Sunday, March 15, 2015

It Really is All About Your Health

I have been trying to sew.  Really I have.  But I have been plagued by aches and pains.  Emphasis on pain.

I don't do pain well.  Now, before you say who does?, I will let you know that my mother had an insanely high pain tolerance.  This meant she never understood normal pain tolerance, let alone low pain thresholds like mine.  She made fun of you for not being able to hack it.  I have since learned that her high pain tolerance was due to her 3 pack a day cigarette habit.  She had fried every nerve ending she had and thus the synapses didn't exactly fire right.

Anyway, I don't do pain.  Aches I can tolerate but pain, no.  And the pains were in my feet.

I have spent a lot of time (and a lot of money) on therapies to figure out how to fix this problem.  Things were massively out of alignment and then muscles were tensed up and needed serious relief.  When it all got done, it was AMAZING.  I could walk without pain.  I could walk without thinking (trust me, you hurt enough, every movement becomes a conscious thought process).  Additionally a lot of other muscle groups were helped as well.

I felt great!  So I had a Coke to celebrate.

And kept having one a day for many days.

And all the pain came back.

So we figured out that's what it was.  I removed soda from my diet.  I love soda.  I mean, I really love soda, but it has to go.  It was a very rough week.  I am through the worst of it, but man it was horrible.  Additionally, I requested a few blood tests to check for various arthritis things (all are negative).

And then on Thursday, the pain became less worse.  On Friday, even less worse.  On Saturday, she worked on all the pained areas and then I could walk again.  Everything is still inflamed, but slowly I can cope.  Very slowly.

And this is why I couldn't really sew.  Many days after work I would come home and just crash.  The withdrawal from soda had me home sick for a half day.  Sadly, the pain won too many times.

And now, finally, I feel like I can sew / craft / whatever.  I was able to get my paperwork in order.  I was able to make sense of my living room.  I could say yes to a sleepover for my child.  I was able to cook for my family.  I could knit.  I could sew.

And now I am figuring out what to do this week.  I have my knitting goal sorted out for the week and then the handwork after that.  For sewing, I think I have a plan and I hope I get it done.  I am behind schedule for DJ and some other things, but I can make it up now that I feel like I have some energy.

Truly, it is your health.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 1 - 10

OK, here goes the first 10 days of Dear Jane. 

For March 1-10, a lovely teal color with cranberry dots was chosen.  The blocks are as follows:

A-1
B-8
G-6
I-4
I-11
RT-7
LT-7
2 solid triangles

However, I have other goals each of the 10 days, which I call homework.  I need to complete Just One Thing (JOT) for either of the 2 Bonnie quilts I am trying to finish and for either of the 2 Blue Snow quilts I am trying to finish.  I need to make 2 Xmas gifts.  I need to make 3 Just Takes Two blocks.  I need to clean the sewing area for 15 minutes.

So far, I have done the JOT for Blue Snow, made the 2 Xmas gifts and made 3 DJ blocks.  I am not sure how much more I will get done between now and when I go to bed – LOL!

Homework will roll over until all items are completed.  The 31sts of the appropriate months are just bonus days.

I think this whole week is pretty good to get stuff done, but it will overlap the first March session and the second March session. That’s fine too; I think by the end of March I will be where I want to be.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

A Pair of Dice

And musings on the number 13.

I’ve gone ahead and started a Dear Jane. And I don’t want to do the whole Trip Around the World thing. And I
want to reuse fabrics. And I don’t randomize well on my own.

So I decided I would do 5 blocks and 2 triangles every 10 days. (And also cut 2 solid triangles to go between.)
That is what I hoped to get out of each cut of fabric. However, how does one pick the blocks? I decided that a
roll of the dice will do. But there are 37 blocks that the dice will never hit: All the A blocks, all the M blocks and all of the remaining 13 blocks down the right side. So every 10 days, I will do the next block in the A row, roll for 4 random blocks and 2 random triangles and off I go. (Now that I think about it, the 4 13 triangles won’t get rolled either, but whatever.) (Wait, when I get to the 13th triangle I’m making, I will just do one. Problem solved.)

My 30’s fabric selection is eclectic. I have some charm packs, some 6 inch squares from a swap and some
half yards as I like them. And a whole bunch of pink yardage because I love it. So of course how do I use it all
and randomize it all? 

I of course overthink this. Here we go:

I will alternate between yardage and coordinated charms every 10 days. Right now I am using a lovely teal
blue. The lovely color wheel tells me that orange would be the compliment, so that is what I will use from the
charms. I can’t cut solid triangles from the charms so that does concern me, but I will think of something. 

And so I will proceed this way. I will also allow myself 2 half yard cuts of fabric each month from Boline’s, which is extremely affordable. Like $10 will buy those 2 cuts. And they are in town. And the owner belongs to the guild.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Quilting with Tile

It has been a comedy of errors.  If we don't laugh, we'll cry.

On Saturday Feb 7, as Renee and I were being handed our breakfast in the McD's drive-thru, ice came off the roof and hit my back window.

And then window popped.

What was that?

Seriously the whole window crackled and popped.

Then the very next day our range shorted out (yes, we have an electric range) and it died.

The car is fixed and I need to call back their insurance company.  A new range was ordered online (Really, you don't need to see it to buy it - it's a range.  Either it cooks or it doesn't.  When I bought the house I didn't get a say in the range it came with.) and we scheduled out the delivery date to tomorrow, February 16.  Somehow Renee is not excited that a range is arriving for her 14th birthday on her day off.

But you all know where this is going.  I have no backsplash and the walls are trashed from cooking.  So I said that if the range is out, then we should just put in the backsplash.  And paint.  And paint the powder room.  So the proverbial $400 repair turns into a $5000 upgrade.  It's really not that bad - about $1500 when all is said and done.

As I write this, I am clearing the living room floor for a path so the range can be installed and we are almost done grouting.  It will need to cure for a week before I can seal but it looks amazing.  The bathroom is primed.

But there has been no quilting.  The Loopy Ewe did contact me about my bolt of Kona Snow and it's winging its way to me.  I have been knitting my Loopy Academy stripes assignment so that has been something....

Off to clean.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dear Jane

Oh yeah, did I mention that I am starting a Dear Jane?  Well, I am.  A group of quilters from my guild has started a group and since I am relatively new to the guild, I think it's a good way to meet some people.

My Jane is fighting a different war - the war of the Great Depression.  I am using my small 30's stash for this effort.  I have slowly started collecting 30's fabrics recently.  The story...

My sister's former next door neighbor had an old family quilt that was clamshells.  The shells were beginning to shred and the neighbor wished to piece in some replacement shells.  The fabrics were clearly 30's.  So my sister and I got on the website for the Fat Quarter Shop and Kim picked out a nickel charm pack of 20's and another of 30's.  

A few years pass and the 2 charm packs make their way back to me.  I am not sure if the neighbor gave up or what, but they were basically intact.  I made a lovely 60" square baby quilt for the GS camp director who has lovingly taken care of my girl at camp for years.  And while I was making that quilt, I realized I was falling in love with 30's fabrics.

So when I shop hop or see a swap on my Yahoo groups that is 30's fabrics, I go ahead and participate.  It's a great way to build a variety of stash in small quantities.  With the exception of one fabric that I bought the rest of the bolt of (yes, it's pink - move along), my 30's stash fits in a shoebox.  My most recent Bits 'n Pieces shipment from Keepsake Quilting had 6 2.5" 30's strips in there.  And a newer quilt shop here in town has quite the 30's selection, so I am set.

The background will be Kona Snow.  We were debating at our first DJ meeting how much background one needs and our 'expert' (she's been to the DJ retreat and met Brenda and all of that) said that she's heard varying amounts based on piecing methods.  Buy the bolt was the most common recommendation.

Thankfully TLE sells Kona as well.  When they get their next bolts in, they are saving me one and will ship it to me.  So I can't start my DJ yet, but soon.  

I have the book and the rulers.  I ordered the stand alone EQ software and it arrived yesterday.  I need some more grey aurifil.  I am nearly ready.

My numbers = 0, 0, 0, 0.

At Last a Plan

When last we left our heroine...

Anyway, I ended up cleaning the yarn nook in my room.  I reorganized all of my needles that I could get my hands on.  I have lots of needles but now it takes no time to figure out what I do or do not have.  Last step is to post inventory on this computer so I can order online without having to move (yes I am that lazy).

When I did that I also inventoried all my yarn.  I have only 10 UFOs and 1 bag of repairs.  I have lots of yarn though, at least in my opinion (I have 100 times more fabric).  I put all the sock yarn in one bag.  I then just sort of put all the other yarn into another bag and all the acrylic crap in the laundry basket.  I really have a handle on what I have.

Then yesterday The Loopy Ewe (TLE), they released the class requirements for the second semester of freshman year.  This semester is all about techniques.  I am going with stripes for my first assignment and I am doing a sweater called Nothing but Stripes!  However, since I am the size I am that is a lot of yarn.  Never fear, I am just using TLE's house brand for fingering weight.  I am making mine in eggplant and oyster, a deep purple and a light grey.

(I cannot confirm or deny that there may have been some last call shopping, including some lovely light blue laceweight...)

So that is the assignment.  From the UFO list, I will work on my Irish sweater.  From the sock bag, I will break into my Mrs. Crosby that I got for Camp Loopy and make a test pair of the Simple Skyp socks.  Once these 3 items are done, I can then order yarn and cast on for the next TLE assignment.  This way I reduce UFOs, keep current with purchases and start to reduce stash.  Although this purchase may have added to stash just a wee bit...at least all purchases have projects attached to them in my queue, not just random 'that is pretty' purchases.

On the fabric side of things, I am ordering a bolf of Kona Snow from TLE for my Dear Jane.  Plus I made a list for this anticipated snowy weekend of quilty things to do.  I broke it down into pretty small steps so I can see progress.  If i get as far as I want, I will have 2 things at the hand stitching stage, which would be wonderful!

It's good to plan the work.  Time to work the plan!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Power of Handwork

I have been off for a while and I have tried to figure out why.  I started off the year well enough; I took a ton of time around the holidays to actively and extensively craft.  I knit, I crocheted, I sewed, I quilted.  I got a lot done.  2 lap quilts, a pair of sox and a pair of mittens.  I then had a retreat a week later and I did a ton more sewing.  I mean I was in a groove.

And then I stopped.  There was a few weeks (OK the year has only had like 4 weeks) where the busy snuck on me.  One week was supposed to be super busy in one respect and it ended up being weird in another way.  The first set of crayz was postponed by a week and so there was no downtime.

And then I had to sew for a charity event.  That meant I had to go to the sewing room and do stuff.  What a big help.

So I was able to jump start things on the sewing front, but I didn't really have any sort of long term plan or anything.  It was a lot of Just One Thing, which is progress.

But I have stalled out everywhere else.  I can't get a handle on my house.  Or my paperwork (and it tax season).  Or my clothing.  Or anything.  Like seriously anything.  I was functioning in my critical mode:  clean clothes and food on the table are mandatory; everything else is optional.

I can't handle it.  I want more done.  I want more from my house.  It can be done.  I want to start having friends over and in the past year I have expanded / rotated my group of friends and I'd like to invite them over.  One friend now has a baby and I'd like her to have him over (he is a cutie).  I need to make a list.  I need to plan the work and work the plan and make the other 2 accountable.  They will do stuff if they know what stuff.  (I've given up the whole isn't it obvious argument - not worth my blood pressure.)

Anyway, back to handwork.  I haven't had anything to hand stitch at all for like 3 weeks.  I am stumbling around lost.  Seriously.  I'm at a loss.

This week I figured out this is why I am stalling out.  I am desperately waiting for the Loopy Ewe's second semester at Loopy Academy to begin.  The assignments haven't even been handed out.  However, I can wait no longer.  I have taken drastic measures.

I am cleaning my room in order to inventory my yarn so that I may find some handwork to do.

Yep, that is what I am doing.  I have taken a break to eat dinner and write this post.  Now I need to go back to going through the yarn and watching TIVO'd episodes of Project Runway.

Who knew handwork was the key?  Well the yarn harlot of course...




Sunday, January 04, 2015

2015 begins

Yes, I've been offline for a month.  Yes, I need to get back to it.