Sunday, January 31, 2010

{ Hoop Up Stitch & Send Swap } Amy's Stitchery and A Little Crochet

I was able to finish another fellow Hoop Up swapper's stitchery last weekend and get it off in the mail to her at the beginning of last week.

Amy's project wasn't as simple as it appeared. I knew that there were several flickr groups with pools full of vintage "Sew on Wednesday" patterns, but after taking a look I knew I had a problem. I found a hundred or so possible choices and deciding which one to use was hard for me. Let's just say I now have a library on my computer full of vintage hand towel embroidery patterns because every single one I came across was awesome!

After several days of going back and forth with a few final choices, I narrowed it down to this pattern:

This is Amy's finished stitchery and she let me know today that it arrived safely to its new home. Enjoy Amy! I can't wait to see what you make with all the stitcheries you receive.

I was also able to start crossing things off my "2010 To Do List" in the down time I had while waiting for other Hoop Up member's fabrics to arrive. I've always wanted to learn how to crochet those neat dish cloths and wash cloths that I see on flickr and etsy all the time. Jennie of Sunflower Quilts has recently been posting squares she's been making on her blog and I got inspired!

I watched a few YouTube videos to learn the basics and went out and bought several colors of 100% cotton yarn and got busy. Here's what I came up with:

I think I'll write Jennie and ask her if she has any tips for me. I need to figure out how to clean up all the threads from when I changed colors between the rows. I am hooked on this new hobby for sure. I can't believe how relaxing it is!

I received Jill's (aka SpinsterSister) fabric in the mail for the Hoop Up swap on Friday. Her theme is dark nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Think Tim Burton! Stay tuned...

Quilt and Stitch on everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2010

{ Hoop Up! Stitch & Send Swap } My Theme and Received Stitcheries

Fellow male quilter and friend John (aka QuiltDad) is hosting a wonderful swap over on flickr for embroidery. The idea came to him from some of the swaps he participates in over at Craftster. A whole bunch of us wanted to explore the challenges of embroidery so the Hoop Up! Stitch & Send Swap was created. John was trusting enough to let me help lead a group of poor souls on this crazy adventure.

About 40 members were separated into 6 smaller assignments and given names: We have John's Jackrabbit's, Jennie's Blue Jays, Solidia's Squirrels, Tacha's Toucans, Ryan's Raccoons, and Sudi-Laura's Sparrows. What a wild bunch! We all are having so much fun with this swap. Each of us had to pick a theme for our embroidery and stitch an example piece for the other member's of our group to follow. Then mail pieces of fabric to the other members of our group to stitch on for us. At the end of the swap, everyone should have between 6 and 7 finished pieces depending on the number of members in your assigned group.

The theme I chose was vintage modern owls. I wanted my partners to put a modern twist on a vintage owl pattern. I'm going to use all the pieces I receive in an owl themed quilt. This is the stitchery I created for myself:

Today, 2 finished pieces flew my way (along with some nice extras). One from Amy:

Isn't he neat! I love his one brown eye and the fabric leaves she added. Amy also sent me a FQ of owl fabric. I think I'll use it in the quilt I plan to make. Thanks Amy!

An owl from Dena (aka Rowdy Raccoon) arrived today as well. Isn't he wonderful?

His fabric feathers really make him special. The yellow dot fabric she chose for the moon was a great choice. It really looks like cheese! Dena also sent me some fabric to incorporate into my quilt. Thanks Dena!

I've been working all week on a project for Dena. Her theme was trees and forest animals. She included a Bad Bird tree pattern in her inspiration mosaic. It looked like a good challenge so I decided to make it for her. Even though the tree was a Christmas Tree, I decided to use non-traditional colors to make it different. She told us that there were no limits as to how we make her blocks so I just went with it. I hope she likes it! Please excuse the bad pictures as I am using my old digital camera to take them. I adjusted the colors in photoshop the best I could.

I'm starting Amy's stitchery this weekend. Her theme is vintage Sew-on-Wednesday. I've found a cute pattern online I think she'll really like. Stay tuned!

Happy stitching,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

{ Bee } Imaginative January Wrap Up - Kerri's Blocks Finished

I managed to make a smaller block for Kerri using the rest of the Kona Snow she sent in her swap package. Yesterday John asked her if it was OK to make some trees for her gnome village. She said yes, so here's another one.

This should finish up her blocks. I'll put them in the mail to her tomorrow. Hope she enjoys them.

Happy quilting,

Monday, January 11, 2010

{ Bee } Imaginative - Gnome House for Kerri

January is Kerri's month for the { Bee } Imaginative block swap I'm participating in. Tonight I was able to spend some time after dinner on her block. She chose the theme "little gnome homes" for all her partners to make. Her fabrics arrived early last week and I spent the better half of it trying to decide what type of house to make for her. I knew I wanted a crooked chimney, so I sketched out a small house with a stove pipe coming out of it at an odd angle.

After dinner I spent a few hours piecing the block together by copying what I had drawn out. Once the house and stove pipe portion of the block were put together, my wife mentioned that it looked like a watering can spout. What a neat idea! A gnome house that looks like a watering can. Genius! I went back to the quilting room and added a handle to the other side... Kerri's block was finished!

The fabrics she sent were so bright and fun. Lots of aqua and red. Her favorite colors. I have to tell you Kerri. I had so much fun making this block. I'm still giggling. I may have to make a few blocks to start my collection!

I had some company while making Kerri's block! Baby Brennan was diving into my fabric bins. A little quilt guy in the making!

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

{ Road Trip } Lewes, Delaware & New Stash for a New Year

I'm back from a 24 hour business trip with updates to share with you.

Early Monday morning I hopped in the the car and traveled 6 hours South to Lewes, Delaware. I was invited to a meeting by some clients of the company I work for. Lewes also happens to be where my parents live, so that made the trip that much more enjoyable. It's always nice when you can squeeze in some fun time on a business trip.

Since I would be traveling during the work week my wife wasn't able to ride along. On my mother's suggestion, I decided to ask my grandmother if she was up for the trip. She said yes and I was psyched. She is also a quilter and we'd have lots to talk about in the car. We didn't have a schedule to keep on the way down, so I decided to make a few stops along the way at quilt shops, of course! What a great way to count the miles! In quilt shops.

Our first stop was in Vestal, NY. Grandmother's Thimble is a wonderful quilt shop. They are a Bernina dealer so we were greeted by a room filled with fancy machines. My grandmother brought her 1080 along to drop off for a service and while she was filling out the paperwork I made a bee line to the fabric displays. The shelves were lined with a lot of batik and reproduction prints. They also had moda precuts, batting, books and notions. I've only ever been there to drop my Kenmore off and was looking forward to seeing what they had in the back where the fabric is. While talking with the ladies who were working that day we also learned that they offer a long arm quilting service and host classes regularly. We were there for about half an hour and here's what I left the store with:

Not pictured is a few crib size packages of 100% cotton Quilter's Dream batting. I bought the last 2 100% cotton they had. Make sure you check out their website if you plan a visit. They have a printable 15% off coupon for an in store purchase of $50.00 or more! They also have a great newsletter.

Getting back in the car, I remembered that there is another quilt shop about 5 miles away in Johnson City called, Sew Many Quilts. So, off we went. I've written about this shop before after visiting with my aunt. The ladies behind the counter recognized me when I walked in and asked about my blog. Whoever designs their newsletter does a great job. I always look forward to going through it when it arrives. They offer a ton of classes every month and have a large area in the back for instruction and quilting. Their shop has an open floor plan and is well organized. They also carry Kaffe and Amy Butler fabric, some of my faves.

If you are in the area on the 10th of January they are having a meet the teacher day from 2 to 4. All purchases will be 20% off! Here's what I walked away with:

Down the road a bit we stopped for lunch at Friendly's and then spent the better half of the day scooting down the never ending PA Turnpike.

We arrived at my mother's house around 5 and had a great visit and a great dinner. This was the first time my grandmother had been to see my parent's new house so they wanted to show her the area. Tuesday morning was spent outlet shopping, and sightseeing. My mom said the temp has been very low over the past week and the wind has been strong. It stayed around 34 degrees the entire day.

I was able to finish my meeting in time for a quick (and delicious) lunch at Irish Eyes Pub in Lewes Harbor. My parents have great things to say about this place. The dining room overlooks the waterway.

I had my very first deep fried pickle. Yum!

Right before lunch my mother mentioned that there was a quilt shop in Lewes. She had never been to it and wasn't sure if they were open today, but thought we might want to head there after lunch. What kind of a question is that? My answer was OF COURSE!! 2 quilt shops in 2 days? Why not make it 3??

Well all I have to say is, way to go mom!! We drove a few short miles from the restaurant and landed at the door of my new favorite quilt shop. Mares Bears Quilt Shop must be a hidden gem.

I found more sought after yardage on the shelves here than I could mentally compute. Lots of Amy Butler, Heather Ross Lightening Bugs, Kaffe, Klop, etc. I found dozens of Peas & Carrots Charm Packs, dozens of Swell Charm Packs, OOP Amy Butler yardage galore.

I bought this American Jane kit full of Sandy Klop Fabrics. But that isn't the best part...

It had almost a yard and a half of red pez print! This stuff sells on ebay and etsy for almost 10.00 a FQ! Score!

I also picked up 4 of the Peas & Carrots charm packs with 5x5's of the pez print in all colorways.

Even though I wanted to lock the door and proclaim that I want every yard on every bolt, I managed to leave before my wallet was empty. Here is the rest of my haul:

We had a great chat with Maryann and we promised her we'd be back, REAL SOON! I took a few photos of the quilts around the shop.

If you check out the News section of thier website, this Saturday, January 9th, they are having an Inventory Sale!! All bolts of fabric dated October '09 or before will be:

40% off from 7:00am to 8:00 am

35% off from 8:00am to 9:00 am

30% off from 9:00 am to 10:00 am

25% off from 10:00 am thru rest of the day

(cut fabric 1 yard minimum)

All kits, fat quarters, books, patterns and notions

25% off all day long

Anyone up for another road trip? :) We arrived home from Delaware at 9:20 last night and I'm already dreaming of the fabric sale in Mares Bears!

This morning before work I went through the mail and out popped some more fabric. How in the world did that happen? I must be ordering this stuff in my sleep!

There was a box from Charlie and Lindsay of Hawthorne Threads...

And one from Kerri of Sew Deerly Loved...

There were also boxes from Pink Chalk and Sew, Mama, Sew that I didn't get to yet.

Just doing my part to stimulate the economy. See you next time!

Happy quilting,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

{ Happy New Year } 2010 To Do List & DQS8 Gearing Up

Happy New Year Everyone! Can you believe we're in the second day of the year 2010?!? I feel so behind already. There are so many things I want to try and accomplish this year. My list is growing by the minute. Among the many items to check off is paper piecing. I've been terrified to try this one quilting technique in the 5 years I've been a quilter. Stay tuned to see if I can hack it. I've also been invited to join a local quilt guild! Meetings start this month!

News has been quickly spreading today that DQS8 (Doll Quilt Swap) is gearing up to begin. How exciting! I emailed Susan this morning to put may name in for a spot. This swap is so fun. The quilting community on Flickr has been so amazing. You couldn't wish for a nicer group of friends. I've met some great people who share so many of the same interests. Maybe one day we'll get a chance to meet face to face. Maybe a flickr quilting mini con? Anyone?

The group moderators have asked us all to make inspiration mosaics for our partners. Here are some recent quilts and blocks that have caught my eye.

1. Laughing Out Loud, detail, 2. aqua & orange friendly flock, 3. Doll Quilt Swap 6, 4. Quick-Pieced Red and Aqua Mini-Quilt, 5. dresden mini, 6. Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap, 7. Stacked scrap quilt for a baby boy, 8. STUD November swap - received, 9. close-up

I can't stay too long today, as I'm about a month behind making a pillow for another flickr swap that I will not name. Oh the shame. I can't believe life has been so crazy that I couldn't get this project done on time. Yikes. I hope this isn't an ongoing trend for me. I hope my partner will forgive me. I'm also still wrapping up that end of 2009 post. I have so many wonderful swap quilts to show you from some awesome partners. You know who you are!

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