Thursday, February 25, 2016

Donation Day

During Lent, I try to focus my sewing and stitching of all kinds on doing things for others.

Today I dropped off two tiny NICU quilts and 6 premie hats to March of the Blanketeers. Took home a bag full of fleece scraps to make chemo caps, so please share links to patterns if you have them!

Friendship star blocks from old online swaps and from an outer border to my chocolate stars quilt that I decided I didn't want to add. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Using up the scraps

Of all kinds.

Working on NICU donation quilts, photos soon. I also have an issue with batting scraps. Can't through them away. You know that stuff that you cut off after you quilt and before you bind? I have bags of long 4-6" batting strips.  I salvaged an old fleece nightgown from the years before menopause lit my internal fire, and make the quiltorium kitties these little pillows to sleep on. Clyde loves his. It's a little bigger than the other one.

However, Bonnie, the princess who rules us all, has decided she loves hers so much that she was found resting on her pillow and his. Keeping her ever watchful eye out, lest Clyde try to take his back.


How about you, do you obsessively save stuff like this? If so, what do you do with it?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I tend to go a little adrift in these in-between seasons.  I'm glad there is more daylight as February ends, but my body clock is not synced right.  Today, we may have turned a corner, and we were richly rewarded for doing so.

We hit the trail about 30-45 minutes earlier than we had on any day in the past week. Shortly after we crossed the little stream in our Long Island Greenbelt paradise, we saw deer. To the left, to the right, and in front of us. Ten of them.
Including our old friend, the lame doe, and the smaller, even lamer little deer. We marvel at their agility, each of them with a foreleg that can never again touch the ground. It is painful to see them limp along though.

Well, they do persevere, and so do we quilters. Every project of a certain size seems to hit a point where it takes real determination to finish, lest we end up with another UFO bag of shame stashed in a far corner of the quiltorium.

How do you keep yourself motivated?  Do you set daily goals? Do you break a project down into smaller pieces?

One thing that is slowing me down is quilting clutter. Being a mostly scrap quilter at this stage of my life I find that every project seems to:

a. Cause an explosion of fat quarters
b. Untidy all the drawers where I had everything nicely folded

I know I need a better storage system, but I simply can't afford to invest in new storage units. I use a mishmosh of old dressers and plastic bins at present.  My quilting room is never going to garner a pinterest following.

So, i'm open to suggestions.  How do you tame the chaos? Does it sometimes cause you to feel overwhelmed? Am I the only one with these issues?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

What Have I been up to?

Prepping for tax time. I had to concentrate on getting my mom's stuff ready for the accountant this week.  Also, I am doing a little freelance writing, so there has been less energy left for quilty pleasures.  Hoping to have a better balanced week coming up.

Also, I seem to be getting out of kilter because the sun is rising earlier. Let me explain. Normally, I get up, feed the quiltoriumkitties, pray, have breakfast and by then my husband is ready for our morning walk. I've been waking up around 4 and not quite feeling like GETTING up, so by the time I am back to sleep and ready to pop my eyes open again, it's 6:30 or later. I do better if I get up at 5:30.  Maybe I will be back in my zone when we put the clocks ahead, because then my 4 am wakeup will be 5 am and that will feel like I'm entitled to get up and get going.

Does this make sense?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cranking out little hats

Used up the rest of a leftover skein of yarn, made three hats last week for donation. Moving on to hats for boy babies. Yes, I am old fashioned as far as pink and blue go. I never dressed my sons in anything pink. I think they are grateful for that.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's not just about the quilts

Time to make it clear. I do other crafty things besides quilting. Went through an avid knitting phase a few years ago, and seem to have lost my knitting mojo. I have been crocheting more and more lately. I sure seem to pin a lot more crochet things on my pinboard than I do anything else.

Some reasons I am loving crochet these days:

It's easiest for me to do while watching TV and wearing progressive lens glasses. I can't handquilt, and I can only knit simple stuff above a certain gauge. It seems like the hands remember where to go next without much squinting in a simple crochet pattern.

It gives me a faster way to use up the yarn stash.

Pretty, chunky lace, like this, from Solicroch

Free Vintage Crochet Poncho Pattern | SIMPLE CROCHETED PONCHO PATTERN | Easy Crochet Patterns:

You can whip up quick gifts like this

Lightning Fast Crocheted Cowl:

Chunky warm scarves like this

And there are patterns for all seasons, with lacy cardis for summer, and chunky warmness for winter.

So, expect to see some crochety photos soon. Working on premie hats at present for donation. But if you look at that pinboard, you will see how much has caught my eye. Always open to new recommendations, so leave a comment if you have a great pattern to pass along.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rescued an old friend

Went to visit my mom, and was trying to declutter one of her spare rooms. I convinced her to let me take my old sewing machine with me. This was the machine that I sewed on after I learned on my grandma's motorized singer treadle.  I think this baby can be brought back into service, it's a Singer 15-30 clone, made in Japan by Emdeko.  The handwheel turns. I gave it a light cleaning and oiling last night, and loosened the belt which seemed way too tight, and I got it to run. However, it makes sort of a barking noise, so I think it needs a little more attention.  Also, it has a bobbin case, but no bobbins, so I am going to pick some up at the Joann's tomorrow on my way to church. There may be an issue with the tension assembly, it seems loose and jiggly.

All fun stuff to research and fix, if we can. I love these machines with the metal gears, I think that they can last a good long time and sew like a workhorse.

Because we needed another project......

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Journey's End

It's a wrap. My first finish of 2016.  I have enjoyed this mystery so much. I relived my two trips to Italy, and reminisced about my big warm crazy Italian American family. All those good things are stitched in to this quilt and I will treasure it always.

Thank you Bonnie Hunter for all you do!  If we every counted up all the quilts made from your designs, I'm sure we will have warmed a small country's population, at least. You should be so proud.

I really am not done done. I don't normally label my quilts, but I'm doing this, more for giving Bonnie the credit for the design than to tout my own work.  I used to flip the label, and hopefully my old photo transfer paper will work.....

So what next? It's Ash Wednesday, and time to turn my craftiness mostly toward donations.  I have met the founder of March of the Blanketeers locally, and she is a dynamo. Located not far from me, and she can take care of the donating part, I just need to crank out more quilts, afghans and baby hats for babies, kids, teens who are sick. This is going to help me a lot with stash reduction! I've already donated a quilt and an afghan and I have two preemie hats almost done.

The organization is run on a shoestring though, and I am trying to help with fundraising. Difficult for me now since I have no discretionary income in my early retirement, but there are other ways to help.I use Amazon smile (type in March of the Blanketeers)  to support them, and am hoping to convert my fitbit steps to their advantage as well.

You can even start your own chapter wherever you are!  To learn more, give them a like on Facebook and visit their website, which is updated often.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Snowing again

We are back from our short road trip to visit our family up north. A lovely relaxing time at their lakefront home.  Although I missed the outlaw cats back home, I was able to pet my handsome nephew cat, Mr. Whiskers, from time to time.  He is a gorgeous Maine Coon, with a distinctive, perfect MeOW. Our cats rarely say meow, instead they trill to communicate.

I was able to take in a small quilt show, displaying the talented work of the Fenimore Quilt Club.

Here are a few photos of the quilts that caught my eye. The first two were row by row projects, I believe.

 This next very modern looking quilt is made from thrifted shirts. The ingenuity of quilters always amazes me, and I hope I can store everyone's great ideas for future reference.
 A couple of very striking mandala, or medallion style wallhangings. I loved the colors in both of these.

So, it's back to binding Allietare today. I am past the halfway point.  Hopefully, will finish this week. We have three snowy days to get through, very conducive to handwork.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Binding along.....

I must say, there is something very satisfying about stitching down the gently curved binding. I have finished one of the short sides.  I will post a photo when it's all done. Any wagers on what date that will happen?

Blogging will be light the rest of the week, as we get a little busier. It may even be time to start on taxes. Here is a shot of me doing last year's return with my tax advisor  "on hand" for any questions I might have had. . .

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Home Stretch

No doubt about it, mornings are my best times to get anything done. So, after some grocery shopping, I set out to get going on binding on Allietare, which is almost done!

I grabbed an old-mini-cone spool (if anyone has a way to recycle old plastic spools, please let me know, because I don't throw them away), seamed up an endless stretch of binding, and got that ready.

Then, I made my templates from Bonnie's pdf file. I had cut my borders a little wider, so I extended the base of the templates by an inch.  Marked it with a tailor's chalk marker, if I sew to the inner edge of this rather wide line, it will be fine.

Hoping to get the binding sewn to the top after lunch.  

I am lazy about putting labels on my quilt, but Bonnie deserves so much credit for this design, that I am thinking about doing one and incorporating my Italian grandparents, and a photo on my last trip to Italy with mom and dad and one of my sons. This whole mystery quilt journey brought back memories of Italy, and gratitude for my heritage. It's all stitched into that quilt for me.

4:05 UPDATE 
Binding sewn on, fabric and backing trimmed and ready for handstitching the binding to the back. Time to put my feet up for an hour before dinner. And coffee, always more coffee.