Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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…

 

 

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…

 

 

 

Sprinkled Delights and Year End Review

January 12, 2018

Just like I said in the last post, I couldn’t wait to start the next set of blocks for Delilah. I didn’t even wait for the templates and fabric kit to arrive, so these two blocks are variations of The Spinkled Delights Block.

I definitely prefer the more complex look of the second block.

This is the first time I’m creating a post on my iPhone and I can not figure out how to add text after I’ve inserted the photos, so here goes with my year end wrap up.

I have successfully purged 4,001 pounds of stuff out of my house.  Neither my husband nor I can see one bit of difference.  What the heck is up with that?

Seems we’re both guilty of still purchasing way too many items.  My downfall is fabric.  I won’t comment on what he buys because it covers a wide range of items.

There will be a different approach taken in 2018 because relocating is becoming more of a reality, and we need to get serious about downsizing.

Happy New Year to all and as always,

Hugs…

 

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Delilah Turbine Blocks Completed

December 22, 2017

Month 8 blocks have been completed.  Now this was an easy block to piece – technique wise – but for some reason, I kept on reversing the large triangle when I was sewing the strips together.  Guess my geometrically challenged brain did not like that piece.

Here are the four blocks:

Mine 1

Mine 2

Mine 3

Mine 4

I love the first one, the second one is very different from all the others, the third one is okay, and the last one looks great when placed in the quilt layout, but doesn’t make my heart sing.  Only the first block makes my heart sing.

I made these blocks when I received some bad news, that was later discovered to be untrue – thank goodness.  Did have a miserable 30 hours or so, and those feelings influenced blocks 2-4.

I’m not going to remake them, as this quilt is a record of what I was making in the last year, and life is not always rosy.   It’s all good though.  It’s a true reflection of the year, and these blocks will remind me to be grateful everything turned out to be well after all.

Here is a picture of the quilt blocks made so far in the quilt layout:

Layout after block 8

Lots more  greyscale sections needed to be replaced by my pieced blocks, and I can not wait till my templates and fabric kit arrives for block 9.

Hugs…

 

 

 

 

Delilah 4 Patch Square Blocks

November 10, 2017

 

I’ve made two out of four blocks for this month’s Delilah TOM, and made one according to the pattern:

Mine 1

And one eliminating the center 4 patch, and placing a fussy cut piece of fabric there instead:

Mine 2

Both blocks contain fussy cut fabric squares – little birds in the first block, and roses and the center in the second block.  I had fun selecting fabric for these two interpretations, and have to admit, I like the first block much better than the second.  Why?  The 8 different border prints on the first block appeal to me more than the repetition of the blues and greens in the second block.  I’m slowly but surely morphing into the Jen Kingwell frame of mind – the more fabrics used, the better.  😉

Also, I made the second block the second day of catching a cold.  Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.  Messed up the orientation of the fussy cut roses.  Took out the seams, realized I took out the incorrect seams, sewed them back together, ripped out the seams that needed to be removed, and jammed a pin in my sewing machine’s feed dogs.  Luckily, was able to remove it – intact.  It was a minor miracle.

Started putting the border fabrics on, and of course, tried to match areas that weren’t supposed to be sewn together.  Thought about forcing the seam, then thought, I’m not making great decisions today, and turned off the sewing machine.  Came downstairs, looked at the photo, and realized I had oriented the border pieces incorrectly.  They fit just fine.

The cold is still with me, and there are 2 more blocks to make for this month.  At one point, I had texted my friends and said I was only going to make one block from each month from now on, and make a much smaller quilt.  Then I thought, I’ve come so far.  It’d be a shame if I didn’t finish this, so am now all gung ho about it – for the first time in a long time.  You see, blocks of the month or templates of the month are not for me.  I don’t like working on multiple projects.  I like focusing on one project at a time and finishing it.  Finishing up a month, and then having to wait for the next shipment to arrive drives me bonkers.

Yes, I made the purse in between shipments, but I really want to work on the Santa quilt I started last year, and know I would just get into the Santa quilt, and then the Delilah templates would arrive, and I’d feel guilty about not working on them.  Seems I can only concentrate on one complicated design at a time.

It’s all good.  Santa can wait for December 2018, and Delilah will be completed on time, and I’m really hoping to squeeze a top or dress in between the Delilah blocks.  I sorely need some new clothes, and have a few parties to attend in December.  It’d be very nice if I had something new to wear to those parties.

Hugs…

 

 

 

Birdie Sling

November 1, 2017

I took a break from making the Delilah TOM, and made a much needed purse/tote for myself.  Now I’ve already made an Amy Butler Birdie Sling purse/tote, but wasn’t thrilled with some aspects of the purse.  I really like the design, so decided to customize it for my usage.

Here is a picture of the finished purse/tote

purse birdie sling

This suits me much better, and I think it still looks a lot like the original.  The changes?

1.  I altered the main panel so that it would fit on the fold of a 44″ wide piece of fabric.  This uses much, much less fabric, and I did it by folding the panel pattern piece  in 1″ on the edge that is supposed to be on the fold.

2.  Enlarged the small pockets so my cell phone would fit.  I made them a little wider and longer, and just made it when it came time to sew the gussets.

3.  Made 2 pleats across the top panel instead of 6.  This is a large purse/tote, but with 6 pleats, the top opening was pretty small.  It was hard to put large items inside.  Problem solved.

4.  The top band pattern had to be larger as the panel had less pleats.  I added 1″ on the band pattern piece at the fold, so got an additional 2″ for each piece.

5.  Removed 1″ in width for the base of the strap, and also added length to it.  I redrew the strap pattern piece, and the length is now 31″ + seam allowances.  I still think the base of the handle is too wide, and might change that the next time around.

6.  The handle was also made a lot wider at the shoulder.  I find a wider handle distributes the weight better on my shoulder.  Mine is now 4″ at the shoulder, and I fold it over for a 2″ doubled section that is nicely padded.

7.  I also eliminated the fusible fleece.  I don’t like a purse/tote that is too stiff and bulky.  This drapes nicely against my body,

Lots of changes, true?  And now comes the time of a big belly laugh. I happen to have a sewing machine with at timer on it.  It keeps track of how long the needle goes up and down.  It took me four 2-3 hour days to make this purse.  Fusing, redrafting pattern pieces, fusing, sewing, fusing, a little more sewing.  Can you tell most of the time was spent with fusing?  I would dearly and purely love a fusing fairy to move into my home when I make a project like this.

Back to time for the big belly laugh though.  It took a whole 41 minutes of actual sewing time to make this purse.  Yes, a mere 41 minutes.  Who would have thought?

Hugs…

 

 

 

 

Dyeing Again

June 22, 2017

It’s been 10 months since I’ve dyed anything, and it felt really good to get the MX Procion dyes back out again.  To be truthful, a bunch of them were on the top of my dryer from my last dye session of August 2016, but a broken wrist does impede one from cleaning up.  I’ll grasp at any excuse for being bad about cleaning up my laundry room/dye studio.

 

I’m part of the MXdyers Yahoo group and Barbara issued an Indigo Challenge.  She vat indigo dyed some fabric, didn’t like the grey she was getting, so offered fat quarters to members as long as we added at least 2 steps to the fabric, using only MX Procion dye.
First off,  I loved the fabric as I received it.  I so wanted to use it “as is” in a project, but refrained.  It is gorgeous, is it not?

Original

Sooooo, I started with masking the white pentagon lines with painters tape, and stenciled a design across the fabric using the formula for color #19 in Playful Fabric Printing.   I made a boo-boo at the bottom, and stenciled in the wrong area.  It happens, sad but true.

Unmasked

After removing the blue painters tape from the centers, I really, really wanted to stop here.  I know – from past experience – that I usually love what I do after one change, and hate what I do after the second change.  True to form, I hate the second step.

Sun Yellow

I used a 10% dye concentrate of Sun Yellow, adding soda ash to the container, and experimented with it.  The bottom half of the designs had 8 drops of uncolored soda ash water put on it, and then 8 drops of Sun Yellow dye concentrate.  The top half had 8 drops of Sun Yellow dye concentrate only put on it.  I wanted to see if there would be a difference between applying dye on dry vs wet for this project.

I honestly can’t see much difference between the two, and I really, really, really hate the sun yellow on this piece of fabric.  I was going to go with violet, and was afraid the color wouldn’t have shown up enough.  I should have gone with the violet.  And after I put the drops in the middle, I thought about putting the drops along lines so a star burst effect could be created.  Obviously, my  brain needs to work a little faster than my hand.

It did feel good to get a little dyeing done, and I threw in a couple of fat quarters to use up the black print paste I made, and the Sun Yellow dye concentrate I made.  Nothing goes to waste in my dye studio, and because I had added the soda ash to the containers, they had to be used up quickly.  No pictures of them, but the black print paste yielded a very dark shade of eggplant when I added water to cover the fat quarter in its container, and the Sun Yellow fat quarter is blindingly Sun Yellow.  Trust me, 10% dye concentration gives a very strong yellow.

It’s all good. I learned a lot, tried different ideas, and got my brain back in an MX Procion kind of mood.  😉

Hugs…

Delilah Beach Balls

June 10, 2017

I received my templates and fabric last Friday, and have been concentrating on getting my two blocks completed.  Only 8 days later, and success.

 

The first block uses 10 fabrics from my collection, and 6 from the kit, and I feel that is the scrappier of the two blocks.  The second block uses 1 fabric from my collection, and 5 from the kit.  It’s what I’d term organized scrappy.

I’m a Gemini, and can usually see two sides to every issue.  It’s no surprise I’m trying 2 approaches to this project – a scrappy version, and an organized scrappy version.  It should be interesting to see if all the blocks will play nicely with each other.

I have a master word document with a photo of Delilah in greyscale, and I insert the blocks in the same position made by the designer – Jen Kingwell.  So far, I think what I’ve made will happily co-exist.  What do you think?

Master quilt after 4 of my blocks have been inserted:

Master quilt block 1 n 2 for blog

Hugs…

 

 

Delilah TOM

May 6, 2017

I got very lucky recently, and was able to enroll for the Delilah TOM – Template of the Month.  This is a quilt that was designed by Jen Kingwell of Australia, and 30 some quilt stores were authorized to offer the program to their customers.     In Town Quilters  in Atlanta, GA is the store that fit me in, due to someone cancelling.

Block 1 – Rising Sun – was mailed to me last week.  It contained the instructions, plastic templates, and the light fabric kit.

We were instructed to make 2 of these blocks, and they were a dream to machine sew.

Block 1 mine first 1

 

It seems I’m incapable of working with a fabric kit though, without including additional fabric from my vast fabric collection.  The green, blue, purple polka dots, and black canvas looking fabric came from the kit – 4 colors.  All the others were mine, and the yellow was used on the wrong side.  Fabric has two sides, so why not use the side that looks  best for the project?

And how about the fussy cutting of that flower against the black background.  I’m thrilled with how well that turned out.

It’s not very scrappy looking though, and Jen’s achieves her great looking quilts by being a lot more free with her fabric choices than I am, so trying to go for it, I made the second block for the month:

Block 1 mineThis time I vowed to only use the fabrics from the kit.  Did I do so?  Noooooo!!! Is it scrappier looking than the first block?  I think so.  Textures abound – stripes, geometrics, florals and grids.  I really tried hard to not be Miss Matchy-Matchy for this block.

I only used 4 of my fabrics this time, and 2 of them were scraps I purchased from a quilt store.  Yes, I actually purchased a package of fabric scraps from a store last year.  I’m not even going to try and justify or defend that purchase.  I got some great scraps in that package – the black geometric, and the gridded fabric used in the large triangles were from that purchase.

The fussy cut tulips were a gift from a friend who passed away about 10 years ago, so a little bit of Faith – she was a dear friend with a kind and caring soul – is in this quilt.

And how about those fussy cut underwear fabric triangles?  I purchased that yardage while on vacation in Arizona.

This is why I love scrappy quilts.  They are repositories of memories.  A dear friend, a great vacation, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.  This quilt will comfort me physically and spiritually.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

Hugs…