Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Walking the Plank

Wow, I can't believe I got as far as I did today.  It's been a whirlwind of activity on projects yesterday and today!  First of all, I cut all my vines for the AotH border and sewed them on yesterday.  Last night and this morning I stitched the vines around the corners.  Then, after making a yummy Sunday breakfast for the family, I sprinted upstairs to my sewing room and got busy lapping the seams in place and - Viola!  Here is my totally finished (stitching wise) Anniversaries of the Heart Sampler -

The border pattern I used comes from the July (Swan Lake) booklet.  I picked that one because it was not used in any of the other designs and because that block happened to be in the center - using that border, it would not be outside of itself, if you know what I mean.
Yesterday I worked for 3 hours cutting the fabric strips to make my new grandson's quilt.  Today, starting at 10AM I got busy sewing it.

 I've decided to call it Walking the Plank - because it's a pirate quilt.  I have a feeling that ya'll are just kinda goin' ugh - huh; like my husband and son did, but you'll see.

At left, all the pieces are cut out and labeled.

After the Cheeze-its, I've had to cut back to just water.

 This is the first step, getting the yellow centers surrounded by the next colors.
 This is where I have realized that somewhere along the way, I made a measurement mis-calculation.  But, not time to fiddle with figuring that out, I just forged ahead and trimmed up my blocks as I finished them.
 Here I've gotten the pokey-dotted blocks and the red ones done - I'm all ready for the black strips - closing in on the finish line! 
 Ugh - Houston, we have a problem.  Unfortunately, I forgot to cut the black strips that go at the top and bottom of the polka-dot blocks.  Oh Frazzle! 

So, had to take a few minutes to cut those strips and then sew them on.

I've been working very hard and deserve some chocolate to go with my water after this set back.

 Ah, this is much better.  On to joining the rows.
 First row done.  Three more to go.

Like I said, three hours to cut yesterday and I started today at 10AM.  I was finished at 3PM which makes this an 8 hour quilt top!

Just one eensy-weensy little problem.  I did not count on the double rows of black in between the colored block rows.  Oops!  So now I want to figure something out to go there because it's just a little more black than I was counting on.

Above, the finished quilt top Walking the Plank.  Just ignore the hands and feet; there's no one behind that quilt, no one at all.  Now, doesn't that quilt look Piratey?  Stop looking at me that way!

Here is the picture that my son posted today on his Facebook page.  He called me this morning to tell me that he'd just finished decorating for the baby yesterday.

At left is his picture of the crib.  Turns out there are a lot of pieces (o' eight) to this set.  You can't see the mobile too well in his picture, so I went to the website and got . . .
This one - you can see that it too is pirate themed.  I went shopping at Baby Gap a few weeks ago and found this really cut pair of jammies.  Also got another set of jammies and a onesie, but they don't have them on the site anymore.  Anyhoo, I've already sent those out, along with the baby towels, so they're getting all stocked up.  His arrival is two months away now!

Finally, I got a giftie here recently and I thought all you frog collectors out there might enjoy seeing it - 

It's ORANGE - I think that's unusual - what do you think?  Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Needlewoman East and Updates

Had a lovely trip to downtown Falls Church, Virginia the other day to visit The Needlewoman East.

This is Liz, the proprietor of Needlewoman East.  She's being very professional, ringing me up, and then she looks up to continue our in depth conversation.  Liz looks a lot different - she's lost more than 100 pounds.  She looks wonderful.

My reason for going to TNE was to get some yarn to stitch the hunt scene needlepoint that I was given a month or so ago.  Liz pulled some Elsa Williams and I'm all set to go.  Here's a progress pic:

Just the two colors, blue for sky and green for grass.  This photo was taken a few days ago -I've done about as much more since.

And I have reached a point with the baby's birth sampler that I am just waiting for the event to happen and I will fill in all the details:

I will either add or remove triangles on the sides as needed to fill in the date and place information.  I just sent the kids a boatload of baby towels and wash cloths that I picked up at Target and a cute few pieces of clothing for my granddaughter.  I'm hoping that if I can send something for her each time I send something for the baby, we might keep the sibling rivalry monster at bay.

These are the border strips for the Anniversaries of the Heart sampler.  I have finished stitching them as much as I can on the scroll bars.  Next step is to cut them apart and sew them onto the sampler.  Then I'll finish stitching the corners of the borders - that way I can adjust the design as necessary to make the turns.

This is my Dick and Jane quilt top.  I started it about two years ago and then had trouble figuring out exactly how I wanted to finish the outer edge.  Decision made, this weekend I put the finishing touches on the border.  It's all ready to go to the quilter.  It's probably a twin size quilt top.  Anyway, I intended for it to be for my granddaughter, but she's a pink and purple fairies and princesses kinda girl and I don't think this will work for her.  I am going to finish it and then just hang onto it.  You never know what will happen.

Finally, this is just something I love.  I adore the way hens & chicks (or cats & kittens) look.  I always have, ever since I was a child.  So the last few years I've had a pot of them in the house.  This spring I put my pot of them outside (intending to transfer them to the garden), but they got sunburned and died.  My fault.  So, needed a new one for this winter.  I picked them up at the nursery and also the urn.  Now, the urn is kinda cool.  It started out as one that was plastic, and terra cotta colored.  You know the kind I'm talking about - they look really really fake?  So I got this one (they come in two parts that you sorta clip together).  And a can of black plastic spray paint.  Took it out in the back yard and sprayed the heck out of it.  Now it looks like cast iron instead of fake terra cotta and my hens & chicks are very, very happy as you can see by all their growth.  Even better - they don't have to be watered too often!

So that's the round up for today.  Gotta go check out the Pioneer Woman website.  I saw her Christmas show and made her brussel sprouts for Christmas dinner.  Boy, were they yummy!  Hope you enjoyed.

Navigational Beacons

 My daughter in law likes pirates.  Did you know that there is a National Talk Like a Pirate Day?  ARGH!!!!

I do not know where this pirate love of hers comes from, but I respect it.  I think it's cute.

She is also not into "vintage".  More of a contemporary girl.  So, out shopping a few months ago, I found the orange print fabric you can see in the selection at left.  I decided it would be the fabric I would base all others on for my new grandson's baby quilt.  I have looked at that fabric for a while now, trying to decide.  This past weekend I sat myself down and said, OK, let's make a decision.

First of all, I had to decide what quilt I was going to do.  I went through my stash and came out with the advert (for a magazine or calendar) that you see in the photo below, on the left.  It's an ad for American Patchwork & Quilting.  More about them below.

As you can see by my sketch (above right) I decided to alter the design just a little bit.  No applique stars for me, 'cause this needs to be a quick quilt.  So there will be a square block, then a rectangle block, then repeat for the first row.  My sketch doesn't show it, but I think that for the next row I will start with the rectangle block and then the square block.  There won't be a row (as shown in the APQ ad) of rectangles and squares on their sides.  I think that's how I'm going to do that.

So, that got me down to my colors - five of them.  Yellow, orange, red and black in the square blocks and yellow, polka dot and black in the rectangle blocks.  Note that the blocks don't go around all four sides with the black strips - they share one strip of black between them.

Then I had to figure out how much I needed to cut so I could see if I had enough fabric.  The yellow came out of my stash and I easily had enough to cover my needs there.  My concern was over the polka dot that also came out of my stash.  Turns out, no worries there either.  In fact, the only thing I had to go out and buy was the black.  Oh, and also the white.  'Cause I'm going to put something very piratey on the back in a corner.  But that will be a surprise in the end.  The quilt will end up being 44 inches by 56 inches which I think should be big enough for a baby quilt.  I sure hope so! 

Whoops!  EDITED  Forgot to say what I was going to say about American Patchwork & Quilting.  If you go to the link (their website) you can scroll down and see that there have been some unhappy comments made by subscribers.  Kind makes me glad that I don't subscribe.   Anyway, one of the comments says she can't figure out how to get in touch with customer service.  Well, I just so happened to remember that APQ and Better Homes and Gardens are all published by The Meredith Corporation.  So I looked them up (see link) and note that you can call their customer service at 1-888-616-7679.  I think that they have always had quality publications, but in these days and times it's hard for newspapers and magazines to meet their profit margins.  They've probably downsized quite a bit.  I personally look forward to magazines moving into the E-subscription business.  Hope that helps. 

Roadmap for A Path

At lot has been happening up here on Windy Ridge and it's kept me from sitting down and updating you.  This is probably the first of several entries I'll make that should get the job done.  I was really, really sick in December and you know how it is, moms are usually the ones that handle all of life's little emergencies for the family.  My golden retriever, Buddy, had a funny thing happen to his mouth sometime between December 3 and Christmas.  At first, one of his lower front teeth disappeared.  Then his chin started to expand.
Now, I wasn't even allowed to go outside and certainly didn't have the wherewithall to drive somewhere.  I thought he'd gotten something stuck in his teeth - did I tell you about the frozen rabbit carcass (beheaded) that he "retrieved" and brought to me in the first days of December?  Apparently that was a coyote's leftovers and Buddy was SO proud.  Anyway, long story short, it was just after New Year's when I was able to get him into the vet.  And she was devastated to tell me that she and her
colleage thought that Buddy had a cancerous growth.  She said she'd dealt with this before.  I won't tell you what she told me they could do.  Suffice it to say that I would never do that to an animal.  So, I was pretty depressed.  Followed by my husband and son when I related the news to them.  Poor Buddy - I couldn't look at him without crying.  So, we went in and had a biopsy done and waited.  Well, the vet called the other night and she said that they can't quite believe it, but the biopsy came back saying he has a sort of gingivitis infection.  I was floored.  Now, don't get too excited.  both she and her colleage can't believe it - so much so that they've asked the pathology lab to look at it again to confirm.  So we're in a hopeful holding pattern.  Meanwhile, he's on strong antibiotics and woke me at 4:30 this morning for an emergency going out!  And boy, he was in a hurry! 

This past weekend I worked on organizing my client's quilt project.  It is to be done just as in the book A Path to the Civil War, by Dolores Smith.  It is available at Amazon.  My client got most of the fabrics, but she's not a quilter, and the help she got from a shop was not spot on.  So, there were some gaps that I had to fill in - like the blues and greens - and the background fabrics.  All that is sorted out though.

This is my Roadmap.  I know, a lot of you have GPS talking boxes now, but I still use maps.  This one reveals snippets of all the fabrics that will be used in the quilt. Each is identified as a number or letter.

This will hopefully help me distribute all the fabrics evenly throughout the quilt.

Then, in the book I have little post its to tell me which piece of fabric (identified by its number or letter) will be used in each block.

This quilt is sashed in cheddar.  It was a particularly important part of the working process that I use cheddar colored Post-it Notes and consume cheddar Cheese Nips - helps me keep my focus.

Now I just have to figure out how to use short-cut cutting methods instead of cutting with templates.  Sigh.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All the Hoo Hah on AotH

For anyone who wants to know, here is a full and complete list of the substitutions and/or color changes I made on my Anniversaries of the Heart series.  I have a collection of Weeks flosses that I am trying to use up; that's the only reason that most of my substitutions were to Weeks colors.  My favorite overdyed threads are those made by Gentle Art.  I have nothing against Crescent Colours threads, but I do find them a little more expensive.  I was simply trying to be a little more frugal.  Please note that when I determined my substitutions, it was based on the DMC colors that were given on the charts.  Sometimes, like in the May and second Bonus blocks, I didn't like the way the substitution worked out and eyeballed a better replacement based on the color photo on the chart.  What I'm trying to say is that this is not an exact science (see August) and I offer these substitutions to you as a guide.

CC= Crescent Colors; GA = Gentle Art and WDW = Weeks Dye Works

Pattern 1: Snow Garden (January) - changed the left and top border flowers (carnations) to alternating WDW Garnet and WDW Lancaster Red.

Pattern 2: Valentine Rose (February) - replaced CC Onion Skin for DMC 612 and CC Used Brick for DMC 5859

Pattern 3: A Wish for You (March) - replaced CC Onion Skin for DMC 612 and CC Peanut Butter for DMC 437 and CC Used Brick for DMC 3859.

Pattern 4: Pink Hill Manor (April) - replaced CC Cinnamon Toast with WDW Hibiscus; CC Gingersnap for WDW Honeysuckle; CC Jakey Brown with WDW Cinnabar; CC Sunkissed with WDW Cherub.  Replaced CC Onion Skin with DMC 612 and CC Peanut Brittle with DMC 437.

Pattern 5: Farm House (May) - replaced CC Cinnamon Toast with WDW Hibiscus; CC Avacado with WDW Scuppernong; CC Fool's Gold with WDW Olive; CC Mulled Berries with WDW Purple Majesty.  Changed GA Cidermill Brown to WDW Olive.  Replaced GA Lexington Green with WDW Sea Foam (to better match color on chart picture).  Instructions called for birds to be stitched in GA Old Purple Paint - I combined 1 strand of Old Purple Paint and one strand of GA Tin Bucket to stitch all the birds.

Pattern 6: Happy Birthday (June) - replaced CC Cinnamon Toast with WDW Hibiscus; when I ran out of that, I substituted GA Sweet Petunia.  Replaced CC Jakey Brown with WDW Cinnabar.

Pattern 7: Swan Lake (July) - replaced CC Camoflage with GA Aged Pewter and CC Magnolia Blossom with GA Oatmeal.

Bonus 1: replaced CC Cinnamon Toast with WDW Hibiscus; CC Jakey Brown with CC Cinnabar and CC Queen Bee with WDW Gold.

Pattern 8: Clara Ellen (August) - made substitutions which I do not recommend - this is my least favorite block.

Pattern 9: Moonlight Visitor (September) - replaced CC Almost Auburn with WDW Nutmeg; CC Cappucino with WDW Mother's Day; CC Onion Skin with DMC 612; CC Tufted Yellow with WDW Light Khaki; CC Ye Olde Gold with WDW Olive.

Pattern 10: Pumpkin Farm (October)- replaced CC Gingersnap with WDW Honeysuckle and CC Peanut Brittle with DMC 437.

Low Contrast
Pattern 11: Evergreen Lane (November) - replaced CC Barn Door with WDW Red Rocks; CC Calico Kitty with WDW Terra Cotta; CC Camoflage with GA Aged Pewter.  Note that the color designated to surround the windows did not contrast very well with the pane color.  I did backstitching around the windows using the door color to give them some contrast.  If I had to do it over, I'd use the door color to surround the windows instead of the called for color.

Pattern 12: Elizabeth Jane (December) - replaced CC Avacado with GA Mustard Seed; CC Antique Lace with GA Antique Lace (frankly, I'm not sure that this wasn't an error on the chart and they meant to put Gentle Art as the manufacturer); CC Camoflage with GA Aged Pewter; CC Little House Brown with WDW Adobe and GA Flax (which I'd run out of) with WDW Angelhair.  Also, this chart called for CC Country Lane, but I never could actually find it used in the chart so don't go out and buy it.  Some of the snowflakes were to be stitched in GA Lexington Green and I said "No Way!" to that; I just alternated between WDW Angelhair and GA Antique Lace.  Note that I added more snowflakes and changed the blackbirds to male and female cardinals; I omitted the blackbird on the chimney holding the heart.  The male cardinal was stitched using WDW Baked Apple and the female cardinal was stitched with GA Mustard Seed with her breast done in WDW Adobe.

Bonus 2: For Those Recorded Here - replaced CC Avacado with GA Mustard Seed; CC Calico Kitty with WDW Terra Cotta; CC Jakey Brown with WDW Cinnabar; CC Onion Skin with DMC 371; CC Peanut Brittle with DMC 437; and CC Sunkissed with WDW Cherub.  Note that the Cherub did not show up well against the linen color I was stitching this particular block on so I actually only stitched one motif with Cherub.  The rest of them, that called for Sunkissed, I just used the next lightest of the pinky reds and it ended up working out to my satisfaction.  Instructions given were that the house would be done in GA Aged Pewter.  I changed that to GA Banker's Gray so that it would be a blue-gray as shown in the picture.

Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year - The Big Reveal

Here's the wider view of the last bonus block of the Anniversaries of the Heart series.

Since I put myself on the month of January, it seemed redundant for me to put my information on the whole thing again.  I came up with a little phrase that summed up what the project was all about for me    >>>>

And it was the women of my heart that took center stage on this final bonus block.  Last time I talked about Miss Willie Fairfax - a story that came out sadder than I really wanted it to.  Miss Willie is a wonderful memory for me and I think her story is one of overcoming tragedy.

But this entry is about the other woman of my heart that I've highlighted on this block.

Dorothy Mae Kendrick.  Dot.  She is the most special person on this whole piece.  Dot is my guardian angel.  She is the lynch pin in my life; responsible for where I am today.  Not kidding.  Oh, she also taught me my first swear word.

This is a great story!  Dot was my mother's best friend.  She lived on Glendale Avenue and we lived on Luray Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.  Back then they were called row houses, what we lived in.  Nowadays they have the high falutin' call sign "town homes".  The houses on Luray and Glendale backed one another and were divided by an alley.  It's where the garbage was collected, the laundry was hung, the cars were parked.  And it was where the housewives hung out and (as my mother called it) "yacked" over the fence.

One day, Dot watched me for my mother.  Dot had a chihuahua called Peppy.  And that particular day that Dot was watching me, Peppy got ahold of Dot's family bible.  Dot was just beside herself with greif at the destruction of the bible and had quite alot to say to Peppy about it.  When my mother arrived to fetch me, Dot was still in a state.  Concerned for her friend, my mom asked her what was wrong.  And before Dot could reply, I said "Damn dog got Dot's book" whilst glaring at Peppy.  Dot was absolutely horrified and could not apologize enough to my mother for swearing in front of me. 

This transgression is made worse when you consider the following (that I did not learn for many years).  Dot's husband, Wes, didn't swear.  Ever.  I was in my thirties when I learned this.  We were visiting Dot and Wes and somehow got into a conversation about swearing.  Probably because I said a word (as my salty, uncontrolled tongue is wont to do) and Wes probably looked at me and asked why I'd want to go and say that.  Then he told me that in his whole life, he'd never sworn.  Never.  I still remember being surprised into stillness.  He told me that he'd just decided that it was nothing to be proud of and that he would not do it.  And he never did.  How many people can say that do you suppose?  Anyway, the story was always a source of great humor in our families.

I was always crafty and artistic and there were two people in my life who encouraged that.  One was Ray Wilkins, my art teacher for several years in high school.  And the other one was Dot.  If I was using crayons in a coloring book when I was little, painting rocks as a tween, drawing as a teenager, or stitching as an adult, Dot would always encourage me.  And sometimes, gently critique.  And it was always appreciated.  I painted her a ladybug rock long, long ago and she always makes a point of telling me that she has it still in her hope chest and when she looks at it, she always thinks of me.  I have a lifetime of happy and funny memories of Dot.

And thankfully I have a handful of memories of when Dot was there for me like no one else.  I had reached one of the lowest points in my life and had no one to go to for help or advice.  So I called Dot.  It was hard to tell her what my problem was, but there was never any condemnation from Dot and I always knew she loved me.  She said she'd need to think on it and she'd get back to me.  I think it was the next day when she set me on the coarse for the rest of my life.

Following her advice got me a job.  Then I met a really nice man and had a long relationship with him and his family that lead me to another job that lead me to my husband who I've been with now for nearly 21 years.  None of those things could have happened without Dot.

Dot and Wes (seated) and my mother at our wedding in 1991
Dot & Wes about 1993
For years we'd go and visit Dot and Wes.  Then Wes passed away in 1995.  Still we continued to visit Dot; a more or less annual pilgrimage where we would play catch up and laugh about old times.  Then, to be nearer to her own children, Dot moved to Richmond and I would write to her.  And responses ended up not coming anymore.  This year I looked up her son and wrote him a note telling him that since it had been so long since I'd heard from his mother, I could only conclude that she had passed away.  I told him how sorry I was about that and that I had loved his mother dearly.  It had probably been a month or six weeks after I'd written to him when I got a little note in the mail - and it had Dot's return address on it.  It was a Saturday and my husband and I had just come home from running errands.  I got  the mail out of the box and was flipping through envelopes as I walked back to the car.  I got to Dot's note and realized what her return address meant.  As I got into the car, I was laughing and crying at the same time and could barely speak.  Husband was concerned and was asking what was wrong and all I could do was hand him the envelope and say "She's Alive!"

I immediately wrote her a response and apologized if I'd distressed her or her son.  The only mention of it in her note was that she'd said she loved me too!  That was such a wonderful day knowing that Dot is still somewhere - loving me.  And then it struck me that I wanted to put Dot somewhere on the Anniversaries of the Heart blocks.  So, I wrote her again, told her a little bit about the project and asked if she'd tell me her whole name and when she was born so I could make her a part of it.  I was thinking of adding her to the block of her birth month.  When I received her response, I just could not believe it.  Her whole name - Dorothy Mae Page Kendrick.  MAE.  I absolutely never, ever knew that!  Unfortunately I'd already done her birth month block, but I knew about the final bonus and was determined that's where she would be honored.

Dot's side of the block (at left).  You can see that I had to fudge some of the petals on the flower so I could get her name to fit. 

Since my phrase at center top was not as big as the original design, a lot of shifting took place.  The central flower was moved up; that gave more room to add Miss Willie's name below.  I also added a bunch of those diamond outlines all over the whole piece and another star in the lower left corner to reflect the one over the roof of the house.

Take note, I also changed the color of the house.  It was supposed to be stitched in GA Aged Pewter, but my Aged Pewter was clearly gray, not gray blue like the picture on the chart.  I wanted to use gray blue as that related to Miss Willie, so switched to GA Banker's Gray instead.  I am going to go through all my notes and do a future post that will hopefully have all the color substitutions and/or changes that I made.

Here are the two halves of the blocks out in the back yard the other day when we had temperatures near sixty.

And yesterday, I united the two halves.  However, our temperatures have taken a plunge (snow showers this AM) so I took the photo in my workroom instead.

It's been pressed and starched and awaits its outer borders.  Hope you enjoyed!