New puppy = knitting inspiration!

Boy I tell you.  If any of you guys get into a knitting rut, I highly recommend a new puppy.  It works like a charm!  Today I picked up the sticks to make Nina a new sweater.

I think orange is her colour - don't you?

I have the feeling I'm going to be apologizing to you quilting enthusiasts soon for all my puppy pictures.  

Pips baby blanket finish

Well, I finally got this quilt finished (a month behind schedule!) and last weekend took advantage of the sunshine to take some pictures for you.
I really like the way I quilted it - just freehand squares around each block.

My lovely assistant Ginger!

Nina's here!

Hi all,
I know it's been a while and I will definitely get updated this weekend - I have so much to share with you!  But I just wanted to take a minute and tell you Nina has finally arrived and we are thrilled!  Well, Ginger's not quite sure, but I'm sure she'll come around quickly.
Here's a picture of the spot she has chosen to sleep tonight - on the pillows behind my head!

What I've been up to...

Hi all,
Been a bit busy, no quilting, a little crochet, but I wanted to at least give you a little update, especially about Nina.  After all, whose day isn't brightened up by a little chihuahua?
Here's a little video we made when we saw her almost two weeks ago.  Ginger was doing her best to get Nina to play with her!

Here are some more shots of recent events:

 At the Sforza castle in Milan

Meeting mother-in-law's new kitten 

Me and Ginger resting in St. Mark's Square in Venice (took little sis to see Venice)

Laura and Ginger in St. Mark's square

Nina's ears are now standing up chi-style!


Nina and hubs

Ginger sleeping on my shoulder in the car - her favourite position!

Prezzies from New Zealand

Well, hubbie's back finally and he came bearing gifts! 
A cute book of dog sweaters to knit - Ginger and Nina will have to have matching sweaters this winter!

And apparently they make yarn out of roadkill in NZ...
I have to say - he knows me well!

Big news!

Hi all,
I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I've been getting little sister settled, getting our kitchen installed and unpacking those boxes, and now to top it all off: a nice chest cold!  I have also been working on a secret project for Jessica, so I can only show you a sneak peek:

I do have some BIG news for you though - we are going to be parents for the third time!  We have decided to add another chihuahua to our family!  We have to wait till mid-November, but I'm trying to be patient because I know it's an important time for her and she has lots to learn from her (biological!) mother.  We are getting her from a wonderful breeder, Sonia, that we met last year at an amateur chihuahua competition that Ginger participated in.  Sonia had so many beautiful dogs there I knew I wanted one from her some day.

I will be back soon with some quilting news, but in the meantime here are a few pictures of our little Nina to tide you (and me!) over...

Friday favourites... for mom

One of the reasons I started this blog is so I can share my love of quilting and my own projects with my mother, who lives in Canada.  To this end, I thought that once in a while I could do a little round-up of some of the amazing quilts I've seen recently.  My mother is a expert sewer, but after sewing for five kids for the last 30 years she says she's done.  I figure she just needs some inspiration, and these Friday favourites have that in spades!

1. Love of solids circle block, 2. Positivity, 3. Bento box, 4. Busier crazier, 5. Checkers, 6. Windy city quilt, 7. Love of solids pickle dish, 8. Erin's quilt, 9. Love of solids chevron.

She's landed!

My little sister has come to visit me in Italy!  I am so excited!  I am going to take her all over Italy and some major European capitals as well over the next few months.  I wonder if I could get her interesting in quilting/knitting/crochet?...

Hand-dyed loveliness...

A while ago I got some gorgeous hand-dyed yard from Liz at Sheeping Beauty.  She has really amazing yarn, and I like to support fellow Canadians. 
I'm thinking it would make a nice big scarf like this one.  I have 239 yards - any other suggestions?

Sherbet pips baby blanket...

With hubbie far, far away in New Zealand for work until October, I have my weekends all to myself.  I used to really look forward to a solo weekend once in a while - it's a little different when you have six of them back to back and the weeks in between!
Although I miss him very much, I am trying to make use of my time to be uber-productive.  This is what I got up to yesterday - some Sherbet Pip blocks to make a baby blanket for my coworker that just had her second baby - a girl this time.

 Luckily she doesn't know I have a blog, so I can share my progress with you without blowing the surprise!

I just loved the little girls on the tree swings, so I started by fussy-cutting nine of them, and building up the blocks around them.

When I finished the blocks I finally stopped procrastinating about cutting the lawn.  I wasn't looking forward to it, but what is considered a large yard in Italy is still fairly small according to Canadian standards, so it didn't take me very long.  Can't wait to make this yard beautiful next year!

It was a good day.

Kona squares progress and better pictures

I did a little work on the Kona squares quilt today, but first I tried to get some decent pictures of it before I lost the sun.  I don't know how some people take such amazing pictures of their work - it ain't easy!
I had a hard time not getting the dogs in the shots!  Oliver kept coming over and dropping his ball on it to entice me into playing fetch!

Even the back is cool!

Kona squares progress...

Wow.  You wouldn't believe how many hours it took me to sew all these squares together!  But I really love how it's coming along and it's gonna add a dash of colour to our grey couches! 

Check out Ginger's favourite little napping place - isn't she the cutest?

The question now is, do I add a border to make it long enough and wide enough for our bed, or so I leave it this twin size and make it a strictly couch quilt?  Suggestions?

Granny square much?

Since I recently moved out of Milan and became a commuter, I've been searching for a nice, portable hobby for the hour long train ride.  A while ago I fell in love with Chawne's amazing granny square blanket, and so while we were in New York this month I asked my dear friend Jen, artist and crocheter extraordinaire, to teach me how to make a square!  So we popped down to Purl Soho and picked up some gorgeous yarn and a crochet hook, and I've been a granny square-making machine ever since! Check out what I did in the first week back to work:

Fall has always been my favourite season.  Besides my birthday, I adored new sweaters and pencil cases and all the things that went with the beginning of the new school year.  Here in Italy,  the weather doesn't turn cold fast enough to produce the fall colours I grew up with in Canada - warm reds, deep purples, toasty golds and oranges.  So when I was choosing the yarn for my granny square blanket, I unconsciously chose the colours that to me signify the beginning of a new season.

Can't wait to finish it!

Early arrival...

Just as I was finalizing my "to do this fall" list, someone just HAS to go and mess with my schedule!

A coworker of mine gave birth last night to a baby girl - a whole MONTH early!  That means this weekend I have to get on that stack of Sherbet Pips that I bought for the quilt!  After seeing this quilt, I'm thinking a bento box design would look nice.  I was also thinking of making a little pillow case to go with the quilt, so it can be used when she's a toddler and sleeps with a pillow. 

Love those puppy dogs!

New labels!

Look what just arrived!  New labels! 
The chihuahua is my little Ginger.  Hubbie took a headshot of her and played around with it on photoshop until it was a nice little logo.  (He's so smart!)
I got two sizes - large ones for my quilts and smaller ones that I can use on everything from doggie coats to knitwear.  Ordered from Inked Papers on Etsy.
Can't wait to complete my next project and use one of these!

A piece of my quilting history...

I have recently learned that quilting runs in my family. 
My second cousin Wanda, who lives in Mississippi, sent me a priceless gift a few weeks ago: an unfinished quilt top made by her grandmother - my great grandmother.  I am so grateful for this rare occasion, and completely psyched about "connecting" with my great grandmother by finishing her quilt.  In the photo below, she is at the top left, and my cousin is in the middle of the bottom row, next to my mother:

Wanda told me it was made from feedsacks, and I had no idea what that meant.  When I first heard that word I imagined burlap bags or raw linen.  I have since done a bit of research on the net, and these particular feedsacks seem to come from the period between 1930-1950.  They were used before then, but that's the era when they started making them with colourful prints on them, with farmer's wives vying for the pretties ones.  They contained things like rice and cornmeal, and were then recycled by thrifty housewives into things like quilts and even clothing.  There's a lot of very interesting information about the history of American quilting here.

So, without further ado, here are some pictures of my great-grandmother's quilt.

The incredible thing is that this was all obviously hand-sewn.  I would never have the patience to do all that!  If you look closely you can see the hand-stitching, and the small bits of newspaper still attached from the paper piecing.

I already have a few ideas about a backing, and I will definitely hand quilt it, but I'm wondering if I should reinforce the hand stitching on the starts in order to make it strong enough to handle washing in a modern washing machine.  Any suggestions?  If I stitched over the seams I'd have to do it from the front - would it ruin the look to see machine stitches?
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