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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Of light bulbs and dining room tables

I was recently inspired by a blog or forum post (apologies to the person who wrote it, but I can't find it again, so maybe I dreamed it...). The author wrote that she wasn't an octopus. It's not that she can't have multiple projects, it's that she can't work on more than one at a time. As I read her post, the light bulb went off.

She was talking about leaving her projects sitting out, even when she wasn't working on them, when she was working on something else. And she realized that it was causing her mental distress, or guilt, or just stress from all the clutter. I totally identified with what she was saying. Because I have the same problem. We don't eat at the dining room table (well, I do, for breakfast). There's just the two of us, and we eat in the living room while watching tv. So the dining room table becomes the gathering place for things like mail, receipts, things that need attention fairly soon, and projects when I'm through with them for the evening.

My thought process goes like this: I'm not finished with what I wanted to accomplish this round of working on this project, so I don't want to put it away yet. But then the next night comes along, and another project either grabs or needs my attention, so the other project just sits there. Well, see, I still haven't finished what I wanted to accomplish, so I'll just leave it there until tomorrow night. Eventually I have several projects that sit there for months. Occasionally I pick one up and work on it or finally ut it back in the sewing room. But the table is still buried under other projects and things. Sometimes it's hard to clear a place for breakfast.

With this in mind, I began working through clearing off the table last Saturday, putting things away (or throwing them away). I didn't get it all done that day. But I got enough cleared that CC challenged me. If I got it completely cleared off, we'd have dinner there one night. I accepted that challenge. After all, other than when we've had company over for dinner (very infrequently), I dont think we've ever had dinner sitting at that table, just the two of us. I did get it cleared off, and we did have dinner there. It was strange, to be sure. :). But the other important thing for me is that I now want to keep it cleared. I don't know if I will fall back into old habits. I hope not. I'm going to try not. Because I really like how it looks. It brings another small bit of serenity in my chaotic life.

Will this be a positive influence in other areas, like my crazy sewing room? Maybe, maybe not. We'll just take it one step at a time. I'm pleased, though, that it is still clear tonight, and that I've put away the project I was working on, before bed.

Happy Halloween!

It's an appropriately dreary day here, cloudy, rainy. And here's my latest progress on Haunted House. I finished the top of the moon last night, and I've been filling in some more of that down the lower right side. I also started backstitching the tree, just a smidge. :) There will be a lot more of that to do.

Stay safe everyone, and be sure to keep your animals (especially your kitties) indoors tonight if at all possible!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Little bits of progress on several quilt projects

Thank you everyone for your comments on my Fall Frolic quilt top. I seamed up the backing fabric today, and am planning on basting it hopefully first thing in November. I just need to figure out the best place to do that, because I don't want to try to do it on the floor again. My knees and back really don't appreciate when I do that.

I tried to spend a little time putting away some things in my sewing room today, but I always get distracted when I do. :) Here are some of the things I worked on after I put a few things away.

I finished piecing the September and October Country Basket blocks, so those are ready to quilt.



I also made the binding for Amber's Carousel, because Ruth told me the quilting might be finished in the next week or so, so I wanted to be ready.

Also, Saturday evening I finally finished the applique on the first Dream a Little Dream panel.

And I've prepped the next Rainbow Garden block for stitching down.

Here's hoping this week goes better than last week. I wasn't sick, but I wasn't 100% either. Probably just tired, and I had to do a training class last Tuesday, which is always draining. No training classes this week, so hopefully work will go a little better.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Frolic quilt top complete

And I picked up the batting and backing fabric today at the quilt shop, so I'll need to get this basted soon so I can begin quilting it!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Left border pieced

Today I worked some more on Fall Frolic's pieced border and got the left side finished and attached. I also started piecing the top and bottom borders, so I'm hoping to get those finished this week and attach them, finishing the quilt top. I also want to get the backing pieced foe Amber's Carousel quilt, so I can take it to Ruth for quilting.

Tonight I'm working a little on my Dream project applique. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

A falcon complete

I decided to continue working on the left falcon in Egyptian Sampler this time (I had started him the previous round of stitching on this project), and managed to get all of the stitching and backstitching complete on him, plus a little bit more of the surrounding area.

If I finish the appliqué that I want to do before the end of the month, I might pull out my Haunted House and work on it for Halloween. We'll see.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A little more work than I originally thought

When I put as one of my Get it Done Challenge goals for October that I wanted to finish the first panel for Dream a Little Dream, I had just been glancing at it on my progress list and thinking, "Hmmm, I should work on this, and I really should finish that first panel - I probably don't have very many pieces left to appliqué down."

Wrong. I had quite a few pieces to make and then appliqué down. Tonight I spent the evening working on making those pieces, some of them teensy-tiny, and the angles on those triangles do not make it easy to turn the edges under (I'm using the freezer paper method, since that was what was recommended).

I think there are about 23 regular fabric pieces and around 12 wool felt pieces to sew. Once again, I decided to change out a couple of the wool felt fabrics to other colors, and I am pleased at how they are looking just laid out on top of the fabric.

Hopefully over the next week I'll be able to get them all attached so I can finally have panel one done and can move on to the next panels. Their model of the design is really sweet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Amber's Carousel quilt top pieced

I was able to get some extra time in the sewing room this afternoon and evening, and finished piecing the quilt top together. I love it. Now I need to find a good flannel for the backing, and I'd like to find a nice colorful piece of fabric for the binding.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Four and a half years

It's been four and a half years since I put any stitches in Teresa Wentzler's Dragon Ride. He was sorely in need of some attention, and so I've given him a little. I stitched a little more of the top border, and the top of his wing (gold), plus began filling in those tedious intricate wings that will be beautiful when finished.

Hmmm... which other Teresa Wentzler design will come out to play next - Egyptian Sampler or Magical Night? I'm thinking ES, saving MN until closer to the holidays, but we'll see.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

If I had one more day...

I could probably piece the quilt top together. Alas, I'll have to settle with showing you today's progress. I got all the lattice strips sewn to the fabric pieces, so they became "blocks", and I even started sewing a few of the blocks into rows. I really like this quilt - very bright and fun! I really can't wait to see it completed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Virtual Quilting Retreat, Day 1

Today I picked up and put together my SSS 2013 blocks of the month. This month is once again, sort of muted, but I love the blocks. They almost have a patriotic theme again with these colors.

I started piecing together the lattice strips with the Kaffe Fassett fabrics last night, and continued to do that today. I had a little over half of what I needed cut out for the quilt, and went ahead and put those on the design wall. I am hoping to get some more cut out and pieced tomorrow. This may or may not represent the final layout, but these are definitely the squares that will comprise the interior of the quilt. It will be 63 squares (7 x 9) total.

I also received my Rainbow Garden block in the mail today, so I'll be doing some tracing, cutting, and fusing pretty soon.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Clifford's Bear Chase

I decided to just go ahead and lay it out in the back yard since CC and I just haven't been able to get together at the right time to get a good shot of the quilt hanging off the back deck, and when he and I have been home, I just forgot to get us together to take the picture. Oh well. Here it is from above.

And this is a shot of the backing, which shows off the quilting really well - flames! :)

It's Virtual Quilting Retreat time for October! I've been waffling back and forth between what I want to do. I will definitely work on my SSS 2013 blocks after picking them up from the quilt shop. But other than that - I was originally thinking of working on some appliqué, and now I'm thinking of working on Amber's Carousel. Oh, and my second block (Block 1) has shipped for A Rainbow Garden, so if that comes in the mail today or tomorrow, I'll probably want to work on it too. Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The upcoming project

I received my 10" squares of Kaffe Fassett fabrics in the mail yesterday. Here is a small sampling (there are 40 each in 2 packages, and with these large-scale prints, there will be some overlap, but probably not identicals).

And this is the quilt that I plan to make. It's called Carousel Lap Quilt by Kim Schaefer (yes, the same one whose Flower Festival book I just bought!). I borrowed this one from my public library.

I plan to use a white-on-white fabric for the lattice strips, and picked this out at The Quilter's Path this afternoon while visiting with Marita, the shopowner. I'm going to be taking a needle turn applique class with her later this month, looking forward to that!

I also went to take a photo of Clifford's quilt this afternoon, but waited too long, and the sun was half on and half off the quilt. Looks like I'll have to wait and try again tomorrow. Happy Dancing on that - the binding is on, and all I have to do is attach a label!!!!

Oh, and I may make some others groan at this, but I've decided to re-do my first Hop To It block. In looking at it now, I don't like the stems (the curves are not as smooth as I'd like, and I know I can do better), and I really don't like the background fabric - it is too light. I also think I'd like to go with gold instead of the bright yellow accents. I'll take some pictures later of the new background fabrics I picked up at Marita's also.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Getting ahead of myself

All week I've been planning on going to the quilt shop this weekend to pick up my quilt block (second Saturday), and then I finally realized yesterday that, no, I was trying to get ahead of myself - that isn't until next weekend. Excellent, another weekend in the month! :)

I went and picked up Clifford's Bear Chase Thursday, it looks fabulous, as usual. Spent some time chatting with Ruth, catching up, then brought the quilt home. I need to get the binding cut out and sewn together (haven't even started on it yet). Maybe in the next few weeks.

Tuesday night, last night and this morning I worked some on the Country Basket blocks for September and October. I did all of the paper piecing, then assembled the basket halves. I still need to blanket stitch the top halves, then I can assemble those also. But I wanted to see how they were going to look, so I laid them out on the table to take a photo of each.

September in progress

October in progress

Then I picked up some squares and HSTs and got to work on Fall Frolic. The pieced borders are all that I have left to finish the quilt top, so I made a plan. I read the instructions first, and thought - NO way. The instructions said to piece a single round of squares together and then add those to the quilt. Then piece a single round of HSTs together and add those to the quilt. Then piece a final round of squares together and add them to the quilt. That seemed silly to me. I figured that I can do the 3 "borders" together much more quickly and easily. If I put the side borders on first, that's 26 segments of 3, leaving 24 segments of 3 top and bottom. The first side border is pieced and attached!

I've got a new quilt coming up - for a co-worker's daughter. Waiting on some fabric that I ordered, and I will need to figure out the "sashing" fabric that I'll use - more about that soon.

I also ordered a book I found while searching online for something else (and it came in the mail today, squeee!). A quilter whose work I admire very much (she was my inspiration for the tiny blanket stitch hand appliqué that I've fallen in love with doing on the Country Baskets and the Blocks from the Past quilt blocks) made this Bloomin' Beauties quilt from the book Flower Festival by Kim Schaefer. This is a definite future project for me!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Taking advantage of the day off

I had yesterday off, so I decided to really take advantage of it and knock out one of those goals. After I woke up and had breakfast, I moseyed into the sewing room, and quilted and finished those two Country Basket blocks. Here are both of them hanging in the frame on the wall. I'm keeping August up for now, but I want more than ever to get caught up, so I'm going to also try to get October's block done this month.



I also put a few more stitches into Bluebeard's Princess, and will now put it away in order to work on TWOctober projects.

One thing I am struggling with is my Grandmother's Flower Garden. It is halfway pieced, and even though I went ahead and took the plastic templates out of the outer edges (all except the current row), it is heavy and harder to manage now. I'm thinking about going back to trying to do individual flowers, just not sure how well that's going to work. I'm also thinking about changing over to paper pieces, but again - not sure how well that will work, if that will affect the size of the pieces, since the plastic templates are a little thicker than the paper, even though they're both the same size. Since I have so many things going, I'll give it some more time to simmer. :)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September and October Goals

I am happy to report that I met all of my Goals for September

1. Complete the September blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt. Yes! This one is usually an easy one, and I finished them a week early because I had to pick them up early due to conflicting plans the usual "2nd Saturday".

2. Complete the Fall Frolic block of the month (Block L). Yes! And now I can piece the quilt top together.
3. Hand stitch the binding to the back of the SSS 2012 quilt. Yes, yes, yes!!! Finally I buckled down and got that binding finished.
4. Finish piecing the alternate blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt. Yes! I ended up having to buy additional fabric, but I managed to get them all stitched this month.

So, keeping in mind my goals for the rest of the year, I think these will be my Goals for October

1. Complete the October blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
2. Quilt the July and August Country Basket blocks.
3. Complete one pieced and one appliqué block for Blocks From the Past.
4. Finish the first panel for Dream a Little Dream (appliqué).

Bonus goals (not quilting):

1. Work on two Teresa Wentzler cross stitch WIPs.
2. Complete two squares for Puff Stitch Granny Square Afghan.