Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hop Around Houston

Hop Around Houston is a shop hop around the vendor area of the International Quilt Festival.  It works just like a regular shop travel from specific shop to specific shop and purchase a little kit at each booth for a different quilt block using a standard set of fabrics.  Where I wrote shop substitute booth and you get the idea.  For several years I always  did the festival shop hop and I have completed a few of the quilts.  

Many years ago I did the shop hop, purchased a finishing kit from somebody, made all the blocks and quietly hid it away.

Yup, for some unknown reason I hid away a quilt top that was almost complete.

What was I thinking?

I have no idea what I was thinking but when it surfaced a couple of weeks ago, from a box of books to be discarded, I came across the pieces and decided to finish the year off with a completed UFO.

Yesterday I completed the quilt and here's what it looks like:

I like some of the blocks and others not so much...a danger with this kind of quilt making.  I had lost the instructions for the finishing kit so I finished it up on a wing and a prayer.  Some of the blocks did not exactly fit with the other blocks so I had to make some adjustments by adding additional borders and, in a couple of cases, I actually resewed the block to get it to the right size.

I like the size of about 68" x 88" as it is perfect for one human and two dachshunds cuddling on a lazy afternoon of mystery novel reading.  And, as Paul had absconded with a couple of quilts earlier this season, I needed to replenish my stock of cuddle quilts. 

Finishing off the year with a completed UFO is definitely a good thing.

Now on to working on my New Year's resolutions...or not!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just in Time...

for the frosty mornings that are coming our way.

Yes, there are not that many when you live in Houston but there are enough that you do need some warm things to wear when walking the dogs in the morning.

My idea this year was to just stack on all the little scarves and shawls I have made lately under my quilted barn coat.   Not especially attractive but I figured it would do the trick.

Then I saw this scarf that the mighty Janetta made for her daughter in Texas A & M colors.  Then she started one in a cream, pink and lime green variegated sock yarn and I was hooked. 

The pattern is on Ravelry by a Canadian designer, Jane Richmond and is extremely inexpensive to buy.

I, on the other hand, did not buy the pattern, just read Janetta's copy, and proceeded to make a successful Rae Scarf.

Here is it wrapped around a youngish live oak in the backyard:

And here it is draped across the fence:

It came out to approximately 50" long and 12" wide at the widest point.  It's made out of Knit Picks Stroll Yarn in the color Summer Blooms Tonal.  This yarn is great to work with, extra long yardage for the weight and washes and drys up beautifully in the machines.  I had one problem with the yarn. About two thirds of the way through the scarf there was a knotted join in the yarn.  Normally that would not be a problem but at some point when I was weaving in ends I undid the knot and the scarf started to unravel!.  I tied it all back together with many, many knots  and many, many  curses.  Unless you are looking for the error, you would not find it.

Bring on the cold weather, I'm ready for you...even if the dogs are not.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cheshire Cat Hand Warmer

While browsing the books at Jo-Ann's a couple of weeks ago I came across a book called 'Everything Alice'.  I picked it up, assuming it would be a book of patternless clothing (a la the Bog Coat), simple cooking (like donut pudding) and dachshund joy.

Imagine my surprise when I found it was a book based on Alice in Wonderland, a book I used to hate because of people calling me Alice In Wonderland when I was a child.

Hannah Read-Baldry and Christine Leech have created a book of over 50 projects to sew, glue, cut and bake in this delightful book subtitled 'The Wonderland Book of Makes and Bakes'.

To make it even better, the first project I saw when I cracked the cover was the Cheshire Cat Hand Warmer....the perfect project for someone who tries to get her dachshund companion to provide warming for her hands when the RA acts up.  Alex's butt may be the perfect size but he rarely will stay still long enough for any therapeutic effect.  A hand warmer is the perfect solution..

Here is the project as shown in the book:

Here is my simplified rendition:

Here is it being used by one achy hand:

Other projects I want to try are the Sugar and Spice Comfits, Lavender Cookies, Fabric covered Tea Pots and... well, just about everything!

For the Alice in Wonderland lovers out there and me.