Saturday, March 28, 2015

I'm Going to make a Dear Jane quilt

Over the past few years I have toyed with the idea of making a Dear Jane quilt, visiting blog sites to read about other quilters progress, taking in a few quilt shows with Dear Jane as the featured quilt or theme and I have collected some photos of some favorite colorways I even mentioned it on this blog and then recently I bought the book by Brenda Papadakis, while recovering the latest upset with my old ticker. (a link to my first post about Dear Jane is at the end of this post).

Now some of you may be asking what is a Dear Jane Quilt? While others are shaking their heads thinking oh no, what is she thinking.

Quite simply a Dear Jane quilt is a quiltmakers journey (nightmare) with 169 blocks, 52 pieced triangles, 4 corner kites and a total of 5602 pieces. Yes you read that right there are 5602 pieces in this quilt and no two blocks are the same.  

I decided I need a new challenge and I want to make a quilt that will eventually find a place in my home, so this year I am going to begin a Dear Jane journey. I expect this journey will take me years to complete! I will be piecing each block by hand using standard piecing techniques, and I will quilt it by hand as well. 
purple Jane
I am not going to run out and buy new fabric for a specific colorway which by the way can look fabulous, like the purple Jane in the photo above but after a recent sorting through my fabric stash bins I'm going to use the fabrics I have on hand.
fabric bin 1 of 2
To see some beautiful color combinations of the Dear Jane Quilt check out this site:

So what do your think, am I crazy? 
Will this quilt is finally become a reality? I guess you will have to check back every now and then to check my progress.
Check out this site for everything Dear Jane:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring and March TUSAL report

Well it's the first day of Spring and as in years gone by I awoke with an internal restlessness and the urge to hit the road for an adventure of sorts and oddly enough to declutter my nest.  I felt the mild stirrings of restlessness for a few weeks so I will have to appease the stirrings soon and take a short road trip soon.

Here is my Ort Report photo of my Ort jar filling up rather nicely this fine Spring New Moon day (that was a mouthful), followed by the current projects I'm working on.
What is a TUSAL you ask, and what the heck is an ORT jar well if you want to be in the know click the link and learn all about it from daffycat, you may find you want to join in too.

My lastest progress on Greenman #2 in the Q-Snap frame, I've had to take a few days off from stitching to let the split on my finger heal so this week when I had time I put in several rows of crochet stitching to my shawl, my new yarn bowl is peaking out.
The new yarn bowl with dragonflies, there is room enough for a large ball of yarn or several yarns. Since I haven't had time to get into the pottery studio and this piece just took my breath away I bought it, I purchased it here
So far the shawl is currently 32 inches across this photo shows a more accurate  color of the yarn but fails to show the luster.

The quilt blank I put together to embroider different Greenmen designs which are currently in progress. The blanks are 8x8 inches just the right size to work comfortably in hoops or frames.
This ends my Ort report for the month of March, I really enjoy taking part in the TUSAL= Totally Useless Stitch a Long, it makes me want to stitch more.

Here is what I am currently reading,  this week both books are by authors I haven't read before which helps fill my goal of reading 12 new to me authors.
 The book by Maria Semple had me from page one, last night I couldn't put it down and read into the wee hours of the morning.
This book by Lisa Van Allen I chose for my reading books with thread in the title. Its a personal little challenge I came up for myself to get me reading when I hit a slump.  So far I have read A Single Thread and A Spool of Blue Thread.

Some day this week I will be planting the OldHami bamboo in my garden and clearing away the fallen twigs and ever growing weeds.

I wish you all a very Happy Spring

Monday, March 16, 2015

Master Gardener's Spring Festival

Oldhami Bamboo
Yesterday I purchased 3 new bamboo babies for my backyard from the Master Gardener's Spring Plant Sale. I was thrilled to find the bamboo at one of the booths since in past years I am either too late or no vendor was selling it.

And to think this year I wasn't going to attend since I don't have plans to do much in the garden except a major clean up.

The rhododendron is still blooming even after the surprising dip down into the 20's last month
My greenman planter with caladiums blooming again oh I didn't even notice the Anole sitting there when I was snapping the photo.
I think this is either a broccoli or cauliflower plant coming back up, it's a big surprise to me I didn't think those plants did that, I guess it resowed itself. Or its just an exotic weed, I need to pull the weeds in this area so I will keep my eye on it.

In the above photo the broccoli is on the left I think those leaves look about the same, don't you?
Another lovely bunch of clovers growing among the weeds I've used them in mini terrarium ornaments in the past.
Here is a photo of my beautiful bamboo I started from a 3 inch piece, I planted her in the ground in July of 2011 and she has grown by leaps and bounds, I am hopeful my 3 new plants will do as well.
This past weekend was all about having a good time, relaxing and not thinking about anything too serious.  On Saturday I went to Tampa for the Celtic wekend of the Renaissance Faire, it runs on the weekends from mid February to the last week of March with a different theme each weekend.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ren-Faire in Tampa

Dancing the Maypol
Wind pickups
Free Stone Toss
A White Wizard
Real Live Greenman

Monday, March 9, 2015

Loveseat delivered

My new loveseat was delivered early this morning, I received a phone call on Friday letting me know it was ready and what day would I likve it delivered, then on Saturday I get the automated call with the 2 hour window for delivery and it came 3 weeks early.

There is subtle shades of blue and gold in the fabric.  I chose the loveseat rather then wait to find a chair I like which is proving near impossible and believe me I still have room for a chair.  My sofa is dark brown and the pieces work together nicely. I have been planning on changing the drapes so that will be a future project.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

rambles from me

Just a brief post with the progress on the blue shawl I'm crocheting, I managed a few rows while attending the first Saturday session of Thread Therapy held at the Yards n Yarn shop.
Another coloring book to use for hand embroidery patterns came in the mail a few days ago from Dover Publications.
The pictures are a little more detailed which should make for some colorful hand embroidery pieces like this one with the seashell.
And just a little reminder for all of us

Thursday, March 5, 2015

This is what I'm stitching this week

Another partially sunny day here in Florida with temps in the low 80's, its hard to believe last week we were down in the 30's.  There is a nice breeze kicking up outside my window and the sound of my wind chimes tinkling on the air fills me with a sense of calm.

Today is Thread Therapy at Yards n Yarn but I have opted to miss it today in an attempt to get the quilt blocks finished for class tomorrow. Thread Therapy is going to be offered on Saturdays too beginning on the 7th which will work out much better for me. On my crochet hook right now is the blue Bamboo Silk blend in a deep rich blue, I am playing around with the yarn and J hook to see what I come up with, a simple triangle using the granny square stitch and space technique.
A few more blocks for tomorrow's quilt class, the last log cabin block and six flying geese that need to be trimmed and sewn together.
You may notice I re-made the flying geese blocks from what I made last week, I just wasn't thrilled with the look and the size was off too.
I miss piecing my blocks by hand, once this class is over I have plans to start a new hand pieced quilt. I wanted to take the beginning quilt class in order to learn how to better use the rotary cutter and those grid rulers and I have but something is lacking I just can't put my finger on it.

I did find a sweet new butterfly pattern for Spring using hand embroidery, the pattern is by Black Cat Creations.
Progress on Greenman #2 is coming along nicely all the main outter outline stitches are done and now I can start working the indiviual leaves. I am not thrilled with the crayon tinting on part of the face so hopefully adding the stitching will improve the overall look, or this will be tossed in the test pile.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Marching toward Spring with a few new stitches and a good book.

Well here we are with a new month ahead of us anxious to brush off the last remnants of winter and head into Spring.

Last Friday's quilt class was good despite me having a very off day from the start, when I arrived at the quilt shop I caught up with Dee Ann who was the instructor for the Hand Embroidery classes I attended last October, she will be offering a few new hand embroidery classes in the coming months

While looking at the pattern for the class she is teaching on the 3rd,  I don't care for the quilt so I didn't sign up for the class. I do like the embroidery centerpiece.

I came across this pattern hanging right next to the one she is doing for class and bought it.

If you know me I love the beach and just the other day I was looking for a seahorse embroidery pattern for a friend so I picked up the pattern which includes these motifs to hand embroider.
If I make this quilt I'm thinking seashell fabric or some light pastels to frame each block, change all the thread colors too. The pattern would not be my only purchase of the day, as I said earlier my day didn't go so well from the start I was feeling sick in the morning, my blood pressure has been wonky and my medications tweaked, which often leaves me feeling out of sorts, Friday was one of those days, I left my cutting mat and large ruler at home, so I purchased new ones so I wouldn't hold up class borrowing from someone, which believe me was offered, thank you ladies. 

Here are a few more blocks pieced from the quilt class, we did my favorite quilt block the log cabin. I used the same fabrics for both blocks but changed the piecing just a bit.
The other block pieces are flying geese which I am not overly thrilled with so I may remake them. All need to be pressed again after spending a few hours packed in my messy bag of fabric.  I was not feeling so good on Friday morning but didn't want to miss this class since I  missed class on the 6th.
The log cabin blocks were supposed to be done on the 6th and I was going to work it at home but I could not grasp the instructions in the book for the piecing method, lucky for me the instructor switched the blocks to be pieced and then changed the piecing method to the one I have used for decades which is sewing one piece at a time. 

I have to complete another log cabin block as well as two set of the flying geese and I need to make 3 friendship stars before next weeks class. We have 2 more classes to go and next week we should be ready to sew the blocks and add the borders. (I better count all my blocks to be sure I have them all).

On the Greenman #2 hand embroidery piece, the first few stitches were added last night 
This piece is approximately on a 16 inch block of white muslin fabric with another block of white adhered to the block to give the stitching more stability and to keep the threads in back from showing through.

On Thursday I attended the Thread Therapy group and made good progress crocheting the little bag, I am making the purple bag in the photo.
I managed to get 40 rows stitched which may not seem like much but using steel hook number 7 its great well at least it is for me. I also picked up a few more balls of crochet thread.
The silver thread in the photo has sequins throughout, I am not sure how well it will work up alone, depending on the results I may use it combined with another thread or yarn.
My new Brother sewing machine didn't give me any problems during class except user error when I reached across the top and somehow reset the stitch width and had to rip out stitches 3 times when it dawned on me what I had happened,  readjusted and I was off and stitching my last two pieces. 

When I not putting together a quilt block or hand stitching I can usually be found reading a book or two. This week I am reading

If ever I was going to reread a book the China Bayles mysteries would be my choice hands down. My love of reading, herbs and gardening keeps me turning the pages long into the night. 

It was while reading these novels that had me planning my first outdoor herb garden here in Florida, I had several herbs on the window sill of my first apartment when I decided I could plant more herbs in the space outside my bedroom window, it was a small space indeed but it thrived for the few years I gardened there, in fact that little 3x5 foot space was the most successful garden I have had since moving here twenty years ago and some day I would like to have my garden thrive like that again, but it won't be this year.

Last Saturday while shopping for the elusive comfy chair I found this very comfortable love seat and bought it, I should be delivered in about 4 weeks. I am still looking for a comfy chain but I think this may fill the need. This is a stock photo of the chair which is dark brown and turquoise, I have a dark brown sofa, this will add a little color to the room.