Sunday, December 18, 2016

The work goes on but not the writing ....

We have done a lot of traveling in the last few months, mainly in the US and Canada. This included the western US and Canada, but in Canada we can only claim parts of Alberta and BC. We spent some time parked in Spokane in the parking lot of a repair shop with troubles with our slides. From there we car tripped around the state and into southern Alberta all the way to Edmonton and then down into eastern BC. Throughout this time I avidly collected Row by Row patterns as we collected miles.

During this time a small amount of quilting was done; the most important one being the finishing of the flimsies for Mom. This will be sent back up for her to gift. I am really proud of how this one turned out as I had trouble putting it together and had many people offer input. From all the offerings, I took what I wanted and went full speed ahead. It is a much bigger one than I normally make but a good branching out for me. I finally got it finished in November and sent post hast via the FEDEX pony express.    This was too large for Danny to hold upon it's entirety, even from a picnic table. This is just one of many to come to be done for her and will last far longer than she ever will. I have my marching orders. I have enough material left over that I will be able to make her a small baby quilt of baby wild animals in an "I Spy" quilt. Think that I will gather up some remnants of other baby animals and fish as I see them to add variety to it.

Now on to other quilts that I would like to finish up: The number one to be finished being the quilt for DS#1. The flimsies is finished
 [not a very good photo but my resources were limited at this point.]
 and the quilting done. Now on to the binding and labeling. For obvious reason not many more will be finished this year, far less than I had hoped (more to come as to this later).

I also was able to complete all the birthday blocks excluding Decembers that are part of a group offering that I joined.
 dark and mediumpurple 

 royal blue with muted blue dots

 oddly enough, this one is as it should be

And now to make a couple more of the block that I chose. Then I think some log cabins to off set them.

Shheeesh, the colors are not as they should be - not as bright and sometimes too dark. Hmmmm guess I will have to opt for natural light instead of the light at night when I finish.

The month of October found us jetting off to Uruguay in S America for a month of touristing. This is an area long touted as a do-able retirement area. Being that we were traveling by local transportation while there, it was not feasible to carry my sewing  machine and quilting  supplies. So knitting it was. I spent the entire month knitting on a project that I had bought while in BC this last summer - an acrylic yes, but still with a lovely feel to it. [photo] I was well near to finished when I realized that I really didn't like the outcome of the knitted  yarn, which  immediately brought me to a standstill. [photo] Now what do I do with the yearn? It works up so nicely and feels so soft. A decision to be made after I let this disappointment rest and stew for awhile, and then rip it all out.

I also continued to work on the NYB quilt for DDIL#2 as well as a Row x Row lap quilt for my mother.
I have finished a couple of the required NYB block sets: 

and the actual row for Mom's is placed. 
  Now to get some fabrics in a medium and light grey to make like a window frame and a ecru/light beige grunge for the background to make like a wall. The backing for this will be a real busy but cute cardinal fabric. photo

Now we are into December and my time is even less available. I did manage to finish up a small stocking stuffer tonight. 
 This one for DH to carry all of his electrical cords and plugs in. Will it make him responsible for his own? hmmmm somehow I think not. This has become one of my responsibilities over the years and there is not much chance of it changing. At least he will know which are his in the suitcase. It works up quite quickly and I might just have to make a couple more for stocking stuffers as well. And perhaps enlarge the pattern a bit too. We will see.

The next project to be worked on will be to find and purchase the necessary fabrics for mom"s lap quilt. And if I manage to find the time to complete this, I will then go to work on finishing up the table runner for our table. It is sandwiched and ready to quilt. [photo]

And so I look a new year in the eye, but not yet the white of the eye. Along with the new year will come another month long journey, but one that I will take along the sewing machine and supplies and insist on an occasional day of sewing. We will be back the first part of February and then we are headed to a "sit fast and tight" for a month. Yeah!!!!

Wishing one and all the best of the holiday season.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Quilting, well about anything vs allergy season

Allergy season, for me, appears to be getting worse each succeeding year. I always described it as "hay fever" but after having looked it up I have discovered that hay fever only occurs during the fall - duh "hay", "hay fever", the cutting of hay, etc whereas when it occurs in the spring it is called, or at least has been called, "rose fever". I guess because this is when rose bushes traditionally blossomed. But for me it is the trees: oak, pine, piƱon, cottonwood, you name it. And right after this the sage will bloom which is also a deadly one for me, especially if it has been a wet season and the sage bush has had lots of moisture. AND this year is the absolute worst for me. Runny, itchy nose; full sinuses; scratchy, runny, red, puffy eyes; scratchy throat; and a cough to end all coughs.

Now add this to attempts to do about anything and you get a stalemate. Who will win? I hesitate to say it, but the rose fever won in my case. I have had a very miserable month to say the least.

About all that I have done is knit with an occasional attempt at sewing. It is hard to see through eyes that are about swollen shut and what little there is open, covered in tears.
I finished a 2nd and 3rd pair of house socks. [photos] I guess now I have had enough practice to make Brooke her socks. So out came the yarn and a set of double pointed needles were purchased. Yikes - they started the exact opposite of what I have been practicing with - they started at the toe instead of the cuff. [photo] So I venture into new lands with this project.

I somehow absolutely missed Stashbuster's numbers game for April. I have to go back and see if I can find them. Aaaah here they are: #11 and #16. As I totally missed these, nothing got done, not even a stitch sewn on my dash cover (#11) and World Traveler (#14 taking the place of #16 which I don't have at this time. So now I go on to this month's numbers. May's are #12, a 2015 Row by Row, and #23, again will be World Traveler as I only go to  #14. Maybe I will actually do a few stitched this time on World Traveler.

In the meantime, over the last month I did get one of the OUR Quilt blocks done (that is #1 on my list). [photo] This one is #10, leaving me only 6 more to go. I then got #11 cut out. It will be good to get this one sone, whenever that may be.

I sent DS#1's quilt to the longarmers expecting it to be done in time for his birthday. Alas, nothing ever goes smoothly. She has stopped doing custom quilting and is now only doing pantograph quilting on the electronic machines. She now has 2 of them and they go full time. It is a much better money maker for her and I certainly don't see anything wrong with this decision. It is just another bump in my road. I want to do a square stippling in the large black empty areas of the quilt and shadow the boxes/cube effect in the hopes to pop the optical illusions found within the quilt. [photo] I found an example of what I am looking for, although it is much tighter than what I want.[photo]  I will redo it into a much bigger, spacier stipple. I spoke with a company out of Stover, MO and they will be able to do what I want. So now I have to buy the backing and the batting before I can send it to them.

I also had joined the birthday block group, a group within the Stashbuster's group. The first block was due the end of March. It was completed and in the mail with enough time to get to her before her birthday. [photo]. The next one, called Variable Star,  is due the last half of May and it is already completed. [photo]. I have the following one, Dutchman's Puzzle, due the third week in June, already cut and the fabrics bought and received for one of the following month's 2, Storm at Sea, as well. The second one, Shooting Star, I haven't even looked at but I must.

Summer looks like it is going to be a busy season once again. Row by Row starts on June 21 and I am ready and waiting. [photo with link] Don't know how it will go for me as I will be traveling the whole time but am hoping to get quite a wide variety/selection wherever we end up going.

And so it goes ... Miss Betsy hums along as well as Madam Singer [photo].
[photo of sewing ...]
Til we meet again, may your fingers be nimble and always busy.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Queen's List

Yikes, I discovered via an email from a friend that I am now #16 (probably even less today) on the Stashbuster's Queen' List - not quite within the ladies-in-waiting range, but definitely close enough. Thus I needed to pull out an unfinished Row by Row from the pile; one that is definitely close to finishing. They all need the quilting part which is time consuming.

My one finish that I have had is DS#1's quilt top and it is just a flimsie, ready to make the trip to the longarmer.
 I am very pleased with this top and truly. Put my heart into the making of it. If DS#1 doesn't really like it, then DH is truly hoping that he can have it. How many quilts can he really use? Guess we can rotate them. LOL

Out came the first of the RxR rows that are unfinished. Psych' ready to go to work, being that it is Easter Sunday and all.

Oh, HAPPY EASTER everyone

This is one that is for us, no questions about that. It is a cute one and will be flourescent once finished quilting and bound. I grapple through all the spools of thread, know down deep that I really don't have the right colour of thread - purple is not a favorite of mine. I tried one that was variegated but alas, not dark enough. So I will have to put it aside til Monday when I can find a store to get some while we are on the road.

So, I pick up the socks. They are to the point of sewing the end together and the floating free lengths of yarn into the knitting. Ta dah! Finished Happy Easter my love.
what surprise, he was thinking that they were for me.

Now, what else can I do?  So how about the trial for the new wool that I recently acquired?
. Yes I can make another toque. That will be a good test for the sizing and feel: A sleepless night and it is finished,sans the pom-pom.  I also trailed another yarn that I had.Unfortunately it was of a lesser weight and the size of needles was too big for it. So smaller ones will suffice for the project for this yarn. We are on the move again today, leaving me with nothing left to do in the passenger's seat.

I still have a needlework project in the final throes of completion so that is a possibility as is another pair of socks to finish the last skein of rainbow yarn. Or maybe a pair of fingerless gloves? Hmmmm that is an idea.

Whatever is started, it will be put aside in favor of completing the row for an UFO finish in the next couple of days.

Photos to go up when I get my computer back ... It is visiting the repair shop for a seized spacer key.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Definition? ... glutton

What is the definition of glutton, as in "a glutton for extra work"? I use the word and often wonder if I have the definition correct in my mind. So I decided to look it up. According to

    1. a person who eats and drinks excessively or voraciously
    2. a person with a remarkably great desire or capacity for something: a glutton for work; a glutton for punishment

So "no" for #1 but a definite "yes" for #2. I am a glutton for adding extra projects and starting something new.

With that said, a few days ago I joined another online quilting group, the Birthday Exchange. I thought to myself, this is manageable. I can do single blocks for only 9 people over the year, all to be sewn in an effort to reduce stash. Besides, I will learn new blocks, blocks that I have never sewn before. Is that rationalizing or what? LOL  Of course as fortunes would have it, there is a block due in 10 days (that means received by birthday)

The first block is called Broken Wheel  and is desired to be done in colours of the individual's choice on a neutral background.
As we traveled by bus back from Mexico, I constantly rolled what little stash I have over in my mind. The neutral background is where I was stymied. Then last evening, I had an epiphany - I have the whole set of Fossil Fern FQs that I bought! Yes, I bet I will find a neutral with coordinators in that. And I did and immediately pulled them for my sewing session tomorrow:
 The dark is actually a darker version of the medium lilac.

Traveling places on public transportation leaves one with a lot of time on your hands - you can only look out the window so long. I took my donation scarf with me to knit. I got it finished
(long enough to wrap around one's neck or sew together to make a cowl) and looked around for what else can I do, I still have 2 skeins of yarn left? Ah hah! How about I learn how to turn a sock heel using this yarn and make a surprise pair of socks for DH. Looked up tutorials and found what I needed and got started.

Getting the heel started was no problem. The frustration came in when it became time to turn the heel. The instructions sounded backwards and Mr Rippet [photo] came to visit a couple of times. (Sometimes he likes to visit a lot, and other times, he is content to sit and watch) Finally it looked somewhat right. Then on to the gusset. A gusset, in a stocking? This took a couple of tries as well. But it was finally accomplished (wished I had take photos along the way - will on the pair to this one) and then on the way back to the US I kept knitting. Upon reading the instructions for shaping the toe when I was back in the carro-casa, I realized I was supposed to fit it to my foot to ensure a proper fit in the shaping. Oh well, Mr Rippet can come to visit again! With trepidation I tried it on with needles dangling precariously and discovered a perfect fit. If it fits me then it will fit him, no problem. Onward to the shaping of the toe once it is long enough for his foot.

As for the Magic Cube quilt for DS#1, it is coming together quite nicely. Almost finished the piecing of the focal point of the quilt.
From this 

I went to this Now I am ready to put on the sides in plain black. I believe that it will be called "Can You See Them?" referring to the illusions.

And lastly, what about friends who live out of 2 suitcases? Would they be able to haul a small lap quilt around I wonder? Have one just for them but ......

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What does one do when ...

When one's home is in the shop and one is staying in a hotel with limited space, what does one do?

Knit for starters: Finished up the second mitten and started the scarf.
I had a bit of trouble with the mittens as I really didn't have a pattern and I was relying on memory and the combining of patterns. Not a good idea. Then I was not using a row counter and was relying on my visualized counting. Again, not the best idea I have ever had. Still, they are now finished and I have a much better pattern from my mother. These little gems took far less yarn than I had anticipated so if the same is for the scarf, I am going to have yarn left over - not something that I wanted.

You drive an hour to go to a quilt store only to buy 1 piece of 1 yard fabric because you could not find anything further that you either needed or liked.    This will be a better mix for the NYB that needs to be cut out.
Then you eat ice cream on the way back to town.

You make a trip to the RV to get a bag with another project that is in need of cutting of pieces. After gathering up all the necessary items to do this and returning to the hotel, you sit back and say, "You know, I am really tired and I am thinking that I will go to bed early tonight." Then you proceed to order pizza and pull out the computer and decide to write in your blog, after ordering more fabric online because you found something that you simply couldn't live without!

And what did you do with your day today?

Friday, February 26, 2016

What, already the end of the month ...

I can not believe it, already the end of the month. We have had a busy celebratory month both in the touristing arena and for me, the sewing and knitting arena. I sew when we are in site and knit while riding in a car, so lately I have accomplished a lot there (at least for me).

First off, we have the new UFO Number Game announced. Yup, here they are: Low number is #4
Other number is #41. Oh yeah, my #4 has been finished - so will replace it with #6, DS#1s quilt. I do not have high numbers which gives me more time to work on #1, OUR Quilt, to bring it to a finish as well. At least to the flimsie stage would be nice. February's numbers, #7 - got lost in the shuffle, and assigned #3, Mom's Quilt, to replace the lack of the high number - completed as a UFO to move me down the list. 

Remember the toque that I made? Well, it was made initially for DH but it is slightly snug on his head so it became a donation for my Mom's senior's group. But first I have to make a set for it. That means mittens and a scarf. Driving around Louisiana this last week, I started the mittens.
After many false starts and a couple of Mr Rippit's down to the ribbing, I have finally got it the way that I like it. I like the colours but am not sure if they are what a teen would like.

DS#1s quilt is giving me a pretty good learning curve. I am making a pattern called "Magic Cube" from KwiltArt. It is a pattern that I bought in Houston and got started right before the New Year so that it would be a good UFO to have.  I changed the colorway however, to  on a black background.
The learning curve involved the sewing of the triangles that made up the cube in the centre so that there was no "tenting" at the joins of all 6 triangles. Had yet to master that. IT came together beautifully and there is no "tenting" - so that is another skill that I have finally mastered.

The radiating spokes are also coming along once I figured out that the freezer paper method should have been drawn in the reverse. All is ok though, it will be reversed, but who will know - only me!
 The cutting instructions are very vague and after reading them numerous times, I still had to revamp what I was doing. They are coming along just fine now and should have all four sides completed in a couple of days of sewing off and on. The name for this quilt still has not come to me. Guess it needs to flow a bit more and get put together for the inspiration.

OUR Quilt has progressed with the completion another block last evening. Once again I thank my guardian angel that all the seams and points lined up. This is going to be a majestic quilt once finished and am hoping for it to be on the bed by the Christmas season, including pillow cases.

And to a new start this year, the 365 Challenge. These are definitely hard to get my fingers wrapped around. They are so little and I often have trouble working the very small pieces. I collect the patterns as they come out but have little towards completing the blocks and catching up. So much of the time was focused on completing the quilt for Mom and after, I never got back into doing them. My next JOT will be to cut out some of the blocks, ready to sew together.

I did finish up DGDs 2nd (requested) pillow case, which now needs to get put in the mail. I have decided to use up a lot of the 2/3yds of fabric that I have and make pillowcases or maybe the pillowcase dresses for African children. And from what I saw in Africa, some of those little girls could use them along with a pair of panties. 

On to more sewing ....    

Saturday, February 13, 2016

February 13

February 13 is the start of our celebration month - my birthday.
My birthday present to myself? Well now, I will really have to think about that. Maybe it will be a set aside sewing time without interruptions.

Miss Mojo is very much in disgust - she is here waiting and I am not accommodating her on her whims. Lots of interruptions. For example... On Wednesday we drove over to DeRidder, LA where we met a friend from the AT - Bert. He is cycling across the lower US following Adventure Cycling's Southern Tier maps. Danny rode with him Thursday from De Ridder, LA to Kirbyville, TX. I on the other hand, sagged this endeavor, and got us home that night.

And now today, my birthday, we are heading to Houston to have seafood and maybe see a movie.

I will finish DGDs 2nd pillowcase today as I haven't done anything on it since the last post. THen I will continue to cut pieces for the NYB and DS#1s quilt.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

UFO Bites the dust

Today I finished and claimed another UFO - this time a quilt that was requested by my mother for her granddaughter. I designed, pieced and quilted this quilt, amidst much frustration and wailing (albeit silently).
 "Wall of Dreams"
The design is that of photos on a wall. Hence the frames around the pictures and a shadow behind them. The pictures are actually cross stitch work done by mother.
 (Sorry for the shadows from the branches of the trees) The quilt itself is quilted in a simple double cross hatch which pops the actual pictures. The cross hatching goes right up to the fram around the pictures. For the backing I found a horse panel and coordinating fabric which worked well.
Total size is 56"x 81" for a total of 7.44 yards busted. It was immediately sent off by FedEx to my mother. Here's hoping that she gets it before this weekend. My niece is coming into town this weekend and Mom should be able to give it to her then.

So now with a sigh of relief, I am able to concentrate on what is next. I immediately got out the easiest of all of the UFOs - another pillowcase for my DGD, that is ready to sew. I thought that it would be a quick put together. Ha ha the joke is on me. I used the stitch width to do a modified basting of the turn on the hem. Then I proceeded to sew the seams. Yup, all in long stitch. So then Mr Rippit came to visit and it wasn't such a quick sew up after all. So it sits on the sewing table and I am on the computer!

All the fabrics came in for DS#1s quilt so that will be the next one up along with the squars that are with the 365Callenge and OUR Quilt. So I will once again be busy and with somewhat of a time constraint. I have decided to not stress about the 365 Challenge blocks - they will get done when they get done. OUR Quilt is much more time oriented as I want it finished and on our bed at Thanksgiving: After all, it is a Christmas fabric themed quilt.

Another time issue is that I need to organize all my stash that is in the RV. I want to put them into a "do next" pile so to speak, although it will be in a plastic container. so onward I go ....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The end of January, ALREADY!

The older I get the faster that times seems to fly. Is this true or is it just a conceptualization of perspectives? Whatever it is, there is no disguising that we are already at the end of the first month of 2016, with very little to show for it.

A date with the surgeon and the subsequent post-operative sequelae has led to a very non-productive rest of the month, after our foray to New York City. Drugged and unable to concentrate for any great length of time  is a very disconcerting  feeling. So, away go the drugs and I will deal with the pain. It has slowly abated to where only an occasional tylenol is needed. Yeah! My head is finally clear and I am raring to go again, although still house bound and unable to walk more than a short distance at one time. This date also meant that I had to learn how to start and stop my sewing using the Stop/Start button rather than the foot pedal. Can't put the pressure on my foot like I would normally do. All in all a completely new learning curve. LOL You should see me when I forget to hit the Stop button - the air definitely turns blue.

As soon as I get mobile, I want to go to the storage unit and see if I have any wool that is adequate and in a great colour for DGDs socks. If not then I need to order some. They might get completed for Christmas. LOL

the end of 2015 brought us to the end of the year's Row by Row Experience. And what a year it was: We ended with >1900 row patterns, collected by our little roving band of quilters. We were a busy group. And January brings us to the new "Experience", with a whole new theme:
Home Sweet Home
Oh the possibilities here. I even found some very neat fabrics for backings already. Hmmmmm did I already order them? So now back to business of organization.

I have managed to get a few of the tiny blocks (3 1/2" unfinished) completed for the 365Challenge out of Australia. As I had wanted to use up a jelly roll that I had available, I started off with it. Even though we are currently only doing the dark palettes at the moment, I am so dissatisfied with how they look. I will continue to work on them at least until I get some lights to put with them before I make a final decision about them. For me, they are simply too drab and blah.
 Maybe it is because the colours are more conducive to bigger blocks than smaller ones. 
I have managed to cut and prepare 4 more of these little suckers and still the colours do not talk to me. I will keep chugging along.

I did manage to get some focal fabric and matching strips cut for a table runner that I would like to have for Mardi Gras on Feb 9. This is fabric that I had found and purchased last year while in New Orleans. I will make a redo of the Jinny Beyer's 2014 Row by Row. 

And then we have the new numbers out for the Numbers Game.
Low number is #7 
Other number is #21 
On my list, #7 is DS#2s quilt which means a Star Wars quilt. I have the started fabrics in the storage unit and I know that I need more so this will be an ongoing endeavor, probably in the Fab4 for the month. And again, no #21. Using this as an extra bonus, I will continue to work on Mom's Quilt in order to get it completed.

To end the month I found myself ordering some more supplies. The Benetrex Fossil Fern fabrics have appealed to me for a long time now and I finally bit the bullet. Craftsy had a flat of the complete medley in FQs on sale for half price. So there you have it! Now to find the Star Wars fabric that I need to get that one done.

We are now ensconced in a park for a week where I can get out Miss Betsy and go full speed ahead.