Author Archives: Melanie

Monday’s POA, Week 3, 2020

I won’t say last week was a fail.  I didn’t get to spend as much time on my crafts as I like and as I plan but I spent time with friends and family. Especially my daughter who has now left for Boston and my parents who are still here.

And this week life seems to continue to run amok at a break neck pace. Today is a holiday and I had planned to get some work done this morning to catch up on some things that I’ve been procrastinating about.  Then spend the afternoon at a friend’s house quilting before I head over to my Monday yoga class with another friend.  This plan is already potentially going to be scrapped as I wasn’t able to get any work done over the weekend which means I have to do those things today.

Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be in Century City for work. This means nothing to you probably but for me, it’s about an hour and a half drive one way. In the morning, it can go as long as 2 hours depending on traffic.  Both evenings I’ve got a guild thing to do. Tuesday evening I have my mini group meeting at my place so even though I’m going to be in Century City during the day, I should be back by 6pm for my 7pm meeting. I will be working on my long standing WIP of A Rainbow Garden (wool applique) or my hand quilting project, Raining Cats and Dogs. It really depends on which project my hands can do. Lately I’ve been quilting more than appliqueing for some reason.

Wednesday evening, I have a guild committee meeting at a guild mates house.  Nothing crafty there. Just discussions on how we can increase membership to our guild.  As with a lot of traditional organizations (quilt guilds and other organizations), membership is slowly decreasing as our older members choose the day guild (ours is the night guild) or pass away or move away.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

Thursday is knit night and afterwards a friend and I will drive over to Ontario for Road to California!  This is a show I’ve gone to almost every year since returning to Los Angeles in 2014.  I love it when I can afford the funds and the time to take a class and this year I am lucky enough to do so. And even better, I have a hotel room so we even though it’s not too far, it’s so much better to stay in the area.  I’ll be gone until Sunday.

So, there will not be a lot of time crafting this week. But I’ll be able to report back on Road and the classes I attend.

Happy crafty week!

Melanie

 

 

 

 

My weekly update, 1/18/2020

I’ve done very little this past week.  It seems to have gone in a blur.  Last Saturday’s post I complained about being sick and not getting as much done as I wanted to and this week I do not even have the excuse of being sick.  I just had a lot of family and other obligations that kept me from crafting to my heart’s content.

Monday was my quilt guild meeting and it was a good meeting. I’m co-membership chair so I have a bunch of duties I needed to do to prepare for the meeting.  At least I was able to knit on my socks during the meeting.

On Tuesday, we went to the Los Angeles Clipper game and had a blast.

Wednesday, I was in Century City, and went with a friend to a yoga class.  Which was awesome!  I haven’t gone to yoga for almost a month and while the class kicked my butt I was very glad to go.

Thursday was knit night and it was my daughter’s last night with us before she headed off to college. So I went to knit night for a couple of hours before the family and I went to sushi for the girl’s last night.

And on Friday, we woke super early to get the girl to the airport for her early flight.  It was fine and at 1pm my parent’s called to say they were on their way to visit for the weekend.  I love that they are here visiting but my plan was to spend Friday sitting on my butt stitching.  Instead I had to run around getting them dinner.  I’m okay with it.

Anyway, that’s my busy week.  So what was I able to actually do?

First up – morning knitting on my socks for 15 minutes every Monday – Friday.

last week – 1/11/2020

 

I checked this off for 5 of 5 days.

1/18/2020

The cuffs are done and I’m working on the heels.  I have about 2 or 3 more rows on the heels and then I can kitchener it and call it a finish!  woohoo…

Second, my evening knitting on Ricky’s Weasley Sweater every Monday through Friday.

Ricky’s Weasley Sweater
1/11/2020

I checked this off for 1 of 5 days.  I only did about 2 – maybe 3 rows during knit night so any picture I take today will not be much different than what I showed last week.

I had dropped a stitch on my Fairy Hill Shawl and spent some time trying to fix it. Mindy spent more time on it but I didn’t get anymore done on it than that.  And I got another small blip done on my mix wave cowl.

Mix Wave Cowl
1/11/2020

For Cross Stitch, my goal is to work on it every evening Monday – Friday.

Mama’s Bukid
1/11/2020

I did nothing on this project all week.  😦  So it looks the same. I wanted to finish up those columns last night but it will have to wait until my next free xstitch moment.

And finally Quilting! I was able to finish Glam Clam last weekend and posted about it during the week. But here it is again!

Glam Clam
Finished Top
1/13/2020

And finally for Sewing, the top and bottom of my Megan dress is put together and my next class is tomorrow. I’m excited to get that to the next step.

Megan Dress
1/11/2020

I guess I made small progress on some projects and no progress on others.  That’s okay. And I have a finished top so that is reason to celebrate.  I hope life calms down a bit over the next few months so I can get back into the rhythm of crafting, creating, and relaxing.

I hope you all have a happy crafty week!

Melanie

To see the full 2020 crafty plan, click for quilting, knitting, cross stitch, and everything else.

LAFS: The Megan Dress – Update

 

Last Post <<

I was able to get the top and bottom sewn together for the Megan dress:

The Megan Dress The Front 1/14/2020

It looks super big and it’s not pressed.  But the back is not yet sewn together so it’s falling open.

The Megan Dress
The Back
1/14/2020

Here’s what it will grow up to be.

 

I think I want to put pockets on it.  But I can do that when the dress is done.  I’m ready for my next class…

~happy sewing!

Melanie

 

 

A finish! Glam Clam

Glam Clam
Finished Top
1/13/2020

Two tops done in a week! I was so close to finishing Glam Clam that I powered through that last row.  Now I’ve added to my quilt queue.  I will be getting a lot of practice whenever by Q20 chooses to arrive.

My next project is scrappy stars from 2015.  Here’s the page that I started back then. For those who do not want to go to that page, the short story is that it was a mystery quilt by Charlotte Hawkes from 2016 with cutting instructions provided in the fall of 2015.  She gives you all the cutting instructions so when she releases the first clue in January all you have to do is piece them all together.  She releases the clues each month and I think after about 5 clues you have the finale.  I like having the cutting instructions first and being able to piece piece piece to your hearts content.  I’m somewhere in the middle of clue 3.  Just like all my other projects I’ve been working on this a bit at a time at retreats and between other projects.  I’m pretty sure this will take me much longer to complete than Glam Clam although I am at the point where I’m starting to put the blocks together.  I’ll be posting pictures when I pull that project box out to play.

~happy quilting!

Melanie

My weekly update, 1/11/2020

Now that the first full week is almost done, let’s do a quick check in to see my progress. To see the full 2020 crafty plan, click for quilting, knitting, cross stitch, and everything else.

To summarize, I have no specific goals other than to carve out time to craft on particular projects. This week, the first full week basically blew me out of the water because I got sick. So sick that I missed my minigroup get together on Monday, worked only part time Monday – Wednesday, and barely made it to knit night on Thursday.  I was able to do some things but not all things every day.

Monday – In addition to minigroup, I was supposed to go to yoga. I didn’t go. I also didn’t go on Wednesday or Friday.  😦  I hope to change that next week.  I know yoga is not a craft but I need it to stay healthy and enjoy crafting.  So it’s part of my weekly “must do’s”.

First up – morning knitting on my socks for 15 minutes every Monday – Friday.

I checked this off for 4 of 5 days.  It doesn’t look it, but those tubes are about 15 inches long and I’m just starting the cuff.  There is no heel yet but I’ll be adding those on using the afterthought heel method when the cuffs are done.  I smell a finish coming…

Second, my evening knitting on Ricky’s Weasley Sweater every Monday through Friday.

Ricky’s Weasley Sweater
1/11/2020

I checked this off for 3 of 5 days.  It’s really hard to take a picture because it keeps rolling on itself and it’s on cables.  I did my best above and hopefully the colors come out right on your end.  It looks fine on my monitor.  His sweater is Slytherin but he did not like the idea of a green sweater so I made it gray with green.  It originally was supposed to just be a Green R but I wanted there to represent more green so included striping at the bottom of the sweater. I hope to also have stripes on the sleeves but that will depend on whether I have enough of the green.

I also did a couple of rows on my Fairy Hill Shawl which I still do not have a picture of. It’s because it’s all bunched up on cables and any picture I take will just be a jumbled mess.  And I did another blip on my mix wave cowl.

Mix Wave Cowl
1/11/2020

For Cross Stitch, my goal is to work on it every evening Monday – Friday.

Mama’s Bukid
1/11/2020

I checked this off for 4 of the 5 days and I’m almost done with the first 2.5 columns of these last 2 pages. There are 2 pages (a top and a bottom) and I want to finish 2 columns per month so I can get this long time project done and framed sooner rather than later.  I’m in the home stretch now because once I finish these columns I will only have 4 columns left!  And if I am on pace this will be done in March.  The problem as I’ve said in previous posts is that I’m not loving working on this project right now so it’s super hard to get myself to work on it.  I started these columns in December and didn’t even get halfway through the column.  Now, these are made up deadlines so if I take a month or two longer, it’s not a big deal.  🙂

And finally Quilting! My only schedule for quilting is to quilt all day Saturday but sometimes I work it in during the week.  So I was able to finish my Good Fortune Quilt!   I posted this picture recently but here it is again in all it’s glory.

Good Fortune
1/6/2020

It’s hard to see but the top is done and I have already put it away in my quilt queue.  Next up is Glam Clam and I’ve already started working on it today.  In fact, I finished another row.  I only have 1 row left and if I buckle down I might be able to get that one done today and have a second quilt top finished in January!  It’s stuck up under my sewing machine until I finish typing up today’s post so you get a picture of it “under the needle”.

Glam Clam
under the needle
1/11/2020

I do not actually have all day today as we are expecting friends for dinner this evening so I will need to end early to get ready for the socializing.

For Sewing, I just posted about this yesterday so it’s the same status.  But tomorrow is Sunday and normally Sunday is sew day.  Unfortunately, but fortunately, instead of sewing, I’ll be taking a quilting workshop with Mike McNamara offered through my quilt guild.  So I’ll be quilting tomorrow as well.  More on that later.

I hope you all have a happy crafty week!

Melanie

 

LAFS: The Megan Dress

I got this book eons ago. I can’t remember when. One of my favorite podcasts at that time mentioned it and I jumped on Amazon and bought it. One of my goals some year(s) ago was to work my way through this book. I got through the first few patterns up to the skirt featured in the above picture and learned how to put in an invisible zipper.  The skirt ended up a bit too big and I should have gone down a size but I didn’t ever do it again. I really should because it turned out super cute.

 

 

I stalled out because the next pattern was the Megan Dress:

And it was a bit overwhelming for me.  At my sewing class last Sunday, I already had traced the pattern onto fabric, cut all the pieces, and transferred all the registration marks.  I learned at the class how to sew darts and I started putting the pieces together.  I got all the way to the point where I pinned the top to the bottom but didn’t actually have time to sew it all.  I hope to do that some time in the next two weeks before the next class. And, I hope I’m able to take a picture for you.

~happy sewing!

Melanie

 

 

A new project – Diamond Wedding Ring

Diamond Wedding Ring

Pattern by Judy Niemeyer

At a quilt retreat last September (2019) at Thimble Towne in Bakersfield, CA, I saw this quilt.  And I loved it. I have known about Judy Niemeyer’s quilt patterns for awhile and I’ve always found them to be beautiful.  I had it on my bucket list to do one of hers at some point but nothing called to me until I saw this quilt.  The above quilt is not my quilt. This is the one I saw at Thimble Towne because I loved it so much and last weekend, I took a class with a certified Judy Niemeyer instructor over at Cotton and Chocolate in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Here’s my progress pictures:

Diamond Wedding Ring
Stacks of fabric for the rings
1/4/2020

The class is offered the first Saturday of each month.  And my homework until the next class is to turn the stacks of fabric into these rings.  The great thing is that if I do not finish my homework this month, I can always go to the following month’s class. I like this freedom.  In reality, I want to get this homework done by the February class so I can move forward on this project.  I already have plans and will not be able to attend the March class which means if I do not get this done by February I will not be able to move to the next step until April.  If you’ve read the last few posts, you know I’ve got a handful of projects I’m working on so I’m not going to push myself to get this done for February.  But it would be nice if I did. 🙂

~Happy Quilting!

Melanie

 

 

How I cross stitch

I received a comment the other day in regards to my cross stitch post.  Her questions and comments prompted me to do a full post on how I cross stitch.  Hopefully this helps you.

Starting a new cross stitch project:  I learned to cross stitch by starting in the middle and working my way out.  When I finish each color, I would cut and bury each floss before starting a new one.  This works fine with small projects that are not full coverage pieces.  With larger pieces, I tend to start on the upper left.  I have to check the measurements multiple times to make sure the project will fit (especially if I didn’t buy a kit) and start in a good place with about 3″ from the edge of the fabric (assuming I have that much available).

For projects that are not full coverage, like Mama’s Bukid, I generally bury each floss when I’m done.  But as you can see in my picture, that is not always the case.

Mama’s Bukid
12/24/2019

When I get to a spot that has a bunch of changing colors, I like to do a stitch at a time because my floss lays better on the fabric.  When I do all of color A, and then color B, there may be stitches of color B that fall within the color A section and my floss will not lay nicely.  And it distorts some of the already stitched sections that it comes in contact with.  So, it just looks nicer to me when I do it this way.  So I may pull a floss through and “park” it in the next spot I have to stitch for that color and not actually stitch it until I get to that spot. This part mimics what I do for full coverage.

I am loving working on my full coverage pieces at the moment.

 

I’ve tried various methods.  Where there is a lot of floss, I was doing something called the “waste knot” method.  This is where I knot my floss and pull it down from front to back away from where I want to actually stitch my first stitch. At my first stitch, I pull it through back to front at the bottom left hole and do the stitch.  As I stitch, the floss in the back gets covered and when I get to the part where the knot is, I can clip it off because the floss is secured in the back by the stitches.  When I finished with a floss, I pulled it to the right and brought the needle from back to front.  Again, as I stitch those little boxes, it covers the floss and when I get to the floss that I finished I clip it.

Some of the floss above is mixed in with parked floss and I mark my pattern with which ones I’ve parked so I know which I can clip and which I need to stitch.  Anyway, it looks a mess and I couldn’t stand it so I do things a little differently now and as I move down the diagonal the rat’s nest will get cleaned up bit by bit.

I stitch a row at a time for 10 stitches and I stitch on the diagonal to avoid tension lines.  Instead of starting with the waste knot method, I use a modified pin stitch.  Search you tube for pin stitch tutorials and that will show you how to do that.  It makes it so that I do not the mess in the front to clip away later and the floss is secure right from the first stitch.  I am still parking but I do not park more than 20 stitches away.  I do not rely on my counting because the further away I go, the more likely it’s not in the correct spot.  When I finish a floss I still waste it away like I did before. The difference is that I’m not wasting away to the right of my piece, I’m wasting it to the bottom left so that as I’m working the diagonal, those wastes will get clipped away.  That way, the nest is not as much as it was.

There’s a new app called Pattern Keeper that has made full coverage pieces easier to stitch.  I love it.

Another resource is The Needlebugg Channel on YouTube.  Karen has been stitching for many years and has a lot of tips and tricks.  A lot of how I’m stitching now is based on what Karen has talked about on her channel.

I hope this helps and send me more questions if you come up with any.  I hope I was clear and if not, let me know.

Thanks,

Melanie

 

Glam Clam – My new primary WIP

Now that Good Fortune is done, I’m ready to work on Glam Clam.

Here is how it looks now:

In 2017, I took a class with Latifa Saafir with the Valley Modern Quilt Guild.  And since then I’ve slowly been piecing a row at a time at retreats.  It’s not hard but I do pin a lot. and it takes a lot of brain power for me so all I can do was a row at a time.  I found my original picture when I laid out the clams…

and I only have 2 rows left and this top is done.  Don’t hold your breath because those two rows may take me some time to do…

Oh – and I’ll probably do the back for Good Fortune when I’m ready to quilt it.

~ Happy Quilting!

Melanie

 

A finish! Good Fortune

Good Fortune
Top is done!
1/4/2020

Okay, it’s not really a finish but the top is done and we all can celebrate!  I’m debating on what to do for the back, whether to do the back now or wait until later. I’m pretty sure I have 2 tops with their backs and batting ready to be basted and quilted.  But I recently gifted myself a Q20 and I’m patiently waiting for it to arrive.  So, there’s no rush to do the back now.  I can simply put this aside and put a few more rows on Glam Clam. and maybe even finish the top… 🙂

~happy quilting!

Melanie