New Year, New Intentions

2018 has begun and it’s time to get back to work after the holidays.  Like many I know, I didn’t set resolutions for this year.  Nor did I set a “word” as I’ve done in the past.  But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have intentions.  The same intentions that I’ve had for a bit now.  To find my best health, and learn to embrace this aging process.  To make quilts for my family, which are coming along slower than I wanted, but still progressing.  To find joy in the everyday things.  To share my love of several different crafts.  And finally to learn to laugh again.

To reach one of my goals I’ve started paying more attention to what I eat, how much sleep I get and walking.  And I replaced my FitBit Clip with a FItBit Alta HR.  My intention was to wear the Alta HR 24/7 to track steps, heart rate, and sleep.  That didn’t work out as expected.  I am left-handed, but grew up in a right-handed world learning crafts like knitting and sewing.  That caused me to be almost ambidextrous.  So, despite the right or left handed setting I was loging false steps.  To that end I wear the Alta HR when I’m truly exercising to monitor heartrate, or at night to monitor sleep, but have gone back to the Clip for daily monitoring.  And I’ve joined a few step challenges and an online walking group amongst other knitters.

And I’ve returned to teaching on a larger basis.  Starting next month, I have at least one class monthly that I’m teaching.  Classes will be posted on Quilters Loft’s blog and I’ll keep you updated here as well.
For now it’s time to get the day going.  Run a few errands with the husband in is lovely weather, then come back to my warm studio and work on a custom quilt and class samples.

  
Stay warm!  

Little Things

I have two of a name brand machine, a reliable, well known brand.  And I have two of the same model patchwork foot, one for each machine.  One machine is older, possibly 8-10 years, the other machine is new, just over a year.  One patchwork foot was bought when I purchased the older machine, the other was bought after I purchased the newer machine.

 

I’ve been working on a lot of little blocks lately, and all have been a smidge undersized.  Not enough to be earth shattering, nor to stress about, but still, not quite right.  Today I decided to make the sample block for The Splendid Sampler that starts this weekend.  And it was almost 1/8″ undersized when I was done.  Now that, for me, was unacceptable and no way to start a new quilt.

So Mike and I talked about it as needle setting didn’t adjust the difference.  He suggested I coat the inside of the guide on the foot with either nail polish or something similar to make up the difference required (about 2 threads worth).  Then I remembered I had another one of the same foot with the old machine.

Now I had assumed that I had the old foot with the old machine, and the new foot with the new machine.  But on retrieving the foot with the old machine, I discovered differently.  Looking at the two feet, old to new, you can see a difference in the thickness of the guide on the side of the foot and a slight difference in the size of the foot itself.  Not much, but a difference.  So before I “adjusted” the foot that was on the machine, I switched feet around and re-pieced the block.  I used new fabrics, but all the same stitch length, cutting technique, everything, exactly the same.  And when it was done it was a perfect 6-1/2″ unfinished!!!!!!

 

Sometimes it’s the little things that make me smile!

Pieced with old patchwork foot, 1/8" short of size.
Pieced with old patchwork foot, 1/8″ short of size.

 

And after:

Yellow and white block pieced with old patchwork foot. Blue and pink block pieced with new patchwork foot.
Yellow and white block pieced with old patchwork foot. Blue and pink block pieced with new patchwork foot.

365 Challenge to date

This year I’ve taken on a few challenges that I hope will improve my skills.  Even after 28 years of quilting, and 48 years of sewing, I feel the need to improve my skills.  Or maybe it’s because of that time span that complacency sits in if we don’t keep looking to improve.  Either way, I’ve taken on two year long challenges.  One has already started, the 365 Challenge The Ultimate Sampler.   http://www.365challenge.com.au/    The other one hasn’t started yet, it starts the weekend and is from Pat Sloan called The Splendid Sampler.  http://www.thesplendidsampler.com/

 

The 365 Challenge I am doing “scrappy” and that’s another challenge for me, I’ve not worked completely scrappy ever in the 28 years I’ve been quilting.  And I’ve already had to run to a dear friend once for a “scrappy” lesson.   To balance that, I’ll be working the Splended Sampler using the Hyde Park collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  Which is what I usually do, work with a controlled color selection.  Rarely controlled by a fabric collection, but usually controlled in a limited amount of fabrics.  Hyde Park

To date, I am current on the 365 Challenge.  I took a picture this morning of all the blocks that I’ve done just to check that my “scrappy” is working for me.  The main color theme is a brown/red/gold with a little blue-gray thrown in for accents.  It’s not the color scheme I started with.  I started with brown/green/gold, but when I added in the green I started disliking every block I made.  That was when I went to my friend for some scrappy advice and after a couple hours of back and forth she asked my “why” I was using brown with green when I like browns with reds and blues with greens!  One of those eye opening moments!  LOL  365-to-date

 

The colors in the pic are not quite right.  It was taken with the I-Pad as I can’t find my camera at the moment.  The golds aren’t quite that bright, nor is the orange in the lower right corner, but the browns are that dark.  I can see where my color distinction in the first week of blocks was not as well defined as it is in the later blocks.  I can also see where I need a few more brown only blocks to tie together what I’ve done so far.

 

I’m hoping that periodically taking a picture like this will help develop my eye for what is and isn’t working together.  Maybe one day I’ll be one of those totally scrappy quilters, but I can tell already that it’s going to be a long road to get there!