Saturday, July 22, 2017

These Dog Days of Summer

The heat, humidity, and biting mosquitoes continue on. But I have been logging over 15000 steps a day thanks to recent rerouting of my morning walk.

But today, I was fatigued and demotivated after showering. I started digging out the quiltorium before lunch and decided it has to be a multi-day effort. I wanted something to show for my time so I made myself a little cross body bag.

I think it's a good alternative to my usual oversized tote or my regular purses for quick trips to the store and such.  Need to photograph it against a less busy background, but it was made from two hunks of well-marinated batik stash, these fabrics must be 20 years old by now!

As usual I was flailing a bit when I got started. My serger seemed to have a tension issue, so I pulled out the manual for troubleshooting guidance. It's a babylock evolution, supposed to be self tensioning for the most part.   Well there it was in black and white, I had not reset the little ABCD stitch indicator knob to A.  It was on B when I was doing a narrow overlock at some point, I can't even remember what project that was for.

With that issue resolved, I can now take in some t-shirts a bit, since I am starting to lose a few of the many pounds of stress weight I gained over the last year.

Rain is  in the forecast, thank goodness. I am tired of watering my struggling garden beds.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tropics on my mind

Hot, sticky Long Island July, not my favorite month.

The only good thing is the wild raspberries, which I am plucking by the handful along my morning walk. They are so tender you can only eat them as soon as you pick them, or they turn to mush before you get them home. My other strategy this morning was to soak my bandana in people's sprinklers and mop my head and neck every block or so once we were on the neighborhood part of our walk, after the gnat-filled splendor of the trails.

But there are also deer, and lots of rabbits, an occasional turtle or waterfowl sighting to keep us motivated.

Tropics being the theme of the day, I forced myself into the quiltorium and made this this afternoon.

Patterns like this are showing up everywhere, with variations using all HSTs or such.  But I needed a break from the handquilting.

Stay cool folks, wherever you are!  I am avoiding the sun and the heat after the morning outings.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm trying!

Really pushed hard with the hand quilting on COTDN this weekend. My eyes are feeling the strain!

So, I took a break and tried out a new hobby. Actually something I hadn't touched since high school.

Watercolor painting. It's always intrigued me, having to think through the negative space before you begin. You can't just highlight with white like in other opaque types of painting. Now that I am officially a senior citizen, I can head over to the art group at the senior center during the week.  I just wanted to practice a bit so I wouldn't feel inadequate. I found my brushes and paints, and did a few small warmups. This was the best of the lot.

I need to up my game in terms of composing a scene or a still life if I am serious about pursuing this. But anything to push the aging brain in a new direction is a good thing!  I also need to start playing the piano again.

And of course, I really need to finish COTDN!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

We have a Finish!

At long last, my Dawn's Early Light quilt is done.  I was struggling with some low energy the last week, but I had more spring in my step today.

 Found some Americana background, and am trying not to notice that Declaration of Independence and Abe Lincoln are not contemporaneous.

A little bit of hand quilting progress today as well. No point showing a pic until that is done.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


The daunting task of cleaning out mom's main home continues. We go once a week, starting out at 5 am to avoid metro NYC traffic, and try to be back on the road by 1.   We brought home part of my old high school bedroom set to use in the quiltorium after we take up the rug and put in a solid surface floor. This is the little desk where I sweated out calculus problems, translated my french and latin, and wrote my college applications.  In a sea of Italian-American decor, it is the one thing I picket out to my own taste at the time.

Quilt inspector approves.

I am still handquilting slowly on COTDN and made the binding I need to finish Dawn's Early Light. It's been hot and sticky today, and it has really sapped my energy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Seasonal Quilting

I was in a patriotic mood for the past few days, and enjoyed working on Dawn's Early Light.
Center, border and quilting are done, and it's ready to be bound.

This one gave me fits in several ways:

  • I didn't count what pieces were made and was surprised twice that I needed to piece more string blocks.
  • The orientation of the blocks is crucial at every step of the assembly. I nearly wore out a seam ripper.
  • I should have bought another half yard of the backing. I ended up piecing it.
It gave me a few afternoons of stitching while considering the blessings of being born in America. I stitched with gratitude for all those ancestors who came from Naples, Sicily, Bavaria, England, Canada and probably some points unknown, to become part of America's history. Some settled here in the northeast, some in the early Virginia colony, and some settled down to farms in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. I know that some of them did the same type of handiwork that enriches my retirement: sewing, tatting, embroidery, quilting, crocheting. I have some of their work and I treasure it. I don't know if my quilts will outlive me and stay in the family, but I don't care too much about it since I enjoy the process even more than the product sometimes. 

Happy Fourth! Here is how it looks out my front window today.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I'm here

Just a bit bogged down in clearing out mom's belongings. I can't wait until I don't have to make this trip anymore. However, the work involved in this task makes me want to spend more time decluttering my own home. I surely don't want to leave the task to my sons. So it's just another thing to try to balance into my day.

Nevertheless, my hand quilting continues, and I got some work done on the patriotic project I hope to finish this weekend.

After I finish stitching these blue units together, i have to make 16 more 3" string blocks in the neutrals and assemble my wallhanging of Dawn's Early Light.

In other news, I decided it's time to get my health and weight back under control. I'm over on Sparkpeople as Joknits, if anyone wants to join me. They were quicker to the web than weight watchers, they are free to join, and their mobile app is pretty good, although I have trouble getting the barcode part of the app working well on my current phone. I like the way you can customize your tracker to track micronutrients as well as carbs, fats, and protein, and of course, total calories. It interfaces well with my fitbit too.