Homespun Gathering

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Beginnings

I began a new cross stitch project on July 1st.  The new project was no surprise, but having every color called for was.  When working on a design with multiple colors I've always needed something.  Before going into the store I was telling my husband that I love having easy shopping access to DMC, but I hate  having to squat down in the store to find it.  My Hobby Lobby has always kept it down toward the bottom.  This meant duck walking from side to side looking for your favorite colors.  Well, there's a visual for you.  I walked into the store and found it in a different aisle taller than it was wide--sheer heaven.  I also found different crafts sprinkled in along the aisle--cool.  Time moves on, and today was a good day.
I may have had all the colors, but some would run out quickly.   My floss purchase is resting on the 32 ct. Dirty Linen from Zweigart called for in the design.
July 4th evening was spent with Mom, so after picking up the floss, and supper, we headed out to the farm hopping to out drive the rain storm coming in.  By the time we arrived there was rain and lightening, but not enough to cancel our fun.
After a light supper we had Spingerle cookies and ice cream.  I couldn't help but make a an ice cream sandwich out of mine.
Going into my stash for this new cross stitch project turned into pulling a few things.  Any guesses in who came to visit?
Wanna play?

Play never stops with a paw under the door with Abigail.  She must investigate.

Any guesses what my new project is?

Meanwhile Abigail has finally tuckered out.
At this point things were going swimmingly with Love Never Fails by Barbara Ana Designs.
But, then I moved on to the leaves and stems.
It was off by one which wasn't going to work or I would have left it.
So, I ripped it out and stitched it again to find the same end point (different mistake area)
So, I ripped out to the mistake and re-stitched.
Let's just say that this may be the mistake-filled design, and the one that will build my patient easy going nature.  :-)  I'm really taking it in stride though.  I've said for a long time it's the mistakes that make a project perfect to me.

How do you stitch your pants on?  I like to stitch mine one leg at a time.  If you have stitched this design you will know that I have changed the coat color from black to blue.  Her dress color will be the same blue--DMC 3750.

 There is only one place my task light can go in my living room, so I have switched my chairs and my couch for better stitching support.  The cushion is great in this chair, but the arms are wooden and too high.  This means I'm back in the frame.  I learned with the last project the stand squishes my linen and threads making them shiny.  My solution is a clean rag.  It's not the most beautiful solution, but it works well.  

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Life Is Peachy

Three weeks ago I visited the Peach Truck.  If you're not from GA, TN, IN, PA and a couple other states you may not have heard of the Peach Truck.  You can find the story online, but long story short I went to a local stop for the Peach (semi) Truck during their 2016 Peach Tour.  I purchased 50 pounds of yummy, sweet, ripe peaches.  They are now all gone.  I'm a little embarrassed to say I ate most of them a few a day.  I did however make one delicious cobbler and one tasty batch of peach salsa.  I had intended to can most of them, but Mom's pressure cooker needed replacement parts.  The rubber had dry rotted over time.  I'm surprised she got as many years out of the cooker that she did.  Well, the replacement parts have arrived and the Peach Truck will be back this week.  Here's to hopefully canning most of those peaches.
Peach Cobbler
The quilting project has resumed, and I'm on schedule to finish the quilt top in about a month.  As a reminder it is my first quilt, and I chose a Double Irish Chain with scanty directions.  Let's just say there has been a lot of online research and patience with myself as I gain experience through mistakes.  
It is advisable to clear your quilting table before going to bed
unless you want your cat to use your pin keep for a soccer ball.
Did the thread get to play soccer too?
I wish I could say I made this mistake only once.
Well it wasn't all hard lessons.
Setting up strip sets for sewing.
Scissors made a great bookmark to keep me straight.
I was watching Eleanor Burns on YouTube to keep me company and give me some courage. 
 Abigail just might be a quilter even though she may not admit it.  The head turned in disinterest as soon as she noticed the camera.  Faker!  This one enjoys keeping me company as I work on the piecing.
I should point out I use my mom's 1963 Singer.  She had a newer machine, and this is the one I grew up with.  It's extremely sentimental, and she figured I'd get more use out of it. Do you notice the duct tape?  That's right.  The thread I chose to use was on a spool too long for my machine.  After reading the manual I believe there may be a gadget in one of my boxes that will allow me to attach the thread vertically.  For now, the duct tape is working quite well.
I had cut and pieced all the strip sets together for the checkered blocks, but there were really bad elbows from the folded portions.  This of course caused width to be completely off.  The strip below was the second set of cutting.  There is still an elbow, but I think I can work with it.
I didn't want to applique 80 2" blocks onto my 8" chain blocks, so I got some grid paper and designed a chain block that could be pieced.  

Sad to say, once I had cut the large middle section I realized the width was an inch too small.  I rolled it up for later use in the checkered border.  The 4" wide strip will easily cut down into 2" squares.  I was a little worried about a stash collection, and I think that is no longer a concern--lol.
Onward and upward.  I began piecing the chain blocks and realized I should have checked my machine first.  Zoiks, the zig-zag was left on!  Ripped that out and moved on.
I got this far and my bobbin thread ran out.  I'm so grateful . . . 
. . . because in the process of reading my manual to remember how to fill the bobbin, I realized my needle was set to the right instead of center.
I thought those seams were awfully skinny.
Skinny seams mean a  bigger block, so I left the completed blocks to be trimmed later.  The two smaller sections were ripped out and re-sewn.  Okay, NOW I was cooking with gas.  It was at this point I decided to stop piecing one block at a time.  Chain piecing one section at a time seemed faster, I found after picking up the completed chain I had created party decorations.  Whahoo!
I was growing tired so chain pieced twenty of the blocks and called it a day.
The next day I loaded some wood for my mother and DS16 and I unloaded it. 
 I won't bore you with why it took me 3 hours to load it, but I am proud to say it took much less time to unload it--less than 25 minutes.
I'm happy to say this load is at the farm, and there are about 5-6 loads the same size still to come.  Mom heats her 207 year old home almost exclusively with wood now.
In other news . . . I was excited the zinnias I had discovered as a seed packet in a new box of rubber gloves actually grew last year.  They were beautiful.  I noticed they reseeded and were coming up beautifully this year.  However, they don't seem to have any intention of blooming and blossoming. :-( Disappointing, but I have learned something about free seeds.
The next day I was back to piecing, and finished the rest of the chain blocks.  Hooray!
40 chain blocks
Alright, I know you've never done this, but sometimes I do things at the end of the day that give me a giggle.  The other night I got distracted by a thought while I was on my laptop, so I propped my Shaker catalog on the screen and started to flip through it. Of course, there was more than the catalog going on in the room at the moment, and at some point I couldn't figure our why the page wouldn't turn.  Um, Judy, your computer is powerful, but the arrow key is not powerful enough to turn a paper copy of a catalog--(smh).
When my grandmother was quilting she had one resource--print.  This book was her's and my mother gave it to me recently because of my interest in quilts and learning how to quilt.  The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America is a wonderful resource my grandmother had picked up from Goodwill for a whopping $2.99.  I have enjoyed looking through it and have recently started reading it cover to cover.  
As I was surfing the other day for all things "quilty" I stumbled on this page.  It turns out this book is a classic, and Barbara Brackman has chosen some of her favorite applique designs and piece accents for a beautiful new quilt. I'm so excited about it, but refuse to make any purchases until the current quilt is completed.  I realize an appliqued quilt may seem ambitious, but if my first quilt hasn't scared me off yet, an appliqued quilt certainly doesn't have a chance.  That being said, it's not the next quilt.
This quilt was made by my mother 27 years ago to celebrate my graduation from high school.  It has seen a lot of love and been in regular use for the last several years.  I've realized I have loved it to pieces, and it's time to repair it again and remove it from my bed and full-time service.  I didn't realize what that would do to me.  The first night I didn't sleep well, and when I woke up the next morning I needed to wrap up in the quilt while drinking my morning coffee.  It was then that I realized sleeping under a quilt for so many years had had a profound effect on me. 

I was obsessed with purple when I was in middle school, so Mom had plenty of scraps to work with. I might even have been responsible for some of that purple floss-lol.

So what's a girl to do?  That's right, make another quilt.  The quilt I'm currently making is planned for the quilt crane that currently holds an older quilt from my husband's family.  Quilt cranes make a great display when not in use.  The older quilt really does need to be safely stored in the treasure chest.  The next quilt hasn't been chosen, but I will probably chose a design that can be quickly pieced since I know the hand quilting will take the most of the time.

I will keep you updated on the progress--failures and all.  Thank you so much for your comments.  They do mean so much, as they do for any blogger in the blog community.

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.



Saturday, July 2, 2016

It Is Finished

Springerle Practice

I belong to a springerle group on FaceBook.  It appears there have been quite a few posts lately since I had a strong urge to work on this craft again.  It's nowhere near Christmas and drier weather, but here I am again mixing, molding, and drying these beauties for baking.  I thought I'd give it a shot since the dry air that just moved in seemed ideal for springerle in the summer.  My tried and true recipe from House on the Hill is no longer working as well.  I'm getting a much wetter dough than before.  Wet dough isn't much of a problem if you are going to cut with cookie cutters, but when using wooden molds this same dough can get stuck in the tiny crevices--a mess.  Last night I clearly was a little tired and added all purpose flour to the board for rolling and molding instead of cake flour.  I found it made the cookies tough.  
before working flour in to create a smooth dough

Rolling out only part of the dough keeps it from drying out and becoming overworked

I love the look of  "broken corners".  It reminds me of tablets found on an archaeological dig.  I don't mind the imperfect cookies it creates.  These cookies were very imperfect this time.  I was ignoring smoothness in trade for a quick stamp.  All I was looking for was how they baked up this time.
The cookies puffed up like pillows, but there were no bubbles that created an air pocket between the imprint and the cookie center.  I'm thinking I might try one less egg next time or maybe a bit more powdered sugar.  In America the confectionery (powdered) sugar contains a small amount of cornstarch to keep the sugar from clumping.  My theory is it will bind to the extra moisture in the cookie making less flour necessary.  Yes, the sides and corners were a little wonky, but my main focus was on the print.
All Boxed Up

Girls Day Out

Tuesday I took Mom to post to help her get a permanent ID card.  At the age of 75 the military will do that.  Mom's current card didn't expire until 2018, but we both agreed her mind might not be functioning well enough for us to wait that long.  The military rules are supposed to require people to wait until the card expires, but there are nice people in charge who will do it anyway :-).  

Once we got her new card she bought me lunch and we headed home.  It's such a blessing to be able to help her with what I consider itty bitty stuff.  Mom is independent, so any help she allows us to give her is a HUGE blessing.  Taking her for her ID card was really no big deal, but you would have thought I bought her a new car or catered her meals for a week.  

I finally remembered to set up her phone while I was at her house.  Her old answering machine with my dad's message was nearly impossible to hear from the base unit.  The trick was to call the house and get the timing right to record it on my iPhone and then the timing right again to record it on the new machine.  I'm so glad Mom was outside mowing and not listening to all of this.  She now has a phone she can hear.  

I call Mom regularly in the evenings to make sure she's okay and to catch up.  On a recent call she was telling me a story of the only rug my grandmother hooked.  Sometime during the 1950s my grandmother visited a local doctor's home.  It was a historical home according to mom, so I'm guessing the home was between 100-150 years old at the time.  Tennessee was considered the Wild West even in the early 1800s but beautiful homes were beginning to be built.  While touring the home my grandmother saw several hooked rugs and was bitten by the bug to hook one.  Because of my interest in hooked rugs Mom said I could have it if I could repair it. (Steady on, girl). :-) :-) :-)

The burlap (jute?) backing is going.

My grandmother had a great love of flowers and the color red.

After reading about care of a hooked rug I figured the best place to put it and still enjoy it was on top of the treasure chest.  We have hookers in my cross stitch group.  I'm hoping some of them will have some restoration solutions for me.

Beginning And The End

 This is not a shameless photo of my hubby, but the only shot I had of a highly favored stitching spot when we were on vacation in Mexico.  It was here that I got started on my stocking.  The overhead lighting allowed me to see without being blinded.  It was here that one of the young staff saw me stitching and asked to see it.  She spoke little English and I spoke even less Spanish, but the connection was priceless.  I have even more motivation to learn Spanish--Mexico's people.

Over the course of the last few months stitching this stocking I ran out of floss requiring me to order more and move on with what I had.  I ran out of floss again when I realized the yellow floss Vonna from the Twisted Stitcher had chosen worked beautifully for her linen and not mine.  I realized after stitching a couple of motifs that I could see to stitch, but it wouldn't show up across the room.
  So, I ended up ripping out the rose/bird and restitching it and a few other sections with a better color I had on hand.  I ran out of floss--again.  I ordered and stitched and waited.

I'm usually such an methodical stitcher, but not on the this one.  Miscounting due to inattention and poor eyesight led to frogging and stuff that maybe should have been, but I left it.  The older I get the more character I appreciate in a project.  And now it's finally completed--character and all.

The Quaker Stocking from CHS is stitched over 2 on 32 count.
The other two are over 2 on 40 count.

Memory Of Mexico

I wanted to end with a funny and endearing memory from Mexico.   My husband and I were walking along the beach and I decided to step up on this rock.  I just wanted to stand on it when the surf came in . . . or did I?


Upon further inspection . . . 
Little barnacles.  I'm such a dork-lol. ;-)

Until next time, count your blessings--God's gifts to you.