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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A return to the land of snow and rain.

Not much to show this past week.  I did clean up my sewing room and pack projects into a suitcase to bring back to the land of rain and snow.  Yes, we are 'home' for awhile because of my husband's health.  He has Peripheral vascular disease and apparently no pulse detected in his legs lower than his pelvis.  So, we await tests. And here in B.C. waiting for tests is exactly that... a wait. We will find out more next week after the requests are submitted to the hospital but apparently, it could be anywhere from April to June.

This top got completed.  An interesting pattern and done in 'round's so to speak. 
I have enough four patches left to make a small quilt.

When I woke this morning, this was our view:
It is now raining and not a pretty sight. 
So, it is perfect weather to be sewing, quilting and binding.  But, am having a hard time adjusting and getting anything done!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Trying for an hour a day in my sewing space.

I seem to have too  many days when I don't find time to wander in and sit at my  machine but am making an effort to find an hour either mid afternoon or right after dinner to make some progress on projects.
Once a week is the 50 blocks in 50 weeks with Canadian Quilter's Association and I am keeping up.  These are 6" blocks, finished and so far, four weeks, four blocks.

And, my yellow RCS (rainbow colour scraps) is done for February.  Simple blocks made by stitching 5 rows of 2.5" strips together, cutting into 10" squares, matching up with white 10" squares, stitch around the perimeter and then slice crosswise in both directions.  Easy, peasy half square triangles.  Red last month and yellow for February.  Done
Plus, more 12.5" blocks completed for Sparrow Quilts, 52 blocks in 52 weeks.  It is week 14 and I have twelve blocks completed.  

I managed to get my Missouri star project done but not pressed yet.  I didn't get my hour, didn't even get 5 minutes in my sewing room today.  But, pressing will get done tomorrow and the top will get packed away to be taken north for finishing.
I started a new project this week.  Country Blooms, a kit from Connecting Threads.  I have my strips sewn, cut into blocks and then the blocks stitched into four patches.  Two rows are done and there are many more to stitch. 

The star quilt is ready for quilting and binding.  The binding is made and that is as far as I got. Maybe if we get a rainy day in Arizona, it might happen? It really isn't needed until next December or January as a winter table topper but would be nice to cross it off the list.
Gorgeous sunsets in Arizona but try as I may, it is not possible to get a great picture of the deep magenta skies as it gets dark.
We are busy juicing our oranges and filling the freezer with fresh juice with no preservatives and ready to be consumed next fall.  So sweet and delicious but feel so bad filling the trash can with the orange peels... there is no composting available here so everything goes in the garbage.  Such a shame.

This week has a short list:
1. Quilt the star table topper and bind
2. This week's blocks for both 50 and 52 blocks of the week
3. Stitch the blocks for Country Blooms
4. Tidy up my sewing room before my trip north to be home for some medical appointments.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

New month with new goals.

I ran out of time in January.  Even though it is only the end of January and beginning of February, our social calendar is full with lots of activities.  There was a surprise birthday party for a friend with over 100 people attending, a thank you party last weekend here at our house, and a great tennis activity yesterday with the Canadians versus the U. S. players.  First time in three years, Canada lost!  We will return next year with more effort to get our trophy back.  And then impromptu parties happen and today, it rained.  But the necessities of life get in the way as well.. so today was grocery shopping and some laundry.
 My husband and his Canadian partner playing against some U.S. players. Cloudy day but warm and perfect for a tennis tournament.

I did not cross anything off my January goal list and it looks the same as last week.
However, I did finish my blocks for "Out of Time", a Missouri Star free video and pattern.  Simple as the blocks are, it seemed to take forever to make, probably because I didn't spend any time on Wed, Thurs, Fri, or Sat in my sewing room?
This is large enough that it won't need borders.  Hoping to get the blocks sewn together so I can empty my design wall..
I did stitch up my Sparrow block for the week and while this is week 13, I have 9 blocks made.  I am ok with that because I am choosing to make the blocks I like.  This week was called Firecracker.
I did change my mind about my blocks for the Rainbow scrap challenge and made these.  The blocks from last week will get donated to Canada Stitches and I will send them all that I made.
The oranges and grapefruit on our trees are ripening and time to start picking and juicing.
So, not a great progress report but maybe, if the weather stays wet and cool, I might get more time in my sewing room?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Last week of January 2019

 I wrote a short list last Sunday about my goals for the week and what I wanted to accomplish by the end of the month.  I spend quite a bit of my time on the tennis court and also watched many games from the Australian Open but I also managed some stitching time. I crossed off a few projects from my list but of course, managed to work on some quilts not on the list!

My goals:
- catch up on Sparrow blocks
- make #2 block for CQA
- stitch the gingham blocks together
- make the binding for the gingham quilt
- RSC blocks in red
- Quilter's Planner block for Jan
- 30" table topper Connecting Threads
- City View Connecting Threads.
- Charm quilt for Heartstrings challenge.
- Strippie kid's quilt

Blocks for the Sparrow Quilting: 50 blocks in 50 weeks.  Some of these are a bit time consuming and others are very simple.  The challenge is up to week 11 and I am not quite caught up but I also don't need all 52 blocks - 42 will be enough for a quilt for Quilts of Valour. So, I can afford to not make a block that I don't want to make.

The CQA challenge of 50 blocks in 50 weeks is a simple one.  The blocks finish at 6" so not a big consumption of time or fabric.
My gingham blocks got stitched together and the top is now folded and ready to be taken home for quilting. I might add a border to get it a little larger and again, will be a quilt for Quilts of Valour. The binding also got made but no picture.

The Rainbow scrap challenge challenge blocks are made using red as January's colour.  I did double duty on these, some are for me and are for Canada Stitches, the group that makes quilts for First Responders.  There is one destination that I like to contribute to, the Can Praxis horse camps at Rocky Mountain house, for treating those with PTSD and at the end, they are presented with a quilt at the end of their program.  A request for red and white churn dashes was sent out and I will share my blocks with them.
I also made a preemie quilt for my guild back home from charm squares and it is ready for the quilting and binding in March.
And then I ignored my list and worked on some blocks from a video I watched by Missouri Star.  I pulled out a layer cake and began making some of these blocks.
The pattern is "Out of Time" and the blocks stitch up quickly.  That is my favourite kind of block, goes together easily and quickly and make a 12" block so the quilt is finished in a timely manner, especially when it is for donation.
Today will be a no sewing day.  Time on the courts and then we are having a big salmon barbecue this afternoon with sockeye caught by my husband last summer. 
Hopefully, this week, I will get started on a few new projects from last week's list.
My goals:
- week 12 Sparrow blocks
- make #3 block for CQA
- Quilter's Planner block for Jan
- 30" table topper Connecting Threads
- City View Connecting Threads.
- Strippie kid's quilt
- finish blocks for Out of Time

Four days to accomplish a few of these.  

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Feeling good about my stitching time.

I have been productive and have a couple of tops finished to the flimsy stage.
First, I worked on my Sparrow blocks: 50 blocks in 50 weeks.  This started 11 weeks ago and so I have some catching up to do. But some are made.  I am not doing them in order although I will eventually get there.  I really only need 30 blocks for a quilt top to make it 60" x 72" so some of the 'iffy to me" blocks might not get made?
A couple of my good quilting friends were chatting about a new method of trimming hst's.  I have been using this method for awhile and thought I should show you in case you haven't see in or done it before.  Just one step faster with the trimming.
Before you press your blocks open, line up the ruler with the stitching line and it really helps to have a proper ruler for this.  You can improvise but I find it faster to use the right tool for the job.  Find the size of the finished hst and trim two sides and THEN press them open. 

 The stitching line is under the 4.5" line on the ruler.

 The only issue with this method is that you are left with 'dog ears' and when you trim them off, they make a real mess... bits everywhere. 
Binding made for the two quilt tops I have on the go.
Villa Rosa, "something positive" is put together.  A good use of fat quarters.  Top is ready to head home for summer quilting.
Villa Rosa "Iceberg" is put together and a fast way to stitch up a jelly roll plus background fabric into a quilt top.  Another top that will go into the suitcase.
This is the first blocks of the CQA block challenge, 52 blocks in 52 weeks.  One done, 51 to go although with 6" finished blocks I need to figure out how many blocks with sashing I need for a finished quilt top that is approximately 60 x 70" 
The blocks are made for this project from Connecting Threads: Gingham squares.  Easy piecing although not my favourite to work 4" finished squares.  But it is ready to join all the blocks and get it off my design wall.
Now, a tidy up of my sewing room.  The vacuum is out and I will tidy and organize so I am prepped for stitching this week. 
My goals:
- catch up on Sparrow blocks
- make #2 block for CQA
- stitch the gingham blocks together
- make the binding for the gingham quilt
- RSC blocks in red
- Quilter's Planner block for Jan
- 30" table topper Connecting Threads
- City View Connecting Threads.
- Charm quilt for Heartstrings challenge.
- Strippie kid's quilt

If I can get some of these crossed off by next Sunday, I feel that I will be back on track with reducing my stash of scraps, fabrics and kits. The weather here in Arizona is warming up and is absolutely perfect. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Back on Track, I think!

I spent some time last weekend and throughout this week, between housework and tennis, tidying and organizing all my projects here in Arizona.
My list is written and I am sad about just how many projects are here, crammed into containers, in my sewing closet.
But, I think I am doing well on a "no buy" plan for more fabric or supplies.  I really don't need to add to this.
I have projects fairly well organized in containers and have selected fabrics for my various blocks of the week/month(Sparrow Quilting)
 as well as my Quilter's planner blocks and have them ready to go.

But first, I wanted to finish my Busy Bee, Villa Rosa that I started in November.  However, I can't find the rail fences to go with these blocks.
I had to have taken them home in December?  They are no where to be found and I know I took home the binding so this has to wait until April to be worked on.
I did spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out what block(s) I want to make this year for the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.  I have my red for January ready to go but still a bit undecided. 
My Cornerstone blocks are made - a kit from Craftsy last fall during the Black Friday sales.
This is my current project on my design wall.  It is a Villa Rosa pattern and is a good way to use some fat quarters. The blocks go together fairly quickly.

 I also have this kit cut up and am working on it while I watch the Australian Open tennis.  This is Iceberg from Villa Rosa - another Black Friday kit.

So, working away on a variety of projects and my design wall is now busy instead of the boring, blank, white wall that I have been staring at for the last few weeks.
Hopefully, by next week, I will have a few projects finished to the flimsy stage.
We had a great day yesterday, celebrating the grand opening of our new tennis courts.  They are terrific to play on and are much easier on our aging legs and much safer for us seniors.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

January - new beginnings, both projects and life

I have been out of touch and I apologize but sadly, my mom got sick, was hospitalized and diagnosed with congenital heart disease and left us on December 17th.  While I wasn't surprised or depressed, it certainly seemed to affect my subconscious and I spent the few weeks reading (escaping?) and of course, a trip back to spring/summer home was planned. 
We are enduring some horrible rain and am so glad I don't have to spend my winters here in this dark and dreary weather!  UGH!
This was the picture we used in mom's obituary.  She was 91 years old and while we are sad at her passing, she is still with us in so many small ways that I can't help but think of her when doing ordinary tasks and her name comes up in conversations constantly.  We had a wonderful celebration of her life and the sun shone and red tailed hawk flew over the cemetery as we watched her ashes lowered into the ground. 
I did manage to finish up the table toppers before this happened and also a few coasters got made plus a fabric holder for bowls that get put into the microwave.

And then we had a houseguest arrive in mid December.  She is a jack russell and is used to long walks so daily exercise became mandatory.

And some baking got done.  Sausage rolls in memory of my mom and mince tarts which were my mother in laws specialty.  She even made her own mincemeat but not me. I do add lots of grated apple to store bought mincemeat to make the flavour a little milder.

And then we had a surprise visit from my grandson and he and the dog bonded immediately and they were good sleeping buddies.
And no sewing! 
We had a small Christmas dinner.
And then we flew home and have spent a week with traveling to and from Vancouver Island.  I did manage to tidy up my sewing space so will come home in the spring to an organized area which will be nice.  We head back to sunshine and cold temperatures soon and hopefully my next post will actually be about some quilting projects.  I am feeling keen to get my machine humming. 

In the meantime, a new beginning without mom and a new year to start fresh.  My first task is going to be list the leftover and newly created UFO's.  Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas.