Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keeping Busy With the Holiday Coming Up!

I'm so crazy busy this week you'd think I was trying to take vacation.

Oh, wait, I am... Since Independence Day is Saturday, my office is closed on Friday.  So I decided to make it a five day weekend and take off Wednesday and Thursday.  That's great, except you know you pay for vacation BEFORE you go, and again AFTER.  Murphy's Law, or office humor, or maybe both.

What I plan to do this weekend is get some more of my UFOs done, do a little socializing, and a little shopping and crafting with the grands.  My friend Suzi and I are planning an adventure on Friday when she's also off work; we're going fabric shopping and thrifting.

I have to finish up a batch of rhubarb jam.  I already made one batch, but a new bag of stalks showed up at church on Sunday.  It was small and very light in color, so there weren't a lot of takers.  The woman who brought it encouraged me to take it rather than just leave it sitting since most folks had left. 

This is a picture of some from my first batch.  Oh my gosh is it good. 


The recipe is a modification of a freezer jam recipe I found on Pinterest.  I used sugar for the 'sweat' of the rhubarb, added some strawberries, cooked it down and thickened it with strawberry Jello.  I used sugar free Jello instead of the regular.  I was worried that it required actual sugar for thickness but it turned out fine.


I have the pink quilt top to finish.  I trimmed the sides into a rectangle... I'm just not into square quilts I guess!

The color is more like this... the other photo is too 'red'.
I trimmed off portions of either side panel to get a 42 inch by 48 inch rectangle.
And I'm still knitting on the February Ladies Sweater... maybe that will be done by Christmas.  Still it's for myself so there's no rush, and it's something to do while helping hubby watch bad TV.


So the girls and I will be gallivanting for a few days.  We're going to Goodwill to buy some tee shirts because we want to try bleach painting, and we'll visit the local library because I have books on hold.

Here's a link to a site a friend sent me -- you will enjoy it:

http://mellysews.com/2015/04/8-things-people-who-sew-wish-everyone-else-knew.html

Sew on...

Friday, June 26, 2015

UFO Green Sweater Update

I've been trying to figure out the weather in Wisconsin this spring/summer, but let's face it, it's Wisconsin we're talking about here... if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes, it's bound to change.

We had a spate of hot, muggy days, and the air conditioners have been working overtime.  I have the 'corporate sweater' at work, and at home I just fill my lap with some knitting and I'm good.

The lace on the February Lady's Sweater has been making me a little crazy lately, but I finally figured out where my errors were, and I think I have the pattern memorized now.

Remember the beginning?



Then there was the error and the frog stitching...

 
And the restart and the corrected lace...
 

and now we're into real progress:




This last group of pictures is from yesterday evening...I've got nearly 8 inches of lace, and of course it's not blocked yet, but I'm almost at waist level!  It's got to go another five or six inches, and then I can start on the sleeves.

My only regret was not putting buttonholes into the right side.  I was so furiously concentrating on the lace and the frogging and the reknitting that I lost track of them.  I'll find a toggle button or two, make loops, and say I planned it that way from the start.  Only my ardent followers will know differently! 

Happy Friday.  Knit on...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UFOs -- Again!

I've been trying to finish things up and move them off my list, both at work and at home.  I'm enjoying a bit of success at both places... feeling rather virtuous about the work pile (although it never seems to get any smaller, people keep sneaking things into it), but I'm really excited about the 'home' pile!

While at my aunt's one Friday, I was assigned with my cousin Amy to sort through four large black trash bags of donations from another cousin, who got them maybe from her mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law, I'm not entirely sure.  Non-sewers just classify anything as 'material', so we were unsure of what we would find.

I should have taken a picture of our process but didn't.  We opened the first bag and found things that were suitable for small projects like doll clothes and things that could be used in quilts and a LOT of stuff that just needed to be tossed back in the trash.  We also found many sets of the pieces of raglan tee shirts, kid sized, already cut out and with a piece of ribbing attached.  Those were interesting...

We culled down four bulging bags to two bags, each about half full, one for Amy and one for me.  No one else wanted anything.

I found a set of nine square hemmed cloths, five of which had embroidery on one edge.  No one except I knew what they could be...although some of them made good guesses.  There were also two skeins of floss.


The squares had hand picked hems with beautifully mitered corners.  There were two red, two green, and one white linen embroidered with a three-barred cross, and two purple and two blue with the aforementioned floss.

Have you guessed?


Now they are not quite as fancy as the altar cloths above, but I'm sure they were intended for such a use.  Our church has a preschool with a small altar that is used for both preschool and Sunday School activities, and it only had one cloth, a plain blue one, that is on it all year.  These various colors would be great to use to match the season in church.  I asked the preschool director if she'd use them if they were finished.  She said she would be thrilled to have them, but doesn't embroider.

I do!  Last week Saturday while Miss A was in the pool, I sat at the patio table and worked on them.  I used these plastic q-frames that I had in my resource center.  They hold well and don't mark up the project.


 The floss was already provided!


I measured the location and size of the existing crosses on the red cloth, and used a white quilt marker to draw in the lines.  The crosses are four inches in height and width, with about 3/8" between the bars.  The embroidery is a simple running stitch.


I like this frame, it's easy to hold, even for someone with arthritis, and the sewing went quickly.  I finished up while watching TV on Saturday night, and delivered the package on Sunday morning.


Another UFO crossed off the list, even if it wasn't mine originally!  But I'm still counting it.


Sew on...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pink-a-liciousness

I have never been a fan of pink.

My mom loved pink... loved it to the point that one of the houses we lived in had a pink bathroom!  In a household of 10 where seven of them were male, and there was only ONE bathroom, this was a revolutionary choice.

She paired the pink walls, shower curtain and curtains with pink/brown/beige one inch tiles on the floor and chocolate brown rugs.  It was stunning.

My sister and I shared a room.  Mom wanted to paint it pink, and I wanted to paint it any color but pink.  We compromised with lavender, sister being too small to have an opinion at the time.  I picked out a white chenille bedspread with some pink flowers and all was happy for a time.

My apartment after high school graduation was whatever anyone gave me or I found at the Goodwill.  Who knew from decorating in the 70's?  Everything was psychedelic anyway.











My house is now decorated in neutrals and blues, except for the den which is sage green.  The carpeting is all medium warm beigey-brown.  It's all very restful.  I have splashes of red and green everywhere.  I like to change up the accent colors seasonally, but it needs to remain peaceful on the eyes or I get cranky. 

Why the color treatise?  Well, last week, I posted about a scrap project, and it was all PINK.  Mostly because Miss A and I were playing with the scraps.


I wanted to make a quilt I saw in either a Modern Quilting magazine or on a website devoted to modern quilting, I can't recall.  The quilt I saw was blue tiny blocks and a gray background.  Very muted, lots of negative space and quilted expertly in the gray.

Enter my very scrappy very bright pink patches, a first attempt at this pattern.  Only now that the panels are done, I needed to find something for the two strips on either side.

Sadly, my pink bin is very small and contains small pieces.  The smaller of the two panels measured 51 inches, so I need about a yard and three eighths.  No luck

Off we go to Joann's.  Miss E and I went on Sunday while the guys were watching a very long golf tournament and the smaller kids were in the pool with Auntie Heather.  I wanted a lighter pink, and Miss E agreed. After several auditions, we decided the solids were just not right.

We ended up with this

It will be seen as a solid from four feet away, or as my aunties always say "galloping by on a horse".  I will lay it out this week and see what it looks like in real life, and if necessary I can always go to the local quilt shop and look for a better solid color.  This will make a decent back if that happens.

You know it's funny, I don't have any pink clothing except for maybe some pajamas, but I do love pink yarn!


LOL!

Sew on...





Tuesday, June 16, 2015

UFO Update

I know without a doubt that I have too much stash. I probably don't need to buy another shred of fabric or another zipper or another hank of elastic ever. 

Probably.

I also know that for a confessed fabraholic, need rarely enters into the acquisition of anything.  I sometimes think I could find a perfectly adequate combination of fabrics if I just stopped being so fussy about the right green or the right blue, but what would be the fun of that?

I found a piece of flag fabric that might do with the red/white/blue UFO from yesterday's post.  The center has a lot of navy and a small amount of lighter blue.  The flag has a lighter blue.  Not great up close but with a small beige inner border, not bad:


Here are some other things I'm working on to use up all the bits and pieces.

 
I saw this idea in a modern quilt magazine... these two panels would make two quilts.  You find a solid or something that looks like a solid, the length must equal the length of the pieced panel.  Then you cut it lengthwise, at approximately 18 inches.  You now have two pieces, 18" by length of panel, and 25-27" by length of panel.  The panel goes in the center.  Viola!  Modern quilt.
 
Sadly, my stash of pinks is all small pieces.  <sigh>  A shopping trip is in my future.  At least I can come up with some acceptable backing choices!

 
I used the two inch strips in my bin to make strip sets for the chevron quilt I did a while back.  A year (or two?) ago I made two quilts using the "Jacks" pattern above for a lady at work who was having twins. The same sized pieces were used in both quilts.  I had leftovers of each.  Ergo, more Jacks. This one just needs a wildly colored border.  I have that chosen, I just need to decide on a style.  The back is going to be green.  Green goes with anything!

 
This panel is leftover bits from my daughter's quilt -- blue strings on the left, and blue and brown Friendship Stars on the right.  The plan is to make more panels and add them with a plain strip between ever addition.  As long as they're blue or brown, and the same length, they should work.  The actual quilt will have the strips going horizontally, but I can't get the picture to rotate.
 
This panel operates under the theory of 'if I sew them together, they go together'.

This doesn't even make a small dent in the stash pile, but it does clear out about a third of the UFOs.  Wish me luck.
 
Sew on...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Working on My UFOs

It was rainy off and on this weekend, and I had major things to do such as clean out the freezer and put things back in my yarn storage closet after incident of the falling shelf.  (Thanks to DH it's back up with more anchors.)  But I DID manager to get some time in the sewing room.

Of course the sewing room looked like a bomb or at the very least a hand grenade had gone off in it, so some cleaning was in order there too.  Miss A had other things to do this weekend, so I was on my own.

I had been discussing my Almost Twilight quilt top with my friend Suzi, the 'Quilter' (the quotes are because she does such beautiful work!).  I made the top during and after a quilt retreat back in maybe 2013.  The class was taught by Jan Krueger, and I think someone else designed the quilt but never published the pattern. 

Anyway, Suzi offered to help me layer it, and said she might be able to quilt it for me for a consideration to be named at a later date.  I have fabric for backing but I think I have to piece it.

Almost Twilight -- this one isn't mine but it was the only photo I could find, someone else at the retreat made this beauty.
I pulled out the box of UFOs and found several wonderful things without borders.  Like this red/white/cream/blue beauty that just needs a big patriotic print to be a finished flimsy.  I dug in the stash and didn't find anything for this one so I set it aside for later.


I love black and white and red...some of these bowtie blocks were left over from another project and I enjoyed the look so I made more.  I want a small black inside border and then something red on the outside. I found appropriate fabrics, cut borders and bagged this one.


The one I actually finished was one of several charm square middles that were sewn, pressed and ready for borders.  This one was six blocks by eight blocks, so it's on the small side, 27 inches by 36 inches.  Now that doesn't cover much of anything but it's a good center size.

 
I dug around in the blue stash and found this jazzy stripe.  but just the stripe was too fussy next to the mainly solid or reads-like-a-solid blocks.  So I added a narrow strip of chambray blue.  The original plan was to miter the corners.  But it was kind of late in the evening and I was afraid that could get frustrating so late in the day.  And I wanted to finish something before I went to bed. 
 
Last week at Log Cabin Quilters we had a speaker who showed a number of quilts with a different border technique.  It requires knowing how to do a partial seam, but I already knew how to do that, so it sounded like I had a winner.  Here's the result.  Sorry for the fuzzy picture... I must have been yawning while I was taking it!
 


Other UFOs requiring treatment include but are not limited to (as we say in engineering):

Twirligig.. I might make some more of these blocks.  They're big, they finish 15 inches so three more and a top is almost done, although I want an applique border - flowers or something.

and
My Jelly Roll 1600.  I had a dark blue border planned for this quilt.  I hope I didn't use it for something else...
 
Others on my list:  three Christmas quilts (two tops, one that is layered and pin basted), another r/w/black lap quilt, three more charm square centers, a spools quilt, a black/white stars BOM top, and several ziplock bags filled with four patches and nine-patches that need to be sorted and put with backgrounds.
 
Oh my gosh I had better get busy!
 
Sew on...


Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Friday!

Sorry for not posting a bunch of interesting things this week.  The truth is my life has been a lot of working and not too much excitement this week!   Can it be I have been too busy living to blog?? Oh no!

I did get a new phone this week.  My old phone was not compatible with some of the workplace applications I need in order to do my job from home.  It also was not compatible with my tablet.  It kept telling me "I'm old, trade me in".  Finally did that on Sunday, now I just have to learn to use it!

My closet shelf is back on the wall.  Three of the four yarn hangers are back up. A BIG pile of clothing went to the Goodwill, so the rack is not quite so full now.  Seriously, did I think I was going to start wearing skirts again?? I kept three of the ones that were hanging there, my black funeral suite, and a couple of jackets.  The rest is being recycled.

Yesterday at 11 a.m. my favorite project manager came over promising to deliver some work no later than lunchtime.  Said work needs to be completed by end of day today.  Said work actually showed up on my desk at 4 p.m.  Yikes!  I put in a couple of extra hours and I'm planning to leave early today.  Fingers crossed...

Maybe I can get some sewing done this weekend.  That is if I can wrestle the machine away from Miss A, the newest Sewing Sister!

I love enthusiasm for new things.  She's going to be awesome once she gets her sea legs... but she can be very 'directive'.  At her young age, she's learning to work with people, but she knows I'm a dang pushover so this is how it goes...

A:  Gramma, I need to sew something.
G:  But honey, I have a project I need to work on.  Can't you do something else?
A:  I'll only sew for a little while.  I have to practice! 
G:  That's true.  Can you practice later?
A:  I really want to do it now.  Please?  I love you...
G:  OK, I'll do something else and you can sew for half an hour.
A:  An hour?  Did you say an hour?  That's pretty short!
G:  <groaning inwardly> OK, one hour.  Let's just see how it goes, OK?





Sew on...