August Recap

In August, I decided I would challenge myself to make one garment a month, and though the challenge isn’t to start until this month (September), I came very close to having a garment done in August. I think I would have had it done, or at least close, if not for a problem I ran in to last night. I was serging the side and underarm seams last night and … I don’t know, my serger just went nuts. It was working beautifully and then all of a sudden, threads started to break and I broke a needle (NO clue how THAT happened). And now, I’m concerned that my shirt may be completely ruined. 😦  I had already re-threaded the machine like half a dozen times before the needle broke, and I’m not even sure where the broken part went (to be fair, I haven’t looked for it yet either). So today, I’ll get back in the studio, try to fix the machine and then try to salvage my shirt. I’m going to be VERY unhappy if my shirt is ruined because of this. It really makes me want to not use the serger anymore. /sigh

But, onward and upward. Today, whether I get the serger fixed or not, I’m going to finish cutting out my cardigan, and hopefully get it put together. The pattern instructions say that it can be made in an hour (ha. ha. hahahahahahahaha!), but not being a strong sewist, I’m pretty sure it will take me longer.

Other projects I have planned for future sewing include a coat for myself, a hoodie for my son, several t-shirts for me, and an attempt at a t-shirt for my husband. He’s a pretty big guy, so making a t-shirt for him will be a challenge, but I’m willing to try. Also, I bought some beautiful navy blue ponte knit this weekend that I want to use to make either some slacks for work, or maybe even a dress.

I also dyed a piece of fabric the other day using an ice-dye method that I just loved. It was so freakin’ easy … I’ll post some photos and directions on the process soon (my very first tutorial, perhaps?). This was a test piece to find out how it worked, and to prepare fabric for my first ever landscape quilt. I’ve always wanted to do one but never have had the confidence to jump in. Well, I guess something broke loose because now it’s pretty high on the priority list to just try it out.

In other news, there may be some decorating posts from me in the not too distant future, as I have decided on a new theme for my living area. I’m currently in the paint testing stage, and I’ve got my color chosen. Chris says it’s not a color at all, because it’s far too light to see a difference in it and the primer currently on the walls. I have decided to go with an off white or cream color for the living area because I don’t want to have to repaint again in a few years because I am tired of the color. This way, I can change themes and colors and decor without having to change the walls too. I really despise painting, so why not make it as easy as possible to avoid doing it again for as long as possible? I mean, I paint my walls a color and then in a couple of years, I’m tired of that color. The only color I currently have in my house that I don’t hate is a very light grey in the front room. It is so light, in fact, most people don’t realize it’s grey; they all think it’s an off white!

Well, I’m off to try to salvage the shirt now; wish me luck!

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2013 Recap

This has been quite the year for me and my family. Here’s a little look back on what’s been going on around our place over the last twelve months …

In January, I really got into fabric dyeing.

This was among my first batch of dyed fabric. I love the bright colors!

This was among my first batch of dyed fabric. I love the bright colors!

It became one of my favorite ways to add fabric to my quilts, and my stash, and I think at this point, there’s no going back. I’m not using dyed fabric in every quilt, but it’s made an appearance in one or two and people really seem to love it.

In February, I traveled back to London for business. It was crazy cold there, and snowed more than once during my trip! This South Texas girl certainly wasn’t ready for that weather, but it was beautiful in a cold sort of way. I didn’t get any good photos of the snow, but have no fear – I have to go back in January 2014, so I have another chance. The weather also lived up to its famous reputation while I was there …

Rain in London, February 2013

Rain in London, February 2013

In March, Ricco came to live with me. He’s been a faithful companion all year long, and I’ve really enjoyed having him as part of my life. 

April brought my annual physical results, which weren’t great but weren’t horrible either. I set a lot of goals, some of which I attained and some I did not. I still have a long way to go with this one, but I’m working on it.

In May, I gave canning tomatoes a shot, and it was a huge success.

My first batch of canned tomatoes

My first batch of canned tomatoes

June saw the graduation of my son and his friends from high school – last one of my kids out of public schools – and we celebrated.

Party

My foster son, JT, left for college in Ohio in July, so we had a going away party for that …

JT leaves for college

JT leaves for college

In August, we bought a new car!

Ford Edge

In September, my daughter got MARRIED.

My daughter gets married

My daughter gets married

In October, I finished the first of two commission quilts, this one for my friend Heather.

The front of Heather's quilt

The front of Heather’s quilt

My son-in-law also left for Army boot camp, and we found out shortly after that my daughter was pregnant (I’m too young to be a grandmother, I’m pretty sure!).

In November, my daughter and I attended the Houston Quilt Festival.

Houston Quilt Festival

We also enjoyed celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, of course.

Finally, in December, I finished the second of the commission quilts, for my friend Pam. We had wonderful Christmas celebrations with our families, and we were able to spend time on Christmas day with the kids for the first time in 14 years (they’ve always spent Christmas day with their dad since we split).

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

I don’t really know what changes 2014 will bring, except that we anticipate my son-in-law will be stationed somewhere around late April/early May, and in July we’ll be welcoming a new addition to the family. But 2013 was a very good year for us, and since I’m never one to just sit around waiting for things to happen, I am excited to see what 2014 has to offer.

Happy New Year’s to you and your family!

Things will be quiet …

At least, this week, they will be fairly quiet around here. My daughter is getting married on Friday, and while it’s not a big wedding there will still be a small reception at our house on Friday night. So, between the cooking and cleaning and generally getting ready … don’t expect a lot of activity here on the blog this week.

However, I can give you a brief update on Heather’s quilt. I dyed a backing and hated it. It came out lighter than I wanted it to, and it had a bunch of white spots throughout, so I decided to hang on to it and over-dye it for another project and start fresh on backing for this quilt. Right now, the backing is sitting downstairs in a storage box full of dye water, waiting for me to rinse it out and get it ready for use.

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This one is a sunrise orange color, which I love so far, and I cannot wait to see the final product! I think it’s going to be simply gorgeous. 🙂 Since I’m using this color for the backing, I am seriously considering using something similar for the quilting thread on both front and back. I really cannot wait to get it done!

Also in progress is a Halloween quilt that I’m hoping to have done shortly. It should be really cute, and I have high hopes for it. 🙂

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And finally, I’ve got another commission quilt to be started shortly, for my friend Pam. I just need to go pick out the fabrics to go with what I already have. I am excited about it because I am considering doing a double Irish chain, which is what Heather’s quilt was to be originally, but which I think will really be spectacular with this new quilt.
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I’ll try to set up posts for WIP Wednesday, Throwback Thursday and Photo Friday in the next day or so, so there will be activity here, but I will otherwise be pretty silent. But I’ll be back next week!

 

WIP Wednesday

Last week, I didn’t do a WIP Wednesday post because … well … I hadn’t made any progress on anything for most of the week. I’d made a couple squares on the quilt I’m making for my friend Heather, but nothing really worthy of a blog post or photos. This week, however, I do have something to show you.

Labor Day weekend was much busier than I had anticipated, so I didn’t get much done on the quilt on Saturday or Sunday. But I set aside Monday to work on the quilt, and quilt I did. In fact, I got all of the squares made! This means that I need to dye a backing for the quilt, so I need to make a decision on that as well. Green seems the obvious choice, but I’m not really sure that’s the direction I want to go. I was thinking sky blue, maybe. I’ll decide today so I can get it going, because I’d really like to be in a position to sandwich this weekend and get started on the quilting part. But enough talking for today. Here are a couple of pictures to show you the progress of the quilt. 🙂

 

It looks a bit like a skeleton doesn’t it?

 

 

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I do still need to go back and fix the prototype squares I made first, because they were put together out of order. But once that’s done, I can start sewing the quilt top together. Hopefully the entire top will be put together by this weekend.

 

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The nine-patches will act as setting squares.

 

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The correct way for the squares to be put together!

 

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Thursday Thoughts

1. We used the Ugly Quilt last night on the bed – it’s not really big enough for our king sized bed but for now it will do. The quilt that has been my bed for ages is one that was made for me by an old family friend when I got married to my first husband 22 years ago, and it’s falling apart now. It really must be retired before it gets any worse. After sleeping under Ugly Quilt last night, it was obvious that I need to come up with a “summer weight” quilt that will be warm but not too hot at this time of year – in Houston, it rarely dips below 78 degrees in the middle of the night during the summer months. Even with the a/c on, it was still rather warm under the quilt.

2. I need to get back to fabric dyeing really soon because I’ve got a quilt to make that will incorporate a great deal of hand-dyed fabric. It’s next after the little baby quilt I’ve already started.

3. In the last few days, I’ve realized that I have TONS of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) hanging around, so I’ve made it my goal to get more of them completed this year. My next UFO is the fishy quilt I made my daughter when she was about 10 – she’s now 20! /hangs head in shame  It will make a great lap quilt, maybe? 😀

Happy quilting,

Jill

Resolutions, 2013 edition

Like most people, I’m not as good at keeping resolutions I make for a new year as I would like to be, so this year I’ve decided to make January resolutions. I’m making resolutions that will only last for the month of January, and then after that, I’ll re-evaluate and decide if I want to keep going with the same resolutions, if I want to tweak them, or if I want to give up on trying to make and keep new year’s resolutions all together. So, in no particular order, here are my January resolutions.

1. Improve eating habits, i.e., revert back to where I was pre-holidays. I was lucky and I didn’t gain any weight over the holidays (first time in ages!), but I didn’t eat nearly so well as I should have. In January, I’m going to pack my lunch on the days I go to the office and avoid the cafeteria as much as possible. This also includes breakfasts – since I leave the house prior to 6 am most mornings, and I don’t like eating early, I will take something that fits into my eating plan each day for breakfast as well as lunch.

2. Try to get in at least 5,000 steps a day. I know that the “gurus” push you to get in 10,000 a day, but let’s be realistic here – I haven’t done any real exercise in years, so I’m going to have to work up to it.

3. Try to lose some of the work-related stress I’ve been carrying around the last two and a half years. I need to remember that I’m not the one in the hot seat, and that others need to start standing on their own two feet.

4. Try something different in my studio. This month, I’ll be testing out some fabric dyeing techniques. I realized a few months ago that the looks I want in some of my quilts just aren’t possible with the commercially available fabrics, so I’m going to try doing some of my own. I have tried once before, years ago, and I liked my results, I guess. But back then I used some cheap unbleached muslin from Joann’s. The colors had a muddy look to them, so I’m going to try out a couple of different fabrics – I’m not giving up completely on Joann’s muslin, but this time I’ll use a higher quality bleached muslin. And I’m going to give a couple other cottons a try too – like Kona’s prepared for dyeing (PFD) white.

5. Blog more often. My goal is twice a week for January. I don’t know if I can get up to daily, but I’m going to give twice a week a try and see how that goes. Look! I’ve already blogged once this week. Of course, this week is already nearly over … Some of my blog posts may be nothing more than a photo, but at least it’s something, right?

So there you go, five January resolutions that I will hopefully be able to keep. I’ll post my progress here, to keep myself honest.

Speaking of progress, I’ve already made some progress on numbers 1, 4 and 5. I started on a healthier eating plan today and it’s been great, I ordered a dye starter kit to play around with, and I did this blog post today. 🙂 What are your resolutions?