Friday, March 30, 2012

What did I make today?  Well, I made a trip down memory lane.  We are in St. Pete Beach, Florida, where we spent the last 12 Springs.  The first couple years we were still working and came down with some friends for a wonderful work-break-week.  We stayed at a Travelodge, right on the beach.  The rooms were atrocious, but the pool was big, and the hotel had a fabulous beach bar, the Swigwam, that had the best Rumrunners around.  My friend, Jane, and I would grab a lounge chair in the morning, and sun and read until the bar was open around noon, and then hint and hint until someone went to get us the icy, Rumrunner treat.  Those were the days of not knowing that one of us would be gone way too soon.  The Travelodge is now the Postcard Inn.  Ultra hip and cool with a young "vibe".  Jane would have loved seeing the transformation.  The Swigwam is now just the PCI beach bar, but they thankfully kept the Rumrunner recipe the same.  Before hitting the PCI, we stopped by the Friendly Native Condos that we rented for a couple of  months for a few years, after we retired.  We were hoping to catch some of the regulars around the pool, and we were delighted to find a good collection in the back corner, toasting and saying their good-byes to each other.  Tomorrow is the 31st of March, and that is when most all of the Snowbirds head back home...Michigan, Canada, Minnesota.  It was so fun to see so many familiar faces!!  Some, we learned, didn't make it back for another year.  But the smiles were just as genuine, just as sweet as I remembered.  "Why do you go back to the same  beach every year?", people back home, ask.  We go back to visit our memories.  We love seeing what has changed.  Even more, we love seeing what is the same.  Someday we hope to be here for longer stretches again, but family needs up north come first.  We are thankful for the chance to come to the sun for a few days, and make some new memories that we can visit next year.  Jerilynn  P.S.  I have been knitting on a Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors while suffering with a chest cold for a few days.  I will post a picture soon, I promise!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Knew Knitted Blankie

Hey, blog readers! We are on the road so post subjects will be of a "portable" nature. The big knitted blanket is almost done. I have the fourth side of the border to complete. Because it is getting so big, however, I brought along a knew knitting project. It will still be a Joseph's Blankie of many colors, but it will have all four sides one color. I am thinking it will look a little more modern? Also I am using a different yarn ,slightly smaller, so I went down to a size six needle. The green row was supposed to be just one ridge wide, but I was talking to our daughter-in- law, who is due to have a baby in 2.5 weeks, and I just lost track of my "plan". So, I am making it wide and will make the next color very narrow. Unless I look at it again tomorrow in the car and decide to rip out the green and start anew. We will be in the car for two is a 24 hour trip. That is a loooong time to stare at a blankie beginning that isn't too tasty. Any bets on what I will do? Jerilynn

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Red Chair

I am at our condo for a couple of days while I take a class and teach a class.  It is odd.  It is our home, but doesn't feel like it anymore.  Most of our stuff is still here, and the big comfy bed felt really good to my old, achy, cold-ridden body.  But I think I have emotionally moved to our cabin and that is now home to me.  The Red Chair is still here.  Once our condo is sold, it will be moved, along with The Red Couch to the lake.  We are not sure where it will end up.  In the studio?  Our bedroom?  Living room?  Family room?  So  many options.  I am hoping that the studio will win.  I can sit in my chair and do some hand sewing, some knitting, some lake gazing, and, of course, some blogging.  I drank my coffee in The Red Chair this morning and added a few rows to Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors.  I have discovered that the last rows of color take lots of yarn.  I have had to add in different colors to finish off the rows.  That isn't exactly what I would have wanted, but I am feeling good about using up yarn and getting to the end stretch.  The colors in the picture above aren't very good - no, the couch and chair aren't a deep pink.  I am too tired to color-correct.  You understand.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Type of Needle Do I Have on the Sewing Machine?

Thursday I am teaching a Threads and Needles class at my favorite Bernina store, Sew Complete.  I have a doctorate in Threadology, don't you know.  You can read about it way back on my first few posts in the fall of 2010.  Actually, anyone who pays the class fees and spends a few days at the School of Threadology at Superior Threads in Utah will get the diploma, so the "degree" should not impress you too much!  I used to teach a  Threads and Needles class at Sew Complete a lifetime ago, or so it seems.  I think it really was only 15 years ago, but it seems longer than that.  The most amazing thing, however, is that I still have my notes from that class, the "bad needle and bad thread" examples, and the little magnifying glasses I hand out to students so that they can see, up close and personal, the bad needle tips.  Where I lived when I taught the classes was three houses ago.  Think about it.  Three moves.  You may not be surprised that I have the class info, but I was pretty pleased.  I also used to teach a class called "Beyond the Basics" on a Bernina 1630, the top of the line back in the 90's.  One of the projects was a Needle Keeper.  You programmed your machine to stitch out the names of the different types of needles, and the most popular sizes of those needles.  You can store slightly used needles in the right spot, or mark what type of needle you currently have in the machine.  So, blog readers....what type of needle do I have in my machine right now?  Yep, a 90 Topstitch.  The above Needle Keeper is one that I designed just today in my Bernina V6 software.  The original one that I taught in the "Beyond the Basics" class is missing.  I can't find it.  I have moved three times, after all.  What do you expect?  Jerilynn

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Blanket Continues to Grow

I have been knee deep in making new models for the Spring Market patterns, so any knervous knitting on the Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors has been late at night when my brain was fried, or in the car this weekend on the way and back to Madison for a baby shower.  The instructions say to bind off after every color, turn the blanket a quarter turn and pick up stitches from the new side to add a new color.  As you can imagine, binding off over a hundred stitches, only to have to pick them up again eventually, is time consuming.  One internet blankie maker said she put the stitches on "holders" until it was their turn to be knitted - no binding off, no picking up stitches.  Well, it sounded like a good idea!  I decided to try it with a small dishcloth first, before I switched horses mid-stream.  Butl, as you can see from the picture of the dishcloth, it doesn't look so good.  I had trouble with the count for some reason, and the edges are uneven.  You can't see the big blanket up close, but the stitches and count are much more even, more accurate.  So, I decided to plod along the way I started.  I have finished the  number of colors on each side that is the size of the blanket that originally caught my eye.  Once I put on the border stitches, it should finish about 48".  A good size, but I wanted it to be a bigger blanket size, a rectangle.  I could add more rounds, but the square will just get bigger.  Duh.  Just add more color to the ends to make it rectangle!  Hah.  Great idea.  So now I am adding two rows to each end, then a border.  Like the baby bed for Goldilocks, it should be just right!   I am anxious to get it done, but I am still enjoying the journey.  I would like to get it done in time to still use it this spring for a little warmth, but with the way the weather has been lately, I think the blanket will get folded and put away until next fall.  Jerilynn

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jammie Pants

Here's a look at the reversible flannel pants, appliqued Onesie, and bib I made for the shower.  The pants look big compared to the shirt, but it could be a little bit of the camera angle and also the room needed for those diapers.  I may make a long-sleeved top in a bigger size that would work better with the warm pants.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Spy Another Spy

 I have been doing LOTS of sewing, getting patterns ready for spring market.  I will show you what they are going to be once the printing is done.  Swiss Army Blankets, Hudson Bay Blankets, and lots of Permission stitching is involved.  In amongst the flurry of creating, I made another I Spy quilt for a baby shower this weekend.  This time around I found this website and ordered the two packs of 5" squares cut from Spoonflower fabrics.  If you aren't familiar with Spoonflower yet, you better go and check it out.  Wonderful one-of-a-kind can even have them print your own design on fabric!  Anyway, one of the ladies at Crafterhours, the site I got the squares from, is also in love with I Spy quilts, and Spoonflower.  She combined both loves to produce the block sets that are precut, ready to quickly sew into a play quilt.  Now I know that there are LOTS of I Spy quilt ideas out there - most are pieced a bit more artistically and not quite so busy.  But, you sure can't argue with a table of pre-cut squares that turn into a quilt hocus pocus.  On the back is a large world  map panel like the one I used on my last I Spy.  After I had this all pieced and ready to quilt, I noticed that there are new blocks on the Crafterhours site:  A is for...  You can order these printed blocks and then match up the alphabet letter with a block that works with the letter.  How fun is that?  I ordered a set thinking that I would have time to start anew and use these letter blocks, but so far they are not here and the shower is Saturday!  So I just decided to quilt what I had, using stitch-in-the-ditch quilting so that the Spy blocks are easy to see.  I will keep the A is for...  blocks on hand for another day, another baby, another quilt.  Jerilynn  P.S.  I don't know about you, but so far I am not loving the Spring ahead thing.  I am sooo tired!  Couldn't we just ask the powers that are in charge to just leave time alone?  I am old and I am tired and I am cranky.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Machine Quilting

I've been working on the quilting of this new quilt for a few weeks, on and off.  It is the Zig Zag quilt pattern by Sweetwater, using their Reunion fabric collection.  I bought it as a kit - love the colors and the geometric, yet nautical feel.  I decided to quilt it using a walking foot and machine stitches, rather than free-motion quilting, which I seem to do most often.  In the long dividing strips I am using straight stitches and also a wavy stitch, a bit hard to see.  In the colored triangles I am using a straight stitch that continues down the rows.  The background triangles get a bit of a triangular spiral.  There are two books out that are wonderful references for quilting using a walking foot, which also means the feed dogs are helping to move things along and keeping the stitches nice and even.  The first book is Foolproof Machine Quilting by Mary Mashuta, and the second is One Line at a Time, Encore, by Charlotte Warr Andersen.  I think I may order the One Line at a Time first book from the local library to see if that is a book I also want to add to my quilting library.  Of course, one of the all time great quilting books is Quilting Makes the Quilt by Barbara Weiland.  Written in 1994, it is out of print, but if you can find one, snap it up!  Great pictures and quilting ideas.  It shows how quilts have a different finished look depending on how they are quilted. Anyone that makes five quilts in the same pattern and fabric and then quilts them all differently, not just for one pattern, but lots(!) deserves a big prize!  Anyway,  Free motion quilting is super fun, and I won't walk away from it, but I am enjoying the process of letting my machine take control.  Jerilynn

Name Picture Done!

I got the LIJEWSKI name picture put together today.  I used a red, tone-on-tone fabric that reminded me a bit of a linen print.  I cut it to the size of the backing cardboard and sprayed some glue on.  I then smoothed out the fabric and put a few spurts of glue on the back of each photo.  I used a rotary ruler that happened to be just the right size to line up the photos as I went along.  The frame I ordered is just plastic, and the "glass" is plastic, too, so maybe at some point I may want to get a real frame and glass (non-glare - this is in the family room and all the windows makes it hard to see).  For right now, though, it is done, on the wall, and looks good.  What a fun, easy, fairly inexpensive project to do.  Plus, I love that the "letters" came from our own home.  Jerilynn

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dresses for Windows

A few years back, curtains and drapes for windows seemed a bit old-fashioned.  Blinds and shades were all the rage in decorating.  I remember I saw a Divine Design with Candace Olson and she did silk drapes with a banded bottom and called them "ball gowns for windows".  They looked so pretty!  So fresh!  So modern!  Nowadays I see fabric at windows everywhere, and lately, the curtains have been of a large print.  Very fun, don't you think?  This weekend we went to help my daughter do some house projects.  Carl made her a three piece closet and shelf system for her clothes storage, and I made the black and white sliding curtains that hang in front.  Ellen bought the fabric at Ikea and it was a wonderful, heavy fabric to work with.  She didn't buy enough, thus the big band of white canvas with black ribbon trim.  Almost as if we planned to make them this way!  The middle shot is of her living room.  The Ikea panels came already lined, so all I had to do was shorten both panels and their lining.  Love!  The last photo is her dining area - the Ikea panels weren't lined, so I attached a second fabric piece to the panels and shortened them to the window sill.  I was surprised to see her choice for the is almost identical to the white and blue fabric I had for curtains in my first apartment in Chicago, 1974 - 1978.  Blue Willow, I think.  I guess the pretty dresses I had at my windows almost 40 years ago are back in style!  Jerilynn  P.S.  Ellen declares that the closet system has changed her life.  Wow. That was a good weekend full of work!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cotton Log Cabin Knit Blanket

Above photo is from here.  It is from Masondixonknitting's first book.  According to the notes about these blankets, they are made from the humble cotton yarn that I use to make dishcloths!  How fun is that?  I have a bunch of colors and a kneed for some knervous knitting.  I think this is going to be just what the doctor ordered, don't you?  Jerilynn

A Whole Lotta White!

Happy Leap Year Day!  The bottom two shots are what I woke up to today....over 13 inches of heavy, wet snow.  The outside looked magical!  My silly head cold has taken up most of my energy these past few days, but I did manage to get a little sewing done.  I made up a quilt for the newest granddaughter-to-be, and I used scraps of the fabric used for the curtains in her room (the dot fabric that is in the middle of the squares - hard to see in this picture).  I framed the wonky squares with white fabric, Kona Snow, to be exact...isn't that just a hoot!  I did the quilting in an overall loopy heart pattern.  I think I got the quilting too close together, though.  The quilt isn't exactly soft and cozy.  It is more like a good blanket to put on the floor with a baby on top of it and some cute toys.  It should be perfect for that purpose.  Too bad this grandma decided to make a floor blanket out of white fabric.  I blame it on the cold.  Jerilynn