Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One a Day Project - Tuesday's Tallies

When I finished my last crochet project, I decided that I have to get back to one of my two UFOs before I start any new projects. I have two new things ready to start so the temptation is huge. Then I found Carole's blog last week and thought this was the perfect way to stimulate myself to finish.

This will be fun and achievable. I can manage at least one African flower hexagon a day and still work on many other projects. I now have 21 new flowers ready for the next (hexagon) shape as I sew them onto the growing blanket. I am using Drops Paris cotton yarn. The colors are fabulous.

Have you heard the sad news about Maeve Binchy passing away? Check out my book blog for a tribute to her...


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Using up leftovers.....

Back in June, I showed you my new crochet hexagon bathmat. I had a good deal of the cotton yarn leftover. I needed to make a gift for a friend so I used some of the yarn to make these...

Three cotton dishcloths...

But I still had a good bit leftover and did not want to have to store it so I made these odd dishcloths for myself. Since they were for me, I could play a bit and experiment...

In the end, I had enough only for a small round dishcloth and my mother told me to use it under my handsoap at the sink. But I use a pump with liquid soap...still it looked really nice to have this as a doily under the pump...


Thursday, July 19, 2012

And now for Granny...

My next three great granny blocks are finished...

I am enjoying the scrappy look these are achieving. I have three more to go and can start putting this little quilt together.

According to Lori's great granny block instructions, the blocks are the baby (center), the mama, the granny and the great granny. So to celebrate the granny round this time, here are very old photos of my grandmother and grandfather.

I never knew my grandfather as he died before I was born. I did however know my grandmother very well. She was the sweetest lady and I just loved her. She was an amazing crocheter and I am hoping to do half as well as she did. I think her talent with her hands was passed down through the generations. I loved spending time with her. I think the thing she felt most strongly that she achieved in life was seeing her family thrive...her own daughters with families of their own. She loved being around her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was a love made us all feel secure and happy with her at the helm.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A granny of a different kind.....

When I started crocheting, I had spent hours on end looking at many projects which the internet is rich in. Oh the possibilities! Oh the danger! *wink* I knew I wanted to make a granny ripple as soon as I saw one online. I loved making granny squares so why not a ripple? I grabbed yarn (aubergine, olive green and grey) from my stash and here is the results...

I think I only took about two weeks to make this one. It goes so fast and is so fun. But the instructions tell you to simply crochet around the entire edge with a single crochet. I had it finished two days ago but felt like it was not finished. I even thought it felt unfinished when I used it to keep warm in the evening.

I decided to take the yarn back out again yesterday and create a double crochet edging around the ripple afghan again. You can see the look with just single crochet on this photo. It is still needing crocheted on the top of the photo...

Once I finished the double crochet, I then did another single crochet around it to totally give it an even more finished look.

And now I am really happy with the results of my granny ripple throw.

Off now as I have to leave for a second appointment at the hospital now. I saw the eye doctor this morning who said I do not have vasculitis so that is not the cause of the blood flow problems in my hand. However, he told me my eye muscles are infected due to my Graves orbitopathy and it was the correct decision to not have the surgery done as the other hospital wanted. He also put me on a low dosage of aspirin to hopefully control my frequent optical migraines. These kind of migraines are not painful but cause your vision to be impaired while they occur. They are happening too often lately even though it is not due to the Graves as I wondered. He said some people are helped by taking aspirin to thin the blood in the brain. Off now to see my internist about the results from this morning...


Friday, July 13, 2012

My Great Grannies.....

Meet Florence...my Singer 160. This machine, if you do not already know about it, was designed to celebrate Singer's 160th anniversary this year. It is a computer sewing machine put in a nostalgic model reminiscing back to the original old Singers. Jos spent some time looking for one for me.

I have decided to name her Florence in honor of this lady...

She is my great grandmother and her name was passed on further in two generations to come including my wonderful aunt who was Florence Jane. Her husband was James, the handsome man in the next photo.

These two people in my family passed long before I was born but I am so glad that they gave me their daughter who was to become my grandmother. My grandmother was a very special and magical lady.

When I heard about the Great Granny Along that started this week, I thought it would be fun to participate but in my own special way. I wanted something special to be the first quilt sewn on my new machine Florence.

If you want to see or read more about this quilt along just check out Lori and Jodi's blogs. There is a tutorial on how to make the block on Lori's blog. I really enjoyed this technique.

Perhaps you might have spotted the differences for me with this QAL in the photos? I first wanted to make this quilt in honor of my own two great grannies. I started this yesterday with my laptop sitting on a chair beside me in my studio. My mother was on Skype with me and telling me about my great grandmothers while I sewed. She was able to see me sew the first block on this quilt. That made it much more fun knowing she was watching.

The other difference in my quilt is that I needed to use fabrics that gave an old feel since my great grandmother Florence was born in 1874 and my great grandmother Mary Jane born in 1873. I love seeing that bright look many are using for their Great Granny blocks as it resembles the granny square afghans popular at moment but it would not give the feeling I want for this quilt.

The final difference is that I reduced the size in Lori's instructions from a 12 to a 6 inch block. I am turning this into a doll quilt. You know how addicted I am to making doll quilts. Here are my first three blocks.....

Finally, this is my great grandmother and grandfather Mary Jane and Albert. Mary Jane has to me the very typical grandmother's face. What a shame I never knew any of my great grandparents. My mother is a great grandmother to four and it is wonderful that they all know her and get to spend time with her. It shares a piece of who you are when you can connect generations.

I am trying to connect in my own way through stitching pieces of our family history into this quilt.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Niamh's quilt.....

Two years ago, I made a little Irish Chain doll quilt as part of the challenges from Kathleen Tracy. I put it aside as I could not decide what borders I wanted to use. As part of my UFO challenge to myself this year, this little quilt resurfaced. It was only then that I realized the problem was it should not have borders to give it an antique look.

I had been having trouble with handquilting being very painful. The pain in my finger is much better and I am enjoying my hand quilting once again.

I used muslin for the backing of the quilt so I decided to not sew on a label but simply write the label on the backing.

While talking to my mother about having almost finished the quilt, we were talking about Irish names as I always name my quilts. My doll quilts get a little girl's name. She said use one of the names from the TV show we both loved Ballykissangel. I decided on Niamh (pronounced 'neev') and then started thinking about all the Irish immigrants that took a risk and boarded a ship to America during the Great Potato Famine. I decided on the name "Niamh's Irish Chain: Irish immigrant 1847".

Doll quilt measures 19 inches square.

So my last doll quilt is now stored in my miniature armoire and Niamh's quilt is on my table. I already have an idea for my next doll quilt and will share it after I have worked on the first block.

In the meantime, I think I will start back on a large quilt UFO since my hand is cooperating at the moment. My UFO count is up to 10 finished on the list which I am really happy about.

"Sewing fills my days, not to mention the living room, bedroom and closets." 
~ Author unknown

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Christmas in July celebrations

I have been neglecting all three of my blogs because life has been very busy. Our house has been painted on the outside. It took two painters two and a half weeks and they still have to come back to finish the wood panels. They need a third layer and then it is finished. So I have been taking care of these two...one of whom is the son of one of the ladies in my quilt group. They needed coffee, tea, cookies, ice cream and cold drinks. I also have been cleaning up all the dust created during the sanding. I was busy preparing for my quilt group's Christmas in July celebration. Each July, I hold a party to kick off being creative for the coming holiday season. So while all my family and friends back home were celebrating the 4th of July...I was celebrating Christmas. *grins*

This year, I choose the theme of hand making a door hanger. Everyone had a couple of months to play elf for someone else in the quilt group.

This is my hanger which I stitched on unbleached linen. It is a modified pattern from an Acufactum book. The original design said Wilkommen and I used letters in the design and created the H to match from the I. The design was stretch on posterboard and glued to a wooden hanger along with red trim.

With my package wrapped and waiting, it was time for the party to start. Everyone started arriving with their food for the evening. We created an appetizer buffet this year with everyone contributing a dish. Four of the ladies also created a dessert buffet. Everything was so delicious that we almost could have forgotten our gift exchange but the fun began. We played Santa is a thief which was incredibly fun and provided many laughs as we were allowed to either open a new gift or steal one of the previous ones. 

These are the results of everyone's hard work! Everyone's work was amazing and beautiful.

I stole a gift that was made by Elly. You can see it hanging here in my quilt studio.
A wooden red painted heart that says 'love to quilt' with a fabric heart glued on it.

I decided that it would look perfect in my studio hanging beside Jesse's Hearts quilt. This is a quilt I made after our cat Jesse died very suddenly in 2002. If you enlarge the photo, you should be able to see the little kitty paws I quilted in the red squares.

Thanks Elly for my wonderful gift and to the entire group for another fun Christmas in July.

A special thanks to Albertha, Wilma, Sonja and Bep who always help out so generously. They jump up to serve others and help clean up afterwards. Bep is always the last to leave making sure Jos has help putting every last dish, chair or anything else away. You are all stars!