Friday, December 28, 2012

The Happy Couple & Hugs

I was so happy that all of my little quilts sold for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, that it inspired me to make more.  When I saw "The Happy Couple" that  Brooke Nolan designed for the Attic Needlework annual breast cancer research auction, I fell in love with it.  Just the sweetest celebration of the young, and albeit white-haired, George and Martha. Then when Brooke offered it for free on her site, I grabbed it and started stitching immediately, knowing this was a perfect piece for a little quilt.  I loved stitching this on a 32 count hand-dyed evenweave fabric I had in my stash, just DMC, no beads.  But there was a reluctance to do the finishing since I really wanted to preserve the circle and do some hand-embroidered seam treatment.  I was afraid I would ruin it in trying that!  Luckily, that part worked out reasonably well.  I used a feather stitch and colonial knot combination for the seam treatment. Circle is a bit wonky, but I never expected perfection on that score.

I had also taken a chance on ordering a walking foot for my ancient Singer sewing machine.  It was a third-party generic foot that was at a good price, so I figured I wouldn't be out much money if it didn't work.  Turned out to work like a charm and did make the sewing a little easier.    Not a perfect finish, but I am pretty happy with the result.

  I used the same technique for the label as I did for the "Tortoise and Hare" quilt.  Simple and effective.  I love having a little touch of embroidery.

The World of Charity Stitching group decided to do an 'Encouraging Words" quilt for a Sandy Hook Survivor.  I picked this ornament from the JCS 2011 ornament issue, changing the word from "Joy" to "Hugs".  The designer is Little by Little Designs, Inc.  I've become quite a fan of that choclate blueberry color combo.

A super surprise package arrived in the mail from Michelle.   She spoiled me with an adorable snowman ornament, a sweet pin pillow, a beautiful piece of raspberry-colored fabric, a couple of nice picture-frame insert cards and the most beautiful counting pins ever!  Thank you so much, Michelle.  I love it all!

Best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

10 Minute Pine Cone

Someone on the 123 Stitch message board asked about an interpretation of a French pattern for a crocheted pine cone. I googled around and found the pattern in English. I had no particular use for this, but I was so intrigued by the simplicity of the pattern, that I had to try it. In the time it takes for a coffee break, I crocheted this on some old acrylic yarn that, theoretically, should have been too soft to work well. But I think it turned out perfect. Unbelievable! Thought I would share this for any crocheters looking to make some quick last minute ornaments or package decorations. Find the pattern here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wrist warmers and lighthouses

It's about that time of year when I get the urge to knit or crochet.  Of course, since I do this so seldom, I feel like I have to re-learn all the little tips and tricks and I figured out last time.   I bought some chestnut colored Wool-Ease to play with and tried out a couple of fingerless glove patterns that I had saved some time ago.   The first is a knitted pattern called Malabrigo Hand Thingies that I used to practice the double-pointed needles knitting in the round.  Had to make three gloves to get two to fit, but these are really warm and snuggly.  They don't look much like the samples from knitters on Ravelry so I must have misinterpreted something in the way I did the slip stitch, but I'm happy with them all the same.

Next, I tried a crochet pattern that had been on my radar for a long time.  These are shell stitch wrist warmers by Drops. Kirsten first showed them to me, but the pattern was in German with a crochet diagram and I was too intimidated to try it.  The pattern has been translated to English now, and I am better at reading diagrams, so I gave it a shot.  It was still a bit difficult to understand, but I looked at the photos of finishes very closely and figured out what I couldn't follow from the directions.  After that, it was a breeze.  Crochet zips along so quickly that I finished these in no time.  Another very warm pair.    I might not keep both pair for myself, but I do like them both.

And not to neglect cross-stitch, I signed up to do a square for a lighthouse-themed quilt at World of Charity Cross Stitching.  The theme didn't appeal to me, but when I discovered I had a suitable design of just the right size in Sue Cook's "Wonderful Cross Stitch Collection" right on my bookshelf, I considered it an omen.  It's stitched on White Monaco.  I changed the blue sky background to half-cross stitch to make it go faster.  The effect of that is to make the lighthouses really pop.  Couldn't escape doing the porthole borders.  They were small at least.