Sunday, July 9, 2017

MAJOR changes in my life

My 2017 Row By Row Experience Row, "On the Go from Dawn til Dusk" really encapsulates my life right now.
I challenged myself to write a paper pieced pattern.  I don't like it as much as last year's row, but what can you do?
Four years ago, I reinvented myself.  I went from college admissions professional to yarn/sewing shop owner/operator, and it has been a fabulously fun ride.  Well, I'll be reinventing myself again in the coming weeks.  In bullet point form:
  • In late March/early April, my husband's job security was threatened.
  • Recognizing full well that I can't support my family with my shop and that there wouldn't be other job opportunities for my husband in this area if he were to lose his job, in early April, I did what any responsible person would do when threatened with financial insecurity - I applied for some jobs.  I focused my search on western Massachusetts since it is an area that we know and love, because it would be near the majority of my family, and because I knew there'd be a job available there for my husband if we moved up there.
  • On April 30, I flew up for an interview at Deerfield Academy to become one of their college advisors.
  • On May 3, I was offered this fabulous job, and that weekend, the whole family drove up to check out the school to make sure the whole family was on board.  They were.
  • For the last two months, I have been going through the motions of selling my house and selling my business.  There have been lots of looks for both of them, and I have buyers for my business.  I'll be transferring assets to them on July 31, and my new job in Massachusetts starts August 15.  In the meantime, my husband and kids went up to New England as we do every summer for basketball camp and time with the cousins.  The only difference is that this time, they aren't coming back home.  I'm down here in Virginia alone, wrapping things up.  My husband started his new job up there with the Amherst College basketball program on July 1.
What a whirlwind of EMOTIONS I've been feeling, never mind the whirlwind of activity.  I've cried at leaving the place that has been home for me the longest of any in my entire life, the house and view that I've so enjoyed, the friends who have been so incredibly supportive of me, and the business that I started with $3000 and a dream.  I've rejoiced at reuniting with my family, at leaving behind an area pervasive with a complement of folks that I just don't understand (are you following this KKK nonsense?  KKK in 2017, are you kidding me???), at the thrill I feel with change of any kind.  I've reflected quite a bit about what is and isn't important to me, from the mundane task of purging as I pack up for a move to the adjusting of my expectations for the very different lifestyle that awaits me in MA.

Throughout it all, my creative life has sustained me, kept me grounded, kept me sane.  I have knit up a storm, finishing a Little Big Wrap
Yes, I'm a goofball, and yes, this photo was taken late at night in terrible light.
and starting a new one with eight others at the shop as one final knit-along before I leave.  I also knit up five A Little Bit Bohemian scarf/shawlettes for my sister's 40th birthday celebration.
I am SO going to miss the views from my porch!
Last weekend, eight of us spent 48 fabulous hours at Kripalu, a yoga retreat in Western Mass.  I didn't know two of the folks were coming until it was too late to make a shawlette for them, so I only finished one for each of my sisters and sister in law, my mom and my aunt.  Of course, it was too hot and humid to wear them, but it's the thought that counts, right?  And the cool weather always returns.

I've also been sewing with folks at the shop: a playdate where the girls made sleeping bags, pillows and pillowcases for their American Girl dolls,
We made a no-zip version to cut down on time. The pillowcases were made using the burrito method.
Grandma Camp where three generations of women made aprons,
I'm going to miss working with this crew.
and helping one of my beginning quilting students finish her first project.

She has since gotten it quilted, but I'll be darned if I can find a photo!
With so much to do, it would be easy to just stay "on the go from dawn til dusk", but I've really been making an effort to take some time for myself - spending some time with the people I'm going to miss so much when I leave, and spending time feeding my creative soul with some quiet time with yarn and fabric.  And one thing I really wanted to fit in was sharing a bit of this journey with YOU.  While I don't blog as much as I did before I started my business, this online community has been so important to me for years.  I imagine I'll be leaning in to it a bit more as I make my move and have to find my new place in the world.  Thank you for being there for me.

Now, since I'm on the computer, I suppose I should get some more items online in my ETSY shop (I've been selling off the yarn and fabric that the new owners aren't buying at discount prices - I can't take it ALL with me!), but maybe that can wait until I spend some time with a book and a beverage on the porch...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shoo Fly Breeze?

Remember this quilt I started back in 2012 based on a photo I'd seen of Melissa Corry's Summer Breeze quilt?

Remember all the trouble I had figuring out the pattern so I went ahead and bought the pattern?  Well, someone's having a baby, so I dug through my UFOs to see what was close enough to whip together quickly.  This one won, even though I had to rip out some seams to fix some glaring mistakes (I left the little mistakes in there).
It measures 39" square (ish)

Man, I love this quilt!  Even with just seven fabrics, it makes me happy.  But now that I look at the pattern that I bought, the dimensions are not the same and my setting is different, so it isn't really a Summer Breeze quilt, just one inspired by it.  What to call it?  Shoo Fly Breeze is all that comes to mind, but that's not really an ideal name for a baby quilt.  Any ideas out there?

Monday, March 27, 2017

String Shadows

Even though today was a day off work, it was a day full of "adult-ing".  Some of it was frustrating (meeting with my son and guidance counselor at school about him not working to potential).  Some of it was tedious (bill paying, bookkeeping, completing a micro loan application).  Some of it was easy but time consuming (post office, buying county decals for our cars, shopping for supplies).  Some of it was downright scary (learning that a good friend has cancer).  When I finally made it home at the end of the day, all I wanted to do was sew.  I queued up an audiobook and dumped out a new bag of scraps from a guild friend and set out to make my own version of that string shadow quilt I found last week.

The blocks aren't sewn together into rows yet and are just sitting on some background fabric, but what fun I am having!  I need to focus on actually QUILTING some quilts, but I'll be darned if I don't just want to piece tops these days.  My goal is a 6 x 8 quilt plus borders, I think.  We'll see.

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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Lazy Week at the Beach & Getting Inspired Online

I'm had a GREAT TIME in Cancun with my husband!  We walked miles and miles every day.  We swam in the wonderfully warm and clear water.  We lounged - in hammocks, in beach chairs, on our balcony looking out over the water.  We read and read and read (I finished 4 books).  We ate delicious tacos at the 24 hour taco stand down the street.  We visited Chichen Itza, which, for me, an archaeological anthropology major with a concentration in Mesoamerica in college, was a dream come true.
We did a lot of beach sitting

We visited Chichen Itza on the Equinox - a big day for a culture that reveres the sun.

The view from our hotel room

We stopped to eat at a restaurant/artisan center/hotel on our way to Chichen Itza.  This is one of the hotel rooms - no beach, but I would LOVE to stay in something like this!

And I took the time to do something I don't do nearly as much of as I'd like to do - cruise quilt blogs!  It feels so good to not have something else I SHOULD be doing so I can enjoy doing what I WANT to do!  And look what I found!  A Scrap Quilt Challenge!  I love scrap quilts and I love challenges, so I'm IN!  Is anyone else doing this one?

One thing I looked for online was shadow quilts.  Remember that I made one but it just didn't excite me?
I just can't get excited about this quilt.
I want to make another, and these excite me much more:

Wouldn't this look cool with some orphan blocks? Photo credit 

Those double shadows and geese make it so much more interesting! Photo credit

Love that the shadow extends to the border and the diagonal edges on the shadows! Photo credit

Now that I am home, I just want to go down into my sewing room and SEW!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I thought I was done...

On Sunday, I finished reconciling my books for my business so I could turn everything over to the accountant.  What a weight off my shoulders but, UGH!  Hours of looking at numbers on a computer screen!  The perfect remedy for the malaise that brought on was, of course, quilting!  I finished piecing my Star Sampler top!

At least, I THOUGHT I was finished, but the darned thing is screaming for some kind of border to me.  I'm thinking continuing the Irish Chain out half a block more around the whole thing.  What do you think?

Then, despite the fact that I am a hand quilter, I am sending this out to a long armer.  There is NO WAY I'm going to try to hand quilt through all of those batiks!

This quilt makes me happy.  Know what else makes me happy?  This month, my husband and I finally paid off our student loans, 24 years after graduating from college!!!  We're headed to Cancun this weekend for a 5-day "Spring Break" to celebrate, just the two of us.  I'm dancing the happy dance!  I plan to eat, sleep, read, sit on the beach and knit and that's IT!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

One for the books

I get some unusual requests at my shop...but I think this one takes the cake.  I was asked to make a Virginia Military Institute scarf for Mr. Potato Head.  I like a challenge, so I gave it a go.
I thought she wanted a knit scarf since we're a yarn shop.
But then she mentioned wanting the VMI "spider" logo, so I tried again with knit fabric.

I hope one of these fits the bill.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up my Star Sampler quilt.  The fourth and final star we'll be making, Rising Star, is my favorite, I think.

I hope to finish piecing the top tomorrow.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Orphan 9-patches

Well, basketball season is officially over for my family.
My youngest and me at the game, wearing our pom poms on our heads.
My husband's team lost in the semifinals yesterday (by TWO HEARTBREAKING POINTS!!!), so all of a sudden, I have a little more free time.   Time to visit my sewing room that I haven't set foot in for quite some time.  I did a little tidying up, and then unpacked a bag of scraps that someone had recently given me.

Lo and behold!  What's this?

There were nine 9-patch orphan blocks in the bag, too!  I could have thrown them into my orphan block drawer, but chose instead to throw them up on the design wall and play around with them a bit.  Add some snowball blocks and some setting triangles from other fabrics that I found in the bag, and I may have the beginnings of little quilt here.  It's busy, but it reminds me of the old-timey scrap quilts that I love.  Hopefully some big, dark borders will calm it down some.
It isn't sewn together yet.  Gotta let this marinate, not sure I'm committed to this.
As a leader and ender while making the snowball blocks, I sewed together a couple more Charming Plus Blocks.  Still not sure what I'm going to do with these, but I love seeing each one come together.

Play time is over, though.  Work calls; I have many college admissions files to read before March 1.  Meanwhile, I'm linking up with Oh, Scrap and Monday Making.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Start of my Star Sampler

A month since my last post!?!  How embarrassing!  Of course, I have been crazy busy...

And I have been creating.  Lately, it's been A LOT of knitting, but also working on a Star Sampler quilt for a class I'll be teaching.  I'm using a batik charm pack and a coordinating 2.5" strip roll and a gray Kona solid for the background, setting the four different star blocks that we are making with simple Irish Chain alternate blocks.  We are doing the ribbon star


the woven star

the simplified lemoyne star

and the rising star (which I haven't finished yet).
Is it possible I only have 8 blocks done so far??  I need to get cracking!
With three of each star block and 13 alternate blocks, they can make a nice 60" square quilt in no time.  I need to sit down and crank out the rest of these blocks this weekend so I can hang the top in the shop as advertisement for the class.

I've also been working on my row for the 2017 Row by Row Experience, but I can't show you that!

Here's hoping everyone out there is finding some "me" time in all the craziness of 21st century life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Patchwork, sewn and glued

My "to-do" list yesterday was longer than my arm!  Of course, rather than tackle it, I hid away in my sewing room and sewed together a pixelated heart quilt for my shop window.
made from 2" squares - I hope to get it quilted before February
Then, because I have so many precut squares and because I had a plywood leaf made for my secondhand (leaf-less) shop table, I spent a couple hours Mod Podge-ing squares onto the leaf to make it more appealing.
Before the plywood leaf - this is a typical Thursday night at my shop and it is WAY too crowded around the table!
The new plywood leaf added LOTS of room (36" on each side), but it's kinda blah.  And rough to the touch.

I much prefer the color that the fabric adds to the leaf!

Don't tell, but I stood on the table to get this shot.  TSP stands for The Stitchin' Post, which is the name of my shop.
Lots and lots of squares used, and I didn't have to cut anything!  THIS is why I cut my scraps into precut sizes - when I just want to sew, I can just sew!

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