Spring is Here (finally)

We had a long winter in my neck of the woods. Long enough that my son had a snow day in early April! Now spring is finally here with its rainy days (we are supposed to have rain everyday this week), and on the days of no rain, bike rides, sidewalk chalk, and other outdoor activities abound.

Spring is known for being a time of renewal, decluttering, and cleaning. I have been trying to take some time to think about these things. This winter, I spent a few months in hibernation. Until we had a few sunny days, I didn’t realize how much I had withdrawn from my own life. Apparently it was a rougher winter than I thought. Now that I am feeling present again it is time to get things done.

Years ago I had to simplify my hobbies. I had too many things I wanted to do, and the end result was that I didn’t get much time to do any of them. These days I focus my limited free time on time with my family, sewing, and writing. If I only have time for only a few hobbies, I need to pick the ones that matter most to me. When I sat down and looked at the long list of crafts, hobbies, and other time sinks I enjoyed, theses were the ones that came out on top. I expect they will change over time, but right now my focus is on finding time for each of these things.

For the last month I’ve made a real effort to exercise. As much as I would love to find time for writing and sewing, I know from experience I need to feel good about myself to be motivated to do much of anything. For me, exercise is the key for feeling good about myself (for me! your mileage may vary). Exercise helps me sleep well at night, keeps me strong enough to play with my kid, and allows me to feel productive. Plus it encourages my love of numbers. Now that I have exercise (both cardio and some basic strength) back into my weekly routine it is time to start adding in other things.

This month I want to focus on writing, with a bit of sewing thrown in. I hope to write twice a week for the rest of the month, and get at least two evenings of sewing. I already know what my projects are going to be! I will finish the Jungle Path quilt top, and write a new short story.

What helps you feel motivated? What hobbies are most important to you?

January Quilting Update

Once a month I post an update on my quilting/sewing projects. You can find all my quilting/sewing updates here.

Star Quilt
Finished on December 22nd, 2016!

Red, blue, and grey star sampler quilt

The big thing holding this quilt up was that I had quilted the first half then let it sit. This gave everything a little too much time to settle and I ended up with some puckering between the part I had quilted and the part I hadn’t. In December I helped a friend pin a quilt for her husband. Then she returned the favour and helped me unpin the half of this quilt that wasn’t finished, so we could repin it. I was nervous about repinning, but in the end it was the right decision. This was the first quilt I ever quilted (I quilted the first half before the digger quilt), so it has a few foldovers on the back. Luckily it is for my husband who doesn’t mind at all.

Back of star quilt. Pieced modern cross back

I did the last of the quilting in December, and then finished the binding over several days of TV watching before we headed out for our holiday. It now lives in my living room and is frequently snuggled by both my husband and son.

This quilt was started as a Bee quilt in January of 2013. Each of the members of the bee made one of the blocks (I actually didn’t make a single block for this quilt). When I made the label, I included the names of everyone who contributed a block.

Mystery Quilt
This quilt is for a very good friend of mine who is having a child. Until the quilt has been given this one remains a mystery! I don’t even want to include the quilt name, because it would be a bit of a hint as to what to expect. I will say it has a few fun fabrics, and it very bright. The top is finished and I know what fabric I’m using for the backing. I just need to pin baste it and decide on the thread colour I’ll use for the quilting.

Jungle Path Quilt
I’ve cut the short sashing pieces that go between the blocks for each row. I have a sewing date on the 21st where I hope to get each of the rows sewn together. Should have a few pictures of the progress for next month’s update.

Shoo Fly Quilt
No progress since I finished the top. This will be the status of this quilt for a few months, so I won’t include it on monthly updates until I prep it to quilt.

September Quilting Update

I know this is primarily a reading/writing blog, but once a month I indulge my sewing side. You can find all my quilting/sewing updates here.

Shoo Fly QuiltShoo Fly Quilt

For the last few months I’ve been putting myself first when it comes to sewing. Any change I get I’m working on my Shoo Fly lapquilt for the couch. On September 9th I finished piecing together the quilt top! I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Next steps are to order the batting and get it quilted. Before I can start on the quilting though I need to finish quilting the Star Quilt. I would love to have both these lap quilts finished and on the couch by Christmas time. It’s doable if I can find the quilting time. Something which unfortunately can be difficult because of the larger block of time needed.

jungle path block quiltJungle Path Quilt

Several years ago a friend of mine organized a quilting bee. We had twelve members and each month, for a year, we made a block for one member’s quilt. The first year I got the blocks for the Star Quilt. The second year I asked everyone to make me a modified Jungle Path block. I resized the block to be a 14 inch square, so the quilt could be made into a twin without needing a crazy number of blocks. The final layout of the twin quilt is 4 by 5 blocks. I may also add a bit of a border, but I really want to quilt it myself which means I need to aim for a small twin size. My machine doesn’t have a particularly large harp, so smaller is easier.

This quilt is destined for my son’s bed and I would love to have it finished by winter, but with two lap quilts to quilt (and bind) I’m not sure if I’ll manage it. As you can see from the picture, the blocks are finished. I also have the sashing strips for between the blocks in each row cut and ready to go. If I can get this quilt top pieced before I start quilting the Shoo Fly quilt I might move it ahead in the line up.

Have you done any sewing lately? What craft projects do you have on the go?