Monday, January 30, 2012

Such a Lackluster Month!

I looked at the calendar today and asked myself, "Self - what the heck happened to January?"  I think I said that last month and the month before too!  OY!  So little progress on anything and I've been trying like the devil.  My mojo is back, but there definitely seems to be a lack of time due to all that life stuff.  So before the end of the month hits us and we're into February, I figured I'd make a post on my rather lackluster doings in the craft world the past few weeks.  Finger's crossed February will be a more productive month.

First off, stitching on AWFAA has been really bad.  I went great guns on this sampler and then peetered out on the fill in - but I've loving the colors:

I was warned about how intensive that fill in can be, but I like fill-in stitching when I feel like being mindless and not having to refer to a chart much.  Obviously, I didn't have a lot of time to be mindless this month.

But there was other stitching.  I joined Becky's challenge and promptly picked out a piece to stitch.  But I changed my mind.  I really didn't want to start something "brand" new.  My goal this year is to finish up WIPs and work on stash where things are kitted and ready to go.  The operative phrase this year is, "Do not spend money - you own a small craft shop in the basement"!!!  Anyway, last year I had started Ann Rayner and got all of this far on my one day of stitching:

Wow! Leaves you breathless by all I got done, doesn't it?  LOL  Anyway, this was on 40 count linen and I just knew that when I came to the over one stitching, I would not be a happy camper.  So I restarted it:

This time I'm working it on 32 count Cafe au Lait and liking it much better.  Excuse the wrinkle marks.  For some reason, the fabric relaxed back and now I have wrinkles!  UGH!  Anyway, while I'm sure that it's a travesty to do this sampler on a whiter and larger larger count linen, it's a welcome break from working on the 40 count fabric that AAWFAA is on (and a lot of my other starts from last year also).  So this will be my challenge piece - it's a new start for the new year.

I also finally tamed the savage beast with the knitting and got those YO's down pat and started on my daughter's scarf.  I had quite a bit of yarn left over from the Guernsey scarf and DD picked out a pattern, asked for a gray scarf and this is where I am - probably 1/3 finished - she wants a long scarf:

It goes rather quickly with repeats of eight rows.  I'm almost loving it so much, I might have to make one for myself!!

Then I've been doing some quilting.  In that attempt to get rid of WIPs both in stitching and quilting, I went back to the Farmer's Wife and was able to attach three more rows of blocks.  I really, really wanted to start working on the Cotton Club (a BOM that I started receiving last year), but I just knew that if I did that, the Farmer's Wife would just remain a pile of blocks (you can click on the picture for a close-up, but please excuse any stray threads).

I love this quilt more and more as I get each row attached.  When I got to the next row of blocks, I hit a road block and in trimming down the blocks to prepare them for the sashing, I found that one block - if I trimmed it down to the correct size, I would be sewing too far into the block and not have points!  UGH!  So that is a block that I will have to redo.  At that point, I stopped putting rows together until I could remake that block.  Then I realized that I didn't have to follow the book exactly and line my blocks up like the designers.  No, this is my quilt and I could do what I want! (why am I suddenly hearing Leslie Gore's song, "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To" in my head?????)  Anyway, I'll leave that block until the end and put it there.  There is one other block that I have to redo because - well, it looked like a volcano at the end of putting it together - so when I'm in the piecing mood I'll make those two blocks over again.

And last but not least, I did a little bit of handwork.  Now, normally I hate handwork.  I used to do it all the time when I made dresses and costumes for my daughter, but ask me today to sew on a button or anything like that, and I run in the other direction.  I don't seem to have the patience for it (probably why I don't hand applique).  But I had a couple small kits for scissor fobs that I had received from my Guild and we're to receive another one next month, so since it's a good thing to clean out some stash, and the fact that my bazillon pairs of scissors mostly do not have fobs, I made up the couple kits that I had - a watermelon and strawberry:

And you know, I so enjoyed doing them, that I searched around for some more things to do.  Maybe there is hope for an applique quilt yet.

And I'll leave you with this picture:

Now what's so interesting about this picture you ask?  Well, it snowed yesterday.  Why was I excited?  It was coming down in huge flakes and the ground was covered!  We here in Michigan have been snow starved this year.  We'll get a little bit and then it warms up and melts, and I don't think that the ground has been covered yet this year.  In fact, it's been so unseasonably warm here that Ice Festivals and tournaments that are held on the lakes have been postponed for a month, hoping that February will be more seasonable.  So the snow is a beautiful thing to see.  Even my daughter smiled when she saw the snow.  Alas, I understand that it will be short lived.  I hear temps are rising again in a day or two!

So that's the report this time around.  Not much for 20 days of work.  But all those little bits of progress will eventually end up in a finish, right? I've managed to find a couple new things to add to the craft room (yes, one or two more sewing machines among other things), and some vintage things from my grandmother that I discovered in a box in addition to some things I had as a child.  It's always a delight to find those things especially when they are from family.

Hope that everyone has a great week!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting Back to My Routine???

The kids are all back to school (DS went back yesterday - YAHOO) and maybe now I can get back to my routine!!  Okay, you probably think I'm a horrible mother.  I love my son!!  But I don't love all the extra laundry, constant piles of dishes in the sink and the basement looking like a frat house and him thinking that noon is too early to get up!  But I'll be missing him.  A lot!  He's always so much fun.   But now that everyone is back to their respective routines, I can get back to mine and the more crafty things in life - like stitching.  I haven't done a lot of that.

But as each new year arrives, I think we all think about starting something new.  That was my first thought as we all know that I love starting new things.  But I decided that after my severely lackluster performance in the January Challenge last year (starting 15 projects) - of which I completed a big fat goose egg - I decided to go a different route, and make 2012 the year of the WIPS.  Why not - there are all those projects started from last year.  Makes sense, right?  So I joined Measi's WIPocalypse.  Get those WIPS all off my plate (well, maybe not all - that would take about 10 years!!!).

So I picked up AAWFAA.  When we last left this sampler at the beginning of last year, this was where I was - did I happen to mention that I HATED this cloud?

And this is where I am now (I'm loving the colors):

Not a huge amount finished, but not too bad for the first week of the new year.  There's a lot of backstitching on this puppy, and on 40 ct. fabric no less.  My eyes are having a hard time adjusting, but since I'm about to get a new pair of glasses, I think that it will be a lot easier to see and I won't get out of my chair cross-eyed.

Then, as usual, within a few days I was dreaming about starting something new.  Figures, right?  Well, a solution presented itself.  I happened to be reading blogs one day and saw Becky's challenge for the year - start something new, post updates during the year, and win a prize!  Okay, I'm all in for that!!  What's ONE new project?  Just one little project?  Well, it has to be 10 x 12, so not that little, but absolutely doable!!  So I've got my project picked out, but can't decide on the fabric - I've had two false starts as I didn't like my fabric choices, so I'll reveal it in my next post.  But I'm giddy about starting something new.

On other needles, I've been doing knitting.  After I finished the Guernsey shawl, I proceed to start a scarf for my daughter.  Could I get the pattern?  Could I make the yarn overs right?  NO!!!!  I sat there pulling out my hair wondering why I couldn't do it.  It's not like I haven't knit before.  But the correct way of yarn overs eluded me.  Even with YouTube videos.  I kept telling myself I've done this before, but it just wasn't working.  To prove my point that I can knit, I pulled a couple out of my son's drawer that I made for him when he was a little boy:

So there's your proof.  I once knew how to knit.  But those skills have flown out the window it seems.  So I have been knitting, but simple things - no yarn overs.

Gathered Scarf
Crazy Zauberball yarn

Combined Patterns
Boneyard Shawl and So Easy I Can't Even Stand it Triangular Scarf

The Gathered Shawl is my "take with" project when I take my daughter to dance because there isn't too much you can mess up on something that is just stockinette stitch.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  I was a lot further along on that scarf and did mess it up and had to take a good portion of it out, but I think that I'm back on track now!

Oh, and I have to mention that a couple nights ago I was laying in bed and it came to me how to do those yarn overs the right way!!  Figures.  So once one of these projects is finished, I can get on with something a little more elaborate.  

So that's my first week of January.  Not tons, but a good start.  Now I need to get some quilting in!!!

How are you doing on your goals so far?  Do you have any?  Did you join a Challenge or WIPocalypse?