Friday, July 31, 2020

SEW much getting done around here!

Hmmm, I seem to have forgotten to post last week.  Having too much fun sewing, hand quilting, knitting and reading, I guess!  It's still an abnormal summer with the amount of work I've had to do for my job (supposedly I don't work in the summer, but I've had meetings every week, sometimes up to four days a week!), but I've been making time to relax and read in the hammock, be productive in my sewing room, and do some slow stitching parked in front of a screen.

I finished the churn dash top and picked out a backing from my stash.  I have one more top to finish and quilt up and then these two quilts will go to a set of sisters who are in the process of being adopted by a friend of mine.

I quilted, bound and delivered the Giant Pineapple quilt, finishing up just 30 minutes before the baby shower when it was to be presented.  I decided on a combination of hand and machine quilting, echo quilting by machine around the pineapple and hand quilting with perle cotton inside the pineapple.  I bound it with the same fabric that I used for the backing.  The end result is far from perfect, but I am hoping it gets lots of use for tummy time and picnics with the baby.

Big stitch quilting with perle cotton was so fun, I pulled out this quilt to quilt the stars using the same method and my big stash of perle cotton.  It has been languishing for over a year - I hand quilted in the white sections and then couldn't decide what to do with the colored stars.  Meanwhile, my niece is now two years old and still without her baby quilt!  Gotta get stitching!

I started knitting an oversized shawl, The Campfire Cozy.  I can't wait to wrap up in this when the weather cools down!

And I've been swapping yarn scraps in preparation for the Scrappy Happy Pals Knit A-Long (#scrappyhappypalskal on Instagram).  I'm hoping to finish my shorty socks by September 1.

I've also continued to add destash fabric to my ETSY shop.  It is getting easier to let go as I contemplate how long different yardage has been sitting unused in my stash.  I only ever seem to use yardage for backings, preferring to reach for my scraps when piecing, so it doesn't make sense for yardage to sit around unused.  This week, I said good bye to this eclectic assembly of fabrics in hopes that they will finally get cut up and put into someone else's quilts:

I'm looking forward to spending some (social distanced) time outside with family as my sister hosts her annual Lammas Day celebration tomorrow, albeit only with my twin sister and me and our families.  Ah, summer!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Loving Summer

While there is much to create stress this summer - furloughs and the accompanying financial worries, a pandemic that is spiraling out of control, and separation from loved ones - I'm finding my own peace.  Much of it is found in my hammock...
...where I've soundly crushed my goal of reading 24 books this year.  To date, I've read 66 books, so my new goal is 100 books.  I'm currently reading Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls, two books that couldn't be any more different from each other.

I'm also making great progress on the quilts I am making for others.  I'm two-thirds done with this floating churn dash and am absolutely loving making it.  I thrive off of making scrap quilts, and love when there is no limit on the colors I am using.

I'll be adding two more rows then calling it good.  It's for a child (but not a baby) and should measure 66x74.5 when done
I also spent a day this weekend adding more of my yarn stash to my Ravelry account and adding the final singleton skeins of yarn left over from when I sold my yarn shop three years ago to my ETSY shop. 
Mirai - One of the yarns I just added to my ETSY shop

It feels good to organize things, especially when so much of life seems out of my control these days.

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

Monday, July 6, 2020

New directions

I'm almost embarrassed by how many of my posts are about new starts versus finishes.  There's always a reason for a new start...but I have no good reason for not finishing things.

So, I was focusing on my Jewel Box Stars quilt when I realized I needed some more variety in my neutrals.  While seeking out more neutrals, I got to thinking about a quilt pattern on ETSY that I had pinned on my Pinterest page as something to make one day.  If I'm pulling neutrals for one quilt, I might as well pull for another quilt at the same time, right?  Well, one thing led to another.  I had to try a block out...

And then I had to make a couple more...

So, yeah, my Jewel Box Stars is back to being a Leaders and Enders quilt while I have fun with this one.  The good news is, I've unearthed lots more neutrals to use in my Jewel Box Stars...

It has rained a lot lately, which we needed.  The garden is starting to produce - yummy lettuce and snap peas and flowers so far.  When it isn't raining, I spend much of my time outside, in the shade, either in the hammock or on a quilt in the yard, reading or listening to an audiobook while I knit.  (I love summer!)

Much like with my quilting, I try to knit and crochet using up my stash rather than buying new.  So when one of my four-year-old crocheted dishcloths came out of the dryer miserably distorted and with three holes in it, I dug through my stash to find cotton to make another.
Pattern for Diagonal Dishcloth
And I had started a knit project last September that I wasn't feeling anymore, so I frogged it and started something new.
Pattern for Dressy Poncho
All in all, it has been a wonderfully crafty week for me, even if there aren't any finishes (except the dishcloth).

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

Monday, June 29, 2020

Back from a week away

Even though it is "summer vacation," I've been working my butt off at work.  I'm trying to set boundaries and remind people that I am not a 12-month employee, but with the pandemic requiring us to rethink how we are going to conduct school next year, I guess it is understandable that I'd be called upon more often than in a usual summer.

I let people know, however, that I was going to rural New Hampshire last week to spend a socially distant week with my sisters and their families (how weird not to hug and to only interact outdoors and on screened in porches, but we do what we must to keep everyone healthy), and I spent a blissful week (mostly) unplugged.

I read, I played games, I swam, I hiked, I knit.  I didn't sew, but I made up for lost time this weekend when I returned - my leader and ender Jewel Box Stars quilt is now a front burner project and is coming along nicely.

Two more rows to go!
Today, I hopped back on the computer to catch up on all the work that piled up in my absence, and then I spent some time culling more yardage from my stash for my ETSY shop.  As I'm sure you can tell from my quilts, I rarely use yardage (scraps are where it is at for me, baby!), so it is silly of me to have so much.  And since my sewing room is also my home office (and who knows when I'll be going back to my real office), it is important for me to make space so that I don't feel claustrophobic or distracted.  Some of the fabric is easy for me to give up, but some I really wrestled with myself over.  For example, my Ghastlies fabric... 

Truly, it is this image that made me want this fabric - in two colorways!
It is out of print and hard to come by, but I've just been sitting with it for nearly a decade!  Am I ever going to use it?  Probably not.  So I posted it - at a higher price than my usual destash fabric, but not nearly as high as others have posted it (one person had a yard listed for $75!!).  I'd rather someone else put it to use than for it to sit unused in my stash.

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

Monday, June 15, 2020

Things are looking up!

First off, my sister-in-law is COVID-free and home from the hospital!!  Her recovery is far from over, but we are so thankful that she is out of the woods!!

I've been trying to discipline myself to finish things up rather than start more new things.  I got the pineapple baby quilt top pieced together and basted, now just contemplating how to quilt it.
Not sure yet how I will quilt it...but it is basted and ready to go!
I put a skinny border on my cross-patch quilt, and am trying to decide if that is it.  I think so...but I'm going to let it sit for a while.
I don't think I want to add more borders, but I'm not sure.  Gonna revisit this in a little bit.
I pulled out my 2018 temperature quilt top.  I've been trying to figure out what to do for borders. 
I have SO MUCH Kona solid left after making this project!
At first I thought I'd do a border that had all 32 of my Kona fabrics that I bought for this quilt around the outside, but I got two sides done and didn't like it, so instead I pulled the two fabrics that represent the yearly average high and low temperatures, and used those as borders.  DONE!  Now to baste and quilt.

I also finished knitting a rainbow shawlette...
Still needs to be blocked...hopefully it won't look so lopsided then!
and have been making progress on my Earthy Excavation scrap blanket.
I love, Love, LOVE this project!  So simple and interesting and I'm using up all the little bits and bobs of leftover yarn!
Can you tell I've also been spending a lot of time outdoors?  Lots of reading going on, too!  According to my Goodreads account, I've read and/or listened to 55 books so far this year.  My goal of 24 books in 2020 was obviously too modest.  Maybe I can read 100?

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

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Quilting to keep my fears at bay

I know I'm not alone - in my fear, my anxiety, my heartsickness.  But seeing what is happening in the US this week while social distancing is particularly trying.  How many times have I said, "thank goodness for quilting?"  It helps to calm my mind and my nerves.  And this week, my efforts have been towards creating yet another baby quilt for a little one who is due at the end of August.

I ran across the Giant Pineapple Quilt by the Stash Bandit, and decided to go with another pineapple quilt (remember the ones I made a little over a year ago?).  I started with 7" squares, so my finished block size will be 5.5", so I guess that will make a quilt that is approximately 33" x 44".

For those who read last week, my sister-in-law is out of the ICU, but still hospitalized.  Progress.

And I braved my fear of crowds and COVID19 today to take my boys to a Black Lives Matter vigil (masked up and keeping 6 ft distance from others as much as possible).
These are my sons, ages 17 and 14
What breaks my heart is that this isn't the first vigil my boys have attended.  Protesting murders has been a mainstay in their lives since we first took them to Washington DC in July 2013 to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin.  What kind of world is this that my kids have been protesting the murder of black people by the police and white citizens who take it upon themselves to "police" us for fully half of their lives?

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

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A finish to brighten my day

This week, yet another member of the family was admitted to the ICU for COVID19 treatment.  This makes three.  We are hoping that yesterday's plasma transfusion does the trick and she recovers quickly.  I've been finding it hard to breathe lately, but I know it is just anxiety.  Just, I've had enough, you know?

So I turned to that which gets me through all the moments in my life when I need to calm my thoughts - quilting.  My color words quilt has been languishing for months now, basted and ready for quilting.  In fact, the recipient is already a month old now!  So this weekend, I cleaned my machine and put in a new needle, and quilted it.  I'm a hand quilter, new to machine quilting, so simple wavy and straight stitches for me.  I like how it turned out.

Then, after sewing the binding onto the front, I headed outside to sew the back down in the sunshine.

I even remembered to make a label and attach it when I attached the binding.

It will go out in Tuesday's mail - I hope the mama (and baby) likes it.

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