Christmas Gift Bags

I am trying very hard to be process oriented rather than product oriented. The Morass feeling hasn’t helped. It turns out I am trying, simply, to get something finished.

I did feel a lot better on Monday night after what I completed over the weekend. Monday was a holiday and I actually spent some of it sewing. I hope I am over a hump, but you never know.

Christmas Gift Bags
Christmas Gift Bags

I bought some fabric at Wooden Gate when Mom and I met there earlier this month. One of the leaders and enders I was doing were Christmas gift bags from the fabric I bought there. I finished them on Sunday and was able to put 1.5 yards in the ‘used’ column.

The print is really fun and the fabric was 75% off. I am pleased that they are done.

More Peacock Progress

I spent several hours over the weekend working on the Peacock. I was determined to make progress and I did! I am pleased with the progress that I made. Several hard decisions were made and lots of sewing was completed.

The Peacock - top right
The Peacock – top right

I spent a lot of time on Saturday making the smaller hexagons large enough to fit into the rows of the piece. During this joy I kept asking myself whose bright idea it was to add the smaller hexagons to the piece. They take more time and are a bit fiddly.  Most of those I worked on will be on the darker side of the top of the piece. I will scatter them around and up to the top. A few will go on the lighter side.

The Peacock - full piece, January 2017
The Peacock – full piece, January 2017

Including this, I am marching up to the top of the piece. I am a row away from having full strips to piece into the top and I can’t wait.

I took some time to piece the rows together on the bottom. These are just long and awful seams. I can’t do any chunking on this piece, which is a pain. I want to finish the left side including the small hexagons with black backgrounds in a border type treatment and then move the entire piece over towards the left so I can work on the right.

I’d love to tell you tomorrow I have the top finished, but I think that would be too optimistic. I plan to work more on it today and, hopefully, make some good progress.

The Morass

Lately I have been feeling like I am in a quiltmaking morass. I tell myself that at least I am working and making some progress. The problem is that the progress is slow and doesn’t feel real. Morass is a word with a real negative connotation. I couldn’t think of a more positive word. I don’t feel negative, just a bit…..morassy. Finally, I had to sit down and face reality.

As you know,  I make regular lists of my projects to try and keep the UFO list low. I have gotten pretty good at finishing things I start. After reading Friend Julie’s post about balance, I think the problem is that I am working on too much at once. As a result, I can only make incremental progress on any one project. This is the down side of leaders and enders.

Leaders and enders is not bad. It is a fantastic technique and I get so much done when I use the leaders and enders method. Remember Fresh Fruit? I just reached the point where I expected too much out of it.

Right now I am working on the Peacock, Yellow Donation quilt #2, the En Provence Mystery quilt primarily. Primarily is the key word. I also started making some gift bags. I needed a finish, plain and simple.

The problem is that all of these projects are a different stages. Some need cutting, some need color choices. Others, especially The Peacock, need lots of thinking. The Yellow Donation Quilt #2 is the easiest to deal with. It is true leaders and enders. I can just stick the pieces under my needle without much drama. The thing about leaders and enders is that it works best for me if I have one thinking project and one mindless project. Three projects is too much.

I started working on En Provence, because I really wanted to try and work along as the clues were released. It didn’t work, but it was on my mind and I was trying. Now that the reveal has happened, I still like the design and since I started, I am loathe not to work on it. It might be easier if I paused working on this until I was done with the Peacock and then got back to it. I have blocks of time that are good for cutting, though, and En Provence needs the type of cutting I can do with these blocks of time.

The Peacock is actually coming along well. I have struggled along and am finally turning a corner. More on that soon.

Still, the projects feel like they are going slowly. I feel like I am slogging through ankle deep mud, but without the dirt and negativity. I blame the Peacock. I don’t know if it is just a difficult project. Or if I have lost interest and, thus, motivation or if the problem is something entirely different. I think I will be glad when it is done.

I did make some progress over the weekend and I feel like I am getting through the morass.

Creative Spark #8: Process

Bloomston's The Little Spark
Bloomston’s The Little Spark

“Each moment you spend tending to the Spark, the more your life will go in that direction” (pg.37). I like this line because it is all about process without saying ‘process.’ The whole first part of the chapter is about telling the reader that how we live our lives or spend our days has a direct impact on how our lives turn out. “…if you are frustrated and rushing to the next part of your day, then you are creating a life of hurry and frustration” (pg.37).

When I read that I saw myself in my old job straining to the weekend to get away from the unhappy and sour people around me. It was an eye opener! How could that image be so fresh in my mind after two years? I don’t want to be frustrated and rushing around. I want to be pinning a Peaky to a Spike while I talk with tech clients about why they can’t find their content. I want my life to be infused with creativity whether it has to do with Peaky and Spike or whether I am puzzling out a creative solution to a search algorithm.

I can’t infuse my worklife with creativity if I don’t have work. I have to remember that “…what feels productive doesn’t necessarily move me towards my goal” (pg.38). Part of the process is figuring out what your process is. Filling time to passing time isn’t necessarily productive in a money making sort of way. Filling time is filling time and you should recognize that. Recognize is for what it is and where it fits into part of your process.

My process is well described by Bloomston when she says “work as much as you can. Period. Be as mindful as you can about your process” (pg.39). My process is to have the next step in my ind and some pieces ready to sew. I don’t like wasting time figuring out what to do next if I have 10 minutes. When I have been sewing for a few hours I know what the next step is and can prepare it. Once it is prepared, the sewing is the easy part.

“…Enjoy the process free from choosing expectations. Be gentle as you find your voice and your wings” (pg. 39).

Bloomston has another worksheet in this chapter, which will help you define your process. Your process is YOURS. It is not better or worse than anyone else’s process. Know it. Document it. Honor it.

Nota bene: we are still working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. There is a lot more to it than what I am writing and it will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of the fabulousness!

 

Yellow Donation Quilt #2

I starting working on another donation quilt, this time in yellow, pink and peachy-orange. It now has a yellow vibe, so I am calling it Yellow #2, as part of the series of yellow donation quilts, which I started in 2012.

That last sentence is totally pretentious and you can call me out on it. I did seriously start another donation quilt in yellow, pink and peachy-orange and am naming it #2 to distinguish from the first one I made in 2012.

Yellow Donation quilt #2
Yellow Donation quilt #2

I am not very far along, but making progress. I started to put the blocks together even though I don’t have enough to make a whole top yet. I am not sure why I started to put it together before having all of the blocks, but I did.

The four block section I have put together is covered, on the left, by another block waiting to be integrated. My design wall overfloweth.

Various & Sundry 2017 #1

Shopping

The City Quilter Online Store is now working.

Have you looked at Stash Fabrics? I really like the fabrics they have – motifs and colors.

I finally took a look at The Precut Shop by the fabulous Christa Watson. I am remorseful that it wasn’t sooner, but very glad I did now. First, the shop is Amazon based, so easy payment and, presumably, easy shipping options. The stock, however is amazing. There was page after page of every precut imaginable. I couldn’t even look at all the offerings! Take a look.

Fabric and Tools

Pam has a blank copy of her fabric usage spreadsheet available on a post from a few years back. It is a good time to start tracking your usage. I did it all last year and it helped me to understand what fabrics I was using and how much. I made much better choices about fabric purchases. Cheryl, a BAMer, wrote a great post about her spreadsheet for the BAM blog. She talks about her theories around it, why she does it and how she does it.

Accuquilt is having a die sale through January 31. They have some great dies, even basic options. The site also has an option to register your dies, which creates a list of all of your dies in one place. I have been using my Accuquilt and the dies on and off for various projects as well as for clearing out my scrap bin. It really helps with cutting.

Media

Friend Julie turned me on to Makelight, which has some interesting visual reports. They appear to be in the business of improving followers on Instagram, so they are selling something. I am just in the process of trying out the tools.

Frances of The Off Kilter Quilt podcast fame has a new website called Quilt Fiction. You might be able to read her newsletter on the site, but you can definitely subscribe. If you subscribe to the newsletter, you get a lovely short story. I read the short story and definitely wanted to know more about the characters. If you can’t read the newsletter on the site, there is plenty of other quilty-goodness to read. She has frequent blog posts about books related to quilts. One of my favorite posts is one called Everyday Uses. While it is brief, it makes me think about the everyday use of quilts. I agree with the mother in the story in that you make a quilt and if it gets used up, you make another one. I don’t want to say that quilts aren’t precious to me, but there is always more fabric.

I follow Schmetz Needles on Twitter and was pleased and intrigued to see that they have an online magazine called Inspired to Sew. Check out their site for the current and archived issues.

Copyright

You might have seen the whole unpleasant drama about someone stealing  an image of FOTY 2015. Someone sent me a link to another site that was discussing the same issue. Please note that I am not a lawyer.

Other

If you want a lovely downloadable calendar, check out the Grove website.

 

En Provence Progress

Four patches for En Provence
Four patches for En Provence

I am doing the En Provence Mystery Quilt. I have just finished step 1. I am very pleased with the four patches I have made. I have part of step 2 finished, and have some Spikes to cut. I am dreadfully behind, but I don’t care. I saw the reveal on January 1 and am pleased to say that I like the quilt design. It is always kind of a crapshoot when you don’t know what the quilt will look like. Not that there is any shortage of fabric.  Some people have already finished theirs and have shown their versions, which is great for me, so I can compare different color schemes. I am happy to pick out colors as I start each step. So far, I have sort of stuck to Bonnie’s suggestions, but I am not going with the purple she includes. Just not my thing. I don’t hate purple, but I think this quilt will stay here so I want something that will work in my house.

This project is part of the reason why I feel like I am treading quilt water. Many steps forward and no finishes.

Circles Donation Quilt

Circles Donation Quilt

The other thing I did at Sew Day on Saturday was work on the Circles donation quilt. Gerre finished quilting it, so she brought it and I made the binding while she met with the other Executive Board members.

She has a lot of the plaids so I used one that had enough left to make an entire straight of grain binding out of one motif. It is similar in colors to the large blue and white striped circle in the lower right hand corner of the photo above.

I have a lot going on so she took it to sew the binding on. I won’t be able to add very much fabric to my spreadsheet as most of it was Gerre’s, but I supplied the background, so some.

Sew Day

I am going to miss a lot of BAMQG in the next couple of months, which makes me sad. Perhaps I’ll have something to show by the time I make it to the March meeting?

Mary, once again, did a great job setting up and organizing the room for us. Thanks, Mary!

We all dodged the rain and there was a good turnout.

Haley's t-shirt quilt
Haley’s t-shirt quilt

Tim was there with his niece Haley and they put a t-shirt quilt together for her. She just graduated from college and the quilt is made from all of her college t-shirts. It looks great!

I worked on cutting. I started cutting for the second step of the En Provence mystery quilt. People have started posting the blocks and I am glad I am making it. I can choose some colors better now that I know what the piece will look like.

I know I am not quite finished with step one, but cutting is a good thing to do at Sew Day and it doesn’t go bad. I didn’t feel like bringing my machine to the event.

Rhonda's Handwork Project
Rhonda’s Handwork Project

Rhonda worked on her Carolyn Friedlander handwork quilt. She started to put the segments together. Another great project!

ColorPlay New Year 2017

ColorPlay Jan 7 2017
ColorPlay Jan 7 2017

I took this photo on one of my walks. It was late in the afternoon so the sun was going down. One of the beautiful things about this time of year is the way the sun tinges the clouds with pink at about 4:45 or 5pm. I love it. Of course, the clouds help and they have been dumping rain on us. We don’t complain about the rain, but I will complain about the cold. It has been bitter for a place that doesn’t get snow regularly. I have been wearing so many layers!

ColorPlay Jan 7-n.1
ColorPlay Jan 7-n.1

My first iteration of a color palette has all of the circles clustered around the upper left hand corner. I am not sure why. However, this is almost a monochromatic palette with a serious number of blues. I see more colors, including a tinge of yellow in this picture, but I do think that the tool has got it mostly right.

ColorPlay Jan 7 n.2
ColorPlay Jan 7 n.2

For the second palette, I wanted to try and keep the monochromatic look, but add some contrast. I wanted the contrast to be light so I tried to find areas that might be in the white-cream-light grey realm. The Kona cream and ivory chosen by the tool both have a tinge of pink, which I think is a good choice.

ColorPlay Jan7 n.3
ColorPlay Jan7 n.3

I moved the circles around a little again for the third palette. I wanted to try and capture the yellow. I wasn’t really able to find that yellow in the photograph. I guess that is one reason we should take care of our eyes: they can see things our camera can’t. Still, the palette is pleasing and would make a very calming quilt.

 

Have you tried the Palette Builder? What have you made?

January 2017 To Do List

January To Do List

In addition to the general sewing tasks I also list, January requires some additional work to get the year started:

  • Decide on FOTY shape and size
  • Make cutting chart for the year
  • Update Fabric Usage spreadsheet for 2017
  • Update Fabric purchase spreadsheet for 2017

The sewing tasks remain:

  • Wash fabric AKA The Great Unwashed-This will perpetually be on the list. As usual, I made some progress around Thanksgiving. When this is no longer on the list, I will host a party
  • Cut out 3 notepad covers for gifts
  • Finish cutting out Day in the Park backpack variation
  • Cut out Art supplies pincushion
  • Sew Art supplies pincushion
  • Cut out purple pincushion
  • Sew purple pincushion
  • Quilt Thanksgiving table mat
  • Make Chubby Charmer for SIL
  • *Make owl for Birgit
  • *Make pillow for Sarah

*New since last post

Finished since November 2016 post

 

  • Quilt Thanksgiving tablerunner #2
  • Quilt Thanksgiving tablerunner #3
  • Bind Thanksgiving Tablerunner #2
  • *Bind Thanksgiving Tablerunner #3
  • *ATCs for December 2016 CQFA meeting

 

Progress Finally – The Peacock

Peacock - 12/31/2016
Peacock – 12/31/2016

It has been hard to get going again on the Peacock. I don’t know why. I think it required contemplation and I really have just had snatches of time here and there over the past few weeks. Some projects require concentration and no progress is made without the time and mindspace for concentration.

The problem is that this piece is taking up space on my design wall and until I finish, I can’t make any other progress. Yes, I could take this piece off the design wall, but that would be a huge mess and I am pretty sure I would never get back to it. Not worth the trouble.

Peacock - 1/1/2017
Peacock – 1/1/2017

As you may remember, I gathered some solids and they have been laying around waiting for my attention. Sunday, after #politicalwifery was the day. I cut and placed some strips of solids as background onto the design wall and I am pretty pleased with the results so far. I have some very light blues, but I don’t know that I will get to them as at some point in the not to distant sewing, the very darks I am using on the left will meet the lights on the right and I have to figure out that transition. There will be an angle involved for sure. Perhaps the lavender as well?

Christmas Quilt Gifts

Christmas Gifts 2016
Christmas Gifts 2016

We celebrate Christmas, in case you hadn’t noticed. I received a few quilt related gifts, which was very nice.

I am excited about the Make It, Take It book, because I want to make that tote on the front. It reminds me of a tote that Angela made, which I also like.

The Hack that Tote book will also come in handy, because I can’t seem to stop changing bag patterns I made.

Chatelaine Scissors from Rhonda
Chatelaine Scissors from Rhonda

I am particularly pleased with the scissors and lanyard Rhonda gave me. I needed an extra pair of scissors for my Craft Night kit and these are perfect.

Chatelaine Scissors with Sheath from Rhonda
Chatelaine Scissors with Sheath from Rhonda

The best part is that my Scissor Sheath pattern fits perfectly on these scissors. I need the Sheath so I don’t stab myself when wearing the lanyard. I plan to add other things to the carabiner as I come across useful items.

Last Carpenter’s Wheel? 

I am hoping that this is the last Carpenter’s Wheel block. My fingers are crossed because it would be nice to finish something AND I want to turn this in for the BAMQG challenge.
As I may have mentioned, I have an idea for the layout and I’d like to get to it. Of course, I have to get the Peacock off the design wall.