Friday, December 30, 2016

Reading list

Ahhh relaxing after Christmas...................
  1. Everything You Never Told Me by Celeste Ng dysfunctional family 
  2. Christmas Bells by Jennifer  Chevarini each chapter is a character sketch of a character and their part in the events before the children's Christmas concert so ther is a lot of repetition.   The chapters in between tell the story of Henry Longfellow and writing the poem Christmas Bells during the civil war.
  3. The Tour: a Trip through Ireland by Jean Grainger
  4. Letters of Freedom by Jean Grainger
  5. Angels at the Table: a Shirley, Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber
  6. Angels at Christmas by by Debbie Macomber 
  7. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy by Debbie Macomber 
Relaxing some more........................
Happy New Year   

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In a Stable

In a manger a child is born.......................
Peace on Earth

Friday, December 23, 2016


There is my Christmas tree skirt and all the leftover yarn is now in my last needlepoint Santa.  My Santas are in front of the fireplace,  below the stair rail, on the window sills in the sunroom which did not photo well, in and on the secretary and sadly a few are still in boxes.  But this is a jolly bunch.      Merry Christmas.  --Ann--

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Santa finish

Another Santa to add to the collection.  I would work on him a little bit at a time until my fingers would get sore from pulling the needle through the holes, the size of the needle eye and thread makes a difference in how easily it pulls through. I forget those little details when a project is 4 years in the making.  I was also having trouble finding a spot to sit with lots of light, I even moved a lamp closer to my chair and put in a working 3 way bulb.  But the real solution to being able to see the little holes was buying a pair of 3.0 reading glasses!  What a difference those made!!!  The fur trim is turkey work and after it is trimmed it feels almost like velvet.  I did a long and short stitch with an angora yarn in the beard.  Then I took him to my sewing room to turn and stuff.  This was first time I have had movers remorse because I threw away all the bags of batting scraps, you know the little 1 or 2 inch strips from trimming a quilt that everyone else throws in the trash as they trim the quilt.  I threw all those away.  What do I stuff him with short of cutting up quiltable pieces of batting?  Aha!! old yarn! I had yarn from a couple decades ago back when I made a cross stitch Christmas tree skirt on burlap.  Wadded up yarn is perfect for stuffing and no calories.  One skein of white was exactly the right color for the cording in combination with a fuzzy novelty thread.  Thinking about painting another Santa.........maybe next year.  --Ann--

Monday, December 19, 2016


That was fun! sewing Christmasy fabric just before Christmas.  It won't be quilted until next year. --Ann--

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


I gathered up all my kaleidoscope toys for quilting and never realized how different they are from each other. The two mirrors that are taped together are a great tool for choosing fabrics for a stack and whack quilt. The angle can be changed to see how many segments in a block.   It also reveals fabrics that might be a poor choice.  My original plan was to use the bird fabric but as you can see with the large areas of spruce green background there would be some blocks that were lacking in interest and probably very few blocks with whole birds unless I fussy cut and then I would have needed a lot more yardage. So I bought the coordinating flower fabric because the motifs were closer together.
The dragon fly eyes will repeat a motif in a side by side setting or turn it a little for an on point setting but they do not reflect the design like a kaleidoscope.  The red is a child's toy with six sided facets in the lens, the dark one has high quality glass with four sided facets.  The brass spy glass has a clear marble in the other end,  it miniaturizes the designs into hexagon repeats.  They are all fun to look through.  Sometimes I'm so easily amused.  --Ann--

Monday, December 12, 2016

Design Wall Monday

It was a snowy day on Saturday and a very good day to sew.  This quilt was started 15 years ago I'm guessing.  Sewing the kaleidoscope blocks was as much fun as sewing scrap blocks because the finished block was always a surprise.  The little parts would come together and make a new design in the center of each block. A few more seams and then to fussy cut the border to showcase the birds.
There is a good 6-8 inches of snow on the ground, today is calm and cold, the every green trees look like a Christmas card.  Another great day to sew. --Ann-- linking to Judy's DWM

Friday, December 9, 2016

On the Needles

Just a couple little projects on the needles other than the super secret projects.  Another Baa-ble stocking cap (scroll down to an earlier OTN for the link to the pattern) and a pair of Lovikka mittens that I'm knitting with Lopi yarn from Iceland.  I think Lovikka mittens is a bit of a misnomer because Lovikka is a brand name for a bulky Swedish yarn typically used for knitting mittens.  The Icelandic yarn I have is too thin so I am using a double strand of yarn to bulk up the mittens. One done, I'll knit the thumbs when the second mitten is done.
This morning was dough day.  I mixed up 8 different kinds of dough in one mess then I will bake them at my leisure.  Hope you are staying warm the woolies feel so good.  --Ann-- Linking to Judy's OTN

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


A very productive day in the sewing room yesterday, half the blocks sewn. I sewed one block at a time so I could keep each set of eight triangles together.  A little slower going but I was enjoying the process.  No two blocks are the same so far,  just like turning a kaleidoscope.
I remember my mother making a kaleidoscope for me when I was a little girl. I kinda remember begging for one I saw in the five and dime store and not getting it but she made one that was so much better.  She had some narrow strips of mirrors but I remember them being dark and not at all like a real mirror.  Anyway she taped these three long mirrors into a triangle then slid them into a sturdy cardboard tube that was exactly the right size because the long triangle did not rattle around, then she fastened a circle of stiff plastic inside the tube and we put some sequins and other little trinkets in and topped the end off with another piece of plastic that she scuffed up with steel wool so it was translucent.  She cut an eye hole in a piece of cardboard and taped it to the other end.  Light could get in but it was cloudy enough that I couldn't see things around the house. It was better than a store bought kaleidoscope and it kept me busy for hours,  she made another one for my brother because she knew we would fight over it.  My kids even played with it.

Every turn or tap of the kaleidoscope and the design would change. Cherished childhood memories.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Project Old project

There hasn't been much going on in my sewing room lately.  The Christmas decorations are up and condensed from past years because this house is lacking in display space.  But it works and didn't take nearly as long to set a tasteful amount of decorations as it did in the past house.  Tasteful is the key word there sometimes less is more.
I need to work on something new.  This stack and whack project has experienced three moves so it is time!!  Everything was bundled together; the cut stack and whack triangles, the background fabric, sashing fabric and even fabric for the backing.  Everything except the book which is no where to be found anywhere.  I can figure this out!  How did our grandmothers quilt!?!  They didn't have all the books we do now.  The background triangle needs to be the same size as the focus fabric plus whatever that measurement is you add to cut the square into 4 so you have straight grain on the outside edge.  Its easier to put the 4 triangles into a square and measure across.  7 and 5/8. Round it up because its easier to trim than try to stretch the blocks to fit so cut 7 3/4 inch squares.  Then sew those triangles together and figure out the short strip.  It needs to be 2 1/2 inches wide and the short side needs to be 4 1/2 inches.  Perfect!!! now to sew the rest of the blocks.
I don't think I have ever made a quilt with this few fabrics which is probably why it has sat for so long.  I have a red fabric to use for sashing, the cardinal fabric will be for borders and the focus fabric for setting triangles.
Our snow is gone again, there is a cold wind blowing from the north its a good day to sew.  --Ann--

Friday, December 2, 2016

Off the needles

A couple finishes this week now all my Christmas socks are done!  And my scarf is finished, the stitch pattern was simple enough but my short term memory was struggling to remember the sequence of the stitches. I was referring to my paper for every row and any little distraction I was looking at it again and again.  Do I yarn over before or after the Knit 2 together???  The knit stitch is always in the yarn over in the even rows, the purl rows but is the purl through the back loop before or after the knit stitch?????  aaarrrghhh finally after about 20 inches I changed my thinking by moving the parenthesis I was able to knit the 4 row sequence without looking at my paper.  I started thinking of the purl through the back loop as back door,  purl side door  and knitting the yarn over became front door.  Back door, side door, front door, back door, side door, front door, back, side, front, try all the doors, back, side, front was easier to remember than ptbl, p1, k1.  Then row 3 became sneak in the back for ktbl,  2 at a time for k2tog, and jump for a yarn over.  Row 4 after the first back door stitch was go around the other way front door, side door and back door. And Row 1 sneak in the back, jump, 2 at a time and sneak in the back, jump, 2 at a time....... The scarf is finished and now I need my winter coat instead of this lightweight between seasons jacket.  Super secret projects on the needles.  --Ann--  linking to Judy's OTN