Redecorating

Some back story:

We moved into this house in July. It was built in the 1970s, so it was a little tired. We knew we were going to have to do some updating.  One of the least pleasant parts was the carpet – an already stained off white that my sons fairly quickly turned rather gray.  It had to go, especially in the living and family rooms.

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Six months later, all new windows, gas fireplace inserts, solatubes, new bamboo flooring, and a whole lot of new living room furniture, and we finally have a useable, attractive front room.

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All this furniture was new, stored in the garage until the new flooring came.  We unpacked and assembled and set it in place 5 minutes after the workers left.  We’d waited months and couldn’t wait a minute more.

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But no new room can be complete without a quilt! (Pictures, paint, and a rug would also help.)

After an unplanned shopping spree at the fabric store, I combined a lot of warm and cool toned grays and browns, added in golds, and mixed half square triangles, four-patches, and solid squares.

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I got a lot of use out of my triangle square up ruler.  My half square triangles are never perfectly sewn, so I cut the squares at 10” to get a slightly bigger than desired square and then trimmed the slight extra edges to 9 1/2” after the blocks were pressed open.

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The finished quilt top is 7 x 9 blocks, 63” x 81”.  The colors will really pull the room together once it is quilted.  Perfect for naps on the new couch.

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Oops

I swear, I only went to the fabric store for a quick look, because the 40% off fabric sale was too good to skip completely.  I was just going to get a yard or two of some low volume fabric to add to the stash.

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Oops.

All but two of those are new additions.  It is going to be a new quilt for the newly renovated and furnished living room.

And despite how many quilts I have partially finished, I started in on this one right away.

It is going to be a combination of 9” half square triangle blocks and 4-patch blocks.  Grays, browns, and creams with golds to add some brightness.  Finally sewing again!

Two finishes and a fail

Despite all the remodeling construction and Thanksgiving, I did manage to finish a couple of projects recently.

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The first is a cowl I made from a yarn kit ordered from Craftsy, using the Toolbox Cowl pattern.   The yarn kit came with five colors, so I added a few extra rows to make each stripe wider, as the original pattern called for six colors. However, I didn’t calculate that extra rows in the garter/slip stitch section wasn’t going to really add much height.  So before I got to the mustard yellow, I dug out some cream yarn and added that in as well. I’m really pleased with the way it ended up. It’s a very comfortable, soft cowl.  And there should be enough yarn left to make the matching hat!

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The next finish was my Noro scarf-turned-cowl.  This is the one that I ripped back four or five times and changed my mind repeatedly about how to knit it.  Then I had to graft together ribbing, which isn’t a smooth process when you are connecting top to bottom.  The stitches end up off by a half stitch which really complicates grafting even without adding in knits and purls.  There was more ripping out, and I learned not to graft on a light color row as every wonky bit shows more, but it is a circle now, and when it is doubled up around a neck the grafting isn’t going to show unless someone really looks for it.

If I’d had the yarn I would have immediately started another one, I was so happy with the results after all that ripping and indecision.  I think it would have been too short as a scarf, but it is perfect as a double wrapped cowl.

After that came a really quick fun knit that I can’t show yet as it is a Christmas present.  My mom sometimes reads this blog. . .

Then the fail.  More of a mechanical problem than anything I did, but it still meant I didn’t get the finish I was hoping for.  Sewing has really been on the back burner as we worked on the house, so I was really excited to start working on a quilt again.  And it is a simple brick pattern, already pinned in a sandwich, so I thought I could get it fully quilted and maybe even bound in one day.

I should have known it wasn’t going to go smoothly when it took 40 minutes of intense searching to find my walking foot in the one craft related box that somehow didn’t get unpacked and was hidden away in the rec room closet.

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And then my sewing machine came apart!  I had stopped in mid-line to change a bobbin, and it wouldn’t start back up.  When I checked, the power cord had fallen out of the machine.  When I put it back in, it just fell right back out.  Further investigation showed that there was nothing to plug into – the internal prongs were gone.

I unscrewed the panel and found that the plastic housing for the plug had broken in two, dropping the prongs into the casing.

I probably should have stopped working and taken it in for repair, but I didn’t want to give up, so I grabbed the gorilla glue and some pins to poke things with and dropped glue in to put the pieces back together.  After it dried overnight, it seems to be holding, so I will use it very carefully until I can find a period of time where I am willing to live without it and take it in to have the part repaired.

But the quilt didn’t get finished as the next day I had to clear out the dining room because we were having company.  Sigh.  It has been a long time since I finished a quilt and I really thought it was going to happen this time.  The list of sewing WIPs is not getting any shorter.

At least I’m having more success with the knitting.  A new start with some handspun is coming along really quickly.

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Yak and silk – yum!

 

 

 

Hurricane sewing

The local fabric store is collecting blankets for Hurricane Harvey victims.  My sister gathered up fabric from a friend and we spent a day making two quilt tops.

Kathie did the cutting, I sewed, and my son wandered in and took over the ironing.  Theo guarded the work in progress.

We got two tops done, using simple brick pattern with 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ bricks.  The plan is for me to piece the backs this week, and then we’ll pin and quilt them by the end of September in time to turn them in.

I will donate money as well, since I’m sure the aid groups need that more than quilts, but it feels good to be sending something concrete to people who lost so much.

 

 

This needs work

My sewing set up since we moved is not ideal.  I’ve gone from having a dedicated room – small but with lots of shelves and several table spaces – to a corner of the family room.

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I swing the gate-leg table leaf up when I want to cut or iron, sliding the boards back against the wall by the desk when I’m done.  It is a tight space, and looks messy when even a few supplies are out.

The storage space is also problematic.

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I’ve got a hall closet nearby, with more stuffed in the coat closet, a couple of shelves in the office, and more still packed up in the garage.  There is no hope of a full quilt sized design wall that I’ve been able to figure out yet.

It will improve.  A few more shelves can go in the main closet, and I can definitely pare down as well.  Some shelves above the sewing area will help as well.

But nothing is going to turn it back into a separate sewing room, until a kid goes off to college.  And that is a good seven years away.

Still, I can sew, even if I can’t find all my notions yet.  (Maybe the good scissors are still in the garage boxes?) And I have a couple of finishes to share.

In July my cousin and I made small fused fabric quilt tops,  and this week I finished the two fish I made then.

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The top one is about half the size of the lower one.  I added top stitching details on the bodies and fins and tried to make creek bottom pebbles and water lines with varying degrees of success.  The small one is going to my nephew who is crazy for fishing, and my Mom got the other one because she’s my mom and has to appreciate my sewing projects.  Also, her condo walls are still quite bare a year after she moved in, so she can’t claim she has nowhere to put the things I give her.

The first one I did I didn’t think through well enough and I had a multitude of thread ends to bury.  The second one I wised up and did the stitching with just the top and the batting so I just had to pull the thread through to the back but didn’t have to knot them all and bury them between the layers.

You can see what I mean in the pics below.  In the first I had all those ends to knot.  In the lower one, I just left them loose and tangled and covered them up when I added the backing.

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The area works OK for these small projects but it is going to be interesting to see if I can wrestle with larger projects in that small area.  I may need to move to the dining room table for real quilting.

Sisters quilt festival

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I posted last week about our trip to Black Butte and some of the fused fiber wall hangings my cousin and I made, but I never wrote about our day at the Sisters quilt festival.

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I’ve heard about the festival for years but this was the first time I’ve ever been there on the day they put all the quilts up. It was spectacular!

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During the week many of the businesses put up quilts inside their stores, and we went in the town several times on errands and walked around the shops looking at the displays.

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Then, early in the morning on Saturday, quilts were put up everywhere outside around the main streets of town.   Crowds descended on the town to wander and admire. It was really rather overwhelming, and I know we didn’t see them all, but we did our best.

It was also extremely hot! But luckily there are a lot of places that sell ice cream and they had put up tents for some of the displays so there were shade opportunities.

Every possible style seemed to be represented.  Very traditional blocks, free form, collages, representationsal, abstract, hand and machine stitched, mixed media . . . they ranged in size from small wall hangings to king size bedspreads.

So inspiring!

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This is just a tiny sampling – someone told me that there were over 1500 quilts in the show.  So much concentrated talent and creativity.

I must get my sewing set up very soon!

East of the mountains

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The Italian cousins are visiting so we got to leave all the moving boxes behind and escape east of the mountains to Black Butte Ranch. My boys hadn’t seen their slightly younger cousins in three years – they all immediately picked up where they left off and have been inseparable.  Older and wiser cousin Amelia watchs over them all to keep things sane.

Lots of laughing, walking, games, swimming – and wine for the worn out adults.

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Patti – another cousin – and I have squeezed in crafting time as well.  I have my spinning wheel:

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And I dug out some bins of fabric so we could work on fused fabric wall hangings:

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The annual Sisters quilt festival is this weekend so we walked around the shops of Sisters where a lot of the quilts are hanging, then spent some time on Pinterest and got further inspired.  The fish and the trees are my two finishes – the fish was sparked by all the fish quilts hanging on the shop walls, and the trees and birds are a not-as-good copy of a paper card I saw on Pinterest.  Stitching later will add in the details.

Patti’s is a lot more complicated – she is still working to cut out more trees and figure out how to make fabric camp chairs:

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Isn’t it great?  I am so making a camping quilt of my own some day.  Though mine will have to have tents as that is how we camp.

it has been so wonderful to relax and not think about boxes needing to be filled or emptied, or walls painted, or IKEA furniture assembled.  Just the sun through the trees, scissors finally back in my hands, and the occasional visiting wildlife.

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Tomorrow Patti and I go back for the quilt festival.  I’m sure there will be a lot more pictures!