Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Organized Chaos

If any non-quilter looked in my sewing room right now, they may think a bomb went off in there. It looks awful! For that matter, a lot of quilters may wonder how I am functioning in there. The thing is, which quilt is my priority keeps changing, but all the quilts I have out I want to sew on in the very near future, so I don't want to stick anything in a bin or box. 

Last month I was happily sewing on a gift quilt on my Singer 99. I am still really anxious to sew on that quilt. The thing is, the twins are very close to moving into beds, so I switched to working on their bed quilts. I now have all the blocks made for their quilts, but I need to take the time to lay them out, and get the rows arranged and labeled so I can assemble them. It will likely take an entire day to do that, I end up doing a lot of fiddling when I arrange I Spy quilts. Once I have the rows labeled I will likely assemble the center as leaders/enders, so I will make progress on those after I do the layout, even if another quilt is my primary project.

 ^Here are some blocks for the baby quilt I am making. The baby is due in December, but after having five dreams the baby comes early, I want to have it in the mail by the end of this month. This is my primary project right now. See that little bitty green churn dash block? What it is about traditional blocks that when you make them tiny they are just so darn cute? I am hoping to have the quilt top together and pin-basted by Sunday evening, which would give me next week (when I will have precious little sewing time) to quilt it. I know what fabric I will use for backing fabric, but I will have to piece it to make it a bit wider. I might try the John Flynn diagonal backing method. If you haven't heard of that, an explanation and calculator for it is here. I have been wanting to try it, and this may be just the perfect project for it, as I only need the backing a little bit wider.

I am back to piecing on my Bernina now, and look at the mess on my cabinet! The blocks for the twins bed quilts are in the basket on the corner. The black container with white strips goes with a container of colored strips you can't see but it's on the floor. I am strip piecing a quilt for DD#2 as leaders/enders right now. My goal for it right now is just to get each white strip sewn to a colored strip. That quilt has quite a few steps, and lots of sub-cutting.

You can see more pieces for the baby quilt, but what about the blue pieces and white strips near the blue four patches? Well, I am sad to say that yet another coworkers of DH's has cancer, so I am making a comfort quilt, and they wanted it blue. I planned out a fairly simple blue and white quilt, and as always when situation like this come up, I am so thankful for my pre-cut pieces! I need 384 blue 2 1/2" squares for the quilt, and I had over half of those already cut to size. I also needed blue 2 1/2 x 4 1/2" pieces, so I dug through my 2 1/2" strips and cut those and the rest of the of the required squares in an evening. I am only using one white, and I managed to cut it during naptime. If I had to cut everything from yardage, I wouldn't have used near the variety of blues, and the quilt wouldn't have been near as interesting. I know some people don't like pre-cutting, and that is perfectly fine with me. It does work well for me though, especially when I am in a hurry to get a quilt done. The comfort quilt will become my priority quilt when I get the baby quilt finished.

I always get asked how I keep things straight when I working on projects simultaneously. All of the five quilts I have pieces of on my sewing cabinet have white backgrounds. That could be confusing I suppose, but the blocks for the twins quilts are finished, so although they are taking up space, I don't need to work with them right now. DD#2's quilt is only using WOF strips, and that is the only thing I am working on in white that is WOF. (I didn't show you the other sewing cabinets with cream WOF strips all over them) The comfort quilt has only blue squares, and solid white pieces. It is the only project I have going with solid white, everything else has WOW patterns. The baby quilt is purple, pink, and green, with one constant WOW background. I am dealing with multiple sized pieces on it, but any pieces to it are not the same color/size as the other quilts. Since I am dealing with different sizes, it would be hard to grab the wrong thing to sew together and not realize I am making a mistake. I work on multiple projects like this all the time, and it just makes sense to me. I don't really ever struggle with keeping the projects straight, and the more I get assembled, the harder it would be to mess it up. Once things start looking like blocks it is really easy to keep it straight.

So what else is going on in my chaotic life? Let's see, I have a UTI, and the antibiotics for that gave me a yeast infection, and now I've caught a cold from the DD#3 and the twins while my resistance is down. Fun stuff!

DD#3 and I worked out her school schedule for next semester, since the college schedule came out last week. I will end up babysitting the twins 40+ hours a week next semester, so after some prayer and soul searching, I told the couple I babysit for I could not watch their two little ones next semester. I think having the twins that much is my limit. Spring semester doesn't start until January, and it runs through May. I may have all four kids up until then, and who knows, I may get the other two back after that, but during that semester I will be only be watching the twins.

Potty training is in full swing here. The oldest one I babysit has been struggling with potty training, but all the talk about going potty has gotten Miss S interested in trying it. Mr. L is not interested at all, so we aren't going to push it, but we'd like to capitalize on the interest Miss S is showing. I bought a second potty chair, and some training pants, and a couple potty training videos to hopefully help both the potty trainers out. I even downloaded a potty training app to my iPhone. You can even keep digital sticker charts on it, to track how the kids are doing.

I don't know how often I mention it, but we are doing sign language with the twins. We bought the Baby Signing Time DVD's and started showing them to the twins when they were about 5 months old. By nine months they started signing things like "more", "again", and "finished". They are 21 months old now, and we mostly watch the Signing Time videos for older kids now. We are thinking Miss S knows about 200 signs. Mr L is harder to guess, as he doesn't use the signs all the time, but he recognizes a lot of them. Miss S recognizes the entire alphabet, and by watching the sign language video that teaches the alphabet, she can also recognize all of her letters written as well as in ASL. Mr. L knows some of his letters, and he is using more sign all the time. During breakfast and lunch, I usually sit across from the twins, and I sign random things to quiz them. I do not keep to any predictable order. It usually goes something like: helicopter, red, Pappy, sheep, pear, tree, outside, who, four, run, family, gorilla, etc... At first Miss S answered everything first, but now Mr L is answering first almost half the time! We've started playing games in just sign too. I will sign "Where's the bear?" and one of the twins will go find it. I keep asking for different things until I have a heap of toys next to me, and I rarely say a word. They know what "good girl" and "good boy" are in sign, so I just praise them in sign. It has really expanded their working knowledge of sign. I have no affiliation with the company at all, but if you have any little ones in your life, I highly recommend signing with them. They can sign more than they can say, and it has been so great to have the twins sign somethings hurts, or they want to sleep, when they were too young to speak clearly on things. We use Baby Signing Time, and Signing Time videos, and one of the potty training videos I just bought, it's Potty Time by the same people! If you are interested in finding out more you can go to http://www.signingtime.com/ I have just been amazed at the results!

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