Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May and still on the road ...

With thoughts of being back in our home, we discovered that the needed repairs still were not finished and we had a meeting in NE to go to with friends on the weekend. Our only alternative, as there were no hotel rooms to be had, was to take our tent and utilize our already paid for RV site. We were the only tent in the RV park but we did have 50Amp electrical service to our tent. And ....

NO sewing machine, no sewing; the withdrawal is awful. So awful in fact, that I went out and did something that I had never thought I would do - bought the makings to do hexagon. Why???? I absolutely do not like the traditional hexagon quilts, especially Grandmother's Flower Garden. But they are so easy to carry in the car and feel like I am accomplishing something. Then I found a book that cemented my already budding idea of a modern hex wall hanger. [photo of book]. I bought some FQs to work with, hex cardboard templates (I will make my own from now on with index cards), glue stick, sewing needles, thread and even proper scissors. As my idea for this wall hanger has evolved, I realize that the colorway that I bought in the FQs do not really work for what I have in mind. So back to the drawing board, or getting new FQs - LOL.

I did take a trip to a couple of LQSs where I purchased the FQs and supplies as well as a couple of books and a piece of coloring fabric for a little boy snuggle quilt. 1-1/2 yes will make 4 quilts per the owner of the one shop so now I have to buy some space fabrics to go along with it. This quilt shop was found in Lamar, MO under a sign that said "Scream 'til your husband stops" which could be great identifier in their online presence. Unfortunately it isn't and the shop was hard to find. In fact, we drove right by it and had to turn around, and in torrential rain too.[photos]

 I continue to work on the Christmas Crackers, minus the beads. The beads will be done once back in the RV. Almost finished #5 now. Half done!!!!! Well, maybe not as I also have to make the cracker once I am finished with the needlework. [photos]

Oh oh, got a call from the longarmer - Blake's quilt will be finished the end of the week so will be able to pick it up on Monday. Am real excited about that. As I have found myself in the mid top 20 in the Stashbuster's UFO Challenge, I badly need a finish. Now I will have one. Just the binding to do once I get it back and I have it all cut out ready to go!

We are hoping to be back in the RV by the end of next week. We shall see ... wish us luck ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April and "homeless"

Trying to keep abreast of the various projects on the go while being "homeless" is hard, very hard. The sewing machine is being carried in the back seat of the car but rarely sees the light of day. The projects found in the "sewing bag", a non disposable shopping bag to be exact, are incomplete as are the supplies that were brought to accompany them. The needlework is all about finishing what I have brought in the way of threads and then going on to another, leaving the unfinished in a state of flux. And the knitting is done haphazardly. You see, our home, the RV, is currently in the shop, for what started out as yearly maintenance. We are unable to live in it as we normally do because it is inside the shop, not in the parking area. Thus we are doing car trips and hoteling it, hence the sewing lament.

The numbers game continues and according to the Yahoo group many are forging ahead quite happily. As for me, there is no progress to be reported. And now there are 2 more numbers to work on for April.
-> #4, the  "I Believe in Family" wall hanger - heck, I don't even know where this one is at the moment.
-> #32, not that I have a #32, so it is the last on the list, the Christmas Tree wall hanger. I know where this one is but, unavailable due to living circumstances.
And now, YIKES, the May numbers are out:
-> #9, "Paris in Spring" the backing incorporating the row by row for my friends quilt World Travels
-> #88, and no, I don't have one for #88 so will have to choose one of the previous months selections to work on

And then I also need to work on Christmas Toys and OUR Quilt from February, finish a block from Rainbow Jane from March, and heaven knows what other projects that are on the go, such as the Jinny Beyer Row by Row and the sample for World Travels to name but two.

I did get my Canadian Santa x3 back from the finisher. Not exactly as I had wanted but cute nonetheless. Guess I need to learn how to do this so as to be able to translate my ideas more accurately. (photo) If I want to use them for a Christmas gift, I had better get busy with the American ones now and followed by Mrs. Santa.

Maybe I will get to do better in May. They promise us our RV by the middle of the first week in May....

Aaaaaargh! Update down the road....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Christmas comes on the 25th of each month ...

On Stashbusters someone, I don't know who, dedicated the 25th of each month to be the day that you work on your forthcoming Christmas list. To date I have never participated in this - today being different. I am working on the Jinny Beyer 2014 Row by Row. This is going to be a Christmas gift for a sibling. Rather than make it into a row, I turned the focal fabric 1/4 turn and made a wall hanger:
 Today I went out a bought the backing and will sandwich it and get started on the quilting tonight. The binding will be plain Kona black.
I was good in this arena too and only bought enough to do the backing, and nada más. This will be, when completed, the first of 4 row by rows that I committed to making on the UFO Challenge as well.

But Christmas really did come today. I picked up my mail and there sat the package with my Jinny Beyer fabrics for her Craftsy BOM (free too). [] I am doing a challenge for this one with my quilting group in Panama - show and tell to be attended in January, 2016 (which to my way of thinking is not enough time to complete the Dec BOM and get it sandwiched, quilted, and bound before leaving on the 6th of January). 

I also received the fabrics for my mother's cross-stitch quilt for my niece.
She has 5 of these horse subject cross-stitch squares, not enough to really make a twin size quilt. So I suggested that she incorporate the squares into a pre-printed panel(s) themed quilt. This is what we came up with... The lower right is a panel, the upper right is the backing and the squares and panel will be framed in the wood-grained fabric. Oh oh, I forgot about the white - guess I need to hit the stash in the storage unit before we leave here. This will be an interesting quilt to do and won't count for any of my SB's challenges - just a helping hand for my mother. I thought about putting the panel in the upper left hand corner and shadow quilting the horses with the cross-stitched squares down the right hand side. Will have to lay it out to see if I like it or not. There is also a panel of smaller blocks I believe in this series which I could use if need be. All of this will be a good chance for me to learn my new EQ7 for Mac.

It is always like Christmas when we go and pick up the mail.

Anyone up for participating in this year's Row by Row shop hop? The theme is water so the rows should be real interesting - in fact a few have already been announced and examples are:

Drop a line if you are ...

I have been working on the Granny squares for the coat that I am wanting to make. It is the project that I do while we travel short distances on the RV. This will not be so prolific now as I recently got my learner's permit for the RV and DH will be wanting me to drive this thing - not my favorite thing to do. I am now wondering if I am going to have enough wool in the end - if not, I need to order as it took forever to get what I have.

And last but definitely not least, I finished the flimsy for Blake's quilt. I made it extra long for a growing young man. I am actually holding it up at arm's length and still it bunched on the floor.
 The photo doesn't do it justice but alas, it has gone to the longarmers for finishing. I will bind it with the same blue found in the outer-most border.

I feel prolific and yet when compared to others, I am not. Still I feel a great sense of pride in what I have done. I have a lot of wanna do's but am realistic in managing what I now get started to allow me the luxury of doing what I want, when I want and can.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stashbusters Numbers Game

Every year I rejoin the Stashbusters UFO Challenge as it invigorates me to finish some of the projects that I have on the go. 2015 is no different. What is different is the addition of a Numbers Game this year. In this challenge 2 numbers are drawn at the beginning of each month and those are then the corresponding UFO projects as listed that you work on for that month. You don't have to necessarily complete them, but you do have to work some on them. What a great incentive for people like me.

January's numbers were give a few days early because of the holidays. These numbers then were #8 and #35. For me this was my Spicy Spiral UFO for #8. This was a revisiting of a UFO that was color coordinated for our previous RV. So I added a coordinating color from the newer RV and renamed it Old Meets New.
As I didn't have a #35 listed, the last number listed takes it place and for me that was #25, the microwave bowls for DGD which she should have had for Christmas. Great way to push me to get her bowls done and sent off to here. They were completed and off within a week of our return from the cruise (with her).

And then came February's numbers, #2 and #64. Again as my UFO list doesn't go as high as this, I was designated to work on the last listed one which is OUR Quilt - a sampler quilt  made out of a red/silver/grey/black medley.
 So far I have made 6 blocks out of a total of 16 blocks. Just a few more to go here. This will be a holiday quilt for our bed and as such will be a slightly oversized queen size. Luckily for me it doesn't have to be completed until the end of November.  

#2 on the other hand happened to be a quilt,  Christmas Toys that would be found in the storage unit, not the RV. Lucky for me I knew exactly where it was in the unit and we were already scheduled for a couple of days of cleaning and revamping in it. So I was able to get it out and bring it. Horrors on horrors, I found that it is simply too small to be anything but a baby cuddle quit. I sure didn't realize that was how small it was when I was piecing it in Panama in 2010. Up it went onto my makeshift design wall (hanging from the valence in the main area of the RV) for reviewing, mulling and planning.  And to add insult to injury, not only did I find the flimsy, but I also found 2 more panels each different presentations of the same venue along with the coordinating fabrics. 
 Guess I will simply cut up the coordinating fabrics and make kits out of them and hence they will become UFOs for next year if I don't get them done this year! They will stay here in the RV with me at least until I either start to work on them or they begin to irritate me. Then they will be returned for awhile to the storage unit.

And now, here we are in March and 2 more numbers have presented themselves; #7 and 17. Well, #7 was completed in December (DGS#1s quilt, a Christmas present) and I never took it of my list. So once again I am going to be replacing it, but this time with continuing to work on February's numbers My #17 is my Rainbow Jane, a very longterm project as the blocks are small and often using techniques that I am not overly thrilled with. This is something that I can work a little on but here again, I only have one of the 24 BOM kits that make up this quilt here with me and no trip to the storage unit in the foreseeable future. I think that I have completed maybe 5 or 6 of the 225 in total. Yes, when I looked it up, it was 5 completed blocks, 4 blocks and 1 triangle.  
 This doesn't show the finished triangle so I have to now update the Rainbow Jane blog as well as find the photo of the green "spanish moss" triangle and put it into the template. I will be able to work on the ones that I have here with me and that will work for this part of the challenge. Both surely won't help me finish up a UFO however. 

Interspersed between working on the Numbers Game, I also worked on other UFO's and projects. The Main one for me was to finish up Danny's Request[ed] quilt. He wanted one that wouldn't get too dirty, or at least show that it was dirty when he came in from bicycling and sat on the beige la-z-boy. This one, per request, had to cover the whole chair as well as the foot rest so that he could rest his "sweaty sunscreeny legs" on it. It became a 60x90" Jelly Roll Race, quilt-as-I went, interpretation. As I found the colure rather dull and dreary, I added splashes of brilliant strips in his favorite colors of lime green and pinks. 
 Oddly enough, however, these colors go great in our bedroom. This is good as I still have 2 jelly rolls of the same colors left and will now plan an everyday quilt for the bed.

After having completed DHs quilt,  my main focus in the UFO Challenge turned to DGS#2s quilt. Today I got it to the flimsy stage and will get it off to the longarmer in the morning, as it is way too big for me to tackle on my Miss Betsy easily. It is 52x88" as DGS#2 is now 6'4" and still growing at 16y/o. (Way too long for me to hold up and show the true length of it - me at 5'6").  The original pattern was called Bohemian Quilt by Joanie Holton & Melanie Greseth of Tailormade by Design (found in Quiltersworld, Winter 2014). I am unsure yet as to what I will call it, but it has to be something that suits both the style of the quilt and my DGS#2.

As I go along, working on the not identified numbers but listed UFOs, I find other quilts in some state of having been worked on in the past and keep adding them to the list. And so it goes, working towards the end result in the Numbers Game and UFO Challenge and that is to reduce the numbers of UFOs and subsequently the stash. 

As a no-buy rule does not apply in this household, I am sure that I will accumulate more stash before the year is out, even though I try to pick a project that is stash oriented first. Think that I will have to start keeping tract of the "in vs out" and see if I am reducing any at all. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

you can make do without buying ...

Today I received an email from a friend who just returned from a family visit in Holland. She sent along a photo of the quilt that she and her sister made while there. It was made from scarves that their mother wore and were all sorts of textures and fabrics. What a feat that would be. They solved their immediate problem of fabric stretching by using lightweight fusible interfacing.
 All the scarves were ones that their mother had worn over time. 

This led me to remember how we were teaching the ladies in the quilting group in Panama that you can use other things to quilt with other than store bought cottons. First we started with making aprons from dress shirts and learning how to appliqué´by adorning the aprons. Then I went one step further and made a baby quilt out of chambray shirts.
They loved the quilts but unfortunately it had too much blue for a little girl and way too much pink for a boy. They are very gender oriented there. Still it sure was a warm one, with flannel backing and heavy duty batting. Then I went on to show them how to make quilts from polo knit shirts.

 In this one I purposely made a mistake in the pattern to see if they would see it. Some did immediately and others couldn't find it for nothing.
In Panama we were fotunate, if you can call it that, to have a ngo of sorts that would gather unclaimed/no longer applicable (in the case of logos and such) new clothing from places like Lands End and resell them. We convinced them to donate the XXL and XXXL to the women's group to use for quilting. Otherwise you bought a XXXL chambray shirt for $2 and a polo knit shirt in XXL and XXXL for $3. I will be going there when I go back next January to pick up some cotton shirts to use for donation quilts.

All of this was stimulated by the "new" discussions about the "new" find of very good cotton for quilting - used clothing stores with men's cotton shirts, women's cotton dresses, and so on. "New"? I don't think so and yet it is being written about in various blogs as if it is. Another great source of cotton is my DHs shirts. Every once in awhile one will match exactly with what I am doing and the shirt will "disappear". LOL 

Some members of Stashbusters are on what has been labeled "no buy" status. They shop their stash only unless it is for things like batting and backing. This is a noble venture, but for me impractical as my stash is in storage and I am in the RV a long long ways from it. So if I get the urge, I buy for a project, but don't collect random pieces of cloth. If I have a couple of coordinating fabrics that work well together in the RV I will buy to augment but nothing more. At least I can say that I am rarely tempted to just buy. 

What type of sources do you have that aren't necessarily the quilting shop's fabric?

Back home and trying to find my mojo

Well, isn't life just like that sometimes: As I tried to copy and paste the post into a new post, I completely deleted it. I can't find it anywhere. So I will have to redo completely. (originally from Sept. 2014)

As we settled into our home environment after our travels to Africa   (the story of our African Adventure)and then DisneyWorld with DGS#2, it was a difficult time for my mojo. It appears that it wanted to stay on vacation and I couldn't really initiate anything that I wanted to. Not sure if it was because I have so many looming projects, or just that being back in the home environment and still in the traveling mode, that it is hiding from me. Or yes, maybe it is because as soon as we returned from DisneyWorld, we immediately started planning another travel experience.

You see, after we returned home we bought a new for us home.
 You can see it here: And so of course we had to plan a new trip to try it out. The Mississippi Blues Trail and the King Biscuit Blues Festival for the month of October.
 The trail travels all the way from Memphis (or even Chicago) to Vicksburg and then on into Biloxi, MS, along the Mississippi. Which is not to say that you are on the river road along the river. 

 This is my t-shirt.
  With all of this traveling I delighted my mojo in that I never hardly had Miss Betsy humming at all.

All in all however, I did manage to accomplish a few things as indicated in my previous update.
~ I finished DGS#1's quilt and presented it as a Christmas gift.
~ My Christmas blocks have been completed and are now back from the finishers. Love them.
~ the front of the double-sided Halloween has been completed.
~ My Canadian Santas are currently with the finisher.
~ I finished my Spanish Travels quilt.
~ My Santa Stamp cross stitch project to the point of needing to put it into some form of finishing.
 So how should I finish it? A pillow, a wall hanger, framed....

As well, I started or worked on:
~ DGS#2's quilt
 an oddly coloured rendition of the color way for his quilt
 The first row was finished before the new year rang in.
~ my Granny Square Coat
~ a halloween/thanksgiving table cloth (quilted for the picnic table)
~ a halloween pumpkin wall hanger (a wannabe Eleanor Burns)
~ an country Santa cross stitch with which to learn how to stuff and finish on my own
~ a blinking lights Christmas Tree wall hanger
~ Danny's Request[ed] quilt which I am going to try my hand at a Jelly Roll Race quilt, modified to my way.
 the backing - try and manipulate 60" wide by 108" of fleece backing and batting in a RV
 the started cutting of the jelly roll strips after sewing all 80 of them together, end to end
~ my first row by row as well as cutting out 3 more
 my chosen fabrics and the resulting row 
 soon to be a table runner.
Not the most impressive of the rows that is for sure.
~ set of 4 microwave bowls
~ a sampler bed quilt, OUR Quilt
 the front page of the pattern

 my fabrics

~ a wall hanger called World Traveler for our friends that we will be visiting this summer
 the starting of the design on my makeshift design wall
~ winter scene with a lady in red cross stitch

No new starts in Needlework but then I have enough UFOs to last a lifetime doubled. Seems like the more I mull over it all, the more I can come up with. Guess I was busier than I thought.

As to the Row by Row Experience for 2014, I found myself organizing a lot of the shared rows after the shop hop ended. This took a lot of time in the evenings when I couldn't really see that well to accomplish other projects. I found a lot that I would like to make and some fabulous eye-candy. A lot of the rows can be easily figured out and made without a pattern which is helpful.

Which brings me up to the Christmas season and a new travel adventure with the grands over New Years.

DisneyWorld 2014

Our next journey takes us on a car trip to DisneyWorld which leaves one a bit of time for needlework while DH drives. So what to take? That was the decision to make as we prepared. I decided on the Witch canvas that I had ordered many months ago that finally came. All the other projects/UFOs are large canvases and I didn't want to deal with them in the passenger seat of the car. I am sure there will be no time once we get to DisneyWorld for sitting quietly and stitching. :)   There is a back and a front and I took only the front - big mistake as I left some of the fibers with the back. Ahhhhh the learning curve never changes. This will be finished as a stand-up witch with a plastic tube down the center where I can put a tree branch and hang ornaments on. At least that is the plan. I know how I want it but will I be able to get it across to the finisher? As I travel it is slowly coming to completion. I will leave the broom until last as I really don't understand how that is supposed to be done. Might have to go in to the LNS and have them show me.

During the time leading up to our trip east, I was able to complete a few things:

~ the Canadian Santas - finished in totality, including the little charm maple leaf. They are now gone to the finishers but won't be finished until Feb 2015 due to the heavy volume of Christmas currently being experienced.

Feb 28, 2015 Addendum:
I have got to phone and find out if these have been finished. I am really excited to see what they look like and how ropy poly they actually became. Not phone but sent an email. 

~  Merry of the Christmas blocks finally was completed.   When I gathered up the blocks I could not find the "T". I know that I did it and that it has to be somewhere. Ended up looking through various venues in the storage unit and yup, there it sat in all it's lonesome glory. Grabbed that sucker right quickly.

Then they too went off to the finisher. "Don't expect them until the new year." I was told.
These wonderful blocks were returned to me in fabulous form. I love them - much more than when I did them. Now to decide what to do with them, keep or gift? 

~  Joined an informal exchange group for the Row by Row Experience.
Wow, imagine the possibilities that an exchange group can give. Of course, it only makes sense that you share in equal parts with each of the members and only the rows that you actually want. I am sure there will be many that I am not particularly interested in. All exchanges will be accomplished after the end of the Shop Hop. Mapped out my plan of attack on the close proximity shops to DisneyWorld - only 4 possible ones, but that is 4 more than I would have had. DH is so supportive of me that he even had me mapping out what it would mean in extra miles to hit a few more. Definitely not worth it as the DGS#2 has to be back for school and it would add a couple of days on to the trip at least. Oh well, maybe they will come in the exchange. One can only hope.

~  As for in the quilting department, I went as far as deciding on which UFO to attack next. I have to have a quarterly finish done by the end of September and the way that I am going now, that might just be a hardship on my part. Life just keeps getting in the way. Am going to work on Spanish Travels next, but first I have to get back from Florida. 
August, 2014 Finished this quilt. I quilted it on my Miss Betsy, Janome 6600 in straight double lines to represent the crisscrossing of our travels in Spain by rail. We went from the dark Atlantic to the blue Mediterranean and points in between.  
 The backing is the blanket that we had bought for the train rides so the size of this quilt was limited by the size of the backing blanket.

~DGS#1's quilt has been gotten to the flimsy stage and it to went of to the long armer's.
This was promised for November as it is a Christmas gift.
What a time I had getting this quilt back before it was too late for Christmas. The quilter came through however, and I picked it up physically rather than mailing it and had it bound and wrapped in time for Christmas.  Thank goodness it was long enough for him, and yes, he does want a pillow case to go with it. He loved it and cuddles into it as soon as he could. Phew! Even though it was somewhat of a hassle, she did a nice job of quilting it
and I will use her again, but only when there is no deadline attached to the return of the quilt.

As I go through my photos for completing these blogs, I will also update the status of all my other projects. In the meantime, happy Sewing, Quilting, and all other forms of activities that gives you immense pleasure.