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

A Few Finishes

I have been hibernating to finish out this crazy winter!   At long last most of our snow is melting.  Chicago (Chi-beria) is now beginning to thaw. We have had a few warmer days, but not enough!  However, I did finish a few things while keeping warm.

My yellow whole-cloth quilt is now complete.   I finished doing the trapunto work a few weeks ago.   I am in love with the quilt and am so sorry it took me SO LONG to finish it.   My thanks to Tim Latimer whose beautiful hand quilting and exquisite trapunto inspired me to complete this.  Please visit his blog to see his work.

Yellow Whole Cloth Finished

Next I finally did the “finishing” of two Christmas ornaments I did a while ago. I made some for friends for Christmas and liked them so much I made a couple for myself.   I KNOW that the photo background is not exactly a “christmasy” background, but my quilt was JUST SITTING THERE waiting to be photographed again!  Note…the red on the ornaments is really red…not orange!  (Both ornaments are Little House Needlework patterns.)

Xmas Ornies Jan 2014

And last but not least is an Easter ornament that I love. I have a couple more in the works but they are not completed yet.  This ornament is from a Prairie Schooler  leaflet entitled “Folk Eggs.”

Easter Egg 1

QUESTION FOR MY READERS:
Does anyone out there have the pattern from Prairie Schooler called “A Prairie Garden“?  It is rather old.   I wondered if anyone out there would be willing to sell me theirs?   Please let me know if you have one for sale or trade.

During the last blog hop I was lucky enough to be the recipient of some very nice gifts from Joyce at “Joyces Love of Life” blog.   Please visit her here.   She has a LOT of lovely cross-stitch projects in the works!    Thank you again Joyce for the lovely gifts.

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Others things have been in the in my studio, but my wonderful lovely Husqvarna sewing machine is in for repair at the moment.   Hopefully it won’t be TOO expensive for the repairs.    I was working on a king size red and white quilt and it just up and quit on me!    Oh the pain!    But then my hand stitching is getting caught up, so I shouldn’t complain!

Hope the Spring Solstice scares away the frigid north winds and lets the balmy breezes blow up from down south!

Amities, Averyclaire

Grow Your Blog

Welcome everyone to Averyclaire Needlearts!   I am excited to be a part of the “Grow Your Blog Party.”  Thank you for stopping in to visit. 

I am a midwesterner, born and raised in the Chicago area.   Whether I am home or away, I keep busy hands.  There is nothing more wonderful than a cup of hot  tea while having a piece of some kind of needlework, sewing, quilting, or knitting in my hands.    An early morning in the perennial garden fills my soul. I can get lost for weeks in books and am a passionate Francophile. Music to sooth the soul is Andrea Bocelli, Adamo, and John Denver. 

My grandmother, Clara Avery, taught me to knit when I was seven and instilled into me the gentle art of all kinds of needlework.

If you leave a comment on this post you will be entered in the drawing to win a prize (the drawing will be held on February 15th).   It will be a lovely cross-stitched surprise.   However, please scroll through my blog to see some of my projects.  I hope you enjoy them all and I look forward to seeing all of your projects as well. 

 Amities, Averyclaire

Yellow Whole Cloth 1

Star Quilt 1

Sweet Sixteen HQ2

Berry Patch Rabbit

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Sophia Sampler Framed

Kathie Monog Pillow1

Scotty Ornament

Sewing Pockets

catquilt001

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biscornu

Flannel Quilt

Tablecloth Quilt 2011

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Fleur de Lis Scissor Fob

Wedding Quilt

Christmas Stocking Remade

Cross-Stitched Navajo Weaving

Thanks again for coming!

Whole Cloth Quilt In Progress

On my quilt frame now is a whole cloth quilt that I began more than ten years ago. I had a tiny pattern and enlarged it to a lap size quilt. The pattern is lovely and I love hand-quilting, but back then, I quickly tired of it and put it away for years. After finishing my applique quilt I was inspired to work on this one again. I put the quilt frame in the living room and work on it each evening as I sit “listening” to the TV. (I love Hallmark movies.) It was only about 1/3 done before….and I already have at least 2/3 done now. At this rate it will soon be considered another winter project finished!!

Yellow Whole Cloth 1

Does anyone out there know what causes the puckering during hand quilting? or if there is a way to prevent this?    It is not everywhere in the quilt…only in certain places.   It won’t matter after I am finished and soak the quilt, as I imagine it will all be “puckery.” 

Have fun stitching whatever it is you are working on!     Amities, Averyclaire

Update on the Past Few Months

My days are empty without your blogs and our friendships.   So while I cannot promise to blog often, I am back.   To all  who have written lovely notes I cannot thank you enough.   You brighten my day.   I am still fighting whatever it is that plagues me, but I am managing better.   There are still no answers, nor any cures.   I watch my food intake very carefully as there are a lot of foods that will trigger attacks.   My DH and I continue to walk most days (except for the bad weather or bitter cold) and the exercise helps.   A good portion of my time is taken up with research online and in books learning more and more about my symptoms and how to relieve them.   Half my days are good, half my days are not good.   So I will share with you my good days and hopefully my spirits will stay up as well.

Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of  “Needlearts” to share with you.   However, I have recently finished making four “Quilts for Kids” from my stash.   Such a good feeling…not just in helping children with cancer, but also a relief to shorten the stash even by a little.   And even better, there was a great camaraderie with my fellow quilters in doing this.    Here are some photos:

I helped at the Stitch in Public Day with my Needleartisans Group at the beginning of this month.   Several of us assisted in teaching women and children to learn cross-stitch and whatever else we could help them with.   My granddaughter, Sophia (10 years old), was an immense help as well.   I taught her to embroider, stitch, and sew last summer.   She was thrilled to be a part of our group.  (Photos can be seen at Southpaw Stitcher entry of Feb. 4th.)  I have also taken the job of treasurer for this group.   It’s not a lot of work and I truly enjoy the new friends I have met and work with each month.

I completed the dining room renovation for my daughter….her draperies are now hung.   You can’t see the draperies…but here is a photo of Sophia and her Dad in the dining room getting ready for the “Daddy/Daughter Dance.”

At home here after the holidays I worked very hard at de-junking everywhere I could (especially my studio).   Still have lots of work to do…but so satisfying.   I have lost three sizes during my illness and many of my clothes need to be packed up and taken to the resale shop.   Lots more to do.

There are no new needlework projects to show, but I have been working diligently to finish some old ones.  I am very sad that I have not done anything wonderful in the needlearts area.   One does not feel much like creating when one does not feel well.   However, my unfinished applique quilt is coming along quite nicely.   I have completed 11 blocks, am in the middle of 12…and have four more after this.   Then I will have three quilts in my possession simply waiting to be quilted.   I had BETTER GET BUSY..!!    Here are photos of the three additional blocks I have finished.

My new granddaughter, Maya, is growing quickly.   She is 7 months old already!    I miss her so much.   They were here in Chicago for a week during the holidays.   But my DS and DIL keep my inbox filled regularly with photos.   Don’t you just LOVE technology?!   Hope to see her for her birthday in Boulder, CO sometime this summer.

Well I think that is enough news for now.   Wish I had accomplished more during these past few months…alas…tomorrow’s another day.   For now I am happy to be back and will spend some time catching up on all of your blogs as soon as I can.   Thank you again for your kind notes.

Amities, Averyclaire

HAPPY HALLOWEEN……..

I absolutely love Halloween decorations…the fun that the children (and adults) have in dressing up and partying…the chocolate candy. Alas I did not have a lot of time to do many new Halloween needlework pieces, but here is one of my favorites finally mounted and finished.    I found an unfinished box at Hobby Lobby, painted it black and roughed it up a bit to look antique.

I found the cutest tiny fuzzy ball trim to go around the mounted cross-stitch work.    Sorry it’s so difficult to see.

And the grandchildren just love the surprise inside!!!    And I love the orange paint!!!

My birthday is coming soon and my dear French friend, Maggy, sent me the most BEAUTIFUL pair of “Eiffel Tower” scissors!! I absolutely adore them. How did she know that I have wanted a pair of these for a LONG time? Thank you Maggy.

She also sent me two French Patchwork magazines and a watercolor book on scenes from Provence. This will keep me busy for sure.

Remember the Stumpwork workshop I attended….well I had finished the needlework itself, but now I have completed the finishing on the ornament. Don’t you just love the look of the Dupioni silk?

It was great fun doing the little spider.

And whoo hoo….I have finished the quilt top I started on retreat last weekend. Now it just needs to be quilted.

It turned out larger than I had expected…isn’t that nice!!

Hope everyone had a fun weekend and a laughter-filled Halloween Day.

Til next time, Amities, Averyclaire

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