Friday, January 29, 2010

Icy

January Close

With the end of January coming to a close, I thought it was time to share my new quilting project with you. Last year I stumbled across a blog that was hosting this Calendar Quilt Challenge. I loved the idea of doing this, adding a strip of fabric for every day of the year. I thought it would be an excellent way to document a year, document the quilts I'm working on, use up some fabric stash, and get myself sewing regularly. Lofty goals, I know. So, I determined 2010 would be the year for me to make my Calendar Quilt, and I even put it on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list. A few weekends ago, I decided to get cracking on my January block. The finished size of my strips are 1 inch by 10 inches. Each strip represents a day of the month. And I decided to embroider the month on the first day. I'm also going to be embroidering significant events throughout the year, so that looking at the quilt I'll be able to see all the things that happened in 2010.

So, here are my January strips. I ended up getting on a roll and did the whole month at one time. But, all the fabrics came from my stash. I thought I'd walk you through them...

January Top Third

This is the top of the block (obviously, with the embroidered strip being January 1).

1- white feather fabric is from my wedding quilt
2- navy fabric with snowflakes is from Eric's Christmas stocking
3- blue and silver fabric (actually called Frost Fairy) is the backing fabric from my Pigwidgeon quilt
4- blue with black branches is from my Partridges & Pears quilt
5 - swirly fabric was used on a needlebook exchange piece
6- partridges fabric, obviously from my Partridges & Pears quilt, I put this in here to represent Jan 6th, Epiphany
7- bubble fabric was purchased for finishing
8- blue batik came from my Batiks BOM
9- white stars is the background fabric for my A Tisket A Tasket applique BOM
10-blue speckled fabric was from Pigwidgeon
11-blue and green batik is from my Bahamas Lucky Quilt
12- the second variation of the black branch on blue is actually a finishing fabric I used here

January Middle Third

First fabric in this middle section photo is a repeat from the top section photo.

13- blue & gold is an Egyptian print I got my mom to help me make a tote bag out of for my belly dance accessories
14- white with silver snowflakes is the backing fabric for my 2000 Years Ago wallhanging that I'll finish someday
15- dragon fabric from my Kimono quilt
16- blue batik from Bahamas quilt
17- Temari fabric also from Kimono quilt
18- white stars again
19- pink flowers from Kimono quilt
20- "baseballs" from Cole's quilt (yay, a quilt I worked on in January!)
21- feathers are meant for an I Spy quilt
22- silver snowflakes again

January Bottom Third

And here we are at the bottom section. The feathers and silver snowflakes are overlap from the middle section photo.

23- blue and white dots from Cole's quilt (yay!)
24- dragon fabric from Kimono quilt 25- blue with gold speckles from Kimono quilt
26- cloud fabric for I Spy quilt
27- white stars again
28- leaves from Kimono quilt
29- blue and white polka dots from Cole's quilt
30- dark blue and black batik from Bahamas quilt
31- navy with gold speckles is from Bahamas quilt also

So, I'm really happy to have used not only fabrics from my stash, but fabrics that I've used in my previous quilts. I really wanted to make sure I got fabrics in there from Cole's quilt because I did finish it in January. And for January, I wanted to stick with kind of a color theme. So, I chose blues and whites because January reminds me of the cold crisp air, ice, and also the tranquility and peacefulness that comes after the holiday hubbub. And with rain and possibly ice tonight, the chilly day reminded me to share my sewing on the blog.

I had a lot of fun with this and I am already thinking about fabrics to pull for February.

I am grateful for time in my sewing room.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unstitching

WMHB Threads

This past weekend, I played another game of Stitching Roulette. Since I can't seem to settle on anything, I'm apparently stitching on everything. As I may have mentioned previously, I'm currently stitching on my Secret Stitcher gift, which of course I can't show you. It's taken precendence over Mele K. for the time being. I had hoped to get Mele K. finished up in January, but well...I still have a week right? So, nothing new to show there.

So, on Friday night I debated what I wanted to work on. I had book club on Friday night, so I didn't have all evening to stitch. I finally decided on a new start that has been calling my name. I've mentioned previously that I decided to cut a piece of fabric off of my failed Halloween RR and use that fabric (36ct. Meadow Rue - love love love it) and a Belle Soie conversion to stitch up BBD's Where My Heart Blooms. You can see how pretty the silks are with my fabric in the photo above. So, I started this on Friday night. (I'll explain why there is no photo of my start shortly).

On Saturday, I went with a friend to see The Lovely Bones at the theatre. It was good, I love Peter Jackson's films, so I expected as much. And having read the book, I still enjoyed the movie. I'd recommend it. (Did I mention I also saw Nine the weekend before? Really good - loved it!). Anyway...Saturday night Eric and I went out and didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning, so no stitching on Saturday (other than on the Secret Stitcher piece). So, finally on Sunday, I decided to get out ATS. I'd been kind of avoiding it since I knew I had a mistake that needed to be fixed.

ATS 012410

I know it doesn't really look different than the last time I showed it to you. I finished up those two orangey motifs on the right hand side. Then I went about the business of ripping out and restitching the right side crown and face that I'd stitched in the wrong place. So, I did that. Then I realized I'd miscounted while stitching the little arm on that guy. So, out that came. When I got to the part where I thought the mistake was, I realized it wasn't a mistake. I'd counted correctly. Imagine the expletives that ocurred at this point. So, I put ATS away and decided to get out Where My Heart Blooms. I thought that would be fun and relaxing and I could get my roof finished. Here's the thing...my skein of Sister Scarlet is not red like one would expect (it's actually the far right-hand thread in that pic at the top of the post). It's really more pink. It kind of goes from a brick red to a pinky mauve. And.I.Hate.It. And even knowing that I was hating it, I tried to continue with my Jenny Bean Zenlike State and go with it. I finished the roof last night and promptly starting ripping it out. I can't have a pink freaking roof. No way. Not when it is also going to be the color of those little strawberry things in the border. I need RED. So, I've pulled out my skein of Tulip that I used for this piece. Hopefully I can get the color I want. Because pink is not doing it for me.

So, in the span of three days, I think I effectively stitched twenty stitches. Maybe I should've worked on Shores. I was afraid though, after the ATS debacle that I would have problems with Shores. Little did I know it would be the new start that I would be foiled by!

Anyway, I do have a book review to share with you about my latest read for book club, but I think it'll have to wait for next time.

I am grateful for dates with Eric.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

Shores 011710

It's actually raining here today, so no sunshine in sight. But, I recently picked my Shores of Hawk Run Hollow back up to stitch on and you can see the beginnings of the sun peeking in at the top corner of the block. After my test block (block 2) with two strands on 36ct, I've decided to go back to one. While I like the coverage of the two strands, my stitches aren't laying the way I'd like them to. And since Jenny Bean has completely broken me and now I want to use one strand on everything...that's the plan for today.

When I picked this back up, I started in on the fill in around my "L". One of my friends at guild had mentioned filling these areas in with tent stitch over one (I believe she did this on her VOHRH too). So, I thought I'd give it a try and I love it. It really makes the "L" stand out. Thanks, Laurie!! I finished that fill in this weekend and then stitched my seagulls. The sun in the corner is all I lack for this block to be finito.

You can see where I left off on it in August. And as I mentioned, my block 2 test will be coming back out and started over with one strand. I am using the NPI silks on this. And I'm really happy this piece has come back out to play.

Shores 080309

Other than Shores, I also worked a little bit on Camille. I stitched that vase of flowers on Friday night and started on the vine below.

Camille 011710

No ATS this past weekend. I just got on a roll with Shores and really wasn't in the mood to rip out my mistake on ATS. I hope to get back to it this coming weekend. Maybe I'll finish Block 1 of Shores first though. Or maybe I'll start something new, who knows?!

I've also taken a little break from Mele Kalikimaka to work on my Secret Stitcher gift. I won't be able to show it to you until later in the year when we do our reveal of who's who. I can already tell though...I think I'm gonna want to keep this piece I'm stitching. But, speaking of Mele K., you know how I talked previously about loving over one stitching but not in huge doses? And that that's the reason Dorothy's Garden and my CHS A&E aren't done? I was at my LNS on Saturday and came across the designer's model for Peace (this is by A Stitcher's Hands, who also designed Dorothy's Garden).

Peace by A Stitcher's Hands

I think you can get an idea of how large this is from the photo (and why they have this hung at the way back of the shop rather than prominently displayed right out front is beyond me). The stitch count is 578 x 941. And THIS IS ALL OVER ONE. Trust me when I tell you, this is stunning. In fact, there are really no words. The model for Dorothy's Garden was what sold me on that piece to begin with too. I've only seen a couple of people who've begun this one, for example here. Won't that be gorgeous on the Sienna Night fabric? Oh I would kill for a big piece of Sienna Night. I'd probably finish Dorothy before I even think about the thirty pages of this chart. But, I just had to show you.

So, that's it for me today. I am enjoying my stitching since having given myself permission to just go with the flow on it. No pressure! I also finally cut up my big piece of Meadow Rue this weekend - that was rather freeing too. I've got a little piece I'm stitching on, a bigger piece to use for Where My Heart Blooms now that my silks have come in, and I think I'll be using another portion of it to stitch an A&E. I am so glad that my original Halloween RR is becoming new beautiful things!

Book club on Friday night. I've got about a chapter and a half to go on the book and I'll give you a review once I'm done. Don't get too excited, it's not anything to rush back for.

I am grateful for exciting things on the horizon!

Friday, January 15, 2010

King Me!


Apple Farm Checkers

Admit it. That is THE CUTEST checkers set you have ever seen. I found this photo on Flickr and now I think I need a checkers set made up of little red and yellow apples. So sweet! Anyway, I was looking for photos of checkers because when I was little my dad and I used to play checkers a lot. I'd been thinking about that because my neice is now into Chinese checkers. But, when my dad and I used to play, I would get the biggest thrill out of making it to the other side and yelling "King Me!". What fun.

And it appears my love of being royalty has not lessened. Like Paulette, I also have a thing for crowns. Apparently, my Secret Stitcher figured this out. Look what I got...a Kelmscott Needleminder...with a crown!!

ATS 011010

It goes well with the three crowns on my ATS. (Oh, and if you scroll back down a post to look at Dorothy's Garden, there are two crowns there too!) I had a migraine a good portion of last weekend, so I didn't get as much done on ATS as I would have liked. But, you can see I finished the angel's dress, stitched her wings (no backstitching yet), and then started to move on to that little guy on the right. Well, darn it, my crown is in the wrong place. So, I'll be frogging him and his crown out this weekend. Rather than start that process Sunday night, I just worked on putting in some motifs. I am sooooo glad I have a list of things to watch out for, no idea where it came from, but those symbols for some of the colors are almost identical. I would have really messed that up. So, thanks to whoever writes down these cautions!

I really do love stitching on ATS, and I can't wait to get back to it. Of course, during the week I try to put a few stitches in on my smaller pieces. So, I whipped out Mele Kalikimaka again...yes, more sky to fill in.

Mele Kalikimaka 011410

I love this piece, but like I said in my last post, I can only do so much over one at a time. So, it's slowly getting a little bit filled in at a time. Here's a scan of the finished item, in case you're curious what it's supposed to look like. It's itty bitty, even though it looks big in this scan. It's only about 3 inches square maybe.

Photo - Mele Kalikimaka

So, that's what I've been up to. I'm hoping for lots of stitching this weekend!!

I'm grateful for my new crown.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thinking

IMG_5587

It has been cold, cold, cold here. On Thursday, I had to miss going to school due to the weather even. Luckily my drive in to work and home weren't too bad - just a bit icy. I had been looking forward to taking advantage of the below freezing temps to settle in with my stitching this weekend. Friday and Saturday I was stuck with a migraine though, and although I tried to push through it, I didn't have much luck. I decided it would be best to stay away from ATS until I was pain-free though, just in case.

Thursday night, though, had gotten me thinking. I'd read Glenna's post on her 2010 stitching. She talked about being completely unremorseful about her stitching habits and starting new projects willy-nilly when she feels like it. And it's led me to think about a few things. First of all, last week at my guild meeting, we revealed our 2009 MAGIC (My Annual Good Intentions Contract) projects, which of course, were supposed to be finished. You may remember that in 2009 we each brought in two unfinished pieces that we'd like to get finished, and the guild members voted on the one that would be our MAGIC piece. Dorothy's Garden was the one chosen for me to finish in 2009.

Dorothy's Garden 061309

And while Dorothy did get some attention, she might not otherwise have seen, she is still in no way near finished. Maybe it's the fact I'm stitching her over one that has me flummoxed, or maybe it was the feeling of having to stitch on her that put me off. But, whatever it was, she still isn't done. This year our guild decided to give each member the option of setting their own goals for MAGIC. I've been mulling around what to put down on my little contract, but haven't come up with anything. I think that setting a goal for myself, feeling like I have to, is the surest way of getting me to not work on something. I haven't totally decided against it, but I'm leery of putting anything down.

And, the other thing I've been thinking about is my stitching habits tend to be all over the place. I love planning and making lists, don't get me wrong. But, I tend to stitch on whatever the heck I feel like. I hate deadlines, it makes me not want to stitch at all rather than stitch on something I have to stitch on. I like starting new things whenever I feel like it. And although my current list of WIPs is way way way out of hand, for the most part I'm enjoying my stitching and the time I spend on it.

So, I went through some of my in progress pieces, and some I've been wanting to start and I realized that the things I love stitching on aren't those that have a million color changes, or confetti stitching, or large areas of fill in. And while I enjoy over one, I only enjoy it for a short period of time. I narrowed down my list, based on this, of what I might possibly want to try to complete in 2010, or at least focus on. And although I have a secret stitcher gift that absolutely needs to get started on - I didn't want to deal with it.

While digging through my stash, I came across a 2006 freebie that I fell in love with back then. It called for Vikki Clayton silks, which I ordered back then. I'd even picked out fabric for it, which when I looked at it the other night I decided I didn't like so much. So, I dove back into my stash to see what other fabric I could come up with. I found the perfect thing, and I started Camille's French Sampler by The Sampler Girl.

Camille 011010

I'm stitching her on 32ct Golden Harvest by Silkweaver using one strand of VC silk over two. I'm not getting that "fat stitch" look that I usually go for. But, after trying it out with two strands, I decided it was too much. I think Jenny Bean finally broke me. And now, I've gone for the more lacy "French" look for Camille. Won't she be pretty? I think Tanya ended up releasing this pattern again recently, but as a chart rather than a freebie. I am so glad I finally started this one. It's been one of those pieces that has hung around waiting for her time in the spotlight. And she was the perfect thing for my migraine-fuddled mind on the recent icy January nights.

So, I'm glad that my 2010 goals for my stitching, etc. didn't involve specific goals but rather, "I'd like to do more of" type things. And I did finally get a chance to work on ATS yesterday, but I'll show you that another day.

I am grateful for willy-nilly stitching.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Holiday Crafting

Twilight Mini Skeins from Sunshine Yarns

Raise your hand if you thought I could do two posts in one week. Anyone? Anyone? Pleasant surprise, no? Do you see those lovelies at the top of this post? Those are my Twilight mini-skeins from Sunshine Yarns I told you about (she also does some gorgeous Harry Potter colorways, I might add). I'm perfectly ok just leaving them as is and petting them, but methinks they really need to be made into a super awesome scarf for myself. From left to right I believe they are Edward, Bella, The Meadow, Esme Island, Vampire Baseball and Blood Red. Love them. So. Much.

Anyway, back to what I wanted to show you...I mentioned I did some crafting prior to Christmas. I decided to make these Christmas Tree earrings last year, but I just didn't get my ass in gear to do it. So, I had all the stuff that I ordered, well...last year, and I decided to make them. My sister doesn't wear gold, so hers were silver.

Tree Trimming

I love how they turned out. And they were so easy to make.

Christmas Tree Earrings

I worked on these after finishing Jenny Bean. I was having a hard time wanting to stitch on something else, so beading seemed like an excellent way to pass the time.

For many years, a friend and I have passed a friendship ornament back and forth. Each time I have it, it is a challenge to come up with a gift that will fit within the ornament, and yet be a gift from the heart. While working on my little Christmas trees, I came up with the idea to make a bracelet for her.

Photo Charm Bracelet

I found these little photo charms at Michael's. Every year she sends me photos of her family and their traditional trips to the beach. I took one of the recent photos she sent of her three daughters, a photo of her husband, and a photo of the ocean and sized them down to fit inside the charms. (I've blurred out the photos of her family for privacy). I made some little drops with blue crystals in between each of the photo charms too for a little sparkle. I love how this turned out. It was fun to make and I thought she would really like it. You can see the friendship ornament in the background of the photo, it's about the size of a good-sized orange.

It always makes me happy when I can make gifts, although stressing out about trying to do that does not make me happy. This year though, I was surprised at how calm and stress-free the holidays were for me. And I did more things like making these little crafty things just because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to. And I loved that feeling.

So, what else have I been up to (other than you know, work, school, gym, sleep)? I finished a book yesterday - my first of 2010. Of course, you knew I couldn't stay away from the Black Dagger Brotherhood for long.

Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5)

This book had me right up until the last few chapters. Then, eh. It's too bad too, I'd been looking forward to this one. It won't stop me from reading the next two that I have on loan. I have to take a break though and read the book for my next book club that's in a couple of weeks. I'm not looking forward to that one either. Sigh. There may be lots of stitching going on rather than reading. But, anyway, I'm one closer to having read 30 books for 2010!

And since you know we're "all vampires, all the time" here at the cozyegg blog...I had to share the envelope my Christmas card came in from my friend, Kim. She knows me well...

Vampire Nutcracker

That's all I've got to share today. I have a Secret Stitcher gift I need to get started stitching on, and I have a Valentine's gift I need to get started on too (remember?). So, that's a little of what I have on the horizon. I'm going to try to be better about blogging more often, but hey, no promises...you know where I am when I'm not here.

And I want to give a little shout out to you guys who have recently told me you're reading. I love hearing that from people I know in person (although it is often quickly followed by an "oh crap, what crazy stuff have I been talking about?!"). Thanks to everyone who stops by and lets me know one way or another that you appreciate me for me...vampires and all.

I am grateful for letting things go.

Monday, January 04, 2010

First Finish

Sewing on Binding

Happy New Year! It's Monday, which means I was back to work, back to the gym, back to school today. But, I really enjoyed my time off, especially because I was able to spend so much time with Eric. We watched a lot of tv shows we'd recorded, watched all The Godfathers, and have recently been watching Season 4 of The West Wing. I also spent some time reading, as you saw in my last post. For 2010, I'm challenging myself to read 30 books. I hit 20 in 2009, so I think 30 should be do-able.

As you can see above, I also worked on some quilts. I spent an afternoon and quilted the baby quilt. I was able to finish the binding on January 2nd, so it constitutes my first finish of the year!

30s Baby Quilt

It felt so good getting this finished. This is for a friend/co-worker's first baby. His name is Cole.

30s Baby Quilt for Cole

I love the way these 30s repro prints work together. It was a fun, but simple quilt to make. I used a really nice muslin for the backing and binding. After finishing up this quilt I also pulled out another small quilt I've had sitting around awhile. I finished the quilting on it, and just need to hand sew on the binding. So, I should have another quilting finish quite soon. I also plunged in and attempted to do the quilting on another quilt that's been needing it. But, that one got the better of me. It is just too big and too fiddly to quilt on my machine. So, I've set it aside until I can take it to my quilter. One of the things I'd really like to do more of in 2010 is quilt. Once I finish the binding on my Valentine's Day quilt, that leaves me eight quilts, I think, that are in progress (three of those just need quilting/binding). Plus, there are many many more I'd like to make!

And you may be wondering how I spent my time on the first day of 2010. I love to have a new start on January 1st, so this year I decided it would be And They Sinned. I bought all the GAST threads for this last January during one of the New Year sales. I finally decided on 40ct Elegant Bean for my fabric, and ordered it a while back too. The pattern, of course, I've had since it was released. I put my first stitches in while watching the Rose Parade, which is my annual tradition. I love stitching on this piece. It is just wonderful. I almost decided to start at the bottom, just to be different, but in the end I started from the top.

ATS 010310

This is how it looked yesterday afternoon. Last night I was able to fill in her face and hands, finish her skirt, and get a start on her wings. The little putti on either side of her now have eyes and lips to go with their crowns. So, they look a bit eerie right now - like Cheshire Cat putti. I will probably put this away until the weekend due to my limited (and sometimes non-existent) stitching time in the evenings during the week. I still have Mele Kalikimaka that I can work on in between. And with regard to my stitching in 2010, I'm just going to play it by ear. It would be great to get some of these WIPs finished, particularly those that have been around awhile. It would be nice to have some things framed too. I keep forgetting about some of my finishes, because they're hanging in the closet awaiting framing.

The final thing I'd like to do in 2010 with regard to my crafting is to re-teach myself how to knit and do some knitting projects. A very sweet friend gifted me with some lovely yarn, a book on how to knit socks, and some double-pointed needles for my birthday. So, I definitely need to (and can't wait to) get a start on learning how to knit SOCKS! Plus, I have some gorgeous Twilight-inspired yarn from Sunshine Yarns that is burning a hole in my Vera Bradley wanting to be knit into a scarf. I think that will be my first project!

So, there you have it - what I plan to do in 2010. If you're really dying to know more, I have some other non-crafting goals listed at the other blog.

Hope everyone had a fabulous start to the new year!

I am grateful for a fresh start.