Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scattered Attention

I sometimes feel that I lack crafting stamina and focus.  I flit from project to project, making incremental progress on each. Then I feel frustrated for my lack of finished projects. I don't know if I even want to develop more discipline about this. If I turn any of my hobbies from fun into an onerous chore, I may feel worse. I shall have to satisfy myself with pushing the ball forward on each of my current WIPs:

This week I am working on two easy rosettes for La Passacaglia. Easy because they only have four of the stars in the outer ring.  One is done, as of this morning. It certainly expands the color palette away from pure primary and secondary hues.

I finished the star band for the second one:

So it should feel less burdensome to get the rest of the rosette done.

I also finished and put the borders on my embroidery. Maybe will get it quilted tomorrow.

I tried to piece a backing for this:

But it wasn't working out well, so I ordered a backing and will pick up a batt tomorrow. My pieced batting attempt was also a bit wavy. Sometimes I am just too frugal for my own good!

In the charity corner, I have lots of knitting and crocheting to do: Premie blanket almost done. Making mug sleeves for a holiday bazaar for local school kids. They come with their shopping list, and we provide handmade stuff selling for under $5. The high school kids take them around and wrap the gifts for them.

Well, now that I've written it all down, I feel more like I have had a productive day. Maybe there will be a finish or two within the next week!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Before I put my feet up....

Because I have a heel spur and it really hurts today, I am probably going to spend the afternoon knitting with my feet up.

But I am trying to make headway on the next two rosettes for La Pass.

This will be a slight color stretch from the preceding rosettes but I think that my stash has coughed up some great companions. This fabric was from the Downton Abbey collection. I think my fussycutting hunch about this panned out well. I'm just the slightest bit off at the center, but I will keep it as is.

I also made headway on the pumpkin patch. It's almost done with the embroidery phase. Just a few vines and french knots left to add.

I had hoped to quilt the flimsy that I showed in my last post, but when I came upstairs, there was  a quiltorium cat napping on the flimsy.  Miss Bonnie, she has us all trained to acquiesce to her every whim. My poor one eyed baby cat. This is the advantage of having multiple projects in motion.

Printing shapes now for the next two rounds on two rosettes, then it's off to my easy chair, where I hope to knit without a cat in my lap......let's see how that goes.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Swiftly turning seasons

Hopefully, we have seen the last of our heat and humidity. I am ready for the weather to settle into the crisp clear days of fall. Even if that means it's time to bring in the oak leaf harvest, which is huge here at our house.

Today, I set another rosette into La Pass.

I should be able to get two more done next week. I am going to close the circle around the big rosette before moving off to the left side where there is another big rosette, but it's set in differently.

I forced myself to sit at my machine today and get borders on a wintery quilt.

I think I have blogged about this vexing project before. Started making blocks for Bonnie Hunter's Pfefferneuse, but hated the big brown pinwheels. I just didn't realize the scale of them in what I had wanted to be a small throw or wallhanging. Then I made the fatal error of taking the papers off the string blocks, which caused their edges to stretch. I was able to ease them in to the green inner border, and ease that some more into the wintery print with the cardinals. It will be just big enough to stretch out on the sofa with for a nap. I hope to soldier on with this and get it quilted and done, it's been scowling in a corner at me for far too long.

I need to hurry along and finish this very October into November wallhanging as well. It's just a bit of back stitch embroidery with some color added via crayons and colored pencils. I think the pumpkins took the longest and I am almost done with the branch now. I'll be back at it tomorrow, and trying to start choosing, cutting and printing for my next two rosettes. I am thinking reds and deep pinks will feature largely in them. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Another one done

Finished this one, ready to stitch it in to the rest tomorrow.

Here are the fabrics that were its genesis:

I hope it will play well with the others. The colors are a bit less saturated than some of the other rosettes. We shall see tomorrow!

In other news, I had to replace my original kindle, since its screen is starting to go. It's a second generation one and it was my faithful companion through many nights of insomnia while staying alone in hotels while on business travel.  I think I even rolled over on it once and cracked the corners of the casing around the screen. It soldiered on with the help of some superglue after that. But I got a new paperwhite kindle this week and bought a case that makes me think I've got millefiori rosettes too much on my mind....

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Spicy rosette is done

I really hate the star ring. It worries me that I might lose interest in finishing because of those stars...

But here's what I finished today. I think the scale on the big peppers is too large, but I'll live with it.

And here's where it will go:
There are some filler pieces I need to put in, as the rosettes don't all mesh perfectly. I did one already in kona black. May stick with that to make everything pop.  

And here is the next one, which it just about kitted up to take to my bee on Tuesday.

Very hard for my camera to get the colors right with this one. It's not quite a true orange, nor is it a true pink, somewhere in between.  The green tonal in round 2 is not nearly that dark, either.  Bear in mind that the large diamonds will have far less of the cream background showing once they are pieced. But I think little pops of white and little pops of black throughout this quilt help to set off all the colors. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Surprise from the stash

This Passacaglia will be such a mix of colors and themes from my stash. I cooked this one up (pun intended) from two different food fabrics:

I don't have a lot of food fabric. I think there is an artichoke print somewhere that might make it into this quilt though. And cats and bumblebees and frogs, maybe zebra batiks.  I am having fun-and I am surprised at every turn.

Back to work.  Just printed what I need to finish this rosette and thought I would stop by the blog to post a quick update.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Tiny bit of progress

I sewed together the centers that I cut yesterday and began cutting the next round for the hot peppers. I am very pleased with the way the center came together. There are still seam allowances on the outer edge, so there is going to be less of the light green when it's set in.
I took a lot of time trying to find fabrics to go with the floral. Here is what I have auditioned so far.
Green will be round two, and the floral on yellow will be the large pentagons on round three. I don't think I have enough to fussy cut it though, too bad.  The pink batik might be the star points, and I have a companion fabric to the inner floral that might show up in either the small pentagons or diamonds that join the stars together.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Moving Right Along....

Yay, finished the big rosette.

Made the last starfleet shapes, assembled them with the joining diamonds and banged them in.

Ta Dah!
Need to border the big rosette with lots of heat, don't you think?

Here is what I started so far:

Colors aren't true for some reason. Probably a tad pinker than it shows up here. 

But the following one is more exciting and I can't wait to start stitching it tomorrow. Hot peppers, pepper seeds on black, then big bell peppers. Who knows where it will go from there?

I have some other great fussy cutting fabrics in the queue for cutting, too.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Bits and Pieces

So far today, I got this little section pieced. All the crazy angles require concentration....

It will go here:

 This ring is a little more than the usual stars and diamonds, because I am incorporating the last pentagon into those large flowers, so that there are fewer acute angles to piece when joining the ring. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tired Eyes

Almost got that big rosette meshed in. The design is sort of like gears meshing, isn't it?
But my eyes are saying NO MORE for today. Made a few mistakes, and realized I was missing one diamond in the star ring of one of the smaller rosettes. Pawed through lots of stash til I found the fabric. It was stressful.

It's been a stressful day. Dealing with sales of my mother's two houses right now and real estate transactions are never fun.  Our little gray cat (Bonnie) has been acting strange lately. Very clingy.  And her annual checkup was months overdue. We took Clyde in a few months ago, and he had a hefty dental bill as a result of that, so we wanted to space it out a bit for Bonnie. We were very tense about the visit, but she got a clean bill of health from the doc. No dental work.

Hoping life is a little mellower tomorrow, and that I can finish this long line of joining up stitches.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Joining up

I layed in a joining strip so I can attach my large rosette to the others. I think I will put the rest of the rosettes around this one in a one at a time fashion, because this has been a test of my skills.

True Confession: I had to rip out some stuff because I lost track of what was already attached to the large rosette. I just have a little bit of filler left to do near those large green pentagons before I sew on the biggie.This picture gives a rough idea of what it will look like.

I had planned to do the outer partil ring of stars in the same colors as the inner star ring (Royal blue points, small green penties and violet diamonds) but I think I need to pull some more blue outwards here. So it will be a medium blue diamond, green pentie and royal blue star points.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Good progress so far this week

Was at my weekly laid back do your own thing quilting group (the best kind!) today and happily stitched away while we chatted and laughed and ate. I am ready to start joining my first big rosette to the other ones.

It will layout somewhat like this.  My plan is to put the (mostly purple and lavender) joining pieces onto the small rosette arc first than stitch the big rosette into that. Finally the outer star ring goes on from about the 1 o'clock position down to the 6 o'clock position. Make sense?

While tidying up my office this weekend, I came across two of these nifty plastic boxes and repurposed one of them to hold a small piecing kit.  I'm all about downsizing the tote bags that I take to my various fun retired lady meetings, so this made sense for now.  Can you guess what its original purpose was? It is about 5.5" square and 1.75" high.....

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chugging along

On the bright side, the small rosettes will feel like a quick task after this big one.  Taking a break. My eyes hurt. But I am nearly halfway around this ring.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fixed it

Well that was quite an afternoon of hand stitching. My eyes are tired now and I will switch to crochet after dinner.


After fixing the second ring:

I had a filter on the first shot to try to get some differentiation between the blues, the second shot has no filter.

I am happier with it now.

Onward to the next rounds soon, but not today.


I have more work planned for this today, but after looking at multiple pictures of this work in progress, I have decided to take the time and redo the second round. It contrasts with the inner part of the rosette, but just blends into the first ring of large pentagons too much. I will do that after I finish stitching the star ring on.  I usually just say "Meh" and move on, but this is really annoying me and it's a big quilt. Probably violet would work better to pull the purple out a little further. Any other opinions appreciated!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Toiling away

Got in some stitching time today after a walk, a few hours of freelancing and a trip to Aldi's.

Hand sewing is so hard to do with my glasses on. All these tiny pieces and tiny stitches. But after I finish the first big rosette, I will really feel like this project is cranking along.I am stitching at a little cleared space on my main sewing desk. You can see my unofficial color it in as you go map in this photo. It's not an official creation of Willyne Hammerstein, but I found it by doing a google image search on La Passacaglia. I got in a wee bit of trouble for posting it on the official La Passacaglia facebook group. You know how groups can be.

So here is where I am at:

I have the stars assembled in pairs. Usually I would assemble and stitch that ring to the large hexagons  as my next step. But I am extending these paired stars one ring outward first. If that approach works out well, I will do it for the other large rosettes (thank goodness there are only three of them! 

I have been printing the hexagons so I can rotary cut them in stacks, as Linda shows on her blog. It works well, today I did the final cuts on stacks of four and they turned out fine.

And now for something completely different!

I have been struggling to find time to work on my sketching skills in between my monday afternoon art sessions at the senior center. Here is what I did on Monday. Just a copy from a calender photo.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Printathon

I decided to stay home today and try to focus. Last night I used a new evening strategy of handpiecing at my sewing desk where the lighting is very good, and watching a movie on my ipad. Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins. Funny, poignant, but difficult to listen to the off key singing! 

I made good progress on my rosette ring. I decided to section outwards a bit before joining the ring together, so I spent a few hours today why Jose sent us just a bit of wind and rain on printing much of what I need to complete this huge rosette. Let's see if I finish before the end of the year! My inklingo printing is going well, no paper jams.  I am finding the reynolds freezer paper from the grocery store to be a bit flimsy, but it's working ok as long as I press things well.

I have a small freelance writing order to work on tomorrow and Thursday, so I won't make as much progress as I would wish for.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I feel like I am not productive as I should be. I don't know if it's the fact that I have too many crafts and projects ongoing.  There is a voice in my head that says "Make all the crafts!"  Or if I am still a bit mired in grief that comes and goes. It still saps my energy at times.  I am trying to rebuild a daily routine on those days that I don't have a meeting to attend. Get up, eat, exercise for an hour and then do some housework while I cool down (some thing always needs to be tidied up around here), then shower and get dressed. Do whatever errands need to be done, then it's about time for lunch. and then I am tired and tend to just sit, read, or crochet. I don't seem to be spending hours in the quiltorium these days.   Ah well, go with the flow.

I finished another twiddlemuff an hopefully that's enough of those for a while. The hand stitching of all the embellishments takes so much time.  Now we are moving on to baby items for donation, which is a much cheerier thing to do.

I made some progress on my current rosette. The star points are on (my least favorite part) and I am sewing the star ring together. Slowly.

It will go around this piece to provide a much needed increase in color and saturation.

This is one of the three BIG rosettes in La Passacaglia. I might do a very light blue next before bringing in more purples, not sure yet.

I received Millefiore 3 today. I ordered from Inklingo, and Linda sent a sheet of inklingo shapes along too. She is so sweet!

My first thumbthrough of the book was what made me think I am not productive enough. Willyne Hammerstein has certainly been busy with all these intricate new designs. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

For all you Row-along quilters

I gave me row by row blocks to a friend. They were from shops i visited during my last year on the road as a consultant. I didn't really enjoy making them....all that fusing is not my thing. But the patterns get lovelier every year, and I enjoy seeing what folks are working on.

My friend Moira over at the quilted snail has posted a pattern in a Christmas Carol Row-along, it would work up nicely as a Christmas wallhanging.

Take a look!In other news, I found a border fabric that i think will work for my holiday throw. Stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Salvaged a languishing project

You may or may not remember where this poor project was stalled. The genesis was Bonnie Hunter's Pfefferneuse pattern. But I didn't like the giant cream and brown pinwheels so I played with the few blocks I made and did this. Foolishly I tore the papers off those string pieced cream and brown squares, and the outer edge was all wonky when I laid it out flat to ponder my next move. I serged the edges with differential feed, and then figured I could ease the blocks into a border that was made on a 6.5" grid so that I could match seams and distribute the fullness evenly. Today I sewed that strategy together, with the brown edges down so that the feed dogs could help ease that layer in.

Yippee, it lays fairly flat now. I will search for a Christmasy outer border fabric tomorrow. It will make a nice holiday sofa throw.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blue rosette

Not 100% happy with the center of this. I was going to make it the center of a large rosette, but now I think it should not play such a leading role. 

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Scrappy new accessory

Been in a bit of a frazzle. On Thursday I noticed the screen on my phone was loose, and something was bulging under it. It had also been feeling warm when I using it. After googling around, I learned that the battery was ready to blow, so I needed a new phone pronto. It's a shame because I really loved that phone, an HTC M8. I took it to the local phone fixing franchise and the tech said because of the battery, which had been overheating enough to unglue the screen and expanding, it was probably wise to get a new one.

Down to TMobile store after that. Too lazy to switch carriers, and now they have a new cheap plan for people 55 and up.  Just got an LG K20 plus. It was easy to port over my settings, apps and data from the old phone. I spent most of Friday getting used to it. I like it so far, but need to get used to the camera.
My old phone case was a fold over wallet, not much protection, so I ordered a case with a big bumper that goes around the outside of the phone. These new screens that go out to the edge are just begging to take a hit.

In about an hour, I whipped up this little slipcase using scrap fabric, scrap batting, scrap bias binding and a button from my grandma's button tin. I may change that out if I can find a prettier one.  I can hook the pink strap from my old case onto the little blue tab at the upper left.

Used my bernina aurora to channel quilt the fabric, my trusty Singer 301 for the bias binding, and my Babylock Evolution serger to put it all together. 

These phones are so expensive and so powerful that I hate the fact that they are throwaways, don't you?  I fear that our cars and higher end sewing machines may be going the same route.  Too many bells and whistles mean too many things that can go wrong.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Dancing again

Got my fourth rosette done today. Going to start the big rosette that these hook to next.

I love the process. I have no idea how this will look when it's done. But I know it will be a joyful riot of color. All the colors.  And I really really love fussy cutting.

Monday, September 04, 2017


I finished the scissorkeeper with its motivational imperative to sew and sew and sew!  I hope it revs up my productivity.

It feels a little overstuffed but bowed along the bottom, I am not good at making stuffed things. I smushed on it with my iron to try to get it to behave. Oh well, it's done, it's usable, but I think I will blow a Joann's coupon on a medium sized set of shears. The pocket is a little large for embroidery scissors.

Pattern from Jenny's tutorial here. 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

From way down in the memory hole, a tiny UFO emerges

I have given up on the UFO spreadsheet approach as I still consider myself in mourning. Don't want to get mired down in too many gotta do items or deadlines. I am definitely using all my stitching as my therapy, period.  It's got to be soothing.  That's why I haven't sandwiched any quilt tops (what a chore!) lately!

I am trying to finish a pieced border on a UFO that will make a cozy winter throw, but my right heel is pretty inflamed from heelspurs or something and that's the foot I drive my sewing machines with. So, it's a period that begs for hand stitching.

Today I finished this little embroidery piece, it will be made up into a pin cushion with a pocket for scissors.

Definitely words to live by!  It's from a pattern by Jenny of Elefantz. Might have been free at one time. I used bolder colors than she usually has. I used to visit her blog and shop as an antidote to work stress before I retired, it gave me hope that there was a quiet, gentler life waiting for me.  And so there is, and I am thankful.

Next up is a seasonal item that I got started this afternoon.

I used a technique from a Crabapple Hill pattern that is the very next embroidery in my queue, that involves heat setting crayon tint to shade certain areas that then get outlined in back stitch.

I hope it turns out ok.

I look forward to stitching on this one as well:

I so love this time of year, after the humidity and heat start to fade. The colors are coming into the foliage, and my dying hostas are giving the last of their vitality to some very sweet visitors on my front walkway these last two mornings:

Yesterday they were escorted by a buck who may have eyes on their mama.  But today they came alone.

I don't mind the munching, it is so thrilling to watch them from my living room.