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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Decisions, decisions

I seem to be coming to a lot of forks in the road lately. When I made the decision to stop podcasting, I wondered if it might be temporary. It is looking more and more like it's not. Time seems to be a very precious commodity these days, and while I am still quilting, knitting, and doing a tiny bit of cross-stitch, it feel like it takes much longer to actually see progress on anything.

I did finally finish one of my organization/consolidation projects recently, and now have a ton of DMC Stitchbow floss boxes and stitchbows to get rid of somehow. I have most of my floss on bobbins, which is how I prefer to organize them, in my closet. One thing down, many more to go. I probably have too much "stuff," but I've been gathering for retirement from the day I started working, ha!

One thing I have less and less time for is managing my web site. It currently uses older technology, which will eventually become completely unsupported. I chatted with my hosting support tech, and originally thought I might upgrade it to something like Wordpress. I even started the work. But it is such a large mass of content and images that it is really going to take more time than I'm willing to spend, especially when time is the thing I seem to be lacking right now. The other factor in that equation is that I work all day managing a (totally different) content management system, so I have even less desire to spend my free time doing something that feels like an extension of "work." My brain needs a break from the stress associated with all of that. Add to that the numerous emails I get with people requesting I send them copies of patterns I own or stitched (hello, copyright), and I'm just not feeling the love for the site that I had when I first created it all those years ago.

So I feel like I'm at another fork in the road regarding my web site. The longer I ignore updating it, the more work I will have to do if I ever decide to undertake that. If I were to start over, and just blow most of it away, I wonder if I would maintain it properly even then? I don't know the answer yet, but I am considering my options. Decisions are hard.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Some City Sampler fun

I had some fun this morning working on blocks 35-40. I just started with one block and didn't want to stop.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Glue basting for EPP

So this glue basting thing may be just what I need for my Hex on the Beach quilt. Here is my latest progress on the quilt. For those who are unfamiliar with Hex on the Beach, it was a kit that came with laser (or die) cut hexagon pieces. Those pieces are precision cut with a quarter-inch seam allowance.

I usually cut my hexies with somewhere closer to a 3/8-inch seam allowance because some of that allowance gets taken up in the fold over the paper, and you end up with more like a scant-quarter inch seam. Sometimes it's even skinnier if you lose a thread or two from the edge when basting.

Here is my progress as of earlier this week when I brought it out of hibernation in my all-EPP-all-the-time obsession this week.

At this point, all of the hexies have been thread basted. But a friend asked me recently if I thought glue basting was a better way to go. Honestly, I hadn't given it much thought for my already-in-progress projects such as this, Over the Rainbow, and Grandmother's Flower Garden. But I've decided to give it a shot. And I really think it may work, especially for this quilt. The other quilts are so far along, that I'm not sure whether I'll change from thread basting on them, but here is a close-up of the glue basting (top) and thread basting (bottom). Not much of a difference in the appearance. But a major difference in the time and amount of work involved in wrangling those scant seam edges while basting!

Stay tuned for updates on how well this works. It's definitely working for my Tula's Bloomers quilt, which I'll be posting about again soon. Let's just say, I'm fixated on English paper piecing at the moment, and can't seem to find the inspiration to work on anything else but these projects right now.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I met Tula Pink!

And she is wonderful, of course! She is a great teacher, and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend workshop I took with her and several others this weekend at CraftSouth. I learned so much and had a ton of fun.

We started Thursday night with a trunk show, and I had a front row seat, so I got to see her beautiful quilts up close and personal. They are even more beautiful than the photos appear. And I got to have my picture taken with her. :)

Friday and Saturday was our workshop with Tula. She taught an English paper pieced quilt that she designed for this class. Even though I have some experience with EPP, I learned a lot more about fabric selection and fussy cutting. Plus, I learned the glue basting technique that she uses instead of basting with thread.

Friday we worked on choosing our fabrics, cutting them, and basting them to the papers. I thought I knew what fabrics I wanted to use with my Tabby Road kitties, but when I got several cut out, I changed my mind and had to go back and cut a little more. Here are the kitties basted.

And here are the 2-inch kitties with the pieces for the rest of the block. I knew I wanted to use the cat's eye print for the center. I started out originally thinking I would use the stripes as a full hexagon, but realized that was just too overpowering so I cut them into half hexies instead. Then I thought I would use the lighter green print as a 2-inch triangle, but I didn't like how stark that seemed. It needed something more. So, back to the cutting board. I cut those into half hexies as well, and added a small 1-inch triangle in the medium green print. That was it, a much better transition.

At the end of the day, we also had to choose the solid color that we're going to put together as 6-pointed stars around this block. I decided on a royal blue.

Saturday we learned how to put it all together. She had so many tips to share, and again I learned a ton. I managed to get the block pieced and then one 6-point blue star pieced as well.

I am very excited by the possibilities of this quilt. Here is Tula's full design, which she named "Tula's Bloomers" this weekend, soliciting suggestions from the workshop participants and of course our wonderful hostess, Anna Maria Horner (designer of many things including fabric, and owner of Craft South). I was so lucky to get to spend time with both of these wonderful women and the other "bloomers". It was my first time visiting Craft South, but it won't be my last.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Grandmother's Flower Garden update

It has been a little while since I updated where I was on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, so I thought I'd take a moment to share with you my most recent progress picture.

The quilt was getting heaving and pulling on the seams as I added more rows, so I decided to start a second "half" and once it is finished, I will piece the halves together.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

City Sampler blocks 31-34

I always enjoy working on my Tula Pink City Sampler quilt, and today was no exception. These fabrics just make me happy.

Here are newly created blocks 31-34.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Choosing fabrics

I'll be taking a couple of classes in March, the first of which is a Judy Niemeyer paper piecing pattern called Compass Rose Table Runner. I went and picked out some batik fabrics today for it. But I'm undecided on the border fabric. Here are the two choices (border / binding / backing at the top of each photo). Fortunately, I don't have to decide on that until after I get the blocks pieced. Which one is your favorite?

A post shared by Melissa Gann (@lissylaine) on

A post shared by Melissa Gann (@lissylaine) on

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Finished mitts, so a new shawl start

I finally finished my Cozy Thermal Mitts that should have only taken a few days and ended up taking just over a month. Such is everything in life these days, it seems to take much longer to get anything done - probably because I'm trying to do so much at once. Ha!

Anyway, here are the mitts, done!

Saturday I celebrated by buying some Plucky Yarn (my first), just to see what all the hubbub is about. I bought three different bases - two fingering weight and one worsted, and I think the worsted will make a nice hat.

I have been considering starting a Find Your Fade shawl, since I've been seeing them pop up here, there, and everywhere. And now that I have my Plucky yarn, I pulled other skeins from stash and decided on my plan!

I immediately cast on, and made it through the first color.

Of course, it gets progressively larger as you go along, so I expect the second color to take considerably longer than the first. Here are the yarns I'm using in order:

Color A: KnittyandColor Glam Rock Sparkle Sock mini-skein (colorway unknown)
Color B: Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stopper Venetian Sunset
Color C: Sheep Dreamery Patapsco Ginger and Wasabi
Color D: Voolenvine Yarns Blitzed Grass is Greener
Color E: Plucky Knitter Lodge Fingering Happy Glamper
Color F: Unwind Yarn Company Twinkle Sock Lava Flow
Color G: Western Sky Knitters SW BFL-nylon One Pot Wonder
Color H: Dream in Color Jilly Brilliant

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

RIP little one

This morning we lost our kitty CandyAss, who was 17½ years old.
Rest in peace, dear, sweet girl, now rejoined with your sister RudyPoo. We will love you forever.

Friday, January 06, 2017

En Provence in progress

Today is normally a day that my girlfriends and I get together, but it was snowing this morning when we woke up, and middle Tennessee is not a place where we like to play in traffic in the snow.

So I meandered into my craft room and set to work doing some more pressing, cutting, and sewing for the En Provence quilt. I have a lot more cutting and sewing to do, but I wanted to share Clue 6 that is finished.

And right after Bonnie released Clue 6, she released Clue 7. Boom!

Like I said, I have some more cutting and sewing to do, but I just had to put some pieces up on the design wall and see how things were going to look. I put up some of the units, checking to make sure they were all oriented in the right direction.

The first thing that struck me was that these yellows are quite light. So I swapped them out with some other yellows.

Those looked really good to me. So I wanted to see just how dark I could go - I have some really pretty dark golden yellow fabric, almost brown though.

And that looks almost too dark to me. But this is supposed to be a scrappy quilt, and I don't want to try to find more golden yellows that are about the same value as the middle ones. I want to use all of the ones I picked out of my stash. So I set about trying to figure out how I'm going to arrange the blocks using them all. I laid them out on the floor. I thought perhaps darker ones on the outer ring leading to lighter interior ones, but I wasn't happy with how that looked.

And then I thought light in the upper left corner to dark in the lower right corner. I am much happier with this. It makes me think of a sunbeam filtering down.

And here I've made a few more units for Clue 7, and put them up just to see the layout a little better. This is all I've done so far. Once I have all of the units made, I'm sure they'll be rearranged to ensure it looks scrappier, but I'm pleased so far.

If you'd like to see how other people are working on their En Provence Mystery quilts, check out Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Parts 6 and 7 link-up for lots of other inspiration!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Doodle-head Stitches December 2016 Wrap-Up

Show Notes

Announcement: As 2016 comes to a close, I've been reflecting on accomplishments and challenges of the past several years.

The past several years have been a wonderful time of learning, meeting new people, and enjoying the close relationships I have with longtime friends. Two years ago I remember declaring to one of those friends that I couldn't ever imagine making videos of myself and putting them online, but then suddenly there I was doing just that.

In 2017, I want to:
  • be more deliberate in all areas of my life
  • spend less time just surfing online, scrolling through feeds without any purpose
  • finish at least one large cross stitch project
  • learn to free-motion quilt better on my domestic machine and finish a couple of quilts myself
  • finish another sweater or two
  • okay, finish more things than I start
  • read more
  • enjoy the moments
I'm not saying I will never make another video, but for the time being, I need to step aside from that, and focus on other things.

Happy crafting all!