Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sometimes you've just gotta let it go

 So I got out a very old project last week to assess it, thinking I might take it to retreat week after next and try to finish it.  I started this in a class with Betty Alderman.  It must be ten years ago, but try as I might I could not find pictures from when this was a new project. 

Anyway, I was doing some fun stitching around the appliquéd pieces rather than satin stitch everywhere.  (I had taken a class with Jane Sassaman not long before and was inspired by the way she uses the decorative stitches on her appliqués)

But, back then I was also teaching classes, and this probably got pushed down the list again and
again.  It had been tacked up on the wall of the sewing room so I wouldn't forget it.  But then I tacked a piece of batting over it to use as a design surface, and it did get forgotten.  I noticed it a few times and thought "I have no idea what I'll do with it if I do finish it".  So there it hung
  When I took it down last week, it looked like one of the flowers was loose.  So I took it to the ironing board and hit it with the iron for the 10 count I always do for fusibles.  When I picked up the iron, imagine my horror to find the background fabric was discolored- scorched looking.
(circled area)  With nothing to lose, I ironed another spot- same thing happened.  Well, shit. 

  So I laid it on the floor under the cutting table for a few days, pondering.  I ironed over the whole thing and left dark ares, thinking it might look tea-dyed.  I don't know if it was starched way back then, or if the fact that it had hung in a room with halogen lights had affected the fabric, or even if it was the adhesive from the interfacing I had used to stabilize the piece.  I found a piece of the fabric in my scrap therapy bins and tried to discolor it, but it didn't work. 

 So I got to thinking about how long it had hung there, and if I had really loved this project wouldn't I have finished it? ( I have older UFOs in all honesty- hangs head in shame)  And I asked myself if I really want to put any more of my time into it?  The answer was no.  So I threw it away.  I was kind of proud of myself for that.

The projects I am actively working on look like this right now.

I got the pattern for this one from the Country Treasures booth at the quilt show last October.   I don't have the pattern at the moment, so I'll put a link to that next time.  I'm using scrap therapy squares.  It uses 2.5 inch squares, which is not one of the sizes cut for ST.  However, as Joan said-a 5 inch square makes a convenient storage device for them.

And this is one of the kits I pulled out last week- the pattern is called panel panache.  As I said before, it sure is pink!

You can see the border fabrics peeking from the left side of the picture, along with a piece of the binding fabric from the picnic quilt.  I save extra lengths of binding and eventually I have enough to bind a quilt.  I promise not to use it on this one. 

So, things might or might not be settling down.  I think many of us are getting a bit overloaded on the anger that has been flying around the past few months.  It's been ugly.  It has affected people's health.  But we can't just relax and hope for the best.  There are so many ways to get involved.  A columnist I follow named Dana Milbank, wrote a great article filled with the names of organizations you can join or support.  Go have a look.  We have to work together.  I'm happy to have found a couple of groups in my area.

I am grateful for:
Days I can turn the alarm off and get back into bed.
Jonathan takes my hand and pulls me in to sit or play with him when I go visit.
Getting to the good part.
A nice long chat with Lucas yesterday.
the Resistance.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Finished objects

I got this one finished a couple of days after my last post.  I gave it the name "Picnic in the Garden".  I hope it will bring comfort to whoever it ends up with.

I'm fairly pleased with how the floral quilting came out. All I marked was the stems and the circles where flowers would be.  I've been using the bohin chalk pencil , which rubs right off!
 This is a mug rug I made for a swap.  It's on its way to her, so I hope she gets it before she reads this. 

I also finished the last ball I had prepared for beading.  I loved this fabric, but wasn't thrilled with the way it was coming out at first.  Sometimes the fact that the silver heads of the pins seem like the most prominent part of the embellishment annoys me. 

But I kept going, adding more and more as I went and ended up liking how it looks.  You really have to see them in person when the light can hit all the assorted sparkly bits. 

This weekend I'll start gathering stuff for the annual retreat at Silver Lake!!!

I tried in vain to find some good news regarding environmental issues, but can't find any.  I fear it will only get worse. If you are angry about that, let your representatives, local and federal, know.  Do it often.  Every time there's a vote, look to see how your representative voted, and let him or her know how you feel about it.  Better yet, contact them before the vote.  It might take some work to stay informed, but we have to let them know before it's too late.

I am grateful for:
A tolerant husband
Browsing old pictures, and enjoying the memories.
12 more days!
I won with customer service this week.
BBCA showing Star Trek Voyager.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

UFO update

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, my online guild is doing a UFO challenge this year.  So, at the end of January, I'm showing the progress I made on the two pieces I pulled out to work on when their numbers were called.

 #3 was assembled blocks that I needed to add borders to so it would be a better size for the guest room bed.  Accomplished!  Now it goes back on the list as a top ready for quilting.

#20 was a top ready for quilting.  I pondered how to quilt it, and finally made a plan, so I layered it- it had enough of the border fabric folded up with it for backing and binding!
I started quilting it, but time with the grandchildren takes priority and I didn't quite finish.  I'll probably finish it since I'm so close.

Here's a detail of the quilting so far.  The green spots will get a viney floral spray with curlicues/ spirals as a filler if needed.  The border will probably just be a loopy thing I've heard called lele quilting because it looks like a cursive lower case L and E combined. (It's in between the wormy bits here)

So, this month's numbers are 7 and 24. 

Ever hopeful it's something I can finish quickly, Martha goes to list and discovers both of these are kits (Fabric in a bag with the pattern) from long ago.

 #7 is part of a calendar quilt series of kits I signed up for way back when.  Not sure why- kits are never made using Martha fabrics, but I guess the samples in the store really appealed to me.  It's a snap quilt- you make a background quilt and just snap a new center on for each occasion.

The kits are all in a bag and at first I thought I'd just grab a random one.  But if I get it finished this month, I can use this one in March.    What about the background quilt, you ask?  That was the first kit, and I actually did some work on that, so it has its own number on the list.

#24 uses a pattern called Panel Panache  (click on the smaller picture, the one they have as the main one is hideous and I'd never have bought the pattern for that!- actually the sample the shop owner had was even better!)
I was using the one pansy fabric as my focus, so it's pink and purple.  I'm sure that's why I never made it.  But it makes up into a nice size for donation.  So I'm hoping to get the top pieced this month.

The other day I wanted to do something quick and easy to accomplish in a short time.  So I got out the "curious creatures" book I used a while back, and made a larger creature. 
I'm still not sure what he's for, but I may bring him with me on retreat at the end of the month to hold my phone charger.  Or maybe he should be my keyring, so I can stop locking myself out of my car!

I've been reviewing the things on this list for things I can do to feel like I am doing something!  This whole situation has me feeling powerless.   But learning a few facts about causes I care about is something I can do.  Dropping an email to my congressman or state representatives is something I can do.  If you want things to change, do what you can!

I am grateful for:
Triple A, and a warm place to wait.
When Jonathan sits with me and cuddles.
The DVR and DVDs
 I think I have my data usage issues under control at last. (I hope!)
Fresh brownies, warm and gooey!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Last week I showed just a portion of my challenge quilts.  We presented them at the guild meeting last Saturday, so now I can show you!

My first impulse after hearing the theme was, of course, drinking.  (I'm not a bar fly, but anyone who knows me knows how much I look forward to my afternoon glass of wine!)
So I set about collecting fabrics with drinks on them.  I was a bit disappointed that so many were on black backgrounds.  Then the idea of famous bars came to mind as a way to have actual bars on my quilt.  I then collected images from the internet for bars I thought would be recognizable to fans of the movies and shows.  ( I left out "Cheers", feeling it was too obvious)

I decided it would be a nine patch design..  I found a modern nine patch quilt I really liked, so decided to use that as my base quilt.Now that it's done, I have decided that using the prints I did, this was a mistake.
  Such is life.  You can see the base quilt here, under the flaps.  This is where I put the name of the tv show or movie.  The logo of the bar is on a flap which covers it up.  So it's sort of a game.

This is the completed quilt.    Can you guess all the answers?? (they're at the bottom of this post.)
 I don't love this quilt, and will have little use for it once the challenge exhibit is over.  I'm thinking it will end up as a case for my knitting needles. The flaps will make great pockets!

My second challenge entry is called Alien Plant Life.  I had bought the pattern, called Shenandoah, by  Creative Sewlutions, a couple of years ago.  I hadn't really thought of it for the challenge until I saw the floral fabric.  I was on vacation, visiting Roswell, New Mexico.  We had toured the UFO Museum, and I had noticed a quilt shop just across the street.  Surely they would have fabric with aliens on it, and wouldn't that be the perfect souvenir?!?!!  Well, they didn't.  But when I spotted this fabric, inspiration struck!

 Since there are no aliens in the fabric, I quilted some on it.  The one on the ground is pretty tough to spot., so I blurred the edges in this photo to help.  He's waving to another alien...

...who is flying off to explore the stars.

This was a fun challenge.  I can't wait to hear the theme for the next one! (Of course that doesn't mean I'll have it finished before Christmas.)
You can see more of the quilts here- and soon, all of them will be at the guild blog.

Al Gore has made a sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth".  It won't be out until July, but I can only hope the sequel urges as many people to action as the first one did.  Climate deniers like to say the planet has undergone temperature shifts in the geological past.  True.  How many species survived those shifts?  The Earth will survive humans, but humans cannot survive if there isn't clean air or water, or food. 

I am grateful for:
The women who marched and gave a voice to those of us who couldn't.
I didn't fall off the roof.
A day with Jonathan
We've had almost enough rain/ snow so far this winter to recover from last summer's drought.
Only 28 days until retreat!!

The Gem: Deadwood
Rosie's: MASH
Moe's: The Simpsons
Boar's Nest: Dukes of Hazzard
Rick's: Casablanca
Three Broomsticks: Harry Potter
Long Branch Saloon: Gunsmoke
MacLaren's: How I Met Your Mother
Quark's: Star Trek Deep Space Nine

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Winter is the time for creating!

This part of winter doesn't bother me at all.  Let the wintry winds blow -which they have been lately!- as long as I'm home with my creating stuff, I'm never bored, or worried about being housebound.  (Of course with the winter we're having in western NY that isn't a problem so far!)

 This happens a lot these days.  I sit down to do something and suddenly there is a cat on my lap! I had to boot her off, because I can't type with the keyboard tray pushed in!  Note, I bring my other gadgets with me to the computer!

So, anyway, I'm keeping busy in my creative spaces the last few weeks, when I'm home.  I can't show the most recent quilt projects yet, because they are for the challenge to be revealed at the guild meeting on Saturday.  But here is a preview, just to tease the few who might see this before the meeting.

I finished another ornament.  My space for them is getting full, so I may take a break for a while when I finish the ones I have started.  People keep suggesting I sell them.  Here's a question- what would you pay for one??  The one pictured here is on a 6 inch  ball.  It used a box and a half of the pins (750 each), and that many beads and sequins!

 Here is my current collection.

I also finished a pair of socks I started in September or October.  I used two different yarns with subtle color changes. The odd green one was a leftover from a pair of socks.  I'm hoping a friend will like them, since she was in my mind as I knitted. 

It's a scary time in the world right now.  I think there is a collective holding of breath- and not just by Americans.  I think many lawmakers, emboldened by the potential for support from above, are trying to get legislation like this passed now.  We must be more vigilant than ever.  Keep your eyes open, and your voice always at the ready to be heard!  And stand ready to support the causes you believe in with yor money and your time!  Now, more than ever, we the people must stand strong!!

I am grateful for:
The caring professionals who got me through a recent emergency.
A wonderful evening spent with my grandchildren!
Creative time!
The Cowboys lost. 
Laughing with my husband.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A new year; another chance

I wanted to say Welcome 2017, but I'm not sure at all I can be optimistic about what is to come this year.    On the sewing front, however, I am starting out with enthusiasm! 
My online group is doing (yet another) UFO challenge.  I counted up to 36 before I decided to quite.  Last year I started with 12.  I did finish 7 of them, but 36 is a bit insurmountable!  How it works is the organizer calls 2 numbers a month. You get out those items from your numbered list and assess them.  Maybe all you will do is that much, but at least the project saw the light of day.
Here are mine for this month.

This one (#3) began as a swap with a different online group.  I wanted it to be queen sized, so I added the alternate blocks, but it still needs borders to make it big enough.  The second border will be pieced using the same sized squares as the four patches in the blocks- so a lot of small piecing.  That's where I got stuck before.  We'll see how far I get this time.

This is #20.  It's so old, I don't even know if I was using a pattern or not.  I have always enjoyed playing with fussy cutting for the kaleidoscope effect.  When I ran out of the focus fabric, I played with ways to make it a lap sized quilt and came up with this.  The big green spaces will be fun to quilt now that I have some free motion experience.

As always, at the end of the year, I have counted up the 2016 projects.  Here are this year's results:
14 knitted projects
12 general sewing
27 quilted items (this includes 10 things like the stockings from a panel and some placemats)
20 opulent ornaments
a few pieces of jewelry and assorted coloring pages finished, plus 26 kittens fostered.
A pretty good year.

I was thinking yesterday as I saw numerous "buy yourself another gift" advertisements, that this is how we are trained these days- to buy stuff we don't need because it's on sale, or because we deserve it, or...
It's sad that we as a society no longer consider need when we shop.  Everything is disposable.  Just one mindset that will have to change for the planet to survive the human infestation.  So, just once in a while, consider if you NEED it, or maybe the old one can be repaired (good luck finding a repair shop, though), or you can just make do with the same one a little while longer.

I am grateful for:
A lot of time with Kiara this week
Lots of kitties found homes for the holidays!
Some quality sewing time this weekend (it's challenge time!)
I had a gift for the sweet neighbor who stopped in Saturday with a gift for me.
Leftovers- not cooking gives me more sewing time!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One last project

I made it!  I got Cait's quilt finished, labeled and washed with two days to spare before Christmas.
 I named it "Rattling Around in our Bones".  I got the panel and a couple of the coordinating prints at the Syracuse show in 2015.  I thought of Cait when I saw it, because she is one of those people for whom Halloween decorations would be standard home decor if she had her way. 
The panel is one of the Chillingsworth collections by Andover fabrics.  ( I just got the Christmas panel on a clearance sale!!)
As luck would have it, when they repainted their living room this fall, they chose a dark orange!  So I knew it was time to get this quilt made.

It does have a Halloween feel, because one of the fabrics I got to go with it has pumpkins in it.  Plus, following the motifs in the panels, I added a few spiders and webs, from Lori Kennedy's tutorial, along with a couple skulls I found here. (they have some really cool sugar skull designs, too!)
Mostly it just has meandering spirals, since none of it shows very well. 

Check out this awesome backing fabric- also in the clearance bin! Look closely- I had to seam it lengthwise to make it big enough.  I fussy cut to match the pattern, and did a pretty good job, if I say so myself!

I made a few more "Opulent Ornaments" for Christmas decorations and gifts.  Don't they look pretty?

Only the white one has a hanger since they aren't easy to do.  But the rest of them look pretty tucked into the branches of the tree!

 Almost time to do the year in review, then start a new list. 

One thing for certain is that the first completion will be for the Museum Quilt Guild "Bars" challenge.  What do you think I thought of when I heard "bars"?? 

As we end this turbulent year, I am looking ahead with trepidation. Things like this do not make me any less anxious.  It's hard to be hopeful when the leaders think all they have to do is not SAY "Climate Change" and it won't be a problem.  Make your voice heard in any way you can.  Donate to the causes you support.  Don't wait and see. 

I am grateful for:
A quiet Christmas Eve dinner with my hubby. (We watched football!)
Cait and Lucas making us part of their Christmas day.
Bonus bytes
A gift that made me laugh until it hurt.
The stuff on my DVR, which will get us through the "Mid-season break".