Bee Sewcial

August 8, 2018

I’m a member of a small group of quilt artists called Fiberistas, and we were looking for a small monthly project to try recently.  Beth sent us links to a concept new to all of us.  It’s called BeeSewcial.  Seems there is a thriving group on Instagram and on the internet, where members select a Queen Bee monthly.  The Queen Bee chooses a theme.  It can be a particular block, a thought, a word, a song, etc…  The members all make a block and gift it to the Queen Bee, who then makes a quilt out of the blocks, and gets to keep it for herself.

We all thought that was a great idea as our last group project – a Round Robin ended halfway through.  Some of the pieces were getting rather large, and interest waned. One block a month is very doable, and still lets us try all sorts of new techniques, and we get to make a quilt for ourselves.  The best part?  We each receive a block made by someone we all love.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

We decided to have all the block sizes be divisible by 3.   A block can be as small as 3″x3″ or 3″x12″ or anything between, but none larger than 12″x12″.  This will be fun and possibly challenging to put together 13 variously sized blocks, and should result with lots of great varied arrangements.

Jess chose Square in a Square, and I finished mine already.  It is 9″x9″.  Yes, good old procrastinator me, finished it a full month ahead of time.  Here it is:

Jess

She mentioned she liked batiks, so batiks she got, and I had oodles of fun playing with the design section in my Pfaff sewing machine.

That center embroidery started out life as a single scallop.  I multiplied it, tapered it, rotated it, and had the best time ever creating those squares, within squares in the center.  Sense a theme here?  More squares in a square for Jess.

This is the first time in years, and I mean years, that I used the embroidery module on my sewing machine.   It was so much fun.  That module is staying on my sewing machine, and I have big plans for it – in between finishing up the Santa quilt.

Hugs…

 

Advertisements

Good to Feel Good Again

August 3, 2018

It’s been a long haul here, but I’m finally feeling good again.  Let me tell you, it’s no fun to be dizzy, short of breath, and have no energy for a couple of months.  It lasted way too long, but am very grateful to be doing well again.

Comfort Quilt #16 was started in Tucson, and completed in Churchville.  It was free motion quilted on my Pfaff – with the nice big space between the needle and machine.  It’s the next best thing to a sit down quilting machine set-up.

Comfort Quilt 16

The fabric was gifted to me by a dear friend, and now I am passing along the good will by donating it to my quilt guild’s Comfort Quilt group.

Hugs…

 

Surprise, Surprise

June 24, 2018

The day after my birthday, I ended up in the ER traveling by ambulance no less.  Quite a shock.  Was there for hours, had a gazillion tests, and sent home with orders to see a cardiologist the next day.

Have you ever tried to get an appointment with a cardiologist in one day?  Ain’t going to happen.  Didn’t matter because I ended up in the ER again, 24 hours after my last trip.  At least this time, my husband drove me, and we went to a different hospital.

This ER visit was 6.5 hours in the waiting room followed by being put in a room with a guy coughing so badly, I was worried about my husband getting sick.  I was admitted for observation, wore a heart monitor, and got sent home with BP meds, and an appointment to see a cardiologist.  Nice of them to make it for me.

Two days later I realized I caught an infection while in the hospital, so got to take antibiotics, and the next day realized I’m the one who caught what the guy in the bed next to me had.  Such joy – not.

I’m feeling much, much better now, and am looking forward to working on my Santa quilt again.  I’m also hopeful the rest of the year will be happy and healthy for me,  my loved ones, and all of you.

Hugs…

 

It’s My Birthday

May 29, 2018

Another year, another birthday, but as I age, I realize another birthday is not guaranteed to me.  Of course, another birthday has never been a given, but the reality of my mortality hit hard this year, when my best friend from high school, passed away this Spring.

All of us who knew her, knew this was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier for us when it happened.  This was a release from all the chemo, radation, fatigue and clinical trials she endured, but I still miss hearing from her.

My friend stayed positive till the end.  She stayed hopeful, kind to her friends, and as her husband said, “Everybody who knew her, loved her.”  True that.

With this birthday, I’m now a year older than my friend was when she passed away.  What will I do with my time on this earth?

Take it day by day.  That sounds simple, but how many of us live in the present?  We make bucket lists, we have our calendars filled with meetings and appointmets, and then what?  We get stressed  filling up our lives with “To-Do” lists.

Today, the sun is shining.  That gives me joy.  I love seeing the sun.  Watching how the landscape changes colors as the sun moves across the sky – the highlights, the secret, shady areas – it’s all quite spectacular.

Last night we had a full moon.  It never fails to awe me when I can walk around my house in the middle of the night without a light on, and have it illuminated by the glowing moon.  There is something magical about moonlight.

Do I have future plans?  Not a lot of them.  Am I bored?  No.  I have a gazillion projects I can be making – or maybe not making, but am working on them one at a time.  It’s a lot more fun for me to work on more complicated projects now, and take my time with them.

I’m taking daily walks again.  It’s good for my body, and it makes me happy.  After breaking my femur this past January, I really appreciate the ability to walk.

Lest you think I’m withdrawing from life, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m eliminating activities that keep me busy.  I don’t need to be busy.  I want to be engaged in what life brings my way.  Spontaneity and reflection will be welcomed with open arms.

Hugs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delilah Pieced

May 17, 2018

Oh Happy Days!!!  Delilah is pieced.  I’ve hired a long arm quilter to do the quilting as the sheer number of seams in this quilt has intimidated the bejeebers out of me.

My Delilah completedI attempted to create some places for your eye to rest by using a red and white polka dot fabric for most of the small solid colored squares in this quilt.  I don’t think that was successful, but it did result in a much lighter, brighter quilt – which is fine by me.

Delilah made her debut for Show and Tell today at an art group meeting, and after the reveal, I was rewarded by a resounding silence.  Seems this quilt is not for everyone.  That’s okay.  I kind of like it.  After grousing about it from day one,  I’ve finally come around to appreciating her.

So far there have been only 2 people who responded well to this quilt.  One because of the pattern complexity, and the other because of the bright colors.  I’ll take all the positive responses I can get after working on this for a full 12 months.

Tomorrow, I’ll cut the backing fabric, iron the top again, remove all the little threads, then package it all up for Kim Swink – the talented long arm quilter I’ve hired.

Next up is either the Comfort Quilt I made in Arizona, or the Santa quilt.  I haven’t decided which project it will be yet, but I really like both of them, so have some happy, creative days ahead of me.

Hugs…

 

Delilah on the Design Wall

May 8, 2018

Finally, all the large and small blocks are completed – including the 31 small pinwheels, and they are up on my design wall under review:

My Delilah on the design wallThe lighting is terrible, but I am so proud of myself for getting this far.  I have remade a couple of blocks, and am thinking about remaking one of the pinwheels, but assembly has commenced.

There is still one large block that I think should be remade, but it was one stinker of a block to make.  You can probably tell which one I’m talking about – the grey and weird yellow green block a little left of center.

I was determined to use all the fabric I received in my fabric kit.  This was supposed to stretch my use of color, and it did.  Most of the fabric was great, but I seriously disliked some of the fabric.   That weird yellow green was in the fabric kit, but I’m the one responsible for using it, and for pairing it with the grey.  I think it would look a lot better if I removed the fabric around the 8 pointed star, and replaced it.  Sheesh, I just talked myself into it.

Aaargh, this quilt will never be completed.  It’s been a looooooong 12 months, and I learned I will never, ever enroll for a block of the month, or a template of the month again.  Just as I got in the swing of the quilt, I’d finish the month, then have to wait for the next shipment to arrive.

I like focusing on one quilt project at a time, and simply couldn’t get my brain wrapped around working on another challenging project that was in the works.  I solved the problem by shelving the other challenging project, and making a Comfort quilt with very easy piecing so I could happily sew with my quilt group while in Tucson, but really wanted to wrap up work on Delilah so I could go back to my Santa quilt – the other challenging project.  How about that for a run-on sentence?

Now this one-project-at-a-time person, is working on Delilah, wanting to work on the Santa quilt, and has a pin basted Comfort quilt that needs to be quilted.  This causes me stress.  I don’t like stress.  Neither does my blood pressure, and I didn’t have high blood pressure – till now.

It’s all rather silly.  I’m in control of whether I say yes or no to a project.  I just recently had to back out of participating with my friends on a solid fabric quilting challenge that was due in May.  It would have been great fun to display all the quilts together, but I would prefer to survive Spring.  It is awfully pretty in Upstate New York in Spring.  Who wants to be inside sewing all the time when they could be outside in the sunshine, listening to the birds, and seeing what blooms next?

Hugs…

 

 

9 Black Cockatoo Blocks Completed

April 23, 2018

My oh my, I had issues with sewing this simple block.  I have no clue why this happened, but Black Cockatoo, and the substitution I used – Interwoven Star from EQ-8 almost defeated me.  I don’t know if it was because I was excited this was the last shipment, or because I wanted to zip through the process so I could start assembling the quilt.

Here is picture of all 9 blocks:

9 Black CockatooThe bottom right one is the way Jen designed the block, and it grates on my nerves, so I only made one according to the pattern.  The Interwoven Star design is nicely balanced, with resting spots for my eye, so the other 8 blocks I made were that design.

The only onesthat laid perfectly flat was the first one I made on the first row on the left, and the paper pieced one I made that is in the middle of the bottom row.  All the rest had to be ironed into submission.  Have no clue why, as the fabric was all cut the same way, but they needed quality time with my iron and Best Press.

Next are a bunch of half square triangles, and hopefully, they’ll be completed this week.

We are back from Tucson, and while I miss the sun, I don’t miss the really hot temperatures they are having now. And it is oh so great to be back home so I can  pull fabric from my collection, and leave it on my cutting table, chairs, and various tables, then close the door and not see the mess.

We live in our RV when we’re in Tucson, and you really have to put everything away, everyday, or you have no room to eat, or prepare meals.  It wastes a lot of time, and the older I get, the more aware I am of wasted time.

My solution?  I’m going to try and bring more handwork projects down next year.  Setting up and taking down the sewing machine will be reserved for when I go to the craft room with our quilting group.  There is plenty of room to spread out there.

Hugs…

 

Princess Blocks Completed

March 30, 2018

 

Happy Days!!!  This block was oh so pretty, and such a pain in the neck to make.  Lots and lots of pieces, but I promised you I’d show you the 2nd variation of it, and made my last two blocks using this variation.

Here’s what it looks like partially put together:

mine 8a

I combined 2 templates to create one new one for the center pieces.

mine 8

And that is the block completed.  Do I like it?  Not really.  It’s pretty, but doesn’t look enough like the original Princess Cut block design.  It was a piece of cake to piece, as I eliminated 8 seams from a seam heavy 6″ block, but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as the 1st variation I made.

Since I had already cut out the material for another block using this 2nd variation, I did sew it together:

mine 9The Princess Cut blocks are now completed, and it’s a good thing they are, as I received the templates for the last block – Black Cockatoo this week.  More new fabric, new templates, and a new design to create.  Let the fun begin!!!

Hugs…

Delilah Princess Cut Blocks

March 24, 2018

I have been busy having a good time on vacation, and doing a little sewing.  The Delilah Princess Cut templates arrived, and 32 pieces in a finished 6″ block makes for a lot of seams.  See?

mine 1

mine 2

mine 3

mine 4

One of the fabrics I received has a nice oval design which was pretty large for any of the pieces in this block.  What to do?  What to do?  Create a new template!  I traced the template onto the back of the fabric, then flipped the template over to draw the other half of the design – matching up the dots.  I now had template large enough to handle the fabric design:

mine 5 explained

Whoa, I apologize for the blurry picture.  I must have moved my hand when taking the photo, but if you don’t mind squinting, you can see that the oval shapes are complete – with no seam down the middle of the fabric design.  Success!

Flush with that accomplishment, I realized it would now require a different piecing assembly, and guess what?  It was actually easier to piece this block by eliminating 4 of the seams.

I didn’t finish piecing this block, so you could follow along if so desired.  I pieced the tiny triangles in the block center together into pairs, and pressed the center seam open.  Pieced the fabric with the oval design on it to that section.  Then it was simply a matter of sewing the text fabric pieces to the sides, and adding the corner fabric pieces.

I ended up with 4 ltriangles that were pieced together to form yet another larger triangle – which was half the block, seen on the right side of the photo.  Then simply piece the two large triangles together to form the completed block.  Voila!

I am so pleased that I was able to make use of the complete fabric design as a feature of this block, and ended up with less bulky seams, and still honored the block design.  That was a trifecta of happiness, and one long sentence.  What can I say?  My brain works in threes.  😉

Stay tuned, because my next bright idea will do away with 8 seams.  I hope to get that block cut out and sewn this week.  It’s kind of hard to concentrate on sewing when the weather in Tucson is so gorgeous, but I really want to complete all 9 of the Princess Cut Blocks while I’m still in Tucson.  The next, and last, TOM will be shipped soon, and it would be great if I could start on that when it arrives.

Hugs…

 

 

 

 

An Ending and a Beginning

March 10, 2018

After nearly 40 years of being in business, I closed Dimity down officially yesterday. Filed my last NYS sales tax forms and will complete my last federal paperwork later this month.

It is a bittersweet time for me. I truly thought I’d stay in business till the day I died. You know what made the decision for me?  I’m sick of filing the forms when I’m on vacation in Tucson every Spring. Such a little irritation, but one I didn’t want to bother doing anymore.

It will be nice having simplified tax forms next year too. The less forms I have to fill out, the happier I am.

My business experienced a lot of change over the years, and I enjoyed each and every challenge.  From selling knitting machines, writing patterns and teaching across the USA and Canada, to hand dyeing yarn, purchasing beads from Tucson’s great shows and reselling them, to exhibiting art quilts and selling some.  When one revenue source died, another was explored.  Life was never boring.

While my business is closed, I still have lots to explore.  Not sure if I’ll be starting a new blog or not, but there will definitely be different subject matter discussed now.

Garment making will most likely be pursued, and I doubt I could give up quilt making.  So stayed tuned, folks.  There is more to come.

Hugs…