Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fabric Post Card and so much more...

Today I made my very first fabric postcard. It is for a Valentine's Day swap - so, I can't post a photo of it yet. But, I am so pleased with it. I stitched a heart on to a background fabric and embellished it with lace.

Tomorrow I hope to finish the rest of the Valentine's Day Swap post cards.

Also, need to finish a row that I am in the middle of and three blocks for my Block of the Month class. I am way behind on that class! And, then there is the new mystery quilt I am working on! And, daughter's wall hanging...so I am most busy this week...

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Hometown

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This is what part of our downtown looks like. This photo was taken by me at the beginning of spring. Right now there is nothing but "dirty" snow where the flowers are. We are waiting for another snow to come and make it all pretty again.

Today, I drove to Grantham, a small town about 20 miles from home. I needed to go to the quilt store there. It was like being in a winter wonderland. All the trees were covered with snow and there was snow everywhere. It was just breathtaking. Along both sides of the I-89 there was snow and snow covered trees. Anytime I expected to see deer or moose come out of the woods. (But, was thankful they didn't!)

Fiber Artist - What's a fiber artist?

This past Christmas Scarlett gave me some new business cards. The cards are really pretty and they have all the usual information and they say "Fiber Artist" on them. So, I mailed one of them in each Christmas card I sent...one of my friends wrote me back and said, "What's a fiber artist?"

I guess I have to say, a fiber artist is what I aspire to be...

I want to take new and bolder steps in my quilting and knitting. I want to work with beads, threads, shells, do decorative stitching, just anything that is different. I want to take traditional blocks and make them sing with embellishments.

The time has come to just try something new...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My daughter's wall hanging...

My daughter, Tara, lives in Arizona and for years she has collected giraffes. A few months before we moved from Tennessee, she e-mailed me and said she had found a neat (my word) quilt pattern and she bought it and was having them send it to me. And, would I please make it for her? I, of course, said I would.

The wall hanging is called Serengeti Sunset and is from a company called Lavender & Lace, Inc. Once the pattern arrived I was very excited and rushed to the quilt store to buy fabric for this wall hanging. I was fortunate that I found fabric that almost perfectly matched the picture.

Then, we found out we were moving...So, I carefully packed away the fabric and pattern. I finally unpacked all of my quilting totes and put everything in its place and found the fabric and pattern. I have been working on this for a little while now and hopefully I will have it finished in the next month or so. I will post photos when it is finished.

So, if my daughter is reading this blog - it will be finished soon and it is so beautiful.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Socks - It's always about the socks

I had never knit socks before...never even thought about socks. But, New Hampshire winters can be cold and my poor feet freeze! And, if my feet are cold - then the rest of me is cold. I told Scarlett "I have to learn how to knit socks!"

Found a wonderful homey looking knitting store called Country Woolens up in Lebanon, New Hampshire - about 20 miles from home and decided I would sign up for a class. The cost was nominal. The class lasted four weeks and there were several students signed up.

I was all excited and arrived in plenty of time to pick out my yarn and get my needles. And, class began! Our instructor was a guy named Ed and we were all green with envy as we looked at the beautiful socks he knit. His samples had us all drooling and dreaming that one day we would be able to knit socks like that.

I can tell you I have never cussed, cried, or felt so darn inadequate as I did trying to use those blasted four needles to knit socks! Finally, the needles won!!! And, I sort of tossed it all down on the table and gave up.

But, my instructor - bless his heart - came up with another solution...and taught me how to knit socks on a circular needle using something called "the magic loop".

Now I can knit socks! I knit a pair for myself first - a lovely shade of lavender and blues. Then it was a pair for Scarlett - thought the yarn was brown but it turned out to be a purple. And, now I am knitting a red pair for Tammy.

To say that I have discovered socks is one thing - but the real issue is that I have discovered sock YARN! I probably have enough to knit quite a few pair of socks for everyone I know...there is the bright yellow yarn, the red, the purple...well, you get the idea.

But, even better, I have discovered that the small amounts of yarn that are left when one finishes a pair of socks can be used to do heels and toes, or toes and heels, or stripes, or tops to the ribbing...

the possibilities are endless...

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Q word ...

Quilting! When I lived in Sunny Florida - I decided that I wanted to learn how to quilt. It was another one of those - not really sure why - but, gee, I do so many other handcrafts surely it is required that I also quilt. I had NO IDEA that quilting would eventually take over my life!

As a matter of fact, quilting and I had a really rocky experience. My first class was taught at the recreation center. I went for several months and worked on each and every block assigned for my sampler quilt. The fabrics were beautiful...full of purples (my favorite color). I diligently struggled to hand piece each little block so that it would be perfect. My teacher would compliment me and tell me I was doing well. Then SHE LEFT TOWN! Her husband was transferred and we no longer had a quilt teacher. And, I knew no one to go to and learn from...

So, I sadly put all my fabrics and patterns into a nice little bag and put everything in the back of my closet.

About seven years ago, we moved to Tennessee. I was elated. Immediately upon arriving, I joined a quilt guild and the rest as they say is history! Each year the guild had a challenge and I participated.

This quilt is called MUSIC ON THE SQUARE. It was for a competition which was done every other year called Mountain Messages II - "Stories and Songs" at the Carroll Reece Museum in Johnson City, Tennessee.

My theme statement read: "Music on the Square is reflective of the dreams we had when we moved to East Tennessee of a simpler life where people gathered on the town squaree in the evenings to enjoy songs and stories. It represents a time of peace and tranquiltiy in our family's life."

The block is called ON THE SQUARE - and there are four of the blocks in it.

I took several classes but my favorite was the one that lasted an entire year. It is a calendar quilt and I am still working on it - but, it is beautiful. I worked on quite a few other projects and as time goes along I will post photos - but for now these are the ones that I have handy.

Some of my projects during the Tennessee years were:

This is called "Postcards from the Edge" and it is paper pieced. Found the pattern somewhere...can't remember where but it was on the Internet.

After putting it together I decided not to quilt it but rather to put it on a stretcher frame and have it look like a wall hanging.

It hangs in Scarlett's office.


I think this is the only picture I have of this and will try and get one tomorrow that shows the quilting that I did. It turned out awesome.

The fabrics are batiks and I must say they are a pain to hand stitch..but all the applique is done by hand. The only machine work on this top is the black rows that divide the seasons.

Top left: Winter
Top right: Spring
Bottom Left: Summer
Bottom Right: Fall

I ended up hand quilting the entire thing - doing an echo quilting on the background; a line across the moon that was 1/2 an inch apart; and diagonal lines on the mountain from the bottom to top at 1/2 an inch apart.

We moved to New Hampshire in October 2004 and this has become my paradise. I belong to three quilt guilds. I am a caregiver to my 89 year old mother. Our home consists of Scarlett, myself, my mom, and a roommate, Tammy, and four dogs and four cats.

So, now we are current!!! Til tomorrow....

The K word....

Knitting! I think I've been knitting forever. And, it really started as a fluke...well, actually, it was because I just HAD TO HAVE this gorgeous dress that I saw in the department store window when I was 19. Only, it cost about a year's salary - so, I thought I would look for a knitting store. You have to realize I lived in Sunny Florida - had lived there since I was 3 or 4. But, lo and behold, there it was "The Yarn and Knit Shop" and it was just across town.

I was there! I told the owner, Jo, that I wanted to knit a dress. Of course, I had never picked up a pair of knitting needles in my entire life! She thought I should start smaller - but, I was determined! And, so I knit my very first dress. From then on there was no stopping me. I knit several dresses, sweaters, and afghans. The dresses and sweaters I wore...the afghans were gifts mostly...

I learned how to knit right handed (I am left handed) but no one ever asked when they were teaching me - so, I knit right handed (the only other thing I do right handed is play golf - again - no one asked when I took lessons).

Many a Saturday was spent with the group that hung out at Jo's shop. We shared each other's joys, births, deaths, weddings, dinners and a joy of knitting. We took trips togther, met once a month for a nice dinner out, and laughed a lot. After my daughter was born, I rarely went on Saturdays anymore, although I would go in and buy my yarn. Some of us lost touch with each other...and eventually, Jo's shop closed. She and her husband had reached retirement age - actually, past retirement age. I doubt that she is still with us ... except in our minds ... and each time I pick up my knitting needles, I think of her patience in teaching me to make that first dress!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A blog...a what?...A blog?

What an exciting day! I have finally decided to start a blog...really not sure why! Other than maybe this will be the place to explore my creativity, grow as a quilter and knitter, learn more about myself and my life in New England, and share some of my thoughts and ideas with others who have the same interests. So, we are off...