We went to our new JoAnn's location yesterday. It's bigger, it's brighter, and the first time I was there, it was crowded with helpful staff. This time, it was not and looked as picked over as the old store location did. But, that's okay, we managed to find everything we needed. Most of my sewing time was on my new shirt. The class I took last Monday wasn't very helpful, except she had a new way to set in a collar and I think I ended up with the neatest collar stand I've ever made. I tried to take a picture, but it needs a press before I share it. I added some size to the shirt for comfort and as I was making it, I made additional adjustments. Now I need to transfer all that to the pattern. And, while we were at JoAnn's, I bought a piece of fabric for another shirt for more practice.
Anyway, what I have to share is quilts. These are some of the vintage quilts I own, inherited from both sides of my family.
I believe these first quilts all came from my Mom's side. They're all the same pattern and if I had to guess, made by the same person. I believe they all have whipped field cotton battings.
This one was in our home when I was a child. It has a couple of loosely woven fabrics that have shredded, but for the most part, it's in good shape.
Compare that hand quilting to this hand quilting from many years later. Practice is the best teacher. The plates in this quilt were bought in an antique store, but the only pretty one was the one on the outside. I wasn't smart enough to look at the rest. When I got them home, I took them apart, re-grouped the fabrics into more pleasing combinations and put them back together again. Everything in this quilt is done by hand; the piecing, appliqué, assembly, quilting and binding. And, the name is Every Stitch by Hand. It won a ribbon for hand quilting. It's currently laid out in the spare room floor, blocked and drying. I don't know that it had ever been washed and the blue ink I marked it with was showing up. I think I was afraid the fabrics were too fragile for the washing machine, but I was wrong.
I'm not usually one for resolutions, but last year, I ended the year exhausted and resolved that this year, I would spend more time doing nothing and less time multi-tasking. It's not a competition to see who can do the most things. I need to spend more time relaxing and learning and less time getting stuff done. Because no matter how hard I worked, there was always something else that needed to be done and I could not rest.
I decided to take the tatting up a level and see if I could make something other than a snowflake. I made about 25 of them and was bored. I looked for patterns and had printed a few and this one looked like a good step up without being too difficult. Even then I had to make sections of it about 5 times before I got the hang of the pattern. On this one, I learned about turning my work, which was hard for me to wrap my head around at first, and I learned a new way to bury thread ends and I made a set of picot gauges so all those would be a more consistent size. Anyway, I managed to slog through it once and then started one with a prettier thread and finished it last night.
I also quilted the greenhouse quilts and got them washed. They only took a couple hours each to quilt. I did parallel vertical lines, so it was quick and easy. They're ready to store until our next hard freeze event.
All the plants in the greenhouses made it through the freeze with no damage (I get better at this each time). I pulled a bunch of the biggest pots out to water them yesterday and that gave me plenty of space to walk around and water the rest. Wow, that picture looks really messy, but it's not messy at all compared to past years when I couldn't move around in there because there were so many plants.
I cleaned up the studio/home office and did a little organizing, but you wouldn't be able to tell because it's still very cluttered looking. You'd need before and after pictures. But, Rob and I could see the difference. He's so orderly that my studio probably makes him a little crazy.
And, I left several things undone without trying to force them into my schedule so I could spend more time practicing my resolution by doing nothing. It felt good to look at something that needs doing and think 'I'll get to you later'. Rob bought me a bonsai starter kit for Christmas. It turns out that bonsai is not about growing a mini tree from a seed. It's about having the patience to grow a mini tree from a seed. That feels like a good metaphor for my resolution this year.
The only other pictures I took last week were food.
I made air fried chicken as the last dinner of 2022.
And Suzanne's potato soup (yes, you Suzanne) as the first dinner of 2023. Suzanne shared this recipe with me a long time ago...maybe 12 years? and I've made it every NY day since. I freeze the last of the Christmas ham for a few days to use in it in the soup. And of course, we had our black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year.
Here's wishing us all a very happy new year. May it be filled with all we want, whether that's getting more done (or less), or learning a new skill, or just relaxing in this short interim between elections. May the year be filled with peace and joy and love (especially peace!). And may we learn something good about ourselves that we didn't already know.