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Over the weekend

January 15, 2018

Over the weekend I managed to get a few things finished or worked on here at the house.  Not everything I wanted got done, and now it’s Monday and back to work, but several things were finished.

First up, the bathroom remodel, that was started last spring, is finally OVER!  DONE!  COMPLETE!!!!!  (according to me, DH is thinking new countertop but I kind of like the brightness of the white).

 

Those walls took forever to finish.  First the drywall compound gave me fits, then finding the right color for such a small room that was warm, neutral and went with the two pictures that were to remain was challenging.  And of course that type of work is slow for me to accomplish.  In the end I’m pleased with the results.  All of the woodwork was custom made by DH (with a little help from the youngest grand over the winter holiday visit).  And it was done one step at a time.  Which is how we do things.  First piece goes in, then the second piece is decided on.  In the end I have exactly what I want, open shelving, some decorative, some functional, and the room kept it’s open feeling.  I didn’t want the room to feel overwhelmed with the storage needed.

DH also got my lighting under my kitchen cabinet changed out over the holidays.  I can now see when I pour my coffee into one of my darker mugs.  He would have done this ages ago, but I balked on the cost of the fixtures, they’re LED lights.  As per usual, I should have said yes ages ago!

And we finally have hens, or one of them, laying again.

 

My hens went off laying in early November when they went through a molt.  Then the shorter days kept the lack of eggs going.  Yesterday I got my first fresh egg of 2018!  I’m down to five hens now, re-homed the older ones.  Five hens is more than enough for a two person household once they all start laying again.  And they’re not all seven day a week layers, so I’m anticipating about 3 eggs a day.  Perfect numbers if it all works out!

 

I also spent some time this weekend with knitting, both working on the in process mystery shawl and some new stitch markers.  Once the stitch markers are knitter tested, I’m planning on adding them to my etsy shop.

 

 

All in all, it was a busy weekend.  But now it’s Monday and it’s time to head back into the studio and the office for the week.

 

 

January 5, 2018

January 5, 2018

As I sit here having breakfast, I thought I’d share a few projects that I worked on over the holidays and this week.
One of my online groups had a WIP challenge over the holidays.  After two years languishing on the needles, the challenge was the perfect boost to finish them.  The pattern is Louisella by Mary Hough Designs.  Mary is one of my favorite sock designers on Ravelry.  

  

I also worked on a custom quilt for a customer.  I’ll share just a sneak peak.

And a class sample in progress.  More details are on Quilters Loft blog, this is one of the mini lap quilt series.  http://quiltersloftcompany.blogspot.com/ 

And finally, I rejoined WPKnits Stunning Mystery Society 2018 knit a long.      http://wpknits.com/ This year we’re knitting a total of five shawls.  Four are quarterly projects and one is a year long knit.  The quarterly shawls release one clue a week, the year long shawl releases one clue a month.  This is the start of the first quarterly shawl after the opening clue. And yes, it has beads in it!

My toast and fruit are done, so it’s time to take my coffee and head to work. The question is to which job first, the office or the studio?  

New Year, New Intentions

January 2, 2018

2018 has begun and it’s time to get back to work after the holidays.  Like many I know, I didn’t set resolutions for this year.  Nor did I set a “word” as I’ve done in the past.  But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have intentions.  The same intentions that I’ve had for a bit now.  To find my best health, and learn to embrace this aging process.  To make quilts for my family, which are coming along slower than I wanted, but still progressing.  To find joy in the everyday things.  To share my love of several different crafts.  And finally to learn to laugh again.

To reach one of my goals I’ve started paying more attention to what I eat, how much sleep I get and walking.  And I replaced my FitBit Clip with a FItBit Alta HR.  My intention was to wear the Alta HR 24/7 to track steps, heart rate, and sleep.  That didn’t work out as expected.  I am left-handed, but grew up in a right-handed world learning crafts like knitting and sewing.  That caused me to be almost ambidextrous.  So, despite the right or left handed setting I was loging false steps.  To that end I wear the Alta HR when I’m truly exercising to monitor heartrate, or at night to monitor sleep, but have gone back to the Clip for daily monitoring.  And I’ve joined a few step challenges and an online walking group amongst other knitters.

And I’ve returned to teaching on a larger basis.  Starting next month, I have at least one class monthly that I’m teaching.  Classes will be posted on Quilters Loft’s blog and I’ll keep you updated here as well.
For now it’s time to get the day going.  Run a few errands with the husband in is lovely weather, then come back to my warm studio and work on a custom quilt and class samples.

  
Stay warm!  

Little Things

February 12, 2016

I have two of a name brand machine, a reliable, well known brand.  And I have two of the same model patchwork foot, one for each machine.  One machine is older, possibly 8-10 years, the other machine is new, just over a year.  One patchwork foot was bought when I purchased the older machine, the other was bought after I purchased the newer machine.

 

I’ve been working on a lot of little blocks lately, and all have been a smidge undersized.  Not enough to be earth shattering, nor to stress about, but still, not quite right.  Today I decided to make the sample block for The Splendid Sampler that starts this weekend.  And it was almost 1/8″ undersized when I was done.  Now that, for me, was unacceptable and no way to start a new quilt.

So Mike and I talked about it as needle setting didn’t adjust the difference.  He suggested I coat the inside of the guide on the foot with either nail polish or something similar to make up the difference required (about 2 threads worth).  Then I remembered I had another one of the same foot with the old machine.

Now I had assumed that I had the old foot with the old machine, and the new foot with the new machine.  But on retrieving the foot with the old machine, I discovered differently.  Looking at the two feet, old to new, you can see a difference in the thickness of the guide on the side of the foot and a slight difference in the size of the foot itself.  Not much, but a difference.  So before I “adjusted” the foot that was on the machine, I switched feet around and re-pieced the block.  I used new fabrics, but all the same stitch length, cutting technique, everything, exactly the same.  And when it was done it was a perfect 6-1/2″ unfinished!!!!!!

 

Sometimes it’s the little things that make me smile!

Pieced with old patchwork foot, 1/8" short of size.

Pieced with old patchwork foot, 1/8″ short of size.

 

And after:

Yellow and white block pieced with old patchwork foot. Blue and pink block pieced with new patchwork foot.

Yellow and white block pieced with old patchwork foot. Blue and pink block pieced with new patchwork foot.

365 Challenge to date

February 11, 2016

This year I’ve taken on a few challenges that I hope will improve my skills.  Even after 28 years of quilting, and 48 years of sewing, I feel the need to improve my skills.  Or maybe it’s because of that time span that complacency sits in if we don’t keep looking to improve.  Either way, I’ve taken on two year long challenges.  One has already started, the 365 Challenge The Ultimate Sampler.   http://www.365challenge.com.au/    The other one hasn’t started yet, it starts the weekend and is from Pat Sloan called The Splendid Sampler.  http://www.thesplendidsampler.com/

 

The 365 Challenge I am doing “scrappy” and that’s another challenge for me, I’ve not worked completely scrappy ever in the 28 years I’ve been quilting.  And I’ve already had to run to a dear friend once for a “scrappy” lesson.   To balance that, I’ll be working the Splended Sampler using the Hyde Park collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  Which is what I usually do, work with a controlled color selection.  Rarely controlled by a fabric collection, but usually controlled in a limited amount of fabrics.  Hyde Park

To date, I am current on the 365 Challenge.  I took a picture this morning of all the blocks that I’ve done just to check that my “scrappy” is working for me.  The main color theme is a brown/red/gold with a little blue-gray thrown in for accents.  It’s not the color scheme I started with.  I started with brown/green/gold, but when I added in the green I started disliking every block I made.  That was when I went to my friend for some scrappy advice and after a couple hours of back and forth she asked my “why” I was using brown with green when I like browns with reds and blues with greens!  One of those eye opening moments!  LOL  365-to-date

 

The colors in the pic are not quite right.  It was taken with the I-Pad as I can’t find my camera at the moment.  The golds aren’t quite that bright, nor is the orange in the lower right corner, but the browns are that dark.  I can see where my color distinction in the first week of blocks was not as well defined as it is in the later blocks.  I can also see where I need a few more brown only blocks to tie together what I’ve done so far.

 

I’m hoping that periodically taking a picture like this will help develop my eye for what is and isn’t working together.  Maybe one day I’ll be one of those totally scrappy quilters, but I can tell already that it’s going to be a long road to get there!

 

 

Turned Edge Fusible Applique

January 23, 2016

In my local quilt guild, Lake Norman Quilters, I’m running a mystery quilt that I’ve designed.  And some of the blocks are applique.  While I did my version in raw edge fusible, I’ve had questions on how to turn edges on pieces as small as they are in the blocks.  Hopefully this photo tutorial will show my preferred way of combining fusible with turned edge for applique.  There are a lot of different ways to accomplish the task, this is just MY favorite way.

 

First, I use Steam A Seam II Lite paper backed fusible web.  I draw the actual template out onto the paper backed fusible:

Then I cut the pieces out exactly on the lines:

I apply to the back side of the fabric:

And trim with a very small turn allowance.  Because you’re using fusible, you don’t need a lot of extra turn allowance:

The next step is to finger press the turn under, leaving the paper IN PLACE:

Follow up with a light pressing with the TIP of your iron, again, the paper is still in place at this point:

image

Remove the paper from the back of the applique piece to remove it from the turned seam allowance, replace it over the back of the applique piece before you press the edges again with the iron:

image

Your end piece will have turned, fused edges, and you can apply it to your block using the interior fusible.  This makes the project completely portable for hand stitching, or you can machine stitch the edges with minimal shrinkage of your block as the fusible helps stabilize it.

image image

 

I hope this helps!  Small pieces are very fussy, and I do use a stiletto while I’m working on this to keep my fingers away from the edges of the hot iron.

 

 

 

 

 

Quilt and Sew In Retreat

April 26, 2015

This past weekend (Thursday through this morning) I attended a Quilt and Sew In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC put on by  heARTS Desire Creations.  This was the first “retreat” I’ve ever attended.  I’ve attended quilt shows and fiber festivals many times.  I’ve taken classes along the years, but this was totally different and refreshing.  First, there was no “must do” agenda.  Participants were free to come and go as they pleased, to sew or not sew as they pleased, and no expectations were implied!  A chance for me to totally relax.  I had no phones, except what I chose to use my cell for, no animals demanding attention, no chores that had to be done, just free time to create as I wanted to (or not).

 

The lighting in the room was great!  I took my Ott Light and never took it out of the bag.  Everyone had their own table to work on, but the tables were in clusters so you had company to talk with if you wanted to.  And there was a lot of joking and kibitzing over the weekend.

Thursday after arriving, I set up for sewing, and did a little.  My goals for the weekend were to finish the hand-quilting on “Hope”s border, to make some scrap blocks for my 2009 Block in the Box from Lake Norman Quilters, and to make some Hunter’s Star blocks for that same project (aka UFO), as well as to spend some time knitting.  I accomplished some of them and would have finished all if not for my machine, but I’ll tell you about that later.

 

First I finished the hand-quilting on the border of Hope.  This was from a long ago class by Susan Brubaker-Knapp on hand applique.

Hope

I had originally thought to hand quilt the entire thing.  Quite an ambitious project with the arthritis in my hands that I quickly gave up on.  I machine quilted the center and decided I would only do the borders by hand.  Finished one motif and gave it up for “another time” (UFO).  With the arthritis more under control now than it was back then, I spent one day hand quilting the remaining border motifs while away.  And while my stitches are far from the even tiny ones that I used to make years ago, I’m pleased that I can still hand quilt a little.

Hope-border

After that I started working on some scrappy (kind of) blocks.  I had no plan for these.  Before I left I looked at a couple of my Accuquilt Go Dies and thought “these should go together” and cut some pieces.  Then the play started and I like the results.  These are for the aforementioned 2009 Block in a Box project that I hope to finish soon.

Scrap-block

 

Of course the project needed more blocks, so I used the GO to cut out pieces for eight Hunters Star blocks using the colors above and a white as background.  While I didn’t finish them, I am well along.   All the halves are pieced.

Hunter-Star-halves

And two of the blocks were pieced, but I’ll be re-doing them as I’m not happy with the centers.

Hunter-Star-Points

The fault of the centers was my machine.  I took along a 1941 Featherweight that I just love.  And while it goes great for some things, when I encountered the bulk of the center, the machine consistently wobbled around the bulk rather than over it.  I did this block twice, then tried on another block and each time the same thing, wobbles between the arrows so I put it aside to finish on one of my newer machines.

wobble

In the evenings I did some knitting, the red sock is a test knit for Mary Hough Designs, and the striped sock is my go to plain vanilla sock.

socks

 

Of course, who among us, goes on retreat, or on vacation and never shops at all?  And I did do some shopping, at both of the two quilt stores in Boone where I added to my collection of batiks and splurged on a jelly roll (I LIKE those things!).

 

DSCN1396

As well as the yarn store in Blowing Rock.

DSCN1398

Will I go again?  Most likely if I either the husband or the son are going to be home that weekend to care for all my critters!  If you get a chance, I highly recommend this particular retreat as a fun long weekend away!