Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Unexpected Visitors

It's a good thing I got my house company ready right after the last batch, because I've got company again for a week. I found out on Friday it was a possibility, Saturday a definite, and by Sunday they were here. They'll be here until Saturday, so not a lot of sewing time available this week.

BUT...I sewed like a fiend over the weekend. DH was off all of last weekend, but he was editing a magazine he self publishes. All the company has bitten into his writing time as well as my sewing time. Since he was busy, and I had a couple days with no company, I took advantage and sewed and sewed.

I was rapidly climbing the Queen's List in the UFO Challenge in Stashbusters Yahoo group. The quilt I've already started quilting on was ruler work and slow going, so I grabbed a baby quilt from the stack of basted quilts, put the walking foot on my Bernina, and quilted and bound this in a day. I made the quilt top pretty recently, but it was made from leftovers from a different UFO, so I think it should count as a UFO. All the pieced units were made last year. 

It's some really simple quilting, but I think it works, and the quilt is really snuggly because it's not overquilted. It's backed with fleece. 

I also got some piecing done. Since I did all that sub-cutting while I had the grandkids, I have lots of pieces ready to chain-sew. 

I got all the blocks done for the first quillow. These are just up on the design wall, and I may move a couple around, but I think my idea of monochromatic rail fence blocks will work well for my quillow project. Since I'm planning the quillows to be for car use, I didn't need any fancy piecing. It's pretty hard to get a good look at a quilt you are using in a car. 

By going monochromatic, it will be easy for my grandkids to pick theirs out of a stack in the corner of a car. I plan to match backings to front colors. The best part is it will help me whittle down my overflowing Scrap User System quickly. 

I've been thinking about what works well for me, and what habits I should change based on circumstances. The scrap user system really works for me, I always go to it first when I'm pulling fabric for a quilt. The thing is, with a repetitive stress injury in my arm that is easily aggravated, I need to start using my Studio cutter for most of my cutting. I need to develop a new habit, even though my current one works for me, using the Studio cutter is a better habit for me to get into because of my arm. I've increased the number of dies I have significantly, and most dies work best with fat quarters or yardage. 

Now, sub-cutting strips doesn't bother my arm much. It's not short cuts that get me, it's long cuts that kill my arm, so I can continue to have a scrap user system, and honestly, I'll never run out of scraps so that's good. I do think I need to whittle my scrap user system down though, it's taking up too much space for something that should not be my first choice. Cutting fat quarters and yardage with my Studio cutter needs to become my go-to method of cutting for a quilt. 

It seems like I'm always rethinking what works best, and what could be improved. When I have time to sew, I think I'm pretty efficient, but everything can be improved upon. Maybe next week I'll have time to sew, or who knows? I could end up with more company!

Thursday, August 8, 2019


.....My house is quiet. For the first time in weeks my house is actually quiet. I love all of the people who came to visit, but six weeks of company all in a row is a LOT. 

My sister knew I was going a bit crazy, and she knew my dream is a cabin in the woods, so one day during the chaos I got this in the mail.

It was a nice pick me up in the midst of all the busy-ness.

The grandkids I had for two weeks got to play with my fabric markers and make themselves new shirts. 

I did get pillowcases done with the boys too. I had five migraine days in the two weeks the kids were here, so it's amazing we got anything done. All the stress and lack of sleep is doing me in, and I am definitely feeling that I can't keep up to old activity levels. 

I did take some time and sub-cut strips while the kids were here, so I have plenty to sew up now that they are gone, but really, I need a few days of just doing nothing. 

My house cleared out yesterday, and today DD#3 came over and helped me clean, more she cleaned while I mostly rested and did a couple things here and there. I've got all the guest beds remade with clean linens, so they are ready for more company, though I'm honestly hoping for a bit of a break. I've got all the laundry done aside from my hamper, which I'll tackle tomorrow. DH is working today, and when DD#3 and I went out to lunch, I brought half my lunch home to be my dinner this evening, so I am free for the rest of the day! I'm thinking some leisurely reading, putting my feet up, and just enjoying the quiet is a good way to spend my evening. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Trying to Get Something Done

I'm almost at the midway point of having three grandkids for two weeks. I knew personal sewing wasn't going to happen, but I do have a pillowcase project planned with the grandkids. I just finished making a pillowcase with the youngest. We used my 1918 Singer 66 handcrank, and Miss A was a champ! 

With the handcrank, you only have one hand available to guide the fabric, so I help the beginners keep it going straight. Having the screw in seam guide on is a good help too. It would be a bit easier for the grandkids if I had a Singer 99 handcrank, so they didn't have to reach so far. If I find one at a good price someday, I may add it to my collection.

Pretty nice pillowcase for a four (almost 5) year old!

All three of these grandkids have chosen their fabrics, the hardest but most fun part! Miss A wanted puppy fabric, and I had several but she opted for the 101 Dalmatian fabric. For the cuff and accent pieces I just had her choose colors out of the main fabric and I showed her a few fabrics that would work. 

I'm not letting any of the kids near a rotary cutter, and I've got the two boys pillowcases cut and pinned ready to sew the first step. I've had a chronic headache for 15 years now, but I'm also coming down off a three day migraine on top of it, so I think one pillowcase per day is all I've got in me. I've never sewn with any of these grandkids, so we are having to start instruction from the beginning. 

Just so that I am getting a bit of my own stuff done, I decided I could get away with sub-cutting strips from my scrap user system. I need 6.5" pieces for the quillow project, but I've decided I am just going to cut all of my 2" strips for several different projects. I know my strip drawers will fill up quickly again, so I don't mind total annihilation right now. I'm cutting by color. I finished the blues before my company arrived. In the last week I cut all the pinks (which I had the least of) and now I'm working on purple. I'm not counting any pieces. I have several ideas of patterns to make with these sizes, and if I need more fabric I have plenty more I can cut into 2" strips then subcut to whatever size I run short of. Most quilts I plan out to exact specs, but sometimes I like to just work with scraps, cut without counting, and see what happens. 

The grandkids are very curious about my rotary cutter, so I've been hiding it in a different spot each time I cut. I'm not worried about them messing with my ruler or fabric pieces, but I don't want them to get hurt. 

I'm going to need a vacation after six weeks of non-stop company! I know the migraine that I'm still battling is likely due to all the commotion and lack of sleep. I may take a week off after everyone leaves. Usually I don't feel old, but this summer has let me know I'm not in my 20's anymore. C'est la vie!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Lacking Willpower

I either have a huge issue of lacking willpower (most likely), or I was just presented with too good of a deal to refuse.

I've been trying to be no-buy/low-buy on quilting supplies, goodness know I can make a ton of quilts on what I already own. If I need something immediately, I have no guilt about buying it, and I've got a wishlist of Studio Dies I'm waiting to go on sale, which I have no issues with buying. I've mostly been trying to stop buying fabric and thread unless I honestly don't have something that will work in stash. 

I know myself, and I know the more I'm sewing, the less likely I am to buy, but when things come up and I can't sew for whatever reason, I am more likely to shop. 

Guess who has had a constant steam of company for the last month, and has company for another two weeks? It's been like running a bed and breakfast. No sewing time in sight. I've been really good about deleting or unsubscribing from quilt shopping sites, but I stumbled across a sale from someone's ad enabled blog the other day. 

I totally blew no-buy! I bought these two boxes of fat quarters, which are all tonals but from different lines. Each box has 90 fat quarters in it, so I got a total of 180 fat quarters, for a total of $220. That's 45 yards of quilt shop quality fabrics for $220, would you have held out? 

I can make excuses until the cows come home, i.e. tonals will help me use the prints in my stash, I use a lot of tonals as soon as I acquire them, the color variety will keep my stash workable, etc... The simple fact of the matter is that I caved, and I'm not sorry. I refuse to feel guilt over my stash. I use a lot of fabric, and I like having it readily on hand, so I can make a quilt without shopping at all. If I die tomorrow, and other people have to deal with my stash, so be it. I've done plenty for my kids in their lives, if they have to deal with some fabric, let them. 

Even with this purchase, I've used more fabric this year than I've bought. I'm not going into debt to make quilting purchases, and I am regularly using stash. I feel no guilt or shame for my quilting stuff. 

I've downsized tons of stuff in my house. I have two closets that are basically empty, and a couple more that have only a few things in them. I've purged our book collection from thousands to a couple hundred, I've gotten rid of lots of kitchen items, linens, clothes, collectibles, furniture, and yes, I've even purged things from stash. I buy less of everything these days, because I don't really need much. 

I've been reading all these articles lately that seem to want to shame people who have a stash of quilting supplies. Yeah well, I'm not buying into that. If you don't want a stash, that's perfectly fine by me, but don't try to make me feel bad about mine. If I fall off my self-imposed no-buy, that's OK. I have quilting goals, and I'm still heading in the right direction overall, even if I do slip a bit from time to time.

Stash or no stash, no-buy, low-buy, buy ALL the things, take all the classes, self-taught, quilt by check, longarm, quilt on DSM, join all the guilds, lone quilter, whatever, can't we all just enjoy quilting?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Family

We think it's been 8 years since we had all five of our kids together, but we couldn't find any photographic evidence of that. If it wasn't then, it was 12 years ago, before DD#1 moved to South Africa.

Last weekend, we had all five kids for a couple hours. It was only a couple hours, but those hours were priceless. We were missing one son-in-law, but we had the other four spouses and lots of grandkids.

^This is the whole gang.

^DH and I with our five.

The last photographic evidence we found with all five was this pic from 12 years ago.

This was taken right before DD#1 moved to South Africa.

They recreated the photo and the youngest said it was much harder this time ;-)

I wanted a photo of the three youngest grandbabies, which turned out to be be too much to ask.

This was the best of those, and it's not a great photo. These three grandbabies are less than a year apart in age. Our oldest grandson is turning 10 this month, so mostly they are pretty spread out, but these three came rapid fire!

I've still got a houseful of company. Both my sons have gone home. One almost came back due to a gas leak, but they got that sorted. DD#2 and family are here because their air conditioning is out, and due to an emergency in South Africa, I'll have three grandkids for two weeks while DD#1 and DSIL see to that. I've got various other grandkids staying the night here and there due to childcare issues, so it's been crazy around here. 

I doubt any sewing will happen until at least mid August for me. I may do some sewing with the grandkids that are staying two weeks. We've had so many people in the house, all my sewing cabinets in the sewing room are folded up and there's an air mattress in there. In the last ten days we went from 2 people, to 5, to 10, to 11, to 13, to 5, and in the next couple days we'll be up 2 for one night, then up 6, down 3. DD#2 is a complete unknown, because they are waiting for a new air conditioner to be installed in there house. The inside of their house is almost 100 degrees, and with a newborn that's not a good situation. Best to be flexible and just go with the flow. 

If I don't get a chance to blog, don't worry, I'm just crazy busy with family.