Friday, February 26, 2010

Progress Report and Surprise Gifts

I’m making progress…slowly but surely.

The needle case pictured below is my goal…


My journey began two days ago.  I spent the first evening prepping the linen by basting a running stitch down the entire length of the linen to mark the center line.  I also had to do this in several places across the width of the fabric not only to indicate where the fold for the pockets will go but also to separate the four individual designs.


For me, this is quite an ambitious project because I only started x-stitching last Fall and only completed three relative easy projects.  This is also my first attempt at using linen which takes a while for one’s eyes to get accustomed to simply because linen is a natural fibre and the weave is somewhat irregular.


So after two days, here’s what I’ve managed to accomplish.  I’m about two thirds through the first of four of the stitched designs.


I’m absolutely thrilled at not only how it’s starting to take shape but simply because I’m able to do it.  I did have to un-stitch a couple of rows two or three times on my first day but now that I’ve figured out exactly where to place my needle and how to count the threads in the weave, my second day went without a hitch.  Woo hoo.  And did you notice the gorgeous strawberry scissor fob?  That was one of my Christmas presents from Stina.   Of course it makes my scissors magical!


If you recall on Tuesday when I went to the post office, I received three parcels.  One was my long awaited stitching supplies and the other two were from Australia.

Last March just two months into my blogging career, I signed up for a PIF or Pay It Forward that Khris had talked about on her blog.  One of the packages was from Khris with my PIF gift enclosed.


Isn’t she the cutest raggedy?  I told Khris in my email to thank her that she fits right in with my other raggedies but that she’s having a difficult time making herself understood because of her Aussie accent.  *wink*  Thanks again, Khris.


The third parcel was from my friend Julie.


Julie and I like to surprise each other from time to time with little gifts and this time I was very surprised.  I knew that she was sending me some rusty bells, rusty pins and gold lobster claws for the scissor fobs that I make but she also included an Australia tote bag and this beauty...


Awesome, huh?  A pincushion made from wool and stitched by Julie.  Be still my heart!  Two of my favorite things rolled into one…wool and a pincushion.  Thanks again,  Sipsy.


This morning when I was trying to update my blog list, the entire list disappeared from my sidebar.  I even tried to “clear edits” but nothing seemed to work.  In full panic mode, I tried to jump start this old brain into trying to recall everyone who was on the list and started writing down names as they popped into my head.  I’m sure that I’ve not remembered all of you but as a precautionary measure,  I’ve learned to make a separate hardcopy just in case this happens again.


I’m looking forward to this afternoon when the United States plays Finland and  then tonight when Canada takes on Slovakia in Olympic hockey when I can take up my stitching once again.  I confess…I’m nuts about hockey!

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Wait is Over!

I hadn’t planned on going to the post office today but since I had to run a few errands anyway, I decided to stop in to check our mail box.  One bill and a card.  The card means that there is something inside the office that is being held for pick up because it won’t fit into the box. 

Could it be the parcel with my stitching supplies that I’ve been waiting two long weeks for?


It was indeed but to my surprise, there were two other parcels waiting for me as well…both from Australia.  Those I’ll tell you about in another post.


I am so excited about starting this next project.  I decided that after spending so much time on my Raggedy & Friends quilt, I needed a change of pace.  Although I’m really a newbie when it comes to x-stitching, when I first laid eyes on this project, I just knew that I had to make one.


It’s a needle case called “Flowers for Sarah” from the book Thank You, Sarah Tobias by Blackbird Designs.


Tonight I’ll be prepping the linen by basting the center and fold guidelines as I watch the Olympics in order to be ready to dive in tomorrow.  Woo hoo!


This is how the order was wrapped…


And here’s what was inside…


Can you guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning?

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Busily Waiting

Patience was not one of my positive virtues in my younger days.


Although I’ve mellowed somewhat and I’m a heck of a lot better now, I still struggle with the “P” word at times…like when I’m waiting for an order to arrive.  I think because we live in a small, rural town located halfway between two major cities, our mail gets re-routed and resorted to either one resulting in a delay and ultimately, a test of my patience.  They’re winning…trust me.


Yep, you guessed it…my stitching order has still not arrived.  *sigh*  I know it’s been sent because I received an envelope in my mail box this past Wednesday with a receipt of my credit card charges, so it most definitely is not the supplier’s fault.  It’s the postal system…testing my patience again.  *grrrrr*

So what’s a gal to do?  I don’t want to start a new project because I’ll be doing that as soon as my order arrives.  Now look what I pulled out of hiding!


You can tell by the folds that it’s been hidden away for a while but I managed to add  the two hexie flowers on the bottom right this morning.  All of the flowers have been made and are just waiting to be added.


I still have another 6 rows of flowers to add and I know that I’ll run out of the connecting “pathways” before I’m done, so they will have to be made up at some point.  Thank goodness I’m not in a rush to get this completed. I gave myself two years to complete this quilt…and guess what?   The two years will be up in September. ..of this year.   I’m cautiously optimistic…very cautious.  *wink*img63_thumb2

In the interim, I’ve been knitting my socks at night while watching the Olympics and I’ve also designed another quilt.  The preliminary sketches and line drawings have been done.  Now I just have to fine tune them, complete the stitched blocks and then piece and assemble the quilt.

My “betwixt and between” funk didn’t last too long and I’m on a roll again!

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Little Retail Therapy

As a follow up to my last post about feeling ‘betwixt and between’, it would appear that most of us share the same feelings after completing a large project.  It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone in that regard and somehow, that thought provides me with a lot of comfort.  Thank you all for sharing your thoughts with me.


I placed the order for my x-stitch supplies and I’m hoping that they’ll arrive sometime this week.  I am so looking forward to making the Blackbird Designs needlecase from their Thank You, Sarah Tobias book.  I am holding off starting anything new as this will be my next endeavor.  In the interim, I’m continuing to knit the socks I started and have just about finished reading the third book in the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini.  If you need something light and enjoyable to read…and with a quilting theme…I would recommend these books.  I believe there are sixteen books in the series thus far.  Great bedtime reading too!


So what’s a gal to do when she’s ‘betwixt and between’?  Go shopping, of course! 

Bright and early this morning, Mr. Painted Quilt, Mac (our Westie) and I headed off to do some shopping in Ogdensburg, NY.  The day was bright and sunny and the temperature hovered just around the freezing mark. 

I won’t bore you with our Walmart or grocery store purchases, but I did manage to do some damage in JoAnn’s.  Today was the last day of their President’s Day sale, so with my flyer coupons in hand, here’s what I brought home.


Two sheets of heat resistant mylar, an Easy Angle and Companion Angle ruler, an Olfa rotary cutter pinking shear blade, a package of 3 vintage red striped tea towels, eighteen spools of Gutterman cotton thread reduced to$9 and a pad of graph paper specifically made for quilt block designing.  Most of what I bought was on sale and for the items that weren’t on sale, I was able to use my 50% and 40% off coupons.  And the icing on the cake was another coupon that allowed for an additional 10% off the entire purchase.  Woo hoo!


Our final stop was at Fiber Options, a quilt shop in Renesselaer Falls, NY.  All their fabric was 25% off, so I managed to pick up a ‘few’ yards while there. 

These Civil War fabrics just called my name so I took the remainder from both bolts.


This fabric kinda caught my eye and at $4.50 a yard, I bought 5 yards to use as backing for a future quilt.  I just ♥ it’s Americana folk art appearance.


I don’t know about you but I can’t bear to put fabric away that has creases and wrinkles in it, which usually is the case with what’s left on the ends of bolts.  Call me anal but I just had to iron everything before adding it to the stash.

All in all, it was a great day.   We stopped for lunch and  then made our way home.  Even Mac was happy because he got plenty of exercise on walks with Mr. Painted Quilt while I was in the shops practising my retail therapy!

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Betwixt and Between

How do you feel after completing a large project?

It’s hard for me to explain…even to myself…how and what I’m feeling right now.  It’s been just over a week since I completed my Raggedy and Friends quilt and I’m experiencing this kind of “empty” feeling.


I was going great guns during the month of December, planning, designing and finally stitching and piecing my first ever full size quilt design.  I enjoyed every moment of it and it reminded me of when I finally got to the actual painting of one of my line drawings and saw it come to life in front of my eyes…euphoria!  Then there would always be a lull before the inspiration took hold to start on a new project.  I think I am experiencing that same lull right now.  I know myself well and I know it will pass, yet it doesn’t make the feeling any better.  I’m “betwixt and between”.


I’ve been keeping myself busy but I seem to be flitting from one thing to another.  I’ve prepped the second Civil War Bride Quilt block…but I haven’t started stitching it.  Maybe today…but I said that yesterday too!  I’m “betwixt and between”.


I also started to knit a pair of socks for my friend Lucie’s son.  I have until June to complete them so perhaps that is why I seem to be procrastinating. 


There is a custom in the French Canadian culture that if a younger sibling gets married before the older sibling, then the older sibling must dance with the younger sibling in their stocking feet at the wedding reception…hense, the wild socks pictured above.  Both Lucie and her son Dan have a super sense of humor and Dan will be wearing these wild colored socks, dressed in a tux at his sister’s wedding.  I know I will have them finished long before June, but I just can’t seem to sink my teeth into them right now.  I’m “betwixt and between”.


I have so many ideas and new designs floating around in my head right now.  I know from past experience that if I don’t write them down or sketch what I “see” in my head, then the idea will vanish as quickly as it came.  I think I’m a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I want to to so much but know that realistically, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to even put a dent in what I hope to accomplish.  I’m “betwixt and between”.


So, having said that, I think I’ll start to x-stitch again.  I haven’t x-stitched since the Fall and I miss it…even though I’m a real beginner.  There’s a needlecase in  the Thank You, Sarah Tobias book by Blackbird Designs that actually inspired me to start to x-stitch and that’s what I have in mind.  I’m going to order the fabric and the floss today and will look forward to starting that journey once the supplies arrive.  In the interim, I hope to complete the second block of the CWBQ and continue knitting in the evenings.

Have you ever felt” betwixt and between”?


Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Friday Freebie #6 - February

Where did January go?  Yikes!  But that’s okay because that means only two more months of winter and have you noticed that here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting longer?  Bring on Spring!


And here it is, the First Friday of February…already.  Freebie day!  In keeping with Valentine’s Day, I just had to design something related…and red and white, of course.


This month’s design is adapted from a painting that I did on the lid of a box about eight years ago after returning to Canada from south Florida where we lived for many years.  It was a commissioned design for a decorative painting magazine and was one of my Mom’s favorite pieces.  It is pictured in the photo below.

Be Mine    

February’s FFF (First  Friday Freebie) is entitled “Be Mine” and you can access the PDF file which includes the photo, line drawing and instructions by clicking here.


If you’d like,  please grab the First Friday Freebie button (by right clicking and saving) from my sidebar and place it on your sidebar with a link  back here in order for us to share it with those who might not otherwise find their way here.  The button will also serve as a reminder that on the First Friday of each month there will be another new Freebie design available for you to enjoy.


I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day and hope that cupid pays you a visit.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥


Monday, February 1, 2010

My First Quilt Design…The Reveal!

I had been thinking about this design for quite a while but I didn’t even want to attempt to put pencil to paper before all my swaps and Christmas gifts were put to bed.  So around the beginning of December, I started the preliminary sketches.


I knew I wanted to include both stitching and piecing as part of the overall design, so I did the initial layout on graph paper.  It took me a couple of days just to finalize the layout, even before attempting the line drawings for the stitched blocks.  I needed to complete the layout first in order to determine the final sizes for the stitcheries.


I researched and studied the characters from public domain designs and it took me about a week to complete the stitchery patterns.  And so the journey began.


I stitched and pieced over the Christmas holidays and gave the flimsy to Nancy…my friend and machine quilter extraordinaire…during the first week of January and gave her ‘carte blanche’ to work her magic on it.  Everything that Nancy touches is an original work of art and I left the quilting part in her trusty and capable hands.  We met this past Friday and if I didn’t know better, I would have believed it if someone had told me that the longarm quilting fairy resides at Nancy’s house.  What an incredible job she did!  Every square inch is custom done.


The quilt is called “ Raggedy and Friends”.  It is made up of 12 blocks and is done in my favorite scrappy style.  I spent the better part of the weekend affixing the binding and adding the decorative vintage buttons and glass beads.


I apologize for the blurry photos but I think you can make out the stitcheries and the amazing quilting.


It had crossed my mind to offer it as a free Block of the Month but then had second thoughts since there are so many beautiful BOM’s out there already from which to choose.  What do you think?


Thanks for allowing me to share my first full size quilt design.  After designing in the decorative painting industry for almost 25 years, I have found it very difficult to shut down that part of my brain.  I guess I’m happiest when I’m designing and really all that has changed is the medium…fabric in lieu of paint.  I even find that I’m using a very similar color palette to what I use when I paint.


And now it’s back to the drawing board.  I have so many other ideas floating around in my head I just wish that there were more hours in a day. 

Having said that, remember that this Friday, the 5th of February, is the First Friday of the month, which means that it’ll be time for the next FFF (First Friday Freebie).  Think  s!

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥