Ripple Effect

We are back from our quick trip to Florida, thus the quiet blog for the last two weeks.  I still need to get to uploading those pictures, so in the meantime I will show you some projects that I worked on before I left. 

I have been in the process of taking down all my winter decorations and putting up some spring things.  I started with my mantel.

I have been adding in a lot more blue to my color scheme, in my effort to brighten up my main living space. 

I have been loving on this color for quite a while, but I have been searching for a few things to pull the blue into my color scheme.  So, I decided I needed to make a new runner for my coffee table.

The pattern is from my “On the Run” book that came out a few years ago.  It’s called The Ripple Effect.  It was inspired by all the ripple afghans my Great Grandma Anka used to make in the 70’s.  Anyone else remember that pattern?

Below is the original photo from the book


Neither runner worked very well in my living room, so I needed a third runner from this pattern.  Oh well, I love chevrons, so that’s okay.  (BTW – the fabric in the new runner is from my Artful Home collection.) 

See that pillow in the background?

It’s from Pier 1 and it’s just my colors.

 Another item that I found to pull in more blue is this rug from Company C.

Here is a better photo of it:

My last rug was over 10 years old and its black background was no longer black.  It was more “marbled”  –  which means it had been spilled on so many times and I could no longer get it clean.  It was definitely time for a new one!  Plus, it goes well with my Soulful Blossoms quilt and the other things in my kitchen.

Again, I had to add some more blue into this room as well.  Actually, this is my excuse to show you this sign again.  Many of you have asked where I found it.  I got it at Hobby Lobby several years ago.  I was there recently and they still had it, along with about 50 other really cute wall signs.  (I’m just warning you – it’s a dangerous store)

I have had fun “freshening” things up a bit. 

Next up, my dining room??


Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Something Blue

It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  The ice is officially off the lake!

I left to teach a retreat last Friday afternoon, with the lakes fully iced over, and came home on Sunday to see the ice off the far side of the lake.  By this morning it had receded as far as the big island.  Now there is just a bit left by shore, which was when this picture was taken.  It’s isn’t very pretty, as now some rain is moving in, but it is one step closer to this:

Ah . . .  . summer!  The great thing is, the ice is off the lake about a month ahead of it’s usuall time, so we should be seeing summer early this summer.  In fact, the weather this winter has been crazy.   It was 76 degrees here yesterday!  (It is state basketball tournament time, so typically we have a big snowstorm right around this time)

Now, onto something blue – and I didn’t mean the lake – I finished my first baby sweater.

I chose a very simple sweater, as I didn’t want to put too much time into a newborn size sweater that may not get worn very much.  I had it finished in under a week, which is record time for me (considering I usually do adult size sweaters). 

I chose the pattern “Baby Sophisticate” by Linden Heflin.  I really like the simple details of the rolled collar and Raglan sleeves.   It has a bit of a little-old man look to me, but I have noticed that all the baby patterns that I have picked out have that look.  Kinda funny, considering I just publically teased Joel about dressing like an old man and now I am going to do the same to his son!

I made a little hat to match the sweater.  I love baby hats, so I may have to do a hat for each sweater I make.  (which may cause this baby to hate me, as kids don’t often like to wear hats).  The pattern is called “Leftover Sock Newborn Hat” and you can find the ravelry link here.  The little knot at th top is supposed look like a little umbilical cord.  I think it’s a cute little detail for a newborn hat.

The yarn is called Fantasy by Dark Horse Yarns. It’s super soft and cuddly – I wish you could feel it.  I bought it to match Joel’s eyes.  I’m hoping his genes are dominant in the eye department!

Posted in Family, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Other Coat

I’m glad to hear that my last posts got a few laughs.  I ended up with only one person wanting to join my support group, though I think many of you understood what I was getting at.  I hope that you all know that I was only half serious about Joel’s coat and was just looking for a chance to tease him a bit.  He can really dish it out, so he has to take it once in a while too :-)  I think after seeing him sewing on his own buttons, some of the ladies thought he could do no wrong.  He kept up with the comments coming in and took great joy in pointing out how many of you liked his coat!

I have to admit this isn’t the first time I have been wrong about his coats.  A few years back, I bought him a coat off the clearance rack as a practical joke.  I am always teasing him about his old man tendencies and I thought this was the perfect old man coat (and yes, I realize that I am the kettle calling the pot black here.  I didn’t know anyone else in college that quilted!  And back then there was a huge stereotype that all quilters were of  . . .  um . . . advanced age.  Plus, there are all those homemade sweaters!).  Turns out that he loved the coat, and kept it.  Again, shows you how much I know about fashion. Now, everywhere he goes, he gets compliments on the coat.  To top that off, last week he had a big motorcycle dude, with a shaved head, goatee, and tattoos offer to buy the coat off his back!

Before I go, I have a favor to ask.  Joel and I are heading to Florida for a few days of vacation before the baby comes.  We are going to be spending 3 days driving the coastal highway from Miami down to the Florida Keys.  We are looking for any advice on fun things to do down there – from good places to stop for food, snorkeling, beaches, sunsets, catamaran rides, other activities or even places to stay.  Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!   I am just hoping I am not to pregnant to enjoy it!  I am just entering the third trimester and this is my view of the world. 

Joel assures me that I still have feet, but I guess I am just going to have to take his word for it.

Posted in Family, Travel | 23 Comments

Only in Minnesota

I am a bad wife.

Yes, that is Joel sewing his own buttons onto his favorite, really old, really ugly coat.  This coat has been safely hanging in the closet for the last several years.  It has been missing buttons and my refusal to help sew them on has kept it there until now.

Joel has decided to take matters into his own hands and sew the buttons on himself.  It took him 28 minutes to sew on two buttons.  I did end up helping a tiny bit.  I felt guilty enough to help him tie off the knots.

Now he is all happy again, back to wearing his favorite old coat.

My buckiness over this coat goes beyond my disdain for Joel’s wardrobe at times or fashion.  (I will be the first to admit that I am not fashionable at all)  The problem is it reminds me a little too much of this – Do you recognize it?

It’s Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in Grumpier Old Men.  And yes, Walter is wearing pretty much the same coat.

And guess what – Joel has the hat to go with it.

(Actually, I should say DID have the hat to go with it.  The dog got a hold of it and chewed it up – and No, I did not pay the dog in doggie treats to do away with it (though I would have liked to). )

I watched this movie years ago – before I even met Joel – and found it to be a cute movie.  Now I realize that I am married to a future Walter Mathau – He already has the coat and hat.  Somehow, the movie doesn’t seem so cute now.

This is another typical outfit from the movie and Joel would love to wear this.

He is obsessed with ice fishing.  (These are fish houses, out on a lake.  I hate to point out the obvious to anyone else from Minnesota, but if you are from Florida, you may have just thought it was a typical neighborhood)

Like many other men from Minnesota, this is Joel’s favorite way to spend a weekend – out on the ice, wearing one of these fashion-forward outfits.

Look like fun to you?

Joel also wants Walter’s vehicle from the movie – this very classy Scout International.

1974 International Harvester Travelall

Wouldn’t I just love to go for a ride with him in this beauty – um No!  For those of you who have seen the movie, you may remember Jack’s character hiding a dead fish in the backseat.  Joel has been known to do the exact same thing to his friends.  Have you ever smelled a rotting fish?   Try getting that smell out of your car.

Before I know it, Joel will have turned into this – trying to stab his fishing buddy with a fish.

Please pray for me ladies.  This could be bad.  Can I also point out that Joel is only 37 and appears to have quite a head start on turning into a Grumpy Old Man. 

I believe that the coat is just the tip of the iceberg.

What am I going to do now?  Anyone else feeling my pain?  Also married to a typical, Minnesota ice fisherman? 

We could start a support group.  Anyone?

Posted in Family, Minnesota | Tagged , , | 56 Comments

Aran Wrap Cardigan

Yesterday we woke up to a snowstorm.  It’s really only our first or second storm this year, which is highly unusual for this part of the country.   I know I have complained about too much snow in the past (especially last year), but I have been waiting for this for months!  We have pretty much had a brown winter, so I am enjoying the winter wonderland.  All the schools are closed and I am content to hole up in the studio today.  I would also like to get out and snowshoe at least once before it melts away.

In other exciting news, the strike-offs for my Seaside Cottage line arrived.  This is the first time I have seen the prints on fabric, so it is always interesting to see how they look on fabric, compared to just seeing the digital files or the cads.  As you can see, I have been going through and making a list of the changes I would like worked on.  They always need a little tweaking, so this is just part of the process of getting the colors right.  Sometimes they need a lot of tweaking, so I am glad to see the list is short.

I also have a knitting project to share.   I think it has probably been 3 months since I have blogged about any knitting, so that is quite a dry spell for me.  I usually do my knitting at night, and early on in my pregnancy I was tired and headachy by about 8:30 and it really seemed to cut into my knitting time.   It’s pretty pathetic, I know.  I have never been the type to just sit around at night or just do nothing, but I have to admit that’s what I did many of the nights.

When I did start knitting again, I decided I needed a bit of a challenge.

One with just a few cables . . .

I decided on this cardigan – with both horizontal and vertical cables.

The yarn is Vintage, by Madelintosh.  The colorway is called Tart.  It’s a beautiful hand-dyed red, with some black dye added in for depth.

The pattern is the Aran Wrap Sweater from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008.  (Ravelry link here).   I loved all the cables across the back of the sweater, which is what first drew me to the design.

My only issue was the front of the sweater.  It is really cute styled with a belt, as shown in the pattern.

But, when I started looking at everyone’s projects on Ravelry, I could see just how much excess fabric is hiding under that belt.  I knew that would drive me crazy – as I would constantly be rearranging everything.

This issue kept me from starting the pattern, until I saw the September Sweater on Ravelry – I particularly liked this link on Ravelry.  The following pictures are from that link.   The back is quite similar to the Aran Wrap Cardigan.

But look at the front – cute and simple, without all the excess fabric.  I decided to try to combine the two patterns.  This turned out to be much more challenging than I thought.  After several false starts, I finally got the stitches cast on.  It was quite slow going, as I had to re figure everything as I went along.  It took forever and many times I put off working on it because it just hurt my brain! (remind me never to do this much changing to a pattern again!)

So, after something like 5 months, I finally have a finished sweater. 

It’s hard for me to tell if I like the sweater, because of the bump.  I can’t tell if it fits or not – and a large, cabled sweater and a baby bump don’t exactly flatter each other, if you know what I mean.

This side profile shows just how far that bump sticks out and the cables seem to make it look even bigger!

I’m guessing I will end up adding a button closure, but I will decide next fall when I can start wearing it.

This picture shows a close-up of the cables that wrap up and around the neck.  I have since taken the left side apart and redone it.  This is a 16 stitch cable, which means it isn’t symmetrical.  I was wondering about it as I was working it on, but once it was done I could see that it needed to be redone.  The cables now match so you don’t see that awkward line of purls along the left side as shown below.

I am SO glad to finally have it done, so I can start something smaller . . .  and blue.

(I’ve already started two baby sweaters and finished one hat.  They are so quick and addicting that I am really enjoying the smaller projects – and it won’t be three months until my next knitting post😉 ).

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 49 Comments

A Tutorial on Scallops – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my last post – a tutorial on binding scallops.  You might want to read that first, if you are interested in scalloping the edges of a quilt.

In this post, I want to give a few hints on figuring out what size to make your scallops and a few tips on making the process go a little quicker.

This is the first quilt that I scalloped the edges on  (BTW – many of these pictures are of older quilts, so my photography leaves a lot to be desired).

Sweet Dreams, found in the book "Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures"

I learned a LOT on this quilt – several of the things I mentioned in my last post – I cut the curves and then tried to sew along the curvy, stretchy edges.  This is also the quilt that I didn’t tack the inside of the miters when I was doing the hand stitching, so many of the miters have pulled out.

The other major thing I learned, was not to use such small scallops.  It practically took me all day to get the binding on this quilt (and that doesn’t include the hand-stitching).  These scallops are so small that there are about 40 curves and miters to make going around this quilt.  It took forever!

This is the second quilt that I scalloped the edges on.  There are a few less miters, and I did a much better job on it.  I guess that practice on the first one helped out a little!

Pattern: Raspberry Jelly from the book "On a Roll"

On my third quilt, you can see I made my scallops even bigger, and I still liked them.  It went much quicker, but still gave me the look I was going for.

Pattern: Meadow Lane from the book "Fat Quarter Cottage"

With that being said, there are still some tricks to figuring out what size to make the scallops.   Sometimes it is based on the size of the quilt.  For example, you can hope that your quilt ends up a nice number like 60″ x 70″, where both sides are divisible by the same number.  In this case, 6 – 10″ scallops on the width and 7 – 10″ scallops on the length (depending on how you want your corners to look).  I will say that this hardly ever happens!  Most often, you end up with something like 7 7/8″ long scallops on one side and 8 3/8″ long scallops on the other.  You can then use a tool like the Easy Scallop Tool by Darlene Zimmerman to mark a scallop just that size.  I have this tool, and it comes in two sizes.  Both are easily adjustable to meet your desired size.

(If you don’t happen to have a scallop tool, you can always bring your quilt into the kitchen and find a plate or cover that is the right size.  You might be surprised by how many size options you find in there!  You can see which plate I used to mark this little runner!)

I also have another option for selecting the size of your scallop.  The nice thing about this method is that you don’t have to do ANY math!  It’s something that I use most of the time now.  I just make my scallop the size of the blocks in the quilt.  For example, see how the scallops below line up with the length of the block from point to point?  That makes the size of the scallops the same for both the length and width of the quilt and eliminates the need to do any math.

This works great for all four sides of the quilt, but you sometimes have to make a few adjustments to get a nice curve on the corner.  It works best if you only have a skinny inner border like the quilt shown above.  Multiple borders can throw this theory off a bit.

However, I sometimes like what happens to the corners when you have a wider inner border or if the width of the combined borders doesn’t work out with the size of the scallop.  The quilt below is a good example.  I think the little pointed corners are cute!  Another thing to notice on this one is that my scallops line up with the red squares, which is equal to the length of TWO blocks put together.  I could easily have made the scallops the length of one block, but in this case, I liked the look of the elongated curve.  It also meant about half as many inside points to miter – making the process much faster!

Pattern: Strawberry Shortcake from the book "The Sweet Life"

To make the process even faster, you can choose to scallop only two of the sides.  I prefer to do just the top and bottom of the quilt, as you saw with the quilt from my last post.

Pattern: based on the pattern Hopscotch from the book "Fat Quarter Five"

I have also used this option on a baby quilt, for a little added interest.  Notice how the stripe really makes the scallops show up!

Pattern: The Baby Collection (single pattern)

This option even looks cute on a tablerunner, as shown below.  It’s a great way to try scallops, without a huge commitment.  If you end up hating it, you only had to do four miters😉

Pattern: Pickety Sticks from the book "On a Roll Again"

I have two more options for scalloping, if you really don’t want to try miters – The first is to have rounded inside corners, as shown below.

Pattern: Candy Apple Blossoms from the book "Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures"

Instead of mitering the inside curves, you have to pull on the fabric slightly to make that inside curve lay flat (again, a thing that takes a bit of practice – just like the outside curve).   I happen to think the mitered scallops are a little bit more dramatic, and therefore, cuter and worth the effort!

Lastly, I have one quilt that I appliqued a scallop to the border, kind of giving the look of scallops, but requiring no curved edges on your quilt.  Again, not quite as dramatic, but still a fun option.

That’s all I can think of to add on scallops right now.  I hope you found the information helpful and feel inspired to give scallops a try!

Posted in Binding Tips, Quilting | Tagged , | 20 Comments

A Tutorial on Binding Scallops

I finished this quilt well over a year ago and have never gotten around to blogging about it.  Isn’t that bad?   I made it for my office – or should I say, my husband’s office.

It’s nice and manly right?  Actually, my poor husband doesn’t have any  of his own “manly” rooms in our house, as I can’t bear to give up any quilt/decorating spaces!  I guess this room will have to do until we finish up a man cave in the garage.

The reason I am bringing up this quilt, is that I have wanted to do a quick tutorial on binding scallops.  I have done tutorials on lots of binding techniques and I have had some requests to cover scallops as well.

I begin by MARKING my curved lines on the quilt, as shown by the yellow line in the bottom of the photo (more hints on marking the curve to come in my next post).  The key here is NOT TO CUT the curve, just mark it.  If you cut the curve, then you have to sew next to a stretchy, bias curved edge.  NOT FUN.

Begin sewing along the curve by lining up the raw edge of the binding with the drawn line.

Sew until you reach the top inside point of the scallop.  This point will be a seam allowance width above the drawn line.   It is easier to show this with a photo of how it looks after it is sewn.  See the red dot on the top inside point of the binding?  That is where you will stop and pivot.

Now, back to that pivot point – be sure to stop with your needle DOWN, as shown, then turn the quilt so you are ready to sew along the next part of the curve.

Next, use your fingers to swing the binding over to meet the drawn line.  The key here is NOT to get a tuck along the left side of the needle, but you will have one along the right side.

I usually use the point of my seam ripper to assist in getting the tuck of the fabric underneath the foot of my machine, like this.

If you have done it correctly, it will look like this:  See – there is no tuck in the fabric above your sewing line, but there is a tuck to the bottom side.

Still with me?

This is how it will look after you fold the binding  fabric over the sewing line.  See that nice little mitered corner?

If your binding looks as shown so far, you can continue sewing along the drawn line, making the swoop along the large outside curve.  The trick to this part, is to work in a little excess fabric along the bottom of the curve as shown.  See the slight excess fabric ripple along the folded edge of the binding?

This part takes a little bit of practice.  You need to get just the right amount of extra fabric for the curve.   With really round curves, you will need to work in more excess fabric than if you have a flatter curve.  I usually sew one curve first, then cut off the excess fabric so I can fold the binding to the back side and see if the curve lays flat.

Repeat until you have bound along all the curves as shown.  Now you can cut along the drawn line, so you are ready to hand-stitch around the curves.

There are several little tricks that I use for to doing the hand sewing on the binding.

First, you can refer to this tutorial for my hand-stitching technique for bindings.

Secondly, you will need to take a few extra steps for making the mitered corners.

Before you get to that inside mitered corner, flip the quilt over so the front side is facing up.   Pin the miter in place from the front side of the quilt as shown.  (this is a different quilt and a different angle, but it is still the same technique)


Turn the quilt over so the back side is facing up and stitch to the miter as shown.  Notice how the pin is still in the front side of the miter, holding everything in place while you are stitching.


Bring the needle up inside the point as shown and do a couple of tacking stitches.  If you don’t do this, the miter will just pull out after the pin is removed and you will never get it back in place!!  I have learned this from personal experience ;-(


This photo shows doing  the tacking stitches  from the front side of the quilt.  After the tacking stitches are done, continue toward the next miter.


This is how the back side looks after the hand stitching is completed.  See how the curves lay nice and flat?

Next, I added a rod pocket to the back side  of the quilt and hand-stitched it in place. (I cut this piece 5″ wide – Fold in half with wrong sides together, sew the long side with a 1/4″ seam and turn right-side out).

Slide a curtain rod through the pocket, hang and enjoy!

This quilt pattern was based on the Hopscotch pattern from my Fat Quarter Five book. The fabric used is Sanae. The chevron runner shown is from our On the Run book.

In my next post I am going to share some hints for figuring out the size of the curves, plus a few ways to make the process go faster.  Faster is good when it comes to scallops, trust me.  I have learned from experience, so I am anxious to share these tips with you also!  (I just didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much info in one post).

Edit:  Click here for the link to Part 2 of Binding Scallops

I am off to finish one of my boy baby quilts.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Posted in Binding Tips, Decorating, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments