Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Year, New Project...

I know that I said I wasn't going to start any new projects to ring in the new year, but I obviously have no self control!  I had already planned to start my challenge rug so that it would be ready for the hook-in so it shouldn't count, right?  Nola held a two day Wool Club camp to kick off the year and I used the opportunity to start on my crows.I'm actually a little farther along than the picture shows (two more birds and a little bit of background hooked). I intended to post it last week but never got a chance.

Nola suggested a technique I have never done before for the wire - it's stitched with yarn. I had to couch another piece of yarn under it to get the proper height.  I am loving how it looks and it is fun to do.  Here's a close-up:

I will probably change out the eyes - I'm not sure that I like them the way they are but haven't decided what I want to do - perhaps French knots?

I also started another project that I am really having fun with - a crocheted rug.  I'm not posting a picture of it as it is intended for a book Nola and her sister will be publishing in the next year or so and I am assuming they don't want photos circulated.  It is a simple pattern that is really fun to work on. It's a fun break from my "regular" hobbies.

It is really tough to fight the temptation to start other new projects!  My daughter created a painting over her holiday break (inspired by something she saw on Pinterest) and I am dying to make it into a rug pattern.  It is done on four canvases (shorter than she wanted, but all she could find at JoAnn's) and looks really cool.  She has it hanging in her dorm room now.

I think it would be incredibly fun to paint the wool for the backgrounds and hook the strips in order - something I have been wanting to try for a long time.  I'm definitely adding this one to my "someday" list! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Longest Week Ever!

It doesn't seem fair that the first week back to work after the holidays has been snowy and bitterly cold. It's hard enough to get back into the swing of things without having to fight an extreme case of cabin fever.  I've only left the house once in six days...and that was to go to the gym.  I am really looking forward to a weekend of rug hooking at Nola's. I need to get out of here!

I  have been getting a little sewing accomplished while stuck in the house every night.  I finished another one of my LeMoyne Star blocks last night.

I had somehow convinced myself that I only had three of the 12" blocks left to do (including this one), but then realized to my dismay that I still have three left after this one. So I still stand at three 12" and seven 6" blocks to go.  I will get there eventually...

I have been having a lot of fun (and wasting a lot of time) looking at all of the new BOMs and quilt-alongs for 2014. They are all so inspiring!  I've resisted the urge to join in on starting a new project, but I did find one initiative that is absolutely perfect for me: The Totally Useless Stitch-Along. I have been saving my ORTs (Old Ratty Threads) and will be ready to post my "progress" at the next new moon (Jan 30). This is just my speed - love it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Celtic Solstice Update

I'm not sure if it is Blogger or my internet that isn't functioning well this morning, but this post has taken me much longer than it should to complete!  Perhaps it's the fact that it is -6 degrees this morning...nothing wants to work when it is that cold!

Here's where I stand on my CS project:

Step 1 - Complete
Step 2 - 15 of 244 completed
Step 3 - 61 pinwheels completed
Step 4 - 228 of 300 completed 
Step 5 - 70 of 244 completed

Still a long way to go, but I am making progress.  I think I am still working toward making the king rather than scaling it back to a queen.  The last couple of queen-sized quilts that I have made seem a bit too small on my bed.

The other decision I need to make is how to set the blocks.  Several very creative people have opted to turn their chevron units around for a slight variation in the setting.  I can't decide which look I like best - both are pretty cool.  Here are a few blocks arranged in the original setting:

And here is a mock-up with the chevrons turned around:

I'm not sure that my colors have enough contrast to go with the second look.  The piecing is a bit muddled in the centers.  I do like the "star" look, but I think I am leaning toward the original layout to better highlight the piecing.  Decisions, decisions!

Check this week's Monday link-up on Bonnie's blog to how everyone's quilts are coming together.  They are all beautiful!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Word for 2014

Despite my disdain for resolutions and my inability to follow through with a list of personal goals, words of the year, etc., I just can't help myself!  Perhaps one of these years my efforts will pay off. (It's funny how much harder it is to stick to your goals when you have no one holding you accountable. I never have this problem in my professional life!)  So here it is - my word for 2014: Reduce.  Not a very glamorous word, to be sure...but something I really, really need to do.  I see many applications - weight, stress, my ever-growing pile of UFOs, my stash and the general clutter around the house for a start. The word came to me when I was thinking of making a resolution (don't worry, I got over it) to clean out something at least once a month this year. We have lived in our house for nearly 14 years now and we've accumulated so many things we need to get rid of!  Just the other day I was trying to find a place to store a new toy I received for Christmas and came across a combination portable radio/CD player/B&W television that I don't think I have ever seen before!  I have no idea where it came from...and it certainly isn't useful now! The clutter is truly out of control.

I managed to get quite a bit of sewing done over the holidays. I had a bit of a set-back on Celtic Solstice - I realized I used the wrong color fabric for the 48 units I completed for Step 5. It's a good thing I didn't finish the entire clue before making that discovery!  I have fixed 28 of them and have the other 20 ripped and ready to re-sew.  I also finished my pinwheels, made a bunch more HSTs, and made a few more 4 patches since my Monday post.

Bonnie posted the reveal at midnight New Year's Eve. The quilt is gorgeous! I made a mock-up of the blocks in my fabrics. My four patches aren't going the right direction in the photo but you get the general idea.  The good news is that I can use the extra 3.5" strips I cut of the wrong color in my outer border.

One of my Facebook friends posted "New year = New project" on her wall yesterday. I usually do just that...I usually love to start new projects while I am off over the holidays. This year, however, is different. I have so many beautiful projects I have already started that I really want to finish.  It's sad to see how many years some of my UFOs have been abandoned (some for many, many years!).

I thought about trying to pick two or three that I would concentrate on finishing before moving on to any others but can't make myself choose just yet - it's like choosing a favorite child!  A couple that are high on my list are my LeMoyne Stars and my 2013 BOTP class project.  I managed to finish another LeMoyne Star block over the holidays.  That leaves three 12" blocks and seven 6" blocks to go.

I spent a little time yesterday prepping a couple more pieces for my BOTP block.  Here's where that one currently stands:

I have several other projects I would really love to get back to in 2014.  One of my favorites is the Prairie Peony quilt.  I only have four blocks pieced and two partially appliqued - I have a long way to go on that one.

My goal for January will be to progress my Celtic Solstice, LeMoyne Star and BOTP projects.  I will try to overcome temptation and stay away from the other projects that are calling my name (including my wool applique and English paper piecing) until I've made significant progress on these.  (Notice I didn't say 'finish"...baby steps!)