Thursday, February 21, 2013

February Finish!

And a memorable one at that!

For I fought the wind...

... and won!

I finished my February Lovely Year of Finishes goal of completing my Sew Blues Bee quilt top! My friend helped me take pictures this past Monday before the weather got wet. After a picnic lunch (where only ONE salad got blown over and only ONE napkin was ripped from its owners hands and hurled across the field) we took a few pictures, and I did my best impression of a flagpole. It was a lot of fun, and in the end, we got the one decent shot I hoped for!

Thanks to all the lovely Sew Blues Bee ladies for making my blocks and extra ties! I love that I'll be able to curl up under this puppy and think of all the love you sent to me in every stitch.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Jacob (Esau) (S)H(r)ug

Such convoluted grammar in a title requires extensive explanation, no?

Well, Jacob is the person who gave me 3 skeins of hippy* yarn, so I crocheted a shrug / wrap / gigantic scarf with it.

But the Esau / Hug part comes in via a School assignment. Succinctly, I dreamed I was embraced by someone with hairy arms, but the dream was one of the loveliest, safest-feeling dreams I've had. As the Genesis story goes, Esau is the hairy firstborn (and Jacob the other twin - see what I did there?). Esau is a quintessential jock, the manliest of men. I interpreted the message of my dream into a coarse wool shrug that I can wrap myself in and feel the security and safety I felt in that dream. After these pictures were taken, I blocked it and now wear it as much as possible! And when I take a breath and close my eyes, I am back in that moment in my dream, allowing my heart to reset to the reality that I am loved, held, seen, celebrated, secure, and safe, and there is no place I'd rather be than in the arms of the One I love more than anyone. Ahhh... dream come true...

*This yarn was purchased from hippies at the Berkeley, CA, farmer's market.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On-the-side Progress

Time for a few works-in-progress shots!

Once upon a time I started an afghan - a giant granny square, of sorts - using scrap yarn. Look how big it's gotten! I usually roll and toss little scraps in a canister by the sofa, and this week I emptied out its contents and crocheted those bits onto the blanket.

Once upon a time there was a "Fusion Blanket Crochet-a-long". Well, I'm not sure what happened to the "along", but I've been slowly but surely working through a charm pack of Urban Cowgirl supplemented with some Curio prints.

My goal is 80 squares. Each finishes at about 6 inches. So far I have 46 complete. Now I just need to sit down and whip together the rest of the centers!

This little handwork project has been my go-to for lectures. They are time-consuming for sure, but they are splendidly mostly-mindless to keep my hands busy as my soul splashes in each week of school's curriculum. If I time it right, I may finish just as my program completes! And then I will literally have a memory blanket to continue with me for the rest of my journey. Don't you love how handwork has that capacity? So sweet and powerful!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fake Fur / Clean Floors

Flattery will get you everywhere.

For example, a friend from school called and asked for help with a sewing project. She is a nanny, she explained, and her charge is undergoing a lot of turmoil at the moment. It was suggested that redecorating the child's room in warm, peaceful colors would help the child's anxiety, and so could I maybe help? Especially since I have such a heart for kids and know how important it can be. And at first she thought she could manage it, but after talking with others, they agreed she needed expert help. Because I am the go-to expert in school, or so my reputation says.

Well. Why not? Maybe I could fit it into my schedule... Let's see what you've got.

Hmm... You need to make a new round cushion cover using synthetic fluffy fur with the original cover as a reference point? Well, I could explain to you how to do it, but there's a zipper involved?  Well... It's probably just easiest if I do it for you. But I'll give myself several days - no rush.

That way I'll have plenty of time to clean in-between each step...

Thankfully I was able to convince my friend that sewing a zipper straight onto fake fur was not a good idea. We compromised by using the wrong side of some scrap flannel.

Ta-da! Perfectly serviceable!

And now I can clean my floor again...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blocks, Books, and Bags (Oh My!)

I think a more professional blogger would make three posts out of this... but I am not Peter Jackson in reverse (get it - one Hobbit book becoming three Hobbit movies!) so I'm mushing it all into one! I need to catch up anyway.

Let's proceed in an orderly fashion, shall we?

1) Blocks

Exhibit A:  Sew Blues Bee blocks for January and February - done!

Shawn wanted geese in strips...

Susan wanted a six-inch churn dash with a border...

Exhibit B:  Black and white BOM for the Music City Modern Quilters Guild / Sew Red for Women / Burgundy Buttons. This is just a teaser, though, as the February block hasn't been published yet. I am choosing a straight black and white for my version because I love the beautiful contrast and striking effect of two-color samplers. Plus I've told folks for years that my favorite color is "black and white", so I might as well sew what I love!

Exhibit C:  extra Scrappy Trip blocks for a Very Secret Purpose... details later (if I remember)...

2) Books

A few weeks ago I received an email - the sort we ALL want to find in our inboxes - saying "Congratulations, you've won the such-and-such giveaway!" I enter fabric shop giveaways regularly, but this is the first time I've won something from them! The Fat Quarter Shop gave away five stacks of books, and I was one of the winners!

The stack included two magazines and three books. When I looked inside each of the books, look what I found...

Waaa! Super cool! I didn't realize I'd won autographed copies of these books! I am pacing myself looking through them, though, the same way you pace yourself when eating your haul of Halloween candy. We'll see how long that lasts. I feel some binge reading coming on!

3) Bags

Exhibit A:  a new bag to replace this beauty (now faded and stained with multiple coffee spills, busted pen blotches, and general all-purpose grit - really, you don't need a picture). Originally I had intended on putting off creating a new bag, but my School of Supernatural Life small group leader's birthday is Monday, so we girls decided to make a grown-up goody bag for her. I agreed to make the bag! But I had to test the pattern, right?

I used this pattern / tutorial, but instead of following the directions as specified, I watched Martha make a reversible purse and adapted that strategy to this design. I used a shot cotton remnant from my trip to Paducah over a year ago, and the lining is Robert Kaufman Treasures and Tidbits print.

Exhibit B:  a grown-up goody bag! I'm glad I made my own first. This one came together more easily. The green print is Meteor Shower from Tula Pink's Birds and the Bees line (can't get enough Tula!), and the red is Bandana from Moda's Home on the Range line.

I was so glad to have enough fabric in my stash. Thus far I have purchased NO FABRIC this year, and I intend on keeping it that way!

3) Brother

Finally, since this is such a catch-all post, here's a photo of my brother's Christmas quilt in its permanent home.

Isn't it a lovely feeling visiting the quilts you gave away? We really do put a lot of ourselves into each one. And there is nothing more gratifying than seeing someone love a quilt you made for them just as much as you loved making it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Goal

I was happy to participate in A Lovely Year of Finishes for January and meet my goal of hand-tying my Generations II quilt (four generations of mothers and daughters represented in that one!) Originally I thought I'd bind it for my February goal, but another idea seems to resonate more with me at the moment.

It is time to piece my blue bow tie blocks made by the lovely ladies of the Sew Blues Bee! For some reason, piecing this top seems a more reasonable goal than attaching bias binding to a wobbly vintage quilt. These blue babies have been calling my name!

At first I thought I'd mix all the ties up, trying to keep the same fabric from touching, but then I realized I had four raspberry ties to make a single color pop "knot". Well, if I had one "knot" I could have more, so I flipped and turned and came up with a layout with seven "knots", including the raspberry one, scattered haphazardly throughout the quilt.

The photos above are already outdated. If you look, you see one bow tie that isn't - it's just a piece of fabric holding place. That little tie has already been made up in a different fabric, and blocks are set out for piecing.

As I typed this post, I remembered that I cut and stuffed fabric into envelopes for my hive mates while house-sitting with the above rag mop. Funny pup! Little-known fact:  I am most definitely a cat person and have been adamantly anti-dog for years, but since this summer I have come to tolerate and yes, even enjoy, members of the canine persuasion. Go figure!

I'm linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes!