Friday, April 14, 2017

Manic Productivity

For the past few months, I've been in a period of high motivation and productivity.  I don't exactly know why, but I'm embracing it and getting a lot of stuff done.  

I started with cleaning out my craft closet.  It's a small closet, just over 36" wide, but it was stuffed with, well, stuff. I started small, working on one shelf at a time. I was trying to be honest with myself to determine what I wanted to keep and what I could let go.  I packaged up a lot of my beading supplies and gave them to a friend who does embellishment, gifted some other supplies to another friend who is just starting her journey into silk thread embroidery, bagged up some supplies and donated them to Good Will, and tossed others.  The hardest part was going through my UFOs and fabrics.  When I got to those shelves, I just emptied them onto the floor and started working through the mess.

Some time in the last few years we had a speaker in our guild who talked about her fabric organization and it stuck with me.  She folded all her fabrics to uniform sizes - one for yardage and one for fat quarters. I decided on two sizes - 9" x 11" for yardage and 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" for anything under 3/4 yard.  I cut file folders down as templates and used them to wrap my fabric around, then removed the templates. The yardage fits easily on edge into standard paper boxes and the smaller pieces fit side-by-side into the paper box lids.  Anything smaller than a fat quarter (more or less) got put into the scrap pile to be cut into standard sizes for making scrap quilts.  I don't have a huge stash.  I fit all that fabric into two paper boxes and 3 lids. I didn't bother to sort by color because it's not a large stash and didn't want to get delayed further by that step.  I may sort by color later, but so far I haven't seen this was as a problem for me.
I love the organization!  I can find what I'm looking for easily and have a reasonably good idea of how much of a particular color I have by just looking at it.

After going through the fabric, I took on the task of looking through all the UFOs. Again, I looked at each with a critical eye to decide if a project was still interesting or not.  I packaged up a few to donate to my guild's auction, and a few I simply threw away.  The ones I tossed were very old (UFOs from my husband's grandmother), and made from very flimsy 70's cotton/poly blends.  Originally I had intentions of completing them for future great-great grandchildren of Laura, but the fabric and workmanship was so poor I didn't think they would hold up to any use.  I have more of her UFOs and other completed quilts that are in much better quality, so I'm not erasing her memory.  In total, I still have 27 UFOs to complete.  They are all on the middle shelf and catlogued so I don't forget.  There were a few projects in there that I have no recollection of at all.
I designed and completed a table runner for the month of March. I have the habit of piling papers on the kitchen table.  To eliminate that, I found that a table runner reminds me to keep this area clear. I had a few and decided a themed table runner for each month would be fun.  I had a hard time coming up with a design for March because I'm not fond of shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold or other symbols of St. Patrick's day.  So, an Celtic knot pattern came to mind.  Google is my friend in finding all sorts of things and this pattern popped up early in the search.  I printed it to size, traced it, and hand appliqued the bias strips.  It's machine quilted and was on the table by March 2nd.



Oher things I've done are knit two pair of socks, appliqued another Ladies of the Sea block, quilted one top (down to 26 UFOs!) and completed another for the guilt's comfort quilt program, and assembled guild member blocks into our guild's next raffle quilt. Not to mention all the yard work to clean up after winter,



See, I told you I'vebeen busy!







Thursday, February 2, 2017

Forever has Ended

Remember me talking about the Iris quilt?  This is an applique project that I started some time in 1991.  My family dubbed this the "Forever Quilt" because that is how long I've been working on it. My daughter, now 27, says she cannot remember a time that I haven't been working on this quilt. I haven't been working on this quilt continuously for the past 26 years.  There have been long stretches of time that it sat, tucked away in the closet because I was bored with it, or frustrated, or did not yet have the skills to go to the next step.  As of yesterday, it is complete!


It is hand appliqued, hand and machine stitched, hand quilted and measures just under 100" per side.. And I LOVE it.  But, I don't think I'll let a quilt take me this long to finish again.  I am much better at applique today than I was 26 years ago when I was just starting.  Looking at some of these blocks up close makes me cringe.

Because I have been focused on getting the Iris quilt done (Entitled "My Fantasy Garden"), I have not worked on other projects.  I wanted to be focused and complete this before I started working on other things.  I did one small knitting project between the time I finished the quilting and started the binding.

I wanted to knit a cap for myself and took a few days to knit this up.


I used double pointed needles because  I didn't want to spring for circulars to knit this, but I should have bought the circular needles in the correct size, too.  There were just a bit too many stitches on my DPNs and I dropped a few stitches before the cap was completed.  I found them and fixed the cap, but it would have been easier to just use the correct tools.

I also tackled an upholstery project in January.  This chair was a rescue from a client when we were doing the remodeling business.  The chair it replaced was in much worse shape and this chair has 'good bones'.  The plaid fabric we chose was not my first choice, but the $5.00/yard price tag for the plaid compared to the $25.00/yard for the print that I would have preferred made this an easy choice.  I had to buy extra to match the plaid and the process to do that took more time, but I'm happy to have spent $60 in total for the supplies to make this chair look much better.




Now that the Iris quilt is complete, I am moving onto all sorts of other projects.  But the next highest priority on my list is to get my craft/quilting closet cleaned out and organized.  I have started that and am working at it a little every day.  My plan is to have it complete by the end of February so it doesn't feel like an overwhelming task.