Thursday, November 18, 2021

Catching Up on Projects

It’s here…the holiday season! 

The last week of October and the first week of November were isolation days for hubby and me as I caught Covid and then I gave it to him. The good news is we are both pretty much back to normal and getting on with life…yeah!

We were able to get an infusion of monoclonal antibodies which helped quicken our recovery. I did my first telemedicine appointment with my natural path and she loaded us on some immune building supplements. We had to cancel a trip to Houston to visit friends and families but it worked out that our son who is in the Air Force and doing a three-month deployment with his unit got a week off and was able to come to Anchorage. My other son who flies for a cargo company was in town too so for the first time this year…we had a complete family gathering. We’ve all had Covid so no more worries about family gatherings. 

I did work on some cross stitch projects…I felt good enough to count. I finished up a set of Mill Hill witches, Miranda, Mimi and Muriel. 


I finished hand stitching the binding on  my, “Tropical Dreams,” quilt. We get almost no sunlight on our house this time of the year and soon we won’t get any until late January. We have 18-inches of snow on the ground so I did snap a photo…but the light has a definite blue cast to it. This is a huge 110 x 110-inches. I am imaging running my toes through warm beach sand instead of trekking around in snow boots. 


More photos to come of this quilt in the summer!


This is a fat quarter friendly pattern, “Gimmie Diamonds.” I added a piano key border…had enough scraps to make it happen.

For several months now I have been creating quilt kits from my stash of fabrics and patterns. It really makes me feel great to commit fabric to a plan. Plus…I’m ready for any sewing/quilting gathering that I’m lucky enough to attend. The latest kit is a pattern from the magazine American Patchwork & Quilting, December 1997 issue. I’ve also been trying to pick patterns that use the many specialty rulers in my stash.


I’m really excited about this kit. The snowflake fabric is a piece I bought on my Bali trip in 2013. I had the blue mottled batik and the white solid in my stash. I sewed a sample block…trimming with the specialty Bloc Loc ruler. It is perfect. 

My Material Girls group has a challenge due at our February retreat. EEK! I have one of the four blocks completed. My goal is to get one done a week…and I haven’t gotten this week’s  block done yet.

One of the Material girls had set of the Frivols kits (a monthly kit released by Moda several years ago). This is the kit gifted to me, “Windermere.” Lots of points to match up!


We had a Sew-In Saturday last week and I worked on my next row in the Lori Holt pattern, “Sew by Row.” This is a very fun project to stitch on every now and then!


I finished stockings for my newly married son and his bride.


They were married on the beach of Oahu so a beach theme was picked. I’m working on finishing companion ornament kits.

Where ever you are in the world…hopefully it is a bit warmer. We are in a sub-zero stretch of weather right now which usually means clear skies. It is beautiful but outside excursions require lots of layers.


We sit on the side of mountain in a valley. The sun skims the mountains across the valley from us and then we are in the shadow of those mountains which is why we loose our sunlight on our house for a two months. Every day the sun’s path across the horizon is lower and lower…until one of my favorite days of the year, Dec. 21st. Then we start gaining sunlight. 

My next post will be loaded with…Christmas decorations. I’m in the thick of it. I usually have some glitter in my hair or stuck on my face…very festive around here!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

October Retreat

I'm back from a four-day retreat where I sewed on lots of fun projects.

My first project was to add borders to my last retreat quilt top. I have a specific wall I want to hang this quilt on so it needed several borders to make it fit.


Next, I decided to start a row of blocks from the book by Lori Holt, "Sew by Row."


These scissor blocks were pretty challenging. So my next project was simple, mindless stitching. I made 156 flying geese for a Moda Frivols kit. We each received a Frivols kit as a gift at our retreat in May and our challenge is to have the kit done by our February retreat. 


Remember, we all pretty much stop sewing during the summer months, so several of us were starting our kits at this retreat. 


After all that mindless sewing I decided to tackle the charm quilt, Chandelier from the book, "Charm School." This was a super quick quilt to put together, which finishes at 60-inches square. I have some scarps left that might have to become a Seminole border. 



Then Sunday morning I had a few hours before I had to leave so I made the pincushion blocks for the second row of the Lori Holt pattern. 

It was one of the easiest retreats to prep for since I had cut all the kits for these projects a month ago! And I still have two kits cut out that I didn't touch. 

I think I got a little inspired by watching Floss Tube videos by cross stitchers who seem to have lots of kits prepped...almost as soon as they buy a pattern. I looked at my huge stash of fabric...half of which I did buy for specific projects that I had the patterns for so I just started making kits. I'm going to continue with this process. I haven't even made a dent in my stash.

Now if I could just get better about quilting my tops! Loading the quilts on the frame is definitely where the hold up is.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

A Finish to Start October

 I am so excited! I finished my second, “By Annie,”  bag pattern,  “Tools of the Trade.”


Here she is…sitting on top of my sewing machine tote. She is large enough to carry my acrylic sew steady table, a cutting mat 18 x 24-inches and a ruler, 24 1/2-inches long.


And the base is almost 5-inches wide so a lot more items can be stashed in this awesome bag.

I also finished a little case for my travel iron…now I have quite the retreat ensemble.


I was thrilled to have a mini three-day quilt retreat at my local quilt shop. The classroom was open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is a great space with very good lighting. The tables were custom built so very sturdy…no plastic folding tables that jiggle when you sew at a fast speed. 

One of the ladies snapped a photo of me at my work station. I grabbed the table farthest away from the door as I tend to get cold so that put me closest to the little kitchen space.


My goal was to get all the blocks made for a little fall themed quilt.


I get a gold star…I finished piecing all the blocks and got the rows sewn together.


This is a freebie, “Absolute Autumn,” from the Forth Worth Fabric Studio. I think I found it through Pinterest. Might be the first project I found on Pinterest and actually made!

Just before the retreat I finished a little quilt top for my granddaughter.


I have bought her several “llama-themed,” books. 
Another freebie pattern on the internet.
 It’s on the Windham Fabrics website, “Craft Buddy Quilt & Pillow.

Evening projects are getting tackled. 
I cross stitched a little Mill Hill witch kit, Miranda in the Hocus Pocus series.


And my next Bucilla stocking is a companion to the Mermaid stocking, “Seashore Santa.”
 It is a new kit for this year.


The biggest challenge on this stocking is not to loose the little felt pieces for all the shells that finish out this stocking. 

We had our first snow storm for the season last weekend. The snow was a good two or three weeks early. All the leaves were still on the trees so lots of tree damage due to the weight of the snow on the branches. We had two birch trees we had to cut down yesterday that broke in half. We also had lots of smaller alder trees that were damaged so yesterday was a big clean up day. Most of the 6-inches of snow we got has melted but we woke up to an inch this morning…though most of it has melted. 

The weather is always the main topic of discussion in Alaska. I got my winter tires on a couple of days ago so I guess I am ready for the cold. I have lots of quilting events on my agenda for this winter so hoping to get through it without getting the winter blues.

Needless to say…last winter was difficult…very lonely. I think I called repairmen mainly to have a human being to interact with for a few minutes. My husband flies for Fed Ex and he worked sooooo much overtime last winter. He has a health issue that will keep him home this winter which makes me happy. He’s getting a shoulder rotator cup fixed next week. And my DIL and granddaughter will be in town quite often. I’m not dreading winter as much as I usually do.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

September News

 The last day of the Alaska State Fair is always Labor Day. I was happy to get my three entries back home with me. I got a pretty purple division champion ribbon for my, "A Place for Everything 2.0," bag. I entered two quilts and the Christmas theme won a first place ribbon with my Sparklers quilt picking up a third place ribbon. 


I finished quilting my, "Tropical Dreams," quilt. It took me three weeks to quilt this king-sized quilt...110 x 110 inches. I used Dream Puff batting which is lighter weight but gives a nice dimension to the quilting. My DIL has been admiring this quilt all summer long as I've had it draped around my sewing room for months. Her appreciation has been noted. 

I have finished two of the latest Mill Hill Santa ornaments. I had a comment about access to vintage Santa ornament patterns but I was unable to respond since the comment was flagged as a "no reply blogger." This is a default setting for leaving comments and if you want me to be able to email a reply, you have to change your settings. You can google how to do that. You can also message me through my public Facebook page or Instagram page...both are listed as "And Sew Forth."


I planted beets in my garden this year and was quite successful! I also canned them. I'm so proud of myself...my first foray into the canning world.

My poor cat is plagued with ongoing rash issues. We are seeing a specialist next week. I sure hope we find some answers. My dog, Logan, was snoozing away while I was quilting a few days ago and Eli just decided to join him. There was another empty dog bed in my sewing room but Eli wanted to be on the one with Logan.

My animals do entertain me!

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A Bit of Progress

The hardest part of quilting for me is getting a quilt loaded on my frame. I am going to tackle a king-size top which takes even more effort... just getting the backing ironed takes too much time! 


I find with my very simple frame it really is a must to baste the whole king-sized quilt first. 

So...trying to keep the quilting simple...free handing some leafy designs in the blocks.

Update on the next bag project.
All the fabric pieces are cut and labeled. Awaiting an order from By Annie for other supplies.


My latest Bucilla stocking kit has been challenging. I am now to the easy parts....just making lots of little sea shells and fish to add all around the quilt.


We had some more cat drama. Poor Eli has had a third rash flare up. He is on the mend and I hope to take his cone off tomorrow. We are going to schedule an appointment with a specialist.


He is very good at looking pathetic.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Quilting...Almost

I turned on my quilting machine...first time since April. 

I've been bitten by the "bag making bug."

I really want to make a travel bag for my cutting mat and rulers for quilt retreats, and By Annie has one that looks just right.

 

I quilted my coordinating back and front fabrics with by Annie's Soft and Stable. 


It took me a few hours just to quilt a yard and half...I probably could have gone with a bigger motif but I just naturally quilt densely. I tried drawing bigger flowers on my plexiglass panel to practice but I kept doubting the spacing.

The last By Annie bag I made took me several weeks to construct so who knows how long this will take me. So far, two days into the process.

Despite not quilting or even piecing blocks since mid May, I still bought fabric. 
The internet is a big enabler for me.

So...I think I have a brilliant idea. 
Go ahead and kit up several quilt projects while I start getting back to quilting on my Nolting. 

Like most quilters...there is a big lag between when I finish a top and when it gets quilted. 
I've got over 30 tops needing to get quilted. 

And...I am always frantically kitting up projects days before a quilt retreat or just a project day when I meet with a group at our local quilt shop.

The first quilt kit is a freebie pattern, "Absolute Autumn," from the Fort Worth Fabric Studio. It is a mystery from last year. There are also videos to accompany the pattern but I haven't watched any of them yet. 



The second kit is also a freebie pattern, "Craft Buddy Quilt and Buddy," from Windham Fabrics.
I have a running gift theme with my granddaughter when it comes to llama. Her birthday is in January so it should be a project I can get done quickly.


I have a new website to me that has become another enabler for quilting ideas and fabric, Jordan Fabrics. They do a weekly video where they make a complete quilt. 

My third kit pattern is from one of their videos, "Slice of Cake, Slice 2" from Me and My Sister Designs. It includes two patterns, "Slice 1," and, "Slice 2." The construction method is vey fun and I immediately thought of  Fourth of July fireworks when I saw the quilt. 


Last winter I spent some of my time looking through all the quilt patterns I had saved from magazines. I had two copies of the pattern below. One from the original magazine and one I downloaded from the internet. I think that was a major indication I really like this pattern. It's, "Ice Castles," from the February 2009 issue of McCalls Quilting. I have always been drawn to the snowball block...it makes such a great secondary block in many designs.


I also just happened to have the dark snowflake print yardage used in the blue outer border. And one of my first purchases when the quilt stores opened back up was the background fabric that was just delivered to the store. I'm telling you...some major serendipitous moments have happened already with this quilt. I think it is going to bring me good luck to make it. And double awesome...all the patchwork fabrics are from my stash.


I have a lot more I would say about the, "Ice Castles," pattern but I will share that when I start sewing it...more to blog about later...I should write a note about that right now so I don't forget. 

The last quilt retreat I attend was the first week of May. 
Retreats are another major enabler event.

  One of the ladies had all these really cool quilting-themed batiks. I. Went. Nuts. Came right home and ordered them from Missouri Star Quilt Company. They commissioned this line of fabrics with Island Batik. Initially they were out of fat quarters so I ordered charms.

So...I'm making the pattern, "Chandelier," from one of my favorite charm-themed books, "Charm School," by Vanessa Geortzen. I'm going with a black background that has a faint stitching line running in curves which is tough to see in the photo.


A week or so after the batik charms arrived, fat quarters and yardage was back in stock. Yep...had to buy more.  I was able to get some light backgrounds with the sewing theme along with a set of fat quarters. I got a few other pieces of yardage in some of the colors. I'm planning to make Lori Holt's pattern, "Sew By Row."


Of course there are many more kits in my head I would like to make but I don't want to get too ahead of myself. I have a retreat in September, October, February and May. I'm almost ready!

I did it! Three days in a row of blogging. (The weather was absolutely awful)

Next goal - get a quilt top loaded on the quilting frame and finish making the sewing batik kits. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Handwork Projects

 I officially finished the last vintage cross stitch kit in my stash by the designer, Sandra Cossolino.
"Making Gingerbread," is a tough kit to find but I snagged a new kit on eBay.


There are other enthusiasts who collect her kits and the internet has enabled us to find each other. 
This gives us an option to share out of print patterns. Below is, "Loading Sled." I have one more vintage pattern in the series in my files and am still hunting for yet one more in the series.


Luckily, Sandra Cozzolino is still designing three new Santa ornaments every year and I have started one of the new ones. This year's theme is, "Christmas Morning."

I am venturing into cross stitch designs by other designers. I follow a mother and daughter designing team on YouTube, Stitching with the Housewives. They release one or two designs a week. I am not even going to try and make all of their designs.

I finished, "Trick of Treat," a couple of months ago. Their designs are inspired by chalkboard art the mom has been drawing for years.


I am waiting for fall decorations to hit the stores so I can get some inspiration for finishing this piece. I don't want to do just a plain frame since the designers also have great ideas for alternate ideas for finishes.

My new DIL has picked out stockings for her and my son. 
They were married in Hawaii so an ocean theme grabbed her interest.


The toughest part of this stocking was definitely stitching the face. Plaid, the company that owns Bucilla, came up with the brilliant idea to include two copies of the felt for faces that are so finely detailed. Even with all my experience stitching these kits....I needed a second chance to get this face right. 


Then I had a second stumble...I ran out of sequins for the mermaid's tail. I raided several other kits in my stash but the sequins were just enough different to make me hesitate to add them to the tail. I called  Plaid and requested more sequins. 


The new sequins were not the same...so I spent two evenings carefully removing all the sequins. I mixed the two sequins and love the extra sparkly effect they make.


While waiting for the sequins, I started the companion ornament kit. 
I managed to get the first face stitch nicely on the first try. 
Very tiny stitching.


Quilting was very much on the back burner this summer. But I was determined to finish a blouse I had cut out months ago. It was a quick pattern to make and I like the design...


but too big.

 I tried taking it in but it just feels to big!

 I made most of my clothes when I was in my twenties and thirties...and I just went with the same size I always made...but I think the pattern companies have biggie-sized their patterns. I am going to keep trying...but next time I'm going down at least one size...maybe two. I just want to get a few blouse patterns I know work for me and make them. I can do this.

 Thankfully this fabric was on sale, half-priced, but it's pretty and I'm sad it didn't work.

I did it...two days in  row of posting. 

August is usually our rainy month...and we are getting the usual rain.

This week I quilted for the first time since April. 

More about that tomorrow.