Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween, with my granddaughters far away ...

A Scary Ghost for a Scary Ghost!
Tonight I had fun making Halloween cards to send to my granddaughters.  The three-year-old was planning to be a scary ghost; she likes to make a scary face and say "Boo", so I made a scary ghost card for her. 

Pumpkins galore!
The five-year-old is going to be a "fuzzy dragon";  not surprisingly, I couldn't find any clipart of a fuzzy dragon (and I, unfortunately, am not sufficiently talented to paint my own!  Although I did paint the bats on the first card, because cutting out tiny bats to glue on was very time consuming!), so I decided to go with a plethora of pumpkins, because their dad and mom line their driveway with carved pumpkins every year. 

I added some sparkly dots to each one (they are girls, after all - sparkles make everything better!), and I think they turned out pretty cute. I stuck a sheet of Halloween stickers in each envelope, so my "Scary Ghost" and "Fuzzy Dragon" will get a Halloween treat from Grandma!  Even if they won't get a Halloween hug ... *sigh*.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Long-arm quilting!

I am now a long-arm quilter!!! I am so excited, even though I am really only a mid-arm quilter, but still ... I am the proud owner of a Voyager 17 and a Stretch Hinterberg frame! I have it set up with six foot poles for practice;  it looks like it is tucked into the corner of my room, which is, technically, true.  What you can't see are all the boxes that are out in the hall to make room for this setup, which takes up a bit more than a corner of my room! 

I cut an old sheet in half to practice on, which is kind of cool, for two reasons.  First, the sheet has all these triangles on it, which make a great design to practice on, and, second, this is the sheet I used as a sleeping bag in the hostels in Europe many years ago.  So, as I struggle with quilting triangle points I am reminded of a great trip to Germany with my daughter!

So far, the Germany memories are the best thing that has come out of my practice session, but hey, tonight was my first night of long-arm quilting!!!  (It will get easier, right??!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New project ...

NOTE:  the last entry was actually written in August, but I guess I never posted it, so it says it is from October, but it is not.  THIS entry is from October.  Just to be clear ...

I have been planning, ALL YEAR, to knit mittens for the Fall Festival Bazaar at our church.  It is now October, the festival is one month away, and I have knit one pair.  One!  So, I decided I should schedule some mitten knitting time ... and then I had a brilliant idea on my way to church this morning. 

I have been making dog jackets (for boxer dogs, or greyhounds, mostly) out of fleece for the last three years.  This means I have lots of fleece fabric remnants.  I have been keeping the remnants with the idea of making sweatshirts for my grandchildren, and have made a few, but I keep making more jackets and getting more remnants!

 So I've been thinking of ways to use up this fleece, and I thought of fleece blankets.  You know, squares of fleece sewn together and lined, some with seams in and some with seams out, etc., etc., etc.  The problem with that idea is, I would rather make quilts, so I don't really need fleece blankets.  I could make the blankets and donate them to the bazaar, OR I could make MITTENS and HATS out of the fleece!!  Brilliant idea, don't you think?  Fleece mittens are quite warm (not as warm as wool knitted mittens, perhaps, but, really, how long are these children going to stay out in the cold???), and can be sewn up quickly in a variety of color combinations - I even found a pattern for frog mittens!  (Picture below and directions found at

Happy Frog Mittens

I still have three bags to knit and two quilt tops to quilt for Christmas gifts (I am getting a longarm quilting system next week, HOORAY!!!!), but I think I can squeeze in some time to devote to sewing up mittens.  And hats.  Bring on the snow!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

End of summer ... almost!

Summer must be over, it is too cool for shorts.  I don't think I ever wore jeans in August before!  Anyway, I have been doing quite a bit of knitting this summer.  I finished this silk/wool blend top; I love knitting in textures, and this has a pretty lace edging on the bottom and over the shoulders. 

I have also been working on another summer top, using a cotton/linen blend yarn.  I call it my "dot" sweater, because it has a tan background with lots and lots of colorful dots knit in!  Since the dots won't use a whole skein of yarn, I am planning to take all the extra yarn and knit matching "dot" sweaters for my granddaughters (ages 3 and 5).  Dots are rather time-consuming to knit (I spend a lot of time untangling yarn, or working in raw ends), so I'm thinking I should maybe make the first granddaughter sweater in size 8 - by the time I finish it, one of them will probably be eight years old!

And then, I finished the quilt top for my daughter-in-law, and I absolutely love it!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Case of Cats quilt completed...

I love this quilt!  I made it as a wedding gift for my nephew and his fiancee.  It all came to be when I met his fiancee at her bridal shower.  She loves cats, her taste runs to classic lines and neutral colors, she was rather quiet and understated, and I thought she was very nice and deserving of a quilt.

 On my way home, this quilt practically designed itself.  My plan was to make a tonal quilt, with the simple cat blocks almost blending into the background.  Subtle, but still cats.  I wanted a large border, in which I was going to quilt more cats.  And, adding the two cats in the corner (with tails intertwined in the Snail Trail block), really set it off, I thought.

Well, I sewed it all up, and liked it.  I quilted the cats, and loved them.  And decided that quilting cats in the border would be rather little-kiddish, which was not the look I was going for.  So, I opted for the classic cable.  Good choice, if I do say so myself.  It adds the perfect classic touch!

Oh, and the backing?  It is flannel - white background with little pictures of cats and the words "I love CATS" all over in cream, gold, and black.  Perfect!!!

 I love it!  I have been admiring it for the last two days, and now I need to send it off to the newlyweds.  
I might adapt the pattern to make a quilt for my fifteen year old granddaughter for Christmas.  She also likes cats, and it would be fun to make this quilt with brightly colored cats.  And quilted cats in the borders!  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baby sweaters ... completed!

Here are the baby sweaters I knitted, I think they are absolutely adorable!  They are each only about 10 inches across, with six inch sleeves, not really tiny, but ... size newborn to three months.  The blue sweater is from a pattern called Bamboozle Bambino Sweater, designed by Sandi Rosner.  I just love the little double-breasted look.  I wasn't thrilled about having six buttons (hard to see in the pictures, but there are six), but it was so cute I put them all on.  For yarn, I used Baby Bee Little Britches, in teddybear.  It is mostly blue (obviously!), with little flecks of other color.  Nice and soft and really sweet!

The pink sweater is a modification of "to bobble or not to bobble", a pattern from the book "The Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid Knits" (GREAT book, simple patterns that lend themselves well to creative use of color).  The original pattern has bobbles on the cuffs and has a collar that also has bobbles.  I figured a newborn would end up with cuff/collar bobbles in it's mouth, so I left them off.  The yarn is heavier than the Little Britches (I think it is a Vanna White blend), but with the daisy flower buttons I think it also turned out really well.

So, with the sweaters done and delivered, today I started knitting mittens for my daughter.  I knitted a scarf for her for Christmas, and she mentioned she needed mittens as well.  I thought, sure, why not?, mittens are a fast knit.  Well, they are if they are just knitted, but I found a really cool pattern (lots of really cool patterns, actually, but I picked this one) called Chevalier Mittens.  (Link:  Really cool!   


Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 - A New Year ...

Time to move on to the New Year!

Plans for this year?  Well, I have sewing plans, knitting plans, and quilting plans.  Plus plans for organizing our finances and giving more attention to housecleaning.  Plus cooking and baking.  Too many plans!!

First, though, I have some unfinished Christmas gifts that need to get finished.  I have LOTS of fleece pieces leftover from making boxer dog jackets, and so I planned on making sweatshirts/tops/jackets out of them for my grandchildren (ages 4, 2, and 2).  Easy enough, but to go with the jackets (kind of bolero style) I am also making jumpers for the two girls.  One jacket and one jumper are complete, and one jumper is cut out.  They are cute; I might keep them for birthday gifts (since they will most likely be too big for them right now anyway), but ... they still need to get completed.  I also started sofa quilts for my two daughters-in-law at various times last year, and they also need to be done for Christmas 2012 (since it is too late for Christmas 2011!).   And, I have two other quilt tops to quilt, and one quilt all cut out waiting to be sewn up.  Plus a sweater waiting for a front panel, and TONS of yarn waiting for any project at all!  That is probably not all of my UFOs, but ... it is enough to list for now!

Before I finish them, I am knitting two newborn baby sweaters for my mom.  No, she is not having twins, but she did ask for the sweaters.  Her church is completing layettes, and, since my mom doesn't knit, she asked if I would knit for her.  Of course!!  I love to knit, and baby sweaters are adorable and fast!  Mom's birthday is in two days, so I am planning on presenting the two sweaters to her at that time.  I will post a picture when they are done.

And, once I start knitting ... I would like to knit a sweater for my grandson, who will be two in three weeks.  His fleece sweatshirt can wait, I think;  he really wants a sweater, I'm sure!  (Did I mention the TONS of yarn just waiting to be used?!)

That should get me to the end of January, and then the project list is wide open!