Friday, February 26, 2010


Alphabet Sampler - design by Birds of a Feather
36 count Silkweavers Golden Wings
Various overdyed floss

I finished up my Alphabet Sampler last night - how I love finishing things that have been in my stash forever! My next project is from Stone & Thread called Garden Flowers - a nice spring design with flowers and fences and a bunny.

Home Sweet Home - design by The Blue Tulip

I also finished up my very first rug hooking project! I made mine into a pillow - it looks so cute sitting on my couch. I bound the edges in a hand dyed wool yard. I can't wait to add more to my collection. I've started to looking for more hooking supplies - I want to get a frame and I want to buy a good one so I've been looking for a used one and in a couple of months start looking for a wool cutter. From the research that I've done there you get what you pay for and they are not cheap. Next week I'll start another pillow kit. :-) Once I'm done with my three pillow kits I'll start looking around for a real rug - not that what I've been doing are not real rugs but I want one I can put on the floor.

As for the weekend I'd like to finish my Paintbox Stars quilt and get my strips cut for my log cabin quilt. Then I'll have lots of new stuff to piece. I also need to go through my quilting stash and pull out all my totally kitted quilts and see if I still have interest in doing them. I think I have around a dozen or so and some I might not want to bother with and those I can sell on eBay. I know for sure I have at least one more Thimbleberries that is so not my colors and but I need to check for sure. There might be one or two more stuck in boxes. I'm almost thinking of bumping those to the top of the list because the International Quilt show is coming up in April and I know I'll purchase more there. I need to start clearing out so I can add more without thinking I'm wasting my money. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

so close

I'm so close to finishing up Alphabet Sampler from Birds of a Feather. No matter what I'll finish it up by the end of the weekend - easy since I'm almost finished with my rug and I won't start another one until sometime next week. What's next? Something small like this one I think. I've got several Blackbird Designs that I've had around for a couple of years that would be nice to get to and a couple of other spring type designs that I've been meaning to stitch. I'll be winging the fibers as I don't want to spend much money right now on overdyed when I have so much stash.

I should finish up my rug this evening. It looks like I only have a couple of hours or so to go. And I think I also want to tweak the bird on the left. I wasn't really looking at the two sides as I hooked last night and I would like them to match a bit more. The bird on the left looks like she lost her tail in the war. :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

getting there

Here is my progress on Alphabet Sampler - this bottom portion is going to take forever. :-)

And my rug. I LOVE how this is turning out. And I can't wait to start another project. I spent hours yesterday looking for bigger projects. :-) But I think I want to put my own together. That will be tough since I don't have a wool cutter but I'll manage somehow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

the trials of hooking

But before I chat about my hooking trials, here is my progress on Alphabet Sampler. On the home stretch now but it's going to take all week I'm sure since there is a ton of filling in on the bottom. I love how it's turning out. I'm stitching mine on Silkweavers 32 count Golden Wings.

On Saturday I had pretty much a lost day since I left the house at 7:30am and didn't get back home until almost 3:00pm. But a good time was had! The rug store (called Log Cabin Hooked Rugs and is located inside another store called Just a Little Bit of Country). They were both wonderful and everything I wanted! Well almost. :-) The rug store had tons of wool both dyed and un-dyed and even had many still on the bolt. The hand dyeds were to die for but since I didn't have any projects that needed any I just fondled them. There were a few books but nothing really caught my eye there and a nice supply of hooks but I've been very happy with the one I've been using so I just kinda looked there. They only had one rug frame available and I was hoping to see a few different types but the one they did have was the type that I have been leaning toward even without knowing anything about them. Kits were everywhere and I did pick up three more - all small and all to be made into pillows I'm thinking.

The only sour point to my visit is actually very good. There were a ton of finished rugs on display and on the floor. I discovered within seconds of walking into the room that I am hooking much too tight. Bummer! I had a feeling that I was and it never occurred to me to take the rug out of my hoop and see if it was laying flat. So of course the second I got home that afternoon I did take it off and sure enough the rug curled right up. I had been thinking it would make a good pillow and now it will for sure. :-) So the rest of the hooking I did all weekend was about trying to find the balance between too tight and not tight enough. I think I'm ok with my row spacing but it's the individual loops that are too close together. But as I write this I think I could be wrong about that and my row spacing is the problem so when I start one of the new projects I'll experiment and take it off the hoop every so often to see if my rug is laying flat.

As for the rest of the store it was full of primitive goodies and even had a room full of woven fabrics. It just so happened that I needed some and I ended up buying almost seven yards! There was also a quilt store right next store and on the way home I found another quilt store! Of course I pulled right in to check it out. My bank account was surely dented. :-) I'll be making this store a regular place to visit every couple of months or so.

On Sunday I spent most of my day piecing two of my quilts. I did finish all 12 of the basket blocks (that's the photo above) for my wall hanging but have had to put it aside because the log cabin and courthouse step blocks now needed are done with paper piecing and I don't have the strips cut out yet. Then I almost finished piecing my star blocks for my Paintbox Stars quilt! I only have six to go and then I can start putting it all together. I had only planned on doing six or so but it was going well so I stuck with it. That meant of course I didn't cut any of my fat quarters into strips but that is a small thing and I'm thinking of doing a couple every evening until they are all done.

Here is where my rug is as of last night. The bird to the left looks really wonky around it's head but that is his little beak - it should come together as I fill in the background.
Here are the three kits I purchased. They are all small - the largest is 10 x 12 inches and I'm thinking to turn them all into pillows.

I'm working from home today - it snowed last night and is supposed to continue through the morning - I hate driving in it. But of course that means no stitching time on the train!

Enjoy your week!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yeah! :-)

Friday! I thought it would never get here. :-) By the time I get home from work tonight I should be ready to start on the bottom of Alphabet Sampler - it's going to take a while because there is a ton of stitching there. I have no chance of finishing it this weekend. :-) Way to many other projects going on.
I'm almost done with my house. The I'll do the vine and then start to put a row of background around the house and the vine. I'm following the advice from the kit maker - she included some nice instructions with the kit. I can't wait to take my drive tomorrow to the rug store. It's located inside a primitive style decorating type store. I just wish I had more money this week. I could go crazy in a place like that. :-) I'm hoping to pick up my second hooking project. :-) I guess this hooking thing is going to become a regular feature in my life. I have so many design ideas that I want to do. And there many that I can draw myself because they are basic quilt squares or penny type rugs with primitive cats and birds and such. I REALLY want to do a prim pug rug.

Also on the list for the week - piece together at least six more blocks from my Paintbox Squares quilt, strip all the darks and mediums for my log cabin quilt and piece a few more baskets for my mini quilt.

And of course hook and stitch. :-)

Enjoy yours!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

almost Friday

I'm so looking forward to the weekend so I can play with all my projects. I HATE having to come to work and lose all that good crafting time. :-)

Here is my progress on my Alphabet Sampler from Birds of a Feather. As I was hoping yesterday, I have started on the border. Yeah! It will be done in no time at all.

And here is my rug. Thanks for all your comments yesterday! I was looking forward to saying I'm a hooker as my title! :-) I got some really good advice and I'm going to try to drive to the closest rug store in my area. I'll be going north to a town just north of Milwaukee proper. But then I can visit a nice quilting store as I drive south on the way home - I need to pick up some wovens for an applique project I've been thinking about. :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm a hooker!

But first here is my progress on Alphabet Sampler. Just a couple more letters to go and I get to start on the borders.

As I was hoping, my first rug hooking kit arrived yesterday at home and was just waiting for me to arrive. It came in the cutest little package from a rug hooking store called The Blue Tulip. I'm already a fan. :-)
Here are all the goodies that came in the kit, linen with pattern drawn on it, wool of course (I asked it to be cut since I don't have a wool cutter) and some very nice directions. That is Aoife's head - she wants to be a hooker also.

And as for my first attempt - it was as I had read everywhere - very easy to do but there is some technique involved. At this point I'm not sure if I'm placing my rows too close or not. The house looks too tight to me and the roof portion a bit too loose. But I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. I have never really seen a hooked rug in real life so I have nothing to compare it to. I really need to take a drive to a rug hooking store but the closest ones are at least an hour and a half away but I think it's important to check out so I can see if I'm close to what I want. I'd like to learn it correct from the get go so I don't have to unlearn bad habits. I also found it hard to keep the loop size the same and since I'm anal retentive girl I took a 1/4 bar that I have for quilting and kept it on hand to try to make sure that I'm consistent.

I was also unsure if I should outline everything first but the instructions that came with this kit said I didn't have to because of the size so I jumped right in. So all my hooking friends, how am I doing so far? :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

no rug yet

All day yesterday I could barely keep my mind on my job because I was so looking forward to seeing my new rug hooking kit when I got home. Of course it was when I got home that I remembered that it was President's Day - a Federal holiday! No mail delivery! So no rug kit waiting to be fondled over. :-( I have hopes of it arriving today but I can't play with it tonight because I have agility class with the pugs.

Here is my progress on Alphabet Sampler. I can't wait for spring because then the sun will be out or at least it will be lighter outside when I take the train to work - it's so much easier to stay awake when it's not pitch dark outside.

Monday, February 15, 2010

dog tired

On Sunday I took the four cool pugs to the 3rd annual Valenpug's Party. It's a fund raiser for my local pug rescue and there were so many pugs there I lost count. :-) This is Clancy Sunday afternoon. :-)
I started on a new piece today, Alphabet Sampler from Birds of a Feather. I was making NO progress at all with my IsaV Marquoir. In over the week that I had been officially working on it all I got in was the gold highlighting in the letters that were already in place, one additional letter and half of a figure block. So I moved on for now.

I had a mixed quilting weekend. On Saturday I started working on trying to complete my blocks for my Paintbox Stars quilt but I only managed to finish six more blocks before I was going crazy. You quilters know how it is: pin, sew, rip, pin, sew, rip, re-pin, and finally re-sew just to get everything lined up just right. I just had to put it aside. That is when the quilting madness started.

I have been in a mood to do something primitive for a while. You know the kind with applique and stitching plus quilting? Several weeks ago I found a Jan Patek quilt called Homespun Stars that I could not get out of my mind. She is doing a quarterly block of the month club with this design. But right now I just can't swing it nor do I really have time with everything else that I want to get done. But I still can't get it out of my head. I do have a quilt pattern from several years ago from Whimsical Quilts that is sorta the same thing - quilting, applique and embroidery, so I pulled that book out "just to look" at. So before I know it I'm taking apart my quilting storage to find just the right fabrics for it. And of course I don't really have anything that quite fits but I keep going any way. A couple of hours goes by and I still don't have anything that works for it so I reluctantly put the book away for now - leaving a trail of destruction behind me that took another several hours to pick up Saturday evening. Then I started to go through my other stuff because I can't stop the urge to start something new. I ended up pulling out a really cute quilt made up of really small (4") blocks of baskets, log cabins and courthouse steps blocks. I was finished cutting out the pieces that I needed for the 12 basket blocks when I remembered why I hadn't already started this project. The pieces I needed for the log cabins and courthouse step blocks were going to come from the extra pieces that I was going to cut for my OTHER log cabin quilt. The one with the 1/2 logs remember? So duh, now I have another quilt in process. I did manage to get one basket block together and piece a ton of the other pieces for the baskets but had to stop because it was late Saturday and I had to tidy up the mess I had made that afternoon and I had no fabric ready for the other blocks.
So on Sunday I started to cut out the many, many fat quarters of reproduction fabrics that I have been collecting for the log cabin quilt. I did managed to get all the lights cut - all 7 yards of fat quarters and fat eights cit into 1 inch strips. I still have 9 yards of dark and medium fat quarters to go. Here are the lights!

What a project this is going to be! So there you have it - a full weekend of doing something but making no progress toward anything. :-)

Have a great week!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Have a happy Valentine's Day everyone! From me and the pugs. :-)

Many, many thanks for all the kinds words you have posted on my blog over the past week. I do read them all and I'm quite remiss in saying thanks and responding to the questions that are generated.

To answer a couple, my new hug kit has not yet arrived at my house and was just shipped today so I don't expect to have it much before Tuesday or so. I'll take a photo of the stuff I get as soon as it arrives. I can't wait to get going. I have purchased a second hook - this one totally different from the first one I purchased since I don't have a clue what sort I will like. This is where I think a class environment would be helpful because then I would get to try stuff out.

The new Cat's Whisker's chair will be made exclusively to a shop in Perth called Needle Ny-dle Noo and will be available in July. Thanks for the couple of offers to help me obtain it but I have plenty of time to figure it out. And I hate to put any one out. I head is already swimming with exchange rates, overseas postage and shipping difficulties. :-) I can't imagine having someone else go through that for me.

I do have four cool pugs and not three. :-) I'm in the process of changing my banner but it's not the easiest thing for me to do since my knowledge of Adobe is almost nonexistent and that's the software that I have at work. So I purchase illustrations that I can adapt for my use and it takes me forever to get a look that I like. But when I make the change, there will be four cool pugs and not three. :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Miss Annie is rocking the house

She has hair and everything now! I LOVE how she turned out. I find her little tuff of hair to be quite charming. :-) Her apron was super easy to finish once I gave up on the hem stitching. I just could not figure out those instructions for the life of me so I just winged it.

Snow day!

We ended up with around 12 or so inches here in Gurnee which is in Northern Illinois. I'm about four miles from Lake Michigan so we got a lot of lake effect snow. The pugs actually love to play in it. Here they are from the left, Georige, Aoife, Clancy and Molly. :-)

Today is the calm after the storm - it's so bright and blue outside it hurts the eyes.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Victorian Memories Chaise Lounge finis

Victorian Memories Chaise Lounge - design by Cat's Whiskers Design Studio
Recommended 32 count Belfast Baby Lotion
Recommended Dinky-Dyes Silks
Finished by me :-)
I finished off my chaise lounge last night while watching 24. In terms of overall finishing I found this one to be the easiest so far. I dated it by mistake '09. But I wasn't about to re-stitch it. I just wanted it done at that point.

Here are my three chairs in the collection all together. I think they look really cute when I put them together on my book shelves.

Here is a photo of the new release called La Roseraie that is an exclusive to a store in Perth, Western Australia. I like it and I think I'll have to find a way to get it.

Yesterday was a great mail day - poor Miss Annie's hair finally arrived so I'll be able to fix her this weekend. My brand spanking new rug hook arrived and so did the two books I ordered. Over the weekend I purchased a big quilting frame and now all I need is my first project to arrive. I went with a simple smallish pre-cut kit. I can't wait to start on my first rug!

Monday, February 08, 2010

an almost weekend

It was a weekend of almosts for me. I almost started the finishing on my apron, I almost finished with my quilt blocks and I almost finished my lounge chair. :-)

I ended up spending a lot of time read about rug hooking as my library had four books on the subject. And I rotted for several hours on Saturday planting and whacking on Farmville and Mafia Wars. What a huge time suck that is. :-) But if any one needs more mafia or neighbors, let me know and we can become linked on Facebook.

I did finish the stitching on my Baking & Roasting & Frying & Boiling but didn't get near the finishing work. It calls for hem stitching around it and there were no hem stitching instructions in the package. :-( All that money for a pattern and they can't put in a diagram? It's not something that I do very often so I need to be refreshed whenever I do use it. And I didn't feel like going through all my other projects for the directions. Maybe next weekend.
I almost finished my lounge chair but I had to stop and let the glue dry last night. So close!

I almost finished making the quilt blocks for Paintbox Stars but I stopped when I realized that I really wasn't taking much care to line up my corners. A sure sign that I'm getting tired and it's time to stop for the day.
I love this photo. :-) Molly and Clancy keeping each other warm while I quilted. Molly has Clancy almost pushed off the couch. :-)

For the train ride this week I have pulled out my IsaV Marquior from last year. I still have three sections to go. Before I started on a new section however I decided that I would finish the contrast work on the letters that I have already stitched in. I like the color I picked out, BeWooded by Vikki Clayton, it's very subtle which is what I wanted. I only finished half of them on the way to work this morning so I'll do the rest on the way home and get started on new stuff tomorrow.

I also need to start my glove project from Thistle Threads but I'm reluctant to put that first stitch in. It's unlike me not to just jump right in but I don't want to mess anything up and the silks are so pretty. Tricia said there was plenty silk to do some practice stitches so I think that is what I should do.

That's it for now - enjoy your week!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday! :-)

I didn't get much more in on my apron but even one stitch is progress right? :-)

I'm so glad it's Friday - I can't wait to stitch and quilt and craft all weekend long.

I hope you enjoy your weekend and you get lots of stitching and quilting and crafting in also!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

almost half way

I'm almost half way with the apron. It's going really quick. I'd love to have this complete by the end of the weekend. While I don't have any plans Saturday and Sunday I do have plans tonight and I didn't go into the office today so no train stitching. That will put me back.

I LOVE the rug hooking videos on YouTube. They are really helping quite a bit. I have been pricing all the supplies that I need and the start up costs can be small if you buy a quilting hoop rather than a hooking stand and don't buy a wool cutter. Wow those cutters are sure expensive! I purchased a book yesterday that give recipes for dying wool and I have experience with dying my own stuff so I think that is the path I would take at some point. That will also keep prices down. So now I'm waiting for my books to arrive and I will purchase a starter kit I think with the design printed on the linen with the precut wool. Then I'll only need the hook and hoop. Then I'll see how it goes. I might not enjoy the process or find I really just don't have the time for one more hobby. :-)

Thanks for everyone's input!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

rug hooking

I've been wanting to learn how to rug hook with wool for years now and I think I'm ready to finally learn. I purchased a book called Rug Hooking for the First Time that seems good. Those of you that already do this, any other recommendations for me? I don't have any rug hooking stores near me at this time I don't think I want to drive hours and hours to take a class. I'd like to start on my own and then invest the money in classes if I like it.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

stitching friends are the best friends!

Look what I received in the mail yesterday! It's a Valentine's Day pug from Edgar. What a sweetheart he is. This cute little guy is currently making time with bald Miss Annie. :-) Happy Valentine's Day Edgar! You are the best. :-)

I finished up the bib piece to my apron yesterday and move onto the skirt portion. This is going fast. :-) Just what I need right now.

Monday, February 01, 2010

poor bald Miss Annie

I had another really productive two days! I LOVE weekends like this. :-)

First up I finished (sort of) my primitive doll who will be the wearer of my CHS apron. I'm calling her Miss Annie and she is finished except for one glaring omission - she is bald. I could not find anywhere in my immediate area wool hair. I did find a ton of the glossy polyester crap but there was no way I was going to put that stuff on my prim dolly. I had to order the brown wool from an online source. So she will be hairless until the weekend. But I really like how she turned out. I gave her a little heart to hold onto until her apron is ready. Then I worked on my Paintbox Stars quilt for what seemed like hours and hours and I still don't have blocks completed. But I'm close and I think next weekend I can get all the blocks complete and hopefully the weekend after that, the top totally assembled. If I wasn't so determined to get this top finished I would just drop it and start on one of my three reproduction fabric quilts that I have ready to go.
I had time to start on my CHS project called Baking & Roasting & Frying & Boiling - henceforth called the "apron". This is the bib and it's almost complete. I changed up the called for colors a bit to match Miss Annie's dress a tad better. I'm using DMC and a linen that I dyed myself. I don't remember the count but I'm sure it's 32.

And at last I finally finished stitching my chase lounge chair and even started to play with the assembly. I'll try to get a few pieces laces this week at night so I can put it all together over the weekend.
Have a great week!