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Winter Blossoms

January 26, 2015

Just because.

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2015? Already?

January 3, 2015

So, I look at my phone today and it shows me that it’s January 3rd, 2015!  Really, we’re in 2015?  How did that happen?  When did that happen?  Okay, logically, I know that 3 days ago was when we moved into 2015, but mentally, I’m just not  there.

Over the course of the last few days, while I’ve been down with the flu bug, I’ve paid little attention to social media, except the occasional browse through Facebook.  Hey, who doesn’t browse FB when they’re bored?  One of the things that I saw mentioned was that the movie “Back to the Future II” was set in 2015.  My first thought, then where are the flying cars!  LOL

That got me to thinking about the year change and our expectations or lack of them.  Resolutions, intention words, changes, I don’t particularly set any of them.  And yet, always during December, in the darkest of the long nights, I find myself looking forward.  And thinking about changes I’d like to make.  Just as I always spend a few days near the end of January, when the sun is shining and the temps are mild cleaning house.  Or in February when I start browsing the garden centers, even though it’s way too early to plant.  Some things just come naturally at certain times of the year.

Earlier in December, I was thinking of regaining my health (knee injury) and maybe dropping the weight I put on before my low thyroid was diagnosed.  Did I set a resolution to start on New Years Day?   No, I’m too impatient to wait for a day three to four weeks away.  Did I make progress, well, for a little while, until the holidays hit, and then I got the flu.  Will I go back to the changes I had implemented (drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking daily walks), most definitely!  As soon as I’m truly back on my feet. Which hopefully will be in the next few days (did I mention my patience level?).

I suppose, if I’m honest, I do have intentions for 2015.  Several months back, myself and a friend both decided that we would work more out of our stash this year.  Now that won’t be hard for her, stash, and scrappy, are her preferred way of quilting. But for me, I’ve never really held to working out of either for any length of time.  Will I manage it?  Who knows?  I will give it a good try, and I do have a decent stash to work out of.  And I did order in some special fabric for a planned project.  After all, now that it’s here, it’s stash, right?

Another intention is to do more sharing of what I’ve learned over the years.  Not exactly teaching, but lectures and workshops.  I guess workshops are teaching in their own manner.  I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching a teenager how to make clothes this last year and it’s re-ignited my love of garments.  Now if only my body was as easy to fit as it was 25 years ago!  I’ve booked two lectures (quilting related) for 2014 so far, and look forward to them.

Of course, as Quilt Show Co-Chair for the Lake Norman Quilters  Guild show in August, I know that I’ll be busy with organization.  But I’d like to see that organization extend into my home office as well.  Truly I would.  I dream of having all the paperwork caught up to date, but there’s that patience thing again to sit down and actually do the paperwork!

And I’m taking some online courses to refresh my bookkeeping skills.  Who knows where that may lead, but learning, or  re-learning, is never wasted!

I’ve started advertising my longarm quilting services again, as I do miss the interaction with quilters and enjoy seeing their finished quilts.

I’ve decided to cut back on the rabbitry.  I have nine Angora rabbits now and as they slowly leave me (as they inevitably will), I won’t be replacing them.  While I love the breed, they take a lot of time that I’d much rather spend elsewhere.  And I still have the 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 16 chickens here to care for.  Why yes, I do believe I am an animal magnet!  LOL

So, those are a few of the “intentions”, or “resolutions”, or changes that I’d like to see happen in 2015, and beyond.  After all, why limit it to just the next 365 362 days?

Frogging

November 23, 2014

Frogging is a word that’s used in two of the mediums I work with, quilting and knitting. In both cases it means the same thing, although the technique is different, it means to “rip it out” ( rippit, ripppit).

I have done my fair share of frogging in quilting over the years, but not so much in knitting. Not because everything I knit is perfect, but because I used to just toss the bad knit on a shelf and forget it. Easy to do when you’re working with the small amounts of yardage needed for hats and gloves, and even socks. Yes, I do have socks that don’t fit in my closet.

But when you start knitting sweaters, with the quantity of yarn needed, that just seems wasteful. And at the expense of the yarn (usually a wool blend) and the care required, finding someone who would fit the garment isn’t usually an option.

About two years ago, I started a cardigan, Nantucket Red in Blue, that I loved the designers garment. BUT, I wanted wool while the original was in cotton. AND I wanted long sleeves, while the original was short sleeved. AND it was two years ago, before I started taking many knitting classes.

The last week or so, I’ve spent a lot of time finishing the fronts and the sleeves. It went into the UFO knitting pile almost two years ago with just the back and half the first front knit.

Two nights ago I seamed all the pieces together using a technique for invisible seaming that I learned at SAFF in 2013. And then I knit the neckline. And THEN I tried it on.

The sweater was inches too wide, probably about two sizes. The modified sleeves went down to my fingertips and had a funny bump/wing at the shoulder seam, and the neckline being that large was too big to stay on my shoulders.

So frogging began. But I had learned that seaming technique really well, and it was late last night.

And I cut the front!

So today in my sitting time, I’ll continue to frog this swearer, hoping to save as much yarn as I can. When i’m done, I’ll weigh the yarn, figure out what I have left and find an appropriate pattern for it. Then the next sweater I won’t take 2 years to finish! (I hope!)

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Adjustments for Reality

November 21, 2014

I spent my morning tea time today making adjustments to my dress mannequin.

I bought the size range mannequin that “fit” me a couple years back and haven’t used it much. But with a renewed interest in making garments, I started using it. Every time I would fit the garment to the mannequin, and then try it on, the fit just wasn’t quite right. Apparently I, in my mid 50′s, am no longer a stock size. LOL. I find humor in this as I never truly was, even at my fittest back in the late 80′s.

So the first step was realizing where I didn’t fit stock. Well, that was easy enough, I’m full chested with almost no backside. Always have been, always will be. And the curve in my spine is a little more pronounced than it was as a teenager.

So, off to get the tape measure and some undergarments, an old dress, and some stuffing. A little reduction in mannequin here, a little padding there, and now my top in progress hangs and looks the same on both the mannequin and me.

Now i can pull out that pretty knit top fabric and get to sewing for the holidays.

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A little cleanup

October 13, 2014

My fabric stash has gotten out of control, not in terms of volume, but in terms of organization.

My most used fabrics, batiks, were in closed bins where I couldn’t see them. My commercial cottons were on the shelves, almost falling off.

This morning, when I got into the studio, I decided I just couldn’t work in that chaos any longer. Actually, I have been thinking of it for a while, but didn’t feel I had the time to work on it. Today I took the time.

Partway through, it was looking like this, which is why I never do this when DH is home. Notice the pup on the floor sleeping.? He was totally worn out by then!

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Believe it or not, that was progress! And almost overwhelming for me. But I slugged on, sorting, refolding as necessary, and sorting.

At the end of the day, the studio is more organized and I can feel the thoughts and ideas starting to percolate.

This unit holds backgrounds, black and whites, flatfold yardages, and all my batiks:

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The wire shelving holds all my commercial cottons, except yellows and novelty that are still in their original place over the computer desk:

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And best of all, my cutting table and embroidery machine are both dug out and ready for use:

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So, with the inspiration of last weeks show, an organized work area and a week to spend in the studio with only 1 trip into town planned, let the quilting resime!

If you can ‘t quilt….

July 15, 2014

While I’m waiting on parts for my longarm, I am making some progress on personal projects.

What were originally going to be square placemats are now a seasonal quilt top:

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And of course with the Tour DeFleece still going on over at Ravelry, there’s always spinning to do. These are ready to ply:

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And these batts are going to be started tonight:

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Or there’s garment sewing to do:

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And if all else fails, I can always watch a silly kitten make her way around the house slowly conquering all sorts of mountains and climbing apparatus:

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Or collect some eggs:

Or walk the yard and look at the flowers:

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But what I really want to do is go back to work quilting! Maybe tomorrow…..

Coming off the longarm today

July 9, 2014

Backside of the quilt coming off the frame today:

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