Monday, January 30, 2012

busy times

I've made a little progress on the Jacob's Ladder UFO, but we were away to see the kids this past weekend and I came back with a bit of a cold, so I went right to bed at 9:00 last night.  I hope to be feeling better to work on it some more and maybe even get it sandwiched and start quilting on it this weekend.

My Honey and I got married this morning too, so there's also that which has been keeping us busy.  It was fun - we only just decided on the day on Thursday, bought bands on Friday, told the kids on Saturday, and his relatives yesterday.  His dad came to be our witness and was even able to talk the bailiffs into being able to bring a camera into the clerk's office to take some photos, despite our courthouses not allowing any devices that record, receive or transmit broadcasts, not even a Kindle.  It took people at the office several hours to figure it out.

Honey is away tomorrow on business so that means quilting time for me if I'm not falling into bed under the influence of heavy doses of cold medicine.  I will try to take and post some photos of Jacob's Ladder and maybe even some other projects in the works which have not made it here to the blog yet.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

progress on Jacob's Ladder

I've been making some slow progress on my "Save a UFO" project of the red & white Jacob's Ladder ... and thanks so much for all the kind comments!  You can read some more about the challenge here, which ends on February 11th, although I'd like to not wait until the last minute for once.  Fortunately, it doesn't need to be completed by then, just "considerable progress."

I trimmed up the blocks and had to discard about a half dozen of them because they were too small or too wonky, which left me with 42 ... enough to do six across and seven down.  So I've got them in pairs so far and will sew the pairs into rows and then a top.  Here it is all laid out in one possible setting.
I had originally stated my intention to make a flying geese border, but then I rethought that.  I had an unopened package of Thangles which I was interested in trying out.  And it turns out that they finish at 1.5" ... since each of these blocks finish at 9", I calculated that six of them per block should fit beautifully as a sawtooth border.

In fact, I may do a double border depending on how it looks.

I'd never worked with Thangles before but found them fun to work with, especially while watching TV.
This way I can get sewing work done on a weekend without completely ignoring my Honey.  :-)

I hope to do a lot of sewing tomorrow morning before the big playoff game begins at 3.  I'll post as I make progress!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saving a UFO

As I indicated in my previous post, I'm participating in the Quilting in Murder - Save a UFO initiative.  This is the story of my UFO.

Back around the turn of the millenium, when my entire quilting e-world was in the form of AOL forums, I participated in a block swap.  We were each to make a Jacob's Ladder block in reds and whites.  At first I thought I organized it is because the Jacob's Ladder is a part of my sorority tradition, and cardinal red is our sorority's color, but as I dug through the box, I found the original instructions dated August, 2001 (due November, 2001), and I wasn't the host.  I loved the blocks I got in return and to this day they sit in a nice little box all stacked in a pile, complete with the names and email addresses of the quilters who made them still attached.  A quilting template in the form of a sheaf of wheat (another sorority symbol) is tucked in there with them.

This photo shows six of the blocks on my cutting table.  There are 54 of them in all, however, some of them are not to the 9.5" unfinished dimension specified by the swap and won't be used.  Many of them still have the labels attached with the information about the quilters who sent them ... with email address domains like earthlink and webtv!  I wonder how many of them are out there in the blogosphere now?  Also in the box, printed out in July, 2001 (a week after my now 11-year-old son had his first birthday), is a copy of the original instructions from Quilter's Cache, which you can still find here, although this finishes at 12" square, not 9".

A few times I have opened the box, laid the blocks out on the floor, moved them around ... and put them all back.  I could have put them together into a top but the dilemma of a border still remained.  Since then I've decided to do a red and white flying geese border but haven't made any headway on actually doing it.

My commitment now is to finish the top and maybe even get it sandwiched and quilted.  Let's see how far I get.  I think a decade is long enough to keep a UFO on the shelf with the intention of getting it finished someday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quilting is Murder - Save a UFO!


I'm thinking about participating in this challenge.  After all, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to finish at least one UFO.  This puts me on a deadline, but  on the bright side, I could win something fun.

I've already joined the Flickr group so I guess I'm committing. Actually, I guess since I decide when it's "finished" it might not be that hard.  I know exactly what I want to do, but the thing is that it requires putting away the lovely project that has had me obsessed this past couple of weeks.

Okay, I think I just talked myself into it.  I'll finish up the cutting stage of this project tonight and, since we're up north this weekend, I'll start focusing on my UFO next week.  While I have quite a few UFOs, there is only one that I have specifically in mind for this project.  So like a good mystery, I'll keep you hanging until we come back from our commercial (weekend) break.

If you join too, leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Whoa, January!

My last post was on Christmas Day, before the children arrived, and then it was busy nonstop.  We spent all day on the road New Year's Day, and I came into my office on Monday to get a head start on all my year-end reporting which has not slowed up yet.  Now we're approaching the middle of the month this weekend and I'm still trying to get my bearings.

There is so much to blog about that I've been putting it off.  First, I began two new projects, neither of which I've taken photos of, and one I hinted at in my last post.  I need to get to that.  Second, I'm still trying to finalize my new year's resolutions.  One is to lose 30 lbs through diet and exercise (and I've lost four so far since January 1), another is to be able to run a 5K (and I've been running twice a week), and a third is to finish at least one UFO (no progress there yet).  Michele, who won my giveaway last month, writes about tracking your crafting, and I have bought a lovely calendar (on 60% off discount) to hang over my ironing board to do this (I can't figure out how to do it electronically).  So far I've managed six out of ten days, with hopefully tonight making seven.  I also have a resolution to get rid of all my mother's stuff, and made some small progress in Freecycling her perfumes and a decorative painting kit, but most of it is high dollar stuff that needs to be sold.

The January bills are also rolling in.  I've found that I owe the hospital $1300 from September's surgery, and that our dog has torn his cruciate ligament and needs surgery himself.  And we are still dragging our heels on getting the replacement air conditioning unit for the upstairs at $4,000.  So the adorable little Featherweight I saw for sale in a local machine repair shop is going to have to wait for a more solvent person to come along and buy it.  (Incidentally, who knows what a good price on a Featherweight is?)  Anyway, feeling financially pinched makes it all the more special when I win a blog giveaway like Annie's!  Those fat quarters will help with the resolution of finishing that UFO mentioned above!

While the kids were with us, we decided to go to our local animal shelter and foster a cat.  He worked out so well in our home and with our dog that we returned to adopt him.  This is Jack:
I have never owned a cat before, even in my youth, so Jack is taking some getting used to.  He is definitely all up in my business in my sewing room and I am learning to retract my rotary cutter before I leave it as well as put packaged batting up high where he can't claw at it.  The funny thing is that the reason I was leaning towards getting a cat is that our dog never liked spending time in my sewing area with me before (probably because it's the same space in which we tried crating him when we first got him, and learned that he HATED it).  Now I often find both animals down there with me, and last night I had to call the dog upstairs when I'd left the room and turned off the lights. 

I bet it won't be long before I find the two of them curled up together.  Jack already tries rubbing up against Pete (the dog), but Pete just wants to sniff Jack's butt.

I had a question from Chiska about the quilt on the background of the blog.  It is a pattern from a booklet that I've long since lost or misplaced, but I started the project probably around 1999 and finished it last year in time to enter into the guild show.  I call it Elephant Parade and it is all hand applique, hand embroidery and hand quilting, with machine piecing to join the blocks and the border.  I realize now that I never posted about this quilt and so here is a photo with me next to it as it hung in the guild show:
It didn't win any ribbons but I was glad to have finished it, and also learned the lesson that if the quilt isn't done by the time that the entry form is due, it should not be put in the show!  That caused me too much unnecessary stress!

My Honey and I are still tossing around ideas about when to get married, and we also want to get our finances and our legal affairs in order (I have a will but need to bring it up to date; he has none).  All of this stuff takes time, thought and planning.  It seems like I spend so much time with the computer at work that it's the last thing I want to do when I get home, despite just having gotten a new (refurbished) one.  When I do turn it on it's to load songs onto my mp3 player to run to, or install the software to let it talk to my camera, or something besides blogging.  I will try to get to both of my new projects before the month is over, but first, January needs to promise me that it will slow down a little bit.