Friday, October 5, 2018

Block by Block

Monday, I had the centers of the remaining “Walls of Jericho” blocks done for the Labyrinth Quilt. This week I finished up the surrounding pieces and now have all five of those blocks completed…

Now I have three more “San Luigi” blocks to finish…

…and then all of the blocks will be done for the Labyrinth Quilt. I won’t be working on these blocks in the upcoming week, but I do hope to have them done by the end of October.

As I said last time, I need to clean the sewing room up (again!), and I made little progress on that. I did remove some project boxes from the sewing room and put them out under the long arm frame with the rest of the project boxes. That freed up a bit of space. Then I move around my tables a bit, so I now have a space to work on hand projects as well as machine projects…but nothing exciting enough to show. I also pulled out a long-time UFO and considered working on it, but then remembered why I put it away! I will bring it out again soon and make progress on it, but first I have some knitting projects to deal with.

That’s it from here. This coming week will be a camping week – I’m looking forward to it. Better yet, by the time we come home the weather is expected to actually feel like Autumn around here. I hope things are going well where you are – have a great weekend!

I will be linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hello, October

With the new month, lower temperatures should be coming around, so we always welcome October around here. Last week was mostly in the upper 70s – a nice taste of fall. This week will be back in the low 80s and humid, but the cooler nights are coming.

There has been a little bit of making around here. I did (finally) can the last of the green tomatoes into 6 half pints of green salsa. Not much compared to a couple of years ago, but we can enjoy it for a couple of months.

I spent a little time working on the Labyrinth Walk quilt and made the centers for four more blocks…

Still a ways to go, but I plan on doing a couple of steps every few days and eventually it will get done.

I did finish hubby’s Halloween socks on Sunday, just in time for the season…

He has already worn them!

I also cast on a couple of socks for me, and hopefully there will be enough to show next time.

I don’t know how many of you read Esther’s Blog, but this morning I read her post about “Last Quarter Cleaning” and I took it as a challenge to straighten up my crafty stuff. I have “creative spaces” all over the house, but the worst by far is my sewing room. Here it is as of this morning…

I am always working on cleaning it up, but it seems to get worse! I hope to make it more useful and presentable. I will spend a bit of time in there today, but this will definitely be a long-term project.

That’s it from here. I hope you have a wonderful first week of October, and I will be linking up at Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making. Head over to see what everyone is up to!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Happy Autumn!

Like many people, this is my favorite time of year. Here in East TN the temperatures are actually going to (finally!) feel like fall this week. We should be in the upper 70s and low 80s for high temperatures. Finally. With it though, comes rain. I can’t complain about the rain amounts we will get because I know how bad flooding is elsewhere. But, it will be a rainy first week of autumn here.

With the cooler temperatures and rain, it seems like the perfect time to be making stuff!

I did a bit of making in the kitchen this weekend with baking English muffins and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. I also took these…

…and canned the red tomatoes into 7 pints of diced tomatoes. Our tomato plants did not do well this year (not much of our garden did well), but we have had enough tomatoes to use in meals when needed; I had a big batch I was able to put into chili; and I was able to make a couple of batches of pasta sauce. In the past we have had way more tomatoes with far fewer plants. 

So, that left me with the green tomatoes, and those will go into some green tomato salsa either tomorrow or Wednesday. I’m not sure how many half pints I will get out of them – probably not many. The last time I made it I canned over 20 half pints. I’m pretty sure there are not that many tomatoes to use this time.

One of the plants that has done well in the garden this year is the cayenne pepper. We picked some red ones this weekend, and today I am dehydrating some of them. We filled our garden colander with them…

I only fit about one-half of this colander-full in the dehydrator, so I will do another batch in the next day or so. There are at least as many green peppers still on the two plants. I think this is the fourth time I’ve filled the colander with peppers.

That’s all that’s happened lately in the kitchen. But I actually did work on a quilt this past week. On Thursday I went to a workshop for the Labyrinth Walk quilt…

The instructor’s goal was to get each of us to complete one of each of the two blocks used in the quilt…and I did!

(For some reasons the colors look different, but they are all the same fabrics)

I have everything cut out for this quilt top, so I think I will work at it a bit at a time. I hope to complete the top by the end of the year. And here are just a few of my experiences, in case you were thinking of making this quilt (which I would highly recommend!) –

First, the cutting – There are four fabrics used in this quilt and it took me between 2 and 3 hours to cut the pieces from EACH fabric. That’s 8-12 hours total in fabric cutting. This included pressing the fabric and labeling it, as well as dealing with the dog going in and out and folding a load or so of laundry. I did not cut the fabric “with a purpose” (meaning I didn’t focus solely on the cutting and try to get through it quickly). But just be aware that it takes quite some time to cut the fabric.

Second, labeling the fabric pieces – Have your Ziploc baggies and labels handy (or slips of paper and safety pins), because you are going to want to have EVERY piece labeled and organized. This is a very important step.

Finally, the piecing – These blocks took a crazy amount of concentration for me. I had to read through the instructions a couple of times and I always marked off what I completed. Our instructor only had us make one of each of the two blocks, but the instructions are written for piecing five of one and four of the other block (eg. You piece all of one block at once, then all of the other block at once). I will finish out the remaining blocks doing all of each block at the same time, but just be aware that if you do that, if you make a mistake, that mistake is in all of the blocks. Also, these blocks were not at all intuitive for me. I could not look at it and think, “Ah, that piece goes there.” There might be four or five steps in a three-line section in the pattern, and I had to mark off each step as I did them. I have never heard a class or workshop so quiet as everyone was concentrating on following the instructions.

Just one last Post Script. Depending on which version of the pattern you use, there may be mistakes. This was originally published in a magazine (I don’t know which one), and there are several errors, which were corrected in a later issue. I have a pattern that is at least five years old, and there were a couple of labeling errors of pieces in the figures in the pattern. I was able to figure those out easily, but just be forewarned if you have an older pattern. Everyone who bought the pattern new for this class didn’t appear to have any problems with errors in the pattern.

Even with those issues, I did enjoy the workshop and I am even looking forward to finishing up these blocks. That’s something for someone with very little quilt mojo right now. And since the instructor said she has already made FOUR of these quilts (including one with more blocks added), I figure the least I could do is complete this top.

I may not be quilting much, but what I have been doing is knitting. I started my hubby’s second Halloween sock after finishing my daughter’s pair last week.  Here are his socks in yarn from Asfaltsflickan Designs in the colorway Lavastream…

It looks like candy corn! This sock has gone quickly, and my plan is to have it finished, blocked, ends woven in, and on his feet by October 1. I think I can make that happen! Once those are done, I can start in on my second Halloween sock (for me!) Here is the lonely mate…

This is also self-striping yarn from Asfaltsflickan Designs, in the colorway Witching Hour. I love the green and purple!

That’s about it from here. I’ve done some chores and I need to make a pan full of taco meat for dinner tonight, otherwise I will be working on some computer projects and knitting Halloween socks. Maybe sometime this week I might even spend some time at the longarm machine. I hope you all are enjoying your first days of autumn and have a wonderful week!

I will be linking up at Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Let’s Bee Social

After a trip out of town a couple of weeks ago for a memorial service, I’ve finally gotten my head wrapped back around things here.

It seems like I have barely done anything in the sewing room recently, but when I take a look at what I’m working on, it appears I’ve been doing something in there!

First, I finished up the top stitching on the applique on the “I Wish You a Merry QAL” quilt top, and then I loaded it onto the longarm…

And there it has sat since last Friday. I will try to start the quilting on that this Friday.

Tomorrow I have a workshop for the Labyrinth Walk quilt…

I’ve been working on cutting out the fabric for this before the workshop, then we will piece it tomorrow. Here’s a photo of my box of cut fabric…

Exciting, huh? This was before I finished cutting the dark grey fabric in the bottom right of the photo. It took me 2 to 3 hours each cutting the four fabrics for this quilt. It is a LOT of rotary cutting. But it is done, and I’m packed for the workshop tomorrow.

The rest of my time the past few weeks has been taken up with life and knitting. I finished my daughter’s Halloween socks…

And I still have 49 grams left…

I may knit up some short socks with the rest of this yarn.

I also started the Anguli Cowl by Hilary Smith Callis…

It doesn’t look like much, and I think I actually ripped it out after this photo and started over again using a second color; but I believe my progress is at about the same spot.

Finally, I started a hat…

I finished the ribbing and I’m now on the hat itself. I will use the Sockhead Hat pattern for the decreasing, yet I doubt I will make mine as slouchy. I’m using Uneek yarn, but I don’t remember the colorway. I had originally started socks with this yarn, but then the color looked mucky and I ripped it out. I just decided to do this hat and stick the hat in the trailer. However, when we were travelling last weekend I pulled it out to work on it in the car and the color in the natural light was amazingly vibrant. It is what I remembered it looking like when I bought it. Inside my house the color looks so boring though. Strange what natural lighting does for colors.  Anyway, I’m happy with it and I’m making the hat. We’ll see how it goes.

That’s about it from here. I have other projects in the works as well, so we’ll see what gets done first. Tomorrow will be all Labyrinth Walk and I’m hoping it gets me back into the quilting swing.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will be linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social.