georgia where I spent last weekend with my sisters and daughter.  We had a wonderful time - walking, knitting, eating and visiting the Destination Savannah quilt show where my quilt Bloom was on display.

The yarn I am using is Souk by Cascade Yarns

and the pattern is One Ball Gradient Shawlette by Karen Vradelis.  

It is a very easy pattern - the only change I made was to slip the first stitch purl wise on all odd rows to make a slightly neater edge.

I was working on another small knitting project (Downtown Cowl by Christy Becker)- but it has disappeared into the black hole in my house.  I worked on it Sunday after we returned home - cleared it off the table to serve dinner - and haven't seen it since!  Not for the lack of looking.  

Of course I will finish the shawlette and find the cowl just in time for hot weather to arrive in Charleston!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Spy A Quilter - or Two

Last Saturday, in honor of National Quilting Day, my guild had a Quilter's Day Out workshop.  I designed an easy I-Spy quilt using partial seams and half-blocks to eliminate matching seams.

We had about a dozen quilters sewing away.

Lots of blocks were made: 

Petal to the metal!

(notice the shoes are off - a quilter after my own heart as I almost always sew barefoot) :

A great time was had by all.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lessons Learned

The 2014 Cobblestone Quilt Show has come and gone and although I got all my quilts finished and to the show, I didn't not win any ribbons.  Hopefully I did learn a few lessons from the experience.

Our show allows for quilts to be entered that aren't quite finished.  The show entry is early in January and the quilts were due at the beginning of last week,  or about 46 days to finish final details.  This does not mean that you should enter four quilts that are not yet quilted - especially when one is a queen size quilt!
Indigo Quilt in A Box

This became the bane of my existence.  The blocks where all quilted by the end of January and then I struggled getting them sewn together.  If I had more time, this process could have been done better and some of the quilting issues I experienced when quilting the sashing could have been avoided.  Also the weekend I put the border on was not pleasant as I made every rookie mistake possible.  But it is done. I really do not have the proper work-space or lighting to handle such a large quilt and it will be a long time (maybe forever) before I work on such a large piece again.

The second quilt, Marsh Isle One, actually had some quilting done - but I was very unhappy with the direction it was going.  The design was too busy for an already busy background and the tension was awful. So not only did I quilt this quilt in the above mentioned 46 days - but removed all the previous quilting as well.
Marsh Isle One
I am pretty pleased with the outcome - although I could have used a little more time to block it properly. I might add another cattail flower to balance the piece a bit.  I like the work I did on the egret's feathers.  This is the first in a series on the marsh I get to see outside everyday.

Number three quilt is the whole cloth, Bloom.

Bloom is entered in another quilt show and I will work on re-blocking and straightening the edges before it is shipped out.  Again I am pleased with the quilting - just not the final finish work.

And as Monty Python would say - and now for something completely different:

Dancing Off the Wall

I challenged myself to create a 3-D piece that could hang from a regular sleeve.  All the fabric is my own hand dyed.  I struggled with the final construction as the piece is top heavy and wants to fall forward.  I was working on a solution when I simple ran out of time.  The three pieces at the top are more blue than white - but this was the best photo I managed to take at the show.  This is a concept that will be revisited in a future work.

In addition to the four show quilts, I also finished three baby quilts, made a top for an upcoming class and finished the work on my first two patterns that debuted at the show.  As this is getting long I will show them next post.

Major lessons - don't enter what isn't finished and allow plenty of time for the final details!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Summer - At Least in My Studio

Charleston is once again thawing out of an ice storm - twice in two weeks is just too weird.  Although I grew up in Colorado, I have lived in the South for nearly 30 years so I think my blood has thinned.  I don't really like cold weather anymore!

For two days I sweated as the lights flickered (I have way too much sewing machine work to do to be without power) but we were lucky and had light and heat the entire time.  Friends nearby weren't as fortunate.

I worked on Bloom as the icy rain fell.  In my last post I estimated about 2 hours to finish the flower - was I way off.  It took nearly 2 hours just to pull the threads from all the stops and starts!  I probably have closer to 3 days of stitching.

Once again I struggled with the marking of the background of the quilt.  Finding a marking pen that I can see and that will come out easily is becoming like a Holy Grail search.  Any ideas?

I still need to put on the facing, sleeve and label and need to decide if any of the centers need beading but I am pretty satisfied.

Once again I am linking to Nina~Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday to show my progress.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Slowly the Quilt in a Box is getting finished.  I have almost all the blocks sewn together - only a little bit of hand work on the back.  I have also quilted some of the sashing.

I got a little tired of black and white and gold - so the back is something - shall we say - completely different.

Each fabric is part of Mark Lipinksi's Home Elements line - one of my favorite tone on tone fabrics.  They no longer produce it and I had a devil of a time finding enough different colors to make a very vibrant back.  I think I succeeded.  I need to finish sewing the forth row from the top together - a good Downton Abbey project.

Now for the borders.

I have also been able to make some progress on Bloom - another 2 hours or so to finish the flower and then the background.  

Two weeks and  12 hours until the quilt show turn in - not that I am counting.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Today was spent indoors staying warm.  Charleston was struck by a ice storm overnight and we woke up this morning to an icy scene and all of the bridges in town shut down.

We had a few snow flakes in the air - but everything on the ground was a combination of freezing rain/sleet.

Our Washingtonia Palms do not like cold weather any more than we do.

This poor little guy spent quite a while on our live oak in the backyard - notice the ice on his tail.

He flew off soon after this photo - hopefully to a warmer perch.  We are supposed to be in the mid-70's this weekend.