Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review!

I'm a list maker, since I have such a poor memory. In the back of my little daily memo book, I keep a list of the projects I've completed throughout the year. It's nice to have that record to look back on so I can really appreciate how much I do. Most of the time I feel like I must be moving in slow motion, since nothing ever seems to be finished!

At the beginning of the year, I created a list of UFO's to finish this year. Now that I'm sitting here typing, of course I cannot find the original list. My best estimation says there were 8 things on the list, since I found 7 UFO's completed!! I am proud to say I crossed all but one off the list! (the butterfly I was showing a few weeks ago.) I have slowly whittled away at my UFO pile so that the total is now around a dozen! That's down from 30 or so a few years ago. (Of course, that doesn't count the barely begun projects or the PIGS!*)

So, here are my grand totals:
Art quilts projects: 7
Other quilts: 9
Samples for classes/ demos: 4
Quilt Tops: 3
Quilty things JUST FOR FUN: 5 (more than I would have guessed!)
Scrap Therapy projects: 3
Garments (includes several pairs of Boxers): 12
Accessories: 7
Knitted accessories: 10
Socks: 9 pairs!
Gifts (many are small items): 29
Miscellaneous mending and utilitarian items: 4

I did a LOT this year! That makes me smile! Here's to an equally productive new year. (the only change I'd make is more things just for fun rather than for deadlines!)

On the 2011 UFO list so far:
An old BOM
Finishing my "liberated" project
Twirling Logs- from George Siciliano's class
TWO One Block Wonder projects!
I also have to try to finish my challenge for Guild in 16 days, and get a quilt made for Jake's graduation in June.

* PIGS= Projects in Grocery Sacks. :-)
I'd like to thank those of you who have left comments, and mentioned reading/ enjoying my blog! I hope you'll find it worth coming back for next year, too!

I am grateful for:
The luxury of sewing just because I love doing it!
A bright red Cardinal in a frosty tree this morning.
A bright blue sky and sunshine on the rare appearances it makes here!
My ever patient husband.
The universe is taking care of Guy for me!

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Four more sleeps!

My Christmas holiday starts tomorrow, since my Guy will be home then! So I thought I'd make a quick post to wish anyone who passes by a very Merry Christmas!
This is my tiny little tree and the presents I have wrapped a this point. I got tired of rearranging the furniture to put up a tree, but now I have to decide which of the ornaments I can fit onto it each year!
Santa is wearing a pair of Guy's old glasses!

Lest you think I have done nothing creative this week, here is a picture of the teeny snowmen I made with a pattern by mochimochiland . I will definitely be making more of these guys, since I have a whole skein of the yarn to use up!
The smaller of the three is made with the same yarn, but instead of size 1 needles, I used my size 0000- which I used for the tiny socks in my earlier post. The thimble is there so you can appreciate how teeny these guys are! Aren't they the cutest?!!!

I am grateful for:
A visit with Guy!!!
No snow for a couple of days.
I got my shopping done four days before the day!
Permission to eat chocolate. :-)
My hip feels MUCH better!

Happy Christmas everyone!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When I grow up.....

I went to see "Quilts = Art = Quilts" yesterday, for the second time. It's an art quilt show. When I grow up, I hope to have something juried into this show. Every time I go, I realize they will send me back a very short note, saying simply, "You're kidding, right?"
I consider myself a non-traditional traditional quilter. I like to use unusual fabrics for traditional quilts. I like to change things here and there to make mine a little different. And I do enjoy seeing a picture in my head become a reality in fabric. But to consider one of my pieces a work of art? Not so much, in spite of what my best friend said after we left the gallery.
This is my very first "art quilt". (sorry for the washed out colors) We used to have a wonderful quilting event called the Big Tree Quilters Conference. I was a new baby quilter when I started attending this show. Every year my favorite part was part of the traveling exhibit from the Hoffman Challenge. I would buy the fabric for the next year, let it inspire me a while, never get the piece finished and then be amazed at how close my idea was to some of the ones in the show! The second to last year of the conference, ( I still miss this event- it could have been one of the premiere shows in the nation by now!) MaryLee and I challenged each other to make something for the next year's show with the newest fabric. Neither of us finished in time to enter, but I did eventually finish this piece. I spent weeks studying a "bromeliad" plant to get the leaves right. I was lucky to find one of those "ombre" fabrics so I could do some shading on them.

I hunted and hunted for fabric to be my rotted log. I hadn't even thought of machine quilting yet, so I did very close "moss" stitching by hand.

I appliqued each leaf of the blossom, but the hummingbird (who is incorrect for a rainforest scene) is only six pieces.

When it was done, as I trimmed the border, the ruler slipped. To fix it. I'd have been cutting into my hand quilting, so I left it "wonky". As a result, it has never been in any displays, except in my home.
I hope I have come a long way since this piece, but this one will always be my favorite because it was the first time I had ever actually made one of my ideas a reality! That feeling is indescribable!
So I have kept trying new things- learning from some wonderfully talented artists and being inspired by others. A few of my favorites from the current year's exhibit are:
Liz Kuny- look for a piece called "A Steady Beat"
Jo-Ann Golenia- Look for "Gifts from the Sea"
Randall Cook- make sure you check out the detail shots in his gallery to see the magnificent thread work!
I've discovered I really like the way they do sort of random piecing then cut it up and piece it again I love the very close lines of stitching in many of the artists use to add color or texture. I also discovered that a book I just bought was written by Pat Durbin, whose piece titled "Beside the Still Waters" took my breath away!
So, someday I may make something good enough to hang beside these in a gallery. Until then, I will be thankful I can be inspired by their talents!

I am grateful for:
Guy will be home in 5 more days!
Less snow at my house.
A day to play with MaryLee ( and giving her a break from grading papers!)
Christmas cookies (moo!)
Finding out I do not have carpal tunnel syndrome!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Felted Lizards!

No, not leapin' Lizards!
Apologies to those who said they went to see what I did this week, since I usually post on Thursday. I got interrupted and never finished this post. It doesn't take much to derail my train of thought!

So, I got a pattern for these lizards - titled Gotta Get a Gecko, by fiber trends - in Seattle a couple of years ago. I had always intended to make a bunch of them, but I made the first one and then went on to other projects. The first one hangs out on the wall of the screen porch. Amy saw it there when they came for Thanks giving and loved it, so I figured that'd be a good Christmas gift for her. I went and got a couple of different yarns to knit up. Here are the "before" lizards- around 22 inches long. ( that's an 18 inch ruler on the table)
As long as I was felting stuff, I decided to knit up a couple of odd pieces and see what I get- that's the fun part of felting! These are the before "bowls".

One of the yarns was a new brand for me, but I figured it would be about the same as the others I had used. Not so much! I went to check on them after 10- 12 minutes in the machine and they were already really tiny! (the green ones). I can't remember that yarn name- I lost the label. The larger one was in the washer for at least 15 more minutes, but never got any smaller. That one is a "Noro" yarn.
This picture is just after they came out of the washer. Look at the difference on the ruler.

To get them shaped the right way, they have to be lightly stuffed before they dry. Here they are with their tails in pin curls. :-) ( if you're old enough to know what pin curls are!)

And here are the finished products. The rust one is for Amy. The others are still up for adoption.

The bowls didn't turn out as I had thought they would. The one is much flatter that I had hoped and the other is just big- Maybe I'll cover a flower pot with it???

So Megan was making origami roses using this video the other day. She was having trouble with it, so I thought I'd try one and see if I could figure it out. How do you think I did?
(It's a two part video, so if you try it, look for part 2 right at the top of the page)

I am grateful for:
Dot is at peace now.
A nice dinner with family and friends- totally by accident!
The way snow makes the world look kind of magical.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Nice people who try to lift your mood on a bad day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What to do with leftover sock yarn?

First, it is now winter here in Western NY. I LOVE this wet snow we get this time of year. It sticks to everything, making it feel like I live in a snow globe. If you can bear to be out in it, the world is so quiet and peaceful. In my own back yard, the birds chirping in the trees and occasional plops of snow falling off the branches are the only sounds. I took this as we drove home from grocery shopping yesterday. (hubby was driving!) I was a little miffed at the weathermen for telling me it wouldn't snow until later in the day, but the beauty of the scenery silenced that.

A friend who knows I knit socks asked me recently what I do with the leftover yarn. So I went through some old pictures to show you just exactly how deep my insanity runs. :-)

It was near the holidays when I was first knitting socks. I had also knitted some mittens, so I figured out how to make them smaller and made ornaments. I made hats, too, but can't find pictures of them.

Then the snowman and bunny needed new hats.

The tiny sock earrings were made using the "Los Lobe Hose" pattern, by Carol's Sockery.

They use size 0000 needles, pictured here with the tiny sweater I made for an even tinier bunny- a pin I picked up at one of the crafts stores.

Then, just to see if I could, I made this tiny mitten. ( just the one!)

There are plenty of ideas out there. I have also done a fish and a snake, but don't have pictures of them. If you have any favorites, please share them!

I am grateful for:
My "knight in shining armor"
My new printer is all hooked up!
Being just outside of the lake effect snow belts
Christmas decoration
Nuthatches at my bird feeder