January 25, 2014

What's happening

Things have been a bit quiet around me for a while. I realize I've shamefully neglected my blogging. This isn't because I haven't done anything, but it's more because I've been finishing old things and didn't feel so excited about it. More like going on like a horse in a slow trot.

So what's happening? Weeell; here are the things I'm currently working on: Mainly very old projects that felt like stones around my neck and have been dragging me down. But with a little help from the ladies of the Lazy Bums group I've tackled some of the oldies and actually found out I'm enjoying myself hughely.

Lets start with last months challenge; a sampler kind of quilt. We had our global retreat day - 24 hours of mad sewing and it was just great. I couldn't wait for the day to arrive and when it actually did I started a couple of minutes after midnight, only to realize I wasn't the first one, even if I was in the time zone to go first. Lizzie, the Swedish Scrapper and Susan, Sgcrafty, sewing somewhere in USA both beat me to it. Susan was due to start 8 hours later, but as she was at an IRL retreat at the time she joined in a bit early and I think actually was the last one to stop. During those 24 hours we kept chatting and sewing. Some sissies like me did sleep for a bit and some even took time off to eat, but mainly it was about sewing and chatting. It was so much fun to see how one lady after another jumped up on the train and joined in! We did get a lot done that day and it was so much fun that we are going to repeat it on the 29th of March. I'll keep you posted.

I picked my Just takes 2 project. It's a sampler with 100 blocks. I'd made 7 blocks some time ago until I didn't know how to proceed and pushed the project to the side to wait for the "right" time. So this was the right time and I made 6 blocks. It doesn't sound like much, but believe me - I had a lot to do! Afterwards I made some more and this is how it looks like now. I've put the next block, a feathered star on today's to do list. We'll see how I manage.

Then we have Joseph's Coat. It's a handpieced everlasting project. I don't remember when I actually started on it, but I've been at it for a very long time. This is one of the projects I've put on this years to do list (it was on last years as well...) and I've actually managed to finish all 56 blocks and made the first 6 rows on the quilt. (You really don't want to see my poor fingertips.) One of the problems with this quilt was that it was a quilt along, but the instructions stopped halfway and we had to figure out ourselves how to proceed. I'm not sure if I've got everything ok, but I've got only 2 more rows to go and then I can start on the handquilting.

Talking of which. My DD1 and I went a couple of years ago to a handquilting class and came home hot on starting with our handquilting. Well, it wasn't a success! I picked up a very old sandwiched quilt and started on the quilting (after some practicing of course). It didn't work the way I wanted so I disgustedly threw the project in a corner, not wanting to see it ever again. You see, I'm outing myself as a total sissie. A couple of weeks ago I was a bit bored and looked through the adverts from Craftsy and found a handquilting class by Andi Pedeira. It was a special offer so I thought what the heck, I'll throw the 11 euros after the 30 euros for the first class and see if handquilting is such a lost cause for me. It wasn't. This time I was able to grasp a lot more of the information (no chatting ladies around to distract me) and I'm actually finding handquilting to be rather addictive. Of course I had to find my way around it, but that's life. I've bought 4 or 5 kinds of different quilting needles and 4 different kinds of handquilting threads to find what I like to work with. Some of the quilting needles have such a small eye it's very difficult to thread them even with this handy helper. But not all of them. You have to decide for yourself what is more important to you. To sew with a very fine needle, but a small eye, or with one with a bigger eye. I've chosen the second one for myself, but I'll probably switch later.

And I found out to my great surprise that the thread from Gütermann wasn't suited for the task. Perhaps I'd only picked a bad one, but still... I use Gütermann for sewing all the time and am very happy with the quality, so this was indeed a big surprise.

The challenge for February in the Lazy Bums group is to finish something for someone else. I picked to finish all my outstanding bee blocks. I've had a very bad conscience about not finishing them ages ago, but it's been very difficult. I cannot say why, only that it is. Now I hope for a new boost of energy and get them off to their final destination. At the moment I'm working on three and have prepared all of them.

Missed out a bit, but it'll be fine...

Then I have the quilts I'm making for my daughters. My youngest was so thrilled by the scrappy floating stars I made last summer for my friends that she wanted one for herself. This is how far I've managed to work with  it.

I ran out of bleached white Bellas solids in November and had to order some more. After 4 weeks of waiting it came, but it had a slight yellowish tone to it. I didn't want to send it back so I put it on the box with the other backing fabrics and ordered some more. The whitest kind they had. It came shortly before Christmas and once again it wasn't as white as the original. No, I didn't order a third time. My daughter had a close look at the fabrics and decided she wouldn't mind, so I can go on and make the border. Puuuh!

Of course I cannot make one daughter a quilt and leave the other one without one. So I picked up a pattern and some fabrics I'd ordered for this project and decided to surprise her. The pattern is called Jovial from Basicgray. Honestly, it's a complete waste of fabrics! Don't buy it unless you want to get rid of your stash. It looks lovely and turned out to be a 3D pattern, but I wouldn't use it if I had the choice.

I've told you about sewing the backing, how two of the blocks disappeared into thin air in the post "Beam me up Scotty". Those blocks were gone for almost three weeks and finally I had to make new ones. I'd expected them to reapperar immediately after I finished the new ones, but that didn't happen. What happened was that a week later I was showing my projects and I happened to stand near my chair and must have moved it in some way, because suddenly the two blocks fell down on my feet! They must have been in the chair the whole time. I'd checked that chair like 5 times and my daughter as well, but they were so well hidden we didn't see them! Must have been my prayers to St. Anthony, the saint for lost things that finally worked! I'd almost lost my faith in him, but he was only a bit slow in delivery. So sorry Anthony for doubting you!

January 7, 2014

Lazy Bum's global retreat

If you've followed the posts in this blog you must by now know the Lazy Bums. It is a group of talented ladies more keen on starting new projects than on finishing the old ones.

We have been at it for almost one and a half years now and we have accomplished a lot during that time I'm happy to say. This years round started in August 2013 and we've finished 61 UFOs so far. That is almost half of what we've planned to finish this year.

The idea of the group is to finish one project a month. To make it more interesting we have monthly challenges and you are rewarded by points if you finish a project. At the end of the year a prize is waiting for a lucky winner.

We have done a lot of different things so far, chosen projects according to colour, age, a special number or way of sewing. In November we made triangles as fast as we could. Once we even had a secret partner choosing the challenge for each of us. It was fun, because you didn't know what your partner was going to come up with.

For January's challenge Gi came up with a fabulous idea - a global retreat! The idea is to pick up a longtime project like Dear Jane or Farmer's Wife and for 24 hours sew blocks together.

Very inspiring I must say. How are we to finish these brutes otherwise? It is so much easier to sew the blocks if you know that you are not alone! I'm going to try my hand at the remaining 93 blocks from my Just Takes 2 quilt. It is a sampler BOM by Sentimental Stitches. The patterns were free for a short time, but you can still get them for a small fee.

We are from all over the world, so the time zones are making the simultaneous sewing a bit difficult, but I think we've found a way to manage. The global retreat begins on the 11th at midnight in your own time zone and you can sew for 24 hours. At the end of the retreat Gi has promised prizes in three different cathegories, but I don't know them yet. Nerd, eager beaver and cheerleader have been suggested.

Should you like to join in on the fun, feel free! You find us on Flickr.

January 6, 2014

Beam me up Scotty!

First of all I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! Lots of sewing and what ever else makes you happy! Kind of scary that a new year has started with so much left from last year to do...

But that is not what I wanted to write about this time. There is just this question troubling me since some time - am I the only one with extraterrestrial experiences? I'm not thinking UFOs this time (who hasn't loads of those somewhere hidden deep behind other stuff?) No, I'm talking real uncanny phenomens! Like that time I was making some totes for the London FQR and a zipper was beamed off into outer space. Oh yes, it was! One moment it was in my hand and the next it was gone, forever! Well, one of those things I thought and went out to buy a new one. Still it troubled me, because I couldn't find the zipper. And I still haven't!

Now, last week I was finishing 8 parts for a Flying Home Compass block. I sat in my chair, removed the paper from the backside and started pinning the pieces together. It didn't take me long to realize two left parts had disappeared into thin air! I couldn't find them anywhere and by now I've looked through the trash twice. And I did have 8 pieces to start with; found the paper for all eight in the bin. Gone just like that!

I've been looking for those pieces the whole week, hoping they would turn up, but so far nothing!
Am I getting feebleminded? No of course not!