Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mardi Gras 2017!

As someone who has participated in Mardi Gras parades, let me tell you this is ONE
PARTY!  There is nothing like being there in person!  

. Happy Mardi Gras! You may know that Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" and "Laissez les bons temps rouler" is a Cajun French phrase that translates to "Let the good times roll!" ... 
Thank Pope Gregory XIII for adding the event to the calendar (yup, the Gregorian calendar) in 1582 on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is Lent, the 40 days of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter Sunday.
* Another name for Mardi Gras is "Shrove Tuesday." The word "shrove" comes from the "shrive," which means "to confess." Going to confession is an unofficial practice of Catholics to prior to starting the 40 day spiritual journey of Lent.
* International names for Mardi Gras include: Martes de Carnaval in Mexico, Fastan in Sweden, Martedi Grasso in Italy, J'Ouvert in Trinidad, and Karneval in Germany.
* Like many holidays we celebrate today, the festivities include evidence of pagan tradition.  Feasting and masquerades, which are important parts of today's Mardi Gras celebrations, were also parts of the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, according to Huffington Post.

* It wouldn't be Fat Tuesday without purple, gold and green beads, but how did those colors come to be symbolic with the holiday? The International Business Times reports that the King of the first daytime carnival in 1872 selected those colors based on their associated meaning and he would toss them to people he thought fit that meaning.
Purple = justice
Gold = power
Green = faith
* New Orleans was not the first American city to host a parade for the occasion. That was Mobile, Alabama. Louisiana is where the celebration originated in North America, though, and for that we can thank France for sending  the LeMoyne brothers in 1699 to defend France's claim in Louisiana, as they brought the holiday with them.
*  New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras parade in 1837. Floats appeared 20 years later.
* Lawmakers in Louisiana made Mardi Gras a legal state holiday in 1875. It is still observed in parts of the state and is also a state holiday in Alabama and Florida.
Masks are a fun part of Mardi Gras, but if you're riding on a float, don't leave home without one. It is illegal to ride on a Mardi Gras parade float in New Orleans without wearing a mask.
* Mardi Gras may be the day before Lent, but it also marks the end of Carnival season, which begins Jan. 6.
* It is also known as Pancake Day (read about free pancakes for charity at IHOP here) or Paczki Day (learn "Secret of Perfect Paczki" here).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Print Your Labels!

 I came across this post about printing your own fabric labels for clothing items at home--
I have ordered labels before and there are plenty to have for the ages, but sometimes, I would like to have a special label for a special item--this is just perfect for that!!

This website is a rich with techniques and tips on crocheting patterns and stitches!  A definite follow along site to add to your daily routine!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

And They Call It Progress!

I'm loving these monthly knit alongs! 
Yes, I'm making progress--sometimes, I wish there was more
to the monthly pattern,
but so glad I can keep up!

This is the Estonian Knit along designed by 
Toni L. Lorenz
Her Ravelry forum is Knitting in the Loft 

At times, I wonder about my bead selection, but my handspun yarn picks
up the golds, greens, rosy hints of the beads.
This one is quick knit each time! I'm glad my handspun wool is 
working with this pattern; it is designed by
Elizabeth Ravenwood--she is quite the designer.
Her ravelry forum is A Big Comfy Doghouse!

My heart be still!  "When Calls The Heart" is
back in production!  And this is KAL
to accompany the viewing.

Really love this hand dyed yarn from 
Sarah Vance Designs. 
Hope I can continue to keep up the progress!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Year of Stitches Continue--

If you are doing the year of stitches, you should be following along
with Julie B Booth's blog.  She gives helpful tips and 

unique stitches to master or practice.

She has creative ways to continue that stitching path once you
have run out of ideas.
Here is my stitching--nothing really unusual or unique--
just enjoyable stitching

Snowmen A To ZZZZ Block of the Month

designed by Crabapple Hill--love their designs!  I really Needed  a snowman quilt for myself--it might take me longer than a year to stitch at the rate I'm going, but I'll get there sooner or later.

Hope you are enjoying the stitch along!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Rakestraw or Mayan Spinner

The Rakestraw Spinner is certainly an interesting spinning companion.  There are simple means to spin besides the drop spindle, that started out as a rock on the end of a stick--this is one of those ways.

These Mayan Spinner-style spinners are great for anyone who struggles to use a drop spindle or who is learning to spin. If you suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or tendonitis, you can carry on spinning with the Rakestraw Spinner. Wonderful for children, who pick it up straight away, for the elderly, and for everyone and anyone! It almost spins itself and can be more productive than a drop spindle.

Spin on!  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Coloring Like A Youngster

Recently I wrote a blog post about this pattern that I found (as if it was lost!)
in my UFO pile.  It was time to get it out and begin work--why is it sometimes,
we just can't get motivated to do some patterns and there are others
we spend so much time on?  Oh, well, moving on.............

I copied off the pattern before we went on an extensive trip--got out my box
of crayons and begin to color and giggling all the time I
was coloring with my brand new box of Crayons!

So much fun!  Then the other day, I found a tutorial on what steps to
take for coloring this exact pattern.
I think I'll darken my boot more and maybe add more color to my
pumpkin, but overall
coloring on fabric is a hoot!!

I know that I'll have a completed quilt by October rolls around.........
IF I make the surrounding blocks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

12 Months of Techniques?

Okay--I need to stay off the internet!  Should do no more searching,
browsing, reading, cruising, exploring, adventuring............... 
Why?  I get into so much trouble--take a look at this......................
I stumbled upon a bag of techniques--Oh, golly, gee whiz, when can
I open it?  March 1st is what I've been told...
that's a while away--can I keep my patience steady and under wraps--
of course NOT!

Look at all these cool designers you too can enjoy!
Okay, so I'm an enabler, but I enjoy having company on
this exploration of knitting a year of different techniques--
and some of my favorite designers are adding to the pot of
knowledge; then there are others who just could be added
to my list of favorites!
With credit card in hand, I ordered that bag of techniques...
Hope it arrives soon--because, my curiosity is worse than a cat's! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bleeding Fabrics

Yesterday morning I was browsing through my Facebook page--sometimes good information crops up
Well, THIS was quite worth the read--

Someone posted they had hand quilted (!) a charity quilt that
was to be donated and horrors of horrors--when washing the quilt,
even with fabric catchers and other precautions, some of the
fabrics bled!  I can't imagine what I would have done in this
situation.  Of course, you post about this tragic and you receive lots of
helpful information.  This was the best information anyone would like
to receive--

Here's a sample of what products will do to reduce that
fabric fading and bleeding--
Good information for anyone who works with fabric!
or anyone who wears colored clothing!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Save The Date..................

The West Houston Quilt Guild is hosting their biennial
Quilt Show March 3-4, 2017!  They put on a great show and
exhibit. Featured Artist, Paula Barnes, of Red Crinoline Quilts

Take a look at this fabulous donation quilt!  It could be yours just
for a small donation--I'm going to take my chance!
There will be vendors and over 200 quilts.
Silent Auction Basket and Quilt Bonanza Guild Boutique Quilt Appraisals 

Admission is $10 per adult--free parking
Y'all Come!

The West Houston Quilter’s Guild is a 501(C)(3) non–profit organization founded in 1993 with the purpose of developing and nurturing appreciation for the art of quilting and its history. Simply put, we are a group of people who love quilts!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Progress on WIP...........

I know this isn't the best photo of my knitting progress--month two in
Estonian Scarf designed by Elizabeth Ravenwood (love her designs!)
And A Big Comfy Doghouse Ravelry group

Since this is fine handspun wool, and I'm adding beads 
(well, should be doing nupps!  but me and nupps
don't get along very well!) 

Here is the handspun yarn in all it's glory--I really like how
it is striping--still have more to spin, but so far knitting is a breeze, except

I wanted to use lace needles and I love, absolutely love
Hiya HiYa needles--interchangeable on cables--
and I treated myself!!

Why lace needles you ask?  Well, these needles have sharp points to make
it easier to pick up stitches, do SSK or K2tog--love them!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I Find This Fascinating!

I'm not a computer geek by any means--but I do knit, and this presentation is fascinating to me!

Right on!!  Granny was a Hacker!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Gifts! From A Friend!

Yes, it's few days late, but I did receive them before February 14th and it doesn't
really matter to me when I receive a gift..............

These are super cool!  Here is the recipe to make these great cozies for
your  wine glass.  Not only are they great to keep your wine glass cozy,

It's also great to remember which glass is yours--if you sit it down at
a party!

Another gift from friend Judy M were these adorable pillow covers!
she loved the fabric for herself but she thought of me
and my love of sheep and gave from her heart..........

how super dear these are to me!
Thanks so much Judy M!

Would like to find this fabric and gift it to her at a later date--
looking hard............
Always, fun to receive gifts.....
but I also like to gift............
may your heart be filled with lots of gifting and receiving!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Traveling Mississippi Gulf Coast

On our recent journey to Florida for our spinning conference, we stopped into the 
Mississippi Visitors Center, along Interstate 10.  I don't think we have ever
stopped here in the past 10 years--

Most people just hurry inside to use the facilities, but I walk around to see what
is on the grounds as every rest stop is different.  This one had lovely birds
perched in the tree tops

These birds were hand carved with chain saws and upon
further investigation, I learned the story behind these marvelous

After Hurricane Katrina, which was so disastrous to the Gulf Coast,
many of the lovely oaks and other hard wood trees stood bare
and naked to the sky.
Thank goodness, there are some who know what it feels like to be
striped of all dignity as many folks who lost their homes, these
trees stood as a reminder of the days that passed.

In true fashion, people rally behind those less fortunate and assist them to
rebuild their lives--such was the case of Marlin and Preston Miller--a father
and son team who took upon themselves the task of giving hope to those
who languished in this horrible storm. 
I was humbled to see these structures and reflected on that time in history.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Quilt Con East

What a wonderful place to be for Quilt Con East--
Savannah, Georgia!  A lovely setting for a great event!

As someone who has attended Quilt Con twice, this is an event not to be missed!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

St. Valentine's Day

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois. 
TYPICAL VALENTINE’S DAY GREETINGS  In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stitch Away.............The Love of Home

I love stitching!  It's a form of mediation for me--I don't need anything else but my fabric, a nice pattern and my boxes of embroidery threads.  And I love this new series of stitching patterns that
Jenny has designed.  The Love of Home!
A sweet pattern that includes some applique--check it out--Free for the month!
and come stitching with me!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I Could Knit These All Day...............

Hearts to You! from Barrett Wool and Susan Anderson!
Such darling hearts that can be knitted in a few minutes

If you use wool, you can felt and have a delightful garland
for your sweetheart.  Find the pattern on the website
and knit away!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FREE! FREE! Skillbuilder!

If you want to accomplish more with your sewing abilities
or need some maintenance with your skills, then this is the
monthly FREE Quilt Along for you!
I mentioned in an earlier blog that Sherri had free
blocks for us each month--well, Sherri has designed this
quilt as a Skillbuilder and the first block is up and ready
for you to download--and yes, there is a video tutorial!
Grab the pattern and sew sew sew to build your sewing skills and
have a finished (we hope) quilt in the process!

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Never Too Early!

Is coming up this summer--JUNE 23-25, 2017 AT THE BERRY CENTER IN CYPRESS, TX
This is Lester, the mascot for Fiber Fest.  The Fiber Fest will feature two outstanding
knitters in 
Lucy Neatby is an internationally recognized teacher, designer, and writer who thrills knitters around the world with her inimitable charm, knowledge, and uniquely colourful designs. Her passion for nurturing and empowering knitters, and putting them in control of their art, is legendary! She is the author of three books: Cool Socks Warm FeetCool Knitters Finish in StyleA Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-knitters! and the Learn With Lucy DVD series.
JC Briar is a self-professed knitter, puzzle solver, and chart fanatic. She likes to ask questions, probe beyond the surface, and figure things out for herself. Which cast on method really is the most stretchy? How do you knit sock heels and toes that really fit? JC has honed her teaching skills to recognize that different students have different learning styles, and she tries to adapt to match each student’s needs. JC is author of the book Charts Made Simple and creator of the revolutionary Stitch Maps charting software.

You have plenty of time to knit up Lester!  A Free pattern from Gritty Knits