Monday, July 30, 2007

Celtic Heart finis

Celtic Heart by M Designs
two over two
Silkweavers 32 count French Vanilla Swirl
DMC Variegated Floss - 4065

I finished up my Celtic Heart yesterday. I'm happy with it although the colors are light and unless you look very closely, much of the design is lost to the casual eye. I plan on doing one more for sure, the letter M, and I'll make sure I pick a more contrasting combination of floss and linen.

I had to go to Hobby Lobby on Friday evening. I was planning on buying a fat half yard of Natural Brown linen for my Sheepish Designs alphabet sampler that I wanted to start next - they still sell the packages of big pieces there. Or at least they did. I was very distressed to find when I got there that Hobby Lobby is continuing the destruction of the cross stitch section. They no longer carry most of the colors of Wichelt linen they used to, just cream and white. But the trip was not all lost because in the super clearance section, I found the below five packages of linen left - all for $5.11 and all fat halfs. 28 count Natural Brown, Sandstone and Ivory and in 32 count Twilight Blue and Latte. I bought all they had. It was five packages for the price of one. How could I resist? I don't use much un-variegated linen and hardly ever use 28 count but I'll have it if I need it and in nice neutral colors. Just perfect for ornaments. And I can always over-dye them myself if I really want to.

For my train ride this week, I'm stitching Delivering Spring by Homespun Elegance. I'm planning on giving it to my niece for her college graduation party this weekend. Last Christmas she was the one who ended up with my Secret Santa gift, Delivering Winter. She really liked it and all but begged me to make the other three seasons for her. She is one of my favorites so how could I not? For a college graduation I should make her all three or even something really spectacular but she wanted this and it is the only one I have time for right now. I'll look for the other two charts and surprise her during the next year so the celebration will last all year. :-)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thanks :-)

Thanks for all your wonderful comments on my Village finish. I had a couple of new or newish commenters (thanks for stopping by) and I have added your blogs to my list of stops. :-) I've been behind on my blog browsing and when I have the time to browse I haven't been commenting much. Hopefully things will slow down at work so I can get back into my routines.

I actually hung up my Village without a frame at home just so I could look at it at night. :-) I really want to get going on the Houses now - one block a month like the Village. Hopefully by September I'll have the first months worth of silks so I can get going with it.

Here is my progress on Celtic Heart. Depending on my mood when I work on it is how much I like it or not. Today I like it, yesterday I didn't. The tan portion of the variegated thread I'm using is very close to the linen I picked out. So in some places it's hard to see and the design is fading. I would love to do a series of these hearts in different colors and hang them all together in the same frame. I think that would look really cool. But do I ever think I get around to doing two more of these? And framing them?? I doubt it but it's a nice wish. ;-)

Yesterday was St. Reatham day and I got in a solid four hours of stitching. But I went to bed before I took a progress photo and forgot to again this morning before I left for my train. You are not missing much, I'm working on the top border with the dogs and the alphabet right under that so it doesn't look like much as been done at all. I figure I need to do some of the boring stuff instead of leaving that for last - I'd never get the piece finished if all I have left is solid rows of lines.

Have a great weekend! I'll be at a Jimmy Buffet concert tomorrow! It should be fun.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Village of Hawk Run Hollow finis

The Village of Hawk Run Hollow
Carriage House Samplings
32 count Lakeside Linens Sand Dune
Using the recommended Needlepoint Silk colors

Well it's finished! This is my biggest project to date and I started it on August 5th of last year. There were many times where I was surprised that I was hanging on and still working on it. :-) I made changes to blocks two, four, six and eight.

I love how it turned out and I do plan on starting the House of Hawk Run Hollow sometime in the early fall. I have the chart and the linen but I need to start buying the silks - I'll use Needlepoint Silks also for the Houses, one over two like I did with the Village and I'll buy them a month at a time. It helps to spread the cost out over the year and if it's anything like the Village, the most expensive months will be the first four or so, after that many colors are duplicated.

Here is my progress on Celtic Heart - I'm hoping to start work on the actual heart tonight.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Harry Potter Weekend

Like many many other people, my weekend was all about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My local library called me at 9:00am Saturday morning to tell me that my reserved copy of the audio CDs had arrived and was waiting for me. Of course I was already a couple of chapters into the book because I had picked it up at 7:00am that morning but I dropped everything and ran out. I was listening by 9:30am. :-) And quilting. First on my list for my HP weekend was machine quilting my dog bed. Below are the results. I think it turned out ok. I had planned on finishing up the dog bed this weekend but to my dismay, I did not have enough wool batting in my stash to work on the bottom piece so I had to put this project aside to wait for more batting to arrive from my online source. This has been the never ending project. I actually started this over two years ago! And in the process have pieced two separate tops (for the first top, I hated the fabric I picked out after I pieced it - too baby quilt looking, all light yellows and peach), quilted a bottom (which matched the first top and was too small for the second top) and have spent a small fortune. I had to order two more king size down/feather pillows for the insert on Friday (but I knew I would have to and I was relived to find out on Friday that four would work and not the six that I had first feared). I think I'm way over $250 for this odd project. :-) I could have purchased both dogs their own top of the line Bowers Bed in what I've spend on this. Oh well, live and learn. And of course I'm still not finished. I have to quilt the bottom in a simple grid pattern and quilt the side panels AND put the whole thing together. At least two more weekends I'm thinking.

When the dog bed top made it into the washer and drier, I moved onto the next project on my list. Finishing the piecing of my matching lap quilt (it's 80" x 80") using the Chocolat fabrics from 3 Sisters/Moda and a pattern from Miss Rosie's. I'm happier with the colors now that it's pieced. I do plan on sending this one out to be quilted. I have too much to get caught up on to quilt this one myself and in any case I'm not that good yet at the style of machine quilting that I want for this quilt.

By the time this was finished it was close to 7:00pm and I was ready to get comfy and stitch. So I picked up my Village and worked on block 3. Above are the results of Saturday and Sunday evening's stitching. I'm almost finished! Just one color thread to go. :-) I listened to HP and stitched to close to 11:00pm. I really wanted to get half way into the book before I stopped for the day so I would be able to get to bed Sunday evening at a decent hour. It's worth mentioning that while I could have completed reading the entire book on Saturday, listening to it took over 21 hours. But I love Jim Dale's interpretation of the HP books and I never really considered experiencing Deathly Hollows for the first time in any other way.

On tap for Sunday was piecing a quilt wall hanging that I have had in my stash for over two years. I went through a period a couple of years ago where I thought I needed to expand my quilting horizons and I purchased a couple of bright batik quilts kits. I have since decided that there is nothing wrong with just working on what appeals to me and this kit just sat on a shelf. These colors are just not me. But they will be perfect for a friend I have who lives in Alaska. She can put this in a dark corner in the winter and brighten everything up. I had planned on machine quilting this also but as I wrote before, I didn't have enough quilt batting. That's too bad as I would like to send it to her sooner than later and I won't work on it again until the dog bed quilt is complete. And who knows when that will be. :-)

Here is my progress on Celtic Heart from M Designs. It looks much better ILR I think.

Now onto my review of Deathly Hallows. Stop reading if you don't want to hear what I have to say. I have mixed feelings about the book. I'm happy with the epilogue - I loved the way JKR tied everything up. But I'm really sad about a couple of deaths that she put in. They just seemed so senseless and didn't advance the story one bit. And with one of the deaths, she didn't even say how it happened! Harry just saw the bodies laying there. That actually made me angry because it just happened to be one of my favorite characters. :-( I just didn't get why she did it. And I was not happy with the Severus Black resolution. I always felt he was on the good side but didn't like how she got there. I'm kinda sad it's all over. And what really struck me as odd was this is the first book that I don't plan on re-reading right away. So I guess it really is all over for me. But my hats off to JKR - she really created something wonderful. I don't think I have laughed and cried and felt so involved with a story as much as these seven books. I look forward to reading what she creates next. If she does...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Awake the Dawning Day finis

Awake the Dawning Day
Blackbird Designs
32 count Silkweavers Purely Primitive
Suggested Weeks Dye Works fibers

I finished up Awake the Dawning Day before I left for agility last evening. Am I ever glad this one is finished. I don't even remember the last time I worked on a BBD piece for as long as I did this one. I put it aside for a couple of weeks when it just wasn't doing anything for me. I made a huge push after the train ride home Monday evening. I just wanted it done no matter what. So I stopped work on the Village until late yesterday evening.
I did manage though to make a start on the building. In a world without a Harry Potter book being released in three days, I would finish this up over the weekend. But as it stands right now, my weekend will be all about Harry. I am going to purchase the CDs and the book on Saturday morning as soon as Sam's Club opens and the plan is to quilt while I listen to it. When I'm finished quilting for the day, I'll pick up where I left off and read. Even so at 700+ pages, I doubt I'll finished before Monday. Too bad I took off last Friday - I could take off this coming Monday and finish it off. :-)

Of course I have a new start so I have something to stitch on while on the train back and forth to work. Any guess as to what it is? I doubt anyone could pick this one out in it's current state so I'll just come clean. It's Celtic Heart from M Designs. I'm stitching it on 32 count French Vanilla Swirl from Silkweavers using one of the new variegated flosses from DMC - 4065. I spend a very pleasant hour or so picking out what I wanted to do next. I told myself the only conditions were 1) it had to be something I've had around for a while and 2) it had to be on my "waiting in the wings" list. I think it will be pretty and I'll make it into a pillow when I done.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Productive weekend :-)

WOW - what a crafting weekend I had! :-) And most of it quilting. How about that for a change. I made it a goal last week that I would find some time to work on a couple of outstanding quilting projects - namely, my dog bed quilt and it's matching bed throw for me. Well I managed to complete the dog bed top! And complete the insert for the bed. I made the insert out of pillow ticking because the plan is to stuff it with down and feathers. :-) Nothing is too good for my pugs. :-) It's larger than I first planned coming in at 42 inches. Oh and it's square! At first the plan had been to make a round bed but the quilt pattern I used looked better square. I also was thinking to send it out to be quilted so it would match the throw but I want it done fast and right now my favorite quilter has an eight week waiting list for quilting so I'll do it myself. It won't be as pretty but at least it will be done - at least some time this year. ;-)

Part two of the weekend goal had been to finish the matching bed throw but I found when I was done with the dog bed, I was too crabby to take the time and care to do a good job in joining the blocks into rows so I just pinned everything together (mostly because I had it all laying out to select the block placement) in preparation of joining the blocks into rows. One good Saturday and it will be finished also. I'm a little disappointed in the overall color with the bed quilt - it's really reading RED. I was hoping it would be a little more on the tan/cream/brown side but the red really just took over. I love red but I'm not really a red person. I'll have to tone it down by matching it with a lots of tan and cream accessories.

On Sunday I wanted to continue piecing but I didn't really want to work on my new quilt so I took a look through my stash of unfinished projects. What good quilter doesn't have a stash of unfinished projects?? lol! To my amazement what caught my eye was the very first quilt I learned to rotary cut and piece on back in 1992. I did the twelve blocks to learn what was for me, a new technique. You can tell from looking at the colors that I had no clue about color and patterns. It's all lights and dark with no patterns. And the colors are so 90's. But I still love it and hung onto it because I felt that I should finish my very first rotary quilt project. Every so often over the years, I would pull it out and look at the blocks. Yesterday I pulled it out of it's box and was just driven to complete the top. It took all day but it's finally finished. I think I'll quilt this one myself also. It's very basic and all straight line quilting will look great after it's finished - newbie mistakes and all - boy are some of my points off! lol! But I think it's important to show how far I've come in the past 15 years. :-)

I also found time to work on my Village - block three. I'm about a third of the way with the last block. My Village goal for the weekend was to finish up the sign and everything above it. Tonight I'll start work on the building itself.
Here is my progress on Awake the Dawning Day. I'm tempted to just finish it up by working on it at night but the month is half over and I still have a ton to go on the Village and no matter what I want to finish that this month. So it will stay my train project until it's finished - hopefully this week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

making progress

I'm making good progress on Awake the Dawning Day. I'm liking the piece more and more now that the color is coming into it. And once I finish up the top half of the piece it will fly because all that will be left will be the saying and a quick border. No stitching tonight because I have a working dinner but I hope to get some major stitching time in this weekend as I have no plans. :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

back to Awake the Dawning Day

I started back on Awake the Dawning Day from BBD. Now that I'm adding some more color to it, it's going a bit better. The addition of the greens really made it pop. I'll be working on this piece until next week for sure.

I also have started to make progress on block three of the Village of Hawk Run Hollow but not enough yet for a progress photo. I got a much later start this month than I thought I would. I actually had it in my mind that I would be able to finish it during my vacation last week! But I ended up quilting a lot more than I thought I would. I finished up all the blocks on my dog bed and matching lap quilt - now I just need to put it together. :-) Maybe my next vacation at home.

Monday, July 09, 2007

back to the grind

Coq Au Pins by Twisted Oaks Designs
32 count Silkweaver Goldspinner Linen
Needle Necessities Floss Overdyed - #1101, Clearly Blue

Well it's back to work for me. But it should be a light week since my boss is out all week. That's a good thing. :-) I promised more pictures of Coq Au Pins and here they are.

At the agility trial over the weekend the temps were as hot as the weather forecasters predicted. It was up into the 90's on Sunday. Molly didn't fair very well with the heat - she actually gave up on her run on Sunday and walked off the course! :-) I guess she told me. Clancy on the other hand, showed no ill effects. He got six first place finishes and two second place finishes with one qualifying score. He is amazing. I'm starting to think it's time to retire Molly and spend my effort and money all on Clancy. He really does enjoy it more and I only have so much time and money to go around. I think I will decide after the Pug Dog Nationals in late September. If she has a bad show I will finish out the current classes with her and just concentrate on Clancy from that point on.

Here is my progress from last Thursday's St. Reatham day. I'm now 1/8th complete. :-)

Friday, July 06, 2007

busy weekend :-)

Coq Au Pins by Twisted Oaks Designs
32 count Silkweaver Goldspinner Linen
Needle Necessities Floss Overdyed - #1101, Clearly Blue

Here are my finished smalls from Coq au Pins. I love how they turned out. I did a few things different from the instructions. I put emery into the scissor fob so I could clean my needles while stitching. The added weight is a bonus. I also added a tassel to the scissor case. On Monday, I'll add more pictures so you can see it from all angles.

Today is my last day of vacation. :-( My how quickly it passes. The pugs and I have an agility trial in Antioch which is just north of me this weekend. It's going to be hot! 90+ both days. My pugs are not the usual pugs in that they are at their proper weight - Molly at 15 pounds and Clancy at 16.5 pounds, so they don't feel the heat like most pugs. But in any case, I will bring plenty of water for them to drink and to sit in. :-) Clancy is my water baby - I have a kiddy pool in the backyard and Clancy spends a lot of time in it splashing around. In fact, this year he has learned to hold his breath to retrieve toys that have sunk to the bottom on the pool. It's just six inches or so but he looks so funny. Now Molly is a different story. LOL! I have to put her in and splash water on her. And I get dirty looks the entire time. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Coq Au Pins by Twisted Oaks Designs
32 count Silkweaver Goldspinner Linen
Needle Necessities Floss Overdyed - #1101, Clearly Blue

It's been almost a week since I last blogged! That doesn't happen very often. :-) I've been crazy busy at work and I'm on vacation this week - in theory that is. I worked all day on Monday and for a couple of hours yesterday and most likely will work a couple of hours on Thursday and Friday. As a result I haven't really gotten much stitching done since my last update. I did finish all the pieces to Coq au Pins last night and the plan is to do the finishing work today. I also quilted for about four hours yesterday. One of my goals for the week had been to finish my bed quilt top and matching dog bed but it doesn't look like that is going to happen during this vacation. Tomorrow is St. Reatham day and I plan on that then whatever stitching time I have left before I go back to work next Monday needs to be Block Three of the Village. I also want to find time to go through my craft cabinet and do some cleaning and tossing. I can't find anything in there right now and I need to make some space for all my stitching supplies. And I have a NADAC agility trial all weekend. So the end result will be I'm sure is that I will need more vacation at home. :-)