Hello Summer!

It always seems like Summer to me when Memorial Day is over.  Time for sunshine, warm/hot days, swimming, garden flowers in bloom, kids out of school, ice cream (lots of it), and long lazy walks.

A day late, but in the mood for a “patriotic summer” I completed a few smalls. The first one is a free design by Barbara Ana and retrieved from the “files” of the Facebook page group entitled “Star Spangled Stitchers.”  I made some small alterations to the pattern, added the red stitching along the border, and stitched it on 35ct. Abecedarian linen.

Barbara Ana Freedom1

This next one is called Flag and Liberty designed by Glory Bee (also a freebie from www.glorybeestitch.com). This one is done on 28ct. white Lugana. I did choose my own DMC colors.

Flag and Liberty

A few weeks ago I did another patriotic small called Itty Bitty America by Twisted Threads.  It was done on 25ct. Dublin Linen over one thread using the called for colors.  The cording was made by me using three skeins of the same red/white/blue flosses.  That was a real trick trying to make cording using three colors!

Itty Bitty America1

Along with the patriotic pieces, I did a “summer” one. It is called Itty Bitty Bee by Twisted Threads, but it is not so itty bitty. I did not do it over one. It is done on cream colored 32 ct. linen over two threads. I love bee embroideries and decided I should have some of my own. Voila!

Itty Bitty Bee

Getting back to my PHds (projects half done), during the last month I did manage to finish my Lily of the Valley Collage (designer is Laura J. Perrin).  This was one of my first canvas pieces in many years.   It was a challenge for me, since I have done only old-fashioned tent stitch needlepoint.  I love Lilies of the Valley and this is already framed with a lovely white-washed frame and is hanging in my bedroom.  The colors are not quite as true as they should be…I am experimenting photographing with my IPhone.

 

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Next I had framed my long ago finished Eiffel Tower cross-stitch. This is a pattern from Le Jardin Prive.   The DMC colours were done with three different shades of blue.   The navy blue frame and mat is absolutely gorgeous with it.   And the slightly sanded edges that show the light colored wood underneath, bring out the cream colored background.  It is SO HARD to photograph with glass covering the pieces, but it did not turn out too bad especially since it is done with an IPhone!

Lily of Valley Collage-framed1

Well that’s it for now. I still have a lot of work on unfinished items, but the big king sized quilt is coming along, not so the red and white one, nor the pink rose pin cushion. I must get busy!       Amities, Averyclaire

Les Muguets Day (May 1st)

I wish all of you much happiness on Les Muguets Day (even though I am a little late). In France May 1st is the fest of Les Muguets. One gives a bouquet of Lily of the Valley to one’s friends. I made this bouquet for a friend of mine. It is a free pattern from Ellen Maurer-Stroh. It was done on 32 ct. lamb’s wool linen with DMC threads.    The little pillow turned out to be about 4″x4″.  My friend really enjoyed receiving it. I love having small little seasonal decorations for the home. Don’t you? And all the small cross-stitch patterns are perfect for quick completion and almost instant gratification.

2015 April Karen's Work - Lily of the Valley 005

2015 April Karen's Work - Lily of the Valley 007

2015 April Karen's Work - Lily of the Valley 008

2015 April Karen's Work - Lily of the Valley 009

I DID finish my needlepoint Lily of the Valley Collage, but it is not framed yet, so I will save that one for the next post.

Thanks for always visiting.   Amities, Averyclaire

“Hoppy Easter!” + PhD Update

Happy Easter to all my blogging friends! Here is a little Easter decoration I made for the season.
TRilogy Rabbit
It is from Trilogy on 32 ct. linen. I left off the alphabet that comes at the bottom of the pattern, turned around the bottom border to be opposite the one at the top and added the ribbon.  Happy Easter to All!

I actually did work on my unfinished projects…but slowly. I went away to Colorado in January/February to care for my son (who was in a 12 week recuperation after serious back surgery) and my little 3-1/2 year old granddaughter while his wife was out of town. When I returned it was difficult to get the MOJO back for the PhDs. However…here is my completed Halloween Fairy.

Halloween Fairy framed

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It is seriously difficult to photograph something that has already been framed and sealed under glass! I will remember for next time!

Slow progress being made, but coming along nicely is my Lily of the Valley collage.   Here are the before and after photos from last post.

BEFORE

Lily of Valley Collage

AFTER

Lily of the Valley Collage progress

Still quite a ways to go.

And last but not least are two projects completed a LONG TIME AGO…but are finally professionally framed. They are cross-stitched replicas of two Indian rugs which I did for my husband to hang on the wall in his den.

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Ganado

There is NO progress to report on my large red and white quilt which I was machine quilting myself….it remains unfinished.  No work done on the Lorna Bateman pin cushion either.

We are now on row five of the nine rows of the huge king size red and green Irish Chain quilt. Lots of work to go, but steady progress being made.

KIng Size Irish Chain2

I worked on a couple of other small needlework projects which I will show next time. So much for the long  grey Chicago winter.  I think Spring is finally coming…the daffodials are peeking up and a few crocuses are blooming!

A Blessed and Happy Easter to all….Amities, Averyclaire

Working on PhDs…Projects Half Done: Lessons Learned

The winter has surely arrived….bitter cold, gusty icy winds, driving snow across your face! I pretend that since I live in Chicago, I have to like it. Well I don’t. I can’t wait until Spring! Now we have had a rather mild winter compared to last year…but I long for Spring.

So I am staying in and working on my PhDs! Yep…I have plenty of those! Projects half done. My IPhone was screaming for me to use it, so I finally took some photos. These projects big and small are like monkeys on my back screeching at me until they are complete.

Number one monkey is a triple Irish chain that I showed you last post. It took me six months to design and bring to fruition the border, get it layered and onto my quilt frame. I have a couple of friends who are helping me to quilt it, but so far we have only worked on it 9 out of 27 possible Fridays. Either I was away on vacation, someone else was away, the holidays came upon us, family obligations took precedence, or someone was ill. I have been diligently working on it in between our Fridays hoping to speed up the process. Lesson Learned: I absolutely adore this quilt (110″ x 110″) and I would make another one in a heartbeat; I adore the hand quilting even if it takes forever (truly heirloom); something is worth the time if you truly love it.

King Size Irish Chain1

KIng Size Irish Chain2

Number two monkey is another HUGE (101″ x 101″) red and white quilt that I am machine quilting myself on my home machine (no long or mid-arms here). Crazy…yes. It is the pattern Saturday Soiree which I increased to make it larger. And now I am sick and tired of looking at the busy red and white pattern and can’t wait to have it done. Lesson Learned: for me personally, I don’t like the block of the month thing; I love red and white, but only when it’s mostly white; don’t take on a huge quilt like this on a home machine unless you have a TON of patience. I am sorely lacking…but I keep on at it like the Eveready Bunny. And it is getting done and nicely if I do say so myself.

King Size Red n White

King Size Red n White 2

Number three monkey is my Halloween Fairy. I saw a blogging friend doing this several years and ago and admired it so much I started one myself. My friend even donated to me her left over beads and some thread. I think I have been working on it at least four years or more. I totally stopped when it came to all the tiny beads. Now I have it on my kitchen island staring at me each day begging me to take an hour or so here and there and sew those teensy tiny beads on it. Progress is slow, but it is coming along. Lesson Learned: I won’t ever choose another cross-stitch with a zillion tiny beads; once you start a project do one’s best to finish it in a timely fashion….going back to it later makes the monkey seem like a gorilla!

Halloween Fairy1

Halloween Fairy2

Number four monkey is my Lily of the Valley Collage by Laura J. Perin. I LOVE this design and looked at it for a few years before buying it. I am not much of a “canvas”/”needlepoint” person, but I thought I would stretch myself and tackle this one. I haven’t been working on this one for very long, but I have to push myself to work on it. Lesson Learned: It’s great to experience new types of stitching; teaches me patience when I have to struggle with the counting and stitches on the canvas; have a bit of eye coordination problem when I see light beneath the canvas; don’t stop…keep on keeping on; and always try new things.

Lily of Valley Collage

Lily of Valley Collage2

Number five monkey is a tiny ribbon embroidered pin cushion. It is Roses and Pearls by Lorna Bateman. Now I simply adore this piece. I nearly finished it right away, knowing if I stopped it would never get done. Well, I stopped and left it in the bag and now nearly a year later I am committed to finishing it. It’s truly an easy project. So why isn’t it finished? Beats me. Lesson Learned: DON’T STOP. Do the little projects right away!!!

Ribbon Rose Pincushion1

And last but not least is my TAMED monkey. A very small Halloween project. It was a give away item I picked up at one of my needlework groups when it was just screaming my name. Left it lie around my stash pile until Autumn rolled around and I was looking for something Halloween-ish to work on. Such a small item should have been done in a weekend, but I spent a few months taking a stitch here and there. But voila! C’est complete! A last finish of the 2014 year. Lesson Learned: Little projects are great…do more of them; do them faster…they give you an IMMENSE feeling of satisfaction.

Halloween Bag

MAJOR LESSON LEARNED: Remember to enjoy the journey no matter what.

Until next time….Amities, Averyclaire

A Little Update

The king sized quilt was on the frame by the end of June.   The borders took a long time to finish and then even longer to blanket stitch all those tiny designs I created!   With the busy summer and lots of traveling the actual quilting has been slow going.   Here is a photo of the giant first being basted and then on the frame.

Irish Chain being basted

Irish Chain in Frame

In the meantime, I did create an adorable “Frozen” princess dress for my three year old granddaughter, Maya.

Maya Frozen Princess1

Maya Frozen princess2

Lots of traveling included a week in the woods of southern Indiana in June for DH’s hobby interest.  Then we did two weeks out west in Boulder, Colorado and the Black Hills of South Dakota in July.  We took a couple of grandchildren with us and my oldest granddaughter broke her arm the first day we left!   Next we spent ten days in Atlanta, Savannah, Tybee Island, Hilton Head, and Charleston, SC in Aug for a woodworking convention and just R&R for the two of us.   And one more week in the woods of southern Indiana in September at which time I did a lot of sewing on baby blankets in our RV!   Whew!   Fun, but nice to be home.

Grandchildren…Haley, Sophia, Noah and daughter Kathleen enjoying the Niwot, CO evening concert.

Niwot 2014

We had a GREAT family campout while in Boulder, CO.

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Since then I have completed 20 baby blankets with teddy bears for my Quilters’ Plus Holiday Boutique coming up November 7 and 8.   My heart wanted to do a lot more projects for the Boutique, as some of the money goes to support our group, but alas, I did not do what I had hoped to complete.   Oh well, there is always next year.

Some of my blogging buddies have been wondering where I have been.   Just busy with life and trying to avoid spending time on the computer fighting with downloading photos, etc.   It has been a nice respite.   However, I do lurk behind the shadows and visit all of your blogs often.

I hope before too long there will be some stitching and other quilt items to show.   But my progress is SLOW.

For now…..Amities, Averyclaire

Border Progress

Happy Easter Week to everyone!    Here are my Easter finishes. They were all fun and easy to make.

Easter 2014

Yes…the border is coming along. I am going to post some time lapse photos so you can see the progress. I have the center sections and the left sides complete. Here is the progress to date beginning with the photo I took initially:

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Border 2a

Border 2

Center sections of borders complete.

Border 3

Left side sections of borders complete.

Border 4

It sure has been a long tedious process…but I feel it will be done soon. The right sides remain. Although, I do have all the pieces traced and ironed onto fusible…just waiting to cut out…so that will go quickly. After I fuse the right side appliques down, I can do the four corners…not difficult after all the work I have already done. Then the appliques must be sewn in place.

Alas, with these borders taking up all my time, I have done no other handiwork. :((

Hope everyone out there is enjoying the lovely spring days we are having! And for those of you living far far away, I imagine you will begin having your cool crisp autumn days to enjoy!

Amities, Averyclaire

Designing A Border

I have had a king size triple irish chain quilt top made for a LONG time. I never finished it because I wanted to design a border for it.  Well I am tackling another UFO and am designing the border.  Here is my method and progress to date.

First, I taped a LOT of freezer paper together making a strip 95 inches long which matches the four sides of my quilt top.  The border is 9 inches wide.   I drew a design on one half of my freezer paper. Then I traced it in reverse on the other half. I now have one entire border to work with. Some of the flowers I used from the William Morris Applique book and some I drew. I drew all of the vines myself.  It was drawn with a mechanical lead pencil allowing for LOTS of mistakes.   Here are some photos.

Center of Border

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[Nothing like a million little pieces, huh?] This design will be the corner block, matching up to the long side borders.

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My DH cut me a piece of plexiglass to fit into the opening where I normally have my sewing machine.  [He is such a nice guy!]  I put a small florescent light under it to use as a light table.

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Using “Steam-A-Seam-Lite” I traced my designs onto fusible web.  [LOTS of tracing going on for four borders!]

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Now my fusible web pieces are ironed onto the wrong side of my fabric ready to cut out. [Whew…cutting out takes forever!]

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I have a design wall in my sewing room made of thick insulation which is covered with white flannel and screwed to the wall.    My four cream colored  borders have been pinned to the wall behind where I am working.  (They are not pink!…must have been the sunshine!)  I divided the border into fourths and marked each border with a water soluble pen.  Working from the center out I am placing my pieces onto the border.  I can actually use my Clover mini iron to affix my pieces right on the wall before taking it to the ironing board.  When I have finished the center sections of each border, I will re-pin and do the remaining sections of each border.   After fusing the borders, I plan to sew my appliques down with a small blanket stitch before sewing the borders onto the quilt.

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I don’t have any of the leaves or small fabric circles done yet…but I am making good progress with my UFO.  When it is completed, it will be hand quilted.

It is a BIG project….[perhaps I am nuts?!]   But the end is in sight for my LONG AWAITED quilt.

Amities, Averyclaire

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