Saturday, May 13, 2017

She Did It!

The College Girl is now an engineer!

 Before the ceremony...
 ...and after with one of New Mexico Tech's iconic buildings in the back ground...
 She earned a B.S. in Materials Engineering and Science with a Metallurgy Option.

With one of her best friends.

She'll be back next year to finish her master's.

It was a good day!

Happy quilting and knitting (I did some knitting while we waited.)...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Finished Knit

A finished pair of socks.  Traditional Gansey stitch pattern.  No written pattern since I did toe up two-at-time on circular needles with a heel variation. There is a bit of stellina fiber in this yarn.  My concern that it might be a bit scratchy was entirely unfounded.  I don't feel it, but I do love the bit of sparkle.

I started these about a week into April, knowing I was going to have  time merely waiting on other people to do things in April and that, secondly, this is historically a very windy month, and knitting is a good distraction. Therefore, knitting socks allowed me to be productive instead of crazy.

I've decided I need more fuchsia yarn for more fuchsia socks, although mostly I just need more socks because the ones I began knitting about eight or nine years ago are wearing out--not that my early socks fit all that well anyway.  This is a great time to knit socks since there are so many indie dyers doing absolutely amazing yarn dyeing on such a wide variety of bases.

This afternoon I'm tying to finish up another pair of socks that had been languishing since sometime in 2016. This has been a good weekend for knitting since it came with a major cold-front, high winds, and a reported nine inches of snow.  This snow storm was the only major snow storm we've had this winter (aside from quite a few little ones).  It was fascinating to hear and sometimes watch the snow slide off my less-than-a-year-old metal roof. I'm thinking the drip line below my roof is going to be a wonderful place for some blooming plants, since if we have a normal winter with normal snows and a normal summer with normal monsoons, a lot more moisture will be benefiting the soil.

I am still trying to figure out what I'd like to grow as a ground cover. Someone suggested vinca major, so I may try some of that. While I'd love to grow rosemary and lavender, I priced bulk rosemary seed and about fell over.  I had an ever-expanding rosemary patch that was obliterated last year when I lost control of the yard and had to hire someone to mow it while I was at work.  I'm hoping some of the rosemary will reappear this year; if so, I'll begin moving it to a better location. Because of our high wind/desert location, our choices for ground cover are somewhat limited. (Not the my neighbor's invasive sumac and choke cherries have gotten the message that we don't want them!)

Less than a month until the end of my school year.  Two weeks until my daughter  graduates with a Bachelor's in Materials Science & Engineering.  She'll be home while she works in ABQ at her summer internship and then will head back to Socorro for her master's degree.  I'm hoping I can be more productive in the housekeeping and quiltmaking departments this summer.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, etc.,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quilt Dedication - March 2017

We held a quilt dedication today.  Over 60 quilts made by members of our Victory Prayer Quilt Group and members of our congregation were dedicated to service and, over the next few months, will be distributed to family and friends of our church family as well as members who are battling cancer and other serious health challenges.

The phone photos I took yesterday were not very good, and there were bunches of things I had to do before the first service today, so I took these quickly between services--which will explain the images that include the tops of people's heads.
 When we have a dedication, all the people at the church service are invited to lay hands on the quilts as we pray together and commission the quilts for service.
 One of the exciting aspects of this ministry is that sometimes the quilts are treasured for years by the original recipients, and sometimes they pass them on to others who also experience healing beyond what their medical teams expect.
 The altar cloth is a collaboration of several members of our group created from a commercial pattern quite a few years ago. (I remember quilting it on one of my treadles in my living room.)
 Just as I'm fascinated by the colors quiltmakers choose to use, I'm fascinated by the colors which appeal to the people who choose a quilt to give or the people who choose a quilt.

 I'm not at all sure why that white black and red quilt is folded so small. (I did not set up that part of the display.)
Not all the quilts are pictured.  I think someone began talking to me, and because of the distraction, I thought I'd snapped a couple of photos when I hadn't.

In my family we've been praying for a cousin with lung cancer despite no known risk factors.  She is being blessed with lots of prayer support.  Yesterday the upper lobe of her left lung was removed in robotic surgery at Johns Hopkins.  Another cousin is in a rehabilitation facility in Lincoln, Nebraska following an industrial accident that has resulted in paralysis from the neck down.

Tomorrow Victory Quilters are getting together to sew some quilts appropriate for children because so many youngsters with connections to our congregation have faced some very serious health challenges lately, and we think we need a shelf for some fun, juvenile quilts to comfort therm on their journeys toward healing.

I have five days off from work and am soooo looking forward to time at home, and hoping I can manage at least one pajama day. I already have several things on the calendar the will require me to leave home, but if my scanner will work correctly, I may avoid a trip into Albuquerque. Then I'll have two more months until the end of the school year.

I'm also trying to get some new socks knitted--since socks I made eight years or so ago are wearing out at an alarming rate. Yes, I take my knitting almost everywhere--even to lunch today with the College Girl before she headed to the airport to pick up classmates and then back to her university. (I'm thinking we'll change her nickname to The Engineer, although she has begun work on her master's, and we should have a graduation not only this May but also next May.  I'm pleased with what a hard worker she is.)

I'm also marking five years post assault/brain injury. Only occasionally do I grieve what I lost in that injury and will never recover.  My journey since then has been filled with more blessings than I can innumerate.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, and creating,....

Monday, February 20, 2017

5 Fat Quarter Fun February Quilt

I'm always interested in discovering good inspirations for prayer quilts.  Although I almost always design my own quilts, it's sometimes nice to let someone else do the design work and write the pattern.

So, when I saw Amanda and Amber's Chains of Love quilt, I thought, "That's a perfect weekend of quilting quilt!"

 I decided I'd do it in pinks and fuchsia, and received a notice of a perfectly timed fat quarter sale at Southwest Decoratives/Kokapelli Quilting Company.
 So, I bought some fat quarters from Southwest Decoratives and a lovely pale pink solid from Busy Bee Quilts.

Then after I cut the fat quarters, I remembered the pale pink and ivory quilt I made in the early 1980s that ended up being so bright that I had to throw it in a pot of blue dye to quiet it down. It would not be wise to make another too pink quilt, especially not in this design!

 I switched to a soft grey for the background. (I meant to pick up more gray this morning when I went out to visit the lab for a test, but I forgot--which is just as well since Busy Bee doesn't open until 9:00.)

I'm sure I'll be much happier with this pairing--although if I had recognized the problem I was about to create sooner, I might have used a couple of different pink fat quarters.

This pattern can be found here.

I first recognized the appeal of a pink/grey and pink/black combination when I was seven, and my family went to see some western movie in which the lady in the saloon wore skimpy pink and gray costumes and decorated her upstairs apartment in pink and black.  Of course, I was too innocent to have a clue about what her skimpy clothing and upstairs apartment represented; I have no memory of who the actress was or of the name of the movie.  But I do remember the colors!

I also love the idea of creating quilts with just five fat quarters and some yardage and plan to step up my designing--although I am just as likely to use four or six fat quarters.

I'm planning to finish sub-cutting the gray and to begin piecing today.  I have left-overs for lunch and the rest of my Presidents' Day holiday to enjoy my place of bliss.

Happy quiltmaking and crafting,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

May Your Week Be Filled with Love

This sweet jacket was made just about 40 years ago.
 Although it was sewn together on the machine and the bias binding was applied by machine, the applique and quilting were  done all by hand. It's my original design.

 If I remember correctly, I created the design for a pillow for my white sofa, and then thought it needed to appear on something else, but I didn't want to make it over and over for a quilt.  Yes, there was once a time when single and childless made white fairly practical.

 Each sleeve was adorned with one applique heart plus two quilted ones.
I was not the kind of gal who wore her heart on her sleeve, but these seemed okay.
The red fabric was left over from a shirt I made my dad as either a Christmas present or a birthday present, probably in 1967 or 1968. The green is by Wamsutta and is one of the few 100% cotton prints available at the time. The white is a  simple unbleached muslin, probably purchased from J. C. Penney.  Yes, every Penney's store had a nice big fabric department back then.

 Each front was also treated to a heart, along with some clam-shell quilting.
 Such fine stitches!  It was hand-quilted on a 14-inch wooden hoop with Coats & Clark hand-quilting thread.

The tiny little applique stitches were learned by studying my paternal grandmother's applique.  She was the first Dolly I knew of, although her full name was Dora Maude Shreve Scheer. She passed away when my dad was ten years old.

I made the jacket because I certainly wasn't inviting people into my bedroom--or at least that's what we joked at the time. Quilt shows were almost unheard of--at least where I lived in Central Illinois.  I think the closest we came to a quilt show was the annual Mennonite Farm Sale at Exposition Gardens in Peoria, Illinois.

I haven't worn it for years.  It's too small for me now because at the time I made it I was ill and quite thin. My daughter is much too thin to wear it, so it lives in my closet, and I take it out occasionally and reminisce about making it and how much simpler life back then seems in retrospect and compared to the lives we live today. I know it merely seems to have been simpler because our healthy brains are smart enough understand that gratitude is life-sustaining, so we've tossed most of the negative memories and experiences.

I hope you're feeling loved today and that you take time to celebrate love all week!

Happy quiltmaking,

Monday, February 6, 2017

Another Unexpected Quilt

A little over a year ago one of our church families lost their high school son in an early morning accident as he drove into Albuquerque on the interstate to attend his high school.  I passed the tragic scene (semi trailer and car charred almost beyond belief) and offered up a prayer for those involved, not finding out until evening that my prayer had been for that sweet boy. He was an immensely talented young man with a great personality.  The family moved away shortly afterward.  I fully understand that the most daunting grief anyone ever experiences is the loss of a child and all the attendant hopes and dreams.  Today, we heard from the mother that now her two year old nephew has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and will be undergoing ten months of radiation and chemo.

These fabrics were gifted to me, but haven't made it into a quilt yet. They've been stacked in my line of sight for the last several months, because they needed to become a prayer quilt for a child. I haven't settled on a design--and am open to suggestions--and will sleep on it tonight, and maybe the next several nights. I often dream great quilts, and that needs to happen now.

I put out a call to members of my Victory Prayer Quilters group for volunteers to quilt and bind and for backing.  Hopefully, I'll be able to start cutting tomorrow after work and physical long as I have a design in my head by then.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, etc.,

Serendipity Progress

This is taking much longer than I would have guessed, but it's almost ready for the outer border.
It's just tossed over the sofa right now, waiting to be pressed so I can cut and attach the borders.
I like the flavor these colors and fabrics give it.  Although teal is one of my favorite colors, this is not quite teal.  The colors are pleasant, and I'm thinking abut how I will quilt it.  Usually my quilts have been living in my mind, and sometimes on paper, and almost always in a project box for quite a while.  This was in my mind for mere minutes from the time I saw the Cabin Fever Five Fat Quarter Fun Project until I was pulling and cutting fabrics. My sewing machine has not been happy with the bobbins I've used, although they are the bobbins I always use, and I've re-oiled, cleaned out thread from the bobbin area, messed with the bobbin holder, etc.  Not in the mood for fiddly stuff--despite knowing that I need to shorten the belt just a bit--another fiddly thing that I'm putting off.

Now it's back to work, so I'm hoping for a bit of time throughout the week for a bit more sewing.

Happy quilting, knitting, etc., friends,

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Serendipitous Quilt

Serendipitous because I wanted something quick and easy to piece.
So far, I have these:

They began when I saw Leann's post in my early morning feed last Saturday.
Her post linked to a Five Fat Quarter Fun post with a quilt from five fat quarters and three yards of background fabric. (Amber and Amanda have also posted their February Fun, a heart filled quilt, Chains of Love.)

I chose to start with this fat quarter, graciously gifted to me some time ago, but very unlike the fabrics chosen by Leann, Amanda, or Amber.

 I got busy cutting, sewing and pressing.
 Then real life and the work week intervened, although I tied to piece for a few minutes each day.  Hopefully, this weekend will see the rest of the assembly.

 I also want to share how much I love this SteamFast iron that I use in my tiny sewing room.  It heats rapidly and takes up very little space.
It fits comfortably in my palm, and I've been using it for at least eight years.

The updated version features the following and is on sale from Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day today:
2oz water tank, 3 minute heating time, 8' power cord, dual voltage, 1000 watts. steam burst option, continuous steam, 1 year warranty, easy fill measuring cup, travel bag, Lightweight - 1.32 lbs
While it does make a great travel iron for retreats, sewalongs, etc. it's a great purchase for the home sewing studio.  My older version heats in about a minute and a half!  And it has lasted a lot more than the year or less that is so common with full sized irons these days.

Some friends and I are going to go sing for some Alzheimer's residents this afternoon, so we'll see how much more piecing I can get done. (With a daily commute of 80 miles a day, I like not to drive that far on weekends, but a fellow singer volunteered to drive, so it is our hope to be a blessing to some folks; even if they promptly forget that we were there, they should have an hour of fun with some songs they've stored in long-term memory.)

Happy quilting, crafting, and rejoicing,

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Simply Sweet (1/2017 FNSI III)

I can't believe I finished this quilt top in a weekend!  Of course, I did not finish the laundry and some of the housework!

(I  need a design wall, but I no longer have a good place to put it.)

The four patches were pieced from a charm pack of  Northcote Range (Moda) in 2012.  They were done shortly after the assault/brain injury, and I don't know why I didn't finish them sooner, except that life became even more complicated, and I just persist in designing quilt after quilt in my head, and it takes much, much longer to create a real quilt.

This did take many more hours than I would have predicted.
 The four patches include all but a few of the charms from the pack, because the stripes were large and wouldn't have worked.  Five strips of seven 4-patches.  The rose on white strips were cut 2.5 inches, and the borders were cut six inches. And now that it's all assembled, it still reminds me of quilts from my childhood, except that where I grew up in the Midwest most of the quiltmakers at that time would have used a solid white instead of the rose print.  I just love that rose print.  I also have another pack of the charm squares, but not enough of either the blue or the rose print to make a twin to this quilt.  It's about 46" by 56", and will be smaller after quilting. I don't have yardage that will work for the back (imagine that!), so it will be a while.

It's so quietly sweet and simple. So, I'm naming it Simply Sweet.
While it's just the top, I'm going to count it as my first finish of 2017.  It was good to focus on this quilt top instead of other things, like the national news, for example.  (I'm pretty sure there has never before been this kind of ugliness this long after a Presidential election within my lifetime.) And while I was praying for whoever will receive this quilt, I'm also praying for my 20 year old nephew Thomas who's been hospitalized in Houston.  So, good use of my weekend.

Back to work tomorrow, and expecting more winter weather.

I linked to Freemotion by the River, Let's Bee Social and My Quilt Infatuation.

Happy quiltmaking and creating,

Saturday, January 21, 2017

January FNSI Two

This is how far along I am now....

I've finished three strips of seven four-patches.  I haven't decided whether to make two more or just one more.

 First I added smaller triangle to the top block and bottom block of the strip set.

 Then I began attaching the larger triangles to each four-patch on the diagonal and setting those sets together.

 This is the large print I plan to use for the borders and the spacers between the pieced strips.

My brother-in-law pointed out that my niece Blanche is now five, and I've had this fabric since she was a baby.  Of course, it's far from my oldest fabric, but given how much I like it, I'm not sure why it took me so long to use it.  The four-patches were already pieced when I opened the project box.

I'm getting a bit frustrated about how little I get done, but chores like laundry pull me away from piecing.  Oh, and I did have to use my seam ripper several times.

The wind is howling, so I'm going to bathe and snuggle in bed with my knitting and a book--and try not to think of how little I accomplished because I have a lot more done than when I opened that box yesterday.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, and creating,
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