Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Checking In

 So how is your January stitching coming along?  This past weekend, I traded my messy desk and cluttered studio for a cabin in a snowy central Ohio state park where a friend and I hung out stitching and talking.  It was so cold we didn't even leave the cabin except to check out the geese on the river flowing past the back porch.  It was a very pleasant break!

Of course, I took more than I could reasonably expect to work on but I made sure what I did do would push a couple projects forward in a significant way . . .  but nothing finished.

Over the past week, I've been slowly getting this piece quilted.  The simplest approach would have been a grid or straight lines but neither seemed right.  I wanted to emphasize the swirling feel I get from the blocks. 

After looking at it for a couple days and drawing design ideas on the quilt with a chalk wheel I settled on this modified "continuous curve" idea.  I like the way it makes the blocks whirl visually. 
To emphasize the overall shape, I outlined the outer edges of each block 1/4" from the seams with a muted shade of green thread.
That left me with a weird shaped background section.  )-: ?
While doodling a circular spiral idea, I experimented with rotating a modified "Baptist fan" motif to form a circular design.  It was easy and by maintaining five "arcs" to each quarter, it enabled me to complete the entire design with just one start and stop.
Second quarter and two more to go.  Much easier than trying to maintain a good looking spiral, too!!  If you go back up and look at the large picture of the quilt again, you can see my funky spinning motifs.
Of course, now I'm stuck again for design inspiration for the area surrounding the center of the quilt and the border.  There have been a couple glimmers but not in a rush at this point so just letting it simmer.

My 2022 goals have emerged and solidified over the past week, too.  Ready?
1. Finish at least two UFO's each month (there are lots of small ones so this is more doable than it might seem).
2. Eliminate one "un-started" project each month -- put the fabric back into the stash and dispose of the pattern (shocking but some have been waiting for me for years and it will clear the deck for something more interesting and compelling!).
3.  Give away quilted pieces every month -- I could give one away every week and still have plenty.  We'll see how this one goes -- I get pretty attached to my finishes but so far this year, I've given one away every week -- 4 for 4!?!  So we'll see.

I think we need to end with a triplet picture!!  It was our delayed Christmas gathering.  They explored the house completely as it was only their second visit since learning to walk and there was a cat upstairs?!?  Very exciting!!
I have a quiet week ahead -- one appointment, babysitting this gang, and a few native plants and insect webinars, a little cleaning, and lots of stitching!
I love being retired!!
Hope your week is pleasant and you stay healthy!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

One Week Down! Fifty-one To Go

 It's Saturday afternoon and the first week of 2022 has come and is almost gone.  What's that old adage -- start the year the way you mean to go?  I might have set the mark a little too high?

On Monday/Tuesday I pulled out the folding table and layered up three small quilt tops and two table runners (with Harry's help, of course).  

Two of the quilts were lurking in a bin of UFO's I had set aside for my charity group over the course of the past year, but when I re-homed all those supplies during the fall they must have been hiding?!?  Since I'm not going to lead a charity quilt making group any longer, I was peeved with myself for overlooking the projects, but on second thought, I'll still make charity quilts on my own.  So as a kick-start for the year, I finished piecing the easiest one (took an entire afternoon?!?) and organized backing for it and a second top that was already finished.

The third quilt top was the only top I pieced in 2021.  I used a newish pattern, Vanity Flair, from Karen Ackva at www.easypatchwork.de who quilts and teaches in Germany. You can find it in her ETSY shop HERE.  It's a sweet little quilt and I used up most of one of the (irresistible) layer cakes in my stash.  I cut it out in July . . . . 

. . . . . and then used it as "leaders and enders" whenever I needed a piecing break from all the quilting.
Isn't it sweet?  I'm stuck (as usual) about how to quilt it but something will come to me!?!
I think it will go onto the stack of quilts ready-to-gift.
Today, I finished quilting this one -- a teaching sample from Marti Michell's Volume Six patchwork book using her large Multi-size Hexagon Ruler.  I kept the quilting simple to complement the piecing.  
Complex quilting would not only take longer but it would disappear into all the lovely Oriental theme prints which carry the show on this quilt.

The second one is a sweet little 9-patch single Irish chain quilt that will be a delightful charity quilt.
So two little quilts ready to bind this coming week!

Over the past couple weeks I've done lots of tidying in my sewing room -- putting fabric away, cutting  scraps into 2 1/2" strips and squares, unearthing UFO's, sorting through leftover batting, "finding" lost tools -- and as usual the UFO list is longer than I expected.  BUT for the first time in many years, it's under 50 projects.  I haven't set any hard and  fast goals for 2022 but I do want to eliminate as many of those UFO's as possible.  Many of them are small projects that started out as teaching samples (and they won't get bigger) but a few are just stacks of wishful thinking -- pattern/book and fabric. 

 I'm thinking I'll aim for finishing two a month and eliminating one a month but that's not written in stone because the idea of eliminating 12 projects this year that I thought I wanted to make is a bit . . . . . I don't know -- intimidating?   I think the key will be to decide if after laying on the "to-do" pile for years, what will I do with it if I make it?   

And eliminating something old will give me time to try something new that is more appealing at the moment!!  Must remember that!!

Now back to editing and revising one of my birding presentations -- being all bird nerd and dropping down into every rabbit-hole I encounter.

Hope your New Year is starting off as you'd like!!