Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Crochet FO and wreath progress

I can't believe I used the whole skein.  What a beast of a project this was. Lots of fudging to keep the pattern going correctly in the last 12 inches or so.  Photo of that project tomorrow. All it needs is the fringe.  My goal was to get this out of the way before I start my charity crochet/knitting for Lent, which begins next week.

And I am close to being done with this. Very fiddly, will be glad to close the circle on it. I have about three full rosettes and a few semi-rosettes plus some green connecting work to finish.

Also coming along on the last twelve blocks I need for my berry bushel wall quilt.

But the big news is: spring definitely sprung a bit the last few days. We had two sunny warm days followed by one that is a bit colder. Signs of life everywhere: crocuses blooming, irises, daffodils, tiger lilies sending up foliage, and the first ugly purple beaks of skunk cabbage are poking through in the marshy areas near our trails. Happy Spring!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pick up the pace!

I'd better hurry up. The weather has made a turn toward spring the last few days. As the snow banks recede, the daffodil, tiger lilies and irises are sending up shoots. I was able to walk the trails for my full daily step total today for the first time in over a week. Birds are singing, the sun feels warm again, and there is more daylight.

So, I got back to work on this and ignored my to-do list.

I am past halfway done with this wreath of favorite colors.

The back is a bit messy, as I didn't plan a pressing strategy. Of course, Linda has it covered on the inklingo blog, I should have done my research!  I'll do better on my next project!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Foraging through the stash

Much like the squirrels in my yard who seem to bury food in random spots, I am a fabric squirrel. My  fabric is not in a unified storage system. Because I am a scrap quilter primarily, I may not actually "pull" all my fabrics at the start of a project.  I scramble through bins looking for a bit more of what I need.

Take for example, my inklingo project. Printing went well this morning, no jams in my printer.

I am nearly halfway done! I am not following the colors on my cheat sheet pattern, I am using it as a guide for the shapes and I choose the colors as I go along.  When I complete a flower or section, I put a dot in it and mark the edges off on the paper sheet.  When it's done, I may add some more leaves at the outer edge, if it does not look balanced.

So far, I have to say this has been a lot quicker than basting to paper.

So, how about you, do you have all your stash well organized and sorted, or are you a nutty squirrel like me?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Symmetry is my security blanket

As you may recall, I was wondering what to do with the berry bushel blocks. I couldn't do placemats because the secondary red diagonal pattern would not complete in a way I could live with.This is how it would look placemat sized.

I thought maybe a long thin table runner. Better, but it would be too long to be practical for me to use anywhere.  Maybe I should have done that.  But instead, I have them pieced together like this:

But this is a kind of odd size. So I think I have to make another row so the red diagonal design falls in a three by three grid.  Then I will be happy with it, and do something about borders.  That's 12 more blocks. 😢 I really have to buck up and plow on with this, or it will end up in the sad dark reaches of the unfinished and unloved UFOs.  Too many of those already.

As far as other stalled projects go, here is where I am with my inklingo 3/8" hexie adventure. Almost half way around the wreath.

I sensed a warmth in the sunlight as I trudged through the crusty snow this morning, spring is really not going to be too far off, and I need something to replace this when spring finally decides to settle in....

Speaking of warm sun, the quiltorium kitties now insist on being let in to our sunny little TV room in the late morning, when the sunlight patches leave the living room floor. I try to keep this room relatively free of cat shenanigans and flying fur, but anything to keep the peace!
Off to heat up my lunch, then I need to start cutting for more berry bushel blocks.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Home Stretch?

I still feel a bit like I am moving through molasses, but I did keep myself going today. Vacuumed downstairs and up, then decided not to mop the kitchen.  Regrouped my resolve and vacuumed upstairs. After lunch, I hooked along on this:

See the little green stitch marker near the upper left? That is my new strategy, it shows my progress each day, shames me into doing more. As you can see, the skein is getting eviscerated, so I should be in the home stretch. I hope.

I decided to go with placemats for these, or maybe a tablerunner to continue the secondary design along.  Matching the blue points up has been problematic, so I don't really want to make anything more than two rows tall. I'm leaning towards table runner now, but will decide when I get back to it this weekend. On the road tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Purging and rewarding

I spent the morning bagging excess clothing, shoes, etc from various locations and hauling it to the donation drop off. Then I decided I would make a goodwill run and loaded my trunk up with excess housewares, knick knacks and a few small kitchen appliances that were taking up precious cupboard space. Had to stop in at my LQS for a treat and picked up some FQs. The one on the right just screams to be fussy-cut for some inklingo design, and the rest are going to be on hold for Straits of Mackinac blocks (scroll down Bonnie's post).

I have some square in square blocks for the centers already pieced, although the four corners are all the same. But I think it will work, there is enough happening elsewhere in this block to keep it lively, don't you think?

I may only use a few of these, the ones that are kinda greenish blue, not the powdery sky blue ones, they are for something else.....

I have scoped out another goodwill donation site that is strategically located between my house and the quilting I am going to find some more trinkets in my bedroom to drop off tomorrow......

Monday, February 13, 2017

This and That

The blizzard took its toll last week. Even with a snowblower, it's an all hands on deck job around here. Gave me such a case of tendonitis in my right wrist. That joint had been acting up recently from too much rotary cutting and crocheting.  Kind of frustrating to look forward to retirement and free time to follow your bliss, and find out that your body has other ideas!

I dug out my old Martelli Ergonomic rotary cutter, which had been idle for years since the spring that locks the blade guard disappeared. I emailed Martelli and they sent me a replacement spring, so I look forward to more rotary cutting with my wrist in a neutral position.  If it breaks again, I will just buy a new one.

I am trying to finish this colorpooling scarf before Lent begins....I switch at least some of my crafty time to charity work during Lent. Maybe I will make some baby quilts to donate as well.

I made 24 Berry Bushel blocks. My original thought was placemats of six blocks with a blue border. I could make it into a baby size quilt, but I think no one would want these colors.  Wallhanging? I will assemble six blocks ans see if the placemat idea works.

Question for the readers:

1. Assemble block to block as shown, or
2. with a 1" sashing strip with cornerstones, either blue cornerstones, or continue the colors that form along the diagonals--meaning some cornerstones are red, some are pink?

I can easily mock that up on the design wall, before deciding.

Today I finished reading Marie Kondo's Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up. Since today is trash day, i did manage to sneak a few bags of neglected stuff to the curb. I like her idea of purging by category before reorganizing, but this house has so many hidey holes for "stuff" that I think a month or so of preliminary purging is in order.

Then I will start with easier categories and subcategories, like:

  • Handbags and totebags
  • Socks
  • tablecloths

But I won't get rid of my scraps.  They can just pile them in the coffin with me if I don't use them up before I die!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Change of Routine

Rainy day. No morning walk.

First to the sewing machine. Managed to get all these little four patches done. Pink+Neutral, Red+Neutral, Pink+Red.

Then to the kitchen to make some butternut squash soup. Smart planning: pre-roasted the cubed squash while I had the oven on for dinner last night.

Crochet break to fight with a colorpooling pattern.  My tension is all over the map so many rows involved fiddling and ripping back. Waiting for revisions on a white paper I'm writing for a client, so I didn't take on any new work today.

Seems like I should have a lot more to show for my time today. It's almost time to start cooking dinner. I always feel drained on these rainy days, I think I have some sort of barometric sensitivity going on. Or maybe it's time for my third cup of coffee?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Trying to rev up my motivation

I seem to see-saw between
  • enjoyment of the fact that I don't need to drive myself so hard in retirement 
  • frustration that I am not accomplishing more in a day
I have so many little projects around the house that I am unable to complete them. Talking about quilting projects as well as home decluttering, beautifying and improvement.

I had hoped to settle in to more of a routine, but other than church on Sunday, quilt group on Wednesday and a day to visit my mother scheduled in around the weather forecast, everything else gets done if and when I feel like it.  My daily schedule is up early, walk with my spouse, shower, then decide what to do next. If there is freelance work in my queue, I prefer to do it in the morning when my brain is at peak efficiency.

So, how do you find and make time for the things that you want to accomplish?

  • Do you use a weekly and daily routine like Flylady
  • Do you use your craft time as a reward for doing all the "stuff you gotta do today?"
  • Are you a relentless list maker and do you love crossing things off the list?
Enough of that.

I did manage to accomplish some quilting this weekend:

Those blue and cream things I showed in a previous post were for the Bushel Basket block by Bonnie Hunter, from July/August Quiltmaker Addicted to scraps column. I am glad I went with bright and deep pinks. The picture in the article used both dusty blues and dusty pinks (that's so 1980's!) which I do have in the stash, but I didn't think I would enjoy using them in this block. I did sneak in a few deep "liver-colored" reds for variety. That's another old color I need to use up.

 Well, enough blogging for today, I'd better get some stitching done or the afternoon will get away from me.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Clyde's Ancestors?

I toil on, making the daily mistake of sewing in the hour before that important time of day known as LUNCHTIME FOR CLYDE. (I am sure he thinks the uppercase is warranted). Today I felt sure one of his distant ancestors had posed in some of the famous Mainzer cat postcards. I actually found one on my drafting table under a pile of er, well just call it "stuff." Things that have not been put away in a few years.

The big ginger cat about to womp the little gray cat with a pillow. Little gray lady could be Bonnie, who certainly holds her own in all attempted Clyde attacks.

Anyway, he began his assault by seizing the desktop near the 301, then jumped to a better vantage point.

I studiously ignored him, determined to finish sewing little dog ear parts for a quilt block.  But the tail of doom threatened to sweep my work to the floor.

I managed to finish, and gave up and gave him his lunch.

The dog ears were assembled into mirror light-dark pairs.

Can you guess what Bonnie Hunter block I am making?

Gotta run, it's now DINNERTIME FOR CLYDE. And Bonnie too.