Monday, December 29, 2008

Three French Hens

3rd Day of Christmas
Teresa Wentzler
DMC on 28 ct. antique white cashel
Embellished with Mill Hill petites
Finished 12/27/08



I hope you all are enjoying the holidays! Other than having to put in some work time during my vacation, I have been thoroughly enjoying myself. It has been so nice to actually get to spend some time with Eric and just enjoy each other. I've been stitching quite a bit the past few days, and managed to finish Eric's 3rd Day of Christmas ornament (only a couple days late) after only starting it last Sunday. There's a ton of stitching in these little things, as I am sure you can imagine since they are Teresa Wentzler and over one. But, I managed to get it done around Christmas, which was my goal! You may recall that I am stitching one of these a year for Eric to celebrate each Christmas we've been married. You can see the other two ornaments here. I hope next year I can manage to get this stitched on time!

Now that I've got Eric's ornament finished, I'm back to working on my Red Thread piece. I am stitching away at the border and hope to have it done by the end of the year. Last night I managed to get over half way across the top, so it's going well. I think I'm going to run out of my Weeks Bark thread, so a trip to the LNS is in store if I can make it at lunchtime today. I can't wait to show you the piece finished!

And since it is the end of the year, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on some of my accomplishments this year (that's Romeo above).

I read 24 books this year, which isn't a lot...but I'm getting back into the swing of reading since I started school. The first book I read in 2008 was Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was wonderful.

I stitched and finished 31 pieces this year. I really wanted to finish some of my larger WIPs, but I did what I could. I finally finished Barnabee's Quest, which was a huge accomplishment. I did a SAL of Red Thread with my friend, Sherri, this year and completed the stitching on all twelve blocks (hopefully another big finish in the next few days). I also stitched a few ornaments, and also finished up stitching on everyone's Neighborhood Round Robins. I hope to have mine back in the beginning of 2009.

I finished four quilts including our Wedding Quilt (that I gave to Eric for our second anniversary), Pigwidgeon, Rooster in the Hen House and Silk Road.

We took three trips this year - two to Oklahoma City and one to Virginia.

I started a new job in May and also started school.

It was a great year, and I look forward to 2009. I have some plans for my stitching and reading next year, which I will be sure to share with you next time. For now, enjoy yourself and Happy New Year! (Othello under the tree in the entryway).


I am grateful for another wonderful year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Deck the Halls


Red Thread: Connected
Bent Creek
DMC, Weeks and GAST on 32ct Light Mocha and Embellished with Snaps
Finished 12/15/08


I had hoped to get a chance to blog before now, but well - the season is upon me, and I am a busy elf! I have a couple of finishes to show you and a couple of finished things to show you too! As you can see above, I've finished the last block for my Red Thread piece. All that is left now is the border, and I am hoping to have it done before the end of the year. I'm not going to show you a full view of the piece just yet, because I thought I'd save it for the final finished photo! Then you can see it all together.

Autumn Spell
Just Nan Limited Edition WhimZi
Third in a series of four
DMC on 28ct Zweigart Lt. Mocha Cashel Linen
Framed in an Acorn WhimZi frame
Finished 12/15/08

I also had another little finish recently (strangely enough, I finished both of these on the same day!). This has been my traveling piece that I've been working on a little here and a little there. Out of season, but since I'm stitching these in order, there you have it. I just have Winter Spell left to stitch. Then, back to my other WhimZis. I'll probably finish up the stitching on my Mele Kalikimaka ornament before I start another WhimZi though. It's high time I finished that one. It did get a couple of stitches put into it the other night though, so maybe I'll be able to get it finished sooner rather than later.

And, wonder of wonders I have two finished pieces to share. I sent these off to my finisher, and she did a glorious job with them! You may recall I finished this Country Cottage Needleworks ornament earlier in the year...this is Peace from the JCS 2007 Ornament issue. She used the Kudzu Weeks wool for it and it turned out so cute! Here I have it in my little basket I use to hold Christmas cards.


And the other piece I sent her was my recently finished Snow Bunnies piece by Little House Needleworks. This one is also from the 2007 JCS Ornament issue. She finished it as a little bag with a cording hanger, and I've got it hanging on the coat closet door in the entry. I filled it with some red berries, and I love how festive and wintery it looks. Gorgeous!




I've also been decorating up a storm around the house, which has been a lot of fun. You can see photos here. Saturday, we went to see the Trains at Northpark, which we do every year. Once again, we had a lovely time! Saturday evening we had both of our families over for eggnog and desserts. I made peanut butter fudge and Swedish Melting Moments cookies. Both turned out to be yummy! Last night I made a start on Eric's ornament for this year. I'm very late starting it, so I may not finish it in time for Christmas, but I'm going to try. It's the 3rd Day from Teresa Wentzler's 12 Days of Christmas. You may remember I am stitching him one a year for each of our married Christmases.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays, and I'll be back soon!

I am grateful for a joyful season.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Silk Road


Silk Road
Paper-Pieced Kimonos Quilt - Pattern by Betty Blais
Machine-pieced. Quilted by Krissy's Quilts
Begun March 2004 - Finished December 2008



I signed up to take my first paper piecing class at my LQS in March of 2004, and the instructor was teaching these kimonos. I loved the look of the kimonos as soon as I saw them, and knew this quilt was perfect for me. I already had some Asian fabrics I’d been collecting for who knows what reason. Two of the fabrics I’d purchased in Rhode Island when I went to visit my best friend, Julia. One is the red fabric with the origami cranes on it, and one is the gold fabric with the gold leaves on it. I went prior to class to collect my fabrics for the quilt. I had a great person helping me, and we found some lovely fabrics that worked well together for each kimono, plus background, border and sashing fabrics. While looking around at the Asian fabrics, I came across a magnificent Indian fabric that I just couldn’t pass up. So, I purchased it to use for the back of my quilt, even though it was a purely Japanese quilt. During the class I completed one block, the green and purple kimono in the center of the quilt. I think after that I put down my blocks and didn’t work on this anymore for some time.


When Eric and I got married and bought our dining room furniture, we decided to decorate that room in Asian style – to incorporate his Japanese swords, etc. I immediately knew that I wanted to finish this quilt as a wallhanging for that room. So, I got started on it again in 2006 and after re-teaching myself how to paper piece I was able to get three more kimonos pieced.

Then I didn’t pick this back up again until 2007. In May of 2007 I pieced three of the five kimonos I had left to do. In June of 2007, I finally finished up the last two kimonos, for a total of nine. I also got my sashing and borders cut and then Eric helped me decide on the layout for the quilt top. He has such a good eye for that kind of thing. I then worked on piecing the quilt top and had high hopes of having it finished up quickly.

I got all the sashing on the first two rows and had them sewn to each other, but after two tries of sewing, ripping out and resewing the bottom row, I finally gave up. For whatever reason, my bottom row wouldn’t line up with my other two rows. Sigh. I did, however, reassure myself that I had plenty of the fabric I need for the border. The problem with buying fabric for a project four years from the time you actually work on it, is that you buy the fabric knowing "ok, I'm going to cut my sashing this wide, and I'm going to cut my borders this wide". Well, I bought the fabric, but didn't write down what I planned to do with it. So I made my best guess and cut my border fabric - luckily, it fit just fine! Whew!! It really started looking great with the sashing on it. I finally finished the quilt top on a Saturday afternoon, and it took me both Saturday and Sunday afternoons to pull all the paper off the back from the paper piecing - whew, my fingers hurt! But, I had it done! I initially thought I would quilt this one myself. I thought I’d teach myself how to do stippling for the background of the blocks, and then outline the kimonos, but I just never got around to it. I was also deathly afraid of messing it up. So, after seeing how beautiful my Rooster and Pigwidgeon quilts came out, I decided to take this one to Krissy to quilt. I basically gave her free reign with what to do, only telling her that I wanted the kimonos to stand out. While I was piecing and ironing my backing fabric in preparation of taking the quilt to her, the name for the quilt suddenly dawned on me. I would call it “Silk Road”. That was the perfect way to incorporate both the Japanese kimonos and the Indian backing fabric. Love it!


So, off my little quilt went to Krissy. I fully expected with this being a custom job, that I would not see it before January when I brought it to her in August (as a birthday present to myself). But, lo and behold, I got the call that it was ready to be picked up on October 10th! With everything going on, I didn’t just bust right out and start on the binding. But, with family time looming over Thanksgiving, I decided that a hand sewing project was just the thing for sitting around visiting or watching movies/tv. So, the weekend before Thanksgiving I cut out my binding and machine-sewed it down. I cut and prepared the sleeve for hanging the quilt once it’s finished. And I prepped my label for embroidery. Unfortunately, I had no embroidery thread that would have worked with the colors on the back of the quilt, so that required a trip to the sewing machine store. But, I was able to start the hand sewing on my binding on Thanksgiving and I finished it up 11/30/08. I also got my embroidery thread and made my label that day. I finished the last of the hand sewing I had to do on December 4, 2008. After purchasing a rod for it to hang on, Eric mounted the brackets to the wall on Sunday and it is now proudly hanging in our dining room. It looks wonderful!



I am so happy to have another quilt finished. That makes four this year! I still hope to get my Partridges quilt finished as well, but I am quilting that one myself. I did, however, pull it out of the plastic storage container it's been residing in and now it's out in plain view to remind me to work on it! So, hopefully one more quilt finished this year - that would be fabulous! But four is a great accomplishment, especially since I hadn't finished one prior to that since 2005!


I am grateful for my beautiful kimonos now gracing my dining room.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Winter Song


Winter Song (from the JCS Ornament Issue 2008)
Blackbird Designs
DMC on 28ct Cashel Linen FOTM Exclusive from Silkweaver
Finished 11/30/08


Over the weekend, I was able to start and finish an ornament for my Guild's annual holiday ornament exchange. The holiday party took place last night, and I had such a good time. I was able to spend time talking with people I'd met before at the meetings, and also meet some new people. So much fun. And the woman who hosted the party had an amazing home. It was full of gorgeous stitched pieces. She had several large samplers stitched and framed, three (yes three!) large Chatelaine pieces framed and hanging in her bedroom. Upstairs she had a huge stitching room. One wall had shelves that held some amazing smalls. I just stared in awe at all the beautiful things she's completed!


Anyway, the ornament exchange was a ton of fun too, and there were so many gorgeous stitched ornaments. I have several on my list now that I want to find the patterns for! I was the lucky recipient of this beautiful piece stitched by Gloria of Milady's Needle. She used Weeks Wool for the backing fabric, and I just love the beaded hanger. Those are little beads scattered over the design too. This design is called Running Stag and is by Carriage House Samplings from the JCS Ornament Issue 2004. I am thrilled with it! (By the way, the red fabric behind it is what I used to back my little stocking ornament.)

I am still hard at work on my Kimono quilt. I finished up the binding on it, and just need to stitch on a hanging sleeve and the label. I intend to have it hanging in my dining room soon! Now, I need to get started on my 3rd Day of Christmas ornament for Eric. I am way behind on getting that together. And, since it is now December I thought I'd post some end of year goals...


Finish Red Thread (just the December block and border to go)
Finish Kimono Quilt and hang
Finish the quilting on Partridges quilt
Work on 2000 Years Ago wallhanging
Mermaid SAL with Anna
3rd Day Ornament for Eric
Order Fabric and Threads for Me, Myself and I RR (Town Square)
I think that will be plenty to keep me busy!

I am grateful for a fun night.