"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping along.....

It is Leap Year and we have an extra day today. What better to do with that day that work on some projects?

This UFO challenge for 2012 has become very easy. So far I have completed 4 UFOs and have been adding more to my list. It is addictive to grab the next UFO and get busy with it.

I finished piecing this quilt top and am sandwiching it today. I have not decided yet if I want to machine quilt it. I have been wanting to do one again by machine to practice but I do love hand quilting. I figure by the time I have it sandwiched, I will be able to decide. As you see, Dagi has decided to model the quilt top for you...

My stitching UFO project of the cat samplers is moving along with DagiLuv. It is a fun design and coming along nicely.

What are you doing with your extra day today?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shoe mat: One day project tutorial

This past Wednesday, I went out for a day of shopping and lunch with quilting friends Bep and Mieke. We stopped into a couple of shops to look at what yarn they had.

For some time, I have had an idea of trying to make a shoe mat (no more wet shoes on my wood floor) for my hallway but needed really chunky yarn which I found that afternoon. I got started on Thursday afternoon and by that same evening, my mat was done. It was fun to have a quick project which gives you instant gratification.

You need very chunky yarn (I used 5 balls of 100g each) and a 15mm (I think that is size S) crochet hook. Chain enough to make the foundation of your mat as wide as you would like it. I chained 22. Then chain 2 extra which is your first single crochet. Now crochet in each chain for a total of 22 single crochet. Chain 2 and turn. Single crochet 22 using only the back loop of the previous row of sc. Chain 2 and turn and repeat rows until the mat is the length you desire. 

For the border, single crochet around the entire mat. I made sure I created 2 sc per row I had crocheted. Now starting at a corner, chain 3 which is your first double crochet. Make 4 double crochet in the same stitch as the ch 3. Skip next sc and sc in the next stitch. Skip next sc and make 5 dc in the next stitch. Continue around the mat and end by makiing a slip stitch in the 3rd chain of the beginning stitch. 

I wanted my mat to be wide enough to set Jos' big old and much beloved Cat boots on top and wide enough for under my coat rack. You could adjust your pattern for whatever size will work right for you. It is so fun and easy to make so why not try one. If you cannot find chunky yarn, you could use 2 or 3 strands of yarn crocheted together.

And now I am off to dig into my seasonal decorations for my St. Patrick's Day bowl fillers. Did you notice that empty dough bowl? *grins*

Friday, February 24, 2012

Granny...imperfection but still happy dancing!

This working away on UFOs is really becoming fun and addictive. I am enjoying seeing things get finished. My latest finish is my granny square throw...

The problem with some UFOs is that you have to remember what you were doing where you left off. This was going to be a nice large afghan but turned into a throw when I discovered I made a huge beginners mistake.

But the good thing about making a mistake is that you can learn a lesson. If you enlarge the photo above you might be able to see the mistake. I had been merrily making my granny squares and, when I finished the next 20, started sewing them together. But they did not fit on the previous squares or look right. I kept trying to figure out what I did as the actual granny rounds were exactly the right size. Then I saw what I did! I had done a round of single crochet to each and every square before I sewed them together in the previous squares. I just sewed them on and started working on a more elaborate border. 

Lesson learned...always jot down what you are doing on a piece of paper and put it in your project basket. In the meantime, I thought it was a good piece to practice playing with ideas for a border. I just made it up as I went along. It too is not perfect but this is going to be a throw to be well used with all its "wonkiness" and imperfections. 

Yet another UFO is off my list and that feels great. I have another crochet finish to share but I will save that for my next post. You see, I do have new starts every so often but this was a one day project as a reward for having finished this throw. 

So until that post, have a really wonderful and creative weekend!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm a stitchin' hermit!

My first stitchin' hermit weekend was fun. And yes Barbara...I am a natural hermit. Jos will not move to the country as he thinks it would feed this urge of mine to be a hermit. *sigh* I keep threatening him that I will run away to the Shetland Islands one day where I can really be a hermit. *grins*

Now as a hermit, I think I am entitled to feline friendship in the form of my little old man Dagi. In fact, I dedicated my hermit weekends to him even though he spent it snoozing as you can see. I am going to use these weekends to work on more of my Dagi cat sampler wall. High time too since I looked up my last entry about this project and it was back in September. Yikes!

As with all the samplers, I changed the cat's colors to Dagi's color. This design is called MayBelle but I am rechristening it DagiLuv.

Dagi is very old for his breed of cat at 14 years and is showing signs that life is coming to an end. It breaks our hearts to think he will not be here one day but we have been very fortunate that he picked us to live with (and boss around...lol) so making a sampler wall dedicated to him just seemed natural to me. I think he likes it to since he spent most of my hermit weekend on my lap. *wink*

If you want to join up or simply see more hermits, follow the link here to Joyce's blog.

Friday, February 17, 2012

SALing with Bep!

Once a month, Bep (no blog) and I get together for a day of stitching. Our playdate was this past Wednesday and we had another great day spent together. Lots of stitches are made between our chatter, laughter and tears. This is a special day for us both that we look forward to each month again.

This month, I did not give her a table gift as I had a stitching surprise planned for her gift instead. I had a copy of the pattern we are using to make a strawberry pincushion ready along with a piece of linen and a choice of various variegated threads from Carrie's Creations. Bep choose Harvest and I used Strawberry Sundae. I forgot to take a photo of both of our progress before she left but here is my stitching from that day.....

Look at how neat this gift is wrapped. It has a windmill created by folding the wrapping paper. It was a little gift from Bep for me and I will keep it as a surprise to share with you when I make it. She gave me a necklace kit and I so hope I will be able to figure it out. If not, I will be knocking on your door Bep. *grins* 

Each month, we pick a theme for our lunch and each make a dish. This time we made salads. Bep made a pasta salad.....

I made a Dutch warm dinner salad.....

We had a leisurely lunch with a glass of white wine to take a break from our stitching. I made low fat no bake cookies to enjoy with our coffee. You can find my recipe by clicking here. I sent a little bag of them home with Bep for her to enjoy with her husband that evening with their coffee.

Now we are both looking forward to our next playdate as we are going to sew our strawberry pincushions. These are going to be unusual in their use so come back in March to see how we made them.

I am joining the International Hermit & Stitch weekend as of tonight. Since I am a natural hermit, this will be easy for me. *wink*  One of my projects will be working on my SAL project. If you want to learn more, just click on the button in my sidebar. Happy weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's kind of beginning to look like Christmas...

For me the Charles Dickens quote is something I take literally...

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." 
 - Charles Dickens 

For this reason, I keep a Christmas tree, with my free prim ornaments I designed for my blog, up year round. It was for this reason, when I had to put aside my Christmas tree pillow project in order to have time to crochet gifts for my quilt group and make other gifts, I felt I could. It will be hanging in my quilt studio regardless so I do not feel pressured about a time limit.

This morning, while work is going on in my home and in between giving our handyman coffee and cake, I decided to sit and get my last pillow sewn onto this tree and finish the rag bows and tassels.

I have been working on this together with my friend Bep (no blog) and we thoroughly enjoyed having SAL days...so much so that we are continuing them now although our project is completed. We have them once a month and choose a theme for lunch. We both bring part of the lunch and enjoy a day of needlework and lots of chatting and laughter. 

It was fun to make the little rag bows out of two coordinating fabrics held together by the miniature tassels. Now my tree is complete and I can enjoy keeping Christmas in my heart and studio...

"Out hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." 

- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New month...new goals?

February is here! Now I can happily tell you that I keep to my willpower and did not start anything new over the last few weeks. In fact, I am going to keep it going and finish a project before I start a new project. That will be a guilt free feeling! Just perfect. I am working away on my UFO so stay tuned to see it...


In the meantime, I had a number of requests to show my Valentine's tree so I that what better way to announce the winner of heart penny rug candle mat.

The winner is Christine. Please email me with your address so I can get this in the mail to you in the coming days. I would love to make sure you have it in time for Valentine's Day. Congratulations!

My tree is made up of a combination of bought and handmade hearts. Most of them were gifts given to me. I think of the friend who gave me each one as I hang them once again each year. That is what Valentine's Day is all about...remembering how special family and friends are in your life!