What has been a long time coming you ask? Why this blog post. I started this post two hours ago on my Ipad using the WordPress Ipad app. BIG mistake, that is the most unfriendly app I’ve got on the Ipad and I have no idea where my saved draft went to, nor how to get back to it. So, having taken the pics on the Ipad, I e-mail them to my computer to resize them in Photoshop and add some captions in. Well, then my Photoshop Editor started acting up, changing the entire background to an over layer of red when I tried to add a caption. And of course, there was no easy web search to find a solution. And it’s still not fixed, so there’s only one pic with the actual caption in it, which will make this a much longer post! LOL As if I hadn’t already started a long post.
The original title of this post was to be “QUILTING AND A SNOW DAY”, and now I’ll get on to that topic. The last few days here have been crazy for my area! We got SNOW! Lots and lots of SNOW. Normally, we might get 1″ or 2″ of snow at any given time, and it usually melts that same day. Occasionally we’ll get a “whopper” of a storm with 3-4″. (Yes, I’m chuckling at my Northern raised self here!). But this time we did get walloped! At then end of day 1, we had 7″ on the ground, then overnight we got a layer of icy snow pellets, and the following day we got 3″ of fresh snow on top of that before it stopped!
Now my rabbitry is constructed of a pipe carport structure with canvas roofing. Hey, it’s perfect down here usually! But in extremes, it doesn’t quite live up to it’s promise, and I was out every 3 hours for the entire storm cleaning off the canvas so it didn’t collapse. Thankfully it didn’t and my poor bunnies even survived the terror of the broom on the roof clearing snow (although Amaya hid on top of the nest box, under a piece of wood that was laid on top her cage….silly girl!).
Today the sun is shining beautifully and I thought I’d share some pictures of our snowstorm, the day after:
This is just some of the snow that was brushed off the rabbitry roof during the storm.
Yesterday at the height of the storm, you couldn’t see the steps at all leading up to the pool, thankfully it melted some, but there won’t be any swimming for at least a
day month or two.
I’ve never had snow inside the bird feeder before, I think the squirrel was trying to get in from the top and unseated the lid. Smart squirrel, now I’ll have to dump it outside the fence line so the dogs don’t get into it and it doesn’t go bad inside the feeder and cause more problems!
Obviously the four-wheelers were out playing in the cul-de-sac yesterday. Me, I’m not going anywhere until this is either plowed or melts away. Since I’ve only seen a plow on our road one or two times in the 20 years I’ve lived here, I think it will be until it melts!
Thankfully the new grape vine and pear tree aren’t supposed to ship for another week, so this has time to melt off before I need to plant them. I’m replacing the top blackberry bush on the fence to another grape as it was a variety of blackberry that I really disliked the flavor of.
And of course, there will be no growth in these herb planters, nor burning of the brush pile, for a day or two.
So, what did I do inside while the snow fell between rabbitry roof cleaning sessions? Well, I watched the baby chicks grow. (Two Golden Comet and one Buff Orpington)
And I monitored Ciarra’s fascination with them (she’s doing really good!)
I worked on a customer quilt that is all simple line work. And although it’s taking longer than expected (especially with the weather disruptions), it’s coming out nicely and I’m pleased with it. (this is the next section rolled and ready to quilt)
And finally, once it quit snowing, I rewarded myself for all the snow removal time by SITTING DOWN and making a Valentine’s Day table topper. Based on a hexagon, as our table seats six, this was fast and easy to do. Although the quilting, done on my domestic as the longarm was not free, does leave something to be desired. But it’s done and on the table just in time!
One block at a time is how I plan to complete my next king sized bed quilt. Oh wait, isn’t that how we ALL make our quilts, one block at a time. But surely it doesn’t take the average quilter quite this long!
Several years ago I started this quilt, back when a local quilt shop was having a block of the month. On the second Saturday of each month you would go to the shop, bring your completed block from the last month and get the next month’s block free of charge. If you missed a month, you had to pay the “registration fee” over again, I think it was $3 or $5 back then. At the end of the year, you had 12 blocks completed for your quilt.
The only problem was I have a Cali King bed and twelve 12″ blocks is not going to make a quilt for it. So at the end of the year I purchased 1-3 yards extra of each of the main fabrics that were used in the blocks and said “I’ll make more”.
And there it rested, for long enough I can’t remember which year I did this!
Fast forward to 2014 and our guild is once again having a “Block in the Box” group. Where I load my fabrics into a box and every month a different member makes their chosen block out of my fabrics. At the end of the year all blocks made in my fabric (and my excess fabric) come back to me. We have twelve members this year, so that means at the end of the year I’ll have 12 more blocks for my Cali King quilt.
But wait, according to EQ, to get the size and layout I need, I’ll require 36 blocks! And I don’t want to wait another year, so I made a commitment to myself that I would piece one block a month for my quilt. That way, when the Block in the Box is done, I’ll have my additional 12 blocks and can maybe, possibly, FINALLY make this quilt.
Note to guild members, the blocks posted here are NOT the block I am making for the Block in the Box.
So two nights ago I started working on it. Yes, I know I waited until the END of January to make my block, but it’s still January! First night was spent cutting pieces, printing the pattern sheets, and starting to stitch. Tonight, I finished all Part B sections of the block. (No, I have no idea why I started with Part B instead of Part A, I just did).
Okay, maybe I won’t get it finished by tomorrow night, it just depends on how sewing goes tonight. But even if I don’t, it will still be my “January” block. As long as I don’t get distracted looking for a pattern for my “February” block!
That was the state of the house and studio today. You could have, at any moment in time, heard a pin drop on the wooden floors.
No, it wasn’t an emotional tension in the house issue, as we so often imply with that statement, it was reality.
Twenty years ago when we moved into this house, we had animals. At the time we had Siamese cats, and one dog. And although they didn’t usually make a lot of noise, they were still there, in the background, padding from room to room, talking to and at each other (and at the dog) and making noise.
Over the years, we’ve had dogs in the house, sometimes as many as 5 dogs at once, so there was always the patter of dog paws, or the barks of play, or the grumbles of irritation when one was napping and another wanted to play.
But now, we’re down to just the two little ones, Ciarra and Nissa. And usually this house is even noisier with just those two than it was when we had five dogs here! They generate quite a bit of noise in their playtime.
Today they had their “spa” day at the groomer, and for the first time in 20 years I spent the day here working entirely alone, no dogs, no cats, DH gone to work. And boy was it unnerving! You could have, at any point in time, heard a pin drop on the floor.
So while talking with DH, I reminded him of the conversations we have had about how maybe one day we’ll be without any pets and the house will be quiet. This conversation usually takes place as we’re trying to talk and the pups are playing loudly in a mock fight with each other. And then I might have proceeded to inform him that such a day will never come! I don’t like this much quiet! LOL I guess over the years I’ve gotten used to pets underfoot and making noise. And while it was nice to get all the floors cleaned today without instantly having paw prints all over them, I think from here on out the girls will go to the groomer on separate days. That way I get one of them home with me regardless of whether DH is home that day or not, and that particular dog gets an all attention on it day too. Sounds like a bonus to both of us.
Thankfully the house won’t remain quiet for much longer. By the time you read this, the pups will be home from the groomers (and you know they are going to look SO CUTE for about 5 minutes before they get messy outside), and DH is on his way home for supper and in for the weekend, so the “quiet” of the house won’t remain for very long.
Blogging has taken a backseat to living life over the last couple months. It wasn’t intentional, it just happenned. Slowly over time, one procrastination at a time, blogging slipped to the back of my plans. And then a few things happenned. DH gifted me with an iPad for the holidays. Syncing it to my phone installed the long forgotten because it didn’t work well on the phone iPad app. And I received a comment on my last post, which was apparently back in October, that made me actually look at the blog.
As there is no way to catch you up on everything that has happened I’m going to try to summarize.
Quilting. Most of the last quarter of 2013 was spent on customer quilts that were gifts, hence, no photo’s at the time.
Dogs. We lost two in the last quarter and now have only the two young ones. But they are a handful in themselves.
Rabbits. I now have 10 angora’s and am still running 2 meat rabbit lines. I am thinking of removing the meat rabbit lines as we don’t eat much meat here and I’m stocked for several months.
Chickens. All are healthy, although egg production has been extremely poor over the winter, as to be expected. I did add a rooster to the flock, a RIR (Rhode Island Red) and he’s a beauty. Funny how the male in nature almost always carries the more attractive markings, and yet as a society we put so much pressure on females to adhere to unrealistic cosmetic beauty standards. But that’s another discussion for another day.
Knitting. I spent lots of time during my winter break knitting and it was so relaxing! I even finished a sweater I had started almost a year ago! And it fits!
Spinning. Well it was non-existent while the tree was up over the holidays. The tree goes in the same corner, so the wheel went into storage for almost a month, and while it’s out, I’ve yet to return to it regularly.
That’s the update. Now I need to figure out how to add pictures to this post and then, possibly, the blogging may be a bit easier to schedule.
It’s been a busy week here in the studio. Lots of custom quilting going on. Here’s the backside of what’s been on the frame this week:
This one is finally finished and the next quilt is loaded up. Another custom, this time an applique quilt. It’s going to be another busy week in the studio here.
In the meantime, my flying geese quilt now has all the sashings pieced, and my hexie quilt is progressing nicely with the hand stitching.
Although I may not get a chance until late tonight to link this to the Patchwork Times “On the Needles” post for the day, I thought I’d take a few minutes and share with you what I’m working on currently. I’m not even sure all of these are in the “projects” listing in the sidebar that really needs to be completed; but they’re my current knitting projects.
First up, the never ending socks! Why am I calling them that? Because I decided to knit each skein to the end (or close to it) and they’re much longer than I normally make my socks and seem to be taking forever. Perhaps because, while I know they’ll wear like iron, I’m not particularly keen on the color combination. Yes, these are the SAME socks I attempted to finish for the pooling challenge way back when. But I’m almost done now:
I’m also currently working on a shawl for my mom (photos are okay since there’s no surprise there, she got to pick the yarn). This pic doesn’t do justice to the color, but I needed to use the flash so the pattern could be seen. I’m using the Zephyr Shawl pattern (one of my favorites) and the yarn is actually a deep denim blue, very dark, almost a black blue from a distance:
My last project “on the needles” are swatches! Simple little swatches. LOL I’ll be taking a finishing class later this month on seaming knitted projects together and our homework before the class is to knit several swatches. Makes sense, you can’t learn to seam knitted pieces without having knitted pieces to seam in class! So it’s a boring little mindless take with me project:
So are you asking why a person who learned to knit as a teenager and has been knitting steadily since the late 1980′s would be taking a finishing class? Well, it’s because I truly believe a person can always learn a tip or trick or another way to do something that might result in a nicer end product. And since I rarely do sweaters, in part due to seaming the pieces together and in part due to getting gauge, I thought this might be a good class to improve my skills.
On the longarm this week is a large, really large, Christmas quilt for a customer. The customer requested a freehand holly meander for the background, then custom work in the piecing. I’m on my 3rd day now of holly fill and getting better at it with every new holly leaf. It’s not a feather, but there is a rhythm to it, or would be if certain things didn’t interrupt me, but then again, life here is never boring so disruptions exist!
That’s what’s on the needles at my house (and on the longarm too). What’s on the needles at your house today?
Or should I call this post reclaiming blazers, the do’s and don’ts ? Yesterday I posted that I had found some wool blazers to reclaim the material in for wool applique for my 1847 Bride’s Quilt. And even posted a picture of where I was at in the reclamation. Last night I finished
tearing apart deconstructing the wool blazers and got the last of them started on the washing machine felting process. I ended up with way more reds than I’ll use for a long time to come, and only a bit of blue and green.
The green was a very loosely woven wool and will need at least one, if not two more washes before it will be in useable condition. The blue only needs one more wash.
While I ended up with a LOT of reds and pinks from the blazers I had (6 in total ranging from size 6 to size 16), and while it’s more red than I can use for quite a while, it’s overwhelming to me to look at. It’s that whole visual overload thing, when something is that messy and disorganized my mind goes into a frantic “what, where, how” mode and ends up being very paralyzing. I am much better with a stack of wool like this to work from:
All of these, with the exception of the charcoal piece at the bottom are 9×12 pieces. They all came from Vickie at Annie’s Keepsakes at a reasonable price and I’ve collected them a few at a time over the years with no concerns about major storage being required.
So while I’ve done the reclaimed wool project, I don’t think I’ll be traveling that road again given the time involved in the process and the overwhelming pile of bits and pieces that I now have to determine how to store in an orderly manner.
Although it may be less expensive (on the surface) to reclaim blazers, once I factor in time, electricity cost for processing and storage space the best decision for me will be to continue to purchase from a vendor whose product I love for my wool applique quilts.
As for the don’ts of the project, well…… If you have dogs (specifically young dogs or pups), don’t let any pieces fall to the floor as you work unless you want to play a game of chase the puppy. And have your broom very close by the washer and dryer to repeatedly sweep the floor as you transfer each load of wool from the washer to the dryer. Oh and you may want to have an extra bag near the dryer for the lint that will come off the filter (and out of everywhere) as you remove the wool from the dryer.
As for the do’s of the project. DO have a sharp pair of dressmaker shears as well as a sharp pair of small pointed tipped snip scissors handy. DO take the blazer apart at the major seams first so you’re working in only pieces. I found it easiest to take the dressmaker shears right along the seam to separate the pieces. DO just cut away the hemmed or top-stitched edges (removing those stitches is insane and won’t result in that much more wool. Think hard about how small of a piece you want to reclaim, the collars from the blazers ended up small enough to cut 3 or 4 one inch wool circles from, but not much more and took a lot of time to open the seams from.
And if you happen to get a blazer that is lined with fusible interfacing my recommendation is to just give up on the ones that the interfacing doesn’t come off easily in. I spent over an hour on one blazer removing the interfacing in bits and pieces. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, I can hear people already saying “tv time”, for my life and my schedule that’s an hour that could have been spent much more productively. And the next one that had that situation went to the garbage bin instead of fussing with it. Most of the interfacing (and you will find it in there under the lining) came away nicely, so I decided not to mess with the ones that were stuck clinging for their life and coming away in 1″ or less bits.
That’s my take on reclaiming wool from blazers, I’d love to hear about your experiments with it. And in the meantime, I’m off to contact Vickie with the list of greens I will need to work on my quilt.