Friday, July 24, 2015

Slow and Steady

quilt tops

Orange and Green 2

Pink2

orange flower

flower7

bunny2

hearts

So, after my freak out earlier this week, I sat down and wrote out all the projects that I need to finish by the end of the summer or by the end of the year. And that list was a bit overwhelming.

After another freak out I took a long, hard look at the list and realized that not one of those things needs to be finished. I mean, it's not life or death, right? It's just knitting and sewing pretty things for people. People who have been waiting patiently or who don't even know I'm making something for them.

That realization took off a lot of pressure. These are all things that I want to finish. This will be fun, not overwhelming!

I started with projects I would like to work on a little bit every day, like knitting. I made a calendar with each day's knitting goals...just two rows for Ian's hat, just two rows of a shawl. Easy. Each day I check off my progress and feel good about it.

I think the key to this type of goal-setting is to leave a few days each week blank. If I keep up with my goals, I will have some free days to work on anything I want. If I fall behind, I actually have time to catch up.

For larger items like quilts, making the list helped me figure out my priorities. First up: quilting all the quilts that already have backs ready to go. I like to finish up at least two quilts at once. It saves time only having to take out the humongous roll of batting once, setting up the machine for quilting once, setting it up for binding once. Anything to keep the momentum going helps!

Once those are finished, I'll sew up some quilt backs and finish up the next couple of quilts. My to-do list is totally doable!

I even found a way to fit in making a new quilt with my birthday fabrics. Each night I pick one fabric and cut all the pieces I need to make a Swoon 16 block. I put the pieces in a box, put the scraps away, fold up the remaining piece of fabric and put it in my stash. Cutting up a bright and pretty piece of fabric each night is a refreshing treat and in a month I'll have enough pieces to start sewing my quilt.

I'm trying to keep things slow and steady, trying not to get burned out. Little bits, everything will slowly be finished on time.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Too Much!

fabric

fabric2

tika masala

chard

shadows

winterwoods

bunny

fabric3

There is too much to do! And it's much too hot to want to do anything. I have thank you gifts to make and Orphan Block tops to plan and sew. I have four quilt tops to quilt...three (ideally) before the summer is over and one by the end of November. I have to start/finish a quilt for a christmas gift. I have to finish knitting a hat for Ian before it gets cold and finish another knitted thing and two woven things in time for christmas. Since I haven't put them away yet, I want to start a quilt with my birthday fabrics...possibly a Swoon or Swoon 16? And in September I want to make a Fly the Flag quilt with my Castle Peeps fabric.

Instead of working on any of this, I finished my Winterwoods sampler and immediately started stitching Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street. I've also been knitting so I haven't been totally slacking off...but I have been slacking off a lot.

Oh dear...I feel so excited to finish these things but everything takes time. And there doesn't seem to be enough time, especially when it's too hot to sew. I'm trying not to panic. I'm making a list. I'm taking it one thing at a time. It's all fun stuff...I just need to focus and prioritize. I wonder if I can get all this done by the end of the year. Sounds like a fun challenge!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Boats Against the Current

extra5

extra6

flower4

gatsby

gatsby2

gatsby3

gatsby4

gatsby5

gatsby6

There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

Great Gatsby Party
June 19, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

So HOT!

It's been hot, like, muggy, can't move, can't eat, can't sleep hot. I spent the weekend moving slowly around the studio, trying to declutter. While I was gathering everything together for sorting, I found two things I had forgotten about: an old paint by number and a box of fabric scraps.

painting2

painting3

painting4

Marie says to keep only things that bring us joy...which is why I've held on to this paint by number for so many years. I spent an entire summer one year when I was in junior high painting that thing. It was SO fun! I love that stone house and the colors of the pond and sky. It's so silly, this painting...it's not even finished. But I love it so, so much. It makes me smile whenever I look at it. So, rather than put it back in storage, I bought a frame and hung it up in the studio where I can see it every day.

lake quilt

lake quilt2

lake quilt3

lake quilt4

And the box of fabric. That box has been in my studio for years, taking up space. It's filled with fabric scraps that my uncle found in the attic of his childhood home. Some of it was cut up into squares so I know whoever it belonged to was a quilter. Which makes me think it's my great grandma German's quilting stash. How cool, right?

Only, there are a lot of synthetics and a lot of...well, not very "Crystal" prints and colors. But I can't just get rid of them, especially since they might mean something to someone in my family.

Which is why this box sat around for years...I don't want to sew with these scraps but I can't get rid of them. This weekend, though, inspired by Marie, I decided to finally sew them up and throw away whatever was left over.

So, I did! And it feels great! This quilt top is UGLY...but in a good way, you know? I'm going to back it with red gingham and send it to my aunt to keep at the lake. Every cabin needs an ugly "lake quilt". It's tradition...it's something her grandchildren will remember about spending summers up there. Plus, since the fabric is from her grandma's stash, she might recognize some of the prints.

So, for a hot, lazy weekend, I managed to get quite a bit done. The studio still isn't decluttered but I'm one box down already!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Orphan Block Project: Amy's Blocks

Today's orphan blocks are from Amy. Amy sent me some blocks and then found more the next day...and then sent those too! And also a roll of washi tape. I'm probably the only person in blogland who DOESN'T have washi tape, but now I do!

Amy loves making scrappy quilts, as you can see!

amy blocks

amy blocks2

amy blocks3

I really like the pattern that the first blocks make...I'm thinking that there might be a way to arrange them into a sort of star layout...or something. Not really sure yet. The orange/pink/green blocks will probably go in the "bright" quilt. Thanks Amy!!

I've been decluttering for the past two weeks and haven't been sewing at all. I finished the bedroom and have started in the studio. I want to completely finish the studio before I start sewing again. It's going to feel so good once everything has a home.

So, this project is on just a tiny bit of a hold until I finish, hopefully tomorrow. Then Sunday can be for sewing! I miss it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Orphan Block Project: Sara's Blocks

Today's orphan blocks are from my friend Sara. Sara likes all the things: quilting, cross-stitching, spinning yarn, knitting and answering my endless knitting questions (I hope). She's just started a podcast on her blog: knottygnome crafts.

Sara also makes bags and handspun yarn and sells them in her shop. I can personally recommend the project bags and her handspun yarn. I'm in the process of picking out shawl patterns that will show off two beautiful skeins I bough from her a while back...and then I'll use her project bags to hold my projects. It will be so awesome!

Anyway, Sara sent some really great orphan blocks...

A pinwheel:
sara block

Clamshell (made with Drunkards Path blocks):
sara block2

Color coordinated scrappy log cabins:
sara block3

And the start of a medallion quilt:
sara block6

sara block5

Don't you just love that last block...it's like 7 blocks in one! Thanks Sara!

Now that I have a larger group of blocks, I'm ready to start scheming up my second orphan block quilt. Sara's blocks are very bright and go well with my own blocks and several others that I've received. I'd like to combine all these blocks into one scrappy, busy, wonderfully bright quilt with lots of negative space and low volume prints. I'm going to check out flickr for some inspiration. I'll keep you posted!