Cliff Notes from 2015

Stitching Bags

Hello, friends!  Thanks so much for your comments on my last post!  For those of you who saw that post pop up on your blog feed and noted how glad you were I was back to blogging, I wanted to fill you in on what happened.  Last December I migrated my blog from Blogspot over to my own domain.  If you go to the old blog address you will automatically be redirected to the new location.  So, I’ve been blogging at my new location throughout 2015 but unfortunately it didn’t occur to me that my feed over at Bloglovin’ or similar blog readers never got updated to the new address.  So, if you were looking for updates via a blog reader, rather than heading to the blog directly, it appeared that I haven’t updated my blog in a year!  The feed should be fixed now, so you will get regular updates as I post.  So…please take a look back at my older posts if you’d like and see what I’ve been up to.  Also, you can subscribe to my blog by hovering over the Contact tab at the top and clicking on Subscribe to our mailing list, which will send you new posts by email.

So, since it’s January and since you may have missed several of my posts from 2015, I thought I’d do a little recap of what I’ve been up to.

Episode 5

The biggest thing I did last year in the Cozyegg universe was to start a video podcast!  So far I’ve recorded ten episodes and I am absolutely loving this new venture.  You can tune in via YouTube or right here on the blog.  I am working on getting my feed over to iTunes as well.  If you’re not familiar with podcasts (they are more prevalent in the knitting community than in the stitching or quilting community, I think), it’s basically a video blog post where I talk about what I’ve finished, what I’m working on, what I’m reading, any new stash enhancements, etc.  I talk about stitching, quilting, and knitting. You can watch the first episode here.

In stitching, I finished several things.  Early in the year, I stitched two of these little Faith ornaments that I turned into book weights.  One was for me, and one for a friend.  I made some color changes and used threads that I had on hand.

Eric and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary in April, which is the willow anniversary.  I wanted to stitch something for him and decided to stitch a block from Village of Hawk Run Hollow that had willow trees in it.  I personalized it with our wedding date.  Unfortunately, I haven’t taken proper photos of this one yet, so you get a screen capture from Episode 4.  I love how it turned out.

The biggest finish, though, was five years in the making.  I can still hardly believe it’s done.  This piece will definitely be getting its own blog post, but here’s a sneak peek… And They Sinned.  So, more to come on this one for sure, with details of the changes I made and the personalizations I did.

ATS

And then towards the end of the year I stitched a couple of gifts (photos to come in a later post) and some exchange ornaments for both guild holiday parties (you can see my ornaments here and here).

On the quilting front, my big finish was way back at the beginning of the year.  I decided to get moving on finishing off some of these old quilt WIPs that had been lingering around forever.  So, I started with the oldest one – my very first quilt from 2002.

If you’d like to see more of the quilt or read more about it, you can find that blog post here.  It was hugely satisfying to finally have this one quilted and bound.

I made several bags in 2015 too, starting off with a tote for a gift that featured the Hazel the Hedgehog pattern on both sides.

And it was so stinking cute I decided I needed a hedgehog too.  So, I made a mini quilt to keep.  Of course I mixed it up a little bit by giving my hedgehog a little bit of a punk look.  (Neither of these photos is really great, unfortunately but you can get a better look in Episode 2.)

I attended a few “in town retreats” over the year that were very helpful in getting a good bit of sewing done.  I started and finished this Tula Pink quilt top that I’d been drooling over since seeing a model made up at the Dallas quilt show a couple of years ago.  Please pardon those two black spots in the middle of it.  Seriously, you lay a quilt top down in my house and this is what happens.  I’m going to send this one out for custom quilting.

Tula Squirrels

Next up, I finished another old quilt top that is made entirely of novelty cat fabric.  I know, it’s so bad it’s good.  It felt good to check another one off my list.  I want to back this with some Lizzy House Catnap fabric or perhaps some Sarah Watts Cat Lady fabric, just to attempt to make it a little more awesome and a little less awesomely horrible.  Photos to come on this one (maybe).

Cat quilt

In November, I attended Glamp Stitchalot hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics and got to learn techniques from Katy Jones, Tula Pink, Violet Craft, Jeni Baker, Alison Glass, and Sarah Fielke.  I talked about my experience in Episode 10, but will also be doing a blog post soon.     Glamp Stitchalot

And finally, I finished yet another quilt top over Thanksgiving.  This was a BOM from like 2004ish called Pansy Park by Thimbleberries.  I worked on this over two weekends at the in town sewing retreat and when I took the photo below in November, all it was lacking was one side of the burgundy inner border and then the big leaf print borders on all four sides.  And then voila, it was done!  And it is huge, so I’ll have to find somewhere to take a photo of this beast so I can share.

Pansy Park WIP

And finally, I took up knitting last year.  I went to DFW Fiber Fest in the spring and I had set myself a goal of relearning to knit before I went, which I accomplished.  I posted about my knitting journey here.  And after knitting a few dishcloths and a garter stitch scarf, I jumped into the deep end of the pool and decided to knit my first shawl, the Weigh It Shawl #1 by Susan B. Anderson.  I will most definitely be doing a whole post on this project, but I couldn’t resist sharing it here.  It’s knit with Miss Babs Yowza in the Zombie Prom colorway and I love it.  I was determined to get it done in 2015 and I finished it on December 31st – whew!

Shawl

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little recap of my 2015 creating and explained what craziness happened with my blog feed so that you can get all caught up on those posts you may have missed.  I will be posting on a more regular basis in 2016 and will definitely be continuing the podcast too.  I hope that 2016 is treating you right so far and that you are enjoying your projects.  I’ll be back soon to share my plans for the new year and what I’m working on.  Have a great week!

I am grateful for my first shawl!

Sleepless

 

Dorothy's Garden 040311

This entire post is covered under the following disclaimer: Please view photos at your own risk. Michelle cannot be held responsible for the craptastic quality of her photos in this post. Exhibit A (above) was taken with a point and shoot early in the morning without the help of sunlight and/or being able to actually see clearly. Exhibits B and C (below) are photos that were taken previously and reused for the purpose of not wanting to post with only one craptastic photo. Exhibit C particularly shows the misuse of a flash. Please excuse the effontery and carry on.

Lately my stitching/crafting/existence has been taken over by a general level of anxiety. I find myself worrying constantly about “what ifs”. Unfortunately, it does keep me up at night. Not that I’m ever well-rested, but lately it’s been worse. These minor anxieties could possibly be linked to the fact that when worrying about something huge, I tend to deflect it by concentrating on little things.

So…Dorothy. Dorothy has not been playing nice lately. You may remember my last post in which I showed off her pretty butterfly and little border flowers and how lovely they were over one? Well. The day after that post, I suddenly became very concerned that I might actually run out of fabric on this piece. My old LNS (no longer in business) was notorious for mis-cutting fabric. And although I started in the middle of the sampler, once I got that corner of the border in, I realized I had about four inches on the top. Which concerned me, that I might run out at the bottom. Not good. I decided I would work on that border and make sure I had enough fabric, before I went any further. So I stitched on down to where that basket of flowers is and then realized I was off by two stitches. After much recounting and gnashing of teeth I discovered the problem was in the vine by the third little border flower. So, I spent a couple of nights ripping out OVER ONE including my sweet little flower. I started putting my green vine back in and got down a ways, only to discover I’d made yet another mistake. Holy Cannoli, can I not get this right? I eventually was able to fix it and move on and as you can see, I’ve made it to the bottom. I can now breathe a sigh of relief that Dorothy actually does fit on the fabric. But OMG I have so much extra fabric on the sides. What were those people thinking? But I’d rather have too much than not enough. Anyway, I was hoping to get all the way around last night, but I still lack a bit. I’ll feel better once I know my ends meet.

But I haven’t been stitching a whole lot over the past couple of weeks, so it’s all slow going. Some nights I only get about 10 stitches in. Some nights it’s not even that. But, since we’re on the topic of minor freak outs, I thought I should share another one I had last week. You may remember a couple of years ago, this quilt kit was a Christmas gift to myself. It’s been sitting in my closet in it’s pretty little bundle since then. Suddenly the other night (while in bed, trying to sleep), it occurred to me that I don’t know if I received the pattern for this quilt. What am I gonna do, if I have this expensive kit and no pattern? So, I tossed and turned and worried about it all night. First thing the next morning, I marched downstairs and took the kit apart and thankfully, the pattern was slipped between the folds of the fabric. Whew! Although I am now wishing I’d bought backing fabric for this quilt at the same time because I don’t think this fabric line is available any more. Drat.

Winter Trees Quilt Kit

This is lesson #5968 of why you should check your order when you receive it. And it did make me really start thinking about having so much stuff on hand that it could be years before I ever get to it. I’ve cut way back on the amount of stuff (including stash) that I buy and as you know I’ve also been focusing on finishing my WIPs in an effort to even get to some of the new stuff that’s never been touched. I love being able to walk into my craft room and grab something new to start at a moment’s notice. But, I can’t help feeling that the more “stuff” I have the more it weighs on me. I’m really trying to pare down what I have and not buy more (there’s always my for sale blog you can check out too, if you’re interested. See the sidebar for the link). So, that’s where I am, and what’s keeping me up at night. And even though I apparently should have put a disclaimer on this post that I was going to be wordy and annoying, I have just one more thing to share. I had hoped to do some sewing this weekend, but that never did materialize. But, I’m so pleased with having finished my Indulgence quilt as well as my Shepherd’s Bush wall hanging, it’s time to pull out another quilting WIP. This is a Batiks BOM that I started back in 2007. Yes, that’s right, 2007. My LQS charged $3 for each block. So each month I picked up my new block and for awhile I kept on track with it. You can see I have six blocks done.

There are six more blocks to be cut and assembled, and then I have 12 setting blocks to make. I’ll need fabric for those though. But I loved the opportunity to get to work with batiks, so I’m anxious to get back to working on these. Maybe next weekend?

I am grateful for a layover in Dallas.

Turning

Applique Class Piece 050110

Stitching is non-existent right now, unfortunately. In fact, reading (other than my trusty CAPM/PMP Exam Guide) is non-existent right now too. But, occasionally there is a little mini vacation in the middle of this long boat ride through the river Styx. A while back, I signed up to take a needleturn applique class with a very good friend of mine, anticipating that it would be a great way to celebrate being done with school. (Ok the fact that I am still not done with school makes that entire sentence right there suck.) But, nonetheless we spent Saturday at our applique class as scheduled.

Back in 2002 when I took my beginning quilting class, I was taught to applique via the freezer paper method, not needleturn. So, needleturn has been one of those things I’ve been promising myself I would learn. So, when the class was suggested, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a day with my friend learning a new technique. Our class was good, and I think I got the hang of it after a little while. Our class piece was learning to applique a heart onto some background fabric. I didn’t get a whole lot done in class.

But, I came home Saturday night and went right back to work on it. I was able to finish it up that night and viola, I have a slightly asymetrical appliqued heart. Not bad for a first try, I think.

Applique Class Piece 050210

Our class piece is basically just the heart appliqued on our background fabric and then borders out of that black sunflower fabric will be sewn on later. I should have enough of the fabric for backing too.

I was feeling so confident of my newly acquired skillz that I decided to pull out a long-lost applique project. You may remember?

IMG_3456

I had begun collecting fabrics a while back to do the Bunny Hill “A Tisket A Tasket” blocks.

I had cut out freezer paper templates for my applique pieces even in preparation. But, after attempting to teach myself needleturn applique and attempting to sew down that basket base three times, I gave up.

But on Sunday night, I thought I’d give it another shot.

ATAT 050210

I managed to get my basket completely appliqued (sorry no photo), but I appliqued it perfectly crooked on my background fabric. So, I’m thinking I may detach it one last time and try again with a little tip from my quilting angels.

But, I’m happy with what I learned in class and I can’t wait to work on my basket some more. Of course, it may be awhile before that happens, but it will give me something to look forward to.

Do you think it’s too soon to start planning on making this basket quilt?

I am grateful for a lovely spring day sewing with a wonderful friend for company. (And the Mexican food was good too!)