Monday, December 4, 2017

Yearning to quilt!

Do you ever want to quilt so badly that the longing for it is almost a physical sensation?  That's what I'm experiencing right now.  I attended a conference in Anaheim, California this past Wednesday through Sunday, so boom - five non-quilting days right there.  Instead, I took some yarn and started a new pair of socks.

Then, ever since I got back, I have been working non-stop (at a boarding school, it can seem that way anyway - I was working/on duty from 8:30 AM until 11:00 PM today with just 1.5 hours off, during which I had to go to the grocery store and pick up my son from basketball practice).  Where is the time for sewing???

With Clue #2 released last Friday, I've been itching to work on my On Ringo Lake mystery quilt.  I've managed just ten of the required 200 flying geese blocks so far, but I'm hopeful that I'll have some time later this week to catch up before the third clue is released.

In the meantime, I wonder what we'll do with these flying geese...with four times as many flying geese as nine-patches, maybe they will go around the nine-patches to make stars...only time will tell!

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Surprisingly disciplined!

I am inordinately proud of myself.  I usually use this space to lament my quilter's ADD, always starting new projects and only rarely completing them.  Today, however, I'm super excited to share that not only did I convert one of my many UFOs into a flimsy,
Getting my boys to work together to hold the quilt straight took forever! 78" square, this quilt was from July 2016's 12 Days of Christmas Quilt Along, even though I made two of the blocks incorrectly.  I also ran out of background fabric, and I thought it was Kona Natural, but it turns out that the color is just a bit off.  No worries, this quilt will be for me and my family to snuggle under while watching Christmas movies, so the mistakes don't bother me.
I also completed the first clue for Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery quilt, On Ringo Lake.
Fifty 3.5 inch (unfinished) nine patches!
Could it be that I am turning over a new leaf? (I don't want to say that too loudly in case I jinx myself.)  I need to keep hand quilting my niece's quilt, but my sister is pregnant again, so I wonder if I have any other UFOs that I can turn into a baby quilt for the newest addition to the family, due on April 1.  Hmmm...

Or maybe this scrappy stars quilt can be his/her baby quilt...
I finished this flimsy in October 2016.  At 50" square, I think it'd make a great baby quilt (even though I think I'd switch the position of the green and yellow in the bottom right corner first).
I am linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The trifecta of quilting bliss!

Today was my last day at home alone for this Thanksgiving break.  Tomorrow, I'll collect the kids from school and head north to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  I'm really looking forward to it, but in the meantime, I've been doing my best to take advantage of these hours alone at home.

I spent my day enjoying the three parts of quilting that I love most - hand quilting, piecing and pulling fabrics.

First, I pulled out my niece's quilt.  She's turning two in a month, and I still haven't given it to her!  I'm determined to have it under the tree for her this year, along with a handmade stuffed animal, a sample from my shop.  Hand quilting takes me FOREVER, but I'm doing simple straight lines, so it shouldn't take too long.  I hate marking quilts, so I use painter's tape - anyone else do that?
My niece's quilt top
How I love sitting under a quilt while I hand quilt it!
I helped make this giraffe sample when I owned my shop.  Now that I no longer own the shop, samples make great gifts!

Then I went back to the Christmas quilt.  What does it say about me that I am already a bit bored with that project?  But just you wait - by the time this break is over, I'll have a completed top. 
On the couch back, since I don't have a design wall.  And terrible lighting - it sure does get dark early here in Massachusetts

Then, so I'm ready to jump into the fray when I return from my mom's house in New Hampshire, I pulled my fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery, On Ringo Lake.  The first clue goes live on Friday.
Chocolate browns, aquas to turquoise, coral to melon ,and neutrals

I won't be back on here until after Thanksgiving, so have a great one, everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2017

I blame the dog!

Twas a lovely vacation day!  I dragged myself, kicking and screaming, to the gym and got a workout out of the way early.  Then, a leisurely breakfast, a long shower, started a new book over lunch, visited the quilt shop for more Kona Natural for my 12 Days of Christmas Quilt-along quilt, and then spent the bulk of my afternoon sewing.  It doesn't get much better than that!

First block done!

Second block done...OOPS!!!

I blame the dog.  I don't have a design wall here in my new spot, so I do what most people without design walls do - I lay my blocks out on the floor.  However, I forgot to close the door to my sewing room/office when I went to the gym this morning, and my dog went in there to hang out, missing me, I guess.  When I returned, the blocks were all messed up, and it's clear that I didn't put them back together correctly.

No worries.  There are only four 33" blocks in this quilt, so I'll make one more block the correct way and one more block the incorrect way and claim it as a "design element."

But for now, enough sewing.  Off to curl up with my current read, the third Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, "Murder, Served Simply."  These cozy mysteries are quick and fun for me, and this one has the added benefit of being a Christmas book (have I mentioned that I'm really feeling the holiday spirit this year?).

Earlier this weekend, I read "Birds In The Air," a lovely little read, not a mystery.

If I'm not quilting, I love to be reading about quilting.  One of these days, I hope to write some quilt fiction myself.

I'm linking up with Monday Making.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thankful for time to sew!

Working at a boarding school is SO DIFFERENT than running a yarn shop!  For the past four years, I closed the shop early on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, enjoyed a day of food and family, and then started the holiday retail season bright and early on Friday morning.  There never seemed to be enough time to enjoy the holiday.

Not so this year!  The students left for home yesterday, and I have an entire week off!  Woo hoo!  I spent quite a bit of time doing housework yesterday, but I also found time to sew!  I've been itching to start new quilts (a desk job means more time on the computer which means more time for me to be inspired by what everyone else in the quilting blogosphere is doing), but I've been pretty strict with myself about not cutting into any new fabric, just tackling the UFOs and orphan blocks that I already have overwhelming my sewing room.

Perhaps it is a function of being back in New England, but I really want to dive headfirst into the holiday spirit this year.  I want to decorate.  I want to bake.  I want to watch holiday movies while cuddled up under a holiday quilt.  Except I don't have a holiday quilt...

And then I remembered the Twelve Days of Christmas Quilt Along I joined back in July 2016, the one where I only made it through Day 3 before getting distracted by finishing off my county fair quilt show entry.  
By Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, tutorial found here
I hauled it out and got to work!  I already had most of the fabric cut, and the centers of the four big blocks pieced.
I made these on July 15, 2016
Non-pattern follower that I am, I set to work constructing a block from the inside out.
CUTE!  But I'm doing it wrong...
When I actually looked at the pattern, though, I realized that the block is built as a nine-patch, not from the inside out.  Oops!  I can make that block work.  But I'm making the other three blocks the correct way.
Not sewn together yet, obviously, since I need to buy more Kona Natural to finish the block
Except I never cut the 4" strips or the sashing and borders, and since I sold my shop, I no longer have a bolt of Kona naturals to cut from.  Luckily, the Textile Company is less than 3 miles from here, and I'm pretty sure they have a full selection of Kona solids.  Unfortunately, they are closed today, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to complete any one block, but I am determined to do all the other piecing that I can do today.

As I said when I first started this quilt in the summer of 2016, working with just three fabrics is hard for me - my scrappy nature wants more variety.  The fact that there are only four blocks using big (4.5" squares, big for me, anyway) squares of fabric is the only reason I think I can stay on track with this quilt.  Maybe I can go scrappy for the back, piecing a bunch of large chunks of Christmas fabrics together...

And I'm SERIOUSLY considering tackling Bonnie Hunter's Mystery, On Ringo Lake, this season.  It's not a UFO, but having already completed one UFO top in the past two weeks and well on my way to completing another, I think I'm going to treat myself!

Lest you think I've skipped over Thanksgiving to get to Christmas, I used my turkey potholder this morning when I pulled the morning's muffins out of the oven.  Fun, fun, fun!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bonus Triangles

Even though my official move date was August 11, I am STILL unpacking.  This week, I found a baggie of bonus triangles.  What's a gal to do but start sewing them together!

After sewing them into HSTs,

I trimmed them to size (1.75"), and started playing with layouts. 

This little block took longer than I'd like to admit, and I didn't particularly like it as I was sewing it, but now that it is done, I think I like it.  I think I'd like it more on point with some fun alternate blocks in between, but I'll have to make a couple more first to play around with it.  There's not much time for sewing in my life right now, but a week from now, I'll be on Thanksgiving Break, and I plan to sew, Sew, SEW!!!

In the meantime, I'm linking up with Oh, Scrap and Monday Making.

Friday, November 3, 2017

First time sewing since my move

SO MUCH has changed since the last time I posted!  I sold my business, moved to Massachusetts, and started a new job.  Whew!  It has been exhausting, but fun and so worthwhile:

  • My kids are happy, getting better grades than they have in years, and are more involved in school than ever before.
  • My husband is super happy with his new job.
  • My dog, Biscuit, is getting around better ever since I started adding organic turmeric to his food and started taking him for long walks (can't just let him out anymore)
  • My job is challenging and exhausting, but rewarding.
  • My job includes 3 meals a day for my entire family, so I haven't cooked in months (best perk EVER!!)
  • I have seen my mom and sisters more in the last three months than I have in the last 3 years combined.
  • I've been able to get a bit of knitting done - currently working on mittens for myself since winter is coming.

And today, I sewed!!!

Not everything is perfect.  Our employer-supplied housing is nice, but MUCH smaller than I am used to.  I haven't even been able to bring all of my fabric and yarn into the apartment, let alone unpack it.  My home office is serving triple duty as a guest room and a sewing room, which means it is cramped and untidy and not all that conducive to doing anything.  HOWEVER, today I started reading one of my new Amish Quilt Shop mysteries, and that made me want to quilt, so I hauled the ironing board and iron down from the laundry room and reached into a drawer to pull out a UFO (heaven knows I have plenty to choose from!). 

I pulled out a project for which I had already assembled most of the blocks and had done all of the cutting and just needed assembly.  I got it to the place where it is all in rows now, and I'll sew on the setting triangles and sew the rows together tomorrow.  I don't have a purpose for this, but I guess it would make a nice, low volume baby quilt.  I used a charm pack that someone had given me along with some Kona Snow.  The pattern is Breezy Buntings from Moda Bake Shop, although I modified the pattern to make mine smaller because the charm pack didn't have enough fabric to make the quilt as designed.

It felt SO GOOD to hear the hum of the sewing machine and smell the warm fabric as I pressed it.  Why have I let so much time pass since the last time I sewed??