Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ooops! I Did It AGAIN!

Musing about quilting, while quilting, is not always a good thing! As I pondered the year ahead, I knew this year that I would have a couple of quilts to do for Christmas. Truth be told, I rarely even think about them much until mid-summer and often don't start until summer is drawing to a close.

We have a gift giving rotation with my husband's family. Several years ago, I decided that as each couple's turn came up, I'd make them bed quilts. With that finished a couple of years ago, the lap quilts came next. I did them for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who live in North Dakota, two Christmases ago. Last Christmas we had my inlaws for the gift giving and they live in Arizona. They have no need for lap quilts, and I think get tired of getting quilted things so we got them a restaurant gift card.

This year, we have another brother-in-law and sister-in-law and I can hardly wait. They love to receive my quilts and live in Montana. As I thought about what I might do for them, I decided I'd also make them for their daughters. The last quilts I did for their girls were quite a few years ago now, very simple and machine quilted (that Christmas I made quilts for all 17 of my nieces and nephews.)

So that's 4 quilts to make. The thing is, my lap quilts....aren't really. If I need a quilt to coverup because I'm chilly, I need to be my "lap" quilts are at least 65 x 65, often bigger depending on the pattern and who they are being made for.
I have a quilting friend who often passes her magazines my way when she is finished with them. Some time ago, I started to go through them when I get them and I put post-it notes on the front with the pages and names of quilts or techniques that interest me. When I'm looking for a quilt to make, a quick look through the post-its gives me a pretty good idea what quilts I'm interested in and whether or not they will do for the project that I'm looking for.

I perused the post-it's on the covers of the stack of magazines and found 3 of the 4 quilts I need to make. I did some of the prepwork for them, I have a notebook I've been doing all my figuring in so I don't lose the sheets of paper. The notebook also has a nice vinyl pocket in the front, where I put the templates I made until needed.

While thinking about those four quilts that already need to be done, I remember that I've already decided on a few other projects for this year. First up will be finishing the quilting on the ring quilt and finishing the applique on the posy quilt. I had planned to quilt the flying geese quilt next, that one shouldn't take too long.

I had also planned to make two roman shades, one for our bedroom and one for my sewing room, both with cornice boxes. Our bedroom drapes have been up since we moved into this house, 23 years ago. They are in pretty poor shape at this point. In addition, this time of year the angle of the sun makes it very bright in our bedroom in the morning and I'm not an early riser. Right now, I have the valance taken down and a quilt clipped to the rod. It doesn't match at all, but was the only thing I could find that was near the right size and not to heavy for the rod. Each time I walk in the room, that shade is on my mind. I haven't chosen the design for that one, yet, I'll know the right thing when I see it. My hope is to have it done by fall, when it will also help to protect against the cold.

I think I've decided what pattern to use for my sewing room window, but haven't, yet, figured out dimensions, etc. This will actually be the same as my latest strip quilt, which may find a home on my chaise by the window since they will match. I'm going to figure out how many extra blocks that I need and add them to the pile since the latest strip quilt isn't that far under way.

The shades will be backed with room darkening fabric, not only for the room darkening effect but to protect the design side from the sun. The cornice boxes will be covered with a quilted topper, adding another small project to my list.

So...that is 4 "lap" quilts, 2 roman shades, the 2 cornice toppers, the ring quilt, the posy top, and the flying geese quilt...all on the agenda for this year. I also found a couple of tops while perusing magazines that I really want to make, those will likely have to wait unless some of this goes much more quickly than I anticipate.

Of course, in the midst of all this, I'm potty training Ruthie. We've been doing it off and on for a few weeks now, going full force when we are home for the whole day. Yesterday we *may* have had a break through, but I won't know for sure for a few days. She told me "potty" twice (usually this means that she's already wet) but was dry...she wet herself as we made our way to the potty chair. I didn't think much of it until it happened for the second time, then I realized she just may be starting to recognize that feeling.

Armed with quite a few pairs of training pants and rubber pants, I've been trying to keep her in underwear all day, only in a diaper at night. This doesn't work if we have to leave the house, but it's a good start.

I have to say, I'm tiring of sitting on the bathroom floor, and the many loads of wet laundry, but it's oh so worth it!

Rachel and her boyfriend went to a nice restaurant for Valentine's Day, so Rachel painted her fingernails and toenails red for the occasion. Ruthie had to have hers done, too. It's not easy to paint those tiny little toes and then get her to sit still long enough to dry, but we got them done and they've stayed pretty well. She loves it and admires her toes whenever sitting on the potty, LOL, I see a lot of painted toes in her future!

And now, I'd better get to it or I'll never get anything done. A few chores and a lot of hand quilting are on the agenda for today. Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Busy Busy!

I've been happily busy, mostly with quilting. I've also been busy with some extra household things, going through and packing up what's not needed and storing what can be used later, while donating or discarding things that can't.

We tend to be savers here, as it seems as soon as we rid ourselves of something it's needed soon after. That served me well today as yesterday my new mouse and keyboard stopped working. Jonathan found old ones in our crawlspace and that's what I'm using at present. I haven't given up on the new, cordless ones, but know that's a task best left for when I'm feeling motivated and like my problem solving skills are in full swing.

In the meantime, I'm happy to have the old ones!

I'm on block number 11 (of 64) of the ring flower quilt. It hasn't been getting much attention because of the posy and celtic quilt, but all in good time. I'm hoping to get at least a few more blocks quilted on this one during the coming week. Once the posy and celtic top is done, the ring flower quilt will be the priority. I'm a little afraid of putting the posy and celtic top down for too long as it still seems like a daunting project and I'm afraid if I leave it sit for too long, it will sit for VERY long. I'm also so thrilled with the results of the posy and celtic quilt that it's actually hard to work on anything else right now. The main problem is my very sore underneath finger, which could surely use a rest. Though the same finger is underneath for quilting, I end up hitting a different part of it so can alternate between the two.
For now, I'll suffer, LOL, because I'm LOVING this. I was concerned that where the braids met at the intersections that it would just be a jumble and I'd lose the under/over feel of it but was pleasantly surprised as I laid it out to see that most definitely is not the case. Now that I've got the logistics of it all worked out, I'm working bigger sections at once. Combined with the fact that I've done so much applique lately, this is moving along much faster than I anticipated.

Another concern after sewing the first section was that it would over power the posy blocks, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as seen in this view a little further away. The blocks stand out even more in reality, and looking at the pictures my eye keeps moving around just fine and isn't getting stuck on the braid, so I think it's ok. It sure is hard not to second guess everything sometimes!

I've yet to decide for sure what will be on the outer border. I did pick out a design to applique in the same way, and may add some posies to that. I won't be deciding for sure what I'm doing until the rest is finished so I can gauge how much or how little needs to happen in the border for proper balance.

Everyone is in bed here and has been for a while now. I had figured on spending the quiet time appliquing but decided to do this post instead since there is so little uninterrupted time during the day. Tomorrow Rebekah is highlighting my hair and I promised Rachel we could do DDR for a while, it's our current choice for exercise until the weather is warm enough for me to start walking again. Other than that, though, I should be able to spend quite a bit of time quilting tomorrow, laundry and dishes are all caught up and the day is relatively free.

And Miss Ruthie. Her language skills are exploding of late. She'll try to say almost anything now and her speech is getting clearer. She has a long way to go, but words have almost completely replaced signs and she now looks for things to say. Last night I washed her hair in the kitchen sink (laying her on the counter) and when we got finished, she ran to the stairs and yelled down (we have a tri-level, so short flights and the family room is visible from the stairs) "Daddy! Wash!" He said "Did Mom wash your hair?" She said "yeah!" (yeah is said in an adorable sing-songy voice every time she said it.)

She will often go to one of her siblings and say, pointing to her head, "Mom, hair, OW!" (Translation, Mom brushed my hair and it hurt.) We have a long way to go, but are so pleased with the current progress and it really seems to be snowballing, coming faster and faster all the time.

A few minutes of applique and it will be time for bed. I'd hoped to make it a late, late night, but I'm feeling pretty tired and don't want to push it, I'd rather be well rested and ready for a productive day tomorrow!
Happy Quilting!