Group Sew-in

The other night, Sydney was letting us know she had to work Saturday night.  And, I said okay.  We're going to a party and also wouldn't be home.  She asked when we got a social life.  We've been to two parties in two months and suddenly we have a social life.  But, it's good.  We needed to find grown up things to do as she grows more and more into her own life. 

The party was a graduation party for Rob's best friend's daughter.  She just graduated with a degree in film and is moving to L.A. to make her mark on the film industry.  I wish her luck.  They were running her films on a loop on their TV mixed in with videos and pictures of her as a small child.  It was really cute.  And, we had a very fun time.  It was a small group and I'd met most of them at other parties.  We laughed and ate and laughed and laughed some more. 

On Sunday, we had the group sew in for the guild raffle quilt.  It was a great group.  Sixteen people plus my co-chair and me.  It was everything it was supposed to be for a host.  I was still cutting kits when people got there, but we got them all started and I finished cutting fabric and making kits as people were starting to sew.  There was "feedback" given about mistakes made and pieces cut too small in the kits.  There has to be that.  And, there was the requisite person that wanted to give up and I convinced her to just give it a try and that every stitch she sewed that day was one I didn't have to sew later and get as far as she could and I'd finish up for her.  And, soon as she relaxed, she ended up laughing and having as much fun as anybody and making and assembling pieces.  We sewed for about 6 hours.  Part way through I suggested folks try the curved piecing while we were in a group and could talk through it.  And, everybody had a really hard time of it, and we talked about alternative methods of attaching the center; applique, hand stitching, and "just glue it on and let the quilter deal with it".  That was my favorite.  It's a very tight and difficult curve, but after hearing everyone's feedback yesterday, I think I figured out an easy way to do it, so soon as I can get on my machine, I'm going to try it and if it works, I'll send an email out to the participants. 

And, when it was done, I dropped everything that was coming home with me into a box in a disorganized mess that I'll need to straighten out before I can sew anything.  There were a few minutes when we couldn't account for 6 kits and I wondered if people made mistakes and just picked up a fresh kit.  But, over dinner, I figured out where they went and now I can relax. 

In the end, there were lots of compliments that the event was fun and that the project was well organized.  And, really, that is all I can hope for from a group event.  Now, it's just answering questions and waiting for blocks to come back in so we can start sewing them together. 

I have no pictures.  No projects of my own.  A fat black hairy caterpillar ate the last two peach Iris.  That was disappointing.  I moved him to the side yard, out of my garden.  I probably shouldn't have.  He was just doing his thing and who knows what beautiful butterfly he will turn into later. 

But, I do have pictures of the oakleaf hydrangea that is blooming like crazy.  It finally found its happy place.  And, I'm happy about that. 

Can't remember what this is, but these are its first blooms.  It takes the hottest evening sun on the deck and loves it and gives these beautiful delicate flowers. 

And, I got my first strawberry.  It was delicious and sweet.  I'll never make a fruit stand.  But, I might get to enjoy some really good fruit. 

Finally, I took the new job.  I'll be starting the end of June.  They're having a tug of war over who gets my attention and that's awkward.  But, I guess there are worse things that could be awkward than having two groups fighting for my attention.  Anyway, the new group is very excited to have me and already wanting to learn what I can do for them.  And, the news is starting to leak out slowly.  I'm looking forward to new changes and a fresh start.  Everybody needs a few fresh starts in life, right?  And, as uncomfortable and awkward as they can be, it's usually for the best in the end.  So, here's to new things and fresh starts. 

Have a great week!!  I'll be sewing guild kits.  (I think I might have accidentally brought home three...eek!!!)



When life gets busy

Like the weather, sometimes life is sunny and easy.  And, sometimes it's thunder and busy.  It's how I react to that makes all the difference.  I'm sailing through a busy time with the same smile I wear on a sunny day.  That's relatively new to me.  And I like it. 

But, I did allow myself to bullseye focus in on just one project as my stress relief.  I worked on my newest project, my sweater. 

The pattern is called "Dad's sweater" from the book The knitting man(ual).  You'd think it would be something made for a dad...but it's not.  It's from a picture the author found of her Dad when he was young, wearing a sweater.  Anyway, I knitted the back in record time and all that time I would normally have spent fretting and worrying got poured into my stitches.  My Dad told me once that when my Grandmother was worried and couldn't sleep, she would get up and scrub the floor.  I guess this is my version of scrubbing the floor.  And, I'm good with that.  Who wants to scrub the floor?

There have been a couple days this week that I could put on my gardening shoes and wade out into the yard to see the flowers.  I believe this Iris came from my friend Lyn. 

And, these two daylilies. 

We've had so much rain.  Rain in the morning, noon and night.  In two days, we got 6" and it rained two more days after that.  I know other people got more and my heart goes out to anyone affected by flooding (my family's home flooded when I was a teenager).  But, I can't help say that I'm tired of the rain.  There has been just enough sun to encourage everything to grow, so it's like a jungle out there and I'll have to take my snips to it soon as I can walk around. 

I mentioned a job opportunity last week.  At that time, I was only talking to the people that I work for about it.  I had not talked to the people that want me to work for them yet.  I spent some time last week doing that and will do more today.  They were very excited that I was even considering it.  I'm leaning toward taking it.  They need and want someone to do exactly what I did in my current role a few years ago; modernize their process and affect the region by example.  I'm a better person now than I was when I did it the first time.  And, I could use a new challenge.  And a fresh start.  Everybody needs a fresh start once in a while. 

In the meantime, I need to cast on 135 stitches for the front of my sweater. 

Have a great week!  Next Sunday is the group sew to work on the guild's raffle quilt.  I have done all I've been asked to do...so far. 




My projects, their projects

I was sick last week.  I felt bad all weekend, but Sunday night, I was up most of the night, chills and sweats and misery.  Fortunately, none of the people that we were with over the weekend reported being sick,  but I do remember a friend hugging me at the wedding who sounded like she felt the way I did a couple days later. 

Rob's cousin and his wife were wonderful.  This was our first meet and we took them out to one of Austin's classic Tex-Mex restaurants where the food was wonderful.  But, the Margaritas...not so much.  They use natural lime juice and it was tart that day.  We all had a lot of fun, visiting and laughing and sharing stories. 

Saturday night, we went to the wedding reception.  The wedding was a private civil ceremony on Friday, and Saturday night there was "a catered affair".  We knew one of the brides and over the course of a few parties, we are meeting the other bride's friends.  It always starts awkward, and then we find someone we remember, but don't remember their name yet, and we end up striking up a conversation and celebrating together. 

Then, Sunday was Rob's birthday and I made him carrot cake cup cakes and we ate good food and laughed a lot while we did chores. 

Monday, I sat on the couch and finished these. 

I love knitting socks so much that I've finally decided to start a sweater.  We'll see if I have the skills...or if I just think I do.  It's looking good so far...after a false start and a re-do.

Most of my time has been spent on the guild's 2020 raffle quilt.  A couple weeks ago, we bought the fabrics.  We ordered one and that's holding us up.  I showed the test block I made a couple weeks ago, but now I've been able to make samples using most of the chosen fabrics to show at the meeting tonight.  I have kits in various stages of "finished".  The border kits are done and I will be taking them with me tonight to hand out to volunteers.  My co-chair is bringing the background fabric.  I plan to take a border kit, so you'll get to see it.  Here are my samples for the blocks. 

The volunteers will make two of these "quarters".  They take paper piecing skills, an easy Y seam, and Drunkard's Path curve piecing skills, so not too difficult.  Unfortunately, I had to substitute in a turquoise fabric, so these samples won't be in the actual quilt.  But, they did help me write the instructions.  The kits are bagged up and I just need to add some photos to the instructions and they'll be ready to print. 

We've had lots of rain.  Lots and LOTS.  The garden looks tropical, and unfortunately it's full of mosquitoes.  But, I get out there every day and do a little something, even if it's just pluck off a few dead flowers or pollinate Syd's pomegranate.  Here are some garden blooms. 

The Oakleaf Hydrangea is in full bloom and looks happier than ever. 

A little yellow Gerber Daisy.

Some strawberries in the strawberry jar. 

A very vivid Echinacea.

I thought I'd show the little leader/ender I've been working on.  A friend shared the solid squares.  They were a fabric line sample pack, so they weren't square and they were all different sizes, approximating 1 3/4".  Make a block and toss it into a box.  When you run out of little squares, turn the blocks into something.  I've fun out of little squares after about three years.   I went out looking for 2 1/2" squares in the scrap bins to mix these with and found a whole stack of dark blue squares.  We'll see what it turns into.

And, finally, I've been tapped on the shoulder and made aware of a new job opening.  They want me to fill this spot and approached my manager to let me know.  It's working on a bigger product and is supposed to give me more name recognition because of that.  (In my job, good name recognition gets you invited to work on tons of different projects.  Bad name recognition leaves you at your desk, playing solitaire.)  This job would mean giving up the variety of little projects I work on now that give me more name recognition than the person that currently has the job that's coming open.  That really feels like I'd be giving up a lot, but before deciding, I'm going to talk to her and talk to the hiring manager and see whether I'm looking at this right. 
Lots of stuff going on.  Lots of decisions to make.  Everybody have a great Monday!  Wish me luck at guild tonight.  It's always weird to show off my work and try to get people to volunteer to work on guild projects.  I'll have my smile out of my pocket and pasted on.