Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Spring!

Happy first week of Spring!  The sun has been out in the Sacramento foothills for 5 days straight and flowers are starting to bloom.  I caught a bit of spring fever last Friday, and instead of taking advantage of the sunshine to photograph some of my latest projects, I spent the afternoon puttering around in the backyard.

Pardon the tangent for a moment ... but does anyone else have this problem?  You have company coming over and already have a list a mile long of things that need to be done to make your house presentable -- fresh flowers for the table, cleaning every single nook and cranny of the house despite the fact that no one will be paying very close attention or will even think of going upstairs, grocery shopping at three different stores to find all the specialty items you have to have -- and then suddenly this idea pops in your head and now it would be ridiculous to even think about having people over without that thing done?  For me last Friday, I just couldn't think of having family and friends over to our house without filling our dinky little back yard with flowers, moss, and herbs.  So rather than cleaning house, or prepping food, I spent several hours in the back yard planting pansies, Irish moss, and a bevy of new herbs ... and loving every moment of it.

With all the spring-y-ness in the air, I can't help but be inspired by the feeling of fresh, new life all around and have decided that it's time to breathe some fresh air and fresh projects into my craft room.  I've spent SO much time recently admiring some very talented quilters who incorporate beautiful embroidery and applique pieces into their quilts -- check out Cinderberry Stitches and LeAnne's House -- that I've decided to sign up for a Beginner's Embroidery course at one of my LQS, Bearpaws and Hollyhocks ... and have even convinced one of my lovely co-workers to join me.  The course starts at the end of April, so there's still time to sign up if you'd like to join us.  Pictures will be coming soon, of course!

To satisfy my needlework urges in the meantime, however, I've picked up the cross-stitch project that I started last year.  This project is a bit of a daunting one ... the pattern is something like 24 pages long ... which means it will probably take me about 48 years to finish ... but I love the original painting so much -- and the legend of Cupid and Psyche is enough to bring out the hopeless romantic in all of us!!

If you are feeling ambitious, Heaven and Earth Designs has a number of cross-stitch patterns depicting classical art pieces -- and the best part is that the patterns are emailed to you in .pdf format, so that you can go purchase the materials and start in a matter of hours!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gypsy Rose, and Verna, and Eden, Oh My!

Spring has finally hit the Sacramento Valley -- Hooray!!  I was actually able to wash my car in capris and a tee-shirt after work today.  While the sun and the warm(-ish) weather may only last through the weekend, I think I may have caught spring fever, heightened even more by today's arrival of ...

2 Charm Packs of each!  I'm so excited that they're here, because that means my two new patterns for spring, Sweet Irish Rose and English Rose Garden -- originally done in Gypsy Rose --  are ready for testing ... and soon will be ready for you!

Last weekend, I finally managed to finish my Allspice Tapestry Baby Quilt.  Pictures will be coming tomorrow when I can take advantage of the sunlight, but in the meantime, here are the latest stash numbers:

March 5th -March 18th Fabric Stash Report
Used: 1.86 - Hooray
Purchased: 1.78 - an equally hearty Hooray!
YTD: +15.77

Not much progress, but my last dose of the crazy medication is tonight, so my evening quilting hours will be back!  Double Hooray!

While waiting for my new charm packs to arrive, I started  a baby quilt using one of my old favorite patterns called "Stars of My Heart" from Fons & Porter's For Love of Quilting Magazine (Jan/Feb 2009)

I've made the quilt block several times in the past, but after receiving the Fons & Porter Super Flying Geese  Ruler for Christmas, I had to try it again.  My flying geese blocks still aren't 100% perfect but this ruler definitely is a big help in cutting more accurate pieces!  This time, I'm using some nice turquoise and white prints, so the finished quilt will be nice and springy!!
There won't be a ton of sewing going on after tonight, as my hubby has a BIG MILESTONE birthday on Saturday, and we'll be celebrating all weekend, but hopefully I can sneak a few pictures tomorrow in the sunshine.  Hope you have a great weekend!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Holy Unfinished Projects Batman!

Happy Furlough Friday!  Well, I'm sorry to say, friends, that the Crafting ADD mentioned in this post is turning out to be a lingering affliction!  To further complicate matters, I'm on some new medication that makes me SUPER drowsy in the evenings and sadly, I'm usually out cold by 9:00pm.  So, teeny-tiny attention span + limited crafting time = too many unfinished projects!  It's definitely time for some spring cleaning!!!

First of all, I'm very happy to report some POSITIVE movement in the stash-busting efforts!

Weeks 8, 9 & 10: 2/18/10 - 3/4/10
Used: .44 ... yes, another point something report, but check out this next number ...
Purchased: Zero, Zip, Zilch ... Unheard-of!  Absurd!
Year-to-Date: +15.85

I finally managed to finish a project -- my cute little spring-y table topper, first introduced in this post!

Although, when I showed my hubby, the conversation went something like this:
Me:  Hey look!  I finally finished something!
Him: Nice placemat.  Are you going to make more of them?
Me: It's not a placemat -- it's a table runner.
Him: Hummm!  Maybe if you're a hobbit.

Alright.  So maybe it's more of a centerpiece or candle mat, but if you have a [small] table you think it would look great on, you'll be able to purchase it here by the end of the weekend.  Hopefully, the rain will hold off and the sun will stay out just long enough for me to take some pictures tomorrow!

As I have a number of partially finished projects sitting on either my cutting table or my sewing table (or hiding in boxes on the shelves, or hanging on hangers in the closet), I've decided that it's time to do some spring cleaning!!  The plan is to alternate working on new projects and spending some time getting reacquainted with some older [unfinished] friends.

This week's new friends are two coordinating patterns, inspired by Gypsy Rose by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda. If you love Fig Tree Quilts' patterns and fabric line as much as I do, check out owner JoAnn's blog, "Fresh Figs," listed under inspiring blogs.

Both of these new Poplun patterns can be made out of a single layer cake (or four charm packs) and some white-on-white print fabric.  Tentatively named, "English Rose Garden" and "Sweet Irish Rose," both quilts use classic block patterns to set off the brown, pinks, lavender, green, and cream of the fabric.

"English Rose Garden" is as precisely-planned as any English garden, with color-coordinated foliage in manicured planter boxes, framed by crisp, white walkways.  I finished the quilt top last week and all that's left is to decide on one of three possible borders, and to quilt and bind.

"Sweet Irish Rose" is more of a free form piece, unplanned piece, with [relatively] unplanned color-patterns arranged in a "Double Irish Chain" pattern around some rather sweet appliqued flowers.  While I had the concept in my head for this second quilt almost from the moment I started with the first, how to execute it in a quick, organized fashion took a little bit of planning.  Rather than sewing together over 1,000 individual blocks, the directions will show you how to assemble a series of larger, repeating blocks, making for a quicker (and probably more accurate quilt).

If you are interested in testing either or both of these patterns, please email me at: Poplun(at)gmail(dot)com.  I'll send you a draft of the pattern in .pdf format in exchange for your constructive feedback.

The old friend that finally saw the light of day ... after who knows how many years in the Ikea box on the shelf ... is this crib-sized quilt using the Robin's Egg Blue colorway from Moda's Allspice Tapestry.  

I can't remember whatever possessed me to make a quilt out of dozens of teeny-tiny squares, but over the last week or two, I finished assembling the last four squares, attached the last of the sashing, and got that baby layered, basted, and quilted.  As you can see, I'm in the process of removing the tissue-paper pattern that served as the guide for my free-form quilting.  

Hopefully this weekend, I'll have time to sew on the binding and list it in the store!

Sadly, not much has been done on the knitting front.  I'm still plugging along on my Embossed Leaves sock (#1) in a really nice light-blue bamboo-blend yarn.  The pattern is from the book on the left, which is the best sock book I've come across thus far.  They have so many beautiful patterns, but I knit so slowly that I'll be 109 before I get to try everything!

I've added my ravelry account information to my side-bar as well. My username is poplun if you'd like to add me as a friend.