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!

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!).

 

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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!

 

2015? Already?

So, I look at my phone today and it shows me that it’s January 3rd, 2015!  Really, we’re in 2015?  How did that happen?  When did that happen?  Okay, logically, I know that 3 days ago was when we moved into 2015, but mentally, I’m just not  there.

Over the course of the last few days, while I’ve been down with the flu bug, I’ve paid little attention to social media, except the occasional browse through Facebook.  Hey, who doesn’t browse FB when they’re bored?  One of the things that I saw mentioned was that the movie “Back to the Future II” was set in 2015.  My first thought, then where are the flying cars!  LOL

That got me to thinking about the year change and our expectations or lack of them.  Resolutions, intention words, changes, I don’t particularly set any of them.  And yet, always during December, in the darkest of the long nights, I find myself looking forward.  And thinking about changes I’d like to make.  Just as I always spend a few days near the end of January, when the sun is shining and the temps are mild cleaning house.  Or in February when I start browsing the garden centers, even though it’s way too early to plant.  Some things just come naturally at certain times of the year.

Earlier in December, I was thinking of regaining my health (knee injury) and maybe dropping the weight I put on before my low thyroid was diagnosed.  Did I set a resolution to start on New Years Day?   No, I’m too impatient to wait for a day three to four weeks away.  Did I make progress, well, for a little while, until the holidays hit, and then I got the flu.  Will I go back to the changes I had implemented (drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking daily walks), most definitely!  As soon as I’m truly back on my feet. Which hopefully will be in the next few days (did I mention my patience level?).

I suppose, if I’m honest, I do have intentions for 2015.  Several months back, myself and a friend both decided that we would work more out of our stash this year.  Now that won’t be hard for her, stash, and scrappy, are her preferred way of quilting. But for me, I’ve never really held to working out of either for any length of time.  Will I manage it?  Who knows?  I will give it a good try, and I do have a decent stash to work out of.  And I did order in some special fabric for a planned project.  After all, now that it’s here, it’s stash, right?

Another intention is to do more sharing of what I’ve learned over the years.  Not exactly teaching, but lectures and workshops.  I guess workshops are teaching in their own manner.  I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching a teenager how to make clothes this last year and it’s re-ignited my love of garments.  Now if only my body was as easy to fit as it was 25 years ago!  I’ve booked two lectures (quilting related) for 2014 so far, and look forward to them.

Of course, as Quilt Show Co-Chair for the Lake Norman Quilters  Guild show in August, I know that I’ll be busy with organization.  But I’d like to see that organization extend into my home office as well.  Truly I would.  I dream of having all the paperwork caught up to date, but there’s that patience thing again to sit down and actually do the paperwork!

And I’m taking some online courses to refresh my bookkeeping skills.  Who knows where that may lead, but learning, or  re-learning, is never wasted!

I’ve started advertising my longarm quilting services again, as I do miss the interaction with quilters and enjoy seeing their finished quilts.

I’ve decided to cut back on the rabbitry.  I have nine Angora rabbits now and as they slowly leave me (as they inevitably will), I won’t be replacing them.  While I love the breed, they take a lot of time that I’d much rather spend elsewhere.  And I still have the 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 16 chickens here to care for.  Why yes, I do believe I am an animal magnet!  LOL

So, those are a few of the “intentions”, or “resolutions”, or changes that I’d like to see happen in 2015, and beyond.  After all, why limit it to just the next 365 362 days?