Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A New Winter Scarf for Me!

After I completed dad's scarf, I made one for myself in a bright, cheery, holiday red.  This is a free pattern from Red Heart designed by Kimberly McAlindin.  You can find the pattern here

Here's the photo from Red Heart's website.  I liked the way it goes over her shoulder so next time I will make mine using a larger hook.

LW2286 Shimmer Cowl

I did use Red Heart's Shimmer yarn in red.  Took up 1.5 skeins.  (Available at Joann)  Love the feel of the yarn. Personally, I found the pattern difficult to understand.  But, largely because I am a beginner.  I just started learning how to crochet this summer and all I've really made are scarves and hats.  I got the measurements pretty close to what the pattern indicates.  However, I didn't get the top part as narrow as the pattern's.  I guess I could have done more decreases for a more narrow opening.  But, I didn't want to lose the scallop pattern on the top edge.  It was too complicated for me to figure out.

I wore this last Friday to a Christmas party with a black shirt underneath and a black blazer. Glad I was able to wear it before the 81 degree heatwave we had in Southern California on Christmas Day.

Hope y'all had a wonderful holiday!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Winter Scarf for Dad

Over the summer, I learned how to crochet and I've been working on a few hats and scarves for this winter.  Dad wanted a  white scarf but definitely not in wool (because of the itch factor). So, I found this interesting scarf on Ravelry and made it with Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn in White.

The pattern itself is not difficult but it can get confusing because you are starting with a front post double crochet and back post double crochet alternating in every other row.  So, you definitely need to  keep track of which row you are on to ensure that the basket weave pattern is correct.  A bit time consuming but the pattern is really unique- not something you can just buy off the shelf.

The scarf ended up to be quite thick, soft and cozy.  You can find a tutorial on the basket weave stitch here.  The blog even has a video so you can follow along.  I used up about 2 1/2 skeins and made 166 rows.

And here is dad modeling his new scarf.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Taking a Stroll Down Sonya's Garden

Wow!  It's been over 2 months since my last blog entry.  Anyone still out there?  If you are, thanks for your patience or indifference, whichever the case may be :-)

So, I took a mini break and flew to the Philippines for a 2 week vacation.  Nothing crafty to report.  The Philippines isn't a big crafting mecca (unlike Japan or Korea) but don't feel too sorry for me.  I ate so much and had spa treatments and even had some time to work a little bit on my Redwork.

But, I wanted to share some photos of my travels. It is called Sonya's Garden and it is a restaurant/ bed and breakfast/day spa located about 1 1/2 hours outside of Manila.  

The restaurant serves a buffet (one set menu daily) highlighting the vegetables grown in the premises.

Some of the beautiful china.

It is a tranquil (no unruly children allowed) and calm oasis where you can get away and just unwind, enjoy a spa treatment,  maybe do some embroidery or learn the art of doing absolutely nothing!

Sonia's Garden reminds me of life around the turn of the century- when people ate foods from their garden served on fine china, take siestas outdoors under a canopy or shady tree, play cards or do some embroidery and listen to the vitrola record player at dusk and enjoy a sangria and dance an the evening lit by fireflies, candles and the moonlight.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then I will just allow them to do all the talking.  

Here are a few of the daybeds located around the garden for a quick nap or Tete-a-tete.

Here's one of the little cabins for overnight visitors.  Sliding windows are made of Capiz (windowpane oyster) shells.

Back in Manila, I spied a kalesa (horse drawn carriage) in the old district of Manila.  When I was little, my mom and I would take a kalesa ride from my dad's office in the textile district called Divisoria to Chinatown for lunch and a movie.  

You could fit 2 adults in the carriage.  The little seat upfront is for the kutsero or driver.  Some of the kalesas are brightly and beautifully decorated and they definitely all have a waste sack so the horse does not leave a mess around the streets.  Not a lot of kalesas are around anymore.  Like any big city, people are in a rush and riding a horse carriage isn't the most time efficient.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Just Staring Into Space

I started machine quilting my Abundance quilt.  But I ran out of thread.

So, I decided to work on my Kaffe Fassett Bordered Diamonds quilt- which has been on my design wall for almost a year now.  I have sewn some of the borders on the diamond blocks. But, I'm still not satisfied.

I'm second guessing my fabric selection.  I'm  over analyzing my fabric placement.  I'm obsessing over this quilt and I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand...immobilized and slowly sinking.

But then again, I think it's the damn heat!  How can it be a humid 100 degrees?  No wonder I'm just staring into space.

Oh, and yes.  I realize my car interior is very dusty.  But if I I think it is too hot and miserable to quilt, then it is definitely too hot and miserable to clean.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Criss Cross Pretty Rose

Just finished this free little project from Cross Stitcher magazine.  

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Plead Temporary Insanity

Last time, I hinted that I took on an extra large project (aka I bit off more than I could chew).  I either overestimated my abilities and time to work on something or I was temporarily insane.  I think I will pick the latter.  

So, it all started when I became obsessed with Pinterest.  I saw this pillow designed by Eline Pellinkhof and I just had to make it.

It is from her first book "Sitch and Sew Home".

Well, come to find out that the pattern is for a needlepoint project.  I was not about to take on needlepoint because I did not want to hunt around for yarn. Yes, I'm sure I can find yarn in all sorts of delicious colors but seriously, I just did not want to make an investment.  

So, Plan B.  Perhaps I can adapt it to a cross stitch project instead.  After all, I already own a boatload of floss and at $0.40 a skein, I think that's more affordable.  

The chart is approximately 80 x 80 so using a 14 count Aida cloth, the finished project would be only a 5.75 inch square.  Sooo...I thought, what if I supersized it? Using an 11 count Aida cloth and doubling up the stitches (ratio would be 1:4), I could make this about 14.5 inch square.  That's more like it.

So, that's when insanity hit.  Just think about it.  For every cross stitch on the chart, I had to make 4!  Plus, this is my first "big" cross stitch project.  The only other cross stitching experience I had were those little 3.5 inch snow flakes.  

However, the pattern isn't really complicated and it's not like there are 25 different colored floss to use.  Plus, using an 11 count Aida also meant the squares were pretty big.

So, let's go big or go home!

As I worked on this project, it became obvious that if I did not stitch on every square of the fabric, the holes from the Aida cloth would show through and it would look ugly.  Translation, I would have to stitch on the background of the design, as well.  Was not looking forward to that.

I did not even log the hours I put onto this project.  Let's just say it took about 5 months to complete.  Next, I had to wash it.  I should have taken photos but it didn't dawn on me until I was done.

I searched the internet and after much research, I used the following products.

Since I used a lot of white thread, I wanted it sparkling clean.  I was also really concerned about the red floss bleeding.  DMC floss is colorfast but I wasn't going to take a chance so I used a sheet of Shout Color Catcher when I hand washed it in Tide.

Still not satisfied, I washed it again in Tide and added OxiClean and the Shout Color Catcher.  My own cross stitch cleaning cocktail.  After I rinsed it and dried it flat, i then pressed it (face down) on a clean towel.  

Now that it was sparkling clean, I couldn't bear using it as a pillow.  I definitely did not want to get it dirty and have to wash it a lot.

So, I decided to get it framed and voila!  Here it is.

I splurged and had it professionally stretched and framed and the mat is silk. But I put in so much time and effort into this and I have no doubt that it would have taken me months to do a haphazard job of framing it myself.

I am so impressed with the framer that I would highly recommend On the Wall Framing in Santa Ana.  They were quick and did an awesome job.  The only thing I didn't splurge on was the non-glare museum glass.  But, I could always change the glass later if I really wanted it.  I am really happy with the way it turned out and now, I can't wait to start on another cross stitch project.

Here it is in my sewing room.  It is sitting right above my ironing board.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pretty Little Blue Birds Sing Me a Song

Long name for a quilt but I like it better than "Berries and Bluebirds".  It sounds like a children's rhyme.  Maybe that's why I like it.  It could also be the first line of a song.  Anyway, I am so glad that it is finally quilted, bound and done!

So, I guess I need to start another applique project.  But wait!  I still have a few other things to complete.  

Here is my UFO list:

1. Start quilting my fall quilt (Abundance). It's already basted so hopefully, I can get this completed by the end of October.  

2.  Finish my rose pillow.  This is a project from my crochet class.

3.  Finish Diamond quilt top from Kaffe Fassett workshop. This has been in the design phase since last October.  I think need help with this because I am over analyzing and obsessing over the color placement.

Goodness gracious!  I've got too many hobbies!!!  Not to mention my new obsession with cross stitching.  

It all started because I found a boatload of patterns on Pinterest and wanted to try a small project or two such as these.

Before I knew it, I was tackling on a much bigger project.  Since I don't drink, I can't blame it on Tequila.  Here's a sneak peek.

To be continue...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Putting on the Finishing Touches

Remember this quilt?  I'm FINALLY sewing on the binding.

Here's a peek of the border...

and the backing and binding.

Yey!  Can't wait till I'm all done.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In Time for Fall 2013?

It's been about 7 months since I first started my Abundance quilt and I had put it away for a while because I was distracted with other crafting projects.  But I finally got around to completing the remaining blocks for this quilt.

Here is another pumpkin block.

And here's the ginormous scarecrow.  Eyes, nose and mouth to follow.  

Which reminds me, when I was six, my grandfather married his fourth wife (a young 19 year old) and I heard the adults talk about how my grandfather bought his young bride a new nose.  In my ever so innocent mind, I thought she was born without a face (!!!) just like Mr. Potato Head and my grandfather was so kind and generous to buy her a nose at the doctor's.  If not for him, she'd still be roaming the streets with just 2 holes on her face so she could breathe.  

Of course, I was also picturing them trying on different noses to find just the right one and I could not stop staring at her face marveling how real her nose looked and how skilled the doctor was in attaching said nose.  True story!  

And predictably, wife #4 left my grandfather for another man. 

Anyhow, I learned from that story that it is okay to change out whatever doesn't work.  See below and read on.

Here are some of my blocks on the design wall.  It really helps to take a step back and see what doesn't work out or which block needs a little nip/tuck.

Hmmm, that corn is kinda weak.  The pear block melts into the background and that turkey block is really bothering me.  

So, I changed out some of the corn kernels. (Before on the left, After on the right)

Here's the new and improved pear.  The background fabric on the left was too busy.

And finally, the turkey block.  If you remember, I had originally used this really light pink fabric on the turkey father and it was hardly visible so I decided to use embroidery floss to outline it but it was still barely visible.  (Right)

So, I ripped out 3 layers of the turkey tail to replace the topmost one.  And I also replaced the pumpkin curly cue so it wouldn't stand out so much (too blue!)

So, here's the completed quilt top.  My goal is to get this basted next week so I can start machine quilting it this summer and perhaps finish it right in time for Fall 2013.

I apologize for the quality of these photos.  Sadly, I don't think my camera takes the best quality pictures.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm A Knotty Girl!

Over the Mountain and Through the Woods, to Crabapple Hill I Go...

I have been a fan of Crabapple Hill Designs for a long time.  I have made a few of Meg's patterns such as this

and this

and this

So, I was very fortunate to treat myself and attend a 3 day retreat in Benton City, WA at the Crabapple Hill studio.  And boy, I was not disappointed at all!  So much to show, so much to tell.

I flew into Tri-Cities, Washington via Seattle.  I'm so glad they have a regional airport because I did not want to make the 2+ hour drive from Seattle or Portland by myself.  

Here is a photo of the drive to the studio.

And finally, the gorgeous studio!

I could hardly wait for the retreat to start!  Luckily, Meg and her staff did not disappoint.  I had soooo much fun!  To view more (and better) photos of the retreat, visit Meg's blog here and scroll down to view the Spring 2013 photos.

The food was delish, Meg's studio and home were gorgeous, Meg's staff were friendly and my fellow attendees were all so friendly, funny and talented.    

Glad to have met new people who were so nice and helpful.  In fact, I hardly made a dent on my project because I spent way too much time chatting and visiting with others and gawking/drooling at Meg's beautiful quilts and studio decor.

Here are some of the cool projects we made.

Here is our cute, little mascot Honeybunny.  He is so sweet and photogenic.  I must have taken a couple dozen photos of this cat.  But here's my favorite 4.


Drats!  I forgot to take a picture of Meg.  Seriously, I had the Best.Time.Ever!

And here is the project we were all working on at the retreat.  

I made my block into a pillow and added "Hurray for Spring" so that I'll always remember spring 2013 when I had the pleasure of visiting Crabapple Hill Studio and had a blast!

I also framed the pillow with a crochet trim (from JoAnn) and mitered the corners.  I tried sewing it as one continuous piece (like ric rac) but it was just too difficult and honestly, I just couldn't figure it out.  

But look how good I did with mitering!  Ha! Just had to show off ;-)

I'm almost embarrassed to say but will admit it anyway, the green polka dot fabric is from JoAnn, as well. *Gasp!*  

Well, I was already purchasing the crochet trim and you know how sometimes its just so much easier to buy new fabric than dig up what you already own.  Yes, I was too lazy.  

Hope you are having a fabulous spring, as well.