Saturday, August 27, 2022

Being Sensible

 Are you sensible?  I think I am (of course) but I suspect there are some who would disagree with that.  My genealogy research documents and notes are starting to take over my desk space and after months of contemplation I think I've come up with a system to organize them but it will require a file cabinet.

So this is the "sensible" part -- rather than buy a new one, there is a two-drawer one up in my studio which would work 

but it's full of pattern design notes and shop newsletters and quilt teaching handouts, etc.  I've been through all these papers a couple times since I closed the shop but not since I quit teaching so it makes sense to do it again.  It's only one and a half drawers full so "how long will it take?"

It will take all afternoon (and then some) because every sheet of paper needs to be reviewed!?!
This is one of my very early handout masters for the quilt I used to teach students how to make half-square triangles -- first we drew a grid on the wrong side of the fabric and then we were delighted with the appearance of "triangle paper" in the late 1980's!!  
I'm going to use those leftover triangle sets from my original sample for a couple cheery potholders . . . . . . . maybe??
The original sample still is alive and well serving as a "slipcover" for an un-upholstered ottoman in the living room under a stack of finished quilts!
Over a dozen of the fatter folders were worksheets, design notes and original masters for a series of quilts I designed as mystery quilts for my shop, Erie Street Quilts, and the original shop hop in Northeast Ohio.  There were lots of memories to be remembered with each folder.  I finished my version of this quilt but I don't think very many of my customers/students did because it was a "bear" -- such small pieces and so many of them.  My version won a ribbon in the regional show and I eventually sold it (I think) -- it's not in the house anymore for sure.  I kept one copy of the final pattern and let go of the notes and worksheets -- just for historical value?
I was surprised to find some folders with teaching notes and step samples -- I thought I had emptied all those out at the beginning of the pandemic and dealt with the samples.  It was delightful to find these three little pieces in the BINDING workshop folder since I need a couple new potholders to replace the ones I burned up last month.  And that little mini-quilt -- I completely forgot it was still  around!  I think I'll use it as a wallhanging somewhere in the house!
When I couldn't sort for another minute or make another decision, I finished the bindings and scored three little finishes!!
Actually, there has been a flurry of finishes over the past couple weeks!!  That's one of the perks on working on several project simultaneously!

This Scrappy Cabins is quilted and washed and ready to gift next week!  It's going to "my" bank clerk -- she is retiring after 35 years and I've been her customer for all of it!
The I Spy quilt is finished and ready to gift to a couple special boys to enjoy as a learning game -- the quilt is loaded with cats and frogs and trucks.  I hope it will be fun for the older one to help the younger one learn colors and objects with this floor quilt.
I also made several of these Modern Japanese Rice Bags.  I've had the pattern from KZStevens (PDF pattern available HERE) and the fabric on the right set aside for it for several years.  It went together so beautifully I found myself wondering why it took me so long to do it?!?  I made one tiny alteration in the depth of the lining (3/8" less) so it fits down inside smoother.  I made two of the one on the right and one is for sale in my Etsy shop!  
The outer shell of the left hand one is four 6" blocks given to me for the 25th anniversary of my shop (in 2004).  I have about 30 blocks and have tried a half dozen times over the years to organize them into a quilt -- I'm always stumped by the challenge and put them away.  So earlier this month, I decided to quit trying to use them together and sorted them out into compatible little sets for smaller projects.  

The rice bag was the first of those little projects and I've been using it as a knitting pouch as I finish up this version of Ysolda's Musselburgh Hat.
Once it's doubled inside on itself, it makes a really cozy hat!!  I made this version with a double strand of fingering wool using one 100 gram skein as the base and adding in an assortment of green, gray, and brown leftovers from lots of socks!  Working with size 4 needles and making an adult large size used up 80 grams of the base yarn and 80 grams of scraps!!
A couple gals are starting a knitalong using this pattern and scrap yarn on September 1 -- you can find the details on Instagram HERE.  It's a satisfying knit with lots of flexibility about yarn weight and needle size!  I think this is my fifth one in less than a year.  

Time to return to the studio and the untidy piles from yesterday -- hopefully I can make more decisions about what goes and what stays.  
I should remind my kids how much I'm helping their future selves by "sensibly"
dealing with this myself, don't you think?

Have a sensible day!!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Trying for a Restful Weekend

After spending three energetic days with my oldest grandson (almost 14) who came visiting, I've prescribed a restful weekend for myself.  Really, it's just an excuse to sew and knit non-stop!?!

His activity requests were hiking and visiting with his younger cousins, the triplets!  He had three meetups with the triplets including a visit to the Cleveland Zoo.  

One of his aunts and I hiked him up to one of our local beauty spots and on his last day, he and I did a creek hike.  His mom is a biologist who has been taking him along on stream studies since birth and wow, can he spot a crayfish!!  It was a stinky hot day so being in a creek was perfect and I don't think I would have done a creek hike this summer without his request.   This is one of the pictures he took on our adventure.

 While he was here, there was no machine sewing and just a little hand stitching and knitting.  But I did manage to end July with one finish!  After finishing the hand quilting around the central part of each "diamond" motif, I choose this multi-color print for the binding.  I find it's a good solution for quilts with so many colors when I can't decide on the binding color -- unexpected but effective!!

 While he got some quiet time (napping and/or googling), I snuck in a little knitting on the current Musselburgh Hat project.  I'm working with a double strand of fingering yarn combining a few leftovers with one main skein.  Sue Carney just announced on Instagram that she is going to lead a KAL (knitalong) using this hat and scrap yarn.  It begins September 1 and goes for six weeks.  Gives me a goal for finishing this hat so I can start another one!  Want to join?  
EDIT: Two days after I posted this, I "frogged" this hat back to the crown and started over again!?!  It was HUGE because I had misread my gauge -- it would not have fit anyone.  It's so hard to make the decision to undo so much work but it will be best in the long run.

I finished another unit for the EPP project I've got going.  This is half of step 10 -- only step 11 to go!!!
And the I-Spy UFO is layered and being quilted this weekend!  I have interlined it with a (much washed) flannel sheet instead of batting -- economical and I think it will make a good floor mat for playing I Spy with kids!
The "restful" weekend started after lunch Friday and found me piecing on two projects -- Homage to Grandmother's Flower Garden continues to grow and I made three more scrappy log cabin blocks as my "leaders/enders" while building chains of hexagons for part 31 of Homage.
I put the finished blocks on the design wall to determine what the last six blocks needed to "be" -- I've learned the hard way when making scrappy quilts that I like the results betters when I stop to evaluate and make the final fabric decisions based on what the quilt "needs".  
I made three more with some dark prints as what was already pieced looked out of balance with so few darks used.  Once I added the new blocks to the group, I moved blocks around to break up the big (blobby) areas of pink.  There are just three blocks left to piece and it would be wonderful to have this quilt top ready to quilt by the end of the weekend.  I'm going to gift it as a retirement present and the big day is September 10 so need to keep moving!!
The color and fabric palette has evolved as I've worked on this project -- I started with a couple old charm square paks, some leftover layer cake squares and strips from my 2 1/2" "sourdough" box.  The pattern writer suggests cutting everything before starting, but I've been cutting as I go -- that means more spontaneity because it's hard to "visualize" what I haven't pieced.  And there is less waste because I'm cutting just what I need as I go.   I also find it easier to achieve a scrap look by just focusing on the fabric palette for a couple blocks at a time -- as long as I like the combination in one block, it will work in the finished quilt.  Each diagonal row (upper left to lower right) is the same block configuration but it's interesting how the "look" of the block changes depending on the placement of lights and darks.
It's a simple quilt and a good chance to stretch my creative brain -- feeling creative doesn't happen without exercising ideas and making mistakes.

So, it's time to head back to the studio for a couple hours of piecing.
Hope you are having a restful and content weekend!