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I am a wife, mama and grandmama getting through life by hanging on to a needle and thread.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Socks, Two Socks

The lil' cowboy liked his camouflage socks so much that he asked if I could make socks for a couple of his friends too. How could a grandmama say no? These Jeannee baby/toddler socks really do work up fast...I'm using size 5 needles with worsted weight yarn and can finish a pair in just a few evenings, so I shouldn't have any trouble getting these finished before Christmas.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lovin' From The Oven

I spent most of the past few days in the kitchen making everyone's favorite dishes (including a few of my own) and it seems like the time that wasn't spent cooking was spent eating! Just how much weight is it possible to gain in just three short days of feasting? I don't think I really want to know the answer to that question, so I'll be eating rabbit food and putting in some extra time on the treadmill for a week or two before I dare step on the scales again! It was worth it though, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with our children, grandchildren and extended family.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We interrupt the usual quilting and crafting to bring you this important message...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Our family has so much to be thankful for as we gather around the dining room table this Thanksgiving. Not only will our USMC son be home for his first family Thanksgiving in 5 years (two of those Thanksgivings were spent in Iraq), but this year we also welcome three new members to our family...two new precious grandbabies who were born last December and a very special gentleman who my mother married in May. Along with the new members to our family, my sister has been given a new lease on life by just completing her last round of chemotherapy for treatment of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and is doing well. Yes, our family is truly blessed!

I wish for you all the blessings of joy, laughter and good health as you celebrate this Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bargello Waves

This quilt was made in the spring of 2008 for my husband's brother. He had suffered a serious stroke and because of the miles between us, there wasn't much that we could do to help, but the one thing that I could do was make a quilt for him. My brother-in-law loves the ocean and sailing, so Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Bargello pattern made with all blue scraps made the perfect bargello wave quilt for him. At the time I sent this quilt to my brother-in-law the doctors were all saying that he would never have full use of his right arm or walk again, but the one thing that they didn't know was just how stubborn McConnell's are! He now has full function of his arm, can walk on his own and has very few side effects from the stroke. We were in hopes that he and his wife would be able to come home for Thanksgiving this year, but an unexpected heart bypass surgery last month has delayed the trip home. We're going to miss them both at the table this year, but we are just thankful that the surgery went well and that he is well on the road to recovery once again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fleece Selvage Dust Mop Cover Explained

I have had several requests for a tutorial for the Fleece Selvage Dust Mop Cover, but because there are so many different shapes, sizes and styles of dust mops it would be difficult to show a tutorial with proper measurements for each kind of dust mop. However, I am happy to share the technique that I used, then all you have to do is adjust the measurements to fit your particular dust mop.

Measure your mop head to determine the size for your cover. Cut your selvages at least 1 1/2 inches wide (2" is even better). It is not necessary to sew the selvages to a foundation, but a fleece foundation could be used, if desired. Sewing the fleece selvages together for this project is done a bit differently than sewing regular cotton fabric selvages. It is important to leave the rolled edge in tact. (It's this rolled edge that gives this dust mop cover it's "exceptional cleaning ability"!) As shown in the above photo, place the rolled edge of a selvage piece next to another rolled edge and stitch the two pieces together. Continue in this manner until the piece is the desired width. Trim the ends of the piece to length. Now you need to decide how you will attach your cover to your dust mop. I suggest that you use the original cover for your mop as a guide for how to attach your fleece selvage cover or you can just add fleece selvage ties on each end as shown in the smaller photo. Simple as that!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Self-Patterning Yarn

I just love self-patterning yarn! It's so much fun to watch each new pattern develop as you are knitting and there's no hassle of changing colors. This yarn is Classic Worsted Tapestry in the Rose Garden colorway. It's an acrylic wool blend, so completely machine washable and dryable...perfect for these toddler socks!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Use For Those Fleece Selvages

Remember those fleece selvages that I couldn't part with back a couple of weeks ago? If you need to refresh your memory, you can find the post HERE. Anyway...I found a use for them! The credit for this idea goes to my sister, who suggested making them into dust mop covers! Have you ever noticed how your fleece jammie pants attract every thread and pet hair within a 50 yard radius? Fleece is the logical material for dust mops, not those flimsy "specially treated" disposable dust cloths. This cover only took minutes to make and the rolled edges of the selvages are perfect for picking up and trapping those unruly dust bunnies! When you are finished cleaning the cover goes right into the washer and dryer and can be used over and over!

A basic "How To" for the Fleece Selvage Dust Mop Cover can be found HERE.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chocolate Chunk Blondies

Just a little something to hold you over until Thursday's big feast!

Chocolate Chunk Blondies

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter, egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt just until blended. Add chocolate chunks. Spread batter into a greased 9 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Friday, November 20, 2009

This May Be It

Yesterday someone suggested putting the dark squares on point and using the background fabric for the triangles in the harlequin pattern. I think this may be the one or at least it's the one that I like best so far! Again, a case of "less is more". It still needs something (maybe a colored border on each side of the pieced border?), but I'm definitely getting closer to the look that I want.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Border Ideas

Here are a couple more border ideas for my Dear Jane quilt. The top photo shows a 2 inch harlequin border and in the smaller photo is a 1 1/2 inch sawtooth border. I'm not sure that I have a preference to either (except that the harlequin border goes together a lot faster than making all of those tiny half square triangles for the sawtooth border) so I would like to hear your opinions and suggestions!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Armed And Dangerous

I believe that I know just enough about machine quilting to be dangerous...enough to operate the machine, but not really enough to know what I am doing! I have so much to learn and who better to learn from than the experts and professionals? This month I joined the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild's Armed and Dangerous group, which is made up of guild members who have long, mid and short arm quilting machines and frames. In just one meeting I learned about proper tension, thread type, batting and the importance of changing the needle with each quilt! Most of those lessons came about from this one little Project Linus quilt that gave me fits while I was trying to quilt it. It turned out alright, but a lot of the problems that I had with it could have been easily avoided if I had known a little more about machine quilting on a frame. My thanks go to those ladies who are so willing to share their knowledge with a beginner! Hopefully with some more practice and a little information from my quilty friends I won't be quite as "dangerous" when operating my machine!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sometimes Less Is More

Thanks to everyone who offered their opinions and border ideas yesterday! I got some wonderful suggestions and I plan to try several of them to see which will look best. (Santa, if you are reading this...it's times like this when I could really use an Electric Quilt program!) One suggestion was to cover all but a narrow strip of the braid and although I'm not sure this is the look that I want, I think it does prove that I need a much narrower border than what the braid was. Sometimes less really is more!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Design Wall Monday

I had a wonderful time at the Dear Jane retreat this past weekend and between all the food and fun I even managed to make a little progress on my quilt! I decided to try a braided border (at the insistence of almost everyone in attendance) and I think I like the look, but I'm still not sure that I love it. I'm interested to hear what your opinion about the braided border is...should I sew it or scrap it?

Be sure to stop by Patchwork Times to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week and add your latest project to the list too!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hand Embroidery Network

Yes, I've been playing around with a little embroidery and working on some redwork, but don't get the wrong idea from this post and think that I have another new thread obsession. I recently discovered the Hand Embroidery Network and was so impressed with the information about hand embroidery that they are providing that I just had to share it! This wonderful new blog is providing instructions for a different embroidery stitch each day, emboidery tips, tutorials, patterns and project ideas as well as an online embroidery community. There is a wealth of stitching knowledge within the pages of HEN for anyone who has the urge to pick up a needle and a strand of DMC floss!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jane? Who's Jane?

Remember my Dear Jane project? I had almost forgotten about it too! It's been four whole months since I've had it out of the closet and I really had to dig to find it! Why the new interest in this old project? This weekend the Laurel Janes is having a mini retreat, so it's the perfect opportunity for me to make some real progress on this quilt. Ha, who am I kidding? It's just a great excuse to spend the weekend with my quilty friends!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anything But Pink!

The last time the lil' cowboy was here for a visit, I heard some complaints from his daddy that all of the extra things that I keep on hand for the grandkids were too girlie for a cowboy, so I thought I better remedy that problem before they come home for Thanksgiving! I don't think there is anything less girlie than camoflauge yarn, so I'm making the lil' cowboy a pair of his very own slipper socks just like the ones that his cousins all have to wear at grandmama's house only they aren't pink!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

100 Blocks Blog Tour

Have you heard about the 100 Blocks Blog Tour? Quiltmaker's magazine's blog, Quilty Pleasures, is celebrating the publication of their new collector's edition magazine with a week long blog tour of all of the designers featured in this special edition. Not only will you discover some wonderful blogs, but you will find some wonderful giveaways as well! Just visit Quilty Pleasures each day this week to find the links to that day's featured designers and you could win one of the blocks made by the designer or an issue of the 100 Blocks collecter's edition magazine.

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the rolled oats, white chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Or Spring?

It seems that my forsythia is a bit confused or perhaps it just has the same opinion of winter as I do and it's just hoping to go straight from fall into spring!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

To support the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative with a donation or to vote for your favorite World Quilt Federation Smackdown quilt visit www.alzquilts.org.

Friday, November 6, 2009

One For The Boys

Here's a nice crocheted edging that isn't too lacy...perfect for a little boy's blankie!

One For The Boys Crocheted Edging

Materials: I used Caron Simply Soft (White) and a size H crochet hook, but any worsted weight yarn will work for this edging.

Foundation Row: Sc in a hole, ch 1, *sc in next hole, ch 1, repeat from * around, join with sl st to first sc. (For corners, sc, ch 1, sc, ch1, sc, ch 1 in each corner hole.)

Pattern Row: *Sl st in the "V" space, dc in the ch 1 space, repeat from * around, join.

(The "V" space is my "technical term" for the space above the single crochet done in each hole during the foundation row where the yarn forms a "V" on the blanket edge.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meandering Along

Are you tired of seeing meandering practice quilts yet? This is a Project Linus quilt that a friend put together and gave to me to quilt. I'm getting quite comfortable with my new machine and quilting with something other than straight lines is getting easier and easier with each quilt. Maybe I'll work up the courage to try a new motif soon, so I can have something different to post about!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Picot Blanket Edging

This crocheted blanket edging doesn't require a foundation row, so it works up very fast!

Picot Blanket Edging

Materials: I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn (Pink Parade) and a size G crochet hook, but any baby or sport yarn will work for this edging.

*3 single crochet in each hole, chain 3, slip stitch in last crochet made (this forms the picot), repeat from * around, join and fasten off. (For corners, work 3 single crochet, chain 3, slip stitch in last crochet made, 3 single crochet in each corner hole.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Fun Assortment!

Can you believe that I won a giveaway that I didn't even know I entered? I visited Jerusalem Notes: Fiberworks by Debbie over the Bloggers Quilt Festival and noticed that she and I share the same birthday, so I wished her a happy birthday and won a birthday giveaway that she was having! The package arrived today (all the way from Israel) and it was filled with batik charm squares, 1 yard lengths of all kinds and colors of yarn and a Carol Doak paper piecing pattern...what a fun assortment!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More Meandering

My sister must really trust me, because she gave me a baby quilt that she just finished to quilt for her, knowing full well that I am still learning how to use my new machine and frame. She was taking a pretty big risk trusting an amateur, but it paid off for us both...her quilt turned out to be very pretty and I got a little more meandering practice!

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