Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Revisiting a UFO

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the unfinished projects in my life, and specifically about all the unfinished quilts I have in boxes and bags all over the house.  I seem to have a talent for starting quilts, but not for finishing them!  I decided that I absolutely MUST finish some of these quilts before starting any more quilt projects.

So today I dug out these blocks that I made many years ago.  They started life as 6 1/2" nine-patch blocks made from scraps, and then (those many years ago) I read Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking, and I suddenly saw these simple 9-patches in a new light.  I cut the nine-patch blocks down at different angles to 4 1/2" blocks (4" finished) and then started to play with framing them in black with slivers of different fabrics added in.  And there they sat, for the aforesaid many years.  There were only 14 of them, so not enough to make a very big quilt.

But in my newfound zeal for finishing things, I decided that it was important to complete some of these old projects, even if they ended up being small.  (I kind of have a thing about making bed-size quilts, or at least quilts big enough to nap under.  I'm not exactly sure why I'm so fanatical about making large quilts, since I also think that quilts are a legitimate art form and can hang on a wall quite happily with other art.  But I digress...)

Anyway, I pulled these out today and decided to put them together in a quilt top.

I decided that I needed one more block, to make a total of 15 blocks that I would set 3x5 in the finished top.  So I pulled out this little 9-patch that had been pinned to my studio wall for some time, cut it down, and started adding a black frame around it.

Then I started the process of adding 3 1/2" sashing around the blocks.  Here is my progress so far.  I'm pretty pleased, even though the new black fabric I bought yesterday for this purpose is darker than the old black fabrics I used in the blocks so many years ago.  I have just resolved not to let that bother me!

I'm still not sure if I'm going to add another border around the whole thing when the sashing is complete, and if so, what color that border should be.  But I can decide that another day.  For now, it's enough to have pulled out an old UFO and made some progress!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Plodding Along

Sometimes in life you have a string of days in which it seems that not much is being accomplished--where you're just plodding along. This week has been one of those times for me.

I've worked on my string piecing a bit.

Knitted a bit.

And worked on my octagon English paper piecing project a bit.

But nothing is really getting finished, or even moving along in a major way.  Just plodding.  Do a little bit here, a little bit there.  I'm trying to remind myself that this is, indeed, how large projects get finished--a little here, a little there, and then one day you're done.

Monday, May 23, 2016


I've been working on my English paper piecing (EPP) project the last couple of days.  My EPP project is octagons, not the more common hexagons, just cause I have to be different like that.

Work proceeds at a very slow pace on this project, since it is all done by hand.  Yet there's something very satisfying about it, as well.

I'm not sure what the finished size of this quilt will be.  For now, it's enough to simply stitch a bit by hand every now and then.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Feeling the Feelings

This blog is supposed to be about my adventures in crafting, specifically fiber crafting.  Generally I do something crafty (oh, yes, I'm crafty!) every day to report.  But I've just not been feeling the love recently.  Nothing I'm working on is doing it for me.

And, to complicate matters, I signed up for Weight Watchers last Thursday.  This is a good thing, right?  Right.  Except in some ways, it's really not.  Those of you that actually know me know that I am a woman of size, and I didn't get that way by eating carrot sticks, bananas, and Romaine lettuce.  I got that way by using food as my drug of choice--stuffing my feelings, as one previous therapist put it.  I don't do drugs, don't smoke, don't even drink much anymore.  What do I do to deal with all the feelings?  Why, eat, of course.

And now that I can't just eat whatever I want?  I am feeling the feelings.  ALL the feelings.  Depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, disappointment, rage....  ALL the feelings.  When you can't eat them away, what in the world do you do with them?  What I'm trying to do is to simply sit with them--accept them for what they are and let them pass.  Much easier said than done.  It's much easier (and more in line with human nature) to try to avoid the unpleasant feelings.  To do anything to avoid the unpleasant feelings.  Drink, smoke, eat.... Oh wait, that's how I got to where I am!

I've struggled with depression my whole adult life.  At this point, at 45, it's gotten to be an old friend.  An unwelcome friend, to be sure, but a familiar one.  For the last year, I've been doing pretty well, staying on an even keel, keeping my head above water.  So it's scary, to say the least, to feel the depression and anxiety creeping back up on me.

Oh, I could just pack it in and give up the whole weight loss effort, but I'm at a point where I really need to lose some of the poundage for my own health.  It's gone beyond just looking a certain way.

I knew it would be hard; I just didn't anticipate it being this hard, and hard in quite this way.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

More Strings

I have to admit, my enthusiasm for fiber crafting is kind of low.  I'm not sure why this is, but I just am not working on any projects that are just grabbing me right now.  I continue to work on my orange sweater, and even finished the body of it the other day.  Now for the sleeves...

And I continue to work on my string-pieced blocks--a few a day.

Today I made eight blocks; yesterday I made nine.  I know, I know, real exciting, right?!

I've been reading this blog lately, and thinking about doing some refashioning of my own thrift store finds.  Trouble is, it's a lot harder to refashion thrift store clothes when you're a woman of size like myself.  The woman that writes that blog is seriously tiny, so it's relatively easy for her to find clothes in larger sizes that she can cut down to fit herself.  Not so me!  It definitely makes for more difficult thrift store and yard sale hunting when you have to start with clothes in larger sizes.  But I do love a good thrift store/yard sale find!  So maybe you'll be seeing some of my own refashioning projects on the blog....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Lazy Day

I've spent an extraordinarily lazy day today, not doing much of anything!  I am re-reading Game of Thrones, so I spent some time reading and then I took a nap!  This evening my husband Chris and I went to the grocery store and out to eat, and then when we got home I did a little more string piecing.

Here you can see how I've pulled off the paper from the back before pressing and squaring up.

In this picture you can see the little bowtie blocks that I'm using as my leader/ender project (a la Bonnie Hunter) lurking under the string blocks.

These little blocks are so fun, and they allow me to use scraps that otherwise would probably be thrown away.  Right now I'm just having fun making blocks, and not really thinking about how I'm going to set them into a quilt.  I already have some sewn together, so I may just continue on in that same vein, setting them side by side with no sashings or cornerstones.  I'm hoping they will look rather like a basketweave when finished.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stringing Along Again

This evening, after my walk, I decided to work on some more string-pieced blocks.

I made six blocks, again working on my Singer 338.  Not a lot, but more than I started with, right!?

The funny thing is, as I pull the string pieces out of my bin, the amount in the bin seems to be growing rather than shrinking!  How does fabric DO that?

I have a feeling I could make a hundred of these blocks and it would barely put a dent in my string stash!

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Little of This and That

I've had a hard time settling down to much lately--been feeling rather restless. I've just been working on a few things here and there.

I've been working on a sweater for a class in top-down sweater design I'm teaching at the Red Barn Yarn Farm.  I'm at the point of putting the bottom edging on the bottom of the sweater, and I decided on a simple cable rib.  I'll put this same cable rib on the bottoms of the sleeves and around the neckline.

I'm making it out of this yarn, which is a 50% cotton/50% wool blend.

Here you can see the short rows on the front, which are a full bust adjustment.

I also started spinning this wool blend into singles.  I got this roving in a swap, so I'm not exactly sure what the blend is.

Have a good Monday evening, everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Little String Patchwork

I've been getting that quilting urge again lately, so this evening I headed down to my studio and worked on a project that has been hanging around for quite a while.  I began this string quilting project probably two or more years ago now, and it has been patiently waiting for me to return to it all this time!

This is the piece that I had completed so long ago.

And these are the blocks I worked on tonight.

I only worked for about an hour or so, and I got ten of these fun 6 1/2" blocks made.  These are an "anything goes" type of block--I just start pulling strings out of my big bin of string scraps and sewing them down.  I do use a background paper to paper piece these onto.  The only rule I try to follow is to alternate light and dark strips.

I was working tonight on my Singer 338, a machine that I use quite a bit and just love.  I love the color of it as well as that fact that it's an old-fashioned workhorse of a machine!

I love vintage machines, and have several that I have gotten at garage sales or on craigslist, and I particularly like machines that were made in the 1950's and 1960's.  They are just so cool, and they were built to last, unlike so many inexpensive machines today.  This particular machine was made between 1963-1965, so it is at least 50 years old and still sews perfectly.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Missouri Spin In Haul

It's taken me a couple of days, but I wanted to show off my haul from the Missouri Spin-In.

First off, I bought some gorgeous hand-dyed braids.  These first two are from Apothefaery Fibers.

These next two are from Bon Fiber, which is owned by Bonnie Acklin, who I discovered lives very near to me.

Next I got this beautiful green roving and these two gorgeous orange batts.

Next up I picked up some beautiful blends from Prairie's Edge Fibers.

Then I picked out a couple of skeins of sock yarn from T&H Fiber Works.

Lastly, I bought some alpaca/wool roving which I have already spun up into a 2-ply yarn.

All in all, it was a successful shopping day!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Day at the Missouri Spin-In

Yesterday my friend George and I went to the Missouri Spin-In in Chillicothe, MO.

Here's George, enjoying her lunch!

Some spinning wheels and great wheels for sale.

Beautiful braids.

Angora bunnies for sale.

Gorgeous handpainted yarns by Heather Hertziger of T&H Fiber Works.

Here she is holding the two skeins that I purchased!

Stunning fiber and yarn from Kathleen Wedel of Prairie's Edge Farm.  (I am a big fan of Kathleen's fibers and indulged myself quite a bit with several purchases from her!  It's hard to see in these photos just how gorgeous her fiber blends are.)

Some folks who were sitting near me spinning or knitting.

All in all, it was a really fun day and I came home several pounds of fiber heavier and with my purse lightened accordingly!  (I'll post haul pics tomorrow!)

Have a great Sunday, everyone!