Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home From Vacation

Hubby & I explored Western Montana with our 5th wheel all of last week - sure saw some pretty country! We stayed in my favorite campground for two days where I could hear the breeze blowing through the trees, smell the pine in the air, and listen to the gurgle of this small stream all night long - loved it!

Our truck rides too rough to do any stitching on the road, but each evening when we parked I was able to do a little work on these small hexie flowers - - -

- - - and I got nine more stars done on my hooked table runner - only six more to go, plus a piano key border at each end.

It's kinda funny how I was seeing planted wheelbarrows wherever we went! I saw these at Flathead Lake all lined up on the lawn alongside the road we were travelling. There were a few more scattered throughout the yard too.

And there were two of these outside a junk shop in Helena that we stopped at.

Now I'm on the lookout for a few more for my own yard! I've had this one for many years under the trees by my front door.

Hooked rugs are rarely seen here in the west, but I spotted this one at an antique store in a very small town called Choteau. It was priced at only $50, but I didn't love it enough to buy it. The hooking was completed but the edge hadn't been finished yet. The tag said it was needlework so I educated the proprietor a little about rug hooking before I left.

One of the things I usually dread about camping is mosquito bites! I always seem to have a bad time with them - they turn red and swell up terribly - and the itching drives me crazy for at LEAST an entire week!

I've been learning about the benefits of using essential oils lately, and when I read that lavender oil applied to a mosquito bite will help it feel better, I decided to pack my bottle and give it a try. WOW! What a difference it made! I applied a small amount each time I was bit and almost immediately I found relief! They healed quickly and and the itching stopped completely. I'll never travel without it again. I used doTERRA brand, but I'm sure any of them will work the same way. Just thought I'd pass that info along to anyone who might benefit from it too!

We got a late start on our garden in the spring, but we are finally eating zucchini and the green beans and corn will be on soon - YUM!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mostly Hooking

I've been spending most of my time working on rug projects lately - this star runner has nine more 'blocks' completed for a total of eighteen so far. However, I'm not loving the background on a few of them so they might need to be pulled out and replaced.  BTW - see those green strips across the top & bottom of my picture? Those are pieces of polar fleece fabric that I sewed onto the linen to make it big enough to fit my rug hooking frame - I bought a remnant for just a dollar or so. My friend Sharon does this and I thought it was a great idea since my linen only had a couple of inches on either side.

Last week at rug group there was some nice show & tell. Nancy finished this floral which is an adaptation of a Pat Cross design - she added her own border and it looks great.

Nancy has made good progress on the rug she started in the Sharon Smith class. She purchased a kit and is determined to only use the wool that she received for this project. I especially like the flower boxes beneath the windows of the purple house - it's an antique paisley that is perfect for that!

And she is done with the stockings she made for her two new grandsons and a grand niece. Christmas in JULY!

Yvonne finished this little log cabin rug while she was there with us. She has a spot all picked out for where it will be displayed on an antique table in her home.

My little quilt group met at Jackie's this month - she has crocheted cotton rugs scattered all over her log home. These were being aired on the deck railing when we arrived and I thought they looked so neat hanging there.

And finally - I wanted to give you all a heads up about a great sale. The shop "I Have a Notion" is having a clearance sale on books - each one is only $4! I bought eight of them and they're all wonderful. There are still a lot to choose from and include some for rug hooking and quilting - check it out HERE! Shipping costs are reasonable since she uses book rates.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sharon Smith Workshop

I sure enjoyed my workshop last weekend with Sharon Smith from Off The Hook Wool Rugs - she drove to Utah from California hauling a trailer FULL of supplies behind her vehicle - LOTS of eye candy and shopping opportunities! A lot of her rugs reflect the places she has traveled - she definitely has her own style. Amazingly, she has only been hooking for five years - and has hooked over 70 rugs - can you believe it?

I was one of just a handful of students who didn't work on one of her designs - but still learned a lot and definitely enjoyed spending three days in the company of good friends. This is the geometric/mosaic that I drew for the class - it's pretty big and will take me awhile to get it finished. It will be totally scrappy, with no two blocks having the same color combinations - I'm still trying to decide what to put in the center of the diamonds...

Each day we received a special treat from the class organizers. First was a kit with all the fixins to make this darling sunflower pincushion on a rusty bed spring.

Then we got birds - with instructions to fly - filled with candy.

And on the last day a fun paper mache box with inspiring words and treats inside.

You can see class projects on the Guild's blog HERE. I sat near the four gals who were hooking the poppy rugs and it was so fun to watch them each develop their own style - with their own slightly different colorway!

Sharon told us how she dyes some of her splotchy wool, so when I got home I pulled out some pastel yellow fat quarters that I won as a door prize years and years ago - b.o.r.i.n.g.!

This is what I ended up with after spending an afternoon in the dye pots - not exactly like hers - but definitely more usable than they were before I started.

I have started another new rug - it will be a table runner. Lots of antique blacks for the backgrounds - and various golds for the stars.

My sister's birthday is next week so I made a postcard quilt with a bouquet of flowers to send to her - lots more fun that a card from the store, huh? (Jeanette - this is some of the crocheted trim that I bought at the yard sale with you)

Heading out for a weekend of camping with hubby - so if you leave a comment and don't hear back from me, I'm not ignoring you - LOL!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finished Rug

It seems like a long, long time since I've spent much time rug hooking, let alone actually FINISHING a rug - but that day has arrived - YAY! Yesterday I pulled the last loops on this rug that I call Fraktur Paisley. I used a #8 cut and it finished at 20" x 25".

I saw this picture on Pinterest years ago and fell in love with it - I'm pretty sure it is a piece of old painted furniture - a chest perhaps? Anyway, the design & colors just spoke to me so I duplicated them in wool.

Last week at my monthly meeting with the Salt Lake rug group, Myra shared this fun 3D birdhouse that she had made - the inside is hollow so she wants to cut a piece of wood to fill the opening and help it stand up more easily - I love the proddy flowers that she added to it - and the direction she hooked the roof. FUN!

This is not the greatest picture, but Nancy was working on some Christmas stockings for new grandchildren. Notice how she hooked on both sides of the piece of linen to make the best use of it with the shapes... Good idea! And how smart of her to make these during the summer months so they'll be ready for the holidays!

Thursday is the first day of a three day workshop that I'm taking with Sharon Smith of Off The Hook Wool Rugs from California and I'm really looking forward to it. Our Guild is bringing her in - she is the third national teacher that we've had and I still have to pinch myself to think that we're able to do this! I have my project prepared - and my wools are packed - we'll see how it goes....

Friday, May 30, 2014

Whew! Just in The Nick of Time!

DD#2 had her baby on Tuesday evening - 2 & 1/2 weeks before her due date. Tyce is three now & loves his new sister - Nora Mae. She has long slender fingers and toes - and quite a bit of dark hair.

I was in a bit of a panic when she was born because her quilt wasn't ready for her! I stayed up late on Tuesday night to finish the quilting and binding, and then threw it into the washer & dryer the next morning. It was all finished by the time she came home from the hospital - whew! Here's how it looked before I washed it.

 And this is the after.

Lately, I have been seeing some quilts with the recipient's name written on the back, so I decided to try and do that with this baby quilt.

 At first I was going to piece the letters, but I ended up using machine applique with a cute font.

Each row was done with a different quilting motif on my home sewing machine. Amazingly, I even attempted a little bit of feathering - not too bad!

The binding was made using leftover bits of the fabrics I had, so it's scrappy. I can't remember what brand of cotton batting I used, because I used leftovers from another project, but I was amazed at how much it shrunk! The quilt was 36" wide when I made it, and after washing it measured only 31" - that's a LOT!

Since my last post three weeks ago, hubby & I spent a week in Missouri & Illinois on vacation.  Visited the St. Louis Arch, the Zoo, and the Botanical Gardens. Then we drove up the Mississippi River to the beautiful small town of Nauvoo which was very significant in the history of our church. Now that we're home from vacation & the baby has arrived, I'm hoping that life will settle down to normal and I can start posting more regularly.

We're loving this new addition to our family -  we now have four grandchildren and hope for several more eventually.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Just a LITTLE to Share Today

I recently spent a week in California visiting family so I really don't have a lot to share right now. This is the hand stitching project I took with me to work on in the airport, on the plane and while visiting. I got it all finished except one piece that I lost somewhere along the way - so I stitched it on as soon as I got home. Wool pieces appliqued onto a cotton background.

I helped my mom finish piecing this quilt top. She's had the fabrics for years and years - two years ago I helped her lay it out and she stacked up each row and labeled it so they'd stay in the right order - but she never did a thing with it after that. I told her that this quilt was going to be our project while I was there and we got it all done! I brought it home to get it machine quilted for her - then I'll send it back with the binding sewn on too.

Before leaving for CA I completed the border on my family rug - if you compare this photo with one a couple posts back you can see what I accomplished.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Baby Quilt Lookin' Good

I've had so much fun making this little baby quilt for DD#2. Totally out of my normal sphere of color & design, but it made me stretch a bit and think out of my box.  It's a row quilt and I have all the rows completed - they just aren't sewn to each other yet. The finished size will be 35" x 48" or so. I won't add a border - just a binding in a color still to be determined.

I love the little bits of metallic that I included in the quilt - she's got touches of it throughout the nursery so I wanted to have some in the quilt too. And I added some rick rack for color & texture.

Wasn't sure of what fabric to use for the metallic, so I ended up buying a bit of gold lame and then ironed on some fusible interfacing to the back of it. I stitched up a little sample block and quilted it - then threw it in the wash a few times and it seems to be holding up just fine in spite of the fact that the fabric bolt said to dry clean it only.

We found that the best way for choosing the various colors was to pull paint chips from the hardware store - I carried them with me from quilt shop to quilt shop searching for the best match - worked great!

She found the inspiration for the quilt on Pinterest (of course),  a rug that is no longer available (photo below) - worked great for a quilt too, don't you think?

 I can't wait till the entire room is put together and I can give you a tour. Two months till her due date so we're both making good progress.