Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ready to Machine Quilt

Over several hours, I cut, pieced, pressed and found backing & batting scraps to make up five Toilet Lid Mats. My objective for today was to get them to this stage. Done.

Over my lifetime, I found it hard to give myself a break and didn't know where that attitude came from. My Jungian Psych course work helped.

Things are different now that I am a little bit more aware of family traits and personal choices. It is still most difficult for me to leave any project unfinished, and in fact, my plan for 2018 is to take one quilt & finish it before starting something else. I've gone through and tagged the quilts with the name of a month wherein I plan to work in it and get it done.

What I learned to do in the last couple of years was to write notes-to-self, so I set projects aside & not feel driven to getting more than one stage of it done at a time. When I start it up again, I know exactly what the plan was for my next step. This makes projects more WIP (work in progress) rather than UFO (unfinished objects) & lets me have a better attitude about them so I can pick them up & start where I left off.

It also helped to do the BOM quilt-alongs. One step was released each month. My only choice was to make the quilt in a certain number of installments. I couldn't do more than was set out for us each month. It taught me pacing.

TGTs / Day 7:

  1. Daughter-out-law's quilt arrived safely & Son will set it aside for her Oct. 1 bday
  2. Very cool nights, therefore we can open windows!
  3. Veggie Shepherd's Pie is just yum!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Little Small Things

One of the biggest laughs for me in the movie NANNY MC PHEE is when actress Celia Imrie ...an aggressive date (Mrs. Q) for the new widower, calls the children 'little small things'. The children were pretty typical in how they interacted with a mother substitute. Funny tricks. Mean tricks to drive her away.

I am working with a number of little small things trying to figure out how to make toilet lid mats. They are only meant to sit on the top of the toilet back or lid, though I have seen some that wrap around it with elastic. 

Part of the challenge is finding fabrics, and then finding a pattern that works for that size. I'd like to do all that prepping first and then quilt them all at the same time. I will make the lil twister pattern for a couple of them, and spent time finding 6" patterns for the others.

6" blocks are more challenging than one would think. Small doesn't mean easy. And limited colors make a difference too. I've done okay with choosing holiday fabrics, but am getting down in my supplies where it takes creativity in matching little small things.

Three Good Things / Day 6:

  1. Took down non-working fairy lights in the garden & replaced white with red lights that were stored in the shed
  2. Removed dead plant matter from South garden, filling the trash container for the week
  3. Re-organized & sorted patterns into sections

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

My order came from Joanns yesterday, and in it is the orange fabric with black cats I want to use for a border on the scrappy Halloween quilt. Also included were needle threaders, and a brush for cleaning the sewing machine. I started looking for items to include on the 12 Days swap and in the end of it all, bought things I want.

Three Good Things / Day 5:
  1. With all the errands I ran, the car got washed, 3 bags were given to the thrift store, and I bought myself a new hot/cold thermos 
  2. Bought & mailed a Batman Brick Headz to my Grandson for no reason other than I can
  3. On Book #11 of the Dresden Files, which I am thoroughly enjoying
Today is another one of my 'catch-up' days. I need to cut down more of the dead plant material and put it in the trash bind. There is so much of the fabric laying around. It reminds me of the toy room when the kids were little. No one else is going to swoop in and pick it up. While its true that all the planned quilt projects for 2017 are finished, I have already taken on more, like the toilet lid covers. 

It is easier to work on a project if everything else is put away. I want to move things that I have here but its not like I can just get them done and out without some thought, without some work. So onward!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lil Twister Toilet Top Cover

Its hard to make exact sizes with the lil Twister template. The PR with it says the project will finish 1/3 to 1/4 less that the first piecing. I calculated it to sit on the toilet lid cover rather than go edge to edge. 

It measures 7 x 12.5" finished. I used three 5" charms with a 3" border to get that size. Lids measure 8 x 14.5" so this felt close for the template. This was my sample.

It is like knowing when yesterday ends and today begins. 

A fabric scrap makes a mug rug (shown above the lid cover), so did both projects at the same time, even though they look completely different.

I used whole cloth (uncut & unpieced) for the backs. The wavy stripe is almost gone, and I want to purchase another Halloween themed stripe for the remaining projects. I quilted a small grid on the lid quilt and shadow quilted the mug rug.

Three Good Things / Day 4:

  1. Cool enough for open windows
  2. No smoke from wildfires means open windows
  3. Cool enough to garden

Friday, September 15, 2017

Halloween Potholders

I finished three potholders for my friend in MN. I didn't know if she wanted those hooky things, so they are hook-free. Sometimes, my heart breaks from fear of not getting something correct. But lately, I've taken a different stance and just do what I can. There are things about me that don't work as well as I want, but I can still do the work.

I made 3 potholders that have two pieces of batting & two pieces of heat resistant fabric. I made one quilted side pretty scrappy & wild. And the binding is a wavy stripe.

The other side is made with whole cloth, which means it is all one piece. That also means the potholders are reversible if my friend wants to put them on her table, & also gives them a variety of uses. The binding works for both sides. Her favorite Cat was black and hopefully this reminds her that I loved him too. Gosh I remember him running to the door to greet me every time I visited. I think of him every time I see black cats.

Speaking of black cats. There is a clowder of ferral cats...all black in town where they have access to an empty building on main street during the night. We are too small a town to have a Humane Society or a service for ferral animals, so I am not sure what will happen to them. There are so many now that I am sure there is a lot of in-breeding. Sigh. 

Three Good Things / Day 3:
  1. I have close friends in MN and WI, and some great friends in Cali
  2. Rescue Remedy saves me often
  3. I am harvesting healing herbs from my garden for tea

Thursday, September 14, 2017

12th Day Gift Started

More batting joined. Now there are two quilts ready for basting when I have time, after this year's projects. I measured & marked one of the pieces of batting I put together from two smaller sections, so it will be ready for a fit somewhere down the line. It looks like there are two backs for future partnering as well. And yes, I have been putting simple notes-to-self on everything.

Fabrics are cut for the 12th day hand made gift for that swap. She wanted a new pin cushion and this one has a lot more to it. She likes cats. It takes three coordinating fabrics, & extra pieces of felt and flannel to make it work, plus iron-on batting. Oh and a button for decoration rather than function.

Day 2: Three Good Things
  1. Rico slept better with the door closed to his space & didn't disturb his person through the night. Doing it again
  2. I went to the grocery store late at night and missed the crowds
  3. Filled trash container with dead plant material.
Today continues with essential behind-the-scenes prep work. I am not sure why I am almost in a state of apologizing for this part of quilting. I am my own quilting sous chef. With these steps already done, when I do finish a top, it is quite possible that quilt sandwiches will go easier. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Naming 3 Good Things

One of my friends is sharing her 3 good things each day & I thought it was a great idea, so am listing them here. After a bit of research, I learned that findings thusfar say that when people have things they are grateful for, they draw more good into their lives. Makes sense.
Day 1! My 3 good things for this day are:
  1. I can still thread a needle (eventually after a try or two) in spite of Essential Tremors
  2.  I joined some leftover batting & now am able to baste another quilt
  3. Sweet memories of family members who have passed and still influence my life
Meanwhile, I while my time is spent doing mindless activities, I am making progress on some projects that need prep work, such as getting the batting ready for another quilt. There is more batting to join so that it can be sandwiched and take up less space in bins. I worked on the hot pad thingy for my friend and want to make her a couple of different ones and give this one to the thrift store.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Playing Catchup

For the last several days, my quilting projects are wrapping up the final parts to getting each one of them done. This can mean doing simple things like checking seams, clipping loose threads, hand sewing binding. Some times it means changing thread on the sewing machine. Things that take time, and are part of quilting but don't really show much, or enough to take pictures.

Additionally, I have been reading mail, writing letters or notes on post cards, catching up on magazine articles and generally doing minutia. I even spent over an hour on the phone with my former husband catching up on news he had about long-ago friends.

And what he & I agreed upon is that things change all the time. We talked about our parents, other family members and our ever-changing health. 

Weather here is also changing. Lately, there have been some fierce thunder, lightening and rain storms that took out electricity, so I've kept my computer off even though I have the surge protector. 

I plan to get to the Post Office on Friday to ship out the Italian Garden quilt, and am just going to hand sew the label onto the Forever Baseball quilt (the last for 2017), and piece batting so that it can go onto another quilt that may go out this year if it is ready.

So now, I let the warm feelings I have for my former husband wash away, realizing how far we came in life, as friends, as spouses, as hostiles and again as friends. I am going to do a final check on the Italian Garden quilt, and keep on with the minutia part of my quilting day.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Halloween Log Cabin

I decided to use the Halloween fabric scraps in my stash and make a simple Log Cabin Halloween quilt. 

One side of the Log Cabin will be the White with black spider webs. The Dark side of the Log Cabin blocks will be all the scraps that have black in them. Thing is, with a scrappy quilt, its hard to know how it will turn out and even if there are enough scraps to make it happen.

It is reversible with a scrappy back made from the other leftover pieces. I'm just cutting right now and have no idea how the back will come together. It is called a PIGS or Project In a Grocery Sack. They have been gathering for some time, and both fabric stores in town are not carrying this holiday any more. I haven't really been adding to it. 

This will make two Halloween quilts to finish next year. Its a push for me and an inner conflict. As I cut the fabric, this strange fear rises up in me, worrying that I will want it for something else. It is a risk and a challenge to quilt like this. It is at one time both freeing and frightening.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

She Calls it Falloween

The mug rug I made for Rex arrived so is safe to post pics. In one way, this little mug rug represents the balance that is a traditional concept for this month through the Equinox we celebrate.

This mug rug was pieced strips that were cut on 45 degree angle, turned, then rejoined & cut again to make a leaf shape. I used 2 pieces of batting to make it just a bit more heat resistant in case it is used as a table pot holder. Its not heat resistant enough to use for the oven.

The backside is a Halloween stripe and I love how it looks. You can see the decorative stitch I used on the top to make the leaf veins. Then I found a dark green for binding and was able to keep the two points on it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Making a List

Funny how the excitement is building for this 12 Days...swap. This is my third year participating & its been good on the receiving end but was challenging the first couple of years to put a box together.

This first partner I sent to was dying. Someone else signed her up thinking she would enjoy the box, but by the time it came, her energy was gone & she passed within a week. Since then, more than a few people I know have crossed over, and I am still alive, am still quilting. When a person is in transition, the last thing they want is to gather more stuff to leave behind.

The lessons I learned from that experience have been multi-faceted. Most of all, being alive is a joy to be celebrated.

The box that came for me that year was so very exciting. My partner works for a high end fabric store so she got many items on a deep discount. It was a lucky pairing for me.

The second year, my partner already had everything in her sewing room, and had only a few things on her list that she wanted or needed. There was a piggy bank that she went over the top receiving. Her attitude about getting more made it very hard for me to shop for her and feel good about what I sent.

However, that was when I decided I could much easier buy what I wanted or needed rather than to go through this struggle for information with others. I told the facilitators that my partner was not forth-coming with answers, and so this year, they made the initial questionnaire much more extensive. Also, I have been asking for more information on the group page since partners were assigned.

The box I received my second year was really nice again.

My third year took an attitude adjustment for me to join. It is a game, and I am not on my way out of life like my first partner, and I understand the importance of sharing preferences so that my partner can experience the joy of giving.

I found a box to keep things in one place, made up the 12 tags for each day (light blue paper with dark blue ribbons), and ordered fabric for the homemade gift. My partner is okay with stash items, and is replying to the questions quickly. I know a lot more about her and think it will be a delightful box. 

I searched my stash for cross stitch floss, finding a number of them still in their wrappers. I am not able to embroider easily to have it be fun, & want to pass these skeins along to someone who can use them. She cross stitches.

I also put together a package of basting pins that are too small for my hands. I've made a list to take shopping later in town. I found a couple of patterns online for a table pin cushion and sewing machine mat with pockets so I can create the handmade gift for Day 12. This partner loves cats, so I plan to use the cat fabric and coordinate it with a solid.

The old cliches about giving and receiving are always operative during the holidays. I understand that a lot of us are minimalists, and want things to fit in our decor. Thing is we need to be more accepting of the gifts others give US just as much as we need to be able to give. It is part of our personal growth to be on either end of that giving and receiving. Important to do both.

Monday, September 4, 2017

12 Days Swap 2017

I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up for this swap again. After filling out a profile, partners get matched and the swap begins. 

You buy 12 gifts to be opened before the holiday....one in the package for Day One....two things in a package for Day Two & so on. 

The 12th Day is a home made gift. Rules are: A $35 spending limit; #2 is to include One yard of fabric that could be cut to total one yard; #3 is to include chocolate or a sweet indicated as a fav by the partner. 

There is a Facebook page for folks to ask more questions and 'stalk' their partner. So everyone is encouraged to answer the questions to give a more rounded profile.

What I decided to do was to make 1-12 tags first. I went onto quilterscashe.com and did a copy/ paste of 12 thumbnails of quilt blocks. I've printed them off and will glue the thumbnails onto 12 tags and affix the numbers, put a hole in each tag and add a ribbon tie. 

My partner's colors include blue, so I'll buy a roll of blue for the gifts that will all go in one box. I've asked what folks would like for a handmade gift and my partner mentioned two things...one was place mats and the other was a table pin holder.

She also is a cat person, so I did buy 1 yard of cat fabric that is really, really cute. I don't have her colors in my stash, so need to purchase more for the handmade project. She wanted a table pin cushion and I found a pattern and might make myself one too.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

To Do List for 2018

While I made a commitment to finish as many UFO's I had in my closet for 2017, my goals for 2018 are a bit different, and yet are almost the same. There is only one UFO on my list (an apron) that I may finish this year. If I do not, out it goes to the thrift store if it is unfinished before 2018. I got a lot of them done this year.

As I consider what remains on my current To Do List, this is how I want to proceed:

  1.  Finish the 4 quilts for Great-Nieces & their half-Brother (GN & GNB)
  2.  Finish 3 quilts for Nephew, Niece & a Friend
  3. Finish an embroidery project (sooner than later because of Essential Tremors).
It has become more important for me to take a project from start to finish rather than starting more of them, and working on so many at one time. This will be my 2018 goal for quilting and for other things I do in life. The reason this became important to me is that there were too many projects in my bins that I kept taking out, looking at, and putting back in the bin. Over & over, I would take out the heavy bins & try to make sense of them. 

Originally, whenever I couldn't go forward on a project for whatever reasons, not having the fabrics or tools, I would set it aside and go onto something else. I discovered that nothing else was getting done in my life.

What I want to do if I reach an obstacle that makes me stop a quilting project, is to read, write, garden, do house-work, or finish the two scrapbooks I started years ago. I am converting my 100% quilting life into other parts of who I am or want to be. I don't want to get to the end of all the quilting and feel like there is nothing left for me to do. I have other interests.

This feels good and right because the stash in the closets IS getting down, plus my skills at doing some of the parts of quilting is waning with the continuing effects of Essential Tremors. I have one bin of 'kits' I made that I want to do plus all the scraps I have and will make. I can see myself continuing for several more years with what I have here. Meanwhile, I do need to attend to my other things and I want to. I've let much go far too long..and didn't leave notes-to-self with any of it either.

It can be harder to motivate myself than it is when I help motivate others. To change my life, I have to change my priorities. Its not about having the right quote, or the right anything. It is about living fully in the moment. I want to do that for myself.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Last Label

Although there is a lot of machine quilting and sewing for me to do, I am still in process of hand sewing some work, and cutting others.

Through an unforeseen event, one of the basting pins, secured on the back of the quilt, got caught in the machine and ripped a small hole in the whole cloth. The label I made for this quilt is a long rectangular piece because the hole was a few inches off center. The top shows at the top of the pic here. 

I considered using one of the focus fabric flowers as an applique and would have gone that way if this label didn't work. Again, my choice for the label color had to do with fabric I had that also worked as I embroidered it and coordinated with the backing fabric. Done.

It took me less than an hour to hand sew it on.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hand Sewing

I decided to machine quilt both seams along side each block on the Forever Baseball quilt. What I find interesting is that my new machine sounds like a jack hammer and won't hold a straight line. I've changed needles, replaced both bobbin and top thread, and still...its not like having a relationship with mutual accountability. The machine cannot tell me it is sorry or give me some song and dance about personal events. Its a machine. I have a choice.

It is half quilted & isn't a top priority to finish. Meanwhile, there is a quilt label to embroider for the Italian Garden quilt, the Weekender Tote Bag strap to finish, and a Fall mug rug to bind and a 2-hand-hotpad to cut & baste. 

The strap is pinned to the bag now, & needs stitching along the bindings of the strap, which make the inside pocket channels at the same time. Kinda loud. The mug rug is done and goes to my friend Rex who reads this blog, so the pic will post after she gets it next week.

I have enough to do before finishing the machine quilting on the Forever Baseball quilt going out mid-October. Its both finishing work on some projects and prep work for others.

Its easy to get de-railed when I am between projects. I start watching You Tube tutorials and looking on Pinterest. Suddenly, I am making photo copies of patterns & longing to make what I see on both sites. Then I pull myself back in, reminding self of my commitments to finish what is in the closet. I think part of it is really wanting to make something new out of what I see in the bins. Part of it is a long-time desire to make house block quilts.

One of my family 'out-laws' is co-sponsoring a fundraiser. I set him all sorts of smaller items (couple of totes, some table toppers and a fabric box) I had in my bins to use as part of other baskets they offer in raffles or silent auctions. What I really want is to have charity quilts made up and ready to go when they are needed and I don't have that yet. So I keep quilting. Maybe someday.