Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020

 Well, we've made it to the end of what has probably been one of the most difficult year's most of us have ever been through. 

I do want to reflect a bit today on what good I want to take from this pandemic time into my future....things like slowing down the pace a bit, and enjoying life's little pleasures.

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I do have one in mind inspired by my friend Terry. 2021 will be the year of tackling UFO's!!! Really, I mean it this time!!!

I also want to continue the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle that I've enjoyed for over two years now. I can't see any reason that I would stop since I feel much healthier and younger for it.

Yesterday I pulled out the first UFO that I had in mind to Geometric Fun quilt...

This is three of the 20 blocks in the quilt. I have to say, it is not a user-friendly pattern...which is why I walked away from it in May 2019. But, I've always intended to get back to it.

Looking at it on the design wall I just felt a bit of dread. So, I've let this one longer a UFO, but a ______ (we have to think of an acronym for a quilt that we decide to never finish). Quilting is something I do for fun...this quilt is not fun and there is still much to complete. I do feel a sense of relief making the decision to not it must be the right choice.

So many choices of what to work on. I've decided on returning to my Midnight at the Oasis, a Jen Kingwell design...

I'll say this one is 4yrs old....I know I was hand-piecing the triangles on the centre medallion on an airplane in December of 2016. There are a number of small churn-dash blocks on one of the following rounds and that stopped me from continuing. I am glad to return to this quilt...what a difference from when I had the previous quilt up on the design wall!

You'll notice that I've added a new "button" over in the right-hand margin for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2021. I think I may join in on it this year (crap, did I just break my resolution before 2021 even started????). It's a way of busting the stash a's worth a look if you want to consider joining in. Just click on the button and it will take you over to SoScrappy's blog, the host of the RSC. The colour for January is pink. 

I've finally had time during my Christmas break to do a bit of sewing. I think I'll try to incorporate a bit of sewing in each of my days....I really do seem to get a lot more done by hand than machine!

Here is what I've been working on this week, my Spice Market quilt...

This is not the final layout for Spice Market, it's just all the blocks completed so far, hung willy-nilly. The next step is many, many appliqued circle blocks. I find the solid fabrics very unforgiving when doing needleturn applique....I will have to some fancy quilting later on to disguise that fact!

I've just thought of something to work on for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!....and I won't be breaking my "no new project" resolution!  I have been working sporadically on my Chapman Coverlet....well, not quite sporadically, make that rarely. So I will make 10 blocks per month....they are quick and so easy, they just measure 2.5" unfinished. Easy peasy.

I will be very happy to get back to my Chapman Coverlet. It will be a glorious quilt, I'm sure....if you like scrappy, and I do.

 Has anyone watched Bridgerton on Netflix? I finished it yesterday, and I find myself reading this post in the narrator's voice, who happens to be Julie Andrews. 

Well, I'd better go and get something accomplished...or not. It may be a lazy day today. I've actually dressed up a bit to usher out the old year in maybe I'll relax with an extra cup of coffee and my book. 

I am linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get A Whoop, Whoop?

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas balls and a special gift...

Looks like a good day to do a bit of extra slow stitching...dreary, rainy.

I've not done any applique for a while. I've been enjoying taking part in a knit-along hosted by knitting gurus, Arne and Carlos. 

It's an Advent project...knitting a Christmas ball every day from December 1st to the 24th. They knit up fairly quickly...I work on them during my morning coffee, and try to finish it off through the day at some point. 

Arne and Carlos do a short YouTube video every day to introduce the ball of the day, and share a story or two...usually relating to Norwegian or Swedish Christmas traditions. I usually knit along while watching their daily "Sit and knit for a bit" videos.  

I wish I had learned to knit the Norwegian way, it looks very efficient. I think I would have a hard time switching up my method after so many years of knitting the way that I do. I am gifting one of my son's some knitting needles and lovely yarn for Christmas so he can try his hand at knitting. I plan on teaching him....but I'll also suggest he try to start out using the Norwegian method. What is your preferred method???

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas far...

I'm quite disappointed in the white yarn I bought for these. The red and green are 100% wool...but there was no white in that particular brand. I was in a rush that day and picked up a white ball of yarn that had "Merino" in big bold letters on the label. After working with it a bit and not liking it I looked a bit closer at the label....10% merino wool, and 90% acrylic!! Lesson learned!

I will make more of these through the year from time to time but I will use some proper yarn that I actually have on backorder right now.

What I have enjoyed, also, with this project is the learning I have done along the way. For instance, the first batch of balls looked a bit 
"off" in my increases and decreases. I realised that I was doing it incorrectly, and actually learned a new-to-me way of increasing stitches. Nice!

I had such a nice surprise this week. I received a gift in the mail from Gail, a fellow can visit her HERE, The Cozy Quilter.

Gail had seen a picture I had posted on Instagram...

....and she says that the very next day she saw a pattern for a quilt block that reminded her of my picture. She decided to make it up and send it along to me as a surprise gift!

I love it!!!...

In these days of bad news on a ongoing basis, it sure makes one treasure the kindness that others show one another. Thanks again, Gail, xo. I think this "portrait of me from the knees down" (as you put it) will hang in my sewing room all year round!

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I think I'll sit back with an extra cup of coffee and see what everyone else is working on today. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Stitching and knitting...

It's been a while since I've posted....this is always such a busy time of year for longarm quilters!

I've also been out of touch due to a severe lack of sleep, but I think I've got this managed (I hope!).

Last time I posted that I needed to get two doll quilts done for Christmas. You can read about it HERE.

I ended up switching things up and taking a much easier route to getting these made up. I took the Naive Melody quilt that I had been working on and used it for the two doll quilts.

The doll quilts are completed and ready for wrapping.

I've also finished my Snowflake quilt, and it will be a Christmas gift also. 

My goal for the new year is to be motivated by my friend Terry....she decided not to start any new projects all these months of being stuck at home due to Covid....she's managed to get a lot of progress done on finishing up UFO's. Part of me is chuckling at myself at the thought of sticking to this....but I'll try.

I have got a few knitting projects planned for the new year, so they won't count as they are already in the queue! 

This month I've put my applique aside so that I can take part in a knit-along with knitting gurus, Arne and Carlos. They came up with a Christmas Advent KAL of their Christmas balls. Everyday they have a fun little YouTube video about each ball. 

Here are a couple of pictures of the balls I've knitted so far...

I knew I'd been doing something incorrect in my increasing and decreasing technique with the balls. The pictures I've seen on Instagram are much smoother. I did a bit of research and found out what I was doing the balls from here on out should be a little bit improved!

I always tell quilters that are just starting out and a bit dejected when comparing their work to seasoned quilters that they need to allow themselves to be beginners....we were all there at some point. So, that's how I look at the progress of my knitted Christmas balls...I've allowed myself to be a beginner...I won't discard the balls I've made so far, I will take note of my improvement instead. 

As a friend (SS) commented to me....isn't it fun to learn?....and, yes, it is!

Also, Arne and Carlos were correct...knitting these balls can be addictive! Lots of fun with a new Christmas ball pattern each day.

I'm pretty happy with my Christmas socks...

....but instead of wearing them I've hung them on the mantel and they look great!

I had thought to get a new ornament to remember 2020 by (but really, will we ever forget?). I'm glad I held off, as I received this ornament on Saturday (Dofasco gifts employees/retirees with a nutcracker each year)...

That's all for now. I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I think I'll take a look at what every one is stitching on as I finish up the binding on my Snowflake quilt, and knit on today's Christmas ball. Also, thanks go to Gail, aka The Cozy Quilter, for giving me a friendly kick in the butt :)