finished

With two unfinished quilts, of course I took the supplies to begin an entirely new quilt with me on vacation!

Pattern:  Made in Cherry, resized to be 60×60

Fabrics:  Hodgepodge of all pink and orange fabrics in my stash, with solid Kona magenta and Denyse Schmidt prints for the back

My lovely niece requested an orange and purple quilt during my last visit home (I haven’t lived there in 25 years, but Indiana will always be “home”).  I asked if I could incorporate pink and she said yes, and I was hot on it.  I’m so proud of her.  She’s spending six months as an intern at Disney as part of a college credit program and if you knew Syd, you’d know this is the perfect job/experience for her!  She’s always been a Disney princess!  (and I mean that in the best way)

***

Posting will probably be even less frequent than normal because we’ve decided to put our house on the market!  Which is exciting and full of possibilities, but also a TON of work!  So far I have painted the den and my son’s room, had the antique bathtub reglazed (why oh why didn’t I do this before?  It’s gorgeous!), cleaned my closet, boxed up all my yarn (!!!) and most of my fiber, together with a ton of other things we don’t use on a daily basis.  Yesterday I stripped and cleaned the deck and we moved an armoire, china cabinet, large chair, dresser, and many boxes and tubs into storage.  Have to make the house appear larger, you know!  This weekend I’ll be restaining the deck (if the weather cooperates), and I still have a bazillion other projects to do.  So much so that even thinking about it wears me out!  But it’ll all be worth it if it helps our house sell quickly and for the most money.

I will still be doing some crafting to maintain my sanity; I need to finish my mom’s b’day quilt and the only knitting readily accessible is all the unfinished projects that have been languishing!  Yes, I purposely planned that so I would be forced to finish up some things.  I’ll let you know if it works.  ;o)

 

 

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school’s out!

I feel like I’m the one on summer vacation!  Except for the whole going to work thing.  But no more checking homework assignments on-line!  No more hounding the boy to work on projects!  And he passed chemistry and geometry!  Ah…bliss!

I’ve started a new quilt for my mother’s birthday in August, using Laura Gunn’s Poppy collection that I’ve had for about two years.  These are beautiful fabrics!

Here’s a peek.  I found a vinyl tablecloth with flannel backing for $5 and created a design wall in the bedroom on the only bare wall in the house!  I have a feeling the design wall will be up more than it’s down…  The picture stuck in the corner is my weight loss inspiration:

I’m guessing that was – oh, well thank you Santa, it was Summer ’03.  Nine years ago.  I can get back there, right?  Just going to take willpower and a lot of hard work.  To be honest with you, I’ve fallen way off the wagon.  I’m still holding the ten pounds I gained over the holidays and I’ve been so lax when it comes to working out.  There always seems to be some excuse – run errands instead, work through lunch to leave early on Friday, coming down with a horrific cold/sinus infection.  I have excuses for days.  But, I’m thinking about doing a 14 week challenge sponsored by Tom Venuto, whose books I’ve read and whose opinion I respect.  Grand prize is a trip to Hawaii, and I’m in it to win it!  And even if I don’t win the grand prize, I’ll finish with a better body and be back on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

And I guess now that I’ve blogged about it, I have to do it.

 

FOs

Seems a finishing frenzy has struck at my house!

First I finished the upcoming birthday boy quilt:

and the back:

I quilted this before I got all brave with free motion quilting, so it’s meandering wavy lines using my walking foot.

Then I finished the quilt mountain!

Again, I quilted the main section of the top with wavy lines, but knew I needed something different for the plain sides – that’s when I decided to try my hand at free motion quilting.  Unfortunately, I didn’t allow for fabric shrinkage when I planned how much fabric to add to make the quilt queen-sized…I simply didn’t think about it.

It *barely* fits our bed!  Live and learn!  (btw – making this quilt required, for my enjoyment, purchasing a new bedskirt and new pillow shams, which I found for $12.99 each at Home Goods!  I couldn’t believe it, bed skirts were at least $45 everywhere else I looked.  Love a good bargain!)  I’ve made the bed every day since finishing the quilt.

I’ve also finished some small knitting projects – two pair of socks.

These flew off the needles.  I got the yarn (Trekking, old colorway) at the Destin Spin-In and love it.  I’d like a sweater from this yarn, actually.

Some say it’s manly, but I like it too!

Jaywalkers, from another yarn I got at the spin-in – String Theory Colorworks Continnuum in the Chlorobium Tepidum colorway.  Let me tell you, knitting these was addictive!  That little bit of cashmere (10%) goes a long way, the yarn was bouncy and soft and scrumptious.

And, that’s all the FOs, folks!  For now.  I have finally put together a quilt sandwich with this top from September 2010 and I’ve either lost the binding or never made it in the first place.  I think simple quilting lines and a black and white striped binding are called for.

quilting season

As the weather gets warmer, my sewing machine starts calling.  I’m still knitting and spinning (and have piles of yarn and several FOs to photograph), but lately my daydreams have been all about fabric and patterns.  Yesterday, I finished my first quilt of the year!

 

The pattern is Bob from the Fat Quarterly Solids issue, designed by the uber-talented Chawne.  Everything she touches is gold, I swear, and she is an enabler of the highest order.  She just finds the best stuff!

Bob was a lot of fun to make, and a good pattern for someone new to quilting like me.  I pieced the top in one day and things came together perfectly for the first half of the quilt, but towards the bottom the corners don’t match up, so I probably would have done better to split the work over a couple of days.  But perfection isn’t my goal so I’m not going to stress about it!

 

I used fabric from two fat quarter sets of Kona solids in warm and cool greens.  In retrospect, I might like it better if I’d stuck to either the warm or the cool palette, but what’s done is done and I’m sure it’ll be well-loved.

I pieced an extra strip for the back and used Hancock’s Wendover solid in Gravel, since a gray backing was requested.  Wendover is a little lighter than the Kona cotton, but very nice to work with (and it was on sale!).

I hope the boy likes it!

Happy Christmas!

I finished a long-languishing Christmas present!

When I started quilting last summer, my family immediately put in requests for quilts of their own.  I made a quilt for my daughter in November but didn’t really have a timetable for quilts for my husband and son.  Then one day I was browsing the clearance section at Delta Patchworks and they had the perfect fabric for a quilt for my husband.  (Not only do they have an awesome clearance selection, but they have an online design board!  I could spend hours…and maybe have…).

As you know, my husband is an avid hiker.  We began our relationship in the woods and grew to know and love each other on the trail.  You’ll find out more about a person on a long hike than you will in months of dating. You learn how they handle adversity, if they adapt well to changes in plans, do they pitch in with campsite duties, and exactly how many annoying songs they know the words to.

The fabrics at Delta – the leaves, the woodland scenes, the flowers, even the geometrics that reminded me of tree bark and boot footprints – they absolutely had to be bought right then for his quilt.

And once I had the fabric, I optimistically thought I could make big 8″ blocks and have it finished before Christmas!  I think that was sometime in early December, and I was clearly delusional. I ended up wrapping the almost-complete quilt top and giving that to him, with a promise to finish it when the holiday crazies were over.

I finally pulled it out on Sunday, finished the top, made a quilt sandwich, quilted it, and then ran out of time and steam.  Last night I cut the binding and followed this tutorial to sew it on completely by machine.

Voila! (obligatory quilt-on-glider shot)

This fabric is what really cinched the deal – it’s little turkey tracks!  The trail signs marking the Pinhoti Trail feature a turkey track because Pinhoti is Creek Indian for “turkey home.”  The Pinhoti will always be special to me, because it was on those trails that SB and I fell in love and got engaged.  I would’ve been married there too, but for social conventions and family considerations.  (By the way, we found that sign on the ground, rejected by a tree).

It’s a simple quilt.  There isn’t any fancy stitching or design or really much to it at all.  But it’s the quilt that called his name, and now it’s finished.

Happy Christmas, SB!!!

 

step by step, inch by inch

I am slowly getting some things done!

First up – another pair of gift socks!

Lynn asked me how I magically knew what size to knit gift box socks, which is a good question.  When I start a pair of gift socks, I have in mind the recipient, but I don’t blog names in case they read the blog.  Also, four women I’d knit socks for wear the same size, so there’s lots of leeway when it’s time to gift.

Speaking of the gift box…it’s time to upgrade.

I also finished a quilt top!

String quilts take a good bit of time, and I decided last minute to make it larger.  I’m slowly working on piecing the back and I need to buy twin-sized batting, since it’s larger than planned.

I really love it, though.  So bold!  So graphic!  So totally non-matching anything in my house!

Fibery things have largely fallen to the wayside, as I’m burning my way through the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Such fun, quick reads!  I started with Book 6, read to Book 10, and then went back to the beginning and am now reading Book 3.  Only two more to go and I’ll have read them all (in the span of three weeks)!  Then I’ll pick up something a little heavier, but these have been a fun summer read.

As summer draws to a close, I’m looking forward to pulling out my wool and needles, snuggling under a quilt and whipping out a sweater or two.  What about you?

sustainable sewing

I’ve been waiting all week to see if I had a tale of joy or a tale of woe to share.

Last Friday, I bought a 1951 Singer 15-91 from a guy off Craigslist.  Brought it home, read the manual thoroughly, gave it a good oiling and sewed happily for about two hours.  Then the machine started slowing down.

Our resident mechanic couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I bought engine lubricant from the nicest man at Eastwood Sewing Center (I was SO happy I didn’t have to drive 30 minutes to a big box store for a $4 tube of lubricant!).  Anyway.   The lubricant didn’t work.  The machine would sew fine for about five inches, then gradually slow to a crawl.  I tried a few remedies from on-line sources but was afraid I’d blow the motor if I continued, so Monday I took it to the sewing center for servicing.  It came back to me a new machine.

This was SB’s view last night.

And this was mine.  I’m making a string quilt, using the paper piecing method from Film in the Fridge’s handy tutorial.

We go through a lot of paper at the office, and I’ve started saving paper that would normally be thrown away (I have TRIED to get them to adopt a recycling program – they’re not interested), and cut the paper down to 6″ squares which I then sew strips to.

This is an idea of what the squares will look like.  Tonight’s cutting night – I get to trim the edges of all the squares I made last night (close to a dozen, I bet, I was on a tear!) and cut more strips of fabric for sewing this weekend.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a working sewing machine.  A co-worker gave me a hand-me-down Brother that I couldn’t get to work (computer error code), which would cost $65 just to have someone LOOK at it, or $150 to buy a new one.  I returned it to her.  A good good friend offered his mom’s old Singer to me MONTHS ago and I reminded him of his offer, but he’s busy and hasn’t had time to dig the machine out from under a pile of stuff from his mom’s house.  I didn’t want to pressure him (he has all this stuff because his mom passed away and he may not be ready to deal with going through it) so I bought this one.  If her old Singer makes its way to me, I’ll take it and love it and one of them will go live with my daughter because I really believe that every home should have a sewing machine, and if it’s an antique, all the better.  These old machines don’t quit because of a computer error code.  You can figure out how they work – they’re brilliant in their simplicity.  They were made in a time when a sewing machine was as much of a household necessity as a refrigerator (excuse me – ice box), before the advent of the throw-away society.  I’d rather pay more money for something I know will last, rather than less money on something that’s manufactured with the idea that it won’t last more than a few years.  Call me crazy.

The happiest part of my “new” machine are the felt pads Mr. Eastwood Sewing Center put on the machine.  I had forgotten that the old machines had them and they make me happy just to look at them.  I learned to sew on an antique treadle Singer – so those red felt pads bring back a lot of good memories for me.

Never fear, fiber friends – I am still knitting!  I have NOT lost the love of the knit!  I’m 8 stitches away from finishing a pair of socks, I’m steadily working on the strips for my MIL’s blanket (although really, not very steadily), and I’ve cast on for Kaino!  I’ve also spun 2 ounces of the fiber I got from Miss Babs last week!  So, bear with me on this quilting kick and I promise fluffier fiber soon!  (although, it’s really all fiber, isn’t it?)  Have a great weekend!