Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dusting off the cobwebs - welcome 2010!

Yes I had to get the broom out and clean up around here – update the background and figure out what I’ve been doing the last 2+ months. I had a work crisis that started last November and took up a huge amount of my time (and sanity) up until the middle of December when I went out on vacation/holiday/unpaid furlough for a total of a month! It was WONDERFUL excepting that I had to work an hour or two each day I was on vacation or holiday. During a week of unpaid furlough the first week of January (cost cutting measure by the company) the company was not allowed to call me for anything so not being paid for one week didn’t faze me a bit – it was worth the peace of mind!

A month away from the office is the longest break I’ve had in 25 years and I took full advantage of it. There were Christmas preparations and shopping and baking of cookies. DH and I had a nice Christmas and New Years and celebrated some family birthdays as well along the way. DH surprised me with a lovely amethyst-pendant necklace for Christmas which I love. I did a lot of sewing after the holidays….I rested…I watched DVD’s…I started reading a biography of Andrew Jackson…..I spent some gift certificates….I went to see ‘Young Victoria’ at the movie theatre….I cleaned my sewing room and generally had a lovely time! I really didn’t stitch all that much as I tend to have trouble with my hands in the winter and didn’t want a repeat of last January’s arthritis flare-up.

Drum roll please……….I finished several quilt tops ready to go the long-arm quilter! A few of them had been sitting almost done for some years so I got them out and finished up the borders or whatever needed doing, made up the backings and bindings for all of them and they are hanging neatly on hangers until I start sending them out to be quilted.

I no longer want to attempt machine-quilting my own quilts unless they’re small things. The last one I did took me forever. I would rather pay the money for someone else to do them - they look better and I can spend my limited time on something I enjoy more. My recently finished tops are below - it's hard to photograph quilts - either they need to be hung up, on a bed, or you need someone with arms the size of Michael Jordan to hold them for you! I laid all these on my guest bed to photograph them.

This scrappy nine-patch below resulted from a year’s worth of exchanging nine-patch blocks with friends. I really like how it turned out and it’s destined for the bed in the guest bedroom.

Next up is an applique Christmas quilt whose applique work I did some years back but never got around to putting on the borders. This design is called “Christmas Memories”: and it was published some years ago by Barb & Alma at Blackbird Designs. I hope to send them a photo of the finished quilt once it’s quilted. I had forgotten how BIG this quilt is – it’s queen sized but it should look nice hanging on the red accent wall in the family room. Sometimes I can’t believe I actually did all that hand applique! I love the border fabric.

Next we have a flannel redwork quilt that was started many years ago. I don’t know why I never got around to finishing it. The redwork embroidery doesn't show up real well in the photograph but they are all animal-themed weather vanes from a book by a local quilt-store owner. I made up my own block with the dog outline to represent the Sheltie we used to have named Elvis. He died 6 years ago and he was so dear to my husband and I maybe that’s why I put the quilt away for awhile. Anyway, it is going to get quilted and displayed finally this year!

The quilt below is a design called "Radio Flyer". It's by Carrie Nelson of Rosie’s Quilts and “Schnibbles” fame. I started it a few years ago but I must say it was not fun to make – a lot of work and too many seams to match up. It was made from a Moda fabric collection but I'm not liking the fabrics as much as I did when I purchased them a few years back. But….at least it’s done.

This last top below ("Jane Street") I had already finished last year but I needed to get a backing & binding together for it which I finally did. I love the feminine colors and it should go nicely in my aqua & pink sewing room.

What thrills me the most is I have my list of WIP/UFO quilting projects down to FOUR! A few years ago I had about 20. Two of the four left I just started last year so that’s not bad, and another one is a Christmas wall-quilt that I am hand-quilting. I’m about 70% done with the quilting on it so hope to have it finished soon. I vow from here on that I am not having more than THREE quilting projects going at any one time. I hate having stacks of UFO’s and WIPs around – it stresses me out and makes me feel guilty.

On the stitching front, I am almost done with my 'English Sampler' that I started FIVE years ago when I took at class for it at Attic Needlework. I had planned to finish it in 2008 and then 2009….and well…here it is 2010 but I’ve already stitched in the month and year of completion so it WILL be done this month no matter what! I am just finishing up the lacis work which is slow going for me and not very enjoyable. I hope to post finished photos later this month.

I’ve picked up my Plymouth Sampler again. I never really got going on it very well last year – it seemed that top border would NEVER get done. Once I got past that things seemed to go a lot better and I’m enjoying it now. My WIP/UFO list of stitching projects is much larger than I wish it was – I’ve got 11 things going and that is too many. Unfortunately, most of them are big projects so I can’t expect many finishes anytime soon. I did work on Quakers & Quilts some in December and this is where I’m at so far.

I haven’t picked it up in a month but hope to get back to it next week. I didn’t do any new holiday starts – just didn’t want to add another project to the WIP basket! Not that I don’t have dozens and dozens of charts I’d love to stitch….but we’ll see. I’d like to have a finish before I start anything new.

I’m still trying to get around to everyone’s blog updates. I finally got everyone set up to 'follow' which took me awhile as I read about 130 blogs! I’ve seen so many wonderful Christmas ornaments over the last month and enjoyed seeing some of your “stitchers year in review”. I worked hard all year but didn’t have as many finishes as a lot of you! I’m looking forward to a better year than last – 2009 wasn’t terrible but it had its stressful times and I am hoping for a more positive year ahead. I wish good health, happiness, and many finishes for all of you in 2010! I am thankful to be a part of this online community of friends sharing the things we love.