WIP Wednesday and Hoop Discussion

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone is well and looking forward to some warmer days. It will be near 60 today. My husband plans to take advantage of the warmer weather to fish for the first time this year. We did get out on Sunday afternoon for a walk at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

The museum has some recently opened trails that are free to the public. As you can see, it was a beautiful afternoon. Unfortunately, the trails were still covered in snow and I just had on regular shoes, so we walked on the drive and parking lots, then walked a little way into Winchester and back. Once I feel comfortable going inside, I would like to visit the museum. There is a Norman Rockwell exhibit on display through the summer that I would like to see.

Last week I had a question from Linda about using a hoop and stitching in hand. She is interested in getting back into cross stitch and has seen many Flosstubers talk about stitching in hand. I thought I would share my thoughts on the different hoops I have used and my very limited experience of stitching in hand.

I do prefer using a 5″ spring tension hoop now. It’s thin, lightweight and easy for me to hold with my small hands. Sometimes I will rest my hand on a small pillow, but with our new sofa, I don’t feel the need for one as much as I used to. I have done a lot of hand applique and English paper piecing so I can stitch in hand. The thing about stitching in hand is that your fabric is not tight so you have to work harder (at least for me) to get the stitch tension even. That’s why some people that stitch in hand prefer a fabric that is stiffer. That would include most Aida fabrics and some even weave fabrics. Also, the Wichelt brand of linen is stiffer than the Zweigart brand. Some people say that it is easier to use the sewing method (stitching one leg of the cross, going through two holes at the same time on the front, then stitching the second leg back over those stitches) without a hoop. I’ve been using this method for years with a hoop and don’t have any problems with it. Depending on the fabric, I may need to loosen the tension of the fabric in the hoop slightly to use this method.

The left hoops are spring tension hoops in 5″ and 7″. To use, squeeze the handle to release the metal ring from the hoop. The fabric can be adjusted as needed by releasing the ring slightly. I have 5 of the 5″ hoops and there is one that doesn’t stay as tight as the others. Otherwise, I don’t have any problems with the fabric shifting in them. The right is a standard 6″ wooden hoop, which is what I started stitching with years ago and continued to stitch with until the Q-Snaps came along.

Some might be concerned with the small amount of stitching space in the 5″ hoop. I will usually stitch all I can inside that area before moving the hoop to a new section. You can see that there is more area in the 7″ hoop. I bought the 7″ hoop years ago to use with a large embroidery project. Even now, I will use the 5″ hoop for embroidery even though I move the hoop more often, it is just more comfortable in my hands.

I did use Q-Snaps when they were first introduced and I had different sizes. This is the only one I have left, which is 11inches. I never had a stand for it and it was cumbersome for me to use. I didn’t like the 8″ size either because it was just to big for me to hold.

One frame that I have and I do like to use on certain projects is the Stitch Ezi Embroidery Frame. I’ve probably had it for 10 to 12 years.

I started using this frame after I got tired of the Q-Snaps. It sits up in your lap so you don’t have to hold it. The top of it rotates so it’s easy to get to the back and the legs tilt so you can bring the stitching closer to you. This type of frame will also allow you to stitch two handed. That’s what I do, using my bottom hand like I was hand quilting to guide the needle back up into the next hole and using the sewing method.

If you are interested in this hoop, read Mary Corbet’s, Needle ‘ Thread, review. After reading the review, I do agree with her on everything she said and maybe that’s why I don’t use it much anymore. The nuts on the top side have gotten loose and I do need to tighten them. I will probably use it on Rainbow Row once I work on it again, because I can quickly stitch all the many endless rows of the same color in the houses with this hoop.

I did have a scroll frame on a lap stand that I never liked. I tried to use it a few times, but it wasn’t for me. My advise is to try a few different methods to see which is best for you. If you have a stitching friend that can loan you a couple of different hoops to try, that could save a little money, too.

Now onto this week’s stitching progress.

I did finish the center section on Scenic farm. I am so pleased with it. It took 49 days to complete this section.

I have moved on and am back to the sky. I will complete this section from top to bottom, then I’ll move back to the right of the center section. You can see in this picture, that I need to go back and adjust my fabric on the bottom to straighten it out. Just a matter of releasing the handle slightly and pulling the fabric until it is straight.

After I took the first couple of stitches in the new section, I wondered, how am I going to count the stitches? Ahhh! I’ll use the counting pin as a place marker so I’ll now where I started. Worked perfectly.

I also made good progress this week on Let’s Talk Winter by Hands On Design. My goal is to finish it this month and I feel certain that I can accomplish that.

Let me know your thoughts on the hoop talk and leave your advise for new stitchers in the comments. I hope you have a great rest of your week. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Cross-Stitch, Stitchery, Uncategorized, Winter stitching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cabin Pillow Finish and Quilty Update

Hello Everyone! I hope you are staying warm and that my Texas friends are recovering from your cold week. We were able to get out and walk on Wednesday before it snowed again on Thursday, and hope to walk later this afternoon. Maybe we’ll combine the walk with a short drive. It’s supposed to be a bit warmer (high 30’s) and continue to warm up this week. It’s been a good time to stay in and get a few things finished for Finish It February.

Last week I finished the cabin pillow. I stitched the center embroidery section when I designed the Timber and Christmastime Collection for Jacquelynne Steves Art of Home Club in 2018. If you are interested in the monthly club, you can find more information about it here. The pillow is in front of the applique quilt I designed and made for the collection.

I kept the pillow simple and cut boarders from Holiday Lodge fabric by Deb Strain the size needed to fit a 16″ x 12″ pillow form. I free motion quilted swirls in the sky and “water” on the ground for the snow. The background fabric is Spotted by Zen Chic, both collections from Moda. It’s hard to see, but I quilted a diagonal grid design in the boarders. I used my favorite Auriful 50 wt for the quilting and used two strands of black Aurifloss for the embroidery. When I quilt on an embroidery piece, I don’t quilt over the embroidery (except to cross the stitched line) but I do like to quilt around the stitched line on both sides to give the design some definition. You don’t want to leave a big puffy space in the middle of a quilt block.

To add a little contrast between the boarders and binding, I made a piped binding. I have never used this method before and I like the extra touch it gives the pillow. It was easy and there are lots of online tutorials and videos you can check out. I used Faux Piped Binding from the HQ Stitch blog. It was pretty easy and I will definitely be using it again, especially for a pillow binding.

I made my usual envelope pillow back so I can easily remove the pillow form if I want to use it for another pretty piece.

I put the other pillows back on the loveseat and that’s where they will stay until the first of March. I think I’ll be ready to start changing over to spring decorating by then. The blue pillow is the snowflake block from Thimble Blossoms Winterville pattern and there’s Button Up by The Prairie Schooler next to it.

I worked on my Christmas Table Runner again that I started in November. It stalled when I couldn’t decide on how to put the blocks together. After playing around with the little square between the sashing, I think I have it figured out. I’m going to make 8 square in square blocks with the red sashing from Christmas Figs. Instead of the charcoal print you see in the picture, I’ll be using a solid charcoal because I don’t have enough of that one.

Those square in a square blocks are the hardest for me to make. They just never seem to come out exactly right. I used EQ8 to print out the size of the block I need and will paper piece them. This should make them more accurate.

I’m hoping to at least get the top of the runner finished by the end of the week. I have 10 days to completely finish it if I want to add it to the Finish It February list. For my cross stitch, I’m counting the piece just being completely stitched as a finish, but I think on the quilts, they need to be completely quilted and finished.

I hope you all have a great week ahead of you and will be seeing some warmer days. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Art if Home Club, Cabin Quilt Collection, embroidery, My Patterns, Pillows, Winter stitching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WIP Wednesday February 17, 2021

Hello Everyone! I hope you are staying warm. It seems like most of the country is snowy or icy and cold. We are expecting more snow tonight and tomorrow with up to 8″ or so. It was nice to see the sun yesterday afternoon, if briefly, for the first time in almost a week. It’s been two weeks since I’ve done a cross stitch works in progress update. Since then I have a finish and started working on my next Finish It February piece.

Stitchville by Thimble Blossoms

Stitchville is finished! It was at the top of the Finish It February list. It is even fully finished. It took me all of one morning, pulling out my Bonnie and Camille fabrics, just to decide what I wanted to do with it. I got a little lazy and didn’t want to mount it on multiple layers of mat board with the fabric behind it. I didn’t have a frame for it and I thought it looked good on it’s own, so I mounted it on a little wooden box that I got at JoAnn’s several years ago. It’s been waiting for something to go on it.

Stitchville measures just under 5″ square and is stitched with Camille’s Cosmos thread pack that I’ve had for many years now. I changed the color of the swoon block in the middle to match my red and green swoon 16 blocks. It’s stitched on 36 ct white linen, 2 over 2. I have to say, the last round of houses was sort of a beast to do. Lots of color changes. That tiny little swoon pillow is only 5″ square and from Carrie Nelson’s “Pin Pals” book. Stitchville will be permanently displayed in my sewing studio.

Up next is Scenic Farm. This is where I was last time…

…and here it is now.

I have a building! Or at least part of one. It was nice to get into some full crosses. If you recall from last time, I needed to add another strand of floss to the trees. I’ve tried to add a thread or two to it when I’m stitching in the morning. Just a little left to do now. It’s back in the hoop so I can finish up the bottom of the center of the piece. I have more snow and ground to add before moving to a new section.

After finishing Stitchville, I picked up Let’s Talk Winter by Hands on Design, the next in line for Finish It February. I’m stitching on 32 ct Charcoal Lugana and it’s going fairly well. This is the first time stitching on a non Aida dark fabric in a long time. I have had to up my magnification on it a few times, and other times, the regular lens is okay. I usually work on it at night so I guess it just depends on how tired my eyes are. And I have had to re-stitch a few times, too. I’m going to continue working on it until I finish it, hopefully before the end of February. If I finish it, I’ll pull out Salute to Abigail next.

We’re hoping it will be a sunny, if not warm, weekend so we can go for a ride. I’m glad I have a place to swim because walking has been hit or miss. It’s not the cold, but the wind does get to us. I hope you have a great rest of your week and thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Cross Stitch Finishes, Cross-Stitch, Pin Cushions, Scenic Farm Cross Stitch, Stitchery, Swoon Quilt, Winter stitching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Quilty Update

Hello Everyone! I would like to thank you all for your kind words on the Anniversaries of the Heart post. I’ve written a few posts on special people in my life and those are my favorites and the ones that I like to go back and read.

Since I finished that post, I was able to get back to the sewing machine and finish up a few blocks.

My goal this year is to finish County Fair by Fig Tree and Co by making 5 blocks a month. I finished February’s blocks and they are on my new design wall. I’m using Fig Tree’s Christmas Figs fabrics for the quilt. Ten down and twenty to go!

As with the first set of blocks, I used the larger leftover pieces from the units to make these half square triangles. This time, however, I went back and sewed about 3/8ths from the stitching line as soon as I made the unit. At least this way, they are all ready to be trimmed to the size I need when I want to use them in another project.

While I made the units for the County Fair blocks, I used the pieces for the rainbow quilts as leaders and enders. I started the Rainbow Quilts as a guild challenge last February. I got most of the fabrics cut and some of the sewing done, but mostly, they’ve been sitting in a project box until recently. One of the quilts I’m making uses 2 1/2″ squares of a single color to make the strips. My plan is to put the same color dot in between the strips, then a white fabric strip in between each set of colors. I went through my cut squares and still need squares for the pink and aqua strips. I hope to get that done this week.

My other rainbow quilt is made from squares of my Moda fabric scraps. I finished the orange group as I was finishing up the County Fair blocks.

This is the layout of my quilt. I still need to make the aqua, yellow and pink blocks. I’m making it a priority to get these quilts made this spring.

Speaking of trying to finish things. If you recall in a recent Cross Stitch post, I told you about Finish It February. I decided to apply that to a small embroidery piece I’ve had sitting around for over a year now.

The winter cabin embroidery piece is a leftover from The Art of Home’s Timber and Christmastime Collection. I designed the collection for Jacquelynne Steves‘ The Art of Home Club almost two years ago. I think I’m going to make a pillow using these fabrics. Maybe I’ll have it finished next week!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and the beginning of your week. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Cabin Quilt Collection, County Fair Quilt, Rainbow Quilts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Anniversaries of the Heart Cross Stitch

Hello Everyone! Today is the day! I’ve been gathering some pictures and doing a lot of thinking about how I want to present this post on my Anniversaries of the Heart Cross Stitch stitch-a-long finish. I want it to be a record of whom each block represents and why I chose that block for them. When I initially picked the charts, I chose the ones I liked best then matched them to the person I was stitching it for. I plan on printing a picture of the final piece and writing down all the information about the person for each block and placing it in an envelope on the back of the piece.

I had AOTH framed, with museum glass, at Michaels and I got it back a few weeks ago. Here it is hanging on the wall. I started stitching on January 1, 2020 and put the last stitch in on December 29, 2020. I started stitching it with Olivia, @PumpkinHollowQuilts and Deborah, @CanopiedStitches under the hashtag #bbanniversaries2020. It was fun to follow along and see what others were stitching.

Some other details about AOTH:

  • Designed by Blackbird Designs in the early 2010’s. There were a total of 12 charts with 2 bonus blocks. I chose to only stitch 7 blocks and the last bonus block (the large one).
  • Fabric is 35 ct. Old New England hand dyed by The Primitive Hare using most of the called for overdyed threads with some DMC substitutes when needed.
  • I averaged about 18 stitching days per chart and I took almost a two month break from stitching it in the fall as we were moving.

AOTH is stitched for me and my husband and our immediate families. I could have added grandparents in with the additional blocks, but I wanted to keep it on the smaller size and I knew I could not complete all 14 blocks in a year, which was a goal. For each block, I’m adding the link back to the original post for details about that particular block.

Snow Garden

The first block I stitched was Snow Garden for my mom, Judy Vaughan, whose birthday is in January.

Mom and I are at a Pensacola airshow in front of a T-34, a trainer my dad flew in the Navy, in 1962.

Here we are again in the late 90’s. It was Mom who told me to try cross stitching when I was in my early 20’s. I had already been sewing for years and she told me I would enjoy it. I was a little reluctant at first, but then like most people who give a try, I was hooked.

Pink Hill Manor

I stitched Pink Hill Manor for our brothers and sisters. My husband has a younger brother and I have one brother and two sisters and we are both the oldest. I stitched each of their first name initials on this chart and backstitched the words Sisters and Brothers. This is the only block I wish I had put in a different place. When I started stitching, I had picked out which chart I wanted to stitch for everyone, but hadn’t thought about changing the release order in the full piece until after this one. It would have been better to be the last one on the top row because of the top and right border.

Vaughan Children

Unfortunately, the only picture I had of the four of us together was this one from the early 80’s. From my brother, Steve, clockwise is Donna, Sandra and me. We were all born in different places while my dad was in college or the Navy, then with Eastern Air Lines. We finally settled in Fredericksburg, VA and call it home, although only Donna still lives there. I’m 21 months older than Donna, who is almost a year older than Steve. My dear mom with two babies and a toddler! Sandra came along 10 years after me and my mom was only 29 at the time. I didn’t have my first until I was 34. There were a lot of changes in just a generation.

Donna, Brenda (me) and Steve, 1970

Most of our early family pictures are on slides and so I only have one other of the three of us together. Sorry, Sandra, you were just a baby. Don’t you love these swim team suits from 1970. We had a swim coach that went for this style for several years.

This is my husband, Joe (left) and his baby brother, Andrew, probably in 1962 or 63.

Andrew (left) and Joe

Here they are in the late 70’s. That Piper Cub is the airplane they both learned to fly in.

Joe (left) and Andrew

And again in 2020 on a fishing trip in Bryson City, NC.

Clara Ellen

I stitched the next block, Clara Ellen for the dads, my dad, Bobby Vaughan and my father-in-law, Paul Hotinger. My dad was born in 1935 and Paul was born in 1933.

Me and Dad

Dad and I are enjoying some sunshine in Blacksburg, VA in 1960 while he was going to school at Virginia Tech. After school, Dad joined the Navy and was a pilot. He finished his naval career as a Captain in the USNR. He was also a pilot for Eastern Air Lines.

Judy and Bobby Vaughan

This is Mom and Dad in the late 50’s. They met while Dad was going to school at VT. Virginia Tech was a good place to meet your spouse, that’s where I met Joe.

Paul and Ruth Hotinger

Paul went to school at Georgia Tech and that’s where he met Ruth. Paul was an officer in the Air Force, then after working in his father’s business, he became a pilot for United Air Lines. Do you notice a flying theme? My brother is also a pilot for United after working first for Eastern, then Continental.

These are the Hotinger men in 2005. Somehow, it became a tradition for a few years to wear the overalls at Thanksgiving. I think it ended when Jake outgrew his. From left to right: Andrew, Paul, Joe and Jake, our son.

Happy Birthday

At this point, I decided it was okay to stitch the Anniversary blocks out of order and put them where I wanted. I stitched Happy Birthday for Joe and me and started it in April since that was our anniversary month. I liked that the chart had a word motif where I could stitch our names and anniversary date. I put this block in the middle of the piece since we are the center of this stitched universe.

As I said, we met at VT one summer while I was hanging out at the airport shortly after I got my private pilot’s license. I was doing a summer internship at a local hospital for the Biomedical Engineering portion of my Engineering degree. Joe was instructing and flying university people around the state.

After Joe graduated from VT, he joined the Air Force Reserves and flew C-141s. Shortly after leaving active duty, he became a pilot for Delta Air Lines, where he continued to fly until his recent retirement earlier this year. You can read more about that here. As for me, I worked with missile systems when I first graduated, then did a couple of odd jobs while Joe was in pilot training. I ended up working in telecommunications before I finished my working career and became a full time mom, volunteer and chauffeur.

Amicalola Falls State Park, GA

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that one of our favorite things to do is to search out waterfalls and camp. We plan to do plenty more of both in the years to come.

Pumpkin Farm

I stitched Pumpkin Farm for our son, Jake. I chose this block for him for two reasons, this is my favorite of all the blocks and his birthday is in the fall.

He was such a cute little boy (and still is)! For an almost 3 year old, he was a trooper. He walked down this beach carrying that stick for almost two miles to the pier in Nags Head, NC. He is an Eagle Scout and now is a Financial Analyst. Because of his involvement in scouts and a couple of family campouts, we started camping as a family. It’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done.

Like my husband, Jake has become quite the fisherman.

Moonlight Visitor

Moonlight Visitor is Emily’s block. I chose this one for her because she likes moths, although she told me her favorite part was the tree. Her favorite thing to do is to go on adventures. She does keep us busy when she’s around. She’s a Marine Biologist and works for the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection.

Emily, 1999

Do you know how hard it was to find a picture without a big brother in it?

Emily Sedona, AZ 2017

Jake and Emily are two wonderful kids and have grown up to be kind and responsible young adults. We are so proud of them.

Whiteface Mtn, near Lake Placid, NY 2003

This picture was taken on our first non-beach week long trip with the kids. We spent the week at Lake George, NY in the Adirondacks, seeing all the sites in the area. This was our first big hike up a tall mountain, but certainly not the last! We’ve been very lucky to be able to see this beautiful country with our kids.

This is the last picture I have of us all together from 2018 in Williamsburg, VA at Christmas, a favorite place to visit during the Holiday season.

Remember Me

The next to last stitched is Remember Me. stititched for my mother-in-law, Ruth, who we sadly lost in 2015. Besides the “Remember Me”, I chose this block for Ruth because she loved Christmas in Williamsburg and the red house reminds me of the buildings there.

I think this is a beautiful picture of Ruth! I’m guessing it was taken in the early 60’s.

From left: Paul, Ruth, Emily, Brenda, Joe, Andrew, Jake

This is the entire Hotinger crew, except Andrew’s wife Debbie, at a Christmas dinner in Williamsburg in 2010. We had lots of fun on that trip and several others where we’ve spent Christmas in Williamsburg.

Bonus Block from Remember Me

Finally we are at the end. The last block I stitched was the Bonus Block from Remember Me. The first stitch went in in Georgia, the last in Virginia. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching Anniversaries and picking out the charts that were just right for me and my family.

Just another look at the entire piece before I go. Writing this post has taken over a week while writing and re-writing and adding and substracting pictures. I’ve gathered pictures old and new trying to represent each family member. It’s been fun to go through almost every single picture we have.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a milestone in my stitchy life!

Posted in Anniversaries of the Heart SAL, Blackbird Designs, Cross Stitch Finishes, Cross-Stitch, Sampler Cross Stitch, Stitchery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

WIP Wednesday, February 3, 2021 and a New Finish

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone is well this week. We’ve been inside for the past few days because of the snow, but I was able to get our for a haircut yesterday afternoon. It was pretty to watch it snow for over two straight days. Fortunately, it was a light snow and we have about 6″. While it was snowing, we put some picture shelves and a curtain rod up in my studio. I did get a quilt on the rod and am slowly deciding what’s going on the shelves and the walls. I also finished stitching Button Up by Prairie Schooler last Friday and fully finished it.

Button Up was such a fun stitch! With every little block, I remembered playing in the snow as a kid and how much fun we had. The original chart has 9 squares, but I left the cardinal out and will plan on stitching it by itself as a little ornament. I got the idea to stitch it 4 x 2 from Helen D on Flosstube (@eastcoast.crafter on Instagram). I really liked how she finished hers, too.

I made mine as a small pillow with fiberfill and a two piece back. I added the bottom boarder just so you can see the bottom of the pillow when it’s being displayed.

My little guy went out to play in the snow this morning!

Then he had to come in and get warm!

Button Up is stitched with all DMC, mostly the called for colors, on 32 ct “Snow Day” Lugana hand dyed by Misty of Luminous Fiber Arts.

Last week, I watched Barb on Lost in Floss, Flosstube, and she was going to be doing Finish It February (#finishitfebruarysal on IG). I decided to join her and picked these four projects to work on this month. The idea is try to finish up a few things without starting anything new. I’m sure I can finish one, but I will at least make progress on all four.

  • Top left: Stitchville by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms
  • Top right: Home Grown by It’s Sew Emma (Fat Quarter Shop)
  • Bottom Left: Let’s Talk Winter by Hands On Design
  • Bottom Right: Salute to Abigail by Blackbird Designs

I’ve already made a little progress on Stitchville. I think I’ll be able to finish this by the end of the week. After changing the hoop around a few times to finish up a strand of thread, I decided to try to stitch in hand without the hoop. I didn’t have any problems and I’ll continue to stitch like that so I can easily move around.

I made some progress on Winter Rose Manor, too. My plan is to try to work some on this on the weekends. I’m not ready to put it away and I would like to continue to stitch on it until it’s finished, I just know there is too much left to finish it in February, even if that’s all I stitched on.

I’m still stitching Scenic Farm every morning and finally made it to one of the buildings. As I was pulling the strands of floss for that bottom row of purple, I noticed the directions called for 2 strands of one color and 1 strand of another. I looked at the symbol for some of the other blends that I had done in the trees and they called for 2 or 3 strands of one color and 1 strand of another. Oh, no! I only used 1 strand of each color!

For this blend that the arrow is pointing at, it calls for 3 strands plus 1 strand. That’s 4 strands on 36 ct linen. Even stitching on 18 ct Aida, which came with the kit, that would be a lot. I went back over it with one extra strand and I think that will be enough. These are half stitches and that extra strand definitely has better coverage, but I think it’s enough coverage. I don’t need 4 strands. I will go back over all those tree stitches with another strand of thread. (SIGH) At least it should go pretty fast.

Well, that’s all I’ve got today. I plan on sewing some quilt blocks this week and finish getting my walls dressed up. I hope you have a great rest of your week and thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Blackbird Designs, Cross Stitch Finishes, Cross-Stitch, Pillows, prairie schooler, Scenic Farm Cross Stitch, Stitchery, Winter stitching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baby Quilt Finish and Saturday in the Park

Hello Everyone! Do you live in the Mid Atlantic or Northeast? Then you are probably expecting some snow in the next few days. Over the next two days, we can get anywhere from 5 – 12 inches. The predictions for us have been all over the place. I finished the baby quilt and plan to spend the snowy days doing things in my sewing studio I’ve put off since we moved here, like hang my mini quilts on the wall. Do you remember the song by Chicago, “Saturday in the Park”? It is one of my favorites by the band. We had a beautiful ride in Shenandoah NP on Saturday and I’ll share those pictures at the end.

The Baby Quilt for my niece, all quilted and bound. I am really pleased with it. Since I did make the sashing much smaller than originally planned, I had enough of the background fabric to make the same size borders. The background has a small gray dot and is from Bunny Hill Designs Sugar Plum Christmas collection. I’ve had this fabric for several years and I wonder if I can get any more. It’s been perfect for so many backgrounds. You can see it better in the picture below. By the way, did you notice the large bulletin board the quilt is mostly on? That’s one thing that’s been ready to go on the wall for a while and it will be the first thing up later today.

It was so much fun to get back to quilting, too. Besides doing a little straight line quilting on the placemats I made for Christmas, this is the first quilting I’ve done since July. My new table was great, too. I’ll write a whole review on that soon.

As for the quilting, I wanted to keep it light so the quilt would be nice and soft, so I thought big loops in the background was the way to go. I used Quilter’s Dream Poly and loved the feel of it in this quilt. I also used my favorite Aurifil 50 wt thread color #2800. It just about matches any background.

I ended up getting the cute flannel animal print at Hobby Lobby. I checked the local quilt shop first, but they didn’t have any baby prints in their flannel collection. I bought extra so I could make a couple of small gifts to go with the quilt.

On the left is a burping cloth and on the right is a travel changing pad. And yes, I went back and finished the quilting, pictures always pick up things that our eyes fail to see.

I tied them up with a pretty ribbon and shipped them yesterday on our way to the park. Just a note for anyone who ships fabric items, I always put them in a large Ziplock storage bag to keep them safe from the elements.

We had a beautiful drive in the park, traffic was light and it was a clear day, although the clouds were building to the south. We only got out at a few overlooks because it was cold! It was 38 degrees in the valley, but had dropped to 27 at the highest points on the drive.

I love winter time drives! You can just see so far. We’re looking over the Massanutten ridge and into the Alleghenies in West Virginia on those far ranges.

This passage was beautiful when the leaves were changing, but leafless trees have a beauty of their own, too.

We rounded a bend to this site. We saw a few frozen ice flows earlier, but nothing like this.

Just so pretty!

We exited the park near Luray and continued the drive to New Market. We are going through the gap on Massanutten Mountain towards New Market here. We turned back north on US 11 towards home in New Market. I don’t know if I unconsciously saw a sign or what, but I asked my husband where the covered bridge was.

He took the next left in less than half a mile and we were there!

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge in Mt. Jackson is the longest covered bridge in Virginia and is the only one open to traffic.

Just on the other side of the bridge and down the road a little bit, we saw this site. Can you guess what it is? I saw it as we were coming down the mountain into New Market and thought maybe a new winery was being built and those were grape fences I saw.

Nope, not that. It’s a solar farm. It’s very close to I-81 and it was not there when we made our three trips to Georgia at the end of September and beginning of October. I also think we would have seen it when we did our drive through the area in November. We came out on one of the roads that we were on then near Mt. Jackson and it certainly stands out from far away. We have a small solar farm near us, but this one is huge!

I hope you all have a great rest of your weekend, enjoy the snow if you get any. Stay safe and well and thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Mountain Trips, My Patterns, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

WIP Wednesday, January 26 2021

Hello Everyone! It’s once again time for an update on my cross stitch projects.

We have a full hoop! Yeah! I’ve averaged working about 45 minutes every morning except one on the Dimensions design, Scenic Farm, since I started it on January 1. Even though those are mostly half stitches, there are still lots of stitches in this 5 inch hoop. I like to use these spring tension hoops because they are lightweight and don’t tire my hands. Occasionally, I do have to adjust the tension to tighten the fabric, but I generally like a looser tension.

Almost every color I’ve used so far is a blend of two threads so it does take extra time to get ready to stitch. If I have time, I try to blend the next set of threads I’m going to use the next day so I can sit down and stitch. You can see that I have backstitched branches in the tree. I’m going to backstitch as I go just there won’t be so much at the end.

I moved the hoop down the center line and I will continue to stitch until I fill the hoop up again. Fortunately, there are some unstitched spaces for the snow covered ground here and I hope it won’t take another four weeks before it’s time to move on.

I’ve mostly been working on Prairie Schooler’s Button Up in the evenings. I’m almost finished with the block on the bottom left. I need to complete filling in the snow in the lower left corner before moving on to the last block. I’m going to keep working on this three or four times a week until it’s finished. Each of these blocks is taking me about 5 days to complete. I’ve been thinking about how to finish it, and a little long and narrow pillow just keeps popping into my mind. I think it would also be nice as a flat fold like Cozy Cardinals.

During the football game on Sunday afternoon, I pulled out Winter Rose Manor by With Thy Need and Thread. I completed the last flower on the top right and stitched the medallion motif. I played around with different white threads to see which ones worked the best. The fabric is lighter than the called for, so it was hard. I’m stitching one over two on 36 ct Sparrow by Luminous Fiber Arts. I went with DMC 3865. Where there is a lot of white together, it will be okay, but on those snowflakes out by themselves, I’m going to stitch them two over two.

This a reminder of what it looks like. My plan is to work my way over to the house. I’ll probably work on it as I’m working on some of the other aspects of the piece. Everyone on Flosstube say it’s a lot to stitch at one time. There’s also a lot of snow on the ground to stitch. I’m doing the easy part now. This is such a pretty piece, though, so I want to continue to work on it.

I had planned on starting another new start this month, but until I finish Button Up, that’s going to be on hold.

We had a pretty quiet weekend, which gave me time to work on the baby quilt. It’s basted and ready to be quilted, which I plan on starting later today.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week and stay safe. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Cross-Stitch, prairie schooler, Sampler Cross Stitch, Scenic Farm Cross Stitch, Stitchery, Winter stitching | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baby Quilt Progress and a New State Park

Hello Everyone! Welcome back. I hope you are enjoying your weekend. It’s been a quiet one here because it is cold and windy, but we had a beautiful day earlier this week. We took advantage of it and visited a nearby state park. I also spent the week working on the baby quilt for my niece. She is due any day now.

I finished all the blocks and sewed them together yesterday. I just need to add the border. I changed the size of the sashing from 2″ to 3/4″ finished, so I think I will have enough of the background fabric to use as the borders. They will be the same size as the sashing. I’m very pleased with the results and I have to thank Sigi, @littlequiltsong, on Instagram for the inspiration for these blocks. I’ve been following Sigi for years and admire all the quilts she makes. She also makes baby quilts for charity, which is why I scrolled through her pictures for ideas. The arrow idea came from an arrow quilt Sigi made which I do think came from the book, “Charming Baby Quilts” by Melissa Correy. My plan is to get the borders on this morning, then I can cut the backing fabric and get the layers basted. I’ll have to ponder how I will quilt it, I want to keep it nice and soft.

We had a nice surprise on Wednesday! We had a little uncalled for snow on and off in the morning. It’s still a novelty to us. There is snow in the forecast for a few days this week, too. It keeps changing so we will see what happens.

Sky Meadows State Park

So we went from snow, cold and windy on Wednesday, to this beautiful day on Thursday! The temps were in the high 40’s, but without a lot of wind, it was a very pleasant day to go hiking. We went to Sky Meadows State Park, which is less than 20 miles away. I had read about the hiking and most comments were to hike the trails counter clockwise so you did not go up the very steep incline to the top of the mountain, so that’s what we did.

This is near the start of the trail heads. The park includes a colonial farm, which wasn’t open to tours without prior arrangement. We took the Gap Trail just because it was the shortest. Next time, we’ll take one of the longer trails and maybe even go hike the AT which goes through the park for about three miles. We had a nice hike up the mountain through the woods. Then we walked out of the woods to this…

It was spectacular all around us.

The trails go through those gaps in the hills, which take you to the top of the mountain. Besides hiking trails, there are bike and bridal trails on the other side of the park.

This is the overlook trail, going down.

Here it is looking back up. There are some benches under the tree which is about half way up the mountain. We may or may not try this way some day!

So after the hike, we just had to find a place to sit and relax for a bit. Like I said before, there must be a winery around here about every 2 miles! We are at The Barrel Oak which is down the road from the park in Delaplane. Those are two other wineries you’re looking at right next door.

We kept warm by the fire as we enjoyed a very nice bottle of wine. It was a little more breezy by this time and the fire felt good. Who says you can’t do things in the winter time, you just have to bundle up and go. Next week is supposed to be cold every day, so we’ll see what we can do as far as getting out one day. It may just have to be a car ride.

Stay safe and warm this week and thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Hiking, Mountain Trips, Quilts, Travel, Virginia State Parks, Wineries | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

WIP Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hello Everyone! I hope you are having a great week so far. I’ve been busy with the baby quilt and had to find backing fabric for it yesterday. It’s been a while since I’ve done any in person fabric shopping so that was fun! This week, I have a new start to share plus progress on my other new starts in January.

Let’s start with Scenic Farm, the Dimensions kit, my January 1st start.

New progress on Scenic Farm

I finished filling in the sky around the tree and started adding two more layers of the brownish leaves. I also got a small start on the steeple on top of the barn. Almost every color has been blended threads. I spent a little time yesterday getting the floss ready to fill in the rest of the leaves behind the tree. That will all be the same color as the darker set of leaves at the bottom on the left side. It’s been mostly half stitches, but there’s still a lot of stitching taking place. I think before I move my hoop, I’m going to backstitch the branches in the tree out to those purplish leaves so I don’t have to do all the backstitching at one time. So far, I’m still enjoying working on this in the mornings.

Last week’s progress

I did a little bit more stitching on Let’s Talk Autumn by Hands On Design. I got tired of working on the white, so I moved onto a little color. I’m using DMC 502 and 503 for the greens and they are very old. While I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday, I picked up a new skein of each. They are not quite the same color, but my old ones look a little fluffy, not really shredding, just not fresh looking, so I may change them out for the new ones. This one is slow going because it’s on 32 ct Lugana instead of 16 ct Aida, which is what I’ve been stitching the chalkboard pieces on. I like the look of it though so I want to keep going. Maybe I need to up my magnifiers for this piece.

I finished another block in Button Up by the Prairie Schooler, only two more to go! I am enjoying stitching this, but that last block was almost full coverage and took me 5 days to finish it. Some of the others would be that way, too, but since I’m using the grayish Snow Day fabric by Luminous Fiber Arts, I’m not stitching any of the gray in the sky. I’m going to continue with it until it’s finished.

I finally got my fabric for Winter Rose Manor and decided not to use the new one that I ordered!

I had the top fabric, 36 ct Sparrow, hand dyed by Luminous Fiber Arts, already, and I guess I never pulled it out to see if it would work. I think I thought it was too light. As I was organizing my fabrics when the new ones came in, I had it out on top of the 40 ct Lt Mocha and thought why not try it. It has just a touch of green in it and I think it looks good. I had a hard time deciding between these two fabrics, though. I had to let the floss sit on them for a full day before I decided to go with the Sparrow. I have changed out all three reds and the pink for the house. I haven’t decided on which white to use yet either. I will have to try a couple as I go to see which looks the best. I’m using GA Pomegranate for CCW Used Bricks, Weeks Cayenne for GA Mulberry and CCW Manor Red for CCW Cayenne. My colors are not quite as brown as the called for reds. I’m also switching the Weeks Conch out for CCW Rose Petal for the house. (That’s the Conch off to the right side in the picture). I do plan on stitching the small on the 40 Lt Mocha, eventually.

This is my start for the first night’s stitching. You can see up in the left corner where I checked if I wanted to use one or two strands on this 36 ct. I went with 1 mainly because I only have one skein of the pink and I don’t think I can stitch the house with one skein using two strands.

Here’s a sneak peak at my Anniversaries of the Heart that I just got back from the framers! It may take me another week to get all my family pictures gathered to write my special post on this piece.

We have a busy next couple of days coming up. Since it’s supposed to be nice tomorrow, we’re going to go for a hike in a nearby state park. On Friday, we are finally going to get our new driver’s license and tags. It took three months to get an appointment! I don’t know if we’ll have to take a written test or not, the web site wasn’t very clear on that, but I will be studying for it during the next few days just in case.

I hope you have a great rest of your week and weekend. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in Cross-Stitch, prairie schooler, Scenic Farm Cross Stitch, Stitchery, Winter stitching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment