Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time for Another Post

Sometimes I just need to jump in and start.  I've been feeling bad that I haven't updated this for a while.  I look at it like writing in a journal and my journal writing has always been sporadic.  I hate to write when life isn't going well because I don't like being that person who complains all the time.  Life has been good, so that's not my excuse.  I'm not making excuses, I'm just adding another post.

We spent a great deal of time on the road this year.  I've put over 10,000 miles on my new bike since April and we had a great time  The Honda is a lot more comfortable and fun on the road than the Suzuki was.  When we traveled in the past, once we were checked into a hotel for the evening I was loathe to get back on the bike for anything.  Now I don't mind running out again for dinner or other supplies.  It was a big decision to get this new bike, but I don't regret it for a moment.
I don't do a lot of crafting while we are on the road.  I used to carry some small hand work with me, but found that I'm usually too tired at the end of the day (especially when we're on the bikes) that I can only muster the energy to do some reading or watching TV.  So, there hasn't been a lot finished lately.  

I looked at the projects piling up and decided to start working on something else just to get to a 'finish'.  This picture of the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine was a Row-By-Row kit I bought last year.  It will eventually be a piece of a larger, marine themed quilt whose idea is still forming in my head.  Yes, it's not a total FINISH, but this block is done and the design for the rest of the quilt is started and moving forward. 

This block is the first border for Ladies of the Sea.  I worked on this all summer and most of the fall.  I'm happy with it with the exception of the light pink tulips.  I'm hoping with pop more when quilted.  Basically, I'm not much worried about it and will not change it (I think.)

I was feeling restless about not having a completed project for so long, so I put together a pair of socks.  I bought a small skein of black and used the left overs from two other socks to create the color stripes.  I wanted to use up some scraps and practice my color changes.  I did knot the colors together because I don't trust my weaving in the ends to hold everything together.  The knots aren't visible and don't bother me when I'm wearing them, so I may just keep up this practice.

I have been working on hand quilting the iris quilt.  I had the hoop in my sewing room, but found that I only worked on it a few hours a week.  Since I would like to have this completed by the end of the year (an arbitrary deadline) I moved the hoop and stand to the family room and work on it in the evening when we watch TV.  This way I'm getting a few hours a night work done.  I'm not positive that I'll get it done by year's end, but I'll be a whole lot closer than if I had kept it in my sewing room.  And it helps to keep me warm in the evening.

We had a good crop of wild turkeys in the neighborhood this year.  Last week we counted a flock of 26 strutting around.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, August 15, 2016

What's Up?

I've gotten to that age (OK, I've been here for a while) where time flies by.  I have no idea how I got things done while I was working full time.  Now that I'm retired, it seems that my days are just as full. Of course, not having a fixed schedule means I can and do spend a lot of time just sort of goofing off.

But, I have done a lot, traveled and completed a bunch of projects since I last blogged.  Here is a sampling ...

I completed those pink socks ...

bought a new bike ...

completed the green challenge quilt and entered it into my guild's show this spring ...

traveled through a good part of the eastern states in the month of June ...
saw the Rodin exhibit ...
 and got back to stitching again.  This was a kit I bought in Blairsville, Georgia at Fabrics Galore.  This is their Row by Row pattern for this year.  My original idea was to collect bird house rows and complete a quilt.  Now I'm not sure I really want an entire bird house quilt, so I'm not sure what will become of this strip.
My goal is to have this quilt completed by the end of the year.  I try to do some quilting on it every day now that we are home for a while.
 This cross stitch was started quite some time ago and completed in July.  I will probably frame it, but I'm in no hurry because I don't have a place in mind to hang it.
And this is the first border of the ships quilt.  This is the project I've been working on in the evenings.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Winter Progress

I've been in fairly productive period.  The weather is still not quite nice enough for me to be out in the garden or out on the bikes, so I've had a lot of free time to indulge on stitching.

I finished another Ladies of the Sea block.  I think this one is a little dull, but once it gets into the quilt it will be just fine.

We took a little trip out to western MA to Smith College to see their annual spring bulb show.  It is a welcome break from cold weather and snow (although we had a very mild winter this year.)  This is the third consecutive year that we have attended this event and it is always beautiful.  The theme two years ago was breast cancer awareness with all sorts of pink flowers, last year was an explosion of pastels with their Monet theme.  This year, Edward Gorey's book, "The Evil Garden" was the inspiration for the exhibit.  Gorey is one of my favorite authors and illustrators so I found this exhibit delightful.

I decided to take a break from my typical evening applique session to tackle some other projects.  I completed one pair of socks and started a second.

I had this kit for an Easter candle mat that has been languishing in my closet for a few years. (By far, not the oldest thing in the closet, but the thing that piqued my interest.)  I want to get this done before Easter.  I have one more row if stitching to complete it and should have it done.

 Pepper is a small wall hanging for a friend's birthday gift.  This is his dog and I think he will be pleased.

And I finally got started on the green challenge.  I went to a quilt retreat last weekend where I got a good start on this project.  I spent a lot of time staring at the fabrics I was given to see which would work best.  That took the most time. Cutting went fairly quickly and now the piecing is going well.  I am hoping to get this completed to enter into my guild's quilt show in early May.  That means I need to get some sewing done!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Family Tree Quilt and Another Finish

I finally freed the picture of my finished birthday gift from my daughter's camera.

I'm glad it's done and that my mother-in-law likes it.

I have named the blue quilt "Nothing But Time" because everything came from my stash.  This is one of Charlotte Hawkes' (of Scrapitude Quilts) mystery quilts, Scrap in a Box, from last year.  I grabbed a lot of blues to see if they would work together.  I'm very happy on the results of the piecing and colors.  I used the quilt to try out and practice some quilting fill patterns.  

 What I learned is that 18 is too many different fill patterns for me.  There area a few patterns I like and will use again.  There are a few that are my go-to fill patterns that I will continue to use.  But, I liked the more open floral pattern that I used on the half-triangle edge blocks better.  I like less dense quilting - it makes a softer quilt.

I'm taking a little break from my applique work that I typically do in the evening to knit a pair of socks. I am also continuing the hand quilting on my Iris quilt. I'm never at a loss for things to do.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Oops! I Started a New Quilt

I started working on my resolutions.  I looked over all the scraps, ironed each piece and decided to cut them into 2", 2 1/2" and 3" squares.  Anything under 2" was tossed.  I like scrap quilts and I have a bunch of ideas for these size blocks.  I didn't want too many different sizes and I think this is what I use most.  I've gotten a good start, but still have far to go.

The triangles in the box were found in the scraps.  I haven't decided what to do with them yet, but it seemed a waste to cut then into 2" squares.  I did find another little bag of half square triangles and put them together into pinwheels.  Then I couldn't leave it, so I put them together with other bright squares.  I wasn't planning to make a new quilt, but sometimes it just feels good to sew stuff together.  It's only about 11" square.  My plan is to set it on point the put some more brightly colored squares as borders and eventually make it a baby quilt.  But, right now it's another UFO.

I also finished another Ladies of the Sea block.  This wasn't on my official list to do, but this is what I stitch on in the evenings while I watch TV with my husband.

The biggest accomplishment since my last post if getting the Iris quilt hand basted and into the quilt hoop.  Once I finally got the top completed, I avoided this step because I knew it would take a long time and would be uncomfortable.  I still baste quilts on my hands and knees in the kitchen floor.  For a quilt this big, I had to move the table and I still had one corner that wasn't flat on the floor.  Basting alone took nearly 6 hours.  But, I knew once I got that step out of the way, the quilting would be a pleasure.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Quilty Resolutions

I've been submitting quilt resolutions to Sandy's (of Quilting for the Rest of Us) blog for the past 3 or 4 years.  Some years I am successful in completing some of the tasks.  Some years I have completed none.  I don't think I have ever completed all I set out to do.  I tell myself that I set my goals high.  The reality is that I stop thinking about the resolutions a few months into the year.  Then life gets in the way and something else shiny catches my eye.  I don't think I am alone in this.

However, this is the year that I want to do better.  Overall, I am satisfied with my life.  But, there are some adjustments I want to make to accomplish more of my goals and be happier.

I started with getting more fit.  I joined Weight Watchers and has shed 12 pounds so far.  (I like shed rather than lost.  Lost sounds like it was accidental and would like to recover the lost item again.)  I still have more to go, but am working on it every day.

I want to improve my writing.  I always find writing difficult.  I'm a great writer in my head, but tend to freeze up when I have to put those thoughts to paper (or screen).  To practice, I am going to write a little each day; either long hand in a book (but not necessarily journal pages) or here in the blog.  So you may be hearing from me more frequently.

I want to be comfortable with sketching.  I used to draw when I was younger.  I remember my notebooks in middle and high schools were filled with quick drawings of teachers or other students.  I want to take the time to practice that again.

Quilt wise, what I have put into Sandy's official resolution form are these three things:

1. Baste and start quilting the Iris quilt.  This has probably been on the resolution list for two or three years, and is nearing 2 decades since I started it.  This WILL get into the hoop this year.

2. Organize my quilting fabric and scraps. the fabric is piled bu color on a shelf in my closet.  Every time I want to find something, I have to drag out a pile or two, sort through it and stuff it back into the closet.  I want to fold everything and set it into some sort of bin that will fit on the shelves.  My craft closet is pitiful and the scrap box is overflowing.  I do a lot of applique and will save scraps suitable for that as is, but the rest will be cut into some shape or size chunk for future scrap quilts. That I have to figure out.

3. Finish Stephanie's Green challenge quilt.  Last year for Christmas, my daughter bought me some green fabric and challenged me to make a quilt (because green is my not my favorite color.)  Last year I picked a pattern, bought some additional fabric and started cutting out templates.  I would like that quilt completed by the end of the year.

Optionally, Sandy suggested we choose a word of the year,  For this year, mine is ADAPT.  All-in-all, I am happy. I just need to do some tweaking (not twerking) to make life more satisfying.

All that should keep me more than busy for a while.