And so I now turn to yarn.

Well, I’ve gotten a bit behind again.  That’s okay, sometimes these things will happen.  These days I’ve put my fabric down in favor of yarn – it seems there are babies popping up everywhere and so I have redirected my talents to crocheting some baby afghans.  I’m almost through the first one and then it will be on to the next one.  All in all, I have 4 to complete.  I do have yarn for the first two and the third will be easy but the fourth will provide a bit of a challenge.  That’s okay, I am up to the challenge.

I’m glad there are still a few days left this month so I don’t feel as though I need to get more UFO’s done.  That pressure will start again on April 1.  I can wait.  I’m not even sure which UFO I want to tackle next.  I suppose I should start to turn my mind that direction at some point.  I always do like to have a plan.  It makes me feel better.

Do you remember when I was on the kick to crochet the purple hats for Clickforbabies.org?  Well, I FINALLY got them sent off.  I had a total of 99 hats.  Of course now I wonder about picking up more purple yarn to do some more.  If you are a knitter or crocheter and want some small charity work, this could work for you.  If you are interested, please check out their website here.  You can find contact information and patterns.  Your local chapter may even have their own website or Facebook page.  It is worth looking into.

As for having a plan, it’s time for me to start making more plans.  By that I mean lists.  I used to love lists.  I wrote lists all the time just so I could check things off to make me feel like I have accomplished things.  I would like to feel that way again (as well as actually accomplishing things) and I think the best way for that would be to start making lists.  After all, getting more organized is part of my revolutions and so far, I’m doing pretty well in staying with them and I’m pretty excited.  Currently I’m working on making my step tracker something more than a device that shows me how lazy I really am.  I’m sure you have heard about striving for 10,000 steps a day?  Well, I’m totally nowhere near that although I’m closer now than I was when I started.  I figured chasing a toddler would give me lots of steps.  It really doesn’t.  I mean I was lucky to get around 3,000 a day.  Seems pretty bad doesn’t it?  I managed to get myself up to over 3,000 and some weeks even over 4,000.  If I was really good I could see 6 or 7 thousand.  The last couple weeks I have managed to make my average 5,000 which is half way to the exalted 10,000 steps.  Perhaps next month I can make it an average of 6,000 and get myself worked up toward that lofty goal.  At least, that is on my list.  As soon as I get it written down.

I hope that your revolutions are going well and that you are tackling those things that you need to with success.  If you are working on UFOs each month, you still have a couple of days to get things done.  I know you can do it!

Until next time – enjoy your spring!

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Spring Cleaning

First of all, pictures as promised!  Here are my UFO’s that I completed while retreating.

This is the one that was that was the Joann’s block of the month.  You can see in the center block that it was a little tricky.  I got to practice template cutting and some y-seams with that block.  That was the nice thing about this block of the month.  Each month had something a little different and was good for a skill builder exercise.  There were some partial seams, machine appliqué, the y-seams, paying attention to color placement, and making/using templates.  I still had the same issues with the precut pieces not necessarily being of the correct size.  All in all, it went together okay and I was able to assemble the top with minimal issues.

 

This is the quilt I was making for my brother.  He had asked for a super warm  heavy quilt with our father’s military wool blankets for batting.  So, I made a huge flannel quilt top and debated on using those old boiled wool blankets for batting and decided to pass on the blanket batting.  Also, because I wasn’t happy with how the top turned out (and it’s not quilted yet) I decided I needed to make a different quilt for him because I just didn’t care for the first one.  I’ll probably quilt that first one at some time or another, but I know I’ll manage to quilt this one first.  It’s the Northwind block and the hardest part about this quilt was deciding on a layout.  These blocks are fun and you can lay them out in similar ways to log cabin blocks to create different looks.

 

This isn’t really a UFO, but it is the next block in the stained glass block of the month.  It was really fun to work on this block with other quilters sewing the same block.  Anyway, I am caught up and the month isn’t even over yet!

This is the last quilt I put borders on.  It is for my mother who wanted something blue and yellow to put on her guest room bed.  I happened to have this top that just needed borders and she liked the fabric.  It really is the fabric that does most of the work rather than piecing and color placement.  Either way, I mitered the corners because of the striped border fabric and it is now ready for me to find some backing fabric and get it quilted.

I am glad to get those out of my sewing room and somewhat ready for the long arm.  They all need backings but I do have the binding ready for one of them.  At least that is something.

As far as spring cleaning goes, I’ve taken my free time (what little I was using to work on UFO’s) to really start working on cleaning up my sewing room again.  I did have it cleared out at one point but then I lost a family member who crafted and I inherited all of her supplies.  I don’t quite have room for them all, but I don’t really want to part with them either.  Slowly but surely I’ve been going through them and reorganizing them and getting them put away in my room, but I do still have a long way to go.  It would be helpful to get some more projects done.  Anyway, I *think* I have given up my dream of that long workbench.  I don’t think that I really have room for it as much I have wanted to have it.  So, I took the wheeled kitchen cart to my sewing room and purged a table that I don’t really use (except to store stuff) and I now have a dedicated cutting platform.  Currently it only fits my smaller mats, but I’m hoping that soon the dear husband will build my frame for the top of the cart to house my larger mat.  I have a feeling that once it is on there I won’t really want to take it off.  I am having him make two, so that I can turn the second one into a large pressing surface.  I’m looking forward to that as well.  No more fighting quilt tops or backs or large border yardage over an ironing board.  Yahoo!

I hope you are finding success in your own crafting endeavors.  For the rest of this month, I am going to rest on my laurels, although I do feel some of my UFO’s calling to me…one is an appliqué project and the other is a hand quilting project.  I wonder which one will win out?

We made it back!

I didn’t share a lot of build up to retreat this time – I think we have all comfortably settled into a routine and so we don’t necessarily email as much any more.  I know my part of it is that I’m not sitting in front of a computer frequently enough to be able to email like I normally would.  However, I like the idea of us settling in a little more together.

Normally the emails are flying fast and furious as we talk about the projects we are bringing, who is bringing which snacks (we can always count on Sandra Dee for Cheetos although Inez picked them up this time), and most importantly who is bringing which big item so not everyone needs to do so.  By big items I mean iron/ironing board, rulers, cutting mat, and bed risers.  If you have thought that your cutting table is too low, I would highly suggest you pick up a set of bed risers.  They work wonders.  If I am remembering correctly, they may even come in a high and low version.  Don’t quote me on that though.  At any rate, we like to make sure the essentials are covered and we really don’t need 15 irons and ironing boards.

This retreat we had most everyone, although we did miss Hattie (sniff, sniff).  I’m sure she will be ready to join us soon though.  Sometimes life just has a way of throwing us curve balls and we have to stop in the moment and deal with what is coming at us.  No worries though, Hattie is doing just fine!

I (once again) did not get many pictures taken so I will have to backtrack and take some to share what I was able to get accomplished.  Get this, I did finish last month’s UFO AND finished 2 more tops so I think I have March’s UFO taken care of now as well.  Of course if any of the other monkeys out there want to send me pictures to put up with mine, please feel free!

Even though camaraderie was running high, I found that there weren’t that many quips to quote.  (How is that for alliteration with a q!)  We did do some shopping, although not as much as in years past and of course we laughed, but I believe that we all kind of buckled down and got some work done this time.  Sandra Dee and Hazel headed out to a couple of thrift stores.  I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but Sandra Dee is the Goodwill Queen.  She must have a 6th sense for when it comes to finding things at Goodwill.  She always manages to come in with something that we all wish we could have found.  Anyway, the two of them headed off to a couple of stores and we waited to see if there were any treasures to be found (there weren’t this time).  Later we laughed as it seemed that everyone was working on UFO’s.  Part of the laughter was because we are starting to believe that the next generation has a Sandra Dee who will head off to Goodwill and find the remnants of quilts we had started and never finished (and our families didn’t know what to do with).  She will proudly bring them back to her quilting friends and beam with excitement over her new-found treasures exclaiming, “I’m not sure what they were doing here, but I just had to pick it up.  It was only $2.88!”  The rest of her quilting friends will offer to help her figure it out or have ideas on how she can finish with just the pieces she has and so we will have done our part to help encourage the next generation of quilters.  After all, haven’t we all gotten things that way?  A relative of a friend passes who was a crafter and we get that call about supplies needing a new home and we walk away with new-found treasures of our own.  Or Sandra Dee walks into Goodwill and finds partial projects….either way is good.

I will do my best to have some pictures next week.  I wish I had taken pictures this time as everyone was working so hard.  Inez completed a couple of miniature quilts and a quilt for her grandson and quilted a table runner.  Hazel got started on a constellation project, completed 2 baby quilt tops and got a good start on a red and black quilt (and maybe got that top finished, I’m not sure…).  Sandra Dee completed 3 quilt tops and started the blocks for a 4th.  Blanche completed 2 quilt tops (but I think I’m missing something, there may have been a 3rd in there that I’m forgetting about) and started some shirts. Wanda completed 2 tops for sure and Mabel had some paper pieced blocks, quilted 3 small wall hangings and did some binding.  I’m sure there is more that Mabel accomplished as well.  This is why I need to remember to take pictures.

Since Mabel, Wanda, Blanche, and myself have started the amazing paper pieced stained glass stars we all brought them to retreat and had a paper piecing day (or two) where we all got caught up on our blocks.  It was kinda fun for us to work on them all at the same time and see how differently they turned out.  Inez did pick up some fabric for hers while shopping so I anticipate that she’ll be getting started soon and we had 2 others outside of our porch that also brought theirs and so it was fun at show and tell for all of us to stand up with our blocks.

I would like to say that I’m totally relaxed and unpacked and ready for the next retreat, but the truth is I’m tired and my stuff is waiting to be put away.  I am ready for the next retreat though….I mean, how could we not be?

Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to have some pictures of the things I worked on at retreat for next week.  In the mean time, I will be heading off to unpack and perhaps sneak in a nap…..

Oops!

I did not make my goal for February.  I was fairly close to goal, but I didn’t quite make it.  However, that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up.  I’m going to go ahead and finish what I had meant to finish for February and move right in to a UFO for March.

I promised pictures, so here is the UFO I was working on.  This is the finished product that I did not get to. I have made substantial progress and it may have been a bit ambitious to think that I could get a complete quilt top completed in a month.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but with the small people I am limited to sewing during nap time and sometimes nap time for the smallest is homework time for the biggest and well, you know how that all goes.

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Here’s a look at everything all on my table.  See, I really was working and there really wasn’t anything started when I picked up this UFO….well, maybe a block or two.

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These blocks are almost completed.  They need triangles sewn on the other two sides, but I have to look at the diagram again to make sure I put the right fabric on the correct side.

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These blocks and 1/2 square triangles get sewn into 4 patch units once I get the 1/2 square triangles squared up and if I remember correctly I also need to square up those blocks.

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This a a little bit better look at the center square.  That one is complete and is just waiting for the rest of the squares to be done so they can form up into a quilt top.

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Oh, why yes, I DO keep a garbage can next to my sewing table.  Thank you for noticing! (or maybe that is just really nice of me to take a picture of it)  That way I can sweep trimmings and the like right off the table and into the trash. It works for me.

Lastly, I did take a little break to complete my paper pieced block of the month.  Want to see?  Silly question, of course you do!  Can’t wait to see this month!

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In other news, we only have a short time before we are heading to retreat! Can’t wait!  You never know what stories we are going to bring back.  Although I am bringing my  Yoga DVD so there is some really good potential for laughter….and blindness for those that watch us….  Good times ahead!