Friday, January 23, 2009

It's not just for quilting

In pursuit of a bag for my new camera, I remembered Superior Thread's Razzle Dazzle by Ricky Tims. It is 18 weight and looked to be thick enough to create something. Starting with a 2.5 steel hook, then moving to 3.0, I settled on an E aluminum hook to make this little bag in single crochet. The flap is double crochet decreasing on each side and the strap is three dc and a three chain for each row.

The thread can be a little untwisty which led me to the E hook. Color 255 makes it looks like fine chain mail. Even though it is a metallic thread, it wasn't that scratchy to work with and the finished bag is actually a little soft.

Now on my hook is Color 256 in double crochet to make a small evening bag. This color is creating a richer, more sparkly fabric, but now I have to wait for another spool or two to finsh the bag.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's been an interesting year

Reflecting on 2008 brings some wonderful memories and interesting adventures. And time has a way of blurring things. The move to NJ was mostly uneventful, if not drawn out. The Minnesota Quilters Show in June was mostly a huge sucess (over $75,000 profit that will fund the guild and quilting in Minnesota). Working on the two houses and the quilt show plus the board duties just about burned me out. I'm still vegging and playing games a bit too much, but my creative muse is peeking out more often and is frequently seen with crochet hooks and thread.
With the installation of a Wii and involvement in excercise classes in the community (including water aerobics) I hope I'll be pulled away from the computer more and more often.
The MN house finally sold, for much less than we hoped, but before winter set in and now we're not paying a mortgage or double utilities.
I've met more neighbors and had some great day trips thanks to living in this community. I'll be teaching beginning crochet and fabric flowers in March and May. For some reason, this seems right, while teaching quilting is still not something I want to do.
We need to get back to Hyde Park and the FDR estate. DH seems reluctant to venture about in winter, but we haven't had very much snow (almost none). It's the thing I miss most about MN. "Snow does bring out the flake in me." Slowly, I'm discovering NJ. Something I intend to do more of now that gas is at a reasonable level.
I rediscovered crochet and started exploring thread crochet. I'm still quilting and playing with fabric, in fact, there are two quilts now in progress that will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in New Brunswick in February.
So broad goals for the new year are:
Explore the world beyond the gates and the world on the second floor
Exercise body, mind and spirit
We'll see what 2009 brings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bountiful Beauties and More

Finally, the studio has returned from being Santa's wrapping station and it's just about time to start sewing again. The Trees are up: (BIL and his family and K and I decorated for MIL & FIL this year. It was fun and greatly appreciated.)

Family Room Living Room In laws
and the gifts are done. Some still will not be revealed.
Amy Bradley's Bountiful Beauties was a great hit with the Water Aerobic Leader. I've really enjoyed the class three days a week. It gets me out and moving at least. We had an appreciation lunch last week and had wonderful Italian food at Cafe Colore on Rt 9 in Howell. No one knew the beauties were backwards. It's nice being among non-quilters who appreciate the work.

There's a list of quilts simmering in my head, along with a series of crocheted doilies inspired by the cover of Crochet World.

OK, so I started with February, cause those were the colors close at hand. I'm working on Gingerpeople for December which was on the cover of the magazine and there will be a different doily for each month. Although another idea came to me in Aerobics this's wonderful to get these design ideas again.

These are fingerless gloves or gauntlets for the postal carrier. They look like they're talking to each other. I am loving this crochet.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tenement Museum

One of the great things about living in an "Active Adult Community" is the activities. Yes, the adults are definitely active. Last week I was on a bus trip to the Lower East Side of New York City to see the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street and take a walking tour of the neighborhood.

How fitting that there is a fabric store on the corner. But this was the heart of the garment factory area at one time and there are still a lot of small factories in the neighborhood.

It was a step back in time. The building has apartments set up from various eras, 1863, 1930 and others. The docents are very knowledgeable about some of the tenants and the area. The best thing was the apartment set up for 1863. The museum has been able to develop factual information about the tenants who were German immigrants who met and married in the US. The husband disappeared some years later, leaving four children and his wife. Can you say single mother? Census records show that the youngest child died, but the wife became a seamstress and was able to provide for her family. The parlor had a treadle sewing machine and garments and laces from the period.

After the tours we walked up to Katz' Deli. Great food. The deli scene from "When Harry met Sally" was filmed there. We also stoped at a Knish Bakery and Russ and Daughters which specializes in dried fish and fruit. Then we went to Economy Candy, a little store filled with candy from our childhoods (for those of us of a certain age).

The entire day was wonderful, albeit cold, and I got to know some of the "active adults" here a little better.

Lakeside Shell is the Best!!

We had an adventure yesterday when the alternator went out on our 99 Ford Explorer. We had been out shopping about 30 miles from home when the lights started going crazy on the dash. Kevin thought he could get home, get the other car and make it to our local dealership.

When the car started stalling we were still more than 15 miles from home. We pulled into a Chrylser dealership less than a mile from a Ford dealer (just couldn't go that extra mile). Then we discovered that the Chrysler dealership wouldn't work on a Ford. They "didn't have the equipment".

Thank goodness for AAA. After negotiating the tow and where we would be going, we were taken to Lakeside Shell in Trenton, NJ. The station is just off 195 at the Arena/South Broad St exit. The car was fixed in less time than it took to tow it to the shop. Kevin had talked to the head mechanic on the phone after AAA said that's where we would be taken. He explained the problem and answered some questions about make/model of the car . They had the part waiting for us when we got there.

Even though it's a busy station with 3 bays and 11 tow trucks, they took great care of us and had us on our way within an hour! Thank you Vic and Christopher and everyone at Lakeside Shell.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ketchup, again

This really must happen more often. Life is finally settling into some kind of routine. The move was completed in July. We finally got a buyer for the MN house, but closing has been delayed. Hopefully it will be done by the end of this month.
Everything is unpacked, I think, and there's only been one thing, so far, that hasn't been located. Quilting is picking up again and I've started seriously crocheting.

The local quilt shop, Mouse Creek Quilts on Route 9 in Howell, ( ) is sponsoring a "house tour". They provided the pattern and the final block had to be 18 x 22. The tour is in December when the blocks will be on display in the shop. A donation to the local food pantry will enable a vote.

These were made using packaged bias tape, some trims and Angelina for the windows.

This was made for my BILs wedding to his long-time girlfriend. They are both avid gardners. The center blocks are state flowers or vegetables. The quilting is flowers and leaves.

There is a chapter of the Brandeis National Committee here and they sponsor "learning opportunities" and events. I joined and have gotten a little involved. I donated several items for a silent auction and I've been asked to teach a crochet class and a fabric class next spring.

Here are some of the auction items:

There were about 25 items in all that kept me busy for two weeks. I'm working on gifts right now so postings on those will be after they've been given.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Quilt Market Summary

Even though I wasn’t working a booth this market, there still wasn’t enough time to see everything. While there were lots of new books, patterns and fabrics, there seemed to be a new bag/purse pattern or three on every aisle. Colors seemed to be soft brights.

Kandi Corp had new metal embellishments and non-faceted jewels (in addition to the regular bling). They were also showing a pigmented hot wax that you can use to color fabric. Go to to see their new products.

Crafter’s Workshop showed for the first time: they do stencils that were originally used for scrapbooking ( These stencils are great to use with Paintstiks or to develop new quilting patterns.

Kreinik Thread ( introduced a flat but heavy-duty metallic cord that is great for jewelry, knitting or embellishing, but it’s so new it’s not on their website yet. They also have some new metallic threads.

Quiltsmart ( has completely redone their look. They have some new patterns, too, including some bags.

Superior Threads ( has new variegated silk ribbon in three widths that is a luscious as their thread.

Bo-Nash ( introduced a new line, Tonertex Foils, that includes a Write ‘n’ Rub Pen for applying foil adhesive, foils and glitter. They’ve even got stretchable glue. This is a great way to add bling to any project.

The people who brought you Quilt in a Cup last fall are back with Quilt for a Mouse and Quilted Clocks (Dianne Springer Designs).

The Junk Jeans People from South Dakota showed a Pink Drill ( used with straight bleach to decorate jeans. Maybe this one my dear hubby won’t steal. Until the house gets finished I’m always search for my Dremels.

So much inspiration, so little time.