Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Day in the Life...

MOJO has returned       

I was getting discouraged forcing myself to sew for 10 – 12 weeks during this last sinus attack. I was making extremely slow progress, but I could at least tell myself every day that I got a seam sewn, or a block prepped to sew. Some days I would get a whole block sewn, other days two blocks. The last little while I noticed instead of doing only 2 blocks at a time I was doing 5 and then suddenly prepping 10 at a time and getting them done in a couple of days was achieved.

Today I finished prepping the last 10 blocks to get assembled over the next 4 days. I have to count the hour glass blocks I need for setting the Hawks Nest blocks together. 

I have 20 made but I think I need closer to 40. No big deal, those pieces are cut, just sitting on a tote lid waiting for their turn under the pressure foot. 

I didn’t sew them all together when I cut them because some of them just need to be paired up to be the edge setting triangles and 4 small ones are for the four corners. Setting a quilt on point is a chore I don’t often do to myself, but I like the effect on this particular quilt.

The MOJO has returned.

This week has been full. Men came and trimmed the two tall oaks in the back yard and cut down the 9 trees in a clump in the front yard. I want to fill that new open space with a low tree of some kind. A Dogwood or a Red Bud would be a beautiful addition. The neighbors are happy the oak won’t be leaving large limbs in their yards and we are no longer terrified of going into the back yard with the dog since a gigantic limb fell a couple of weeks ago and landed behind the garage.

I went to the dentist Monday, in a last minute appointment late in the day for an impression for a crown, and exiting the freeway almost ended my life as a fire truck crested the hill horn ablowing and heading for me in the one little lane left because of construction. I recall two things crossing my mind in the seconds I had to save my life. One was my foot was hitting the brake and it needed to be hitting the gas and I had to find a place to put the car. I found a place to put the car. I backed up after he passed and went on my way. The little hole I put the car was sealed up with orange barrels when I drove by on my way home. The guy behind them was probably thinking what an ass I was for driving into the construction site.  I did nothing wrong. I was not distracted. I'm a very careful driver. The fire truck was hidden behind the rise of the bridge when my light turned green. I had been carefully looking at the lane I was going to turn into because of construction blocking so much of the bridge and a pickup truck waiting to turn left onto the freeway to my left. If the fire truck driver was blowing the horn earlier, I was still exiting the freeway and was nowhere near where I could hear him coming. Life turns on a dime and I am very thankful I’m still around to worry about whether I have MOJO or not. Mojo seems so inconsequential now. To be honest, it’s probably what pushed the rest of the procrastination right out of my system.

I had a teeny tiny quilt scheduled for Tuesday and I did it on Monday, so I got a day back for myself. Today I loaded a charity quilt. I’m happy to be able to still give back.
And it’s ONLY Wednesday!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Time Flies...

June 16, 2018

Time flies whether I am having fun or not. A lot of sayings I grew up with have been fluttering through my thought process lately and one of them is about time flying when fun is on the agenda. Thinking more deeply I see that time flies, PERIOD.

Thursday last I was on the phone for almost 2 hours signing up for Medicare. MEDICARE! Where did the years go? I am so amazed that 65 is the next big birthday for me. I am certainly grateful for the cost of Medicare coverage and the cost of supplemental health insurance to cover the rest of the medical. The lady signing me up was trying to find the most economical deal for me and was happy for all my input and clarification each time we exchanged sentences. It was an interesting experience, to say the least! The amazing thing is even getting an expensive coverage plan (her choice of words) it is a real bargain to me, as I am staggering under the cost of buying my health care on my own since Tom’s retirement plan dumped all us old-timers they didn’t feel like covering anymore due to rising costs. I had a sweet deal for 6 years before the other shoe fell. Boy did it land with a thump!

There was a set amount they put in a fund for us losers of health care and my share of that fund ran out 14 months after I got it. The last 7 months of this year before Medicare kicks in have all been on me, and it takes almost every penny of my Social Security to cover the health care payment. There is something hugely wrong with our medical system.

Layout of Hawks Nest block with pieces for next block on table above it

I have been slowly working on my current quilt projects. I seemed to have lost my mojo and finding it again has been just putting one foot in front of the other and getting through each day. I would think I was depressed, how hard it is to find the desire to sew pieces of fabric together, but I have figured out it is a massive sinus problem! Besides being hot and tired all the time and being fuzzy in the thinking department, there is that quilt each day that needs to be quilted. My schedule is full. I get the job done and go home. Then I fall asleep in my chair and wake up in time to go to bed. Where is the MOJO!

Hawks Nest

Old habits kick in and five minutes of sewing each day still gets things done. Very slowly, but a block at a time is still getting sewing done.

Hawks Nest 2 finished blocks

I’m organized and settled in the house. I miss being able to get up really early and go into the studio to quilt, but the flip side of that coin is I get to walk away from the shop and come home. There is no WiFi at the studio, so there is no computer perusing during the day. I do the quilting, I come home. I sew a block. And I look for my mojo. I know I will find it, I have found almost everything else that got displaced in two moves.

Hawks Nest 12 finished blocks

I hope to get more quilts going and I need to remember I have finished many projects that got started and put in little shoe box tubs. I have a stack of empty ones in the closet.

This year my goal is to make as many twin size quilts for charitable purposes as I possibly can. I took 5 to my friend, Karen, last week. She knows where to take them for people who need them.

Lay out on design wall

I learned how to “web a top” by watching a web cam video Bonnie Hunter had on her site. I have read about it on her blog, but I could not figure out how to do it. Seeing it on the video made it all clear and now I am looking forward to getting a set of quilt blocks done so I can try this simple assembly system she described. 

Webbed top to bottom all the way across

Sewing webbed and pressed rows into a finished block

I practiced today on a quilt block that was 13 x 13 blocks in size. I was amazed at the speed I put the whole thing together, from layout on the design wall to pressed and back on the wall as a finished unit. I will look at it for a while and make 5 more in the future and make a crib quilt.

Finished block back on the design wall

Hawk's Nest is my latest ongoing project while I look for the mojo. I know it will hit me full force in the process of looking, so I just keep sewing. A little at a time is better than no sewing at all.

Hawks Nest trial layout

Happy June! 4 days until summer!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Another Year Gone...

I am on my Christmas break. Emily is reading in the living room and Tom is fixing lunch. It is Christmas Eve day. I am in the sewing room making samples and writing up instructions for my quilts on the hoof.

I am making a Lady of the Lake quilt and it will be scrappy. The only consistent thing is the large half square triangle in the middle. 

Lady of the Lake sample block

The half square triangles that go around the block are scrappy anything. The light side of the triangle is all tans from very light to no darker than a paper bag. The colors are anything I find in my box of 2 ½” squares. I am trying to use as much of the cut stuff as possible. I have lots of 2 ½’ squares.

The fun part of this is the bonus half square triangle that comes from making the block parts. If you mark a second line 3/8” from the original diagonal line and sew it as well, when you cut the space between the sewn lines, you get two half square triangles.

One for the current project and one for the bonus block box.
I have made several quilts from the bonus block box and since there are so many possibilities, it is worth making them for future use. Unfortunately it is twice as much pressing of half square triangles, but there is the plus side of not having to make 2” half square triangles for the small blocks with which I am so enamored.

4 X Square with dark squares

4 X Square with light squares

To find ideas for using them, I look everywhere for block ideas and build my quilt on EQ7. 

This time my bonus half squares are going to be made into a block called 4 X Star which I found in the block tool from Ladies Art Company. I think this would be an excellent project to take to a quilt retreat. I have a tub of 2” strips for the 9 patch blocks in the center. The color possibilities can be endless and I don’t have to cut anything but the sub cutting of units to sew. I get to use of stuff.

I have lots of scraps of fabrics to cut into usable parts hanging around. I get gifted with fabric from various people who are not going to use what is left from some project or other.
Honestly, I probably don’t need to buy anymore for quite some time.

I took a buying hiatus several years ago and used such a lot of fabric in a 2 ½ year time frame. The price of fabric had sky rocketed in my non buying phase, and now it just freaks me out how much it costs to make a quilt. I’ll stick with scrappy and use up what I have.

All the pictures shown of finished blocks are just my samples so I remember how to assemble things and can see how to press things when I actually make the block. I like to be organized.
The ideas for making bonus blocks I learned from Bonnie Hunter and her scrap organization techniques.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Today I Build a Quilt

Time again to assemble a project. I find great joy in putting together a quilt. Every bit of it is a journey of discovery. Scraps, no matter how diverse can come together and become something beautiful.  

I learned a very valuable lesson (for me) from a dear person no longer in my circle of friends, and the loss is mine, and that lesson is that every interaction creates an opportunity to be not only teacher but humble student. Keeping that thought uppermost in these troubling times of instant access to everyone’s thoughts on social media is not the easiest thing to do.

The people in my young life were up-lifters. I was encouraged to find the best in people. I did not understand that there were things that troubled the people around me. Civil unrest was rampant in the cities but did not touch my neighborhood. I loved my neighbors.
Recently I thought it was a failing on my part that I do not see the troubling thoughts in the people around me, but I realize it is not possible to see what others think.  Living life is not an easy thing to do on the best of days at times. Getting old has its burdens as well as its perks.

Building quilts is a release of sorts. My thoughts can drift. Things get sorted in my head. A block emerges from the chaos on my sewing table. Then another and another and soon there is a box of blocks. I hope my swirling thoughts can find the same result.
The drifting thoughts flit through a variety of subjects and I find the need to express myself in words. November is a time for reflection. Looking back at the joys and sorrows and finding the value in the things for which I am thankful. Since too much information is too much information, I will still keep those flitting thoughts to myself, but I need to make quilts. I need to see the beauty arise from the chaos.

Find your joy. Make people smile. Love what you do. Do what you love.

Today I build a quilt.