hand quilting

Boy I have really let my blog slip on my priority list! It is coming up on 2 months since I posted last. Again, I have been steadily working on a few little projects, hence finally getting up off my heiney and updating!

We have had a lot of extra time off of school, lots of sub zero weather and ice and one nice day of snow. Here is a collage of our snow day, the girls had a blast!

I finally finished the pair of broadripple socks I was working on for Kate‘s November birthday :). Yup, you have seen this pattern before, as they are a pattern made for the cotton yarn that I use and they look nice, so have done Katy three pairs!! (One for her 40th bday, one for an exchange and one for this birthday…hope she hasn’t gotten bored with the design yet…next time a new design I promise, though I might make a twin pair of these socks in this pattern for myself!)
Kate's Socks

I finished the hand quilting on my tree of life quilt and love it. I took it on my week-long visit in DC in early December and finished sewing down the binding on the plane.
Tree of Life Wallhanging

I also finished these two blocks which I am making for a Dear Jane themed quilt for President Obama with this Yahoo group. Took me ages to finally sit down and do them, but as of this week they are flying over to the coordinator of the group quilt in Tennessee.
My blocks for the Obama quilt

My lovely friend Barbara sent me a quilt kit she made up for me of a drunkards path quilt, perfect for hand piecing. Again, I brought these for hand work on my DC trip in December and worked on them on the plane, in airports, on trains, and the odd quiet minute on the rest of my trip. I rented a car (a red PT Cruiser is what I ended up with, cute!) and saw different friends for lunch and dinner, I kept moving all the time and had a great time! I was glad though, after all that driving (from Northern VA to North Baltimore) that we had a break coming up from school and we could have lots of lazy mornings!!

Drunkards Path Blocks

I saw two quilting friends, one of whom was my best friend in kindergarten who after receiving a very imperfect quilt from me for her daughter a few years back, took quilting classes and is now the Vice President of her Northern VA quilt guild!!!  Bonnie and I did a bit of shopping (including some really nice Donna Sharp handbags!)… I also got a chance to meet up with Toni in Mt. Airy and did a bit of damage in her quilt shop then went out for the yummiest barbeque I had in a long time!! Here is a pic of us at her shop, I am sporting my new patchwork handbag, lol.
Meeting Toni at Patches

Look at my haul!!
My haul!

I have finally put my ocean waves quilt on my big quilting frame and marked the celtic knot design I wanted in the open muslin spaces. I have put in my first thread and hope to start doing at least one thread a day on the quilt.  I am also working on a red wholecloth little quilt as well…
Ocean Waves on the Quilt Frame
Closeup of Celtic Knot pattern...
Christmas Wholecloth

I am slowly working on a knitted celtic knot designed pocket for my felted bag I have been working on for years now it seems…nearly done with that one…woo hoo!
Felted Bag, starting on two color pocket...

As far as resolutions for 2010 for me, I want to eat more healthily, swim more often, and continue knitting and quilting as often as I can. I am thinking of starting a Baltimore Album style quilt…but still a little scared!!

I was going to wait and post this after the weekend when I plan to finish a bunch of little projects for the girls, but this is getting way too long, so will possibly do another post on Sunday, imagine that!! I am not going to promise anymore about posting more often, I am just going to try!  I am very active on Facebook most days if you wanna see what we’re up to round here, click on the link here and sign up or add me as a friend!


I have one finish for the week, but have mainly been making some good progress on the pink socks I had to rip back. Here is the sad state of affairs after I ripped it back to where the first mistake happened (forgot a cable stitch that I had done on the first sock and wanted them to match exactly) and here is where I am back to (well I am actually a bit further on now having turned the heel and started the gussets of the sock…)
January 2009
January 2009

I have also been working on hand quilting a Christmas wholecloth quilt that has been languishing in my UFO pile for ages…maybe that can be a finish for February, there is defiinitely too much left to finish this month! But…maybe I can manage to finish that sock??? Hmmmm…
January 2009

This is my only finish to report lately, but am glad I finally got it done…it certainly isn’t precise and wonderful, but it works: my quirky little patchwork roman blind. I made with civil war repro fabric squares to match the Dear Jane and Apple Core quilts hanging in the hallway… Did I ever show you the quilt shelf I got? I am going to eventually try to make seasonal quilts to put there…maybe I should get a move on a Valentines one!!
January 2009
January 2009

I haven’t talked about this much, but am starting to get excited about it now, Anne Marie is hosting a Quilting Retreat this weekend!! I will be taking a weekend break from my weight loss programme most definitely and enjoy quilting, piecing, knitting, chatting and EATING!  I am also bringing some margaritas and other goodies to add to the party.  I imagine I will be bringing quite a lot of things with me, so will have to take some photos of everything packed into the car, projects, fabrics and goodies to share, a couple of air mattresses and duvets…maybe even a folding table for sewing machines to hang out on! I will bring along my Dear Jane and some other show and tell bits as well…better get packing!!

I need to find balance in my life again…it seems to move forward at the speed of light and I barely remember what happens from day to day.

We had a great trip to London and Paris. The kids had a blast in Disneyland even with their poor mom limping after them (I managed to swan dive into a Paris tree on the way to the Eiffel Tower…was looking ahead of me and twisted my ankle when it landed half on the pavers and half in the dirt where the lovely Parisian tree was growing near a cafe, graceful I tell ya…and what a lovely shade of black, purple and yellow my foot was for a while!)… The kids got autograph books and pens from their nice momma and proceeded to stalk any characters in their vicinity for autographs…we have minnie, daisy, snow white, donald, goofy, and Aine’s favorite, Robin Hood.  We really enjoyed our time with Katy and her family as well…the kids loved their London Halloween and just loved hanging out with their buddies! Moms and dads enjoyed time to read, play games, and mommas got to sew and knit (well I knit…) it was a lovely time…

Election Day was only a few days after we returned home and I stayed up till 5:30am Irish time watching the amazing returns come back. I actually burst into tears when they flashed the announcement that Barack Obama was the next president of the United States, who knew I would be so emotional. And then I cried again when the future First Family came out and when Obama gave his speech. It was a great night and I’m glad I stayed up to see it happen. 

I haven’t been producing a lot lately, we’ve had lots of playdates and activities, the normal pace of life here, and Aine has just had her 6th birthday party just yesterday which needed organizing as well…an Art Party for her and 10 friends (a SMALL party, woo hoo!) I had a local art teacher come and do some projects and face painting with them and it worked out really well…
Aine's Birthday Cake Blowing out the candles
My kids like chocolate cake, so I do a Betty Crocker special and then print out on photo paper whatever character/graphic they want that year to personalize it. When it is time to cut cake just lift off the paper and go…very inexpensive, personalized and easy! Love it!

I have managed to finish one pink sock and here is the current status of the second one…
Marilinda Sock Progress

Here are the slippers I knit for Aine at Katy’s house, slightly smaller and felty now…Aine's Ballet Slippers

I made this angel for someone…for Christmastime…DSCN2517

I am verrrrrrry slowly working on marking my ocean waves quilt with this celtic knot pattern in the muslin areas..
.Celtic Knot motif for Ocean Waves

I am also slowly doing freehand fans on my tree quilt…
Freehand Fans on Tree Quilt

So I am doing things, but nothing finished but the angel at the moment.

Tomorrow I start my diet yet again…I am tired of being the weight I am…maybe if I can find some balance to my days, more exercise, more sleep, less running around…a better rhythm to the days, that might help. Here’s hoping that I can do that…and find more time to QUILT too!!

It has been a pretty hectic week here since last I posted. I managed to make it to two knitting groups, start 2 pairs of socks, start free hand baptist fan quilting on the tree quilt I brought over, and keep the kids doing tons of activities!

Here are some of the progress shots of crafty stuff:

Finished Dear Jane blocks. I ran out of pre-prepared blocks!!!
More Finished blocks!Some Finished DJ blocks

So….then I basted and started quilting on the Tree Quilt.
Start of the baptist fan quilting on Tree Quilt

Then the knitting obsession took over. Sarah is teaching me how to knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles, I like it so far!!
Aine's socks!

But I also like DPNs, on which I started some very pink socks for some larger adult feet. They are for the 30th birthday of a friend of mine who likes pink. She picked out the pattern and it is keeping me on my toes, I like it, though the complicated pattern isn’t really showing up quite yet, maybe next week.
Socks for B

Tuesday the girls, dad, and I went to the library for storytime, Wednesday a good day of swimming and playground. Sarah and her kids have been great. We met up with them on Thursday and saw daily for long hours on Friday and Saturday too, I bet they are happy to get a break from us. We went to a horse ranch with them on Thursday, on Friday went to knitting at Barnes and Noble with Sarah while the kids explored the kid section, then down to the library and a gorgeous tea house on the river. Saturday was a very fun Children’s Festival. Add into the mix the usual errands, some yard sales, a paddling pool (aka wading pool) purchase and some sidewalk chalk and a fun and busy week was had by all! Thank you so much Sarah for keeping us busy last week, the girls and I had a great time! And look what Sarah had left for mom before we arrived! So generous!! A shawl she designed and knit herself, tea, chocolate and jewelry, what more could you want! Thanks again, mom loves the presents and the thought! Bloggers are wonderful folk 🙂
Wonderful Gifts for mom from Sarah!

Check out this link to see shots of the various things we have done over the week. Here are a few favorite photos:
Kids having funKnit Up at Barnes and NobleNew Paddling PoolAisling BuckarooStorytime at the LibraryRock Crystal Experiment a Success!Face Paint!Thu July 17 2008

I had a great visit with my mom and dad last week, and really loved all the great comments I got from everyone. Mom appreciates all the good thoughts and well wishes. I have a special request before I get to the quilting and knitting news… Mom is losing her hair now and the chemo has affected her more this second time around, she sounds a bit down now that her kids have both had to return back to their regular schedules. Could you help me cheer her up? I’d love her to get some cards or postcards from everywhere, anywhere in the world to put up on her card wall…it cheered me up looking at it as we put them up and I know that it gives her a lot of pleasure to see all those cards and what they mean. If you are up to sending a card, just email me at catherineoneill at carrigeen.net I’ll send over her address. Mom got your card, Beth, and was pleased that my friends were thinking of her. Thank you.

On the crafty front, I finished my hand quilting project I started in Bend. Thimbleanna asked me why on earth I was taking a quilting class after quilting a Dear Jane, lol??  The main reason: I stab stitched nearly the whole quilt, one stitch at a time! I would love the learn that beautiful elegant rocking stitch I see so many doing. But…my teacher in Bend said my stitches were even and good enough, it didn’t matter that my rocking stitch wasn’t like hers, it got the job done, and that was good enough. I can’t use a thimble to save my life, which is too bad as I spent a lot of money on a gorgeous Roxanne one! Maybe someday, but then again, I am getting the job done so why bother?? Here is the finished quilting practice. I think I might make it into a pillow.

 I also started a pair of socks for a friend who has a big birthday in November (think I’m giving myself enough time to finish them?). I can’t really show them on here, as I’d like her to have a surprise so maybe I’ll just put a little teaser in… I’m fairly into knitting them now, as Barbara has been asking me lots of questions about sock knitting lately, due to her newfound obsession,  and it got me back into knitting again them again tool.
Sneaky Peek

I’ve put my cross stitch aside for now, as I need to get down to work on my Dear Jane to get it done in the next 10 weeks before our summer visit with mom and dad. The kids are really getting excited about it, the visit, not the cross stitch!
Cross Stitch Sampler

So, plans for the forseeable future: secret socks, Kate’s quilt swap quilt, working on the Dear Jane scallops, some hand quilting on another little Dear Jane wallhanging I am working on. Would anyone be interested in owning this? I might do this as a giveaway in the future if anyone is interested! I’ll have my full size one done about the same time.
Dear Jane Wallhanging

I’ve also gotten some lovely mail lately. Nicky and I did a swap and here is the gorgeous stitchery she sent me from Leanne Beasley!
Swap Gifties from Nicky

Barbara sent me a birthday present that arrived after I’d left for the States: sock yarn, how did she know?? 🙂 Thank you!!!
Lovely Sock Yarn from Barbara

OOOOOH also…I got some MOO cards!! They are sooo cool!!! small business card like things with photos from my flickr account, very  cool!
Moo Cards

I promise to try to write more often instead of doing these huge posts with 20,000 photos. If you’ve gotten this far, thank you so much!

My time has flown by on this visit to mom and dad, but I think that I have helped a little! I’ve dusted and cleaned, planted shrubs with dad in the garden, hung some of the quilts I have gifted them with over the last year, and made dinners, lunches, breakasts… and run errands…I just had to do a little bit of shopping while I was out and about changing snow tires (the day before we got snow here) and getting prescriptions, watch batteries, etc etc etc. Look at all the wonderful cards my mom has gotten from her friends, and some of my friends too! Thank you everyone for all the support, and check out the gorgeous angel that Barbara sent her. Mom is doing well after her first round of chemo, with minimal side effects. Long may it last, though they say chemo gets tougher as you go along, as the toxins build up in your system. It would be great if she could get away with minor effects!

Mom loved the brown hairy chemo cap I made here. Here she is sporting it with a devilish grin!

I also managed to finish two projects for mom while I was here, a roll brimmed hat, the last of the hats I planned to make her, and an ipod cozy made from some yummy Noro Silk Garden yarn! She wants to bring the ipod with her to chemo sessions and didn’t want it slipping out of a holder, and this cozy is nice and tight so it shouldn’t slip out. Here she is modelling her goodies, lol! You can also see the Bend Mountain quilt I hung up for them, my Christmas pressie for dad this year.

My dad and I have loved shopping at thrift stores since I was a kid (my brother and mom, not so much!) So here are my very restrained purchases on this trip from the thrifts stores, nothing cost more than $1 (including some vintage 90s heat and bond stuff which might work??) and the easter stuff cost pennies on sale!! Gotta love the bargains!!Nothing here cost more than $1

I’ve also bought myself a few other goodies on our travels around town, hee hee!! I’ve decided to start making my own cards to save a few euros on the zillions of cards we need to buy for kids parties etc etc!! I of course have gone overboard buying cheap scrapbooking papers and card stock, and a very expensive but cool sticker maker/magnet maker thingie. Made mom some fridge magnets of her favorite photos of the girls as a test…should be a fun tool. Maybe by next year I’ll have made up my investment against the cards I would have had to buy, lol! Or maybe I will find it as addictive as fabric and yarn buying? Could scrapbooking be next…oh what a slippery slope!

I also managed to get myself two books that I wanted: Tilda’s Hus English translation: Sew Pretty Homestyle, and Betz White’s Warm Fuzzies book.

I found this gorgeous pottery with the Bend mountains on them…treated myself to these… My little Annie I bought just happened to find her way into the photo, along with a gorgeous mini art quilt that Susan at Art is Bliss sent to me. Thank you!

I managed to meet up with Kristin last night for a local Knit Night where I was able to make great progress on that hat. Everyone was very friendly and I hope to go a few times over the summer while the girls and I are in Bend. Thanks for the great welcome Kristin and Sarah!! Kristin and I went out for some yummy Thai food at a greal downtown restaurant and she gave me some great info on activities for kids this summer!

Tonight I went to a hand quilting class, nothing like taking advantage of the time I had here. I helped mom organize some photo albums this morning, taught my parents to start their own blogs, and hung up a quilt, so snuck away this evening for the class. I don’t do a typical rocking stitch but I can do a few stitches at a time and the teacher said just do it the way that works for me. I haven’t been able to properly figure out thimbles, so I don’t use one… Here is the start of my practice piece, I love the variegated hand quilting thread I got!

Here are a few more photos of some pieces I have given my parents, a quilted heart wallhanging, the angel pillow, and a photo wallhanging of the girls.

If you have read this far, thanks for staying with this rather overstuffed post! Tomorrow I get back on a plane to head home. My girls and Dave won’t want me back, the kids are enjoying all the playdates, and Dave is enjoying all the meals my friends keep giving him! I will have my work cut out for me making thank you cards and gifts for everyone!

I am loving the quilting, so will probably bring that on the airplane tomorrow. See you all back in Ireland!

Dear Jane Quilting

Had a really nice day today! I couldn’t wait any longer to take my Dear Jane off the frame. Was dying to see how the quilting looked on the back. It is amazing to see all the squares from the back, I’m very proud of it! The ladies at my patchwork group are holding the quilt up for me, and made me feel very nice today, insisting that I show the quilt somewhere locally eventually.
Dear Jane Quilting

It was just one of those lovely days where I was able to work on crafting projects for a lot of the day, while still getting some housework done and hanging out with the girls. While the girls were at school, I quilted one of the triangle blocks and started another, and I also worked on mom’s angel doll. I used my Singer treadle minus the treadle part to get some sewing done! I just turned the machine by hand and it worked just fine! Still no word on my Pfaff machine, sniff sniff.

I also got this lovely package from Nicky! We have traded fabric scraps for her Dear Jane. Look at these lovely repros I received!
CW Repro Swap with Nicky

Aine played at a friend’s house till 5:30, and Aisling slept for a few hours today (she never naps anymore!), so I got more done than I expected and got to watch grown up TV during the day while stitching away!

To end the day, we had our monthly evening patchwork meeting tonight. Great end to a lovely day!

I somehow let the week go by without a post.  The girls have had a busy social life!! Lots of running around and visiting friends. Mommy got a night out for quilting and for book club, so I didn’t do too badly either!!

Aine loved the work I was doing on my dad’s mountain quilt, and asked if we could make her a picture quilt. It somehow developed into a Christmas quilt. She drew this Christmas tree and we came up with this quilt over the weekend! Like Dad’s quilt, I have to sew the edges of the pieces before we do any quilting.
Aine's Christmas Tree DrawingAine's Christmas QuiltStocking

Years ago I made our Christmas Stockings using 2.5 inch squares of homespun with our names embroidered on them. I’ve finally sewed together 144 4 patches of homespun and then cut it into a circle ( I am sure there was a more efficient way of doing it, but I hate math, and will use the cut-offs to make ornaments!) this will be our matching Christmas tree skirt this year… Took about 3 years of sporadic work, but finally can cross that project off my list, once it is layered and quilted!!
Christmas Tree Skirt

I had to slow down my pace on my Dear Jane last week, did one a day instead of the 2 a day I did for a few weeks. So I am down to 2.5 rows of squares left. I still find it enjoyable to sit down during the day and quilt a square, and hope I do for a long time! I really hope to have a quilt on the frame all the time…. But maybe my next quilt won’t be mostly stab stitched!
More Dear Jane Quiltng

I have two people to thank for wonderful gifts! The first is Karol Ann. I won this gorgeous African bag and keychain from her, and it has big plans as our library book bag.Tote Bag

The girls are over the moon with a “just because” gift from a lovely woman who reads my blog and saw the girls pony lina last week. They love the My Little Pony fabric, which has been divided in half already so they could each have their own piece. Quilters are wonderful people.Pony Fabric Gift!

Just had to add: If you look behind Aine’s fabric she has a Halloween sticker on her uniform. She apparently got that sticker from the other kindergarten teacher for being nice to a friend during recess. Aine was playing a game with some girls and they wouldn’t let another girl play and Aine thought that was mean and went to play with the other girl. I guess the teacher saw her do this and gave Aine a sticker, a milchon (Irish for sweet/candy) and had the whole class give her a round of applause (some big Irish word I don’t remember…that kid knows a ton already!!).  I guess they do this at the end of the day to reward different kids for good behavior… I’m just so proud of her!!


Look what I found today when I went to my local yarn shop with a friend! You should have seen the excitement on my face to see the first ever sock yarn sold in Limerick! It is Araucania Ranco Multy, with no colorways listed, but they are very yummy yarns hand dyed in Chile. Guess I better invest in a swift and ball winder now…

In other, quilty news, I have finished designing dad’s Bend mountain quilt…everything is ironed down and awaiting me to finish the edges, layer then quilt it…
Bend Quilt

I also finished the bias binding on the applecore quilt. Looking at it now, I don’t like the corners and realize it would have been more balanced to finish the 4 corners with the applecore patterns in the same orientation, but it is done now … and quirky quilts have character, right? I hope to eventually have a wall of small quilts in our hallway, so this one needs some company! I followed this simple tutorial to make the binding.
Applecore with Binding

I realized that I never showed the super secret stitchery projects I worked on! I made a pillow for my local friend Kathleen, and a quilt for blogging buddy Barbara with the same friendship stitcheries. I was happy with how both turned out and the recipients liked them, woo hoo!
DSCF2189Barbara's quilt

My Dear Jane is coming along still, averaging 2 per day for a while, so up to 124/169 squares, 3.5 rows left of squares!

And just because I love to throw in gratuitous photos of the girls, here is a collage of Aine in her ballet costume for class, and one of Aisling, just because!

Patchwork Dinos for Merlin and Noah, originally uploaded by Cathi O’Neill.

I caught up with my housework and had a chance yesterday work up in my office/craft room! I got to work making up some crazy pieced patchwork dinosaurs as gifts for my little nephews, one of which has a birthday next week and loves dinosaurs. His little brother is 2 and will need a dinosaur as well, lol, but the 5 year old birthday boy gets a Dinosaur encyclopedia as well!  I just printed out a coloring page I found on the internet and made a general dinosaur shape based on it, and then sewed on the line I traced for the pattern, pretty quick to do it all, plus I used some old fabric for the foundation and got rid of  a little more stash!

I also put together a quick little needlebook for Ruth, as I was sending her some size 10 and 12 betweens to start hand quilting. It went together so fast and I used some of the gorgeous South African indigos she sent.

Needlecase from Indigo Fabrics

I am up to 80 blocks quilted on the Dear Jane now, moving ahead!

I have a few secret project I am working on, more will be revealed in a week or so…

But wait…I have some important news to share…

We’re going to AUSTRALIA!!!!

Dave’s youngest brother is getting married to an Aussie girl and we are going to Melbourne next June for the wedding!! We have plans so far to rent a campervan and go touring for 3 or so weeks before the wedding. So far it is a daunting amount of miles, but we hope to see Melbourne, Adelaide, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef, and Sydney and more points in between that big circular route. Any Aussies out there be willing to meet up with a small Irish/American family driving around in a campervan? Where would you recommend we see, what are some not to be missed destinations? I’d love to hear!!!! I am also going to check out the difference in airfare for a round the world ticket, so that I might still make it to Oregon in July. If it is only a few hundred more, I might just keep heading east and go visit my family!!

Plans for the rest of the week? Finishing up a wallhanging to give to my mom for her birthday and some more gift making, some knitted projects…

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