Author Archives: Melanie

LAFS: Margot Pyjamas

Here’s my learning lesson this weekend – look at next week’s project when I’m done with this week’s project.  That way I can gather my materials before the day I actually want to work on the project.  Again, I needed 2.5 yards of fabric for the pyjamas and again I didn’t want to dive into my stash to find 2.5 yards of something.  This time, I actually trekked it to my LQS.  I considered going to the big box store since I didn’t want to spend the money on quality quilty cotton but I decided to spend the money.  I love my LQS and while I don’t have a lot of money, I was feeling generous and have a bit more burning a hole in my pocket.  I look at it as donating the funds to keep my LQS open.  Obviously, I can’t do this all the time.  But when I can I will.

I wash my fabric before I use it.  I’m not going to into whether I should or not.  I know a lot of people don’t and it probably doesn’t matter one way or another. But I choose to wash my fabric so before I can use it I have to put it through the wash.  So I spent my sew day this weekend looking for fabric at my LQS, washing and prepping it.  On Sunday, I was able to get some things prepped but I didn’t actually get to any sewing –

Of course, I forgot to take pictures until the very end when I packed everything up for my next sew day.  Which I hope will be this upcoming weekend!

I fell in love with this owl as soon as I saw him peeking at me at my LQS.  The pattern called for 2.5 yards but I wanted to make sure I was able to fussy cut the owls and foxes perfectly so I purchased a bit over 3 yards.  Here’s where I diverged from the instructions detailed in LAFS (Love at First Stitch).    The pattern wanted me to cut on the grain which would have been had the length of the pajama leg parallel to the selvage.  If I followed this, my owls would be sideways on my legs.  Not the image I wanted.  So I cut it from selvage to selvage.  Since I’m short – just about 5′ – this was fine.

I had big post it poster paper that I used to trace over the pattern.  This time around I cut with scissors on the line and the fabric.  There were three options listed in the book.  The second option was to use the pattern to trace on the fabric and the third option was to use tailor’s chalk or something on the fabric and then cut with that.  I think I’ll choose the third option next time.

Here are the front of the legs.  I have the back cut too.

I’ve got a bunch of bits to add to my stash and use in quilts and other projects.

Very important – I labeled the front legs and the back legs before I put them away.  If I didn’t do that I would totally forget which was which and I would spend time trying to figure it out.

~ Happy sewing!

~Melanie

Civil War Diary Quilt: Block 2

Oath of Allegiance

Civil War Diary Quilt
Block 2
Oath of Allegiance
5/20/17

My blocks will finish at 6″ once pieced into the quilt top.

There are faster ways to put this block together but since I’m only doing 1 block and not 50 of them, I cut each individual square at 1-3/4″ and then pieced them together.  First in pairs, then in squares, and so on until the block was done.

I’m still loving it!

See the first block and all the details on my project page at Civil War Diary Quilt.

~happy piecing!

~Melanie

Stash Report – Week 20, 2017

It’s been about 10 weeks since I last posted a stash report.  And I really do not have much to say other than over the last 10 weeks, I attended my LQS anniversary sale, I was gifted a ton of yardage, and I didn’t finish anything other than a few drawstring bags.  I didn’t count anything in or out but I want to start back at it.  So I’m just going to say that I added 15 yards net in the last 10 weeks.  It might be over or under but if I try to be accurate I’m never going to jump back on this saddle.  And I really want to get back on this saddle.

The fabric stash:  

  • Used this week: 0 yards
  • Used year to date: 7.5 yards
  • Added this week: 0 yards
  • Added year to Date: 23 yards
  • Net ADDED for 2017: 15.5 yards

A few weeks ago I was about to give up counting stash altogether.  But since then I’ve gone to my LQS a number of times and bought more fabric.  Some of it was for projects I was working on or planning like my Civil War Diary quilt but there was a lot that I bought just to buy.  That’s when I knew I was in trouble and that I had to get back to my weekly stash reports.  I recognize that I purchase more fabric when I’m not quilting.  So by the third visit I decided to stop going to the LQS and really start using that time to quilt.  In addition, I also decided not to count my craft spending any more.  It really doesn’t help me reduce my spending and it just makes me feel guilty about how much I do spend.

Since I last posted a Stash Report, Judy decided to do away with hosting the linky for the Sunday Stash Reports.  Where is everyone posting now?

 

Slow Stitching Sunday

And for Slow Stitching Sunday with Kathy at Kathy Quilts… I will continue to work on Block 7 for A Rainbow Garden!

Here’s where I was last time:

A Rainbow Garden
Block 7
4/30/2017

And here I am now:

A Rainbow Garden
Block 7 – still in process
5/14/2017

I’ll be working on that big center flower today and hopefully get that done.  I’ve still got a bunch of little pieces to add so I’m not sure how much longer it will be before I can count this block finished.

~happy crafting!

~Melanie

see more stash reports atPatchwork Times and hand projects at Slow Sunday Stitching and Quilting is more fun than Housework

~Have a quilty week!

Melanie

 

Cross Stitch, an update

“Mama’s Bukid” …

Here’s what it looked like last time:

Mama’s Bukid
4/26/2017

Here’s what it looks like now…

Mama’s Bukid
5/20/2017

Happy Saturday!

I touched my cross stitch project last night and didn’t realize how long it has been since I posted an update on this.  As you can see I haven’t gotten that much done but filling in the bottom of that row really made a big difference visually.  I’m working on Row 9 now and I’m more than halfway through the first page of this project.  I found a local needle shop.  I’ve gone in twice to check it out.  I wish that the place felt more welcoming because I would enjoy spending a night a week cross stitching with other ladies.  Unfortunately, every time I’ve gone in, I’ve received the cold shoulder – no hi, no help, no friendly gestures whatsoever.  So, I cross stitch at home while the family is watching TV or working on their own stuff.  Which is fun too.

My parents were visiting last week and that was nice.  Unfortunately, they picked a bad time to come.  My daughter’s got finals week next week so she spent a lot of time this week studying.  My son had a major project due on Friday so he spent a lot of time this week finishing that up.  My husband, back from the Philippines, went back to work this week.  So they hung out during the day and we ate a lot.  My fridge is full and the fam and I will be working on eating it clean this weekend.  I hope to have a lot of crafty time this weekend with a bit of work stuff thrown in.  I want to do the next block for my Civil War Diary Quilt.  And other crafty things… follow me on instagram for pix on what I’m working on.  @thousandneedles

Happy Stitching!

~Melanie

 

 

Union Square socks

Union Square socks
5/17/2017

You can find details of this project on Ravelry.  A few weeks ago, Kathleen Mary asked what Ravelry was and I thought I’d take a moment to explain in detail.  Unless you are a knitter or crocheter, you probably aren’t aware of it.  Ravelry is a website – ravelry.com – and I can be found on it as mellies1000needlz.  It’s where knitters and crocheters gather.  I think spinners and dyers too?..  In a nutshell, we can post projects, find/buy/keep patterns, manage the yarn stash, etc.  I’m relatively new so I don’t use it as extensively as it could be used.  I watch a bunch of knitting podcasts and it seems that having a Ravelry group is a must have for knitting podcasts.  It’s a way to take part more actively in the community.  I enjoy the project pages as I can keep my project, who its for, the needles I use, the yarn I use, with the pattern and add any notes I want to add without fear of losing it.  This is especially useful with socks as I haven’t yet found my sock recipe and I’m still tweaking it with every new sock I make.  In addition, you can search and find different patterns.  You buy them and keep it in your library for whenever you are ready to use the pattern.  I would like all my yarn to eventually be listed on the site.  I have a stash, it’s not as big as some people’s and it definitely not as big as my fabric stash.  But it’s overflowing the small basket I had originally assigned to contain my yarn.  I’m trying to knit as fast as I can (I’m a really slow knitter) and use up what I’ve got but I keep buying more yarn.  I’ve already bought yarn from all the indie dyers I wanted to buy yarn from so the buying is slowing down.

Anyway, I’ve been participating in the Knitting Expat podcasts “New York Sock Club” and this month she released the Union Square sock.  It was a bit challenging for me and it took me awhile to get the right side pattern look right.  I was able to get the left side looking beautiful but I had to rip the right side a few times before I figured out what I was supposed to be doing.  I love the yarn and how it is knitting up.  I’ve just finished the heel for both socks so tomorrow I’ll work on the next step.

~happy knitting!

~Melanie

Civil War Diary Quilt

If you follow me on Instagram (@thousandneedles) you saw all these pictures already.  But I wanted to go into full detail while I still have all the details…  I’ll prepare a project page for future reference at some point.

Fabrics used:

Kona White

Red/Salmon (Medium): Doodle Box Red, Cori Dantini by blend – The Adventurers

Turquoise Blue (Dark): The fabric line is not on the selvage.  Also, the front looks exactly like the back.  I hope when all is said and done, you won’t be able to tell.

Also, I am planning on using other fabrics as I go through each block but I’ll be starting with these three for now.  I am also planning on staying within the colorways.

I’ve had the book Civil War Diary Quilt by Rosemary Youngs since the rage a few years ago.  But didn’t make the quilt for one reason or another.  I decided one morning that I wanted to start.  I’d been thinking about modern quilts and traditional quilts and I grapple between the two.  I have not made a “modern” quilt as I’ve been trying to finish up some things over the last few years and the urge to stop what I was working on to work on other things was kept at bay.  Now, my sewjo has left me again and the old tactics I’ve used in the past to get it back are simply not working.  I think it’s time I start something new.  And how fun it would be to create this traditional quilt normally created with civil war reproduction fabrics in my current 2 favorite colorways.  Actually salmon/pink is my color and somehow this red took over.  I plan to put more salmon/pink in the quilt to reduce the red effect.  I love how the turquoise blue looks with the salmon.

The intro of the book provide instructions on how to do the blocks by hand with templates and foundation piecing.  It seemed overly complicated to me.  So I purchased the Civil War Diary add on from Rosemary Young for EQ7.  I have EQ7 but I’m not proficient in it and very rarely use it.  I bought it because I knew I would use it for this book, Dear Jane, and other quilts I want to make in the future.  Since this is the first real project I’m using EQ7 I’m struggling.  Any pointers would be much appreciated.  I was able to get the Civil War Diary blocks into EQ7.  The blocks are not in the same order as they are in the book and there isn’t a way to search for them.  If you know of a way to search, please let me now.  For now, I have to scroll through all 121 blocks and examine them closely to see if it resembled the first block.  Of course, the first block in the book was the last block in the program.  I’m rearranging them as I find them so that the first block is really first in my block library for this project.  To be fair, I haven’t taken any of the tutorials for the program.  I do plan on taking them one of these days to help me get my bearings.

I figured out how to print the block with “rotary cutter” instructions.  It’s kind of helpful in that it gives me the measurements of what to cut.  But it’s not completely intuitive.  For example, the first block finished looks like this:

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

There are 12 HSTs in this block.  EQ7 provided the measurement for the HST.  But I like to do my HSTs where you cut the squares, draw a diagonal line and with right sides together, sew a quarter inch on each side of that diagonal line, cut on the diagonal line and that will provide me with 2 HSTs.  The problem? I didn’t know how big to cut my squares so that the HST would finish at 1-3/4″ I basically cut them big (2.5″ squares) and trimmed the HSTs down to 1-3/4″.

In addition, there are 8 pieces that use the tri-recs ruler.  Again, the program gave measurements of cutting the fabric along with the degree of the angles.  That’s way too complicated but I guess if you didn’t have a tri-recs ruler, that would be the way to get these shapes.  I don’t know.  I’ve had the tri-recs ruler for so long I don’t remember ever making these without them.  Or how to do it without them.  I wonder if there is a way to tell EQ7 what rulers I have so that instead of giving me the measurements, they tell me where to cut the tri-recs at.  I cut them at 2″ and once the little pieces were put together, trimmed them down to 1-3/4″ again.

Block #1 – Alarming Conditions

 

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

I generally try not to work with directional fabrics and I didn’t realize I had purchased it in this case.  I normally don’t care or pay attention to them.  But this time around, I feel like paying attention to them. It takes longer and some fussy cutting but I am enjoying to process right now.

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

 

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

 

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

 

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
5/14/17

 

Civil War Diary Quilt
Alarming Conditions
Block 1
The back
5/14/17

As much as I love the finished block, I wanted to point out that back. A lot of times, people do not show the back of the blocks.  I really paid attention to my pressing as there would have been a lot of bulky seams where the points met.  In the places that were extremely bulky, I went to the back and spun the seams.  Is that what it is called?  I learned this from Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt-a-longs each year.  The block lays pretty flat and I’m happy to have the first one done!

~happy piecing!

~Melanie

LAFS: Brigitte Scarf

I started reading Love At First Stitch (LAFS) the night it arrived.  My goal is to work through the book and I hope by the end I’ll feel more comfortable with garment sewing.  I have no plans to do more at the moment but I hope to be able to make myself dresses, skirts and tops that fit appropriately.  I have a short torso and I often have to take dresses in for alterations.

The first project is the Brigitte Scarf.  Immediately I hit a snag.  The fabric requirement was 60 inches in length.  That’s a bit under 2 yards.  I’ve got a pretty large fabric stash (as compared to myself really).  I consider it large only because I have no more room to have more.  All my bins are stuffed full and I need to use it before I can buy more. 😦  AND I can’t buy more bins because I would have no place to put it.  😦  I say this because I should be able to find something in my stash but I don’t have a lot of fabric that’s over a yard.  When I go to my LQS I generally buy one yard of something if I don’t already have a project in mind.  So, that’s my first dilemma.  I know I have fabric that’s 2+ yards but that could be anywhere in the bins.  I wanted to use fabric I loved but I didn’t want to hunt through my bins wasting valuable sewing time.  I went through a stack of fabric that I had recently washed and placed aside (remember no room in the bins) and found an older piece of fabric that seemed thicker than a yard when folded up.  I unfolded it, and it was enough!  I didn’t love the fabric.  It wasn’t one I bought.  If you remember, I was gifted quite a few yards of fabric from a lady in my mini group whose mother passed away recently.  It was one of those.  I decided to use it.  I may never use this scarf but the goal of this project is to start and learn the techniques so I can move on to the next project.  I do not want to get stuck in my sewing room with piles of bins around me looking for the right piece of fabric.

Fabric chosen for Brigitte Scarf
5/13/17

Dillema #2 – the instructions have me cut a paper pattern that is 25 1/2 inches in length.  I do not have paper that is that long.  I ended up using freezer paper that I had on hand.  Sidenote – I’ve used the same roll of freezer paper for the last 10 years! Those things go a long way!  And it worked fine!

Mistake #1 – I was supposed to cut 25 1/2 inches.  I actually cut 25 inches.  I’m pretty sure in garment making that 1/2 inch would matter but in scarf making, I didn’t think so.  However, I’m reminded that that’s why we check twice, thrice and sometimes 4 times because once cut, you can’t do anything about it but find another piece of fabric and cut again.  Since I’m making a scarf, I’m going to leave it. 🙂

Note – step #3 has us put right sides together long wise but the instructions are a little confusing.  I think it’s because I’m a quilter and had I not been a quilter but a real beginner the long instruction given would have made more sense.  In addition I think I could have skipped the step of cutting the paper pattern.  I have the tools (ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat) to figure out how to cut the fabric without the paper pattern.  However I never know when I can skip a step or not so I will continue to do all the steps as I learn.  I love how the writing is geared towards the beginner sewist because a lot of times these kinds of books assume the reader knows things that they may not necessarily know and cause confusion and heartache.

LAFS: Brigitte Scarf

I would call this a headband than a scarf but the book is written by a UK sewist so they must call it a scarf there.  I love it and even though I don’t love the fabric so much as a scarf – I prefer brighter colors for a scarf- I think I would still wear this.

~ Happy sewing!

~Melanie

Happy Mother’s Day!

happy-mothers-day

 

 

Here’s my wish list for today:

  1. Finish piecing the first block of the Civil War Diary Block: Alarming Conditions
    1. Civil War Diary Quilt
      Alarming Conditions
      Block 1
      5/14/17

  2. Finish knitting the second heel of my Union Square socks.
    • Take a picture to post for you all!
  3. Whatever takes my fancy.  ;0

Have a great crafty day!

~Melanie

More quilt show pictures

 Karen Van Den Brink
Who was the featured artist of the show.

A week has gone by and I never got a chance to show more pictures from the show.  Karen Van Den Brink was the featured artist and I love the quilt above.  It is reverse applique and very simply quilted.  If you could see, it’s just straight lines diagonally across the quilt from corner to corner of each solid block of fabric. I told her how I liked her choice to quilt it simply and she laughed saying that she quilted it herself on her domestic which is why it’s so simply quilted.  I thought it was a design choice and thought the simplicity really made the complexity of the blocks stand out.  I liked it!

 

We will Never Be Royals
Dottie Cincis

 

The Shaman
Marty Boles

Golden Rain
Victoria Crayne

There were so many beautiful quilts at the show and I am extremely grateful to be part of a guild with the talent that was exhibited at the show.  I’ve taken note of my favorite quilters and I’m hoping to track down the ones who still give classes.  Some of them do periodically at the quilt shops around here.  I personally love the applique and the hand quilting.  One day I plan to start working on practicing hand applique and quilting on smaller projects.  I generally make big quilts and hand quilting a big quilt takes too much time.  I do not enjoy that process.  I’m already hand quilting Raining Cats and Dogs and I barely touch that 1-2 times per month.  I hope I can get to it more.  Now that basketball season is over for my Clippers I’m going to have to find an evening each week to spend some time quilting that project.

On the personal side: The hubby is back from the Philippines and we’re having friends and family come over today to welcome him back.  I hope to get some crafting done before they arrive.  I’m still having trouble staying motivated and working on things.  Knitting is easy because it’s small and travel ready.  I’ve picked up a copy of Love at first Stitch by Tilly Walnes.  It’s all about garment sewing for the beginning garment sewer.  I’m familiar with my sewing machine and quilting but have not ever done anything on garment sewing.  I’m intrigued by the #memademay movement and I’m inspired to start on the path of dressmaking.  I’ve struggled to find the right fit and the right look at commercial stores and pretty much only wear t-shirts and yoga pants on a day to day.  I hate shopping.  If you don’t know about Me Made May it’s all about wearing something you’ve created every day in May.  It’s meant to encourage crafters to use their handmade items more regularly and incorporate it into their daily wear.  I don’t have much of anything to actually wear so I’m just watching from the sidelines.  It’s a wonderful concept and I’m looking forward to trying out garment sewing.

The problem with starting is that I’ve got a backlog of other projects that I haven’t finished up yet.  To be honest, it’s like a weight around my neck. I don’t want to start anything new but I can’t find the motivation to finish anything.  I have an idea of a new quilting project and I want to get started.  I’ve had the book The Civil War Diary Quilt forever and I’ve always wanted to work through the book and make each block.  But I haven’t for one reason or another.  I woke up one morning with an idea to just start with some colors in mind.  I’ve been gathering the items I need and have finally gotten the background fabric I’ve decided on.  I was getting stuck on this and I decided not to get a lot of fabric.  I decided to just do one block at a time and see where this takes me.  There are 121 blocks in the book.  I do not know if I’ll make all of them.  But I’ll start with one and I hope to get at least 1 done every week.  That’s about all I’ve got for right now.  This is very different than how I normally work.  Normally I have a pattern or a plan and I follow it to the bitter end.  This is the first time I feel I’m winging it.  I’m kind of excited about this.

Those other unfinished projects… they’re going to have to remain unfinished.  I need to get my sewjo back and I hope to get that by starting this new project.  If you’ve worked on the Civil War Diary Quilt, any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

~Happy Crafting!

~Melanie

 

 

 

SFVQA – Quilting in the Valley Quilt Show! Recap

I had a fabulous time.  Everyone was mostly pleasant and a blast.  There were a handful of grumpies but that’s normal so we can ignore them.  I was able to help the ladies run the credit card app and I traveled between locations to be on hand for any troubles.  They were pleased with my presence and I’m glad to have been of assistance.

Sorry I wasn’t able to post pictures last night.  One of the issues we ran across was that an older tablet was not connecting to the internet properly so I left my phone with that location so they would be able to use the credit card app on it.  I was not able to take pictures on Saturday.  But today, Sunday, I knew exactly which pictures I wanted.  Here are some pics of the quilts I enjoyed.  I didn’t get all the details (like whether it was machine appliqued, a pattern from someone else, or anything like that) but I am including the main quilt maker’s name.

Flower Pot #4
Lois Christianson

“Rainmaker”
Sue Rasmussen

 

“At Home in the Garden”
by Becky Kokkinos

“Fun and Fancy”
Zena Thorpe

“Guess who’s coming to Dinner?”
Victoria Crayne

“Leftover Stars”
Francine Landau

I’ll post more pictures tomorrow.

~Happy quilting

~Melanie