knitting · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

The Unfinished Object List

As I was sifting through a box this week, I happened upon an old Unfinished Object list. While I was happy to note that I had completed at least one project on the list in the past year, I still had several more to finish and had even added new projects over the past year. So I sat down to make a revised list.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Quilting projects

  • X-scrap quilt
  • Pink and green paper-piecing quilt
  • Tiny pineapples quilt
  • 4-patch squares scrap quilt
  • Cabin Quilt
  • Striped squares scrap quilt
  • Lemon Pepper quilt (Just needs to be quilted.)

Other Craft Projects

  • Knitted socks
  • Cross-stitch project

I suppose my list is not as lengthy as other’s lists, but it is still a bit daunting.

Here’s a peek at each of them:

Despite the urge to start another new something, I chose to work on three of these projects this week. I worked on the pink and green paper piecing quilt, which will probably end up hanging on a wall in our home. Or it may be a lap quilt. I haven’t decided yet what we’ll do with it. I also worked on the 4-patch scrap quilt. I intended to continue working on the pink and green paper piecing when I wandered into the office/sewing room later in the week. However, I arrived just as my husband, who often works from home, started listening to an audiobook. Normally, I’m not a fan of action books (in this case, Lee Child’s The Sentinel), but I somehow got hooked in the first few minutes. Since I was unable to hear it playing over the sound of the sewing machine, I chose to work on my cross-stitch project. Abandoning all of my other work, I arrived in the sewing room/office the next day to continue listening and cross-stitching. This could quickly become a dangerous habit!

What does your Unfinished Object list look like?

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Scrap Quilt #3

For the past year or so I’ve been attempting to make a dent in my fabric scraps. I would assume, after finishing three lap quilts, that I’ve succeeded. So why does it seem as if there’s still just as many bits and pieces left to use up?

Here is my most recently completed scrappy lap quilt. I finished this one up earlier this week.

I used up lots of odd blocks and extra pieces cut for other quilts. (See those triangle squares with the autumn colors matched with the light tan? Those were extras left over from the first quilt I ever finished.) I used up many small scraps by sewing them together, cutting a straight edge, then adding a new piece or section to that straight edge. For this quilt I was even able to use up some binding I had leftover from another project. The backing, which I showed in a previous post, consisted of brightly-colored rectangles. (These were fabrics I wasn’t overly fond of, so weeding them out in a useful way was great!) It may be a bit eye-crossing to look at, but it is still nice and toasty and was so enjoyable, though time consuming, to make. (The blocks for this quilt were 19″ by 15.” I did all-over meandering quilting since the top wasn’t busy enough!)

Here are all three I’ve completed within the last year or so. Two are very similar. the third one (the one on the left) was made by sewing strips of fabric to paper triangles. I absolutely adore that one, but that was a whole lot of triangles!!

After I complete a few of the projects on my lengthy list of Uncompleted Objects, my next scrap project will involve figuring out what to do with all of the bits left over from my I Spy quilt fabrics. (I have made numerous I Spy quilts. Nearly every single baby I’m even somewhat related to has received one. Which reminds me, I have a new niece coming soon, so I better add another I Spy quilt to my list of projects to complete.) I have an entire box of, what we’ll call, “image/picture/kids” fabrics that look like my grandmother’s newspapers after she got done cutting articles out to put in her genealogy scrapbooks. I’m thinking that I might try to play with the colors a bit for that project…maybe do something with an ombre effect.

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“It Looks Like Clown Pants”

I do this thing every month where I write out my goals for the month in my bullet journal. Sometimes I accomplish everything on the list. Sometimes I accomplish nothing on the list. Sometimes I accomplish one or two things. It all depends on how the month goes.

Last week, while reviewing my goals for September, I was reminded of how I wanted to get a quilt ready to quilt. I had two quilt tops lurking in the sewing room and decided I needed to do something with one of them.

I don’t know about any one else, but I do not like putting backing together for a quilt. I also don’t like pinning the backing, batting, and top together. But I suffered through the process, kneeling on the living room floor, with HGTV playing on the television as a distraction from the tediousness of pinning.

For this scrap quilt I chose large blocks of bright fabrics for the backing. As I looked at it laying over the ironing board, I was reminded of clown pants. I took a photo and sent it to my mom telling her what I thought. She said she liked the big blocks of bright color, so I decided they would stay.

Every couple days I’ll spend an hour or so doing random all-over quilting. I know some people aren’t fond of random all-over quilting. I love it. I don’t need a fancy machine to do it, and there are minimal threads to tie when completed. I’m probably around 3/4 finished and am pleased that I’ve done more than just get that quilt ready to quilt.

Which maybe makes up for the fact that I’m not going to complete those other goals of finishing a new quilt top or finishing one knitted sock.

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Water Lily Quilt

Water Lily Quilt Pattern

Several years ago our oldest daughter received a bedroom set from her grandparents. This bedroom set has been in the family for many years. As the only grandchild who seems to be interested in old things and antiques, she seemed like the perfect person for this set to be passed down to.

I can’t recall who the original owner of the set was. I only know that for a period of time in my childhood, before I, strangely, wished to downsize to a twin bed so I could have more space in my room, I had this furniture in my room. I especially loved the bed as it had a footboard that made a daring balance beam. Yes, I walked along that narrow footboard whilst pretending to be an Olympic gymnast, keeping my hands on the popcorn ceiling for balance. Don’t tell my mom. What she doesn’t know now can’t get me in trouble back when I was a kid!

I had made lovely nearly matching quilts for our oldest and her sister, which I will share at a later time, when they were younger. With a larger bed, and being a bit past the age that the original quilt pattern was intended for, she needed a new quilt. I let her pour over the pages of my quilt books and she selected the Water Lily pattern from Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono Designs. She wanted purple fabrics for her quilt just as in the book, so I chose a pretty assortment from Joann’s.

The nice thing about this quilt pattern was that the quilt was made of just two different blocks. One was a bit more complicated. The other was rather “plain.” I wasn’t sure about the “plain” block, but I ended up liking how it all came together.

Our oldest daughter has since moved away from home, moving over 2 hours south of us to start her “Big Girl Job.” She’s still a lover of antiques and everything old. Her room here is still full of antique store “finds.” The quilt is still on her bed here at home. One day she’ll take that bed and the quilt and the rest of the bedroom set. Maybe she’ll even take all those stuffed animals she’s held onto for 22 years. Maybe she’ll take all of those antique store “finds.” Though, if she locates the antique shops in her new town and fills her new place with “new” stuff, we may be providing storage for antique fans and glassware forever.

(She came for a visit recently and brought a backpack to carry a few of her things home with her. A backpack. Is there an eye roll emoji I can add here? I offered her a box. Or two. She declined. She said she’ll fully move out when she has a house. Who knows when that will be, but she’s got her eye on her goals, so I know she’ll make it happen.)

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Empty Nest Cleaning Frenzy

I went into a cleaning frenzy over the weekend. After moving our younger two to college (the middle for her junior year, the younger for his freshman year) and getting all of the “stuff that needed to go with them” cleared out of the piano room, I decided some major cleaning in order now that it was only going to be my husband and me rambling around the house for the majority of the next nine months.

I started with the kids’ rooms then moved on to the bathrooms, which got pretty much a top to bottom, every cabinet and surface lysol-ing. Then I worked my way through the downstairs and the basement, dusting and sweeping and mopping until I was exhausted. (It didn’t help that we’d had two nights of horribly interrupted sleep. Night one involved major storms that seemed to last ALL NIGHT LONG. Our “little” dog, Neville, hates storms. Thunder, gunfire, smoke alarms…they all make him shake. Just the sound of rain makes him nervous. He spent the night army crawling around under our bed, shoving things out of his way and out from under the bed as he went which I would then trip over in the dark. His stress made our other dog, Luna, stressed. So stressed that she decided to snooze in the closet. Night two involved a misbehaving smoke alarm that went off twice for no reason and a stressed Neville, as not only was the smoke alarm terrifying but so was the new storm brewing outside.)

Anyway…

After hearing me complain several times about how I had to kneel on the floor to use my large rotary cutting mat, my husband decided that there had to be a way to get the mat off the floor in our shared office/sewing room. So we tackled that room on Saturday night.

Let’s rewind for a moment to see how I came to be kneeling on the floor to use my cutting mat. Twenty years ago when we built our house we planned for the “den,” as it was labeled on the print we used, to be my sewing room. I was sooooo excited to have a room just for this purpose. For several years I enjoyed having my own craft room. Occasionally I would move my sewing table elsewhere in the house when it became more convenient to do so. For a short while it was in our bedroom, then the living room, while the craft room became a play room so the kids could be nearby when I cooked meals.

Around 14 years ago my husband took a job with (what we referred to after a very short time as) the Evil Empire and the Boss Who Shall Not Be Named. Let’s just say it was a rough four years. The only good to come of those four years was that my husband could now work mostly from home.

There was only one problem.

He needed office space.

So I had to share my sewing room.

We’ve been sharing ever since. (And, thankfully, he no longer works for the EE and the BWSNBN.)

Once we started sharing, I lost one large table and about a third of the room. As I didn’t want to have to travel back and forth between, say, the kitchen table and the sewing table, I chose to suffer through long bouts of kneeling on the floor whenever I needed to cut fabric.

But, no more!

With our new arrangement, I’m able to keep my largest mat on my sewing table AND also have my two smaller mats on a desk. I’m pretty excited to get back to my projects now that I have this new arrangement. My husband is excited that I can no longer talk about taking over our oldest daughter’s bedroom which would have us on totally opposite ends of the house. Of course, we will both probably be in a nursing home before she finally moves her last possessions out of her room, so the likelihood of me moving up there anytime soon was pretty slim anyway.

Here’s the progress I made on the Pieceful Retreat quilt last week. I really like this one!

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UFO #43 & WIP #20

Unfinished Objects. Works in Progress. I think I may have even heard them referred to as PIGs once at a quilt ruler class, though I can’t remember now what those letters stood for. Perhaps “Project In…” and something starting with ‘G.’ There was some story that went along with it about pigs in a barn or something like that. I’m in my early 40s and I think my memory is already going.

I know some people keep track of how many projects they’ve got in the works at any given time. They may even have them divided into their own little container with all the pieces carefully labeled. I am not one of those people. I’d take a picture of my sewing room right now, but that would be embarrassing. I have projects piled on my sewing table, stuff stacked in the closet, fabric on the floor that I was sorting through to start yet another project this week, laundry that needs ironing hanging off the back of my chair. It’s a disaster. I should also add that there are carefully cut fabric bits on the ironing board, which means my husband’s church attire won’t be meeting up with the iron any time soon.

I was thrilled to have several hours to spend in the sewing room on Tuesday while I enjoyed one of those incredibly rare moments when everyone was out of the house. (I homeschooled my kids and my husband works mostly from home, so days alone happen once in a blue moon. Our youngest will start college this fall, middle will move back to college for her junior year, and our eldest is living on her own in another part of the state, so those blue moon type days might roll around a little more frequently in the upcoming weeks.)

I sewed up some bits for scrap quilt #4 (or 5–I’ve lost count), then decided it was time to tackle a project I intended to do eons ago. My mom and I were supposed to take a class nearly 20 years ago to make a bed quilt. We bought the pattern, chose our fabric, but never took the class. (Which was fine with me. I’m not a class kind of person. I like to sew in solitude and figure things out on my own.)

The pattern is Pieceful Retreat by Laura Boehnke for Thread Head Designs. It makes a 99″x99″ bed quilt. I once said I would never make another quilt that large as it is difficult to quilt them on my machine (and I don’t send my quilts out for quilting), but here I am making another one.

Thus far I have nearly completed the cabin section. Only 95% of the quilt to go!

I’ve also made some progress on another scrap quilt. As I’ve mostly run out of cut strips to use for this one, I’m taking some time off from working on it until I get some more strips cut. I really like how it’s turning out, but I think I need to add to the width a bit. I thought 8 blocks wide would be sufficient, but it’s a bit smaller than I intended. I just love all the bright colors!

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Communing with Nature

When there’s so much nature to see, who has time for quilting?

Our middle daughter recently purchased an inflatable paddle board. This inspired my husband and me to purchase an inflatable kayak so we could spend time on the water with her. Plus, as an added bonus, we’d have something economical to use to float down the Manistee River. (Or any other river.) Renting a canoe, raft, or kayaks from the local liveries can be costly, especially if you want to go often. In the past we’ve only taken maybe four or five trips over a bit more than 20 years. Since purchasing our kayak just a few weeks ago, we’ve been on the Manistee River twice and one of our local lakes once.

Our first trip on the river lasted about an hour. Our ending point was a sketchy looking “dock” at a campground. After deflating our kayak and stowing it in the car, we added a couple miles onto our North Country Trail goal for the year. Our hiking miles aren’t adding up quickly this year, but we keep plugging away.

This past weekend we spent a bit over four hours on the river. We saw lots of turtles, some ducks, and a MONKEY. I am not kidding. An actual MONKEY. A woman was floating down the river in a canoe with a monkey on her lap. I think that ranks up there as one of the the most bizarre things I have ever seen!

Last night we spent an hour on the lake. Last week I spent a couple hours at the beach with our daughter. I’m turning into a water person who has a tan, and this was not something I ever thought would happen when I was canoeing for the first time at 19 and was so terrified about falling in that I sat super still and didn’t even help paddle until maybe the last ten minutes of the trip. Actually I’m still terrified about falling in, but the kayak is a bit steadier in the water than a canoe.

Side note: On our way home from the beach, we stopped at a health food store to purchase some bulk grains. (Wild rice is so ridiculously expensive!) Our daughter found some dark chocolate-covered ginger and wanted to try some. I would NOT recommend anyone ever try such a thing. My mouth was burning up and I got a nice stringy chunk of ginger that I couldn’t chew up no matter how long I worked at it. So chocolate-covered ginger is a big thumbs down for me.

So remember when I said that I didn’t have time to sew? I lied a bit. I managed to finish the Lemon Pepper quilt top by sneaking in a few minutes of sewing over several days. I probably won’t start quilting it until fall. Here it is:

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Playing Around With, You Guessed It, More Scraps

We’ve been replacing our deck this summer. Actually, we’ve just been replacing all horizontal surfaces, which has left us with, what I think is, a cool new look. (I’m not sure what’s going on with the little guy. I think I caught him just before he sneezed. He loves the deck. It is his absolute favorite place to be. He would probably prefer a few less trees so he could spy on the neighbor a little more easily. He really likes the neighbor or his dog. I’m not sure which. But he can stare over there for ages. It’s quite embarrassing.)

Several years ago we stained/painted the deck. It has not held up well. Within a couple years it was peeling up, falling off, and getting stuck to our feet. But this was only happening to the horizontal surfaces. Plus the wood was just getting old. Like me. We decided this year was the year it had to go. In the interest of frugality and objecting to the American way of just tossing things that are still perfectly serviceable, we kept all railings. (The old boards will be repurposed into a “boardwalk” to the pond. Presently we have an ankle-breaking path made up of downed trees.) I actually really like the painted railings with the new wood look. And, that view isn’t too shabby either!

On Saturday I assisted with the deck project, attempting to unscrew the stairs and being mildly successful at it. This was NOT an easy task, and it aggravated the tennis elbow I’ve been dealing with for nearly a year now. (Which I did not get from playing tennis. I got it from weeding the garden. Because I’m getting old. And everything seems to cause some sort of ache, pain, or injury now.) So, thanks to elbow pain, I spent Sunday inside sewing.

I pulled out some fruit and veggie scraps and played around with those. I’m thinking of creating some sort of small, place mat-sized project to use on a plant table we have by our front door. I also dove back into my scrap boxes and started another scrappy lap quilt. You can see from the photos that Rosie did not approve of my arrangement of the blocks. I also spent some time corralling the scraps and at least it now looks like I have some sort of handle on the scrap situation.

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When Will the Scraps End???!!

My frustration level is high. Let me tell you why.

I have scraps. So, so many scraps. I’ve been diligently (maybe not as diligently as I’d like) working my way through the mounds and mounds of scraps.

And guess what?

The piles aren’t getting any smaller. The pieces are, but the piles? Not so much.

How is this possible? And will I ever be rid of them, or will they just continue to multiply like rabbits no matter how many projects I use them in?

Allow me to present Scrap Quilt #2:

I finished this quilt top over the weekend when I, amazingly, had several hours to spend in the sewing room. Summers are more for hiking and outside projects than for sewing for me, so I haven’t had much chance to work on any quilts over the last few weeks. This one had been sitting there just needing to have the last block finished, so I put aside the other quilt I’ve been working on to get this one finished.

I’m using everything in these scrap quilts. Unused blocks, little scraps, long scraps, thin scraps, thick scraps, a leftover pieced strip from the second quilt I made way back in 1999. Each block is 16×20, making a finished quilt size of 46.5″x58.5.” It finishes at a nice lap quilt size. For those of us who are vertically challenged, we can easily cover from our toes to our nose with this size.

I will probably hold off on quilting this one until fall or winter. I’m not a fan of having a pile of fabric and batting in my lap on warm summer days, though the last few days have had me pulling out the long underwear and long-sleeve jammie shirts in the evenings. (I’m not complaining. It is a welcome change from the almost 90 degree days we were seeing just last week.)

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Priorities

I recently lamented not having the time to do something. I don’t remember what that something was, but it was probably a hobby-related something. My middle daughter retorted, “You have the time. It’s just not a priority.”

Hmm.

That’s true, I suppose.

Maybe.

But this past month has shown that even if something is a priority, there isn’t always time to do it.

For example, having a tidy house is sort of a priority of mine. I’m not a fanatic cleaner (Unless I’m angry about something. Then I go into “rage-cleaning” mode), but I don’t want to exist in a slovenly environment with chaos spilling out of every room. However, chaos reigned here for a few weeks as we helped our oldest daughter transition from college life into adult life. There was an apartment to find (not so easy to accomplish as EVERYTHING was waitlisted), an apartment to move out of, furniture to shop for, moving to help with (that involved a U-Haul, help from the grandparents, and an entire day), and her old room to tidy up when she left.

Then there are the other two kids. One moved home from college for the summer. The other will be heading to college in the fall so there are all the preparations and forms for that and a graduation open house to plan.

And finally, there’s the cat who decided that now was the perfect time to get sick. A slew of lab work showed she is actually pretty healthy for a 16 year old. Her kidneys are just not working quite up to par, though the function is still in the normal range. She was treated for a UTI with (thankfully so I didn’t have to shove pills down her throat) an antibiotic injection. Here she is the day after visiting the vet still feeling angry about it all:

She rarely takes a good photo, but this one is probably the worst.

In what little spare time remained I worked on prepping the garden and other outdoor work, exercising to maintain my sanity, and cooking vaguely healthy meals. We also managed to squeeze in a day of hiking.

Finally, on Saturday, I sat down in my deck chair intending to put my feet up and read and promptly fell asleep. Saturday night I sat down on the couch and fell asleep there also.

But on Sunday…I spent some time sewing. My Lemon Pepper quilt is finally staring to come together. After piecing all 100 blocks, I began sewing them into rows. I’ve completed 5/10 rows and have 4 of them sewn together. I am loving this design! It looks so complicated but is so simple.