Monday, April 9, 2012

Pay It Forward - note at end!

It has been a roller coaster few weeks, I blinked and March was gone. I had a job offer last week in February and started right away.Spent the first week out at Head office in Minneapolis, week three included a trip to Florida and last week I was back in Minneapolis again.

I treated myself to a new sewing machine to celebrate the job, I bought the Pfaff Creative Sensation and I am very happy with it. One of the first things I did was create a stitch index (I got the idea from a class) It took a long time given how many stitches there are on the Sensation but was well worth the effort. I would never have guessed how some of them would have stitched out from the image on the screen. I strongly recommend that you do this. stitchbook The way that I did it was to line the fabric with iron on interfacing then run through the stitches. I then took 2 sheets put them back to back and used my serger around the edges. I wrote the stitch number against each one with a sharpie.

DSC01729 Other than that I have not had a lot of time to sew on my machine. I did try out the embroidery attachment and made a nice block to put in the center of my wall hanging.

DSC01726 with all my travel I have been trying to focus on projects that I can carry with me. To that end I tried some hand quilting on my 12 days of Christmas small quilt.First time I worked with wool batting as well. I quite like the puffy feel that it gives.

DSC01733 I have also been knitting a lot I have knitted this shawlshawl and I am on my fourth pair of socksDSC01730

Now to the leader of this post – PAY IT FORWARD – today in the mail I received a parcel from Joan at Last year I had signed up to be a part of this and then I forgot all about it. I was so thrilled when I saw what was inside. it was this great tile trivet with the cute pizza cover and a great towel with the embroidery and last but by no means list the fixings to make a pizza Smile

DSC01731 DSC01732 I would like to keep this going so all you “crafty” people out there. Please leave me a comment if you want to do this and I will randomly select a name. All I ask is that you also do the same and pay it forward.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quilting in Vermont

Last Monday was my birthday and I was amazed when I found that DH had actually been listening to me when I was talking about the various gadgets that you can use for spinning. He had gone out to White barn sheep and wool  and bought me a Niddy Noddy (used to create skeins of yarn after you have spun them) Who would have thought it. DSC01597

As a token of my gratitude I knitted him some socks (my first pair) I started off with two circular needles and knitting both at the same time but by the time I got to the heel I decided to just knit one at a time using the magic loop method.

DSC01598 I don’t think he was as impressed with them as much as I was, but then again nothing compares to his beloved Marks and Spencer socks.

Wednesday I drove up to Vermont to begin a quilting retreat. The GPS in the car decided to have some fun with me and took me up the 9W to Ticonderoga with the intent that I should catch a ferry over Lake Champlain. It would have been a pretty stupid thing to suggest normally but as the ferry only runs in the summer it was even more ridiculous. I ended up with an extra hour of driving at the very least, my only compensation was the lovely scenery as I drove around the lake on my way to Vergennes.DSC01601 I quickly got settled into my room at the Strong House Inn and went down to the purpose built sewing room to introduce myself to the rest of the group. There were 9 of us in total all being led by Alison Dea Bolt ( also know as “right off the bolt” from her articles in Quilters Newsletter and Keepsake quilting)

DSC01611 As you can see they have a great  sewing space there and we quickly settled in for an intense round of sewing interspersed with many food breaks and a shop hop around the local quilt stores on the Thursday. All of the group produced some great work and some (Cathy and Patti) were extremely prolific and obviously worked in sweat shops in a prior life. Alison has been working on this quilt for nearly two years, it is all paper pieced and it is very intricate, a really stunning design.

DSC01681 Just the borders to get added and it will all be done. A true labor of love.

I was still trying to catch up on my Patriots in Petticoats but I did manage to squeeze in two very small blocks made with my Debbie Tucker Lemoyne Star tool, this ruler works on star bocks from 3 inches ( the size I tried ) all the way up to 12 inches. There are full instruction with the ruler but also there is a great you tube video that takes you through the process step by step.


What a difference a day makes – this is the view from the sewing room on Thursday DSC01623 and here we are with completely different view on the Friday DSC01643 Thankfully we only got a couple of inches and by the Sunday and my return trip home; all the roads were clear and I was able to enjoy the scenery once again on my way back ( minus any detour to a non existent ferry)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Starry Starry night

It still amazes me the amount of stars we get to see in the sky while we sit in the hot tub at home. There is so little light pollution here, you would never see that many in the UK.

We still don’t have any snow here, we had about 4 inches in January but it was so warm the next day it all disappeared. The dogs were pleased to see it at last but the birds…. not so much



The following weekend we went hiking out at the Mohonk, no sign of snow but some of the paths were so covered in ice they were impassable. it was nice to get out and blow away the cobwebs .SONY DSC

This is a view of the lake with the Catskills in the background, stunning isn’t it. It still brings a broad smile to my face when I think how lucky we are to live over here.

The past two Tuesdays we have been skiing at Hunter, even though there is no snow in the area, they have great snowmaking facilities there and as long as the weather is cold the slopes stay in good shape. They also have a great deal, half price lift tickets for locals.We can be there in an hour.

So lets talk quilting, I know there has been a lot of buzz about the twister template and I thought I would jump on the bandwagon. I decided to try the little mini template. You start off making a quilt top using 2 inch finished squares and the top starts off about 20 by 30, then you use the little template to cut the twister squares and join those back together. I ended up with a quilt that is about 8 by 12.SONY DSC

Its very pretty, I would not have made this using such small pieces any other way but I am not sure I would make another one this way either as it was heartbreaking to start with something so large and end up with something so small.

SONY DSC                       It was one of my sisters *0th birthdays and so I made a log cabin wall hanging for her. The center of each block is a picture put on to photo fabric, that took a long time to get done correctly I wanted them to all be a good size and the same color tone. The border is also pieced. It was a lot of fun, I hope she liked it

I have also been working on a couple of projects that will end up as classes at Quilters Attic. First I have finished the Duck says Quack top DSC01569

it’s really nice lots of texture to it. I then moved on to a wall hanging, this one has English paper piecing and machine embroidery. I love the bright colors in it, it makes me smile when I look at it


I am also working on an E reader using the clover template. I have also been knitting at the wool shop I have had a couple of lessons around spinning, one using the drop spindle and one using the spinning wheel. It’s a lot of fun, very relaxing but my yarn is a lot thicker than I am hoping for. I guess it takes lots of practice.


I went there one Sunday for a class called contemplative knitting, it started with a little yoga and then we sat and knitted a shawl whilst music played in the background. It was very nice and relaxing. I have since finished the shawl with a 6 inch fringe on each end.DSC01565

I am currently trying to knit socks two at a time on circular needles, it takes quite a bit of concentration but like most things I guess I need to practice. I am also preparing for my quilt retreat in Vermont next week.

Foot note … I have won a award. This is awarded to blogs with 200 or less followers.

Here are the conventions for getting the blog and forwarding it on

Liebster Conventions:
*Thank your award presenter on your blog {thanks Patti} - done
*Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award – done please click and go visit Patti
*Copy and paste the award to your blog - done
*Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have fewer then 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized - done
*Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog – done

Here are the 5 blogs I enjoy (excluding the ones with hundreds of followers)

of quilts and other musings

Seaside Stitches

The Painted quilt

Missouri Star

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Duck Says Quack

Hard to believe its January 9th already, still no snow although the temperature is dropping. We are always getting birds of prey in the garden but this one was so involved with the animal he had caught, he did not notice us. Unfortunately I only had my camera phone with me !

Went to see "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" great movie but not for the impatient. It was slow to get started and was very understated, exactly as it should be. Great performance by Gary Oldman. We would give it 9/10 but only if you like that sort of thing.
We have also been enjoying some free downloads from I have been watching seasons 9 and 10 of "Midsommer Murders". It is a British TV cop drama but most of the photography is from Bucks in the UK  all around a  lot of the places where we used to hike. Its more a trip down memeory lane that anything else.
I have been running a few times and one of my longest was 6 miles so I am pleased with the progress I am making. I ordered some new shoes for running on the trails, I got Asics again as I really like them, they have a thicker sole with more traction and they are waterproof.

Last Wednesday I went to an embroidery guild in Hyde Park NY, they are a great bunch of ladies very friendly and I had a really nice time. They are into all things needle based, so there were knitters, rug hookers and doll makers there as well. There was also a presentation by a Diane Johnston, Diane makes collectible teddy bears. They were adorable but some were so small it must have been a nightmare to stitch.

On the way back I called in to White Barn Farm  to buy some wool. A lot of people have been sporting these twirly scarfs and the yarn comes in a ball but is a piece of already knitted fabric about 2 1/2 inches wide. you then knit along one edge of the yarn turning every 5 stitches. very different but it knits up quickly.

I have been working on my 12 days of Christmas and I have completed the top. I just need to quilt and bind it. It was a lot of fun ans good practice on getting accurate cuts and stitches.

I helped out in the quilt shop on Saturday  (Quilters Attic). We were so busy, I was cutting fabric constantly. Biggest problem with this being I get to see all the fabric up close which makes me want to buy most of them.

I have started on a new quilt, that will hopefully be a class and then I will send the finished result to the UK. It is a Smith Street design called "The Duck says Quack" . the center is a collection of machine appliqued blocks and then the border will include 12inch square pieced blocks. I managed to complete these blacks on Sunday, they are so darn cute!

DH created a top to go on top of my ironing board so that I have more room to iron fabric yardage. Its really great and he used velcro straps to hold it on so that I can use the normal board when I need to.

I have also been tyding up my fabic stash, once it's completed I will share some pictures although even I am surprised how much fabric I have! 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


The temperature has dropped significantly today and with the windchill it is in the mid teens. Definitely a good day to spend in the sewing room. 

I decided to make the quilt for the January challenge from my fave Yahoo group (small quilt group). It is from one of Kathleen Tracey's books Prarie Children and their quilts. Once I started I wanted to complete it, although I did make it with 4 blocks not the 9 that are in the book. I was really pleased with the way it turned out. I also think that the decorative stitching added some nice texture to it.

I still had time for my day 10 of my 12 days of Christmas. Going to miss this daily block once it's done. I might have to start my own daily block.

I finished the binding on my Autumn quilt last night, so I have put it on the bed in our guest room. Tonight I am knitting. I have been knitting blocks from Nicky Epstein's book "Knitting Block by Block". I am using Berroco Ultra Alpaca and I have completed 14 blocks. When I get to 21 I am going to make them into a cardigan that is pictured in the book.

Tomorrow I am up early and going to have a look at an embroidery guild that meets on a monthly basis. I will let you know how I get on.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Managed to get a few more runs in before the end of 2011, including one very funny one for anyone watching! I think I mentioned that Gil had made me a special lead to run with the dogs, well new years eve I decided to give it a go. Lacey my labrador mutt thought it was great fun and took off at full tilt. I was running as fast as I could calling for her to slow down to no avail. After about a mile and a half we unhitched Lacey and added her to Gils group ( so he now had 5 dogs on his lead) and I tried with just Cagney. With Lacey in the forward group, who now decided to run backwards so she could make sure she was not missing anything, Cagney was pulling to catch up with them. 

All was resolved by running with Cagney and me in the lead with Gil and the gang behind us. I think I am going to have to take the girls to training classes though and teach them to walk and run alongside me. Maybe they think they are Huskies!

Still no snow here as as you can see from the picture and surprisingly mild so far. New years eve I cooked a lentil curry and a chicken curry followed by a chocolate lava cake. Gil and Sara brought some great garlic shrimp, homemade guacamole and I had also made some red onion relish and Indian style mint sauce. Add a few skinny margaritas, some good music and you have a recipe for a very nice evening.

I have been busy sewing the past few days. Still working on my Cotton Theory 2 quilt, 21 blocks quilted 4 more to finish off then on to the connectors. If I have any new years resolution this year, it is going to be to finish that quilt.
I am still following on with the "12 days of Christmas" at Temecula Quilt Company. We are up to day 9 now although I may change the fabric I used in block 1. I will make that decision once I see the final layout.

 As a break from the Cotton theory I also started on a foundation paper pieced block. I am going to make 9 blocks each will be 3.5 inch finished. I have created them in EQ7 and I have trees, leaves and log cabins. Here is the first block.

Last and by no means least - I just found out I was selected as the final Blog of the Week for 2011 by the American Quilter's Society. Woo Hoo and welcome to any of you that have found this blog via the AQS. I hope you will stick with me.

Happy New Year 

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hard to believe, but we are nearing the end of 2011. Still no sign of snow but I am sure it will arrive soon. Yesterday we were greeted with a great sunrise, we have some lovely ones during Autumn and Winter.
Mid morning I took a drive up to Roundout to meet with some of the ladies from the guild. We are having a show in October 2012 and we wanted to look at the middle school to make sure it will be a suitable venue. It looks great and I am sure we are going to have a great show.


Spent the rest of the day sewing, brought my Cotton Theory quilt back out of UFO land and decided to echo quilt rather than a quilt in the hoop design. It takes a long time and a lot of thread, I used 3 bobbins and that was only enough for about 5 blocks. This is quilt as you go style so it will come together quickly once I have the quilting done.
This morning I heard that my very clever niece has passed yet another audition with her oboe playing. I had already bought some musical fabric for her so I made clear view bag, zipped bag and a card case. Hope she likes them.
Also while reading the messages on the small quilt Yahoo group, a few of the ladies were talking about a 12 days of Christmas quilt along that was being organised by  They are up to day 5 but it would be easy to catch up. Each day the block finishes at 3.5 inches but is made from more and more pieces (1 piece day one, 2 day 2 etc) looking forward to seeing how we create such a small block with 12 pieces!


Despite the cold ( it was only just above freezing) I decided to get out and run. DH dropped me off at the rail trail in Gardiner while he and the dogs drove around to New Paltz and started the trail from that end. I managed a comfortable 5 miles and probably could have gone further. There was no wind and it was a very pleasant.