Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St. Patrick and St. David

My husband and I are both mutts. Our families have been in America long enough that we can trace our ancestry back to several countries in Europe. I'm proudest of my Irish heritage though and he claims the Welsh so March is a month of ancestral pride. I've read that St. Patrick's Day isn't that major of a holiday in Ireland, but in the states it is a huge celebration of Irish heritage. My socks aren't finished, but they're looking good. I'll definitely be wearing these next year to celebrate my Irish side.

St. David's Day is a lesser known holiday here in the states, but from what I can gather is a pretty big day in Wales. The daffodil is a symbol for Wales and is in season in March so many people will wear a daffodil on March 1 in honor of St. David. (They also wear leeks, but I'm not including a leek in my wall hanging.) 

I'm having a lot of fun with this project and it's going significantly faster than I thought it would. I'm already trying to figure out how I'm going to quilt it. I'm leaning towards outlining the flowers and leaves and doing a micro-stippling in the background, but I'm not sure what to do with the dark blue boarders. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Wallet's Nightmare

Yesterday my wallet had a nightmare. Five hours in one quilt store. No class and only minimal distractions of this quilter's attention by a computerized longarm. The only bright spot in my wallet's nightmare is that Quilter's Headquarters in Sioux Falls is a small store that specializes in basics and blenders. I'm working at finishing up projects right now so I don't need any of these fabrics at the moment. This fall when I have to purchase yards of background fabric my wallet can breath a little easier knowing that all of their fabric is $8.00 a yard with a one yard minimum cut.

Of course five hours in a quilt store did result in some purchases. My guild has been trying to get us into hand-turned applique. I've never found an applique pattern that really speaks to me until Saturday. My husband's favorite flower is the daffodil and we need to take down the snowman wall hanging. I fell in love with this pattern and found some great fabrics to work with.

They're in the process of changing thread lines so the spool of thread was half price. Did you know that new spools of thread come individually packaged in boxes with little holes for breathing? So adorable.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Last of the Shoulds

This weekend I got to go on a quilt retreat with my guild. I love getting together with these ladies, but lately quilting has felt like something I should be doing rather than a passion. My poor husband came home from work Friday morning to find me in a puddle of nerves contemplating staying home curled in a ball. The poor man hadn't slept in 20+ hours, but kindly spent time talking with me to figure out what the problem was. (See why I love him.) We realized that this year I've been doing a lot of "should" sewing. I've been making things for other people and focusing more on their tastes than my own. Don't get me wrong, it's great to be generous with your talents and to consider what the recipient likes, but these past few months none I've been fighting to include a whisper of my own voice in my quilts. My husband asked me what I was taking with me on the retreat and realized that my packing list was full of more "shoulds." 

I did have one more piece of required quilting that I needed to get done so Friday I focused on that. This year is the 75th annual Orange City Tulip Festival, and they asked our guild to make a quilt in commemoration of this. I figured that with my passion for design this was a project I should participate in. We decided to make a bunch of Dutch houses and buildings. The only way I could figure out to make it work was paper piecing, however now I know how to design paper piecing patterns in EQ7.

I took this picture Friday night before I called it quits. I haven't figured out how to print patterns in color so I was working from a grey scale for my paper piecing. I sewed all four houses at the same time, and only had six pieces that were wrong. Considering all of the pieces involved in these houses I think that's pretty good. Unfortunately I was so happy to move on to the quilt that was for me that I forgot to take a picture of the finished houses, but this gives you a pretty good idea of what they look like.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Socks

One of my favorite books is Sock Club. I've made a few of the patterns from this book and several more are on my list. (I actually loved it so much that it fell apart and I had to take it to my office store to get a spiral binding attached.)

One of the patterns I've had my eye on for a few years is the Celtic Spirit by Judy Alexander. I even ordered some green yarn from KnitPicks a few years ago, but the timing has never been right. Finally I needed a new project at the beginning of March and I got to cast these socks on!

I'm done with the leg of the first sock  and will start ghe heel as doon as I finish my blog post. I'm hoping I can get these done  by March 17 so I can show my Irish heritage with knitted pride. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hummingbirds and Spring

It's odd to say that spring is in the air when there's still snow on the ground and more in the forecast, but the days are getting warmer. After weeks of single digit temps we're finally getting into the 20s and 30s. It's March so winter isn't over, but the promise of an end is near. I figured with my spring mood it would be the perfect time to share the ipad case I made my mom for Christmas.

I couldn't find a pattern for what I wanted to do, but thought a simple case would be no problem. My mom goes to lots of meetings and conferences so I wanted her ipad to be well protected with all of the travelling she does. I created a beautiful bag that was well padded with a zipper to keep everything in place. Unfortunately it was too small to actually put the ipad in. While my side-to-side measurements were too small, I had more than enough length. After cutting off the zipper I realized that the bag was okay, it was just the opening of the zipper that was too tiny. I went with a simple finish on the bag, and am rather pleased with how it turned out.

The adorable humming bird is a pattern designed by Quilt Art Designs. The block measures 12", but since I needed a pocket smaller than 12" I printed the pattern at half size. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's Growing!!!

Blueberry continues to grow. I've already reached the increases! I'm really loving the pattern this verigated yarn is creating, and the lace is still centered.

Friday, January 30, 2015

January Finish

At the beginning of the month I gave myself the goal of finishing my Compass Rose Table Runner from my quilt guild's fall workshop. I'm so glad I set this goal because it helped me focus on finishing this rather than starting a new project (which will be my goal for next month.) Since this table runner is a gift for someone who actually has a table built for more than two people I'm hanging it on the coat closet door for the moment. This was way too much work not to appreciate it for a little while before giving it away.

This table runner turned out to be a study in how many things I don't like can be used in a project and still have me love the end result. Going into the workshop I hated paper piecing (it has grown on me since learning some better techniques.) I also wasn't happy that the teacher told us to use batiks. After I purchased my fabrics she changed this, but I'd already made my purchase. Finally I'm not a huge fan of feather motifs in quilting. They're okay, but are a bit too traditional for my tastes. For some strange reason I ended up doing a feather in each point of the main star. I absolutely love how this table runner turned out. I'm not great at labels so I don't know if it's really modern, but I at least feel like my voice wasn't lost in the project.