Thursday, January 31, 2008

Four Seasons QUilt Swap - Winter 2008

While trying to find something special to make for the partner I was matched with for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap for winter, I came across this picture on Nadine's blog. Perfect! LeMoyne stars are one of my favorite blocks and the color combination of blues, purples and whites make me think of tumbling snowflakes. The only problem is that I only know how to piece LeMoyne stars by hand. "Move on!" my head told me, "You don't have time to do this!"
"Grab your templates!" my heart cried out to me, "Your partner will love them!"And this time I listened to my.....

heart. And so over the Christmas season I sat by the fire place with my stitching in hand and pen and paper close by. Each time I finished a block, I wrote a few words to share the news with my partner and posted a photo of the finished block and the note I wrote on the sidebar of my blog. And so after posting a picture of one of the LeMoyne blocks that I was working on, I received a comment from Nadine and she said "Oh, how I LOVE your Lemoyne stars, and how I wish I could be their recipient!"

"They're yours!" I sent back in an email. "Nadine, my new friend, I want you to have them."
You see, back in December while blog hopping, I came across a quilt on Nadine's site that I just couldn't get out of my head. It is a crazy quilt embroidery kind of thing. So I emailed Nadine and asked if she would share the source of the pattern. I received an email back from Nadine who said she would send me the pattern along with some things to get started. Quilters are the most generous, sharing people I know. Giving her the LeMoyne stars was the perfect opportunity for me to repay Nadine for her generosity. So now the blocks are waiting to be sent off to her in Belgium. But she's not there. She is visiting one of her blog friends in Norway. I want to be sure that she has returned from her "Grand Adventure" before sending them out to her.

"Hmmm...." my head said,"Did you just give away all the blocks that you made to use in the winter quilt you are working on for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap?" "Yes!" my heart said..."Doesn't it feel good to return the favor and share with someone who offered to share with you?"

"MOVE ON!" my head shouted, "You've got less than three weeks to finish the quilt and send it out to your partner."And so pulling from the bits of wisdom and piffle I share on my blog,I came up with the following plan for the quilt I needed to make for the Four Seasons Winter Quilt Swap.
My head reminded me that "Genius lies in simplicity," while my heart said "Simple Gifts"

And so today, I will pack this quilt into a box and send it to a far off place to my quilt partner for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. I pulled each of the fabrics that I used in piecing the LeMoyne star blocks. Just like snowflakes, no two blues are alike.

Nine Patch Doll Quilt Pattern

Scraps of lights and darks for 9 patch blocks
3/4 yards of blue print for setting blocks, backing and binding

Finished quilt top: 17 1/4" x 21 1/2"
Finished blocks are 3" squares

For 9 patch blocks:
60 1 1/2" dark colors
48 1 1/2" light colors

From blue print cut the following:
(2) 2.75" border strips
(2) 2.25" strips for binding
(6) 3.5" squares for setting blocks
(10) 5.5" squares for setting triangles
cut these squares in half diagonally TWICE
(4) 3" squares for corner triangles
cut these squares in half diagonally ONCE

Stitch (12) Nine-Patch blocks with five darks and four light squares.
Make sure that these blocks measure 3.5 inches when you have finished piecing them.

For placement, lay out the 12 Nine-Patch blocks, the 6 blue print blocks, and the 10 blue print triangles in diagonal rows.

Sew the diagonal rows together and then join the rows.

Be mindful when pressing to be certain that all your seams go in one direction.

The four blue print triangles can be sewn to the corners to finish off.

Measure the length of the quilt and cut 2 vertical borders and attach to sides of quilt.

Measure the width of the quilt after attaching vertical borders, sew to top and bottom of quilt.

Mark and quilt as desired.

Attach binding and label.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


This little girl...

got this little doll from Santa for Christmas....

and now wants me to use these fabrics to make new clothes for her doll...


I want to tell her that I just don't have time for this, but in my heart I know this is just exactly what I should be doing. So by day I will be sewing dolly clothes and after Sweet Pea is tucked into bed at night I will finish working on my Four Season Winter Quilt that needs to be in the mail this week as well as the felt needle book that also needs to be in the mail this week. Luckily I have until the 8th of February until I need to have a tea cozy in the mail to Australia. So I wanted to let you know that I will be here, but I will be busy for the next week or so, but until I can finish a project or two, or three...... I will be stitching when I am not cooking, cleaning (ok I don't clean that much), driving, teaching, mending broken hearts...the list could go on and on!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Redwork for LuLu

(Redwork piece for Lulu)

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pattern for Cotton Market Bag

Pattern for knitted cotton market bag

For anyone trying to reduce the number of plastic bags that they bring home from the market, here is a pattern for a cotton knitted bag that works up very quickly and uses 2 skeins of cotton. I have had the directions written out on a scrap of paper that has been moved across the country numerous times. I don't remember where the pattern originated, but if someone recognizes the pattern, please let me know.

Materials: #10 1/2 needles in the following sizes: double pointed and 24"
#4 - 24" circular

Approximately 150 grams of cotton
(There will be plenty left over to make a knitted dishcloth!)

yo=yarn over
k2tog=knit 2 stitches together

Notes: Switch to circular needle when the stitches get too crowded on the double point needles.

Using double pointed needles, cast on 9 stitches and divide onto 3 needles.

Knit 1 round.

*yo,k1, repeat from * around (18 stitches)

Knit 1 round.

*yo, k2tog, repeat from * around (18 sts)

Knit 1 round .

*yo, k1, repeat from * around ( 36 sts)

Knit 1 round.

*yo, k2tog, repeat from * around (36 sts)

Knit 1 round.

*yo, k2tog, repeat from * around (36 sts)

Knit 1 round.

*yo, k1, repeat from * around (72 sts)

Knit 1 round.

*yo, k2tog, repeat from * around (72 sts)

Repeat these two purple rounds 5 more times.

Knit 1 round.

*(yo, k1)twice, yo, k2tog, repeat from * around (108 sts)

Knit 1 round.

*yo, k2tog, repeat from * around (108 sts)

Repeat these two purple rounds 14 more times.

Knit 1 round with # 4 needle (continue to use this needle)

*yo, k2tog, (yo, k1) 4 times, repeat from * around to last 6 stitches (yo,k2tog) 3 times (176 sts)

Knit 12 rounds.

With #10 1/2 - 24" needle finish the bag as follows:

(k2tog) four times, *(K2tog) twice,
(k2tog, k1) 4 times, repeat from * around until last 8 stitches, (k2tog) 4 times (108 stitches)


Each half of the handles is worked back and forth.

Turn work inside out.

Purl 2 together, purl 50 sts, purl 2together.(52 sts)

Turn work.

**Knit 3 together, *yo, k2tog, repeat across from *, end knit 1.

Turn work and purl back**

Repeat from these two purple rows until only 10 stitches remain.

Place stitches on a holder.

Work across the other half of the bag as you did for the first half.

Place two sets of 10 stitches right sides together and graft together.

Weave in all ends.

Happy Knitting!

This is everything that easily fit into the bag in the photo at the top. It easily holds everything that would fit into a plastic bag at the market and probably more since the bag stretches.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Shaker work song from 1848

Simple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where
we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the
place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right.

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others,
what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and
we'll all learn to say:

Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me"
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

3 Gifts Challenge

I am taking part in a challenge put forth by Rhonda on her blog at Down to Earth. It is time we all became more aware of the things we do that damage our environment. Her challenge specifically is "that you choose three items or actions you currently have in your life that are environmentally damaging and that you’ll modify them or give them up completely."

This is what I will do:

1.) PLASTIC BAGS: I will stop accepting plastic bags where I shop. From now on when I go out to the market, I will take my canvas bags and ask that the clerk fill those. I will recycle any remaining plastic bags that I have in my home.

2.)PAPER TOWELS AND PAPER NAPKINS: I will never buy another package of paper towels or paper napkins. Instead, I will recycle old towels and knit dishcloths and use them or the mop for messy floor cleanups. We already have a small supply of cloth napkins, but I will make a few more so that we don't have to buy paper ones. We actually started doing both of these things about three months ago and have done quite well.

3.)DRINKS IN PLASTIC BOTTLES: I will not buy any drinks in plastic bottles. Instead of buying soda to drink, I will start drinking tea and when I go out of the house I will remember to take something with me in one of my water bottles. Not only will I reduce the amount of plastic I use, but maybe I can lose a few pounds my not drinking sugary soda.

What can you do to take baby steps to make changes in your local world? Please tell your friends and family about the changes you are making and why and inspire them to take part in the challenge. Together we can make reduce the amount of waste in our local world.

If you would like to read more about Rhonda's challenge visit her here at Down to Earth

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two quilts for one swap!?

When you give away the blocks you are working on for a quilt, it's nice to have fabrics already pressed and waiting patiently for you to begin a new quilt. After pulling and cutting all the fabrics I used in the LeMoyne star blocks for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap, I had thought about returning them to their containers in the basement for another quilt someday. I'm glad I never got around to putting them away, as this time, the someday came sooner than I was expecting.

I have exactly three weeks in which to design, cut, stitch, baste, quilt and sew on a binding and a label. Years ago I found the following quote by Washington Irving. I have it hanging on my bulletin board near my sewing machine. It will bring me encouragement as I know that I have little time to create another quilt. Perhaps it will give you a special lift during a challenge!

“There is in every true woman's heart,

a spark of heavenly fire,

which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity,

but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”

The new quilt I begin today for my partner will be stitched with as much love and thought as the first one I began. The Lemoyne star blocks have been promised to a special blogger as a token of our new friendship.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Paradoxical COmmandments

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway. © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001 Please visit Dr. Kent M. Keith at

Here is my handle, here is my spout!

Nothing special, just a little blue tea pot. But all I have to do is see it and I am reminded of the hot summer day that I bought close to 20 years ago. My mom had come to visit...never's just a little blue tea pot. I keep it up in a special place way up high in the very back of the cabinet behind mugs that no one ever reaches for. When the children are grown and the puppy is an old lazy dog, it will come out of it's hiding place from way up in the back of the cabinet where it waits for me.

But while I am waiting for that day to come, there is a whole lot of swapping going on. This week, Rhonda over at Down to Earth has announced her newest swap. Each person will make a tea cozy and send it off to her partner and in return her partner will send one back to her. The cozy may be knitted, crocheted, quilted, felted or sewn. The possibilities are endless. I can't wait to see what partner I am matched with and the tea cozy she makes for me. I look forward to working on something special for her. I hope she will show a photo of the teapot I will be making a tea cozy for. Hurry! go visit Rhonda today. Even if you don't sign up for the swap, she is a must read blog! Sign up ends this Friday.

In the past, Rhonda has hosted swaps for cloth napkins, aprons and dishcloths. I missed Rhonda's swap for the dishcloths so I began hosting my own over swaps over at Swap Bot. You can join Swap Bot by setting up a free account. When sign ups close the system randomly assigns partners. The swap is for two dishcloths to one partner. There are no size requirements and the cloths may be knit or crochet. The first swap is just finishing up and we've all received wonderful packages from our partners. If you are interested in joining the next swap sign ups end on the 14th of January. There are a total of 6 Dishcloth swaps that I am hosting from now until June through Swap Bot. The pretty dishcloths and amazing soap in the photo are from a private swap I did with another blogger. She should be getting hers in the mail any day.

If you are new to my blog, you may be wondering what the Four Seasons Quilt Swap is all about. This swap is a four part swap for a doll/wall quilt sized quilt that is your interpretation of the current season of the swap. The first swap was held for the fall quilts and you can see the quilts that were exchanged if you visit the Fours Seasons Quilt Swap blog. So the blue, purple and cream LeMoyne stars that are running down the side of my blog are photos of the progress I have been making on the blocks for the winter quilt swap. LeMoyne stars are one of my favorite blocks. I learned to piece them by hand in a class I took from Jinn Beyer. The blocks remind me of snowflakes when worked in blue and cream. I threw in some purple to brighten things up a bit. The quilt needs to be mailed off by January 31, 2008. I need to spend more time stitching and less time blogging. Partners were secretly assigned so I won't know who is making a quilt for me until I receive it. You can see a list of all the swappers and visit each of their blogs by visiting the Four Seasons Quilt Swap blog.

The Wise Grandchild

THE WISE GRANDCHILD (a tale from Korea)

Once upon a time in a little village there lived an old man, a widower. He had lived long and well. He had worked hard to make a good life for his family. When his son married, he welcomed his wife into their home. There the three lived happily together, and then the son and his wife had a strong, strapping son of their own. The old man was delighted with his grandchild, and the child loved his grandfather.

The years passed. As the child grew older, he became more and more fond of his kind grandfather. But the old man had grown frail. His sight was failing and his hearing was weak. He trembled when he walked, and sometimes, when he lifted his spoon to his lips, his hands shook so hard that the soup spilled from the spoon onto the tablecloth.The grandchild did not care. He loved his grandfather with all his heart, and did all he could to look after the old man, just as the old man had looked after him when he was a baby.

Sad to say, the old man's son and his wife were not so kind. "He's become so difficult," the son said as he watched his father hobble to his room. "Good for nothing," his wife said, shaking her head. "He can barely hear a word I say, and he soils all my cloths and all his clothes." Although the old man did not hear their words, he saw the coldness in his son's eyes, and when he touched his daughter-in-law's hands, he felt a chill.

After some months, the wife grew still more displeased with her father-in-law. One night at supper, she took her father-in-law's hand in her own. "Come, father," she said as loudly as she could. And she led him to a corner of the room. "Sit here," she said. From that night on, the old man ate his supper in a corner, hidden from the others, behind a screen. There he silently grieved, for he understood that his son and daughter-in-law no longer enjoyed his presence.

Day after day, the son and daughter-in-law grew more cruel. One night as they were cutting a cake, they refused the old man a piece. "His teeth will fall out altogether," the wife said. "He doesn't need sweets. Save them for those of us who can enjoy them best," said the old man's son. "But father --" the young boy began. "Shhh, you know nothing of what is best. We are adults," said his father. The boy fell silent.

One night, the son took away his father's blanket. "It's a beautiful blanket," the wife said, "but he can barely see. Surely we'll get better use of this than he." The old man wept, and his grandson stood over him. "I love you, grandfather," the boy said, and he wished he could change his parents. But he did not know what to do or say.

Another day the son moved his father's chair from the window. "Better that we should sit by the window," the daughter-in-law said. "He's too old to appreciate the sight of the flowering trees and the birds." The old man wept once more, and again the boy tried his best to comfort him. He thought and thought about what he could do to help his grandfather.

One beautiful spring day, the son and daughter-in-law came to their father. "We're all going to the mountains," they said. "We'll have a picnic." The son carried a great basket in one arm, and the old man's heart was full of joy at the thought that he might enjoy the beautiful countryside.
"I'll come, too," the grandson cried. "I love the mountains."

And so all four set out, helping the old man on his wobbling legs. When they arrived at the top, the son and his wife turned to their father and said, "Here, father, climb into the basket."
The old man did as his son asked, for he believed in obedience to family. And when he was tucked inside, the son and his wife carried the basket to the side of the mountain. Just as they were about to hurl the basket over the side, the young boy ran to their side. "Don't toss the basket," the boy said. "This is not the business of a child," the father said coldly. "But father," said the boy, "I know you want to toss grandfather over, but please, keep the basket." "What for?" the child's mother asked."I'll need it for you when you are old," the boy said.

The man and his wife looked at each other, and then at the poor old man lying in the basket. They began to softly weep, for they understood, at last, their cruelty and their folly. They lifted their father out of the basket and hugged him tightly, remembering all the generosity and love he had showered upon them. From that day on he was welcome at their table, and sat by the window whenever he wished, and slept peacefully beneath his blanket.

Copyright 2000 Universal Press Syndicate

Friday, January 4, 2008

Eggciting News!

Which came first...the chicken or the egg? No doubt the chicken came before the egg, 78 chickens to be exact. The only problem here on our little farm, is that the first batch of 38 day old chicks that we received from the hatchery were wiped out when they were 11 weeks old in a two night chicken feast by a predator which we have yet to identify or eliminate. For those of you who have never raised chickens...that's half way to farm fresh eggs. I could go into the gory details of trying to clean up the mess that was left behind, and the hearts that were broken when pet chickens "Tinkerbell and Dora" died such a violent death, but let me just say that I can still see some of the feathers stuck in the grass and trees six months later.

But we all have a pioneer spirit in our hearts and we will not be easily discouraged. We received our second set of day old chicks in July. It was kind and generous of the hatchery to add the extra 11 birds for "warmth," but all 11 are roosters that have been eating me out of all my extra pocket money. We slaughtered one, wow! I learned an important lesson that day... don't give the rope holding the head of the chicken to a five year old girl. She let go of the rope just as the ax came down. It was pure chaos from there. I could also give lots of gory details here, but I will keep those for my own enjoyment. This 5 year old girl had no problem with the chicken loosing it's head, but she screamed and let the rope go when she thought her hand was going to be chopped off too. I'm not sure where she came up with that conclusion, especially since I walked both children at least 20 times through what was going to happen. This wasn't the first time that they have witnessed a chicken having it's head chopped off. But thinking back, it was the first time that they have ever seen their mom doing the chopping. Needless to say, the other 10 roosters are still living happily in the chicken house. I threaten them every time I see them with the recipes they could be. At least for now, while the weather is so cold, they are safe, and Frank Perdue is getting some of my hard earned money so that I can keep a pot of chicken soup on the stove to warm our bellies on these cold winter days.

I think yesterday it was all of 12 degrees. When it is that cold outside, I don't go out if I don't have to. And since I keep hearing on the news that children aren't spending enough time outdoors, I send my son! "Hurry child, run to the chicken house and see if we have any eggs. I'll stay inside and make you breakfast." Ten minutes after coming inside the house from finishing his chores, he goes back to his coat pocket and says"Oh, ya, I've got something for you," and pulls out this beauty. The only problem is that due to the cold, the egg split open when it froze rock solid. Until the weather warms we will be on egg duty round the clock to figure out just what time the hens are laying. With one of our older flocks you could set your clock to the clucking coming out of the hen house announcing the laying of eggs. I just hope that it's after I've had at least a cup of coffee or two!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Have you been to the bank?

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with 86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!!!! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today. To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a pre-mature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train. To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident. To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics. Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one. Author and source unknown

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!

A simple piece of red work to be finished for our home this year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Genius Lies in Simplicity

Rest on Sunday Market on Monday Wash on Tuesday Iron on Wednesday Sew on Thursday Bake on Friday Clean on Saturday Is it possible to keep life as simple as this?