Sunday, March 30, 2014

Welcome Spring...

After a long cold winter, I finally see signs of Spring coming to life.  My neighbors Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom and the neighborhood has a bunch of flowering pink trees that are just gorgeous!  (I'm not a gardener so I'm not sure if they're Cherry Blossoms or something else, but they're beautiful.)  Having said that, I actually woke up to snow this morning.  My deck was covered with just a thin layer of slushy white snow along with our cars and a neighbor's roof.  Otherwise, there wasn't a speck of it anywhere.  It was also 46 degrees when I got up this morning, so how we ended up with snow is a complete mystery...

I've been doing a little bit of sewing lately.  I finally managed to catch up on all the clues for the Mystery quilts.  Just as I finished ironing the last seam of the last piece and was ready to put it all away, I noticed something wasn't quite right.  After looking at the directions again, I realized I had sewed 23 out of 24 units completely wrong.  I was supposed to sew a strip to each side of a HST and of course I sewed them to the wrong sides.  So then I spent the next couple of hours ripping everything out and redoing it.  Fortunately it's been a long time since I've made a mistake like that (and hopefully it will be much, much longer before I do it again!)

I'm still waiting on my sewing glasses to come in so I haven't been able to work on my hand applique.  I'm almost finished with a block, so I'm a little anxious to get back to it.  Each block takes such a long time, that it's exciting to get to the final few pieces.

In the meantime, I've been practicing my knitting.  I've watched and re-watched the Improve Your Knitting and Explorations in Cable classes on Craftsy.  Both of them are chock full of information and I'm sure I'll keep going back to them.  I've learned how to make cables without a cable needle (which sounds a lot scarier than it actually is.)  I've made a few samples and my knitting is definitely getting better...

I've also started on a prayer shawl in a pattern I never would have attempted before.  I've learned how to un-knit as well, a skill that is coming in handy far too frequently!  (Don't you just love learning new things?  I do)

I'm hoping to get back to quilting some projects starting tomorrow.  I have too many half-quilted projects lying around and it would be nice to start finishing them up.

I hope that you're starting to thaw out wherever you are.  I expect that in the northern states, you're in for bit more winter before Spring arrives, but hopefully it comes soon.  Of course, if you're on the other side of the world, you're probably looking forward to some cooler weather after a hot summer.  I told my husband to remind me of how much I longed for warm weather when it's 100+ degrees outside this summer.  I'm so grateful God created different seasons.  About the time we're tired of one, another comes along to take it's place.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” 
Psalm 139:14 (NLT)

Monday, March 17, 2014


Although I've been quiet, I'm still puttering away over here.  Lately, I've been working on the current step of a mystery quilt(s).  I'm in the process of making 72 scrappy 9-patches.  Not hard, but not very picture worthy either.

Pieces for the Mystery Quilts
To be honest though, I'm finding my focus drifting in another direction right now.  Normally I do hand applique at night while sitting in front of the TV, but lately my vision has deteriorated to where I can't see fine details any more.  I've been told (multiple times) that I'm approaching that 'age' where it's just going to get worse.  By that, they mean I'm just a hop, skip and a jump away from 40.  I'm waiting on some prescription reading glasses to come in that I hope will allow me to get back to my hand stitching.  (This is my first time getting them.)

In any case, the inability to hand stitch has let my mind drift in other directions and I've found myself with the sudden desire to knit something.  I took myself off to Ravelry and after much searching have decided to make this cowl, Vesper by Wondrlanding.

I think I should probably mention that I'm a beginner knitter.  I've made a few things in the past, but thanks to Craftsy and YouTube, I'm hoping I can pull it off.  (By the way, Craftsy is having a great sale on all their classes right now.  I don't know how long it's going to last though.)  I've been practicing, practicing, practicing my stitches with progressively harder patterns and I'm feeling pretty comfortable with them right now.

FYI - I really recommend the Improve Your Knitting class with Patty Lyons.  She has some great pactical tips for beginning and advanced knitters.  She also demonstrates the different types of knitting - Continental vs. English vs. Eastern, etc.  It's one I'm sure I'll watch again and again.

Recently, I moved a chair into my sewing room.  I wanted to see if the scale would work in the space before buying a new one.  It quickly became a big hit.

Now I'll go furniture shopping to find one that's just right for the space.  I'll have to make sure it's comfy enough for them as well.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 
Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cutting Mat Advice?

Several years ago I bought my first rotating cutting mat.  I heard so many people raving about them, I was excited to get one.  When I finally got mine though, I found I didn't really care for it.  The size was nice, as was the cutting surface, my only complaint was how difficult it was to turn.  For supposedly being a rotating mat, it didn't rotate very well.  I had to use both hands to get it to turn.  Over the years, I still used the mat as a portable cutting surface, but I would pick up my pieces and move them rather than turn it.  In fact, I've used it so much, it now looks like this...

Fast forward to the end of last year when I was unpacking my sewing supplies after finishing my quilt room renovation.  When I unpacked this mat,  I found that it suddenly turns smoothly.  If it had worked like this from the beginning, I could completely understand why everyone loved it!  I have no idea why it changed from the time I packed it up to when I unpacked it though.

In any case, it is just so worn, I needed to replace it.  I took a chance and ordered another one just the same.  I was hopeful that it would turn smoothly right out of the box.

But it doesn't.  In order to get it to turn at all, I have to hold the base with one hand and turn the top with the other.  It's stiff and jerky.  So I need some advice.  It seems like a lot of you out there have this type of mat.  Do you have the same problem with yours?  Have you found a way around it?  I want to get this one turning as smoothly as the old one now does, but have no idea how to make that happen.  I appreciate any and all suggestions!  I'm truly perplexed.

In the meantime, here's yet another picture of Gabriel on the window seat.  She has such a sweet face, doesn't she?

God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business.” 
Proverbs 16:11 (MSG)