We worked until we couldn't move anymore

It as one of those kinds of weekends.  Rob was working on the house, repairing a bit of rotten siding.  He managed to hurt his knee.  But, the repair looks fantastic!! 

I continued the cleaning.  I got to that last kitchen cabinet yesterday, and that let me pick up all those leftover things that were sitting here and there because their old place got something else in it and their new place hadn't opened up yet. 

I got the last of the quilting done on the Dresden Plate quilt.  Now, I need to bind it.  But, that deserves it's own post. 

First thing I did on  Saturday was make the Winter Mittens block from the Sew Fresh Quilts Have a Jolly Little Christmas BOM.  Another fun block!  I'm looking forward to the rest of the quilt.  I suspect she has started us off easy to get us in the swing of it.  There are some much more complicated looking blocks coming up. 

Part of my cleaning was to set up these two pegboards.  This one is in the sewing room.  It has all smaller and specialty rulers in it.  I have a small cutting space set up in the sewing studio for trimming and the like.  

I keep all my serious rulers with my big cutting table and big ironing board in the garage and I set up this board for the things I use out there. 

That's where I ironed three yards of red fabric and cut it into 4.5" squares so I could turn these 144 four patches into my next leader/ender.  With everything organized, it didn't take any time at all.  The four patches have every color so I needed to set them with something that would make them sparkle.  I tried a light fabric, but the red really did it for me.  
And, in the evenings, watching TV, I finished the applique on this Black Currants block for the Simply Delicious applique quilt. 

Next up is the cantaloupe. 

I didn't set that one up yet.  I decided this week's hand work needed to be sewing down the binding on a Linus quilt.  But, soon!  This is number 11 of 12 and it looks pretty easy (unlike the sweet pea block I saved for last).  And, I sure would like to finish this quilt in my lifetime. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  Mondays can go either way.  They often set the tone for the whole week.  But, I'm going into it very relaxed and feeling a great sense of accomplishment.  By 9:30, I expect to be wishing I was back in the studio, needle in hand. 




The garden at rest

I took these out in the garden a day or two ago.  They show my winter resting garden, all cleaned up.  Ready to start again. 

I am a lover of perennials.  Unfortunately, they tend to leave a rather bleak picture off season.  My Mom taught me to plant some evergreens so there would be some kind of year round interest, and I chose all these grasses and a few shrubs.  There are multiple types and heights.  And, next summer, I'll hopefully be tying back an overabundance of growth, once again. 

I have one more section to clean up, and then a section that I'm "re-designing"  But, I'd better get started because Mr Forsythia, a true predictor of spring has started to try to bloom.  Either he is very confused, or we won't have another freeze this year.  (Yes, Gloria, there is climate change.)

In winter, this is where all the real work happens.  There are plenty of things blooming in the greenhouse.  And, plenty of very happy fern.  You can't see them, but way at the back are the citrus trees.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  I am keeping my head down and staying busy.  But, it does feel a bit like re-arranging the furniture in a house that's on fire.  It's hard to watch everything I believe in being dismantled. 



Oh, that's why I set that aside

In spring, my mind turns to flowers and growing things.  And, my quilting turns to my Simply Delicious quilt from Piece O' Cake Designs.  Sometimes you have to just accept that a UFO is  a UFO.  And, it's going to stay that way for a while.  I have a red, white and blue quilt that is the same way and that I work on every June and July. 

I started this applique project about a hundred and twelve years ago.  I have 9 blocks made.  You can see, they're beautiful blocks in a fruit theme.  And, I really do enjoy it.  And, then I burn myself out on applique and I put it aside.  And, then it's spring and out it comes again. 

I last stopped on this block.  It's the black currants.  And, they're frustrating because a lot of the fabrics are homespun and I have trouble needle turning that loose weave the way I like.  And, I wasn't enjoying my method.  I prepped my pieces, and I traced my pattern onto a piece of transparent plastic (shower curtain).  When I wanted to place a piece, I'd lay the plastic over the background, position the piece and then sew it down.  But, I was having trouble with accuracy.  The plastic had registration marks, but I still managed to get it off center (mostly from being wrinkled up) and then I was moving stuff around to try to make it fit.  The other night, I just drew it on the background...I sure hope that frixion pen comes out.   

I also spent an inordinate amount of time quilting straight lines.  Holy Moly!  I've done the echo work on three sides...just one more short side to go!  Woo-hoo!  Then, there will be some mistakes to try to fix, but I can see the end.  And, none too soon because I'm ready to quilt something else. 

And, I made the last block in Barbara Brackman's Westering Women quilt.  I laid the 11 I had out the other day to see if I needed the block to accomplish anything...and what it needed was a light shaded block.  A light shaded one will give me a nice balance of dark and light blocks across the quilt. 

That didn't leave much time for cleaning out cabinets (thank goodness!) but I did manage to get to the one under the kitchen sink.  We aren't dirty people.  We just have dirty garbage.  And, now we have a nice clean spot to store the trash bin.  Fresh shelf liner and everything.  And, no I'm not going to show a picture of it...we don't know one another THAT well.  One more cabinet to go.  I wasn't ready for it this weekend, but soon. 

And, I worked in the garden.  cutting back and moving things around for this year.  Every year, the garden changes just a little bit.  Things move to better spots.  Things that aren't working get removed.  Some Iris that weren't getting enough sun got exchanged with some fountain grass that could really stand to do a little less well.  And, a twelve foot tall lugustrum that I grew from seed got cut to the ground.  They're invasive here and this one started as a volunteer seedling that a bird dropped into a pot.  And, within a few years, it was the size of a small tree and casting shade in one of my few sunny spots.  I can do better things with that spot. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  It's back to work for me.  Hi-ho and whatever. 

One of the campuses where Syd has classes scheduled is closed due to storm damage.  They're not sure when it will open so they're offering them the choice to do online study or enroll for the same classes at another campus. 

Not sure my girl has the self discipline for online study.  I've done that.  And, you have to be very disciplined.  We will see what she can make happen.  She's meeting her counselor today to figure it out.  Fingers crossed. 



Not too much going on at the machine

And, that's not good. 

I need my machine time to keep me happy.

Monday, the dentist's office called and they'd had a cancellation and could move my appointment to start my crowns up by a week...a week less to worry about it.  I jumped on that.  And, only had a few minutes to worry about it, which was nice.  No time to work myself into a tizzy.

It's amazing how long anesthetic lasts when you're relaxed and not stressed out in the dentist's chair.  Our new dentist is very confident and I like him.  I was able to completely relax and just go with the experience.  And, I've only had a small amount of pain.  Nothing I couldn't handle. 

And, things are already getting better, and we're only at the temporary part.

I have been drawing.  I've drawn more fillers for the Broken Star quilt.  I haven't drawn what I want yet.  But, I have gone off white as the background color.  Maybe off-white?  And, I'm not all that sure I want the pieced blocks as the fillers.  But, for now, I keep going back to that.  Not ready to give up on the idea.  And, I'll keep going smaller...somehow, none of these is in scale to the rest of the quilt. 

And, I keep quilting straight lines.  Just in case you're not sure, quilting straight lines is pretty boring.  So, I have to break it into small bursts of quilting and then walk away for a while. 

But, I'm nearly around for the first time.  And, now I get to do it all again, a quarter inch away.  yay for my exciting life.

Yesterday, a deplorable posted a hate filled comment on my blog.  I can only assume that he saw "man" in the title because his subject was the "vile American woman".   And, what he had to say was a big pile of horse poop.  I responded with a biting response that he was never going to read, and then decided not to bother all of you with either one.  But, I did turn off the ability to post anonymously, because deplorables don't give their names, and I can take advantage of that to block them.  But, I think I'm going to change it now to monitor the comments before they post.  That might be a better solution because I don't plan to give other people a platform on my blog.  I've never done that before, so we will see how it works. 

Everybody have a great Thursday!  My job has changed a little.  I used to work for two people.  Now, I'll only be working for one of them.  And, hopefully that will free up some time for me to work on new challenges.  I'm being recognized for the unique skills I bring to the job and asked to grow those skills on larger projects.  It's nice to be recognized. 

My Dad used to tell me that good work is always rewarded with...

more work. 

As true today as it was in 1972 when I was 10 and had to rake the back yard, too. 

Read this the other day on someone's desk.  Cracked me up.  If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not your thing



Still cleaning

Cleaning is not nearly as fun as quilting.  As great pastimes go, I really cannot recommend it.  But, I'm still doing it.  I got through all the kitchen cabinets except 2...and one of those is the cabinet under the kitchen sink, which I've been saving for last.  And, the other has a bunch of stuff I plan to say goodbye to and have been procrastinating because of that. 

But, I still got some quilting in.  I started the "Have a Jolly Little Christmas" BOM at Sew Fresh quilts.  This is my second BOM this year, but it is so cute!  So, I can do two. 

This is my "focus" fabric.  I've had this piece of paisley fabric for years and years.  It reminded me of Christmas, but all my other Christmassy fabrics were the traditional dark green.  And, this is an olive green, so it sat, waiting for the right project.  And, this is that project. 

And, I worked on quilting the Dresden Plate quilt.  See the small grid?  This quilt has been sitting for a couple weeks.  I didn't know what to do.  That busy print border was not going to show quilting like the rest of the quilt does.  I was seriously considering taking the border off and replacing it with a less busy print that would show quilting better.  Then I saw this post by Natalia Bonner where she quilted a woven pattern in a quilt.  I didn't even try to reproduce that beautiful work, but I decided to do something similar.  Plain grid work to frame an accentuate the quilt center without in any way competing with it, and allowing me to quilt the entire quilt evenly.  I've put in this 1" grid and I'm going to come in and echo it on quarter inch on one side of each line, so it will break it up a little smaller.  But, this has gone so well that if that doesn't work out, I won't be crying about it.  This would work just fine. 

I did the long seams that parallel the border seam with the walking foot.  Then, to avoid puckering on the crossing seams, I wanted to use the free-motion "hopping" foot.  But, that meant marking the lines.  And, masking tape was the right way to mark that on this busy background. 

One set of tape strips has done three sides and is going to do one more, but it's losing it's "sticky" so the echo work will get a new set of strips to mark the lines.  Here are the tape strips waiting. 

I love the contrast in quilting patterns from loose and moving to rigid and blocky.  It's delicious!

Okay, that's enough for today.  Time to get ready for work.  Everybody have a great Monday!  I think my dishpan hands have recovered sufficiently.  I've gotten rid of a couple large boxes of things from the kitchen, but the real profit is in just cleaning it up and organizing it.  Of course, now Sydney will say she can't put away dishes because she doesn't know where they go. 

Any old excuse will do, right?




Starry, starry, uhm, day, I guess

I've made progress on my Broken Star quilt. 

If you're going to make this quilt, I suggest you plan to make extra diamonds with the plan to throw them away.  Make a set of 8 to get a feel for it and then make the rest.  They're all made from stripsets so it's really easy.  It's just very precise.

How about some helpful tips.  I'm using the free pattern I found at Quilters Club of America, except I'm making it in half size.  So, My strips are cut at 1 1/4" wide and finish at 3/4".

First suggestion is to be VERY careful of your seam allowance when you sew the strips together.  I didn't pin.  I used the method that I learned in the shirtmaking class.  But, I was very careful to keep my edges lined up straight and not let them wander.  In retrospect, knowing what it would have saved me later, I wish I'd pinned them.  Where they did wander (and they did), it made a problem. 

When I cut my sections from the stripsets, I basted them with a long stitch.  This served two purposes.  It helped stabilize the bias, and it gave me a mark where my seam allowance was going to cross the seam. 

When I pinned two sections together, I aimed a pin straight down through where one of these marks crossed the seam allowance and then into where the adjoining mark met it's seam allowance, like a nail.  

Then, I pinned from the side to hold them together for sewing.  Most of my seam allowances match because of that.  (I need new pins, don't I?)

The next tip is pressing...not ironing.  As you're building the strip sets, build them a couple strips at a time...(two sets of two, then add the middle strip to one of those, then sew the two sections together.)  Then, fold the new strip back and finger press it, making sure the line doesn't curve.  It's not likely to at this point because it's straight of grain. 

But, folding it back and finger pressing, then pressing it with the iron is essential for sewing the diamonds together.  When I didn't, I stretched the pieces.  I was ironing from left to right and pushing the tiny diamonds out of shape.  But, when the line was finger pressed straight and then I just laid the iron on top of it without moving side to side, there was no distortion. 

There is going to be a lot of bias to pick out later.  But it made this project so much easier that it was worth it!  Well, I say that now.  Check with me again when I'm actually picking it out. 

My filler squares are going to be paper pieced.  I drew the first one.  This is close, but when I colored it in, I knew it wasn't right.  I want it to make more of a curve and that all feels forced into the center...like I grabbed the block and squeezed.  Anyway, this seems like a project for the protractor, in addition to the ruler. 

That's it for me.  Everybody have a great Wednesday! 



Read the directions...twice!

I needed to make two BOMs this weekend.  I only made one.  But, I made it twice...does that count?

I'm making the Constellations BOM from the Academic Quilter.  Here's a link to the first block.

I made the block and it was fun!  And, then I read all that she had to say about it and I started thinking about how this was going to work since I had just used all my background. 

So, I went back and read the original announcement and realized I needed a nice big piece of background. We made a trip to JoAnn's to see if I could get more of what I started with, but alas, wasn't happening.  So, I bought something different and came home and laundered it and remade the block. 

I am victorious.  And, the second block came out even better than the first one.  I pressed the seams open on the second one and it really made a difference. 

I did other quilty things too.  Things I'll blog about another day.

And, I finished filling that box I'm taking to the free table at guild and I emptied, wiped out and refilled the pantry.  Part of my effort to do some work on every cabinet this year.  Clean them out.  Purge.  Organize.  How many years will I try that one? 

At least I start with a new cabinet every year, so eventually, I'll get to them all, right? 

But just a few a year isn't anything to brag about, so I'm hoping a little public challenge will help.  Feel free to ask me what I got rid of after any weekend.  If I didn't get rid of anything...well, at least I probably won't lie. 


Have a great Monday!  Lane


Tucking my shirt tail in

I could also have named this post slouching.  But, it's about the attitude of it more than the personal appearance.  My attitude led to my appearance. 

Over the last few years, I've really started to enjoy my self-worth and to let it grow and take it out to play. 

Self-worth, for me anyway, is a whole lot of little things all rolled up into how I feel.  Do I feel valued by others?  By myself?  Do I feel attractive?  That I contribute?  Like I make a difference?  Do people like me?  Do they smile at me?  Am I sending the right message about who I am? 

I had developed a really strong message about who I am.  A good message about who I want to be and who I am becoming.  But, later last year, I had a few personal setbacks and kind of took some steps backward.  It was like the difference between a sunny day, where I shined on everything around me and a cloudy day, when I just wanted to hide down in the folds of some big lumpy quilt.

Now, cloudy days are fine.  Everybody deserves a nice cloudy day once in a while.  But, what I have to watch for is too many cloudy days in a row.  Because that quickly turns into cloudy weeks and then cloudy months and then back to the same issues of low self worth that I was fighting before. 

Not.  Going.  There.

I don't know why the first thing I did was to tuck in my shirt.  And, who would have thought it would make such a difference.  I tucked in my shirt and that made me stand up straighter and that made me feel more attractive and that made me smile more and people responded. 

And, I felt better about me.  It's like that proverbial snowball rolling down a hill, but in a good way.  Once I get started, things develop their own momentum.

Everybody have a great Friday!  I'm off to the sewing machine to play with diamonds for the star quilt.  Then, I have two BOMs to make this weekend.  How do I find time to do anything except quilt?

It's a wonder.  Imagine what I could do if I didn't have to make a living.



A new start

Well, Christmas is back in the boxes again, ready to go in the attic.  We didn't take as long putting it away this year as we have in the past, choosing to leave it all out until the new year started.  That meant we had to take it all down in two days and it was a LOT of work. 

I'm still thinking about what I'd like the new year to bring.  More blogging for one.  I think of all these great posts, but I don't write down the topic, and by the next morning, it's gone.  And, I'm very far behind reading blogs, but I hope to get caught up soon. 

I want to finish quilts.  I don't have any ambitions to start anything.  That seems wrong.  But, I do have ambition to finish things.  UFO's, kits, projects, you name it, it just might get finished this year.  If it's ever going to get finished.

I want to make more clothes.  I enjoy making clothes, even the ones that don't work out.  In fact, I just finished a shirt.  And, I want to make more.  I'd like to make a jacket this year.  Just because. 

I want to enjoy cooking more.  I cook.  A lot.  But, I'd like to enjoy it more.  Be a little more adventurous.  Maybe make more vegetarian dishes.  We'll see how long that one lasts. 

And, I want to continue being kinder and gentler.  A little less abrasive when I'm frustrated.  Learn to deal with my mistakes better. 

I did have a couple of finishes over the new year's weekend; things I wanted to finish before the new year started. 

I made shirt 2 using the new method.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture until it had spent the night wadded up in the dirty clothes hamper after I wore it yesterday (why didn't I take a picture while I was wearing it, right?).  But, you get the picture.  It's the nicest shirt I've made, with the best finishing details.  I have one more adjustment to the pattern.  I'd like the collar to be narrower.  Small detail, but the collar is wider than the collar stand, which makes the points of the collar lay weird on my shoulders.  But other than that, I'm very happy.  I finally have a pattern that fits me perfectly, after a year or more of trying to figure that part out.  And, I can use that pattern to adjust other patterns. 

And, I finished this pair of socks. 

These were made from two balls of yarn that were each too small to make a pair, so I put them together.  I finished the first sock and got halfway across the foot of the second one and ran out of yarn.  So, I pulled another ball of the same weight and content and started using it.  But, I hated how the half of a foot didn't match the other sock.  Rob even picked at me about it.  So, I took it out, took the toe apart in the first sock and used it to extend the second sock, then made both toes out of the other yarn, so the pair of socks would match.   Just call me Sheldon Cooper.

And, on the quilting front, I continue to make diamonds for the broken star quilt. 

 They go pretty fast, but they don't want to go together into the center star very well.  Not sure what I'll do about that.  But, I have 20 finished and the last 12 are started, so I will likely choose the very best of them for the center star and iron them until they fit together. 

Anyway, that's it for us.  We did a whole lot of family time over the last couple of weeks.  Now, I think we're all looking forward to a nice slow January.  Wish us luck!

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  Yesterday was first day back at work.  But, it wasn't too bad.  Sure was glad I worked a few days last week tho.