Quilting Motivation

I have decided to join a Swap and a Challenge this year to keep me motivated and quilting.  The first one is the Mug Rug Swap. I plan on revisiting my various totes of fabric for the Mug Rugs.
It has been a few years since I have gone through those totes.  Every time I sort through my fabric or pattern books whether they are my knitting, crochet, cross stitch or quilting books I get a rush of motivation.  Then I came across the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge and immediately joined. This Challenge gives me a plan and a purpose while sorting my fabric totes.  It will make me sort my smaller scraps by color and use them for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The best part of the challenge so far is that the January project is making Mug Rugs!!!!  Here is the site for the Blue Mug Rugs for January  
I think I will be using some leftover snowflake blocks for my Mug Rugs.  They are on a blue background fabric.  These 4 inch quilt blocks are leftover from when I designed a snowflake  pattern  called Snowy Snowy Night

Snowy Snowy Night Pattern available through A Fabric Oasis
My Nifty Fifty 17 Snowflake Quilt

The idea of my Snowy Snowy Night pattern came from my Nifty Fifty 17 Snowflake Swap where we swapped 9 inch snowflake quilt blocks. Everyone used the same white glow in the dark fabric for their snowflakes and the swappers had a choice of a dark or light blue batik for their background.  I designed many of the snowflakes in our swap and used those designs in Snowy Snowy Night pattern but made them into 4 inch quilt blocks instead of 9 inch.  You can see photos of all the snowflake quilt blocks we swapped on our website at www.niftyfiftyquilters.com/nf17.html


Illinois State Quilt Blocks

I have all the Nifty Fifty Illinois Quilt blocks that were swapped in our 29 exchanges up on the Illinois state page.  We got a large variety of quilt block patterns representing Illinois.  The most popular pattern made was the Log Cabin quilt block which represented the one room log cabin in Illinois where Abraham Lincoln was born.  There is another log cabin that Lincoln’s family moved to in 1830 but Abraham only visited this cabin since he had already left to start his own homestead.

Abe Lincoln’s Family’s Log Cabin 1830

We recieved some very original quilt blocks which represented Abraham Lincoln himself…not just of his home.  My favorite is the one which was done in Redwork… Another one is Sunbonnet Sue wearing Old Abe’s famous hat.

Illinois Sunbonnet Sue in our Nifty Fifty 20 Swap
Illinois Quilt Block in our Nifty Fifty 19 Redwork Swap

And of course Chicago needed be represented since it makes Illinois famous with it incredible shopping and tourist sites.  What better way to represent Chicago then by having Sunbonnet Sue visiting the city as she did in our Nifty Fifty 25 Swap.

Sunbonnet Sue visiting Chicago in NF 25 Swap

Determined Cat Trying to Get Treats

Five years ago there was a stray cat at my in-laws house.  She was leary of us but very sweet.  You could hear her purring from across the yard if you talked very nice to her.  You could tell she was starving because my father-in-law threw out a pizza crust for her and she grabbed it and ran. She hid under the jet skis and I have never seen a cat eat anything sooo fast.  My husband had a lot of patience that weekend and was able to catch the stray cat.  We called her Tootie and within a few weeks this skinny little thing had four kittens. We had no idea she was pregnant!!!! 

Needless to say we kept two of her kittens.  One orange tabby we named Joey
 and one gray tabby we named Maggie.   They are real characters and they both LOVE treats and Quilts!! 

Laying on the Nifty Fifty One Quilt
Sitting in front of my “Old Man in the Mountain” Pattern

When they were kittens I received a treat jar from my sister.  They knocked it off the table tying to open it and it broke. I was so upset!!!  This week….I found the exact treat jar at a thrift shop.  Maggie immediately remembered it after five years and right away tried again to open it.  After Maggie spent a lot of effort with no results, I finally helped her by tipping open the lid.  Her brother Joey waited until he heard the lid open and then he came over to reap his sister’s hard work…….Maggie patiently stepped back while Joey tried reaching in to get a treat but it was more difficult then he thought.  Finally he stuck his whole head in the jar to find one. Maggie also got her treat by sticking her head into the jar. 
Here is the video of their endeavor:

Fingerless Mitten Pattern

Easy, Fast and Warm Fingerless Mittens
Happy New Year!!!!
I made these mittens for Christmas presents this year.  They are easy and work up really fast.  They are so comfortable that I made myself a pair using double strands of Wool Ease instead of the Homespun yarn I used for the little ones.  Enjoy!!  Please let me know if you have any questions about the pattern.

One Skein of Homespun Lions Brand Yarn
Can substitute two strand of  Lions Wool Ease for the same result.
Size 9 needles.
Two Strands of Wool Ease:  
Knit: 8 stitches x 12 rows = 2″ (10cm) on size 9 (6mm) needles
SS-Stockinette Stitch
CO-Cast On
BO-Bind On
Make two.
24, (28, 32, 36)  Extra Small, (Small, Medium, Large)

Cast on 24 (28, 32, 36) sts and work K 1 P 1 ribbing for 3 inches or desired length
Increase 4 stitches evenly across the last row of ribbing.
Continue  with stockinette stitch ( K one row P one row) for a total of four rows.
At the beginning of the next knit row CO four stitches.
At the beginning of the next purl row BO four stitches.
Continue in SS for 5 ½”, (6 ½”, 7”, 7 ½”) from the beginning or desired length.
Cast off.
Sew the sides of the mitten together by starting at the bottom of the ribbing and stopping at the CO and BO stitches. Then sew the top sides of the mitten stopping at the CO and BO stitches.  This will be the thumb opening.
Size Small modeled by my 7 year old Niece
Size Small before Mitten is sewn together

Size X-Small modeled by my 6 year old Nephew
Size X-Small before mitten is sewn together

You can make a very small child’s mitten using the same pattern but casting on 18 stitches and increasing 2 stitches on the last row of ribbing.  Do SS for two rows after the ribbing and then CO and BO 2 Stitches. Cont in SS until the mitten measures 4 to 5 inches from the beginning.