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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Kira’s advent Calendar was complete…

Before I type another word.  Sorry for the absence yall, hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Sometimes life takes you down other paths.   But I’m back and Christmas 2011 has officially begun!

Here’s one of the paths I’ve been running on in time to finish for today, December 1st.

Now that Kira is old enough to begin to understand that Santa is coming, I thought it was time to count down properly.  I looked at about 1 million advent calendars on Pinterest but then just made up my own.

Now I know Teri would kick me for saying these things but I feel like I have to.  Is this project perfect…no!  Did I totally wing it and it’s just a bit off…yes!  Did I totally screw up the decorative stitching on the left side at the bottom…OH YEAH!!!  (I almost scraped the whole thing because of that.  I was in tears but kept going.  I tried to rip it out but it was so densely stitched I said forget it).  

But was I also so excited to get this done and see my daughter’s face….OH YES!!! Were all the mistakes worth it?  YEP!!

I hand stitched each stocking.  And thanks to this video was able to perfect the blanket stitch….Thank God for YouTube!!

Each stocking “hem”  was hot glued on (front and back) and then self-stick felt numbers were applied.  Then “velcroed” in place for easy removal each day.

The mistake with the stitching is just to hideous to show you.  We’ll just focus on the pretty part.  One more reason I just love my Bernina.

Now we’re taking a slightly different approach with this calendar.  Instead of  just counting down to Christmas or opening a gift each day…Each day Kira will peak inside the stocking pull out a little note with a  message. 

1.  Go with Mummy and Daddy to get ice cream and buy a topper for our tree.

2.   Buy/donate  a present for a homeless child

3.  Make toffee (to thank all the ladies at Hartsdale Fabrics for all their help and support)

3.  Find Poppin (I’ll explain that one later)

4.  Make crazy crayons

You get the idea.  Yes there will a present or two to open before the big day but I want her to get that it’s about more than gifts.  If I start now I may have a chance to raise my daughter to be just a bit thoughtful and kind.

So how are you kicking off your holiday season?

I don’t know who’s more excited about all this me or Kira?

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Learning…

A few months back I posted a Process Pledge button on  this blog but haven’t shown much process in a while…

Ready for some?  Here’s my first real attempt at stippling a quilt.  While it ain’t bad it aint’ great either.  Curves are not that smooth, looks a bit jerky, this stitch length is irregular and I even crossed over my stitches once or twice.  All that I can live with.  What was getting to me the most was the color of the thread.  This is what happens when you trust the judgement of others instead of listening to yourself.  More important, doing what feels right to you.

That green thread looks hideous!!!

Just look at that?…YUCK!!! It totally “uglies” the entire quilt.  Not to mention hiding the prettiness of the prints.

I was almost half way through when I just had to stop and RIP!!!  For the record that is not as bad as it sounds…it’s a small quilt, 36×36.

Take 2…Much better!!

Still a bit pokey but then I think I found my rhythm…

It’s so “soft” looking.  I love it!!!! I’m sure I will look back on this years from now and think, how elementary but for now…I’m very proud of it and can’t wait to give it away.  It’s for a new arrival, Serafina…hope she likes it?

Now I feel ready to tackle the 2 other quilts that have been sitting in the basket since June.  It’s not just being excited that it looks good but that I’m teaching myself.  I did the same thing with my knitting 12 years ago and now with quilting.  You can take all the classes you want, read books, watch Youtube or DVDs but in the moment it’s just you and your needles or your sewing machine…The sense of accomplishment is so motivating.  Should also note that I did all this without using the BSR on my Bernina…can’t wait to see what I can do with that baby…

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One of my all time favorite movies is How To Make An American Quilt.  I fell in love with it long before I started quilting but it was definitely an inspiration for me.  Aside from the beautiful quilts in the movie I love the relationships between the women.  The community and support between them.  They grew up together, old together, raised their children together, laughed together, cried together and most of all helped each other through the everyday stuff.  Whether it was a good day or a bad. 

As I’m making these quilts and knitting and most important, raising my daughter it is that sense of community that I want so badly.   But unfortunately it doesn’t exist, in the old way, any more.  Of course there are play dates and Gymboree and school and church and the local coffee shop but women don’t “live together” like they used to.  You meet up with your girlfriends, join the local guild, relating to your craft, but that all happens bi-weekly or monthly, etc.   I want it everyday…

When I grew up (for part of my life) in Barbados, my mum and all her sisters (6, not to mention sisters-in-law) all raised us (16 cousins) so you learned from everyone.  And when there was a question about getting one’s child to eat or potty training there was always someone there to help, to advise.  And when it was time for dinner, someone cooked the meat, someone else shelled the peas…etc.

So where am I going with this?  I’ve been able to get 90% of this quilt done in 4 days…on my sewing machine.  How long would it take by hand.    By my own…months.  With a quilting bee maybe weeks… 

I’m rambling but my point generally is, I miss what I don’t have….

I am grateful for my machine though…my sole quilting companion…

Not bad for on my own….

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The Pledge

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve done a bit of housekeeping around the old blog.  I’ve also added a new button  “I took the process pledge“.  It’s purpose is to inspire quilters to blog more frequently about the process of quilting, they trials, errors, planning, etc as well as the finished products. 

But of course I immediately thought this can be applied to just about any craft, hobby, passion, whatever moves you to create.  Being a knitting and aspiring quilter I thought it more than appropriate to apply that principle here.  So I will try my best to “process out loud”.  Also as the beginner of a new discipline  and skilled disciple of another, I’m sure there are others out there who may learn from my processing. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tooling around the internet and see all these beautiful finished items and I say to myself…how does one get that perfect?  What did it take to get there?  To get the holes between the fingers of a knitted  glove to disappear, to make a delicious chocolate cake with the icing picture perfect, to sew the binding on a quilt and not have your stitches show.   

I don’t know about you but it’s so comforting to see that someone other than, what feels in the moment like just me can make a mistake or have to redo or rethink or rip out or use the “F” word because they’ve made the same mistake 5 times in a row.

All that said…I promise to share my processing and not be afraid to show the runs in my stockings. (you know what I mean).

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Feels So Good

Thanks so much to everyone for that incredibly warm welcome back and for the words of understanding.   I missed yall too.

Anyway, to continue catching up…

Here’s a bit of seasonal color I just had to share.  T his is just a few blocks from home.

As I was walking through the woods by our apartment, there were so many leaves falling it sounded like rain…It was one of those rare, quiet moments when you stand perfectly still, listen, enjoy and know you are not alone.

Knitting coming up soon….stay tuned.

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Elizabeth Zimmermann

Happy Birthday Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Today marks the 99th birthday of this great lady.  Without her, knitting would not be what it is.  Whether you have heard her name or not, if you are a knitter, you have been touched by her ideas, her patterns, her humor, her spirit.  I started knitting the year she passed away.  At the time, her name was unknown to me but I felt a spirit pushing me to knit and I have not looked back since.  I’d just finished massage school and was suddenly compelled to learn.  Just woke up one morning dying to have needles and yarn in my hands.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been “hurting my head” (as my mum says) trying to decide what sweater to knit next and not knitting anything in the process.  Today I return to the basics, to the tried and true.  I’m casting on a simple saddle shoulder sweater using the EZ percentage system.  When in doubt pull out an EZ book and get started.   I’ve swatched, done the math and my needles are humming. 

Thank you Elizabeth.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.

-Elizabeth Zimmermann 1910-1999 

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Happy Earth Day everyone!! As a thinking, breathing, compassionate and intelligent person held temporarily in the arms of Mother earth, I try to do all the obvious and not so obvious things to keep her safe and healthy. At times I feel very inadequate in my efforts but I carry on in the hope, outside of the obvious, of inspiring others. As a knitter and blogger my desire to inspire is as strong but manifests in different ways. I treated myself to these as a means of introduction, self promotion and inspiration instead of the usual business card. I don’t think Mother will be to upset in the process and they are pretty darn cute….

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With the exception of the yarn ball all the pictures are from garments I’ve made.  Recognize any?

The case came from here…great service and super fast delivery.

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Moo and I are both doing our part…are you?

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