Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Something New

There comes a time when a person just can't face another baby quilt, even if there are still two left in the ToQuilt pile.  And face another UFO?  Again?  In January?  I have a 3/4 quilted quilt that is waiting for attention sitting right next to the machine, but I couldn't deal with it either.  I needed something new.  I needed something different.  And I had just the thing.

Back in November, I heard of a call for entry that ends January 31.  I knew immediately what I wanted to do for it, even going so far as buying about 30 yards of fabric to facilitate the process.  But then Christmas loomed and I slipped in the mud and all that fabric sat in the bag, languishing.  I finally began washing it about 10 days ago.  Then I cut 6" strips from each piece, and they waited and waited and waited for the next step.

I cut the fabrics with freeform curves, and lay them carefully in order, so that sewing them together would be effortless.

 Then I dropped them.  So much for that organization, eh?
 I sewed the light blues together, and let the dark blues stew in their puddle for 24 hours before I was ready to face them again.
 Eventually everything was sewn together.  When will I learn that it is impossible for me to make "ocean foam" with a strip of fabric?  Foam calls for beads, not fabric.  One of these days I'll get that figured out.  Maybe.
Better whack off the bottom, and see what happens.  Hmmm.  Too much light blue.
 If I fold it up like so, maybe I like it better.  Yes, I think I like it better.
 Let's cut it here, and here, and there!  All better.
At this point, the quilt is pieced to my satisfaction.  I spray-basted it - an experiment for something this large, but I wasn't going to wait for someone to set up my basting tables to pin it - and began quilting.  Yesterday I did all of the stabilizing quilting.  Today I hope to do most of the detail quilting.  Goals are good, and all that.

My vivid imagination tells me that I can finish the quilting, trim it, bind it, label it, sleeve it, and bead it before January 31.  Okay, so maybe I can quilt, trim, bind, and bead it.  Or some of the above, by the deadline. 

Even if I don't make the deadline, I will finish the quilt.  I like this one.  I know, I know, I've done a lot of ocean views lately, but I find them to be very calm, soothing, and settling, and that's just the thing to get me through January.

I have another xray scheduled for today.  I have no idea what to expect, but the foot is still quite swollen, and sometimes it hurts.  I am scared to take the boot off, so I kind of think it's not quite healed.  I guess I'll know, soon enough.  Until then, I need to quilt faster!  Quilt faster!  :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Plugging Along

My living room was a living room, until the first of the year.  Then I started shifting things, to make sewing accessible.  I started small.
 Then added a few things, like two chairs and a light,
 And then thread, and more projects,
 And before you know it?  I've taken over the whole room.  How much space does one quilter need?  As much as she can get, apparently.
The good news is that the productivity has not stopped.  I finished another quilt yesterday.  This one is a Many Trips Around the World, aka, Trips Around the Nursery.
I'm not much for new gadgets, but in November, I picked up two packages of these handy red clippies.  In December, I received another 10, bringing my total to 30.  It is the perfect number, and I really am enjoying using these.  I've always pinned my bindings, but a few years back we had a teacher who started bending and breaking ALL of my slightly bent pins, saying they were "useless!"  I was quite taken aback, but since that time, I've been very aware of my collection of bent pins.  These little clippies are the perfect thing to keep me from ruining any more pins on binding.  I don't remember what they are called, but I believe they are from Clover.
In other quilt news, I've cut 6" slices from my stash in preparation for trying to get an entry done before the deadline of January 31.  I feel like I've finished enough utility quilts this month, and it's time to do something that requires a bit of creativity.  Goals are good, and I keep setting them!  Quilt faster!  Quilt faster!  yep.  That's my mantra, until this leg is healed.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

On a Roll!

I finished the binding on another baby quilt last night, woohoo!  Looks like hubby was a bit bleary-eyed when he snapped the photo.  A flash might have been called for.
 I'm starting to feel pretty good about the slowly-growing pile of finished baby quilts.  The bottom one was completed BBL (before broken leg), but the other three?  They're all recent finishes.  They are awaiting labels, and then will be sent off to babies who have long been awaiting their arrival.
What is next on the list?  Well...

I've pulled out a queen-sized hand-quilting project that I finished piecing when my son was in fifth grade.  He's now 26 years old, and a years-ago college graduate.  I worked on it last night, and am wondering if I could possibly find the wherewithall to finish it in time for Best of the Valley Quilt Show.  The entry deadline is February 14, and I have two-thirds of the quilting left to complete.

There is a SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) call for entry that is due on January 31.  I know exactly what I want to make for it, I just haven't progressed further than pulling fabrics.  I started the project BBL.  Now that I can stand, I might pick it up again.

I have three other calls for entry, for very small projects.  One is 6x8", another 10x10", the third is 12x12".  Will I or won't I attempt to meet the deadlines?  I tell you, I can lay the best plans, but each day seems to be full of surprises.  The only sure thing seems to be the neverending pile of basted baby quilts, waiting to be finished.

And so, I dream of future projects, hoping that I can sew at least one or two of them into reality.  In the meantime, I continue to sew what's in front of me, trying to decrease the size of the "to do" pile and increase the size of the "finished" pile.  Goals are good!

Friday, January 15, 2016

What a Difference!

After my last post, I saw the PA, and he cut off my cast, but again warned me not to put any weight on my leg for another month.  That was a definite improvement.  I requested a second opinion, and saw the Orthopedic Specialist the next day.  He told me to wear the boot, and to walk on it, with crutches!!!  "We don't want your leg to atrophy any more than necessary!"  wow!  To say I was/am thrilled is a serious understatement.  Just being able to put that foot on the ground gives me confidence and stability.  Wobbling on my left leg had been exhausting.

As we were driving home, and I was beginning to wrap my head around the permission to put my foot down, KABAM!!
 A young girl, in a truck, on her way to College of Sequoias, tried to brake.  Her foot slipped, she hit the gas, and she slammed into the back of my favorite vehicle.  It may not look like much, but the handle is bumped in, and I'm afraid to try to open the back hatch, in case it gets stuck open.  Also, the trailer hitch - which we use frequently - is bent down and under the bumper, which is also bent in and under. 
 Good thing I'm not driving anywhere any time soon, eh?  :)

Instead, I am home, and getting a bit more quilting done.  Here's my second finish of the year, another baby quilt.  The front is pretty busy, but I think the red/yellow binding tones it down a bit.  The back is white, with large colorful polka dots sprinkled across the surface.  I asked my husband to make sure that my boot and crutches showed in the photo.  ;)
So far 2016 has been quite productive.  Two weeks into it, and I have two finishes.  It doesn't get much better than that!  I have another baby quilt awaiting binding, and yet another one that is about one third quilted.  I won't be able to make it down to Road to CA this year, but my time won't be wasted.  This week's goal?  Add another finish and make it 3 quilts in 3 weeks.  Goals are good!!

Monday, January 11, 2016


I quilted another quilt on Saturday, so now I have two waiting for binding to be cut, attached, and tacked down.  I can make it look like I'm being productive:
 Or I can show you what it really looks like (notice right corner):
 But the quilting is shortlived, and my days are spent like this:
 And this is how much fun it is:

yeah.  The cast is too tight, I'm afraid my toes are going to fall off, and I have an extra appointment today where I'm going to beg/insist that they stop casting it and let the swelling go down first.  Wish me well, because the current plan is not to my liking.

End of dump.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

First Finish 2016

I started a post a few days ago, but it was one without pictures, and seemed to be too much of a pity party to finish.  On Tuesday, a check-up with the orthopedic PA resulted in removing the by then much-too-big cast, and putting on a new one.  Again I chose red, because I wasn't yet tired of it.

Things that used to be automatic and no-brainers now require a lot of thought and preparation.  Do I REALLY want another cup of coffee?  It's no longer a matter of taking a cup to the coffeepot, pouring, and returning to the table.  What took 30 seconds is now a 5 minute production.  I've passed on a lot of coffee, as well as a lot of other things.  Who knew that a leg was so useful?  I can honestly say that before Dec.22, I never once gave thought to my fibula.  In fact, the only thought I ever gave to anyone's fibula, was to memorize its name and location, to pass a few Biology classes in high school and college.  ironic, right?

But you didn't click on this to read about my broken leg.  You wanted to see my first finish of 2016!  I asked my husband to take a picture, and this is what he took:
 I told him that although I was pleased with the way I looked, it wouldn't do at all.  What I wanted, since I was going to be in the picture, was to include the foot.  I want to be able to look back on this and remember what a challenge sewing can be.  I want evidence of my victory.  :)
My mind continues to paint wonderful pictures of all the things I could do, now that I am housebound.  But reality has truly arrived, and high level productivity will not be the order of the day.

Then again, I submitted my first entry for The Best of the Valley Quilt Show, and I encourage you to do the same.  Entry forms can be found here, and our online entry option is pretty slick.  It worked beautifully.  The deadline is February 14, 2016.

And with that, I need to decide if I'm going to a) dig through fabric trying to find suitable binding for the baby quilt I have finished quilting, or b) quilt another baby quilt.  I suspect I will choose option b, though with my husband home for the next couple of hours, maybe option a would be better.  Trying to do something like that when I'm home alone isn't the wisest choice.  Either way, I'll try to have something new to show you in my next post.  Goals are good!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Inching Forward

Usually the New Year brings a time of looking back at where I've been.  Somehow, this year is different.  I am focused on the here and now, just trying to rearrange the day to accomplish something.  Apparently a broken leg will do that to a person.  Or at least to me.

I've learned to operate my machine with my left foot, and finished quilting a baby quilt on Saturday.  It still needs to be trimmed, and to have the binding made and attached.
 I worked on the first quilt with my leg down, which resulted in too much swelling and discomfort.  Yesterday, I tried putting my leg up.
 I quilted half of a baby quilt, but find that sitting 24" back from the machine is not the best.  It is not very good at all.  Today, I will be experimenting with different angles, trying to find a way to get that foot up and yet be closer to the machine.  Goals are good.
According to my sidebar, this year I finished 13 quilts, only 4 of which were UFOs.  Wow.  I really fell down on the finishing department.  Perhaps this year I will make a more concerted effort to put a dent in that UFO list.  I also recorded 13 quilted cards and 50 postcards.  hmmm.  The postcard number seems right.  The card number?  Seems awfully low.  Then again, I know that I wasn't terribly productive in 2015.  I was busy running around on vacation, etc., too mobile to get anything finished.  Mobility is NOT the word of January 2016.  I will be home, I will not be running around.  I guess the question is, "Will I be productive?"

I certainly hope so.  Goals are good!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A New Year

hmmm.  A New Year.  New Beginnings. A Time For Goal Setting.  Where does one even begin?  I guess at the beginning, right?
 My Studio is still in the state of chaos that it was in on Dec 21.  On Dec. 22, I broke my leg.  It seems more than the leg was broken.  The rest of my Christmas preparations came to a halt, and I've spent the past 10 days learning to ask for help.  It's a steep learning curve, and one that I find exceptionally difficult to navigate.  I was raised to think that needing assistance was a sign of weakness.  I've learned that asking for help is more accurately a sign of courage and trust.  I feel like a stranger in a strange land, but my kids have been terrific in terms of helping me to adjust.

The one who is not adjusting well is Scruffy.  He used to have the run of the kitchen, and was dependent upon us to let him outside.  Now his indoor space has been severely decreased, by a relocation of the indoor doggie fence.  My son installed a doggie door, which took Scruffy 48 hours to learn to operate.  He thinks its purpose is to allow him access to the slider, where he leaps and jumps and barks demanding entrance to his kitchen.  Sorry, Scruff.  Go back to your doggie door.  His unfortunate reward for his noisy behavior is to wear a bark collar.  He acts like he's being punished, which is not the case.  But try explaining that to a dog...I'm not getting very far.
So, anyway, back to goals for 2016.  My first goal is to figure out how to operate the foot pedal of my Bernina with my left foot.  And then I have a stack of 6 baby quilts, just waiting to be quilted.  Good thing I got all of that basting done, back when I was able to do it! 

And with that, Happy New Years to you all.  I hope you each are able to set an attainable goal, something that really gives you a sense of accomplishment.  Right now, it doesn't take much to make me feel victorious.  Sometimes just getting up out of the wheelchair is huge.  Quilting a quilt?  That will be a dream come true!