November already?

Again I find myself thinking……where has the time gone?  It seems like you miss a day here or there and the next thing you know it’s months later.  But that’s a good thing in some ways, a sign of a full life possibly?  Okay, that’s what I’m telling myself as I realize how long it’s been since I’ve updated here.

 

So many things have happened since my last post, mostly all good, We finished that bathroom remodel that took forever, and then I started playing catch up, then summer came and I spent as much time as possible in the sunshine.  It’s now fall and after a crazy October, life is settling in.  But instead of trying to catch up on the last several months, I’m just going to forge ahead with what’s going on now.  (You can catch up by following me on Instagram @jwsodypop if you’re curious).

Currently I’m bouncing back and forth between the office, customer quilting, making quilts for the family, and learning to weave.  I say learning to weave because I don’t believe I’ll ever have fully learned everything that can be taught about weaving, it’s a journey, just like quilting.

No pictures to show of customer quilts at this time, I have several in the lineup for overall quilting this month, but do have spaces open for quilts to be done before Christmas if you’re interested.

The weaving I can show, right now I have two projects going.  I’ve got a sampler in progress on the Leclerc Medico, a small 22″ wide 4 shaft table loom.  I’m using a cotton warp and a laceweight Alpaca variegated yarn for the weft.  This is to hang in the weaving room as a reference for what different patterns look like woven and whether or not I need to do a floating selvedge with a particular pattern (some need it, some don’t).

Sampler in cotton and alpaca

 

And I’ve finished some trial kitchen towels using Peaches and Cream as my warp.  It makes a nice soft, fluffy, absorbent towel, but does need care in handling on the loom as it tends to stretch. This is my favorite one now that it’s off the loom.

 

On the Leclerc Artistat floor loom, I’ve started a shawl.  I’m using a silk/merino blend for the warp, with a tencel floating selvedge.  So far I’ve used two different merino yarns in the weft, with a tabby tencel spacer between them.  I know, foreign language to some of  you, but the weavers out there will understand.  I’m working this at 28″ wide for an end width after wet finishing of 25″ (hopefully).

 

In the studio, I’ve been trying to sew, but I have three distractions  now:

Oscar (on the right) and Sasha (on the left) came to live with us and Casey (center) a couple months ago as kittens from the shelter.  You can imagine what type of kitten-proofing needed to be done, and is currently still being upgraded, as these little ones have grown and gained skills!  They keep me laughing and have integrated well into the family.  Last week the final hold-out on getting along, Ciarra and Sasha, came to terms with each other.  We now have a modicum of peace in this house.

And in spite of that, I’m making progress on my daughter’s quilt.  It’s been slow progress on this one, and has stalled progress on the other family quilts, but that’s another story for another day.  Not a bad story, just a challenging one, all my fault!  But finally the rows are going together and I’m back on track (I hope!).

The chickens are once again molting, the angora rabbits are enjoying the cooler temperatures we’ve had lately, and the dogs are settling down as they get older. So that’s an update for the beginning of November and I hope not to wait too long before I have another update to give.  Oh and this long time “right hand thrower” has learned continental knitting….. a game changer for me…… I guess I do have another update for another day!

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!