Quilt and Sew In Retreat

This past weekend (Thursday through this morning) I attended a Quilt and Sew In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC put on by  heARTS Desire Creations.  This was the first “retreat” I’ve ever attended.  I’ve attended quilt shows and fiber festivals many times.  I’ve taken classes along the years, but this was totally different and refreshing.  First, there was no “must do” agenda.  Participants were free to come and go as they pleased, to sew or not sew as they pleased, and no expectations were implied!  A chance for me to totally relax.  I had no phones, except what I chose to use my cell for, no animals demanding attention, no chores that had to be done, just free time to create as I wanted to (or not).

 

The lighting in the room was great!  I took my Ott Light and never took it out of the bag.  Everyone had their own table to work on, but the tables were in clusters so you had company to talk with if you wanted to.  And there was a lot of joking and kibitzing over the weekend.

Thursday after arriving, I set up for sewing, and did a little.  My goals for the weekend were to finish the hand-quilting on “Hope”s border, to make some scrap blocks for my 2009 Block in the Box from Lake Norman Quilters, and to make some Hunter’s Star blocks for that same project (aka UFO), as well as to spend some time knitting.  I accomplished some of them and would have finished all if not for my machine, but I’ll tell you about that later.

 

First I finished the hand-quilting on the border of Hope.  This was from a long ago class by Susan Brubaker-Knapp on hand applique.

Hope

I had originally thought to hand quilt the entire thing.  Quite an ambitious project with the arthritis in my hands that I quickly gave up on.  I machine quilted the center and decided I would only do the borders by hand.  Finished one motif and gave it up for “another time” (UFO).  With the arthritis more under control now than it was back then, I spent one day hand quilting the remaining border motifs while away.  And while my stitches are far from the even tiny ones that I used to make years ago, I’m pleased that I can still hand quilt a little.

Hope-border

After that I started working on some scrappy (kind of) blocks.  I had no plan for these.  Before I left I looked at a couple of my Accuquilt Go Dies and thought “these should go together” and cut some pieces.  Then the play started and I like the results.  These are for the aforementioned 2009 Block in a Box project that I hope to finish soon.

Scrap-block

 

Of course the project needed more blocks, so I used the GO to cut out pieces for eight Hunters Star blocks using the colors above and a white as background.  While I didn’t finish them, I am well along.   All the halves are pieced.

Hunter-Star-halves

And two of the blocks were pieced, but I’ll be re-doing them as I’m not happy with the centers.

Hunter-Star-Points

The fault of the centers was my machine.  I took along a 1941 Featherweight that I just love.  And while it goes great for some things, when I encountered the bulk of the center, the machine consistently wobbled around the bulk rather than over it.  I did this block twice, then tried on another block and each time the same thing, wobbles between the arrows so I put it aside to finish on one of my newer machines.

wobble

In the evenings I did some knitting, the red sock is a test knit for Mary Hough Designs, and the striped sock is my go to plain vanilla sock.

socks

 

Of course, who among us, goes on retreat, or on vacation and never shops at all?  And I did do some shopping, at both of the two quilt stores in Boone where I added to my collection of batiks and splurged on a jelly roll (I LIKE those things!).

 

DSCN1396

As well as the yarn store in Blowing Rock.

DSCN1398

Will I go again?  Most likely if I either the husband or the son are going to be home that weekend to care for all my critters!  If you get a chance, I highly recommend this particular retreat as a fun long weekend away!

 

Frogging

Frogging is a word that’s used in two of the mediums I work with, quilting and knitting. In both cases it means the same thing, although the technique is different, it means to “rip it out” ( rippit, ripppit).

I have done my fair share of frogging in quilting over the years, but not so much in knitting. Not because everything I knit is perfect, but because I used to just toss the bad knit on a shelf and forget it. Easy to do when you’re working with the small amounts of yardage needed for hats and gloves, and even socks. Yes, I do have socks that don’t fit in my closet.

But when you start knitting sweaters, with the quantity of yarn needed, that just seems wasteful. And at the expense of the yarn (usually a wool blend) and the care required, finding someone who would fit the garment isn’t usually an option.

About two years ago, I started a cardigan, Nantucket Red in Blue, that I loved the designers garment. BUT, I wanted wool while the original was in cotton. AND I wanted long sleeves, while the original was short sleeved. AND it was two years ago, before I started taking many knitting classes.

The last week or so, I’ve spent a lot of time finishing the fronts and the sleeves. It went into the UFO knitting pile almost two years ago with just the back and half the first front knit.

Two nights ago I seamed all the pieces together using a technique for invisible seaming that I learned at SAFF in 2013. And then I knit the neckline. And THEN I tried it on.

The sweater was inches too wide, probably about two sizes. The modified sleeves went down to my fingertips and had a funny bump/wing at the shoulder seam, and the neckline being that large was too big to stay on my shoulders.

So frogging began. But I had learned that seaming technique really well, and it was late last night.

And I cut the front!

So today in my sitting time, I’ll continue to frog this swearer, hoping to save as much yarn as I can. When i’m done, I’ll weigh the yarn, figure out what I have left and find an appropriate pattern for it. Then the next sweater I won’t take 2 years to finish! (I hope!)

IMG_0200.JPG

A New App and Renewed Intentions

Blogging has taken a backseat to living life over the last couple months. It wasn’t intentional, it just happenned. Slowly over time, one procrastination at a time, blogging slipped to the back of my plans. And then a few things happenned. DH gifted me with an iPad for the holidays. Syncing it to my phone installed the long forgotten because it didn’t work well on the phone iPad app. And I received a comment on my last post, which was apparently back in October, that made me actually look at the blog.

As there is no way to catch you up on everything that has happened I’m going to try to summarize.

Quilting. Most of the last quarter of 2013 was spent on customer quilts that were gifts, hence, no photo’s at the time.

Dogs. We lost two in the last quarter and now have only the two young ones. But they are a handful in themselves.

Rabbits. I now have 10 angora’s and am still running 2 meat rabbit lines. I am thinking of removing the meat rabbit lines as we don’t eat much meat here and I’m stocked for several months.

Chickens. All are healthy, although egg production has been extremely poor over the winter, as to be expected. I did add a rooster to the flock, a RIR (Rhode Island Red) and he’s a beauty. Funny how the male in nature almost always carries the more attractive markings, and yet as a society we put so much pressure on females to adhere to unrealistic cosmetic beauty standards. But that’s another discussion for another day.

Knitting. I spent lots of time during my winter break knitting and it was so relaxing! I even finished a sweater I had started almost a year ago! And it fits!

Spinning. Well it was non-existent while the tree was up over the holidays. The tree goes in the same corner, so the wheel went into storage for almost a month, and while it’s out, I’ve yet to return to it regularly.

That’s the update. Now I need to figure out how to add pictures to this post and then, possibly, the blogging may be a bit easier to schedule.

20140115-090525.jpg

%d bloggers like this: