Some embroidery, then a general health and well-being report

After all, we need to be healthy enough to quilt, right? (Not much time for the quilting at the moment, but doing well on the being healthy!)

First--a  couple of quick embroidery-related updates.

In cleaning my sewing area today (it had gotten stacked during my travels), I took my new lightbox out of its packaging and realized the one I bought is bigger than the one I'd borrowed from BFF/BQF Kate. Apparently she had the 8x12" or whatever it was; I have the 11x17". You don't think about how big that is until you see it laying on your cutting table. I'm going to have to figure out a safe place to store this thing and I'm also thinking "padded lightbox holder" might be something I have to add to my "things to make when I find time" list. Still, it's nice to have the bigger one as I can envision myself doing some larger embroidery projects.

I did also get a little embroidery done last night, and hope to get more done today. I'm very much behind on this embroidery BOM (I got August's block in the mail yesterday and I'm still working on May's!) but I'm not worried. They go fast so if I can just get myself back in the habit of regular embroidery in the evenings, I should be able to catch up before the end.


Okay, now for health and wellness. My goals this week were:

1. Get my calendar organized around current assignments. Done as much as possible. Still waiting on that syllabus.

2. Set myself up a good habit of consistent journal-writing around my thesis topic. Pretty good--I've done some journaling most days. Still need to work out a better study schedule.

3. Prep my groceries to make it easier to eat healthy this week. That really is helpful. I've been eating a lot more fruit and vegetables because they're so much easier to grab-n-go. 

4. Get back into the habits of my gratitude journal and habit journal. I finally started getting back into this midweek. I also started playing around with a vision board app to keep my goals in front of me. I'm not sure how helpful it'll be or how much I'll use it long term but it's provided some entertainment for now, anyway.

5. Get back into habits of moving. 

I've begun using WW's FitBreak app (see below for more about Weight Watchers), although my personal jury is still out on it. It gives you short little one-minute exercises you can do throughout the day, ranging from stretches to office-chair-calisthenics to weight-lifting (using household objects). For the most part, I like the way it's done. However, it has no notification system to reach out and grab me saying, "Hey--time for a FitBreak!" That seems a big miss. I've tried to link it to other reminders but still, I have a goal for a certain number of FitBreaks during the day and I keep missing it because, frankly, I forget about it for hours at a time. (By the way, you don't need to be a member of WW to use the app and it's available on several platforms.)

Meanwhile, I've also been in the pool doing aqua aerobics and aqua yoga again. Ahhh. Plus I've been getting back into my "moving 5 minutes every hour"--I'm probably at about 60% with that but 60% is better-n-nuttin! Unfortunately, taking time for the FitBreaks and pool exercise means my steps are lower, so I'm dropping down the FitBit friends leaderboard. Don't have time for everything!

6. Make a decision about re-joining Weight Watchers and going to meetings. 

I have, indeed, rejoined Weight Watchers. That means I'm back to tracking and planning meals. Now that I've had the new points system explained to me, I'm feeling friendlier towards it than I did when I first ran into it last winter. It does make logical sense--and that's all I require of a system: It needs to appeal to my logic. 

7. Get some personal and household appointment-type-reminders into LifeTopix. Much better at this. I finally dealt with some houseplant issues (!) and got the dogs set up with the groomer--both things I've been wanting to do for weeks but until I got it written down in LifeTopix it didn't happen.

I've also been working on paying attention to time in the evening and getting off electronics around 9p so I can get to bed between 10 and 10:30 so I can be up and perky earlier in the morning than is my habit. I'm back to reading magazines or doing embroidery in the evenings. Much more renewing than hours of mindless iPad games...

Goals for next week:

  • Continue to build up the "favorite meals" and "recipes" database in my WW app so it's as easily as possible to track and plan.
  • Get more regular with walking/FitBreaks through the day.
  • Be more consistent on bedtimes.
  • Do embroidery most evenings.

By the way--it's birthday week. I'll be turning 51 on the 26th. My daughter and MIL cooked up a girls-night-out party for me on Wednesday and we're doing one of those painting-and-wine things. Should be a hoot. Next weekend my husband and I are heading to Buffalo for the weekend as a small getaway and a chance to see my son for a bit. That's my favorite kind of birthday--just hanging out with family and friends. Yay!

Weekend Goals and Craftsy Sale

Once again, I have the pleasure of a largely unscheduled weekend in front of me. I'm treasuring these because they are about to end. Next weekend I'm home, but I leave the following Monday for my summer board meetings and national conferences (work). I get home the 27th, have a week at home, then head to Boston for my August classes. And we all know what happens after that--back to assignments, papers, reading, work travel, and no more free weekends for awhile. 

So my goal is to get the Annie Unrein Ultimate Travel Bag done this weekend--or at least enough done that I can do the finishing touches in the evenings next week. I'd really like to be able to take this with me on my work trip.

I've got the class for this one so fingers crossed.

Join me? Craftsy is having a 50% off sale on some of their top classes this weekend! 


And yes, I'm still plugging away at that binding. Still feel like I have miles to go. We're running out of episodes of Stargate: Atlantis...


(Using Craftsy links in this post helps support my podcast and blog. Thank you!)

Post-4SI Weekend Accomplishments

On the spur of the moment, we U.S. #Twilters declared this past weekend #4SI--in other words, the 4th of July Sew In. Most people were out and about with friends and family for the weekend so there wasn't a ton of activity online, but it was still, as always, fun to keep up with one another. 

So here's what I got done with some mammoth (for me) sewing sessions on Saturday and Sunday:

Catch-All Caddy--done! I'll post a separate blog entry about this one. It was a thing. Although it wasn't as much a thing as the Everything in Its Place Bag or the Cosmetics Bag. But still. A thing.


Designs stabilized and traced for Postcard Cuties Halloween embroidery BOM for months one and two--done! Just in time, too, as we got the email today that month three is on its way. (Yeah, I know, you can't see much in the pictures, but really--they're all done!)


Design traced for Nouveau Witch--partly done. I've got the linen background cut, pressed (which took some doing--it is linen, after all), and stabilized. I haven't gotten the tracing done yet. See above. By the time I got all that done my neck needed a break from looking down so I put off tracing the witch for another day. No pics yet since it's just, well, a piece of linen. 

And gravy: I did get the second snowman embroidered. Just need to get him fitted with his hat, sewn together, and stuffed. I'll post a pic of him when he's totally done. Not that he looks much different from the other guy.

Binding on Jacob's Ladder--not done yet. By the time I got done working on that caddy every day my shoulders, neck, and hands were whining at me so I didn't push it. I'm working on it this week, though. Although I got the BOM embroidery designs traced I'm not letting myself start embroidering them until I get that binding finished, dang it.

Basically--woo for me--I got everything done I wanted to get done! 

I don't have much going on this coming weekend, either, so I am already starting to think through what I might focus on accomplishing. I think I'm hearing Annie Unrein call my name again...

(Craftsy links help support my podcast and blog--thank you!)

Pre-Long-Weekend Progress and Plans

Ooh. I love alliteration.

I do find it helpful to state boldly--sometimes rashly and foolishly--all those things I seriously think I could actually get done over a weekend. And then at the end of the weekend, I generaly look back and say with some sheepishness, "Well, at least I got this one little thing done. That's something."

Here in the U.S. it's the 4th of July weekend. For many of us, that means we have Monday off. I also had slightly-early-dismissal today (Friday). Even though it was only about 90 minutes early, it still feels like a nice way to get a head-start on the weekend.

We'd originally planned to have people over Monday but as it turns out, we're going to be meeting my son for breakfast and then maybe going to Genesee Country Museum for their festivities (including a swearing in ceremony of new citizens--always a highlight). Since we're not actually having people over and I don't have to prep for a party, that means woo! Sewing time the rest of the weekend!

2016-06-26 19.27.47.jpg

First: I plan on finishing the Catch-All Caddy.

It's been in this state since last weekend. That does actually represent good progress made last weekend, but obviously it wouldn't catch or caddy much in its current state.


Also: I plan on getting the binding done on the Jacob's Ladder. 

Miles. I have miles to go. But our family is in the midst of a Stargate Atlantis binge so I've been to working on this all week while watching the Atlantis crew fight off the Wraith. Here's to hoping we watch enough TV the rest of the weekend that I've got it done by Monday!


Finally: I'd really like to get started on putting together the first blocks of my embroidery BOM. 

I want to finish the little Christmas snowman guy I'm working on before starting the embroidery on this one, and I will get back to him once I get the binding done. (He's a "handwork in front of the TV" project.) But I need sewing room time to get the blocks for the BOM together and prepped for embroidery so I'd like to do that this weekend when I have more hours in the day available to me. 

By the way, I've also started thinking through my other new Halloween embroidery project. So that's a possible other endeavor this weekend, depending on time. 

Thanks to Trisha who turned me onto Urban Threads (see the Quilting for the Rest of Us Facebook page for that conversation), I bought a really wonderful Art Nouveau Witch design. Love Art Nouveau. This Halloween design is seriously classy and SO right up my alley. I've pulled out my tracing paper and colored pencils and am starting to think through thread choices. I printed a picture of an Alfonse Mucha painting to use for color inspiration. (Mucha's a fave.) I might toss into the weekend schedule a trip to an LQS that I recall having some great Art Nouveau/Art Deco/William Morris fabrics to see if I can find some borders I could use on her and blend that with color inspiration from the Mucha painting. I did find some pretty nifty possible border fabric from Fat Quarter Shop but really don't need/want an entire half a yard of it, so I want to see what I can get at an LQS first. Unfortunately, said LQS is about 45 minutes away so it would take a big chunk of sewing time out of Saturday, so we'll see what I feel like when I get up tomorrow morning.

So, let's see what happens this weekend, shall we?

Post-weekend progress and errata

I got a lot done this weekend, but I also realized I had two designers confused when I wrote a blog post and spoke on my podcast episode (posted yesterday).

The Christmas ornament embroidery I'm working on is Lynette Anderson Designs. She's from Australia.

The Postcard Cuties for Halloween Block of the Month I'm doing is Bunny Hill Designs. She's not from Australia. She's from the U.S. 

I've fixed the BOM blog post to note the error. I can't fix the podcast episode in which I think I said both projects were Lynette Anderson. Apparently I had too relaxing a weekend and my brain just stopped working altogether. Sorry about that!

Meanwhile, I did make progress!

1. I got the label affixed and the binding put on the front of the Jacob's Ladder quilt. I then got about 36" of the binding hand-stitched to the back while watching Stargate Atlantis (our current summer viewing fun). I haven't done the math to figure out how many inches I have left to go on that hand-stitching. Too depressing. I'm just enjoying the zen.

By the way, tried a new method for keeping the binding organized while sewing it on--I've seen this as a tip in a few places, and it really works! 

If you've got two thread spindles on your machine, roll up the binding and put it on one of them. I was concerned it would get tangled with the thread but it never did--I just kept a bit of an eye on it to make sure. 


2. I made progress on the Catch-all Caddy.

Trust me--that's a lot of progress. 


3. I got the first of the two Christmas ornaments completely done. The second is now on hold until I get that binding done.

He's kinda cute. His button hat is a little off in this picture (you shouldn't see the end of the stitching on the one side) but I just twitch it with my finger and it goes back into place. 

A point of slight interest on the stuffing: I bought myself a meditation cushion a few weeks ago as none of the cushions in my house were the right height/firmness. That puppy was rock hard when I got it, so I kept pulling out more and more stuffing until it got to a comfortable firmness I could handle for meditation sessions. The stuffing is 100% cotton fiber--beautifully smooth and soft, actually. I kept all the stuffing I was pulling out in a bag and stashed it in my sewing room. Came in handy for this! I've still got plenty left--can stuff more little fun things like this, of course, but some may also eventually make it down to my dye studio. I think it would be fun to play with. Way to re-purpose!

So--all of this progress, plus time poolside, a Saturday afternoon nap, and lunch with a friend, adds up to a really wonderful weekend. Ready for the week ahead!

Progress and Goals--Week of November 1

I'd hoped to get this post written and a podcast out this past weekend but I ended up with a busier weekend than I thought I would have. I still plan on getting a podcast episode out early this week, though--it's a nice, normal week!

That normalcy means I may actually touch fabric and thread again. That's exciting.

I decided to go back to my last progress and goals post, which was roundabouts the middle of July. Yep, that fits. That's about when I stopped making much progress on anything. Here's where I left off:

  •  Accessories: Small, fast project TBD. I didn't get this finished, but I did get myself organized for it, have all my supplies, and started cutting. I decided to do a new Craftsy class...

Oooh--I did finish that one! Yay, me! That was the Zip It Up class that resulted in two of these three nifty little bags that I've put to good use, (The third bag was from a previous class; there was a third bag in Zip It Up not pictured here but shown on my blog here.)

  • Quilt Project: Get pieces sub-cut for Jacob's Ladder. 

Jacob's ladder units are now all pieced and trimmed to size. I'm starting to organize the blocks. Yes, it's supposed to be random scrappy, but I have some pieces that would create a visual "hole" in the quilt if they end up banged up against each other, so I do have to exert a little control over where things are ending up.

The goals I then set for the following week were:

  • Accessories: Get the first class project done (small purse).
  • Quilt Project: Get 4-patches completed. Get half-square triangles sub-cut, if not completed. 
  • Embroidery: Go back to working on my crewel embroidery project that I'd started back in early June, now that the other project is completed. I had to give my neck a few days of rest but it's feeling better now. I still feel like I should whip off the heatable neck wrap pattern I've had saved in Pocket for months--that was my original thought for my fast accessory project last week. 

I got the entire class done, I've already reported on the Jacob's Ladder progress. As for embroidery, I haven't done much more on the crewel project. I did get another embroidery project set up and nearly done, though. More about that in a minute.

Now that we're all caught up, let us move on:

Goals for This Week

  • Embroidery Project: Finish pudgy bird garland. This is a project I got out of a book on Swedish Embroidery from the library (and no, the project is not named "pudgy bird," but you know that's my thing). I prepped at the end of the summer with the intent of working on it while on all my fall travels. I don't think it ever got pulled out of the case. Once I got home and my dust had started settling, though, I buckled down and had it all embroidered in just a couple of nights. I figured I'd have it done by the weekend. And then, dang. I looked at the picture in the book again and realized I was supposed to have done half the birdies facing the opposite direction. Rather than ripping out perfectly good embroidery, I decided to use it as a reason to enact my original plan of making two garlands at the same time so I could keep one and give one as a gift. This week, I need to make an entirely new set of birdies and leaves, but face all the birds in the opposite direction. Then I'll combine half from each set and end up with two complete, correct garlands. (Yes, I considered just making the garland with them all lined up like soldiers but it really does look better with pairs of birds facing each other. I'm okay with this decision!)
  • Quilt Project: Jacob's Ladder--Finish setting up blocks for sewing. I don't think I'll actually get to sewing them, but I'd like to get the blocks all laid out. There's a Block A and a Block B--I'm stacking As on top of each other and will do the same with B, then sew one block together at a time so I don't inadvertently get two of those "black hole" fabrics abutting. 

If I can get both of those things done by next Sunday, I'll consider it a major success!

Progress and Goals--Week of July 18

One point of progress I made this week was finally finding a small armchair to fit in the corner of my office. Woo! $40 at Good Will. Double woo!  I buried my nose in the upholstery while in the store to make sure there weren't any lingering odors that would drive me nuts (just a bit of Attic Musty), and I inspected it carefully. Plus I hit it with a dose of Lysol when I got home to be sure, and to get rid of the Attic Musty. 

Yes, there are a couple of rips in the upholstery on the back, but as it's only in my office (read: I'm the only one who will really see it/use it) and the back is towards the wall most times, until I spin around to use my windowsill as a footrest, I'm good with that. If I ever decide I love this chair enough to make it have more aesthetic presence, I can get it reupholstered and it would likely still be less than buying a new armchair. It's now my official school-reading chair, as well as a place to take a short break when my back or shoulders start complaining about spending too much time at my sewing machine or cutting table. Not that "too much time sewing" will be an issue for the next few years, I suspect. 

In any case, back to the topic at hand:

Goals for Last Week

  •  Accessories: Small, fast project TBD. I didn't get this finished, but I did get myself organized for it, have all my supplies, and started cutting. I decided to do a new Craftsy class and, after doing the first half of Annie Unrein's class*, this one should feel like a breeze. By the end of the class, I'll have one small "run around" purse and two zippered bags. Good way to use up some more fat quarters from my stash, not to mention the random collection of zippers I own, based on going through a spate of doing Humbug Bags about 15 years ago. There: I do actually have bagmaking in my past. I made a bunch of those one year as Christmas gifts for my daughter and assorted nieces when they were all early elementary-school age. It's a great pattern, pretty easy to follow, and I don't recall having any difficulty with the zippers. Unfortunately, my next couple of forays into the whole bag-making adventure were dismal, horribly frustrating failures and set me off the genre for years. 

Shake it off...move on...

  • Quilt Project: Get pieces sub-cut for Jacob's Ladder. I made good progress on this yesterday, and hope to get the (420 of them, yikes) 4-patches done today. I guess I sort of mentally shifted this goal a little bit; Rather than subcutting all the pieces (4Ps and HSTs), I'm getting all the 4Ps done first, then I'll tackle the HSTs.

This is a nicely quiet week for me (fingers crossed it stays that way). No evening conference calls, no need to be anywhere other than at home. I'll have some more reading and writing assignments to work on as our online classroom is supposed to get set up sometime this week in preparation for our on-campus study session starting August 4. Hence, I'm still keeping my goals fairly small, but I should be able to manage this much this week...

Goals for This Week

  • Accessories: Get the first class project done (small purse).
  • Quilt Project: Get 4-patches completed. Get half-square triangles sub-cut, if not completed. 
  • Embroidery: Go back to working on my crewel embroidery project that I'd started back in early June, now that the other project is completed. I had to give my neck a few days of rest but it's feeling better now. I still feel like I should whip off the heatable neck wrap pattern I've had saved in Pocket for months--that was my original thought for my fast accessory project last week. 

*I do have plans to finish Annie's class, which means making the cosmetics bag. I just need to attended to more time-constrained projects first.

(As always, using Craftsy links here helps support my podcast and blog. Thanks!)

Progress and Goals--Week of May 31, 2015

Can you see all the cotton from the trees on the surface of the canal? What doesn't show in this picture is the massive amounts of it also floating in the air like snow. We've officially entered one of my two worst allergy seasons of the year (the other one is the end of August). Getting in two solid canal walks on Friday and Saturday felled me today. Consequently, the super-productive weekend I was looking forward to was only half as productive as I'd hoped. Still n' all, I did get some stuff done.

My goals for the week of May 23 were:

  • Accessories: EIIP Bag: at least the next step done.
  • Embroidery: Three butterflies.
  • Art Quilt: May journal quilt
  • UFO: UFO list
  • Hand-Dyeing/Surface Design: Maybe.


It's the vinyl that's gettin' me down...

It's the vinyl that's gettin' me down...

  • Accessory category: Annie Unrein Bag. If you listened to last night's podcast episode, you know where I stand on this. If you didn't listen to it, you nicely avoided a bit of a rant. This project is still working my very last nerve, but I did complete the next step yesterday, which was a fairly hefty one. Actually, this time around I avoided breaking out in not-so-pleasant-language, which is probably about the best I can hope for at this point. I think I still have three or four steps left to go. Unfortunately, I spent my best sewing-room-time this afternoon in bed with a swimmy-head. I knew I shouldn't tackle the bag when I was already feeling stupid. So this project is still a WIP, but I did achieve my goal for the week. So there's that.
Mountmellick Stitch (outline) and Lazy Daisy.

Mountmellick Stitch (outline) and Lazy Daisy.

  • Embroidery category: Three butterflies. I got about 1 1/2 done again, although embroidery is the perfect project for a swimmy head. Slow and repetitious is about all I can handle today, so I got a couple more outlines done earlier today when I wasn't feeling up to much else, and will be working on it again this evening. I may actually get those three butterflies done today. Part of what's taking me so long is I'm tending to now choose more complicated stitches. You can't see it too well in this photo, but the outline stitch here is a variation on a buttonhole stitch that makes more of a triangle shape to each stitch--it's the Mountmellick stitch (I picked it up from Mary Corbet's website It's  beautiful, but it has five steps to each stitch. Doing it on both wings of one butterfly took me through two episodes of a Netflix original series. This ain't speedy work.
  • Art Quilt: May Journal Quilt. I got more done on this, although it's yet to be finished because I ran into hooping issues. For some unknown reason, I have a couple of 8" embroidery hoops in my house--no idea when or why I got them, but they're what I've been using. It hadn't entirely sunk in yet that there may be other sizes. When I get to the edges of this design (which I sketched way too close to the edge--there's a learning moment for you), I was having problems figuring out how to keep a fairly delicate fabric in place when it no longer fit the hoop. Going without the hoop wasn't working with this fabric, either. After watching a lesson in Jessica Marquez's Craftsy class (see my review here), I realized I could get a smaller hoop, so I had to pause until I could run to Joanns. I now own several more sizes of hoops and am back to work on this project. I'm still too close to the edge, but at least now I can fudge it better.
  • UFO: Double-check UFO list. Done. It was already complete, which was good to confirm.
  • Hand-dyes: Maybe. Or maybe not. 

Goals for This Week:

  • Accessories: EIIP Bag. Pft.
  • Embroidery: Two butterflies. I'm knocking it down by a 'fly this week because I've got two evening conference calls and a third night I'm out at a meeting. I may be able to do a little embroidery while on one of the calls, but not on the other; I doubt I'll haul all my stuff to my meeting. Plus, since I'm doing Myra Wood's Bead Embroidery class on Craftsy now, I'm starting to incorporate yet more steps into some of the butterflies. I just can't leave well enough alone.
  • Art Quilt: May journal quilt. This will get finished this week. And now I have to start thinking about June's journal quilt.
  • UFO: This week's goal is related to my Monday Musings post for tomorrow, so stay tuned.
  • Hand-Dyeing/Surface Design: no goals this week. I've got a quilt class on Saturday and my daughter's grad party on Sunday next weekend, so it's no time to dye. (Ar ar ar.)

Progress and Goals--Week of May 24

I can't ever resist, can I? This may be the birth of a #swanbutt series of quilts...

I can't ever resist, can I? This may be the birth of a #swanbutt series of quilts...

I wasn't able to get this written before I skipped town with my husband for Memorial Day weekend, so it's coming out a day late. We had a beautiful, very relaxing weekend away at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, so I was ready to spend a couple of hours in my sewing room this afternoon (Monday, Memorial Day and therefore a day off work for many of us here in the States). Therefore, the only thing listed below that wouldn't have been listed had I actually written this post to go live on Sunday is the progress on the bag--that was this afternoon. Everything else was legit last week, though. 

My goals for the week of May 17 were to:

  • Accessory category: Get back to the Annie Unrein bag
  • Embroidery category: three more butterflies.
  • Art Quilt Project: FMQ my "fire" project. 
  • UFO category: Assess my UFO list and make sure all of them are listed with all the steps required to complete them.


  • Accessory category: Annie Unrein Bag. I got the zippers put on the vinyl pockets this afternoon. All I have to say is, Holy cr*p. I really am disliking this process. Not only was my thread breaking all over the place, but I really don't like the end result. Some of it was my own inexperience, of course--I do own up to that. It's possible that I would have an easier time of it next time--if I ever allow there to be a next time, and that I could get it to look better. But, to be honest, I find myself questioning why she has us do one step the way she has us do it. I'm not sure that, even if I did it perfectly, I'd be happy with the way it looks. But I also didn't want to try to do it differently when I've never done this before. Unfortunately, I just have to work this project all the way through before I can really understand why certain decisions in the design have been made, I think, which means living with results I'm not overly keen on. Unfortunately, the next step is really the "moment of truth" step, when I find out if everything has finished to correct sizes. I'm holding off until this coming weekend to tackle that one--I actually have nothing on the schedule for the weekend and I'm going to obstinately keep it that way so I can finally spend tons of time in my sewing room.
My painted fabric from several weeks ago, now washed and ready to use. It's the background for my May journal quilt.

My painted fabric from several weeks ago, now washed and ready to use. It's the background for my May journal quilt.

  • Embroidery category: Three butterflies. I got about a butterfly-and-a-half done, but then I ended up switching gears to do embroidery on my May journal quilt. Plus I'm just running out of ideas for stitches, so I decided to spend a little time getting more inspiration. I also bought a book I've had my eye on for awhile--more about that when I get it.
  • Art Quilt: Fire tapestry. Nope. Instead, for this category, I started work on my May journal quilt. So I was doing an art quilt project--just not the one I had planned on!
  • UFO: Double-check UFO list.  I thought about my UFO list but haven't looked at it again. This week ended up being busier than I thought. Still n' all, since that was just my blog post from yesterday, I've bought myself another week's grace period, so this will stay my goal for this week.

Goals for This Week:

  • Accessories: EIIP Bag. As I mentioned above, I've got an open weekend coming up. I may decide I just need to blast through this bag and get it done. I think it would take me all weekend to do, though, and I'm not sure I want to give over my one big free weekend entirely to a project I'm so thoroughly not enjoying. But I can say, I will at least get the next step done.
  • Embroidery: Three butterflies. 'Nuff said.
  • Art Quilt: May journal quilt--because it really should get done in May. 
  • UFO: UFO list (carry-over from last week)
  • Hand-Dyeing/Surface Design: Since I have a free weekend, it's possible I may decide to throw something in a dye bath. This will be my "if I go mad from the bag" plan B.

Progress and Goals--Week of May 17

Baby girl. She's cleaned up her act a fraction since then.

Baby girl. She's cleaned up her act a fraction since then.

I'm writing this post ahead of time as I'll be spending Sunday morning watching my baby girl graduate from college. She's turned into an adult, but I haven't aged a bit.

I missed last week's progress and goals post as it was Mother's Day and my son came for breakfast (before having to scoot out for work), and my ILs came for an early dinner. I wasn't particularly busy on Sunday but enjoyed relaxing during the times I had between company. 

My goals for the week of May 3 were to:

  • Get my friend's block done.
  • Make progress on the mug rug. 
  • Complete two butterflies on butterfly project. 
  • Complete two Craftsy classes. 


So you'd expect more given it's two weeks' worth of progress, but it was a catch-as-catch-can kind of two weeks.

Threaded chain stitch, if I recall the name properly.

Threaded chain stitch, if I recall the name properly.

  • Get my friend's block done. Done and mailed. More about this once the quilt is complete, I think.
  • Make progress on the mug rug. Done and mailed! Woo! Yes, upon my question on the topic, Sandi did confirm that I was probably the last one to get mine in the mail. Oops. But better late than never. And in a few previous swaps I was way ahead of the game so it all comes out in the wash. Fortunately Kerry, my swap partner, was extremely patient and understanding. Once again, I was teaching myself new techniques on this one, which is part of why it took longer to get done. I enjoyed the process and I like the result--I hope Kerry does too! I'll do a "reveal" on this one once I've got confirmation that Kerry has received it. 
  • Complete two butterflies on butterfly project. For once, I beat one of my own goals! I got three whole butterflies done! (Hey, I'll take celebrations where I can get them at this stage.) I'm finding myself repeating a lot of stitches now as the Crewel Wool embroidery class I'm doing on Craftsy is a lot of the same stitches I'd already done in Sue Spargo's class, although she has some different variations. I will have brought this one with me on my trip for graduation weekend so hopefully even by the time you're reading this I'll have made more progress.
  • Complete two Craftsy classes. One done, anyway. I still have to post the review to my blog but I did finish watching all the lessons; I even picked up one or two new supplies for fabric painting based on the class, and I'm now in the process of debating whether my May journal quilt will use paints, including techniques from this class, or colored pencils (recall the Thread Art class I did awhile back). I've moved a new class into rotation and am still plugging away at others.

Goals for This Week:

Okay, let's start putting into place the Short List concept I've borrowed from listener Donna at quiltpaintcreate. I debated the number of categories I want to have--I know fewer categories is better in terms of achievability. But I've decided that so many of my categories will actually have overlap projects--things I'll be working on that would fit into more than one category at a time--that I'm okay with the current number. Plus, I'm looking at my categories from a monthly perspective even if I'm doing weekly goals--so every one of these categories may not appear in every week's post, as long as I cover all of them in some way each month. Does that make sense? Anyway, here are my categories:

Everything In It's Place (aka EIIP) bag in process

Everything In It's Place (aka EIIP) bag in process

  • Accessories (read: Annie Unrein!)--I actually have several "accessories" I would like to try to make, even beyond the Annie Unrein Craftsy class. I have a tool holder thingie pattern I bought off Craftsy that would be handy, a halfway completed duffle bag that, as a UFO, would knock out two short list categories, and tons of totes and purse patterns that really are appealing to me as finished products, for as little as I like the process of actually making them. I am testing out the theory that part of why I hate doing these is that I'm not particularly experienced at fiddly things so, maybe, with practice will come less anger and frustration. This may be a short-lived category, though, if I decide I really do hate this process as much as I currently think I do. I may end up off-loading a whole lotta patterns.
  • Embroidery--Contrary to my experience with bag-making, I'm really seriously into the whole embroidery thing now, a la Sue Spargo style and the crewel embroidery look. I do want to keep having it in the rotation. There will be a lot of overlap between this short list category and the next one.
  • Art Quilt--this is what makes my soul sing. This category will most certainly include my monthly journal quilts, but will also periodically overlap with embroidery projects and UFOs. Mostly, though, I'm going to try to keep this category new, fluid, and open to whim.
  • UFO--it's just gotta happen. I think I'll start with "easy win" UFOs--those that I think I could finish more easily than others. My assessment process will also include strong consideration of UFOs I may just choose to ditch or give away. There will be a fair amount of overlap between this category and a lot of the other ones.
  • BOM--I do, after all, still have that Jinny Beyer Craftsy BOM that I'm now 3 1/2 months behind on. I need a week's vacation just to catch up! If it doesn't stay on my radar, it'll never get done and I'll just be kinda ticked at myself for the expenditure by the end of the year. So....It. Will. Get. Done.
  • Hand-Dyeing/Surface Design--I want to keep this on my radar. As often as not, this category will overlap with the art quilt category. This is unlikely to be a weekly goal but I want to make sure I do something about once a month.

Therefore--this week's goals are:

  • Accessory category: Get back to the Annie Unrein bag. At this stage, I'll be happy to just get one more step in the process completed.
  • Embroidery category: three more butterflies. I can do it--I know I can!
  • Art Quilt Project: FMQ my "fire" project. I have a hand-dyed tapestry piece--one of my half-yard pieces that really needs to be used as a single piece--that I fused to some batting maybe a year ago, with the intent of doing some free-form FMQ on it. I need to find backing and then just go to town. It's unlikely to ever be more than a practice piece; I'm not expecting it to be a gorgeous finished product as it's still sort of an experimental piece for me, but it'll be fun to do and give me the chance to test out some techniques, as well as use gorgeous variegated threads. (Getting this done would actually also would be a "win" in the next category.)
  • UFO category: (in addition to the above goal) Assess my UFO list and make sure all of them are listed with all the steps required to complete them. I'm pretty sure I'm covered on this one but I feel the need to review my lists so I can make informed decisions about what to move into rotation at any given time.
  • BOM--not sure I'll get to this this week, although I do have Monday off to help my daughter get all her stuff organized in our basement, now that she's moved home from school. I'm not planning on spending the entire day in the basement, however, so I will get some sewing room time in. I'd probably feel world's better if I even just got the second February block done so I wouldn't be quite so far behind. I'm waffling on whether this one will surface this week or not.
  • No goals on the hand-dyeing this week, as I'm also out of town next weekend, and weekends are best for this process.

Ahem. Wish me luck.

Progress and Goals--Week of May 3

My goals for this week were to:

  • Make progress on the Annie Unrein bag
  • Complete mug rug for swap
  • Complete three butterflies on Sue Spargo project
  • Make block for friend's quilt


Satin stitch with heavier thread--based on new Craftsy embroidery class I'll write about later

Satin stitch with heavier thread--based on new Craftsy embroidery class I'll write about later

  • Annie Unrein bag: This got completely back-burnered this week as I have two time-constrained projects on the docket so I focused completely on those.  
  • Complete mug rug for swap: I haven't completed it yet (sorry, Kerry!) but I've made progress! Unfortunately, what I chose to do is somewhat time-intensive. But I think it'll be fun when it's finished.
  • Complete three butterflies on Sue Spargo project: I'm now using stitches from a different Craftsy class (more on that in a future post), but haven't completed three butterflies yet. Again, those time-constrained projects made everything else take a back seat this week. I'll be bringing this with me on my work trip.
  • Make block for friend's quilt: I'm doing some embroidery on it so it's a long process. I'm writing this post on Saturday and scheduling it to post on Sunday, as I'll be driving most of the day Sunday (see afore-mentioned reference to a work trip). I'm actually hoping to get this block done before I leave; if not, it'll be coming on my trip with me.

Goals for This Week:

This is tricky this week as, when I get back into town from my trip, I'm immediately out two nights in a row, then having family over for dinner the following night. So I really only have next Saturday for any sort of quilting projects, I think. Therefore, my goals for this week revolve primarily around portable projects that I can easily poke away at with 10 minutes here and there. (Read: No Annie Unrein bags on this week's plan!)

  • Get my friend's block done.
  • Make progress on the mug rug. This will be my primary focus on Saturday if I haven't managed to get to it before that. I really want to get it done, Kerry!
  • Complete two butterflies on butterfly project. I knocked it down a butterfly due to my lack of time this week. Still, I think this could be within reach.
  • Complete two Craftsy classes. One is the second embroidery class I mentioned above--a few more stitches and I'll have completed the class, if not the butterfly project; the other class is one I'm just watching to get a feel for techniques, no class project involved. I've only got a couple of lessons left to watch and I'm planning on doing that while I'm in my hotel. I can be embroidering at the same time--way to do the two-birds-one-stone thing!

Progress and Goals--Week of April 26, 2015

My goals for this week were to:

  • Learn two more stitches for Sue Spargo class project
  • Finish prayer flag
  • Finish Anne Unrein's Everything in Its Place bag from Craftsy class
  • Make a solid list of my UFOs


Wing Bling

Wing Bling

  • Stitching: Wheee! Boy, did I have fun this week. I did some woven circles, which (once I got the hang of it) were a beautiful way to showcase some particularly yummy threads. I also got into some wing bling (thanks to @Scooquilt, aka Valerie, for the phraseology). The photo at left is my first beading attempt. Here I was using a fly stitch and attaching the bead to the "leg" of the fly, keeping my stitches pretty small so all you'd see was the bead. I chose that stitch because it also helped hold the edge of the appliqued fabric down, which was showing an alarming tendency to pull away from the machine applique stitches I'd originally used on it. A few extra hand stitches, some beads to distract your eye from the fraying edges of the fabric, and bingo-bango, a finished look. Can you tell I was enjoying myself? I've got more plans for beads--Sue Spargo shows several in the final lesson of the class that I can't wait to try out. 
  • Finish prayer flag: Pret' near done. I've completed the design: I just need to figure out how I'm backing it and such. I'm going to take a few minutes on it as soon as I'm done with this post so my plan is that it'll be done before the end of the afternoon.
Vinyl pockets for bag. 'Nuff said.

Vinyl pockets for bag. 'Nuff said.

  • Anne Unrein class project bag: Well, I did make some progress. So there is that. 
  • Solid list of UFOs: Done. Note that on the top of this blog page (if you're on my website), there's a link for another page that used to be pictures of my WIPs. I never kept it updated so I repurposed the page--it now has a complete list of all my WIPs, UFOs, and projects I've decided to "disappear" in one way or the other. I'll do my best to keep this updated. I know y'all will be far less interested in reading it than I am, but maybe knowing it's out there for all the world to see will keep me on track!

Goals for This Week:

  • Do I even say I want to finish the Annie Unrein bag, or should I be more realistic and just say "Make progress on....?"
  • Complete mug rug for swap. (I'm starting that this afternoon too--not sure how long it'll take me as the design keeps getting more complex in my head every time I think about it, LOL.)
  • Complete three butterflies on Sue Spargo project. I'm actually pretty much done with the class. I've watched all the lessons and if I didn't use every single stitch she demonstrates, I used at least one or two from each "group" of stitches. There's one stitch she shows in one of the last lessons that I want to practice, but after that, it's really just a matter of finishing the project. To do that, I'll be re-using a lot of stitches I've already done in other areas; so instead of focusing on numbers of new stitches, now I'll be setting goals towards completion of the project. I've got 15 butterflies in total, plus background. I've done bits and pieces of several of the butterflies as I was choosing where I wanted to practice each stitch, so now I'm going back and looking at each butterfly as a unit to determine what it needs to be finished. I'd like to finish off at least three butterflies this week.
  • Make block. I'm doing a block for a quilt for a friend, so I need to get my block done this week. 

(I'm not including finishing the prayer flag on this list as in my head, it's really already done.)