Friday, January 18, 2019

New Year, New Goals

So it's 2019, and 2018 wasn't my best year for either blogging or crafting. I did finish several pairs of socks and a few other knitting projects, but no quilts during that time. The coming of Thanksgiving and the mystery quilt with Bonnie K. Hunter served as a welcome kick-start to get back into both sewing and blogging. But it also was a kick in the pants to me to organize my scraps and long-neglected projects, both of which were in a shocking state.
When I had to make blue string blocks, it forced me to organize my strings. And not just the blue ones.
 I have a 3-drawer plastic unit; it goes beside my sewing chair so I can just reach down. Top shelf is cool colors, middle shelf is warm colors, bottom shelf is neutrals and browns. The above photo was taken when I was almost through sorting the cool colors drawer and dumped out a bunch more.
I thinned it down considerably. I stirred up a LOT of dust and had to take frequent breaks. I threw away strings I disliked or were too small for my purposes, and now my three drawers are reasonably tamed. I also started the process of organizing my other small scraps. All of this was in the week immediately preceding Christmas. I ended up getting my entire sewing area thoroughly vacuumed and the storage area under the Megaquilter much neater. I will probably do other purges and take more pictures to document this in the future, but I took a break from that when Christmas came.
This was Daniel's gift to me, and I got them on the wall for the Last Noel.

I was detoured right around Jan. 1 with a friend's post on Facebook about "Bullet Journals," and I fell into a rabbit hole thinking about ways to apply them to my life. I took a notebook I've had since 2011, a gift from a student, and had been using very sporadically as a quilting and knitting journal. If you look back in my blog, you may see some of the WIP and UFO reports I've made in the past were based on notes I originally made in this book. So far, I have not really caught the desire to write in a bullet journal daily, nor to make it look pretty. I did pick 12 knitting and 12 quilting goals (loosely defined) for this year and entered them down in the notebook. But for now, my "bullet journal" is just experimental and I don't think it would make a good picture at all. However, I will post my year's UFO goals from it here on the blog.

The way it works is I select a random number from 1-12 each month, and that number is the project I work on during that month. Then I will have to report on goals achieved or missed each month, and maybe connect with one of those awesome link-up parties that some bloggers are still doing.

UFO or stash reduction projects (knitting/fiber) randomly chosen each month.

  1. spin the light green/silver roving from Sock Summit
  2. spin the autumnal Dicentra Designs "Black Bottom Stomp" roving in merino/Tussah
  3. start a new pair of socks
  4. Manu cardigan
  5. Manu cardigan (it's in fingering weight, I figure two months are necessary)
  6. Rosalind cardigan
  7. Mint Chocolate cardigan
  8. spinner's choice (may order fiber if that is what I want to do that month)
  9. small gifts for gift stash
  10. On Your Toes cardigan (or bail and frog it)
  11. start new cardigan from reclaimed yarn stash: boyfriend or favorite color(?)
  12. any knitting finish
  13. (bonus) design my dream colorwork cardigan 
UFO quilting/sewing projects randomly chosen each month
  1. classical tote bag
  2. bowling style bag
  3. linen blouse
  4. machine quilting finish
  5. machine quilting finish
  6. machine quilting finish
  7. machine quilting finish
  8. 1996 Piecemaker's top
  9. mariner's compass hooked rug
  10. rainbow star quilt (applique)
  11. frugal patch quilt
  12. felted wool blanket
  13. (Scrappy trip)
  14. (LOTR paper piecing)
  15. (Baltimore album quilt)
  16. (Extra baby quilts)
  17. (Spare block quilt "scrap soup")
Numbers beyond 12 are "bonus" choices that can be substituted for another one if it comes down to getting nothing done, or can be done in addition to a completed month's project.

These UFO's are an extension of my yearly urge to clean up my sewing and crafting area. I am assuming I will be working on one quilt and at least one knitting project of my own volition each month; these are in addition. 

So this month I chose the random number 2: the Dicentra Designs spinning fiber was very easy to find and my spinning wheel was easy to dust off and get going again, while Steve and I watched a few episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. 
 It was incredibly fun to get back into spinning. I love these autumnal colors.
 And, believe it or not, the two bobbins of singles plied perfectly; they worked out to exactly the same length! Now to figure out a fun future project to knit with this yarn.

The bowling-style knitting bag is still in pattern pieces on my work counter from more than a year ago, and I will attempt to get to that. I know where all the supplies are.

My current sock project is the Bovary socks, top-down socks so a little out of my comfort zone, in some "Vixen" Hipster Knit sock yarn I bought at Sock Summit in ...2011? I am approaching the toe of the first sock; it has been fun to knit, although kind of slow. I would like to finish both socks by the end of January, so I can join the World Down Syndrome day knitalong. 

My current sewing project is obviously, finishing the Good Fortune quilt top. Hopefully by the end of January as well. Then it will join my 5-7 quilt tops awaiting quilting. I seriously need to get some machine quilting mojo going. But for now I am happy to have my goals lined out.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Quiltville Mystery Reveal - And Happy New Year!

Bonam Fortunam omnibus vobis opto! I wish good fortune to you all!

Happy New Year to all stopping by my corner of the internet. It's a very busy week for our family with party planning for our "Last Noel" party on Friday, but I wanted to sneak a few pictures of my quilt progress in here, and it turns out it's the first post of 2019. I resolve to blog more frequently this year than last, how about that?

To see more wonderful examples of this truly lovely quilt, hop on over to Quiltville where the link-up party is going on. And if you love scrappy quilt patterns, and haven't yet done so, get her instructions for this year's Good Fortune mystery while they are still freely available; they will disappear at the end of January. I have participated in every mystery since 2011 and Orca Bay, and this year's, well, I would like to make it again in two or three different color combinations. It's particularly fun when people all over the world are making it at the same time.

I have pieced all the blocks for the central part of the quilt, but haven't started on the pieced borders yet. That will be a challenge for another week. I have not the best lighting in my quilting corner, but playing with the settings on my photo editor might have helped a bit.
 I made two blocks (on the far right) in the recommended colorway, but I am happy with the way I switched up the colors. I was a bit unsure at first, because the spinning star blocks in green and yellow are generally much lighter in value than the string chain blocks in red and blue. I was worried the red/blue would overwhelm the green/yellow. But I love all of those colors, and as the number of blocks grew, I noticed the alternate blocks create a lot of fun diagonal motion in the quilt, which is something I like a lot. I was a little worried that the reds and greens would end up next to each other and it would look too Christmassy, and that didn't happen. One block is patriotic, and one is what I think of as Hobbit colors. There's a really pretty red/white diagonal lattice, and sunshiny whirligigs in between. And I like it in just about every color combination I've seen.

My quilts have gotten so much scrappier with every passing year. I don't know if there's such a thing as TOO scrappy, but I will say, there are some fabrics I would like to use up and never see again, and some that I love and wish I had a bunch more of. I think I cleaned out and cleaned up enough fabric this mystery that I could justify a few trips to quilt stores in the coming year. I have been limiting my fabric purchases for a few years now. But a side benefit of Bonnie's mystery this year was that it forced me to work through all of my scrap boxes, and I quickly realized I needed to get them cleaned up and better organized. It's a great feeling! (Although stirring up the dust caused a lot of sneezing).
My "best nine" photos on Instagram last year were all from either On Ringo Lake or Good Fortune. 
 Spock is wishing you good fortune, or as he would say, "Live long and prosper." Also found in this quilt (although not necessarily in this close-up), are Kermit the frog, Curious George, Olivia the pig, Bob and Larry from Veggie Tales, Nancy Drew, Dr. Who, Rey from Star Wars, dinosaurs, traffic cones, maps, bugs, sheep, lots of flowers, some of my mom's old curtains and aprons, my alphabet skirt fabric from the 80's, some vintage sheets, and quite a few bits of recycled shirts. I know there is at least some fabric from the 70's, and probably a few bits from as far back as the 50's from my mom and grandmother.  I tried not to repeat too many fabrics on each block, and that was not hard.

So, thanks to Bonnie Hunter for a great mystery! I hope I can get the whole top together sometime in the next month or so.