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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Looking ahead to 2013

This year was the year of the UFO for my quilt guild. I think that I'd like to expand upon that for next year. I still want to continue to work on UFOs and finish some more, but I want it to be a year of action. Action on some of the projects that I have had planned and even kitted for a while, but just haven't gotten around to starting yet.

For example, I purchased the kit for the Bali Wedding Star back in April 2010. I was SO excited about that quilt, but it got pushed aside for other things, and because it was going to require some real work before I actually got around to sewing it. Well, this weekend, while I was laid up with a cold, I got those papers out and cut every one of them and placed them into the bags they are going to be organized into while actually sewing them. I actually started sewing the first set of A-arcs Christmas morning. I still have the B-arcs for this set to do, but it's a start!

Also, this year I decided to make the Hop To It quilt - acquired loads of wool felts, 12 yummy colors of Valdani pearl cotton threads, and the book - and they have been sitting in a project box just waiting for some attention. Now that I have a little wool felt applique under my belt, I decided to go ahead and jump in and cut out the pieces for my first block. I fused them to the foundation fabric on Christmas Eve and actually began stitching them down!

I prepared Anniversary Stars (with Cinnamon Stars fabrics from Moda) for stitching by cutting all of the pieces just before our retreat last Spring, just in case I finished another project sooner than anticipated. Alas, I didn't get around to starting it, so it sat in another project box. I decided to go ahead and start it. I made the first star block.

I also started cutting fabrics for the Cotton Theory quilt that I bought the kits for (one for the back and one for the front) in ... 2007???? But that quilt, too, has sat untouched. I definitely want to work on this one - the colors are so lovely, and it will be a warm and cozy quilt for me when finished.

I plan to start, if not finish, Clifford's Bear Chase quilt this year - I have pulled the fabrics and they are sitting in another project box with the pattern (glad I saved that one after finishing Christopher's).

And of course, the recent starts - High Cotton and Rockin' Rail Fence should see some good progress also, if not be completed in 2013. I sewed another couple of Rockin' Rail Fence strip sets together, including 2 sets of the dark strips.

I recently added a few more hexagons to my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, another couple of rows and it will be halfway pieced. New picture to come when I finish this row (or the next).

I have lots of well-laid plans. And quite a few audiobooks queued up to listen as I sew. I also have some vacation days lined up in the first half of 2013. But I'm not going to wait until then. As you can see, I am committed (or maybe I should be) to making these plans become reality.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Reflecting on 2012

Although I managed to finish several things in 2012, quilting, cross stitch, and knitting combined, I feel this odd sense of discombobulation for this year. I think it is partly due to the work project taking over my life the last half of the year, and partly due to recovering from illness and surgeries.

The result is that I feel this overwhelming urge to stitch and quilt. Stitching and quilting soothe, calm, and relax me. Having been deprived of them for a fair length of time while I was working a lot of overtime seems to have put me into a 'catch-up' state. I need to catch up on my hobbies, and it may seem like I'm overcompensating when you see what I've been doing recently.

2012 was also a year of recovering from taking on the responsibilities of being a co-vice-president of our quilt guild in 2011. 2011 had been a whirlwind year of planning and prepping and directing our mystery quilt, and it really kind of zapped some of my quilting energy from 2012. But I've been feeling it return as the year comes to a close. I am very much looking forward to 2013.

Merry Christmas!!!

I'll do a little catch-up post later, just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

One more day

and then it's a 4-day weekend, hooray! I had a really nice time with Teresa this afternoon learning some excellent tips on die cutting and the Sizzix. I've made a list of a few new dies I want to order (upcoming projects!), purchased some silver Sharpies, and am so ready to start cutting some more fabric.

Tuesday night I was able to sew up a few blocks, and here are the results - first up, some new squares for my High Cotton quilt - these are a little brighter than the last batch, and I'm looking forward to doing some more.

I couldn't help myself - I stitched up 2 sets of light strips and cut them into blocks, and just arranged them to see how they are looking - mighty nice!

Just one more workday to get through, then it's playtime! Of course, we will do the usual visits (and meals) with family too. I haven't been working as much overtime, so it's nice to have a little energy when I get home from work and can actually do some little things here and there. More soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dark strips cut

It took a while to organize these (longer than the light strips), and I'm still not 100% sure they are lightest-to-darkest, but I only needed that to be generally correct, not strictly, since I will be pulling 6 strips at a time to sew together.

Thinking I'll go cut a few more strips for my High Cotton quilt. I may even get to sew tonight.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A quiltiful weekend

I finished up Block C of Fall Frolic this weekend, and then I did three more of block M (but I still have to put the triangles on the corners). Here is Block C (click for larger). I am still loving the handwork and wool felt appliqué.

And I got all of my light strips cut for the Rockin' Rail Fence quilt. Looking forward to sewing these up soon!

I also cut some strips for my High Cotton quilt (with the Sizzix), but I didn't take any pictures there. I'm hoping to play with those next weekend during the Christmas holidays. We get Monday and Tuesday off for the holiday, so it will be a nice 4-day weekend.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Woohoo, it's the weekend!

And I have many reasons to celebrate.

#1 - no alarm in the morning
#2 - I finished-finished my Plums Pillow

I included a piece of the fabric so you can see what the border / back looks like.

#3 - no alarm in the morning
#4 - My new Sizzix die cutter came in the mail today

Here are my first strips cut with my first die purchase - 1½ inch strips - I will be using this die for both the High Cotton quilt and the Rockin' Rail Fence quilt, and after I spend some time with Teresa, I'll probably decide on one or two more dies to purchase soon - depending on what makes the most sense at this point.

I think that this will really help me with repetitive stress injuries to my shoulder - just cutting these few strips was easy-peasy and way cool. :)

#5 - no alarm in the morning
#6 - vacation days have been scheduled (and approved) for March and April and July

I'm planning on taking time off for our annual quilt guild retreat, some Bonnie Hunter classes at our guild (at least one, maybe two if I'm lucky), and I'm seriously hoping to go to the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati this year. It's a lot of quilt-related things very close together, sure to get the quilt-y creative juices flowing, and help me get rid of the comp time I've been building up over the last couple of months.

#7 - no alarm in the morning
#8 - with the project deadline extended, the pressure is eased up a bit at work, and I'm able to breathe a little bit there - makes for a much happier and slightly less stressed Melissa, guaranteed and proven.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day, but it should be a good one, and I should be able to sneak in a little time with my new Sizzix machine and some fabric. Happy weekend all!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012


First, I want to thank you for sending me healing thoughts and best wishes - I know that this too shall pass.

Today I was able to finish up the pillowcases that I'll be giving as part of some Christmas gifts. Fortunately, none of the recipients read my blog so I can share them with you before I give them away.

These were all kits I picked up at my LQS back in the summer. I made the first one up, then got caught up in other projects, so I thought it was high time to finish them.

I got my next Fall Frolic block of the month kit in the mail today, and I'm looking forward to stitching it up. I'm planning vacation days for next year. I think I'd like to go to the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati - I've never been to that one.

Oh, and after talking with a few quilting friends, I've decided to get a Sizzix die cutter. I've ordered it, and it should be here next week sometime. First thing I plan to use it for is cutting the strips for my Rockin' Rail Fence quilt. I will also use it for High Cotton, and from there, who knows. Just need to figure out which dies I want to get first. I'm planning to get together with Teresa for some tips and helpful hints soon. Can't wait!!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Mixed emotions

Our go-live date on the work project has been postponed a few weeks. I have mixed emotions about it - on one hand, we would have been through with the launch at the end of this had we gone live on the original date. I am really ready for life to get back to normal. On the other hand, this gives us more time to work on system performance and migration with a little more breathing room for the users.

Meanwhile, it's become very obvious that the work / overtime schedule I've been keeping has taken a toll on me. Muscle spasms, inability to concentrate on one thing for more than a few minutes, and exhaustion are a few of the things I've noticed.

I stitch when I can, which isn't often, but I have made a little progress on the pumpkins pillow.

We also drove to The Quilter's Attic and picked up my last block of the month for this year. I finally got around to putting it together today. It seemed to take hours. But it is done, and I have some ideas percolating about how I want to put it together. I didn't buy the finishing kit because I wasn't thrilled with their layout.

I'm probably going to bed early - it's going to be a long several more weeks. Thank goodness we have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day holidays in there!

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Tonight I finally finished my Stepping Stones socks, hooray! I pulled them back out night before last and decided that I would try to finish them up before moving on to something else. I had already turned the heels on both socks, so it was just a matter of knitting the foot pattern, closing the toe and weaving in the ends. I did that just as we finished watching White Christmas tonight (one of our very few Christmas traditions).

I had lots of kitty help on these - Candy is helping me model them.