Friday, January 31, 2014

New Members of the Family!

MisterStitches and I have two new additions to our family!  In December we adopted these two squirmy little black kittens from our local humane society.  

I'm trying to hold these two wiggly kittens, but they won't cooperate with the camera!

Their names are Cassie (on the left) and Percy.  Short for Cassandra and Persius.

They are extremely playful and energetic, which means the house needed to be baby proofed.   It's been almost two years since our last cat died, and she was older and more tame.  These guys can't be trusted anywhere!  They are only allowed in my studio under my supervision, and then are sometimes tossed outside the door!

Since they arrived in December, we had only about three Christmas decorations put up that could be called kitten-proof.  The photo below shows a really simple decoration I like to put in the tall narrow windows by our door.  I used dental floss and little round white stickers from the office supply store to make these "snowflakes" falling down the windows.  Well, those falling snowflakes were just too tempting, so the bottom parts had to be cut off and they only "fell" down the upper half of the windows!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crochet Factory

I've not been getting much quilting work done lately, but I've been doing a lot of hand sewing and crocheting.  I've completed several more baby afghans, and I'll show them to you here.

This light blue afghan is made of real heavy, thick yarn.  It's so soft and cuddly; it almost feels like minky fabric after it's crocheted.

The photo below shows how thick the yarn is.  I simply did rows and rows of double crochet for this afghan.

Another afghan made with the thick, cuddly yarn is this multi-colored one.

For the next afghan I actually followed a pattern, instead of making up one of my own!  The pattern was on the inside of one of the yarn skeins.  It is basically a big modified granny square that keeps growing and growing! 

 I went back and forth between a light yellow yarn, and a variegated orange-y yarn.


I made this afghan by double crocheting around the post of the previous row.

I really like the sort of basket-weave effect this stitch gives.

I used the same peach-y variegated yarn as in a previous afghan to make this one.  

 It is simply single crochet back and forth, with a couple rows of treble crochet thrown in occasionally for variety.

This next one isn't the best shot, but it's another orange-y peach-y variegated yarn, with a yellow scalloped border around the edges.

I basically do these because they are fun to do, keep me occupied when riding in a car or watching tv, and are an excellent take-along project.  Very portable.  That's why I tend to keep the patterns ultra simple, so I don't have to concentrate too hard, or read directions while I'm doing it.  So far I've been giving some away, selling a few to friends (for the cost of the yarn!), and sticking the rest in a cedar chest.  When I get too many I'll find a charity that would like to have them.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Embroidered Christmas Ornaments

I have been quite busy the last couple months sewing Christmas ornaments.  The pattern I used is by Sara Hardwig for Blueberry Backroads, and I found it at Bear Patch Quilting Company in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

There, now I have all the legal business behind me!

Here you can see photos of several of the many that I made.  Silly me!  I didn't take a photo with anything to show you the scale.  They finished at 2 3/4 inches by 3 1/4 inches.

These tiny ornaments don't take very much time to finish up.  I ended up making 25 of them for my guild to sell at our annual Festival of the Trees, which is our major fundraiser.

When I was done with all of them, I started in on some more to put in with Christmas cards to give to some of my family.  It was suggested to me that they could also be used for gift tags.  Easily done by writing the name on the back with a fine point indelible marker.  Then the recipient also has a nice ornament, too!

I set up a sort of assembly line to make the embroidery bases.  I first cut out 1 1/4 in strips from various green and red fabrics.  Then I cut out the small muslin rectangles (2 by 2 1/2" pieces).  I randomly chose a red and a green fabric to sew around the muslin.  Next came cutting up the batting scraps to put behind the "frames."  And finally, I cut pieces for the backing for each one.  

I used my "light box" (paper and fabric taped to a window) to trace all the patterns with my Frixion pen.  Then I proceeded to stitch away.  I embroidered quite a few, maybe a dozen, then sewed them to the backing fabric (adding the gold braid for a hanger), turned them right side out, and stitched closed the opening.  All that was left to do then was sew the simple little quilting line around each "frame."

I encourage you to go to Blueberry Backroads and look at their selection of nice patterns.  Or shop for them at your local quilt shop, which is what we all really like to do.  I know that I want to try some more of her patterns in the future!