Thursday, January 31, 2008

Laugh Out Loud Funny

Another stunningly funny bit from Jonco at Bits & Pieces. Go to google and put in the search box 'find chuck norris'. Click on the 'I Feel Lucky Box'. Be prepared to laugh out loud more than once as you read all the stuff on the screen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In the Mail

Received: Monday I got an unusual package in the mail. What would you think if this envelope was in your mailbox?
At first I thought it was something from a steward I met on a cruise. I had made her a large Charlotte Angotti style quilt about 3 years ago and sent it to her for her wedding n Roumania. Maybe a late acknowledgement? Imagine my surprise when I opened it and out popped this gorgeous creation:
It turns out it was from the person sending to me for the Winter installment of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. There is incredible machine and handwork, many different fabrics and the composition is wonderful. The whole thing is only about 12" x 18" so I can hang it just about anywhere here. This swap, so far, has turned out incredibly well for me. My first quilt was from Great Britain and included many traditional quilt details. This one is completly contemporary. I love them both. I wonder what the spring entry will be?

Sent: Today I sent out my contribution to the same swap. It is a real departure for me it that it has many fussy bits is only 17" at its widest. I incorporated techniques from the Carol Taylor class and based it all on this pattern from Canada. I called it "All ends have a beginning." because I kept messing up the positioning of the triangles. I hope the person I am sending to in Indiana likes it. I see it sitting on a beautiful wooden hall or coffee table...not mine, someone else's that is clean and pristine and not burined under magazines, books, paper work or videos.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Three Little Projects

As mentioned yesterday I showed the ASG retreat group three projects that are fun and easy. Here is the back story on each:

Five Fat Quarter Grocery Bag - If you go to and search on singlet you will get fully illustrated construction instructions. My intial attempts are posted here. The differences between those instructions and mine are:
  • I use a fat quarter for each outside and inside piece.
  • the fifth fat quarter is divided into four pieces and each is added to the 18" side of the other fat quarters to give extra length.
  • I use the scraps to make the pocket.

Overall Apron - This inspiration was in the January/February 2008 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors however you can probably figure it out from the last photo in this post.

Japanese Market Bag - This was taught at the Quilt Festival in Houston by Nancy Hinds during Bag Lady Day. I outlined the construction steps in this post.

Try one, you'll like it

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sewing Retreat 2008

The ASG Houston Chapter had its annual retreat this weekend. Instead of a time of quiet reflection on the meaning of life, 25 women spent the weekend laughing, sewing, eating, sharing and, in general, having a great time. I do not know of any other group with the diversity displayed this weekend. All types were represented - rich and poor, tall and short. young and old, brilliant and dull, conservative and liberal, and all shades in between each of these extremes.

There was a woman who spent most of the weekend assembling incredibly complex kalidescope type quilt tops. Another spent the weekend constructing her spring wardrobe. And then there was one woman who made a huge number of anti-ouch pouches for those recovering from breast cancer surgery ... which is the ASG community service project for the annual conference in July. I even had a chance to share with the group three fun projects - the five fat quater grocery bag, the Japanese market bag and the overall apron.

Through it all there was a lot of sharing of sewing knowledge, numerous efforts to create origami style jackets and so much laughter that, at one point, my sides were hurting. I was especially moved by the number of women asking about my Dad's health. Although some of us see each other regularly, one of the attendees only comes to the retreat and I would miss her if she didn't show up. We even had someone attend who had been an ASG member for only two weeks and I am looking forward to seeng the jacket she was working on all weekend finished. A highlight of the weekend was a huge donation of fabric from a member who used to be a costumer for a small renaissance festival. Needless to say I came home with a few yards of fabric that will be featured in up-coming projects without, I hope, becoming UFOs.

I have participated in similar actvities for other groups but none of them compare to this retreat with a group of sewers. Yes, we have different levels of expertise, different skills, different projects, different backgrounds and different outlooks on life but it seems to me that we are the most most united in our committment to supporting each other, sharing our knowledge and giving back to the community. I couldn't have asked for more from this experience and I hope you get the opportunity to experience this type of comraderie at least once in your life.

There were a couple of sour notes amongst all of this fun and games... I did not get either of the quilts quilted and I came home with almost no voice! I didn't get the quilts quilted because I stupidly brought the wrong feet for the sewing machine I brought with me. I lost my voice to a middle of the night coughing session from some allergan. Despite these set backs I had a great time and look forward to next year's retreat.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Moving right along...

I am moving along with the quilts for the daughters of a friend of my father's in Canada. I took the extra five blocks that I had and made two pillow covers - Four of the blocks were joined into a 22" square pillow cover and the final square was beefed up with some border fabrics and made into a fat bolster pillow.
I think they look pretty good but I am beginning to think I made an error. By making them such odd sizes I cannot give them away without the bulky-to-mail pillow forms. It seems like Indian giving to give away just the pillow covers which would force their mom to go find the correct pillow forms. I think I will need to take them with me during my next northern trek in a suitcase devoted to them and the quilts.

I have also finished each top and began to pin baste them prior to quilting them this weekend. I have packed them up to go with me or I would have taken a photo or two so you can see how I handled the borders. You'll just have to wait until I get them done.


My son's girlfriend's cousin had a little boy last year and I thought I would make him a little sweater and hat set. He is now about four months old and I just finished a new born sized sweater and hat. He is now too big for them so I will either pack them away for another baby, save them for a grandbaby (NOT A HINT) or give them away to a local project that provides clothing for the babies of indigent mothers.
The yarn is called Snuggly Bubbly and the patten came from the book '101 Designer One Skein Wonders'. I used more than one skein as there wasn't enough yardage on one skein to complete the project but as I had purchsed six skeins, I have a ton left over. Now that I have completed a conventional pattern for a baby sweater I think I can attempt one with other yarns in the stash with different textures and have them be successful.

CPS Overall Apron

Cloth, Paper, Scissors (CPS) magazine has a project in the January/February issue by Laura Ryan for making a name tag apron from a pair of overalls. It seemed like a neat idea so while I was out and about today I stopped by a thrift store and picked up a pair of overalls on sale for $3.50. With such a modest investment I was not leary about trying this project. If it didn't work out I could toss the evidence and no-one would be the wiser. Here's what I came up with:
The original project apron is decorated with a ton of bleached and painted decorations and lots of names. I have not gone that far (yet!) but will probably attempt that once is gets a little warmer here for working outdoors with stinky chemicals. At a neighborhood group meeting today one of the attendees mentioned that men like barbecue aprons that tie in the front, have pockets for their beer and cigars, don't have cutsey sayings and have a loop to hold a kitchen towel for wiping up spills and carrying hot dishes. With longer ties, I think this apron meets all those criteria. Check out CPS if this project intrigues you and you would like a quick and interesting apron project.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


My current Work In Progress (WIP) comes from a class taught by Charlotte Angotti at the Houston Quilt Festival in 2002. I attended the class and made the basic quilt that was called Moon River for my mother that Christmas. The class was called 'Let Me Surprise You'. Charlotte gave us bags of little peices of fabric to assemble in a specific order. You don't know what the quilt will look like until the afternoon of the full day class.

Fast forward a few years and I am at an American Sewing Guild Retreat. I am talking to some poeple about the Charlotte class and how much I loved the final quilt. Lo and behold another woman attended a different session of that class and still had the whole quilt kit and some additional yardage... and she offered to sell it to me. I purchased her kit for a very reasonable price and went home and started to work on it. I think I spent at least 2 or 3 hours sorting the bits and pieces and actually put together two of the 30 blocks required. I put it away as another priority came up and it has sat in a very nice plastic container since then.

In my sorting and cleaning I came across the container, opened it and realised that I still loved the final quilt. In fact, it is now on my Dad's hospital bed while he is in rehab. I had promised him I would make two small quilts for the young daughters of one of his friends. The quilt kit and the promise came together and I started up again to put the quilt together as two smaller quilts.
I finished all 30 blocks the other night and here's what the pile looks like before I have squared up the blocks to the right size:
I added sashing strips to border each block and then assembled them into two similar but different quilt tops - one rectangular and one square:

The square one will have 4 of the original blocks as part of the borders. That will leave me about five blocks that I will try to incorporate into pillow cases for the girls. I have a lot of work left on these quilts as I am now making it up as I go along. I will be at another retreat this coming weekend and I should have time to get them quilted then if not completely finished.

Since I didn't start the sewing (the original owner did complete some of the work in her class) I wonder if I can count this in my UFO challenge? If I can count it, can I count it as two projects or just one as originally planned? Maybe its only a half as the original owner did do a lot of work? I guess I'll just have to figure this out when I am finished.

The Artist Survival Kit

Craft Magazine has a daily e-mail of interesting things they see on the Web. One that caught my eye is the Artist Survival kit from Keri Smith. Essentially it is five pages including ideas to keep the creative juices moving, motivation to keep creating and (my Favorite) the "I Quit" card. For all you creative types out there there is stuff in here that will help you from redesigning a room to writing the next great novel. For the rest of us, these pages make us smile and that is a good thing for all of us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dogs... and cats

Those of you with animals in the house (four legged not two legged) will enjoy this from Bits and Pieces. Thanks Jonco!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The dogs have accepted a new place to park when I am busy sewing or sorting upstairs. They are still not completely sure that they like not being under my feet but from the comfy rocking chair they can see me wherever I am in the sewing area. Heck, they can even nap on me when I am knitting in this chair without any of us being uncomfortable. Check them out:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One night project

The other night I decided to dig into the Craft Leftovers December project - fingerless mittens. I am getting the monthly project mailings from Kristen as a thank you for sending her a spare sewing machine I had when her original sewng machine bit the dust. It was a very easy project. She sent exactly the right amount of a wonderful black wool in the kit as I only had about 3 or 4 yards left over. I really don't get the need for fingerless mittens but if you do, this is a great project. If you go to her Etsy shop you can see her other kits as I believe this one is sold out. She also sells hand dyed yarn in some yummy colors here. Here is how one of these mittens turned out:
It took only one night of TV movie watching to get them done as all you are doing is knitting a rectangle with exactly one increase in the whole thing. You seam it up with single crochets but I bet a regular whip stitch with the yarn would be just as effective.

I wonder how small they would get if I felted them? Hmmmm.

Knitting Bag UFO#6

I have decided that I can start using the sewing machine again even if everything has not found a place from the great HVAC hose out of the sewing space. The project I used to re-intiate sewing was a project I started back when the Yarn Harlot was here. At her presentation I won a door prize from Louet knitting yarns. The door prize was a kit to knit, felt, embellish and stuff a 14" square pillow. The kit uses the intarsia method of knitting to make a pattern in the work. I did have a lot of trouble with all the yarn getting knotted up due to my inability to create usable yarn bobbins.

I do not need any more pillows around here for Alex to destroy so I decided to make it into a knitting bag. I used an annoying belt from a pair of shorts as the strap and some white nlylon as a lining. I used the white for lining as I have learned the hard way that a dark lining fabric makes it almost impossible to see things in the bottom of a deep tote bag. Between the lining and the outside of the bag I added a few dried lavender flower heads. This may be unique to me but I like the idea of the possibility of a nice, long lasting scent in a bag. Real lavender lasts for centuries (unlike most perfumes) but only releases its scent a bit at time. I know my bag, and its contents, will smell fresh for a very long time. Here's how it came out:
The french knots and visible stitches are from linen yarn that was included in the kit. This project felted so thickly that I did not embellish as much as shown in the original project because my fingers were getting sore. I also had a couple problems on the seams which didn't show up until I felted the bag.

BTW - Louet made a great kit. There were than enough materials to complete the project with lots available in case I messed up. The instructions and the intarsia chart were clear but I did have to go to the net for help with the intarsia. The picture of the final project could have been better as it only showed one corner of the proposed pillow. I saw the full price for this kit, which I thought was excessive, but on sale at 30 - 50% off, it would be a good buy and a satisfying knitting project.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Scarf UFO#5

While I am not sewing and avoiding cleaning up from the HVAC project, I picked up my knitting needles and finished the scarf I started before I went to Canada a few months ago. I talked about the great texture here with that super simple basket weave pattern. Here's how it turned out:
For some reason even though I used identical amounts of yarn, between the navy and the pink, I ended up with much less pink than navy for the fringe. Maybe Alex snatched some of the pink and hid it away.

Other knitting news - I was given some fake mohair like yarn yesterday in some wonderful colors. I wanted to try knitting with it in a lace patten. Using the book 101 Designer One Skein Wonders, I tried for the Lacey Cowl. I, obviously, am not competent enough to work with this stuff yet as I kept loosing track of what was the base yarn and what was just concentrated fuzz. After six different attempts at casting on and about four rows of knitting this is the mess I produced.
It was supposed to be knitted in the round but I just couldn't get it join without twisting the cast on row. Guess I will just have to practice some more before attempting this again OR I could always combine it with other yarns for another weird scarf.
BTW, Alex and the girls were at Paul's for the past week or so while workmen were here and then for a few days as R&R, for them and me. Anyway, they are back now and can't figure out what's going on with the new sewing space. I think Alex is trying to tell me something here with his skepical look at the comfy rocking chair. If there was a thought balloon above his head I think it would say 'She wants me to sit where?.'

Friday, January 11, 2008


I saw this on the Pickle Road Studio Yahoo Group message board and know that many of you will enjoy this:

You find out interesting things when you have sons, like ........
1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2,000 sq. ft. house to 4 inches deep.
2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3. A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.
5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6. The glass in windows (even double-paned) does not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words 'uh oh', it's already too late.
8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9. A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.
10. Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4- year old Boy.
11. Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12. Super glue is forever.
13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.
14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15. VCR's do not eject 'PB & J' sandwich es even though TV commercials show they do.
16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
21. It will, however, make cats dizzy.
22. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
23. 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

...and at least one woman wants to try the hair spray on dust bunnies experiment.

Ready to Sew...Almost

As I said earlier this week, I had to clear out a whole stack of sewing stuff so that my new furnace and A/C could be installed. While putting things back together I have made a couple of changes in my sewing space. Here's a new picture:
I removed the Tensor lamp and an end table that was becoming a major clutter zone. I added a small set of drawers, a quilt themed lamp, a bunch of floor pillows and a comfy rocking chair, fortunately, all from my furniture stash. The drawers now hold my beading stuff, tons of trims and ribbons and material on how to make things fit. The pillows are primarily for the dogs who always want to be close to me when I am sewing. The comfy chair is for me when I knit as the arms are just the right height. I think the dogs will use the chair as well when I get rid of the ratty sofa they seem intent on making into a battle zone when people walk by on the street below the window that is over the sofa.

I am now contemplating painting the walls with something bright (maybe orange for creativity) and replacing the carpet with a solid surface... both of which will have to wait until I recover from the cost of the HVAC project. I could start sewing more UFOs tonight but there are too many bits and pieces that still need to find a home. I am going to try to work on this decluttering and reorganizing for another couple of days before things return to normal around here. After all , the sewing machine dust covered is still buried on the guest room bed.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finny and Donk's Sewing Adventure

Do you remember the 'Funeral Purse' ? The people who organized the In-Stitches sew-a-long have decided to continue sewing along in 2008 with a different book. The book for this year (or maybe less) is Simple Gifts to Sew by Jocelyn Worrall. Its a great little book with 30 simple but textural projects. The first project the group will be working on is a buttoned furry scarf and it is due by the end of February. Since I have the book I will probably play along but I just can't see me using a furry scarf. Maybe Alex and the girls would each like one? If you would like to see what others are doing or join in on the action see the Flickr pool at here. Finny and Donk are incredibly creative. Donk aka Kelli has a recent tutorial on her web site for making jewellry rolls that you might like to check out. Finny writes just like a friend of mine from Brooklyn sounds - if that makes sense to you.

BTW - did you see that I finally figured out how to embed links to other sites in my posts. Its taken me almost nine months to figure this out so I want hear lots of gasps of amazsement over my new found tech abilities. Can you see me doing a happy dance?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I've been tagged!

Tagging feels like a right of passage in the blogging world. If you have never been tagged then you just haven't made it. Well, I got tagged the other day by Jon over at Bits n Pieces. but I still don't think I made it LOL.

Here are the rules:Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a notification on their blog.

Well, here are seven random facts about me:

1. I have a lump on my head from some sort of childhood injury. I used to call it my tumor just to get my mother mad.

2. I have rotten, crooked teeth. While growing up, Flouride was not allowed in the town water as the local pharmacist said it would give us all brain tumors (seems like a theme). On top of that, my parents did not see any reason for us to see a dentist regularly so I never saw one from the age of 6 to the age of 12.

3. I have always wanted a pick-up truck and a Miata in my driveway. I used to have a pick-up truck but no Miata .. although a 77 year-old friend of mine just bought one.

4. My son is adopted from Korea and, from the day we decided to initiate the paperwork, it took nine months for him to arrive.

5. I was born on a cold, frosty morning in June.

6. I went to boarding school at convents from sixth grade until I went to university.

7. I met my (now ex) husband at a sit-in.

Now to find seven others to get tagged...
Lisa at Mamalife which is a great blog by a mom who had a child later in life and does great entries on food, child happiness and the state of the world.
Kristen at Craft Leftovers who blogs every week with a new project from a 50 year-old in a 24 year-old's body.
June at Junie Moon who is the most productive person I have ever seen who also gives the nicest compliments to others with completed projects.
Patricia at A Little Hut who is another Kingwood resident and a fabulously creative paper recycler.
David at Antarctic Diary which just facinates me every time I check on what he has been dong and the fabulous pictures of the Antarctic fauna. I even have a friend in Canada who calls me just to make sure I have seen his latest post.
and, last, but not least, Bristolcare at Critter Keeper who entertains me mightily with the tales about all her critters including the ignoble Princess, the greyhound who chews everything.

No Sewing... rats!

I live in a two story house and, like many homes in the south, most of my AC and furnace stuff is in the attic. In my case, it is in the attic over the garage. As I had all that stuff replaced on Monday and Tuesday I had to make sure that there was easy access to that space. Unfortunately my sewing machine and a ton of related stuff was in front of the door leading to the over garage attic. I had to move it all out of there and onto the guest room bed. I won't show you what the bed looks like, don't want to cause any coronary events! BUT here is a picture of my space without all the stuff:

When I get it all put back together, with a couple of changes, I will post another photo. And before you ask, I do have two lamps on most of the time - one is an OTT light which is great for matching colors and the other is a tensor lamp for general lighting. There is a sky light and an east facing window so there is pretty good natural light during the day but, since I hate ceiling lights in the evening, the lamps are a necessity.

Eye candy is important to me. The art is a Bob Conge print of James Joyce (a garage sale find), some Matise prints from an Abrams art book and the 1943 presentation print from the Rochester Art League called Winter Sun (off to the right of the photo). I also have a buletin board up, crammed with bits and pieces. I recently removed the bulletin board so I could remove some of the older layers. I was having trouble getting the push pins through all the detrius left over from when I was using the space as my work-at-home office!

Although I call it my sewing room my kid called it a studio the other day. Gave my heart a little flutter to think that I had a studio as that is a place where real artists work. Sometimes I think it should be called the sweat shop with my recent obsession to get things finished.

Anyway, I will not be machine sewing for a bit until I get it all back together. I hope it won't take too long.

Hope your week is going well!

In The Mail

I ran across a swap a couple of weeks ago that intrigued me. It was on the Just Be Connected blog and it is called the 'Re-Gift Swap'. The object was to gather things that your partner would like based on their interests then to go shopping at home for items that chase away the winter doldrums. This was a blind swap in that I did not know who was sending to me, only to whom I was sending. My first try at putting together a package for Anna in San Antonio was just too heavy to mail. She is a beginning quilter and I have tons of stuff (duh!) that I have been given or that I have purchased for quilting but no longer use. I ended up sending her three books including the Idiots' Guide to Quilting. I also sent her a bobbin saver, a couple of pairs of silver earrings (I can't wear silver), a bunch of quilt labels, and a big brass thing to hold it all. I put it all into a Quilt Festival tote. For the price of postage I got to reduce the clutter by a tiny bit and, I hope, made someone's day.

My day was made yesterday when I received my Re-Gift Swap Package. The package included fat quarters, a quilt book, darling note cards and a lovely pin. My sender is a very talented water colorist and the cards are printed from her work. Even the interiors of the cards are completely decorated. The pin is an original watercolor and proceeds from the sale of the pins are donated to a charity that digs wells for clean water in the third world. Here's what the package looked like:
The website for the cards is: - I don't see how to order the cards on this site but I am sure that if you comment to her the two of you could work it out.

Jacquelynne's blog is at: where she has the water color pins and a new wool pin. The proceeds of the wool pins are donated to a charity that buys sheep for third world individuals.
Although my style is not so overtly country as my package seemed I was still thrilled to get it and I already have plans for using the fabric in a crazy quilt style bag for the Kingwood Quilt Guild sale.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tot Pack UFO#4

One the projects that has been sitting around here is a pattern and fabric for a back pack for a little girl done in pink camo fabric. I saw this at a shop near here called the Quilt Room in Huffman, Texas. This a cute little shop with a nice sized classroom that caters to a very wide audience... from the traditional quilter of calicos to those looking for more arty work. When I saw the kit I just couldn't resist it. It is sized for children between 1 and 4 years old. Although I don't know any little girls in that age range who would enjoy a pink camo backpack I'm sure I'll find one sooner or later.

Note to Paul: this is not a hint that I need a grand-daughter anytime soon.

Last year I fused the pink camo fabric to a solid pink so that the fabric would be substantial enough for the eventual wear and tear this type of carrier would get. Then it just sat around and got buried under other work. I found it the other day while looking for some wool and realised I could finish this off while clearing out the TIVO. Here it is in all its glory, wrinkles and all.
This was designed by Connie Jubitz and is offered on-line by the website at . It comes with applique designs for a child's name and you can use buttons or velcro (my choice) as a closure. This is probably not my best sewing but now that I have made one I think I will be making more if I can find some little kids with funky tastes.

Hot Cocoa Swap

I have just been accepted into a new swap.... The Hot Cocoa Swap. I must have been a little crazy to join as I am not a big time knitter but I do love hot cocoa! This swap has a lot of requirements and one is to post things to my blog at least once a week. One of the postings has to be the answers to a questionaire so here goes -

Cocoa: I like my cocoa in a thick mug with marshmallows, made with (at least) half and half in a double boiler on the stove. I love making it from scratch but have been known to put some Nestle’s Quick and milk in a mug and zap it in the microwave.


1. What is your favorite type of yarn? Everything but fuzzy yarns and lace weights. I haven't found a color I really don't like.
2. Do you knit or crochet (or both)? Both – I started as a crocheter and taught myself to knt.
3. What are your favorite type of needles, would you like to try something new? Again, I like them all as I tend to use whatever I have on hand. As I have my mother’s and grandmother’s sticks I have a lot of double pointed needles of bamboo, meal and plastic. The last one’s I bought were bamboo circulars in a large size and they are currently my favorites. I’ll try anything and have found that the yarn really dictates which sticks are best for a project.
4. Do you have a healthy supply of notions? I do have a healthy supply but I am always looking for stuff that others recommend.
5. What one thing do you keep thinking you need to buy for your knitting habit (outside of yarn)? I need to buy more books. I tend to have leaflets and reference materials but I need to get some of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books (as a for instance) so I can see whole range of work rather than just one or two patterns from a particular designer.
6. What is your favorite 'quick knit/crochet' pattern (quick gratification) Not a pattern per se but I do like to grab a ball or more of something, needles that might work and go to town on a scarf as a practice piece with an untried stitch pattern. Makes for a lot of frogging but eventually I get it.

1. What is your favorite thing to do in the Winter? Work on hand work projects with all the windows open dreaming of all the snow I am not shoveling.
2. What is your favorite animal? Dogs, even though I am incredibly allergic.
3. Do you get the 'winter blahs'? Absolutely - the lack of color in the landscape and the shorter days can send me into the doldrums.
4. What is your favorite way to beat the blahs? I try to banish the doldrums by taking an impromptu road trip to someplace I have never been before and shopping like a mad woman. The shock at being so selfish usually snaps me out of it in a day or two.

5. What is the thing you are most looking forward to this spring? The return of color.
6. What are your favorite treats? Treat, as in food, is the recipe I just rediscovered of my mother’s for Peanut Butter squares. YUM! Anything with peanut butter is wonderful. Treat as in activity, would be a couple of hours with like minded individuals talking about the craft that we love.
7. What is your favorite board game? I love board games especially Scrabble, I am lousy at them but love the camaraderie while playing.
8. Do you have any children (furry or human)? I have one grown son and one Dachshund. I also have my son’s two Dachshunds here most of the time as I have a big yard and a doggy door to amuse them while my son lives in a town house with a tiny yard.
9. Do you have any allergies or special considerations you partner should know about? I am allergic to wool but have found that as long as it is not too rough or too fuzzy I can tolerate working with and wearing it.

Friday, January 4, 2008

In the Mail

As you may know, I like pariticpating in swaps where strangers exchange stuff based on some criteria. If the swap includes purchasing stuff then there is usually a minimum and/or maximum that can be spent. In other cases a specific type of object is to be exchanged (for example doll sized quilts) and the participants may or may not add other little goodies to the package. What this activity means is that the mail can hold a lot of surprises, some good, some excellent and some not so good.

Recently I participated in another kind of exchange.. instead of a swap it was a trade. The participants in that one were paired up with others of like mind and negotiated a specific item to exchange. It was organized through LeahPeah's Trade a Craft (link to the right) for Christmas. I was paired with two other individuals and they each selected to receive one of my fancy little purses. Leah herself was one of my partners and I selected one of her funky aprons for the trade. It looks like a little French maid's apron and turns into a pioneer type bonnet.

Here it is as an apron:
Here it as a bonnet:
(Paul makes such a good, but reluctant, model!)

I love this! The purple fabric is really neat and the apron, though small, works great for me when I cook and stops me from rubbing my hands on my jeans. I doubt I will ever wear it as a bonnet but, as Leah said, its fun just to know I could.

The other trade, so far, has been one sided. I sent off a purse to my other partner. She ackowledged receiving it but has been MIA since then. I hope its because life has intervened rather than her being a creep. If I ever find out I'll let you know.

BTW - there is a site that gathers a lot of swaps into one spot. If you would like to check out other opportunities try Swap Dex at (I really must learn how to neatly imbed links into my posts!)
Have a great weekend! I intend to participate in a sewing group tomorrow where people get together and actually bring their machines to sew up a storm as well as help each other fit patterns and solve construction issues. AND they do this for four hours at a time twice a month. Pretty cool!

Sewing Related Sickness

You may notice that either I am either staying up late or getting up early... actually a little of both. I had a long nap after the heat came back on so I wasn't really ready to sleep tonight... and besides "Gone with the Wind' is on so Internet cruising was a valid TV time option. While cruising I went to the Cafe Press site and found a couple of T-Shirt designs that really hit my funny bone. One said 'Fabric Slut', another 'Think of it as a power tool that sews' and, the one that made me laugh out loud, 'I sent my kid to college so I could use his room to store fabric'.

You can see more at

Thursday, January 3, 2008

48 Hours

As of this morning we are 48 hours into the new year and what a wild ride it has been. It ended with my furnace conking out just when the morning temperatures were in the 20's... that's Fahrenheit to those of you outside of the states. It was darn cold and, until then, I was pretty proud of knocking off a couple of more UFOs.

First off I got both of the quilts quilted I had been given to quilt for the Quilt Teal, ovarian cancer, project. One of the quilts looks like a standard sample of 12 blocks and I stitched along the lines to hold everything together. Pretty simple quilting but a bear at the intersections where wrinkles kept getting in the way. The other was a much more experimental quilt sampler with hand and machine appliqued blocks along with some others that you need an odd color sense to appreciate. The second quilt I free motion quilted making little designs in each block and stipple quilting the sashing with hearts and loops. This was much easier when it came to wrinkles and went relativlely quickly.

Both quilts were an incredible challenge as the person who basted them together used very few safety pins and some of those were closed so that the bulk of the safety pin was on the back side of the quilt. For quilts this size I use between 100 to 200 safety pins so that there is no chance of the layers shifting while quilting. I counted a total of 40 pins in total for both quilts. Yikes!

Here they are, packed up ready to go back to Sunflower Quilts. The next person in line can sew on the bindings prior to shipping them off for auctioning on Ebay with all proceeds going to ovarian cancer research.

I lied about the NYE mystery quilt. I did not get it done on New Year's Eve but late on New Year's Day. I will be taking it around to the various neighborhood groups so they can all have a good laugh at my quilting misadveture.

Which brings me to my only New Years resolution. I will finish up UnFinished Objects (UFOs) from pre-2008 work at the pace of at least 2 per month for 2008. At a maximum, I will not undertake any new projects this year as the new heating and air conditioning units I am having installed will be taking a lot of my spare cash for the foreseeable future! I really have some wonderful projects here that have not been moving along but I am sure I will be able to get a few new things started and completed in 2008. So let's start counting - one NYE mystery completed (a bit of cheat but true)and two quilts that needed quilting for a total of three so far. Not a bad beginning to a New Year!

I hope the first few days of 2008 have been kinder to you than they have been to me because baby, it's cold outside!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

I got through six UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in the final days of 2007 but that is enough for me to start 2008 with a new resolve to clear out those pesky projects that are in limbo. Heck, if I cleared t one or two every month I'll be able to see more surfaces in mysewing area... well, one can hope!

The NYE (New Year's Eve) mystery fiasco has ended for me. I took the bits and pieces that I had cut and/or sewed and made a little lap quilt/foot cozy/wall quilt. Its about 35" square, uses fusible batting as the filler and is stipple quilted in a random pattern. The binding is really just a bunch of litte bits folded over the edges and zig-zagged on with invisible thread. The funniest part about all this is that you cannot see anything of the design that was supposed to be the quilt. I dare you to find a heart block surrounded by an Irish Chain in the mess I have produced. Anyway, here is the quilt... still in progress for quilting and binding but it will be done before I go to bed tonight.

Best part about this whole exercise is that my younger brother called me just as I was coming to the conclusion that my quilt would not work and asked me to send it to him when I get it done. That sounds like a dare to me so he better be watching his mail box as this will definitely be coming to him in the next week or so. After all, I don't need another reminder of plans that have gone awry as I already have many examples!

PS - I have a photo of my dust cover class notes posted down in the original post.