A Crafter's Life

The Calendar That Wasn’t

Toward the end of last year (2019), we bought a large erasable calendar for the laundry room to keep track of all the things we had planned.

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We had so many thing planned from March 2020 through Summer 2020 that we needed a central and visible place to keep track of everything and to make plans.

On this calendar were the basketball games we had tickets to attend, special events for my partner’s work, two conference to attend – one in Nashville and one in Orlando, a trip to Scotland and Ireland with friends in July (and a possible side trip to Paris to meet up with my sister who would be in Europe at the same time), parties/special celebrations to attend, and so much more.

Then COVID happened, and the calendar just stopped. 

Almost Half of Americans Have Canceled Summer 2020 Travel Plans ...

All those things got erased from the erasable calendar. It somedays it feels like an entire lifestyle got erased overnight.

I think why I struggled with this is that I was so looking forward to late Winter, Spring and Summer 2020.

Late 2019 was very difficult dealing with the first anniversary of my husband’s passing and early 2020 was difficult with my “snow anxiety” (see the Postscript section of the post The Hat from the Yarn from the Journey). I had made it through some “dark days” and I was so looking forward to all the fun ahead documented on our calendar…

I might be sounding whiny at this point.

We are starting to add a little to our calendar now but I do not see it returning to its pre-pandemic state any time soon.

FUNNY MEMES!!! The 150 Funniest Memes Of All-Time! - Yellow Octopus

I am okay with this, I appreciate any fun outside the home we get to have these days!


Postscript

Mike the Miniature Schnauzer has been pretty happy the past 5 months with both of us working from home and not going on any trips until recently (like our long weekend to Rocky Mountain National Park).

Dogs celebrate Memes - ImgflipSpeaking of Mike, here is an image that either he forgot to share in his recent post – Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On; or the tierneycreates Beastie forgot to share in her recent post – Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom.

2020-07-23_15-10-37_835Yes it’s a photo of Mikelet (tierneycreates Beastie’s dog) and Mike, ready to go on their walks. I put a red arrow in the lower left hand corner of the photo above so you would not miss Mikelet who is a considerably smaller miniature Miniature Schnauzer!

(Yes these are the silly things we do to entertain ourselves these days…)

Knit and Crochet Away!

Making My Own Granny Square Afghan

Experienced crocheters – try not to roll your eyes too much while reading this post, ha!

I love Granny Square Afghans. I know how to do basic crochet (I’ve made simple crocheted afghans and scarves in the past) but I always thought Granny Square Afghans were something extremely magical and way beyond my skill level.

I’ve collected them over the years from thrift shops and garage sales. Here are examples of those in my collection:

2020-08-15_07-39-14_4692020-08-15_07-39-28_5712020-08-15_07-40-09_965And here is the link to a post I wrote in 2015 called Granny Square Rescue! about my obsession and an image of my collection circa 2015.

Rescued Granny Square Afghans - all safe and loved in my homeA couple days ago I randomly decided that it was time I learned how to make Granny Squares and a Granny Square afghan.

I’ve looked at patterns in the past but quickly grew intimidated since I am not that experienced a crocheter. Then I remembered my trusty friend YouTube and found a whole bunch of videos on making Granny Squares!

First I followed this video by Jayda InStitches 

And made this block!

2020-08-15_07-35-16_5262020-08-15_17-33-02_767I cannot tell you how pleased and excited I was to have completed my first Granny Square!

I did not feel like my stitches were not tight enough and so I looked for another instructional video just to get a different perspective on how to make a Granny Square.

So then I watched this video by Hooked by Robin:

The pattern/instruction was slightly different and she used a smaller crochet hook (the first video used an “I”/5.5 mm needle and the second video used a “G”/4 mm) and that seemed to make the difference for tighter stitches.

In the image below, the square on the left is the first one I made with slightly looser stitches (size I crochet hook) and the one of the right is the second one I made with the size G crochet hook.

2020-08-15_17-32-56_112Now I plan to make up a bunch of centers and get started on “production line” crochet.

I want to be more efficient with the color changes (work on one color of yarn at once instead of constant color changes) as I create enough blocks to make a GRANNY SQUARE AFGHAN!!!

2020-08-16_12-31-20_605This is going to be a lot of work but I am so excited to make my very own!

I will update you on my progress…


Postscript

Speaking of making things for the first time, my partner John recently made his first piece of actual furniture in his new workshop in our daylight basement. In the previous post on my blog, Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On , Mike the dog (giggle) shared that we recently turned part of the basement into his craft room.

Well this weekend he put the room to use and made two redwood side tables for our front porch which matched the style of the existing coffee table on the porch:

2020-08-15_14-46-33_8352020-08-15_16-35-17_7922020-08-16_12-32-30_5402020-08-16_12-32-52_530So we were both pretty proud of ourselves!

Guest Blogger

Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On

Recently I’ve had several guest bloggers on my tierneycreates blog – Wendy Hill (a human) with her series on her Quarantine Quilt collaboration (see link Quarantine Quilts for all the posts); and the tierneycreates Beastie (non human, monster) announcing her new Beastie partner (see link Beastie Adventures for all her posts).

Well Mike the Miniature Schnauzer (non-human, canine) was feeling a little irritated that he had not been invited to guest blog. So I guess it is his turn…


A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On

Hello Bloglandia.

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer. I am dictating this post as although I might secretly have opposable thumbs that would allow me to type for myself, I like to keep certain things secret from my humans.

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I am Mike and I am a Miniature Schnauzer the smartest dog breed imaginable (maybe)

It’s my turn to do a guest blog post! My adopted sister Sassy (who passed in December 2017) used to have her own blog, Schnauzer Snips: Musings from a Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer. I am not asking for my own blog, just to be invited to guest blog once in a while so you can read about life from a Miniature Schnauzer’s perspective.

I am a rescue (I rescued my humans from life without me) and if you’d like to read my story it is on this post – Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post). I lost one of my humans (male human, Terry) suddenly in December 2018 but my female human (Tierney) and I have been making the best of our new life in the metropolitan Denver Colorado area since April 2019 (see series of posts Colorado Bound).

I now have the new male human in my life (John) nearly fully managed as you will see later in this post.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at home improvement stores during the pandemic. My humans have been working on a lot of remodeling projects and I am trying to supervise them as best I can.

2020-08-06_19-33-02_390Back in late March/start of April 2020 my humans made the decision not to move to a new house they were going to buy and instead to stay in their current abode (see post Perspective) due to the initial financial crisis in the early days of the pandemic.

Staying in their current residence meant fixing it up so that both humans were happy with it and it met their needs.

For my female human, that meant redoing her studio (see post Guest Blogger: tierneycreates’ “New” Studio Tour); and for my male human it meant building a workshop for his woodworking in the daylight basement:

2020-07-08_16-05-22_7772020-08-07_08-07-02_0832020-08-07_08-07-06_936His workshop is still a work in progress but he is very happy to now have his own “playroom” like my female human!

So you might ask – what did it mean for me? Well it meant lots of trips to home improvement stores for supplies.

Sometimes on my male human’s back:

2020-06-15_11-05-29_5162020-06-15_11-07-03_5522020-06-15_11-07-06_9512020-06-15_11-10-59_046And sometimes in the shopping cart:

2020-07-19_16-22-13_3132020-07-19_16-22-15_4622020-07-19_16-24-29_4482020-08-06_19-33-05_305I know, I know, you just can’t get enough of the cute photos of me in a shopping cart. Unfortunately my female human said we have to limit the photos to only four (4) because she has to protect her digital storage allotment on her blog (sigh).

The humans also did a lot of “fixing things” in the house to include dangerous high altitude ceiling fan installation:

2020-03-01_13-29-53_037Yes that is a ladder, on top of scaffolding. Looks pretty safe to me (NOT!)

My male human even figured out during the early days of the pandemic how to fix their dryer himself by watching YouTube videos and ordering parts:

2020-03-28_09-24-51_903He also completely redid the garage, drywalling it in, painting it and installing shelves:

2020-05-09_15-33-57_714He also built bookcases in the front room to create our “home library” as my female human mentioned in this post – The Library Book and the Home Library. In this post she promised to share updated photos (and forgot), so I guess it is up to me to make sure you see how the room turned out:

2020-06-25_09-17-13_9932020-08-06_20-35-44_710Most recently he added in a shelf behind our living room TV to distract your eye from the fact the flat screen TV is in front on an alcove (circa early 2000s) for a large deep TV. This was my female human’s idea from looking at too much Instagram home decorating feeds!

2020-08-08_17-36-32_5002020-08-11_07-55-48_819I am sure there were a lot more home remodeling projects that occurred over the past four (4) months but this is all I can remember since I was sleeping through many of them.

schnausleep
Trying to block out all the remodeling noise and get some sleep!

Postscript

When I am not overseeing the humans while they complete their home remodeling projects, I am going on bike rides. I appear to have convinced my human John to ride me around on his back in addition to carrying or shopping-cart-driving me around stores!

Here we are headed out for a bike ride and then on a bike ride (in the second photo my female human Tierney is behind us dangerously taking photos while bike riding…)

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Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part V (Guest Blog Post)

All good things must come to an end as they say, and here is the 5th and final installment of the guest blog post series by my talented friend Wendy Hill on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

Thanks for reading this series along with me (I was so excited to receive each installment via e-mail and read it myself for the first time while posting it!)

And if you are just joining us, see these posts for Parts I, II, III and IV of the story by Wendy Hill:

You can follow Wendy Hill on Instagram @wendyquilter


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part V: The Big Giveaway

I’m eager to show off the Quarantine Quilt and The Big Giveaway where “The Boys” and their parents see the quilt for the first time.

Here are the full view photographs of the front and the back. (The quilt, with no sleeve, wiggled a bit being clamped to a bar for the photos.)

#1- FV front#2- FV backAt home, I took some detail photographs. Of course, the cats found the quilt in no time….The Quarantine Quilt is officially cat approved!!

#3- Cooper on quilt#4- Izzy on quiltLet’s start with the appliquéd hand blocks. I put The Boys’ hands in the middle, with the adults’ hands on the four corners. It’s symbolic on purpose: the adults are looking after the kids.

#5- kids hands#6- Dad#7- Mom#8- David#9- WendyHere are a few more detail photographs of the quilt front:

#10-front#11- front#12- frontThe quilt back is fun too, with the assortment of found fabrics and leftovers. A friend sent me her found robot boy yardage for the center; she thought it perfect for The Boys.

#13- back#14- back#15- backI’m so pleased I took the time to embroider the labels. These labels will last as long as the quilt.

#16 both labels#17 heart label#18 main labelIt had been a long time since “The Boys” had seen the blocks, and I wondered what they would remember about their creations. But the 3 older boys wasted no time in finding their hand and favorite blocks.

One of “The Boys” found his favorite block, saying it was the weirdest block ever. I told him I’d never seen anything like it and in fact, it was ‘genius’. He had a big grin.

#19Another favorite of The Boys was this block. I think it’s graphic and moody, in a good way.

#20Finally the day for the Big Giveaway came. David and I spread out several sheets on our back deck. As we watched the kids scramble around the quilt (while staying 10’ apart), some of us burst into tears while the rest became teary. This project was definitely a good thing.

#21- giveaway the quiltIn the beginning, we were two neighbors who banded together when the state government ordered a month-long lockdown. At first, we joined forces to add something special to the daily life of “The Boys”, whose routines had changed suddenly with the Pandemic.

Then we started helping each other out. We even celebrated shared birthdays in the open yard between our houses. “The Boys” were growing up in front of our eyes, going from ages 2-8 to ages 2-9. We became closer while we had to live separately.

I can’t help but feel there is a larger story here during this Pandemic. There must be a patchwork of stories unfolding all over the United States and the World, as we find ways to connect and help each other out.

Outside Adventures!

Good Morning

It’s late on my side of the pond but I was in the mood for a quick blog post.

I thought I would send you all a “Good Morning” with a couple photos, whether it is morning on your side of the pond now or it might be morning by the time you read this post.

The other day my partner John, on his early morning bike ride, took these lovely photos as he stopped to watch the sunrise on the reservoir near our home.

IMG_20200727_055600IMG_20200727_054104IMG_20200728_060524 I so enjoy seeing beautiful nature/landscape photos on the blogs I follow and I wanted to share a couple with you!

Have a wonderful day 🙂

I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you. That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written. – Juansen Dizon

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part IV (Guest Blog Post)

Here is the 4th installment of the guest blog post series by my talented friend Wendy Hill on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8. Wendy has a background in teaching (and quilt book writing) and in this post she provides details on her process of basting, quilting and binding one GIGANTIC Quarantine Quilt!

If you are just joining us, see these posts for Parts I, II and III of the story by Wendy:


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part IV: Basting, Quilting & Binding The Gigantic Quilt

If you’ve been following along, you know that my collaboration with The Boys next door led to a gigantic quilt top measuring 82” by 104”, and a quilt back 84” by 106”. Time to baste and quilt this monster-sized quilt!!

Basting

Basting is a two-step process for me: spray baste first with Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive followed by stitching a large grid with water soluble thread by Superior (Vanish Lite). This foolproof method lets me quilt without any problems.

But first, I have to clear the sewing room. After ironing the batting to smooth out any creases, I tape the batting to the floor to hold it in place.

#1- basting prep#2-batting smoothedWe had to navigate the crowded hallway for a day or two, but the cats loved exploring this new-to-them space.

#3- stuff in hallway#4 cat in stuff in hallwayWith the quilt back centered on the batting, the window open, the ceiling fan on low, and paper around the edge to catch any over spray, I’m ready to baste.

#5- ready to basteI can baste any size quilt with my “assistant”: a swim noodle. (My assistant never complains but getting up off the floor is another story!)

Roll up half the quilt onto the swim noodle. Spray a light coat from side to side, covering about 15” from the rolled up quilt towards you. Unroll the quilt over the sprayed area, smoothing as you go. Here is a photo of a different quilt ready to spray, unroll, and smooth.

#6- diff quilt, swim noodleRepeat to spray baste both halves of the quilt. Trim the excess batting along the fabric edge. Allow to dry for a few hours or overnight before turning over and taping the quilt to the floor.

With the quilt front centered on the batting, repeat the steps above to spray baste. Allow to dry.

#7- quilt topWith both ends of the quilt rolled up to the middle, I stitched lines about 3”-4” apart with the water soluble thread, from the middle to the edge. Repeat with the other half. Re-roll the quilt in the other direction, stitching perpendicular lines about 3”-4” apart.

A bonus benefit is the way these stitching lines change how the quilt handles, making it easier to do the actual quilting lines.

#8-sewing room#9- water soluble grid#10- water soluble grid#11, water soluble grid

Tips for Using Any Spray Baste

  1. Ventilate the room.
  2. Cover up to prevent overspray on unwanted places.
  3. Hold the can at least 12” away from the surface.
  4. Keep the can moving from side to side- do not soak the batting.
  5. After the layers are basted, allow time for the spray baste to dry & set.
  6. It will evaporate out, especially in dry climates. Another reason for stitching a water soluble thread grid is to buy time before you start quilting.

Quilting

I like using roughly parallel quilting lines, but with a quilt this size, this will be the easiest thing for me to do on my home sewing machine.

But first, thread choices. I selected Aurifil 50 wt cotton for the front (yellow) and back (blue).

#12- thread choicesWith the quilt rolled up from both ends to the middle, I started stitching the roughly parallel lines, using the pressor foot as a guide. Ignore the water soluble thread lines.

I accordion folded the quilt in my lap, but with big quilts, you can get some drag from the rolled up quilt coming out behind the sewing machine. When you start to feel some drag, accordion fold the quilt behind the sewing machine, which will reduce or eliminate the dead weight.

#13- first stitching lines#14- stitch side to sideKeep quilting! The lines are actually unequal distances apart and not perfectly straight, but I like this look on a scrappy quilt.

#15- stitching#16 still stitchingI used the seam lines between the rows to “square up” my parallel lines.

In the last couple of inches before the seam line, I start my course correction strategy. I start stitching parallel to the seam line, so that the next row/section starts over with an accurate straight line. The stitching lines can get way off line without some kind of course correction fix.

#17- squaring upCelebration! The very last line of stitching!! I zigzagged the edges and trimmed the batting before tossing the quilt into the washer and dryer. I like to let the quilt shrink at this stage, before sewing on the binding.

#18- last stitching line#19- zigzag edge#20- before washingRemove the quilt from the dryer while still slightly damp and allow to air dry the rest of the way.

#21- air drying#22- air drying

Binding

I’m always searching for alternative techniques. I invented a way to machine topstitch binding that is easy and looks great. For quilts that will be loved, used, and washed & dried, this method is also makes for a sturdy binding.

I started with a double French fold binding. A 3/8” seam allowance gives me the wide binding I like so much. I flattened the seam allowance with my faux serge stitch (or zigzag works too) to get a flatter looking binding.

#23- dble fold binding#24-wide seam allowance#25- flattening teh seam allowance#26- flattenedAfter folding over and pinning (or clipping) the binding in place, I hand sewed the mitered corners, about 1” in each direction from the corner.

Next, I basted along the very edge of the binding, from the back of the quilt. This big stitch goes fast.

#27- big stitch baste along edgeFlip over. From the front, you can see the basting thread: this shows you exactly where the fold is on the other side.

#28 basting line on frontI machine topstitched the binding from the front, by stitching just to the right of the basting line. (You can stitch anywhere between the basting line and the ditch of the binding seam.)

#29-stitch from the front#30- stitching from the backI removed the basting thread and checked the back to make sure the stitching line is along the edge of the binding. Finished!!!

#31 finished from the front#32- finished from the back

Next Week: The Big Giveaway!

#33 sneak peek front#34 sneak peek back

 

 

Studio, tierneycreates

Early Experiment with Strong and Bold Colors

Last week I rotated the quilts hanging in my entry hall from several of my recycled silk art quilts to a quilt I made in the early 2010s (perhaps 2010 or 2011) that was one of my first attempts of experimenting with bold colors.

Rotated from this:

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to this:

2020-07-28_15-04-56_367

This quilt, which I will call Asian Fabric Slide Show, is from the pattern Slide Show by Atkinson Designs. If you are a quilter, and I have been to a quilt shop in the past 15 years, then likely you’ve seen this pattern – either available for purchase, or as a sample quilt, or as both.

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 5.11.36 PM

It is a very common quilt pattern and before I made the quilt I’d seen many version of it, many which looked similar to the quilt in the image above from Atkinson Design’s website.

Before making this quilt I had begun to experiment a little with color, especially with batiks, which I had recently discovered. And before that I was making quilts with traditional looking quilting fabrics and colors. My original palette (especially when I began quilting around 1999/2000) was blue, red, green, cream, purple, white, mauve.

I found this image on twobeesfabric.com and it looks like my old fabric palette:

cw_bundle_of_10Somewhere in the late 2000s as I began to make quilts with batik fabrics, I became attracted to strong/bold colors.

When I decided to make the Slide Show quilt, I decided to make unconventional choices including using a “featured fabric”/main fabric with a non-repeat pattern (which was more like a panel than traditional fabric yardage).

2020-07-28_09-03-31_0722020-07-28_15-05-12_9392020-07-28_15-05-21_2182020-07-28_15-05-30_6822020-07-28_15-05-33_7142020-07-28_15-05-38_9292020-07-28_15-05-57_1032020-07-28_15-06-08_635For the little blocks surrounding the larger squares, I decided to experiment with adding a fabric that WAS NOT in the featured fabric but added a pop of color that appeared to go well with the other fabrics which were coordinated.

I used a light and iridescent bluish gray fabric for this experiment with “non-matching the featured fabric” (see arrow in image below):

2020-07-28_15-06-37_430Then I got really crazy with the quilt and added a very strong deep orange as the border. I’d never used this much orange in a quilt before. In the past I would have used the green I used in lattice or a black as the border. I am not sure what got into me but I decided to make the border really pop!

2020-07-28_15-06-52_3542020-07-28_15-07-22_746It wasn’t until I recently rotated the quilts in the hallway that I remembered this part of my quilt journey.

After this quilt, bold color became part of my design/quilt journey as evidenced by my series of recycled silk quilts – the Color Story Series.

Here is one from that series with a crazy amount of bold color:

2018-06-29_14-30-05_418.jpeg
COLOR STORY VIII: THE LOUD COLOR SHIFT (2016)

If you like, please share in the comments, a little about your color/colour journey in your art (whether you are a quilter, knitter, painter, ceramicist, etc.)! 


Postscript

In case you are curious about the kimono quilt to the right of the quilt discussed in this post:

2020-07-28_15-04-56_367You can read about that quilt in an old post from June 2017:

Jiko’s Robe at QuiltWorks Gallery, June 2017

2017-06-02_18-00-44_012.jpeg