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November already?

November 5, 2018

Again I find myself thinking……where has the time gone?  It seems like you miss a day here or there and the next thing you know it’s months later.  But that’s a good thing in some ways, a sign of a full life possibly?  Okay, that’s what I’m telling myself as I realize how long it’s been since I’ve updated here.

 

So many things have happened since my last post, mostly all good, We finished that bathroom remodel that took forever, and then I started playing catch up, then summer came and I spent as much time as possible in the sunshine.  It’s now fall and after a crazy October, life is settling in.  But instead of trying to catch up on the last several months, I’m just going to forge ahead with what’s going on now.  (You can catch up by following me on Instagram @jwsodypop if you’re curious).

Currently I’m bouncing back and forth between the office, customer quilting, making quilts for the family, and learning to weave.  I say learning to weave because I don’t believe I’ll ever have fully learned everything that can be taught about weaving, it’s a journey, just like quilting.

No pictures to show of customer quilts at this time, I have several in the lineup for overall quilting this month, but do have spaces open for quilts to be done before Christmas if you’re interested.

The weaving I can show, right now I have two projects going.  I’ve got a sampler in progress on the Leclerc Medico, a small 22″ wide 4 shaft table loom.  I’m using a cotton warp and a laceweight Alpaca variegated yarn for the weft.  This is to hang in the weaving room as a reference for what different patterns look like woven and whether or not I need to do a floating selvedge with a particular pattern (some need it, some don’t).

Sampler in cotton and alpaca

 

And I’ve finished some trial kitchen towels using Peaches and Cream as my warp.  It makes a nice soft, fluffy, absorbent towel, but does need care in handling on the loom as it tends to stretch. This is my favorite one now that it’s off the loom.

 

On the Leclerc Artistat floor loom, I’ve started a shawl.  I’m using a silk/merino blend for the warp, with a tencel floating selvedge.  So far I’ve used two different merino yarns in the weft, with a tabby tencel spacer between them.  I know, foreign language to some of  you, but the weavers out there will understand.  I’m working this at 28″ wide for an end width after wet finishing of 25″ (hopefully).

 

In the studio, I’ve been trying to sew, but I have three distractions  now:

Oscar (on the right) and Sasha (on the left) came to live with us and Casey (center) a couple months ago as kittens from the shelter.  You can imagine what type of kitten-proofing needed to be done, and is currently still being upgraded, as these little ones have grown and gained skills!  They keep me laughing and have integrated well into the family.  Last week the final hold-out on getting along, Ciarra and Sasha, came to terms with each other.  We now have a modicum of peace in this house.

And in spite of that, I’m making progress on my daughter’s quilt.  It’s been slow progress on this one, and has stalled progress on the other family quilts, but that’s another story for another day.  Not a bad story, just a challenging one, all my fault!  But finally the rows are going together and I’m back on track (I hope!).

The chickens are once again molting, the angora rabbits are enjoying the cooler temperatures we’ve had lately, and the dogs are settling down as they get older. So that’s an update for the beginning of November and I hope not to wait too long before I have another update to give.  Oh and this long time “right hand thrower” has learned continental knitting….. a game changer for me…… I guess I do have another update for another day!

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:

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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:

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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.