Monday, April 29, 2013

x stitch

Oh, I'm also going through a bit of a cross-stitch obsession.

This is my latest (not my own design):

I'm on the second-to-last alphabet for this center section and then it will be on to the elaborate floral borders. So. Much. Fun. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Finished the Birds in the Air quilt top today!

It's 56" x 64" right now but needs borders. I have no idea what to use, but it definitely needs something plain and/or neutral to give the eye a place to rest. Gosh, this is a busy quilt top...I'm not sure if it's awesome or awesomely bad. 

Here's a closer look:

Pretty wild! I used everything but the kitchen sink in this. I have to live with it for a bit to decide on borders, then I'll get it quilted and take some better photos of the finished product. For now I'm packing up the sewing and getting started on some spring cleaning. Daughter's 8th birthday party is this weekend and the house is a wreck. Maybe because I've spent all my time sewing lately? Yep.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

knitting with beads

Over the winter I decided to give knitting with beads a go. It is SO FUN! And very addictive. I'm now on the lookout for shawl patterns that can be enhanced with the addition of beads. 

Here are a couple I recently finished.

Swallowtail shawl, modeled by my soon-to-be 8 year old. This used about 1.5 skeins of knitpicks sock yarn (Essential in the "grass" old they don't even make it anymore).

Gosh, it's hard to photograph the beads. Can you see them?

How about now? I used them in place of the nupps, as many people have, throughout the lily of the valley portion of the shawl. It's much easier than the nupps and gives a different look. I like the sparkle! I used most of a tube of size 6 beads that I got on sale at AC Moore, so this was a frugal and fun way to get into beaded knitting.

And here is my second flower basket shawl, knit from the same kind of yarn as the swallowtail (Knitpicks Essential, this time in "pumpkin"), also beaded (same kind of beads as the other shawl in a different colorway) but this time only in the border pattern.

Basically anywhere there is a *yo, k1, yo* in a pattern you can add a bead. It's not hard but it looks so pretty and people think you're really awesomely talented when they see it! Oh, and I added an extra repeat or two of the main flower basket pattern because I knew I could get a bigger shawl with the two skeins of sock yarn I had.

I just took these photos today, our first warm day of the season (75 degrees!). Also the first day suitable for knitting outside:


Thursday, April 11, 2013

testing the waters...

Hello? Anyone there?

It's been awhile. A very long while. I've received some really nice emails inquiring about my well-being and I want to thank anyone who has been thinking of me.

Last summer I finally reached a point where the world did not feel very solid beneath my feet anymore. The "breakdown" I'd been waiting for since losing my second child (in 2006) finally manifested itself and I began suffering from unmanageable anxiety. My family and I suffered through this all summer until I could no longer get up in the morning to care for my children and I asked my husband to take me to the doctor and get me some help. I don't want to go into it in any more detail except to say that through a combination of medications and counseling I am finally starting to feel like a normal person again. I will also add that if you or someone you know or care about is suffering from anxiety or depression (especially prevalent in times like these when the economy is bad and people are hurting financially), encourage them to get help. It makes all the difference.

Through it all I've continued to create. In fact, I count that as valuable therapy. I noticed many months ago that I felt most calm in front of my sewing machine, guiding fabric along, soothed by the monotonous sound of the motor chugging along.

My son strolled in while I was sewing today and took this picture. He is 4, so this is at his eye level. This is where he has seen me the most over the past couple of weeks. In fact, he doesn't call this the dining room is simply "the room where Mommy sews."

I have a couple large bins of quilting fabric here, amassed over 10+ years of sewing. But I would rather have quilts than piles of fabric so I've set a goal to empty those bins in 2013. 

To that end, I've been scouring quilting books for inspiration and when I see something I like I jump right into making it. But then I also FINISH it, which has always been a weakness. I guess I'm maturing or something because I want to actually see these quilts done, and quickly. The log cabin above is about 20" square and needs borders. Then I'll quilt it and hang it somewhere in the house. I should add that I will allow myself to purchase fabric for borders/bindings if necessary, and of course thread and needles, but otherwise my goal is to use what I already have. Therefore you might notice some repeated fabrics. I'm hopeful it isn't too obvious, though, because I'm using many very different, very scrappy patterns.

Today I am working on a quilt called "Birds in the Air." I don't believe in piecing triangles, so these are all made starting with squares. The large squares (made from 1 light and 1 dark triangle) are all made, but the smaller pieced units (the "birds") are more tedious, so I am making a small pile at a time and then...

...assembling them into blocks and rows. Otherwise it gets boring. I like to see where I'm heading, it keeps me inspired.

There's more, lots more. What do you think? Would you like to see what I've been up to? I'm off to make dinner and then head out to knitting guild tonight, but the machine is sitting here, ready and waiting for me. I'd love to get back into this online community and start sharing again.