Another Hobby Blog

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: bjp

Well, it's been a week of emotional rollercoasters, and I have a lot of stitching to accomplish before midnight tomorrow. I will very likely never get the hang of finishing ahead of schedule! Grandmother went back into the hospital with pneumonia early this week, but is now doing much better again. Yay!! She is very exhausted from all of the set-backs, and I am exhausted as well. Back in the beginning of the year, when I hadn't forseen any of these personal challenges to my time and emotions, I signed up for a couple of swaps to stitch alongside the CQJP, BJP, and TAST. WWIT???!! So a good chunk of my time this week went to stitching sane quilt blocks for swapping: A block of my own pattern based on my partner's color preferences:
A block of my own pattern in black and white fabrics:
And a set of 8 12-inch blocks in a scrappy around-the-world pattern.
Unfortunately, the first set of around-the-world blocks ended up the wrong size once they were all stitched together, so I had to spend yet another day and a half re-doing them to the right sizes. Rather than rip the seams and resew them, I started over from scratch:
Phew! Those blocks are done with and now I know better than to sign up for more! (I hope.) There are also the birthday ATCs and Postcards throughout the year that I can't duck out of. (Le Sigh!) I was way behind schedule on one of them, so I packaged it up and put it into the mail without remembering to get a photo of it first. bummer. This ATC (2.5 x 3.5 inches) is due May 6th, and another (that I haven't started yet) is due May 12.
I haven't started my French Knot or my Wheatear postcards for TAST yet-- they can wait. CQJP and BJP are higher priority. I did stitch my TAST for stem stitch, though, because I felt the need for some very brainless stitching after totally screwing up the first batch of around-the-world blocks:
Since I got such a strong start on my BJP earlier this month, I was able to finish them both. Yay!! Progress!
So now I have one extra BJP (the one that I made in January and used for February when I got behind schedule) in case I fall behind again. Hopefully that won't happen, though, as I much prefer the BJPs to reflect what is going on in my life in the month that it is made, and even if it's just a matter of color choice, the choices I make have a strong connection to my emotions and the events of my life. And then there is CQJP. I am SO far behind!!! I was a bit silly and let myself get all wrapped up in one very complicated and time-consuming seam rather than spreading the love around the entire wedge. It's a pretty little seam, though!
Now I just need to get the rest of the wedge done between now and tomorrow night! Yipes! :)

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: TAST wk 12- barbed chain, CQJP, BJP

Grandma bounced back from hip surgery in two days. I didn't get much stitching done because I had strep throat. Hmm. Maybe there's a life lesson or two to be found in there somewhere!

At any rate, I didn't get a lot done, and I do have valid reasons (the busy convention weekend, strep throat, visiting my grandmother and my family). Now I am asking myself whether I am: 1- hiding behind excuses instead of doing my Work, 2- being unrealistically diminishing about the work that I do accomplish, 3- unaware of my deepest priorities (like spending quality time with friends and family) and, because of that lack of awareness, thinking that I have more time to do my (e.g. stitching) work than I really have... or some combination of the above or some unspecified addition to the list.

For the sake of my sanity, I'm going to run with the working assumption that the best description is option 2: I'm being too hard on myself. I'm actually doing quite a bit of work, and it is good work, but it doesn't measure up to the imagined goal I set for myself, so I don't realize right away what I HAVE accomplished because I am too focused upon what I have NOT accomplished. :P

What I have NOT accomplished this month:
I have not yet started stitching on my CQJP wedge.
I have not yet started the current TAST challenge (wk 16: French Knot)
or the previous TAST challenge (wk 15: Stem Stitch)
I have not added to TAST wk 11 (whipped wheel) which at least got started (barely).

Okay! That's enough whining!!

What I HAVE accomplished is so much better to talk about!

I made a BJP for February! yay! yes, it's April now, and yes, I had a BJP for February, but it wasn't the one that I WANTED to have for February, it was my spare January BJP that I misplaced (so I had to create a second January BJP). Ever since, I've felt determined to make a real February BJP, one featuring heart-shaped beads. :)

I also got a good start on my April BJP, and am confident that I will be able to finish it before the end of the month. It features a charm with a labyrinth pattern to represent the explorations of imagination and fiction (the science fiction writers' convention) and also the joys of gardening (by connection with the idea of hedge mazes). I had been thinking of the colors of the tulips that arose in my garden this month (orange-reds against the green foliage), but the beads I chose were closer to turquoise than green, so it's ended up with more of a southwestern feel: turquoise and agate, Tucson Arizona where we used to visit my husband's father.

I did some work on TAST 14: Satin stitch

And I added significantly to TAST 12: Barbed Chain. I had a lot of ideas of experimental variations that I wanted to try, and some of them turned out pretty nifty! Although the magic chain variation did not turn out the way that I had hoped it would, it's still kinda interesting.

And while I did not start stitching on my CQJP wedge yet (It requires a level of focus and thoughtfulness that hasn't been available to me at the busy convention or while my head was blurred with fever or while my family needed my attention), I did get some busywork stitching done on my CQJP prototype! This little peacocky tail fan is the prototype that I stitched up as a concept test before investing all my time and materials in the larger silk version. Since it is made entirely of printed fabrics, I decided to let the fabrics take primary focus and use my CQ stitching in a supporting roll by controlling the color spectrum of the threads that I would use. As much trouble as they are, somehow metallic threads seemed the best choice-- they would stand out against any of the prints, yet still read as "neutrals", plus they would add a nice shimmer and textural interest. I've chosen gold threads against the greens, and copper threads against the purples.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tuesday Stitcher import: chatter

Over lunch quilting was a topic of conversation, and my mother, and brother and his wife, and I made plans to make family friendship blocks to exchange with each other. After much debate we decided to leave the colors and techniques and even the size open to creator's interpretation, so this could be a very interesting hodgepodge to try to integrate into a single quilt-- anything from geometric piecing to applique to crazy quilt are possible.
If we each only make one block per person, that's only 4 blocks total, which would be a very small quilt (or more likely a wall hanging), but I'm thinking that those of us who sew might make blocks for other members of the family to write on. I'm not sure when I'll find time to add this new project in to the work basket! but there you have it-- momentum inspires more momentum. :P

I still need to get photographs of my week's progress before I can write that post, but I figured you'd all like an update on Grandma.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: Easter weekend

No work at all this week.
Wait, that's not entirely true... on Wednesday I did finish up the applique that I wanted to put on my March block. Yay!!
But no progress yet on April
No catch-up work on previous TAST
No progress on current TAST
and no photos to show you the March applique.
I blame Easter weekend.
I spend Easter weekend every year helping out at Norwescon Science Fiction writers' convention.
So all of last week was spent prepping for the convention and then helping out at the convention. Great fun, but not conducive to a lot of stitching.
By Wednesday I should be settled back in and more-or-less unpacked again.
In the meantime,
Happy Easter!!


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: BJP, CQJP march

Well, it's been a busy month, with a lot of time spent away from home and away from my stitching. I do carry my CQJP along with me, but most of the time I am out of the house, I find myself in boisterous and chaotic environments that don't allow the meditative calm or stretches of attention that I find conducive to stitching.. at least the level of calm that I need for my CQJP anyway!

Despite the distractions, I did get a reasonable amount of work done on my CQJP:

(The semi-transparent gray mask is my attempt to obscure the blocks from past and future months and clarify where March begins and ends.)
The wedge shape makes photography challenging, so here are a couple of detail shots as well:

And the BJP, which I find can only be worked on at home, got done too!! And I even got a picture of it before I misplaced it this time! Ha!

Spring weather and gardening has been on my mind a lot this month, despite the miserable cold wet windy weather we've been having (or maybe because of it?). I spent several hours of my precious at-home time getting vegetable starts potted up in containers so that I'll be able to look forward to fresh peas and lettuce and green beans as the weather gets warmer. :) Yum! ... and spending all that time out in the yard (soaking up that much-important Vitamin D producing sunlight!) inspired much of my stitching and color choice this month.

I have a slightly longer essay on the topic on my blog.
Personally, I'm just grateful that I got this much done on my block this month! .. I do still want to add an embroidered applique, like the valentine bouquet and the intruder cat from previous months, but that didn't get done before midnight tonight, so I'll have to find time to squeeze it in next month instead (I hope!)

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