Wednesday, May 24, 2017

W-A-I-T

Oh. I just titled this blog an acronym for What AM I Thinking? So when I saw the word 'wait', it felt like a good joke on me. I have never been a patient person, and don't wait good at all.


It is not even the end of May & I was looking for some new quilting projects! My sidebar tells me that before the year is out, I want to finish 5 quilts, 8 UFO projects, and 2 other (WIP) Works in Process. Then next year, on the sidebar again, are 6 quilts and 2 projects that are not even started yet, and obviously on my mind to do. My closet holds another bin full of 'kits' I put together from coordinating fabrics. I don't even know how many I have nor have I looked into the bin!!!

What AM I thinking? Well, there are several bins of fabric scraps that have been donated to me on one closet side. And the mystery quilt projects I started this year are almost finished. I keep thinking there won't be anything for me to do. So I spent almost an hour online looking for some quilt-alongs.

In truth, there is a lot for me to make with what I have in my closets. For one thing, I can get a head start by making scrappy backs. I notice my list says that a few of them will need backs, so if I can get them done, as the quilts get finished, and if backs are done, then basting will be ready closer to the first half of the year.

It almost seems like I am trying to make more work for myself rather than to just do what I can while I can. Wishful thinking. Hopeful thinking. That's what I have been thinking.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

22/15 Done

This large block in the Mystery quilt was hard to make. First of all, it took larger pieces and towards the end of the selection, coming up with colors & sizes that worked for the block and where it fit was a bit of a challenge.

Secondly, the fabric choices are all prints. This is going to be one very busy quilt. However, in spite of the challenges all that part of mystery quilting brings, I like how this block turned out with what I had to work with. I did my best with the directional prints and could always rip and change, but am leaving it the way it turned out. It should fit quite nicely with the others. There are 3 more 12.5" blocks left.

As I think about 'fitting' in, I did a little research on the Outsider archetype for my Jung course. It is close in nature to the Rebel archetype. 

However, the Outsider doesn't care about other people or the world they live in. They find fault with everything, and don't really want to make a difference as much as they want to make a negative statement or have that negative impact. Everything is personal for them. Everyone and everything seems out to get them. The Rebel rails against personal restrictions but when the person is positively operative, they act to get recognition for social injustice & make changes. Maybe this is a simple way of looking at it and that the lines between them are blurred.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A New Week

The Solstice to Solstice Gratitude quilt is getting closer to done. The pattern maker released more of the assembly instructions.

The weekend held many activities, and I decided to leave the quilting until Monday. Time away from any activity allows a different kind of growth possible to our lives. Sometimes I get caught up in quilting that it becomes all I think of and do. 

So when I started putting the pieces together, there was a new vision that evolved. Piece by piece, the fabrics I set aside for this quilt are being used up. And because it is a mystery, it gets built block by block with directions to use lights, mediums and darks. At first, I thought I should re-do blocks that used the same fabrics when they were put side by side, and then thought better of it. A mystery is a mystery and there is a sort of magick to it.

It is done for today, and there are three more 12.5" left to make, plus a larger one that goes to the end of these 8. The larger one is quite a focus block and I want to think about it for awhile before choosing colors.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Coming out of the Closet

I love the blues in this quilt and moreover love the choices I made for the fabrics. Sometimes buying new fabric is like completely enjoying life rather than just enduring it. 

Every once in awhile, I step outside my closet and buy all the fabrics for a quilt rather than to scrap it. Scrap quilts are fun, yet this one really makes me smile. Smile, heck, I am beaming! The fabrics coordinate. 


While this photo is not much different from the one I took yesterday, it shows the final border and is a complete top. I cut the top/bottom borders at 6" and gave the sides each 7" to make it just a little wider. It can lay horizontally to bring more than one person under it while sitting on the sofa. It is laying over my queen size bed so will look like this in my Grandson's room. He can drag it around or leave it covering his bed.

I wanted geometrics for his quilt. He is going to be 12 in June. The center white with blue looks like very large round postal cancellations, and the darker blue with white, also part of the center is constellations and sea maps. The yellow is a white dot, and the third border is tiny swirls & stars in each part of the blue and white checkered pattern. The solid  Kona blue for the first & fourth borders brings it all together!

It measures 69x96" so will take about 2.5 yards of a 108" backing flannel. I would need to pre-wash it because flannel shrinks. I found a blue and white swirl pattern for it too. This is going to be one stunning quilt. 

It makes me so very excited to have it so coordinated. Seriously. Honestly, I take a lot of joy in scrap quilting too. This one is his first 'big boy' quilt and I wanted it to be special. That it is. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jake's Log Cabin

The center section is pieced and the first two borders are on. I am going to make the next borders a bit wider on the sides. Its long enough but I would like it just a little wider. Easy adjustments.

This is the first one I make the blocks in two colors, one for the light and one for the dark. I chose a yellow for the center blocks to represent the hearth. Often it is either red or yellow and I didn't want this to be a patriotic quilt of red/white/blue. What is interesting is that there is a sort of circle-ish theme in the fabrics, or where the lines curve.

The book called this a 'quilt-in-a-day' pattern and that is nonsense. While it is an easy pattern to follow because it is strip quilting, there is no way to make it in a day unless you burn your body out. Long gone are those days for me. I quilt smarter, and while it does take me more time, it is a better choice.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WIP Apron UFO

The Apron UFO sat here on my ironing board with fabrics that I previously cut to fit for the next steps. There were no notes to self, so all the cut pieces needed to be measured & tagged before proceeding. One pair of strips were cut for the neck ties, so I used a technique I learned since starting this apron. It grieves me that I left this project sit so long. It is still confusing, and I will keep working on it until it is finished.

Not only is it a UFO, it is now a WIP. That was the most I could do on it today. I am working quite hard not to feel guilty about how much that is either done or not. I need to make the bib, ties and waistband before it is completed. And I need to make sure all the stitching is the same for then & now. It is surprising just how much guilt surfaced. I wonder if this is a natural consequence of UFOs, or part of the Jungian Psych work I have been doing.




















I found this on a site for one of my Facebook groups, so want to share it here. I love some of these acronyms, however, do not currently use a lot of them. Its nice to see how others think about their fabrics, & projects.

When I reorganized my closet and bins, I got rid of the PIGS, WWIT and WOMBATS, making more sense of the SABLE items. I never used sub-sections such as PhD, WISP or VIP. For the most part my projects are either WIP or UFO.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Apron UFO

I still am unsure as to why finishing UFOs be such a struggle. I ask that of myself every time I pick up a container with an unfinished project. Its not so much undoing something I might have made incorrectly, but a matter of going on with whatever I started. Each one stirs up endless feelings. I had no idea I was in for it all when I made the commitment for this year.


I had a small drawer of aprons I started for my three eldest Granddaughters, who are now out on their own away from their families of origin. I've been making aprons for some time, and they are really a lot of work. Because they are made of 100% cotton, they wrinkle. And who irons? I think I got discouraged when considering that these young women might see them as non-essential.


I found patterns I liked, and started making them. Well. I finished some and gave them as gifts. I will keep working on the first one (a ruffled half apron). At least with the finished stage I left it in, ruffles were made, and ready to be pinned & stitched; now they are on. 

Over time, I have learned about reinforcing the waistband & ties so they don't fray so much after repeated washings. The next step is to do one more ruffle that fits under the waistband, and make the ties. No wonder, aprons cost so much!

I put the UFO or NESY (not even started yet) others in a drawer. Then they went on my list for 2017 to finish. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

More Gratitude

Its another block. Mystery quilts. Every single time I do one, I whine & complain that it doesn't look right. Oh sure, a couple of times that happened that it really didn't turn out, and usually I found a way to make it work.


This block seems bland. It is part of a larger scheme not revealed to me. I did keep the pattern so if it still doesn't work for me in the layout, I can make another one.
Of course, it came with non-quilting challenges. I drink a lot of tea and usually set my cup on the desk or table. This time it went on the ironing board, and of course, tipped with a full cup running onto the cover, fabric, pattern, floor, carpet & the standing cushion. Good goddess. Cleanup. So its all back to an order now.

After talking to my younger Son on Sunday, I learned that my Grandson's quilts are all too small and none of them have his name on them. I went to the fabric store and bought material to make him a new, big boy quilt. More on that later.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Prep for Basting

I made an appointment at the clubhouse on Friday to baste at least one quilt, and am taking the smaller wheelchair quilt with me too, just in case I have enough pins and time to do both.


Although it is a good part of the week until it happens, the backs of both tops and backs need to be examined for loose threads and scanty seams. The wheel chair quilt was easy and is done. It usually gets done as the piece is made. This second check is something I want to do for peace of mind. It took awhile and is done over the ironing board. This is the back, folded in half. The top needed doing as well.

My plan was to do each of them once, and go back a second time. It seems like more than one needs to do, however, every once in awhile a seam is just a bit scanty and comes apart during the quilting. At that point, its done and only top stitching works. Then it is a risky seam that could likely come apart in the first washing. 

So, yes. Yes, this tiring, boring work is something I think essential to do when I plan to give it away. Both quilts are ready for basting now and are in my bag to take to the clubhouse. I want to try channel quilting on the Seasons quilt. It might take a little longer, though the lines are not going to be too close. I learned that the more quilting there is on one, the heavier it is. This one is for all year long and is quite large so it doesn't need more weight.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Snow?

Snow? Well, you never know lately.

This project is called Snow Friends. I finished the piecing around the embroidery pieces and called it a day. That is clearly a new concept. Thing is, when you look at these little 6" squares, you have no idea how much work is actually in them. Beyond the embroidery, they get trimmed. Then a flange is put on (that dark blue around the inside). Borders go on with cornerstones. Hanging ribbon has to be placed between outside pieces. Batting and backing cut.

And DANG/Whew, I spotted the first ribbon hanging incorrectly before sewing it together. Then the third one had slipped out and needed re-doing. Mistakes happen even when I am careful.

My plan is to make one for each of the younger kids in my family.  There is another set of three ready to embroider, and I will keep at it during the evenings and not pressure myself to work on or finish them before going onto the next UFO project. 

I am an expert at not taking a nap or getting enough sleep. If grades were given, surely mine would be an A+. If there was a finger print designation, for sure you could see it all of mine. While I might not be good at taking naps yet, I am getting better at pacing my projects.

For now, this UFO project drops to the bottom of the list. And I am ok with that.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cleaning the Studio

For some unknown and unwelcome reason, things get dusty & cluttered. Every couple of weeks, I vacuum the area rug, clean the wood floors, wash out the window ledges & reorganize the bins. Sometimes I dust. Sometimes I wipe down mirrors and windows. Today, I pulled out the next UFO projects. I didn't quilt, formally, yet, this behind-the-scenes work is vital to when I do engage in my projects.


I have a housekeeper who comes in once a month and stays for a few hours. According to expert Mary Starkey in her text book SETTING HOUSEHOLD STANDARDS, it takes 4 hours to clean 2,000 square feet for average standards when performed weekly (not including special requests). My house is small at 1,100 square feet, yet by those numbers, it would take almost 12 hours each week! Yikes.

Needless to say, I am not using Starkey's standards. I probably spent a couple of hours in this room, so the numbers do work for how long I was in here. While cleaning is ok to my standards & neat enough to have company, I would not say it is my activity of choice. If you enter your zip code at https://www.care.com/ and follow the links, it will generate a list of any type of home service providers & what you can expect to pay for them in your area. 

I used to clean when I expected company. I clean for myself now, not really caring what others who stop in might say or think; And not often, but only when the dust bunnies get to me. Having a housekeeper once a month is worth it. I don't have 10-12 hours a week to devote to housework. I don't WANT to devote that much time to it. 

Following (loosely) to the FlyLady system http://www.flylady.net/, I clean on average 15 minutes a day, which would total to a minimum of 1 hour and 45 minutes a week. THAT is more my style.

"Dammit Jim, I am a quilter, not a housekeeper!" (quote from Star Trek, if you didn't know)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Embroidery UFO's

I ordered a few yards of focus fabric so that I could make some microwave bowls for holiday gifts this year. While I do have bins of fabric to chose from, and will continue to shop primarily from my closet, I don't always have what I want. And it is practical & wise to use what I have first.


Some of us become too realistic as we look at misery & injustice in our world. We settle. Its as if we give up thinking that this is how it is & there are no other options. We stop looking. We start limiting our options & we let ourselves become blind to the world around us.


My sidebar shows me what I still want to do this year, and I know that for most UFO projects, there is already a container at the ready for me to finish. I resist dealing with yet another UFO project that is only a reflection of my spiritual journey. It almost feels like I have to accept the unacceptable. Whining like a spoiled child.


Next on my agenda are two embroidery projects that bring out all sorts of anxiety regarding the essential tremors I feel in both hands now. Fear strikes at me before I even start. I am used to seeing how fear immobilizes me and knowing that my options are to let the fear stop me from living or get on with it and just do whatever is next.

All the materials for the projects are ready. And I know that when I finish one of them, the sense of accomplishment will be joyful. So why the hesitancy? Why the angst? If only I knew. That one above is meant to be a pillow in the shape of a headstone for Hallows. Its small. It will go to the bottom of the UFO projects to finish as a pillow.


Last year, when I traveled, I took the Snow Friends embroidery project with me. It is a free pattern for 3 whimsical blue work snow people. I tried a different fabric stabilizer that I don't want to use again, yet have another set printed on it and ready to embroider. Its a very simple pattern, so my thought was to make them as bedroom door knob hangers for some of the kids in my life. I didn't put a number on how many of these I would make. 

I love embroidering and used to do it every night for decades. Since the essential tremors started, I noticed they got worse at night PLUS my vision changed. It was harder to thread needles, and hard to hold the hoop steady. That's when I started whining about getting older. I mean, really? Isn't everyone?

Sometimes I wonder if, like in the Matrix, I am being offered the choice of taking a red pill (of painful truth) or a blue pill (of blissful illusion).

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Run Through the Trees

This last wonky block is a tree farm, of sorts. It was just a matter of finding a suitable background, gathering small squares of greens, cutting and ironing on the stiffener. This is a perfect addition to the wonky quilt. Red sky makes the block wonky.


When a person practices feeling nothing, we forget what confidence feels like. I have learned that since feelings wrap around our behavior, we come to think that being wonky is perfectly normal. We only feel normal when we do something that can be odd & self-defeating. That's not to say that wonky in a quilt or in a personality is negative or wrong. It is just different.


When I lived in Minnesota, our farm was next to a tree farm like this one in the photo. Acres & acres of trees planted in rows so that the larger ones could be cut down for holiday sales. They did not grow like trees in a forest competing for sunshine, and naturally living or dying. They were not part of an urban forest getting covered with vehicle exhaust. They were perfect.


Long gone were the days that families got in a car and cut their own trees. Now trees are bundled up & tied to car roofs. Yet, shoppers look for perfectly shaped trees and pay incredibly high prices for trees already cut, laying in bundles for months & drying out.


And now, the last row of the wonky quilt is attached with framing rather than sashing. One would think the UFO was done. But No-o-o-o. Next on, 6" wonky blocks for the first border, and a 3.5" second border in the same lime green & there is enough for binding. It is getting dropped to the end of the UFO list, for now, as it waits for batting. Whew! Quite the quilt. It is rather gorgeous for all its wonkiness.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Its Not Easy Being Wonky

Truth be told, wonky blocks are darned difficult. Another UFO. Like life. Some life situations are so bitter that we wish we could end it all rather than face them any more. In fact, it takes a lot of courage & tenacity to keep going.


The latest of my wonky blocks still is just not the way I want it to look. In fact, I will not use it in the quilt, and consider that there are still two to make for it.

Of course it is a learning process. For instance, the body of the house has to be cut from one fabric. The background needs to be an even smaller print. 


Just because it is wonky, it actually takes more skill to create. This is my final work for today though it is untrimmed here. It will make it to the wonky quilt, and there is one more to go. I titled this blog saying it wasn't easy being wonky, and there is always more to the story, isn't there?

If a person is inclined to be different, it made me wonder about the rules to making it happen. It is a real commitment to walk in public dressing differently, working-voting-speaking-thinking-anything that is contrary to what others see as normal. That person, like these wonky blocks, can be frustrating for someone who wants things neat and orderly.

I didn't make all the blocks for this quilt & what most of the swap partners said was how hard it was to do, and that they learned a lot. What they didn't say was what they learned & if it was just about quilting or about themselves. Wonky blocks are neat & orderly. Just in a different way.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fabric Boxes

I am a lot less hard on myself these days. I realize my demons are usually angels that have gone astray. While doing so much Shadow work in that Jungian Psyc course, I started to become discouraged when so many of my self-defeating patterns came into my conscious awareness.

As this part of the course came to an end, I could see that my Shadow was rooted in a healthy love-centered search for personal beauty. Like any person, I was born reaching for love. Over the years of my life in a search for good feelings & experiences, I learned not to feel at all. Wanting the best from myself, I learned to see all the worst. Grrr. Perfectionism. That Shadow part of the course ended with a waiting time of 2 weeks before the second part starts. I was seeing so much darkness around me that it made me sick. After a day in bed, my thoughts settled down, and my body craved food and activity again. I chose life.

The last larger fabric box is finished. Its a bit larger than what I usually make and will go in a Swap Bot exchange soon. It was time for me to enter records in my swap exchange data base, and in my May health journal. Paperwork.

When it comes down to life, a person (hopefully) learns to accept all their frustrations for what they are. Its a result of how we attempt to meet legitimate needs. Sometimes the project is stunning, sometimes it has flaws.

Admittedly, working on UFO projects this year has been stressful. It seems like I face demons all the time. What I FEEL is this ineptness to deal with the project because usually there was no note-to-self explaining the next step. Worse that that, I often do not have the skill to finish it which is why it got put away. So then I FEEL lost and unguided, and in over my head. The temptation to put the project away again is huge. 

It is really a great example of self-defeating behavior. And there is this fear looming. Fear of failure. Fear that the essential tremors in my hands will prevent me from hand sewing. Fear creates stress. Stress creates immobility. Gahhh!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

It rained all day here while I was out of town. I scattered mulch on the South gardens. The roofing company is coming on Monday to do repairs and cleanup, so there is more mulch for them to lay after the pick up the odds and ends.

Another block is finished on the Gratitude quilt. This one is based on a Roman game that translates into X's and O's kids still play the world over. I swear that I this quilt would have gone into a UFO category if it wasn't a quilt-along. So much work doing a sampler and a mystery.

The other project was to finish some hand work on fabric baskets for an exchange in Swapbot. There is one left to finish.The next time I do that kind of project will be for the microwave bowls. With so many of us deciding to downsize or minimize, I don't want to make a lot of things people cannot use. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mug Rugs in Circle

Small circle mug rugs should be easy, and they are, until it comes to the binding. Binding finishes the edges of things, makes them look neat. 

We have finishing edges to our lives in many ways, such as how we take that last look in the mirror before going outside into the public part of our lives. We add finishing touches to our hair, washing windows, making beds. So many examples.


Yet binding on round objects is not like the straight line. A quilter has to make something on purpose to use round binding on anything. Now I know. 

I have made a couple of these round mug rugs before and liked how they turned out. This one is for a Swapbot exchange and is in the mail.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Thread

I took inventory of the threads my next projects and shopped. On my way home, I realized that I trusted in the brand name I bought, and did not look at content label. Sure enough, every spool I bought was 100% poly, not cotton.


I sorted spools by poly, cotton, and unknown because labels were missing. Those three larger spools have labels on the inside impossible to read & pull off. The large green spool is 100% cotton as are all the others in that area. To the left are spools of 100% poly.

Studies say that poly doesn't shed lint like cotton, but it is possible, over time, that it will cut into the fabric and not wear as well. It CANNOT be used in microwave or oven wear projects because it could burn.

Cotton thread has its downsides too. It isn't always colorfast so can bleed if, for instance, a red is used on a white. It is linty so the machine needs cleaning more often. There is a whole numbering system to finding and using the best thread for specific projects and I guess I am not there, and might never be. 

This was huge for me. No one told me about these differences, or if they did, I didn't listen. I can only go forward with what I learned today and not get stressed out with possibilities of how what I might have done in the past may or may not damage the quilts.

Next I moved onto the UFO list. With all the stress I felt from the roofers yesterday (both sound and sight), what I found today was more a bout of mild depression today. It was so hard to want to do anything. So I kept on with what was here and pushed through it. Having the sidebar list helps in these cases because there is no decision, no need to think.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wonky UFO

I pulled this UFO project out to work on next. Some time ago, I was in two block swaps that you could say what kind of block you wanted. One was the 12" that I requested either a wonky house or a wonky tree; and the other was for a 6" in any style. Before I set this UFO aside, I put four rows of four blocks each together and joined the 6"ers to make the top border. It wasn't long enough for me. The quilt top container held the top as it was, and then also several regular house blocks. I thought I could make them work together. Not so. 


Wonky is a whole different look. The regular house blocks were from a private swap with someone who stopped emailing & swapping. I made them as a grouping for another UFO, and put it to the bottom of my to-do list. 


The final row needs 4 blocks and I was able to make 3 before getting so frustrated. This is not an easy block to make. That top right block may not make it into the quilt. The background just doesn't work, so maybe I can save it. Its pretty bad in person and in the photo here. The wonky border goes on after this row is added, and I will need a back. I do not have a designated recipient so did not plan to finish it this year. 

I think my choice of making 4 extra blocks is good, and then it can go to the bottom of the list while I work on others. Well. I will be lucky to get two more blocks done. Hard work, wonkies.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wheel Chair Quilt

My very dear friend in MN was in an accident some time ago, and her injured back declined in strength and use over the years. She is almost in her chair full time now. I made her a quilt a year or so ago that she said saved her from freezing while on an airline trip. 

She asked for another one that measures wider at 44". She said she would use bungie cords to keep the sides closed from the wind. I thought about making one she could put her legs into, but that could be dangerous if something happened to pin her in. 

Interestingly, there are no patterns for wheelchair quilts. Few quilters I know have made them, though many will make quilts for babies and other family members to fit on a bed or be used for napping. 

When I saw these panels, they seemed perfect when cut apart, and joined with sashing to make the size needed. I do love how they look. There is enough of that sashing fabric to bind it as well.

We never know about our well-being. It is said we are all temporarily able-bodied. Accidents that change our lives can happen in a flash. Then, it seems that we need to figure out what works to make life easier. My friend looks for clothing that doesn't bind and is still fashionable. It is my hope that this quilt has a bit of style to it.

The back is corduroy so it clings to the body, and batting is also cut. My next step is to baste it and figure out what kind of quilting pattern to make on it. I need to buy a spool of black thread before I start that last step. It might look good to just outline the shapes on each square. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BOM Square

This quilt goes to my eldest Great-Niece. The fabrics are all grrrly and of course, at her age, she is that. Her Daddy and Step-mother are both quite athletic. Her birth Mother was the sweetest, most charming grrrly on the Earth. She is greatly missed by those of us left behind. Her three Daughters will be unique, and will never really recover from their loss.

I selected coordinated fabrics from what I had, and put them in a container because it is, ta da, another Mystery quilt, so that was the only choice I had in the beginning. This is an altered Log Cabin block. I took the liberty of scrapping out the pink side because I don't have many grays and already used a black for the center. Also, I am trying to save the pink Paris print for a border. Its going to be lovely.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mug Rug Swap

The guidelines for the mug rug swap said to send the Mug Rug & a small gift. That is a challenge when the partner doesn't reveal herself and answer group questions. This is the second time I joined a swap and had a partner who was quite private. That means a bit of guessing on my part. 

I am not the kind of person who wants to stalk. Her profile on Facebook didn't offer many more clues. I see she is married and some of the swappers identify their partners as joining them for coffee or tea, and she did not. So what I did was to make a second mug rug and use her first initial and use brighter fabric. It turned out cute, and I am not going to start looking for what else I might have done.

We hesitate sharing who we are, whether it is online or even in person. Online, we are afraid of identity theft or being scammed. I get that. And in our personal lives, we are afraid of not fitting in when we share too much or being judged. I get that too. And when we do operate out of fear, I think we hope, hope, hope that someone in our lives relates to us out of love. I get that.