Saturday, December 23, 2023

Holiday Blessings!!

Just popping in quickly in the midst of some pre-holiday cleaning to wish each of you a holiday full of peace and contentment!!  Some are celebrate Christmas, some Hanukah, some the Solstice and some Kwanzaa during the month of December but no matter what our celebration, it gets hectic and hard to recall the "reason for our season".   We all want and need to celebrate remembrance and forward looking hope at this time of year regardless of our spiritual foundation.

So blessings to each of you!

Pass it on!!


Thursday, December 7, 2023

Blog Lazy?!?

Hey there!  I'm still feeling blog-lazy and so another month passed with nary a peep from me.  But I've been stitching and knitting in the background.   

There's been a new Covid outbreak in my realm and even though I've had a booster this fall, I find myself battling "social reluctance" again.  A couple days of not speaking to anyone (but the cat) are becoming a regular feature of the average week again and while it seems to suit me, I know it's not a good habit.  Perhaps you are experiencing the same thing in your corner of the world?

 Over the past month, I've finished a couple of this year's quilt tops which is amazing to me!  "Amazing? Why?" you ask.  My MO has always been "finish the top and put it into a pile".  That drive back in 2021 to quilt twenty-one UFO's seems to still be having a positive impact on my finishing record.  I think this makes six or seven quilts I've made this year from start to finish!  A record for me.

Here's the Dresden Stars quilt I made this summer as part of the tutorial series on the blog.  In the last post of that series, I wrote about how I quilted the first one and my intention at that time was to just copy the designs I used onto this quilt top.  But once I "outlined" the star blocks, everything changed.  What I think precipitated those changes was using a puffier batting and wanting less dense quilting to highlight the loft.

The backing fabric is another long-stashed beauty that I was never going to be able to bring myself to cut up so I split it  lengthwise (the aqua band) and crosswise (a favorite remnant of a dotty print) and made it large enough to back this quilt.
My favorite part of the quilting was creating this design for the border -- I even had the patience to go around the entire quilt and make reference dots for stopping and starting before I started stitching!?!  The looped motif is repeated all the way around the quilt and was easy once I did the marking.
Once that quilt was finished, I layered up the "mini-plaidish" top made earlier in the year and went to work on it.  It took about a week of mini-sessions -- 30 to 45 minutes -- straight lines from edge to edge (so there were only three sets of threads to bury for bobbin changes) to reinforce the "plaid" motif of the piecing.

When I posted the picture below on my Instagram feed, a friend in Maryland commented that she started one from her scraps and got rid of it because she didn't like it.  As I was reading her comment, I realized, I had some moments of "not liking" my version, too.  I find that is often the case with a truly scrappy quilt.  We are so programmed to coordinated fabric palettes for our quilts that it feels wrong if the fabric style or the color palette isn't perfectly coordinated.  And yet when I push through to the end of a scrappy project, the response to it is almost universally positive.   True scrap quilts that have no coordination outside of the "value" of the colors -- light, medium, or dark -- never look good until they are finished in my opinion.

Now I've started a big knitting project -- new cardigan sweaters for the my toddler triplet grandchildren!  Two are finished and one is at the halfway point so unless finding buttons for each one becomes a problem, I'll be finished in plenty of time for Christmas.   But that effort has cut into my stitching time and I'm a bit behind on my year long applique BOM.  This evening, I'll applique the last three pieces to Block #11 (below) putting me just one block from "the end"!!  The "staying" power I've experienced with this project has surprised me -- again not my typical MO.  Too often in the past, I've dropped a project and headed down another appealing path with a new project.  There is still a long way to go -- the top has to be assembled, then conquer my fear of quilting (what if I ruin it at that stage), and doing the actual quilting.
While I was in the sewing room prepping the last few pieces for #11 this afternoon, I pulled the pattern for #12 out -- lots of little pieces!!
But since we sold the patterns with a fabric kit, everything is ready for me to match the fabrics from the kit to the picture and keep moving along.  I'll have this block done by the end of the month!
I'll be winding down my quilting goals for 2023 this month, too.  Some I've met with great success and others . . . . not so much, but there's always next year!  The rest of the month is filled with Christmas Bird Counts, tidying up the house for holiday visiting, and a bit of baking so I can be sure to put on a winter's worth of 5 pounds of scones and biscotti?!?
Check out these yummy, sourdough scones!  The basic recipe is from -- decked this batch out with a cup of raw chopped cranberries and a dash of Fiori di Sicilia (orange/vanilla flavoring I get from King Arthur Baking).  I'm enjoying this recipe because I can mix the batter up in the evening, shape the scones and put it in the fridge overnight for a "first thing in the morning" bake!!

Hope you make good progress on any holiday gift sewing you need to finish.