A Finish!

Tada2

I don't finish things very often so I feel that I should take a bow here ... even though it wasn't easy. :) Today during our Friday Sewing Together time, I finished my Scrub Rose wall hanging. Well, except for labeling it. Have to think about just how I want to do that. :)

Scrub rose small

I promised that the edges _are_ regular and even, though they don't look like it in this photo. :) Can you see the quilting textures? You might have to click and embiggen to notice them. This measures about 15"x24" and uses hand and machine embroidery, hand and machine applique and machine quilting. The dark blue circles are hand dyed wool, the rest is cotton quilting fabrics. I am sooooo pleased. :)

Now I have to get in touch with my designated partner for the Modern Quilt Guild mini swap and let her know this piece is coming - as uncertain as the mail has become lately, I intend to send it off soon rather than wait until the February 2nd deadline.

The  past couple of days have been difficult for our country - I just hope there are negative consequences for the people who attacked our legislature. There need to be deterents for armed insurrection beyond general outcry! Sheesh.

I had a video conference with my doctor this morning ... he is prescribing me some meds for this (I think) lingering cold/congestion ... and sending me for Covid testing on Monday morning. Sigh.

Hope the sun shines tomorrow like it did today!

:) Linda


More Gray

M8PeIrHrGUPsRjNDXuNi_urbanxstitch1In my on-going theme of needlework in very public places, how about this image? :) This ultra sized cross stitch ducky parade was created by an artist known as Urban XStitch.  You can go here and read about him/her and other 'pushing the envelope' embroidery artists working today. It tickles my fancy to think of looking at ducky embroideries on my neighborhood fences. :) (Especially here in Columbia where I live with our covenants and architectural committee approval requirements:)

The weather was bleak today - more heavy gray, wet (but no appreciable rainfall), chilly (high 40s). Unpleasant and a good reason to stay in and sew! I managed to do a few house chores (chiefly gathering and taking out the recycling for tomorrow's o-dark-thirty pickup) and read quite a bit. I did do a little more quilting on my Scrub Rose wall hanging:

Bottom
BottomI like the texture created from matchstick quilting - I chose to do mine in irregularly spaced rows for a more 'natural' look. I might be able to finish this tomorrow - just have the upper right quadrant to go. Oh, then I have to do the free motion parts in the bloom itself. Hmm, maybe two days to finish?

My machining time is being cut short by difficulty with my neck - I have some fused vertebrae in my neck (C4,5,6 I think) that pinch my spinal chord - a fairly common arthritis by-product. Lately they are acting up more than usual and looking downward (like toward my machine) is giving me pounding headaches and makes my hands go numb. Sigh. If it's not one thing, it's another. :)

Looking forward to tomorrow - maybe there will be some sunshine?

:) Linda


Adventures in the Rain

Image-1I tried out Facebook's Avatar generator this afternoon. The pic above was the best I could approximate myself (my hair is darker and streaked with gray but that was not a choice, only all gray was). Doesn't look a lot like me ... but it is cheerful enough. :) The reason I was playing with this?

I have been a member of Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class (original edition) for a number of years, starting from when they met in my shop. Mimi has some kind of 2021 swap idea that involves our self-portraits in fabric for this year (I will learn more about it tomorrow at our first meeting via Zoom for the new year). :)

What was my adventure? The weather was what I would label 'nasty' today - cold, wet, heavy gray rain with a sharp breeze to chill. Yesterday during our Saturday zoom, a friend from my modern guild, MJ, offered up a free serger to first comers. I stuck my hand up immediately as I've contemplated buying one but never fell off the fence - I just thought it might be useful for garment sewing and such.

Today I drove to MJ's house - somewhere in the northwest part of Baltimore county (I just go where the GPS tells me to drive:) - and picked up the machine. Sooooo exciting!! :) I really didn't ask much about the serger/overlocker before hand so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a Bernina series 1100. She and her husband were so sweet and loaded it into the backseat of my Bolt for me (thank goodness 'cause it is heavy - had to have my sweetheart carry it inside when I got home).

It looks something like this (but this photo was taken from an EBay sale):

S-l1600I have to clear away space in my new sewing room area to set it up (and find a table for it to work on) so it might be a while before I start sewing with it. As I am de-crapifying my stuff, I am finding fabrics and patterns I've purchased over the years for garment making. Will certainly post any progress I manage to make! :)

I did not get any sewing done today. The drive to MJ's and back took almost two hours with the rain and my general unfamiliarity with the terrain. Once I got home, the chill drove me to huddle down in my comfy chair in the living room to read, work the crossword and watch my husband play his video game-of-the-moment.

Tomorrow it's back to 'normal' whatever that might mean in this new year.

:) Linda


Gray Skies

Copy-of-NOLA-feb-07-004-e1416516818916Do you know about The Sewing Machine Project? Here is the info from their website:

The Sewing Machine Project is an organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, bringing sewing into peoples’ lives by offering sewing machines, tools, and education. The organization was founded in 2005 by Margaret Jankowski after she read an article about a woman who lost her sewing machine during a tsunami in Southeast Asia. The story inspired Margaret to begin collecting sewing machines to send to those whose lives could be mended by creativity.

Since then, The Sewing Machine Project has donated over 3,000 sewing machines to locations around the world. In addition to collecting machines, The Sewing Machine Project also offers classes through local community centers and free mending at three Wisconsin locations. The Sewing Machine Project hopes recipients can use these machines to learn new skills, build self-confidence, and potentially contribute to their livelihoods, as well as the well-being of their families and communities. Recipients are also encouraged to pay it forward in a sewing-related way.

If you are interested in donating a machine or serger that you no longer need, The Sewing Machine Project accepts donations at various drop off locations. You can also volunteer to help prepare machines for shipment or teach an education class. You can also donate money to support the organization, preparation, and shipping of machines, along with their local classes and national curriculum.

I only personally know of one other machine donating project, one that redirects treadle and hand-crank machines to a women's fair trade cooperative in Guatemala. As much pleasure as I get, personally, from my sewing activities, I enthusiastically support these folks.

 

Today was gray and heavily overcast most of the day. There was a break in the clouds and some sunshine got through my sewing room windows in the mid-afternoon. As usual on Saturdays, I sewed and chatted with my Columbia Friends while working on more quilting of the Scrub Rose wall hanging. I managed to finish matchstick texturing the bottom half before I broke to eat a late lunch.

After lunch my son helped me refill the bird feeder and set up the new squirrel-proof suet feeder I bought while out getting more black oil sunflower seed last week from Mother Nature, the local bird feeding shop. I've tried simple suet feeders in my yard before - I regularly see nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and the like but they don't come to my feeders very often being chiefly bug eaters (go, eat those bugs!!:). Sadly, I never succeeded in finding a way to discourage the squirrels from eating most of the suet we put out. This new feeder is made by the same folks that invented the squirrel-proof sunflower seed feeder we use so I have faith that it will keep them out of the suet, too. Can't wait to see if new birds come to our feeding station. :)

Hugh also consented to hold up my quilt for photography (despite the chilly temperatures outside on our deck):

Aboriginal

This is my improv medallion quilt, made with Australian Aboriginal print fabrics by M&S Textiles. I love the pointillism of aboriginal designs and really enjoyed making this project. I was surprised that my son liked it, too - he rarely expresses an opinion of any kind about my quilt making. :) Hopefully you can see the stitched texture of the spiral quilting pattern I chose - executed by my friend Daria Phair in Catonsville. Click on the photo to embiggen. :)

Supposed to be much the same weather tomorrow. I have to go out for a while in the mid-afternoon (secret errand, to be revealed later) and I hope the rain holds off.

:) Linda


Oh, Happy Day!

UnnamedHappy New Year!!! 2021 does not have a high bar to jump to exceed 2020, eh? :) I spent today in my most favorite way (well, most but one:) - sewing with friends. 

If you click on that beautiful galaxy up above you can go read about it on The Daily Galaxy newsite. :)

Today, being Friday, my friends Barbara, Patty and I met on Zoom to Sew Together. They were both working on different clues of the Bonnie Hunter mystery, Grassy Creek. I decided to sandwich and start quilting my Scrub Rose wallhanging. I have not machine quilted for quite some time so I felt a need to practice a bit before starting on Hope. :)

Here is what I got done this afternoon between 2 and about 4:30 pm:

Matchstickside

I opted for irregular horizontal matchstick quilting in the 'ground' area of the flower (below the blossom).


Matchstickside

Here you can see how much I got finished ... I like the texture of matchstick quilting but it is tedious!

The weather was, again, ponderously gray and wet today - dim and cold. It started raining heavily sometime during our Zoom and I was very grateful, listening to it ping on the lower roof outside my window, that I had a solid roof over my head and a warm house to be cozy in!

:) Linda


Last Gasp of 2020

Lebanon-Baalbek
Lebanon-BaalbekThis  beautiful mosaic floor was unearthed recently in Baalbek, Lebanon during underground construction of a new drainage system. Look at that design - does it look familiar? :) It was flooring in a large palace hall built by the Romans in antiquity. There are so many lovely tiling patterns that also appear as patchwork designs. I'd call this one Clamshell and the ombre colors could be aired in any modern quilt tomorrow! Beautiful. 

Today was heavy, gray and wet. Not nice at all and cold, to boot. :P I did get into my sewing room for a while but decided not to do anything requiring good visibility (the lighting in my room needs some upgrading, absent sunshine). I added an outer border to the small improv quilt I worked on yesterday:

BabymedallionThis is as big as I think I will make this one ... lap sized for a child. I went through the rest of my improv blocks - I have enough to make a table runner, a table topper and a couple of placemats. I'll get to that another time. Now I need to go on with machine quilting the Hope project. I have been searching for my painter's tape and finally found it just as I finished up sewing for today.

Happy New Year!!

:) Linda


Nearing the End

Kirie-art-paper-cutting-octopus-masayo-fukuda-japan-2-1This is a single sheet of paper, cut into exquisite bits by artist Masayo Fukuda. I think I have probably shared her work before here ... luscious, detailed, lacy, astounding! Click her name and go see more of her intriguing paperwork.

The sunshine was bright and warm through the windows of my sewing room this afternoon, just the way I enjoy it best. :) I started off my sewing day with some sorting and 'filing':

Morefiles

These are (mostly) fat quarters I have 'found' as I am picking up my stuff from around the house (trying to contain my enthusiasm within just one room:). Many of them are 1930s-era prints gifted to me by my Aunt Ruby (my father's only living sister). Somewhere in my stuff is a half-finished set of blocks in the Anita's Arrowhead pattern that I will use most of these fqs to sew. There is a generous assortment of other prints sprinkled in as well. :) Now to find a drawer for them all to live in (my current drawer full of fqs is full-up).

Tonight at 7 pm was the usual weekly zoom Sip and Sew with my modern guild friends. There were only 3 of us tonight but we had a good chat and I got some real sewing done. I dug out the pile of improv blocks I sewed early in the fall using my Cherrywood hand-dyed scraps. I pondered what to use them for as I sat ... and sorted out some of them to make a charity 'reading quilt' for the modern guild donation:

Improv2This  is about 20" square at the moment. Not sure if I will make it bigger or just quilt it as is. Plenty of visual excitement to keep a child cosy, I think. :)

I want to use at least some of my improv blocks to make placemats for our table (which I have to de-stuff as well). The colors of my hand dyed scraps are rich and saturated and will enliven our little dining area. :)

I hope the sun shines tomorrow 'cause I'd like to sew more.

:) Linda


Quiet Week

12scQKR-winter-holiday-wallpaperI always think of the week between Christmas and New Year as special - outside the usual day-to-day life, a time for reflection and planning. In as much as we _can_ plan this year! 

Today I finished sewing the binding on my Aboriginal Improv Medallion quilt ... but I did not get to photograph it as my son was busy until after night fall (I had planned to take it outside on my back deck and have him hold it up for picture taking:). Maybe tomorrow?

I have still the bingo quilt to bind ... and I need to sandwich and quilt the Hope charity quilt project. I have been pondering how to do that, in the absence of a large horizontal surface to sandwich on top of - I have decided to try something suggested to me in an article some time ago, namely, basting on a wall in a vertical orientation. I intend to quilt the Hope top in quarters and then join them (my sewing space is too not spacious enough to allow for the entire quilt at one time, even if my body had the strength to handle maneuvering the mass of yardage under my Bernina's domestic machine throat:). 

I have to hunt up my wide painter's tape roll and get started. The quilting itself will not take long, I think. I plan to do mostly straight line patterning, following the design of the quilt layout itself. I am eager to get started on it!

One thing I did today was a sort of fact-finding and accounting research for myself, following an article in Science News. Titled 'What Lifestyle Changes Will Shrink Your Carbon Footprint the Most?' it helped me assemble statistics on things we have done differently in our household in recent years. Here's my summary.

 Carbon emissions for U.S. households are, on average, the equivalent of 48 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year entering the atmosphere.

    1. Replacing a 25 miles per gallon car with an electric car reduces your footprint by 4.4 metric tons of CO2 each year. We replaced our Chrysler PT Cruiser with a Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2018.

    2. Replacing a 25 miles per gallon car with a fuel-efficient car (40 mpg) reduces your footprint by 2.0 metric tons per year. We replaced our Dodge Dart with a Jeep Renegade in 2019.

    3.Change your car's air filters regularly and keep the tires properly inflated. We do this for both cars, yielding an 0.3 metric tons decrease each for a total of 0.6 metric tons less.

    4. Change your source of electricity and purchase green energy from a clean energy provider. We use solar and wind power from our provider and have for a number of years. Luckily we can afford the higher cost of energy this represents to our household. This reduces our carbon emissions by 6.3 metric tons per year.

    There is no info in the article about what effect increasing your recycling contributions will have, etc. We have not altered our diet to consume less meat which is supposed to have a beneficial effect on carbon emissions. In total, the simple things we have done have decreased our household carbon footprint by 13.3 metric tons of CO2 per year or about 28% (assuming that we contribute the assumed 48 metric tons of carbon per household as on the average). Not too bad.

That is one positive item on our household list of changes for the better over the past two years. Of course, THIS year is going to skew the statistics since we are hardly driving at all - and what driving we do is mostly in the electric car (I do take the Jeep out every month or so to be sure it will still run:). I don't think we've made any major sacrifices to achieve our reduction, just been thoughtful with our choices. Shrug.

I've been thinking about what I will make, quilt wise, over the coming year, too. I have several projects in progress I want to finish up ... and I signed up to do one block of the month ... and can think of several 'bucket list' projects I'd like to tackle. Guess I should make a list, eh?

:) Linda


Boxing Day

What-Is-Boxing-Day-Learn-About-the-English-HolidayToday is the traditional holiday known in the England-associated countries as Boxing Day. I had never heard of this holiday until I was well into adulthood - at first, I could not figure out why anyone would particularly want to spar so near Christmas (symbolic celebration of peace and goodwill:). LOL. Go read about the tradition and learn. :)

It was sunny for most of the afternoon today and I soaked some of it up happily in my sewing room. Being Saturday, my Columbia Friends group met via Zoom and chatted while we sewed. I worked for a while with my new Hexiforms

I bought two kinds - 60 degree diamonds 2" on each side and 'flower petal' Dresden shapes in about the same scale. I pulled out the diamonds and fussy cut a star and then the surrounding set of diamonds. I think I will work rounds until I use up all the shapes I purchased and see how they develop. For now, I put them in a project case beside my sewing machine after the zoom.

I really need to go back to binding my two remaining quilted items - my Aboriginal improv medallion and the Crazy Floating blocks, both of which my friend Daria long-armed. I had already made the binding (single fold with flange) for the improv quilt so that's what I started with around 3 or 4 this afternoon. 

I managed to get the first round of sewing done - onto the back of the quilt - by the time I got tired:
BindingSee, here I sewed on the binding to the back of my quilt (I forget that Aboriginal print's name - something basic like Bush Tucker, maybe?). Tomorrow I will sew the flange down along all four sides of the front and be finished with my quilt. Goodie!!

I used all the backing fabric that Daria trimmed off when she squared up my quilt to make the binding ... and did not measure it (figured I'd deal with any shortage if/when it happened). Luckily, I had JUST enough:

ChickenI had about 6" left when I finished the entire perimeter! Binding chicken and I won! :) Lucky!!

I forgot about the Xmas gifts my daughter sent us ... heaven knows why ... so we'll have a delayed unboxing tomorrow (what a way to extend the holiday).

:) Linda


Happy Christmas!

Xmas treeWisdom from a little tree. How appropriate! :)

Merry Christmas to all! I am poking my head up from my usual semi-dark den to wish all a very happy day. Today I read about dragons and cooked a wonderful holiday dinner (corned beef with new potatoes and cabbage). Follow that up with luscious chocolates and you have Gemütlichkeit*.

(*Gemütlichkeit (German pronunciation: [ɡəˈmyːtlɪçkaɪt] (About this soundlisten)) is a German-language word used to convey the idea of a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness,[1]and good cheer. Other qualities encompassed by the term include cosiness, peace of mind, and a sense of belonging and well-being springing from social acceptance.)

:) Linda